Monthly Archives: January 2017

Specifications and price of Galaxy Tab S3 leak ahead of possible MWC 2017 launch

It’s been a while since Samsung first launched the Galaxy Tab S2, around 18 months in fact. It’s successor, the appropriately named Galaxy tab S3, was originally thought to be announced at IFA 2016, but it never appeared. Specifications for Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S3 tablet range have leaked, so join us after the break for […]

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Animal Crossing mobile release date pushed back to April at the earliest

It was last April when Nintendo said Fire Emblem and Animal Crossing would arrive to mobile in fall 2016. That release deadline was subsequently pushed into 2017, before the end of the fiscal year. Though Fire Emblem: Heroes will land in just a couple of days (it hits Android this Thursday), Animal Crossing won’t be here until the next fiscal year. Meaning this April. At the earliest.

Nintendo confirmed the delay earlier today in a financial statement and said it was to “accommodate the releases and operation” of Super Mario Run and Fire Emblem: Heroes. Though it doesn’t seem unreasonable for Nintendo to delay one game to make sure two others receive more time and resources, I’m sure die-hard fans will be hurt by the revelation.

Animal Crossing is a community simulation game which seems well suited to mobile for a number of reasons. The series draws on real-world events like seasons, day and night cycles, holidays etc. but I could imagine Animal Crossing mobile doing things that might have been more difficult on consoles, like pulling local weather data to reflect it in-game, or making use of GPS tracking to move between cities.

See also:

Nintendo’s Fire Emblem: Heroes tactical RPG debuts on Android February 2

2 weeks ago

That said, Animal Crossing will be free-to-play and the hundreds of in-game items typically available in the games could get some serious monetization. We’ll see.

Though this delay may already be a disappointment to some, the good news is that Animal Crossing will launch on iOS and Android at the same time: unlike Super Mario Run, which won’t be ported to Android until March.

What are your thoughts on the Animal Crossing mobile version? Let us know in the comments.

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[TA Deals] Clean your laptop with Windows Care Genius Pro! (56% off)

It’s time for you to clean your laptop. Don’t think you need to buy new hardware just because performance isn’t ideal. There are ways to improve performance on existing hardware, courtesy of software that sweeps through and sees what’s going on. Today, Windows Care Genius Pro is our featured deal of the day. It’s a […]

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Why Nexbit joining Razer has us really excited

Razer, the high-end gaming hardware and software company, has just acquired Nextbit, the phone company looking to make on-board storage hassles a thing of the past. This was a very, very surprising acquisition for many, as, while both companies make their own hardware as well as software, they have traditionally operated in completely different sectors.

Nextbit boss Tom Moss says that both companies are ‘rebels’ in their respective industries, taking a very heavy “consumer-first” approach when it comes to hardware and software design decisions. What exactly does this acquisition mean for Nextbit in the future? And are there reasons to be optimistic about the tie-up? Lets take a look at a few of the possibilities.

Software synergy

While software is arguably not part of Razer’s core competency, Nextbit would likely say that’s what they do best. The Nextbit Robin is founded on a very specific idea that users should not have to worry about the storage space on their device, and only use what they need when they need it. While Razer’s software platforms have evolved to be relatively decent over time, they have traditionally been a bit buggy and resulted in a median to poor end-user experience.

Razer CEO Min Liang Tan believes that Nextbit has a lot to offer on the software front and could potentially help to develop different Razer software such as Comms and Synapse.

We’ve been huge fans of what Nexbit has been doing, both the work on the phone technology and on the cloud-based storage side of things,

said Tan in a recent interview.

There is a lot of potential and talent. With Nextbit, it was really the software and design talent we wanted to bring in.

Tan says that the team of 30 will be working on developing more products under the Nextbit name, all the while operating under its own business unit. There’s no doubt Razer will be interested in tapping the substantial talent that the Nextbit team has to offer, and we’re hopeful they can help to make Razer’s software even better, whether it comes to communication, LED control, or something else entirely.

Hardware expertise

Hardware is the field where Razer really shines. While the company originally started out making high-end gaming mice, they eventually moved on to keyboards, headsets, speakers, and finally laptops. The introduction of the Blade in 2011 shook the entire industry to its core, changing the idea of what a ‘mobile gaming workstation’ could be.

