• Nintendo launches cross-platform user accounts in Japan

    Digital Trends - 27 minutes ago

    Nintendo launched a cross-platform user account system in Japan this week, giving players the ability to track their digital purchases and earn cash back from eShop activity. In addition to tracking player software libraries, the Nintendo Account service allows users to make eShop purchases online and queue up downloads for connected Wii U and 3DS consoles remotely. Related: Digital Nintendo 3DS, Wii U games now up for grabs at Amazon Nintendo Account is a platform-unifying service that aims to bridge the gap between the Wii U, 3DS, and upcoming Nintendo NX consoles. Players can link their existing Nintendo Network IDs in order to track purchases and establish a universal login for Nintendo consoles. While many details regarding the service are not yet known, Nintendo Accounts currently allow users to maintain a record of their digitally-purchased Wii U and 3DS games, similar to how the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live operate. Previously, eShop purchases were tied directly to individual consoles, giving players few options for restoring lost data. While Xbox Live and PlayStation Network users can easily download their past purchases to a new console, eShop purchases are permanently lost if an associated Nintendo console is misplaced, stolen, or reformatted. Nintendo has the ability to restore or transfer user eShop purchases upon request, but the process involves contacting Nintendo customer service directly, and often requires a repair order or proof of a defective console. It’s currently unknown whether purchases logged within a linked Nintendo Account can be restored or redownloaded on new consoles at a later date. Users who sign up for a Nintendo Account within the service’s first two months of operation are eligible to receive 100 yen in bonus eShop credit for every 1,000 yen added to a user’s eShop wallet. The cash-back offer applies for every 1,000 yen in eShop credit users purchase afterward, up to a total of 10,000 yen. Currently, Nintendo Accounts are only available for users in Japan with Japanese Nintendo Network IDs and consoles. Nintendo has not announced when Nintendo Accounts will be available in North America or Europe. Also watch: Asus ROG GX700 Hands On Please enable Javascript to watch this video More »Nintendo launches cross-platform user accounts in Japan

  • Darth Vader, your motorcycle is here (no, seriously, it comes with a lightsaber)

    Digital Trends - 30 minutes ago

    Whether he was known as Anakin Skywalker or the Dark Lord of the Sith, Darth Vader drove some cool vehicles in his day — podracers, a customized TIE fighter, and various combat spacecraft during the Clone Wars. Now, there’s a new people carrier made in his image, but this one’s a bit more grounded than the rest. Appropriately named the Dark Force, this sinister two-wheeler is made by Redmond, Washington-based Ural Motorcycles, and it features plenty of Vader-inspired flair. The body, engine, and exhaust have been completely blacked out, and it features LED lighting and a red lightsaber as standard equipment. As with all of Ural’s bikes, the Dark Force also features a sidecar, perfect for that secret apprentice you’re hiding from The Emperor. “Come to the dark side … we’ve got sidecars!” the brand says. Aside from the Sith theme and plasma energy weapon, the Dark Force boasts a large Enduro bench seat, a 2.9-cubic foot waterproof trunk, and a 749cc, air-cooled two-cylinder engine that makes 41 horsepower. It could be the perfect choice for getting from one end of the Star Destroyer to the other, or perhaps for attending a certain upcoming movie premiere in style. Just 25 examples will be made, each of which will start at $14,999. The Dark Force arrives at Ural dealerships today. Related: The top 10 best cars from science fiction are truly out of this world If you can’t get your mitts on one of these limited-edition motorcycles, not to worry, there are plenty of Vader-approved vehicles in the galaxy. At San Diego Comic Con last year, for example, Hot Wheels unveiled a life-sized version of its “Darth Vader Car” toy, which was styled after the Dark Lord’s iconic helmet. Sith lords constantly lust for power, and the car responded in kind with a 526-hp Chevy LS3 small-block V8. Read more about the vehicle here. More »Darth Vader, your motorcycle is here (no, seriously, it comes with a lightsaber)

  • Starting this week, scientists will attempt to drill down past the Earth’s crust

    Digital Trends - 34 minutes ago

    Starting this week, scientists will begin a multiyear expedition to drill below the Earth’s crust, reports Nature. The quest to reach the Earth’s mantle began more than 60 years ago when Scripps Oceanographer Walter Munk conceived of the idea while talking with his colleagues over drinks in 1957. The scientists began work on Project Mohole, which had the goal of reaching the crust-mantle transitional area known as the Mohorovičić discontinuity or the Moho Layer. First identified in 1909, the Moho is a boundary layer that separates both the oceanic crust and continental crust from the underlying mantle. The early explorers began drilling in 1960 off the coast of Mexico, but they had to stop after only 183 meters due to cost overruns that killed the project. Despite this setback, Project Mohole kicked off a series of similar ocean drilling projects that have greatly expanded our knowledge of Earth science, including important discoveries about plate tectonics and subterraneous microbial life. Now in 2015, another group is poised to pick up where others have left off. These deep rock areas are an unexplored frontier and the study of these underground treasures “is one of the great scientific endeavors of the century”, said Henry Dick, a Woods Hole geophysicist and co-leader of the 2015 expedition. Related: The best underwater hotels: Rock bottom never looked so good The researchers have selected a drilling location in the Atlantis Bank, which is situated in the southwestern Indian Ocean. Due to its unique geology, the ocean is relatively shallow in this area and the mantle rises close to the surface, making it easier to access. It also means there are less hard-to-crack crustal rocks, which have thwarted previous attempts to access this part of the Earth’s crust. Initially, the group plans to use the JOIDES Resolution drill ship to drill down 1.5 kilometers into the crust, collecting a core sample as it moves through the layers of rock. If this first mission proceeds smoothly, then the team will seek funding for additional missions to break into the mantle, first drilling down 3 kilometers in Phase 2 and then gradually more than 5 kilometers in Phase 3. Besides reaching the mantle, the team of researchers also are interested in studying the geology and biology of the area. Recent studies suggest the Atlantis Bank may be a source of serpentinite rock, which forms when seawater reacts with peridotite in the mantle rock, especially those that have been moved upwards by plate tectonics. They also hope to find microbial species that live off methane, which is produced when this serpentinite rock is formed. The first phase of this research will begin this month and will last until January 30, 2016. The second and third phase will begin at an undetermined date in the future using the Japanese drill ship Chikyu, which is capable of drilling down the 6 kilometers need to reach the Moho layer. Also watch: Raimond de Hullu's vision for Oas1s green buildings Please enable Javascript to watch this video More »Starting this week, scientists will attempt to drill down past the Earth’s crust

