Google and LG have a standing partnership which will inevitably spawn another LG Nexus in 2016. Engineers and software developers from Google have confirmed that the partnership the two companies have is a long-standing one which will no doubt contribute towards further development of the Nexus ecosystem, as well as the way in which stock Android is implemented on hardware. The LG Nexus 2016 is of course an unconfirmed device, nonetheless we are confident that fans of the ecosystem can expect another LG Nexus to surface sometime next year.
The LG Nexus 2016 release date is probably going to fall between September and October, but we have no clue what the handset will be called. We’re expecting to find out the “fishy” codename representative of all Google Nexus devices, but until that happens, we’re just going to refer to it as the LG Nexus 2016. No doubt, Google will employ other manufacturers for the new 2016 flagships, and it’s possible that Huawei take that spot once again after the positive feedback their first collaboration on the Nexus 6P received. All we know for sure right now is that LG is on board for next year and we’re definitely happy to hear that.
LG did a great job with the Nexus 5 and Nexus 5X, even though the smartphones are not considered perfect examples of Android handsets. With balanced hardware, software and design as well as an affordable price for the average smartphone user, LG Nexus devices have proven to the Android community that good, powerful smartphones don’t always have to as expensive as a used car. Aiming to show that stock Android, durable hardware and affordable price can still make profit for not one, but two different international companies, LG Nexus devices have show that it’s really possible. The trend will go on once the LG Nexus 2016 comes around – or that’s what we’re hoping for.
This year, the LG Nexus 5X is the affordable variant while the Huawei Nexus 6P is the more “premium” handset made for productivity and for lovers of powerful hardware and premium design. The next LG Nexus will go down the same road, most likely, since we’re confident there will be another partner for the new Nexus line-up of devices to be launched next year. It’s a plausible idea and many people seem to support the theory. LG has done a great job with smartphones over the years and its continued research into improving battery life, display technology and overall user experiences, we expect no less of the LG Nexus 2016. Although we don’t have any official information about specs, features, hardware and design, our hunch is that the new handset will suffer a redesign.
While the Nexus 5X stayed with the original design of the LG Nexus 5, with a few improvements and refinements, the LG Nexus 2016 is expected to change things up slightly. We don’t expect a metal build or a sloped display, but we did hear from credible sources that a metal frame and a more polished construction will be employed. We were told to expect something that would resemble a theoretical hybrid between the LG G4, LG V10 and Nexus 5X. The polycarbonate body will get an upgrade in materials and it might even carry waterproof certification.
LG is most likely going to infuse the new device with their new battery technologies they’ve been working, meaning that they can now create batteries that support more charge, more charging cycles – all in a smaller package. Although flexible batteries are the company’s focus right now, the advancements that are being made constantly will no doubt make an appearance in the new smartphone. Previous LG Nexus models weren’t bad with battery life, but they didn’t stand out with great autonomy. Fans are asking for more battery power, so the development team at Google and at LG will no doubt take that into account. Wireless charging and fast charging are also most likely going to make the cut. Moreover, the use of a Snapdragon 820 chipset is a likely development, even though by the time the LG Nexus 2016 release date comes around, new SoC will be launched by manufacturing company Qualcomm. That’s not an issue, in my opinion, seeing as good performance doesn’t always ask for the latest and greatest hardware on the market, perfectly demonstrated by the Nexus 5X, using an older Snapdragon 808 instead of the latest Snapdragon 810.
Since we’re already at the hardware part, besides a Snapdragon 820 we’re also expecting to see 3 GB RAM and more storage options, seeing as many fans have expressed discontent at the base model of the LG Nexus 5X having only 16 GB storage. It would have been better to have 32 GB on the base model, because that way there would have been enough space for apps and media. With 16 GB, Android tends to occupy a large part of that space, making it unusable for owners. LG and Google have most likely incorporated that feedback into their plan, so we’re definitely expecting at least 32 GB to be there on the base model. There’s a possibility that we’ll even get to see a 128 GB model, but it’s a bit unlikely if the LG Nexus 2016 ends up being the lower end model of the Nexus family next year.
