Project Ara: Google’s do-it-yourself smartphone.

Project-Ara-Verge So what is Project Ara?. It is a do-it-yourself smartphone made by Google, in which you choose the features you want on your phone. Basically it is a grey-structural frame or smartphone chassis (called an endoskeleton or endo for short), where you add the parts (modules) you want on the structural frame to make it a phone. They can be easily inserted and removed. Another way of saying what is Project Ara, it is a platform which enables users (not mobile phone manufacturers) to create their own smartphone which is tailored to their preferences of what they want on their phone. It was introduced so that people don’t need to buy a new phone, if not the parts or modules for their phone. Meaning for example, if you dropped the phone on the floor accidentally and the phone’s screen broked, then you don’t need to buy a new phone, if not you can replace the old screen with a new screen. Similar if you wanted a 32GB memory and not a 4GB one, you can replace the latter with the former. Project Ara has basically lowered the barrier of phones from manufacturers (e.g. LG or Samsung) to include developers outside of manufacturers. You can either a buy a complete Ara phone, configure one from scratch or buy additional modules (parts) from the Ara module marketplace (store). The modules also feature user-replaceable-covers, meaning if you want a cat printed on your module, you can do so. The release date of the product has somewhat varied by sources. According to Google’s own Project Ara website, they have not announced a release date yet, other than a market pilot in 2015. Others like for example, TechRadar have said that  Google is thinking of releasing it in early 2015.  It will come with small (2 x 5), medium (3 x 6) and large (4 x 7) sizes. The price? Basically users will buy the chassis and the basic kit they need for US$50 (£29; €36), that includes $15 for the Endo frame (chassis), $15 for the display, $5 for a battery, $10 for the main Application Processor module, and $5 for a Wi-Fi unit. These are just the cost of materials and aren’t what users will actually pay for. In addition, they will expect a flourishing component ecosystem that will drive down prices and offer users more options for pricing. The project initiated at Motorola Mobility, when it was then part of Google. When Google sold Motorola to Lenovo, they retained Project Ara, as part of its Android division. The phones will run Android. Google says, the phone is aimed at six billion of the world’s seven billion people. Five billion of them having ordinary basic feature phones and one billion of them having smartphones.

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The Sonic Zone: SEGA hosting mascot design contest

SEGA Raw are currently hosting a competition for fans to design a new mascot to promote their new live show on Nico Nico Seiga.

According to SEGABits, they say that they want a mascot that incorporates the spirit of SEGA.

How to participate:

  1. Create a NicoNico account
  2. Create your design of a mascot character that represents Sega.
  3. Visit this page
  4. Enter the following from top to bottom:
    1. Upload your image.
    2. Image Title
    3. Image description
    4. Tag: セガなまマスコットキャラコンテスト
    5. Image type: キャラクター (6th selectable from the top)
  5. Click the submit button (black button at the bottom)

[Source: The Sonic Stadium]

The Sonic Zone: SEGA has exciting plans for Sonic brand

A gaming website told two SEGA executives in an interview about how SEGA was going and how it sees the console market right now. In that interview, they stated the future of the Sonic brand. The first answer to the interview (via The Sonic Stadium) said:

Ethan Einhorn: We’re taking, on the console side, more of a pillar approach. We’re doing some very exciting things with Sonic as a brand in the near future. We’re also very heavily focused on strategy, as you’ve seen with our pickup of [Company of Heroes developer] Relic, as well as what we’re doing with [Total War developer] Creative Assembly. Of course, we’re continuing to do core titles like Aliens: Colonial Marines.

The second answer, is the different demographics of two SEGA franchises, Sonic the Hedgehog and House of the Dead.

Evans: Absolutely. We have games that service all different types and sets of consumers. Some [intellectual properties] lend themselves to maybe a younger audience. Some IPs are more classic in their stance; some maybe appeal to a more mature audience. We have titles like House of the Dead. That’s probably an example of a mature game. Then Sonic, which has been kind of reinvented. We’re bringing that to the Android platform. That’s an example of something which might skew slightly younger, as well as have this more classic base.

Einhorn: Sonic Dash, which is popular right now on the top charts, is another great example of appealing to a more casual demographic. But again, within that same ecosystem we have Kingdom Conquest II, which is extremely core. Both of those comfortably coexist at the same publisher.

Then it talks about the Sonic franchise marketing and the oppontunities with 7-11 year old gamers, as well the ‘nostalgic’ older gamer.

Einhorn: I think what that creates for us with Sonic is a great opportunity. First and foremost, I am a father who grew up with the Sonic games. I was in high school when it came out. I have a 6-year-old now, and one of the great pleasures for me is to be able to share something I loved with my kids. So you have that father-child dynamic.

Kids also respond very strongly to Sonic on their own, without any parental support. I think part of that is that he’s like a superhero. He’s fast. He’s blue. He’s easy to understand. There’s a broad range, as you know, of people who love Sonic, but the age of 7 to 11 is absolutely the strongest in terms of loving Sonic. But then, as you said, we also have the older gamer who’s nostalgic, and that’s why we have products like Sonic Generations that are designed specifically for them. It gives us more opportunities to capitalize on the strengths of an iconic franchise.

[Source: Gamesbeat, via Sonic Stadium]

The Sonic Zone: Sonic & SEGA All Stars Racing launches on Mac

Sonic & SEGA All Stars Racing has now been relased on the Mac App Store for $24.99 in North America, €21.99 in Eurozone countries (inc. VAT) and £17.49 in the UK (inc. VAT). This would see the début of Sonic the Hedgehog on a Macintosh computer. Sonic had début on Windows since 1996 with the PC version of Sonic CD.

System Requirements call for a 1.8GHz Intel Mac with at least 4.0GB RAM, 256MB or better graphics card and Mac OS 10.8.3 or later. The following graphics cards are not supported: ATI X1xxx series, ATI HD2xxx series, Intel GMA series and NVIDIA 7xxx series.

2 new American sports cars coming soon in 2014!

 

 

Chevrolet and Ford are to introduced new sports car by 2015. The new Ford Mustang looks quite European now, instead of being North American, nothing like the previous models. While Chevrolet’s 2015 Camaro is very futuristic.

According to a Spanish car magazine it says the Mustang will arrive in Europe for the first time.

The new Chevrolet Camaro is now to have a futuristic design and according to the Spanish car magazine mentioned above, it says that current Camaro ends production (possibly in Europe) in 2014. The futuristic Camaro has been designed by Arkadiy Okhman.

The Mustang now looks very European and looks like in between a Jaguar XF, the current Ford Focus (introduced in 2011) and the future Ford Fusion (Mondeo in Europe) launching early 2013.