santa-grottoEver wondered just how much richer we are all off thanks to Google’s Street View? In fact, it is less than a week ago when we brought you a story on how Google’s Street View would bring us to more than 65 airports and train stations, giving you a look at places that you might never step in throughout your entire life. Well, this time around, here we are with news of the first ever Google Street View of Santa’s Grotto.

As with other Street View adventures, this particular one would bring you on a very special virtual tour of one of Notcutts’ 18 UK garden centres into the Grotto, where you will also have the privilege of being greeted by Father Christmas. Notcutts believe that they are also the first to use Google Street Map technology so that just about anyone with a decent Internet connection will be able to check out the Santa Grotto. Never mind if you think that you are going to miss Santa this year, you will still be able to check him out in his Grotto right in front of your computer. Having said that, it will be far from being there in person. How do you like the Street View of Santa’s Grotto so far?

gsnote3-rose-goldThe gold iPhone 5s has proven to be quite the best seller ever since it was introduced, and this goes to say something about folks’ tastes in design and colors, doesn’t it? Samsung must have caught on pretty quickly here, as the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 will be yet another smartphone that hooks up with the rest of the golden posse, where it will soon arrive in shades of Rose Gold Black and Rose Gold White.

These two color variants will also be complemented by a stylish golden finish that will go all around their sides, not to mention having gold accents sparkling on the handset’s back as well as front. These models have been specially designed to look stunning whether it is a standalone device, or if you happen to use it with the Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch – yep, you’ve guessed it, where it will arrive in a Rose Gold edition as well. Apart from all of that golden goodness, there is also a Merlot Red Samsung Galaxy Note 3 variant which will be thrown into the mix. Expect the Rose Gold edition to arrive in China later this month, which is no surprise there. A Stateside release remains to be confirmed. [Press Release]

HTC-M8-back-coverWe have seen our fair share of rumors surrounding the HTC M8 for quite some time already, with the recent rounds of rumors happening just in the middle of November. Still, there has been nothing official revealed, we only have bits and pieces to pick up the details from. The latest round of rumors have been sparked from an AnTuTu benchmark score, which in all probability, points to the HTC M8.

What do you think of the HTC M8 rumors? The AnTuTu benchmark score was covered by us nearly a week ago, and in there, it pointed to the model number HTC 0P68120, with Android 4.4 KitKat as the operating system of choice, a Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8974AB 2.2GHz processor that is accompanied by an Adreno 330 graphics chipset. There will be two cameras available, with a front facing 2.1-megapixel shooter, while the back will hold a 4-megapixel camera that will in all probability feature Ultrapixel technology, so do not get turned off by the seeming lack of megapixel count. Oh yeah, there is also a very high chance of this being the first Sense 6.0 device.

What are some of the hardware features that you would have liked the HTC M8 to arrive with, assuming all that we have read are true to form?

meizu-mx4gDo you agree that records are meant to be broken? Of course, this particular saying goes both ways – it could be for the good, as well as for the bad. In the world of smartphones, we have seen displays get larger and larger over the years, that nowadays, anything that is less than 5” is deemed to be “small”. Well, having a Full HD display on your smartphone does not quite cut the mustard any more, as Meizu’s CEO J. Wang has already begun to tease the successor to the Meizu MX3, which would be known as the Meizu MX4G.

The Meizu MX4G gives the game away concerning the inclusion of 4G LTE connectivity, but one would also need to take into consideration that its display would be a surefire killer. Word has it that the Meizu MX4G will ship with a 5.5″ 1536 x 2560 pixels display, which would clearly place it in Ultra HD category, while being an exclusive member of the 500+ ppi pixel density club.

Just how high do you think the pixel density on smartphone displays should go before it does not make any difference? After all, your eyes can only take in so much, no? We do wonder when will the rest of the pack catch up.

xbox-one-hdd-upgradeIf you happen to own the Xbox One, I am quite sure that you already know that it would have arrived with a 500GB hard drive underneath the hood, and unlike the storage of the PS4 which can be accessed in a jiffy, the hard drive in the Xbox One was specially included so that it would be difficult for the owner to access or replace it. Still, that has not stopped some people from taking a peek around in the “forbidden territory”, where iFixit noted in their teardown that underneath the hood, you will find a 2.5” Samsung hard drive that is hooked up via a SATA II cable, so swapping it should not to be too big of a deal.

A certain Brian Williams has already attempted using a 500GB Samsung EVO SSD and a Seagate 1TB hybrid SSHD as replacements, only to figure out that the boot time had a slight improvement. For instance, a test involving Call of Duty: Ghosts saw the SSD take 27 seconds to load the game, while the hybrid drive was a wee bit behind at 27.7 seconds, shaving off 6 seconds or so from the 33.5 seconds for a stock model. Since the performance gains are not that significant at all, it would be better to leave your Xbox One alone.

samsung-touchwiz-patent-2While large screen phones are great for surfing the web, watching videos, and playing games, there are times when it might actually be a hindrance. For example one handed use might not be possible for those with small hands, which is why Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3 actually comes with a tiny screen mode which actually shrinks the user interface for when one handed use is necessary. Well it looks like Samsung might be thinking of taking this to the next level, thanks to a patent which shows one of the ways users can interact with a device one handed.

