Asus Pro B9440 review

Posted by Samuel Eiferman on 29th April 2017 in Consumer Electronics

The Asus Pro B9440U is a sleek, featherweight business laptop with a competitively low price.

Starting at $1,000 (converted, that’s about £790 and AU$1,320), the stylish Windows 10 Pro notebook successfully squeezes a damn-near bezel-less 14-inch screen into a 13-inch chassis. It also has the latest Intel seventh-generation Core i-series processors, a fingerprint reader and a long-lasting battery.

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Comparable laptops for business use usually cost a bit more, like the $1,700 Apple MacBook Pro and the $1,579 HP EliteBook x360, but they offer high-end features like 4K screens and a multitude of ports. Yet the Asus’s low price comes at the sacrifice of a few features: there’s no webcam and it only has two USB-C ports.

But if you don’t need more than a straightforward business laptop, the Asus Pro is a simple, travel-friendly bargain.

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It comes with a protective sleeve.


Josh Miller/CNET

Modestly minimal

The Asus Pro B9440U isn’t your cookie-cutter business laptop. This thing’s got subtle style. Its attractively slim and lightweight design is humbly demure, as well as a few design touches that elevate it from boring and basic to interestingly nuanced.

When the magnesium alloy lid opens up, the keyboard slightly lifts to an elevated angle of 7 degrees. From the side, it makes the laptop look like it’s propped up on a kickstand. It’s a little funky, but I like it. It’s also more natural position to type in, and it feels comfortable when using it for long periods of time.

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The keyboard lifts when you open the lid.


Josh Miller/CNET

Considering laptops and ergonomic design don’t usually go hand-in-hand, it’s a thoughtful touch. While I found the keyboard perfectly fine, I like the springy, fluid feel of Lenovo’s business keyboards better.

At 2.31 pounds, the laptop is one of the lightest business notebooks around. However, if we include consumer models in the mix, it ranks behind the Lenovo LaVie Z and the LG Gram.

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The fingerprint reader works with Windows Hello.


Josh Miller/CNET

A fingerprint sensor sits above the keyboard, on the top-right corner, that works with Windows 10 Hello. I used it rather than a regular password, and it worked as advertised about 98 percent of the time. Obviously, without a webcam, you won’t get the Windows Hello facial recognition log-in feature.

A few angular accents, most notable when flipped over to reveal the two speakers on its bottom, give it some extra flair. Additionally, it’s MIL-STD 810G-rated for durability, meaning it’s a little tougher than your average notebook.

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A few angular accents give it some character.


Josh Miller/CNET

No glare, no care

The bezel on the Asus Pro B9440U is so thin, a 14-inch display sits inside of its 13-inch chassis. The screen’s FHD resolution (1,920×1,080) is satisfyingly sharp when watching HD video, but the screen lacks punch for brightness and vibrant colors, which is often an issue with matte displays.

It’ll do if you’re traveling and feel like catching up on “The Leftovers,” but if you’re buying a laptop to be your binge-watching buddy, you’ll find a better viewing experience elsewhere. Same goes for photo editing or graphic design.

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Slim bezels maximize the screen space.


Josh Miller/CNET

That’s not to say the screen sucks. It looks and works well when editing text documents or spreadsheets and surfing the web. It’s impressively effective antiglare coating significantly helps reduce glare in bright, well-lit environments. And, no, it’s not a touchscreen.

A tale of two ports

The laptop’s minimalist approach is reflected in its limited port selection. It has two USB-C ports, one on each side, but only the one on the left side can charge it. (I learned this the hard way.) The option of more ports is just a dongle or dock away. It’s compatible with the Asus SlimPro Dock USB-C docking station, as well as other third-party USB-C docks.

Article source: https://www.cnet.com/products/asus-pro-b9440/#ftag=CADe9e329a

‘Thursday Night Football’ is coming to Amazon Prime next season

Posted by Carl on 29th April 2017 in Consumer Electronics

Amazon has scored a deal with the NFL to stream 10 Thursday Night Football games during the upcoming season.

