Mozilla Firefox 40 Released

Firefox’s existence has been somewhat rocky over the past few years, from the browser market becoming more competitive with the increased competition from Google Chrome to Microsoft’s new Edge browser, to the irritated reaction from Mozilla’s CEO who has rallied against Windows 10 over how consumers select a default browser.

So what does the latest incarnation of Firefox have in store for consumers? Well, Firefox 40 is out today (11th August 2015) which sees mostly under the hood improvements. These include enhanced compatibility with Windows 10, although previous versions do work with the new OS, this is more moving the browser in line with touchscreen devices and includes “close” buttons on tabs which are now bigger and the address bar also has bigger fonts. It has also revised tabstrips and toolbars plus a custom Windows 10 theme.

Other key changes include an improved and expanded malware detection feature in Firefox, which is able to identify malware downloads in all supported platforms as well as warn users about potentially unwanted software. Users can also receive suggested titles in the new tab page based on categories Firefox matches to browsing history. Improved scrolling, graphics, and video playback performance with off main thread compositing (GNU/Linux only) and a Graphic blocklist mechanism improved: Firefox version ranges can also be specified, limiting the number of devices blocked, and smoother animation and scrolling with hardware vsync (Windows only)

Warnings for unsigned extensions will be displayed and they’ll be blocked completely in Firefox 41

As for security, the below image illustrates what has been fixed in Firefox 40,

This update will be rolled out within the next day or so within the standard methods, Firefox might also need to revise the new version naming, otherwise it won’t be long before we reach Firefox 100 and above.

Thank You Firefox Notes for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of Fanpop

Update For GTA V Released

Oh the fun times I have had over the years with this game series, from the original Grand Theft Auto on the now vastly outdated but immensely fun PS1, to GTA V on the latest consoles and PC via Vice City and San Andreas. This game has been surprising yet brilliant entertainment and has also had cutting edge storytelling for the times with which the games were released.

The Latest addition to the series has benefited with a new update for the PC version which is a hefty -ish 400MB in size and will be auto-downloaded from Steam and Rockstar Social Club. So what does the new content have in store? Well to summarize as I don’t want to strain your eyes to death, the new features are as follows

  • 5 New vehicles for Legendary Motorsport for Story Mode
  • Two new weapons have been added to Ammu-Nation for Story Mode and GTA Online which unlock once player progresses to a certain point.
  • 15 new tattoos, 100s of new clothing items and 8 casual glasses.
  • Nine unique Knuckle Duster variants are available from Ammu-Nation for various story modes for the latest generation of consoles and PC.

Scarves and Cuffs have been added to the accessories section in the interaction menu ( this again is for latest consoles and PC)

Above are just the key points among many for this update, as for fixes, these amount to at least 100 in total which are split across various machines. There is no official log as yet for the update but this will be released in due course so stay tuned. Well at least Rockstar have kept the game fresh and interesting with new features, now if you excuse me, I’m off to hit some people with a bat, IN THE GAME! Before anyone has any ideas.

Thank You Dark Side Of Gaming for giving us this information

Rocksteady Studios Rolls out 3.5 GB Day One Patch for Arkham Knight

Like all games being released nowadays, Batman: Arkham Knight needs a huge day one patch to get it working. This comes after players inevitably get frustrated by waiting for a game and not being able to play it even if they have it already installed and ready to go. I really don’t get developers and their strategy today, but we may have to get used to it.

Rocksteady just launched a 3.5 GB day one patch for the title, promising to deliver more performance improvements, stability fixes and other goodies. Hopefully, along with AMD’s and NVIDIA’s newly released drivers, we might see the game running to an extent where it is ‘playable’, though we might need to wait for a couple of patch releases to actually see it working properly.

The full patch notes are as follows:

  • Improved Performance
  • Stability Fixes
  • New feature: Rival Points
  • New feature: Original Batsuit skin available to select
  • Support for “A Matter Of Family” additional content
  • General gameplay, graphical, audio, UI, and localization fixes

The real question here is whether it’s worth pre-ordering. I mean, we see more and more that titles don’t work properly once released, huge day one patches that hope to fix these problems and constant updates to actually see the game working as expected… months before it gets released. Shouldn’t we like wait until they get fixed properly before we buy them? What do you think?

Thank you GamingBolt for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of UOL

CD Projekt RED Explains Why The Witcher 3 Got a Visual Downgrade

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has been shown off with amazing graphics and gameplay footage, something that fans were eager to experience themselves. However, what they got was not what they saw when the company showed off their title, so complaints were bound to crop up. But we also have to take a look at what the company has to say about it.

