Mysterious Prototype Neo Geo Game Discovered

26 years ago the Neo Geo was the original home of a number of fighting games that would go on to be long running series, such as the King of Fighters games. Another potential Neo Geo masterpiece may have been discovered by Neo Geo enthusiast Brian Hargrove, who purchased an unlabelled ROM board a year ago for the sum of around $750, in the hopes of discovering any chunks of leftover data he could play with.

Upon first inspection of the data dumped from the board, it appeared to be an early protoype of  Voltage Fighter Gowkaizer, a superhero fighting game developed by Technos. Dumps of the flash cards that came with the board seemed to contain nothing to do with Voltage Fighter, however. Eventually, Hargrove was able to get the game to boot up, despite two of the flash cards being dead. This revealed a character select menu for a perhaps never-before-seen Neo Geo fighting game.

While the data containing things that may have been able to identify the game, such as a title screen, is inaccessible, what is available is interesting. The game looks like it may have been related to a franchise such as Dungeons and Dragons. Many of the character sprites are rough at best, but all of the characters contain one of 3 alignments that often appear in D&D – Lawful, Neutral and Chaotic. Choosing different alignments appears to change the character’s sprites too, which could have provided interesting depth and choice to the game. Overall, the game appears to have been rather ambitious, and it has been noted that it appears more complex than many of Technos’ other games, which raises the question of who developed it.

There is always the chance that this game is just a hoax, created and uploaded to an old Neo Geo board by a joker. The amount of effort that must have been used to create the advanced sprites featured in the prototype seem to contest this though. A number of the characters in the game even seem almost entirely complete. It may never have been finished, but from what you can see of this game, it really makes you wonder what it could have been had it been finished.

Apple iPhone 6S Teardown Confirms Weaker Battery

IFixIt has performed a comprehensive technical Teardown of the iPhone 6S to examine the handset’s build quality and overall construction. The iPhone 6S features an Apple A9 processor with embedded M9 motion co-processor, 4.7-inch 1334×750 (326 ppi) screen containing 3D touch functionality, 7000 series aluminium enclosure and Ion-X glass making for the best protection on the market today. Additionally, the device opts for a 12-megapixel iSight rear camera featuring 4K video recording. The front shooter is a fairly standard 5-megapixel sensor and you can choose between 16GB/64GB/128GB SKUs.

As with any modern Apple device, a range of tools and patience is required to do a component rundown. This is only a brief overview, and the complete guide can be found here. Apple utilized the usual array of ribbon flaps and hidden screws, but the new Taptic-engine takes up quite a large amount of space. Furthermore, the display assembly is rather hefty at 60 grams, and marks a 15 gram increase from the previous model. Rather surprisingly, the panel section weighs the same as Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus handset.On another note, the 3D touch sensor is labeled 343S00014 which doesn’t pinpoint to any major manufacturer but falls in line with Apple’s ICs. The battery capacity has been reduced from 1810 mAh to 1715 and comes in at 3.8V, 6.55 Whr. Apple had to reduce the battery size and capacity due to the Taptic Engine and thicker display. Finally, here is a complete rundown of the logic board ICs:

  • Apple A9 APL0898 SoC + Samsung 2 GB LPDDR4 RAM (as denoted by the markings K3RG1G10BM-BGCH)
  • Qualcomm MDM9635M LTE Cat. 6 Modem (vs. the MDM9625M found in the iPhone 6)
  • InvenSense MP67B 6-axis Gyroscope and Accelerometer Combo (also found in iPhone 6)
  • Bosch Sensortec 3P7 LA 3-axis Accelerometer (likely BMA280)
  • TriQuint TQF6405 Power Amplifier Module
  • Skyworks SKY77812 Power Amplifier Module
  • Avago AFEM-8030 Power Amplifier Module
  • 57A6CVI
  • Qualcomm QFE1100 Envelope Tracking IC
  • Toshiba THGBX5G7D2KLFXG 16 GB 19 nm NAND Flash
  • Universal Scientific Industrial 339S00043 Wi-Fi Module
  • NXP 66V10 NFC Controller (vs. 65V10 found in iPhone 6)
  • Apple/Dialog 338S00120 Power Management IC
  • Apple/Cirrus Logic 338S00105 Audio IC
  • Qualcomm PMD9635 Power Management IC
  • Skyworks SKY77357 Power Amplifier Module (likely an iteration of the SKY77354)

The Apple iPhone 6S has some rather subtle under-the-hood changes but feels quite iterative compared to its predecessor.

