Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Lenovo Announces Android 4.4 KitKat Updates for 6 Mid-Range Smartphones


Lenovo has announced that it will soon be releasing the Android 4.4 KitKat update for several of its recently launched mid-range smartphones, specifically 5 of its S series smartphones - S930, S650, S820, S920, S660 - and the P780.

The Chinese electronics giant announced that Android 4.4. KitKat updates for the six recently announced mid-range smartphones will be made available in a phased manner starting from this week ending with the roll-out of the S660's update in September. Notably, Lenovo recommends users back up their data before updating their phones from Android 4.4 KitKat.

Lenovo further said that the update for the six smartphones will bring the UI available in its Vibe series of smartphones, along with the Lenovo 'Premium DOit' apps. The UI will according to the company get a 'simple clutter-free look' and a 'user-friendly incoming call interface'. Also new, is enhanced notification access, an updated theme centre, an automatic profile changer, expanded accessibility APIs, the face orientation rotation feature, the smart call feature, the smart swipe feature, the new pocket and parental mode, as well as the smart dialler.

Describing three of the most popular the Premium DOit apps, Lenovo says SECUREit will help users track, analyse and optimise their data usage; the SHAREit app provides the fast phone-to-phone data transfer capability without the need for Wi-Fi or mobile network; and SYNCit will let users to have a permanent backup of all their data and whilst making it accessible on any device.

Elaborating on the changes the Android 4.4 KitKat update will bring, Lenovo added improved application compatibility, security enhancements, as well as bug fixes. Also new is an update to the Lenovo power manager, delivering improved battery utilisation. The camera apps have also been improved, for more efficient autofocus and white balance capabilities.

Commenting on the announcement, Sudhin Mathur, Director- Smartphone, Lenovo India, said, "After rolling out updates for Vibe Z, Vibe X and S860 last month, we are now bringing Android 4.4 to six of our mid-range smartphones at various price points. These updates are poised to take the user experience of these phone to a different level. In the last two years in India, we have grown leaps and bounds launching over 18 smartphones, each addressing specific user requirement, and we aim to continue this growth trajectory with newer models and iterations."

Google, Linaro develop custom Android edition for Project Ara

Google is working with open-source development organization Linaro to develop a special edition of Android for the Project Ara customizable smartphone.

Google’s yet unreleased Project Ara is a build-your-own smartphone that allows users to mix and match features. The $50 configurable smartphone will come with an empty phone frame and screen, and users can snap on or take out modular parts from the rear of the handset to add or remove features.

The smartphone, which will ship early next year, has already sparked the development of Lego-like modules that can be attached. Google has talked about detachable antenna and camera modules, but developers are also considering modules for wireless networking, gaming, storage and thermometers.

A special edition of Android had to be created for the unique customizable design of Project Ara, said George Grey, CEO of Linaro.

Work is being done around plug-and-play recognition of modules so Android can “understand the concept of devices that can come in and go away,” Grey said.

“If you add more battery, Android has to [recognize] a new battery, update the icon and now you have more life,” Grey said. “Some interesting changes to Android will be needed to score this functionality.”

Project Ara

Android can already plug and play SD cards. But Grey said additional OS functionality is needed for storage, cameras and other modules that are typically inside smartphones, but can now be externally added to Project Ara.

A lot of work is also being done on UniPro transport drivers, which connect modules and components in Project Ara. UniPro protocol drivers in Android will function much like the USB protocol, where modules will be recognized based on different driver “classes,” such as those for networking, sensor, imaging, input and others.

Some attachable parts may not be recognized by Android. For those parts, separate drivers need to be developed by module makers through emulators. “That will be need to be done in a secure system so the device can’t do damage to the system,” Grey said.

Google already offers a module developers kit (MDK) for Project Ara platform through which developers can take advantage of the UniPro hardware and protocol stack.

Grey couldn’t share any more information on release dates for the OS, citing a confidentiality agreement with Google. He did not say whether the version of Android would be based on the latest L release, which supports 64-bit ARM processors. Linaro is working on Android with Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) unit, which is leading the development of Project Ara.

However, more details about the Android edition may be shared at the second Project Ara developer conference scheduled for the end of November, which is when Google also plans to release an updated version of the MDK.

But the ultimate goal—like all Linaro projects—is to make improvements and additional functionality in the version “part of mainline Android,” Grey said.

