Adult Swim's 'Virtual Brainload'

Virtual reality's notion of strapping a display to your head is already a bit weird by itself, but Adult Swim just took that strangeness to a new level. The network's Virtual Brainload app for Android invites you to grab a Google Cardboard viewer and experience the "backside of reality" -- in short, it's going to be a kaleidoscopic mind trip. Whether or not you're up for the audiovisual assault, you can expect more VR content from Adult Swim's parent, Turner, in the future. The broadcaster says that it's working on "deeper, custom-created" virtual content that will arrive as soon as this year, so you can expect these VR side projects to become increasingly important in the near future.

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Microsoft PowerPoint on an Android tablet

If you thought Microsoft's app deal with Samsung was surprising... well, that's just the tip of the iceberg. The Windows maker has reached agreements to bundle its apps and services on Android tablets from 20 companies. Most of these firms are small regional brands, but there are a few global powerhouses that include LG (which will include Microsoft on an unnamed future device) and Sony (starting with the Xperia Z4 Tablet). Yes, this probably means getting the Office suite and other apps you might not use much, if at all. However, it's evident that Microsoft doesn't mind -- it'd rather make its services as ubiquitous as possible than send you straight into Google's arms.

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We're coming down to the wire now: Google I/O 2015 is just a few days away, and we'll be liveblogging and reporting from the ground as soon as the festivities begin. Don't let its reputation as a developer bonanza fool you, though. There's going to be no shortage of workshops and code review sessions, but I/O is also where Google takes time to update its vision of the future for the people who will ultimately help build it. Of course, it's not all starry-eyed speeches and technical breakdowns -- this is, after all, the sort of show that featured a live streaming Google Hangout with four dudes who jumped out of a zeppelin. We can't account for whatever crazy, spectacular bits the folks in Mountain View might be working on, but we do have a taste of what to expect when the show starts in earnest this Thursday.

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We've been hearing for months that Apple's upcoming iPhone models will be force-sensitive, just like the Apple Watch and its newer MacBook trackpads. Now we have an idea of how the company's "Force Touch" technology -- which enables pressure sensitivity and haptic feedback -- could work on future iPhones, courtesy of 9to5Mac. Sources say that it could be used to replace instances where you typically hold down your finger on the screen, for example, to highlight or paste text. Force Touch on iPhones will also resemble the way the technology is used on new MacBooks: You can press down on the display to drop new location pins in Apple Maps, or use pressure-sensitive scrolling in media players. Not surprisingly, 9to5Mac notes that Apple has built in support for iPhone Force Touch on iOS 9, and it's also working with developers to integrate it into their apps. The technology could also make its way into Apple's next round of iPads, based on references in iOS 9.

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LG's Nexus 5 in red

If you were disappointed that your only choice for a new, official Google phone last year was the gargantuan Nexus 6, you'll be glad to hear that 2015 could be very different. Android Police sources have elaborated on previous rumors with word that both LG and Huawei are working on Nexus handsets this year. The LG device, nicknamed Angler, would have a 5.2-inch screen and might borrow the G4's six-core Snapdragon 808 processor -- effectively, it'd be a modernized Nexus 5. Huawei's phone, Bullhead, would pack a bigger 5.7-inch display and could step up to a Snapdragon 810 chip. Think of it as a not-so-ungainly Nexus 6.

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Slide to unlock on an iPad

For the National Security Agency, the fingerprint reader on your smartphone just isn't secure enough. Lockheed Martin has confirmed to Nextgov that the intelligence outfit is testing Mandrake, an identification system that verifies who you are based on the way you swipe your finger across the screen. The technology measures not only the shape of your movements, but the acceleration and speed. It can tell whether you draw in broad, fast strokes or tend to be cautious. Lockheed doesn't know whether or not the NSA is deploying Mandrake in the field, but it wouldn't be shocking. Given that it's possible to fake fingerprints, gesture-based authentication may the best way of proving that the right person really is present.

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Ford Go!Drive

London is home to a number of car-sharing services, but over the past few months car makers have also been getting in on the action. BMW brought pay-as-you-go vehicles to the capital late last year, with Ford piloting a new service called City Driving On-Demand just a month later. For Ford, it appears those tests were successful, because the American car giant today announced the launch of GoDrive, an expansion of its existing service that will offer 50 cars in 20 locations across the city.

