Waverly Labs Pilot Translation Kit Release Date, Price and Specs

Posted by Samuel Eiferman on 27th February 2017 in Consumer Electronics

We’ve all been there. You’re traveling abroad when the language barrier just becomes too much. You’re tired, you’re trying to find a hotel and no one can understand you. Or maybe you’re meeting new business contacts or distant relatives for the first time. But after you shake hands, you realize there’s not much to say.

Phrasebooks are fine and Google Translate gets the job done, but what if you could hear what your long-lost cousin is saying in your own language, moments after she says it? It’s a Star Trek-style dream, but one that’s inching closer to reality.

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The earpieces come in red (pictured here), black and white.


CNET

Say hello/hola/bonjour to the Pilot Translation Earpiece from Waverly Labs. What looks like a fully wireless headset with separate left and right earpieces is actually a promising new product that can help bridge the communication gap. I saw the Pilot today at the 4YFN startup conference that’s held in conjunction with Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Because the Pilot is still in a prototype phase, things may change between now and when it’s released later this year. Keep in mind these were our initial thoughts with preproduction hardware and software. But from what I saw, Waverly is off to a great start. Here’s how it works.

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The carrying case includes a battery pack for charging.


CNET

The earpieces

I’m usually not a fan of things that stick in my ear, but these were comfortable and sleekly designed. Once I twisted them in correctly, they felt relatively secure — enough for me to walk around. You can change the tip depending on your ear size and you can choose from three colors: red, white and black. When you’re not using them, you can carry them in a plastic case, which has an integrated battery for charging the earpieces — the feature that’s quickly becoming the industry standard for fully wireless headphones. On their own, the earpieces are supposed to last 3 to 4 hours on full charge.

The heart of the process is Waverly’s app, which both and your friend need to download onto your phones (it’s free on both iOS and Android). Then, once you “sync” your conversation through a matching QR code on the app, you’re off and speaking. Press a button on the app and talk into the earpiece’s microphone to record what you want to say. Your voice is then piped through Waverly’s machine translation software which converts it to text on your friend’s app. If he also has his own earpiece, your friend will hear a translated version of what you said, albeit via a computer voice.

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The earpieces fit pretty securely, even in my pretty large ears.


CNET

You’ll need a data connection to make the process work (Waverly says it’s working on offline support). Sure, they may limit the Pilot’s use if you’re in the middle of nowhere, but that’s true for Google Translate, as well. On the other hand, it does mean that you and your friend don’t even need to be in the same room. As the app works independently, you can use it with your handset’s speakerphone if you don’t have a set of earpieces.

And does it work?

I talked for a few minutes with one of Waverly’s reps, mostly exchanging basic pleasantries about Barcelona and where I was from. She spoke in Spanish and I spoke in English. There was a few-second lag between her speaking and me getting the text and audio, but it was quick enough that it didn’t feel awkward. The audio on the earpiece could have been a tad louder, but we were talking in a noisy convention hall. The noise-canceling microphones on the earpieces did a decent job of cutting out the ambient noise.

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The app is the heart of the translation process.


CNET

Even with my rudimentary high school Spanish I could see that the translation was pretty accurate. You just need to remember a few things. Uncommon words like company names, slang and personal names may not translate well. The system had trouble with “CNET,” for instance, but missteps like that are expected anytime you use both voice recognition software and machine translation.

The important thing is that you should get the gist of what is being said. I wouldn’t use the Pilot to translate a debate about chemical formulas, but I suspect that it will be fine for everyday chit-chat. Waverly says that the software will adapt between dialects of the same language, like UK and US English.

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As the app translates, it will send what’s said as text to your phone and read it out to the earpiece.


CNET

A great start

What’s cool about the Pilot Translation Earpiece is what it could do. Languages are beautiful, fascinating, but also frustrating and even dangerous when you and a person in front of you can’t understand each other. I like the Pilot’s potential and it helps that, during my brief period using it, it performed relatively well. It’s a work in progress, but the development behind it is interesting and I’m eager to see where it goes.

Waverly says that the first devices will ship to this summer to people that funded Waverly’s Indiegogo campaign. They paid $249 to secure a product, which will support five languages to start: French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, English.

Later in the fall, the Pilot will go on general sale for $299. There will be an additional fee to add languages to the app. Besides the five languages mentioned above, the second round of devices should support Turkish, Hindi, Greek, Korean and Russian with more languages to come. As mentioned, you don’t need the earpieces to use the app, but the per-language fee means you won’t get be able to use the service for free.

