16 ways to play: SmartGlass support for Xbox One doubles the controller cap

With the new Xbox this November, Microsoft's bringing a new iteration of SmartGlass to iOS, Android, and Windows Phone devices. And with said new iteration comes promised SmartGlass ubiquity. Microsoft GM and SmartGlass team lead Ron Pessner told Engadget as much in an interview this week on all things SmartGlass for Xbox One. You'll need to download a new (still free) SmartGlass app to your Smart device of choice come launch day (the new app won't function with Xbox 360, just the One).

Up to 15 of your best friends can bring their Smart devices over and...well, nothing just yet, but the Xbox One will support 16 Smart devices connected at one time (double the connected controller cap). Just imagine the possibilities for virtual canasta! Okay, not so thrilling, but the potential for games like Monopoly or Dungeons & Dragons is evident. Or maybe something more like Spaceteam?

Pessner also promised that the connectivity between Smart device and console is "three-and-a-half times faster" on Xbox One than with 360 (depending on your home wireless setup), and the first time "only takes about four seconds." And while on the go, the SmartGlass app can be used for mobile shopping, allowing a game or other piece of content to be purchased and made available when you get home. Pessner wouldn't go into specifics, but he told us, "We definitely want to make sure it's a seamless process for customers and they're able to find a piece of content regardless of where they are -- the web or the SmartGlass app -- and being able to have that content ready for them to play when they return to their Xbox One." The remotely queued content will show up as pinned to your Dashboard when you get back to the console, available to play immediately.

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Battlefield 4’s Battlescreen map exclusive to next-gen and PC, Battlelog now fully web-based

Battlefield 4's Battlescreen map exclusive to nextgen and PC, Battlelog now fully webbased

In holiday 2011, while fans of both the Call of Duty and Battlefield series were gearing up for virtual war, the publishers behind each megafranchise were gearing up for a different type of virtual war. With the launch of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Activision's in-game social network -- dubbed "Call of Duty Elite" -- went live. Just prior, alongside the launch of competing title Battlefield 3, EA introduced its "Battlelog" system. And thus began a parallel virtual war for fans' loyalty, battled via user numbers and engagement metrics. It's a pretty boring war, but its armaments are the games many of us know and love.

The first-person-shooter social network war continues to this day (in silence, of course), with EA recently stepping up its rhetoric surrounding this October's entry, Battlefield 4. Since E3, where some new Battlelog features were shown for the first time during EA's presser, the company's released its first big Battlelog marketing video (seen below). But we wanted more details about what the first next-gen version of Battlelog will look like, and what EA's DICE studio has been able to accomplish with new hardware.

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NVIDIA Shield teardown dives deep inside the massive handheld

NVIDIA Shield teardown dives deep inside the massive handheld

The folks at iFixit are braver souls than us, taking on NVIDIA's tank-like new gaming handheld, the Shield, in a teardown. Shield's cavernous shell houses a mess of multicolored parts, and hilariously reveals its Batman mask-esque properties when freed of said parts. Though it certainly doesn't look like an easy process, the repair site offers a six out of 10 rating; it specifically cites the battery and screen as being tricky to replace.

NVIDIA's Shield was a big surprise at this year's Consumer Electronics Show -- CEO Jen-Hsun Huang showed up with the device on-stage during his company's press briefing, where he used it to demonstrate the just unveiled Tegra 4 processor. We finally got our hands on the final retail version earlier this month and you can find the full review right here. Consumers can also finally purchase the $300 handheld as of yesterday.

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Source: iFixit

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NVIDIA Shield review

DNP NVIDIA Shield review it's almost like NVIDIA thinks it's Razer or something TKTK

NVIDIA Shield is a truly strange device. It combines an eight-button console-size gamepad with dual analog sticks, and a 5-inch "multi-touch, retinal" screen. It runs stock Android 4.2.1. It touts wireless PC game streaming as its main selling point. It plays Android games, it plays PC games, it does the Twitter and the Gmail, et cetera. With Shield, NVIDIA is aiming to be the Swiss Army Knife of handheld game consoles. It slices! It dices! ShamWOW!

It also costs $300, weighs nearly 1.5 pounds and takes up quite a bit of bag space. Its main selling point -- PC game streaming -- is dependent on the user already owning a PC with a relatively fancy ($140) NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 GPU or better. Let's be honest, though: you already know this stuff, right? If you're reading this review, you either already own all the necessary gear and wanna know if this is a worthwhile peripheral for your PC, or you're morbidly curious about NVIDIA's (admittedly bizarre) console experiment. Let's all head below and try to find satisfaction.

