Posts tagged with "android"

Troubleshooting Smart Home Tech

While Still Working from Home

It’s been almost two years since the COVID-19 pandemic forced many businesses to shift their physical models and adapt to a remote, virtual environment. Now in 2022, the rise of Omicron variant cases has resulted in offices sending their employees back to work from home again. A recent [1]survey from Assurant shows that full time work from home activity is expected to increase by 33% as the pandemic continues, tripled from 11% when the pandemic began.

This upward trend in work from home culture also comes with an upward trend in smart home device connectivity, particularly right after the holidays when people want to work simultaneously with their new smart televisions, smart speakers, and other devices operating in the background. Renters and homeowners alike have even opted for smart home appliances and amenities included with the property, as the demand for smart home technology increased by [2]nearly 25% at the end of 2021 and is expected to accelerate throughout the next few years.

Even with new smart home technology products presented at the recent CES® 2022, troubleshooting these devices when not working properly can be stressful, especially when the company’s IT department can’t come to the home environment.

How Do I Go About Troubleshooting My Devices?

As the first instinct of many would be trying to fix the problem themselves or going directly to the device manufacturer, there are simple steps one can take, while not interrupting workflow at the same time.  To ensure smooth connectivity in every corner of the home, one should start by keeping a close eye on issues shown by the existing Wi-Fi router, such as web pages loading slowly or video playback constantly buffering.

If the router frequently displays issues with the network, the user should consider adding a Wi-Fi range extender in the home to increase the wireless bandwidth across different rooms. This would be an extreme help for company video meetings and software capabilities even when two people in the same household are both working at the same time.

When connecting a new smart device to the Wi-Fi network, one should also check the speed of the device and adjust the positioning accordingly where the internet connection is the strongest in the home. The existing service provider may even offer additional bandwidth options increase the desired connectivity as best as possible.

The Future of Support

No matter the device or the problem, troubleshooting can be time-consuming and hinder work productivity. Just imagine how a client would feel if one were struggling to join a video meeting or email a report that was due an hour ago. Support needs to be similar to an Amazon retail model in streamlining a one-stop shop to troubleshoot any smart home device without ever having to go to the manufacturer.

Whether it’s learning how to set up, connect, or get the most out of a particular device, tech support needs to be humanized to make it as convenient and comprehensive as possible for the person to understand. No one should have to still wait to get a response from an online ticket request they filled out days ago or wait on hold for hours just to speak to someone in a foreign country with a language barrier.

Consumers need to feel confident in the products they purchase, and companies need the assurance from their employees of working through these difficulties to keep their own products and services afloat.  

Even though the work from home culture with the pandemic is continuing, it doesn’t mean old tech support ways have to.

About The Author: 

Scott McKinley is AVP, Premium Technical Support for Pocket Geek Home. For more information visit www.pocketgeekhome.com.  

Sources

1, 2: https://www.assurant.com/newsroom-detail/Features/2022/January/smart-amenities-in-properties


Green Car by Mina Tocalini

Lamborghini Adopts what3words

Lamborghini, the leading global brand of luxury sports cars, has revealed today it will become the first auto manufacturer to integrate what3words, fully enabled by Alexa. With voice set to be the way we communicate with cars, this partnership signals  a disruptive move to combine the best user experience with the slickest and most innovative technology. 

what3words location technology is changing the way we approach addressing. It has divided the globe into 57 trillion 10ft squares and given each one a unique combination of 3 words: a what3words address. For example, drivers can enter ///usual.trying.highs to navigate to the exact 3 meter square that offers the best view of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. The system will also work entirely offline. 

Traditional addresses can be difficult to enter into navigation systems, especially by voice, and are often inaccurate or confusing. Many address searches typically drop pins in the centre of buildings and street names are often duplicated. For example, there are 367 Park Streets in California and 521 George Streets in Australia. Of course, many parts of the word are not addressed at all. 

what3words eliminates these issues. Every what3words address is unique, minimising errors and getting drivers exactly where they want to go–whether that’s a new trendy pop-up bar, or a friend’s apartment’s parking lot. With market-leading voice accuracy, what3words addresses can be entered either by text or voice just like street addresses or points of interest.