Article source: https://www.cnet.com/products/waverly-labs-pilot-translation-kit/#ftag=CADe9e329a

3 'unlocked' phones that might make your carrier unhappy

Posted by Carl on 27th February 2017 in Consumer Electronics

BARCELONA — Mobile World Congress, the world’s largest mobile tech convention, can often look like a bizarro-world version of the U.S. phone market. Major companies like ATT (T) and Verizon Wireless (VZ) occupy small exhibit spaces, while phone vendors that don’t even get shelf space in the carriers’ stores take up massive, heavily trafficked booths.

That reflects not just the global scope of MWC, but the importance of phones sold directly by manufacturers and not locked to any specific telecom. Much of the rest of the world has been buying unlocked phones for some time. And with the demise of two-year contracts at U.S. carriers, buying such handsets is finally a viable option in the States, too.

So while the U.S.-market phone you’ll hear the most about at MWC will almost certainly be LG’s G6 — a phone built around an unusually tall 5.7-inch screen — you may find your own attention and dollars instead going to phones that bear no carrier’s endorsement.

Moto G5 Plus

Motorola’s $229-and-up G5 Plus checks off most of the features you’d expect on a reasonably high-end Android phone. A 5.2-inch screen with 1080p resolution, a 12-megapixel rear camera, what’s touted as an “all-day” battery that can quick-charge six hours’ worth of run time in 15 minutes and a fingerprint-unlock sensor to free you from having to type in a numeric passcode 120 times a day.

Moto also throws in a microSD card slot to expand the phone’s storage beyond its 32GB or 64GB of onboard space, as well as an FM radio that relies on a headphone cable for its antenna.

The Motorola Moto G5 Plus rear panel.The Motorola Moto G5 Plus rear panel.

Moto says this phone will come with a splash-proof coating, but you shouldn’t expect it to survive a drop in a bathtub or beer mug. There also isn’t a USB-C port on the bottom, which may count as good news if you still have a bag full of micro-USB chargers and cables. Oddly, the U.S. version won’t include the NFC chip included in other countries’ editions, so you won’t be able to use this to pay for your groceries.

Alcatel A5

Like the Moto G5 Plus, Alcatel’s A5 sports a 5.2-inch display, though unlike the G5 Plus, the A5 also sports an LED back cover. The panel can function as a giant notification light, a visual accompaniment to music playback or as … a child-distraction tool? I actually wasn’t able to get a complete sense of its purpose during a couple of inspections on the show floor.

Of course, you can also replace that showy backside with a plain cover for job interviews or other formal occasions. Alcatel also plans to sell other back covers that add features like a better speaker or a higher-capacity battery to the A5 similar to Motorola’s expandable Moto Z.

Alcatel A5 rear panel.Alcatel A5 rear panel.

The software inside Alcatel’s handset reveals another unusual addition: Amazon’s (AMZN) Alexa voice assistant. During my time with the AI helper I asked it for the weather in Washington while in the middle of Alcatel’s noisy exhibit and got the correct answer.  

The cameras here, 8MP on the back and 5MP on the front, probably won’t drive any sales. There’s also no fingerprint unlock, and having only 16GB of storage onboard limits the phone’s long-term utility. We’ll have to wait for official U.S. pricing to get a better sense of this phone’s value, as Alcatel only quotes a €199 price tag, or $211 at current exchange rates.

Sony Xperia XZ

Sony’s (SNE) newest smartphone, the Xperia XZ Premium, doesn’t have an announced price yet, but Don Mesa, the company’s North American marketing vice president, said it will cost more than the $699 Xperia XZs, which was also introduced at MWC. How much more? Consider the two headline components on this Android phone.

First, there’s the 5.5-inch, 4K display with high-dynamic range (HDR) technology, which provides a wider range of colors than non-HDR screens. While, no unaided human eyeball will ever be able to make out the 800 or so pixels packed into each inch of this display, Sony has lined up Amazon to offer its first selection of 4K streaming content.

The Sony Xperia XZ Premium rear camera.The Sony Xperia XZ Premium rear camera.

Then there is the Xperia’s 19-MP camera, which can capture 960 frames per second for the slowest of slo-mo videos. At a press event Monday morning, Sony touted its “predictive capture” technology, which can start recording photos after you’ve opened the Camera app, but before you’ve put a finger on the shutter button.

