Have you had your eye on Microsoft’s Surface Headphones for a while? This might be as good a time as any to go ahead and purchase a pair. That’s because the company is now offering a $100 discount on the headphones. This will likely be offered for a limited time so you’d want to go ahead with the purchase to save some money in the process.
Microsoft unveiled its Surface Headphones in October last year. These premium over-the-ear headphones feature Cortana integration. They even have a circular dial on the earcups which can be used to adjust the noise cancellation level in addition to controlling the volume.
They also have a couple of other handy features as well. For example, the Surface Headphones are capable of smart switching between different paired devices and they’re compatible with both Siri and Google Assistant. Customers are promised a battery life of up to 15 hours on a single charge. The Surface Headphones support fast charging through a USB-C port. They even have a 3.5mm jack for use with a wire.
The headphones normally cost $349.99 but Microsoft is currently selling them for $249.99 through its official website. Those who have been meaning to purchase the Surface Headphones are unlikely to find a better deal than this right now.
Boeing has been working on a software update fix for its 737 Max aircraft after they were grounded across the globe following two fatal crashes merely six months apart. The company has now confirmed that it has completed work on the software update which is meant to address the software flaws which contributed to the crashes.
The Federal Aviation Administration had announced in March that tentative approval had been granted to the software update. Boeing was expected to release it in April but the company decided to take additional time to ensure that all of the issues had been identified and addressed appropriately.
Despite the tentative approval having been granted a couple of months ago, the software update still has to run the gauntlet of FAA testing before it can be certified. Boeing is currently providing the FAA with additional information such as how pilots interact with the plane controls and displays during various flight scenarios. The company’s CEO has said in a statement that “We’re committed to providing the FAA and global regulators all the information they need, and to getting it right.”
As part of the update, the 737 Max’s Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System or MCAS will look at data from both of the aircraft’s angle-of-attack sensors instead of just one as before. If it finds a discrepancy of 5.5 degrees or more, the system won’t be enabled automatically. Even if it engages, pilots will be able to counteract to it if required.
To say that Minecraft has done well for itself would be an understatement. It’s an immensely popular title, selling a huge number of copies across the globe. Microsoft has now released the latest sales figures for the title. More than 176 million copies of Minecraft have been sold across the globe, according to Microsoft.
That’s quite an impressive jump over the number that was released just seven months ago. Microsoft had confirmed at that point in time that it had sold 156 million copies of the game globally. Part of the reason why Minecraft has continued to see interest from customers is because of the updates and improvements that Microsoft has periodically been rolling out.
There has been a free browser version of the game, an online co-op version, and now even an augmented reality version that’s called Minecraft Earth. The company also revealed that more than 200 million registered users have been amassed for the China edition while more than 130 million Minecraft Hour of Code sessions have been completed.
It goes without saying that these figures may continue to increase even further, particularly with the augmented reality-focused Minecraft Earth. It does seem to have the potential to take this very popular franchise to new heights.
ProPilot is Nissan’s semi-autonomous driver assistance system that was already quite capable of controlling the car on its own without much input from the driver. However, drivers were required to have their hands on the steering wheel at all times. Nissan has now introduced the updated ProPilot 2.0 which enables hands-off highway driving for the first time.
ProPilot 2.0 has been designed for on-ramp to off-ramp highway driving. It engages with the vehicle’s navigation system to maneuver the car based on a defined route on designated roadways. The system allows drivers to cruise in a single lane on the highway without having to keep their hands on the wheel.
This is similar to Cadillac’s Super Cruise system which was first unveiled a couple of years ago. It also allows the driver to cruise hands-off as long as they don’t change the lanes. Much like Super Cruise, Nissan’s system also constantly makes sure that the driver is paying attention to the road and can take over should the need arise.
This is done by providing intuitive audio and visual guidance to the driver who is prompted to put hands on the wheel when the vehicle approaches a road divide or when passing a slower vehicle is possible, for example. Nissan’s Japanese-market Skyline will be the first vehicle to get the ProPilot 2.0 driver assist starting in the fall of this year.
Following reports that the next major iteration of Android OS won’t have support for scrolling screenshots, it appears that this feature has been added to the docket for the one after that. Scrolling screenshots were recently marked as “infeasible” in the Android issue tracker but that decision has now been overruled, paving the way for stock Android to have this feature as well.
The scrolling screenshot feature is quite handy when you’re trying to screenshot all of the content on a page since it can capture more than just one full screen. The screenshot simply scrolls down and captures additional content. OEMs like Samsung have already built this functionality into their custom Android skins. Unfortunately, scrolling screenshots have never been a native Android feature.
Google’s vice president of engineering for Android Dave Burke has reportedly overruled the issue tracker decision and has said that this feature is now on “the hopper for Android R.” He added that hopefully, this feature will be included in that major Android OS release.
The company will be rolling out Android Q later this year and this feature won’t be natively present in the upcoming release. Android R isn’t going to arrive before 2020 so despite the confirmation that Google is now thinking about adding this functionality, it won’t be arriving any time soon.
The United States Air Force is quick to respond when one of its aircraft crashes. A team is immediately dispatched to the crash site in order to secure the wreckage and rescue the pilot. However, this can often prove to be difficult for the rescue team if they’re at risk because of the terrain and weather or due to the risk of enemy fire. That ends up putting more lives at risk. To safeguard those lives, the air force is now thinking about using autonomous aircraft for pilot rescue missions.
Aviation Week reports on a solicitation from the Air Force Research Laboratory about the possibility of using an autonomous aircraft to play the pilot and other personnel onboard an air force jet away from the crash site in safety.
The Personnel Recovery / Transport Vehicle has been described to be a small aircraft that’s capable of flying autonomously with a range of at least 100 miles while being able to land and takeoff with a small footprint. It should at least be able to carry two people at the very least with one possibly in a medical litter or up to four people with 1,400 pounds of equipment.
The autonomous aircraft also has to be capable of operating in all types of terrain with water recovery being described as a desired capability “but not a requirement.” A low acoustic audible signature during takeoff and landing is also mentioned as one of the requirements.
These autonomous aircraft will thus be of a lower-cost compared to the ones currently used for rescue missions. The air force would be able to deploy more of them without putting more lives at risk and may also be able to reduce the time it takes in order to recover personnel from crash sites.
LG has announced that it has developed its very own artificial intelligence chip which will be used to make its smart home products even smarter. The chip, it says, has a proprietary LG Neural Engine which better enables it to mimic the neural network of the human brain. This will greatly improve the processing of deep learning algorithms, LG claims.
LG’s new AI processor with its Neural Engine has been designed for use in different smart home products such as robot vacuum cleaners, refrigerators, and washing machines. On-device processing makes it capable of operating without an internet connection while it also has a “separate hardware-implemented security zone” for storing personal data.
Processing which doesn’t require high security has been designed to run in a general zone while jobs which require higher security will only be run in the secure zone. This should, at least in theory, prevent the personal data from being exposed in external hacking attempts.
The chip is capable of better recognizing and distinguishing space, location, objects, and users by incorporating visual intelligence. Voice intelligence enables it to accurately recognize voice and noise characteristics.
The company says that its new AI chip will be included in future air conditioners, robot vacuum cleaners, washing machines, and other smart home products.
Google has confirmed that its Jump VR platform will be shut down by the end of next month. It has now started informing users that they have until then to download their data before the service shuts down for good. Google launched the Jump VR platform back in 2015.
The Jump VR platform was launched in order to make it simpler to capture 3D 360-degree videos with footage captured using special camera rigs which basically had more than a dozen action cameras joined together. Once the footage from these cameras was uploaded, the power of Google’s cloud was used to stitch it together into immersive, 360-degree video.
The company has now started sending emails to users, informing users that it has seen the usage of Jump decline over the past three years. It’s because of this reason that it’s shutting down the platform altogether. No new uploads will be accepted for processing after 11:59 Pacific on June 26th. Users who want to download a copy of the data that they have previously uploaded to the cloud can download it before June 27th after which Google will start deactivating accounts and deleting all of the data.
Even though the platform is shutting down, those who have the complicated camera rigs will still be able to use them with third-party video editing software to stitch their footage together.
Amazon won’t be storing hazardous products in its regular warehouses in the future. According to a new report, Amazon is actually building separate warehouses for hazardous goods. The first of such purpose-built warehouses is set to open this summer. Amazon decided to take this step following an incident involving bear repellent last year. The accident took place towards the end of 2018. It involved an exploding can of bear repellent which resulted in 24 warehouse workers being hospitalized.
After the accident, Amazon pulled thousands of bear repellent and pepper spray products from its 30 fulfillment centers in the country. It also stapled the packaging on these items in order to prevent leaks. The company confirmed to Wired that hazardous products like bear repellent will now be handled with greater care with only humans being able to handle them, not the robots.
Manufacturers will also be required to comply with higher safety standards for their packaging. The report does mention that Amazon had been working on fulfillment centers just for hazardous products prior to the December incident since there had been incidents other than the one involving the bear repellent.
These new warehouses will have designated storage areas for flammable products, aerosols, and oxidizers with special sprinkler systems. Staff will also be trained on how to cope with spills. The deliveries from these warehouses will be handled on the ground entirely without using planes.
The four major carriers in the United States have said that they are no longer selling users’ location data to third-party data aggregators. The carriers had previously promised to halt this practice in June of last year. They have now confirmed that this practice has stopped in a response to FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel’s request regarding an update on the matter.
Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint have responded to the commissioner’s request regarding an update on the practice and confirmed that they stopped sales of users’ location data to aggregators not long after first promising to do so in June last year.
With the exception of Sprint, the other carriers had all confirmed by March 2019 that they had ended sales of the data completely. Sprint later confirmed that its last deal with a location aggregator is set to end on May 31st.
Even though the sales have ended, the question about their legality still remains. It’s unclear whether the carriers broke the law by selling the data in the first place. There isn’t any indication as yet to suggest that the mobile carriers had obtained clear consent from their users to sell their data to location aggregators. A determination in this regard has to come from the FCC and it’s not known when that might happen.
While the Google Pixel 3 was an impressive handset in terms of its features and camera, it might not have sold as well as Google would have liked. Could Google change that with the Pixel 4? Perhaps, although it seems that the company could be going with a rather unique design that some may or may not appreciate.
In a video uploaded to YouTube by Front Page Tech, they have managed to obtained leaked information about the upcoming Google Pixel 4. This includes how Google could be taking a page out of Samsung’s book and opting to use a hole-punch display to house the front-facing cameras instead of the notch.
Their source also “confirmed” an in-display fingerprint sensor (although whether or not it will use Qualcomm’s ultrasonic tech remains to be seen), front-facing speakers, and also how the phone could be dropping the use of physical buttons. This would be an interesting concept as it means that interacting with the phone would be solely reliant on gestures, like the Active Edge feature on the Pixel 3 smartphones.
Needless to say that this information should be taken with a grain of salt for now, but Front Page Tech has in the past leaked several accurate details about the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL smartphones, so there is a chance that they could be right again.
Image credit – Dennis Wise/University of Washington
Thanks to technology, our smartphones have come a very long way from being just a device that can make phone calls, send emails, play music, and surf the web. These days our smartphones are becoming increasingly competent where they are being used in the medical field as ultrasound scanners and also as tools to help detect Alzheimer’s.
This is why it doesn’t really come as a surprise to learn that researchers have recently developed an app that can use our smartphones together with a paper cone to help diagnose ear infections. This will come in handy for parents with young children who might have a hard time trying to let their parents know that they have an ear infection.
Through the use of the app and the cone, it will be able to diagnose it in which parents can then take their kids to see a doctor to sort it out. How does it work? By using our smartphone’s speakers, it funnels a sound through the cone and based on the echo of the sound picked up by the app, it will be able to tell if there might be fluid behind the eardrum.
So far based on their tests which involved about 50 children, it was found that the app was right 85% of the time. Some have pointed out that fluid behind the eardrum might not necessarily be an indication of an infection, and have suggested that the app’s creators include additional information to parents on how to interpret the results before going to the doctor.
A little over a week ago, Microsoft released a teaser video which seemed to hint at the company’s plans at taking on augmented reality (AR) based games such as Pokemon GO. The trailer teased that the company would be launching an AR version of Minecraft, and sure enough they have.
Dubbed Minecraft Earth, this is a version of Minecraft that will be playable by leveraging the use of AR technology. Speaking to The Verge in an interview, Minecraft Earth’s game director Torfi Olafsson revealed that the game is more of an adaptation of Minecraft rather than just straight porting the original over to mobile and applying AR tech to it.
According to Olafsson, “We have tried to stay very true to the kind of core design pillars of Minecraft, and we’ve worked with the design team in Stockholm to make sure that the spirit of the game is carried through.” The game will task players to explore their neighborhoods where they will bump into Minecraft characters, variants, and “tapables” which they’ll need to collect in order to complete their builds.
Olafsson adds, “We have covered the entire planet in Minecraft. Every lake is a place you can fish, every park is a place you can chop down trees. We’ve actually taken maps of the entire world and converted them to Minecraft.” At the moment, Minecraft Earth isn’t available for download just yet, but the company plans on launching a closed beta for iOS and Android devices this summer. Players who are interested can sign up here.
OnePlus recently launched their new OnePlus 7 Pro smartphone and by all accounts, it is an excellent handset. However, it seems that OnePlus has decided that they will not give the phone a headphone jack as they have done previously, but to make it worse, OnePlus has stopped bundling the headphone jack adapter with the handset.
Now, this wouldn’t really be that much of an issue because you can always buy the adapter separately, but it seems that OnePlus has made it more expensive. Previously, the adapter was priced at $8 which was pretty cheap, but now it seems that its price has been raised to $13 in the US.
Interestingly enough, the price hike only seems to be largely targeting the US market because in other parts of the world, after conversion, it is still roughly around the $8 price range. For those who are thinking of just buying a third-party adapter, as Android Police notes, this might be tricky due to the use of USB-C, in which not all adapters are compatible and will work.
If you’re fine paying those prices, then head on over to the OnePlus website to get your hands on it. Otherwise, maybe it’s time to start doing some research on which third-party USB-C headphone adapters will play nicely with your handset.
Our routers contain a lot more data than we would think or assume, and as such, there might be some information on our routers that some might not feel comfortable with sharing due to privacy concerns. Unfortunately, for some Linksys users, they did not really get a say in the matter.
In a report from security researcher Troy Mursch, he has found that over 33 Linksys router models are experiencing a security vulnerability in which their entire device connection histories have been exposed. This includes information such as MAC addresses, device names, OS versions, and so on.