The Lamborghini Huracán is all about performance, control, and innovation. The cars are equipped with the latest technology for great performance, and navigation is no exception. Lamborghini is the first automotive brand to incorporate Amazon Alexa’s Complete Control, and the integration with what3words allows users to navigate to a precise 3 meter square with a simple voice command. 

Luca Giardino, Head of Connectivity at Lamborghini adds, ‘The future of mobility demands the most advanced technology, and that is why Lamborghini announced the roll-out of what3words. Our drivers can experience the most seamless way to navigate by voice.’

Chris Sheldrick, CEO and Co-founder of what3words adds, “Traditional addresses aren’t suitable for voice input, and a lot of the time, the best spots don’t have an address at all. Together, what3words and Alexa offer the perfect solution for navigation, and with that a top of the range experience. Lamborghini drivers can now explore off the beaten track, or find a VIP entrance to an exclusive venue with just 3 words.

About what3words

What3words is the simplest way to talk about location. The system covers the entire world, never needs updating, and works offline. A what3words address is a human-friendly way to share very precise locations with other people, or to input them into platforms and machines such as ride-hailing apps or e-commerce checkouts. It is optimized for voice input and contains built-in error prevention to immediately identify and correct input mistakes.

The free what3words app, available for iOS and Android, and the online map enable people to find, share and navigate to what3words addresses in over 50 languages to date. Millions of what3words addresses are in use around the world, with thousands of businesses using them to save money, be more efficient and provide a better customer experience. what3words is integrated into apps, platforms and websites, with just a few lines of code. Products are available for free or for a nominal fee for qualifying NGOs. Its partners include Mercedes-Benz, Triumph Motorcycles, Premier Inn, the AA and many emergency services across the world.

what3words has a team of over 100 people, across offices in the UK, USA, Germany and Ulaanbaatar Mongolia. The company has raised over £100 million in capital from investors such as Intel, Aramex, Deutsche Bahn, Subaru and the Sony Investment Fund.

GLOBAL LIVE STREAMING APP, LIVIT, ANNOUNCES LIVE LOUNGE CONCERT SERIES

App Home To Over 45 Million Users Will Host Interactive Live-Streamed Music Events With Kygo’s Palm Tree Records, VASSY & More

Watch Live Lounge Starting Friday, August 6 at 7:00PM PST on the LIVIT App

Global live streaming and entertainment platform LIVIT, operated under the 17LIVE brand, announced today that they will be hosting a live-streamed concert & interactive event series featuring global superstar Kygo’s Palm Tree Records, multi-platinum, award-winning singer/songwriter VASSY, and more. Presented by 17LIVE, the interactive Live Lounge events will begin on August 6th and will be produced at CreatetheLAB in Los Angeles. Each concert will be live-streamed exclusively on the #1 streaming platform in Asia on the LIVIT Official Account in the app, found HERE.

17LIVE is the leading platform for rising music artists, entertainers and influencers that has more than 45 million users in Asia and is rapidly growing across the United States with their U.S. centric brand LIVIT. Exclusively on the LIVIT app, they will be hosting this series of three-hour long events, consisting of multiple performances, interview segments, and Q&As that will allow fans to have a live, intimate experience with their favorite musicians. 

The August 6th Live Lounge presented by 17LIVE will feature VASSY and hit-making singer-songwriter Josh Cumbee. Best known for her vocal prowess in viral collaborations with dance music heavyweights such as Afrojack and Tiesto, VASSY recently reached the 1 billion stream milestone with her single “Bad”, which was her collaboration with Showtek and David Guetta. The pop artist released her hit track  “Chase” this summer with Aussie producer duo Bonka (The Chainsmokers, Timmy Trumpet). The track is currently sitting at the #1 position on the dance airplay radio chart and reached #1 on the dance Aria charts in Australia. Josh Cumbee built his career as a producer and songwriter for world-class artists such as Madonna, Kygo, Rita Ora, Armin van Buuren and Adam Lambert, and recently wrote the worldwide hit ‘Wondering’ for Olivia Rodrigo. Having worked in genres including ballads, dance music, rock, K-pop and C-pop, Cumbee is a songwriter and producer of exceptional talent who has had #1 hits in Korea, China, Italy, has a Latin Grammy nomination under his belt and more. He recently released ‘Sound Of Your Name (with Vicke Blanka)’, his first collaboration with another artist as a solo singer-songwriter.