What do you think of the iPhone 6S hardware?

Thank you IFixIt for providing us with this information. 

Beautiful Handheld Wooden Emulator Re imagines a Classic

The Raspberry Pi series has opened up a new frontier in the evolution of tech which has enabled a whole new generation of developers the option to efficiently and cost effectively power their creations. This device however, is quite simply a fabulous reimagining of the Game Boy Advance SP handheld console which was originally released in 2003.

The design has arrived courtesy of creative mind Love Hulten, who has designed his own take on Nintendo’s handheld and has coined the machine the PE358. Below is a selection of screenshots which conveys the vision.  As you can see, the console is very lightweight with dimensions being 8x8x4cm.  The material used is American solid walnut and the console also folds in half which mirrors the Game Boy Advance SP

The emulator device is powered by the familiar Raspberry Pi A+- and it is more than capable of playing the same GBA SP games.  But there is a slight problem with that, as you can see, there is no cartridge slot which means you will need to track down the ROMs for your favourite GBA SP games.

The detail within the below image are fantastic, the screen design reminds me of an old Black and White TV, it has that class which certainly beats the Game Boy Advance SP flimsy plastic design which I personally did not like when it was released.  It may have been ahead of its time, but I found the design to be horrible at the time, it certainly had its fans considering the SP sold 43.52 million units as of June 30th 2009.

This last image below conveys the look when it is folded in half, and there is a chance that you might be able to buy this creation, considering it might not be a one-off design like most of Love Hulten’s works. Either way, it’s a fantastic and imaginative design which will no doubt have its fans within many avenues.

Thank you gizmodo, lovehulten and wikipedia for providing us with this information.

Cyanogen 12 is Finally Available for the OnePlus One

Cyanogen just announced that Cyanogen 12, the Android 5.0 Lollipop version is finally done and available for OnePlus One owners. The update had taken so much longer than expected that OnePlus created the OxygenOS Rom for its users to be able to update to Android Lollipop.

The drama between OnePlus and Cyanogenmod was interesting to watch there these last couple months with words being exchanged by both companies. Kirt McMaster, Cyanogenmod CEO took to Twitter on March 31st to say “guys… calm the f down… it’s coming soon… when ready!” something that didn’t sit well with everyone. Now they have finally come out with the update and everyone can be happy for now. The new Cyanogen 12 contains many updated apps and utilities, including a theming engine called App Themer. The new Cyanogen email debuts in the new ROM, containing Exchange support, the ability to handle multiple accounts, and many customization options. The new ROM will soon be an OTA update for those who are running the stock Cyanogen ROM that came with the One. If you are inclined to do it yourself now the zip file can be found here.

Thank you, Android Police for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of geeksnack.com

OnePlus Releases Version 1.0 of In-house OxygenOS ROM

It is no secret that smartphone manufacturer OnePlus has had a falling out with its initial software supplier Cyanogen. The public spat over the CyanogenMod 12S update delay has led the company to go ahead and develop its own ROM.

OxygenOS is now available to download for owners of the OnePlus One, and it should make many owners happy as it will be an upgrade to Lollipop. It is based on Android version 5.0.2 and has and has been worked on by some of the members of the Paranoid Android ROM team. Unfortunately, OnePlus missed its self-imposed March 27th deadline, but hopefully the extra time will mean that there are fewer bugs for those who update to the ROM.

Source: Android Police

Android Phones Could Be ‘Converted’ into Windows-Powered Handsets with Custom ROMs

Microsoft has revealed that it will provide its Windows 10 OS to a select group of Xiaomi Mi4 users in an initiative to expand the Windows-powered mobile OS beyond its Lumia handsets. Sources say that it effectively overrides Android, turning the Xiaomi phone into a Windows 10 device complete with Microsoft services.

