Tech News

IBM frees Watson AI to work on any cloud

Latest Tech News - Wed, 02/13/2019 - 06:30

IBM has announced it is liberating its Watson AI services to work across any cloud platform.

The news was announced at the opening of IBM's Think event in San Francisco, and could mean a major expansion to the possibilities of what Watson can do, and where it can be deployed.

Going forward, IBM Watson services will be integrated with IBM Cloud Private for Data, meaning they can be run on any environment, whether that be on-premise or in the field, or across any private, public or hybrid-multicloud - meaning companies can now take Watson to their data.

The launch will include services such as the Watson Assistant, which offers the chance to build AI conversational interfaces into apps and devices, and Watson OpenScale, which can deploy large-scale rollouts of AI across multiple devices.

Watson breaks free

IBM says that the move will also allow Watson customers to do more with the platform, as until now, the platform has been limited to IBM's own cloud, meaning many users have had to store and manage data across multiple siloes and with different suppliers.

"Businesses have largely been limited to experimenting with AI in siloes due to the limitations caused by cloud provider lock-in of their data," said Rob Thomas, General Manager, IBM Data and AI. 

"With most large organisations storing data across hybrid cloud environments, they need the freedom and choice to apply AI to their data wherever it is stored. By breaking open that siloed infrastructure we can help businesses accelerate their transformation through AI."

The news also comes as IBM looks to finalise the $34bn acquisition of open-source software firm Red Hat, suggesting that Watson could be about to become even more accessible for developers around the world.

The services will be linked to rival, non-IBM clouds using Kubernetes, again potentially opening up more opportunities for open-source developers.

Categories: Tech News

Nintendo Switch Online: price, NES games list, and online play

Latest Tech News - Wed, 02/13/2019 - 06:10

Update: Nintendo Switch Online has added a further two NES games to its retro games emulator: Kirby's Adventure (1993) and Super Mario Bros 2 (1988). Check below for the full list of NES games available, and where we think the online service could be going next...

The Nintendo Switch Online service was a new move for Nintendo: a paid subscription service in the vein of Xbox Live or PlayStation Plus, which offers a host of online benefits for those who sign up to the service.

Nintendo Switch Online bundles in a whole load of additional content and features for Nintendo Switch owners, including cloud saves, online play, and even a game emulator for classic retro games (you can see our full list below).

This is Nintendo's first paid online service, though the basic $3.99 (£3.49 / AU$5.95) per month subscription is a far amount below Xbox Live or Playstation Plus

Though Nintendo Switch Online only launched in late 2018, and is still being fleshed out, it's increasingly becoming a necessary addition to any serious gamer's Switch experience. So what exactly will Nintendo Switch Online give players that they don’t have already?


Nintendo Switch Online: online play

Nintendo Switch Online gives you the online capability to play, compete, and cooperate with players around the world – which means not having the service restricts your access to all of those things.

If you don't sign up to the service, you can still play all your single-player or offline Switch games to your heart's content: you don't need it to play Breath of the Wild, or for playing local multiplayer with friends in your living room. But many players will want a Nintendo Switch Online subscription to get the most out of their purchases.

Online play was free until mid-September, and competitive games like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate or Splatoon have proved hugely popular, though committed players still had to make do with a fiddly workaround for enabling voice chat through the console – and which only lets you speak with your friends.

There’s also a tie-in smartphone app that provides players with in-game battle stats, voice chat functionality, and additional information on select titles – mainly Splatoon 2 and other first-party titles like Smash Bros and Mario Tennis Aces.

Splatoon 2 (Nintendo Switch)

Sadly there are still no dedicated servers, so players will have to make do with less reliable P2P (peer to peer) hosting for online matches. On the upside, free-to-play online games like Fortnite, Paladins, or Warframe don't require a paid subscription to the service.

Or, if you're after the swag, there's a members-only outfit for use in Splatoon 2, and the ability to buy Nintendo’s wireless NES controllers for playing those retro games in style.

Nintendo Switch Online: NES games

If the warm fuzzy feeling of supporting your favorite video game publisher wasn’t enough, your extra pennies each month will also net you access to a library of classic and retro games, via the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) emulator.

This isn’t the Virtual Console from the Wii and Wii U, though. Instead of a marketplace for one-off game purchases, Nintendo Switch Online members are able to play select titles bundled into their subscription.

At launch you got 20 NES titles, including Ice Climber, The Legend of Zelda, Balloon Fight, Soccer, Tennis, Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros., Dr. Mario, Super Mario Bros. 3, Donkey Kong, Ghosts ’n Goblins, Excitebike, Tecmo Bowl, Yoshi, Double Dragon, Gradius, Ice Hockey, River City Ransom, Pro Wrestling, and Baseball.

Each title is 'remastered' in 4:3 HD, but with the option to play in a more 'authentic' arcade viewing mode with a 'CRT' (Cathode Ray Tube) style display.

These are being followed by two or three additional titles each month – see the box, right – which we're sure will include games from more recent consoles like the SNES, N64, and (god-willing) the GameCube down the line.

Handy features include being able to pause each NES game at any point, or save and reload your own checkpoints, making the experience much more forgiving than the arcade cabinets of yore. Online capability also lets you play two-player games competitively with friends, or swap over control between devices in one-player games.

Custom button mapping is absent, so you are stuck using the A and B buttons the wrong way round from an actual NES controller – unless you buy Nintendo's wireless NES controllers, which are only available for sale for Nintendo Switch Online members.

Nintendo Switch Online: cloud saves

One sore point for Switch users has been the omission of cloud saves for their games, meaning that a busted Switch console will take all your hard-earned progress with it. To prevent you having to start Breath Of The Wild all over again – again – the paid service will back all of your save files onto Nintendo’s own servers for safety.

This is in keeping with the save data on Sony's Playstation Plus program, though any Xbox One owner can access cloud saving for free. If your Nintendo Switch Online subscription lapses, your save files are protected for up to six months before they vanish from the cloud.

While Nintendo Switch Online's cloud saving will be enabled by default for most titles, developers can choose to opt out to prevent online cheating – since reloading an old save file could restore items someone had traded to another player, or even reset their online ranking. Games like Splatoon 2, FIFA 19, and the upcoming Pokemon Let's Go games will also be missing the feature.

Nintendo Switch online: price and subscriptions

While the lack of online features at launch didn’t do Nintendo any favours, it helped that players were given access to a limited version of the service for free.

This all changed when the paid service launched, requiring you to subscribe for a monthly fee – though you're able to sign up for a free seven-day trial, just to try it.

Individual users can sign up for $3.99 (£3.49 / AU$5.95) per month, with reduced rates for longer membership options (see box, right). There’s also a separate ‘Family’ option that includes allows up to 8 Nintendo Accounts to use the same subscription, for $34.99 (£31.49 / AU$54.95).