The news, confirmed to Digital Trends via email, is a serious blow to Twitter, which secured the rights for the same coverage last season. This time, however, Amazon outbid not only Twitter, but also YouTube and Facebook, paying a reported $50 million to take the prize — that’s $40 million more than Twitter’s payout last year.

Amazon will stream the games on its $99-a-year Prime service, which besides TV and movie content also offers access to ebooks and music, and free and fast delivery for its online store customers. The football coverage will be viewable by Prime members around the world.

Thursday Night Football also airs on NBC, CBS, and the NFL Network cable channel. CBS and NBC reportedly each pay $225 million a year to broadcast five Thursday night games a season.

Amazon will use the networks’ pictures, according to Recode, and also show their ads. However, the Seattle-based company will have some slots of its own to sell, though a source suggested it’ll likely use some of them to highlight Prime’s other video content.

More: Facebook inks deal with MLS to live-stream soccer games

The deal with the NFL marks the ecommerce giant’s first major move into live-streaming, aside from efforts with Twitch, the gamer-focused live-streaming platform that Amazon bought for almost $1 billion in 2014.

The company will also be hoping the new content will help to persuade more people to sign up to Prime. Similar attention-grabbing deals recently inked by Amazon include those with, for example, the former Top Gear trio for the all-new The Grand Tour car show, which began streaming on Prime in 2016.

But the real loser here is clearly Twitter, which has been working to position itself as a live-streaming platform. The struggling company made much of the NFL deal last year, which allowed sports fans around the world to access the coverage even without a Twitter account. However, the setback is unlikely to deter it from continuing to seek out similar opportunities to add to its current line-up of streaming offerings that currently include NHL, MLB, and PGA coverage.

Article source: https://www.yahoo.com/tech/amazon-nabs-thursday-night-football-060759798.html

‘The Circle’ takes anti-tech paranoia to ludicrous heights

Posted by Carl on 29th April 2017 in Consumer Electronics

Spoilers for The Circle novel and film ahead.

Black Mirror does a fine job of portraying the downsides of technology. but even though it’s now readily available on Netflix, it’s still something that’s targeted at a media and tech-savvy niche audience. A big-budget, wide-release film starring Tom Hanks and Emma Watson has more potential to reach a broader group of people who might not think as deeply about the privacy issues surrounding their Facebook accounts. Sadly, all the film really does is shout, as loudly as possible, that technology is bad and will inevitably lead us towards a totalitarian state.

The basic premise of the film feels like a modern day Charlie in the Chocolate Factory. Mae (Emma Watson) is a twenty-something with a dead-end job who miraculously receives a job with The Circle, a beloved company whose religion is sharing and who now controls the vast majority of the web. You can think of it as the lovechild of Google and Facebook.

Its earliest innovation was “TruYou,” a unified account that controls everything you do on the web and ties you to your real identity. TruYou was heralded as a major convenience win for consumers, which was somehow steamrolled pass regulators and critics. Even more unbelievable, the film claims that it sanitized the web by killing off anonymous comments. Seriously, all it takes is a quick look at any site with Facebook-powered commenting to see that’s false.

Tom Hanks stars in STX Entertainment's THE CIRCLE. Photo courtesy of STX EntertainmentMotion Picture Artwork  2017 STX Financing, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

The company’s follow-up product — tiny and inexpensive high-definition cameras that can be placed just about anywhere — is a bit more believable. But that’s only until you learn that they also upload video directly to satellites from anywhere on Earth (for free, I guess?). And no, there’s no talk of battery life either. As Eamon Bailey (Tom Hanks), The Circle’s affable figurehead, describes it, the “SeaChange” cameras will lead to a world where nothing is hidden.

It’s easy to see how such a product could be useful, but it’s even easier to grasp how it could lead to a reckless surveillance state. Of course, few people within the company question the cameras. That duty is left up to a mysterious stranger working for The Circle, who warns Mae of the company’s troubling privacy issues, and Mae’s hometown ex-boyfriend, who goes off the grid to avoid tech’s infiltration into his life. All other Circle employees basically seem like idiot children who lap up everything the company does.