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Nintendo brings not-so-stealthy black 3DS XL to North America on August 11th

Nintendo brings notsostealthy black 3DS XL to the US on August 11th

Looking for a (slightly) less conspicuous take on the 3DS XL? If you live in the US or Canada, you'll get it when the all-black version of Nintendo's giant handheld reaches those countries on August 11th. Don't expect any bonuses with the subtler color, though. The darker-hued 3DS XL costs the same $200 as before, and it's virtually identical to the Japanese version that launched last fall. It's shipping at the same time as Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, however, which makes it a decent consolation prize for gamers who can't get a Luigi edition 3DS LL to call their own.

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Via: Joystiq

Source: Nintendo

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Head down to Birmingham and soak up free Virgin Media WiFi this September

Head down to Birmingham and soak up free Virgin Media WiFi this September

Should you live in the UK's second most populous metropolitan area, Birmingham, it's nearly time to congregate en masse in the city's center for an impromptu test of a brand new free WiFi network supported by Virgin Media. In exchange for access to various public fixtures, Virgin Media's outfitting Birmingham with free WiFi access; the benefit is two-fold, though, as Birmingham residents will ultimately enjoy better mobile infrastructure. The network's set to go live "by September," so set your clocks for just a month or so from now for that congregation.

[Image credit: 'brianac37']

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Source: Birmingham City Council

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Canadian telecom Telus first to offer shortened two-year wireless contracts

Canadians can finally say goodbye to the dreaded three-year cell contracts they've been strapped with for too long: Telus is now offering a two-year contract per Canada's new wireless code. The company announced as much today in a statement which said the new plans kick off on July 30th, with both unlimited talk and text included (not to mention shareable data on a single account). It's the latest addition to the company's long-standing "Clear and Simple" plan. The plans are available for individuals, families, and small business as well -- with up to 15 devices connected under a single plan with the latter option.

Most importantly, of course, Canadians can now enjoy the same two-year cycle of buyer's remorse that us Americans have been dealing with for years now. Just 23 months and 30 days until you can get that new phone!

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Angry Birds Star Wars 2 launching September 19th with Skylanders-esque toy tie-in

Star Wars Angry Birds 2 launching September 19th with Skylandersesque toy tiein

In a wholly unsurprising move, Finnish game dev studio Rovio Entertainment is creating yet another entry in its prolific Angry Birds series -- Angry Birds Star Wars 2. As its name implies, ABSW2 is the sequel to the first Star Wars-themed Angry Birds entry, which launched on various mobile devices last November. Its sequel will arrive on September 19th, and apparently features "over 30 playable characters." There aren't set launch platforms just yet, but we're guessing "iOS and Android devices" is a pretty safe bet; Windows Phone 8 as well, perhaps.

What is surprising is that the newest Angry Birds entry has a physical twist that we've yet to see from the brand: something called "telepods." The Hasbro-created toy is a physical representation of an in-game character, and Rovio Entertainment's VP of marketing Philip Hickey tells us it works by using a mobile phone or tablet's built-in camera to read the toy and implement it in-game -- an interesting choice in a world where Activision's NFC-based Skylanders rules the toy-based game landscape. As such, the toys likely won't function on game consoles, making it likely that any non-mobile version of the game will require some custom work to adapt. Hickey also tells Engadget that the toys will be available at retail alongside the game's September 19th launch, and that Rovio's exploring the possibility of making them function with previous series entries.

Interested parties can get a first taste at San Diego Comic Con this week, and we've dropped the debut trailer just below for your viewing pleasure.

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Source: Twitter (1), Twitter (2)

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Check if your Android phone is patched against the ‘Master Key’ exploit with this app

Check if your Android phone is patched against the 'Master Key' exploit with this app

After discovering a longstanding exploit in Android firmware dating back to version 1.6 that allowed malicious developers to circumvent software security measures, Bluebox Security released an Android app this week for users to check whether their phone is still vulnerable to the exploit. Since Bluebox's report last week, Google acknowledged the issue and released a patch that it says is in the hands of OEMs and already being pushed out by certain manufacturers (Samsung, for one). The app is thankfully free, and should provide some much-needed reassurance to most Android users. Head to the source link below to snag it for yourself.

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Via: Phone Arena

Source: Google Play

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