Players will also be able to buy a subscription with My Nintendo Gold Points – a rewards service that gives you spending tokens when you buy games on the Switch eShop, and came into effect earlier this year.

By comparison, an Xbox Live membership costs users $24.99 (£14.99 / AU$29.95) for a three-month subscription, while Playstation Plus will put you back $24.99 (£19.99 / AU$33.95).

On price alone Nintendo Switch Online is the winner, though its limited features and lack of dedicated servers currently don't match up to competing services. But if you own a Switch, it may be what you need to get the most out of the console.

Categories: Tech News

WWDC 2019 dates leak, will surprise nobody

Latest Tech News - Wed, 02/13/2019 - 06:09

Apple's regular unveiling of software is drawing nearer, and now it seems we've got a date for the Worldwide Developers Confererence 2019 (WWDC 2019).

Some sleuthing from MacRumors has uncovered a request for a post-WWDC permit from the San Jose authorities, and it gives away the date of the event as 3-7 June at the same venue as recent years, the San Jose McEnery Convention Center.

  • Here's everything we want to see from iOS 13
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A posting on the San Jose Office for Cultural Affairs originally stated it had an application for 'Team San Jose 2019 WWDC' with Apple listed as the organizer, but that's now been changed to just 'Team San Jose', although the date remains the same.

It's likely that's just Apple removing itself quietly from the listing, but the same thing happened last year with the same planning calendar, which gave away the correct date for the conference.

While the listing doesn't state that the event will be held at the McEnery Convention Center, MacRumors is claiming a separate source believes a large event will be held there on the 3-7 June, and it all seems highly likely at this point.

A movable feast for developers

Both 2018 and 2017 saw WWDC happen in the first full week of June, although in 2016 and 2015 it was a week later, so Apple does have history in altering the timing slightly.

The planning calendar for the San Jose Office for Cultural Affairs does also state that these events aren't set in stone, so Apple could still have some flexibility in the date - we'll have to wait until getting official confirmation to be sure.

We'll be likely seeing information on the next swathe of  Apple's software updates, with iOS 13, macOS 10.15 and watchOS 6 all on the cards, with more information on app performance and other new Apple services making an appearance too.

Categories: Tech News

LG G8 release date, news, price and leaks

Latest Tech News - Wed, 02/13/2019 - 06:07

Update: The LG G8 is landing on February 24 and it might not be alone. Plus, we've now seen detailed renders seemingly showing the phone, along with hints of a new gesture-based interface.

The LG G8 release date will be announced at MWC 2019 in late February, but we're already hearing about the smartphone's new features and price ahead of time.

New LG G8 ThinQ leaks suggest that LG is making a flagship handset with a second screen attachment. How the two screens attach, and if it's a feature truly intended for the LG G8, remains a mystery as of today.

This is supposedly LG's take on the soon-to-be-trendy foldable phone idea that will take off in 2019. However, it should prove to be cheaper than something like the Samsung Galaxy X that uses a single display that flexes down the middle.

Cut to the chase
  • What is LG G8 The next flagship in the LG G range
  • When does LG G8 release? February 24
  • What will LG G8 cost? Similar to the LG G7 launch price

Other LG G8 rumors suggest it'll abandon the traditional speaker grille in favor of the Sound on Display technology seen in some LG televisions. This means the audio would come out of the screen through vibrations. 

Since we don't know a lot about the LG G8, we've also outlined features it could really use in the year-over-year upgrade.

LG G8 release date and price

The LG G8 ThinQ is being readied for a late February launch event at MWC 2019, specifically on February 24. An event invite has now specified that date, following rumors of the same.

This may not be the only LG smartphone in attendance at the mobile conference. That's why we're unsure if the LG G8 will be the one with the leaked second screen attachment, or if that feature will come to a separate phone.

Indeed, we've now heard reports that the LG V50 ThinQ, complete with 5G and a higher price than the G8, will also land at MWC.

You can expect the LG G8 to release in late March. LG usually takes a month from the date of the announcement to roll its phone out to the US and UK, and a rumor specifically talks about a March on sale date.

Rumors about the price come from a report out of South Korea that suggest it'll be in line with current premium-tier flagship phone pricing. The LG G7 ThinQ cost $749 / £619 / AU$1,099, so prices for the G8 may be similar.

A Reddit leak suggested the 128GB version of the device will launch for C$1,199.99, which roughly converts to $900, £700 or AU$1,270, but this could change or be proven totally inaccurate when LG announces the phone.

LG G8 news and rumors

The LG G8 isn't destined for a foldable phone future, according to the latest leaks out of South Korea, but it may get a unique second screen attachment. That's rumored to be coming to at least one LG phone at MWC 2019, however.

This is said to be an effort to rival the Samsung Galaxy X without ballooning the cost of the phone for price-hike-weary smartphone consumers. 

LG G8: display and design

Sets from multiple different sources have leaked and they look much the same as each other, with a large notch housing a dual-lens camera, a slim bezel below the screen, and a dual-lens camera and fingerprint scanner on the back.

You can also see that there's a 3.5mm headphone port and a button likely to launch Google Assistant. However, it's worth noting that Ken Hong, head of LG Electronics' global corporate communications, has stepped in to say the renders are "speculative" and "not real".

We’ve also heard from leaker @UniverseIce that the LG G8 will have a 4K LCD screen. That’s up from a 1440 x 3120 LCD screen on the LG G7 ThinQ and would be more in line with the likes of the Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium if true. 

While the resolution boost would be appreciated it’s unlikely to be that noticeable outside of VR – which may therefore be a focus for the G8.

However, it’s disappointing that the phone is apparently sticking with LCD, given that OLED is generally considered to be better and is increasingly being used by high-end phones, including the LG V35 ThinQ.

LG G8: features

The LG G8 may get new touch-free gesture controls of some kind. This was hinted at in a teaser, though another report suggests these might be for the LG V50 ThinQ instead.

The G8 might also get an audio boost. A source claims that LG use ‘sound-emitting displays’ in its phones from early 2019, essentially allowing the earpiece to be built into the screen.

Currently the earpiece is one of the main components that prevents a truly bezel-free phone, so with this solved it’s possible that the LG G8 will have no bezel and no notch, though that’s just speculation for now.

A separate report from OnLeaks has also suggested the phone itself won't include a speaker grille as it adopts Sound on Display technology. That's tech that debuted in LG's range of TVs at CES 2018, and that uses the display itself to vibrate to make sound rather than a traditional speaker.

We can also guess that the LG G8 will probably have a Snapdragon 855 chipset. This chip has been announced by Qualcomm and is likely to be used in many of 2019's phones. 