Mesa said Sony is talking to electronics retailers like Best Buy (BBY) about arranging device-financing programs. He also noted market-research firm NPD Connected Intelligence’s December report that unlocked phones had grown to 12 percent of the U.S. market.

It’s probably true that the unlocked space can make room for a luxury phone and one that can double as a signaling beacon. But it probably has more room for an everyday, not-so-flashy phone that doesn’t cost more than few months of wireless service.

More from Rob:

Email Rob at rob@robpegoraro.com; follow him on Twitter at @robpegoraro.

Article source: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/unlocked-phones-from-mobile-world-congress-215305820.html

Samsung Galaxy Book (12-inch) Release Date, Price and Specs

Posted by Samuel Eiferman on 26th February 2017 in Consumer Electronics

Is it me or does the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 have some serious competition these days?

One of the latest noteworthy contenders is the Samsung Galaxy Book. Announced at Mobile World Congress 2017, the Windows 10 tablet comes in 10- and 12-inch models, and both are bundled with a detachable keyboard cover and S-Pen stylus. And yes, Microsoft’s Surface Pro line still requires you to buy the keyboard separately.

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Bigger is better

The 12-inch Samsung Galaxy Book is a higher-end version with top-shelf specs. It features a crazy-sharp super-AMOLED screen and one of Intel’s latest low-voltage Kaby Lake processors. At 7.4mm thick, it’s very thin for a large tablet, even with the added thickness of the keyboard cover.

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The keyboard and stylus are included.


Josh Miller/CNET

  • 2,160×1,440-pixel resolution
  • 3.1GHz dual-core seventh-gen Intel Core i5
  • 4GB or 8GB RAM
  • 128GB or 256GB of storage
  • MicroSD card slot expandable up to 256GB
  • LTE models available
  • Two USB-Type C ports

The smaller, 10-inch model of the Samsung Galaxy Book isn’t exactly chopped liver, however. It’s actually pretty comparable to the $899 entry-level Surface Pro 4, with a similar processor and full-HD screen. Although seeing them in person, the AMOLED screen on the larger version blows this one away.

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Two versions of the same tablet.


Josh Miller/CNET

  • 1,920×1,280-pixel resolution
  • 2.6GHz dual-core seventh-gen Intel Core m3
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64GB or 128GB storage
  • MicroSD card slot expandable up to 256GB
  • LTE models available
  • USB-Type C port

Successful accessorizing

The Microsoft Surface is a great tablet-hybrid because it totally nails a productivity-centered design that’s both powerful and compact. By including the detachable keyboard and S-Pen stylus in the Galaxy Book’s base price, Samsung aims for the same target, but as a complete out-of-the-box solution. (With the Surface, you get the pen in the box, but the keyboard is sold separately.)

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Compact, even with the keyboard case on.


Josh Miller/CNET

The S-Pen has a precise tip made out of rubber to feel more like drawing on paper. It supports tilt, for thicker lines when drawing at an angle, and doesn’t require any charging. Flat sides help prevent it from rolling off your desk and a built-in clip is supposed to help you safely store it.

I enjoyed using the stylus more than I expected. It’s small, comfortable to grip (not too skinny) and the rubber tip gracefully glided across the glass screen the way my favorite ballpoint pen smoothly slides on paper. Unfortunately, there isn’t a place on the tablet or keyboard to easily store the S-Pen.

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The stylus software integration isn’t as robust as the Samsung Note series.


Josh Miller/CNET

Galaxy and Flow

Samsung is also including its Flow software, which is available for Samsung Galaxy Devices only. Comparable to how iMessage syncs across Apple iPhones, iPads and Mac computers, the Flow software allows text messages to sync across Samsung Galaxy devices.

For example, if you receive a text on your Samsung Galaxy phone, it will also appear on the screen of your Samsung Galaxy Book (or other Samsung Galaxy device) and you’ll be able to easily respond to messages from there. It’s not new or revolutionary, but it is a new, streamlined feature for those who own multiple Samsung Galaxy devices.

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Screen your texts from the comfort of your Samsung Galaxy tablet.


Josh Miller/CNET

Surface, who?

Unlike other two-in-one Windows 10 tablet-hybrids, the Galaxy Book’s svelte dimensions make it look and feel more like an Android tablet. Most tablet-hybrids have thicker designs that accommodate built-in stands, powerful processors and a variety of ports.

