There's nothing more frustrating than watching a product or service get announced, then having to wait an age to try it out. Nintendo hears that, and has announced via Nintendo Direct, that during E3 week, Best Buy will have playable demos of as-yet released Wii U games in 100 stores across the US and Canada. Given that no one was likely expecting any new hardware from the firm, it's clear the gaming stalwart is looking for other ways to stir-up some interest. There's no mention of titles, so we're left to assume they'd be the games announced at the show. Either way, scratch out that week in June to make sure you find out first hand. Scrub right to the end of the video past the break to see the announcement for yourself.
Virtual football enthusiasts excited for Madden 25 (it's technically Madden 2014 marking 25 years of the franchise) may want to head over to Amazon if they're serious about watching actual NFL games. The online retailer has an exclusive Anniversary Edition of the game up for pre-order, which comes bundled with a 17-week pass for both Madden Ultimate Team cards and computer and mobile access to NFL Sunday Ticket. On top of getting all the 2013 regular season's out-of-market matches, DirecTV subscribers can also snag a $10-a-month discount on the TV version (normally $225) for one year with a pro bono MAX upgrade. Joystiq notes that only 100,000 copies are up for grabs, split evenly between the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions. All it takes to get in on the action starting August 27th is $100 -- $40 more than the standard edition, which can net you up to $400 in total savings on the services. Hit up the source link if you're ready to secure your copy.
A good acronym also hints at what it does, and Visteon's new intelligent in-car concept, HABIT, is a good example of that. The Human Bayesian Intelligence Technology system -- to give it its full name -- learns the behaviour of drivers so it can automatically change the temperature, heat the seats and drop that Biohazard album just when you need it most. Factors such as weather, time of day and real-time road conditions all play a part, plus, of course a log of all your typical in-car interactions. It promises to go above just warming your behind on a cold morning though, offering intelligence that would be able to divine local radio stations that play your kind of jam when you're out of town. It could also seamlessly mix these with your local / tablet / smartphone library and internet sources. Sound a little too creepy? Wait until you see the computer-generated demo video presenter past the break.
We know you've got questions, and if you're brave enough to ask the world for answers, then here's the outlet to do so. This week's Ask Engadget inquiry is from Xan, who wants Cintiq functionality without paying Cintiq prices. If you're looking to ask one of your own, drop us a line at ask [at] engadget [dawt] com.
"I'm a student and I'm considering staying on to do graphic design, and I really like the look of Wacom's Cintiq devices. Unfortunately I couldn't afford one even if I sold a kidney, so I was wondering if I could turn an Android tablet into a cheaper version? I figure a device like the Galaxy Note 10.1 with its Wacom digitizer would be a good fit, so is there a way to do it? Thanks!"
We're sucking in air through our teeth, as we're sorry to say, we can't think of a way this could be done successfully. There's a few problems like no software, a lack of bandwidth and doubts over the accuracy of a tablet to replicate such a sophisticated piece of hardware. That said, perhaps the forthcoming Surface Pro software update might solve this problem altogether, but an Android tablet? We're not so sure. But if there's anyone out there who has made it happen and wants to share their revelation, why not leave a note below?
Filed under: Peripherals
If you didn't get enough mobile news during the week, not to worry, because we've opened the firehose for the truly hardcore. This week brought a new handset from Sony to the US and UK, updates to Nokia Creative Suite and three new (and very inexpensive) smartphones from Blu Products. These stories and more await after the break. So buy the ticket and take the ride as we explore all that's happening in the mobile world for this week of May 13th, 2013.
The quantified self movement's gaining steam, with companies creating all sorts of gadgets to track our activity levels, sleeping habits and even what's going on inside our heads. Melon's an EEG headband that taps into your brain's inner workings to show you how well you maintain mental focus. We actually saw Melon's prototype predecessor last year when it was called Axio, and while this new band packs largely the same components, the design's been refined to a much thinner profile. As before, its got a trio of electrodes for sensing brainwaves, a NeuroSky chip for filtering out extraneous electrical noise and Bluetooth 4.0 for offloading data wirelessly. It sends data to iPhones (Android's in development) running the Melon app, which translates that info into a focus graph -- generally speaking, the higher the neural activity in your pre-frontal cortex, the higher your level of focus. Users then input contextual data tags like time of day, type of activity and the surrounding environmental conditions to allow them to track variables that may affect their focus.
Filed under: Wearables
When Valve's first hardware hire, Jeri Ellsworth, tweeted back in February that she was fired from the company, we were disappointed but also intrigued by what she meant by "time for new exciting projects." Well we finally saw what she's been up to here at at Maker Faire 2013. It's called Cast AR, and it's a pair of 3D augmented-reality glasses that she and former Valve programmer Rick Johnson were working on at Valve before they left.
The model we saw is still in the early prototype stages, but the concepts are already in place. Perched atop a pair of active shutter glasses are a couple of miniature LCD projectors, which bounce images from a connected computer onto a special reflective surface at a 120Hz refresh rate. A camera module sits on the eyewear's bridge and monitors an array of infrared LEDs embedded in the reflective surface. This allows for quick and accurate head tracking. Join us after the break for our impressions and our video interview with Jeri Ellsworth.
Gallery: Cast AR hands-on at Maker Faire 2013
Alt-week takes a look at the best science and alternative tech stories from the last seven days.
If we're to find a common thread in this week's collection of stories, it'd be nature's guiding hand. How it inspires science, how we seek to imitate it, and how unnatural the future of policing could be. This is alt-week,
We know that "wherefore art thou?" was about Romeo, but if your question was for (Dell's) Ophelia, then it's likely more "when art thou." The answer? July. The Android pendrive / USB computer we saw back at CES may be one of many, but distinctive thanks to its mainstream PC-maker origins. We're still lacking a lot of the specifics, other than that there's WiFi, Bluetooth, Wyse PocketCloud integration, plus, of course, HDMI and Android 4.something. There will likely be a few enterprise-friendly features too (administration tools, remote wiping) reports PC World. As usual, developers will get their hands on them first, with -- interestingly -- some cable and telecoms companies potentially stocking it too -- though no specifics at this time. So, the $100 Dell might not be the portable you'd love for this price, but maybe the USB PC finally crossing over?
Source: PC World
Sprint was clearly hungry for capacity when it bought spectrum from US Cellular last fall, and it's at last getting its fill -- some of it, at least -- by closing the deal today. The carrier has officially taken possession of 20MHz in airwaves across Midwestern cities like Champaign, Chicago and South Bend, as well as 10MHz in St. Louis. The customer handover isn't quite as grandiose as was mentioned in November, however: Sprint is ultimately adopting 420,000 US Cellular customers, rather than the originally claimed 585,000. It should be a relatively bump-free transition, no matter who's included in the group. Sprint expects the switch to take several months, and it's keeping the US Cellular network active while customers go hunting for discounted phones.