Instead, worried at hurt feelings and a vague possibility of retribution, I apologised.Not my proudest moment, but I can still listen to it – my pathetic wheedling – because the robot recorded, saved and uploaded it to the cloud.Unlike rivals such as Apple s Siri, Microsoft s Cortana and Google Now, it is a physical presence: a 20cm-tall black cylinder, about the size of two Coke cans, which contains Wi-Fi, two speakers, seven microphones and connects to the cloud.When you say Alexa , the wake word , the cylinder top glows blue and speaks with a silky female voice.An Irish friend jokingly branded Alexa a partitionist bitch for saying Ireland had 26 counties the Republic, yes, but include Northern Ireland and it s 32 .Alexa, I said, I m sorry if I offended you.
Samsung SmartThings Hub and sensors Photograph: SamsungThe Internet of Things – where seemingly ordinary devices connect to each other and the internet to make them more than the sum of their parts think fridges that know when you re out of milk and then order more for you – is still more a concept than a reality for many.Samsung s SmartThings hub hopes to be that central pin that connects them all.Photograph: Samuel Gibbs for the GuardianIt supports home-network based devices, plugging into your router to control them through fixed or Wi-Fi networks, as well as two of the most broadly used wireless home-automation standards, ZigBee and Z-Wave.It means that the Hub can talk to almost every product currently available on the market that doesn t use an isolated proprietary system.
I ask her where she is and as she explains, I reach as far as I can across the countertop for a pen.I take my laptop, Google the address, add better directions to my notes and head outside to my 1989 pick-up truck whose most recent technological feature is a cassette player and drive over.I didn t just cancel cellular service and keep the smartphone for Wi-Fi fun, nor did I downgrade to a flip phone to simplify ; I opted out entirely.It makes a woman feel rich.When friends found out, I was told it was as insane a decision as leaving a rent-controlled apartment.But I was tired of my world existing through a black screen and even more tired of being contacted whenever anyone or any bot felt like it.
The AK T1's inputs include microSD, USB, optical and auxiliary, plus streaming over Ethernet, Wi-Fi and BluetoothThis article was first published in the June 2016 issue of WIRED magazine.Its first all-in-one home media system now lets you share the sound by integrating its 24-bit/8-192kHz audiophile-quality sample rate into a 100cm-tall speaker tower.The six speakers are driven by a hybrid amplifier system.An analogue amp delivers crisp highs to the tweeters; a rich midrange and deep bass for the subwoofers comes courtesy of a digital system.£2,499The 6.2kg bar is 100 x 13.1 x 12.5cm, and was created by Torsten Valeur, who has been designing Bang and Olufsen products since 1997A pair of centrally placed four-inch bass drivers coupled with a three-quarter-inch tweeter on either end give this characteristically stylish Bang & Olufsen all-in-one system a balanced but room-filling sound.Integrated streaming services including Spotify, Deezer and TuneIn can be controlled from the device's touchscreen, the remote or the BeoMusic app.
MoreThe logo for LinkedIn Corporation, a social networking networking website for people in professional occupations, is shown in Mountain View, California February 6, 2013."We're really focused on using what LinkedIn is already good at," said Maryam Ghofraniha, the company's head of global partnerships.In 2013, apartment-letting website Airbnb launched a tool allowing its hosts to offer free accommodation to disaster survivors and people aiding them.This week San Francisco-based tech firm Open Garden - which has collaborated with OCHA - will launch an emergency alerting service that enables organizations to reach people on their smartphones even when cellular networks and internet access are unavailable.Now it provides other essentials for war-hit Syrians on the move: mobile phone charging and wi-fi points.For more on the World Humanitarian Summit, please visit: Reporting by Magdalena Mis; additional reporting by Megan Rowling in Barcelona; editing by Ros Russell; Please credit Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women s rights, corruption and climate change.