Eventually, Mae gleefully embraces the idea of the SeaChange cameras by “going transparent,” which involves wearing a camera all day and broadcasting to an online audience of millions. It never occurs to her that this could lead to issues — even when she broadcasts her parents having sex (because, of course, she helpfully had cameras installed in their house too). The film raises some interesting questions about a generation of online users who document and share every aspect of their lives. But it’s more interested in portraying that as something that’s inherently wrong, instead of trying to find any deeper meaning.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/04/29/the-circle-review/

New Nintendo 2DS XL Release Date, Price and Specs

Posted by Samuel Eiferman on 28th April 2017 in Consumer Electronics
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New Nintendo 2DS XL: say that five times fast.


Nintendo

The NES Classic is gone. The Nintendo Switch is hot stuff. But the Nintendo 3DS still hangs around. In fact, Nintendo’s got a new version, called the New Nintendo 2DS XL, coming out July 28.

I haven’t played one yet (but we will, soon), but here’s what you need to know about Nintendo’s surprise little hardware announcement.

Wait, what is a New Nintendo 2DS XL?

It’s a New Nintendo 3DS XL without the 3D. Or, a Nintendo 2DS in a clamshell form. Nintendo has regularly released new hardware variants on its 3DS systems since 2011, and 2DS XL looks like it’s the most affordable larger-screen one of the bunch.

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The redesigned look could be easier to hold.


Nintendo

Does it do the same things?

Hardware-wise, it’s similar to Nintendo’s last hardware bump-up, the “New Nintendo 3DS.” That means it has a few extra perks compared to the Nintendo 2DS: a few more buttons, and support for SNES games.

  • Costs $150 (which converts to about £116, AU$200)
  • Plays Nintendo DS and 3DS games
  • Still has a stylus
  • Has the same extra buttons and second mini-analog control stick as the New Nintendo 3DS systems
  • Can play SNES games on the Nintendo eShop — something that, oddly, older 3DS and 2DS systems couldn’t do
  • Supports Amiibo via NFC
  • Boasts “more ergonomic design” (we haven’t held one yet)
  • Nintendo claims “faster load times” and extra parental controls for software

Should I get one?

The 3DS still has a ton of life left in it, especially if you like retro games. All of Nintendo’s Virtual Console offerings for NES, Game Boy, Game Gear, and SNES are on there, and the 3DS has other gems like Sega’s arcade-perfect 3D Classics. There are also hundreds of 3DS and DS games, and a lot of games still worth playing. (Zelda, Mario, Animal Crossing, weird indie games like Pocket Card Jockey, and all the classic Pokemon games). The Nintendo Switch, meanwhile, has a small but growing handful of different games. For kids, or fans of classic Nintendo games, it sounds very promising if you don’t already own a 3DS.

Is it worth getting over other 3DS systems?

It looks like Nintendo’s shaved down the line of Nintendo 3DS systems to just the New Nintendo 3DS XL, the New Nintendo 2DS XL, and the Nintendo 2DS.

In the end, this is really a price cut of sorts for the years-old 3DS. But it certainly seems like the 2DS XL is the best 3DS of the bunch, if you’re ready to say goodbye to 3D.

Article source: https://www.cnet.com/products/nintendo-2ds-xl/#ftag=CADe9e329a

New Nintendo 2DS XL Release Date, Price and Specs

Posted by Samuel Eiferman on 28th April 2017 in Consumer Electronics
2dsxl2.jpg

New Nintendo 2DS XL: say that five times fast.


Nintendo

The NES Classic is gone. The Nintendo Switch is hot stuff. But the Nintendo 3DS still hangs around. In fact, Nintendo’s got a new version, called the New Nintendo 2DS XL, coming out July 28.

I haven’t played one yet (but we will, soon), but here’s what you need to know about Nintendo’s surprise little hardware announcement.

Wait, what is a New Nintendo 2DS XL?

It’s a New Nintendo 3DS XL without the 3D. Or, a Nintendo 2DS in a clamshell form. Nintendo has regularly released new hardware variants on its 3DS systems since 2011, and 2DS XL looks like it’s the most affordable larger-screen one of the bunch.

2dsxl1.jpg

The redesigned look could be easier to hold.


Nintendo

Does it do the same things?

Hardware-wise, it’s similar to Nintendo’s last hardware bump-up, the “New Nintendo 3DS.” That means it has a few extra perks compared to the Nintendo 2DS: a few more buttons, and support for SNES games.

