TIME Phones

Hate Your Phone? This Kickstarter is for You

Courtesy of The Light Phone

This new phone is perfect for when you mostly want to disconnect

Smart phones are ubiquitous in modern life. But if you’re the type of person who hates having to carry around a mini-computer in your pocket, a new Kickstarter campaign has a solution.

The Light Phone is a credit card-sized device that does nothing but make phone calls. No games, no texts, and no Twitter that you incessantly check up on (the writer of this article has certainly been guilty of that before.) It can piggyback onto your smartphone service so that you don’t have to go completely cold turkey.

But you can at least leave the house with no access to social media while still being able to make and receive emergency calls.

The phone has its own number. But it also connects to an app that can forward all calls from your pre-existing number. The device also has a simple clock, a touch pad for entering numbers and 20 days of battery life.

In theory, buying a simple flip phone or burner phone could achieve the same goal. The Light Phone, though, is much thinner (seriously, you can fit it in your wallet) and in theory easier to connect to your existing number.

Here’s a video from the Kickstarter:

The Light Phone costs $100 to pre-order. The project has already gotten more than $120,000 in backing, and is looking to raise $200,000 by June 27. The phones are expected to ship in May 2016. The phone comes with a SIM card with 500 minutes and a mini USB charger.

TIME Mobile

Why Tweets Are About to Dominate Your Google Searches

The Twitter logo displayed on a mobile device.
Bethany Clarke—Getty Images The Twitter logo is displayed on a mobile device.

The two tech companies are cozying up

On Tuesday, Google announced that it is partnering with Twitter to make tweets searchable on mobile devices. The new feature will become available on the English version of Google.com, the Android and iOS versions of Google’s search app, and on mobile browsers.

“It’s a great way to get real-time info when something is happening,” writes Google senior product manager Ardan Arac in a company blog post. “And it’s another way for organizations and people on Twitter to reach a global audience at the most relevant moments.”

Google had previously gained access to Twitter’s so-called firehose, the stream of real-time posts uploaded to the social network, earlier this year—rekindling a failed partnership from several years ago.

A post on Google’s official blog shows what the new feature will look like. It demonstrates a search for “nasa twitter”:

nasa-twitter
Courtesy Google

The deal could signal more partnerships between the two to come. It looks like the two are hitting it off already:

For more on Google and Twitter’s partnership watch:

http://fortune.com/video/2015/02/05/how-the-google-search-deal-could-be-a-boon-for-twitter/

TIME Smartphones

The 5 Best Smartphones Right Now

Samsung Electronics Co.'s Galaxy S6 And Galaxy S6 Edge Smartphones Go On Sale In Hong Kong
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images An attendee tries out a Samsung Electronics Co. Galaxy S6 Edge smartphone during a launch event at a Samsung Partnershop in Hong Kong, China, on Friday, April 10, 2015.

The iPhone 6 isn't your only option

Thanks to some intense competition in the smartphone space, upgrading your handset isn’t as easy as it used to be. Not too long ago it was iPhone, Samsung or bust. But with compelling hardware efforts from Google, LG, and others, there are a ton more great options when it comes time to choose a new smartphone.

And while overall there’s a dizzying amount of smartphones on the market, when it comes to investing in the latest and greatest, these five stand out from the rest. But since they’re mostly comparable to each other, the best way to choose is by basing your decision on the most important characteristic to you.

Best Android: Nexus 6

Google’s latest Android operating system, Lollipop, is so colorful and smooth it’s practically lickable. To get the most out of its edge-to-edge interface, you’ll want to upgrade to a Nexus 6, a monster of a smartphone with a nearly 6-inch AMOLED display. Packing an eye-popping 493 pixels per inch, the Nexus’s display is driven by a quad-core 2.7 GHz Snapdragon 805 processor that crunches through apps and background processes with ease. Translation: Google Now is always in the moment.

But in addition, from video streaming to video slinging, the Nexus 6 has the processing power and multimedia chops to make any Android game or movie pop off the screen. (And starting with 32 gigabytes of onboard storage, it has plenty of room to hold all that content, too.) That speed translates into every corner of the operating system as well: photos snap faster, NFC connects more reliably, and the web unfurls without a hiccup.

If Android is your world, this Nexus 6 should be your window to it. Starting at $649, or $36.11 per month with an 18 month loan.

Best Apps: iPhone 6

I’ll probably get half a dozen tweets and emails for saying this, but if having access to the hottest new apps is the most important aspect of smartphone ownership for you, cozy up to iOS before considering any Android handset. While Google says its operating system has more apps than iOS, there are plenty of free, junkier apps on Android. Apple’s iOS tends to get exclusive apps first because studies have shown iPhone owners actually pay for more apps. Put bluntly, iPhone developers get more money, which encourages them to publish with Apple first. And there’s no better way to experience iOS’s riches than with Apple’s iPhone 6.