Hardware is the field where Razer really shines

Razer is great at taking a product from a traditional market and pushing it to its absolute limit. The Blade is still known today as one of the thinnest, most premium and powerful gaming laptops on the market, and the Blade Pro introduced just recently became the most powerful mobile workstation in its form factor.

While Nextbit’s hardware has not exactly been marketed as ‘cool’, ‘sleek’, and ‘premium’, the company did a pretty fantastic job in making their Robin device feel like it was made for the consumer. The welcoming soft touch body mixed with the bright happy-go-lucky colors gave the device a very consumer-first feeling, which blended with the Nextbit community forums to produce a pretty fantastic company-to-customer relationship.

The premium dark and sleek hardware design philosophy of Razer, mixed with Nextbit’s customer-centric take, could result in a pretty successful continuation of the Nextbit device line.

A Razer smartphone?

In 2014, Razer produced a limited run of iPhone 5 and 5S smartphone cases, after fans noticed that Min Liang Tan was sporting one he had custom-made for himself. This run was incredibly well received, and led to consumers demanding that the company make a phone of their own. While Razer did not announce plans to make this demand a reality, it has made moves to merge into different markets such as desktop computer cases.

‘Designed by Razer’

‘Designed by Razer’ was a venture taken by the company to softly expand into different markets by working with hardware manufacturers to tailor existing devices to their own specifications. Up until now, the company has only used this venture to expand into the computer hardware case market, working with NZXT and Antec to develop cases using the seed company’s specifications, but with Razer’s design methodology and feature set.

A Razer-branded Nextbit product would make a lot of sense right now

Could this venture expand with the acquisition of Nextbit? Absolutely. As we mentioned earlier, Razer fans have been calling upon the company to produce their own device for what seems like eons now, and this could be the perfect opportunity.

As also mentioned, the Nextbit name will continue to thrive stamped onto the new devices the 30-strong team develops in the future. It would be no surprise for Razer to use the opportunity to soft-launch its own device. A ‘Designed by Razer’ Nextbit phone would be a great way for Razer to get a feel of how many customers would be interested in this new product line. A Razer-branded Nextbit product would make a lot of sense right now.

A full-fledged gaming device?

Let’s be a little imaginative here. Remember the Sony Xperia Play? That phone had gaming baked into its DNA, from the physical gamepad revealed by sliding out the touchscreen, to the custom UI that allowed you to browse through titles with ease. While that device would likely never be called a ‘smash hit’ by today’s standards, there’s no questioning it was, and continues to be, ridiculously innovative. We haven’t seen anything quite like that phone since it debuted back in 2011, though there have been hints of a gaming device refresh from a couple of other players in the industry.

Back in 2015, Acer showed off what would become the Predator 6 Gaming Smartphone. While the device did not actually ever make it to market, it proved to be a concept of what a gaming smartphone could potentially look like. The 6-inch device had aggressive red accents and Predator branding, and was planned to have a 10-core MediaTek processor to absolutely annihilate mobile gaming. It’s not clear why the Predator 6 never really took off, but it’s quite clear that there are a number of gamers out there who would like something they could use both as their phone, as well as a handheld.

This is where Nextbit’s cloud technology could really shine. NVIDIA has already developed some pretty intense cloud streaming software such as that built into the Shield TV that allows consumers to stream their games from their computer to a tablet, so why not a phone?

It could be argued that the smartphone-tablet merger we have all been waiting for is essentially here, as the word “phablet” has all but been phased out of the industry since most flagships are now at least 5.5″ or larger. If Nextbit worked with Razer and even NVIDIA to allow for a similar game-streaming experience for phones, users would be able to play their favorite titles anywhere in their house, without needing to pull out a laptop.

With the proper controls, whether on a separate controller or baked into the device itself, Razer could have a gaming powerhouse on their hands that could handle high-end mobile games on the go and full-fledged AAA PC titles at home. Razer has already produced the ‘Razer Edge’ gaming tablet for the mass market all those years ago, so why not bring it to smartphones now that the two platforms are finally entering a fully merged state?

A 3-screened behemoth?

Allow us to extend our imagination far into the outer reaches of possibility.

At CES 2017, Razer showed off a prototype of the world’s first triple-screened 4K laptop, dubbed ‘Project Valerie’. This monster boasted a full fledged GTX 1080 graphics solution along with an unlocked intel Core i7 desktop-class processor to drive the immense amount of pixels provided by the three 17-inch 4K displays, and man was it beautiful. But what if Razer did something similar in mobile?