The information also shows whether or not the router’s default passwords have changed, meaning that if they haven’t, someone could in theory access them. It has been estimated that over 20,000 devices have been affected by this vulnerability, in which around 4,000 of them are still using the default passwords that come with the router.
Linksys has since responded to this discovery but claim that they were not able to reproduce the issue. “We quickly tested the router models flagged by Bad Packets using the latest publicly available firmware (with default settings) and have not been able to reproduce CVE-2014-8244; meaning that it is not possible for a remote attacker to retrieve sensitive information via this technique.” They suggest that the devices that are vulnerable are either using an older version of the router’s firmware or might have manually disabled their firewall.
Whether or not this is the case, it’s probably not the worst idea to get the latest firmware updates for your router and to ensure that your firewalls have been enabled.
How Activision’s Call of Duty franchise works is that every year, there will be a new title. However, every title will be developed by a different developer. So far we’ve seen studios like Treyarch, Sledgehammer, and Infinity Ward share the development of various Call of Duty titles in the past.
2019’s title is expected to be developed by Infinity Ward, which means that that 2020’s title should be developed by Sledgehammer. However, a report from Kotaku has revealed that will not be the case and that Treyarch is expected to step in. The report claimed that Activision had initially planned to have Raven and Sledgehammer work on 2020’s Call of Duty title, but for whatever reason, that task has since fallen onto Treyarch.
Raven and Sledgehammer are said to still be working on the game, except that it will now be in a support capacity instead of taking the lead. This means that 2020 could see the launch of Black Ops 5, in which its predecessor was just launched last year. This means that if you like the Black Ops series of games, then 2020 could be a year to look forward to.
That being said, we might be getting ahead of ourselves. After all, this year’s Call of Duty game has yet to be officially announced, although last we heard, it is expected to take place by the end of June which means that an unveiling at E3 2019 next month seems quite probable.
We’ve all bought things online before, but it seems that even if you did not buy it directly from Google or through Google, the company seems to be pretty aware of the things that you’re buying online. This is thanks to the use of digital receipts which are usually sent to your email address. If you’re using Gmail, this is how the company is tracking you.
This is actually not new and it was only brought to light when a report from CNBC revealed that there is a page in your Google account called “Purchases”. You can take a look at it here where depending on how old your Google account is, it can potentially track your purchases from the day you created your account. In the case of CNBC, they found purchases listed from back in 2013.
Google has since defended the page in a statement made to CNBC where a spokesperson said, “To help you easily view and keep track of your purchases, bookings and subscriptions in one place, we’ve created a private destination that can only be seen by you. You can delete this information at any time. We don’t use any information from your Gmail messages to serve you ads, and that includes the email receipts and confirmations shown on the Purchase page.”
Unfortunately, as CNBC has discovered, trying to delete the purchase history also means deleting the email, which in some cases is not desirable as some users might want to keep a copy of the email/receipt for future reference. In a way, this is kind of ironic as just last week, Google’s CEO seemed to take a shot at Apple over how privacy cannot be sold as a luxury good.
Over the past couple of years, Blizzard has acknowledged the popularity of the vanilla version of World of Warcraft, where they have agreed to launch new and separate servers dedicated to the original version of the game. Dubbed World of Warcraft Classic, Blizzard did promise a launch in the summer of 2019, and it looks like the company has delivered.
In an announcement posted onto its website, Blizzard has confirmed that WoW Classic will be going live worldwide on the 27th of August, 2019. We should note that the date is for the US, which means for those living in other parts of the world, the time will be different, which you can check on Blizzard’s website.
If you’re wondering if WoW Classic is for you, or if you can’t wait until August, Blizzard has also announced that they will be running a closed beta to stress test the servers. “Beginning May 15, select WoW players will be invited to participate in a small-scale, focused closed beta test. Players will also get a chance to help put our servers and technology through their paces in a series of stress tests running from May through July.”
Gamers who are interested in taking part in this closed beta can choose to opt-in via their Account Management page, but there’s no guarantee that they will be selected.
Image credit – China National Space Administration
The dark side of the moon isn’t just the name of a Pink Floyd album from the 70s. It is also a goal of several space organizations where they are interested in finding out if the side of the moon we can’t see will be any different. China had previously expressed their interest and earlier this year, their Chang’e probe successfully landed on it.
Now it seems that based on their initial findings, it turns out that the dark side of the moon actually plays home to some mysterious minerals. In the findings which were published to Nature, the country’s moon rover detected signs of lunar mantle material, which is believed to be able to help scientists better understand how both the Earth and the moon were formed.
According to scientists, they believe that in the very, very early days, them oon was covered in a magma ocean. Over time, it eventually cooled and became solid, thus allowing denser materials to remain deep within the ocean’s depths, while less dense materials floated to the surface. That being said, before we get ahead of ourselves, some scientists have warned that this study might be inconclusive.
However, regardless of it being inconclusive or not, scientists are acknowledging that discovering these materials represent a feat in itself.
Over the years, Blizzard has made various changes and updates to World of Warcraft. These changes are huge and varied, and as such, the game today is very different from the game from back in the day when it first launched. As such, gamers who are looking forward to playing World of Warcraft Classic have been warned that some features of the upcoming game should not be mistaken as bugs.
Blizzard has posted details on the World of Warcraft forums where they have noted some of the game’s features were created intentionally. “As we’ve discussed before, the nature of WoW Classic sometimes invokes different memories for different players, and this leads to certain misconceptions for some about what is or isn’t working as intended.”
We imagine that many players have probably forgotten what the original World of Warcraft felt like, so it could be quite a jarring experience if you’re more familiar with the modern take on World of Warcraft. Some of the differences between WoW Classic and the current version include slower respawn rates for mobs, available quests do not display a “!” on the minimap, quest objects and points of interests aren’t tracked on the minimap, and so on.
As you can tell, these are some of the quality of life improvements that Blizzard has made over the years, which some have argued make the game feel too “easy”. If you’re looking to give yourself a challenge, then maybe WoW Classic could be worth looking forward to when it launches on the 27th of August, 2019.
The latest patent discovered by Patently Apple could be one of the company’s most radical and ambitious plans to date. For starters, it resides under the display of the device, but unlike Apple’s rivals that rely on ultrasonic methods of scanning the fingerprint, Apple’s patent suggests that pin-hole cameras placed under the display would be used to scan the fingerprint.
The patent also shows how the area used to scan the finger is rather large and encompasses almost the entire display. This means that instead of only being able to scan in a particular portion of the screen, users can place their fingers pretty much anywhere. In addition to being used for security, the patent also describes how it could also be used to monitor vital signs.
Given Apple’s interest in health, we wouldn’t be surprised that there could be health-related features tied-in with this patent as well. That being said, we probably shouldn’t get too excited just yet as it is only a patent and there is no guarantee that Apple will make it a reality. However, the frequency of these discoveries does suggest that the company hasn’t quite given up on fingerprint security just yet.
Spotify’s core business is music streaming, and while the company is more or less at the top of their game right now, music industry veteran Jimmy Iovine has pointed out in the past that companies such as Spotify are too reliant on streaming to make money, and that is apparently dangerous.
This is because unlike other companies like Apple, Google, or Amazon, Spotify has no other form of revenue. However, earlier this year it was reported that could change as Spotify could be looking to launch their first hardware, and sure enough they have. The company has taken the wraps off what they are calling “Car Thing” which is a device aimed at streaming music in the car.
Now before you get too excited, Spotify states on its website that at the moment, Car Thing is still very much a prototype and that they have no plans to make it available to customers just yet. However, they will be testing it out to see how it works in real-life, which we suppose will then determine if the company how they want to best proceed.
According to Spotify, “While we know there has been some speculation about our future plans, Car Thing was developed to help us learn more about how people listen to music and podcasts. Our focus remains on becoming the world’s number one audio platform—not on creating hardware.”
At the moment, platforms such as Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto already provide ways for users to stream music in their cars, so it will be interesting to see if Spotify could come up with something that would make it more compelling.
OnePlus has a reputation for being a “Flagship Killer” by releasing very powerful phones are incredibly affordable prices. The OnePlus 7 Pro is perhaps the most expensive phone they’ve launched yet but can OnePlus justify it, or has it become like every other OEMs? Let’s take a look.
This is a quick look at the device’s specifications to refresh your memory ahead of the review. As you can see, the handset brings high-end functionalities, including the powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 and an impressive 3-cameras array in the back.
IP Rating, 206g (7.3oz), 75.9×162.6×8.8 mm (2.99 x 6.40 x 0.35 inches)
The OnePlus 7 Pro is a big phone, and this is an essential trait you need to take into consideration as you may have different choices at purchase time. For example, it is 16% bigger than the Galaxy S10+, 10% bigger than the Huawei P30 Pro and even larger (in volume) than the iPhone Xs Max.
It is about as heavy as the iPhone Xs Max, but the Galaxy S10+ is 15% lighter, while the Huawei P30 Pro is 7% lighter.
Size matters when it comes to the display surface area, which is one of the OnePlus 7 Pro’s main selling point. It has between 5% to 7% more screen space than the competitors above, and if you take the absence of visible selfie camera into consideration, the extra surface area becomes a substantial added-value. More on the display later.
The overall build quality is outstanding, and OnePlus has joined leading handset makers in using the double-glass design, with curved edges and an almost bezel-less design.
"THE OVERALL BUILD QUALITY IS OUTSTANDING"
The glass back-cover is original: it uses a sand-blasted look that creates a diffuse lighting effect on the colored surface treatment. This also makes any fingerprints much less visible although they may be present. That’s an excellent idea, and the phone also comes in Black and Gold color.
The handset feels great in hand (I wear US M-size gloves for size reference), and the Power button lands naturally under the finger whether you are right or left handed. There’s a textured sound profile selector to let you quickly turn off the ring and notification settings.
Overall, OnePlus has been smart with its design and has optimized it to be cost-efficient, and the fact that it has a large display helps this goal. For example, the Galaxy S10+ is ~16% smaller, has a 22% higher battery capacity density and similar performance as the OnePlus 7 Pro. S10+ also has a brighter display that potentially generates much heat.
Of these things packed in a smaller volume are harder and more expensive to build. By using a larger design, OnePlus can avoid or displace some of these challenges and ultimately provide a package that is substantially less expensive.
Water-resistant, but not certified as such
The OnePlus 7 Pro has not been certified with an IP rating to prove that it is water-resistant. OnePlus has defended the lack of certification by saying that they can make phones water-resistant, without paying for the relatively expensive certification.
Independent tests show that yes, the OnePlus 7 Pro can withstand immersion. We tested that ourselves, so it’s likely that it would survive an unexpected water encounter. However, we don’t know exactly how much resistance it has.
Stereo speakers, no 3.5mm port
Like many designs that feature a speaker grill/earpiece, the OnePlus 7 Pro claims to have a stereo loudspeaker setup. It’s technically “stereo” in the context of smartphones, but keep in mind that most of the sound is coming from the bottom-firing speaker, and a bit of the high-pitch soundwaves come from the earpiece.
We found the speakers to do relatively well, but not at the level of handsets like the iPhone Xs Max, Galaxy S10, or the LG G7, which we found to be exceptional.
OnePlus is licensing some Dolby technology that you may want to play with because it can make different types of music or movies sound a lot better.
Unfortunately, there’s no 3.5mm port although there should be ample room to fit one. It’s a missed opportunity here because OEM studies show that people do want that option, but we’ll assume that OnePlus has done its market research homework.
Display: 6.67-inch, comfortable and high-quality
As we said earlier, the large display is the star of the show. Many efforts have been made to seduce potential buyers with it.
It’s fantastic for watching movies, using the camera, and consuming content in general. It’s also great for work, and reading emails is more comfortable. Typing with a slightly larger keyboard can be faster and easier on your fingers as well.
From a display quality standpoint, the OnePlus 7 Pro is great. For instance, the color reproduction is top notch and has pretty much nothing to envy to handsets like the Galaxy S10+ or the iPhone Xs Max, except for brightness. One of the reasons for it is that Samsung is the supplier of the OLED panel.
At 515 PPI, the OnePlus 7 Pro’s display is 22% sharper than the Huawei P30 Pro’s and 11% sharper than the iPhone Xs Max. We mentioned the brightness of the S10+ (1363 NITs) and Xs Max (1016 NITs) earlier, and that’s the main reasons why these S10 and Xs displays are superior. In our tests, the Oneplus 7 Pro hits a maximum of “only” 715 NITs.
On a sunny day, brighter displays are more readable, and our tests reward that somehow. By the way, some reviews say that the S10+ isn’t as bright, but that’s not the case. S10+ caps at ~750 NITs in manual mode, but auto mode, it can jump to 1363 NITs (as we tested) and the reason for auto-mode is that it shouldn’t sustain that brightness for heat reasons.
90Hz refresh rate means hyper-smooth experience
The OnePlus 7 Pro display works at 90Hz, which means that it can display up to 90 images per seconds. 90Hz has an evident impact on the maximum frame-rate of certain games that would then become smoother, and in some ways, the OnePlus 7 Pro is also a great gaming phone.
However, just about everyone can enjoy a 90Hz user interface which is ~50% more smooth and fluid when you do simple things such as scrolling through your web pages and content or when you navigate the different menus. It’s just much more agreeable to interact with a 90Hz touchscreen.
"JUST MORE AGREEABLE TO INTERACT WITH A 90HZ TOUCHSCREEN"
People are more or less sensitive to this, but the chances are that you would have a hard time going back to 60Hz after experiencing 90Hz extensively. If you want to try, perhaps you can force your laptop screen to 30 Hz (instead of 60).
Please note that a smoother experience doesn’t mean a “faster” experience. When you scroll around, things are more fluid, but they take the same amount of time. If “faster” is of interest, OnePlus lets you turn the animations OFF, and that would make transitions instantaneous.
The resolution is “adaptive,” which means that it flips from FHD to QHD depending on the content. We are talking about the internal rendering resolution from FHD to QHD, which is pretty smart and suitable for battery life. Other handsets let you manually select a resolution, but if it can happen in the background without any visible sign, that’s even better.
There’s even a built-in Night Mode and Reading mode, which I don’t use, but it could be beneficial for some people.
In-screen fingerprint Reader
The in-screen fingerprint reader uses an optical reader, and it’s an evolution of the technology introduced by OnePlus in its OnePlus 6T handset.
It works the same, but the performance and accuracy have been greatly improved. Yes, it’s faster than the ultrasonic fingerprint reader of the Galaxy S10, but it also flashes a bright light, which is a bit annoying at night. It also has issues with greasy and wet fingers, but a bit less so.