  • Costs $150 (which converts to about £116, AU$200)
  • Plays Nintendo DS and 3DS games
  • Still has a stylus
  • Has the same extra buttons and second mini-analog control stick as the New Nintendo 3DS systems
  • Can play SNES games on the Nintendo eShop — something that, oddly, older 3DS and 2DS systems couldn’t do
  • Supports Amiibo via NFC
  • Boasts “more ergonomic design” (we haven’t held one yet)
  • Nintendo claims “faster load times” and extra parental controls for software

Should I get one?

The 3DS still has a ton of life left in it, especially if you like retro games. All of Nintendo’s Virtual Console offerings for NES, Game Boy, Game Gear, and SNES are on there, and the 3DS has other gems like Sega’s arcade-perfect 3D Classics. There are also hundreds of 3DS and DS games, and a lot of games still worth playing. (Zelda, Mario, Animal Crossing, weird indie games like Pocket Card Jockey, and all the classic Pokemon games). The Nintendo Switch, meanwhile, has a small but growing handful of different games. For kids, or fans of classic Nintendo games, it sounds very promising if you don’t already own a 3DS.

Is it worth getting over other 3DS systems?

It looks like Nintendo’s shaved down the line of Nintendo 3DS systems to just the New Nintendo 3DS XL, the New Nintendo 2DS XL, and the Nintendo 2DS.

In the end, this is really a price cut of sorts for the years-old 3DS. But it certainly seems like the 2DS XL is the best 3DS of the bunch, if you’re ready to say goodbye to 3D.

Article source: https://www.cnet.com/products/nintendo-2ds-xl/#ftag=CADe9e329a

Pogue’s Basics: How to speed up YouTube playback with a keystroke

Posted by Carl on 28th April 2017 in Consumer Electronics

If you’re a longtime Pogue’s Basics fan, then you already know that you can jump 10 seconds ahead in playback of a YouTube video by pressing the L key. And jump 10 seconds back with the H key. And pause or unpause the video with the letter K.

You may also remember that the number keys on your keyboard, 1 through 0, represent 10-percent increments through the video. Hit 3 to jump 30% of the way in, for example.

Here’s one more: It’s often super helpful to watch a video on high speed, especially if it’s a slow talker. Usually you have to do a bunch of clicks to adjust the speed, starting with the gear icon at the lower right.

Fortunately there’s a keyboard shortcut: type ! That is, Shift-period. And less-than (, or Shift-comma) to slow it down. Very cool!

David Pogue, tech columnist for Yahoo Finance, welcomes nontoxic comments in the comments section below. On the web, he’s davidpogue.com. On Twitter, he’s @pogue. On email, he’s poguester@yahoo.com. You can read all his articles here, or you can sign up to get his columns by email

More Pogue:

Pogue’s Basics: Use YouTube’s built-in stabilizer

Pogue’s Basics: Bring back Photoshop’s New Document box

These 6 systems will get rid of Wi-Fi dead spots in your house

iOS 10 Hidden Feature: Bedtime-consistency management

Pogue’s Basics: Money – The Amazon card

iOS 10 Hidden Feature: Do Not Disturb Emergency Bypass

Pogue’s Basics: Money – Extended warranties

Pogue’s cheap, unexpected tech gifts #2: ThinOptics glasses

A dozen iOS 10 feature gems that Apple forgot to mention

GoPro’s most exciting mount yet: a drone

Professional-looking blurry backgrounds come to the iPhone 7 Plus

Pogue’s Basics: Turn off Samsung’s Smart Guide

Pogue Basics: Touch and hold Google Maps

The Apple Watch 2 is faster, waterproof—and more overloaded than ever

We sent a balloon into space — and an epic scavenger hunt ensued

Now I get it: Snapchat

The new Fitbits are smarter, better-looking, and more well-rounded

Apple has killed every jack but one: Meet USB-C

Article source: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/pogues-basics-speed-youtube-playback-keystroke-160348751.html

Pogue’s Basics: How to speed up YouTube playback with a keystroke

Posted by Carl on 28th April 2017 in Consumer Electronics

If you’re a longtime Pogue’s Basics fan, then you already know that you can jump 10 seconds ahead in playback of a YouTube video by pressing the L key. And jump 10 seconds back with the H key. And pause or unpause the video with the letter K.