A 3-screened phone would certainly hold up to be a fantastic content consumption device, and when paired with an interface like Razer’s own ‘Serval’ Bluetooth game controller, you could have a mobile gaming platform like no other being born into the space. The laptop project shown at CES is made to eventually have sliding screens that make their way out of the main housing at the push of a button, which should theoretically also be possible for mobile given the right engineering team.

When Razer makes a new product, it is clearly different from the rest of the market

The industry is absolutely chock-full of small gimmicks being introduced to devices that essentially offer the same experience with small tweaks to differentiate them. These small tweaks are not exactly part of Razer’s philosophy. When Razer makes a new product, it is clearly different from the rest of the market. Whether it is the touchscreen trackpad of the Razer Blade Pro, or the millions of pixels present in its triple 4K ‘Project Valerie’ prototype, there is always something about these devices which differentiate them from the competition.

The smartphone industry desperately needs innovation like this. Even if half the products Razer shows off at trade shows never actually make it to the consumer, at least someone is trying, and that alone is something to get excited about.

What about later down the road?

Assuming consumers are sufficiently interested in what Razer and Nextbit have to offer, Razer mobile software could be a major part of the Nextbit team’s development ventures. Razer Comms is a group messaging and voice chat software that already works pretty well on mobile, and Synapse could easily be re-branded to control the hardware and software settings on a mobile device.

The products developed by Razer over the years have traditionally had at least one ‘killer feature’ meant to differentiate them from other players in the market, and while most phone manufacturers have done the same thing since the beginning, they’ve often been cheap gimmicks that didn’t end up amounting to much.

This is all just speculative of course, but I think all of us would be very interested in what kind of sleek, premium mobile experience the new joint venture can develop over the coming years, whether it comes to better Razer software, a custom mobile OS, or a whole new device entirely.

What are you hoping to see out of the new Razer-Nextbit alliance? Whatever the future holds, you’d better be sure it will have RGB!

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(Update: issue potentially fixed) Some Pixel devices are shutting down at 30% battery

Update, January 31: It looks like Pixel owners who have been tormented by unexpected shutdowns could finally catch a break. The Google bug-tracking ticket where hundreds of users complained about sudden shutdowns on their Pixels and Pixel XL’s has been closed today by a Google staffer. The ticket is now marked as “Future Release” meaning that changes designed to fix the shutdown issue will roll out in an upcoming update. It’s not clear whether that future release is Android 7.1.2, which is rolling out now in beta, or another release, but we’re hopeful it’s the former.

It’s worth noting that ticket 227849, where many users reported similar issues for the 2015 Nexus 6P, remains unresolved, with no recent communication from Google.


Original post, December 28: It seems that some Pixel devices are affected by the same infamous shutdown bug that plagued the Nexus 6P where the device would prematurely turn off at 25 to 35 percent.

The Huawei Nexus 6P has finally received the Nougat update. But ever since, Google’s last ever Nexus device has been on the news, and for all the wrong reasons. Among the problems was a shutdown bug: the phone would shut down when the battery is at 30 percent or so.

Well, it looks like the issue isn’t unique to those Nexus 6P users. A few Reddit users are reporting that their Pixel devices are also suffering from the same shutdown bug. Some Pixel phones would prematurely shut down at or around 30 percent and would not turn back on until a charger is connected. A user by the name of vrski_15, who started the thread explains:

Twice in last 5 days, has the phone shutdown abruptly while I am in middle of something. In both instances, battery was between 25-35%, and the phone under normal conditions should have lasted for at least next 3-4 hours.

With the Nexus 6P, Huawei first ruled that this was not a hardware problem but a software-related one. However, users found that the problem persisted even after downgrading to Android Marshmallow. This led Huawei to investigate further with Google, and although the company hasn’t revealed the cause yet, it is probably related to the problem that these Pixel users have been experiencing.

Google announced its very first smartphone back in October, and its design wasn’t the only thing that was controversial; its premium price tag was also pretty shocking for many. A premium price tag means a premium device. However, there have already been a few too many separate issues reported regarding the Pixel duo. With Samsung determined to gain back customers with the Galaxy S8 and with a fleet of affordable premium Android devices coming from Chinese companies, Google may need to step up its game if it wants to stay relevant in the insanely competitive market of smartphones.

Is your Pixel phone affected by the shutdown bug? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

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