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Microsoft Cortana

Curious about how Cortana made her way from assisting Master Chief in Halo over to helping you out on Windows Phone? During a sit-down with Microsoft's Marcus Ash, he spoke to us about what it took to get Cortana just right on Windows Phone and to be seen as a legitimate competitor to Apple's Siri.

First, the Cortana logo was the first thing Microsoft has to get right. Originally, they didn't want a physical representation. The thought was that people could think it was creepy if it is "too human." They also didn't want it to be like Clippy, the infamous character from Microsoft Office that was hated by many. It was also decided that Cortana couldn't be just a voice, since it wouldn't feel the same.

Initially, Microsoft tried to use the Xbox Live avatar idea, but that was odd due to everyone having the female Cortana voice. Then they started playing around with the circle. A circle can stretch, bounce, and transform. They also tried triangles, diamonds, hearts, and the ability of letter the user choose any of these. At the end of the day, the circle next to Metro on the start screen looked good, so that was what Microsoft decided on. The next issue was that a simple circle isn't iconic, and is hard to brand. That's when the Windows Phone team met with the Halo team at 343 Industries.

Click to continue reading How Cortana made the leap from Halo to Windows Phone


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sensordrone bluetooth sensor

Today in the Gear Live Deals Shop we're got an awesome 25% discount on the Sensordrone Bluetooth Sensor. Connect this thing to your smartphone over Bluetooth, and you've got a supercharged device that can monitor things like carbon monoxide levels, temperature, weather, gas leaks, and more. Other sensors include light, pressure, color, and proximity. It's good enough to be our Deal of the Day! There are almost a dozen apps you can download that can take advantage of the data that the Sensordrone provides, with more to come. Check out the video below that gives more details.

Save 25% on the Sensordrone

Don’t forget, if you’re looking for other deals, be sure to check out our Newegg Promo Code thread. Oh, and if you're on Twitter, be sure to follow @TechPromos for the latest deals.

Click to continue reading Deal of the Day: 25% off the Sensordrone


iOS 8 beta 5 download

Apple has just released iOS 8 beta 5, which can be found in the Developer Portal right now. iOS 8 beta 4 build 12A4345d works with supported iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch models, and is available as an over-the-air update to users already running a previous iOS 8 beta on their devices. If you're already running iOS 8, you can update over-the-air by going into Settings > General > Software Update. Or you can go and grab the necessary download at http://developer.apple.com. The update for the iPhone 5s comes in at 272MB in size. Apple originally showed off iOS 8, and released its first beta, at WWDC 2014. The full release will come in the fall. Apple also released OS X Yosemite Developer Preview 5 today as well.

Click to continue reading Apple releases iOS 8 beta 5 build 12A4345d to developers, here’s what’s new!


bluetooth shower speaker

Today in the Gear Live Deals Shop we're offering a 60% discount on the Bluetooth Shower Speaker. If you're one who likes to jam out in the shower, belting out the hits, then you'll wanna grab our Deal of the Day! It'll stream music from any Bluetooth device, so your smartphone and tablet are covered as long as they're no more than 10 meters away. Of course, this thing is showerproof, and is also great around the pool. Even better? There is a buit-in microphone, so you can even take calls on this thing. From the shower.

Save 60% on the Bluetooth Shower Speaker

Don’t forget, if you’re looking for other deals, be sure to check out our Newegg Promo Code thread. Oh, and if you're on Twitter, be sure to follow @TechPromos for the latest deals.


iOS 8 beta 4 download

Apple has just released iOS 8 beta 4, which can be found in the Developer Portal right now. iOS 8 beta 4 build 12A4331d works with supported iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch models, and is available as an over-the-air update to users already running a previous iOS 8 beta on their devices. If you're already running iOS 8, you can update over-the-air by going into Settings > General > Software Update. Or you can go and grab the necessary download at http://developer.apple.com. Apple originally showed off iOS 8, and released its first beta, at WWDC 2014. The full release will come in the fall. Apple also released OS X Yosemite Developer Preview 4 today as well.

