PS4 System Software 4.00 Update to Introduce Long Overdue Features

PS4 System Software 4.00 Update to Introduce Long Overdue Features

  • Update brings better designed Quick and Share Menu
  • The ability to create folders on launch screen
  • Video clips on Twitter are now 140 seconds

The PlayStation 4, Sony’s latest console at least for now, is jumping to the next big number with its forthcoming 4.00 system software update, codenamed Shingen, and is rightfully bringing a ton of changes.

Apart from giving the system UI a cleaner look and smoother experience, the Japanese company has also added multiple tools for organisation to the content launcher and changed how menus appear while playing games. All of these changes will be available for use to PS4 owners who are enrolled for the beta in the coming days, and Sony said that the final build of the PS4 System Software 4.00 update will include more features that aren’t part of this beta.

The changes to the UI with PS4 System Software 4.00 will effect menus, primarily. Both the Quick Menu – brought up by pressing and holding the PS button on your DualShock 4 – and the Share Menu – which has a dedicated button – will now only cover a portion on the left-side of your screen instead of taking you away from your game.

You can add or remove items to the Quick Menu as you desire, see whether your friends are online and even create shortcuts to access groups, communities or a party. As for the Share Menu, it will now remember the last social network you shared a screenshot or video to, just to make the process quicker next time around. Plus, the PS4 System Software 4.00 update supports videos of up to 140 seconds on Twitter, as opposed to the measly 10 seconds earlier.

sony_ps4_400_update_beta_quick_menu.jpgOn the launch screen, you can now create folders to organise your games and apps. Part of the new UI changes with PS4 System Software 4.00 also involve new system backgrounds and an updated “What’s New” tab.

Your PS4 Library is getting sorting mechanisms that allow you to order by purchase date or install status, which ought to make searching for things easier if not just faster. Moreover, the existing Games and Applications tabs will focus on installed content, while a new Purchased tab will showcase everything you’ve ever bought on the online store – including games, applications, demos, and betas you’ve participated in.

Minor changes in the PS4 System Software 4.00 update include the ability to see trophies offline and see what’s behind a hidden trophy, the option to add a background photo to user profile and compare trophy progress right from someone’s profile.

Sony hasn’t yet provided a public launch date for the PS4 System Software 4.00 update.

 

Battlefield 1 Open Beta Starts on August 31

Battlefield 1 Open Beta Starts on August 31

  • Open beta starts August 31 for Xbox One, PS4, and PC
  • Sign up as Insider member by August 21 for early access
  • Beta takes you to Sinai Desert in WWI Egypt

Battlefield 1, EA’s first video game set around World War I in over two decades, is getting an open beta that starts August 31 before its October release, the company announced in a blog post late on Monday. If you would like early access, you will need to sign up as a Battlefield Insider member by this Sunday, August 21 and opt for your platform preference to get a code.

The beta will give players access to the Sinai Desert map, based on the real life one in the nation of Egypt, and provide two game modes in Conquest – a large-scale game mode with up to 64 players fighting for control – and Rush – a 24-player mode where the attacking force must find and destroy the telegraph posts of the defending force.

“From infantry skirmishes in the narrow streets of the village of Bir el Mazar to dogfights above the majestic cliffs, you’ll need to make tactical use of the dunes as you engage in explosive battles,” EA explained. “When all hope is lost, reinforcements will arrive in the shape of a powerful Behemoth: a deadly Armoured Train charging through the desert sands.”

 Battlefield 1 is the first major entry in the franchise since 2013’s Battlefield 4 and the first Battlefield game not to release on either of the previous-gen consoles – PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 – since 2005’s Battlefield 2: Modern Combat. The open beta for Battlefield 1 will be available on all three release platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Origin for PC.

 

Infosys to ‘Redeploy’ 3,000 Employees After RBS Cancels Contract

Infosys to 'Redeploy' 3,000 Employees After RBS Cancels Contract

Global software major Infosys on Wednesday said it will not lay off nearly 3,000 techies after the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) cancelled its contract for setting up a new bank (Williams & Glyn) but redeploy them in other projects.

“We would like to clarify that there are no job losses and that all employees affected by the ramp down that will take place over the next several months will be redeployed on other projects,” the company said in a statement.

