EA is no stranger to issues with the NCAA, and this time FIFA 16 women’s rosters are the culprit. The gaming studio announced today that following an NCAA notice, it would remove 13 players from the game that are currently on or “likely” to be on college rosters. “We believe this decision denies these 13 athletes the opportunity to represent their countries in the game, but we have removed them from FIFA 16 to ensure there is no risk to their eligibility,” EA said in a blog post. While EA didn’t compensate those players for appearing in the game, the NCAA says that including them would still jeopardize their ability to take the pitch for their respective schools. The group of players that won’t make the game includes six players from Canada, six from Mexico and one from Spain (detailed info here). All 12 women’s national teams are now playable with EA Access Play it First Trials.
Almost exactly 15 months ago, the OnePlus One made its debut as a $299 flagship smartphone to wow the geeks; and it’s even been lowered to $249 as of last month. That, of course, is to make way for the company’s next act, the OnePlus 2 (we were asked to stick with “2” instead of “Two”). This update is actually not all that secretive no thanks to the teasers and a recent leak, but that’s not to say you should lose interest in it, especially given the improved camera, better display, extra RAM and the switch from plastic to a more resilient magnesium alloy frame. Not to mention that the 2 also comes with a USB Type-C port, a fingerprint reader, dual Nano SIM slots and a special “alert” slider. As for the OnePlus 2’s price: the 64GB version will retail for $389 while the 16GB version will cost you $329. Let’s break it down.
If you always wanted a robot butler to greet guests, amuse kids or be a live-action version of Cortana, you’re way too late. The Pepper robot that does all that sold out exactly one minute after it went on sale in Japan on Saturday, according to manufacturer SoftBank Robotics. The company built a modest 1,000 units for its Japanese consumer launch, selling it for $1,600 with a monthly $200 fee. The 4-foot robot is not designed to fetch you drinks or do other manual work, but rather to listen, read your emotions, then respond appropriately. It can also sing, dance and tell (corny robot) jokes.
SoftBank didn’t say who purchased the robot, but its earlier statement that “we think there’s value in a robot that can understand human feeling” was obviously accurate. The company said that it envisioned Pepper working as a store greeter, helper for the elderly or as a school learning assistant. It has also peddled coffee in a Nescafé store. It remains to be seen if demand will stay strong, but the company will open up orders again in Japan in July, and plans to bring it to Europe and the US sometime next year.
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In no particular order, Google’s invading our living rooms, our extremities, our skies, and — curiously — our Android phones. No, really! By announcing Google Now on Tap during today’s I/O keynote, the company’s going all-in on the idea that a Google smartphone isn’t complete without the full power of the Knowledge Graph baked into it. And you know what? I think they’re right. Even after just a few moments messing around with it, I don’t ever want to use an Android device that can’t do what Now on Tap can.
Casey Hudson, the producer largely responsible for EA and BioWare’s Mass Effect trilogy, is now Creative Director at Microsoft Studios, where he’s working on HoloLens and Xbox games. Microsoft appears to be all-in on HoloLens development — Hudson now works alongside former Lionhead Studios boss John Needham and he reports directly to CVP of Next Gen Experiences Kudo Tsunoda, who previously led Microsoft’s Kinect Games initiative. Hudson relocated from Edmonton, Canada, to Redmond, Washington, for his new role.
ReVault looks just like any ordinary smartwatch, but its main feature’s quite different from others in the category: it has wireless local storage you can access like a private cloud. According to its Indiegogo page, the storage is accessible from your phones, tablets or laptops using an app (like Dropbox and other cloud services) that works on Android, iOS, Mac OS X, Windows and even Linux. You can even program a trusted device to auto-sync every time you save new images or download files — anything you store will be encrypted, and you can also set up a password and two-factor authentication for added security. The watch connects to those devices via WiFi and Bluetooth, and since it can make its own WiFi network, you can upload files even without internet connection.
Here’s another nice touch: In case you’re not really attracted to smartwatches (and you’re not alone there), you can use the converter it comes with to turn it into a necklace or a keychain. Plus, you can choose among quite a few watchfaces if the default one doesn’t do it for you. You can get a 32GB or a 128GB ReVault if you pledge at least $169 on Indiegogo, but like every other crowdfunding project, it’ll ship out (in January 2016) only if it reaches its goal. Note that if it does, you’ll still have to buy a separate Qi wirelesscharger if you want to use the watch beyond its initial three-day battery life.