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Periscope for Android is here. Twitter's new streaming app contains many of the same features found in the iOS version, but with a few Android exclusives. In addition to more granular notification controls than found in the iPhone version, there's a new "return to broadcast" feature that helps get viewers back to a stream after being interrupted by a phone call, text or other pesky distraction.

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Microsoft Cortana on Android

Yes, it's official: Microsoft is bringing Windows' Cortana voice assistant to Android and iPhone. Both platforms will get a dedicated app that, much like you see on Windows Phone today, will let you dictate reminders, track flights and otherwise keep your life organized. Cortana's Notebook, which remembers what you like, will also sync across all your platforms. This won't be a one-for-one recreation of what you get right now, though -- since Microsoft can't tap directly into the operating system like it can on Windows devices, you won't get hands-free activation through "hey Cortana" or options to launch apps or settings. Still, it'll be worth seeing what this Halo-inspired helper can do when it reaches Android in late June, and iPhones sometime later this year -- and we'd add that it's not the only treat Microsoft has in store for your smartphone, either.

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Opera Max WiFi data saving

Opera's data compression was originally meant to get the most out of thimble-sized cellular plans, but you'd probably agree that WiFi matters, too. After all, you've likely had that moment when you were struggling to visit websites on a lousy public hotspot. Mercifully, relief is in sight: an updated version of Opera Max for Android now squeezes app data even when you're on WiFi, helping you save bandwidth no matter what connection you're using. You can manage cellular and WiFi data separately, and there's an equally new blocking option if you need to put a particularly greedy app on ice for a while. Snag the upgrade today if you find that fast, unfettered internet access is sometimes hard to come by.

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There are plenty of tales on how Nokia phones -- now under Microsoft -- have saved people's lives, with the latest one coming from China, where a man managed to survive a collapsed wall courtesy of his Lumia 920 earlier this month. As recalled by the lucky survivor himself, Mr. Geng Ming instinctively covered his head with his trusty Windows Phone device, which managed to soften the blow from the heavy wall. Microsoft China caught wind of this story and was kind enough to replace Geng's old flagship phone with a new model. Nope, not a Lumia 930, but a brand spanking new Lumia 640 XL. We don't blame Geng for looking so emotionless here.

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Sony Xperia Z3+

Sony announced the Xperia Z4 for Japan last month, but this isn't it. Well it is, but internationally Sony wants it to be known as the Xperia Z3+. Truth be told, that's a more appropriate name for the phone, given the incremental upgrade it represents over last year's model. The Z3+ may look virtually identical to its predecessor, but internally it has almost everything you'd expect from a 2015 flagship.

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With Samsung being an active promoter of Marvel's latest Avengers movie, it's no surprise to see the tech giant releasing some sort of special edition product to sweeten the deal. Why yes, it's an Iron Man limited edition Galaxy S6 Edge with matching red-and-gold color theme -- something that HTC should have done a while back. This curved 64GB device is quite a looker, and the special package even comes with an "arc reactor" wireless charger plus a clear cover, but you'll have to make do with Google Now instead of the snarky J.A.R.V.I.S. Here's the real bad news, though: right now Samsung is only releasing this phone in South Korea on May 27th, followed by China and Hong Kong in June. So while you're searching for the earliest flights to Asia, feel free to keep yourselves entertained with the official unboxing video after the break.

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Apple's Jony Ive

There's no question that Jony Ive is more important than ever to Apple's design process given his heavy influence on everything from the look of iOS to the philosophy behind the Apple Watch, and the Cupertino crew just gave him a promotion to reflect that fact. The Telegraph has revealed that Ive was recently promoted from Senior VP to become Apple's first-ever Chief Design Officer. He'll still oversee the company's broader design efforts, but there will be leaders dedicated to user interfaces (Alan Dye) and industrial design (Richard Howarth) as of July 1st.

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Photos on Android

Wondering what will happen when Android's Photos app finally makes a clean break from Google+? You should now have a pretty good idea. Android Police has peeked at a leaked copy of a reworked Photos app, and it's clear that Google is using the service split as an incentive to shake things up. The highlight may be Assistant (below), an effective substitute for Auto Awesome that gives you more creative power -- you can produce more content yourself (such as Stories) instead of waiting for it to show up. The interface should also be more intuitive across the board, with more options for viewing your photos, a better editing interface, privacy-minded sharing and pinch-to-zoom gestures for opening pictures. There's a chance these features could change or disappear before they're official, but it won't be surprising if you see this Photos redesign on the Google I/O stage this week.

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