Archive for the ‘Tech’ Category

OnePlus won’t sell the OnePlus 7 in the US, but the 6T gets a $30 price drop

May 14th, 2019

It's launch day for the OnePlus 7 and OnePlus 7 Pro. While we already have a full review up for the flagship OnePlus 7 Pro, many people will probably ask about the regular OnePlus 7. A review for that phone is not happening, because, well, it's not coming to the US. OnePlus is changing up its product strategy this year: in the US, it's offering the more premium OnePlus 7 Pro, keeping last year's OnePlus 6T on the market with a small price drop; the OnePlus 7 is destined for other, non-US markets.

So what exactly are we missing out on when it comes to the OnePlus 7? Well, while the OnePlus 7 Pro is an all-new device with a pop-up camera, all-screen design, and a 90Hz display, the OnePlus 7 is just a spec bump of the OnePlus 6T. The OnePlus 7 design is basically identical to the OnePlus 6T: there's a glass back with two rear cameras, a fixed front camera with a teardrop notch, and an in-screen fingerprint reader. The phone should be a bit faster, though, as it has been outfitted with a new Snapdragon 855, speedier UFS 3.0 storage, and a 48MP main camera that is hopefully the same as the excellent OnePlus 7 Pro camera. The rest of the OnePlus 7 specs are just like the OnePlus 6T: a 6.41-inch, 2340×1080 display, 6GB or 8GB of RAM, 128GB or 256GB of storage, and a 3700mAh battery.

The OnePlus 7 will be released in China, India, Hong Kong, and most of Europe. In Europe, the OnePlus 7 starts at €559 ($626) for the 6GB RAM/128GB storage version. For context, the OnePlus 7 Pro is €709 in Europe, or $794, which is way more expensive than the $670 MSRP in the US.

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OnePlus 7 Pro Review—The fastest, best-designed, best-value Android phone

May 14th, 2019

Wow. OnePlus is putting the rest of the smartphone world on notice with the launch of its newest smartphone, the OnePlus 7 Pro. The company has become known for providing excellent value in the Android market, and while that is still true of the OnePlus 7 Pro, everything moves even further toward the premium side of the spectrum with this device. With a bigger bill of materials budget behind it, OnePlus has created the best Android phone on the market.

OnePlus isn't just offering features and performance that feel a generation ahead of many of the current devices on the market—it's doing so for a lower price than the super-premium, $1,000 flagships out there. While you can buy a OnePlus 7 Pro today, I think a lot of manufacturers are going to spend the next year scrambling to catch up to OnePlus.

Brace yourselves for an incredibly positive review of the OnePlus 7 Pro.

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Apple releases iOS 12.3, macOS 10.14.5, watchOS 5.2.1, and tvOS 12.3

May 13th, 2019
A man walks in front of a giant video display onstage.

Enlarge / Apple announced some of these features at its services-and-TV-focused event on March 25. (credit: Ron Amadeo)

Today, Apple began rolling out new versions of its iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS operating systems for iPhones and iPads, Macs, Apple Watches, and Apple TVs, respectively.

The updates are largely focused on the video services that Apple announced at its March 25 event—namely, a revamped Apple TV app, Apple TV Channels, and an expansion of AirPlay 2 to devices produced by Apple's partners. A handful of bug fixes, performance optimizations, and other small tweaks are also included in the updates.

And no doubt deliberately timed with these updates, AirPlay 2 and Apple TV app support has finally rolled out to supporting Samsung TVs as planned. Apple says they'll roll out to supporting LG, VIZIO, and Sony smart TVs "later this year."

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Posted in apple, Apple TV, apple tv 4k, apple watch, iOS, iOS 12, iOS 12.3, iphone, Mac, MacOS, macOS 10.14.5, macOS Mojave, Samsung, Tech, tvos, tvOS 12, tvOS 12.3, watchos, watchOS 5, watchOS 5.2.1 | Comments (0)

Lenovo shows off a folding-screen laptop, coming some time in 2020

May 13th, 2019

It doesn't have a name (but it'll be in the ThinkPad X1 family), it doesn't have a spec (but it's using an Intel processor), it doesn't have an operating system ("Windows" but, not specifically "Windows 10"), it doesn't have a release date more specific than "2020," and of course it doesn't have a price. But these are I suppose minor details. The big picture: Lenovo has built a laptop with a folding 13.3-inch OLED 1920×1440 screen made by LG. The screen occupies both halves of the laptop's interior space, including where the keyboard would normally go, and the machine can be folded open to turn it into a flat 13-inch screen that you'd frankly never guess could fold.

