Asus Introduces ROG Phone Optimized for Hardcore Gamers

At Computex 2018, Asus announced its ROG (Republic of Gamers) Phone, with gamer-oriented design and a 90Hz display, which means the screen refreshes 90 times per second for smoother animation. The ROG Phone will compete with the Razer Phone, another mobile device prized by gamers. Asus ups the ante by adding a “specially selected 2.96GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chip” to each ROG Phone, ensuring it will be the speediest one around. The phone also offers vapor cooling and a special attachable fan accessory. Continue reading Asus Introduces ROG Phone Optimized for Hardcore Gamers

Nintendo, Pokémon Company Reveal Four Games for Switch

Nintendo and The Pokémon Company have announced four new games, three of which will debut this year: kid-friendly “Pokémon Quest” is free to download now on Nintendo Switch and soon for iOS and Android devices; $60 casual games “Pokémo: Let’s Go, Pikachu!” and “Pokékon: Let’s Go, Eevee!” will debut for Nintendo Switch starting November 16. A fourth game, planned for 2019, will be a new entry in the “core” Pokémon series. Enthusiastic fans have already put the two “Let’s Go!” games atop Amazon’s best-selling videogame chart. Continue reading Nintendo, Pokémon Company Reveal Four Games for Switch

AirTV Rolls Out Networked Tuner to Access Local Broadcasts

Dish subsidiary AirTV just launched a new device, also dubbed AirTV, that lets its subscribers watch free live content from broadcast networks, including ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS and Fox, on TVs and mobile devices. AirTV is a networked tuner that comes with Wi-Fi and Ethernet connectivity. Priced at $120, AirTV also comes with a $25 credit for Dish’s Sling TV streaming service, which mainly provides access to cable channels. With AirTV, Sling TV subscribers can access over-the-air channels via their Sling TV app. Continue reading AirTV Rolls Out Networked Tuner to Access Local Broadcasts

Essential Kills Next Smarthone and Is Reportedly Up for Sale

Android creator Andy Rubin’s startup, Essential Products, born out of his incubator Playground Global, may be on the sales block. The startup, which raised about $300 million from Amazon, Tencent Holdings, Redpoint Ventures and Hon Hai Precision Industry (Foxconn), ceased development of a new smartphone, say sources, and hired Credit Suisse Group to advise on its sale. Reportedly, Essence has already piqued the interest of one potential buyer. The original Essential smartphone, manufactured by Foxconn, debuted last August. Continue reading Essential Kills Next Smarthone and Is Reportedly Up for Sale

RED Debuts Android Smartphone That Creates 4D Holograms

RED, the company known for its 4K Epic and Weapon film/TV cameras, just debuted a smartphone, the RED Hydrogen One, which will be offered by AT&T and Verizon. The Android phone, which has a 5.7-inch display, is, says the company, “the foundation of a future multi-dimensional media system.” The phone can connect to RED’s other cameras via pogo pins and, in the future, to lens mounts and other modules. RED’s first such module will be a DSLR-similar camera sensor. The phone also produces holographic images. Continue reading RED Debuts Android Smartphone That Creates 4D Holograms

Hulu Upgrades Mobile Apps With Live TV Guide, Vertical Video

Hulu will soon debut upgraded iOS and Android mobile apps with a new live TV program guide and a vertical video player that will let live TV viewers stream linear programming while browsing the channel guide. The streaming service’s iPhone and iPad apps will also get support for HDMI-out and Android apps will enjoy improved performance on Chromecast. Users will also be able to improve personal recommendations by deleting entries from watch history and removing certain kinds of programs. Continue reading Hulu Upgrades Mobile Apps With Live TV Guide, Vertical Video

ZTE Ceases Main Operations in Response to U.S. Sanctions

Chinese telecom equipment and systems company ZTE, which has about $17 billion in annual revenue, has ceased “major operating activities” in the wake of the Trump administration’s ban on it using U.S.-made components for the next seven years. Trading in its shares has been suspended for weeks, and its workers in the Shenzhen factory have little to do but attend occasional training sessions. New guidelines tell its staff to reassure clients, but not discuss the details of the U.S. technology the company is currently banned from using. Continue reading ZTE Ceases Main Operations in Response to U.S. Sanctions