Its 4.7-inch, 326 pixel-per-inch Retina display is big enough to be beautiful but small enough to still fit in a pocket. A new processor melds high performance with motion detection, perfect for workout apps. And an 8-megapixel camera able to snap everything from action shots to 43 megapixel panoramas makes its various camera apps shoot beautifully. In addition, a bigger overall body made room for a longer-lasting battery, which is necessary for all the apps you’ll be enjoying. The one downside is the 16 gigabyte base model — who can squeeze all their favorite games and programs into something that small? Starting at $649, or $199 with a 2-year contract.

Best Camera: LG G4

Some Android afficionados might disagree with putting the LG G4 in the top five, but that’s because they haven’t had a hands-on yet. Admittedly, running a hex-core 1.8 Ghz Snapdragon 808 chip, it’s not the fastest phone in the list. But with Lollipop as an operating system, it’s as up-to-date as they come, especially when you take it in through the G4’s amazingly dense 538 pixel-per-inch 5.5-inch display. Bright, vivid, and even good in direct sunlight, this is the kind of screen you need if you want to take in all the details captured by the phone’s 16-megapixel rear-facing camera. With laser-assisted autofocus and the ability to shoot in RAW, this camera is practically DSLR quality.

Smartly, LG gave the G4 a powerful default camera app to match, with all sorts of manual controls from shutter speed to white balance, making it a great shot in all sorts of light. Throw in a couple of old-school perks like a removable battery and microSD card support (in addition to 32 GB of internal storage) — both of which seem to be favorite specs that are going the way of the dinosaur — and the G4 has what it takes to hardcore shutterbugs to shoot for the stars. Starting at $649.

Best Design: Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

One challenge in picking the best phones is how they all eventually seem to ape each other — in fact, there was a volley of Samsung/Apple lawsuits about this very issue. But Samsung is breaking the mold with its new Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, boasting a curved glass design that’s no gimmick. The handset’s 5.1-inch AMOLED display is a feast for the eyes, with 577 pixels per inch making its version of Android Lollipop practically leap off the screen.

But it’s the display’s rounded edges that make a big difference here, not just in the phone’s physical feel, but in how users interact with its software. Flick in a tab on the right, and you get access to your contacts at a swipe. Another clever use for the sidebars is the phone’s “information stream,” which shows texts and other alerts without powering on the entire display. The S6 Edge is particularly great as a bedside clock, because it doesn’t light up the whole room just showing the time. And with a wireless charger, the phone makes a full transition from being just another great gadget to becoming a touching part of your life. Starting at $815, or $299 with a 2-year contract.

Best Value: Moto X

With a business model that revolves around as many free services as it can afford, Google would be expected to deliver on the best value in smartphones, and with the Moto X, the search giant delivered (Motorola Mobility is now owned by Lenovo). Though technically not free (it starts at 99 cents with a two-year contract), the supremely customizable handset has some impressive base specs, like its 5.2-inch, 424 pixel-per-inch AMOLED screen, Android Lollipop compatibility, and removable battery which can charge more than halfway in just 30 minutes.

The Moto X’s camera shoots with the best of them, and a range of storage options (from 16 to 64 gigabytes) will satisfy digital packrats and cloud-consuming users, alike. And with an astounding amount of customization options, from dozens of rear casing covers to personalized boot-up messages, this smartphone may be the smartest thing on your person, matching your individual style down to the handset’s trim. Starting at $399, or $.99 with a 2-year contract.

Note to reader: All prices are off contract, unless otherwise noted.

TIME Smartphones

You Can Now Find Your Lost Phone by Googling It

Inside A Samsung Electronics Co. Digital Store Ahead Of Fourth-Quarter Results
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images A visitor tries out a Samsung Electronics Co. Galaxy Note 4 smartphone at the company's d'light flagship store in Seoul, South Korea, on Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015.

It only works for Android users

Next time you lose your phone, a simple Google search may be able to find it.

Google announced Wednesday a new phone-finding feature for Android users tied to its search engine. Simply type “find my phone” into the Google search bar, and the results will show a map with the last known location of your phone. You can also choose to ring the phone from this page to make it easier to find — say, if it’s lost under the couch.

The feature works on the desktop and with the Google search app. Just make sure you’re signed into the same Google account on your phone and on your desktop to enable the option.