Things we do know: Lenovo has been working on this thing for three years already. The company sees it as being a full-fledged PC that can take the place of your laptop, specifically not a mere secondary or companion device. Both halves have batteries, so it's not top-heavy, and it has a proper laptop-style stiff hinge to hold the screen at pretty much any angle up to 180 degrees. The screen supports a Wacom pen, and drawing on the screen feels great. When opened up, there's a barely perceptible dip when drawing across the hinged part. But if you weren't looking for it, you'd be hard-pressed to spot it. The unnamed machine has an IR camera for facial-recognition authentication along with two USB Type-C ports.

As we've seen on other devices with folding screens (such as Samsung's ill-fated Galaxy Fold and Huawei's fabulous-looking Mate X), the folded screen doesn't have a tight crease where it bends. Instead, it curves when closed, though Lenovo won't let us show you that curve. Similarly, when the screen is fully opened, one might imagine that it would be useful if there were some way of supporting it upright so that you can use it to watch movies and so on. There's a way to do this, but Lenovo won't let us show you how. We can say that there will be a keyboard accessory that uses Bluetooth, and while you're free to imagine just how such an accessory might be placed on a clamshell type machine, the company didn't want us to mention any specifics.

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Posted in folding screen, hardware, laptop, Lenovo, oled, Tech, windows lite | Comments (0)

Supreme Court ruling could threaten Apple’s 30 percent app commission

May 13th, 2019
Supreme Court ruling could threaten Apple’s 30 percent app commission

Enlarge (credit: Chesnot/Getty Images)

A narrowly divided Supreme Court is allowing a group of consumers to move forward with a lawsuit charging that Apple overcharges customers for App Store purchases. Apple had asked courts to throw out the lawsuit, arguing that the law only allowed app developers, not customers, to bring such a case.

The lawsuit has been underway since 2011 and is nowhere close to resolution. The stakes are high. Apple's iOS platform is notable for completely shutting out alternative means of app distribution. Other major software platforms—including Android, Mac OS, and Windows—offer customers the option to download and install software they acquire from third parties without paying a commission to the platform owner. But ordinary iPhone users—those who are unwilling or unable to jailbreak or use developer tools—have no way to install apps other than through the official App Store.

Plaintiffs in this case argue that Apple's 30 percent commission on app sales wouldn't be viable in a competitive app distribution market. The class-action lawsuit seeks refunds on behalf of millions of users who have paid inflated prices for apps as a result of Apple's exclusionary practices.

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Posted in antitrust, App Store, apple, Policy, Supreme Court, Tech | Comments (0)

Lenovo bumps X1 Extreme to i9, GTX 1650, introduces new mainstream ThinkBooks

May 13th, 2019

Lenovo is having its annual conference for its business partners and customers, and with that comes a spate of new hardware announcements.

Let's start simple: the ThinkPad X1 Extreme, the 15-inch counterpart to the regular X1, has been updated to a 9th-generation Intel Core i9 processor and an Nvidia GTX 1650 GPU MaxQ, further enhancing its powerhouse specs, while continuing to weigh under 4 pounds. There's also a new 4K OLED touchscreen option that looks fab. Maximum storage has been doubled to 4TB. Pricing starts at $1,499.99, with availability in July.

Lenovo currently has two main laptop brands: the mass-market IdeaPad, and the high-end/corporate ThinkPad line, with the latter honoring the IBM ThinkPad legacy with their black cases and red TrackPoint mice. To these, the company is adding a third range: ThinkBook. These are intended for small and medium business customers, and they arguably split the difference between the IdeaPad and ThinkPad lines. They have business-friendly features: Windows 10 Pro, a good amount of field serviceability and commercial support options, and buttons for Skype calls. They lack the ThinkPad's TrackPoint and aren't quite as thin or light as comparable ThinkPad machines.

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Posted in augmented reality, hardware, headset, Laptops, Lenovo, PCs, Tech, ThinkPad, wearables | Comments (0)

Amazon to employees: Quit your job, we’ll help you start a delivery business

May 13th, 2019
Amazon boxes in a warehouse.

Enlarge / Completed customer orders are seen in their boxes, awaiting delivery, at the Amazon Fulfillment Centre on November 14, 2018, in Hemel Hempstead, England. (credit: Leon Neal/Getty Images)

In efforts to fulfill orders faster, Amazon will help some employees transition to entrepreneurial life. An expansion of its Delivery Service Partner program, the new initiative will give Amazon employees funding to start their own businesses delivering packages for the online retail giant.