There were reports on August 16 that Infosys will soon lay off about 3,000 techies.

“Subsequent to this (RBS) decision, we will carry out an orderly ramp-down of about 3,000 persons, primarily in India, over the next few months,” the city-based IT major had disclosed on its website but did not share details with the media.

The Edinburgh-based RBS announced last week that it would no longer pursue its plan to separate and list a new UK (British) standalone bank (W&G) and instead pursue other options for the divestment of its business.

“We have been a W&G programme technology partner for consulting, application delivery and testing services,” the IT outsourcing company said on its website.

According to company sources here, RBS signed a five-year multi-million dollar contract with Infosys and the US-based software major IBM for providing IT services to its proposed W&G bank.

“As RBS has a key relationship for us, we look forward to strengthening our strategic partnership and working with it across other transformation programmes,” the company added.

 

Ford Plans Self-Driving Car for Ride Share Fleets in 2021

Ford Plans Self-Driving Car for Ride Share Fleets in 2021

  • Ford aims to bring self-driving technology to its cars latest by 2025
  • Ford has been making substantial investments in different firms to boost the same
  • Ford said it expects to deploy 30 self-driving Fusion Hybrid prototypes this year

Ford Motor Co plans to offer a fully automated driverless vehicle for commercial ride-sharing in 2021, the automaker announced Tuesday, expanding its efforts in driverless cars and ride sharing – two areas where rivals have already made inroads.

To help speed development of self-driving cars, Chief Executive Mark Fields said Ford is hiking investments in Silicon Valley technology firms, tripling its investment in semi-autonomous systems, and more than doubling the size of its Palo Alto research team while expanding its campus in Silicon Valley.

“We’re not in a race to be first,” Fields said at the company’s Palo Alto research and development lab, adding he was not concerned that rival General Motors had made a high-stakes play in ride services with its $500 million investment in Lyft in January.

Ford does not yet know whether it will partner with Uber, Lyft or others, with Fields saying “all options are open and on the table.” He said Ford may choose not to partner, and roll out such services on its own.

Ford’s announcement leaves many crucial strategy details still undecided. Yet Ken Washington, Ford’s vice president of research, said it was important to signal that Ford intends to win in this space, even with key elements still unknown.

“We’re saying to partners, we are the winning partner. It’s not a hollow promise, it’s a real intent,” Washington said.

Ford Chief Technical Officer Raj Nair said the company likely will not offer a similar driverless car without steering wheel or pedals to consumers until 2025 or later. Launching a self-driving car first for ride-sharing is a better way to reach the mass market and make the cars more affordable, he said.

In a philosophy shared by Alphabet’s Google , Ford does not intend to develop incremental autonomous systems that would occasionally require drivers to take the wheel, instead committing to a full self-driving car.

“We abandoned the stepping-stone approach,” Fields said, saying there are too many risks involved in the safe “hand-over” of driving responsibility between car and driver.

The death of a Tesla driver in May who was using the company’s “Autopilot” system but had his hands off the wheel has underscored the confusion over drivers’ responsibilities in a semi-autonomous car.

Ford also said it had, along with Baidu Inc – China’s largest Internet company – jointly invested $150 million in Velodyne, which makes laser-based sensors that are a major building block in self-driving cars. Nair said Ford’s investment was $75 million.

Earlier this year, Ford invested in Silicon Valley firm, Civil Maps, for advanced mapping for self-driving vehicles.

Ford rivals, including General Motors and Uber Technologies , are also developing self-driving vehicles for use in ride services.

Ford said it expects to deploy 30 self-driving Fusion Hybrid prototypes this year, and 90 next year.

Nair said Ford, with its investments and its acquisition of SAIPS, an Israeli machine learning startup, now have the tools in place to develop a fully driverless vehicle, but said “there’s still a lot of engineering development” between now and 2021.

 

India Ranked Top Exporter of Information, Communication Technology

India Ranked Top Exporter of Information, Communication Technology: UN Report

  • India ranked 8th in the world for producing graduates in science and engineering
  • India’s “jugaad” tradition of innovation can help it capture global markets
  • Areas where India is lagging include the business environment & education

India has been ranked the world’s top exporter of information and communication technology in a UN agency report that recommended that the country leverage this lead to innovate in emerging areas where biology and materials sciences intersect with computing.