The Samsung Galaxy Book impressively packs full PC-like potential inside of an ultra-compact build, and the included keyboard and S-Pen definitely add to its productivity appeal. At the time of posting, pricing and availability have yet to be announced. That makes it hard to evaluate how it actually stacks up in comparison to the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 and it’s growing mountain of competition, but we expect Samsung to release that info very soon.

The Fira Gran Via in Barcelona, Spain, home of Mobile World Congress

Article source: https://www.cnet.com/products/samsung-galaxy-book-12-inch/#ftag=CADe9e329a

Samsung's new tablet is a Surface Pro 4 fighter with some serious firepower

Posted by Carl on 26th February 2017 in Consumer Electronics

Microsoft’s (MSFT) Surface Pro 4 is an incredible device. It packs the power of a Windows 10 laptop into a 12.3-inch tablet that fits easily into your bag. So it makes sense that competitors would want to ape the Redmond, Wash., company’s design success. Which brings us to Samsung’s new Galaxy Book 12.

A powerful Windows 10-powered tablet in its own right, the Book 12 is purpose-built to lure consumers away from the Surface Pro 4. But taking on one of the best devices on the market is a tall order. And yet, after spending some time with the slate, it looks like Samsung is up to the task.

Keyboard included for once

If you’re going to use a tablet as a laptop, it needs a keyboard, and thankfully, the Book 12, and its smaller stable mate, the Book 10, comes with exactly that: a keyboard cover that’s actually comfortable to type on.

Microsoft, meanwhile, charges you an extra $130 if you want to use a keyboard cover with your tablet, which is incredibly infuriating.

The Book 12 and 10 also come with Samsung’s S-Pen stylus in the box, though to Microsoft’s credit, so does the Surface Pro 4.

Power on the go

The Book 12 is the geared toward consumers looking for a powerful 2-in-1. Inside it gets an Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB or 8GB of RAM and either 128GB or 256GB of storage. Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4 offers similar specs, but can be outfitted with an even more powerful Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM and 1TB of storage.

The Book 10, meanwhile, comes loaded with a less punchy Intel Core m processor, 4GB of RAM and either 64GB or 128GB of storage. Still, that’s more than enough oomph for people looking for a basic web browsing machine.

If you want to do photo and video editing, though, the Book 12 is the way to go.

Adding to the Book 12’s premium appeal, is its brilliant 12-inch, AMOLED display, which produces beautiful colors and inky blacks. The Surface Pro 4’s screen is no slouch, either, but its colors aren’t as vivid as Samsung’s panel.

The Book 10, on the other hand, comes with a TFT display that looks significantly more washed out than the Book 12’s panel.

If there’s a downside to the Book 12, it’s that it only sports two USB type C ports. The Surface Pro 4, on the other hand, comes with a full-size USB 3 port and mini DisplayPort. Both slates, however, come with microSD card slots for expanding your storage space. The Book 10 only gets one USB C port.

Samsung has also added some slick software features to the Book 12 and Book 10, including its Samsung Flow app, which allows you to receive and send text messages sent to your phone from the slates.

Taking on the iPad

In addition to the Book 12 and 10, Samsung is rolling out its new Tab S3. The follow-up to the tech giant’s Tab S2, the S3 is Samsung’s iPad Air 2 fighter.

Samsung’s slate, though, uses a 9.7-inch AMOLED display, which offers gorgeous colors. What’s more, the S3 offers support for HDR video playback, which provides a wider array of colors compared to non-HDR videos.

The Android-powered S3, which will be available in silver and black, is relatively attractive for a tablet, though it doesn’t offer the same elegance as Samsung’s Galaxy S7 smartphone.

Like Samsung’s Book 12 and Book 10, the S3 features a small magnetic dock for a keyboard cover, though, unlike the Book 12 and 10, the keyboard doesn’t come in the box.

Tablets like the S3 and iPad Air 2 aren’t exactly the hot new kids on the block any more, and their sales reflect as much.

In its last quarter, Apple (AAPL) reported iPad sales were down 19% year-over-year, and according to IDC Research, Samsung’s year-over-year tablet growth fell by 20.5%.

The detachable market, though, which includes the Book 12 and Book 10, is on the upswing, despite a pause in growth over the 2016 holiday season.

Samsung hasn’t released any information on how much its new slates will cost or when they’ll be available, but we’ll update you when we hear more.