As with all other games, companies show off their products in their early stages. That’s when they shove everything in and make it look nice and pretty, the thing that users gets so hyped about. But the sad truth is that when they actually add everything and start to see who can run it, things start to fall apart.

What this means is that not everything works from the very start, so a balance between performance and visuals needs to be made before the initial stages and up to the point of delivering the product. If this doesn’t go as planned, we might see another Assassin’s Creed Unity incident and I don’t think fans want to play games at 20FPS just to see those awesome graphics.

Marcin Iwinski told the same thing after the comments started rolling in, adding that once they started to put in the open-world environment and other details that make up The Witcher 3 gameplay, they went ‘oh s**t, it doesn’t really work’. So changes needed to be made for the product to deliver an amazing gameplay as well as great performance. But will this visual setback affect a lot of fans who already enjoy the title? Probably not.

Thank you GameSpresso for providing us with this information

Android 5.1 Rolls Out for the Nexus 10

Android 5.1 build LMY47D has arrived via OTA this Saturday for the Nexus 10 tablet, which is not that unexpected since Google released the factory image for the device two weeks ago. Compared to the Android 5.0, Android 5.1 is just 104.4 MB, though it is still best to update the software via Wi-Fi.

It is said that Android 5.1 brings performance enhancements, bug fixes and stability improvements. Those who have installed it have noticed an improvement in how fast the tablet boots up since the Android 5.0.2 update.

Also, to be noted is that the update, being OTA, will be broken down in waves. This means that some users won’t receive the update until after a few days. The best thing to do is keep an eye on your device’s battery and prepare for it to be available in your region.

Thank you Phonearena for providing us with this information

Grand Theft Auto v 1.07 Patch Released, Dubbed Grand Theft Auto Online Heist Update

Rockstar Games has just released its latest update for the Grand Theft Auto V title, the 1.07 Patch. It is said to currently be available for download on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Take note that the same patch is available on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 as Patch 1.21.

Taking a look at what the patch brings, we see that it’s mainly focused on Grand Theft Auto Online, hence the Grand Theft Auto Online Heist title. It comes with some minor fixes and improvements, but the most important features included are:

  • Heists are a new type of gameplay experience inside GTA Online – massive, multi-layered, 4-player co-operative missions that encourage players to work together and make the most of their individual strengths, and a team’s level of communication and coordination can make or break each mission.
  • Heists unlock at Rank 12 for players with a high-end apartment. They are started by a call from Lester and a visit to his garment factory. Please note there is a short delay between each Heist, but Lester will be in touch when the next Heist is ready. You can replay Heist strands by calling Lester using the “Request Heist” option.

For a complete list of what the new patch brings, you can head over to Rockstars website here.

Thank you NextPowerUp for providing us with this information

NVIDIA Just Made Its PhysX Source Code Free

‘Free’ looks like the word everyone is using recently when it comes to technology. After we saw Epic make its Unreal Engine 4 available for free, it now looks like NVIDIA is taking the same approach with its PhysX technology by giving away its source code for free.

While some bits of the PhysX technology were available for free on Windows, the developer now has given the full source code, which means that it will include the PhysX Clothing and PhysX Destruction features.

By having the full source code free and available for anyone out there, developers will be able to take full advantage of this world-class physics effect in their games, as well as speed up the adoption of the technology in future games.

Unreal Engine 4 itself has the Clothing and Destruction technologies integrated into the engine. However, developers can now add the technology in their own game engines, should they choose not to use the UE4 engine.

The aforementioned technology has been seen in titles such as Batman: Arkham Asylum, Batman: Arkham City, Bioshock Infinite, Borderlands 2, Lords of the Fallen, Monster Hunter Online, Daylight, as well as the upcoming title, The Witcher 3.

All PhysX technologies can be found in the NVIDIA GameWorks library, including the latest version of PhysX, namely 3.3.3. It is said that the latter version brings improved stability and performance, along with features such as constrained rigid body dynamics, collision detection, scene queries, character controller, particles, vehicles and much more.

The GameWorks library can be found on GitHub and accessed via the NVIDIA GameWorks Developer Program.

Thank you Guru3D for providing us with this information

NVIDIA GeForce 347.52 WHQL Released

Nvidia has released a new version of their graphics drivers, the 347.52 WHQL. The new drivers will as usual bring performance increases across various GPUs and games.

The new drivers are already optimised and tuned for the new Evolve, something that surely will be appreciated. The Game Ready driver will optimise your games at a single click as we’re used to, including SLI setups.