It should be an improvement in a lot of ways - it's made on a smaller 7nm process than the 10nm Snapdragon 845 and could offer up to 45% improved performance. 

One report has said the phone won't be capable of 5G despite sporting the super-fast internet compatible Snapdragon 855 chipset. We've since heard again that it won't support 5G, with the V50 ThinQ instead getting the tech.

We don't know many specifics about the camera, but a leak from Korean site ET News has said the phone's shooter will feature 3D technology. 

We expect that'll be to improve augmented reality experiences as well as a few general upgrades to normal shooting performance.

 LG G8: camera

LG's only real announcement on the LG G8 so far is that its front-facing camera will use time-of-flight technology to improve facial recognition and selfies, as well as reduce the processing power these features require.

Other than that we don't know much about the cameras, other than that the rear cameras will be dual-lens as with the LG G7 ThinQ.

What we want to see

While we wait for more rumors about the LG G8 to roll in, here’s a list of what we hope the phone will offer.

1. Exciting innovations

The LG G7 ThinQ played things a bit too safe. Image credit: TechRadar

More than anything, we hope that the LG G8 will have some innovative features that we’ve not seen before. 

LG has done this in the past with the likes of its rear keys on older handsets and the modules it launched for the LG G5, but the LG G7 ThinQ is fairly safe and ordinary in comparison.

It gets many of the basics right, but for the LG G8 to stand out from the crowd it’s going to need to do more than that, so we want LG to surprise us.

2. A big battery

One disappointing aspect of the LG G7 is its small 3,000mAh battery, a battery which can last the day but won’t go beyond that for most users.

That’s roughly in line with many other phones, but they in many cases have much bigger batteries so we’d love to see what LG could do with a big one of say around 4,000mAh.

3. Stereo speakers

Two speakers are better than one. Image credit: TechRadar

The LG G7 already has a very good speaker, but the key word there is ‘speaker’, not ‘speakers’. For the LG G8 we’d like to see all the fancy Boombox tech return, but for it to be used in a pair of speakers rather than one, so it can offer stereo sound and is less in danger of being accidentally covered.

4. A lower price

The LG G7 ThinQ is an expensive phone, but oddly in the US it’s a very expensive phone, launching at a higher price than even the Samsung Galaxy S9.

That’s a tricky position for LG to be in, because it’s not as big a name in phones as Samsung, so it can’t really afford to price its handsets higher, at least, not unless they offer a drastically better experience, which the LG G7 ThinQ doesn’t.

So for the LG G8 we want a lower starting price, particularly in the US, but keeping it as low as possible everywhere will make it more widely appealing.

5. No notch

We see notches as something of a stopgap before phones eliminate bezels altogether. But some handsets, such as the Vivo Nex and Oppo Find X, are already getting very close to doing that, and with LG rumored to be building the earpiece into the screen for the G8 it’s not out of the question that the phone could have no notch and virtually no bezels.

6. A braver design

The LG G7 ThinQ is a fairly plain phone. Image credit: TechRadar

The LG G7 ThinQ has a premium but slightly plain build, lacking the curves of the Galaxy S9 or the striking finish of the Huawei P20 Pro or HTC U12 Plus.

We’d like to see a bolder, braver look from the LG G8, making it a phone that can stand out even at first glance. 

If the Honor 10 can pack a color-changing back that light dances across for half the cost of most flagships then LG should be able to come up with something.

7. OLED rather than LCD

Early rumors suggest the LG G8 will have an LCD screen, with the company likely keeping OLED for the V range, but we hope that’s not the case, as with OLED offering superior contrast among other benefits it’s something we’d like to see offered by all flagship phones.

Categories: Tech News

Roku Express is on sale for just £24.99: turn an old TV into a smart TV for less

Latest Tech News - Wed, 02/13/2019 - 06:05

If you're wanting to upgrade your TV into a Smart TV and start streaming, but are on a budget, then you've come to the right place. Right now you can get the popular Roku Express streaming stick on sale for only £24.99 at Currys. This is an excellent price for a streaming player that allows you access to over 150,000+ movies and TV shows from thousands of channels and apps like Netflix, YouTube, and Amazon Video.

The easy-to-install Roku Express plugs into your TV and once connected to the internet can stream your favourite TV shows and movies in HD. There are no monthly fees with the streaming player and gives you access to thousands of free channels. The easy-to-use remote allows you to search for your favourite movies and TV shows and features shortcuts to popular streaming channels.

If you're willing to spend more money and want to upgrade to 4K streaming, Currys also has the Roku Streaming Stick+ Player for £59.99. But, if you're interested in Amazon's streaming players, you can get the similar 4K Fire TV Stick for just £49.99, which is the option we'd go for, not just because it's cheaper, but you can also do voice-searches via the advanced remote control. The Roku deals expire on February 24th or until stocks last.

Categories: Tech News

UK switches on first 5G factory trials

Latest Tech News - Wed, 02/13/2019 - 06:04

The UK’s first ever live trial of 5G-enabled factory technology is underway in Worcestershire, giving manufacturers an opportunity to see how new innovations can make their facilities and production lines more efficient.

The government-funded Worcestershire 5G testbed is focused solely on industrial use cases for 5G, which will offer greater capacity, lower latency and better reliability.

These characteristics mean it is feasible to connect mission critical systems to the network and adopt Industry 4.0 innovations.

Worcestershire 5G

“Going live with the UK’s first 5G factory trials marks a monumental step in delivering the vision of the Worcestershire 5G Testbed to bring a productivity increase to the manufacturing sector and the UK economy,” declared Mark Stansfeld, Chair of the Worcestershire 5G Testbed & Trials.

“We are proud of the collaboration between all consortium members in making this happen and will be working closely to deliver the expected results from the live 5G trials.”

Among the participants are engineering firm Worcester Bosch, which will see how IoT sensors and data analytics can boost output and enable predictive maintenance, and defence specialist QinetiQ, which will focus on security. Yamazaki Mazak will use 5G to boost productivity through remote troubleshooting.

“We are delighted to have switched 5G on in our factory and look forward to measuring the productivity gains that will follow,” added Carl Arntzen, Worcester Bosch CEO. “It’s important to our business to have the real time element 5G brings so that we can react in real time in the factory environment to mitigate any losses in output and protect and grow our business bottom line.”

The Worcester 5G consortium includes the likes of Huawei, BT and O2, and is one of several government-backed initiatives. Others are looking at potential 5G applications for tourism, agriculture and connected cars.

Categories: Tech News

Bothered about radiations from phones? Here's what you can do

Latest Tech News - Wed, 02/13/2019 - 05:31

Just yesterday, International Data Corporation (IDC) revealed that India was at an all-time high in 2018 as far as smartphone shipments were concerned. With over 142 million smartphones being sold last year as compared to 124 million in 2017, it is safe to say that more people are now using smartphones than ever. There's also a raging debate on the effects of smartphones on our lives that's ensued recently as people struggle to find a "phone-life balance", a term widely used by Motorola in their study published last year. 