More from Dan:

Email Daniel at dhowley@yahoo-inc.com; follow him on Twitter at @DanielHowley.

Article source: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/samsung-galaxy-book-12-tab-s3-175903194.html

The Huawei Watch 2 is a strong showcase for Android Wear 2

Posted by Carl on 26th February 2017 in Consumer Electronics

The classic Watch 2, with its black face and leather band, is very basic-looking — so much so that instead of calling it wrist candy, you’d be better off calling it wrist… salad. But what it lacks in style, it makes up for with comfort and quality. The watch’s round 1.2-inch face (which is the same size as the LG Watch Style’s, by the way) is surrounded by an etched ceramic bezel that, despite somewhat engulfing the otherwise dainty display, adds a premium feel to the device. The hybrid leather band is smooth leather on top and jointed rubber on the underside, making it look good on the outside while feeling comfortably flexible.

The regular model, on the other hand, has a sportier design than its relatively vanilla counterpart. I liked the yellow accents on the grey/yellow one I tried, and I was surprised and pleased at how light the Sport felt without coming off cheap. Other color options of the Watch 2 include black and bright orange bands. If you prefer a strap of your own, you can easily swap one out using the clasp on the underside.

Unlike the LG Watch Style and Watch Sport, the new Huawei wearables don’t offer a rotating crown on the side of their face. That’s a bit of a bummer, since Android Wear 2.0’s new scrolling interface, which can be controlled by the knob on the LG devices, was one of our favorite new features. You can still use your finger to scroll up and down pages of apps or notifications, which isn’t as fast, but is at least an improvement over Android Wear’s originally swipe-heavy navigating system.

Not only is the Watch 2’s look sportier, but its software has some bonuses for fitness fans as well. Huawei has added its own Fit feature that customizes workout plans for specific activities such as running, cycling or hanging out on the treadmill. No worries if the watch gets wet with your sweat or if you are caught in the rain mid-jog: the device meets IP68 industry standards for water resistance and will survive.

The rest of the Huawei Watch 2’s specs aren’t bad, either. You’ll get NFC support for Android Pay and a heart rate sensor on both the regular and Classic versions, which are two features the LG Watch Style did not offer. The regular Watch 2 will also have LTE support in certain regions, although it’s not clear if that will be available in US models. Both editions of the Watch 2 are powered by the same Snapdragon 2100 chipset as is on the LG models. But Huawei has a big lead over LG here in one key area: battery life. By squeezing a 420mAh cell in these devices, Huawei promises up to two days worth of endurance for the new wearables. Plus, with a new feature called Watch Mode, which disables everything except for a watchface and the pedometer, the Watch 2 can last an impressive 25 days.

That’s a pretty lofty claim — one we’re hoping to be able to test out very soon. At just €329 (roughly $350), the Watch 2 is reasonably priced for what it offers. It will be available stateside in April, when we’ll know exactly how much it will retail here for. Meanwhile, those hoping for promising Android Wear 2.0 alternatives to the LG watches have something to look forward to.

Click here to catch up on the latest news from MWC 2017.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/02/26/the-huawei-watch-2-is-a-strong-showcase-for-android-wear-2/

BlackBerry KeyOne Release Date, Price and Specs

Posted by Samuel Eiferman on 25th February 2017 in Consumer Electronics

The KeyOne is the BlackBerry brand’s big comeback phone, the one we’ve been hearing about for the last few months. Based on Android and running BlackBerry software on top, it adds some unique characteristics that you can’t find on any other Android phone for 2017, like a physical keyboard that can launch up to 52 shortcuts.

For longtime BlackBerry fans, the KeyOne is shaping up to fulfill hopes of the brand’s renewed glory. And while we’re impressed with the KeyOne’s feature set so far, we’ll simply need to spend more time testing the phone before we know how well it’s done.

In addition, the KeyOne — which is postioned on the high-end — will face tough competition from more established players, like Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy S8, LG’s G6 and Google’s new Pixel phones. We’re eager to see how this all plays out.

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Keyboard and tricks

That physical keyboard is a BlackBerry trademark. On the KeyOne, typing felt a little cramped even for my smaller-size fingers. Then again, it’s been a long time since I’ve felt the real pushback of a QWERTY keyboard; this may be a skill to relearn. Still, the short keyboard height is a trade-off that helps maximize the touchscreen’s size. A taller keyboard might mean you don’t get that 4.5-inch screen.