You may also remember that the number keys on your keyboard, 1 through 0, represent 10-percent increments through the video. Hit 3 to jump 30% of the way in, for example.

Here’s one more: It’s often super helpful to watch a video on high speed, especially if it’s a slow talker. Usually you have to do a bunch of clicks to adjust the speed, starting with the gear icon at the lower right.

Fortunately there’s a keyboard shortcut: type ! That is, Shift-period. And less-than (, or Shift-comma) to slow it down. Very cool!

David Pogue, tech columnist for Yahoo Finance, welcomes nontoxic comments in the comments section below. On the web, he’s davidpogue.com. On Twitter, he’s @pogue. On email, he’s poguester@yahoo.com. You can read all his articles here, or you can sign up to get his columns by email

More Pogue:

Pogue’s Basics: Use YouTube’s built-in stabilizer

Pogue’s Basics: Bring back Photoshop’s New Document box

These 6 systems will get rid of Wi-Fi dead spots in your house

iOS 10 Hidden Feature: Bedtime-consistency management

Pogue’s Basics: Money – The Amazon card

iOS 10 Hidden Feature: Do Not Disturb Emergency Bypass

Pogue’s Basics: Money – Extended warranties

Pogue’s cheap, unexpected tech gifts #2: ThinOptics glasses

A dozen iOS 10 feature gems that Apple forgot to mention

GoPro’s most exciting mount yet: a drone

Professional-looking blurry backgrounds come to the iPhone 7 Plus

Pogue’s Basics: Turn off Samsung’s Smart Guide

Pogue Basics: Touch and hold Google Maps

The Apple Watch 2 is faster, waterproof—and more overloaded than ever

We sent a balloon into space — and an epic scavenger hunt ensued

Now I get it: Snapchat

The new Fitbits are smarter, better-looking, and more well-rounded

Apple has killed every jack but one: Meet USB-C

Article source: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/pogues-basics-speed-youtube-playback-keystroke-160348751.html

Acer U27 All-in-one Release Date, Price and Specs

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

Among all the Predators, Acer ammounced a redesigned Aspire all-in-one with the Predator-like V-shaped base. In fact, the U27 looks very much like just a monitor; it’s extremely thin, with barely a bulge to indicate there are components inside.

The key to its slim design is the incorporation of its LiquidLoop fanless cooling system. The rest is pretty standard. The system has a built-in subwoofer with Dolby Audio Premium, but I wasn’t terribly impressed — there are no front-driving speakers, so the sound is oddly muffled. And the 1,920×1,080 touch display isn’t very good because of the relatively low pixel density (about 82 pixels per inch); you can see the individual pixels from normal sitting distance and it’s quite distracting.

Still, it has a relatively low price given the rest are all current components — it starts at $1,100 — and there’s a less-powerful 24-inch model, the Z24, that starts as low as $900. They’ll both be available in July.

Article source: https://www.cnet.com/products/acer-aspire-u27/#ftag=CADe9e329a

We noshed on Nougat, and Android 7.0 is Google’s sweetest update yet

Posted by Carl on 27th April 2017 in Consumer Electronics

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Gone are the spaces between each notification as well — just a single, thin line separates them. It certainly looks a lot neater and more mature compared to notifications in Marshmallow, though it may take some getting used to. If developers utilize Nougat APIs like Direct Reply, you’ll easily be able to act on certain notifications without having to tap on them and disrupt what you’re currently doing.

For example, Direct Reply lets you respond to notifications from apps like Facebook Messenger, Hangouts, WhatsApp, and more straight from the notification tray. What’s neat is that once you respond, the notification doesn’t disappear — you’re able to see most of the conversation thread, including your own messages.

Notifications are also bundled, meaning that if you get more than two emails, you’ll still be able to see and act on each of them by swiping down with two fingers. This applies to other apps that implement bundling — Trello, for example, lets you respond to every comment you’re tagged in on various cards through the notifications alone.