GeForce Game Ready Driver for Evolve

Just in time for the highly anticipated title Evolve, this new GeForce Game Ready driver ensures you’ll have the best possible gaming experience With support for GeForce SLI technology and one-click game setting optimizations within GeForce Experience, you’ll have the best possible performance and image quality during gameplay. In addition, we are delivering performance improvements across GeForce GPUs that will immediately benefit a wide variety of titles at various resolutions.

Game Ready
Best gaming experience for Evolve, including support for SLI Technology and GeForce Experience 1-click optimizations

Gaming Technology
Performance improvements across various GeForce GPUs. Some examples are:

GeForce GTX 980 GeForce GTX 970 GeForce GTX 960
1920×1080
• GRID: Autosport: up to 12%
• Alien: Isolation: up to 6%
• Dragon Age: Inquisition: up to 4%

1920×1080
• BioShock Infinite: up to 13%
• Assassin’s Creed Unity: up to 12%
• GRID: Autosport: up to 12%

1920×1080
• Assassin’s Creed Unity: up to 7%
• Far Cry 4: up to 4%
• Crysis 3: up to 3%

2560×1440
• Metro: Last Light: up to 10%
• Dragon Age: Inquisition: up to 7%
• The Crew: up to 5%

2560×1440
• GRID: Autosport: up to 11%
• Assassin’s Creed Unity: up to 11%
• Bioshock Infinite: up to 8%

2560×1440
• Assassin’s Creed Unity: up to 10%
• Far Cry 4: up to 4%
• WarThunder: up to 3%

3840×2160
• GRID: Autosport: up to 13%
• Dragon Age: Inquisition: up to 6%
• Far Cry 4: up to 6%

3840×2160
• GRID: Autosport: up to 10%
• WarThunder.: up to 8%
• Assassin’s Creed Unity: up to 7%

Test System Configuration:
Intel Core i7 5930K
Asus X99 Deluxe
16GB memory
Win 8.1 x64

Performance gains comparing driver 347.25 to 347.52 and normalized using the latest game patches.

The new drivers can be downloaded from the usual support site.

Twitch CEO Says Sorry and That Improvments Are Incoming

 

Since Google bought Twitch for $1 bn there have been many complaints, mainly due to them muting  the sound of videos if google found that unauthorized music was being used. Now the CEO has apologised and said that positive changes are coming.

It was no surprise that when Google acquired Twitch, that the hammer was going to come down hard on streamers, but when Google started to use audio monitoring tools in gamers videos many people have been left annoyed. If a streamer had 10 seconds of unauthorised music in their stream, even if it was part of the games OST, then that user could see their stream muted for a whole 30 minutes.  When Twitch’s CEO, Emmett Shear, took to Reddit to find out the publics opinion he realised that they might have made a mistake, for example, what happens when someone tries to do a Rock Band playthrough? Yup, it would be muted from start to finish.

Now, Emmett has apologised and has said improvements will be seen soon. There have already been some, such as an “appeal” button for videos that have been flagged for violations and also the maximum time limits applied to highlights being removed.  It will be interesting to find out what they do with the music in the streams though.

Thanks to Tweak Town for supplying us with this information.

Image courtesy of Tweak Town

Epic Games Preps ‘Cool Surprises’ for Unreal Engine 4

Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 4 received a lot of appreciation when it was first released, having its presence grow as it entered the VR community recently. The company has added support for Oculus Rift a few months ago, followed by the more recent Project Morpheus VR headset integration. The company has also stated that it will provide constant updates to the tool set and will improve support regularly

However, nobody seems to know what will happen later on. The question arose when the developer stated that some ‘cool surprises’ are planned in the following months. Nick Whiting, Lead Engine Programmer, revealed that the company has something special prepared in the future, but it seems his statement was vague. He has emphasized that some “cool suprirses in the coming months in the VR scene.”

Looking at the company’s announcements, Epic Games will be releasing the Couch Knight demo next month at the same time as Oculus Rift launches its second development kit, namely the DK2. This could mean that Epic Games would release a fully fledged video game with support for both Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus. On the other hand, Epic Games might use the timing in order to tease the development tools at hand. Nevertheless, whatever it might relate to, it will most certainly be ‘Epic’.

Thank you VRFocus for providing us with this information
Images courtesy of VRFocus

Xbox One Update Scheduled For February 11, To Bring Support for USB Keyboard

When Microsoft launched the Xbox in November last year, Microsoft’s next-gen console performed better than expected. The company saw 3.9 million units being shipped to retail stores all around the world. Now, Microsoft can start improving it, and the changes are likely to be seen sooner than expected.

