Samsung Unveils New Notes, Oculus


It’s new from Samsung. IMAGES FROM ALISON YOUNG

Samsung is expanding its galaxy with last week’s revelation of two new Note smartphones and a co-branded Oculus virtual reality headset. The Galaxy Note 4 and Galaxy Note Edge are both Android-powered tablets that boast 2.7GHz quad-core processors, quad-HD Super AMOLED screens and the signature S Pen. The Note Edge features a special curved display that wraps around the right side of the device.

Both Notes feature an upgraded 16-megapixel rear-facing camera with optical image stabilization and phase-detection auto-focus. The front-facing camera has a 3.7-megapixel sensor and a lens with a bright f/1.9 aperture for better low-light shooting. Plus, the S Pen received a significant upgrade — it’s sturdier, has a natural brush effect and requires less pressure, as it’s more similar to a real pen and paper.

In addition, the Gear VR headset exclusively utilizes the Note 4 in conjunction with technology invented by Oculus. It uses the Note 4’s battery and processor along with its own set of physical controls and motion sensors to deliver virtual reality experiences similar to the original Oculus headset.

All three products are due to hit the market by the end of this year, but no pricing has been announced. Hopefully, they’ll be out in time for Christmas shopping.

Click Chick’s Mobile App of the Week: MOVING BOOKS! Jajajajan

A screen grab from MOVING BOOKS! Jajajajan

A screen grab from MOVING BOOKS! Jajajajan

There are many apps for keiki out there, but Jajajajan is a unique educational app that brings children’s stories to life. Originally released in Japan in 2013, this app is now available in English and features stories based on classic fairy tales and modern popular children’s songs from around the world. The name Jajajajan is a combination of the two main characters, Prince Jajaja and his pal Jan.

“We developed MOVING BOOKS! Jajajajan because many of us are parents to young children ourselves,” says FORii producer Jarik Sikat. “It’s the vision of our president and CEO Kazutoshi Shirata. We all come from diverse backgrounds including animation, manga, e-commerce, video games and toys, but we came together because we shared his vision of creating a fun, educational experience kids and parents could enjoy together. We draw a lot of inspiration from both western fairy tales and traditional Asian folklore, while at the same time we put our own modern spin on well-known kids’ songs.”

I let my 4-year-old daughter put Jajajajan to the test. Whenever she has it open, it keeps her engaged for long periods of time, often the entire 25-minute drive to school. It takes her into a whole other world of folklore. The controls are so keiki-friendly that I don’t need to assist her with navigating through the app. Plus, there are no annoying ads. So far her favorite is Three Little Pigs, which is included. It’s amazing how she watches it over and over again and doesn’t get tired of it.

The nice thing is you don’t need Internet connectivity to use the app, and it comes with seven stories and songs (e.g., Jack and the Beanstalk and Let’s Clap Our Hands). The app itself is free for your iOS or Android device, and additional content is available as in-app purchases (varying prices $1.99-plus).