Moving notifications slightly left or right will display a gear icon. This brings up a slider that lets you choose the level of importance of the notification — you can also access this setting by pressing and holding on a notification. These “levels” go all the way from Level 0 to Level 5, meaning you can either block notifications from the app or allow it to “always peek, and allow full-screen interruption.” Of course, there are four other levels to choose from in case you want to customize how notifications interrupt you.

It’s this kind of functionality that makes Nougat more powerful than previous iterations of Android.

Quick settings are more useful

Swiping down from the top of the home screen pulls down a small bar with five quick access settings tiles. Tap on a tile to turn the setting, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, data, or the flashlight, on or off. You can change these tiles to your liking, and the plan is that developers would be able to add new tiles for their own apps. We have yet to see this implemented, though.

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Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

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Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

There’s also an expand button on the far right that lets you see your full notification tray, or you can swipe down again. The notification tray is now a single color, and you can swipe horizontally to see more tiles if you have them.

The edit button at the lower right of the tray lets you rearrange the tiles and remove them completely as well. Tapping on a tile opens up more details. For example, if you tap on Wi-Fi you’ll see networks you can connect to near you. Press and hold these tiles to go into the respective page in the Settings app.

Settings, Night Mode, and System UI Tuner

The Settings app also has undergone a slight makeover. There’s a “Suggested” feature at the top (that also disappears sometimes) — it recommends to activate certain functions if they’re off, like Android Pay.

Each category now shows more information at a glance, like under Display there’s a subheader that says, “Adaptive brightness is off.” Likewise, other sections like Battery have subheaders like, “79% – 39 mins until full on AC.”

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Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Swipe right from the edge of the screen in the Settings app to bring out an additional menu, for quick access to different sections. For example, if you were in Wi-Fi, you can press the Back button to go back to the Settings app and choose another section, or you can swipe right from the edge and pull out the Settings menu, which lets you jump to another section immediately. The difference is minimal and will barely save you any additional time, but it’s a nice option to have.

Night Mode was initially introduced into early developer previews, but was subsequently removed — an Android engineer explains why in a Reddit Ask Me Anything. But just like the later previews, we’ve found that the feature still exists. Pull down your notification tray and tap on Edit, which should rest on the bottom right. Under Drag to add tiles, you should find a tile named Night mode. Drag it to your displayed tiles, and that’s it — you’ll have easy access to the feature.

Night Mode removes the blue tint from your screen — it’s bad for your health if you’re staring at it before you sleep. Tap the tile to remove the blue tint from your screen; and tap and hold the tile to go directly into the main Settings page. Here you can set it to Turn on automatically depending on your location and time of day, and you can also toggle whether the mode adjusts the tint and/or the screen’s brightness.

Access the System UI Tuner by pressing and holding on the gear icon in the notification tray. It will start spinning, and then it will enable the new setting at the bottom of the Settings menu. Here, you can customize what you want your status bar to look like — the bar that displays the clock, battery, Wi-Fi, data status, and more at the top of the screen.

The tuner also lets you add more customization to things such as split-screen and Do Not Disturb. For example, you can toggle whether you want to jump into split-screen by swiping up on the Recents button and you can create a shortcut to Do Not Disturb via the volume buttons.

There used to be a Night Mode setting that removed the screen’s blue tints after sunset, but an Android engineer explains why it was taken out.

Google Camera, Recents, and split screen

The camera pre-installed on most Nexus devices, AKA Google Camera, has a slightly tweaked look and new animations. For example, if you tap on a photo from the camera app, there’s a new zoom animation; and when you first open the camera app, the navigation buttons dim.

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Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Toggling the Timer, HDR, and Flash also have new animations, and so does HDR processing. Thankfully, you can now swipe right from the left edge to slide out the menu. If you head on over to Settings here, you’ll see that you can now set what action you want the Volume key to perform. You can choose between Shutter, Zoom, or Volume.

Best of all, you can now pause videos mid-recording, and there’s also a twist gesture to flip between the rear and front camera — when on the viewfinder, simply twist the phone in your hand once or twice and it will swap cameras. It’s not entirely fine-tuned or perfect, but it’s a handy feature.