In addition to tapping out text, the KeyOne keyboard’s capacitive sensors mean you can swipe left and right over the top of the buttons to, say, flip among home screens. (It feels a little weird under your fingers.) You can also map a long or short press of any key to launch an app or shortcut — up to 52 of them in total (good luck remembering them all). The phone will even suggest apps to pair, like “I” for “Instagram” and “Y” for “Yelp”.

The fingerprint reader is built right into the home button and worked pretty well in my tests.

Convenience key

We like a good convenience key for launching any app we pair with it. On the KeyOne, the button on the phone’s right edge can open Google Voice Search, the camera or any other app you use a lot.

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You can keep typing while in split-screen mode.


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

On-screen tab

Taking a cue from Samsung’s Edge phones, the KeyOne has a little tab you can pull over on any screen. This opens a module that shows you upcoming appointments and tasks, and lets you view some recent messages. There’s also a Settings menu you can access to customize the tab’s size, placement and transparency.

Shortcuts screen

Ever focused on productivity, the phone groups shortcut icons on one of its home screens to help you launch the one you want, like a new note or calendar appointment.

BlackBerry software

BlackBerry fans will be glad to see BlackBerry Hub, which is a universal message inbox and BBM (BlackBerry Messenger), as well as the Dtek app for peering into your phone’s security protocols. The KeyOne will work with the BES server. In addition to everyday buyers, the folks behind the BlackBerry brand are also reaching out to businesses and government agencies to support the phone.

Pricing and sale date

The phone will go on sale in April for $549 and £499 (that converts to about AU$715).

It’ll work on all four major US carriers, but will initially sell from BlackBerryMobile.com and other online retailers. In Canada, it’ll roll out through carriers first.

Hardware specs

  • 4.5-inch; 1,620×1,080-pixel resolution
  • Android 7.1
  • 12-megapixel rear camera
  • 8-megapixel front-facing camera
  • 2GHz octacore Qualcomm Snapdragon 625
  • 32GB internal storage
  • 3GB RAM
  • Up to 2TB expandable storage (microSD card)
  • 3,505mAh battery (nonremovable)
  • USB-C

Read next: Comeback kids: Once-great BlackBerry and Nokia brands make their return

Article source: https://www.cnet.com/products/blackberry-keyone/#ftag=CADe9e329a

This smart braille watch finally hits shelves

Posted by Carl on 25th February 2017 in Consumer Electronics

After almost three years, the Dot smartwatch is ready to hit the market.

It’s the first assistive smartwatch to display braille messages on its screen.

The round, sleek face displays six cells of six balls each, and allows users to send back simple replies by using two side buttons.

The watch has been in development since 2014 but kept hitting delays.

The company is now ready to ship it to 100,000 backers, reportedly including Stevie Wonder.

Source: http://mashable.com/2017/02/22/dot-smartwatch-retails/#MsQtlXgDuaqM

More:

Robot teaches kids as young as 3 to code

This food recycler will turn your food scraps into fertilizer

Industrial robot technology may soon be in your home

Wristband monitors your blood alcohol content while you drink

Breast-pumping moms can now go wireless

The world’s first 3-screen gaming laptop is mind-blowing

Netflix has just helped improve your commute

Apple’s plan to beat Google in the maps game

Your next food delivery order could come from a robot

You can now add cooking to the list of things Alexa can help you do

This anti-drone gun looks like it can do some serious damage

You could soon be using your smartphone to get cash from the ATM

Instagram offers disappearing photos and live broadcasting

You may soon be able to use a drone to catch fish

Amazon offers special deals through Alexa

WhatsApp video calling is finally here

Sold-out Snapchat sunglasses already on eBay

You can now cast Harry Potter spells from your phone

Apple reveals new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar

This smart crib will help your baby sleep safely through the night

New hybrid console takes Nintendo on the go

Self-driving cars have hit Great Britain

Article source: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/this-smart-braille-watch-finally-hits-shelves-164425951.html

Petnet SmartFeeder review

Posted by Samuel Eiferman on 24th February 2017 in Consumer Electronics

Let me get this out of the way up front — my husband and I spoil the crap out of our dog, Halley. We buy her overpriced toys she sometimes shreds in minutes; we relinquish large sections of the couch to her when we watch a movie; we generally find it charming when she covertly rolls in a mud puddle…

And, like all pet owners, we also care a lot about her health and strive to balance her high energy demands with the right amount of quality kibble.