The Xbox one will see a few features added later on, as well as regular updates for security and other minor fixes. A upadate is reportedly scheduled for February 11, having Marc Whitten, Chief Product Officer, reveal that it will feature “behind-the-scenes updates”, helping developers in building applications and games for the console, along with an interesting improvement.

Whitten says that the update will also include a Kinect voice commands improvement, making them more fluid and responsive. Does it have something to do with the Cortana news floating around for Windows Phone? Maybe so, but don’t expect to hear her voice in your console now. Although, some improvements might be seen in the upcoming April update for Windows Phone personal assistant as well.

Other features consist of the ability to see and manage storage space on the console, as users will be able to find out exactly how much storage their content is taking up. The ability to control installed line-ups will be included as well, making download queries much easier, My Games and My Apps will be displayed in separate lists, an addition of a boot progress indicator to help track updates as they load, and these are just a few of what’s to come next.

One addition is quite mentionable though. The new update also brings support for USB keyboard to Xbox one. Is Microsoft aiming to bring PC gamers to the console area? All we need now is a mouse support.

Thank you Ubergizmo for providing us with this information

AMD Catalyst 14.1 BETA Driver To Launch In Q1 2014, Rumored To Bring AMD’s Mantle

AMD Catalyst 14.1 is said to launch sometime in Q1 2014, and it is confirmed to be packed with a lot of features. It will feature first of all support for the Radeon R200 series graphic cards and the AMD Kaveri A-series APU.

The Catalyst 14.1 BETA driver would be the first driver to fully feature the Mantle API, TrueAudio, DirectX 11.2 support and frame pacing enhancements. The new Catalyst 14.1 BETA will bring an updated design for the Catalyst Control Center (CCC) with new profiles to easily tuned 3D settings for ease of use. The driver would also bring enhancements to the latest AMD Overdrive which was recently revealed with the Radeon R9 290X and Radeon R9 290 graphic cards bringing users temperature based overdrive, heat map user interface and fan control settings.

The main performance improvements would be delivered in Battlefield 4 since it is the flagship game which AMD is focusing towards. Battlefield 4 is also the first game to feature Mantle which gets the new patch this month. It is said to deliver up to 45 percent performance improvement over DirectX which is a huge number if AMD’s marketing isn’t kidding with us. Coupled with this driver, AMD users are going to get some massive performance improvements on their hardware.

Thank you WCCF for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of WCCF

“Heavy Duty” Multiplayer Mode Added With The Latest Call of Duty: Ghosts Patch

Updates consist mostly of fixing broken bits and functions inside games, but there are some that bring drastic changes too. This is the case of the latest update for Call of Duty: Ghosts, which will bring the addition of a free new multiplayer mode named “Heavy Duty”, along with the obligatory patches and fixes to the multiplayer mode.

“Heavy Duty” mode aims to address a common complaint made by Call of Duty players: It’s too easy to get killed. The general consensus amongst gamers is that the person who shoots first normally comes out on top in all gunfights. In the new mode, all players will spawn with beefed-up health bars so they can take more punishment before going down, hopefully making gunfights more about strategy rather than the reflex tests that they are. Developers Infinity Ward are looking to collect feedback on the mode, so this is a chance for the players to make their voices heard.

The update is now live on Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS4, PS3 and PC. A patch for the Wii U has not yet been released and there is no word on when players will get the update on their console of choice.

Thank you VR-Zone for providing us with this information.

Microsoft Looking Forward To Bing’s Uprising Next Year

 

Bing has always been something to be criticized when it comes to Microsoft. The internet search engine has been losing money for years, mostly because Microsoft has been building up a massive datacenter infrastructure behind it.

Statistics show that last year, Bing and associated online services cost Microsoft about $1.5 billion. Even for a company the size of Microsoft that is not chump-change. However, those losses were not due to lack of revenue, but a massive, 6 year development and investment cycle.

Microsoft Chief Financial Officer, Dave O’Hara, stated in a analyst meeting that Microsoft’s large-scale build out of infrastructure and algorithm development for Bing is complete. Going forward, improvements will be “incremental” since Microsoft believes it now has full capacity to operate Bing.

With that shift in expenses, that means Bing is in a position to start returning on that investment and make Microsoft from money. Since Bing has been integrated into more services and devices, Microsoft may see this strategy play out well. Bing is not simply a search engine, it is fully integrated with Windows 8.1, Windows 8.1 RT and Windows Phone.

O’Hara also said that Cortana, Microsoft’s personal digital assistant technology for Windows Phone, will be making a debut with the update to Windows Phone 8.1 next year. Just when you thought Microsoft might be setting cruise control on things, it looks like they are about to stomp on the accelerator hard.