Read next: Google Has a New Handwriting Keyboard and It Actually Works

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TIME Video Games

Exclusive: Inside Nintendo’s Bold Plan to Stay Vibrant for the Next 125 Years

Nintendo President Satoru Iwata Earnings News Conference
Yuzuru Yoshikawa—Bloomberg/Getty Images Nintendo President and CEO Satoru Iwata speaks during a news conference in Osaka, Japan, on Oct. 29, 2014.

The company's CEO tells TIME Nintendo's historic engine is far from stalled

In late 2013, Satoru Iwata sat alone on a bullet train headed toward Tokyo. As the carriage sped silently down the track, Iwata, the puckish CEO of Nintendo, began sketching out a new idea: a line of physical toys with built-in chips that connected wirelessly to the company’s varied game systems. The toys would let Nintendo trade on its universe of characters like Mario and Donkey Kong while generating new sales.

Iwata, a 55-year-old who dresses in three-piece suits and speaks in measured phrases, often pausing to chuckle, says he got more and more excited as he mulled the concept. He dashed off a four-page pitch to his engineers. “It was something I believed would be completely new for us,” he recalls. The result was an array of figurines dubbed Amiibo (Japanese wordplay meant to evoke friends playing together), which launched worldwide a little less than a year later and turned out to be a hit. Nintendo says it sold nearly 6 million figurines, which go for about $13 each, by the end of 2014.

Amiibo was a badly needed success for Nintendo—but one that underscores the difficult position the video-game pioneer finds itself in. The company that generated enormous profits in the 1990s and 2000s by introducing innovations in game controls and forcing rivals to adopt its ideas now at times follows in the footsteps of the competition. The gamemaker Activision has been selling similar toys since 2011, grossing nearly $3 billion. Disney, meanwhile, has its own version, based on movie characters such as Buzz Lightyear and Captain Jack Sparrow.

Nintendo has been struggling for years. Wii U, the successor to the wildly popular Wii, has sold just under 10 million units since its launch in 2012. (From 2006 to 2014, Nintendo sold more than 100 million Wiis. And Microsoft and Sony, which launched competing systems after Wii U, have both outsold it.) Last summer, Nintendo laid off over 300 employees in Europe. And the company’s return to modest profitability late last year, thanks in part to a weaker yen, materialized after three consecutive years of losses. Nintendo’s critics have been relentless in demanding that the company abandon its hardware business and make versions of its games for smartphones and tablets.

MORE Exclusive: Nintendo CEO Reveals Plans for Smartphones

On March 17, Iwata announced what many—including Nintendo’s own executives—long thought impossible: the company will begin making games for mobile devices. Nintendo is striking a partnership with Japanese mobile gaming giant DeNA to establish a smart device gaming platform to be introduced this fall. The alliance includes a cross-shareholding agreement: Nintendo is buying a 10% stake in DeNA for $182 million; DeNA is acquiring a 1.24% stake in Nintendo for the same amount.

It’s not hard to see why Nintendo is reversing course now. Research firm Gartner reported global smartphone and tablet sales of over 1.4 billion units in 2014. By contrast, the two best-selling video-game systems of all time—Sony’s PlayStation 2 console and Nintendo’s DS handheld—each took nearly a decade to sell 150 million units. Meanwhile, smartphone gamemakers like King (Candy Crush) and Rovio (Angry Birds) are now worth billions. And mobile knockoffs of 1980s classics have turned into overnight hits (see: Crossy Road and Flappy Bird), while Mario, Luigi and friends have not yet been found on a phone.

Why now? “In the digital world, content has the tendency to lose value, especially on smart devices,” Iwata tells TIME exclusively. “We finally found solutions to the problem. We will not merely port games developed for our dedicated systems to smart devices just as they are—we will develop brand new software which perfectly matches the play style and control mechanisms of smart devices.” The ultimate goal: to drive tablet and phone users to Nintendo’s hardware such that they “eventually become fans of our dedicated systems.”

Nintendo’s senior leaders rarely talk publicly about internal strategy. But the company’s top three executives recently agreed to speak with TIME and insisted that Nintendo is not out of big ideas. (Please click here for full Q&As with Iwata and Miyamoto.) The about-face on mobile devices is just one example, they argue. The firm is busily retooling to create new products, like Amiibo and its new 3DS handheld, released in February, more quickly. And Nintendo is opening up by broadcasting presentations—sometimes serious, sometimes silly—directly to its fans to combat a reputation for flat-footedness. All of these moves are part of a company-wide effort to reinvigorate the Japanese icon.

