14 features the Xbox One needs to be a kick-ass console
Come on, Microsoft!
The Xbox One has radically changed since its launch in November last year. Microsoft has, to its credit, listened to fan feedback and rolled out a wealth of system updates almost every single month - refining certain features, adding completely new ones, and even ditching the bundled Kinect, something the company once claimed it would never do. But though the Xbox One is undoubtedly improved from its initial incarnation, there are still a few improvements to be made here and there before we consider Microsoft's work well and truly done. Here are fourteen changes we want to see in future updates.
Everything you know about 4K is wrong...
...thanks to HDCP 2.2
The reality is that Ultra HD, at least in the UK and Europe, will initially remain the preserve of Pay TV operators like Sky, who'll be looking to unlock new revenue streams to justify any investment in channel infrastructure and set top box hardware costs. What should be of more immediate concern to Ultra HD watchers is the altogether thornier issue of HDCP 2.2 copy protection which is a complete mess.
LG G2 Mini
The LG G2's little sibling
The LG G2 Mini is a fine example of a mid or low-end smartphone and shows just how far we have come in the last year. All manufacturers have benefited from having much better components available to them this year but LG has done a fine job packaging them up into the G2 Mini. The size and shape of the phone, along with LG's generally helpful software enhancements make the G2 Mini a genuinely pleasant phone to use. Only the lack of auto brightness really detracts from the experience. Superb battery life and a usable camera are welcome additions as is the excellent build quality, but the price you pay for these is a relatively higher purchase cost than some competitors. LG G2 Mini review
Beyond Oculus: The future of Virtual Reality gaming
VR is the most exciting and innovative arena in gaming
There are few tech sectors prompting as much excitement and intense chatter as the dawn of virtual reality gaming. The Kickstarter-funded Oculus Rift headset gets most of the credit for the groundswell of interest, but the company Facebook recently purchased for over $2 billion, has become the poster child for a much larger movement. A movement that promises to inflict the single most important shift in the way we experience videogames, since they moved from the arcade to the home. Read all about it
LG G Watch
A cool gadget that fails to really impress
The jury is still out on whether the world needs, wants and is desperate for a slew of smartwatches, but manufacturers appeared convinced they are required so here we are. Android Wear brings some significant advancements over previous smartwatch offerings such as the Sony SmartWatch 2, Pebble and Samsung Gear 2, so the LG G Watch is already in a good position - the thing is the smartwatch still hasn't been perfected. LG G Watch review
The house that Google built
What the Nest API means for you
We've been promised smart automated homes for decades, but at long last it seems that they're finally on the horizon thanks to Apple and Google. The former's HomeKit was announced at last month's WWDC, and Google has just released its own API (Application Programming Interface) for its Nest devices. Of the two, Google's offering is currently the most interesting. An API for a thermostat hardly sets the pulse racing, but the Nest is no ordinary thermostat: it knows when you're home and when you're out, and that opens up some interesting possibilities. It isn't the only Nest product, either: there's the smart smoke alarm, and now that Google's acquired security camera firm Dropcam, Nest cameras can't be far off. Continue reading...
Social network's emotional lab rats turn against their keepers
The week in flame
Last week people across the world were outraged by Facebook's latest timeline test, an experiment that saw it populating people's feeds with overly negative or positive responses and seeing how this affected an individual's mood. Rather unsurprisingly, it turned out that having an algorithm throw endless status updates about bereavement, sick children and car insurance meltdowns into our faces made us sadder. Meanwhile populating our timelines with only Good News and pretty sunset photos made us more likely post cheery messages ourselves. This sort of experimenting with our minds without explicit consent was instantly declared disgraceful by observers. Facebook's chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg explained the company's actions and intentions in a pretty terrible and vague half-apology, saying the tests were "poorly communicated". That was one of the mildest ways it was put.
Netflix wants to pay you to watch shows
Someone somewhere in the world right now is currently getting paid by Netflix to watch TV and movies. Yes, you read that right. Netflix has created one of the best jobs in the world and it is all to do with making its recommendation algorithm the best it can be. Netflix currently has around 40 taggers but this number is about to rise, with news that the company is recruiting 'taggers' for the first time in the UK and Ireland.
iOS 9: what we want to see
Our wish list for Apple's next OS
Apple has only just taken the wrapper off iOS 8, it's so new in fact that you can't even get it yet, but with the revelations of what will and more importantly what won't be included, we can't help but dream of iOS 9. Nothing's yet known about it at all, but we're sure Apple is already beavering away on the next iteration and we've got a wish list of our own. iOS 9: what we want to see
Intel Broadwell vs Haswell
What's new in Intel CPUs?
Broadwell is the next generation of Intel Core CPUs. It will power most of the laptops and desktops we'll see over the next 18 months, among other kinds of gadget. It's not here yet, but many, many people are eager for its arrival. Including us. Broadwell is Intel's fifth generation of Core-series processor, and will define the sort of power we'll be able to get from our computers of the future. It's pretty important, but what's new? We're going to have a peek into Broadwell to see whether it's worth holding off for, as the first Broadwell computers will start flying of shelves towards the end of the year. Intel Broadwell vs Haswell
13 web villains and how they tried to go legit
The world of tech can be a strange place. It's a place where zeroes become heroes, where public enemies become pillars of society and where tabloid villains turn out to be perfectly legitimate after all. Come with us as we discover the sites, services and (ahem) personalities who became notorious on the net and then tried to come back. From villainy to virtue
From programmes to programming
Why are tech firms making TV shows?
TV used to be simple. Broadcasters would make programmes, and if those programmes didn't deliver stellar ratings they would be canned. If they survived they'd be sold on every conceivable format from DVD box set to printed tea towels, and after every other avenue had been exhausted the shows might be sold to one or more streaming services. That wasn't ideal for fans of show streaming. Some good shows took so long to appear that by the time they were available for streaming, half the internet had already torrented them - and some of the programmes canned for poor ratings really deserved to be given a second chance. For the streaming services, the answer was simple: pay the programme makers to work for them, not for the networks. So they did.
The Moto 360 isn't the smartwatch you've been waiting for
It's pretty, yes, but it's still just a faster horse
It's 2005. Apple is working on what will turn out to be the iPhone, but Motorola has beaten Apple to the punch with the ROKR iTunes Phone, a phone so unpleasant that when Steve Jobs demos it on stage, he can barely conceal his contempt. It's 2014. Apple is working on what will turn out to be the iWatch, but Motorola has beaten Apple to the punch with the Moto 360 smartwatch. You can see where I'm going here. This is not the prophesied smart watch you're waiting for.