On August 27, Live Lounge presented by 17LIVE will host the first-ever showcase for global superstar Kygo’s Palm Tree Records, which is a joint venture with Sony Music Entertainment. With over 15 billion cumulative global audio and video streams, the Norwegian artist is known for chart-topping hits like the multiplatinum “It Ain’t Me” [with Selena Gomez], “Higher Love” [with Whitney Houston], “Like It Is” [with Zara Larsson & Tyga], and “Lose Somebody” [with OneRepublic]. Kygo’s showcase will feature performances by Palm Tree Records artists Frank Walker, Forester, Haywood, and Petey Martin. Toronto-based DJ/Producer Frank Walker has captivated fans across the globe with his club-ready collaborations such as “Like Gold” with Loud Luxury and Stephen Puth, along with solo releases like “Dancing In The Dark” which was recently nominated for a Juno award. Los Angeles-based indie electronic duo Forester has already made a lasting impact in the scene, blending acoustic instrumentation with electronic elements that transport the listener to wide open spaces, allowing for introspection as well as the desire to dance. They dropped their sophomore album ‘A Range of Light’ on December 4th and have earned  over 20  million total streams across their catalog.

“I’m excited for my artists to have the opportunity to show the world what they’re capable of.” – Kygo

Songwriter and producer Haywood has penned hits for everyone from Katy Perry and Kygo to BLACKPINK and Selena Gomez and is now a solo artist. The New Zealand-born and Australian-raised songstress introduces a glorious and glossy sound of her own on a series of 2021 singles for Palm Tree Records punctuated by her skyscraping vocals and punchy lyrics. Nashville-based Petey Martin wrote/produced “Ashes” by Celine Dion for the Deadpool 2 Motion Picture Soundtrack, “Bigger Than” by Justin Jesso & Seeb, and five songs on Kygo’s ‘Golden Hour’ album, including the lead single “Like It Is.” He made his debut as an artist collaborating with Matoma on “Keep It Simple” and released his introductory  single “Come Back Home” on Palm Tree Records featuring two-time Grammy winner Lauren Daigle.

“I’m excited to partner with 17LIVE to host our first-ever Palm Tree Records showcase and be able to live stream it to millions of people around the world while interacting with users of the platform.” – David Rishty, President of Palm Tree Records

CreateTheLab is a custom-tailored production studio in Los Angeles with multiple stages. The events will be invite-only with press, influencers, and artist teams in attendance in-person; with millions of viewers watching on LIVIT around the world.

Head of U.S. Operations for 17LIVE, Armin Collosi, says, “We are thrilled to launch the Live Lounge concert series with some of the most respected music artists in the industry. Our platform is quickly becoming a special place for talent of all levels to showcase their creativity, and we are proud to provide the platform where they can be their most authentic selves. With the return of live music, LIVIT has created a unique concert experience that will allow fans to interact in new ways with their favorite artists. We look forward to seeing all the amazing performances we have scheduled this summer.”

Powered by Taiwan-based 17LIVE, a leading global social entertainment company, LIVIT was launched in 2019 and has more than 45 million registered users across the globe. As the largest live streaming platform in Asia, LIVIT is expanding to multiple international markets. LIVIT plans for its North American operation to be a curated space where artists can collaborate, interact directly with fans and grow their careers. No matter who you are, or which corner of the world you reside in, you can connect with anyone through LIVIT’s media platform to showcase your talents and passions and realize your dreams. LIVIT is available for free download on iOS and Android.

About 17LIVE:

17LIVE operates the largest live streaming platform in Developed Asia. Anyone with a talent or a passion to share can be an artist and the Company’s mission is to empower artists and entertain the world through its platforms. The Company’s live interactive platforms include its flagship live entertainment streaming app 17LIVE, Meme Live and live streaming shopping platforms HandsUP and FBBuy. For more information about 17LIVE, please visit https://about.17.live/.