Not on the agenda: abandoning hardware. In addition to its revised mobile strategy, details on a new Nintendo platform codenamed “NX” are due next year. Iwata argues that pressure to get out of that business has always reflected a deep misunderstanding of the company’s approach to innovation. “We view it as that marriage of the software with the hardware that together creates a compelling experience,” says Reggie Fils-Aimé, Nintendo of America’s president. Iwata concurs, explaining that dropping out of hardware would cripple the company. “If we don’t take an approach that looks holistically at the form a video-game platform should take in the future,” he says, “then we’re not able to sustain Nintendo 10 years down the road.”

Humble Origins
Nintendo is a much older company than its signature candy-colored protagonists suggest. Founded in Kyoto in 1889 by artist turned entrepreneur Fusajiro Yamauchi, the company began as a manufacturer of handcrafted playing cards. The Nintendo most people know was born in 1966. That’s when Hiroshi Yamauchi, the firm’s longest-serving president (from 1950 to 2002), greenlighted a gadget that employed crisscross slats and a scissors-like handle to make an extensible arm. It sold millions of units and paved the way for a series of quirky playthings that included early electronic games in the 1970s.

More recently, the company has been run as a creative troika, with Iwata at the top and presidents in both Europe (Satoru Shibata) and North America (Fils-Aimé). Shigeru Miyamoto, the storied creator of Donkey Kong, Mario and Zelda, is the company’s creative genius and currently the general manager of its R&D division.

MORE Exclusive: 7 Brilliant Insights from Nintendo’s Gaming Genius Shigeru Miyamoto

That division’s approach to game design can sound counterintuitive. Conventional wisdom holds that consumer-electronics manufacturers should first design a game system, then lure third-party software developers to furnish it with hits. Nintendo says it does the opposite: it experiments until it finds something its existing systems can’t do—motion sensors in the case of the Wii, or a touchscreen for the Wii U—then makes the hardware to support it. “Our job is to continue to create new platforms that enable us to create fun new ways to play,” says Miyamoto.

Mobile games will present a new set of challenges for the company. Many of that market’s biggest hits are initially free to download but generate enormous sales by constantly prompting users to pay small amounts for in-game items. Iwata says this doesn’t track with Nintendo’s identity. “Nintendo does not intend to choose payment methods that may hurt Nintendo’s brand image or our intellectual property,” he says. That doesn’t mean so-called micro-transactions are entirely out of the question, however. The company will decide which payment system to employ depending on the title, Iwata says. He adds: “It’s even more important for us to consider how we can get as many people around the world as possible to play Nintendo smart device apps, rather than to consider which payment system will earn the most money.”

How the firm deploys its vast library of beloved characters is another major decision. Nintendo says this stable of characters will be an asset as it enters a new, rapidly changing market. It plans to develop multiple titles simultaneously. “We would like to create several hit titles by effectively leveraging the appeal of Nintendo IP,” Iwata explains.

Nintendo’s executives are adamant that creating dedicated hardware is a core part of its creative process. That is why the announcement of new mobile titles coincided with the announcement of a new platform, the NX. “For us to create unique experiences that other companies cannot, the best possible option for us is to be able to develop hardware that can realize unique software experiences,” explains Iwata.

And, Iwata argues, there is a symbiotic relationship between the world’s iPhones and Android devices and Nintendo-made hardware. “Even before the advent of smart devices, we employed touchscreens for our games with Nintendo DS, and we also adopted accelerometers for our Wii Remotes faster than smart devices did,” he explains. “By utilizing our unique know-how in areas like these, I believe we will be able to come up with unique propositions for consumers.” Nintendo is planning to elaborate on how exactly this will work for specific titles over the coming months.

For now, Nintendo’s biggest seller remains its 3DS, a handheld successor to the Game Boy introduced in 2011. It is designed to appeal to all ages but is most popular among younger players. That’s partly about parents. In a world flush with smartdevices that can tap the entire Internet—­including unsavory fare—Nintendo’s handhelds are relative walled gardens of controversy-free content. The 3DS can go online, but only if parents have set the device’s privacy controls to allow it.

Internet-connectivity aside, the 3DS is like an iPhone on steroids. It’s kitted with two screens, one of which is touch-­sensitive; dual cameras for use by games or for taking pictures; and Wii-like motion sensors. It displays images that appear three-dimensional without having the player use special 3-D glasses. The latest version, the prosaically named New Nintendo 3DS ($199), takes the concept further by using advanced eye-tracking techniques to improve the 3-D effect.

The company says the newest model is one example of how Nintendo will conduct itself going forward. Late into the development of the system, Nintendo met with a company that had the technology capable of improving its 3-D, which in previous versions had been knocked for not always working well. After previewing the technology, Miyamoto stunned his engineers. “He said, ‘Why aren’t we putting that in this system? If we don’t put this in, there’s no point in making the system,’” recalls Iwata.