“As part of the Windows Insider Program, Microsoft will partner with Xiaomi to offer Windows 10 free downloads to a select group of Xiaomi Mi4 users. Xiaomi Mi4 users will get the ability to flash their phones with the new Windows 10 OS and provide feedback to Xiaomi and Microsoft on their experience. This partnership will allow Xiaomi and Microsoft to get direct user feedback and continue to improve the experience for China. Microsoft is thrilled to see Xiaomi embracing Windows 10 and offering this great value to their customers. We’re excited to see the feedback we receive from this audience.

Xiaomi is a leading phone manufacturer in China undergoing significant global expansion. We are excited to partner with them in China and jointly gather feedback from Chinese users on their experience with Windows 10 to jointly collaborate on product and services development for the platform.

Availability will be announced in the months to come.”

The install is done by flashing the device’s ROM, effectively removing the possibility of a dual-boot, an approach similar to the Cyanogen OS project. Also, Xiaomi was Microsoft’s first option due to the fact that it has a strong community of users who provide feedback on the company’s weekly software updates.

It looks like Microsoft has big plans in offering the customization to a wider variety of devices, should the trial prove to be a success.

Thank you TechCrunch for providing us with this information

Android 5.0 is Basically Useless in China

Android 5.0 has been released to a massive reception in Western nations, promising and delivering a handy new user interface amongst other spectacular features.

Unfortunately for the Chinese population, almost all of this will go unused. Due to some reported issues ‘left over by history’, most domestic acquired Android users will be using non-native Android operating systems. Most Chinese-domestic phones are running a customized third-party ROM, including offerings such as HTC’s Sense, the Millet Miui and Meizu’s Flyme amongst many other handhelds.

You can’t help but feel sorry for them, given the positive reports that have been coming out of Android 5.0 thus far. Since the birth of Android, it is according to some that the Android 5.0 update is the first time that they finally ‘get it’, offering an innovative, stylish and simple interface design that’s obviously meant to compete with and crush iOS’ offering. Alongside this, these limitations aren’t just set to their mobile phones – Lollipop extends over Android OS run tablets, TV’s and wearable technology. Meaning that some of their products will be running the fancy updated OS, alongside their ‘basic’ looking third-party phone interface.

It’s unfortunate that China shall have to miss out on such software advancements, but it’s obvious that they’ve got the hardware game down pat. We’ve recently reported of their domestic-made offerings selling through the roof, despite update news such as this. So maybe it’s becoming clear that price wins over all and they don’t care about a fancy UI. Alongside Chinese-domestic phone company selling a reported 1.62 million of their phones in a non-stop 72 hour period, we’ve also reported that many ‘big wig’ phone companies are experiencing a significant decline in sales.

Image courtesy of Chiphell

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Camera Ported to Galaxy S4

Samsung introduced their newest camera software addition, Surround Shot, in their newest handset released, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. It consists of a mode that draws parallels to Photosphere introduced with Android 4.2, which it allows users to stitch together multiple individual photos of the surrounding environment into one, spherical image. The problem is that the app is only available for the Note 3.

Settings the compatibility issue aside, XDA Senior Member LastStandingDroid has made sure that users of the Galaxy S4 will also be able to enjoy such novelty by backporting the Note 3′s camera app to the S4. Tested to work on Android 4.3 with Samsung’s Touchwiz, it has been reported that all features of Note 3′s camera app are working as intended, including the aforementioned Surround Shot.

Installation is simple, requiring users to flash the provided zip file through a custom recovery, and it is always a good thing to make a Nandroid backup before hand. Sadly but somewhat expectedly, users of any AOSP-derived ROM will not be able to get their hands on the port, as LastStandingDroid has made such incompatibilities clear in the forum post.

All Galaxy S4 users running Touchwiz and Android 4.3 who would like to give the Note 3 camera a try without having to change devices could visit XDA’s original thread for more information and download.

Thank you XDA Developers for providing us with this information.