Illustration by Alex Bogdan for use for 360 Magazine

Rollic Surpasses 1 Billion Total Downloads Worldwide

Rollic, a subsidiary of Zynga Inc. (Nasdaq: ZNGA), a global leader in interactive entertainment, announced today a studio milestone of surpassing 1 billion downloads across its diverse portfolio of hyper-casual games. As one of the largest hyper-casual publishers in the world, Rollic has created a unique development process that leverages data insights and rigorous testing to repeatedly design and publish hit hyper-casual titles. Rollic’s process generates universally fun game concepts that resonate in pop culture and quickly spread on leading social media networks like TikTok

Rollic’s fast-growing portfolio includes 15 titles that have reached the #1 or #2 top free downloaded games position in the U.S. App Store. Breakout hits Hair Challenge, High Heels! and Tangle Master 3D have each generated over 100 million downloads worldwide. Rollic’s recently released title Queen Bee reached the #1 top free downloaded game position in the U.S. App Store in June, and Arrow Fest has risen to the #2 top free downloaded game position in the U.S. App Store since launching in June. High Heels! integrated a first-of-its-kind partnership with Kenneth Cole in June, debuting the iconic designer’s PRIDE 2021 collection in-game to celebrate diversity and raise awareness for the Mental Health Coalition. 

“We are blown away by Rollic’s performance so far this year,” said Bernard Kim, Zynga’s President of Publishing. “Rollic is a unique publisher that is able to repeatedly publish games that surprise and delight players. They have invented a fresh approach to development that results in simple yet deeply engaging games with universal appeal.” 

“I am immensely proud of the Rollic team for this momentous achievement. This milestone highlights Rollic’s ability to merge the art and science of game creation to develop titles that resonate with players from all walks of life,” said Burak Vardal, Co-Founder of Rollic. “By constantly improving our understanding of what today’s players seek, and creating hundreds of new game concepts each quarter, we are able to deliver fun and authentic titles that succeed in entertaining millions worldwide.”

Zynga acquired Rollic in October 2020, marking Zynga’s entry into hyper-casual. Founded in 2018 by Burak Vardal, Deniz Basaran and Mehmet Can Yavuz, Rollic has quickly established itself as a leader in the category with its innovative development process and exciting portfolio of hyper-casual games. Rollic’s games are available for iOS and Android devices in over 175 countries around the world. 

To view supporting assets for Rollic and their games, please click here.

illustration bv Samantha Miduri for use by 360 Magazine

Android Apps

When a developer leaves a mistake in application code, it can create a security vulnerability that criminals may exploit. 

According to the data presented by the Atlas VPN team, 63% of Android applications had known security vulnerabilities in Q1 2021, with an average of 39 vulnerabilities per app. 

Gaming apps had the most vulnerabilities out of all Android app categories. A whopping

96% of top free games apps were found to contain vulnerable components. Additionally, 94% of top-grossing games apps and 80% of top paid games apps also had vulnerabilities. 

Despite the fact that financial apps require some of the most personally sensitive data, vulnerabilities were also discovered in 88% of banking apps, 84% of budgeting apps, and 80% of payment apps. 

Education apps have the most high-level vulnerabilities 

Not all vulnerabilities are equal. While some may just be minor issues that do not pose any active threat to the user, other vulnerabilities can cause serious repercussions. Let’s delve deeper into the different types of Android security vulnerabilities registered since 2018. 

Education apps had the highest number of exploitable Android vulnerabilities with possible fixes as of the first quarter of 2021 43%. Meanwhile, apps in the top games category had the biggest number of exploitable Android vulnerabilities with no available fixes 6%. 

Overall, 44% of the Android app vulnerabilities were classified as high-risk, meaning they represented a tangible threat. 

Ruth Cizynski, the cybersecurity researcher and writer at Atlas VPN, shares her thoughts on the situation: 

“Given that the Google Play store applications have been downloaded millions of times, it is safe to say they pose significant security risks to Android users. ”

To read the full article, click here.

Oprah Winfrey illustration by Kaelen Felix for 360 Magazine

Creating A Limitless Life

Creating A Limitless Life”

Register for free on their website.