Linaro has developed versions of Android for smartphones and tablets. It also releases versions of Linux for ARM servers.

“We’re not rewriting the operating system or anything like that,” Grey said.

Project Ara is a very disruptive concept, and it turns around conventional thinking on how to build phones, Grey said.

“You don’t have to go through an expensive repair process,” Grey said.

Google’s Nexus Device Line Will Continue: A 5.9-Inch Nexus 6 Smartphone Could Kill Android Silver


Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) is shaking up the mobile industry with its new operating system Android L, but the tech giant could be falling back to its old and faithful hardware as other plans for device upgrades may now be uncertain.

Reports from April indicated that Google had plans to introduce a new device program called “Android Silver,” which would replace the current Nexus program that introduces new smartphones and tablets running Google’s stock Android software each year.

Many tech informants and analysts have given their predictions as to what Android Silver might be and what the program might mean for Google. The Information, in particular, speculated that Google may release Android Silver to compete with the congruent iOS ecosystem that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has developed. However, it appears the tables may be turning and the Nexus program might be here to stay while the proposed Android Silver program might be phased out before it even starts.

Recent rumors now suggest that Google has a Nexus 6 smartphone in its pipeline. According to tech website Android Police, Google has given the upcoming device the codename “Shamu” due to its size; the device may be a 5.9-inch “phablet,” which may be manufactured by Motorola (NYSE: MSI).

Notably, Google sold Motorola to Lenovo (HKG:0992) in January after having the smartphone maker as a subsidiary for about a year. The company’s relationship proved to be a conflict of interest, which prevented them from working together on the Nexus program.

A new report by the Information says Google and Motorola began developing the new Nexus hardware soon after their business relationship dissolved. Google reportedly wanted access to Motorola’s Active Display and Touchless Control technologies, which are featured on the Moto X smartphone, for its own devices.

There are few details about the Nexus 6, other than its potential screen-size. The device being called the “Nexus 6” is not even certain at this point. But its purported development could in fact mean the end of Android Silver.

Google previewed its Android L software in June, after which Dave Burke, the head of Android engineering confirmed there were more Nexus devices on the way. Burke told Dan Rowinski of ReadWrite Google’s Nexus hardware is essential to the development of its Android software. Conversely, he would not share any details on Android Silver.

Google Chief Business Officer Nikesh Arora -- who is leaving Google to head Softbank Internet and Media as CEO -- notably ran the Android Silver program and his absence may be the reason the program won’t move forward.

Several sources have told the Information Google may not have much interest in Android silver without Arora. Android Silver is -- or was -- reportedly intended to resolve fragmentation issues for Android software and to give Google control over updating devices marketed by third-party manufacturers. Similar to how most iPhones and iPads are readily compatible with each new iOS version, it is believed that Android Silver would make it so all of the most current Android devices will be able to update at the same time.

Android Silver devices were expected to be similar to Google Play Edition devices, which run stock Android, or the operating system without any third-party modifications. Many smartphone makers that use the Android operating system like to add their own user interfaces and other alterations to the software, much to Google's chagrin. This was believed to be the primary motivation for Android Silver; however, it remains to be seen if program will ever come to fruition. Android Silver was expected to launch sometime in 2015.

Now, among many questions is: How will consumers react to a Nexus phablet? Prior Nexus devices have been relatively small with the current Nexus 5 with a 5-inch display. With rumors Apple may be releasing 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhones, much larger than any previous iPhone model, Google might simply be trying to keep up with the industry.