  • 40 of our favorite iPhone 6 cases for style and protection

    Digital Trends - 1 hour 11 minutes ago

    Apple’s iPhone 6 has proven to be another smash hit, with sales in the millions. But shortly after they hit the stores, they also began to hit floors and sidewalks as horrified new owners accidentally dropped them. You can alleviate the worry by investing in some protection. That new sexy, svelte look demands some respect and we’ve got a range of the best iPhone 6 cases for you here to suit any style or budget. Updated on 12-1-2015, by Simon Hill: Removed five cases and added new entries by Zagg, Loopy, iDeal, Burkley, and Spigen. Zagg Speaker Case ($100) This unusual offering from Zagg is unlike any iPhone 6 case we’ve seen before. There’s a simple black bumper case with metallic button covers, then there’s a separate Bluetooth speaker and microphone that snaps into the back. The idea is that you only take the speaker when you need it, and easily pop it out and use it in the center of the table for conference calls. It also boosts the sound considerably when listening to various forms of entertainment, though it’s not really powerful enough to fill a room with music. As an added bonus, the speaker section contains a 1,800mAh battery and a USB port, so you can potentially use charge your iPhone battery so longs as you bring your Lightning cable with you. Available from: Amazon Loopy Case ($32) Do you often fumble with your iPhone 6 when trying to juggle it with your keys, coffee cup, and whatever else you’re holding? Then you’re going to love the Loopy Case. It’s a pretty standard, flexible case with a hard-shell backing, but it has a wee added extra on the back in the shape of a rubber loop. The idea is that you can stick a finger through the loop and easily secure your iPhone. Doing so makes it easy to carry multiple items, or just add a touch of extra security whenever you’re holding your phone. It can also work as a stand for propping your iPhone in landscape view. The ends of the changeable loop — it comes with a spare — give the case a slight curve when the iPhone is fitted, but we bounced it up and down vigorously and there’s no doubt that it’s truly secure once placed. Available from: Loopy iDeal Magnet Wallet Case ($35) Here’s a touch of Swedish style, in the shape of a hand-crafted wallet case housing a slim hard shell for your iPhone 6 inside. The beauty of the leather design is that the hard-shell portion attaches magnetically, so you can easily remove it when needed. The wallet portion also touts six card pockets, including a windowed pocket for ID and a larger cash slot behind. The secure closure is a magnetic clasp. The hard-shell case is extremely minimal, with the full range of cut-outs for unfettered access to your iPhone 6 ports and buttons. You can get this wallet case in either black or brown. Available from: iDeal Burkley Jacketcase ($38) What do you do if you love leather, but you don’t want a wallet case? You check out this case from Burkley, which features a fitted hard-shell design and a leather finish. Snap your iPhone 6 securely into place, and you’ll find accurate openings for your ports, camera, and buttons. The coverage is pretty minimal, so this isn’t the most protective case out there, but the leather finish is attractive and makes your phone very comfortable to hold given the added grip. You also have a choice of different colors and styles of leather. Available from: Amazon Spigen Ultra Hybrid Bumper Case ($14) A tried and tested protective combination of TPU and polycarbonate, this case combines a black bumper with a clear back panel. The button covers are embossed with symbols, there’s a subtle logo on the left spine, and there are accurate cut-outs for the switch, ports, and camera. There’s also a slight lip around the front and raised corners on the back for extra protection. It’s a fairly slim, understated case that lets your iPhone design shine through. Moreover, it’s also reasonably priced. Available from: Amazon Mikol Nero Marquina Case ($100) Premium iPhone cases come in all sorts of different flavors, but this is the first time we’ve seen a marble one. These cases look absolutely stunning, but we’re not sure how practical they are, and we’re not willing to drop test one. The basic case is standard TPU, minimalist, and closely fitted to the iPhone 6, with cut-outs in all the right places. Set into the back is a panel of marble. Each case is completely unique. You can go for white, black, or a kind of reddish option, and you can also get the white one with white TPU instead of black. These aren’t protective cases, they’re all about the style, and they aren’t cheap. Available from: Mikol Next page: 8 more iPhone 6 cases to check out Patchworks ITG Level Case ($30) The ITG Level case from Patchworks has a classic dual-layer design with tough polycarbonate on the outside and shock absorbing TPU inside. It meets military drop test standard 810G, so you can rely on it to keep your iPhone 6 safe. It’s surprisingly slim for a protective case, the cut-outs are generous, and there’s a bezel round the front to protect that screen. The sides are also subtly textured to add grip and the button covers are easy to use. You can pick it up in a choice of four colors: black, white, red, or sand. Available from: Amazon Cover-Up Woodback Snap Case ($30) It can be expensive to snag a wooden phone case sometimes, but Cover-Up offer a range that won’t break the bank. You’ve got a solid, polycarbonate case in black, with a wooden panel on the back. It will offer basic protection from scuffs and bumps – don’t expect amazing drop protection. You can choose from a wide range of different woods, from cedar, to mahogany, to maple (there are 12 in all). The cut-outs are accurate and it’s a thin case, so there’s nothing to interfere with your normal iPhone 6 usage. If you spend an extra $5 you can get a lightning bolt or treble clef on the back. Available from: Amazon Magpul Carrying Case ($11) These cases come in a few different colors, they’re easy to fit, they’re protective, and they’re cheap. The case is quite thick, made from a flexible TPU material, and it has a grid pattern that adds some extra grip. There’s a lip around the front to protect the screen, easy to find and press button covers, and accurate openings. The headphone port could be a problem with some jacks because of the case thickness. It’s a decent option if you want protection on a budget. Available from: Amazon Speck MightyShell Case ($38) If you’re in the habit of fumbling and dropping your iPhone 6 a lot then drop protection should be on the top of your list when shopping for cases. The MightyShell from Speck actually exceeds military drop test standards. It has a multi-layer bumper and a radial pattern inside that absorbs shock and cushions the iPhone 6. There’s also a raised bezel to protect the screen. Usually rugged cases are really thick, but this one is relatively slim. There’s a version with a clear back that allows Apple’s design to shine through, or you can opt for various color combos. Speck is so confident about this case that it comes with a lifetime warranty. Available from: Amazon Speck Pad & Quill Little Pocket Book ($70) Craftsmanship of the highest order is what you can expect from Pad & Quill. These iPhone 6 cases are simply gorgeous. The exterior comes in a choice of brown or black leather, and you can combine that with a blue or green interior. The iPhone sits in a wooden cradle, with generous cut-outs for full access to ports and controls. Open the cover, and you’ll find plenty of slots and pockets to squirrel away all your plastic and cash. This is a true wallet replacement. There’s an elastic closure to keep it securely closed, and a bookmark accent completes the “Little Pocket Book” illusion. The only downside is that the wooden cradle is thick. This is quite a bulky case, so not every headphone jack is going to fit, and it does suffer from flash reflections on the camera. Available from: Amazon Pad & Quill Rhinoshield Crash Guard Bumper ($25) If you can’t bear to cover your iPhone 6 up, then a bumper might be the right choice for you. Rhinoshield offers a solid, protective bumper in a choice of seven different colors. The matte finish is soft and enhances grip. The button covers are clearly marked and easy to find without looking. There are adequate openings for your ports, though some third-party accessories with larger jacks might not fit. You also get a protective coating for the back of your iPhone, which you apply like a screen protector. The bumper definitely adds a bit of bulk, but it survived drop tests up to 15 feet, so it should certainly keep your iPhone safe. Available from: Amazon ThinkGeek Tech21 Evo Mesh Case ($21) You can expect solid drop protection from Tech21’s cases without the need for excessive bulk. They have a special process that enables their TPU cases to dissipate the force of any impact so your iPhone doesn’t bear the brunt. They’ve also now developed the ability to produce a wider range of colors, so you’ve got white, pink, and blue, as well as smokey red and black varieties. There’s a bezel on the front to protect the screen, and button covers on the sides. The openings are all present and correct and the case is a perfect fit. All the cases are translucent so you can see the iPhone design beneath the protective dot pattern. Available from: Amazon Apple Store Omaker Bumper Case ($7) This case is very flexible, so it’s easy to fit and it feels nice in hand. The corners are reinforced to bear the brunt of any impact and the front has raised edges to protect the screen. There are button covers for power and volume, but the volume buttons are a little stiff. There are also cut-outs for all your ports, the mute switch, and the camera and flash. It’s a transparent case, but there is a dot pattern on the back. You can get it in clear and smoky versions at this price, or opt for translucent blue or pink at $10. Available from: Amazon Next page: 8 more iPhone 6 cases to check out Toffee Flip Wallet Case ($60) Thoughtful design and quality materials make this case well worth checking out. It will suit anyone on the lookout for a wallet-style case for the iPhone 6. The exterior is genuine leather in black, red, or brown. Inside there’s a hard shell that holds your phone in place. It has all the usual cut-outs for easy access, and there’s a blue check or blue dot lining. You’ll find three slots for credit cards and ID, and a large pouch for cash. The elastic closure keeps the case firmly closed, and when you open it to take a call, there’s a clever magnet that holds the flap back for you. Use code DT15 to get a 15 percent discount if you order before the 1st of May. Available from: Amazon Vesel Wood Series Bumper ($140) At first glance, you might recoil at the price tag on these luxury bumpers, but the quality is impressive. The metal series offers aluminum in different shades with different colors of plastic on the joints, but it’s the wood series that’s more likely to seduce you. The top and bottom comes in your choice of bright silver or darker gray aluminum, and you can combine that with oak or walnut sides. There are also perfectly sited aluminum button covers. The bumper is fitted by unscrewing the top piece and sliding the iPhone 6 into place. Strictly speaking there’s no protection front and back, but the frame is larger than the iPhone all the way round, so the screen and the camera lens on the back won’t be touching if you put it down or drop it on a flat surface. These bumpers are really all about style, and they match the elegant design of the iPhone 6 beautifully. Available from: Amazon Vesel Case Kenu Highline ($30) This is something a little bit different. What if your iPhone 6 had a bungie cord attached, so it couldn’t hit the ground, even if you dropped it? Kenu has come up with a very minimal shell in matte black, with large cut-outs, and a texture that really enhances your grip. The case isn’t going to save your phone if it actually hits the floor, but that’s what the elastic leash is for. It clips onto the case and into the Lightning port, and it boasts a Kevlar core, which means it isn’t breaking. Attach the loop to something like a zip, and you can whip that iPhone out on the ski lift, or at the top of the Empire State Building without a worry. Available from: Amazon Inner Exile Hydra Self-Healing Case ($30) If you thought the self-healing coating on LG’s Flex phones was interesting, then take a look at this case. It’s a very svelte, minimalist, transparent case that allows the iPhone 6 design to shine through, but it also boasts a self-healing coating. This is important, because transparent cases can be prone to picking up light scratches. It’s not going to bounce back from deep gouges, but light scratches fade away at room temperature, and you can speed up the healing process with the warmth of your touch. You can get it in a couple of alternative shades. Available from: Amazon Encase Flexishield Glitter Gel Case ($10) Here’s a budget option that goes perfectly with the gold iPhone. The case is made from a translucent gel material, so it’s very easy to fit, and it doesn’t cramp your iPhone’s style. The back panel has a glittery effect, but it’s not over the top. There’s a lip on the front to protect your screen, and you’ll find that the cut-outs are precise. This case also adds a little grip, but it’s slim so don’t expect rugged drop protection. We have a lot of pricey options on our iPhone 6 cases list, but this one won’t break the bank. Available from: Mobile Fun Nodus Access Case ($100) This premium leather case has an understated style that should appeal to a lot of people. The genuine, luxurious leather exterior comes in brown or black. You can opt for a vertical (flip) or horizontal (portfolio) opening. Inside there’s a microfiber lining and a pocket for cash or cards. Unusually this case has no cradle or shell, instead there’s a panel featuring micro-suction technology that holds your iPhone 6 firmly in place, even when dropped, and a small panel on the cover keeps it closed. That helps to keep it slim, gives easy access to all ports and buttons, and ensures that there’s nothing to detract from the iPhone 6 design. Available from: Nodus Lunatik Seismik Case ($30) The unique aesthetic is sure to catch your eye, but this case has substance as well as style. The suspension frame around the outside is crafted from shock absorbing TPU and it meets military drop test standards 810G. The translucent back panel is hard plastic and you can get the case in three color combos. It snaps on easily, there are cut-outs for the camera and ports, and button covers for the controls. Available from: Amazon Best Buy Pong Sleek Case ($50) The idea behind Pong’s cases is to try and reduce your exposure to radiation and the company claims it has found a way to do that while also boosting your outbound signal thanks to the built-in antenna technology. The lightweight Sleek case also manages to be svelte and quite stylish with a distinctive pattern on the back. You’ve got full access to ports, buttons, and the camera with the case on. It’s not really rugged, but it meets military standards for drops of up to four feet. You can get it in black, white, or red. Available from: Amazon Next page: 8 more iPhone 6 cases to check out JimmyCase Wallet ($35) You get a distinctive look and a great mix of materials with the wallet from JimmyCase. Made in California, these cases combine a silicone bumper, with a gorgeous mahogany back panel, and a practical, eye-catching elastic pocket on the back. The elastic pocket enables you slot in cash and cards, so it can act as a real wallet replacement, stretching to accommodate what you need to take, unlike many wallet cases which have very limited space. You’ll find a range of different color combos on offer. Available from: Amazon Cygnett WorkMate Case ($25) With a malleable TPU core to absorb shock, reinforced corners, a tough polycarbonate shell, and a silicone exterior for added grip, this case helps to prevent accidents and protect your iPhone 6 from harm. It also has button covers. The cut-outs are all precise, including on for the Apple logo on the back, and the camera can be used as normal, even with the flash. It’s chunky, but you get a good level of protection for the price. In addition to the blue you can pick it up in grey or red. Available from: Amazon Fuz Felt Case ($30) As it turns out, felt is a natural shock absorbent. Fuz’s distinct design is perfect for making a statement, though the minimal design is less protective than others on this list. It won’t withstand significant drops. The 2mm shell does include a thin plastic liner that’ll protect your screen when you set your phone face-down. The understated gray color is perfect for anyone who wants their iPhone 6 a truly dignified look. Available from: Amazon Moshi Sensecover Case ($50) The USP for this case is the window in the front cover which allows you to check the time, reject calls, or swipe off alarms without having to open it. It’s a standard folio style case that opens like a book. It has cut-outs for the camera and Apple logo on the back and a scratch-resistant viewing window on the front. The fake leather cover has a magnetic closure with microfiber on the inside. Your iPhone 6 sits in a TPU shell that should keep it safe from small drops or bumps. The cover can also fold back and act as a stand. You can get this one in black, white, or pink. Available from: Amazon Best Buy Amzer Crusta Case ($45) The Crusta case from Amzer certainly looks different and it offers rugged protection at a reasonable price. You’ll find a tempered glass screen protector which will safeguard your screen from scratches without impacting touch sensitivity. The case itself is a hard, polycarbonate shell with a tempered glass backing, and there’s a layer of softer plastic like rubber that goes round the outside forming air pockets to absorb shock. The buttons are covered and so are all the ports, which will keep out dust. It can handle drops from up to six feet. You also get a rotating holster with belt clip. There are more than 40 different color variations available. Available from: Amazon CM4 Q Card Case ($40) If it’s a wallet replacement that you’re looking for, then check out this case from CM4. It has a durable, soft-touch rubber frame to keep your iPhone 6 secure complete with a generous cut-out for the camera and flash, soft covers for the buttons, and cut-outs for the ports. On the back you’ll find a stitched fabric pocket that can comfortably hold three cards and some cash. It offers quick and convenient access. The front bezel prevents your screen from being damaged if you lay it face down. You can get this in green, gold, or black. Available from: Amazon Speck Candyshell Grip Case ($35) You can enjoy solid, military-grade drop protection with this case. It combines a hard shell with a rubber interior that includes a lip round the front to protect the screen, button covers, and stripes on the back and sides. The stripes aren’t just aesthetic, they also help to provide extra grip. There are precise cut-outs for the camera and ports. It’s not the slimmest of iPhone 6 cases, but it does provide good protection and it comes in a variety of color combinations. Available from: Amazon Incipio Octane Case ($25) You don’t have to hide your iPhone 6 away with the Octane case from Incipio. There’s a transparent polycarbonate panel on the back that reveals the logo beneath, and a contrasting colored bumper around the edges that’s designed to bear the brunt of any impact. It also covers the buttons for all round protection and includes precision cut-outs for the ports and camera. This lightweight case doesn’t add too much bulk, but it does deliver good drop protection. The outer bumper comes in a variety of colors. Available from: Amazon Next page: 10 more iPhone 6 cases to check out Body Glove ShockSuit Case ($40) They don’t come much tougher than this rugged offering from Body Glove. The ShockSuit comes in two parts and features full protection for every angle of your iPhone 6. It has port covers, button covers, and a built-in screen protector. The corners are heavily reinforced to take the sting out of any impact and it meets the latest 810G military drop standard. If this is a bit too bulky for you, or you don’t want the built-in screen protector, check out the Fusion Pro or the Rise, both priced at $30. Available from: Amazon Body Glove Mobile Urban Armor Gear Folio Case ($40) Clean industrial design that’s practical with a sci-fi style is what you can expect from UAG. This folio case is also seriously tough. It combines an impact resistant honeycomb core with an outer layer called Frogskin that adds excellent grip even when wet. This case meets military standards for drop tests, so you know your iPhone 6 will survive a tumble. It can act as a wallet replacement with room for three credit cards and it has precise cut-outs, guaranteeing glare-free flash and no audio muffling. Available from: Amazon Best Buy MarBlue Elite Case ($30) A classic combination of malleable TPU and tough polycarbonate makes this case a durable and protective option, but it’s the stylish pattern that’s likely to catch the eye. The protective lip ensures that the screen is protected if the iPhone 6 is placed face down, and there are button covers too. The rubber details in the design also add to the grip, and you can pick this up in various color combinations. MarBlue also has a range of accessories planned to compliment the Elite case and extend your options. Available from: Amazon Grovemade Leather Case ($130) If you’re looking for something a bit special, then you may just be seduced by these gorgeous leather cases from Grovemade. These are handcrafted genuine leather cases finished in tones that match the walnut or maple wooden frame interiors. They don’t just look great, these cases provide all round protection and double up as landscape stand. If this is a bit too rich, you can get the wooden case alone for $100, or opt for a $50 wooden bumper. Available from: Grovemade Trident Aegis Case ($15) This case delivers rugged protection and it covers every angle of your new iPhone 6 to make sure there is no lasting damage from accidents. Extra thick shock absorbent corners take the knocks, a hardened polycarbonate shell provides glossy protection and there are plugs for your ports and dust filters. Like many rugged options, it meets the 810F military standard for drop tests, and you also get a screen protector in the pack. It’s available in seven different colors. Available from: Amazon Seidio Dilex Pro Case ($35) The honeycomb interior on this Seidio cases should dissipate shock, and there’s a comfortable rubberized coating on the outside that will enhance your grip. You also get a handy extra: a metal kickstand that pops out to allow for landscape movie viewing. The interlocking layers are easy to fit and don’t add too much in the way of bulk. You can pick this one up in a few different colors, and it has an optional holster and swiveling belt-clip attachment. Available from: Amazon Noreve Tradition Leather Case ($55) Beautiful handcrafted premium leather cases from Noreve add a real touch of classic style to your iPhone 6. This version flips opens vertically like a traditional pocket notebook. It is padded for protection, and there’s a soft lining with the Noreve logo. You’ll find generous openings for access to all of your phone functions. You can also choose from a wide range of different colors and get the case with or without a belt clip. Available from: Noreve Incipio NGP ($12) Mid-level protection, sharp aesthetics, and low price make the Incipio NGP case worth a visit. The iPhone 6 iteration is just as durable and affordable as past Incipio cases. It’s a terrific budget option for someone who’s considering the in-house silicone case from Apple. This one features a protruding lip to protect your screen face and a soft case that is easy to grip and foregrounds the slim appeal of the iPhone 6. At $12, it’s a one of the best low-budget cases on the market and is available in six color options. Available from: Amazon Case-Mate Brilliance Case ($40) You’re sure to dazzle everyone in a one mile radius if you opt for this glamorous case which comes in three different styles. All of them feature crystals on the back combined with premium leather accents. The bumper frame comes off and you place your iPhone 6 on the cushioned back then clip it back on. You might find that the case comes apart when you drop it, but your phone won’t and that’s the important thing. You’ll find large cut-outs for the camera and ports. The buttons are all covered, but they’re easy to use. The crystals make this case really heavy, and they can snag on things. We’d also expect them to come off in time, if you’re not super-careful. This expensive option is all about the bling and everything else is secondary. Available from: Amazon Case-Mate Apple silicone iPhone 6 case ($27) Nothing fits better than Apple’s own iPhone 6 case made from silicone. It has the same soft microfiber lining as the more expensive leather case, and a durable silicone outer to prevent against minor falls and scrapes. It’s pretty much as close you’ll get to a perfect fit. Apple’s in-house case also comes with a variety of bright colors. The case has a minimal lip to protect the screen when you set the phone face down. Available from: Amazon Best Buy That’s all the iPhone 6 cases we have for now, but watch this space because we’ll be adding some new ones in the very near future. We’ll add links as they become available. Click here to go back to page 1 Article originally published 9-9-2014. Related: Check out our favorite iPhone 6 Plus Cases and the  best waterproof iPhone 6 Cases More »40 of our favorite iPhone 6 cases for style and protection