Chopra Global, the leading whole health company founded by Dr. Deepak Chopra, today announced the final release of the wildly popular 21-Day Meditation Experience titled “Getting Unstuck: Creating a Limitless Life,” led by Deepak Chopra and Oprah Winfrey. March 2021 marks one year since the COVID-19 pandemic has transformed daily life, with many people remaining “stuck” at home. The free, 21-Day program begins today and will help participants cultivate presence, tap into potential and unlock creativity to release stagnation and improve mental health.

Registration also includes access to an exclusive talk with Deepak Chopra reflecting on these challenging times and offering meditation and tools for cultivating mindful awareness. The program and talk are designed to help people tune into the power of the present and find joy and fulfillment in the everyday.

“Getting Unstuck: Creating a Limitless Life,” offers a 20-minute audio meditation each day and a series of thought-provoking reflection questions designed to anchor the teachings with a centering thought and mantra. The meditations are easily accessible from a tablet, computer, or Chopra Global’s new Meditation and Well-being App available in the Apple App Store and on Android.

“For the past eight years, Oprah Winfrey and I have joined forces to offer the 21-Day Meditation Experience programs. Now, we invite you to join us one last time to develops tools to guide you through these challenging times and create a limitless life in mindful awareness,” said Deepak Chopra.

“Getting Unstuck: Creating a Limitless Life” follows “Creating Peace from the Inside Out, which was re-released in November 2020. The 21-Day Meditation Experience series featuring Deepak and Oprah Winfrey first launched in 2013, and has since become a global phenomenon, with millions of participants and meditation groups around the world. The franchise currently features a catalogue of 18 different programs and features beautiful soundscapes, mantra-based meditations, and centering thoughts. For a limited time, the full library is still available for purchase at chopra.com/oprah.

Below is an overview of what participants can expect throughout this experience:

Week One: Creative Living is Here and Now

Week One will focus on expanding awareness of living in the present moment, which, in itself, is a renewal that brings new possibilities to the surface. By actualizing the present moment, the eternal “now,” we see ourselves in the limitless place where thought, feeling, and action can emerge in unique creation.

Week Two: Activating Your Creative Potential

Week Two is about expanding our participation in being alive by expanding our daily awareness of our own existence. The expansion of awareness holds the key to living from the creative source. Instead of struggling to change your life, you allow a growing awareness to create the change you want to see.

Week Three: Living the Complete Spirit of Creativity

The third week focuses on allowing newly awakened creativity to impact our lives at every level. Then, having awakened our fuller potential, we share the spirit of creative awareness – and spread the energy of “getting unstuck” to the people around us. The key is closing the gap between the self we see in the mirror and the true self. When those two are merged, anything becomes possible.

About Chopra Global

Chopra Global is a leading whole health company that is empowering personal transformation for millions of people globally to expand our collective well-being. Anchored by the life’s practice and research of Dr. Deepak Chopra, a pioneer in integrative medicine, Chopra Global’s signature programs have been proven to improve overall well-being through a focus on physical, mental and spiritual well-being. Chopra Global has been at the forefront of health and wellness for more than two decades with a portfolio that includes an editorial archive with more than 2,000 health articles, meditations, masterclasses, teacher certifications, live events and personalized retreats. By providing tools, guidance and community, Chopra aims to advance a culture of well-being and make a healthy, peaceful and joyful life accessible to all. For more information, interact with the team on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

About Deepak Chopra, M.D.

DEEPAK CHOPRA™ MD, FACP, is founder of The Chopra Foundation, a non-profit entity for research on well-being and humanitarianism, and of Chopra Global, a modern-day health company at the intersection of science and spirituality, is a world-renowned pioneer in integrative medicine and personal transformation. Chopra is a Clinical Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of California, San Diego and serves as a senior scientist with Gallup Organization. He is the author of over 90 books translated into over forty-three languages, including numerous New York Times bestsellers. For the last thirty years, Chopra has been at the forefront of the meditation revolution and his latest (and 91st) book, Total Meditation (Harmony Book) helps to achieve new dimensions of stress-free living and joyful living. TIME magazine has described Dr. Chopra as “one of the top 100 heroes and icons of the century.” To learn more, visit his website.