Camera: excellent performance
We spent much time testing the rear camera of the OnePlus 7 Pro, and we concluded that it is nearly (but not entirely) as good as the Galaxy S10/S10+ camera, so it’s an excellent positioning right there. If you want all the details, we recommend reading our extensive OnePlus 7 Pro camera review.
The Galaxy S10 is slightly better in both daylight and ultrawide photography, but the OnePlus 7 Pro can challenge it in low-light and performs a tiny bit better in extreme low-light. Overall, our Camera Benchmark shows that S10 has a slightly better camera, but not by much.
Above and below: the comparison show that both the S10 and OnePlus 7 Pro have a relatively natural color capture at night, without too much image processing.
Below: at 0.04 LUX of brightness the Galaxy S10 camera is noticeably less noisy.
Below, the OnePlus 7 Pro 74mm zoom outclasses the Galaxy S10 54mm zoom in image quality.
If you come from an iPhone, the OnePlus 7 Pro has an overall camera performance that is beyond anything Apple has to offer today, and you’ll have to wait until October until the iPhone gets a triple rear camera.
Apple remains one of the best cameras in daylight conditions, but that’s pretty much it. Our iPhone Xs tests show that it lags in low-light, zoom and has no ultrawide support.
Retractable selfie camera
To avoid any notch or punch-hole to house the selfie camera, OnePlus has made a motorized design that pops in and out of the phone’s body.
It’s a pretty cool design, and if you don’t take many selfies, it’s fantastic to get more display real estate and no visual distraction. However, this design has consequences and raises some questions as well.
The first consequence is that the Face Unlock speed is limited by how fast the camera can come out. OnePlus had one of the fastest (although unsecure) face unlocks, and waiting for the camera to come makes things much slower. Personally, it adds enough friction that I would no longer use Face Unlock.
Secondly, people wonder about the durability of such a mechanism. It’s impossible to know for sure, but OnePlus says that the camera design has was tested with up to 300,000 open/close cycles, which gives it a life span of many years of “normal usage.” Also, if you use Face Unlock, it is more taxing on that selfie motor.
OnePlus uses sensors to protect the camera. The proximity sensor prevents it from opening/closing when it is in your pocket or bag. In case you drop the phone, the motion sensor closes the camera immediately, and we estimate that it should retract fast enough for a ~2.5 feet drop.
The selfie image quality is good, but not impressive and doesn’t displace or compete with, the Galaxy S10+ or the Huawei P30 Pro. The OnePlus 7 Pro selfies aren’t as detailed as these leading phones, even in relatively bright lighting.
Software and User Interface
Since OnePlus is still relatively unknown to the general public, let’s talk about the phone’s user interface called Oxygen OS.
It is a layer on top of Android that allows OnePlus to add specific functionalities that its user-base demands. OnePlus often asks its users what they would like to see implemented and makes some of the most popular features come to life.
As for functionalities not initially present in Android, there’s a screen video recorder which is super-handy when you’re trying to explain someone else how to do something. Just record the steps and send the video.
The Gaming Mode that serves to shut down notifications and customize your gaming environment, is customizable but straightforward at the same time.
For maximum productivity, you can disable all the user interface animations to have things appear and disappear instantly.
Finally, the different physical buttons can be customized to trigger different actions when you long-press or double-tap. This option can be extremely useful for some users and is equivalent to having even more hardware buttons!
OnePlus 7 Pro Speed
With a Snapdragon 855 chip powering its user experience, the OnePlus 7 Pro is just as fast as the Galaxy S10 and many other phones powered by the same platform. Classic CPU (Geekbench) and Graphics (GFXBench) benchmark show as much.
The 7 Pro has with liquid cooling (vapor cooling), just like the Galaxy S10, and it makes complete sense: with more internal volume, why should OnePlus not add this option and it’s one more thing that makes the OnePlus 7 Pro a potentially great gaming or VR/AR handset. It has an excellent price/performance ratio:
"ONEPLUS 7 PRO: A POTENTIALLY GREAT GAMING PHONE"
With 6/8/12 GB of RAM, there are performance and prices options for everyone. Most people are perfectly fine with 6GB of RAM, but power-users who like to install a ton of apps can opt for more memory to push back the performance cliff that sometimes happens when you just have too much stuff on your phone.
The UFS 3.0 storage interface also helps apps load faster by accelerating “disk” read and writes when compared to previous generations of this standard.
Wireless and communications
When it comes to 4G LTE, the OnePlus 7 Pro supports up to 1.2Gbps in download and 211 Mbps in upload. That’s the bit less than the Galaxy S10 that has a theoretical speed of 2.0 Gbps and 316 Mbps in upload, respectively.
In the real world, it’s difficult to get anywhere near that speed, but what we do know, is that the average real-world speeds are correlated to the maximum theoretical speed, if the network conditions allow.
Also, this handset doesn’t support WiFi-6, the latest WiFi standard that is built into the Galaxy S10 series. It’s not a huge deal if you don’t have a WiFi router, but maybe your workplace supports or maybe you would want to upgrade later.
The battery capacity of 7 Pro is 4000 mAh, which is impressive in general, and very good in its “high-end” category.
Battery life is one of the most sought-after features of a handset. A key metric is, of course, the battery capacity — especially within the same ecosystem (Android, iOS, or other).
Battery life can be affected by a bunch of factors, but the main ones are the central processor aka SoC, display and wireless radios (LTE broadband, WiFi, the cell towers location and more).
It is not possible to accurately pinpoint through benchmarks how much energy consumption YOUR unique needs induce. However, two things are surely always good:
A larger battery capacity
How many apps on-board and their activity cannot be estimated. Battery capacity is the essential indicator of battery endurance for YOUR usage.
"BETTER OVERALL BATTERY PERFORMANCE THAN APPLE OR SAMSUNG"
With a charging speed of 83 mAh/mn, the 7 Pro charge speed is one of the fastest in absolute terms and is equaled by few. This is objectively a better overall battery performance than Apple or Samsung. Huawei remains the fastest in our tests for now, with 101 mAh/mn for the Mate 20 Pro and P30 Pro phones.
There is no integrated wireless charging, unfortunately, and while not everybody cares, more and more people demand this feature nowadays, which is available on many competitors at this price range.
OnePlus has always pursued the idea of offering high-end features at “affordable” prices, and it has delivered once again.
As of today, the OnePlus 7 Pro ($699) gets an algorithm-driven Ubergizmo “Value Score” of 6.2/10, while the OnePlus 6T ($625, street price) gets the same score. In comparison, the P30 Pro ($1,200) has a value score of 4.2. The scores change when the price does, and if anything that’s the angle from which this phone could be a “flagship killer”.
Product Scores (out of 10)
If the nominal price of OnePlus 7 Pro is higher, it’s also because OnePlus brings accordingly better technology into your hands. And it shows: the OnePlus 7 Pro camera performance has jumped measurably from OnePlus 6T. The display, battery, and performance have shown progress as well, all in the tune of 10%-15%, according to our internal review scores.
If you look objectively, the OnePlus 7 Pro is a formidable smartphone, but technically speaking the Galaxy S10+ has almost the same surface area (-7 to 10%), has wireless charging, a faster LTE and WIFI, a 3.5mm phone jack, a 90% brighter display, and all of that, in a smaller form-factor.
"NOT A FLAGSHIP KILLER, BUT A DAMN GOOD DEAL"
The OnePlus 7 Pro is not “the best” at most things, but it is the reason why such a great value proposition is possible: OnePlus can focus resources on specific points, and consciously target a specific segment of the market. We don’t think of it as a flagship killer, but it’s a damn good deal.
Thanks to careful design choices, it gets an overall score of 9.2 led by excellent camera and speed capabilities, while technical design and display brightness are not as “high-end.”
In conclusion, the OnePlus 7 Pro brings some serious firepower at a very attractive price, and in a fresh product design. And since T-Mobile officially supports it, OnePlus 7 Pro has a commercial advantage over other brands that may not have a presence in carrier channels.
My first encounter with a digital word processor was via Microsoft Word 95. Microsoft’s Office Suite has made a name for itself when it comes to offline document processor. Things have changed lately and Google has challenged the incumbency with Google Docs.
The latter is doing a great job in offering class-leading features without the bulk of subscription charges or the need to install the software.
The biggest advantage Google Docs has is the integration with other Google products. You can not only create a document but also save it on the cloud, share it with others, collaborate in real time and so much more. In this article, we will help set up Google Docs and make use of all the features.
How to set up and launch Google Docs
Setting up Google Docs is easy. No need to install any program. All you need to do is log in to your Gmail account. Now automatically you will have access to Gmail, Google Maps and YouTube. If you are new to the Google ecosystem, head over to this link and create your free Google account. Fill in all the details and make sure you choose a professional username.
Google Docs can be accessed via Google Drive, Gmail integration, or you can also install an offline app for the same. You can simply navigate to My Drive menu and click on New.
With this, you will directly be taken to the Google Docs. The easiest way of creating Google Docs is to type doc.new into your browser and voila!
You can create a document from Drive by Selecting Google Docs and clicking on New. In the next step, you can choose between an array of templates or choose to go with a fresh blank page. That apart you can also upload an existing .docx document and edit the same on Google Doc.
How to insert images and files on Google Docs
Now that you know how to create a doc, let us learn how to insert images into your docs.
Needless to say, images form an important part of creating documents or infographics. Thankfully, inserting and managing images on Google Docs is an easy affair.
Click Insert>Image and select the source of the image. Docs allow you to upload pictures from the cloud, local storage or even a URL. You can also doodle/draw on the document by clicking on Insert>Drawing>New.
Table and Charts can be accessed by clicking on Insert and selecting Table/Chart. The simplest way though is to drag and drop the images/media.
How to share files on Google Docs
Sharing and giving access to Docs is one of the most important features offered by Google. As a user, you will not only be able to share the documents but also control who can edit the document.
This is very useful in the work environment. What’s more, all the revisions made in the document are recorded and displayed alongside the author name.
In order to share your current document, click on the Share icon to the top right. Now you can add people to share the documents. This can be done by adding their username/email address.
Docs also let you restrict access by choosing between can edit, can comment and can view. Lastly, you can also add a note if deemed necessary. In this article, we have explained how you can unshare multiple Google Doc.
How to download a document from Google Doc?
Google Docs allows you to download the document in multiple formats. The downloaded version can be shared offline and also used in ebook readers like Kindle. In order to convert the Google Docs head over to File>Download as. Now you can choose between different file types like Microsoft Word, OpenDocument Format, Rich Text Format, EPUB and Web Page.
Chat on Google Docs and use Revision History
Google Docs goes beyond a traditional word processor. It comes with superlative collaboration options. We have already seen how you can share the document with select people. Now we will tell you how you can collaborate in real time and chat with the other members of your team.
You can add comments by clicking on the Comments button in the upper-right corner. Google Docs display the avatar of users who are online. You can click on their profile and begin chatting within the Google Docs app.
Another useful feature is the revision history. If you want to undo and revert back to a previous version this tool comes in handy. Click File>Version history and now you can see all the edits made to the document. You can restore to an earlier version by clicking on the Restore this version.
Is Google Docs safe?
Security is obviously one of the main concerns. We create an array of sensitive documents on Google Docs and trust Google. Fret not, third-party apps offer an option to encrypt your file and this way only you and the other party will have access to it.
The encrypted file can be accessed with a password. That apart, Cloud storage is generally safer than local storage. If you are still apprehensive about the safety you can add an extra layer of security with Digify.
One of the features of the new Nikon Z6 and Z7 mirrorless cameras is vibration reduction. It has been around in various Nikon cameras and in case you’re unfamiliar with what it does, it basically reduces vibrations caused by small movements that occur while shooting photos. Given that it would be near impossible to hold a camera perfectly still, this feature tries to offset those small shakes from our hands to help prevent blurred images.
Unfortunately, for owners of the Z6 and Z7, it seems that Nikon has since issued a technical service advisory where they are noting that some models of the Z6 and Z7 have faulty vibration reduction features. “While Nikon has taken great measures to assure the high quality expected of Nikon products, it has come to our attention that the vibration reduction (VR) feature in some Nikon Z 6 and Z 7 cameras may not function fully. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.”
The company has also announced that they will be correcting this issue by offering free shipping and repairs for camera models that are affected. “Nikon has resolved this by making available corrective service for affected Z 6 and Z 7 cameras free of charge, including the cost of shipping an affected Z 6 and Z 7 camera to Nikon as well as its return, even if your Z 6 or Z 7 camera warranty has expired.”
As we said, this issue does not affect all Nikon Z6 and Z7 owners, but if you do own either camera, you can check to see if you’re affected by going here for the Z6 and here for the Z7.
There are plenty of memes available on the internet. Some of them are funny for a short while, but there are some that go on and become classics where they are still used years later. The “Grumpy Cat” meme is one of them, but it seems that in sad news, the cat behind the Grumpy Cat meme has passed away.
In a post on Twitter by her owners, it was announced that Grumpy Cat had passed away due to health complications at age 7. The post reads, “Despite care from top professionals, as well as from her very loving family, Grumpy encountered complications from a recent urinary tract infection that unfortunately became too tough for her to overcome. She passed away peacefully on the morning of Tuesday, May 14, at home in the arms of her mommy, Tabatha.”
For those who somehow are unfamiliar with this meme, the Grumpy Cat meme pictured a cat that had somehow been born with a naturally-looking grumpy face, hence the name. Photos of the cat was used to create memes that expressed displeasure in general, and combine that with its grumpy face and the internet’s love for cats, it was easy to see how it became such a classic meme.
Earlier this month, eagle-eyed fans of Game of Thrones spotted in an episode of the show that there was a Starbucks cup in a scene that somehow made it past the editors. It was kind of hilarious to see how Starbucks had somehow found its way into the world of Westeros, further playing on the perception of how Starbucks seems to be everywhere.
For those who loved that particular scene, then you might be interested to learn that Skyrim gamer and mod creator johnrose81 has created a mod, dubbed Skyland Coffee, for Skyrim in which it places a Starbucks cup into the game. According to its creator, “Yes, this is a joke mod. Use it if you want or don’t. But don’t be trolling my comments about how this isn’t lore friendly or stupid. I will call you out.”
He does have a point where it is obviously not going to be part of the lore or the general environment of Skyrim, but this mod is clearly not aimed at those gamers, but rather gamers who don’t mind having a little fun and not take the game too seriously. Note that this mod seems to be for those who own Skyrim Special Edition and can be download from Nexus Mods.