Google's Android Has a Fake-ID Problem

Google's Android Has a Fake-ID Problem

Google’s (GOOG) Android operating system has a security flaw that could allow hackers to impersonate trusted applications and potentially hijack your phone or tablet, according to research released today.
The basic issue is the way in which Android checks—or rather, does not check—that certain applications are what they say they are, according to Bluebox Security, the company that identified the vulnerability. Hence the catchy name, “Fake ID.”
Verifying identity is one of the most fundamental issues online. Is someone logging into a bank account the owner of that account? Is an application what it claims to be? San Francisco-based Bluebox helps companies secure their data on mobile devices, and its staff members work to research and understand the architecture of the mobile operating systems that Bluebox builds onto, says Jeff Forristal, chief technology officer.
Each Android application has its own digital signature—an ID card, in essence.Adobe Systems (ADBE), for example, has a specific signature on Android, and all programs from Adobe have an ID that’s based on that signature. Bluebox discovered that when an application flashes an Adobe ID, for example, Android does not check back with Adobe that it’s an authentic one. That means that a malicious actor could create malware based on Adobe’s signature and infect your system. The problem isn’t specific to Adobe; a hacker could create a malicious application that impersonates Google Wallet and then access payment and financial data. The same issue applies to administrative software present on some devices, allowing full control of the entire system.
“We basically discovered a way to create fake ID cards,” says Forristal. “There are different vectors. They all come down to: I can create a fake ID card. The question is, which fake ID card do I create?”
The flaw affects Android systems from 2.1 (released in January 2010) on up, though the latest version, 4.4 or KitKat, has closed the hole as it relates to Adobe, according to Bluebox. To give an idea of scale: From 2012 to 2013, about 1.4 billion new devices shipped with the Android operating system, according to GartnerGartner(IT) estimates that 1.17 billion additional Android devices will ship this year.
“We appreciate Bluebox responsibly reporting this vulnerability to us; third party research is one of the ways Android is made stronger for users,” said Christopher Katsaros, a Google spokesman.
The revelation of this particular vulnerability illustrates how security researchers and Google handle the discovery of flaws in software or programs. It also shows the complexity of handling a vulnerability affecting Android because fixes require adjustments from not only Google but also from various app developers and device makers.
Bluebox concluded its research in late March and submitted the bug to Google by March 31, according to Forristal. The Android security team developed a fix in April and provided the patch to vendors, who had 90 days to implement it before Bluebox publicized its findings, he says. Bluebox has tested about 40 Android-based devices out of more than 6,300 in the market. So far Bluebox knows of only one vendor that has put a patch out, he adds.
Google Play and Verify Apps have been enhanced to protect users from the Fake ID issue, said Katsaros, the Google spokesman.
“At this time, we have scanned all applications submitted to Google Play as well as those Google has reviewed from outside of Google Play and we have seen no evidence of attempted exploitation of this vulnerability,” Katsaros said.
Bluebox plans to discuss its findings at the Black Hat convention in Las Vegas next week. Expect a lot more troubling security news before then. Black Hat tends to bring it out.

Android 4.4.3/4.4.4 Kitkat update for Samsung Galaxy devices still being held back

Although it has been almost a year since Google announced the Android 4.4 Kitkat OS, Samsung is still having difficulty in rolling out the latest version of the operating system.
Last month, tech Google rolled out the fourth and final version of Android 4.4 Kitkat OS. Right after its release, Nexus and Google Play Edition devices immediately received the update. Moreover, other Android-based smartphones followed suit.
Currently, Samsung is still in the middle of rolling out the 4.4.2 version of the Kitkat OS in its Galaxy devices. Moreover, reports repeatedly pick up the signs and signals of the possible release date of 4.4.3 and 4.4.4 versions of the latest Android mobile software.
Throughout this month, Samsung has been rolling out the Android 4.4.2 Kitkat OS updateto Galaxy Note 3, Galaxy S4, Galaxy S3, Galaxy Note 2, and even Samsung Galaxy S5 users.
The delay in rolling out the Android OS update has been one of the complaints of users. This is also one of the reasons why some buyers opted for other devices like handsets from HTC and Sony because the aforementioned mobile manufacturers roll out their version of the Android OS more quickly.
Meanwhile, some Android-based devices are already enjoying the fixes brought about the by the Android 4.4.4 Kitkat OS. The update is 2.5MB and is claimed to bring fixes to security issues such as the OpenSSL bug. "The software update will upgrade your Nexus 5 to 4.4.4, which improves performance, security, stability and fixes bugs," the update page which flashes on the devices reads.
The Android 4.4.4 Kitkat OS update is a crucial update compared to the previous Android 4.4.3 Kitkat as the former brings the overall version of KTU84P firmware. The latest update brought very minimal changes to the devices such as slight changes to Chromium Web browser and WebView.
Until now, Samsung has not provided its users with a concrete release date of the much awaited Android OS update.

BlackBerry hints at redesign for BBM iOS, Android apps

BlackBerry's BBM applications for Apple's iOS and Google's Android operating systems appear headed for a makeover at some point down the road.

During a Q&A at Tuesday's BlackBerry Security Summit, blog site N4BB asked BlackBerry President John Sims about the future look of the iOS and Android versions of BlackBerry Messenger, the company's free chatting and voice calling app. Released last October, both versions added more than 40 million registered users to the total BBM population by the time 2013 was over.