Overall, India leapt 14 places from the 85th rank last year to the 61st in the latest Global Innovation Index (GII) released in Geneva by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (Wipo) in partnership with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on Monday.

India ranked 8th in the world for producing graduates in science and engineering and showed the most significant improvements in human capital and research moving up 40 places to 63.

Wipo, a specialised agency of the UN, worked also with Cornell University and INSEAD, the international business school, to prepare the ninth edition of the index.

In a nod to India’s “jugaad” tradition of innovation, the report said that its culture of “frugality and sustainability” can help it capture global markets.

“For this to happen, however, India’s industries need to have the hunger to be at the top of the value chain, its customers have to be more demanding, its policies have to be more transparent, and its talent pool has to get more hands-on experience while simultaneously growing to leverage the global talent pool,” the report said.

 Wipo quoted CII Director General Chandrajit Banerjee as saying: “The commitment of India to innovation and improved innovation metrics is strong and growing, helping to improve the innovation environment. This trend will help gradually lift India closer to other top-ranked innovation economies.”

Areas where India is lagging include the business environment, where it is ranked 117, and education at the 118th spot.

To leapfrog into the emerging areas that combine biology, computing and material sciences, the report recommended that the industry double its research and development (R&D) investment and the government provide R&D grants to industry.

“Investing in innovation is critical to raising long-term economic growth,” Wipo Director-General Francis Gurry said while presenting the report. “In this current economic climate, uncovering new sources of growth and leveraging the opportunities raised by global innovation are priorities for all stakeholders.”

Another recommendation was to developing the research capabilities of universities. “Industry and government should team up with universities to create meaningful graduate research programmes utilizing global collaboration models where appropriate,” the report said.

In these emerging fields, the report said: “Applications include developing sustainable fuels for transportation, predicting and preventing disease, determining ways to improve wellness, and delivering better nutrition” – areas that meet immediate needs of India.

The report cited the US-India Strategic and Commercial Dialogue as initiatives that had the potential for bilateral funding of R&D.

Among innovators in India measured by the number of patents obtained in the last five years, Infosys led with 281; it was followed by TCS with 244, Ranbaxy 196, Wockhardt 160, and SunPharma 84.

During this period, about 2,000 patents received by GE had Indian inventors, the report said. IBM came next with Indians involved in nearly 1,900 patents.

Overall, Switzerland ranked first globally as the most innovative economy on the index. It was followed by Sweden, Britain, the United States, Finland and Singapore. China for the first time muscled its way into the ranks of the top 25, just landing the spot.

 

Metal Gear Survive for PC, PS4, and Xbox One Announced

Metal Gear Survive for PC, PS4, and Xbox One Announced

Konami has announced a new Metal Gear game

  • It is the first in the series after creator Hideo Kojima’s departure
  • Metal Gear Survive is out on PC, PS4, and Xbox One next year

The first game in the Metal Gear series from publisher Konami after the departure of creator Hideo Kojima has been revealed. It’s called Metal Gear Survive and it’s a co-operative survival game. Set in an alternate reality, the trailer looks like it takes place right after the events ofMetal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes.

Metal Gear Survive puts you and your friends in the roles of soldiers as you square off against what seems to be zombies spliced with the supernatural that we’ve seen previous Metal Gear games. While there’s no concrete release date Konami has said it will be out in 2017 for the PC, PS4, and Xbox One.

 This isn’t the franchise’s first foray outside the confines of single-player. Since Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence there has been multiplayer in some form. But these have just been perceived as add-ons to competent single-player affairs. Considering how the likes of Umbrella Corps that was set in theResident Evil universe have fared, Metal Gear Survive seems to be cobbled up in the same manner, to cash in on the series’ popularity. No surprise since Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain sold well for Konami.

We found Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain to be a fun albeit flawed affair, will Metal Gear Survive be enough for the series’ long time fans interested in a meaningful narrative? We’ll have to wait till next year to find out. Hopefully, Konami manages to put the full game on disc this tie around.