For those who do not own the Special Edition version of Skyrim, there is another similar mod called “Mysterious Coffee Cup” by Sphered that is also available through Nexus Mods.
LED technology has been hailed by many as the next-gen tech that we can expect in our lights and displays. There are benefits to using LEDs, such as how it consumes less power than regular light bulbs, and for our displays, the lower power consumption also means that our phones can last longer.
However, it seems that LED lights might not be as good as we thought, at least for our health. According to a new report from the French Agency for Food, Environment and Occupational Health and Safety (ANSES), they have expressed concern on how our constant exposure to LED lights could cause “irreversible” damage to our eyes.
The report published by the agency talks about how LED could be potentially “photo-toxic” which means that it can lead to the loss of retinal cells and also diminished sharpness of vision. They also talk about the high-intensity exposure to LED light, as well as “chronic exposure” from lower-intensity sources, which according to report, can “accelerate the ageing of retinal tissue, contributing to a decline in visual acuity and certain degenerative diseases such as age-related macular degeneration.”
This is not the first time that lights from our devices have been found to potentially contribute to vision-related problems. Previously, it was said that the blue light emitted from our smartphones can not only accelerate blindness, but can also mess up our sleep patterns.
There have been reports dating back to at least 2018 that hints that Watch Dogs 3 could be in development. Now according to the latest speculation, it seems that our wish could come true and that the game might be announced at E3 2019 which will be taking place next month. This is according to fan sightings of an official Watch Dogs Twitter account.
According to the sightings, it seems that Ubisoft has gone on to create a new Watch Dogs UK account on Twitter. The account’s creation date says it was created in May 2019, which is this month, and while the logo and imagery used for the account show Watch Dogs 2, some have pointed out that it seems odd that Ubisoft would create an account now to promote an old game.
This has led to speculation that this account is simply Ubisoft creating an account in which they will later convert and use to promote Watch Dogs 3. We suppose that makes sense, and given that Watch Dogs 2 was released in 2016, it does seem like the time is ripe for a sequel to be released.
We’re not sure if the game will be released this year or if only the announcement will be taking place this year, but we’ll have to wait and see, so be sure to check back with us during E3 2019 for the details.
Secret menus at restaurants have become rather popular, where they usually contain dishes that not many people might know about, and in some cases, might actually be more tasty than what’s being offered to the public. It can be fun finding out these secret menu items, and it seems that if you’re a Samsung Galaxy owner, you’ll be able to access some of them.
Samsung has recently announced a partnership with four restaurant chains in the UK where they will be giving access to a secret menu but only if you’re a Galaxy owner. These restaurants include Bill’s, The Breakfast Club, Patty & Bun, and Pizza Pilgrims, and if you’re the owner of a Samsung Galaxy handset, you’ll need to go to Samsung’s website, scan the tabletop code, and the dish will be revealed.
It will not work if you are using a non-Galaxy handset, but we suppose there’s no stopping Galaxy owners from ordering on behalf of their friends, right? We’re not sure how long this promotion is expected to run for, but it does seem like a pretty fun way to take advantage of technology. Of course, we doubt that the access to a secret menu will be enough to convince people to hop on board Samsung’s bandwagon, but if you do own a Samsung handset and live in the UK, it could be worth checking out if you like trying new things.
These days with the rise of digital assistants, it seems that headphone makers are starting to throw more support behind them. For example, a couple of years ago, Bose launched a new pair of headphones that came with support for Google Assistant. If Google Assistant is your preferred assistant of choice, then you might want to check out B&O’s latest offering.
The company has recently updated its H9 wireless headphones where the new model will come with support for Google Assistant. This comes in the form of a dedicated button that users can press to activate the digital assistant. However, this won’t be just an upgrade with Google Assistant as the company has also introduced a larger battery to the headphones.
Previously, the company’s H9i headphones offered around 18 hours of use before needing a charge, but the updated H9 headphones will now sport a battery that will add an extra 7 hours, bringing it to a total of 25 hours on a single charge. This makes it an ideal pair of headphones to bring with you during your travels.
Unfortunately, B&O’s headphones have never been priced cheaply and the new H9s are no exception. If you’re interested in getting your hands on the new H9 headphones, be prepared to pay $500 for them.
Out of the many tech companies out there today, Microsoft is one of the few that seems to be publicly looking at ways to improve the accessibility of its products to make it more usable for people with disabilities. For example, the company launched the Xbox Adaptive Controller last year designed for people with disabilities.
A recent patent had also revealed that the company was exploring the idea of introducing braille readouts to its Xbox controller. Fast forward to today, which is also the Global Accessibility Awareness Day, Microsoft has announced that for the second year in a row, the company will be looking to invest as much as $25 million towards AI projects that will help with accessibility.
According to Microsoft, there are a total of seven grantees of this investment, which includes, University of California, Berkeley; Massachusetts Eye and Ear, a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School; Voiceitt in Israel; Birmingham City University in the United Kingdom; University of Sydney in Australia; Pison Technology of Boston; and Our Ability, of Glenmont, New York.
The projects undertaken by these groups include a variety of devices designed for those with disabilities. For example, one of the projects will be a nerve-sensing wristband that detects micro-movements and translates them into mouse clicks. Another example is a wearable cap that can read EG data and sends it to the cloud to provide warnings about seizures and other alerts.
According to Microsoft’s Senior Accessibility Architect Mary Bellard, “What stands out the most about this round of grantees is how so many of them are taking standard AI capabilities, like a chatbot or data collection, and truly revolutionizing the value of technology.”
There is no official announcement yet, but Variety’s sources claim that the deal is expected to close shortly, so we should have some kind of official word soon. Now, some might bemoan the fact that Pattinson will be the new Batman, especially since it would be hard to shake the actor’s image from when he was cast as Edward Cullen, the vampire from the Twilight series of movies.
However, to Pattinson’s credit, the actor has been trying to shed that image by taking on deeper and more grittier roles, and if you have seen any of his more recent movies, you might agree that him playing as Batman could actually work. The standalone Batman movie has been in the works for a few years now and is currently scheduled for a release on the 25th of June, 2021.
This means that we still have a couple of years to go before we get to see it, but it will be interesting to see Pattinson taking up the role, especially with many seemingly disliking Affleck’s portrayal of the character.
We have been hearing some rumors about the ASUS Zenfone 6 for a while now, and the good news for those who have been keeping an eye out for it is that the handset has since been officially launched, and boy, does it look like a pretty well-designed handset that comes with flagship hardware specs.
Starting with its hardware, as expected of a flagship, the handset will be packing the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chipset along with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. There will also be a 6.4-inch display that does not feature a notch. For those who are wondering where the front-facing camera is, it seems that ASUS has opted to use a rotating camera design, similar-ish to what Samsung did with the Galaxy A80.
However, unlike other flagship phones, it seems that ASUS has decided to equip the handset with a dual camera design instead of a triple camera. The main camera will feature a 48MP sensor, while the secondary camera will sport a 13MP sensor. It will also be capable of recording 4K video at 60fps.
In terms of pricing and availability, the ASUS Zenfone 6 will be launched in Europe first where it will be priced at €500 before finding its way to other parts of the world.
In the early days of Facebook, how the News Feed was sorted was from the newest first, meaning that the latest posts from friends and pages you follow surfaced at the top of the feed. However, over the years, Facebook has opted to use a more algorithmic approach where they surface posts that they think are the most relevant to you.
It looks like Facebook’s algorithm is constantly shifting because in a post on Facebook’s website, the company has announced further changes that they will be making to the platform. These changes are expected to result in a more personalized News Feed where you will start seeing posts from those who you are closer with, and this will be done through surveys in which Facebook wants to find out who are some of your closest friends.
According to Facebook, “We look at the patterns that emerge from the results, some of which include being tagged in the same photos, continuously reacting and commenting on the same posts and checking-in at the same places — and then use these patterns to inform our algorithm.”
These changes are in line with what the social networking platform announced previously, in which they wanted to make your News Feed more about connecting you with your friends and family, instead of being spammed by the pages you follow. Facebook adds, “These changes aren’t meant to show more or less from Pages or friends. Rather, the Page links that are surfaced to people will be ones they find worth their time — and the friend posts will be from friends people want to hear from most.”
Recently, it was revealed that there was a newly-discovered vulnerability affecting Intel processors. Dubbed ZombieLoad, the good news is that Intel is said to have since released new microcode to computer makers to help them patch their computers, but it turns out that some computers could still be vulnerable.
According to a report from AppleInsider, it seems that older Mac computers could still be vulnerable to similar style attacks. In a support document published on Apple’s website, it seems that Mac computers older than 2011 are listed as potentially vulnerable to similar types of attacks, and the reason behind Apple not being able to fix them is due to Intel not providing them with the necessary codes.
Apple writes, “These models may receive security updates in macOS Mojave, High Sierra or Sierra, but are unable to support the fixes and mitigations due to a lack of microcode updates from Intel.” However, AppleInsider points out, Apple has a support page for what they are calling “full mitigation” that would eliminate the possibility of such attacks.
The only problem with this is that it could reduce system performance by as much as 40%. That being said, it is unclear as to how many users are running Mac computers older than 2011, and even then, it was previously disclosed that the ZombieLoad attack would be quite difficult to pull off so chances of you being attacked do seem rather low.
Sony unveiled its new flagship smartphone the Xperia 1 earlier this year in February. It’s a bit different from the other flagships on the market as it has a super tall 21:9 aspect ratio 4K HDR OLED display. The company today confirmed when this device will be coming to the United States. You will be able to purchase it on July 12th but bear in mind that it’s going to cost a pretty penny.
Sony confirmed today that the Xperia 1 is going to be available for purchase in the United States starting July 12th for $949. The price tag isn’t that outrageous when you consider how much top-tier smartphones are going for these days. Most of them are priced around the same level.
The company claims that this is the first smartphone with a 21:9 aspect ratio 4K HDR OLED display. Since it’s super tall, it’s perfect for watching movies. Most films will be able to play on the display without any letterboxing. The taller display also means that users get more verticle space when they’re scrolling in apps like Twitter.
It also has the kind of specs that you’d expect from a flagship smartphone in 2019. The Xperia 1 packs Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. There’s a triple camera system at the back as well.
Recent reports had suggested that it may soon be able to play in Fortnite as John Wick and that crossover has officially been confirmed today by Epic Games. The developer has announced the latest crossover event for its popular battle royale title which will give players the ability to play as the popular assassin within the game.
Wick’s house had appeared rather mysteriously on the island last week which hinted at this crossover event. The John Wick crossover event has been split into two parts.
For starters, players can buy a John Wick skin and additional gear. The skin is quite identical to Keanu Reeves who plays John Wick in the movie compared to the previous unofficial skin that has been available for quite some time.
There’s also a new limited time mode called Wick’s Bounty. “The High Table has opened a new contract. It’s up to you to collect the bounty. Stay alive and collect gold tokens by eliminating the other bounty hunters. The first one to fulfill the order wins, but be careful how far ahead you get, as you will become a target for everyone else,” is how Epic describes it. Players will also be able to gain cetain unlockable goodies as they make their way through this limited time mode.
Sprint has confirmed the availability details for its first 5G devices today. They will be available from the carrier starting May 31st. Its first 5G devices include the LG V50 ThinQ 5G smartphone and the HTC 5G Hub mobile hotspot. Both devices will initially be available to customers only in the first few markets where the carrier’s next-generation network will go live.
According to Sprint, customers in Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, and Kansas City will be able to purchase the smartphone and hotspot initially. Pre-orders start May 17th. It will then release the devices in its other 5G markets which include Los Angeles, Chicago, New York City, Phoenix, and Washington, D.C. in the next few weeks.
The carrier mentions in its press release today that these devices will deliver blazing-fast speeds when the 5G service starts rolling out “in the coming weeks.” Pre-order customers can get the LG V50 ThinQ 5G for $24 per month with $0 down on Sprint Flex and the HTC 5G Hub for $12.50 per month.
The Oculus Quest virtual reality headset will be shipping on May 21st and those who have pre-ordered it will be delighted to know that Google has confirmed it’s bringing YouTube to this headset. The YouTube VR for the Oculus Quest will offer an experience not unlike the one you get with the app on headsets like the Oculus Go and the Samsung Gear VR.
Users will be able to view both conventional 2D videos and 360 degree videos. It normally takes Google a couple of months to release YouTube VR for a new headset so it’s certainly interesting to note that this is the first time that YouTube VR is going to be available for a new headset the moment it starts shipping.
A couple of other popular VR apps will be available for the headset as well when it hits the shelves on May 21st. They include the painting tool Tilt Brush and the Job Simulator game. Vacation Simulator, the sequel to that game, is also due to launch on the latest Oculus headset in the coming months.
Instagram’s Explore section is great for discovering new content on the network outside of the accounts that you already follow. According to the company, it’s used by more than 50 percent of accounts on Instagram every month. The Facebook-owned company today announced new designs for Explore. It has also added Stories to Explore with this latest revamp which is in line with the goal of making it easier for users to discover videos, photos, products, and now Stories that are relevant to their interests.
Go to Explore now and you’ll see a new navigation bar which has shortcuts to IGTV and Shopping as well as topic channels that are based on your interests, such as Food or Travel. The new design pins IGTV and Shop to the front of the bar so that they’re much easier to access.
The IGTV and Shopping experiences have also been made more immersive. Stories are quite popular on Instagram as more than 500 million people use the feature every single day. Instagram will now highlight them in the Explore section as well.
The redesigned grid will feature Stories and in the same way that Explore recommends posts based on your interests, it will now recommend Stories too. This will be gradually rolling out for all Instagram users over the coming weeks.
OnePlus unveiled its new flagship smartphone this week, the OnePlus 7 Pro. While the company decided to save money by not going for an official IP certification for the device, it seems to have used that money to hire one of the biggest names in Hollywood to promote its latest handset. Robert Downey Jr. is the new face of OnePlus 7 Pro.
Some of you may remember that this isn’t the first time Iron Man has promoted a smartphone. He appeared in a series of ads for HTC in 2013 as part of a global campaign which reportedly earned him $12 million. While it’s unclear how much OnePlus has paid him, it would be safe to say that he’s even more popular now than he was back then, so it certainly wouldn’t have been cheap.
Downey posted a photo of himself holding the OnePlus 7 Pro on his official Weibo page today with the caption “Good to work with a technology brand I can vibe with.” The first post came on Weibo because according to reports, OnePlus plans on running his ad campaign primarily in Asia.
It’s not like he’s any less popular in that region and with the latest Avengers movie doing exceptionally well in that part of the world, OnePlus might just get its money’s worth from this campaign.