  • Study reveals Facebook causing misery among users because of envy

    Digital Trends - 1 hour 21 minutes ago

    If you’re one of the more than 1.5 billion users who find Facebook a miserable place to hang out, a study might have the answer as to why: good, old-fashioned envy. According to the study of 1,193 Facebook users by Izak Benbasat, a professor at the Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia, in collaboration with researchers at the Technische Universität Darmstadt in Germany and Universität Bern in Switzerland, envy is the culprit behind many Facebook posts, contributing to a “decrease in mental well-being among users,” and linking unhappiness with the platform. Users who feel their lives aren’t as interesting after seeing pictures and posts of their friends and family members, inadvertently launch a cycle of jealousy and self-importance. As a reaction, it results in “creating posts that portray their best selves.” Related: Snapchat makes you happier than Facebook and not because of sexting The “vicious cycle” of virtual one-upping each other most commonly begins in a place you might expect: travel photos and the desire to one’s self in the best pictures possible. While not intended to make friends and family jealous, they do portray a picture-perfect lifestyle that isn’t always realistic, yet causes others to set those same expectations for themselves, their families, and their lives. While much of the focus of social media use typically includes its positives, besides being responsible for envy, depression, and narcissism, there are greater risks, especially for younger users. As June Eric Udorie of The Guardian notes, the unattainable standards and social pressure of looking and being “perfect” on social media platforms such as Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram, are becoming increasingly harmful to teenagers’ mental health. However, as Benbasat mentions, there’s really no way to get around the negatives, especially since sharing pictures and life stores is the primary purpose of Facebook. “But I think it’s important for people to know what impact it can have on their well-being,” Benbasat says. “Parents and teachers should take note as young people can be particularly vulnerable to the dark side of social media.” Also watch: HP Envy 23 all-in-one video review Please enable Javascript to watch this video More »Study reveals Facebook causing misery among users because of envy