Virtual Hangout illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Houseparty is Poppin!

It’s award show season, and just because many are still social distancing it does not mean you can’t have a viewing party with friends and family! The show can still go on with Houseparty.

Houseparty is a synchronous face-to-face social network that enables group video communication through mobile and desktop applications. A user opens the app, and their friends get a push notification that they are “in the house” and ready to chat. The app allows users to come online and be present and see who their friends are talking to and join their conversations. On average, users spend 60 minutes per day in the app chatting with friends.

Get dressed up, pour yourself a drink, open the Houseparty app, and get your friends “in the house” to watch this year’s award shows – and make sure to check out the Trivia categories dedicated to movies! Click on the dice icon on the top right to play all the games available on Houseparty Heads Up! Tap a game and you’ll then be asked to add friends to play with you. Wait for them to connect, then it’s game on!

Fortnite Mode

Fortnite Mode lets you cast your party into Fortnite so you can bring your friends with you while you play. You opt into this feature by linking your Houseparty and Epic Games accounts on the Houseparty app.

Houseparty is a great resource for people right now and that they don’t need to miss out on gathering this award season. Houseparty is secure. There have been no data breaches and no exposure to customer data or third-party accounts. You can read their full statement on data safety to learn more.

Houseparty is available on iOSAndroidMacPC, and as a Google Chrome extension.

Follow along @houseparty.

Spotify illustration for RADAR by Heather Skovlund for 360 MAGAZINE

Spotify Announces girl in red as Its Next RADAR Artist

Today, Spotify’s global emerging artist development program, RADAR, has announced its latest artist partnership for the US: the Oslo-based pop sensation, girl in red, aka Marie Ulven.
girl in red has also just announced her debut album, if i could make it go quiet, out April 30th, and released its accompanying first single, “Serotonin.”  The result of a collaboration with FINNEAS and a huge pop anthem that speaks to Ulven’s struggles with mental health, the arena-ready tune can be heard HERE

Following her breakout single, “i wanna be your girlfriend,” which has been streamed over 150 Million times on Spotify, girl in red’s music has adorned some of Spotify’s most popular playlists including New Music Friday, LOREM, Oyster, Ultimate Indie, Out Now, and many more — 364 playlists, to be exact! Her cover of Maggie Rogers’s “Say it” for Spotify’s Studio Oyster has been beloved by media and fans around the world, as well as by Rogers herself. With 7 Million monthly listeners on Spotify, her music has also been celebrated by press outlets around the world like The New York Times, Paper Magazine, NME, DAZED, Rolling Stone, Pigeons & Planes and more. 

Today’s announcement is accompanied by new RADAR photos of girl in red located HERE and a blog post on Spotify’s For The Record newsroom blog HERE that includes a full rundown of the program, and a Q&A with the artist, which you should feel free to use for your own coverage.  
girl in red’s appointment to the RADAR program will include features in the RADAR playlist, a Spotify Singles recording, promotional support for her upcoming releases, a full suite of out-of-home advertising and on-platform marketing, and social promotion. girl in red’s RADAR campaign will also include a forthcoming mini-documentary to premiere later this year.
Says Ned Monahan, Spotify’s Head of Global Hits: “We’ve been closely watching girl in red’s steady ascent over the past few years — she’s built a tight-knit community of devoted fans in a remarkably organic way, based on her self-assured songwriting and deeply personal lyrics — all as an independent artist.  We’re beyond excited for her debut full-length, and look forward to helping with her global ascent via RADAR.”

When asked what she looks forward to about being a RADAR artist, girl in red says: “Taking over the world! That’s what I’m looking forward to. Having my music in people’s ears— that’s like the coolest thing ever. RADAR, then world domination!”

girl in red’s appointment as the fifth US RADAR artist follows the success of Spotify’s previous US RADAR artists Alaina Castillo, J.I The Prince of N.Y, The Kid LAROI, and Flo Milli, all joining 175 RADAR-affiliated emerging artists around the world. Last fall, Spotify celebrated the program’s six month anniversary with the launch of its global RADAR hub on-platform.

