If you've been putting off buying a white Nexus 4, be ready to wallow in regret: you've missed your chance to get one straight from Google Play. Both the 8GB and 16GB versions are "no longer available for sale," a little more than a month after the company's online store started carrying them. A Google spokesperson told us that the alabaster phone has indeed sold out, and that the Play Store won't carry it again, as it was a limited edition release. All's not lost, though -- T-Mobile still sells the white Nexus 4, but you'll pay a slight premium for it.when.eng("eng.perm.init")
Saturday, November 23, 2013
We've seen a few attempts at shared audio streaming, but many of these depend on specialized apps or hardware. Microsoft and Nokia could clear that hurdle with their newly launched Nokia Music Mix Party, which leans on what many of us have at home. Xbox 360 owners with an Xbox Live Gold subscription just have to visit a website that starts an artist-based streaming playlist with a custom QR code; after that, anyone in the room with a mobile device can scan the code and vote on which songs should play next. The service is free to use during July, although we don't yet know if and how pricing will change afterward. Is Mix Party simple? You bet -- but it could keep guests happy at future shindigs, even if they don't care for our tastes in music.when.eng("eng.perm.init")
You may have already read our Sony Xperia Z Ultra hands-on last week, but since then we've also been able to spend a tiny bit more time with a pre-production unit (with firmware build 14.1.B.1.277). Instead of going over again how hilariously large this 6.4-inch, pen-friendly phone is, this time we'll focus on some early benchmark results, camera performance and Sony's very own UX features.
As you'll see after the break, many of the benchmark scores aren't too far off from what we saw on the MDP phone with the same Snapdragon 800 SoC, and the final units should be optimized with higher numbers. While we didn't manage to get CF-Bench and Quadrant running on the phone, the higher-than-before 3DMark score did cheer us up, meaning either Sony or Qualcomm's managed to fine tune the latter's new Adreno 330 GPU. Sony Xperia Z Ultra hands-on redux: benchmark and camera preview See all photos 22 Photoswhen.eng("eng.galleries.init") Sony Xperia Z UltraS800 MDP phone (MSM8974)S4 Pro MDP tablet (APQ8064)Samsung Galaxy S 4 (Exynos 5 Octa)Quadrant 2.0N/A22,0227,69813,326Vellamo 2.02,7842,9142,5381,977AnTuTu 3.x33,39933,82813,82628,167SunSpider 1.0 (ms)835.4674N/AN/AGLBenchmark Egypt 2.5 Offscreen (fps)5968N/A41CF-BenchN/A33,87618,21920,8003DMark (Ice Storm)17,08414,371N/A10,179SunSpider: lower scores are better
Sadly, it appears that there's much work to be done on the camera side. As our very own Mat Smith pointed out in his earlier hands-on, photos taken in darker environments are surprisingly noisy; and the lack of LED flash here only rubs salt into the wound. The exposure and white balance are not ideal, either; but again, we expect these to be fixed by the time this waterproof phone reaches the stores. Remember: this is still work-in-development, after all.Sony Xperia Z Ultra pre-production sample photos See all photos 21 Photoswhen.eng("eng.galleries.init")
On the bright side, we're pleased to see the plethora of handy software features included on this slate. The camera app, for instance, comes with many scenes, filters and modes that are already seen on the smaller Xperia Z; though we're not sure if the app's UI will be updated to the recently leaked Honami version. Then there's also the set of Sony's handy UX tweaks, including the usual app tray sorting modes, power saving modes, sound effects and PlayStation DualShock 3 controller connectivity.
One of Sony's most underrated weapons is its signature Smart Connect app, which comes preinstalled on the Xperia Z Ultra. This lets the user set automatic actions at a specified time and device-aware event (via headphone jack, NFC, USB or MHL). For example, you can set the phone so that when it's plugged into the charger from 10pm to 7am, it loads up the clock app and switches to silent mode. Or it can be as simple as setting the phone to run a specified music app when your headphones are plugged in.
Sony Xperia Z Ultra screenshots See all photos 25 Photoswhen.eng("eng.galleries.init")
We could go on and on, but for now, we'll wrap up with one new feature tailored to single-hand usage on the 6.4-inch screen: the one-handed keyboard. Like on the Huawei Ascend Mate, you can toggle a narrower keyboard that can stick to either the left or right side, depending on which hand you prefer using; or you can switch back to the full-size keyboard as well. As a bonus, you can also change the keyboard skin, but we'd rather Sony focus on delivering more single-hand features -- like the Vivo Xplay's "Free Touch" mini window.
Alas, we didn't have enough time with the phone to properly benchmark its battery life. But hey, that's what reviews are for, right? So stay tuned on Engadget for more.when.eng("eng.perm.init")
The Glastonbury Festival is best known as the place where Kate Moss and other posh British celebrities slosh around in the mud and reacquaint themselves with their grunge roots. But this year's festival had an extra-exciting guest: Prince Harry "slipped in unnoticed," according to the Daily Mail, whose very reliable source (77-year-old festival organizer Michael Eavis, who resembles a friendly garden gnome) invited the young royal to the festival's "wild hardcore dance club," an establishment (i.e. dirty tent) called the Rabbit Hole.
Harry, whose previous nightclub antics include a swimming race against Ryan Lochte in a Vegas pool (ew) and a not-so-private game of strip billiards (amazing), stayed out until 4 a.m. but managed not to do anything unseemly, at least not that anyone noticed. Part of this may have had to do with the presence of his purported girlfriend, Cressida Bonas, who was seen wearing baggy overalls to procure fried food earlier that day.
A "witness" told British tabloid the Sun that Harry "was dancing in a grey trilby and a white T-shirt, with two security guards close by. They just let him get on with it." Also nearby: Kate Moss, who was in a separate area of the VIP "teepee." Meanwhile, Kate Middleton was sleeping peacefully at her parents' house, dreaming of herringbone brown cribs.
The most striking detail of Giorgio Armani's couture collection, which walked in Paris this afternoon, was the feathered neckpiece nestled beneath almost every model's chin. On some girls, it covered their entire necks; on others, it was just a tuft under their right earlobes. It was an elegant touch on what was otherwise a pretty restrained collection, although it did remind us of that Alvin Schwartz story about the girl who has to wear a ribbon around her neck to keep her head from rolling away ("and then Jenny's head fell off"). Alternatively, as our beauty editor pointed out, the neckpieces could be useful for covering up chin acne.
Other highlights: abundant crystal embroidery, tissue-thin lace tiers, and gauzy skirts trimmed with delicate black pom-poms. Yes, the casting could've used more diversity (of the 53 looks, only four were modeled by Asians, and all the other girls were white), but the clothes were fairy-like and beautiful. See for yourself in our runway slideshow.
Now that a leaked build of Android 4.3 is in the wild, curious users have been poring over the code to see exactly what's new. Kevin from TeslaCoil Software may have found one of the first real gems: there's now a notification listening service under the hood. The feature would let third-party apps read notifications and perform common notification-level tasks. While we don't have new software to show exactly how the service will work, it's possible that future apps will have limited control over each other without relying on the hacks that we see today. We'll know the full story when Google makes Android 4.3 official -- whenever that is.when.eng("eng.perm.init")