  • Billy Bob Thornton heads to Amazon Prime in new legal drama, Trial

    Digital Trends - 1 hour 37 minutes ago

    Executives at Amazon have officially given the go-ahead to new courtroom drama Trial, which will star two heavy-weights in Oscar winners Billy Bob Thornton and William Hurt. The series has been rumored to be in development for some time now, and will tell the story of a down-and-out lawyer named Billy McBride (Thornton) who is looking to redeem himself in his life and career. According to Amazon, his character will be focused on “getting justice in a legal system where truth has become a commodity, and the scales of justice have never been more heavily weighted toward the rich and powerful.” Related: Here’s Amazon’s plan for generating original content for Prime Video Trial will be written by well-known writing duo David E. Kelley and Jonathan Shapiro ( The Practice, Boston Legal), and will be directed by David Semel ( Madam Secretary). Other actors set to appear in the new show include Molly Parker ( House of Cards) and Olivia Thirlby ( Juno). In typical Prime release fashion, Trial will stream exclusively to Prime Video subscribers in the United States, U.K., Germany, Austria and Japan when it is first released next year. The new show is a promising prospect for the streaming video company, with an impressive cast alongside a team with experience in writing quality legal dramas. That said, the show will have a challenge ahead to break new ground in terms of the alcoholic-but-talented lawyer trope, which appears all-too-often in this kind of series. But Amazon has insurance in the form of Thornton, who is coming off a brilliant turn as the evil presence, Lorne Malvo. Even if Billy McBride is written as generically as possible, he probably won’t be a very boring character to watch the talented actor play. Executives seems confident in the new show, with vice president of Amazon Studios Roy Price saying in a statement, “Billy Bob Thornton, William Hurt and David E. Kelley are world-class talents who have achieved longstanding success in captivating storytelling. We are excited to bring this series to our members next year.” The studio has yet to begin shooting on the project, but should make relatively quick work of it, with an expected release in mid-to-late 2016. More »Billy Bob Thornton heads to Amazon Prime in new legal drama, Trial

  • Choose your own temp in the Hyperchair, the solution to office thermostat wars

    Digital Trends - 1 hour 37 minutes ago

    This summer, a study published in the journal Nature Climate Change found most office buildings set their thermostats based on a decades-old formula for the ideal temperature using men’s metabolic rates. The result is offices full of men in T-shirts and women with space heaters under their desks. While the authors urged building managers to “reduce gender-discriminating bias in thermal comfort” by upping the temp a few degrees (and helping reduce energy use in the process), Peter Rumsey thinks office workers should actually be the ones in control of their own comfort. The CEO of Personal Comfort Systems is working on the Hyperchair, which looks like an ordinary desk chair but has low-energy fans, heating elements, and a battery built in. It was born out of research at UC Berkeley, led by Dr. Ed Arens. His team tested out some chair prototypes at the school’s library back in 2013 and found they could cut energy costs by 50 percent by turning on the chairs and turning off the thermostats, he told ABC News. It’s easier to heat people than buildings, and giving people the power to warm or cool their buns with the flick of a switch has a psychological advantage, too. “When they have control, they always perceive the environment as better,” says Hui Zhang, a researcher on the project. Related: Forget adjustable desks — Tielsa makes whole kitchens that fit your height Rumsey wants to bring that comfort and savings to office buildings.  “The No. 1 complaint of occupants of office buildings is too hot, too cold by far,” he tells NPR. “We’re going to have the chairs take on more of the work of providing heating and cooling because they’re battery powered.” Buildings can then charge the lithium-ion batteries at night, when energy is less expensive. The chair made BuildingGreen’s list of top 10 products for 2016, so hopefully that means the Hyperchair is coming to an icebox office building near you soon. Also watch: Raimond de Hullu's vision for Oas1s green buildings Please enable Javascript to watch this video More »Choose your own temp in the Hyperchair, the solution to office thermostat wars

  • Life is Strange limited edition is coming to PC

    Digital Trends - 1 hour 41 minutes ago

    The surprise hit Life is Strange originally released as a digital-only title on the Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, and PC, and a few weeks ago, publisher Square Enix announced that the game would be making its way to physical shelves, but this version was only confirmed for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. However, it has now been confirmed that the physical version of Life is Strange will also be released on PC. While the PC version of the Life is Strange limited edition — complete with a soundtrack CD and artbook — will still require a Steam account to run, it will still include a physical game disc, according to the official announcement from Square Enix’s Scott Blows. It will still be a little tricky to get your hands on, as it’s only being sold through the Square Enix store, and it appears that they’re limited to North America. Related: Time-twisting adventure Life is Strange hits retail in 2016 “Life started getting strange,” protagonist Max says with appropriate teenage angst at the end of the physical game’s teaser trailer. While I waited for Max to actually call life “strange” during the course of the game’s five episodes, she always seemed to have another word in mind, including my personal favorite: “life is … weird.” If you’ve already completed Life is Strange and just want to get your hands on more of Dontnod’s work, then you might be in luck: according to a Reddit translation, Dontnod’s Alain Damasio announced that a sequel would be developed. This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, given the less-than-stellar reception of the studio’s previous game, Remember Me (which we called a “vapid brawler” that “could hardly be considered anything close to art”) as well as the more flexible digital, episode release model. The limited edition of Life is Strange launches in stores on January 19. It’s taking everything in my power not to double-dip. More »Life is Strange limited edition is coming to PC

  • iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus rumors and news leaks

    Digital Trends - 1 hour 52 minutes ago

    Enjoying the feel of that sparkly new rose gold iPhone 6S in your hand, and the joy of 3D Touch? Well, we don’t want to spoil that, but Apple’s already working on the iPhone 7, and rumors about it are beginning to spread. Here’s what we think we know about Apple’s next major smartphone release so far. Updated on 12-01-2015 by David Curry: Added in rumors that Apple is testing five different iPhone 7 models with special features like an on-screen fingerprint scanner, wireless charging, USB Type C, dual-camera tech, and more. Apple might add fingerprint sensor on the display Reports from inside China suggest that Apple is testing five models of the iPhone 7, all with one major feature that is apparently in the pipeline for future iPhones. Not all of the features will launch on the iPhone 7, we suspect, although Apple might make a huge leap in technology next year to compete with cheaper, high-end Android phones on the market. Related: Here are all the rumors surrounding the possible release of a 4-inch iPhone 6C The features include wireless charging, fingerprint recognition on the display, multi Force Touch, dual-cameras, and a USB Type-C connector. Previous patents have suggested Apple is working on wireless charging and fingerprint recognition technology on the display, though the patent for wireless charging was filed three years ago. Multi Force Touch and dual-camera configurations would be new for Apple, but dual-cameras have been attempted by HTC in the past to middling success. Of course, it’s unclear which of these features — if any — will make it into the iPhone 7. It may be made of liquid metal and waterproof As we said before, if Apple follows its own mobile trend the iPhone 7 should come with an entirely new design. TrendForce published a press release last month asserting that say the iPhone 7 will be waterproof, which would make it the first such device from Apple. An earlier post made to the Chinese social network Weibo, and reported by Macotakara, also said the iPhone 7 will have a waterproof and dustproof body. Related: Here’s our comprehensive iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus buying guide While water resistant phones have existed for a while, the popularity with manufacturers ebbs and flows, with Samsung choosing to add it on the Galaxy S5, then abandon it for the Galaxy S6. Sony continues to make water resistance a feature on its Xperia smartphones, though it became less prevalent on the Xperia Z5. Another Weibo post talks about Apple using a new, but unnamed material to make the iPhone 7 case, and it won’t be metal. Rumors have spread in the past about an all liquid metal iPhone, but have never come true, and this may signal Apple has decided to go in a different direction with the next generation phone. Apple might be planning to axe the 3.5mm audio jack on the iPhone 7, and replace it with a USB Type-C connector that supports proprietary headphones, according to sources in China. This would be a smart way for Apple to remove third-party headphones that don’t meet Apple’s standards, though it goes against the company’s move to open standards with the introduction of USB Type-C on the 12-inch MacBook. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says the iPhone 7 will be the thinnest yet at between 6 and 6.5mm thick. That is around the same as the iPad Air 2, and a millimeter thinner than the current generation iPhone. More RAM and other high-end specs Up until the iPhone 6S, Apple’s phones only sported 1GB of RAM, even though many Android competitors used 3 or 4GB of RAM in their flagship phones. Now, reports hint that the iPhone 7 will get even more RAM than the 6S, with rumors of 3GB of RAM popping up for the iPhone 7 Plus. The claim has been made more than once, and TrendForce is the latest to join the fray. Analyst Kuo also chimed in on the iPhone 7 with another report, claiming it will run on a new A10 chip built entirely by TSMC, a Taiwanese chip manufacturer that has worked with Apple in the past, and built some of the current A9 processors. He also claims the iPhone 7 Plus will have 3GB of RAM, while the iPhone 7 will only use 2GB. Foxconn will apparently manufacture the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, and it should launch towards the end of next year, says Kuo. It’s very early days for the iPhone 7, despite what these rumors may make you think. We don’t even know if Apple will continue with adding an increasing number to the iPhone name, or if it’ll come up with something new for this edition. Whatever the case, we’ll keep you updated with all the news and rumors over the months leading up to the next iPhone’s 2016 introduction. Article originally published on 09-28-2015 Updated on 11-20-2015 by Malarie Gokey: Added in rumors that the next iPhone 7 will have more RAM than before and may be waterproof. Updated on 11-04-2015 by David Curry: Added in news the next big-screen iPhone may have more RAM than before. Also watch: Apple iPhone 6S Plus vs. Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Please enable Javascript to watch this video More »iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus rumors and news leaks