In times past, Nintendo might not have upended its plans at the final hour to make complex technical changes. “I was personally asked many times by many engineers internally, ‘Are we really going to do this?’” says Iwata, who began his career as a programmer. “This is where my background in technology is quite helpful, because it means the engineers can’t trick me.”

The feature, dubbed “super-stable 3-D” by Nintendo’s marketing wing, is now seen as indispensable to the handheld’s overhaul. New Nintendo 3DS has rallied sales relatively late in the platform’s life cycle, giving the company a much-needed boost.

Next Phase
On balance, Nintendo’s methods have reaped more hits than misses. But the misses have been consistent and significant. Nintendo’s Virtual Boy, the company’s way-early shot at a virtual-reality gaming system in 1995, was a commercial disaster. The first “PlayStation” was supposed to be a Sony-manufactured add-on for Super Nintendo, but Sony and Nintendo couldn’t come to terms on a deal, spurring Sony to become a major competitor. And yet flights of fancy have ultimately proved to be Nintendo’s chief strength over the years. The Wii—with its motion-detecting controllers that had players swing invisible tennis rackets—seemed like a bizarre concept when it was unveiled in late 2006.

The comparatively weak response to the Wii U isn’t lost on Iwata. “Certainly I’m not satisfied with the current situation,” he says. “It may not be [people’s] first console of choice, but they recognize it as perhaps the best second console,” he adds. In truth, the Wii U may turn out to be a placeholder. “I think they’ve bought themselves time to figure out what that next monumental step forward is,” says Digital World Research analyst P.J. McNealy. Adds Yves Guillemot, CEO of games publisher Ubisoft: “The challenge for Nintendo now is to make sure their hardware continues to be convincing enough for people to buy.” Guillemot is confident the company can do that.

MORE Exclusive: Nintendo CEO Reveals Plans for Smartphones

Dan Adelman, a Nintendo executive from 2005 to 2014 who is now a games-­industry consultant, says the firm “is already making the best games of any publisher out there.” Compared with those of other publishers, Nintendo’s games consistently earn top marks from critics. But Adelman says the company must continue to aggressively streamline its bureaucracy. “With Nintendo, I honestly can’t tell you what they’re going to do,” explains David D’Angelo, of Yacht Club Games, which released its title Shovel Knight for the company’s systems. “I could think about it all day, every day for a year, and it’ll still surprise me when it comes out, whatever wacky gameplay thing they think they should be pushing next.”

That leaves Nintendo rethinking its approach to the very industry it helped define. “I have never intended to dismiss the entertainment experiences that people are enjoying on smart devices or any other media,” Iwata says. “On the other hand, my understanding is that, on smart devices, the main demand is for very accessible games which smart device users can easily start and easily finish. These are not necessarily the characteristics that people demand from games for dedicated video game systems.”

As the company embarks on a strategy that straddles its traditional mode of innovation with the fast-changing world of mobile technology, there are likely to be more questions than answers. “We do have doubts [about] continuing to extend our business in the way that we have in the past,” admits Iwata. “We have doubts about whether or not people will continue to see those simple extensions of what we’ve done as new and surprising.” Fixing that will require entirely fresh ideas that can cut through the noise created by so many competing platforms. “If it takes a lot of explanation for people to understand your entertainment product,” says Iwata, “you’re doing something wrong.”

Read next: Exclusive: Nintendo CEO Reveals Plans for Smartphones

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TIME Video Games

Exclusive: Nintendo CEO Reveals Plans for Smartphones

Nintendo's CEO takes TIME inside the company's surprise decision to put its historic video game franchises on smartphones and tablets

It’s official: Mario, Donkey Kong and Zelda will appear on smartphones and tablets at last—and that’s just the start. Nintendo President and CEO Satoru Iwata spoke exclusively to TIME about the company’s plans to bring its franchises to smart devices, why it’s chosen to do so now, and what it means for the future of its reputation as a manufacturer of idiosyncratic console and handheld game systems.

What prompted this move now, in the light of all you’ve said about Nintendo’s reluctance to craft games for smartphones?

In the digital world, content has the tendency to lose value, and especially on smart devices, we recognize that it is challenging to maintain the value of our content. It is because of this recognition that we have maintained our careful stance. However, we have been seriously and continuously considering how we should make use of smart devices. We made the announcement yesterday because we finally found solutions to the problems we identified. More specifically, we will not merely port games developed for our dedicated game systems to smart devices just as they are—we will develop brand new software which perfectly matches the play style and control mechanisms of smart devices.