A manual camera mode was introduced during one of the developer previews, but it has been taken out.

These features won’t impact you if you are using a non-Nexus device from another manufacturer, but only if have installed Google Camera.

Tapping Recents, the rounded square on the right of the navigation buttons, brings you recent apps. It still works the same as before, but now the app you were on moves all the way to the bottom, leaving more room to see the previous app.

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Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Also if you’re in an app, double tapping the button will bring you the previous app you were just using — useful for when you need to quickly look at some information while on a call. It’s called Quick switch, and it’s similar to the Alt-Tab function on desktops.

Google also says most people typically only go back to the last seven apps in their Recents screen. So, the company now will only show the most recent seven apps after a period of inactivity. If you swipe down all the apps and go to the end, you’ll also see a Clear All option at the top right.

Split-screen is one feature Google has been behind on, considering other manufacturers like Samsung and LG have implemented it in their devices for a while. Split-screen, as the name suggests, splits the screen into two — one app above and one below, of if you go into landscape mode, one app on the left and one on the right. Keep in mind that apps have to support the feature — it does work without it, but a notification pops up that says, “app may not work with split-screen.”

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Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

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Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

  You can activate Split-screen when you’re in any app by pressing and holding the Recents button. That will move the app you’re on up, and split it halfway. The Recents menu will emerge below, allowing you to choose a second app to split the screen with. Tapping an app will place it below, and you can move the middle slider to adjust how much of each app is displayed.

You can choose another app to sit on the bottom by tapping the Recents button again, which now looks like two rectangles on top of each other. Double tap to quickly switch between the previous app. It’s an easy and quick way to multi-task, and you can even drag and drop text between apps in this mode.

When you’re done, either press and hold the Recents button, or slide the middle bar all the way down or up to expand either app.

Data Saver, call blocker, Doze improvements, and security updates

Borrowing the same name from Chrome, there’s a dedicated Data Saver option in the Settings app, under Data Usage. Turning on Data Saver forces apps to restrict background data usage, and if you turn it on, you can allow certain apps to have unrestricted background data usage.

Going into the Apps settings, you can also click on an app to see its data usage. Clicking on that will let you see the total data used in the foreground and background, and it also lets you choose if you want to allow the app to use data in the background. Google wants developers to allow their apps to integrate with Data Saver so that the feature works more seamlessly. Google Play Services has unrestricted data usage turned on by default when you turn on Data Saver — but you can turn it off if you want.

Google’s dialer app has been able to block phone numbers — but what if you use a different dialer, or someone continues to contact you through apps like Hangouts? You would have to keep blocking them through each app. With Android Nougat, Google is making number blocking system-wide.

Google is essentially creating a “blocked-number list” that can be accessed by the third-party apps, default phone, message, and carrier apps. Since carriers can access this list, they can also “perform server-side” number blocking. It also means that once you block a number on one device, it will still be saved should you perform a reset or switch to a new device.

Included in Android Nougat is also Call Screening, which means when you receive a call, you’ll have the option to reject the call, not allow the call to show up on the call log, or not get a notification for the call. It works for the default phone app.

But what might be the most intriguing feature that will certainly change Android as a whole under-the-hood, is that “Doze” mode will now work whenever the screen is off. Previously, the device had to be stationary for it to kick in and save battery, but now, whenever your phone goes into standby mode, in your pocket for example, you’ll save battery through Doze.

Google has also added a few important features that make Android Nougat more secure and faster than previous Android iterations: Seamless updates, Direct Boot, and file-based encryption.

While you’re using your phone, Nougat can install software updates in the background on a separate partition. Once you restart your phone, the device will use the updated partition and that means a faster boot time. The updates and apps also install much faster, and the “optimizing apps” screen no longer exists.

“Even large apps that required several minutes to optimize and install in Android 6.0 can now install in just a matter of seconds,” according to the Android Developers blog.

If your phone is encrypted, you know that when your device restarts it asks you for a pin or pattern to unlock it. Sometimes phones can randomly restart, and that means it will just wait for you to input the key — all the while not providing you SMS, alarms, and other important notifications. Direct Boot changes that.

