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Google Android Wear, Moto 360 & LG G Watch, PS4 Virtual Reality [Tech News Digest]

Dave Parrack 19-03-2014

Today in Tech News Digest, Android Wear for wearables, Moto 360 and LG G Watch, the NSA is MYSTIC, Xbox One expansion plan, PlayStation 4 virtual reality headsets, LINE Call for international chats, and the ‘Unnumbered Sparks’ art installation.


Google Android Wear For Wearables

Google has revealed Android Wear, an operating system built for wearables. Just as it did with Google Glass What The Internet Really Thinks Of Google Glass [Weird & Wonderful Web] This week in Weird & Wonderful Web, we take a look at what the Internet really thinks of Google Glass. Some people are in love with this futuristic device, others hate it. What about you? Read More prior to launch, the company has released a concept video showing how Android Wear would work on smartwatches. But this looks to be much closer to reality than the Google Glass ‘One Day’ video The 7 Best Google Project Glass Parody Videos After months of rumors regarding a move into augmented reality, Google finally unveiled its Project Glass initiative at the beginning of April. Apart from a few photographs of annoying models wearing an early version of... Read More .

Android Wear is primarily Google Now OK, Google: 20 Useful Things You Can Say to Your Android Phone Google Assistant can help you get a lot done on your phone. Here are a whole bunch of basic but useful OK Google commands to try. Read More on wearable devices, but fitness and navigation apps are also being touted as important features. A Developer Preview has been released to make sure developers have plenty of time to adapt their apps to work with Android Wear.

This is very much a work in progress, with Android Wear likely to be shown off in more detail at the Google I/O conference in June. Meanwhile, manufacturing partners such as Motorola, LG, Samsung, and HTC, as well as fashion brands including Fossil are working on wearable devices…

Motorola & LG Unveil New Smartwatches

Motorola and LG became the first two companies to announce smartwatches powered by Android Wear, with the Moto 360 and G Watch being shown off. Both are likely to be launched later this year, but no hardware specs, pricing details, or release dates are yet being discussed.

The LG G Watch looks very much like other smartwatches we have already seen, with a simple square design. The Motorola Moto 360 looks more like a traditional watch, with a round design resembling the smartwatch concept from Gábor Balogh Finally, A Smartwatch Concept That I Really Want! Read More that recently got us excited.


NSA Records 100 Percent Of Phone Calls

The latest revelation to emerge from the Edward Snowden documents is that the NSA (National Security Agency) has the means to record “100 percent of a foreign country’s telephone calls.” The system, called MYSTIC, includes a tool called RETRO which enables the agency to review, rewind, and replay conversations for up to a month after they take place.

MYSTIC was allegedly launched in 2009, reaching full capacity against the first target in 2011. The Washington Post reports that every call in that unidentified country is recorded with a 30-day buffer meaning old ones are cleared out to make way for new ones. Like some sort of omnipotent TiVo.

Xbox One Coming To 26 More Countries

Microsoft is preparing to launch the Xbox One in 26 new countries in September. The list of countries is as follows: Argentina, Belgium, Chile, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, India, Israel, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates.

Several of these countries were meant to get the Xbox One Microsoft Xbox One Review And Giveaway The console wars are officially raging, and we've had sufficient time with both of them. That begs the question: how does the Xbox One compare? Read More in November but Microsoft delayed the launch citing “localization issues.” It isn’t all that impressive that it will have taken almost a year for these issues to be resolved but I guess later is better than never.


Project Morpheus, The PS4 VR Headset

Sony has revealed its long-gestating plans for a virtual reality headset. The hardware being built for use on PlayStation 4 was shown off in prototype form at GDC 2014 (Game Developers Conference).

The VR system, revealed at an event ambitiously titled ‘Driving the Future of Innovation’, is currently codenamed Project Morpheus [PDF link] and features a 1080p LCD display and a 90-degree field of vision.

Sony clearly believes virtual reality is the future of gaming, with Sony Magic Lab’s Richard Marks saying, “VR is going to be pervasive, and what I mean by that is it’s going to be used for all sorts of things you might not think it would be used for.

The Oculus Rift Oculus Rift Development Kit Review and Giveaway The Oculus Rift has finally arrived, and is making heads turn (literally) all over the gaming community. No longer are we confined to to peering through a flat window into the gaming worlds we love... Read More is certainly turning heads 5 Oculus Rift Demos That Will Blow Your Mind Forget the Playstation 4 or the Xbox One - I've seen the future of gaming, and it is neither of them. The Oculus Rift is amazing - and with $16 million in fresh funding, the... Read More but it remains to be seen whether virtual reality is going to appeal to mainstream consumers.


LINE Call Makes Conversation Cheap


The people behind popular messaging app LINE have added LINE Call LINE Call For Android Launches In 8 Countries With Cheap International Calls LINE Call allows users to make calls to non-Line numbers in eight different countries. Currently, the service is only available on Android, but they have said that an iPhone version should be coming soon. Read More to their service. Available for Android immediately, and coming to iOS soon, LINE Call brings cheap international calls to LINE users in eight countries, including the U.S.

Unnumbered Sparks Hits Vancouver

And finally, a new art installation only made possible by technology has been unveiled in Vancouver, Canada. The piece, titled Unnumbered Sparks, is a sculpture made from ultralight fibers which visitors interact with using their smartphones.

The sculpture is actually a 300-foot Web browser displayed in the air thanks to five high-definition projectors. Visitors choose a color in their mobile browser, tracing their finger across the screen to change the sculpture hanging above them.


Tech News Digest… Breaking News Into Bite-Sized Chunks.

Related topics: International Call, PlayStation, VoIP, Xbox One.

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