The display part of the LG Nexus 2016 will be most interesting, seeing as LG has been dabbling into new technologies to improve power management and consumption, as well as add functionality. With that in mind, it’s not out of the question for the two collaborating companies to implement tech similar to Apple’s 3D touch in the new handset. Size and resolution will most likely remain in the standard realm, so we expect a 5.2-inch OLED panel with a QuadHD resolution. FHD might also be taken into consideration, seeing as unless the handset will have some extra capabilities or if 4K content really takes off on mobile, there’s little actual use for such a high resolution on such a small device. Maybe on the larger model. The LG Nexus model will definitely choose a more power- and cost-effective panel to keep its price down and its popularity up. Seems fair to me, what do you think? Do we need 4K or 2K on a small, supposedly affordable, smartphone?
The camera on the Nexus 5 was a disappointing example to some, and a decent one to others. The Nexus 5X camera is perfectly suitable for what it is and that’s the same strategy we’re expecting from next year’s model. Although we’re quite confident the camera will be improved and will have a better MP count, optical image stabilization and laser autofocus. Up front, we might even get to see the little flash companies have been trying to implement in their handsets. I’m a bit skeptical about the LG Nexus 2016 getting a front-facing flash, but sources tell us it’s a feature we can expect to see on at least on of the new Nexus phones. They weren’t entirely sure on which one, though. We’ll have to wait and see to find out.
Overall, the expectations for the LG Nexus 2016 are among the fairest, considering that other manufacturers and other line-ups have to deal with very high expectations which they ultimately fail to achieve. LG and Google’s partnership is more about creating a good phone than creating a phone filled with features that stock Android users don’t really need. The fingerprint sensor is going to return, that’s for sure, but otherwise we don’t really expect to see anything out of the ordinary. And that’s fine. The Nexus line-up isn’t about impressing new customers. It’s about keeping Android fans satisfied and giving them a phone that’s tailored for their usage patterns.
4 Most Interesting Crossovers in Gaming
Gaming crossovers are a great way to bring in new people and drive up interest in a title. With that being said, crossovers aren’t as rare as they once were. More and more gaming companies are now embracing crossovers, to the point that some may say that it has lost its appeal. And while this is true to some degree, there are still crossovers that are really effective when it comes to adding a whole new dimension to a game. To prove our point, we’ve put together a list of five of the most interesting crossovers.
Forza Horizon 4: Halo
Forza Horizon 4 is the eleventh installment in the Forza series. The Forza series is known for its ability to emulate realistic racing conditions and offer accurate representations of real-world cars. And while they’ve partnered with car manufacturers before, Forza Horizon 4 features one of the most interesting collaborations in the entire series.
For a series that prides itself on realistic racing, Forza also knows when to cut loose and have a little fun. Nothing exemplifies this more than the Halo crossover that features Master Chief and the iconic Warthog.
Fortnite: Travis Scott
Fortnite is no stranger to crossovers. But if we had to pick one as the most interesting it would have to be the Travis Scott concert. Not only did this crossover include custom skins and emotes but it also paved the way for one of the most unique digital experiences of 2020.
The Verge’s article on the Travis Scott crossover details that the crossover included an interactive digital concert that turned the Fortnite island into a music stage. What’s great about this crossover is that it hints towards a future wherein music and video games will be working hand in hand to deliver immersive musical experiences to millions of people from all over the world.
Merge Dragons: Rick and Morty
When you think of the popular TV show Rick and Morty, a fantasy puzzle game isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. This is what makes this Rick and Morty crossover so interesting. The sheer absurdity of this crossover shows what gaming collaborations can achieve when one thinks outside the box. The game features original dialogue spoken by the characters that matches their characteristics from the show. It is a fun addition to the puzzle game.