Then came PUBG Mobile and it just acted as a fuel to the smartphone-addiction debate with people advocating for a ban on the battle royale game. Around the same time, a report published by statista based on data from Bundesamt für Strahlenschutz (German Federal Office for Radiation Protection) revealed a list of smartphones currently available across the globe with the highest amount of SAR (Specific Absorption Rate) value.

The list states that Xiaomi's Mi A1 is the phone that emits the highest amount of electromagnetic radiation followed closely by OnePlus 5T, Mi Max 3, OnePlus 6T among others. There are a lot of popular smartphones in the list and this has rekindled a debate with the general public as to whether they should use these phones, if at all?

Electromagnetic radiation is harmful

You see, electromagnetic radiation is harmful, there are no two ways about it. However, the electromagnetic waves differ in wavelengths and frequencies and are categorised on the basis of the same. So, you have radio waves that count as the least radioactive, followed by microwaves, infrared radiation and visible light. These are pretty much found in consumer products like radio, televisions, home appliances and smartphones among others. Radio waves are on the extreme end of the spectrum due to their low frequencies and are further categorised under ionising radiation alongside microwaves, IR and visible light. The ionising kind of radiation is not powerful enough to impact the human body. The visible light that is produced from say, the lightbulbs is more ionised than that of radio or microwaves and theoretically, is more harmful.

The ionising radiations consist of ultraviolet (UV) waves (yeah! the ones that's discharged from the sun), x-ray and gamma waves. These sources of radiations are very much damaging to the human body and have drastic effects on the DNA of a person.

Why the uproar?

With that out of our way, let's take the impending issue back in our hands. Why is there so much hullabaloo over Xiaomi and OnePlus phones with the highest SAR value? First, the Bundesamt für Strahlenschutz report states that the Mi A1 absorbs 1.75 watts per kg of radiation but forgets to mention that the tests were performed on the European version of the phone. The Xiaomi Mi A1 that is sold in India has a SAR value of 1.26 watt/kg on the head and 0.17 watt/kg body SAR. Similarly, the OnePlus 5T has a SAR value of 1.38 watt/kg on the head and 1.25 watt/kg on body.

Second, the report also reveals that the German certification lab Der Blaue Engel has set criteria for certifying phones that only emit less than 0.60 watts/kg of absorption rate. In retrospect, SAR values in India are limited to 1.6 watts/kg while in the EU, its 2.0 watt/kg. Clearly, if anything, we should advocate for a reduction in the SAR value limit in India instead of blaming the smartphone companies.

Third, a similar report by Statista in 2018 indicated that smartphones such as the Mi A1 and OnePlus 5T are dual-SIM smartphones. In theory, a phone having two sim cards will naturally have a higher SAR value when in use. Even more so, if the network penetration is not very good which would result in higher emissions. Interestingly, the general public also seemed to be fine with the reports last year which listed equally popular smartphones with a higher SAR value and guess which smartphone topped the list? Xiaomi's Mi A1.

So, what's changed? Absolutely nothing other than some bad reporting and the fact that we Indians do like to blow some issues out of perspective. As far as smartphone manufacturers such as Xiaomi and OnePlus are concerned, their phones are well within the permissible SAR value limits. Smartphones aren't harming you as much as some of the other elements that you come across, such as liquor and cigarettes. And PUBG is way, way down that line.

What can you do?

Easily, one of the best things to do if you're bothered about the radiations from the phones causing health issues is to minimize mobile phone usage. Use earphones while taking calls and do not sleep beside your phone at night. Basic smartphone usage etiquette will go a long way in reducing electromagnetic radiation and maybe, you find the phone-life balance after all.

Categories: Tech News

Windows 10 on ARM will run on your Raspberry Pi 3

Latest Tech News - Wed, 02/13/2019 - 05:21

If you want to run Windows 10 on your Raspberry Pi, then previously, you’ve needed to stick with the IoT Core spin of Microsoft’s OS – designed for low-powered devices like Internet of Things (IoT) gadgets – but now it’s apparently possible to stuff Windows 10 on ARM onto the Pi.

This is achieved via an installer tool which has been made available by the same folks who put Windows 10 ARM on old Lumia 950 XL smartphones.

José Manuel Nieto, the developer behind the WoA Installer for Raspberry Pi 3, notes that it’s “super easy to use”, although it needs a set of Core Package binaries to function. Nieto observes: “These binaries are not mine and are bundled and offered just for convenience to make your life easier, since this tool is focused on simplicity.”

At any rate, the download page and installation instructions can be found on Github here. You’ll need to be running a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B or B+, and have a microSD card to hand, as well as a Windows 10 ARM64 image (which is linked along with the download instructions).

Brothers in ARMs

Why is this good news? Mainly because Windows 10 on ARM offers punters a full version of the desktop OS, as opposed to Windows 10 IoT Core, which as mentioned is very much a cut-down affair.

The caveat, however, is that the Raspberry Pi is equally a cut-down device, certainly when compared to a full-on desktop PC, or indeed an ‘always connected’ ARM-based laptop powered by one of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chips.

And we have to bear in mind that even those notebooks – at least the initial crop, such as HP’s Envy x2 – can feel underpowered when trying to tackle more demanding applications. And given that, the Raspberry Pi is clearly going to struggle when running Win32 apps via emulation.

Still, this is very interesting to see and another string to the compact computer board’s bow, and no doubt there will be viable use cases – plus it should be okay for basic computing tasks, you would hope (though we should make it clear that we haven’t tried this tool out).

Nieto’s previous project certainly proved that the Lumia 950 XL is capable of running Windows 10 on ARM, at least when it comes to general navigation around the OS and the likes of simple web browsing.

Via Windows Latest

Categories: Tech News

Galaxy S10 specs leaked in full... with a few surprises

Latest Tech News - Wed, 02/13/2019 - 05:13

At this point there’s seemingly not much that we don’t know about the Galaxy S10 range, but a comprehensive specs leak may have filled in a few gaps – though it’s also at odds with things we’ve heard before.

The specs come from an anonymous tipster who claims to work in Samsung’s retail channel and sent them to GSMArena, and one thing that immediately jumps out is the Galaxy S10 Plus being listed as having a 6.3-inch screen.

That’s slightly unusual given that previous leaks had settled on a 6.4-inch screen, though sometimes screen sizes are measured to the rounded corners and sometimes the full rectangle is used, so that could account for the difference here.

The remaining screen specs for this and the other phones sound right in any case, with the S10 Plus said to have a 1440 x 3040 screen with a pixel density of 522 pixels per inch (ppi).