Thank you Phonearena for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Bing

AMD Releases The Catalyst 13.12 WHQL-certified Graphics Card Driver

We finally see AMD releasing the Catalyst 13.12 after months on end of 13.11 and 13.11 beta drivers. The release features support for the Radeon HD 5000, HD 6000, HD 7000, Radeon R7 and R9 Series cards and is available for Windows Vista, 7, 8 and 8.1.

Highlights on new additions and improvements can be viewed below. The driver can be downloaded from AMD’s official website here.

Feature Highlights

    ​Support for the following new products:
  • AMD Radeon R9 290, 280, and 270 Series
  • AMD Radeon R7 260, 250, and 240 Series
  • ​Improved AMD CrossFire​ scaling for the following game titles:

  • Call of Duty: Ghosts (multiplayer component)
  • Splinter Cell Blacklist
  • Saints Row 4
  • Metro Last Light
  • ​New AMD Enduro Technology profiles for the following game titles:

  • XCOM: Enemy Unknown
  • Need for Speed Rivals
  • Total War​: Rome 2
  • Battlefield 4
  • Saints Row 4
  • Splinter Cell Blacklist
  • FIFA 14
  • ​Support For AMD CrossFire frame pacing

  • Frame pacing ensures that frames rendered across multiple GPUs in an AMD CrossFire configuration will be displayed at an even and regular pace
  • Frame pacing is enabled through the AMD Catalyst Control Center, or on a per application basis
  • Frame pacing is supported on DirectX 10 and DirectX 11 applications using resolutions up to (and including) 2560×1600 on a single display

Resolved Issues

  • May resolve intermittent black screens or display loss observed on some AMD Radeon R9 290X and AMD Radeon R9 290 graphics cards
  • Resolves intermittent crashes seen in legacy DirectX 9 applications
  • AMD Radeon R9 290 Series – Power Tune update to reduce variance of fan speed / RPM
  • PCI-E bus speed is no longer set to x1 on the secondary GPU when running in an AMD CrossFire configuration
  • Resolves incorrect HDMI Audio Driver information being listed in the AMD Catalyst Control Center
  • Resolves AMD Steady Video option being grayed out in the AMD Catalyst Control Center
  • Resolves intermittent flickering seen on some AMD Radeon R9 270X graphics cards
  • Resolves graphics corruption issues found in Starcraft
  • Resolves image corruption seen in Autodesk Investor 2014
  • Resolves flickering water corruption found in World of Warcraft
  • Resolves intermittent black screen when resuming from a S3/S4 sleep-state if the display is unplugged during the sleep-state on systems supporting AMD Enduro Technology
  • Resolves intermittent crashes experienced with Battlefield 4 on Windows 8 based systems
  • Resolves the display turning green when using Windows Media Player to view HD .avi format video in an extended desktop configuration
  • Resolves Metro applications experiencing frame drops during playback of interlaced video content
  • Resolves video playback corruption of .wmv format files in Windows Media Player

Thank you TechPowerUp for providing us with this information

Windows Phone 8.1 Rumored To Get A Notification Center

Rumors are that Microsoft is preparing to ship Windows Phone 8.1. The new OS, which will apparently be detailed at the company’s BUILD conference in April, will finally add a notification center as well as a Siri-like personal assistant.

Tom Warren from The Verge state that the new notification center will have two views. A “short swipe” from the top will reveal settings and a “long swipe” will reveal a full notification history. The addition of a notification center is long overdue, if not exactly surprising. Last year it came out that what seemed like a huge product oversight in Windows Phone 8 was in fact intentionally left out because Microsoft “ran out of time.”

It is also said that current betas of Windows 8.1 have a built-in personal assistant. Previous rumors suggest that this voice assistant will sound like Cortana, the AI character from Halo. There are also more missing features like the ability to separately control the volume of media playback and your ringtone.

If this is true, the new additions to Windows Phone 8 amount to some significant catch up with the much better Android and iOS alternatives. Unfortunately, they’re pretty late fixes for the glaring absences in the existing Windows Phone product. It seems like we’ll have to wait until BUILD to find out if Microsoft has any get ahead features in waiting.

Thank you Gizmodo for providing us with this information

iOS 7.1 beta 2 Released For Registered Developers

Developers now have access to the iOS 7.1 beta 2 from Apple’s developer website. Those with test devices are receiving it OTA, and the software is identified as build 11D5115d. The update is not for general consumer use and developers are getting the software for testing purposes only. The last publicly released update was iOS 7.0.4, which was sent out last month to repair a bug related to FaceTime that dropped calls using the video chat application.