However, this crossover shouldn’t be too surprising as Rick and Morty have appeared in other games, demonstrating how they have become pop culture icons. The comic nature of the duo makes them perfect for every type of genre, including slot games. Foxy Bingo’s pop cultured-themed slots include an official Rick and Morty game that features the iconic imagery and characters from the show. The show has also produced its own game in the form of the Pokémon-clone Pocket Mortys. One thing that all of these games have in common is that they maintain the show’s penchant for fun and wacky adventures. This is seen in Merge Dragons with the exclusive cow-dragon hybrid featured in the crossover event.
Mortal Kombat 11: Rambo
While crossovers in fighting games aren’t exactly new, Mortal Kombat has always had a knack for creating interesting crossovers for their iconic fighting game. One way that they’ve done this is with the inclusion of popular film characters. The franchise has had everyone from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to Jason of the Friday the 13th franchise appear in their games.
However, the latest iteration of the game may have topped all of the previous crossovers. This is because Mortal Kombat 11 features John Rambo of the legendary Rambo franchise as one of its available fighters. To add to this, CNet’s article on Mortal Kombat 11 details that Sylvester Stallone voiced the digital John Rambo. This is certainly a treat for fans of the popular action film franchise, as they can finally play as one of the most influential action heroes of all time.
Loot Crate vs. The Curiosity Box: A Beginner’s Guide to Subscription Mystery Boxes
With all the loot box shenanigans we’ve witnessed this year, you might have, while searching for more information, accidentally stumbled across something by the name of Loot Crate. Unlike the reviled loot boxes, Loot Crate isn’t a digital gambling scam. Instead, Loot Crate is a physical, subscription-based mystery box you receive in the mail that contains a bevy of geek-related material. Moreover, Loot Crate isn’t the only available service. Alongside the vanilla Loot Crate Classic, the Loot Crate company supplies geeks with anime-themed items with Loot Anime, gaming swag with Loot Gaming (Loot Crate also sells Halo, Minecraft, Fallout, Call of Duty, and Destiny 2 themed boxes), and film/TV merchandise with Harry Potter, Firefly, Marvel, and Star Trek themed boxes. Loot Crate also has a rival in the form of Geek Fuel, which is more expensive than Loot Crate Classic but contains more (and more expensive) merchandise. While I don’t have a Geek Fuel box to compare to a Loot Crate, I received a different subscription box for Christmas, The Curiosity Box. This mystery box is a joint venture between the company behind Geek Fuel and the YouTube Channel VSauce, which is admittedly cool. So, without further ado, let’s get into what sets apart a Loot Crate from a Curiosity Box and determine which is right for you.
WHAT’S THE SAME
On the surface, Loot Crate and The Curiosity Box seem similar. They arrive in big cardboard boxes and contain random items. Well, not precisely random; each box focuses on a different theme, and the items provided center around that theme. While a lot of geeks subscribe to these boxes for various bits of swag, perhaps the biggest draw is the exclusives. The companies behind these subscription services make deals with other firms to create unique pieces of merchandise that are literally impossible to find anywhere else, aftermarket/marked up eBay sales notwithstanding. Some of these exclusives are just color variants of readily available products, such as a glow in the dark Funko POP Groot figure and orange Quantum Mechanix Tribble.
Most exclusives, however, aren’t available elsewhere in any other form and include items like the The Walking Dead art print, the Yeti temporary tattoo, the tower of magnetic rings, and “collectible” pins.
Furthermore, while most exclusives are decorative, some are practical items, such as a pen shaped like the Sledge Saw from Dead Rising 3 and light-up beverage coasters with periodic symbols.
Finally, these subscription boxes have some of the most awesome, exclusive, geeky shirts this side of ThinkGeek or Hot Topic.
The exclusive items tend to be the best pieces of merchandise in each box and are usually worth the price of the subscription alone. Usually.
Let’s get this out of the way: the most obvious differences are the prices and subscription models. Loot Crate Classic is about $20 per box and comes once a month, while The Curiosity Box is well over $50 and arrives once every three months. More importantly, these boxes are designed for two completely different audiences. The Loot Crate (and likely by extension Geek Fuel) is aimed primarily at adults or older teenagers and provides geek-related decorations and practical items, such as the Dead Rising 3 pen, Star Wars and Deadpool fridge magnets, and a Mega Man car air freshener.