The standard Samsung Galaxy S10 meanwhile is listed as having a 6.1-inch 1440 x 3040 screen at 550ppi, and the Galaxy S10e supposedly has a 5.8-inch 1080 x 2280 screen at 438ppi.

The screens also supposedly use ‘Dynamic AMOLED HDR+’ to presumably enhance movies even further on the fly, and Gorilla Glass 6, except for the Galaxy S10e, which is listed as having Gorilla Glass 5.

These could be the final S10 range specs. Image credit: GSMArena

Differences everywhere

Another difference to what we’ve heard before comes in the size of the standard Samsung Galaxy S10’s battery, which is listed here as being 3,400mAh, while previous rumors put it at either 3,300mAh or 3,500mAh.

The camera configuration on the range is also marginally different to most previous rumors.

The Samsung Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus are both listed here as having a 12MP f/2.4 telephoto lens, a 12MP f/1.5 wide-angle lens, and a 16MP f/2.2 ultra-wide lens. The main difference being that earlier rumors said the telephoto lens was 13MP.

The Galaxy S10e meanwhile apparently ditches the telephoto lens according to this leak, and both the S10e and standard Galaxy S10 supposedly have a 10MP f/1.9 front camera, while the S10 Plus has that and an 8MP f/2.2 lens.

The rest of the specs, which you can see in the images, are largely as we’ve heard before, albeit with a bit of extra detail, such as a claim that the screens can reach 800 nits of brightness.

As always, we’d take this with a pinch of salt, especially as it came from an anonymous source, could easily have been faked and doesn’t all quite line up with what we’ve heard before, but with the Galaxy S10 range landing on February 20 we’ll know the truth soon.

Categories: Tech News

Olympus boosts Micro Four Thirds range with new superzoom optic

Latest Tech News - Wed, 02/13/2019 - 05:06

Olympus has given its PEN and OM-D series of Micro Four Thirds cameras a boost with a fresh superzoom lens, the M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-200mm F3.5-6.3.

The new optic delivers a focal range equivalent to 24-400mm in 35mm terms when partnered with a Micro Four Thirds camera such as the OM-D E-M1X – that's equivalent to a 16.6x focal range, and Olympus claims this is the first interchangeable lens designed for a mirrorless system to offer this.

Weighing 455g and ostensibly aimed at traveling photographers, the company has designed the lens with a dust- and splash-proof casing, one that's said to be on the same level as that used for the company's PRO lenses. Olympus also underlines the similar level of protection offered by selected OM-D bodies for which it's intended.

The optical configuration sees 16 elements spread across 11 groups, many of these boasting either aspherical surfaces or low-dispersive properties. The company's ZERO coating used on the elements to help banish aberrations such as ghosting and flare, while a seven-blade diaphragm regulates the aperture.

Focusing is internal and handled by a MSC (Movie and Still Compatible) mechanism. Olympus claims this provides fast, smooth and accurate autofocusing that's also quiet enough to satisfy those capturing videos. 

Other features include a 22cm minimum focusing distance and a maximum 0.46x magnification when capturing images and videos at the telephoto end of the lens. The 72mm filter thread also allows for circular filters to be mounted.

Olympus, which is celebrating its centenary this year, launched its latest pro-focused OM-D E-M1X last month. It has also stated that a celebratory silver edition of its current OM-D E-M1 Mark II model will available to mark the occasion, with production limited to just 2,000 units.

The lens is scheduled for release towards the end of March, with a suggested retail price of $899.99 in the US and £799.99 in the UK. Pricing for Australia hasn't yet been confirmed.

Categories: Tech News

Microsoft might not be killing off Paint after all

Latest Tech News - Wed, 02/13/2019 - 05:05

For the past few years Microsoft’s iconic Paint application, which has been a mainstay of Windows since the very first version back in 1985, has had its days numbered, with Microsoft stating that it would no longer be updating and working on the app. However, it now seems that the program still has some life left in it.

Since Microsoft listed Paint as ‘deprecated’ two years ago, a product alert message would appear warning that Paint will "soon be replaced with Paint 3D", which is Microsoft’s more recent image editing application.

Microsoft’s plan was to remove Paint from being installed by default in Windows 10, and instead encourage people to use Paint 3D. A version of Paint would be made available to download separately from the Microsoft Store.

As Twitter user Aggiornamenti Lumia noted in the Tweet below, in the latest Insider Build of Windows 10 (which is made available to users who want to try out upcoming versions of Windows 10 before everyone else), that warning is no longer shown when loading up Paint.

Watching Paint die

While the absence of this warning doesn’t necessarily mean Paint will continue to come with Windows 10 by default, it does give hope to fans of the 33-year-old program who appreciate the app’s simplicity, especially compared to Microsoft’s less well-loved Paint 3D.

As MSPowerUser observes, Microsoft is a company that is constantly checking how its software is being used, and if it found that users are continuing to use Paint and are not migrating to Paint 3D, then it might have chosen to keep Paint alive for a little while longer.

After all, this isn’t the first time Microsoft has delayed killing off Paint.

Categories: Tech News

India saw 142.3 million smartphone shipments in 2018: IDC

Latest Tech News - Tue, 02/12/2019 - 23:43

India has become a major point of attraction for smartphone companies be it China or South Korea. There's no dearth of phones in the country and it is only expected to grow with every passing year. While 2019 has just begun, International Data Corporation (IDC) in its Asia Pacific quarterly mobile tracker reported that last year, India saw the highest ever smartphone shipments clocking in at 142.3 million units. This translated to a good 14.5% year-on-year (YoY) growth in the sales of smartphones in India in 2018 in comparison to 2017.

According to IDC, brands like Honor, Asus, Realme and Xiaomi to some extent, which focused on online sales contributed to a 38.4% share of the market. Due to the several sales hosted by e-tailers Amazon and Flipkart with cashback offers and discounts, online smartphone shipments grew by 47.3% YoY in Q4 2018.

The offline channels still remain the largest and preferred mode of purchasing a smartphone in India and saw a growth of 6.7% annually last year. Further, it was able to maintain a 5% sequential growth by the end of the year. IDC report states that for the long-term success of any brand in India, offline sales play a very important part. This is something that Xiaomi has been closely working on, strengthening its offline presence by opening partner stores in Tier-2, Tier-3 cities while it led the online sales with 47.2% share of the market.

Few interesting takeaways

On average, buyers spent $158 on a smartphone in the year 2018 wherein more than half of the smartphones that were shipped constituted of phones priced between $100-$200. A whopping 181.3 million (around 56% of the total market share) units of feature phones were shipped in India last year. The JioPhone contributed around 36.1% of the total feature phone sales which also resulted in a staggering 23% decline in 2G and 2.5G cellular coverage in the country.