In responding to N4BB, Sims said he disagreed with previous management who felt that the BBM app should have the same look across all the platforms. The BBM apps for iOS and Android don't exactly look and feel like iOS and Android apps. Instead, they take their design cues more from the native BBM client that runs on BlackBerry 10. That may be vexing and even confusing to users who are accustomed to the way apps are specifically designed for and function on iOS and Android.

So does that mean a visual overhaul is in order for both versions? Apparently so.

Sims cited the new BBM app for Windows Phone, pointing out that it's designed for the Windows Phone environment so that it's familiar and comfortable to users of Microsoft's mobile OS. He said the same should hold true for the iOS and Android versions.

The BBM experience on iPhone and Android "needs to be more of a native app experience," Sims said, according to N4BB. "You can expect to see that manifest itself in our Android and iPhone BBM apps."

Sims didn't spill any details on when BBM for iOS and Android may undergo a redesign. BlackBerry has continued to add more features to both versions, but the apps themselves have gone almost ten months without any interface changes. A makeover is something that should be high on BlackBerry's priority list at this point.


A modding community is developing an unofficial Android port of Bethesda’s action role-playing game The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind as an open source port dubbed OpenMW.

OpenMW was created primarily to support Linux and OSX and the 2002 open world fantasy title’s main quest is now finishable on those platforms, according to a recent post. Spearheaded by community member Sandstranger, and spotted by Android Authority via Something Awful Forums, development of the Android port began two months ago and is currently in the very early stages of development.

Developers and testers on OpenMW’s official forum thread report varying degrees of success running the current build. Testing the build on a variety of Android-operated devices, modders are reporting anywhere between 1 frame per second, to 9 fps for internal environments, while others reportedly achieve up to 60 fps running it on a Tegra 3-powered device.

You can learn more about the unofficial project to bring the classic RPG to Android devices on the project’s Github page and the OpenMW forums, where APKs of the test build are located. For those interested, you can also view sample footage of OpenMW running on Android.

In December, another group of modders released the alpha of a Skyrim mod called Skywind that recreates the world of Morrowind using Skyrim's engine.

Maxx MSD7 Smarty AXD21 launched exclusively through Snapdeal at Rs 4020

The Maxx MSD7 Smarty AXD21 handset has been launched in India as the company’s first smartphone to offer Android 4.4 KitKat out of the box. And at Rs 4020, it’s one of the most affordable devices in the market to deliver the latest software Google has to offer.

Maxx MSD7 Smarty AXD21

Like many new launches, the Maxx MSD7 Smarty AXD21 will also be exclusive to an online retailer. The previous handset from the OEM was the GenxDroid7 AX356 that’s solely available through Infibeam, but Snapdeal has managed to nab the latest one for itself. What’s worth mentioning is that this release is one of the several other smartphones that will be launched by the company in the coming weeks.

For the said price, Maxx Mobile has delivered a pretty attractive smartphone that not only looks good, but also cuts a good deal of features. The handset is loaded with a 4-inch touchscreen on the front along with a VGA camera, while the rear dons a 3.2MP snapper and flaunts a design similar to what you’d find on the Note 3 from Samsung.

Coming to the innards, there’s a 1GHz dual core processor hard at work and 512MB of RAM which was expected. Storage provisions are also standard where 4GB of flash memory is provided with a microSD card slot. Additionally, the phone has dual SIM card slots and even connects to 3G networks.

Maxx MSD7 Smarty AXD21 specs:

- 1GHz dual core MediaTek processor
- 4-inch WVGA display
- Dual SIM support
- Android 4.4 KitKat
- 512MB RAM, 4GB storage
- VGA front snapper, 3.2MP rear lens
- 1450mAh battery
- Up to 4 hours of talktime

For the Rs 4020 price, Snapdeal is offering the Maxx MSD7 Smarty AXD21 in choices of black, white, yellow, or red, and with a free 16GB memory card.

Logitech unveils the G402 Hyperion Fury, the 'world's fastest gaming mouse'

On Wednesday, Logitech unveiled the new G402 Hyperion Fury mouse, which it's calling "the world's fastest gaming mouse." The device uses multiple sensors, allowing it to accurately track ultra-fast swipes of up to 500 inches per second across your mousepad or desk, and is marketed towards first-person shooter (FPS) fanatics.