  • 50 Cent to appear in new Fox meta-comedy, My Friend 50

    Digital Trends - 1 hour 58 minutes ago

    Just a few months after Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson filed for bankruptcy, the rapper/actor/entrepreneur has inked a deal for a new comedy called My Friend 50 that has landed with Fox, reports Deadline. The single-camera show, which will be produced by Will Packer, won’t star the In Da Club rapper. But he will have a recurring role as, of course, a version of himself. The show itself will center around a character named Amanda Kramer, who is described as an “unstable twentysomething” who joins 50’s entourage in hopes of solving her life’s problems. She seemingly documents the shenanigans herself, narrating through the episodes. There’s no word on who will play Kramer. Related : Jennifer Lawrence to take the director’s chair for Cold War comedy project Delirium Fox has given the show a script order. It will fall under Will Packer Productions and G-Unit Film & Television, Jackson’s company, as well as Universal Television. Will Packer Productions’ Head of Television, Korin D. Huggins, will serve as co-executive producer. Packer may be just the golden touch that Jackson needs to catapult this show to success: Packer was credited as an executive producer for the highly successful film Straight Outta Compton, and produced other hits like Think Like a Man and Ride Along. He currently produces Truth Be Told on NBC, an ABC reboot series of the John Candy film  Uncle Buck, along with a number of other projects in the works. Jackson, meanwhile, hasn’t exactly been quiet on the scene. He currently serves as executive producer and co-star of  Power, a drama series on Starz; is an executive producer of Dream School on SundanceTV; and co-starred in recent movies Southpaw and Spy. Whether his bankruptcy protection filing was done out of necessity, or simply to shield himself from a lawsuit as was alleged in a recent court case, remains to be proven in a court of law. But it’ll be interesting to see what type of behind-the-scenes picture this comedy paints of Jackson’s life. As the man himself says, “get rich or die tryin’,” right? More »50 Cent to appear in new Fox meta-comedy, My Friend 50

  • Marvel to release free comic book compiling its variant hip-hop covers

    Digital Trends - 2 hours 11 minutes ago

    Earlier this year, Marvel released a series of comic book covers that pay homage to iconic and contemporary hip-hop albums. The company just announced it will collect a selection of the covers in a free 32-page comic book available at select stores from January 6, 2016, reports the New York Times. “The hip-hop variants were a really special initiative that caught fire in the outside world,” Axel Alonso, Marvel’s editor-in-chief, told the Times. “We thought this was a great opportunity to highlight that and make it available to fans for free.” Related: Pope Francis pictured with mic results in hilarious #PopeBars hip-hop hashtag The special edition covers were included for a number of Marvel’s new first-issue comic books, starting in October. The notable hip-hop pairings included a Jay Z-themed Black Panther cover , Vanilla Ice and Deadpool, Ol’ Dirty Bastard and Howard the Duck, Lauryn Hill and Ms. Marvel, Dr. Dre and Doctor Strange, and Kendrick Lamar and Guardians of the Galaxy. Within the comic book world, variants are usually released with a limited run alongside the standard covers of a new first-issue title. The rarity of the covers often results in a retail price hike. As Alonso indicates, the pop culture spin led to an increase in appeal beyond collectors and comic book enthusiasts for the variants. Therefore, Marvel’s decision to compile them in a free release should be an even bigger draw for casual readers. Some of the hip-hop artists referenced in the variants have vocally shown their support for the initiative, among them Eminem and Ice Cube. Elsewhere, cultural commentators have signaled that they form part of Marvel’s strategy to create a more diverse comic book universe. Other initiatives have included changing the gender or ethnicity of well-known characters such as Thor and Ms. Marvel, and recruiting acclaimed writers such as Ta-Nehisi Coates. Honored to have @Marvel and @sinKEVitch re-interpret Relapse. Check it out: http://t.co/Sr6cHn7IfS — Marshall Mathers (@Eminem) September 4, 2015 More »Marvel to release free comic book compiling its variant hip-hop covers

  • Fox draws new blood for Rambo TV series, Stallone to produce

    Digital Trends - 2 hours 24 minutes ago

    It’s been five minutes, which means it’s time for another beloved film franchise to be called back into action. According to Deadline, Fox is preparing a one-hour drama series based on iconic action film franchise Rambo, which will be executive produced by the original Rambo himself, Sylvester Stallone. A project that has long been on the back burner at Fox studios,  Rambo: New Blood will be written by Die Hard screenwriter Jeb Stuart. The series will reportedly focus on the relationship between Rambo and his son J.R., an ex-Navy SEAL. This is a common theme in feature-to-TV spinoffs, which often remove or limit the on-screen exposure of the main film characters — largely because studios can rarely get the original actors to reprise their higher-budget roles on the small screen. Related: Kevin Bacon to dig into his roots in new Tremors TV series Whether or not Stallone will make an appearance in the new series remains to be seen, with some sources suggesting that he will reprise his role as John Rambo, and others saying he won’t appear at all. But Stallone is no stranger to a revival, recently re-hashing his role as fighter Rocky Balboa in critically acclaimed blockbuster Creed. Originally based on a David Morrell novel called First Blood, the Rambo franchise follows former Green Beret and Vietnam Veteran John Rambo, who is a master of guerilla warfare. There have been four Rambo films over the years, and a fifth is currently in production. Likely, the studio will release Rambo: New Blood as a follow up to the new film, looking to continue the hype wave that comes with a big blockbuster action release. Executives at Fox seem to be smitten with throwbacks at the moment, with TV adaptations of Lethal Weapon, Think Like A Man, and Behind Enemy Lines all currently in the works. More »Fox draws new blood for Rambo TV series, Stallone to produce