Apple released the first beta of iOS 7.1 last month and while that release was supposed to fix a bug that made iTunes Match load up a music library slower than it should, that bug remains on the changelist for beta 2. In addition, iTunes Match users should have an easier time accessing their tunes from the cloud after installing the new version of the OS. Apple has also relocated certain settings with the “Touch ID & Passcode” option moved to the main menu of “Systems”. And in between “Sounds” and “Privacy” you will now find setting options for Touch ID and lockscreen passcodes. In addition, Apple points out to developers that crash logs are now located in the Diagnostics & Usage Data menu in Settings.

There are still a few bugs left in iOS 7.1 beta 2, such as one that prevents audiobooks from playing. That doesn’t sound too good. Neither does the word from Apple that iCloud Keychain might not be able to be supported when setting up a new iCloud account. Also, 32-bit apps running on 64-bit devices like the Apple iPhone 5s, Apple iPad Air and the Apple iPad with Retina display are having problems connecting with Bluetooth devices. Which means that we might have a while to go before the general release of iOS 7.1 sees the light of day.

Thank you Phonearena for providing us with this information
Images courtesy of Phonearena

Android 4.4.2 Already Rolling Out For All Nexus Devices

The Android 4.4.1 update began just last week, but it looks like a new hotfix is already arriving as version 4.4.2. Users have reportedly started receiving an update for their Nexus devices in the last hour. It has been spotted so far on the Nexus 4, Nexus 5, and the Nexus 7, and the Nexus 10 in the near future, according to an article from Android Police.

It seems that updates are on a roll as of late. Given the recent releases have a lot of major bugs in them, for example the newly released Nokia Lumia 2520 and its Sleep Mode issue, it does not come as a surprise for developers to release updates in such a short time. The real question here is why do they release hardware or software that is not yet ready for the market? That’s a really good question indeed.

Nonetheless, the 4.4.2 comes as a surprise to most people, therefore details about it are scarce. Android Police came across a few vague insights of what the update might contain, which are listed below. For now, Nexus users should just wait and see for themselves what the new update brings to their devices.

Enhancements/Fixes

  • Fix for clearing the VM Indicator
  • Fix for delivery of the VM Indicator
  • Various additional software fixes
  • Security enhancements

Thank you Android Police for providing us with this information
Images courtesy of Android Police

Android 4.4.1 Will Reportedly Fix Nexus 5 Camera

Nexus 5 users should be pleased to hear that Android 4.4.1 update should be rolling out shortly and that in addition to speeding up focusing, it will add faster white balancing, less shutter lag, and the ability to pinch-zoom the viewfinder in HDR+ mode. The company also shared a handful of photos showing the difference between normal mode and HDR+ following the update.

Dave Burke, Google’s Director of Engineering for Android, confirmed the news about the camera problems users have been encountering and that the Nexus 5 takes longer to focus than it should. In an effort to produce a higher-quality image, the team opted to “make the shutter time longer, reduce the gain even longer, and get better shots.” This resulted in slower-than-expected shooting speeds, a drawback the next version of Android is aimed at fixing.

Besides the framerate increase, the Nexus 5 will have a speed-up between capturing pictures, reducing the time gap by 1 second. There will also be a progress indicator in the HDR+ mode that makes the mode easier to manage. The update should also fix the Nexus 5’s face unlock bug, where relying on facial recognition to unlock the device would occasionally ruin the camera app until the entire phone was rebooted.

The camera on the Nexus 5 is superb as it is, however the drawbacks have kept it from being the perfect picture-taking gadget. With the new update, owners should soon be able to whip out the handset with more confidence.

Thank you Android Police for providing us with this information
Images courtesy of Android Police

Amazon Adds a New and Improved UI To Their Android Appstore

The Android Appstore got a new and improved look and feel in the latest update. While version 7 follows the dark UI scheme that they’ve been using for quite a while, it still doesn’t have the standard Android app buttons and controls in the standard places.

The UI looks more like the Appstore on the new Kindle Fire HDX devices. This is not surprising since Amazon wants users to be familiar with its software rather than android-based standard looks, and though users would very much prefer an Android interface, Amazon’s approach of unifying their software across devices is not a bad idea as well.

The Android Appstore should be available through a device notification which states that the new version is available for download, or if you want to install it manually, you can go here and download the .apk yourself. Take note though that your device needs to allow installation for software from Unknown sources. To do this,access your device’s Settings and navigate to the Unknown sources option which is located under Applications or Security depending on your device.