The program has propelled the success of artists around the globe like Rina Sawayama, Young T & Bugsey,Zoe Wees, Lous and the Yakuza, and more.

video game illustration by Gabrielle Archuleta for 360 Magazine

GAME+ RAISES COMPETITIVE GAMING STAKES

Available on iOS and Google Play, Game+ provides a safe and secure marketplace for gamers to play for money 
Today, Game+, the app that enables skill-based head-to-head gaming competition for money, officially launched. Available now to download on iOS and Google Play, Game+ offers members a secure marketplace where they can create or accept gaming challenges for money and have their winnings automatically transferred to their account.

“Video games have always been a passion of mine, are surging in popularity, and are inextricably woven into the very fabric of our culture,” said Karim Sanford, Co-Founder and President of Game+. “We built Game+ to bring a secure, on-demand, competitive marketplace to the category that enables gamers to test each other’s skills for money while removing barriers to access any winnings.”

To use the Game+ platform, upon successful identification verification, gamers will create an account and receive a Game+ Discover® prepaid card that can be used everywhere Discover is accepted – at stores, online, or to get cash at ATMs nationwide.  Members who sign up can receive 5% cashback on purchases, subject to terms and conditions.

Once members’ accounts are set up, they will be able to use the app to send challenges to friends, choose from a library of over 50 games, select the gaming console or mobile device they want to compete on, and set the amount of money they want to put on the line for the game. The game is then played and the winner reports the results to the app, which automatically transfers funds to the winners’ account. Game+ members can participate in competitions across a variety of device formats including Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, iPhone and Android.

In addition to facilitating competitive skill-based head-to-head challenges amongst friends, Game+ enables users to compete in challenges with the broader community for money. The platform currently supports dozens of popular games including FIFA, Madden, NBA 2K, Call of Duty, Fortnite, Halo, Tekken, Street Fighter, Super Smash Bros., and Rocket League. Members will be able to join hubs for their favorite games and create challenges. In the same way they’d challenge a friend, their game will then be shared with the community, providing industry defining, on-demand competition.

Game+ solves two of the thorniest problems in facilitating gaming for money. First, it provides a bank-level financial backend that enables payments to move quickly and safely to winners’ accounts, without excessive delays or hidden fees. And just as importantly, Game+ ensures fairness by vetting all users much as a bank would, and by creating a dispute resolution system in which judges review evidence from disputed matches to determine the winner. Game+ is a clean, trusted community where members’ funds are safe and their matches are fairly decided.

The Game+ app is certified compliant with the age verification and geolocation mandate under the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA). The certification was completed earlier this year by a leading independent lab – establishing a new standard for legitimacy and trust in the space.

The Game+ app is available to download on iOS or Google Play (standard data rates may apply). You must be 18 years of age or older to create an account on Game+. Game+ is not available in Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Louisiana, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, South Carolina, South Dakota, or Tennessee.

Toyota Corolla Apex

By Althea Champion × Vaughn Lowery

TMNA is releasing a new and updated version of the faithful Toyota Corolla in 2021: the limited edition Corolla Apex Edition. The company will manufacture only 6,000 editions of the SE and XSE editions.

As a bonus, Puma and Toyota collaborated on a limited edition Corolla Apex sneaker that corresponds with the car’s launch. Only 50 units were fabricated – we got number 25! They perfectly match the vehicle and they came just in time as we celebrated the Los Angeles Lakers Championship win, honking and flickering our lights in Downtown LA near the Staples Center. Just like LeBron during the NBA playoffs, this compact car was the star attraction. After all, it is one of the top selling cars in the world.

Model

This new model has the same horsepower as its predecessor, same TNGA-C platform, but is nearly unrecognizable in its new form.

Most of the editions will be equipped with the Dynamic Shift CVT, otherwise known as a continuously variable transmission, and colloquially known as an automatic. For those who love driving stick, Toyota is also offering just 120 models based on the SE edition that are equipped with a 6-speed Intelligent Manual Transmission.

Style

This car leans into sportiness that has never been characteristic of a Corolla, yet does so gracefully. The new model rides lower to the ground, flaunts bronze accents, a front spoiler, fog light covers, side moldings, a rear diffuser aid in high-speed vehicle stability, and an optional rear trunk aero spoiler for those who wish it theirs.