We have come to the stage where we can say that we will be able to develop and operate software which, in the end, will not hurt the value of Nintendo IP but, rather, will become an opportunity for the great number of people around the world who own smart devices—but do not have interest in dedicated video game hardware—to be interested in Nintendo IP and eventually to become fans of our dedicated game systems. Yesterday, we finally came to the stage where we were able to announce the alliance with DeNA, which plays a key role in these solutions.

MORE Exclusive: Inside Nintendo’s Bold Plan to Stay Alive for the Next 125 Years

Will you pursue a premium strategy where you charge users up front for games? Or will you offer free-to-play and try to capitalize on in-app purchases?

I understand that, unlike the package model for dedicated game systems, the free-to-start type of business model is more widely adopted for games on smart devices, and the free-to-start model will naturally be an option for us to consider. On the other hand, even in the world of smart device apps, the business model continues to change. Accordingly, for each title, we will discuss with DeNA and decide the most appropriate payment method. So, specifically to your question, both can be options, and if a new Nintendo-like invention comes of it, then all the better.

On the other hand, Nintendo does not intend to choose payment methods that may hurt Nintendo’s brand image or our IP, which parents feel comfortable letting their children play with. Also, it’s even more important for us to consider how we can get as many people around the world as possible to play Nintendo smart device apps, rather than to consider which payment system will earn the most money.

Will Nintendo or DeNA be developing these games? And is Mr. Miyamoto [creator of Mario, Donkey Kong, Zelda and other iconic Nintendo franchises] working on anything smart device-related?

Development of smart device games will be mainly done by Nintendo, but it is significant that we are forming a joint development structure with DeNA. Nintendo, through experience in the dedicated game system business, is good at making traditional game products. But for smart devices, in addition to the “product” aspect of a game, the aspect of an ever-evolving “service” is very important—a service that encourages consumers to play every day even for a short time. DeNA has extensive know-how in developing the “service” side of things, and will be primarily responsible for the service-oriented operations. We will be able to greatly leverage strengths of each party.

As for any involvement of Mr. Miyamoto, we will discuss it when possible, but for now, understand that his priority is on the development of Wii U titles that will be launched this year.

What else can you tell us about the new “online membership service” you’ve announced with DeNA? Is it meant to supersede your existing online services on 3DS and Wii U, or operate alongside them?

We are planning to start a new membership service, which can be deployed on multiple devices, such as Nintendo’s game systems, smart devices and PCs starting from the fall of this year, to be jointly developed with DeNA. While this is going to be Nintendo’s membership service that we operate, because DeNA has impeccable know-how in system development across multiple devices, as well as in the construction of networks and servers, we are planning to develop a new membership service that can take advantage of both companies. Regarding details, please wait for our further announcements.

The implication from previous statements is that Nintendo still views its platforms as superior, from a gaming standpoint, to smart devices. Are you hoping to leverage the smart device market as a gateway to dedicated Nintendo systems? Will Nintendo’s games on smart devices have gameplay or feature hooks into Wii U or 3DS games?

For us to create unique experiences that other companies cannot, the best possible option for us is to be able to develop hardware that can realize unique software experiences. As a result, we can offer our consumers overwhelming entertainment experiences—immersion into game worlds. This is why I used the term “premium.”

Let me explain so that nobody will misunderstand: I have never intended to dismiss the entertainment experiences that people are enjoying on smart devices or any other media. On the other hand, my understanding is that, on smart devices, the main demand is for very accessible games which smart device users can easily start and easily finish. These are not necessarily the characteristics that people demand from games for dedicated video game systems. Actually, this is one of the reasons why we believe that we should not port games for dedicated game systems to smart devices just as they are because doing so will not fully satisfy the needs of the smart device consumers. In other words, even when multiple systems can run games, I believe the entertainment experiences that the consumers demand vary from system to system.

In the Nintendo philosophy that I just mentioned, being “unique” or “unprecedented” is appreciated far more than being “better” than the others. While we want more people to become familiar with Nintendo IP through Nintendo’s smart device game apps, at the same time, we aim to provide smart device consumers with unique experiences with our game apps. From a business perspective as well, we aim to grow our smart device business into an important business field.

How will Nintendo design those unique experiences in the smart device space when you’re now forced to accommodate a hardware interface you didn’t design?

Indeed, the late Mr. Yamauchi, former president of Nintendo, often told us that in the world of entertainment we have to do things differently than others. That philosophy has been passed down to us. For us to be able to do something unique that is different from others, being able to design the hardware in order to create unique software experiences gives us the best option. As I said, Nintendo will continue its dedicated video game system business with an even stronger passion.