Thank you Android Central for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Android Central

Ratings and Reviews Added in the Latest Microsoft Store Update for Windows Phones

Microsoft has recently updated their Store application for Windows Phone to version 2.3 which is said to bring improved customer experience in the catalog, but according to WP Central the store is still a little slow and confusing to use as no category for phones exists and users also need to use search to find Nokia Lumia devices.

In spite of the above, the new 2.3 version displays ratings and reviews for products, as well as allowing users to add shortcuts to the favorite categories. Another neat feature pointed out is the ability to see what’s going on at your local store directly form the Microsoft Store app. If you want to attend an event at your local store, you can use the app to view a schedule of what’s happening there in the next few weeks.

Windows Phone users can also browse the app to shop online for products available through the Microsoft Store. A list of the store’s features and improvements can be viewed below:

Features:

  • Find your nearest Microsoft Store
  • See store details including hours, map and directions
  • Schedule an Answer Desk, Personal Training, Personal Shopping or Business Consultation appointment
  • View events happening at a particular store
  • See latest Microsoft Store news from Facebook, Twitter and the Microsoft Blog
  • Shop for Microsoft Store products online

New in version 2.3:

  • Improved customer experience in the catalog
  • Ratings and reviews for products
  • Favorite shortcut to your favorite categories

It is not a massive improvement, as the Store app still needs a lot of work added to it, but at least Microsoft is taking things further instead of the other way around. For more information about the latest Store update you can head on over to the Windows Phone website here.

Thank you WP Central for providing us with this information

Windows 8.2 To Come With Big Changes In January 2014

Although Windows 8.1 has just been released, Microsoft has apparently listened to its customers feedback of the newly updated operating system and will implement the required features and fixes in the next update, which is scheduled for January 2014.

Microsoft is said to bring back the Start Menu, one of the main features and the biggest disappointment in Windows 8. Although the 8.1 update brought back the apparent Start menu button, it only takes the user to the Metro UI instead of opening up the familiar drawer found in previous Windows version. Windows 8.2 however is said to fix this feature and bring back the Start Menu which we are all familiar with.

Internet Explorer will get a boost as well, having to release with the latest developments in the speed of loading pages increase. Windows 8.1 introduced the new Internet Explorer 11, but it did not look or feel (in terms of performance) anything better than previous versions.

Lastly, Microsoft will restore the File Explorer library by default in the new version of Windows 8.2. It could be incorporated in the current version of the operating system, but Microsoft tech support has been written so many questions about where it can be configured in, so Redmond decided to show the File Explorer by default.

Microsoft is expected to release the Windows 8.2 update in January 2014 and, as Windows 8.2, it will come as a free update through the Windows Store application.

Thank you Business2Community for providing us with this information

Kindle Fire OS 3.1 Update Released

Amazon has released its latest OS update, the Kindle Fire 3.1, for the Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Fire HDX variants. The update consist of various improvements, optimizations, as well as new apps.

One of the key features in the update is Goodread, which is now integrated into the OS. This means that every book you read will automatically be synced with the Goodread account set up on the device. Other features consist of printing, the ability to push content to your PS3 or Samsung Smart TV and there is also word of PS4 support coming in the near future.

A list of the updates, improvements and features can be seen below:

  • Find and share books with Goodreads
  • Goodreads on Kindle lets you connect with the Goodreads community to follow friends and see what they are reading, and share and rate books on your Kindle Fire.
  • Organize your content with Cloud Collections
  • Organize your content library into collections like “Favorite Books” and “Sports Apps” that are synchronized with compatible Kindle devices and reading apps.
  • Watch movies and TV shows on another device with Second Screen
  • Fling movies and TV shows from your Kindle Fire to your 2013 Samsung Smart TV or PlayStation 3 using Second Screen.
  • Learn more about books with Smart Lookup
  • With the Smart Lookup feature, you can quickly look up words in the dictionary or Wikipedia or translate text in a book.
  • Print from Your Kindle Fire
  • Print Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents, photos, e-mails, calendar events, and contact information from your Kindle Fire to a printer that supports mobile printing.
  • Free up storage space with 1-Tap Archive
  • With 1-Tap Archive, your Kindle Fire groups all content that has not been used recently so you can move it to the Cloud with just one tap.
  • Enhanced enterprise features
  • Manage security certificates and connect to your company’s Wi-Fi network—whether you’re at home or at work—with remote VPN capabilities.
  • Set alarms and view additional time zones with the Clock app
  • Use the all-new Clock app to check the date and time, set an alarm clock, and more

Thank you NextPowerUp for providing us with this information

Google Now Smart Features To Arrive For The Nexus 5 on November 13th

It has been revealed in a Nexus 5 publication that Google Now will get even smarter, with the voice-based assistant getting some sort of answering back features. Also Google Now will be able to search apps and launch them to perform tasks and show more Google Now cards based on the user’s location, according to Android Authority.