With iconic motorcycle companies like Harley Davidson working on electric motorcycles, it was only a matter of time before Triumph jumped on the bandwagon as well. The popular British motorcycle maker has announced that it’s also working on an electric motorcycle. Triumph has teamed up with Williams Engineering for this purpose.
The TE-1 project will develop a powertrain for an electric motorcycle in two years. Williams Engineering will be helping out on the project. Those of you who watch Formula 1 motor racing will be quite familiar with Williams.
It will be in charge of developing the batteries for this powertrain. Integral Powertrain is another partner on this project and it will focus on the electric motor while the University of Warwick is going to take care of advanced research. The overall design and development will be Triumph’s responsibility.
The initiation of this project doesn’t mean that Triumph has any plans of going fully electric. The company launched the Rocket 3 TFC just this month which boasts a staggering 2.5 liter three-cylinder engine. Nevertheless, the fact that it has started this project goes to show that Triumph isn’t burying its head in the sand and does want to be ready for the future of mobility.
The May 2019 Update is being rolled out today for the Xbox gaming console and it brings a couple of new features. One new feature will let you see if your friends are playing on a PC or the Xbox console. Some improvements to finding games and apps on the console have also been made. They will be better sorted in the categories so that it’s easier to find them.
The new improvement for the friends list makes it easy to find out if your friends are playing on the PC or console. The dashboard friends list will now show new icons to identify if your Xbox Live friends are playing on the console, PC or mobile.
It’s possible to play some Xbox games between the two platforms and with the addition of these new icons, it will prevent Xbox Live users from trying to invite people to games that don’t enable them to play across PC and Xbox One.
A new message requests feature has also been added which automatically filters messages that aren’t from your friends into a separate tab. As part of this new feature all existing group messages are being wiped. Users will be able to copy them from Xbox.com for a limited time. The change doesn’t affect individual messages from friends.
The May 2019 Update is now rolling out for the Xbox One.
It was reported earlier this week that a Tesla Model S had caught fire in Hong Kong for no apparent reason. It just burst into flames while the car was parked in the parking area of an apartment complex. Tesla has now responded to these reports by releasing a new battery software update for both the Model S sedan and the Model X crossover.
The Hong Kong incident happened merely three weeks after a similar incident in Shanghai. There was even video of the Model S, which was also parked in a garage, catching fire. Tesla did send out a team to Shanghai in order to investigate the matter and that investigation is still ongoing.
Tesla isn’t suggesting that there’s a problem here that needs to be addressed. It maintains that its cars are “10 times less likely to experience a fire than a gas car,” but it has released this software update out of “an abundance of caution.”
“We are revising charge and thermal management settings on Model S and Model X vehicles via an over-the-air software update that will begin rolling out today, to help further protect the battery and improve battery longevity,” the company said.
The changes that this software update brings will most likely improve the efficiency with which the car manages each battery cell’s temperature and level of charge. This could help reduce the possibility of overcharging and thus prevent the lithium-ion battery packs from catching fire.
Verizon is the first carrier in the United States to sell the 5G variant of the Galaxy S10. It has already been confirmed that Verizon will exclusively be selling this device initially. It will arrive on other carriers but Verizon will be the only place to get it at least for the foreseeable future.
Those who are interested in getting on the 5G bandwagon can head over to Verizon to purchase the 5G Galaxy S10 starting today. It’s not cheap by any stretch of the imagination, though. The 5G variant of Samsung’s 2019 flagship smartphone costs $1,299 on Verizon.
The actual availability of the 5G network is quite limited at this point in time. Verizon’s network is available in Chicago and Minneapolis currently. The carrier has said that it will expand the network to more cities later this year.
A tweet by a member of Verizon’s corporate communications team shows that it is possible to achieve speeds of over 1Gbps on the Galaxy S10 5G provided that the conditions are just right. That’s about 10x faster than the speeds that people normally get on a 4G LTE network.
The handset itself is a bit different compared to the Galaxy S10+. It has a larger display, a quad camera system at the back as well as a bigger display. Aside from paying $1,299 for this device, customers also need Verizon’s Above Unlimited or Beyond Unlimited plans if they want to connect to 5G.
Amazon has updated its entry-level Fire 7 tablet today. The new model brings more storage space and it’s also faster than its predecessors. The good thing about this refresh is that Amazon isn’t increased the prices. Everything else about the tablet remains the same as well.
According to Amazon, the Fire 7 tablet still has a 1.3GHz quad-core processor but there’s more memory bandwidth. This should bring about a slight improvement in the speed. There’s more storage out of the box as well, double than before, at 16GB by default. Furthermore, the updated model can now support microSD cards of up to 512GB.
Nothing else has been changed so it still has the same display panel and design. Even the battery has remained the same. What interested customers would be more glad to here is that the price has remained the same as well. You can buy the new Fire 7 tablet from Amazon for $49.99.
Amazon is going to release its new Fire 7 tablet on June 6th. It’s taking pre-orders for it starting today so those who are interested can go ahead and get their order in now. The tablet will be available in black as well as three new colors which include plum, sage, and twilight blue. Those who purchase it before June 6th will get a $10 credit that can be redeemed on the Amazon Appstore for games or apps.
It has been rumored for a couple of years now that Google has been experimenting with Windows dual book on its Chromebooks. The functionality would have enabled Chromebook owners to basically run Chrome OS and Windows on the same device. New findings show that Google has likely given up on the project which would mean that Chromebooks with Windows dual boot may never arrive.
A Reddit user has spotted that all of Google’s “Alt OS” code for dual booting Windows on a Chromebook has been deprecated by the company. Believed to be called Project Campfire, earlier reports had suggested that the dual boot feature was actually quite far along and that a public release was possible in the not too distant future.
The latest findings show that this is no longer the case. Google hasn’t said anything about this so it’s unclear why the company has decided to cancel Project Campfire. If one were to guess, storage space constraints could have been the culprit here. A Windows installation would have taken at least 40GB of space on a Chromebook which is much more than the maximum storage that most Chromebooks offer. You’ll be surprised to hear just how many Chromebooks have only 32GB of storage.
There also appears to have been no development on Project Campfire since December last year which would suggest that Google gave up on the idea long ago. The deprecation of the code can thus be taken as a confirmation that this is never going to happen.
Amid concerns that the company’s 11 digit phone numbers could run out by 2022, Japan’s communications ministry has started planning to create 14 digit phone numbers. It would be able to create 10 billion new numbers by moving up to 14 digits. The proposal to do so has reportedly been approved already by the country’s largest mobile carriers.
According to the Japan Times, the plan to create 14 digit phone numbers has been approved by KDDI, NTT Docomo, and SoftBank. With the three major carriers in agreement, the report states that Japan might introduce these new phone numbers before the end of 2021.
These new 10 billion numbers will start with 020, a prefix that’s currently used in Japan for Internet of Things devices. It was introduced in early 2017 and since then, 32.6 million out of Japan’s 020 numbers have already been registered by the end of March 2019. As Japan’s 5G networks are due to go live in 2020, it’s likely that the amount of connected devices will increase significantly, hence the need for new numbers.
The challenge to produce enough numbers for all devices on the network isn’t a challenge that only Japan will face. With 5G networks progressively going live in more markets across the globe, other countries may have to make similar decisions to ensure that there are enough numbers for every device.
There are quite a few ways you can purchase Google’s latest smartphones. These happen to be the first Pixel smartphones to be sold by carriers other than Verizon. And now, for the very first time, Amazon is also selling Google’s smartphones directly. The Pixel 3a and 3a XL are now available for purchase from Amazon.
Amazon is now selling the Google Pixel 3a and 3a XL for $399 and $479 respectively. The handsets are “sold by Amazon.com,” so it’s the company selling them directly to customers, not some third-party seller. Amazon Prime members are eligible for free shipping with the handsets.
It seems that these are the only Google smartphones that Amazon is directly selling at this point in time. The regular Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are currently not being sold by Amazon. Whether or not it sells the next-generation version of these handsets remains to be seen.
You’ll probably get more bang for your buck elsewhere, though. Despite the fact that Amazon is selling these handsets at their official price points, it’s not offering any incentives with it. On the other hand, you can get $100 gift cards with every purchase of a Pixel 3a or Pixel 3a XL from retailers like Best Buy and B&H.
Artificial intelligence is capable of doing many things. It can perform complex tasks, beat humans at their own game, and now it can even create whisky. Sweden-based Mackmyra Whisky distillery has teamed up with Finnish tech company Fourkind and Microsoft to create the world’s first whisky developed with artificial intelligence.
Master Distillers are artists in their own right. They spend years constantly experimenting, tasting, and tweaking every process of making whisky to extract the best flavors possible. That’s what the artificial intelligence is trying to do here.
Whisky is aged for at least three years in wooden casks to develop the intense aroma, flavor, and color we’re used to seeing. That’s the minimum, it’s actually aged for much longer than that. It’s after the maturation phase that a Master Distiller can make countless permutations of whisky. The different blends of ingredients and casks to make infinite flavor combinations have always been selected by humans.
This job has now been turned over to the AI. The distillery’s machine learning models are powered by Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform and cognitive services. They are fed with Mackmyra’s existing recipes, sales data, and customer preferences. The AI uses this data to generate more than 70 million recipes which it predicts will be popular and of the highest quality based on the types of casks in the warehouse.
“While the whisky recipe is created by AI, we still benefit from a person’s expertise and knowledge, especially the human sensory part, that can never be replaced by any program. We believe that the whisky is AI-generated, but human-curated. Ultimately, the decision is made by a person,” said Angela D’Orazio, Master Blender at Mackmyra. Fancy a taste? Mackmyra’s AI-generated whiskey will be available starting the fall this year.
Last year, Google launched the Titan security key. For those who are unfamiliar with the gadget, it is a security key that helps authenticate the user to whichever device it is plugged into or connected to. The idea is that by leaving it connected to a device like a computer, in theory, you would never need to have to enter a password again.
Google had previously boasted how its Titan security key used by its employees allowed them to avoid any kind of phishing attempts, but it seems that some Titan keys might not be as secure. In a post on Google’s Security Blog, the company announced that they will be recalling and replacing some of the Titan keys bought by some of their customers.
This is due to a Bluetooth vulnerability which would, in theory, allow a hacker to connect to the device. However, before you get too panicked, we should note that not all Titan keys are affected by this, and that it only affects Bluetooth pairing only. Also, as Google points out, the attack isn’t quite as easy to pull off and it would require the attacker to be in the same room as you and within 30 feet of the device.
The attack would also need to align a series of events in close coordination to pull it off, meaning that it isn’t quite as simple of an attack that some might be concerned about. Regardless, a flaw is still a flaw and as we said, Google will be sending out replacements to those who have been affected. To find out if your Titan key is affected and if it is eligible for a replacement, head on over to Google’s blog.
When Samsung sent out the Galaxy Fold to reviewers for review, it seems that they did not teach these reviewers how to handle the phone properly, leading to some of them damaging their devices. To Samsung’s credit, the company took responsibility for it and recalled those review units, vowing to make improvements so that they would be more durable.
The handset’s official public launch has since been delayed with no word on when the phones are expected to be ready for the public again. However, a report from the Yonhap News Agency has revealed some of the steps that Samsung has taken to improve upon the build of the handset, and are also claiming that the phone is now expected to be released in June.
One of the changes Samsung made was to tuck the protective layer of the screen into the display of the phone. This was one of the issues that reviewers ran into where they thought it was a screen protector that could be removed. Samsung is also said to have made the gap between the top and bottom parts of the hinge smaller, thus preventing larger bits of dust and debris from getting caught in between which could lead to further damage.
The testing of the new build is said to be underway with carriers in South Korea, and that the company will most likely announce a new release date for the handset later this month.
Instagram has a direct messaging feature built into its app, also known as Direct. For some reason, the company decided that it was a good idea to launch a dedicated and standalone version of the feature which resulted in app known as Direct. Turns out that maybe it was not as popular as Instagram would have liked because it looks like they’re killing it off.
In a tweet by Matt Navarra, he has shared some screenshots that users are seeing in the Direct app, where they are now being notified that the app is expected to be shut down in the coming months. This means that if you’re using the app to handle your Instagram messages, then you might want to start getting used to using Instagram again.
According to the notification, Instagram claims that all the messages in the Direct app will simply be moved over to Instagram and that no action will be required on your part. This means that you can simply open Instagram and start chatting with your friends without skipping a beat. There is no word on when the app is expected to officially shut down, but the fact that these messages are making their rounds, it probably will be soon, so time to start migrating if you haven’t done so already.
HBO’s Game of Thrones has become something of a cultural phenomenon where it will probably be talked about years after the series has ended. As such, it’s not surprising to find many people out there paying tribute to their favorite television show, which is what microbiologist Bria O’Brien did.
In a photo shared on Reddit, O’Brien essentially “drew” out the house sigils from Game of Thrones using bacteria. O’Brien, who is a laboratory manager at Tentamus North America in Virginia told Vice, “We make our own media (the stuff that makes bacteria happy) in house and therefore quality check our media to make sure it grows what it’s supposed to and doesn’t grow what it shouldn’t.”
She adds, “Depending on the outcome of [ Game of Thrones], I may draw some agar plates specifically detailing the end,” she said. “My favorite house is house Stark. It has the majority of the morally good characters in the show that I’d like to see make it out alive.” That being said, the concept of this kind of art, known as agar art, is actually a pretty popular hobby amongst microbiologists.
In fact, there is annual contest held by The American Society for Microbiology to find the best artwork grown using bacteria, and we reckon that O’Brien could stand a good shot at winning.
With the release of Iron Man 3, it introduced the Mandarin character to the MCU. Actor ben Kingsley did a fantastic job at portraying the character, but many felt a little cheated when later on in the movie, there was a plot twist and it was revealed that Kingsley’s character was the “fake” Mandarin.
The good news is that if you were one of those who felt cheated by this fakeout, Marvel boss Kevin Feige recently did an AMA on Reddit, and one of the questions asked by Redditors was whether or not the “real” Mandarin would be making an appearance in the MCU. Feige did not elaborate or dive into details, but simply responded with a, “Yes”.
As to when or where the character will be appearing in, some have speculated that the character might make an appearance in the Shang-Chi movie where the character could be the main villain. Indication that the “real” Mandarin exists in the MCU was actually in a short film part of Marvel’s “One Shot” films.