The new feature triggers when your smartphone randomly restarts. It means your smartphone won’t idly sit by, waiting for you to unlock it. Now you’ll still be able to use it, access emails, phone calls, texts, alarms, and more — but the smartphone will be able to perform these tasks in a limited, restricted mode.

Your secure information is saved in another storage area that requires your key to access, and you’ll have to unlock your device to access it. Certain apps and files are also now isolated and protected for each user on a device, thanks to file-based encryption.

Other features, Vulkan and Daydream support

Android Nougat supports Daydream, Google’s upcoming virtual reality platform. We can’t say much about the platform until it launches in the fall, but for more information head over here.

Google DaydreamGoogle Daydream

The new Android version also supports Vulkan graphics, which provides tools “for creating high-quality, real-time graphics in applications.” It utilizes the multi-core processor in your device.

Nougat has a sustained performance mode that allows manufacturers to throw hints as to when a long-running app is starting to cause performance issues. That way, developers can tweak their apps to perform better over a long period of time. That’s a good thing, as it would lower the amount of stutter and lag for people playing games, or even using Android’s Daydream mode, for a sustained period of time.

Another interesting feature is that you can manually change the DPI of your device in the Settings app, under Display. Hit Display Size, and you will see a bar you can move across to increase magnification or decrease it — you can go from Small to Default to Large, Larger, and Largest. It’s helpful for developers who want to test their apps on different screen sizes, but it’s also good for people who just want to increase the size of apps they interact with. This feature doesn’t just increase the font size, but everything on your screen.

Emergency info, pin apps, downloads, emoji, and more

Android NougatAndroid Nougat

When you first sign into your device, there’s a new emergency information section that lets you add an emergency contact, your full name, address, date of birth, blood type, as well as any allergies, medication, or medical conditions you have. There’s even an option to list if you want to be an organ donor. This can be found in the Settings app as well, under Users. For anyone to see this information, they have to go to the Emergency Dialer in the lockscreen.

If you’re sharing a link, video, or photo, the sharing menu in Nougat now lets you “pin” your favorite apps to the top for quick access. Just press and hold specific apps, and tap on Pin.

Android Nougat also lets you cancel downloads from the notification, whereas previously you couldn’t do anything to a download until it was complete. There’s also a new “Move to” option in the Downloads app for files.

New_EmojiNew_Emoji

Google says there are 72 new emojis in Android, bringing the total amount built into the operating system past 1,500. You can set Google Keyboard to show your most recently-used emoji in the suggestion strip of the keyboard settings.

Speaking of the Google Keyboard, you can now choose various colors for the keyboard, or even set the background as a picture of your choice. This largely comes as an update to the app, but it’s baked into the stock Android OS.

There’s also multi-locale support, meaning that apps can tailor content based on your language and region. “If you speak multiple languages, for instance, then search engines can show results in each of those languages.” Apps have to support this feature to work.

Nougat is gradually rolling out, so we’ll continue to add more features as we see them.

Article source: https://www.yahoo.com/tech/android-n-rumors-news-no-171655027.html

LG’s smartphones are no longer hurting the company

Posted by Carl on 27th April 2017 in Consumer Electronics

The fact that LG’s smartphone division now almost breaks even is a huge deal, considering how much money it’s been losing of late. In the fourth quarter of 2016, mobile losses were so steep it actually wiped out all of the profit that the other parts of the business made. Thankfully, LG has bounced back, and is reporting overall revenues of 14.66 trillion KRW (around $12.7 billion) and net profits of just over $736 million.

As for the rest of LG, the company is doing well in the home appliance, air conditioner and home entertainment markets. The nascent vehicle components arm still remains a loss maker, but executives believe that RD spending now will be offset with profits later. Not to mention that the company still has a successful partnership with Chevy producing components for the Bolt.

LG believes that the cost cutting measures it took in its mobile division last year, and the recently-released G6, will help it avoid hefty losses in the future. That said, the company also concedes that devices from other players — hint: Samsung and China — will continue to be obstacles in its way to future profitability. We’ve often asked if LG needs to cut its losses and get out of the mobile business, although if losses remain this small, the answer is probably ‘no.’

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/04/27/lgs-smartphones-are-no-longer-hurting-the-company/