 

Asus ZenWatch 3 Launch Expected on August 31

Asus ZenWatch 3 Launch Expected on August 31

  • ZenWatch 2 was launched around the same time last year
  • Recently leaked images showed the alleged ZenWatch 3 smartwatch

Last week some images of alleged Asus ZenWatch 3 were leaked and unlike its earlier models, the upcoming generation of the company’s Android Wear-based smartwatch series was suggested to have a round shape. Now, Asus has gone ahead and posted a teaser image on its Twitter account that says “Incredible is coming” and below this message, the date August 31, 2016 has been mentioned by the company, along with the IFA 2016 hash tag.

The teaser suggests a launch by the company and considering that ZenWatch 2 was launched around same time last year, it will not be a far-fetched thought to link the teaser with the launch of next iteration of the smartwatch. However, Asus can easily launch a smartphone, a tablet, or even a laptop at its pre-IFA 2016 event.

At this time, there is no conclusive evidence to prove which devices will be launched at the event. Therefore, we will have to wait for an official word from the company regarding the matter. IFA 2016 kicks off on September 2, and lasts till September 7.

The alleged Zenwatch 3 images were leaked on Chinese website ePrice (via GSMArena) and showed accessories along with the watch.

ZenWatch 2 was launched at the IFA trade show in two variants with display resolutions of 320×320 pixels and 280×280 pixels. The watch was launched with an Amoled display and had a 2.5D curved Corning Gorilla Glass 3. The smartwatch was launched from Rs. 11,999 in India.

In our review of the ZenWatch 2, we said that it was priced extremely competitively and was the most affordable Android Wear smartwatch that you could buy at the time in India. We also said that it offered everything that Android Wear is capable of and more.

 

Kobo Launches Aura One Water-Resistant Ebook Reader With 7.8-Inch Display

Kobo Launches Aura One Water-Resistant Ebook Reader With 7.8-Inch Display

  • Kobo announces new e-reader Aura One
  • Aura One has 7.8-inch display with pixel density of 300ppi
  • Water-resistant e-reader to cost $229 in the US

When we talk about ebook readers (aka e-readers), the name of Kindle comes to mind instantaneously. This very fact doesn’t speak well for Amazon’s competitors in the field. However, Kobo has now announced its new e-reader, the Aura One, and the company would surely like to challenge Amazon with its latest device.

In comparison with some of the other e-readers that are available in the market today, Aura One is comparatively big – it packs a 7.8-inch display with pixel density of 300ppi. In order to compensate for the bigger display, the company has ensured that the device remains as thin and lightweight as possible. Aura One is 6.9mm thick and weighs 230 grams.

With Aura One, Kobo is also introducing the software feature to adjust the colour temperature of the display. You can either choose to manually tweak the tone of the display or you can let it correct itself according to the time of the day with the auto-adjust setting.

Another important feature regarding Aura One is its water resistance. The company has claimed that it meets IPX8 standards, effectively better water resistance, compared with IP67 rating on its previous e-reader Aura H20.

The e-reader from Kobo packs a 1GHz processor and 512MB of RAM. It will be available for purchase from September 6 in the US and Canada for $229 (roughly Rs. 15,300) and $249 (roughly Rs. 16,600) respectively and will also be released for a host of European countries on the same day.

Kobo’s ebook store claims to have over 5 million titles and provide a good ground for the device to provide Kindle e-readers some serious competition.

Virtual Reality Treadmills Help Prevent Falls Among the Elderly

Virtual Reality Treadmills Help Prevent Falls Among the Elderly: Study

Adding a virtual reality obstacle course to treadmill workouts may help prevent more falls among vulnerable adults than using a treadmill on its own, a small study suggests.

Researchers asked about 300 adults aged 60 to 90 who had already experienced at least one prior fall to exercise on a treadmill three times a week for six weeks, randomly assigning half of them to use virtual reality systems during the workouts.

When training started, both groups had similar experiences with falls – the treadmill-only group had an incident rate of 10.7 falls in the previous six months compared with rate of 11.9 for the virtual reality group.

Six months after training, however, the incident rate dropped significantly only in the virtual reality group – to six falls in six months – while it was little changed for the treadmill-only group, researchers report in The Lancet.