  • Jabra Sport Pace Wireless review

    Digital Trends - 2 hours 41 minutes ago

    First the Sport Pulse, then the Sport Coach, and now the Sport Pace. Jabra’s repeated forays into sport-centric Bluetooth earbuds could be likened to a mechanic who keeps tweaking an engine until it sounds just right. An apt analogy, if only because the Sport Pace Wireless exist almost exclusively to correct one particular issue: sound leakage. With the Sport Pace Wireless, Jabra is hoping the third time’s a charm. The company doesn’t come out and say it like that, but the implication is pretty clear when this product comes a mere four months after the recently-released Sport Coach. Our experience with the Sport Pulse and Sport Coach was almost entirely positive, but the lack of a good seal within the ear resulted in a lot of leaked sound and underwhelming sound quality. Did Jabra finally get everything just right? We gave the Sport Pace a workout while we got a few of our own to find out. Out of the box We were hardly surprised that Jabra used virtually the same packaging as it did with the two previous models. Upon lifting the front panel, the new-look buds were visible through the box’s plastic compartment. Below that is a box with the other two pairs of fittings (eargels, as Jabra calls them) and a short micro-USB cable for charging the Sport Pace. Conspicuously missing is the small carrying case that has been a staple of this line of wireless earbuds. We suspect the reason why is because the new design would make them really difficult to stuff in there. When we tried to do it with the case that came with the Sport Coach, our assumptions were proven true. Bill Roberson/Digital Trends Curiously, the Quick Start Guide is also missing a code to freely download the Jabra Sound app for iOS or Android. The Jabra Sport Life app, which is far more important to the daily functions of the Sport Pace, is free to download, but even still, we were a little surprised by that omission. Features and design Our review unit came in blue with black trim. Yellow and red are also available. A noticeable deviation from the previous two form factors, the Sport Pace now have over-ear hooks acting as anchors to hold the buds in place – an adjustment we’d later learn ultimately helps contribute to better overall sound quality – and though we got more consistent placement of the buds, the design change comes at the expense of subtlety. The Sport Pulse and Sport Coach were lower profile earbuds, and though they performed most of their functions admirably, they lacked a proper seal for noise isolation. We take the Pace’s change in design as Jabra’s compromise to make sure getting a secure fit and a proper seal is never an issue. The earbuds’ 15-inch cable appears shorter than its predecessors, but it actually isn’t since the balance is taken up by the new ear hooks. It’s also flatter and slightly more rugged than the others. The clip to shorten the cable’s slack is already attached out of the box, which is another welcome difference – just be careful not to lose it as no replacements are included. As expected, the same inline remote is situated on the right side of the cable. The main button is flanked by volume buttons and a microphone for calls and voice commands through Siri or Google Now. The main button doubles as the power button when holding it down for about four seconds (two-to-three seconds gets you Siri or Google Now). Playback and skipping controls are exactly the same, too. Jabra doesn’t explicitly mention what sensor is embedded to track movement because there isn’t one. The Coach had TrackFit, while the Pulse had an in-ear heart rate monitor, but the Pace hands things off to the GPS on a paired smartphone. While it can’t track location and route while in a gym, it collects data on pace, distance and calories burned. When outside, it covers them all. Bill Roberson/Digital Trends Bill Roberson/Digital Trends Bill Roberson/Digital Trends Bill Roberson/Digital Trends Instead, pressing the “sport life” button on the left earpiece triggers a voiceover update on your progress. It can also trigger the Sport Life app when another app is front and center on the smartphone. Holding it for a second can start or pause a workout. Double-tapping it disables all voiced updates. Outside of that, the button does nothing else. In skimping a little further to keep the price down, Jabra left out NFC for quick pairing, but does allow for two devices to be connected to it at once. An IP54 rating makes the headphones resistant to rain, shock, sand and dust. Setup Without NFC, we paired the Sport Pace the old-fashioned way. The earbuds go into pairing mode immediately on startup, and in short order, we paired to both an iPhone and an HTC One M9. Voice prompts confirmed everything, just as they always have. From here, setup with the Sport Life app is not all that different from how it’s been done before. We could go right into a workout, as simple as a walk through the mall, or multifaceted one that included the bike, cross-training and treadmill at the gym. Jabra allows for customization to add your own activities, and we already had some, like elliptical and rollerblading, set up. We then added yard work as another while testing this out. The app has always been straightforward, and hasn’t changed much, so moving from the Pulse or Coach to the Pace requires no learning curve. Newcomers won’t have a hard time getting around, either. Where the heart rate monitor and TrackFit sensor were meant to be spotters with the others, the Pace is more about providing the simple metrics. It doesn’t go into detail about any exercises, focusing primarily on the pace, distance, duration and goal of the ongoing workout. While this might seem like something’s missing, it arguably liberates the Pace from being too linear. Bill Roberson/Digital Trends Jabra lists some of the compatible apps on the back of the box — Endomondo, RunKeeper, Runtastic and Strava, among others — and with good reason. The Pace could work perfectly fine with these apps, too. So could the Pulse and Coach, except in this case, the Pace doesn’t have a defining component that Jabra likes to keep closer to the chest. They just stick to the tracking basics, making these buds distinctively utilitarian. But that has us wondering what specific benefit the Sport Pace offer over any other Bluetooth earbud? Lots of folks make good-sounding, secure, wireless sports headphones. Why buy the Sport Pace vs. anything else when they don’t gather any data your phone/apps can’t gather on their own? Audio Performance Speaking of defining components, audio quality is arguably the defining characteristic that separates the Pace the most. The new design largely — though not entirely — solves the noise bleed bugaboo of the past. The positioning of the buds is the main reason why. And for the first time, we didn’t bother reaching for a pair of gels from other manufacturers to try and plug the gaps. The result is one of compromise, however, because Jabra seemingly forgot to add some volume out of the gate. A past consequence of the noise bleed was that the bass lost its presence, which could be a deal-breaker for those blasting hip hop or electronica. The Pace salvages more of that, but we needed to pump up the volume to get the right balance, constantly going more than three-quarters of the way up on both phones to get a feel for the tunes and drown out background noise. The louder the background, the closer to full blast we needed to go. Granted, every set of ears is different and ours might have been a little less sensitive, but we were puzzled as to why more wasn’t done to crank up the volume by default. We had nothing to really complain about with phone calls, finding voice quality and usability consistent with what we saw in prior iterations. Making and taking calls is easy, and integration with Siri and Google Now were each convenient to use while wearing the Pace. Battery life showed no improvement, maxing out at about four hours, sometimes even less. Jabra rates it at five hours, except having to regularly push the volume up almost certainly contributes to the faster drain. To help offset that, the company does include rapid charging, which provides 60 minutes of usage after only 15 minutes of charging. That’s super convenient on a low battery before heading to the gym, but again, higher volumes all but assured we wouldn’t make it the full 60. Conclusion Jabra prefers to look at the Sport Pace as a complementary product in a growing line of wireless earbuds, but we’re not totally sold on that. We see the Pace as fixing an inherent issue the other two couldn’t manage, and that was tightening things up enough to keep music from filtering out. The Sport Pace do that without all the frills Jabra’s other two models have, and that may be perfectly fine for anyone looking to keep it simple. At $100, they’re reasonably priced, and the combination of improved playback with the flexibility to work with more than just Jabra’s own Sport Life app, makes the Pace an intriguing choice for the fitness crowd. Highs Better fit Improved audio fidelity Rapid charging Integrates with third-party apps Lows No built-in sensors Short battery life Limited volume More »Jabra Sport Pace Wireless review

  • NuDock Mini is the sleek charging solution Apple fanatics crave

    Digital Trends - 2 hours 41 minutes ago

    While the usefulness of the Apple Watch is questionable to even the most devoted Apple hoarders  fans, it’s aesthetically commendable, especially when paired with a lush new Rose Gold iPhone 6S. And for that reason, companies like MiTagg have taken it into their own hands to make chargers equally attractive, and able to conveniently rest alongside all of your other iDevices. MiTagg’s latest offering, the NuDock Mini, isn’t for everyone. In fact, it’s only really helpful if you own an Apple Watch, an iPhone, and a MacBook, as there are countless other peripherals, like Enblue Technology’s Premium One or the Belkin Charge Dock, that can already charge your Apple Watch and iPhone at the same time. It’s the addition of USB Type-C MacBook charging that’s been added. Plus, custom lighting effects that set it apart from other, similar accessories. Featuring a full color palette, the NuDock Mini’s built-in LED light is controlled using the NuDock Mini companion app, available on Apple’s App Store. With it, not only can you command the color displayed by the dock, but you can also set the brightness and the overall power of the device simply by connecting via Bluetooth. Related: Apple Watch is ‘not for everyone’ If you have an Android phone, however, things get a little more complicated, but not excessively so. Instead of ordering a “standard” NuDock Mini model, you’ll need to instead opt for the Android-specific Wireless QI variant, though you’ll need to make sure your device supports this version of wireless charging before checking out. On top of the potentially confusing, entirely separate hardware for Android devices, it looks like there won’t be an official Google Play app. Also unclear from the promotional images and videos we’ve seen so far is whether the full-color LED is present at all in the NuDock’s Wireless QI rendition. Nonetheless, the regular ol’ Apple-friendly version of the NuDock Mini bears two USB ports (hey, you can charge your iPad too!), an adjustable Lightning dock (no need to remove that Otterbox case), and even USB-C support. Plus, if you’re deprived of an Apple Watch at the moment, there’s yet another option available, less the Apple Watch stand. Moreover, the stand is available separately should you decide to cave and buy an Apple Watch at some point down the line. Related: Here’s everything you need to know about USB 3.1 and USB-C The NuDock Mini will be available in both Silver and Space Grey to compliment your devices, starting at $70 through an IndieGoGo campaign. Unfortunately there will be no Gold or Rose Gold version in sight. You can catch the NuDock Mini in action in the promo video below, where it’s described as being both “minimal” and portable. If interested, it’s up on Indiegogo now. More »NuDock Mini is the sleek charging solution Apple fanatics crave

  • Just Cause 3’s release may be cause for concern

    Digital Trends - 2 hours 42 minutes ago

    It seems it’s becoming harder and harder to launch a AAA game without bugs in it, as despite more than three years of development and an in-house engine, Avalanche Studios’ newly released Just Cause 3 has had its launch spoiled somewhat by problems. There are said to be performance issues, strange AI behaviour and in some cases, Avalanche may have even shipped pre-release code. Fortunately for the people that no-doubt worked pretty hard on the epic anarchy simulator, not everyone appears to be affected by the bugs. But enough are having issues that’s tarnished what should have been a triumphant launch. Consoles seem to be having the biggest issues with in-game performance, with sluggish frame rates and a decent dose of aliasing to boot. That doesn’t mean the PC is free and clear, though, with even some sporting high-end (very expensive) graphics cards and processors struggling to break free from the 30 frames per second which has come to define many of this generation’s top-end games. Related: Prepare your rig for Just Cause 3 with this official specs list Avalanche and publisher Square Enix have released a statement about the problematic release, pointing out that in some territories what is considered ‘pre-release’ code ended up in the hands of gamers. That’s not because it released unfinished code, but because it doesn’t see the game as complete without the day one patch, which will be released shortly. The problem apparently stemmed from a release mistake that saw the game hitting said territories sooner than the developers expected. A patch is said to fix many of the issues, including camera glitches, stability problems,  and unusual AI driving habits. A number of optimisations will also come with it, we’re told, perhaps to bring performance up to par, though Avalanche didn’t say anything concrete in that regard. As TechReport points out, a Square Enix representative has said that the problem is partly AMD’s fault, with issues related to older drivers. They encourage all AMD GPU users to upgrade to the latest beta driver before posting further complaints. More »Just Cause 3’s release may be cause for concern

  • Chrome for Android can now save up to 70 percent of your data with Data Saver mode