Enter Petnet’s SmartFeeder. Not only is this $149 product designed to hold up to 7 pounds of dry dog or cat food and auto-dispense designated amounts on a fixed schedule, the related app also weighs in on how much you should feed your pet. It even offers up a “Food Report Card” with a detailed nutritional profile of your pet’s chow.

I know $149 is a lot to dish out for a food bowl, but we’re just the type of overzealous dog people to consider it. My week-long testing experience didn’t at all match up with the SmartFeeder’s promises, though. Inaccurate dispensing, feeder jams, an odd design that made it difficult for Halley to reach all of her food and an occasionally glitchy app seriously damaged the SmartFeeder’s initial appeal. Consider an alternative product or wait for Petnet to improve its current design before you buy.

Not the reliable pet feeder I’d hoped for
See full gallery

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Inside Petnet’s SmartFeeder

Petnet’s SmartFeeder is a Wi-Fi food bowl for dogs and cats with an automatic dispenser and a related Android and iPhone app. Pour up to 7 pounds of dry food in the reservoir and close the lid — Petnet stipulates that the food should measure between 1/8 and 5/8 inches in diameter and the SmartFeeder can dispense between 1/16- and 1 1/2-cup portions per feeding. Because of its dispensing limitations and smaller bowl size, this product is recommended only for small or medium-sized dogs under 50 pounds.

Installation is simple — follow the guide to connect the food bowl and its stainless steel insert to the rest of the SmartFeeder. Your purchase includes an 8-foot “chew resistant” power adapter, but it can also run on rechargeable battery power for roughly 7 hours. The feeder is fairly large at 15.32 inches tall, but it has a modern design that looked good in our home. And its lid has childproof-style locking tabs that you slide out to open, ensuring that your pet won’t be able access it easily.

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App configuration was similarly straightforward. Download the app, create an account, verify your account through your email, assemble the SmartFeeder using the step-by-step instructions and enter in details about your pet. This includes the specific brand and type of food your pet eats, as well as how often you feed them and how many cups you give them per meal. You can adjust the amount manually, but the app will also offer a suggested quantity using the details you provided earlier.

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Petnet also works with Nest Cam Indoor. Nest Cam customers who also subscribe to the optional Nest Aware video recording service can view video footage of their pet eating in the Petnet app. While you can opt-in to receive alerts when your pet’s food is dispensed, this Nest integration is supposed to offer a second level of confirmation that your pet was fed.

This all sounds pretty good, but how does the SmartFeeder compare to other pet feeders in terms of price and features? The category varies widely from $10 food and water dispensers that aren’t smart, but will refill the bowl when it’s empty to $100+ smart feeders like Petnet’s.

One interesting SmartFeeder competitor, the $110 RolliTron RolliPet Pet Feeder, actually has a built-in 720p high-definition camera. So instead of buying the $149 Petnet SmartFeeder and the $200 Nest Cam Indoor separately, RolliTron theoretically offers similar functionality from a single device — and for less money overall. I haven’t tested RolliTron or any other smart pet feeders yet (aside from the Petnet SmartFeeder), but it certainly seems like an interesting alternative device.

Article source: https://www.cnet.com/products/petnet-smartfeeder/#ftag=CADe9e329a

The FCC just gave you a reason to hold off on buying a 4K TV

Posted by Carl on 24th February 2017 in Consumer Electronics

The Federal Communications Commission voted Thursday to open discussions on the deployment of a next-generation broadcast-TV standard that should offer picture quality up to 4K Ultra High Definition and better antenna reception than today’s over-the-air digital signals. Yes, the ones that only replaced analog broadcasts a few years ago.

That 3-0 vote by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and commissioners Mignon Clyburn and Mike O’Rielly doesn’t mean you should return the set you bought for the Super Bowl (I’m sorry, “Big Game”).

But their move to start crafting a next-gen TV policy will add uncertainty to the business of buying a TV going forward.

The ABCs of ATSC 3.0

Like 2009’s transition to digital TV signals, this upgrade’s primary sales pitch is about a better picture — not just high definition, but the Ultra High Definition (UHD) 4K resolution that today remains largely confined to streaming-video services and Blu-ray discs.

“Next-gen TV” — the normal-people term for what technies call “ATSC 3.0,” which refers to the Advanced Television Systems Committee that helps write these standards — will deliver UHD signals over the air for free. That comes courtesy of major advances in video compression since the 1990s technology employed in today’s digital TV, aka “ATSC 1.0” or “DTV.”