Many FPS players use a low mouse CPI (counts-per-inch, or how many pixels the pointer moves for each inch of desk space) because it improves accuracy. The trade-off is that you need to move the mouse across broad swathes of desk space to turn the camera. In the midst of these big movements, especially at a high level of play, the mouse's laser/optical sensor can't keep up and accuracy suffers. For reference, Logitech's own G502 mouse is rated at 300 inches per second maximum.

The G402 attains its hyper-sensitivity by tracking multiple sensors at once—it features your standard optical sensor, but also an accelerometer and a gyroscope. These three components make up what Logitech has branded the "Fusion Engine." The Fusion Engine is powered by a 32-bit ARM processor inside the mouse itself.

logitech mouse

You've also got eight programmable buttons (with settings saved to onboard memory), a 1000Hz (one millisecond) polling rate, and on-the-fly DPI switching. I don't know yet whether the G402 will feature any weight adjustments like other Logitech models.

We'll see whether the mouse is adopted by those in the FPS e-sports crowd where speed and accuracy are important. Me? Well, I'm no professional FPS player, and I tend to keep my CPI pretty high. I also don't know what my average mouse movement speed is, but since my name isn't Bruce Lee I'm going to guess it's nowhere near 500 inches per second.

Still, I'm looking forward to testing out the G402—I've been playing with Logitech's G502 mouse for a few months and it's become one of my all-time favorites. The G402 goes on sale in August at a list price of $60.

Instagram starts slow roll-out of Bolt instant messaging app


Instagram has launched its own take on the instant messaging app, called Bolt.

Bolt works on a similar principle to rivals Mirage and Tapchat, stripping the image and video sharing experience on your mobile to the bare minimum. 

The app presents you with a camera viewfinder and a series of thumbnail photos of your friends - four favourites, and up to 20 others that can be accessed with a swipe. All you have to do is tap on one of those images to send them whatever's in the viewfinder at that moment. Holding the image will send a video, while shaking your phone will undo the last image share.

On the other end, swiping away received images deletes them for good.

If that all sounds appealing, don't get too excited. Bolt is currently only available to iOS and Android users in New Zealand, South Africa, and Singapore.

Instagram is slowly rolling out its new service to ensure it can scale the experience up properly, which is why it's selected small, tech-savvy communities for the initial launch ahead of the US or UK.

Interestingly, the app launches not too long after Slingshot, Facebook's own new instant messaging app. Instagram, of course, is owned by Facebook.

A closer look should show you that the two apps are really very different approaches to the same sharing craze. Slingshot is all about sharing quickly with groups of people. Meanwhile Bolt is all about one-to-one interaction.

Is there enough of a unique angle to Bolt to make it the next big thing, though? We'll only truly find out once it attains a wider launch.

Cortana lands in the UK with Windows Phone 8.1 update. Finally!


Microsoft has rolled out the developer preview of Microsoft Windows Phone 8.1 update, which brings with it some amazing features including Cortana, Live Folders, Xbox Music, SMS merge and forward, among others. Cortana is now available in the UK, China, Canada, India and Australia.
Elaborating on the update and its features, Microsoft notes, “We have been thrilled by the excitement around Cortana in Windows Phone 8.1. And we’re excited to make her available for people in China and the UK with this update as a “beta” and in Canada, India, and Australia as an “alpha”.
The digital assistant will be known as ‘Xiao Na’ in China. As far as UK is concerned, Cortana has been tuned to understand and support UK spellings and pronunciations. Cortana in UK, like in the US, will also provide local data on sports, the London Stock Exchange, commuter conditions, and a lot more and all these information will be backed by Bing.
“The voice and accent is, of course, local, and Cortana’s personality in the UK has also been tweaked to be more locally relevant”, notes Microsoft.
Windows Phone 8.1 update also brings with it Live Folders allowing users to organise apps on start screen into folders as per their preferences. To organise apps into folders, all you need to do is drag a tile over another tile and name the folder.
The update also brings with it the ability to select multiple SMS for deletion and forwarding easing out SMS management tasks.
Some of the other features of the update include Store Live Tile, Apps Corner, enhanced security and privacy. 

How Much Does an Xbox One Port Cost?