    Digital Trends - 2 hours 45 minutes ago

    Trying to load websites on your mobile device when utilizing a slow connection can be a chore. You end up wasting needless data as you constantly refresh pages only to end up in frustration. The situation is even worse if you’re on a limited data plan. Users of Chrome for Android will be happy to know that its Data Saver mode has come to the rescue. Data Saver mode not only saves precious data, it speeds up your experience. Related: Speed up Chrome and save bandwidth with Google’s new Data Saver extension Once the mode is enabled, web pages will load without images, resulting in a savings of up to 70 percent of data. You can still load images later if you want by tapping individual ones or selecting all of them at once. The Data Saver mode on Chrome for Android isn’t new. Google launched the feature last year for both Android and iOS, but at that time it only saved 50 percent of data. It would convert images to the WebP format to make them more compressed and less data hungry. Google was able to pick up an extra 20 percent by eliminating images altogether with this new update. This feature is most important for emerging markets, and that’s why Google is launching it in India and Indonesia first. Google did say that other countries will follow suit soon. Google didn’t mention if the update will be made available to iOS devices, but we assume it will at a later date. iPhone and iPad users can still use the older Data Saving mode for a 50 percent savings though. Apple does have something similar called Ad Blocker for its Safari browser, but that’s more about eliminating ads. Related: Study: iOS 9 ad blockers save iPhone users time, data, and money To enable Data Saving mode in Chrome for Android, touch the Menu, followed by Settings. Tap on Data Saver under Advanced, and slide the switch to On. Also watch: Apple iPhone 6S Plus vs. Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Please enable Javascript to watch this video More »Chrome for Android can now save up to 70 percent of your data with Data Saver mode

  • Get ready, fitness fanatics: The Moto 360 Sport hits the U.S. on January 7

    Digital Trends - 2 hours 51 minutes ago

    There’s another fitness smartwatch on the market, and this one even runs Android Wear. Motorola finally announced availability dates for the athletic Moto 360 Sport, which it unveiled back in September along with the classy second-generation Moto 360. The smartwatch, which is aimed at fitness enthusiasts, will be available in the U.K. and France on December 18. Sadly, those stateside will have to wait until January 7 for the sporty smartwatch. The wearable will also be available in Brazil, Canada, China, Mexico, and Spain in 2016, but Motorola didn’t specify exact dates. What differentiates the Sport from the Moto 360 2015 is that it uses silicone, instead of metal and leather, to prevent fading, staining, and resist absorbing sweat. Thanks to its IP67 rating, the watch is fairly water- and dust-resistant, which is a new feature for Android Wear watches. It also has side ventilation channels to keep the user’s wrist comfortable during exercise. The smartwatch has a built-in GPS to track speed, distance, and pace; a heart-rate monitor; and Motorola claims the Sport can provide all-day battery life from the 300mAh cell — even in ambient mode. Related: The Moto 360 and Moto 360 sport are the first smartwatches that you can truly customize However, the highlight of the Moto 360 Sport might be its 1.37-inch screen. Motorola is calling the new hybrid display “AnyLight.” It merges a backlit LCD screen with a front-lit reflective one, so that you can easily see the screen and keep track of your workout in broad daylight. Most other smartwatches are illegible in the sun, which is a problem for fitness fanatics. Unfortunately, even though Motorola devices are known for their customization options with Moto Maker, it seems that the Moto 360 Sport will only be available in black, white, and orange. The watch’s casing measures 45mm, as well, which is comparable to the largest size of the second-generation Moto 360. It’s powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 chip and 512MB RAM, which is standard for Android Wear watches. It’s got 4GB of storage onboard for offline music listening and apps. The company is also pushing its Moto Body app as a feature, which it says pairs well with the Android Wear device. The Moto Body app syncs data from other fitness apps like Strava and Google Fit. It summarizes and records your workout data, notifying you to keep you up to date. The Moto 360 Sport will cost $300, and will be available on Motorola.com and other online retailers. It will be available in Best Buy stores and at the Moto Shop in Chicago on January 10. U.S. users can register for updates on the watch on its site, too. We’ll keep you updated on more availability info as time goes on. More »Get ready, fitness fanatics: The Moto 360 Sport hits the U.S. on January 7

  • A record 95 million people shopped at small businesses this past Saturday

    Digital Trends - 3 hours ago

    Black Friday is the king of the retail holiday season, but the following day is proving to be just as compelling. This past Saturday, a record 95 million people shopped at a small business in the United States, according to a survey from the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and American Express. Related: Black Friday: $905 million in sales came from smartphones and tablets, iOS led the way Those 95 million shoppers are an 8 percent increase from the number of consumers from last year. This past Saturday was not some sort of random pilgrimage to everyone’s favorite mom and pop shops, just the forgotten holiday of Small Business Saturday (SBS). The holiday was created by American Express in 2010 to get people to spend more money at small businesses. Those 95 million shoppers spent $16.2 billion, up 14 percent from the $14.3 billion that was spent last year. As impressive as these numbers are, Small Business Saturday is easily defeated by another shopping holiday. Black Friday attracted 151 million shoppers, according to a survey conducted by the National Retail Federation. But, Small Business Saturday had a special endorser that Black Friday didn’t: the Obama family. President Barack Obama and his daughters Malia and Sasha visited Upshur Street Books and Pleasant Pops cafe in Washington. The family purchased nine books at Upshur, but the President claimed his “highlight of my Small Business Saturday” was buying three ice pops from thePleasant Pops cafe for $9. Small Business Saturday has helped numerous continue to see revenue growth. Since 2010, SBS’ first year, small business owners have reported at least a 245 percent increase in revenue compared to the previous year. Small businesses have also helped lower the unemployment rate. This past January, small businesses added 81 percent of new private-sector jobs. With major corporations such as AT&T, Eventbrite, Square, Sam’s Club, and dozens others helping to promote Small Business Saturday this year, the little holiday that could … actually did. More »A record 95 million people shopped at small businesses this past Saturday

  • Write a racist post in Brazil, and you may find it on a billboard

    Digital Trends - 3 hours ago

    The newest weapon against racism? Public shaming, it seems. A new anti-racism campaign in Brazil is making use of rather controversial tactics to stem online hate speech, plastering the racist Facebook posts of some users on billboards close to the offenders’ homes. Titled “Virtual racism, real consequences,” the initiative hopes to encourage more people to speak out against racist, ignorant, or otherwise hateful comments online, rather than simply attributing them to normal Internet behavior. “Those people [who post abuse online] think they can sit in the comfort of their homes and do whatever they want on the Internet,” said Jurema Werneck, the founder of the anti-racism group behind the campaign, “We don’t let that happen. They can’t hide from us, we will find them.” Using geotagging technology to determine where the offenders live, the group is buying billboard space throughout various neighborhoods in the South American country, then broadcasting the vitriol to elicit a collective shudder from the community at large (names and pictures are blurred out before posting). With the laudable mission of enabling “Afro-Brazilian women, teenagers and girls to become agents for change in the struggle against racism, sexism, and homophobia, and work for the creation of better conditions of life for the Black population in Brazilian society,” the Rio de Janeiro-based group has certainly evolved with the times, highlighting the more insidious aspects of social media for their own purposes. “We wanted to provoke reflection,” the group states on its website. “Does a comment on the Internet cause less damage than a direct offense? For those who comment, maybe. But for those who suffer it, the prejudice is the same.” Related: Facebook to offer four months parental leave to all full-time employees The campaign, which has been active since the summer, was catalyzed by a slew of racist comments hurled against popular black weather presenter Maria Julia Coutinho, after the news program Nacional Journal posted her photo on its Facebook page. Thousands quickly jumped to her defense, but even so, many were alarmed by the viciousness of some of the posts. This campaign, Werneck and his team hope, will at least encourage people to think before they take to the Internet with their cruelty. Of course, putting Facebook and Twitter posts on billboards raises some serious privacy issues, and others have noted that nearly everyone has experienced some sort of abuse online. And while the Web may never be a truly safe space for everyone, here’s hoping that we make strides toward making it a civil space. More »Write a racist post in Brazil, and you may find it on a billboard

  • Drake crowned as 2015’s most streamed Spotify artist, but Ed Sheeran’s still the king

    Digital Trends - 3 hours ago

    Spotify has released its annual year in music list, naming Drake the most-played artist of the year. The Canadian rapper pulled off the victory with a whopping 1.8 billion streams across 46 million listeners up to this point. That said, Ed Sheeran still reigns supreme as Spotify’s most streamed artist of all time, with over 3 billion streams to his name to this point. The stats come from the mountains of data Spotify collects from its throng of 75 million listeners (including both paid subscribers, and listeners on the service’s free, ad-based tier). All told, that massive listener base streamed over 20 billion hours of music in 2015. In addition to listening albums and songs directly from artists’ pages, and via playlists like Discover Weekly and Spotify Radio, users also created over 2 billion playlists. Related: SNL was right: Adele is, hands down, the biggest pop star in the world Interestingly, the top five most streamed artists — Drake, Ed Sheeran, The Weeknd, Maroon 5, and Kanye West — were all male, with female musicians failing to generate enough streams to reach break through. That said, women are still racking up a ton of plays on the service, with Rihanna topping the list of female artists on over 1 billion streams, followed by Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj, Beyoncé, and Ellie Goulding. In another bit of statistical curiosity, Rihanna also had more individual listeners than Drake, with 57 million, possibly indicating a more die-hard set of fans for the male artist. The most popular on-demand streaming service in the world, Spotify had over 20 million paying subscribers at last count, and 55 million more ad-based freeloaders. In terms of total listeners, the service is just five million behind internet radio streamer Pandora, which has been floating around 80 million for some time now. Critics of the service say that Spotify and companies like it aren’t paying out enough to artists, with a cryptic payment system that adds up to somewhere between $.006 to $.0084 being paid out to artists per play. To put that in perspective in terms of this year end list, Drake can expect to get a check for as much as $15 million dollars for his 1.8 billion streams, though it doesn’t always work out that way — just ask Taylor Swift. Spotify executives maintain that as the service grows its user base even further, payouts to all artists will increase dramatically. But just how much the rise of streaming services have affected other aspects of an artist’s earning portfolio, such as the loss of revenue through paid downloads, is still in flux. Also watch: Plugged Crown Headphones Review Please enable Javascript to watch this video More »Drake crowned as 2015’s most streamed Spotify artist, but Ed Sheeran’s still the king