Google I/O Reveals Long List of Product Upgrades and News

At the Google I/O developers conference, Google announced compelling updates including: Google Duplex brings new AI tech to Google Assistant; six new voices are coming to Google Assistant (including a version from John Legend); mobile operating system Android P gets an interface refresh, gesture controls, and expanded dashboard features; the new Android TV dongle supports 4K streaming and touts 8GB of storage; AI-powered Smart Compose comes to Gmail; Google Maps adds a new social layer and AR directions functionality by teaming AI with Street View; Google News curates online content via AI; and Google Lens is closer to delivering its text copy and style match features. Continue reading Google I/O Reveals Long List of Product Upgrades and News

Google Debuts Android Auto Upgrades, Inks Deal With Volvo

At Google I/O, the company revealed an upgrade to Android Auto that allows a user to plug her smartphone into the car and see all her apps with new templates presenting the apps in a more engaging manner. The upgrade also includes group messaging and RCS (Rich Communication Services) with support for Google Assistant. The update will allow a driver to group text friends via voice. Also announced is that Volvo will build Android Auto into its head units, one of the first automakers to do so. Continue reading Google Debuts Android Auto Upgrades, Inks Deal With Volvo

Google’s Third-Gen Tensor Processor Unit Key to AI Ambitions

At Google’s I/O conference, chief executive Sundar Pichai reflected on the backlash against Silicon Valley companies while, at the same time, promoting the company’s advances and ambitions in artificial intelligence. Among those were specific positive solutions, such as an AI-powered software that helps diagnose eye disease, and a demonstration of what Google Assistant — in a variety of voices and accents — can do for ordinary consumers, and how Smart Compose in Gmail will suggest complete sentences to make the process speedier. Continue reading Google’s Third-Gen Tensor Processor Unit Key to AI Ambitions

Upgraded Google Lens to Be Featured in Top Android Phones

During this week’s Google I/O conference, the importance of Google Lens to chief executive Sundar Pichai’s AI-first strategy became apparent. Google Lens combines computer vision and natural language processing with Google Search, for a solution aimed at consumers. Lens, described as “Google’s engine for seeing, understanding, and augmenting the real world,” resides in the camera viewfinder of Assistant and, soon, its top-end Android smartphones. Lens recognizes people, animals, objects, environments and text. Continue reading Upgraded Google Lens to Be Featured in Top Android Phones

Google Moves Android Things for Smart Devices Out of Beta

As Google opened its annual developer conference I/O, the company debuted Android Things, a version of its operating system for smart devices, offering SDKs to hardware and software developers. According to Google product management director Venkat Rapaka, with Android Things, such devices can now be built “faster, cheaper and more secure.” Android Things will also provide a consistent interface for users. Until its formal debut, Android Things had been in beta, with several partners already developing IoT products. Continue reading Google Moves Android Things for Smart Devices Out of Beta

Google Assistant Is Connected to 5,000 Smart Home Devices

Google revealed that its AI-powered Google Assistant is now connected to more than 5,000 smart devices in the home, up from 1,500 such devices in January. Among the devices now controlled by Google Assistant are air conditioners, cameras, security systems, thermostats, vacuum cleaners and washing machines. Google faces stiff competition in the smart home arena, most notably from Amazon Alexa, Apple’s HomeKit and Siri, Microsoft Cortana and Samsung’s SmartThings and Bixby. Now the rivals must convince consumers to buy the devices. Continue reading Google Assistant Is Connected to 5,000 Smart Home Devices

Google Upgrades Gmail With New Look and Security Features

Google just introduced upgrades to its Gmail service, which includes a new look to the web app and a variety of new features. G Suite, its business-centric paid productivity service that includes Gmail, is the main focus of the upgrades, but many features will also be included in the free Gmail service. Gmail product manager Jacob Bank said the overhaul is intended to make “Gmail the most secure, the smartest, and the easiest to use email client” with “a ground-up rewrite” of the flagship Gmail product. Continue reading Google Upgrades Gmail With New Look and Security Features

Multiplayer Games Led by ‘Fortnite’ Are Driving Headset Sales

According to NPD Group, Epic Games’ survival shooter game “Fortnite” and other PlayStation, Xbox and PC multiplayer games are driving sales of headsets to gamers who like to talk to other gamers while they play. NPD, which tracks the $36 billion U.S. videogame industry, added that sales of game accessories and gift cards have now risen to $372 million. This record-breaking sales number is due to the popularity of multiplayer games, said NPD analyst Mat Piscatella, who pointed to “Fortnite,” which has become a smash hit. Continue reading Multiplayer Games Led by ‘Fortnite’ Are Driving Headset Sales

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