When Microsoft started the ID@Xbox program with the launch of the Xbox One, the company aimed to make it as easy and cheap as possible for independent developers to put their games on the system. But according to one developer, the costs associated with porting a game to the Xbox One are still very high.
In a post on his blog, Happion Laboratories' Jamie Fristrom outlined exactly how much it cost him to bringSixty Second Shooter from the PC to the Xbox One. He was surprised by just how much money console development still requires, especially because Microsoft gives Xbox development kits out for free to qualifying teams. He wrote, "You might think, since Microsoft is giving away their dev kits to early adopters of the ID@Xbox program, as long as you have no offices and pay everyone with rev[enue] share you could ship a game for just about nothing. But that's not quite the case."
He presents a breakdown of the costs associated with the program, which you can see below.
  • Maintaining the Sixty Second Shooter URL -- $19
  • Sending the second dev kit to a friend -- $63
  • Hardware -- $72
  • Video capture device -- $181
  • Localization -- $729
  • Error and Omission Insurance -- $2037
  • Foreign Ratings Boards -- $2042
  • Total -- $5143
For a small developer with very limited funds, this can be prohibitively expensive. According to Fristrom, Microsoft requires specific Errors and Omissions insurance to protect against copyright infringements. To launch on the console in other territories, Microsoft also requires that a game pass through the ratings boards in those areas, resulting in a spike in cost. He wrote also that he wanted to launch the game in Australia and New Zealand, but getting it rated would have cost $2000 in each of those countries.
Fristrom does, however, say that getting a game out on a platform with the reach of the Xbox One is worth the cost. "Although we haven't gotten our first sales report yet, there were at least ten thousand entries on the leaderboards last we checked, so we've certainly covered our costs and made a living wage to boot--which is kind of rare in the indie game development world, in my experience--so I'm really happy we jumped aboard the ID@Xbox wagon."
Microsoft does have plans to make indie development even easier. Last year, the company announced that any Xbox One would eventually be able to act as a dev kit, and earlier in July Microsoft debunked rumorsthat this project was canceled. However, the company has given no official word on when this functionality will launch.

Nintendo Reports Loss on Shaky Wii U Sales

Nintendo Co. sank to a worse-than-expected loss for the fiscal first quarter on lagging Wii U and 3DS video-game machine sales.
But the Japanese company behind Super Mario and Pokemon games stuck to its annual forecasts Wednesday for a 20 billion yen ($196 million) profit on 590 billion yen ($5.8 billion) sales.
Kyoto-based Nintendo reported a 9.92 billion yen ($97.3 million) April-June loss compared with an 8.62 billion yen profit a year earlier.
Quarterly sales totaled 74.695 billion yen ($732.3 million), down 8 percent from a year earlier.
Nintendo has been fighting to maintain profits amid competition from games and social media apps on smartphones and other mobile devices. The company also faces competition from rivals Sony Corp. and Microsoft Corp., which are aggressively pushing their game machines with holiday shoppers.
Nintendo has also faced questions about the health of its president, Satoru Iwata, after he was a no-show at the E3 video-game event in Los Angeles last month.
Last month, in a letter online to shareholders, he said he would miss the annual shareholders' meeting as well and said for the first time that he had surgery for a bile-duct "growth," found during a routine health checkup.
"I have already resumed my business by email and by other means, but it is anticipated that a little more time is needed for me to return to my regular work schedule," Iwata said in the letter.
The success of "Mario Kart 8" game software released in May is helping boost Wii U sales. Nintendo sold 510,000 of the machines for the April-June quarter, far better than 160,000 for the same period the previous year.
But Wii U is not as popular as Nintendo had initially hoped for, and it has missed earlier sales targets.
Sales of the 3DS handheld have plunged, dropping to 820,000 for the latest quarter from 1.4 million units a year ago.
Nintendo stuck to its latest target of selling 3.6 million Wii U and 12 million 3DS machines for the fiscal year through March 2015.
Nintendo said it will start offering strong game software in the months ahead, such as "Super Smash Bros. for Wii U."
The year-end and New Year's seasons are important sales periods for the company, practically determining its fortunes for the whole year.
Nintendo is also launching "amiibo," which are figures that connect and interact with games. How that might catch on is still unclear, but it holds potential for Nintendo.

Microsoft 'selfie' phone to have 5 MP front camera

Microsoft is jumping on the selfie bandwagon after rival Samsung launched the Galaxy K Zoom earlier this year.