  • Star Wars Battlefront gets a lot right, but here’s what’s still missing

    Digital Trends - 3 hours ago

    Easily one of the most anticipated games of the year, Star Wars Battlefront has brought The Force to gaming, but it’s also left many gamers conflicted. Though the details of every map, blaster and Stormtrooper help to create an authentic Star Wars experience while playing, post-battle is where some of its flaws are brought to the light. Just weeks into it’s debut it’s already clear that some substantial things are missing from the game that might have a big impact on how long people will continue to play once the dust settles and the new game sheen wears off. Related:  Star Wars Battlefront review In this video avid gamer Joshua Smith shares the three things that he thinks are missing in Dice’s latest Battlefront reboot. With the absence of a campaign at the forefront, the controversial DLC plans and more, this quick video is exactly what you will want to check out before deciding if Battlefront is the game for you. Are these three pieces deal-breakers for you? More »Star Wars Battlefront gets a lot right, but here’s what’s still missing

  • Rogue Nation director Christopher McQuarrie will return for Mission: Impossible 6

    Digital Trends - 3 hours ago

    Update 12-1-2015:  Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation writer/director Christopher McQuarrie has confirmed that he will return to write and direct the sixth installment of the blockbuster franchise. He announced the news via Twitter. Mission: Accepted #MI6 — ChristopherMcQuarrie (@chrismcquarrie) November 30, 2015 McQuarrie’s return makes him the first filmmaker to direct multiple movies in the franchise. Production is expected to get underway on the still-untitled film in mid-2016, with Tom Cruise reprising his starring role as secret agent Ethan Hunt. This year’s  Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation was a massive success for the franchise, so it’s no surprise that the studio is already working on yet another adventure featuring the Impossible Mission Force — but if a new rumor proves true, the next film could break with the tradition set by the previous five films in a big way. For the first time in the Mission: Impossible series, a director could return for a second installment of the hit franchise. Related: Tom Cruise says Mission: Impossible 6 could begin shooting next year According to Variety,  Rogue Nation writer and director Christopher McQuarrie will almost certainly script the upcoming, sixth installment of the series, but could also direct the film, too. If the latter occurs, McQuarrie would be the first director to helm two films in the franchise. Details are scarce regarding the studio’s plans for the next Mission: Impossible movie, but Tom Cruise has already confirmed that he’ll reprise his role as secret agent Ethan Hunt for the film.  Rogue Nation actress Rebecca Ferguson is also expected to reprise her role as Ilsa Faust. The report indicates that the studio is hoping to get production underway on the film next year, which would likely mean that a writer and a director will need to be in place in the near future — two deals that can be taken care of in one shot by bringing back McQuarrie. The potential return of McQuarrie is notable for breaking the franchise’s trend of one-and-done filmmakers. The first  Mission: Impossible was directed by Brian de Palma, and subsequent installments were directed by John Woo, J.J. Abrams, Brad Bird, and earlier this year, McQuarrie. Already an Oscar-winning writer thanks to his script for the 1995 thriller  The Usual Suspects, McQuarrie has a long history with Cruise that includes penning the scripts for the 2008 World War II thriller  Valkyrie and the recent, criminally under-appreciated sci-fi film  Edge of Tomorrow, both of which starred Cruise. He also wrote and directed 2012’s  Jack Reacher, featuring Cruise as the titular military investigator. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation was released on July 31 and earned more than $682 million worldwide. It currently ranks as the second highest-grossing film in the franchise worldwide (after 2011’s  Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol) and the third highest-grossing film in the series domestically. More »Rogue Nation director Christopher McQuarrie will return for Mission: Impossible 6

  • AT&T boosts price of unlimited data – DT Daily

    Digital Trends - 3 hours ago

    If you’re one of those AT&T Wireless customers sticking with the service for the sole reason that you’re grandfathered into its old unlimited data plan, then prepare yourself for a rate hike. AT&T announced that legacy customers still grasping onto the plan discontinued five years ago will be getting charged an additional $5 per phone, raising the existing rate to $35. AT&T left well enough alone for seven years, but customer’s bills will go up in February 2016. Of course, $35 is still a bargain for unlimited data these days, even if AT&T reserves the right slow down your speed if you blow through more than 22 gigs per month. Caution: If you switch plans in defiance, the option for the unlimited plan goes away forever. VR is the new frontier in video –you may have noticed it’s popping up everywhere now. And while the solutions for watching VR video can come as cheap as the cost of a smartphone and a piece of cardboard, the cameras needed to capture it … well that’s an entirely different matter. They are complicated and, therefore, expensive. Case in point: Nokia’s amazing new OZO professional VR camera, which comes in at the staggering price of … $60 thousand dollars. Yeah, you probably won’t be finding one under your Christmas tree this year, but that 60 grand gets you some seriously sweet tech. Unlike other VR cameras that take tons of time and horsepower to render VR video, the OZO can do it on the fly, in real time, and show it to you as you record it. The orbish camera also captures 360 degree audio to go with the video, and it’s wireless, to boot! And finally, if you’ve been preparing to channel your inner Clark Griswold and go ballistic with your holiday light display this year, you might want to consider the fact that your eye-searing display could be negatively affecting your Wi-Fi signal. According to U.K. telecommunications giant Ofcom, all those pretty lights are slowing your Wi-Fi down, and this isn’t just some holiday urban legend. The science is pretty simple: Anything that generates electromagnetic fields can get in the way of your Wi-Fi signal. So really, you’re just adding to the havoc that your microwave, electrical system and other stuff is already wreaking on your signal. You didn’t want to slave for hours in the bitter cold hanging those things up anyway, did you? Ok, then, now you’re off the hook … and you’re welcome. More »AT&T boosts price of unlimited data – DT Daily

  • Mozilla is thinking about ditching Thunderbird email client

    Digital Trends - 3 hours ago

    Although the Firefox browser is the flagship product at the Mozilla Foundation, it’s far from the only one. There’s the Firefox operating system, Mozilla Composer, ChatZilla, Firefox for Mobile, and all of their various components. One of the more popular niche products is Thunderbird, the standalone email client, but it turns out that working on it is not something that the Mozilla higher-ups want to continue doing. Mozilla doesn’t want to stop Thunderbird in its tracks though, but instead is leaning toward spinning it off so that more developmental time can be put into the Firefox browser. “Many inside of Mozilla, including an overwhelming majority of our leadership, feel the need to be laser-focused on activities like Firefox that can have an industry-wide impact,” said Mozilla’s chairperson, Mitchell Baker (via Ars).”With all due respect to Thunderbird and the Thunderbird community, we have been clear for years that we do not view Thunderbird as having this sort of potential.” Related: Mozilla makes private browsing on Firefox even more private It may be the Foundation is hoping for some other entity to buy Thunderbird, as Baker alluded to looking for the right “legal and financial home” for it. Thunderbird is a client that has proven to be relatively popular as an alternative to some of the more mainstream clients, and it likely would leave a number of fans saddened if development halted completely. Whether Mozilla will be able to find a home for the software before it becomes too much of a drain on the Foundation is anyone’s guess. As it stands, Thunderbird will continue to receive basic support in the form of security updates and any simple changes also made to the Firefox browser (as they both use the same rendering technology) but beyond that it seems unlikely that much more will be added. Do you use an offline mail client like Thunderbird? If so, could your provider support Thunderbird moving forward? Also watch: Asus ROG GX700 Hands On Please enable Javascript to watch this video More »Mozilla is thinking about ditching Thunderbird email client

  • 'Special announcement' from Oculus VR scheduled for Thursday's Game Awards

    Digital Trends - 4 hours ago

    In 2012, crowdfunding success and industry acclaim put the Oculus Rift at the head of the VR pack, long before the likes of the HTC Vive and PlayStation VR had ever been publicly showcased. The path towards a consumer version of the Rift, however, has been long and winding, but it seems the end may finally be in sight. This Thursday, The Game Awards 2015 will emanate from Los Angeles with a guest list that includes Glaswegian pop outfit Chvrches, Industry Icon Award recipients from Westwood Studios, and Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey. The inventor of the Rift will be making a ‘special announcement,’ according to a report from Tech Spot. The Game Awards — a spiritual successor to the Spike Video Game Awards — has become a launch pad for upcoming video game releases in recent years. No Man’s Sky, now one of the most eagerly anticipated releases scheduled for 2016, was put on the map overnight following its attention-grabbing debut at the 2013 ceremony. Related: Oculus Rift vs. Playstation VR Spec Comparison However, the Oculus Rift is well past its debut, and as such it’s safe to assume that Luckey’s disclosure will be about something else that would be worthy of a ‘special announcement.’ With a Q1 2016 launch still being reported, it would seem like apt timing for the specifics of its release date and price to be revealed. Next year, we’ll start to see whether VR headsets are indeed the future of video games, as projects that have spent years in research and development finally see release. The official launches of both the HTC Vive and PlayStation VR are expected to take place in the first quarter of 2016 also, so the Rift would certainly benefit from any available exposure. Many video game enthusiasts have already had their chance to experience VR, but mainstream exposure is far smaller. The Game Awards is likely the start of a broader marketing push for the Rift — and we can expect to see plenty more advertising for VR devices from several different companies as the battle lines are drawn next year. Also watch: Asus ROG GX700 Hands On Please enable Javascript to watch this video More »'Special announcement' from Oculus VR scheduled for Thursday's Game Awards


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