Chrome exhaust tips accent the vehicle and black mirror caps give it an edge. Low profile, black, 18-inch wheels that are lighter than Corolla’s standard and unique to the Apex, according to Anthony Alaniz of Motor1, add to its humble discretion. LED headlights, turn signals, and taillights make sure you are safe, while the smoked-out light lenses of the taillights add to its undeniable dominance, and a large sunroof is an added bonus, especially on lazy summer nights.

The SE model is attired in premium fabric upholstery, while the XSE edition sports black SofTex®-trimmed fabric upholstery, heated front seats, and an eight-way adjustable driver’s seat with power lumbar support.

Power

This Corolla is powered by its 2.0-liter Dynamic Force Toyota Corolla engine, which obtains its power from high-compression Toyota D4-S fuel injection system (13:1), according to Toyota’s press release. The VVT-i on the exhausts uses an electric motor instead of oil, making for a more eco-friendly and efficient exhaust.

The limited edition model has a 169 peak horsepower at 6,600 rpm and 151 lb.-ft. peak torque at 4,800 rpm, which is standard in previous Toyota models.

With the automatic transmission in the SE model, the EPA-estimated fuel economy is 31 city / 41 highway / 34 combined MPG, and the XSE’s is 31/38/34, respectively. With the manual transmission, the fuel economy is 29/36/32 MPG.

Safety

Toyota also took the model one step further in safety. The Apex Edition, along with all 2021 Corolla models, will have Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 suite of driver-assist technologies, standard. This includes a pre-collision system with daytime/low-light vehicle and pedestrian detection, plus daytime bicycle detection, full-speed range dynamic cruise control (CVT only), lane departure alert with steering assist and road edge detection, automatic high beams, lane tracing and road sign assist.

In addition, rear side airbags were added to the design, bringing the total number of airbags in the vehicle up to 10. Rear Cross-Traffic Alert with a Blind Spot Monitor is now standard on XSE models, and optional for SE models with CVT. In addition, all 2020 Corollas gain an Automatic Engine Shut-Off. This add-on will automatically turn off the engine after a designated period in the event it is left running.

As a special value, Toyota’s press release notes that, “the 2021 Corolla LE grade (gas model) will offer a new Convenience Package that combines Blind Spot Monitor, Smart Key system and 16-inch alloy wheels.”

Technology

The new Corolla Apex Edition sports new Android Auto compatibility, which complements the Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa potential connections already standard in this model’s predecessor, the 2020 Corolla. In addition, SiriusXM and its 3-month trial period is now available across every Corolla model.

Furthermore, the vehicle is endowed with a more efficient cooling system; the two-discharge-port oil pump and variable cooling system with an electric water pump maximizes engine engine performance and efficiency. This ensures quicker cabin heating on cold days and quicker cool-down when the A/C is on. When combined with ultra-low internal friction, the 2.0-liter engine operates at a maximum thermal efficiency of 40 percent, which is among the highest for a current passenger vehicle, according to Toyota.

Pricing

The least expensive edition of the Corolla Apex, the Corolla Apex SE with a CVT, is $2,695 more than its predecessor, which brings it to $25,070. The Corolla Apex SE with a six-speed manual transmission clocks in at $25,460, and the Corolla Apex XSE at $28,210.

Conclusion

Ultimately, the new model’s suspension and fresh look are most noteworthy. New coil springs with internal rebound shocks allowed designers to lower the suspension 0.6 inches. This, combined with rigid, stabilizer bars, creates a stiffer suspension. Roll stiffness is now 47% more stiff in the front and 33% more in the rear—a marked improvement. And, its look undeniably transforms any preconceived notions about the Toyota Corolla, as it seems to have evolved into a chic sports car.

If you are looking to surprise your significant other with a luxurious present, look no further. If you are a young professional looking to impress your colleagues in the parking lot, you have come to the right vehicle. If you are a new parent concerned with style, safety, and reliability, this is your car. Whoever you are, the Toyota Corolla Apex can be the ideal vehicle for you.