nav-left cat-right

Sony Announces PS4 System Software Beta Program

ps4If there’s one thing Microsoft has over Sony is that its Xbox Preview program is a thing of beauty. It allows Xbox enthusiasts to check out features just before they’re ready for prime time, such as backward compatibility, and lets Microsoft tweak them as per user feedback.

It seems that Sony’s been paying attention. Through a post on the PlayStation blog, the company has requested fans to apply for its beta software program that starts in early September.

“Calling all PS4 fans! Before we launch our next major system software update, we’re running a beta program to test its functionality. If you’d like to get a sneak peek at the features of the new system software, and help us with feedback on ways to improve it, sign up today,” said John Koller, VP of Platforms Marketing, Sony Computer Entertainment America in a blog post.

You can sign up to be a beta tester for Sony’s latest firmware on the registration page. In order to be a part of it, you’ll need a PlayStation 4 and an Internet connection of course. You will also have to use a master account as well. In addition to this, testers can roll back to the previous system software update (v2.57) at any time.

With increasing complexity of hardware, it’s interesting to see that companies like Sony and Microsoft have taken to outsourcing part of the testing process to legions of fans. Could we see something similar from the likes of Nintendo in the future? Only time will tell.

HP Revenue Falls on Weak PC Sales, Lower Demand for Services...

hpHewlett-Packard Co reported a drop in revenue for the fourth straight quarter, hurt by weak PC sales and lower demand from corporates for its services.

Shares of the world’s No. 2 PC maker, which also forecast full-year adjusted profit largely below estimates, fell as much as 4 percent in extended trading on Thursday.

Chief Executive Meg Whitman said the factors pressuring the PC market were expected to continue through the fourth quarter and well into the next fiscal year.

The 76-year-old company, which has struggled to adapt to mobiles and online computing, is splitting into two listed companies later this year, separating its computer and printer businesses from its faster-growing corporate hardware and services operations.

HP is nearing the end of a multi-year restructuring under Whitman, who has been cutting costs and focusing on higher-margin sales. The plan includes the elimination of about 55,000 jobs.

Chief Financial Officer Cathie Lesjak said the company expects the number of job cuts to increase by up to 5 percent by the end of October.

A relentless decline in PC sales has hurt the company hard – HP has reported a drop in quarterly sales in 15 of the last 16 quarters.

The decline in global PC sales was exacerbated in the second quarter of 2015 as customers awaited the release of Windows 10 in July.

As a result, revenue at HP’s personal computer and printer businesses, its largest, fell 11.5 percent in the third quarter ended July 31.

Enterprise services division sales dropped 11 percent, while revenue at the enterprise group rose 2 percent.

For the full-year ending October, the company said it expected adjusted profit of $3.59-$3.65 per share, largely below the average analyst estimate of $3.64 per share.

Total revenue fell 8.1 percent to $25.35 billion (roughly Rs. 1,66,651 crores) in the third quarter, also hurt by a strong dollar.

The dollar had risen about 19.5 percent in the 12 months to the end of July against a basket of major currencies. HP gets nearly two-thirds of its revenue from outside the United States.

Excluding items, the company earned 88 cents per share.

Analysts on average had expected a profit of 85 cents per share and revenue of $25.44 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Up to Thursday’s close, the stock had dropped nearly 32 percent this year, compared with a 1.1 percent fall in the S&P 500 index.

How to re-watch the OnePlus 2 launch: With cardboard or without cardboard VR...

As you probably know the OnePlus 2 is set to launch next week and the firm is touting it as the world’s first product launch in VR. We’ve got all the details including the launch date, time, OnePlus 2 Launch app so here’s how to watch the OnePlus 2 launch with or without cardboard. Updated on 28/7/15. See also: OnePlus 2 UK release date, price, specification confirmed.

Update 28 July: The OnePlus 2 is now official but if you didn’t fancy staying up late to watch the launch, you can watch the whole thing anytime you like by downloading the OnePlus 2 Launch app. See details and link below and you don’t need a cardboard device for it to work. See also: OnePlus 2 hands-on review
OnePlus 2 launch date and time

The first thing you need to know is that the OnePlus 2 will launch on 27 July at 7pm PT.