Microsoft Corp's hardware chief gave employees a sneak peek at a 'selfie' phone featuring a 5 megapixel forward-facing camera at an internal meeting this week, a source at the company said on Tuesday.
Stephen Elop, the former Nokia CEO who now runs Microsoft's devices business, showed off the phone in front of thousands at the company's annual employee meeting in Seattle on Monday.
The 4.7 inch (11.9 cm) screen 'selfie' phone, plus another high-end Windows Phone, are expected to launch soon, according to tech news site The Verge, which first reported the news.
The 5 megapixel camera on the front of the device is much more powerful than Apple Inc's iPhone 5, with a 1.2 megapixel front camera, and the Microsoft phone's screen is larger, making it better-suited for users who want to take pictures of themselves.
Microsoft is jumping on the selfie bandwagon after rival Samsung launched the Galaxy K Zoom earlier this year.
The 'selfie' craze, or taking a picture of yourself and friends, hit its peak earlier this year when Ellen DeGeneres posted a shot of Hollywood luminaries at the Academy Awards which became the most popular message ever on Twitter. Oxford Dictionaries named 'selfie' its word of the year in 2013.

Xbox One With Assassin's Creed Unity Design From Walking Dead Artist Up for Grabs

The "extremely limited" Assassin's Creed Unity-skinned Xbox One system you see above can't be found in stores, but it can be yours with a little luck.

The system features the Assassin's Creed logo on the front of the system, and artwork from comic book artist Tony Moore (known for early issues of The Walking Dead, among other things) on the top. "Very few" of these have been created, according to the official Assassin's Creed Facebook page, and there is only one way to get your hands on one: the Guillotine Prize Drop wheel.

Among the things you get for preordering Unity (see a full list here) is access to an online spin-to-win game. Every Friday, a variety of prizes (most of them Assassin's Creed-themed) are given away to winners of what amounts to a web-based slot machine. Other prizes include home entertainment systems, trips to Unity developer Ubisoft Montreal, and in-game items. To play--you can do so here--all you need is a Uplay account and an access code given away with preorders of Unity.

Assassin's Creed Unity launches on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC on October 28. A new Assassin's Creed game for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 has not yet been announced, but Ubisoft has indicated we'll be learning more about its plans for those platforms soon.

Microsoft recently revealed a number of one-of-a-kind Xbox One system designs as part of a San Diego Comic-Con giveaway. Most of these designs were based on games available on Xbox One, but Unity was not among them.

If you haven't already preordered Unity, is the prospect of winning this system enough of an incentive to convince you to do so? Let us know in the comments.

Free PS4, PS3, and Vita Plus Games for August Include Crysis 3, Fez, and New Releases

The lineup of free PlayStation Plus games for the month of August has been revealed for the United States and Canada, thanks to the discovery of a video on the PlayStation YouTube channel. As is now the norm, it consists of two games each for the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation Vita. Several of the games have been out for some time, while two others will be free as soon as they launch in August.
One such game is Road Not Taken (launching August 5), a sort of roguelike puzzle game from Spry Fox, makers of the hit mobile game Triple Town. (We got a look at the game at E3 and walked away intrigued.) Also free for Plus members with a PS4 is Fez, the brilliantly designed puzzle-platformer from developer Phil Fish.
PS3 owners get a pair of games originally released last year: first-person shooter Crysis 3 and open-world exploration game Proteus.
Vita owners get Vanillaware's gorgeous 2D action RPG, Dragon's Crown (having gotten Dragon's Crown previously, Europeans get Lego Harry Potter: Years 5-7), and one game releasing for the first time on August 5: Metrico. This is another game that falls loosely within the boundaries of the puzzle-platformer genre, but it offers a difficult-to-explain twist by making infographics a centerpiece of the gameplay.
Three of August's games are available on multiple systems with cross-buy support (Fez on PS4, PS3, and Vita; and Proteus on PS3 and Vita), meaning you'll end up with more than two free games on PS3 and Vita. Dragon's Crown doesn't support cross-buy with its PS3 and Vita versions, but according to a PlayStation Blog comment from Sony's Kristine Steimer, Plus members will get both versions.
As always with Plus games, these are free to download for all PlayStation Plus members and remain yours for as long as you continue subscribing to the service.
Which of these games are you most looking forward to picking up during August? Let us know in the comments.


  • Road Not Taken (out August 5)
  • Fez (out now) 


  • Crysis 3 (out now)
  • Proteus (out now)

Siri rival Cortana to be released in India soon

Tech giant Microsoft will bring its voice-activated digital assistant 'Cortana' to India, China and other countries as part of Windows Phone 8.1 update. 