The premium smartphone segment which comprises of phones priced above $500 saw a 43.9% YoY growth which was the highest among the different price brackets in India. While premium smartphones only contributed to 3% of the market, it was OnePlus that stood out as the numero uno player in the $500-$700 price range with the OnePlus 6 and OnePlus 6T. Furthermore, Samsung took the crown from Apple in the super premium smartphone segment which ranges upwards of $700, thanks to its flagship Galaxy S-series.

This year, we expect a lot of these online-exclusive smartphones to make their way to brick and mortar stores which means buyers are going to be spoilt for choices.

Categories: Tech News

The best cheap 4K TV deals in Australia for February 2019

Latest Tech News - Tue, 02/12/2019 - 23:10

With so many great 4K televisions to choose from, making a decision about which one to purchase for your family may very well come down to price. A good cheap 4K TV deal can be hard to refuse, and these days there are more great TVs at even better prices than ever before. 

If you need a new television and don't want to pay any more than you have to, why not take a look at our curated list of the best cheap 4K TV deals in Australia for February 2019.

We've been on the prowl for the best value 4K Ultra HD TVs currently on sale, focusing on sets with huge discounts off the RRP. With so much 4K content currently available to stream on Netflix, Amazon and Stan, now's the perfect time to upgrade to an Ultra HD set. And at these prices, can you even afford not to?

Below, you'll find our selection of the best cheap 4K TV deals for the month of February. You better get a move on, though – some of these deals are time sensitive, and may disappear before the end of the month. Now, let's kick off our list with our deal of the month.

TechRadar's 4K TV Deal of the Month Cheap 4K TV deals: 55-inch sets Cheap 4K TV deals: 65-inch sets Cheap 4K TV deals: over 65-inches The best deals on our favourite 4K TVs

Perhaps you're not after a cheap TV, but simply want a good deal on a top of the line telly. In that case, check out some great deals for our current favourite 4K televisions below. 

More 4K smart TV deals

The televisions listed above are but a small selection of the TV deals available online, with loads of sets in various sizes and brands reduced every day. If the TVs above don't suit your needs or fit your price range, you can check out even more cheap 4K TV deals at Getprice.

Categories: Tech News

Apple’s subscription-news service expected to be unveiled next month

Latest Tech News - Tue, 02/12/2019 - 20:58

Last year, we heard about Apple's plans to become the 'Netflix of magazines' following its acquisition of Texture, a paid subscription app which provides unlimited access to a large range of publications for a nominal monthly fee.

Sources in the know have stated that the Cupertino company was planning on merging the app's functionality into the Apple News service – which is currently free – theoretically providing its users with a one-stop-shop for all things news-related.

According to BuzzFeed, Apple will finally unveil its upgraded news platform, and also introduce new paid options, at event on March 25 that will be focused primarily on its subscription services.

While it's expected that its subscription-news service will be the event's major talking point, it's likely that Apple's upcoming TV streaming service will also be touched upon during the briefing.

The service, which is expected to cost roughly $10 per month (around £7 / AU$14), is said to be very close to release, with a number of screenshots of the platform recently discovered in the latest iOS 12.2 beta.

According to another recent report from the Wall Street Journal, there have been disagreements behind the scenes between the tech giant and news publishers regarding how revenue is divvied up – something which could end up affecting service's final pricing.

Categories: Tech News

Sony's new wearable turns your Rolex watch into a smartwatch

Latest Tech News - Tue, 02/12/2019 - 19:01

Sony hasn't done much in the smartwatch space since its last Android Wear watch it unveiled in 2014, but the company is back with a new way to bring smart features to your wrist.

In a similar vein to a hybrid smartwatch, the new Sony Wena straps allow you to connect your existing watch to a band that allows for contactless payments, basic fitness tracking and notifications from your phone.

The strap comes in two different styles with a silicone option designed for fitness fanatics - that's called the Wena Wrist Active - while those looking for a more premium design will likely prefer the metal strap called the Wena Wrist Pro.

In the UK, you can pre-order the straps from today, but the company has yet to reveal a proper release date. We don't currently know if - or when - the company is planning to bring this tech to the US or Australia.

The metal strap is designed to attach to your high-end traditional watch. It's a 20mm band, but it's compatible with watches that have 18, 20 or 22mm lugs so it's likely to work with your existing classic watch. You've got the choice of either silver or black.

This version is water resistant under to 50 meter and sports simple activity logging alongside a good looking display for your notifications on the rear of your wrist. 

There's also contactless payment technology on both straps that's made possible by Wirecard's Boon app for Android and iOS. This won't connect to Google Pay or Apple Pay technology.

Notifications also appear on the rear of the strap in the black box that you can see in the image below.

This is the Sony Wena Wrist Pro strap. Image Credit: Sony

If you're looking for something more fitness led device, you may prefer the Wena Wrist Active that comes with a silicone band and more health features. As well as boasting step tracking like the metal strap, this comes with GPS and a heart rate tracker.

All of this data will then be able to sync with Apple Health or Google Fit depending on which type of phone you're connecting to your strap. The band is again 20mm with the lugs to match 18, 20 or 22mm faces. 

There's a display on the rear of the strap so you can see your notifications directly on your wrist.

This is the Sony Wena Wrist Active. Image Credit: Sony

If you don't own a traditional watch face to connect this to, Sony is also releasing three watch faces that you can connect to the straps. None of these have smart features, so you'll have to get one of the smart straps to get those features.

These come with a variety of designs called Mechanical, Solar and Quartz.

The Wena Wrist Pro is £399 (about $510, AU$725) while the Wrist Active is cheaper at £349 (about $450, AU$630). The watch faces themselves start at £100 (about $130, AU$180) and head all the way up to £450 (about $580, AU$820), but they can also be purchased bundled with one of the Wena straps too.

Categories: Tech News

IMAX Enhanced: an inside look at the new standard heading to home theaters

Latest Tech News - Tue, 02/12/2019 - 18:16

If you're a movie buff, an IMAX theater is the best cinema experience money can buy - so how would you like to bring that experience into your living room? 

While it doesn't quite promise to bring hundreds of speakers or a massive 72-foot projection screen into your living room, IMAX Enhanced will be a game-changer by offering expanded aspect ratio and immersive sound to a living room near you.

IMAX Enhanced is both a new licensing and certification program for home entertainment gear that was announced last September, launched in December and made its debut to the world's tech industry at CES 2019 in Las Vegas. 

There were billboards outside the venues, there were demo rooms, there were fast-talking presenters on the booths of Sony, DTS, Denon, and Marantz. However, for most attendees, there was still one big question: exactly what is IMAX Enhanced?

What is IMAX Enhanced?

Already available on some 4K Blu-rays, the IMAX Enhanced logo means that the content has the trademark IMAX expanded aspect ratio and immersive sound.