It’s a global event so the bad news is that for us, and those of you in the UK, the OnePlus 2 launch will begin at 3am on 28 July. That’s a pretty unsociable hour so if you really want to be able to watch the event live, make sure you’ve got some caffeine to hand.

Read: How to get a OnePlus 2 invite.
How to watch the OnePlus 2 launch: With cardboard or without cardboard

If you missed it, OnePlus has made its own cardboard VR viewer (above) especially for the OnePlus 2 event. The firm made 30,000 units and gave them away for free. If you didn’t manage to bag one, they are unfortunately sold out but it’s not the end of the world.

There’s still time to buy an alternative such as Google Cardboard (get an Amazon Prime trial if you need quick delivery) or here’s how to get one for £3. Also see: Best Google Cardboard apps

However you get your cardboard, make sure your current phone fits and you’ll be all set for the OnePlus 2 launch. “We highly recommend using Cardboard, as it will add to the experience in significant ways,” Says OnePlus.

Watching it will be easy with the ‘OnePlus Viewing App’ which is now available to download via the Google Play store under the name ‘OnePlus 2 Launch’.

When you do have the app, you simply need to make sure you’re online at the right time to enjoy the OnePlus 2 launch in 360 VR. The firm warns that you won’t see much until the event launches.

OnePlus said: “A VR launch lets you stand right next to our team and our fans as we unveil our new flagship. You’ll be able to look around as you check out the phone in a new way and maybe even find a few hidden Easter eggs. It’s a new way of thinking about a product launch. We aren’t talking at you; we are talking with you.”

But I don’t have a cardboard VR

If you don’t have a VR device to watch the OnePlus 2 launch on, don’t panic. Although the launch will be more immersive viewed this way, you don’t have to watch it like this. The launch app will also support a cardboard-free experience.

“We’ve also built a Cardboard-free 360 experience, right into our launch app. It won’t be as immersive, but it will still be interactive and amazing,” said the firm.

Android Wear 1.3 Update Brings Interactive Watch Faces and More...

googleGoogle has finally started rolling out an Android Wear 1.3 update, bringing a much-anticipated feature – interactive watch faces. It will arrive for users over-the-air (OTA) in the coming weeks, with the Android Wear LCA43 build.

Interactive watch faces mean that Android Wear users will be able to access widgets within individual watch faces that would give access to various functions or information of one or more app without opening it.

Google has introduced a new section called ‘Interactive Watch Faces’ in Google Play, which for now has over 20 watch faces, both paid and free.

To give an idea of what interactive watch faced can do, Google describes a few new watch faces in its blog post. The Bits watch face lets users see weather, unread mail, and upcoming meetings. The Together watch face on the other hand lets Android Wear users communicate with each other by “turning the entire watch face into a space for sharing” emoji, images when using the same watch face. Android Police earlier this month performed an apk tear down of the feature and revealed some more details, which Google for now has not yet revealed officially.

Google separately also announced that the same Android Wear version 1.3 would be reaching users in the coming weeks, and would additionally bring Google Translate to Android Wear. The feature would let users have bilingual conversations using their smartwatches. Initially, the Android Wear update would come with support for 44 languages.

All users would have to do is to flip their wrists to show the translation to the other user, and when they respond, flip the wrist back and see the translated version.

The search giant has also provided the Interactive Watch Face API for developers. However it says developers would need to upgrade their build.gradle to version 1.3.0 before they can build interactive watch faces. The details steps have also been mentioned on the Google’s Android Developers blog post. “Now, with just a tap, your watch face can change its design, reveal more information, or even launch a specific app,” adds the blog.

The new Interactive Watch Face API would let developers recognise whenever a user taps on the watch face of the device and views information without opening the actual app. This feature could be used for changing background colour, sending a message, starting a workout, or launching tools like Tasker.

Along with an update for developers, Google also revealed that it has finally brought Wi-Fi support to the LG G Watch R. This would let the G Watch R users receive notifications and stay connected to the Internet without the support of the connected smartphone.