Also, Loot Crate tends to include non-exclusive products that are part of a series. Case in point, during my brief stint with Loot Crate, I received (among other things) a Kidrobot Glow in the Dark Ooze Action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle vinyl figure and a Funko ReAction Alien figure. I got Donatello and the titular Alien, respectively, but I easily could have found Leonardo or Ripley in my Loot Crate subscriptions instead. However, since The Curiosity Box is almost exclusively made up of exclusive items, there is no element of randomness and everyone receives the same merchandise.
While Loot Crate caters to the video game, movies, comics, television, and everything pop-culture side of geekdom, The Curiosity Box is more science oriented and is designed for the family. For example, parents who bought the Summer 2017 Curiosity Box got to enjoy a t-shirt, a set of periodic table beverage coasters, a magnetic ring tower, a t-shirt, and a Nikola Tesla (as a sloth) enamel pin, while children will have fun with a temporary tattoo, a unique embroidered sticker patch, a solar system wall decal and poster set, a mobile microscope, and a castle cross-sections book. Finally, the Summer 2017 Curiosity Box came with the Universe Sandbox 2 Steam game, which is fun for all ages.
Since each Loot Crate and Curiosity Box contains new themes and items, you might find the contents of one particular box more to your liking than another. For example, one Curiosity Box contained a “grow your own glow in the dark crystals” kit, while another included a plush of The Curiosity Box’s mascot, the orange octopus Inq. Meanwhile, past Loot Crates have contained a Batman mug, a Doom Marine Funko POP figure, and the One-Punch Man manga.
While I only have personal experience with Loot Crate and The Curiosity Box, they are not your only options for subscription boxes. Geek Fuel is another decent mystery box, and it has come with its fair share of good products, including a South Park: The Fractured But Whole shirt, a Loony Toons Kidrobot blind box vinyl figure, and an exclusive Legend of Zelda pixel sword power bank. While I cannot recommend the Loot Crate, Curiosity Box, or Geek Fuel (or other) subscription boxes enough, you should research each to know what you should expect from these services. Sure, you technically can’t know what to expect since each box is supposed to be a mystery, but look into each specific subscription and figure out which one is right for you. Which do you think tends to have the best exclusives? Which box caters to your interests? These questions are important and will severely impact your enjoyment. Of course, luck also plays a big role, but that’s also part of the fun.
Google Drive will Shut Down in 2018
It seems like yesterday when Google introduced Google Drive 5 years ago. Back then, people didn’t have a good grasp about what Cloud Storage did. Nowadays, there are many Cloud Storage services that it’s only a matter of preference to choose one for your file keeping needs. However, what struck me as an oddity was how Google Drive will pull their Google Drive service come 2018.
That’s right, Google Drive will completely shut down on March 12, 2018. With the software no longer being supported on December 11, 2017. People will have several warnings about this, for now, so they will have plenty of chance to switch to the new version of Drive, Backup and Sync.
This new program is basically a combination of the features between Google Drive and Photos. It’s readily available now for Windows and OSX systems and will be the new host for the Cloud storage. Alternatively, users can get a hold of Drive File Stream, which will become available on September 26, 2017.
The core differences between DFS and BaS come when you compare how they help customers. As shown in the image below:
A day without Google Drive.
It seems like users will have their first experience without Drive today though. Because as of this morning, the service was down for many users who constantly used the GSuit app. According to the independent site Downdetector, more than 7,000 users are experiencing issues with the service. This has been going on since 10:04 AM EDT, but the number of reports has been lowering afterward. You can check the stats here.
It’s a shame to see Google Drive go. To be frank, it was my preferred Cloud Storage option besides MEGA. However, it’s not a huge inconvenience considering they are not shutting down a Cloud Storage service altogether. So we at least have that.
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