Dubbed “All Hail The King”, it follows Kingsley’s character where he is being interviewed in jail, where he discovers that the Ten Rings terrorist organization is real, along with an actual person called the Mandarin. We imagine that the character will most likely be making their appearance in phase 4 of the MCU, with the first movie of the new phase expected to kick off in 2020.
With the final season of HBO’s Game of Thrones having less episodes than previous seasons, and with a storyline that needs wrapping up, it’s not surprising that the writers of the show have decided to increase the pace of the episodes where we’re getting a lot more information in a shorter period of time.
It seems that many fans have so far not been particularly thrilled with how the show has been going to far, especially with the way some of the characters are portrayed and how their storylines are being played out. So much so that one fan by the name of Dylan D. decided to launch a petition on Change.org asking HBO to remake the entire season.
According to the petition’s description, “David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have proven themselves to be woefully incompetent writers when they have no source material (i.e. the books) to fall back on. This series deserves a final season that makes sense.” Whether or not HBO will pay attention to this petition remains to be seen, but it is obvious that many aren’t too happy with the writers of the show.
Google’s translation feature works pretty well and is a decent way of translating text and speech. However, what’s typically lost in the process of a translation is the way that the words were originally spoken, and since a lot of inference is made based on the speed of someone talks and the tone, this can sometimes lead to confusion.
However, Google thinks that they might be able to solve these problems with a new translation model called Translatotron. What it does is that it attempts to take the tone and cadence of the person talking and apply that to the translation as well, which hopefully will result in slightly more natural-sounding speech.
According to Google, “By incorporating a speaker encoder network, Translatotron is also able to retain the original speaker’s vocal characteristics in the translated speech, which makes the translated speech sound more natural and less jarring.” That being said, from the audio samples shared on Google’s blog, it is still very much obvious that it is a computer speaking back to you.
This is versus some of Google’s other AI efforts such as Duplex which has fooled many into thinking that they were talking to an actual human being. However, Translatotron is still very much in the works so we imagine that it should improve over time, but for now it does seem promising.
As many gamers are probably aware by now, Naughty Dog is currently in the process of developing The Last of Us Part 2, the follow up to the original game which was a smashing success. As to when the game will be ready remains to be seen, but it seems that the game could be entering the final stages of development.
This is according to a tweet by the game’s co-director Anthony Newman who wrote, “Lot of awesome positions open to help us close out this game… I especially want to highlight the Melee Animator position, I guarantee you will be working on some *dope* animations working with my good friend @Leethul 🗡️💀”
This seems to suggest that development on the game could be nearing the final stages, which in turn means that we can expect to learn more about a potential release date soon. We have heard a couple of different rumors for the game’s release date, such as either being in September or maybe even in October.
It’s probably best not to get your hopes up just yet because as with all development, there can be instances in which a bug is discovered in the last minute and needs to be fixed, leading to potential delays, so don’t hold your breath just yet.
Next Monday will officially bring HBO’s Game of Thrones series to an end. There has been quite a bit of controversy regarding the last season and the direction that the show seems to be headed towards, but then again, this is Game of Thrones. Neither the show nor the books have really followed the typical tropes one expects from a fantasy series, which is kind of why it has gained as much popularity as it has.
That being said, what’s just as popular is the intro theme song to the show, which we imagine could have the staying power as Star Wars’ Imperial Death March. If you love the theme song, then you’ll definitely want to check out the video above put together by Fender. The guitar company has brought several famous guitarists together where they then proceed to give the theme song a metal cover.
These musicians include Tom Morello of Audioslave/Rage Against The Machine, Scott Ian of Anthrax, Nuno Bettencourt of Extreme, Brad Paisley, along with the Game of Thrones composer Ramin Djawadi, and also none other than one of the show’s creators, Dan Weiss. The end result is rather epic, with each musician adding a bit of their signature sound to the song.
The video also showcases new Sigil Collection Guitars that is part of Fender’s Custom Shop, where there are guitars that have been designed around each of the main houses in the Game of Thrones story.
If you have a few minutes to spare, then this is a cover you should most definitely check out.
Last year, Valve announced the Steam Link app for mobile devices. For those who are hearing about this for the first time, the Steam Link app basically allows gamers to play their Steam games on their mobile devices. This works by streaming games from your computer onto your smartphone or tablet.
It sounded like a great app but unfortunately, Apple had rejected the app claiming that it had violated their guidelines. The good news is that it seems that Valve did not give up trying to get the app approved, and for iOS and Apple TV gamers, it looks like the Steam Link app is finally available for download.
It is unclear as to what kind of changes Valve might have made in order to get the app to be compliant with App Store guidelines, but either way, it’s available for download for gamers who are interested in streaming games from their computer to their phones. Game streaming is expected to be a pretty big deal moving forwards into the future.
That being said, there have also been reports that claim that Apple could be looking to design their own 5G modems, and now a new report by The Information (paywall) claims that such an iPhone will most likely only arrive in 2025. This means that it will be at least 5-6 years from now before Apple’s modems will be ready for deployment in its own iPhones, assuming that in the next 5-6 years 5G hasn’t been replaced with 6G, and that we’re still using smartphones.
As to why Apple is waiting that long, it is because the development of Apple’s own modems are apparently taking longer than expected and are aiming for a 2025 deadline. Coincidentally enough, the report claims that this is due to the company signing a licensing agreement with Qualcomm as part of their settlement. This licensing agreement is said to run for 6 years, meaning that Apple will only be able to start using their own tech after that.
In any case, it seems that we will have quite a long wait ahead of us, so don’t hold your breath just yet.
There are benefits to using facial recognition technology, but it is clear that using it in a public space can make people feel uncomfortable as it does come across as being an invasion of their privacy. This is why there are some cities in the world, such as San Francisco, that have banned the use of the tech in public spaces.
However, over in London it is a different story where police have been trialing the deployment of facial recognition technology. Unsurprisingly, not everyone is thrilled by it and during the trial, it seems that at least one man was arrested for trying to cover his face while walking by the facial recognition cameras.
In a report from The Independent, one witness described how the man pull up the top of his jumper over the bottom of his face and walked past. There was nothing suspicious about his actions other than simply trying to cover his face and maintain his privacy, but it seems that police weren’t too happy with his actions and followed him and pulled him to the side and requested for his identification.
The man was not happy about this and got angry, resulting in his arrest on a charge of public disorder and being hit with a £90 fine. According to a police spokesperson, “Officers stopped a man who was seen acting suspiciously in Romford town centre during the deployment of the live facial recognition technology. After being stopped the man became aggressive and made threats towards officers. He was issued with a penalty notice for disorder as a result.”
With Google Photos and Google Drive being Google products, it’s not surprising that they kind of tie-in with each other. For example, you can view your Google Photos through Drive via the app, and if you did enjoy the fact that they synced with each other, you might be in for some bad news.
According to a report from Android Police, they did an APK teardown of the Google Drive app in which they found strings that indicated that syncing folders between Google Photos and Drive will be coming to an end, and that this will be coming into effect this coming July. Google has yet to make any kind of official announcement, but if accurate, we imagine that it should be coming soon.
That being said, we should note that this only stops the syncing between Photos and Drive. This by no means affects photos or videos saved to your Photos account. According to the string found in the teardown, “Your Google Photos folder is no longer syncing with Google Photos. Your photos are all safe in Google Photos.”
Basically, this means that in order to access Photos, you’ll need to do so through the Photos app instead of through Drive. If you’ve always been using Photos to begin with, then this shouldn’t really change anything for you.
It can be a scary experience when you travel to a new country that you’ve never been to before. This is because it can sometimes be a bit of a culture shock to see people behave and do things that you’re not used to back home. In some instances, this can get a bit messy and problematic where some travelers might run into some issues.
However, that’s kind of what embassies are for, where if you need some help, you can always try your country’s embassy in the country that you’re visiting. The good news for US citizens who are traveling in Austria is that if you need some help, a partnership between McDonald’s Austria and the US Embassy in Vienna will make it easier to do so.
According to the post made on Facebook, “American citizens traveling in Austria who find themselves in distress and without a way to contact the U.S. Embassy can enter – as of Wednesday, May 15, 2019 – any McDonald’s in Austria, and staff will assist them in making contact with the U.S. Embassy for consular services (e.g. report a lost or stolen passport, or seek travel assistance).”
This does not mean that you’ll actually receive help replacing your passport at a McDonald’s, but rather staff at the fast food stores will help you get in touch with consular staff. It feels a bit like a novel idea, but given how widespread McDonald’s is, it actually makes a lot of sense.
For those who haven’t been following the World of Warcraft story to date, in the Battle for Azeroth expansion, it basically saw current Horde Warchief Sylvanas Windrunner go a bit crazy with her power, eliminating many of her enemies in brutal manner in the process. Safe to say, not all members of the Horde agree with her methods, leading to the ousting one at least one of her high-ranking generals, Varok Saurfang.
In a new trailer released by Blizzard, it shows how Saurfang has gone in search of one of the former Warchiefs of the Horde, who is none other than Thrall. The trailer shows Saurfang trying to convince Thrall to come back from his retirement and self-imposed exile to fight for the Horde and bring it back to its former glory.
In the process, several assassin’s sent by Sylvanas make an appearance which only further convinces Thrall that he needs to return. Previously, there were some reports about how a new Thrall model was spotted in the game files, hinting at the character’s return, and this trailer seems to have proven that.
Some have made comparisons between this storyline and the Mists of Pandaria expansion, where we saw Warchief Garrosh Hellscream also try to use his power to impose his will, resulting in the majority of the Horde turning against him in the process. It will be interesting to see what this could mean for the story and what future expansions may entail, but if you have a couple of minutes to spare, check the trailer out above.
Have you been waiting for Spotify’s $0.99 for 3 months offer which gets you access to the company’s Premium tier? Rejoice, because it has returned. Those who haven’t taken advantage of it in the past can now sign up for Spotify and get Premium access for three months for just 99 cents.
The world’s most popular music streaming service offers Premium access for three months at this rate twice a year. This promotion will thus be available for a limited time only. Sign up between now and June 30th to take advantage of it.
There’s even an offer for customers who had previously used Spotify but have not renewed their subscriptions. Those who have canceled a Premium subscription at any point before April 15th, 2019 can get the next three months for just $10.
Spotify’s Premium tier has more than 100 million subscribers. Promotions such as this are quite useful in bringing new subscribers on board. The company gets them hooked with the low upfront price and then hopes that they stick around once their discounted three months are over. Don’t forget to sign up before June 30th if you’re interested in taking advantage of this latest promotion. Even if you’re just curious, $0.99 is a pretty nice price for Spotify Premium access for three months.
Game of Thrones fans were very excited for the final season of this epic series. It is, without a doubt, one of the most popular TV shows on the planet. It achieved this status because of some brilliant writing and the way that the story has been told over the past seven seasons. However, many fans are angry with the way season 8 has unfolded, and they’re now expressing that anger by Google bombing Game of Thrones writers D.B. Weiss and David Benioff.
For those who are unware, Google bombing is basically the practise of making Google’s algorithms think that a search term is related to a topic that’s otherwise unrelated. This can be done for both search results and image results.
These angry fans, part of the r/Freefolk subreddit, succeeded briefly in getting the search term “bad writers” show a picture of Game of Thrones showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff. This has since been rectified and searching for the term now will return results about similar news stories instead of the image that was being displayed earlier.
The unusual methods aside, fans do have some genuine concerns with the way season 8 has played out so far. Whether it’s the seemingly breakneck pace with which is story is being wrapped out or a rogue coffee cup not getting spotted, Weiss and Benioff have just one episode left to redeem themselves in front of these fans.
Lenovo’s Motorola has unveiled a new smartphone today as part of the Motorola One lineup. It’s quite different from the current lineup from the company so it’s certainly unique in its own right. The Motorola One Vision features a 6.3 inch LCD display. It’s a rather tall display with a 21:9 aspect ratio. Such tall displays are great for watching movies.
You’ll find a Samsung Exynos 9609 processor under the hood with 4GB of RAM so it’s a bonafide mid-range device. There’s also 128GB of storage. The 6.3 inch LCD display with its 1080×2520 pixel resolution won’t be the sharpest panel at this size but given the price range in which it sits, that’s not going to be a cause for concern to customers.
There’s a 48 megapixel rear camera alongside a 5 megapixel depth sensor. A 25 megapixel punch hole camera performs the selfie duties up front. Some software-based camera features include auto-smile capture, portrait lighting, and Night Vision. That’s Motorola’s take on Google’s Night Sight.
Based on the Android One program, the Motorola One Vision is available in select markets across the globe starting today for €299. Unfortunately, it won’t be coming to the United States. Other Motorola smartphones based on this formula may arrive in the country, though, but that’s just speculation right now.
OnePlus unveiled the OnePlus 7 Pro yesterday. It’s the most expensive handset that we have seen from the company so far. It also happens to be the most feature-packed. That’s why it’s more expensive and can really hold a candle to other flagship smartphones. Curious about its durability? The OnePlus 7 Pro has done well in a popular durability test.
YouTube channel JerryRigEverything has perhaps the best durability test online. Every new smartphone gets to run the gauntlet and we end up with a good idea of how the device will survive the use and abuse that we throw at it.
Like many other high-end smartphones, the OnePlus 7 Pro uses Gorilla Glass to protect the display panel. It starts scratching at a level 6 on the Mohs hardness scale with deeper scratches appearing at a level 7. This is standard stuff.
OnePlus has also used glass for the pop-up selfie camera so it doesn’t scratch easily too. The company has even built an automatic fall detection feature which will automatically close the camera mechanism if it senses that the phone has been dropped. It’s pretty neat.
Despite having the largest display on a OnePlus phone, and a 90hz one at that, the device does well on the burn test. There were no dead pixels even after an open flame was directly applied to the display for a minute. All of this just makes the OnePlus 7 Pro an even better proposition for those in the market who are looking for a decent high-end phone that doesn’t cost a thousand dollars.
Sony has for long been the hardware king in Japan’s console market with the PlayStation 4 but it appears that Nintendo has taken that crown back. According to a new report, the lifetime sales of the Nintendo Switch have now surpassed the PlayStation 4 in the company’s home country. The Switch has sold more units than the PlayStation 4 in Japan.
The latest sales charts from Famitsu show that the Nintendo Switch has sold 8,125,637 units in Japan compared to the 8,077,756 units for the PlayStation 4 and the PlayStation 4 Pro combined. That’s certainly an impressive feat.
Those who have been keeping an eye on these numbers down in Japan wouldn’t really be surprised by this. Given the incredible momentum that has been behind the Switch ever since it was launched, they knew that it was only a matter of time before the lifetime sales for this console overtook the PlayStation 4.
