The sun will set on 2014 in just a few hours, and we are just in time with our annual top 10 list of the most-watched Gear Live video episodes. Over the past year, as expected, there was a bunch of Apple gear that made the list, with the release of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. The launch of the WWE Network was also groundbreaking, and our walkthrough proved to be the second most popular video of the year. Other items, like a tutorial on upgrading Xbox One controllers, a look at the Fitbit Force, and a how-to on installing the Nest Protect also proved popular as well.
A few weeks ago, Gear Live threw down and kicked off the holiday season with the 2014 Gear Live Holiday Bash, and now we've got the pictures to prove it. At the event, I presented my picks for the best holiday gadgets, along with help from my friends Jess Estrada (of FreshJess), GeekWire, Drew Morrison, and New Tech Seattle. We had Seattle's VellVett perform, as well as "Kid Sensation" Xola Malik. Blitz, the mascot for the current Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks, made an appearance as well. It was a great night full of food, music, and gadgets giveaways.
We've got to give a warm shout-out to the sponsors who helped make the 2014 Gear Live Holiday Bash possible, and sending the attendees home with awesome gifts: Monster, AT&T Seattle, and Rhapsody.
Click on over to check out the full 2014 Gear Live Holiday Bash photo gallery.
It's Christmas morning, and it's a Thursday, which means you have the whole day to play with your new toys (barring any crazy family functions that aim to pry you away!) while taking a day off. We just wanna know one thing--what'd you get? Anything that was listed on our 2014 Holiday Gift Guide? Anything obscure? Any straight up ridiculous gifts that seemingly came out of left field? We wanna hear it all! Lay it on us in the comments!
HP has announced its new super-thin notebook in the EliteBook Folio 1020. Powered by Intel's new Core M processor (which is going to lead to a bunch of thin laptops being released in the future,) the EliteBook Folio 1020 weighs in at as little as 2.2 pounds and is 15.7mm thin, depending on which model you decide to pick up. The regular model actually weighs 2.6 pounds with a 12.5-inch 1080p display and can be specced with a touchscreen display. The special edition model weighs 2.2 pounds with a body forged our of carbon fiber and magnesium-lithium allow, and sports a 12.5-inch quad HD display (no touchscreen.) Both have 8GB SAM, a 128GB or 256GB SSD, and 9 hours of battery life.
You can pick up the standard edition starting in February, while the Special Edition will be available in April. Priving has yet to be revealed for either of the two models, but if I had to guess, both will likely cost more than the MacBook Air that they look to compete with on size and shape.
While the HP EliteBook Folio won't be available for a couple of months, we were able to get one in here at Gear Live in order to bring you an advanced preview of the hardware. Check it out in our HP EliteBook Folio 1020 photo gallery.
Gallery: HP EliteBook Folio 1020 hands-on
It's time for our next holiday giveaway, and today we've got two! We're giving away an Orbotix Sphero 2.0, along with the brand new Orbotix Ollie. These two little robots are controlled over Bluetooth using your smartphone or tablet, and are fun for people of any age. While Sphero 2.0 lets you play, learn, and explore, Ollie is the robot driven by adrenaline, engineered for speed.
Here's how this is gonna go down: First place gets the new Ollie, and the runner up walks away with Sphero 2.0. Ready to enter? Go get it:
Somehow, 10 years have already passed since the release of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas--arguably the most innovative game in the series. To coincide with the recent anniversary, Rockstar re-released the game on Xbox 360, replacing the Games on Demand version with a slightly improved version. And while the game itself remains an enjoyable experience, this may not be the best way of revisiting it.
I find myself occasionally in the mood to play one of the classic GTA III-era games (GTA III, Vice City, and San Andreas), which are among my all-time favorite games. I typically ignore this compulsion or simply spend a few minutes with the iPhone version of GTA III; I get my small dose of nostalgia but invariably stop playing because, despite Rockstar's best efforts, these are not games that work well on a touchscreen.
An improved re-release of San Andreas was exciting news for me--while a release on Xbox One or PS4 would have been ideal, a cheap Xbox 360 version with improved graphics, better draw distance, and achievements sounds like a great way to revisit the game.
Apple has released iOS 8.1, and with it comes a slew of new features for users of iOS devices. The biggest addition is Apple Pay, which works with the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Air 2, and iPad mini 3. Apple Pay allows you to securly store your credit cards in Passbook, and pay for items wirelessly and quickly in stores with your iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus, and online in apps with any of the supported devices. Apple Pay isn't all that's included in iOS 8.1, though. The return of the Camera Roll and My Photo Stream libraries in the Photos app when not using iCloud Photo Library is featured, as is the new iCloud Photo Library Beta, which allows you to store your entire photo library in iCloud. iOS 8.1 also unlocks the ability to have your SMS and MMS text messages appear on your iPad and Mac, using your iPhone as a conduit. We've got a full list of all the changes that come with iOS 8.1 for you, after the break.
There were any number of reasons to be excited for Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor, which launched earlier this week. For myself and many others, it was the Nemesis system--which promises unique enemies and emergent gameplay--that was the most exciting aspect of all. And while it's certainly an intriguing feature, I can't help but feel I've been missing out on it for basically being too good at the game.
Until reviews started to hit the web, I was very cautious in being optimistic about Monolith's first-ever Lord of the Rings game. For being such a major franchise, quality games based on it have been few and far between--something that's especially surprising considering its renewed popularity following the release of Peter Jackson's movies. Once I heard the almost-unanimous praise from the reviewers I trust, I was onboard. I was ready to finally play a LotR game that was a genuinely good game, not another passable one that I accepted because it happened to make use of one of my favorite franchises.
Today, Microsoft officially announced the next version of Windows: Windows 10. If you’re confused, you’re not alone. The currently-available version of Windows is 8.1, which means that Microsoft has inexplicably decided to forego version 9 altogether. Rumors that the next version would be called Windows TH, Windows One, or Windows 9 have now been dashed—Windows 10 is the future of Microsoft’s desktop operating system. It’s also still technically the 9th release of Windows.
At an unveiling event earlier today, the company called Windows 10 the “most comprehensive platform ever,” as it will run on all displays, from 4-inches and up. That means Windows 10 will run on phones, tablets, laptops, desktops, servers, and high definition television screens. “Windows 10 will deliver the right experience on the right device at the right time," said Microsoft's Terry Myerson. "Windows 10 will run on the broadest types of devices ever."
Optimists will say that Microsoft is listening to all of the negative backlash that was met with the release of Windows 8, taking in that feedback, and reverting a bunch of changes to give customers what they want. Others will point out that Windows 10 looks like a mashup of the beloved Windows 7 and the polarizing Windows 8, with a bunch of Mac OS X features (like Expose and Mission Control) thrown in, and is an obvious step backwards. We see both sides of the argument, but it’s also very early to tell, as Windows 10 won’t ship until late 2015.
Here's a look at the Space Gray iPhone 6 in our latest episode of Unboxing Live! We open up the smaller of the two new iPhone 6 models, giving you a look at everything in the box (spoiler: Lightning cable, AC adapter, and Earpods headphones) along with a tour of the 4.7-inch smartphone itself. We've already opened up the gold iPhone 6 Plus, which you should check out as well if you want to get a look at the gold finish.
Pick up your own iPhone 6 from Apple!