“Our idea was to use the virtual reality environment to safely train both the motor or gait aspects that are important to fall risk, while also implicitly teaching the participants to improve the cognitive functions that are important for safe ambulation,” said lead study author Anat Mirelman of Tel Aviv University in Israel.

 “The study showed that this type of training is effective in reducing falls and fall risk in a large diverse population,” Mirelman added by email. “Thus the findings support the use of motor cognitive training to enhance health and reduce fall risk in a growing older population.”

In addition to a history of falls, the participants also had other risk factors for repeat tumbles such as impaired motor skills or cognitive function.

Participants were around 73 to 74 years old on average.

About 130 of them had Parkinson’s disease, which can rob people of motor control, 43 had mild cognitive impairment and 109 had a history of falls without a clear medical reason.

Researchers asked each participant to move at a comfortable pace during 45-minute sessions on the treadmill.

Half of the participants also used virtual reality systems consisting of a motion-capture camera and a computer-generated simulation projected on to a large screen.

This virtual reality experience was designed to lower the risk of falls by improving how well participants could navigate obstacles, multiple pathways and distractions that required a constant adjustment in the way they stepped on the treadmills.

Immediately after the six weeks of training, participants in both groups had improvements in walking speed in usual situations as well as those with obstacles.

But the virtual reality group generally had a more varied gait while maneuvering around obstacles, the study found. Obstacle clearance was also better in the virtual reality group.

While this technology appeared effective, the study didn’t assess how much it would cost to provide virtual reality treadmill training to a broad population of older adults at risk for falls.

One limitation of the study is its reliance on self-reported data on falls before training, which makes it possible that the measurement of improvements attributed to the training may have been inaccurate, the authors note.

Even so, the study adds to growing evidence suggesting fall prevention for the elderly needs to address both motor skills and cognitive skills necessary to safely navigate an environment that may not always include perfectly flat, well-lit paths.

Studies in Europe, the U.S. and Australia show that roughly a third of people aged 65 years or older living outside institutions fall at least once per year, with half of this number having multiple falls in this period, writes Stephen Lord, a researcher at the University of New South Wales in Australia, in an accompanying commentary.

“There have been several pilot studies that have found exergames involving balance and step training have improved balance reaction time, stepping performance and cognitive function – known risk factors for falls,” Lord told Reuters health by email.

“The published study is the first with a sufficiently large sample to show an effect on falls themselves,” he added.

 

Samsung Galaxy Tab A Nook Tablet Launched by Barnes & Noble

Samsung Galaxy Tab A Nook Tablet Launched by Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble in collaboration with Samsung America has introduced a new tablet, the Galaxy Tab A Nook. Priced at $139.99 (approximately Rs. 9,500), the tablet is now available to buy via Barnes & Noble stores in the US and will be also available online via BN.com.

For existing Nook customers, Barnes & Noble have announced an upgraded offer where they can get the new Nook tablet for $99.99 (approximately Rs. 6,700) by trading in any Nook device at a Barnes & Noble store. Additionally, Barnes & Noble members can take the limited-time upgrade offer where they receive a free cover for the device at $39.95 (approximately Rs. 2,700).

(Also see: Samsung Launches 10.1-Inch Galaxy Tab 4 Nook at $299)

The Android 5.1 Lollipop-based Samsung Galaxy Tab A Nook features a 7-inch display with a screen resolution of 1280×800 pixels and a pixel density of 216ppi. It is powered by a Snapdragon 410 processor coupled with 1.5GB of RAM and 8GB of inbuilt storage that’s expandable via microSD card (up to 200GB). It packs a 4000mAh battery that the company claims can deliver up to 11 hours of Internet usage. On the camera front, it sports a 5-megapixel rear camera with autofocus and also packs a 2-megapixel front camera. The tablet supports FM radio and comes with GPS and Glonass connectivity options.

The tablet also comes preloaded with Nook Profiles which allows multiple users to personalise the tablet. The Galaxy Tab A Nook supports up to six profiles.

Commenting on the launch, Fred Argir, Chief Digital Officer at Barnes & Noble, said, “The Samsung Galaxy Tab A Nook is the perfect device for customers who are looking for a leading tablet that combines the latest features and a great reading experience at an unbeatable price.”