MORE Exclusive: 7 Brilliant Insights from Nintendo’s Gaming Genius Shigeru Miyamoto

On the other hand, we believe that we will be able to use smart devices in a very unique way so that they can be a bridge to our dedicated game systems, and at the same time, that we will be able to deliver unique experiences to the users of smart devices. As you know, even before the advent of smart devices, we employed touchscreens for our games with Nintendo DS, and we also adopted accelerometers for our Wii Remotes faster than smart devices did, and produced unique games. By utilizing our unique know-how in areas like these, I believe we will be able to come up with unique propositions for consumers. Please wait for our further announcements when we can elaborate on specific titles.

What do mobile game makers get wrong now that Nintendo will get right?

Most mobile game makers who have yielded tangible business results appear to be dependent on a single hit title. For Nintendo, being able to make use of the enormous IP library that we have carefully nurtured for more than 30 years is a major strength. We would like to create several hit titles simultaneously by effectively leveraging the appeal of Nintendo IP, which many people around the world are familiar with.

On the other hand, as I said during our telephone interview, the value of content generally tends to weaken in the digital world, and especially on smart devices, it is not easy to maintain the value of content. We aim to explore ways where we will not devalue Nintendo IP and, rather, we can further improve the value.

Mobile gaming is still the wild west, are there things Nintendo will never do?

The answer may overlap with my previous one, but we will not do anything that may hurt Nintendo IP. We will not do anything that may hurt Nintendo’s brand image—that parents can feel safe giving their children access to it.

You also just announced “NX,” something you described as a platform that’s “a brand new concept.” Can you confirm whether this is indeed hardware, and what it’s intended to follow system-wise?

The reason why I announced “NX,” which by the way, is not directly related to our alliance with DeNA, was because I wanted to avoid any misunderstandings such as, “Nintendo might have lost its passion for the dedicated game system business,” and because I wanted many people to understand that Nintendo will continue its dedicated game system business with even stronger passion and motivation. I am sorry, but as I said during the press conference yesterday, we cannot make any further announcements about “NX” until next year.

Read next: Exclusive: Inside Nintendo’s Bold Plan to Stay Alive for the Next 125 Years

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TIME Parents

7 Ways to Monitor Your Kid’s Phone, Tablet and Laptop

kids and devices
Richard Lewisohn—Getty Images/Cultura RF

It's not spying if they're your kids

As a parent, you have the right to know what the kids in your care are doing with their digital devices, and to control what kids can see and use. It’s key to introduce controls and rules when a device is new so you and your child can be clear about what is and isn’t O.K. during screen time.

First of all, the device your family or child will use likely has its own parental control options. Some can screen out Internet access altogether, and others can filter out certain sites. Because they are all different, the best plan is to read up on the parental controls for each device and operating system your family will use.

Below are some tools for monitoring or limiting the amount of time the device is in use, tracking the software or apps used, and more.

Windows PCs When you create an account designated as a child’s account, you get the option to enable Family Safety settings. Family Safety allows you to monitor and /or time the usage from your child’s account, block certain applications or sites, and get weekly reports reviewing the activity on the account.

Macs If you and your child use separate Macs, you can share screens in addition to turning on Parental Controls. Log on as Administrator on your child’s Mac, go to the Sharing preferences and choose Screen Sharing. Continue to “Allow Access For” and choose Administrators. When you are on your Mac, go to the Finder and choose Go: Network to see your child’s Mac. Click on Share Screen to see the activity.

Software You can purchase software to further monitor or block kids’ access, which allows varying levels of censorship, depending on your kids’ ages and your house rules. Intego makes a highly rated one for Macs, Verity by NCH Software makes a popular one for PCs.

Tablets Each will have its own parental control settings, which will operate similarly to the corresponding computer operating system’s settings, described above.

Phones If your kid has any kind of smartphone, backing up the phone’s content to your own PC or Mac is a good idea. This way, you will be aware of which apps are being used on the phone, and you’ll be able to see what calls and text messages your child is making.

Be sure to activate the basic security features, as well as any further limitations on usage you want, in the phone’s setting before your child begins to use the phone.

GPS location trackers

Life360 Has a security map that will show you the precise location of each family member, as well as allow you all to communicate about you whereabouts. It’s free, and works with iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, and BlackBerrys.

Securafone This app lets parents set up boundaries on a map, and alerts them if kids wander outside the boundaries. It also has a panic button that kids can press to immediately dial a parent or other authority if trouble arises. Free, and works with iPhone and Android.

Phone service providers: AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and other carriers also offer GPS tracking unique to their users. Check your plan and see what services are included.