The IMAX Enhanced logo means that the content has IMAX's expanded aspect ratio and immersive sound.

"What we're trying to achieve is to bring the best possible entertainment experience to the home," says the day-to-day lead of IMAX Enhanced, John McDaniel, VP of Business Development, Ecosystems at Xperi, which owns DTS. "These are premium devices to which we're delivering premium content and optimizing the playback of that content."

IMAX and DTS are now hoping that manufacturers of TVs, AV receivers and, eventually, soundbars will all put the logo on their high-end equipment that signifies that it has an 'IMAX Mode'. That's already happening, with Sony, TCL and others previewing equipment at CES certified to be IMAX Enhanced-compatible.

Image Credit: TechRadar

How similar is IMAX Enhanced to the theater?

From a picture quality standpoint? Almost identical. For example, if you playback a 4K Blu-ray disc on an IMAX Enhanced TV or projector, you will see the trademark expanded aspect ratio used in IMAX content shot on IMAX cameras. So that means stuff like Christopher Nolan’s ‘The Dark Knight’, which back in 2008 was the first IMAX-Hollywood production, will look identical on your IMAX Enhanced setup as it did in theaters. 

"You will get the IMAX expanded aspect ratio, the sharper image and the IMAX signature sound enabled by DTS," says McDaniel. “The majority of films in IMAX cinemas use the 1.90:1 aspect ratio, which also works well in the home because with 1.90:1, there is only a very small amount of letterboxing on a 1.78, 16:9 display. At most, it will fill the 1.78:1 TV screen, eliminating letterboxing entirely.” 

IMAX Enhanced requires a certified display, AV receiver, and enough speakers to cope with the IMAX PPS (Proportional Point Source) proprietary speaker configurations of 5.0, 6.0 and 12.0. Thankfully, it's completely backward-compatible, so any IMAX Enhanced disc will play perfectly well on any TV. 

Unfortunately, however, it's up to you to provide the projector and screen.

Image Credit: TechRadar

Another cinema standard? Really?

In an industry overrun by formats and standards, IMAX Enhanced is arriving at an auspicious time - one that's both good and bad for TVs. 

It's good because there are more 4K HDR displays than ever, making it a good time to release a standard that capitalizes on IMAX's system of high-resolution cameras and film formats that use bigger, brighter, higher resolution projectors boasting higher contrast. Since many homes now have 4K HDR TVs, the time is right for a jump in cinematic quality, thinks IMAX and DTS. 

"One of the technologies that we're leveraging is the digital remastering process that occurs on the content prior to that content being shown in IMAX cinemas," says McDaniel. "When IMAX first got into displaying Hollywood content it noticed that the projection systems in IMAX Cinemas would actually expose anomalies in the content that would otherwise go unseen in any other cinema, so they began remastering the content for those brighter projectors and higher contrast screens prior to it being shown commercially at IMAX cinemas." 

This digital remastering process – called IMAX DMR – is used in Hollywood to produce a 'clean plate' of a film that the director can then make creative changes to in post-production.

Sony Master Series Z9G (Image Credit: Sony)

What do you need to get IMAX Enhanced?

IMAX Enhanced TVs must be 4K HDR, and to get IMAX Enhanced audio, that logo must be on your AV receiver or, in future, a soundbar. 

"The target is consumers that that are looking for a premium entertainment experience in the home," says McDaniel. "We are targeting people with expensive home theaters who don't mind replacing all of their components with IMAX Enhanced-certified equipment." 

IMAX Enhanced TVs must be 4K HDR, and to get IMAX Enhanced audio, that logo must be on your AV receiver or, in future, a soundbar.

However, McDaniel thinks that upgrading slowly may be the way to go. 

"You don't necessarily need to replace all of your equipment out of the gate," he says. "It's aspirational – maybe someone already has a DTS:X AVR and they simply want to replace their display to get the IMAX Enhanced image experience. They can still leverage DTS:X until they decide to replace their AVR." 

Here's exactly what IMAX Enhanced gear is available so far:

IMAX Enhanced TVs

For now, it's just Sony, but China's TCL – one of the three biggest TV manufacturers in the world – is also committed to launching IMAX Enhanced TVs in 2019.

IMAX Enhanced projectors 

If you're looking for a larger image, there are also a number of IMAX Enhanced projectors on the market - though, just a word of warning, most of these are for high-end home cinemas and have the price tag to match. 

  • Sony VPL-VW695ES  
  • Sony VPL-VW675ES 
  • Sony VPL-VW385ES 
  • Sony VPL-VW295ES 
  • Sony VPL-VW285ES 

IMAX Enhanced AVRs

High-end AV receivers are regularly stuffed with badges and logos, so it's no surprise that this is the area that’s most competitive. 2019 will see even more IMAX Enhanced AV receivers from Elite, Integra, Onkyo and Pioneer. 

  • Arcam AV860 
  •  Arcam AVR850 
  •  Arcam AVR550 
  •  Arcam AVR390 
  •  Denon AVC-X8500H 
  •  Denon AVR-X6500H  
  • Denon AVR-X4500H 
  •  Lexicon MC-10 
  •  Lexicon RV-9 
  •  Lexicon RV-6 
  •  Marantz AV8805 
  •  Marantz AV7705 
  •  Marantz SR8012 
  •  Marantz SR7013 
  •  Marantz SR6013 
  •  Sony STR-ZA5000ES* 
  •  Sony STR-ZA3100ES* 
  •  Sony STR-ZA2100ES* 
  •  Sony STR-ZA1100ES*  
  •  Trinnov Altitude32 
  •  Trinnov Altitude16 

(* indicates that it will receive IMAX Enhanced capability via a firmware update in Spring 2019) 

Can TVs be both IMAX Enhanced and Dolby Vision? 

Yes, and it's possible that high-end TVs will soon be compatible with both standards. 

"TVs could be compatible with both so it's not going to interfere in any way, but the IMAX Enhanced content is not utilizing Dolby Vision – it's a higher standard because it has a higher standard of visuals," says McDaniel. "We're not creating a new format – we're leveraging existing standards and technologies to bring this to the home – and we've inserted some of our own DTS technologies and licenses."

McDaniel thinks that it's going to be subjective whether people prefer IMAX Enhanced or Dolby Vision.

"We're not comparing ourselves against Dolby Vision because they're doing something very different in terms of the ecosystem."

John McDaniel

"We're not comparing ourselves against Dolby Vision because they're doing something very different in terms of the ecosystem," McDaniel said. "Dolby Vision is its own metadata format, whereas IMAX Enhanced is essentially the best possible version of a film leveraging HDR10 and HDR10+. We're optimizing playback on the displays and on the AVR or soundbar to create the best possible experience."