Cortana, a competitor to Apple's 'Siri', will be available in India under a new " alpha" programme in India, Australia and Canada where people can try Cortana using English language models from the US and the UK. 

"We have been thrilled by the excitement around Cortana in Windows Phone 8.1. And we are excited to make her available for people in China and the UK with this update as a 'beta' and in Canada, India, and Australia as an 'alpha'," Microsoft said in a blogpost. 

The update has some new features for everyone around the world, and some features have been completely customised for and by people in China, it added. Currently available in the US, people can use Cortana to find data, track information, set reminders, etc.

Microsoft's China team has developed number of additional features specifically like an alternative form which has a different visual appearance, animations, and sounds. 

Cortana in China supports Mandarin in voice, text and speech and has specialised suggestions like air quality in weather cards, information about driving restrictions and the ability to track local TV shows and celebrities. Cortana can also look up for English words in the Bing Dictionary for people looking to brush up on their English. 

The original Killer Instinct 2 may be coming to Xbox One

Killer Instinct 2, the 1996 arcade fighting game from Rare, may be coming to Xbox One, according to a recent rating from Korea's Game Rating and Administration Committee.

The rating lists Killer Instinct Classic 2 for Xbox One, and follows a similar naming convention from the previous release, Killer Instinct Classic, which was included as part of the Ultra Edition version of Double Helix's Killer Instinct reboot.

Killer Instinct 2 introduced four new fighters to the franchise: Gargos, Kim Wu, Maya and Tusk. Maya will return as a fighter in the modern version of Killer Instinct in its second "season," developer Iron Galaxy announced at Evo 2014. A re-release of the arcade version of Killer Instinct 2 alongside the new Killer Instinct's second season hasn't been confirmed, but the playable perk fits with Microsoft's promotional plan.

TJ Combo, a fighter from the original Killer Instinct, is also confirmed to return during the game's next season.


Curve Studios continues to showcase support for Nintendo and Wii U by revealing that the company is porting Lone Survivor to the home console later this year.

On Twitter, Curve made the Lone Survivor announcement, also teasing that another mystery game was heading to the Wii U this year as well. This news comes on the heels of Curve unveiling that The Swapper is making its way to Nintendo's home system.

We thoroughly enjoyed Lone Survivor on PC and PlayStation Vita (it's also available on PlayStation 3), calling it a scary and great 2D survival horror experience. Made by indie developer Jasper Byrne, Lone Survivor casts players as You in a post-apocalyptic setting living among hungry mutants.

There isn't a specific release date yet for Lone Survivor on Wii U, but stay tuned to IGN for all the latest on the Nintendo eShop.

Apple updates Retina Macbook Pro with faster Haswell CPUs, more RAM

Apple updates Retina Macbook Pro with faster Haswell CPUs, more RAM

Apple has released a new range of MacBook Pro laptops that sport the high-resolution Retina display, with faster processors and higher memory for a starting price of $1,299 that translates to approximately Rs 78,100. With the new updated series, Apple has also slashed the price of its older MacBook Pro models.

The new 13-inch updated model with a 2.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor, 128 GB of flash storage and 8GB of memory will be priced at $1599 (approximately Rs 96,100). The same model featuring 256GB of flash storage will cost $1849 (approximately Rs 1.1 lakh). The new model powered by a 2.8GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of memory and 512GB of flash storage is priced at a whopping $2199 that amounts to approximately Rs 1.3 lakh.

Apple will allow users to configure MacBook Pros with up to 1TB of flash storage. All the units will go on sale in Australia starting tomorrow via Apple retail outlets and online, reports The Australian.

On the other hand, the older 13-inch Macbook Pro price has dropped by $100 and it now costs $1,099 (approximately Rs 66,000).  Apple has also lowered the price of its best-in-class 15-inch notebook. Previously priced at $3199, the Australian website has now updated the price to $2999 (approximately Rs 1.8 lakh). Other models maintain the same price, but have been updated.

For instance, the 15-inch model with a 2.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of memory and 256GB of flash storage comes at a starting price of $2499. Similarly, the model with 2.5 GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of memory, 512GB of flash storage and dual graphics cards starts at $2999.

After closing at $99.02 on Monday on the Nasdaq, Apple shares were up marginally in premarket trading on Tuesday.