Finally, how about trying to spend less time on your own Facebook page or gossip news site, to allow more time for joint media experiences with your family? You can block yourself (and your distractible kids) from such time wasters. SelfControl can be yours, free of charge.

This story was part of Time For Family’s special report on kids and screens. Click here for Time’s special deal for families.

TIME technology

Most American Kids Are Now Growing Up In a Home Without a Landline

The domination of mobile technology continues

Bad news for Luddites and nostalgics: for the first time ever, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that the majority of American children live in homes without landlines.

According to the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), 52.1 percent of all children — more than 38 million children — were living in a home with only cell phones, which is a five percentage point increase from the second half of 2013, reports Market Watch. Around 103 million adults — or 43.1 percent — had only wireless phones in their homes.

The decline in landlines could also spell trouble for the CDC. The survey was conducted because the NHIS tracks how many households are using cell phones and how many are using landlines, in order to determine how the CDC carries out its telephone surveys. According to the co-author of the report, Stephen Blumberg, associate director for science in the division of health interview statistics at the National Center for Health Statistics, mobile phones present a challenge when conducting surveys by telephone. Blumberg noted that mobile numbers cannot be electronically dialed, unlike landlines, which increases the “manpower” needed to conduct surveys. What’s more, cell phone numbers are not registered and it’s nearly impossible to determine which individual owns which number.

[Market Watch]

MONEY Phones

Sprint cuts rates in half to win AT&T, Verizon customers

The offer is the latest attempt by the third-largest carrier to compete with its larger rivals.

Sprint’s latest plan to compete with its two larger rivals? Woo AT&T and Verizon customers by offering to cut their phone bills in half if they switch to Sprint.

The Overland Park, Kansas company announced that deal on Tuesday, promising “unlimited talk and text” and a matched data allowance at half the rate of what current Verizon and AT&T customers are currently paying for their monthly plans. Billing it as “The Cut Your Bill in Half Event,” Sprint also promised to pay up to $350 toward customers’ early termination fees or installment bill balances in an offer that will officially launch on Friday.

Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure called it “the best value in wireless” in the company’s announcement. “It’s as simple as this: Bring Sprint your Verizon or AT&T bill along with your phone and we’ll cut your rate plan in half. That’s a 50 percent savings on your rate plan every month. And this great deal is not just a promotion. This will be the customer’s ongoing price,” Claure said in a statement.

The limited-time offer is a sign that Sprint, the nation’s third-largest mobile carrier, now sees price competition as the best way to battle AT&T and Verizon. Earlier this year, Sprint and its parent company — Japan’s SoftBank — backed off a $32 billion planto purchase smaller carrier T-Mobile US after the two sides failed to reach a deal that could have created a larger mobile company better suited to take on AT&T and Verizon.

Interestingly, Sprint’s new rate offer does not extend to T-Mobile customers.

TIME Gadgets

Motorola Phone Promises 48-Hour Battery Life

Droid Turbo
Motorola Motorola's DROID Turbo smartphone promises 48-hour battery life

Looking for an Android smartphone with a huge battery that just won’t quit? You may want to check out Motorola’s newest entry in its DROID line of phones, the 5.2-inch DROID Turbo. The device will be available through Verizon Wireless starting on Thursday, October 30.

The most compelling feature of the DROID Turbo is easily its huge 3900-mAh battery. It promises to last a full 48 hours of mixed use on a single charge – approximately double the life of the Apple iPhone 6 Plus. And when time is a factor, you’ll be glad to know the DROID Turbo charges quick: You can get up to eight hours of power out of a brief 15-minute charge when you use the included Motorola Turbo Charger.

The DROID Turbo’s other features are no slouches, either: A 2.7GHz quad-core Snapdragon 805 processor powers the phone, the same chip found in the powerful Google Nexus 6 (also by Motorola). The 5.2-inch Gorilla Glass screen, meanwhile, delivers stunning 565 pixels-per-inch quad-HD resolution, perfect for watching the 4K video shot from the Turbo’s 21-megapixel camera. And lest you wonder, yes, the DROID Turbo comes pre-loaded with Android 4.4.4 KitKat, the latest build of Google’s mobile operating system.

The DROID Turbo will be available with 32 gigabytes of storage in your choice of Metallic Black, Metallic Red and Ballistic Nylon colors for $199 with a new two-year Verizon contract. A 64-gigabyte version will be available in Ballistic Nylon only at a price of $249 with a two-year contract. To learn more about the new DROID Turbo smartphone, visit the Motorola blog.

This article was written by Fox Van Allen and originally appeared on Techlicious.

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