McDaniel also confirmed that even if your 4K TV is not IMAX Enhanced compatible if it's got HDR10 that when you watch an IMAX Enhanced 4K Blu-ray disc then can still see the expanded aspect ratio and remastered picture that is 'baked in' to the content.

'Venom' is one of IMAX Enhanced's launch titles. (Image credit: TechRadar)

What about IMAX Enhanced content?

At CES it was announced that all IMAX Enhanced-certified Sony TVs would allow the streaming of IMAX Enhanced 4K content through the FandangoNow in the US, Rakuten TV for Europe, and China’s Tencent Video. 

Initial titles include Sony Pictures/Marvel’s 'Venom' and Sony/Studio 8’s 'Alpha', alongside 100+ IMAX documentaries including 'Journey to the South Pacific' and 'A Beautiful Planet', which are both already available on 4K Blu-ray. 

As well as Sony Pictures, Paramount Pictures is also on board. "You'll see a lot of IMAX Enhanced 4K Blu-ray disc this year," says McDaniel.

Whether or not IMAX Enhanced catches on remains to be seen, but expect the makers of high-end gear to hedge their bets and include IMAX Enhanced just in case. With Sony Pictures and Paramount Pictures pictures behind it, it could yet become the benchmark for home cinema. 

Categories: Tech News

Get the PlayStation Classic for only $39 today

Latest Tech News - Tue, 02/12/2019 - 15:53

The Sony PlayStation Classic has seen some progressively amazing deals since the holiday season, and now it’s going for its biggest discount yet at just $39.

Just the other week, we saw the PlayStation Classic sell for $54.99 at Amazon, but this new deal from Walmart absolutely tops it by slashing $60 – or 60% off – its original $99 price.

Why is the PlayStation Classic seeing such a fire sale? Well, it might have to do with the PlayStation Classic being the the worst retro revival console ever released. After a hyped-up launch, a few gumshoe users discovered the console was running 50Hz PAL version classic PS1 games.

These questionable emulation choices made the console a poor choice over the almost universally loved Nintendo Classic Mini and SNES Classic Mini. However, this major discount certainly makes PlayStation Classic a much more palatable purchase.

The console comes with 20 games from the PS1 era including a few notable classics like Final Fantasy VII, Metal Gear Solid, and Twisted Metal. Of course, you could always side-load this bad boy with all of your favorite PS1 games – should you obtain completely legal ROM files for it.

Via The Verge

Categories: Tech News

Official Samsung Galaxy S10 cases leak as the phone nears release

Latest Tech News - Tue, 02/12/2019 - 15:28

A bunch of official Samsung Galaxy S10 cases are due to launch alongside Samsung's new smartphones next week... but you don't have to wait that long, apparently. You can get an idea of what Samsung's next big thing looks like right now.

Today, a variety of Samsung-made cases have leaked thanks to Mobile Fun, and the covers are designed for Samsung Galaxy S10, Galaxy S10 Plus, and Galaxy S10e.

Specifically, you'll spot the supple Leather Case and the LED View Cover for the new Samsung phones. The View Cover acts as a folio and lets the time shine through. 

Check it out for yourself in the video below:

Interesting Galaxy S10 case details

The all-black cases look standard, but there are two surprise details stemming from today's Galaxy S10 cases video leak that caught our eye.

First, the cheaper Galaxy S10e case includes a gap to access the power button. Leaks have suggested it'll get a fingerprint reader on this side button, not underneath the glass like on the more premium Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10 Plus.

Second, the back of the box hints that you'll need to take off the case to reverse wireless charge the Galaxy Buds. Samsung seems to call this Wireless Power Sharing. 

We'll have more details on the official Samsung Galaxy S10 cases soon, as Samsung is due to reveal its smartphones on February 20.

Categories: Tech News

Can’t get enough Anthem? A short film is coming from District 9's director

Latest Tech News - Tue, 02/12/2019 - 14:57

BioWare’s upcoming game Anthem is in need of serious exposition, so District 9 director Neill Blomkamp made a prequel short film titled "Anthem: Conviction" that will debut on February 14.

The partnership between EA and Blomkamp’s experimental film house Oats Studios was announced on Tuesday alongside a short one-minute teaser trailer. 

The prequel takes place a few decades before the start of Anthem and shows the city of Fort Tarsis where players spend time in between missions. You’ll also get to see some live-action footage of the game’s freelancers battling the head of the evil Dominion faction, the Monitor, that should help flesh out the world BioWare has been working on these last few years.

Why did Blomkamp choose Anthem? Apparently, the director – whose credits include District 9, Elysium, and Chappie – was “blown away by this incredible world BioWare created” and wanted to make a film set in that universe with his Oats Studios label. 

The full short will be available on Thursday, February 14 on Oats Studios’s YouTube channel, but you can catch a clip for the short below.

For whom the Anthem tolls

Of course, if you want to save every little detail until after you've played the game, we don't blame you. 

And, thankfully, you won't have to wait much longer to make that happen: Anthem is available to Origin Access Premier members on PC starting on Friday, February 15 with a full roll out on Friday, February 22.

  • Anthem is going to look great on the PS4 Pro
Categories: Tech News

Project Ara not dead? This Google patent hints at a modular smartphone

Latest Tech News - Tue, 02/12/2019 - 14:41

The Google Pixel 4 may not be the only new smartphone that the search giant is working on. A new patent application from the company details a modular device that blurs the lines between the old Project Ara modular smartphone design and a simpler approach like Motorola's Moto Z phones with Moto Mods or the modular LG G5. The patent was spotted by T3

This new patent shows a device that doesn't have quite the same level of granular customization that the Project Ara smartphone was aiming to offer. But, it still shows a design that offers far more variety than the Moto Z family of smartphones.

Image credit: Google

Patent images show of a number of modules that can slot together to make a complete handset. We see a main housing module that allows two other modules to slot in. The patent describes users' ability to "customize and modify the device by attaching different electronic accessory modules to the electronic device to create new and changing devices with unique features. Additionally, different housings can be used with the electronic device to create customized device experiences."

This opens the possibility of a device that can have its display, sensors, system on a chip, chassis, and camera all swapped in and out. The patent describes a module that could include anything from extra scanners, auxiliary battery or memory, an extra display, or different types of cameras. The patent also doesn't limit itself to the smartphone form factor.

This degree of modularity for a device has the benefit of allowing customers to kit the product to their needs while also switching components as they become outdated, malfunction, or are simply unneeded on any given day. The implications for e-waste are also positive, as consumers would no longer dispose of whole device when upgrading.

Of course, as we've seen Project Ara gather dust over the years, it's just as possible that this patent will never lead to a new device from Google. And, while we could hope for the Google Pixel 4 or some new smartphone line to get this functionality, we'll just have to wait and see.

Categories: Tech News

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