Like current UHD sets, next-gen TV will also support HDR, or “high dynamic range,” which makes colors pop. HDR, unlike the 4K, also benefits smaller screens.

For local stations, next-gen TV offers the added lure of supporting interactive data services (some of which might cost extra) and reception on future mobile devices.

For viewers — cord cutters, especially — it promises more reliable reception than current digital broadcasts. In a 2015 demonstration, test hardware picked up a half-strength ATSC 3.0 broadcast signal from 10 miles away … in the basement of a Cleveland office building. That’s impressive.

Sets and stations

Unfortunately, nobody sells an ATSC 3.0-compatible set in the U.S. That’s not likely to happen this year, either, based on the nearly-complete absence of the technology from most exhibits at CES in January.

Instead, next-gen TV will see its commercial debut in Korea, which will host and broadcast the 2018 Winter Olympics in the new format. I suspect we’ll see U.S.-market ATSC 3.0 TVs at CES 2018, but not sooner. Considering how cheap UHD sets have already gotten, though, I doubt this will involve a noticeable price premium.

U.S.-based ATSC 3.0 broadcasts, meanwhile, haven’t gone beyond tests in a few cities. In Cleveland, for instance, local station WJW broadcast the World Series live on an unused channel, while Raleigh-Durham’s WRAL began airing its news programs on next-gen TV last summer.

All local stations will have to decide how to allocate their airwaves between existing digital broadcasts that have an actual audience and next-gen signals that might win them a larger, more profitable audience.

The FCC proposal calls for simulcasting digital and next-gen signals. ATSC spokesman Dave Arland explained that because a station can’t send out both on the same frequencies, it will have to work out a trade with another station.

Since stations would likely move their existing digital broadcasts to new frequencies, your TV might regularly have to rescan the airwaves to see where channels have moved. It might also displace some of the secondary, broadcast-only channels that are available only over the air today.

Not a command economy

This may evoke bad memories of the prolonged DTV transition. But next-gen TV is not a case of the TV industry boldly going where it’s gone before: The FCC proposal sees this as a voluntary migration.

Nobody will have to start making next-gen TVs or stop selling ones with today’s tuners, nor will the Feds make any station retire its current digital signal. And you won’t have any government-subsidized converter boxes to ease viewing at home.

That’s because, unlike in the late 1990s, there isn’t spare frequency to loan to TV stations for a temporary period of simulcasting.

The government already took back those airwaves and auctioned it to wireless companies, and the FCC has since launched a program that lets stations offer unused spectrum and get a cut of the proceeds when wireless services bid for it.  

“You can’t just flip a switch and say this market is now ATSC 3.0,” Arland said.

Instead, we’re looking at a long, slow and uneven journey that may yield better and more reliable broadcasts — and another alternative to cable and satellite bills that aren’t getting any smaller.

More from Rob:

Email Rob at rob@robpegoraro.com; follow him on Twitter at @robpegoraro.

 

Article source: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/fcc-4k-tv-purchase-235726217.html

‘Runner 2’ and other indie hits get rare physical releases

Posted by Carl on 24th February 2017 in Consumer Electronics

Later on, Choice Provisions and Limited Run will sell boxed versions of The Bit.Trip, Tharsis and Drive! Drive! Drive! Each of the limited run copies has nice-looking original artwork, adding to the collector (and fun) appeal. Pre-orders aren’t allowed, and the company hasn’t listed any prices yet, but Runner2 costs $15 on Steam as a download, so we’d guess a physical, limited edition would be more.

Badland and Thomas Happ Games will also be releasing Metroidvania-inspired Axiom Verge as a “Multiverse Edition” physical release for PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, and Wii U. The game received numerous awards when it launched in 2015, and Happ said that “as a solo developer, it’s always been a dream of mine to see a game that I made end up on the store shelves.”

The special edition will include “a copy of the game, a deluxe booklet with developer commentary and art, a double-sided poster, and an exclusive making-of documentary on DVD,” the companies say. The DVD should be pretty interesting, as Happ developed the game all by himself over five years, including the programming, art, story and music.

The Multiverse edition will cost $30 (£25 in the UK) and arrive some time in the next quarter. There will also be a standard edition in a physical version with just the game for $19.99 and £14.99 in the UK.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/02/24/runner-2-and-other-indie-hits-get-rare-physical-releases/