According to the patent, this system would allow smartphone users to define an area of comfort which is basically how far their thumbs are able to stretch as you can see in the drawing above. From there apps will be reduced to fit into that comfort zone. The patent goes beyond just vertical mode and will look into various orientations as well, including angled use. This is a particularly good idea because while the tiny mode on the Note 3 can be handy, perhaps there are those who wish for it to be slightly bigger at the same time, so by adding a comfort zone, it will be able to cater to hands of all sizes.

Of course there’s no telling if Samsung will ever realize this patent, but it’s still a good idea nonetheless. What do you guys think?

iphone-5cThe iPhone 5c was launched alongside the iPhone 5s and while the handset was not the budget iPhone that everyone had originally speculated it to be, it was a tad cheaper compared to the iPhone 5s. However it seems that the handset being adopted relatively quickly in the US, we had heard that production of the device was cut by a lot as Apple wished to focus on producing more iPhone 5s units instead, but in the meantime have you ever wondered what sort of customers buy the iPhone 5c? Given that it’s not exactly a whole lot cheaper, it’s hard to say that budget conscious shoppers are its main customers.

Interestingly enough, Kantar has revealed that the iPhone 5c has instead seen adoption by former Android users who are looking to jump ship from Android and onto iOS. According to the stats, about half of iPhone 5c owners are owners of other brands from before, particularly those from Samsung and LG. This is compared to iPhone 5s which saw 80% of its owners come from previous iPhone models. It’s interesting that they point to Samsung and LG, suggesting that maybe other brands such as HTC and Sony could have more loyal users. In the meantime what do you guys think? Why would the iPhone 5c appeal more to former Android users compared to the iPhone 5?

youtube530Good news Nintendo 3DS owners, if you wanted to take a break from gaming and perhaps surf some YouTube to watch some videos or listen to music, you might be pleased to learn that YouTube for the Nintendo 3DS is finally available, and while it might be already obvious, it will not come with support for 3D which we’re not sure is a good or bad thing. YouTube for the Nintendo 3DS joins the likes of Netflix which was released back in 2011, and Hulu which was released for the 3DS just in October a few months ago.

The YouTube app for the 3DS console is available via the Nintendo 3DS eshop for North America and Europe markets. The app will playback videos on the top part of the screen, with the video controllable via the triggers and buttons on your console. It will also display things such as suggested videos, stats, information, and comments on the bottom portion of the console as well.

facebook-autofillWhen it comes to Android apps, one size does not fit all, unfortunately. This is due to Android devices being extremely varied in the sense of hardware as well as software, with some devices running on older builds of Android, while some have the latest version. Well perhaps in a bid to help optimize their app for Android devices across the board, ranging from low-end to high-end, word on the street has it that Facebook is looking acquire an Indian startup company called Little Eye Labs. The company provides performance analysis and optimization tools for Android developers, and according to a report by India’s Business Standard, Facebook and Little Eye Labs are reportedly in advanced talks.

While it is unclear as to what Facebook might want with such a company, like we said earlier, it has been speculated that Facebook could be looking for a way to better optimize its app across the wide range of Android devices out there. While the app runs fine on high-end devices, low-end devices might tell a different story, and if Facebook can create an optimized app and experience, they will be able to attract more users onto its network. This acquisition might not be such a surprise either as Google had acquired Flexycore, a company specializing in Android optimization as well.

internet-awardWhen it comes to choosing passwords for your online accounts, does it really matter if you’re a man or a woman? Does your hair color matter? Does having facial hair also play a part in choosing a strong password? Well according to a study based on security breaches at Adobe and LinkedIn, some rather interesting data has been collected and according to the results, it has been found red-haired women usually choose the best passwords, while men with beards and who generally look unkempt tend to choose the worst passwords. The study also found that in general, women prefer lengthier passwords while men might go for diversity.

The study revealed that the color of the logos on websites we frequent also impact the choice of passwords at times. For example Facebook’s logo is blue, while YouTube’s logo is red, so there are instances where users might introduce “blue” and “red” in their passwords. It was also interesting to find out that in a choice of 10,000 combination for a four-digit pin, 80% of our choices come from just a few hundred different numbers, making it easy for hackers to guess or crack our passwords. While we’re not sure if this is a definitive study on passwords, it certainly makes one think, and if you’re guilty of using easy-to-guess passwords involving colors, pet names, and birth dates, perhaps it’s time to make some changes!