If it looks like a games console, feels like a games console and plays like a games console, what is it? The new W3D phone from Snail, apparently.
Revealed at CES 2015, this is a mobile phone that is very much for the serious gamer. The left-hand side has a joystick and direction pad while the left-hand side has a second joystick and the usual diamond of buttons, mimicking the style of the Sony PSP.
Inside the phone is a 2.0GHz, A7+A17 eight-core processor, which, Snail claims, has an 87 per cent improved CPU and an 88 per cent improved GPU over, we assume, earlier models. The 4,000MAh battery is reported to provide six hours of continuous gameplay.
It features 3D tracking, much like the Nintendo 3DS, so you can game without 3D glasses, which is amazing fun. It also houses a 13-megapixel camera and has a dual stereo output on the pack so you can fully immerse yourself in your game. From an actual mobile phone point of view, the system runs Android KitKat 4.4
Android 5.0 is running on fewer smartphones and tablets than five-year-old Froyo – but KitKat is closing on Jellybean
The Lollipop OS was launched over six weeks ago but has been taken up by under 0.1 per cent of the Android community, according to the latest statistics, but KitKat is rapidly closing in on Jelly Bean.
Android 5.0 has been beset by bugs since it was first made available and this has hampered manufacturers’ ability to roll it out to their users. Many users are eligible for the upgrade to Lollipop but have not yet been offered it, which is a big reason for the damaging stat.
What makes this news even worse is that Froyo, which was the codename for Android OS 2.2 and was replaced four years ago, is still being run by 0.4 per cent of Android users, although it’s unlikely that many apps will work on phones running that OS.
Microsoft has made previews of its Office suite available for all Android tablet users for the first time.
Until now it has only been possible to get access with a sign-in and personal invite but Microsoft has now taken the long-awaited step of freely releasing the previews of Word, PowerPoint and Excel.
Android mobile users have been able to write documents and make presentations since 2013 as long as they had a subscription to Office 365 and since November have been making the most of Word, PowerPoint and Excel apps. However, the tablet market has been crying out for the expansion of the software and Microsoft has obliged.
The three apps are available to download now from Google Play for free, although anything beyond the basics will require an Office 365 subscription.
Virtual reality headset offers immersive, open source gaming
Gaming company Razer has unveiled their OSVR hacker development kit at CES 2015, aimed at rivalling the likes of Samsung Gear VR and Oculus Rift.
The headset, compatible with Linux and Android, is designed to be completely open source, allowing users to hack the system and create their own virtual reality world, both in terms of hardware and software development.
Razer has set the US price point at $200, which would be £135, and hopes to kickstart the virtual reality market with its innovative strategy of creating a headset that its owners can mould and play with.
Android-powered UHD smart TVs will be out this Spring
One of the early highlights of CES 2015 is Sony unveiling its plans to run Android TV on its range of Bravia televisions. This is a major boost to the fledgling technology and will hopefully kickstart others into following suit.
Owners of this year’s Sony smart TVs will be able to view the Google Play store on them, allowing you to play all your favourite games on the big screen.
Google Cast will also be a key feature, turning your Android phone into a remote control. This will hopefully put an end to searching all over the room for the remote, although phones are nearly as easily lost! For the really lazy among you, Voice Search will allow you to find the show or app you want without you even having to lift a finger.
Create a kernel specifically for your Android device in just 10 steps
One of the reasons Android has been able to do so well in the mobile markets is thanks to the open source, Linux base for the system. Because it has this open system, it means that the development and licensing is a lot cheaper for phone and tablet manufacturers and Google still gets to make its money via advertising revenue and the Google Play store.
While the business model is interesting in itself, it’s the core kernel, though, that we’re focussing on today. This is the element that bridges the gap between the software and the hardware, which also includes drivers and modules for specific chips in the device. On full-blown Linux distributions, you can get busy changing what modules are compiled along with the kernel, making it smaller and faster to create a speed boost on your system.
When it comes to an Android system, the kernels are quite well optimised for individual devices, however there’s always a little bit more you can do to optimise it for the way you use your phone. Removing the bluetooth module or various input drivers are a couple of examples, however you can also add elements to the kernel for if you think you are going to do some physical hacks to the device.