What’s interesting to note is just how quickly, in comparison, the Switch has been able to surpass the PlayStation 4. As many of you would remember, Sony released the PS4 back in February 2014. The Nintendo Switch didn’t come out until March 2017. So even though it arrived on the market three years later, the Nintendo Switch has managed to sell a lot more units than Sony’s console.
Western Digital’s SanDisk announced the launch of its first 1TB microSD card at the Mobile World Congress 2019 in February this year. The company had said back then that it would begin selling the microSD card in the next couple of months. If you’ve been waiting for it to arrive, rejoice, because you can now purchase it from the company’s website.
According to Western Digital, the 1 terabyte SanDisk UHS-I microSDXC can achieve 160MB/s read speed and 90MB/s write speed. It certainly offers a lot of storage space than you can possibly utilize on a smartphone. The microSD card is better suited to media professionals, for example, who need to move around with copious amounts of media.
As you can probably imagine, it’s not exactly a cheap product. You can get the 1TB microSD card from SanDisk’s own website for $450. That’s more than what you’d expect to pay for a decent mid-range smartphone. Then again, you do get what you pay for.
It’s obviously not a good proposition for the average consumer just yet, not until the prices come down significantly. The next best option right now with a significant amount of storage is SanDisk’s own 512GB microSD card. Sure, you get half the storage, but the transfer speeds are the same and it’s much more attainable at $200.
You can instantly stream live video on Facebook with the Facebook Live feature and following the horrific terrorist attack in New Zealand which was streamed live on the platform, the world’s largest social network is now rolling out some restrictions for Facebook Live. The company says that it has been reviewing what more it can do to limit its services from being used to spread hate, hence these restrictions.
Starting today, people who have previously broken certain rules on Facebook, including its Dangerous Organizations and Individuals policy, will not be allowed to stream on Facebook Live. It will now apply a “one strike” policy to Live keeping a broader range of offenses in mind.
Anyone who violates Facebook’s most serious policies will be restricted from using Live for set periods of time, such as 30 days, starting on their first offense. For example, if a user shares a link to a statement from a terrorist group with no context, they will be immediately blocked from using Live for a set period of time.
Facebook says that its aim with these restrictions is to ensure that there’s minimal risk of abuse on Live while allowing people to use the feature in a positive way. It’s going to expand these restrictions to other areas in the next few weeks and will also prevent those same people from creating ads on Facebook.
Netflix’s popular dystopian anthology series is coming back next month. The online streaming company today released the first trailer of Black Mirror season 5. The new season has been a long time coming so you can be sure that fans are very excited to see all of the new stories that it will tell.
The new season follows the one-off interactive Black Mirror: Bandersnatch special which was a choose-your-own-adventure show. It was released in December last year. Netflix has since said that it will continue to experiment with the choose-your-own-adventure show genre for other shows as well.
The basic theme of the episodes in the new season of this anthology series will be what fans are quite familiar with. The stories will revolve around technology and how it may influence us in the future. The trailer offers some glimpses of these stories which include what appears to be a public breakdown being live streamed and a young girl receiving encouragement from a social robot to realize her dream of becoming a pop star.
Some fans may not like that Black Mirror season 5 is only going to have three episodes. However, it’s going to have a lot more big stars. This season gets appearances from the likes of Anthony Mackie, Topher Grace, Andrew Scott, Angourie Rice, and even Miley Cyrus. Black Mirror season 5 hits June 5th on Netflix.
GoPro has long been the gold standard for action cameras. It tried to encroach on DJI’s domain with a drone but that didn’t really work out and GoPro gave up on its drone ambitions. It’s DJI’s turn now to shake things up a bit. The recent leaks were accurate, the company today unveiled its new Osmo Action camera. It has been developed to compete with GoPro’s Hero line.
The DJI Osmo Action camera features a 1/2.3 inch sensor that can capture 4K HDR video as well as 12 megapixel photos. It can record 4K at 60 frames per second and 4K HDR video at 30 frames per second. There’s also electronic image stabilization. It’s protected in a shell that’s shockproof up to 5 feet and waterproof down to 36 feet. There’s also going to be an external housing which will let you take the camera even deeper underwater.
There’s a main 2.25 inch touchscreen display at the back in addition to a 1.4 inch display on the front. Clearly, this product has been developed with vloggers in mind. There’s also a Quick Switch physical button which lets you easily toggle between the modes like slow-motion, time-lapse, and picture.
Interested customers can place an order for the DJI Osmo Action starting today from the company’s website. DJI’s first rugged action camera costs $349.
Robocalls still remain a major problem for cellular users in the United States. Even though the FCC has taken steps to thwart them, the problem continues to exist. The Federal Communications Commission is now proposing a bigger step to properly tackle this problem. It wants to block robocalls by default.
The FCC basically wants to make it legal for mobile carriers to block unwanted robocalls by default. A declaratory ruling has been circulated by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai which, if it’s adopted, will give carriers approval to develop new tools to block unwanted robocalls. This ruling may also enable consumers to block calls from numbers that aren’t on their contact lists.
Major carriers like AT&T and T-Mobile are deploying the STIR/SHAKEN technology which labels calls from authentic numbers. However, other cellular service providers have held off on developing call blocking tools under the impression that they were not legal. The FCC wants to adopt this ruling to let them know that it’s perfectly legal.
By making it clear that such call blocking is allowed, the FCC will give voice service providers the legal certainty they need to block unwanted calls from the outset so that consumers never have to get them,” Pai said. This proposal will be considered by the FCC at its June 6th meeting. Even if it does get approved, it’s unclear when it will actually enter into service.
This has long been a debate among Uber drivers and the company amid talk of the former unionizing for increased benefits. Uber maintains that the drivers are contractors and a U.S. labor agency agrees with it. The general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board has concluded that drivers for Uber are employees, not contractors.
The advisory memo from the agency could have weight in a pending case against the company and it could even prevent drivers from joining a union. The memo from the National Labor Relations Board general counsel Peter Robb was released this week.
According to the memo, Uber drivers are able to set their own hours, they own their cars, and are also free to work for the company’s competitors. Thus they can’t be considered employees under federal labor law. An NLRB regional director is to make a ruling on the case. The advisory memos from the general counsel’s office are conventionally upheld in rulings.
The memo will not directly affect multiple lawsuits which claim that Uber drivers should be treated as the company’s employees under federal and state wage laws. Uber said in a statement that it’s “focused on improving the quality and security of independent work, while preserving the flexibility drivers and couriers tell us they value.”
There is a good reason to upgrade to the newest versions of software whenever possible. This is because due to the management of resources, most developers would much rather focus on its newer software than older ones. An example would be Microsoft’s Windows, where in some cases, the company has stopped keeping older versions of Windows updated.
This means that over time, hackers might discover new security holes that will no longer be patched and might take advantage of that, such is the case with Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008 R2, and Windows Server 2008. Recently, Microsoft has announced that these versions of Windows are vulnerable to remote code execution in its Remote Desktop Service found in these builds of Windows.
According to the company, “This vulnerability is pre-authentication and requires no user interaction. In other words, the vulnerability is ‘wormable’, meaning that any future malware that exploits this vulnerability could propagate from vulnerable computer to vulnerable computer in a similar way as the WannaCry malware spread across the globe in 2017. While we have observed no exploitation of this vulnerability, it is highly likely that malicious actors will write an exploit for this vulnerability and incorporate it into their malware.”
Thankfully, they have since released a patch which owners of those versions of Windows should download and apply it to their computers. Microsoft notes that newer versions of Windows, such as Windows 8 and Windows 10 are not affected by this, so if you are running on either of those versions, there is no action required on your end.
The thing about cameras is that some of them can be quite fragile. This means that using them in extreme weather conditions or settings might not be the best idea. However, Olympus has over the years released cameras part of its Tough TG lineup that have been designed to weather more extreme conditions.
If you liked what the company had to offer with the Tough TG-5 from 2017, then you’ll be pleased to learn that the company could be close to officially announcing its successor. Thanks to the folks at Photo Rumors, they have managed to get their hands on alleged specs of the upcoming camera.
For starters, it appears that the camera will be just as rugged if not more so than its predecessor. This means we can look forward to it being freezeproof up to -10C, crushproof of up to 100kg of pressure, and shockproof from drops as high up as 2.13m, and also waterproof up to depths of 15m.
As for the camera-related specs, we’re looking at the use of a 1/2.3-inch BSI CMOS sensor with 12MP, ISO range of 100-1,600 but it can go up to 12,800, the use of the Olympus TruePic VIII image processor, and an aperture range of f/2.0 to f/4.9, along with a 25mm-100mm lens. There is no word on pricing or when the camera is expected to launch, but presumably, the leaking of the specs suggests that it could be closer at hand than we thought.
All of us have at some point or the other experienced a bad night’s sleep. There are many factors that can impact how good of a sleep you can get, but in case you’re experiencing bad nights more often than not, a device by the name of URGOnight claims that it will help you get a better night’s rest.
URGOnight is a headband that is meant to be worn during the day. What it does is that it claims it will help “train” your brain through brain-controlled exercises based on neurofeedback. The idea is that by training your brain to produce the brainwaves that will enhance your natural sleep, you will end up having a good night’s rest.
It might sound a bit unbelievable, but neurofeedback is apparently a proven method used in research labs and sleep centers, so what URGOnight is doing is bringing that tech into a device that you can wear at home. Now, whether or not the device can deliver as promised remains to be seen as we have yet to try it ourselves, but if you’re interested, its creators have launched an Indiegogo campaign for it.
If you have $250 to spare and wouldn’t mind backing the project, head on over to its website for the details, or check out the video above that walks you through the device.
According to a recent report, Apple is said to be introducing new color options to the iPhone XR 2 later this year. These new colors are rumored to come in Green and Lavender and are also rumored to be replacing two existing color options, which are Coral and Blue. Now thanks to a tweet by Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, we have an idea of what those colors might look like.
In a photo shared on Twitter, Gurman posted what looks like shards of colors. According to Gurman, he claims that these are the colors that will represent the iPhone XR 2 where it seems like the lavender and green that Apple is going with are kind of muted instead of being bright. Then again, the iPhone XR colors were never really bright and shiny, unlike the iPhone 5c, so this seems to be in line with Apple’s design.
Take it with a grain of salt for now, but Gurman has had an excellent track record for his reports so it stands to believe that he could be right. Apple’s iPhone XR 2 is expected to launch later in the year and based on the rumors, the handset could be sporting a dual camera design, making it a more compelling purchase than ever.
Yesterday OnePlus officially launched the OnePlus 7 Pro, the higher-end smartphone out of the two models that were announced. It comes with pretty impressive hardware like the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chipset, a 90Hz display, and a triple camera setup, just to name a few. It was also shown off sporting some stunning wallpapers.
Now wallpapers might seem trivial to some, but they are an excellent way for handset makers to show off the display tech of their devices by making them seem more vibrant. If you liked the wallpapers OnePlus has shown off on its phones, then you’ll be pleased to learn that you can now download the Abstruct app for Android where you’ll be able to access all of the handset’s wallpapers and then some.
The app was created by Hampus Olsson, who for those unfamiliar is the designer behind OnePlus’ wallpapers. The app will contain over 300 wallpapers to choose from, some of which are used with the OnePlus 7 Pro, and the rest are in 4K resolution, with some of them being live wallpapers as well for those who like that feature.
Olsson has released OnePlus wallpapers in the past, but this is the first time the designer has put together an app that collects all of them together so it could be worth checking out if you’re looking for some stunning wallpapers for your smartphone.
Earlier this year at MWC 2019, Sony unveiled their flagship smartphone of the year in the form of the Sony Xperia 1. Now, it seems that Sony could already be working on a successor which could be unveiled at IFA which is scheduled to take place this coming September with the handset known as the Xperia 2.
Together with @OnLeaks, the folks at CashKaro have since put together what are alleged renders of the upcoming handset. So far, the renders by OnLeaks have proven to be right in the past, so there is a chance that these renders could be right again, but as always, they’re probably best taken with a grain of salt.
Based on the renders we’re seeing and also the rumored specs of the phone, the Xperia 2 is said to sport the same CinemaWide display with a 6.2-inch screen size. For those unfamiliar, the CinemaWide display is basically an aspect ratio that Sony claims is more enjoyable for watching movies.
While it is possible that they might be right, the end result is a smartphone that looks too “tall”, almost like the shape of a remote control. Other alleged specs include the use of the Snapdragon 855 chipset, 6GB of RAM, and a 3,000mAh battery with support for wireless charging.
Netflix has enjoyed quite a bit of success with its original shows, such as Stranger Things whose third season is expected to be released in the coming months. For those who are huge fans of the show and don’t mind collecting a bit of pop culture, you’ll be pleased to learn that LEGO has since unveiled the playset for Stranger Things.
As expected given that this is a playset based on the series, it shows both the regular world and also The Upside Down which the show has yet to fully and properly explore (hopefully it will in the third season). From what we can tell, it features all of the main characters from the show, including the demogorgan, who actually looks kind of cute and less terrifying in LEGO form.
The entire set will feature 2,287 pieces and will cost $200, which isn’t exactly cheap, but then again LEGO sets have never exactly been known for being budget. However, if you’re a fan, it could be of interest to collect it as it does look like a pretty sweet set to own. It is expected to be put up for sale on the 1st of June, but for those who are LEGO VIPs, you’ll be able to pre-order it starting today.
Did you know that Blizzard’s MMORPG World of Warcraft is 15 years old? These are the kind of milestones that pretty much all MMORPGs aspire to, and while there have been some controversies with regards to how Blizzard has approached the game and its storyline, it is still a game played by many around the world.
In fact, if you’re a fan of the game and wouldn’t mind showing your love for it, then you might be interested to learn that Blizzard has since announced the World of Warcraft 15th Anniversary Collector’s Edition. This is a bundle containing a bunch of physical and in-game goodies aimed at players of the game.
For the physical goodies, this includes a 10-inch statue of Ragnaros, who for those unfamiliar is the boss of the Molten Core raid, which was one of the first raids introduced to the game back in the day. There will also be an Onyxia pin, a map of Azeroth mouse pad, and fine art prints. There will also be 30-days of game time given to customers as well as two in-game mounts for both the Alliance and Horde.
While some people are just naturally sociable and have no problems chatting with everyone about anything and everything, others aren’t. In fact, some might find it uncomfortable making small talk with strangers. The good news is that if you’re not a fan of chatty Uber drivers, you can make your preferences known.
