Fully Charged: Apple buys depth-sensing camera tech, and Hearthstone hits smartphones

All the tech news you need to be in the loop

iPhone 6

Apple buys depth-sensing camera company

iPhone cameras are always reliable performers when it comes to everyday shooting, but could future generations pack in more advanced features? That’s the initial takeaway from news that Apple has acquired LinX Computational Imaging, an Israeli camera technology maker. Apple confirmed the news, but wouldn’t share details on its intentions (as per usual).

LinX’s phone and tablet cameras claim to deliver SLR-quality results by capturing multiple images that can gauge depth and even create 3D image maps. Sounds a bit like the HTC One (M8)’s Duo camera, or perhaps even Google’s Project Tango hardware to some extent. The deal is reportedly worth upwards of US$20 million, so it’ll be interesting to see if this investment yields any obvious results in the coming years.

[Source: The Wall Street Journal]

Hearthstone finally hits smartphones


Finally! One of the most popular online games available today has made the move from computer and tablets to smartphones, as Blizzard’s Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft launched yesterday on iPhone and Android phones. Some intrepid users had gotten the tablet version to work on Android phones prior to yesterday, but at least now it’s official and optimized for small screens.

Hearthstone is, of course, a spinoff from the immensely successful Warcraft series, but it’s taken the form of a collectible card game - and it’s a free-to-play experience. Roll all of those aspects together and you’ve got a game that has enraptured many millions of players, and surely will add many million more with smartphone support.

[Source: App Store, Play Store]

SpaceX’s rocket landing falls short

SpaceX's rocket launch

SpaceX is attempting to transform the way we get into space by testing reusable rockets, which will cut down costs dramatically. But progress can be arduous and expensive, and SpaceX has now suffered two crash landings for its rockets (unmanned, of course).

The latest came yesterday, with a last-second adjustment (seen here) bringing it to the floating barge, but the impact was too forceful to save the rocket. It’s not entirely surprising: SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted earlier this week that the chances of a safe landing were less than 50%, but that they aim to hit 80% by the end of the year due to several more scheduled attempts.

On the plus side, yesterday’s launch sent SpaceX’s latest supply payload up to the International Space Station, so at least there’s that - and the company will learn from the latest data and apply that to the next attempt.

[Source: Twitter via Engadget]

Fantastic deal on EA gaming bundle

Dead Space 2

The latest Humble Bundle is on sale, and it’s exclusively Electronic Arts games - and exclusively designed to benefit charities (and Humble, if you choose), with none of the proceeds going back to EA. Any amount spent on the pay-what-you-want bundle nets you Dragon Age: Origins, Dead Space 2, Peggle, Medal of Honor: Allied Assault (and expansions), and Command & Conquer: Generals.

Pay more than the average amount (as of this writing, just US$4.72) for the Humble Origin Bundle 2 and you’ll also get Dragon Age II, Mass Effect 2, Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare, and Bejeweled 3. You’ll get download codes for Origin and in some cases Steam, and more than 125,000 bundles have been sold already, raising more than US$600,000.

[Source: Humble Bundle]