Mathew Honan from Wired has this to say on the matter at hand:

But the stuff Google says is coming November 13 is the real gravy, and it’s a shame it isn’t already ladled on. One of those things is the ability to ask you questions — so you might say “text Jennifer” and it will reply “which Jennifer,” and then ask you to dictate the message. It’s also going to get the ability to search inside applications, and launch them to complete tasks for you. So, you might search for a restaurant, and an option in the results shows up for OpenTable, which you’ll be able to fire up and make a reservation. It’s also going to use location cues to drop cards into Google Now, even more so than it does currently. At Yellowstone it will show you geyser times, for example. Sadly, none of this stuff was lit up yet, so I wasn’t able to test it. I’m not dinging the phone for that (and it’s not getting any extra credit), but given how interesting these features are, it’s kind of crazy the phone launched without them.

The Nexus 5 is driven more to Google Search services, including Google Now, than any other Nexus released. On the downside however, some of those Google Search feature will “officially” be a Nexus 5 exclusive for now. Anyway, it is not a surprise that Google Now will be improved and more details will emerge next week when Google will make the official announcement.

Thank you Android Authority for providing us with this information.

AMD Rolls Out Catalyst 13.11 Beta9.2 Driver

AMD has released another version for the Catalyst 13.11, entitled Beta9.2 . The driver contain fixes for the fan speed issues with the R9 290 and R9 290X graphics cards which resulted in varied performance among different cards that led some consumers and media outlets in believing that AMD has provided media with golden samples which are better than the retail cards. It seems AMD quickly came forward with the Catalyst 13.11 Beta9.2 which addresses this issue.

AMD has basically changed how you control fan speed in CCC. Prior to this, fan speed was set using a percentage but now you can directly set RPM. Furthermore, AMD has also slightly raised the fan speeds to 2200 RPM for the R9 290X and 2650 RPM for the R9 290. As much as this increases the performance of the card, it also increases the overall noise output.

Thee new drivers appear to improve the anti-aliasing performance in Call of Duty: Ghosts along with some other improvements. A list of the driver’s features is listed below.

Feature Highlights of The AMD Catalyst 13.11 Beta9.2 Driver for Windows

    ​​
  • Call of Duty®: Ghost – Improves anti-aliasing performance, and updates the AMD CrossFire profile
  • AMD Radeon R9 290 Series – PowerTune update to reduce variance of fan speed / RPM
  • Resolves intermittent crashes seen in legacy DirectX®​ 9 applications
  • DirectX 11.2 – Tier 1 Tiled Resources now supported on the following products:
    • ​AMD Radeon R9 280X
    • AMD Rad​eon R9 270X
    • AMD Radeon R7 250
    • AMD Radeon R7 240
    • AMD Radeon HD 7900 Series
    • AMD Radeon HD 7800 Series
    • AMD Radeon HD 7700 Series

Thank you Chip Loco for providing us with this information

Android 4.3 Jelly Bean Available for HTC One Handsets

Great news for HTC One users as the Android 4.3 Jelly Bean updated has started to be available for OTA download. It is reported also that the HTC One will run smoother and faster with the new 4.3 OS than the Samsung competitor, the Galaxy S4.

The update started to become available to unlocked HTC One devices on the 28th of September and carrier locked phones will soon be given the update later on (if not already received). It is worth noting that Android 4.4 KitKat will soon be available in October, so updates are on the roll for android users.

The main improvements that users will see in the new Android 4.3 update for HTC One are:

  • Improved colour contrast in low-light environments using the camera
  • New battery charging animation in power-off state
  • Video highlights can now feature soundtracks
  • New radios
  • Several bug fixes
  • Improved overall system performance

Aside from the modifications and improvements provided by HTC to the One smartphone, the new firmware features several Jelly Bean goodies from the Android 4.3 version.

Some features owners should expect from the new software update are as follows:

  • OpenGL ES 3.0 version for realistic and high performance 3D graphics rendering
  • Virtual surround sound powered by Fraunhofer Cingo – Beats Audio technology may have overridden this
  • Bluetooth Low Energy and compatibility with Bluetooth Smart accessories
  • Improved dial pad functionality with Autocomplete
  • Better keyboard and text input
  • Wi-Fi only location scanning
  • Disabled apps tab found in the “Settings > Applications”
  • Additional language support
  • Enhanced photo daydream
  • Faster switching from the lock screen

Thank you Gadget.ro and IBTimes for providing us with this information.