If you are a paid members of Apple's iOS developer program, here are the links for iOS 8 beta 4 downloads:

Click to continue reading Apple releases iOS 8 beta 4 build 12A4331d to developers, here’s what’s new!


iOS 8 swift learning course videos

Today in the Gear Live Deals Shop we're offering a 92% discount on the complete iOS 8 + Swift developer course. Have you ever wanted to make your own apps for the iPhone and iPad? Then pay attention to our Deal of the Day! Alongside iOS 8, Apple is releasing its new programming language, Swift. This video course will teach you everything you need to know in order to build 14 different apps, giving you a solid foundation for becoming an iOS developer. You get access to 350 videos that walk you through the process over the course of over 36 hours. Additionally, you get the full iOS 7 developer course as well, which doubles the amount of content you get for your money.

Save 92% on the complete iOS 8 + Swift developer course

Don’t forget, if you’re looking for other deals, be sure to check out our Newegg Promo Code thread. Oh, and if you're on Twitter, be sure to follow @TechPromos for the latest deals.


smartplane

Today in the Gear Live Deals Shop we're offering a 28% discount on the SmartPlane. This is the world's first aircraft that is controlled by your smartphone, making it our Deal of the Day. You can use on-screen controls, or the accelerometer by tilting your device to steet the SmartPlane. It's made of durable EPP material, making it crash-proof, and Bluetooth Low Energy allows it to fly longer distances for a longer amount of time. You'll need an iPhone 4S or newer, 5th generation iPod touch, iPad 3 or newer, or an Android 4.3 device with Bluetooth Smart in order to fly one.

Save 28% on the SmartPlane

Don’t forget, if you’re looking for other deals, be sure to check out our Newegg Promo Code thread. Oh, and if you're on Twitter, be sure to follow @TechPromos for the latest deals.


Cortana iOS android

One of the more exciting aspects of Windows Phone 8.1 is the appearance of Cortana, a Siri-like voice-based personal assistant. We spent time talking to Microsoft's Marcus Ash about Cortana, and we asked him about the possibility of Cortana making its way over to other smartphone platforms like iOS and Android. After all, the demo we were given was impressive. According to Marcus, at first it'll be a focus that is part of Windows Phone, and that's the number one priority with Cortana.

To extend Cortana across the entire smartphone ecosystem, that's the part that Microsoft is still mulling over and figuring out. The question is "How do we get Android or iOS users that also use Windows to have a great Cortana experience?" As a company, Microsoft is putting work into solving the question, and it isn't afraid to put its apps on competing platforms. After all, there's Office on Android and iOS, Bing, and others. For our money, it makes a lot more sense for Microsoft to release Cortana across multiple ecosystems rather than tying the service down as a Windows Phone exclusive. It's not the kind of feature that sells phones (similarly, we don't think that Siri on its own sells iPhones, either.) As a cloud-powered service, is Cortana a Windows play or a service play? Time will tell.


nhtsa smartphone maps

Laws on the books to stop texting or talking on a cell phone while driving are nothing new, in fact I know a guy who just got slammed with five points on his license for doing it. But laws regarding cell phone use while driving leave a gray area, GPS and map aids, programs not within the spirit of the laws when they were made and an uncertainty for courts.

The government is looking to change that.

The Transportation Department has asked congress to give them the ability to regulate map aids and devices as part of their ongoing battle with 'distracted driving.' The measure is part of the GROW AMERICA proposed transportation bill, and would give the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration free reign to set restriction and limits on apps and down the line demand changed to any it deems dangerous.

What does this mean in a practical sense? Apps for maps might start to look like the built in GPS system in your car, where some models make you press a button acknowledging that you will not set the device while the car is moving. It might mean that telling the court you were just checking your map won't get you off.

The measure has support from automakers who have already built those safeguards into their GPS devices. Regulatory agencies maintain that they already have the authority to regulate these apps as vehicle equipment, and only want it written into law.

That means they don't have the authority or they would not be demanding it from congress.


iOS 8 beta 3 download

Apple has just released iOS 8 beta 3, which can be found in the Developer Portal right now. iOS 8 beta 3 build 12A4318c works with supported iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch models, and is available as an over-the-air update to users already running a previous iOS 8 beta on their devices. If you're already running iOS 8, you can update over-the-air by going into Settings > General > Software Update. Or you can go and grab the necessary download at http://developer.apple.com. Apple originally showed off iOS 8, and released its first beta, at WWDC 2014. The full release will come in the fall. Apple also released OS X Yosemite Developer Preview 2 today as well.

If you are a paid members of Apple's iOS developer program, here are the links for iOS 8 beta 3 downloads:

iPad:

iPhone:

iPod touch:

Click to continue reading Apple releases iOS 8 beta 3 build 12A4318c to developers, download here!


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