Amazon employees who take the plunge will receive funding for "startup costs, up to $10,000, as well as the equivalent of three months of the former employee’s last gross salary." According to the announcement, Amazon developed the new arm of the program to help employees who are interested in the Delivery Service Partner program but need assistance during the transition process.

The program is reportedly open to a variety of Amazon employees including warehouse workers. However, Whole Foods employees are not eligible to participate in the program.

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Posted in amazon, Amazon Prime, Biz & IT, online shopping, Prime, Shipping, Tech | Comments (0)

Garmin Forerunner 245 Music review: New features, better price, few sacrifices

May 12th, 2019
Garmin Forerunner 245 Music review: New features, better price, few sacrifices

Enlarge (credit: Valentina Palladino)

Runners have a lot to be excited about when it comes to Garmin's revamped family of Forerunner smartwatches. Now starting at $199, the Forerunner family contains six devices that should serve all levels of runner—from novice to expert. The $299 Forerunner 245 and 245 Music sit right in the middle of the lineup, taking design elements from the friendlier Vivoactive series and capabilities from the higher-end Forerunner devices and mashing them up to make a mid-range device that will likely appeal to many athletes. Its price and feature set also prep the Forerunner 245 Music to compete with the Apple Watch and Fitbit's Ionic.

But even if Garmin somewhat simplified the Forerunner family in its latest update, picking the best device for your needs and budget still takes a bit of deciphering. By nature of it sitting in the middle, the Forerunner 245 duo begs to be the default option for most runners—but key features that it lacks may push some consumers to the more expensive $449 Forerunner 645. We tested out the Forerunner 245 Music to see how well it stands up to the Forerunner 645 Music and where users need to make sacrifices to have the new smartwatch work for them.

Compared to the Forerunner 645

Before we dive into the new features brought over to the Forerunner 245 Music from other Garmin wearables, let's talk about what the device cannot do. Garmin omitted a few things to widen the gap between this new device and the Forerunner 645 duo (regular and Music), and the most glaring omission is that of the barometric altimeter. The Forerunner 645 devices have it, but the Forerunner 245 devices do not—that means the new devices cannot track stairs climbed or measure elevation as accurately while hiking.

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Posted in apple watch, Fitbit, fitbit ionic, fitness watch, forerunner, forerunner 245 music, Garmin, smartwatchf, Tech, vivosmart | Comments (0)

Ubuntu 19.04: The Disco Dingo arrives and will really make your IT dept. happy

May 12th, 2019
Behold, the default desktop for the latest Canonical release: Ubuntu 19.04, gloriously nicknamed "Disco Dingo."

Enlarge / Behold, the default desktop for the latest Canonical release: Ubuntu 19.04, gloriously nicknamed "Disco Dingo." (credit: Scott Gilbertson)

Canonical recently released Ubuntu 19.04, the latest version of its flagship GNOME-based Linux desktop. But if you're a desktop user, you might be feeling a little left out.

The big points of emphasis in this latest release are on Ubuntu as a tool for infrastructure development, server deployment, and the good old Internet of Things. For the server version of Ubuntu, the OS ships with all the latest cloud computing tools. In fact, that's already available in optimized builds on the major cloud services.

Elsewhere, the latest version of the venerable Ubuntu desktop packs quite a few additional, tempting reasons to upgrade for Linux gamers. Ubuntu 19.04 makes the leap to the Linux kernel 5.x series, for instance, which offers much improved graphics support.

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Posted in Biz & IT, Features, linux, Tech, Ubuntu | Comments (0)

Microsoft: The open source company

May 10th, 2019
Microsoft: The open source company

Enlarge

The news from Microsoft's Build developer conference that surprised me most was that Microsoft will ship a genuine Linux kernel—GPLed, with all patches published—with Windows. That announcement was made with the announcement of Windows Terminal, a new front-end for command-line programs on Windows that will, among other things, support tabs.

Microsoft's increased involvement with open source software isn't new, as projects such as Visual Studio Code and the .NET runtime have operated as open source, community-driven projects. But this week's announcements felt a bit different.

The Linux kernel will be powering Microsoft's second generation Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL). The first generation WSL contains a partial re-implementation of the Linux kernel API that uses the Windows NT kernel to perform its functionality. In choosing this approach, Microsoft avoided using any actual Linux code, and hence the company avoided the GPL license with its "viral" stipulations that would have arguably forced Microsoft to open source WSL and perhaps even parts of Windows itself.

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Posted in development, GPL, linux, microsoft, Open Source, Tech, Windows | Comments (0)