Uber has announced the launch of a new feature called Quiet Mode. This is a feature that will be free to users, but only applicable towards Uber Black and Uber Black SUV premium rides. Users will be able to choose between a “Quiet preferred” mode, “happy to chat”, or select “No preference” if they don’t really care.
Speaking to TechCrunch, Uber product manager Aydin Ghajar said, “We’re looking to create more differentiation between the premium products and the regular products to encourage more trips.” Ghajar adds that apparently quiet mode “is something that people have been asking for for a long time”.
It seems that the reason behind this feature being part of Uber Black is as Ghajar states, it acts as a way to differentiate the tiers. It also gives some customers the option of paying more if they’d rather sit in a car and rest while they get to their destination instead of having to make small talk with their drivers.
We’ve all received receipts in our life, whether it be the receipt at the restaurant we just ate, receipts for the gadget we just purchased, or receipts from the grocery store. However, the problem with most receipts is that they’re hard to read. This is usually because a lot of them are printed on small sheets of paper, and sometimes the font can be faded or squashed.
For receipts that contain a couple of items, it’s not too tricky, but for longer receipts like when you’re buying groceries, that’s where it gets tricky. However, designer Susie Lu thinks that she might have the answer to a better-designed receipt, which is why including graphics that acts as an infograph of sorts on your purchases.
As you can see in the photo above, a receipt at the grocery store can be reimagined by including some diagrams that shows the type of purchases you made, where food items are broken down into categories like “produce”, “eggs & dairy”, “meat & seafood”, and so on. According to Lu, “I was compelled to think of ways that data visualization could be used to redesign everyday experiences. Of the use cases I had brainstormed, the receipt was the idea I was most excited to play with first.”
This data visualization helps customers better track what they’ve purchased, but we imagine it could help with understanding what we spend our money on. For example, if you realize that you spend the bulk of your grocery money on snacks, you could try to scale it back. Lu adds, “I found it [most] useful to understand by category how I spent my money. I would be interested in seeing this over multiple grocery trips to see how the trend changed week over week.”
That being said, this is currently a concept design and whether or not retailers and supermarkets adopt this remains to be seen.
Even the most die-hard Apple fan would be hard-pressed to defend the prices of the new iPhones, where the flagship base model is priced at $1,000. With those prices, it has become a lot harder to justify buying a new smartphone every year or every other year, but if you were hoping for prices to drop, you might be disappointed.
According to analysts at JP Morgan, they have suggested that we could potentially see Apple hike up the prices of their future iPhones by as much as 14%. This is done to offset the tariffs that US President Donald Trump could be imposing on goods from China. Given that the iPhone is predominantly made outside of the US, these tariffs could impact the company in a big way.
In a note sent to its clients, JP Morgan wrote, “We estimate a price increase of around 14% is required to absorb the impact of a 25% tariff, keeping margin dollars for all players in the supply chain constant.” Interestingly enough, it seems that the firm also thinks that instead of passing the taxes down to consumers, Apple could be looking to absorb it themselves. We imagine that this is because the company would rather risk having a smaller profit margin than lose customers who might not appreciate the extra $140 tacked onto their next iPhone.
Plus, Apple is probably aware that its pricier iPhones aren’t selling as well as they should. Recent reports have revealed that the cheaper iPhone XR is actually doing a lot better, meaning that raising the price on future iPhones will probably not do the company any favors in the long-run. Either way, we’ll have to wait and see.
As some of you might know, Google has several products and services related to travel (much to the chagrin of many other travel websites). If you do prefer using Google as your source for travel-related information, like to find flights, book hotels, or find out information about the place you’re about to visit, Google has just made your life a lot easier.
The company has recently launched a new website called Trips. We know that some of you might be thinking of Google Trips, the company’s offline travel companion app, but it’s not the same, even though they kind of serve similar-ish purposes. With Trips, Google has provided travelers with a one-stop-shop for searching for flights, booking hotels, and searching for guides.
These features aren’t new but as The Verge points out, prior to this, those features were kind of scattered all over Google’s products. For example, searching for a hotel and looking for things to do was under Google Maps, meaning that for some, it might not be the most obvious place to look. However, with Trips, Google has made it a lot easier.
Given the shared name with Google Trips, we’re not sure if this could be a sign of changes to come to the app, so we’ll have to wait and see. In the meantime, if you’re interested in exploring this new website, head on over here for the details.
It wasn’t too long ago that Intel was inundated with the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities that affected a ton of their processors. To their credit, the company did take steps to try and address the problem, but it seems that new vulnerabilities have since been discovered by the original researchers who found the Meltdown and Spectre flaws.
Dubbed “ZombieLoad”, this is a side-channel attack that targets Intel’s chipsets. However, one of the main differences of this attack is that instead of injecting malicious code which could be installed by tricking users into installing malware, it relies on the design flaws in the chipsets themselves.
The reason for the name of this vulnerability is that it is because it takes data that the processor cannot understand or process, and forces it to ask for help from the processor’s microcode to prevent the system from crashing. Through this attack, it will force the data to leak from the processor’s core.
Before you start to panic and dump your Intel processors, note that this attack is said to be relatively difficult to pull off and will require a certain set of skills and effort in order to be successfully used. Plus, the good news is that Intel has since released microcode to patch the vulnerable processors so chances of it affecting you will be relatively low.
For Pixel smartphone owners in the future, the next time you’re driving and you get into a car crash, there is a good chance that your Pixel smartphone might be able to tell that you are in an accident and potentially call for help on your behalf. This is according to a recent discovery by XDA Developers who found hints of the feature in the latest beta for Android Q.
According to the discovery, they found a new Google app called “Safety Hub” with various references made to car crash. It also appears that the references made suggest that it could be a Pixel exclusive, meaning that non-Pixel smartphones might not get the feature and could actually help Google make their Pixel smartphones more compelling.
That being said, it is unclear as to how this feature would work and how the phone might be able to tell if the user got into a car crash. It is possible that it could rely on sensors like the accelerometer to tell if the device has come to a sudden stop, or it could also rely on the phone’s microphone to pickup sound that might sound like an accident.
While there is no mention of what will happen if the phone detects a car crash, but as we said, we imagine that it could be used to call for help, similar to how the Apple Watch’s fall detection can help call for help if the user does not respond promptly.
Facial recognition tech is a bit iffy in the sense that while it might be useful and quite amazing in terms of it being a technological feat, there are privacy concerns surrounding it. After all, why would anyone want to be continuously recognized by computers while walking out on the street, right?
So much so that last month, the city of San Francisco mulled the idea of possibly banning the use of facial recognition tech, and now it looks like that ban has since been approved. The city, despite it being known as one of the more tech-friendly and tech-savvy cities in the world, has decided that they will be banning the use of the technology in public spaces.
Once the new rule goes into effect (it’s expected to go into effect in about a month’s time), it will ban the use of facial recognition tech by the city’s 53 departments, including the San Francisco Police Department. According to San Francisco Supervisor Aaron Peskin, “We all support good policing but none of us want to live in a police state.”
That being said, this does not mean that the tech is dead. Businesses or residents who wish to continue to employ the use of the tech for private use, such as using it for their own home surveillance systems, are more than welcome to do so. Peskin adds, “I think San Francisco has a responsibility to speak up on things that are affecting the entire globe, that are happening in our front yard.”
NASA has a solid plan to put a man on the moon once again and the agency now has a name for that mission: Artemis. It pays homage to the Apollo as the 50th anniversary of the mission’s culmination is this year and also signifies the possibility that this program will send the first woman to the Moon.
NASA confirmed the name for its new Moon program via its social media channels today. Those who are pretty into Greek mythology would know that Artemis is the twin sister of Apollo and goddess of the Moon. That’s a good nod to the likelihood of this mission sending the first woman to the Moon. A feat that would, without a doubt, be historic.
“Our astronaut office is very diverse and highly qualified. I think it is very beautiful that 50 years after Apollo, the Artemis program will carry the next man — and the first woman — to the moon,” NASA Administrator Bridenstine said.
Artemis was also the goddess of the hunt and Orion was her faithful hunting companion. Little coincidence, then, that the multi-purpose spacecraft that NASA is developing now is also called Orion. As it stands, the Artemis mission aims to mark a return for the Americans on the surface of the Moon by 2024.
The ongoing Star Wars trilogy will come to an end with the release of The Rise of Skywalker later this year. Disney has already confirmed that there’s going to be a new trilogy which will begin in 2022. The company’s CEO also confirmed today that the next movie will come from David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, best known for being the showrunners of Game of Thrones, one of the most popular TV series in the history of television.
Disney CEO Bob Iger confirmed during the company’s annual Upfronts event that the Game of Thrones showrunners will be at the helm of the next Star Wars movie, part of the new trilogy which is due to begin from 2022.
Iger says that it makes sense to take a hiatus after the release of The Rise of Skywalker this year. “Three years is the proper amount of time to take a breather and reset but really gear up for the next film’s release. We did a deal with Benioff and Weiss, and the next movie will be theirs,” he said.
The next trilogy will see three new Star Wars films being released in 2022, 2024, and 2026. There’s obviously no information right now about the plot lines and the cast. It’s going to be a long time before we get to hear about any of that.
The United Kingdom will soon join the small list of countries where mobile 5G service is now available. South Korea was the first, followed by the United States. It has now been confirmed that Vodafone will be the first mobile network in the United Kingdom to provide the country’s first 5G service.
Vodafone has confirmed that it’s 5G mobile service will go live on July 3rd while 5G roaming in Germany, Italy, Spain as well as the UK will arrive later this summer. As you can probably imagine, there will be some limitations with the initial roll out.
The carrier’s 5G service will only be available in seven cities to begin with. They include London, Bristol, Birmingham, Cardiff, Glasgow, Manchester, and Liverpool. It will obviously expand the service to more cities in the country down the line but that’s going to take some time. Cities like Blackpool, Guildford, Newbury, Plymouth, Southampton, Stoke-on-Trent, and others will receive the service later this year.
While firm pricing information has not yet been released, Vodafone does say that it will “price 5G the same as 4G” for both consumers and business customers. It will sell a variety of 5G smartphones online or through its retail stores starting this summer. The first 5G-capable smartphone will go on sale next week. There’s also going to be a 5G router on offer for those who want to use the service in the home or office without a fixed line connection.
Amazon is rolling out its Alexa Guard feature for Echo devices in the United States. This follows an invite-only preview of the feature which was launched a few months back. What Alexa Guard essentially does is listen for signs of potential danger in your home when you’re away. It can be enabled by simply telling the Echo device that you’re out and it will then start listening for signs of trouble.
Just say “Alexa, I’m leaving,” when you’re heading out the door and Alexa Guard will be enabled. It will keep an ear out for things like the sound of glass breaking or a smoke alarm being activated.
If it picks up on something like that, Alexa will send out smart alerts with audio snippets to notify you. Those who have an Echo Show will receive a link for the live video so they can see for themselves what’s going on.
Alexa Guard can even copy your daily use of smart lights, switching them on and off to make it seem like you’re at home. Amazon does point out that Alexa Guard isn’t meant to replace your home security system since it can’t alert the authorities. However, it does make an Echo device that much more useful compared to a Google Home, for example.
Sonos had initially confirmed Google Assistant support for its Sonos One speaker when it was launched in October 2017. The digital assistant was also to be supported on the Sonos Beam smart speaker. It has taken a considerable amount of time for this to happen but as promised by the company last week, the Google Assistant is now available on the Sonos One and Beam smart speakers.
It has taken over a year for this to finally happen but now the Sonos One and Beam do offer native voice control for the Google Assistant. They already have this support for Amazon Alexa. Sonos is essentially the first smart speaker company to provide customers with a choice of digital assistants on a single speaker, they can choose between Alexa or the Assistant.
In order to get this support, all owners of the Sonos One or Beam have to do is to download the latest app update and install the latest firmware. Once that’s done, they can switch over to Google Assistant on the speaker. The Assistant will be able to control their entire Sonos multiroom audio setup, even if it also includes older speakers.
Those who don’t have a newer Sonos speaker can also get some functionality through a Google Home Mini since it’s now possible to link your Google Home speakers to a Sonos. It’s also possible to choose Alexa or Google Assistant for each individual Sonos One or Beam in your audio setup.
In addition to the multimedia capabilities, Assistant on Sonos speakers can do everything can you’d expect it to do on any other device in response to your voice commands. Google Assistant is currently launching for the Sonos speakers in the United States only. Users in Canada, Australia, Germany, France, the Netherlands, and the UK will get it in July with more countries to follow.
It was a big deal when Friends became available for streaming on Netflix. It’s one of the most popular TV shows ever with countless fans across the globe. Those fans may not be happy to find out that the company which owns the rights to Friends is going to remove it from competing online streaming services.
WarnerMedia has the rights to popular content like Friends and ER. These shows are available on different online streaming services but that might change in the future. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson has said that the company is planning to pull WarnerMedia’s content from other streaming services so that it can be exclusively offered on AT&T’s upcoming streaming service.
For those who are unware, WarnerMedia is owned by AT&T. The Dallas News reports that Stephenson said during a conference that “We are going to have to take a lot of the great content we own that’s been licensed elsewhere and bring that back into the fold.”
Taking these shows away from services like Netflix and Hulu will essentially force those who want to be able to stream Friends whenever they want, for example, to consider subscribing to AT&T’s new streaming service. It may also dent their rivals’ numbers as some of WarnerMedia’s shows are the most widely viewed shows on Netflix. That service even paid $100 million so that it could exclusively stream Friends throughout 2019.
AT&T is due to launch its streaming service at some point later this year.
Walmart has announced that it’s rolling out free one-day delivery for customers in the United States. It will initially be available to customers in Las Vegas and Phoenix before being expanded to Southern California in the coming days. Walmart says that one-day free delivery will be rolled out gradually over the coming months. It plans to reach 75 percent of the U.S. population by the end of this year. This includes 40 of the top 50 major metro areas in the country.
Amazon has also been working to build the capacity which will enable it to provide one-day shipping on items. However, Amazon restricts that privilege to Prime members who pay an annual fee for the program. Walmart’s offering is a bit different. It promises free one-day delivery without any membership fee as long as the orders are of $35 or more.
The retail giant adds that the one-day delivery will be available on up to 220,000 items ranging from diapers to toys and electronics. Eligible items will obviously vary by customer location but the list will continue to grow in the future.
“We can offer fast, convenient shipping options because we’ve built a network of fulfillment assets that are strategically located across the U.S. We’ve also done extensive work to ensure we have the right products in the right fulfillment centers based on where customers are located and what they’re ordering,” said Walmart CEO Marc Lore.