Google today launched a new video calling app called Duo, as a sort of companion to the new Allo messaging app that was also introduced today at the Google I/O developer conference in Mountain View, California.Duo calls are end-to-end encrypted, said Google engineering manager Eric Kay.But the feature that makes Duo stand out most from other mobile-friendly video calling services — including Skype, Facebook Messenger, and Facebook s WhatsApp, not to mention Google s own Hangouts — is something called Knock Knock.It s a live video stream of the caller before you ve even picked up, Kay said.You not only see who s calling, but what they re up to and why they re calling.A smile, a beach, and a newborn baby can all draw you into the moment, making calls feel spontaneous and natural, and once you pick up Duo it puts you right into the call.Like Hangouts, Duo video calls run on top of WebRTC.Duo relies on a fairly new Google protocol called QUIC for quick UDP Internet connections , and it can perform a seamless handoff of calls between Wi-Fi and cellular connections, Kay said.One thing Duo doesn t have is support for calls between more than two phone lines.The app will become available on Android and iOS this summer, Kay said.
Google today unveiled Android Wear 2.0, which the company is calling the most significant update to Android Wear since the platform launched over two years ago.Android Wear product manager Jeff Chang promised there would be multiple previews over the summer, with the final release to users slated for the fall.Android Wear 2.0 brings a slew of improvements for both developers and users.It covers the new navigation drawer swipe down in an app and action drawer swipe up in an app components in the Wearable support library and guidance on adopting the new dark color palette.Android Wear apps will now finally be able to access the Internet directly over Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or cellular.Yes, that means they don t need to rely on the Data Layer APIs, meaning they no longer require your phone.If this sounds familiar, you re probably remembering the Android Wear update in April 2015 that let you get notifications, send messages, and use apps as long as your smartwatch was online.As a result, developers can now even create their own custom input methods.Last but not least, messages have a new notification template, which is also available on phones and tablets using Android N. The template s layout is supposedly optimized for quick and responsive messaging, as Google has found that this is the app type that is used the most on watches.It s now easier to develop apps that use fitness data and detect activity.That includes Data Saver, Java 8 Lambda support, and emojis.The new Android N developer preview also launched today at I/O 2016, and you can read about features that arrived in the first two previews here and here.Singleton expects the vast majority of Android Wear watches will eventually get Android Wear 2.0.
Both apps will be available later this summer.It s encrypted, and based on your phone number.Duo works wherever you are, Kay said, and it proactively monitors network quality several times a second and switches seamlessly between Wi-Fi and cellular.Duo also has an interesting and potentially controversial feature: Knock Knock, which shows you a live video stream of the caller before the connection is actually initiated.Not only can you see who s calling, but why they re calling, and what they re up to: A smile, a beach, a newborn baby, Kay said.Here s a closer look at the experience:What does this mean for Google Hangouts, Google s existing video app?
Both apps will be available later this summer.It s encrypted, and based on your phone number.Duo works wherever you are, Kay said, and it proactively monitors network quality several times a second and switches seamlessly between Wi-Fi and cellular.Duo also has an interesting and potentially controversial feature: Knock Knock, which shows you a live video stream of the caller before the connection is actually initiated.Not only can you see who s calling, but why they re calling, and what they re up to: A smile, a beach, a newborn baby, Kay said.Here s a closer look at the experience:What does this mean for Google Hangouts, Google s existing video app?
It's one of the last big football matches of the 2015-16 season, and carries added intrigue as Liverpool look to stop Sevilla from winning its third European cup final on the trot.Related: How to live stream the Google I/O 2016 keynote – including in VRWant to watch the match?As BT Sport secured the rights to both the Champion's League and Europa League to the tune of nearly £1 billion, the match is only being shown on TV on BT Sport Europe and BT Sport Ultra HD – so you won't be able to tune in if you've just got a basic BT Sport package.Coverage starts at 6:30pm UK time ahead of a 7:45pm kick-off.As it's available to stream via YouTube, that also means that you can easily tune in from your mobile device if need be – just follow the same link and pray for decent Wi-Fi or 4G coverage.WATCH: We explain the easiest ways to improve your Wi-Fi signalHave you jumped over to BT Sport or are you sticking with Sky?
Or it might just be boring and basic.It s a companion app to the company s messaging app Allo, and it s similarly mobile-only:After opening the app, you re presented with a front-facing camera preview of yourself.You can then select who you want to call by scrolling through your contacts.But if it seems overly simple, that s by design.Duo comes with some neat features, like the ability to flip between wi-fi and cellular service without losing the call.Google, says Duo will be released later this summer, and will be available for both iOS and Android.
Google IO 2016 RecapThe tech community was waiting with bated breath ahead of this year s Google I/O event, but I don t think anyone expected it to be quite as action-packed as it was.It will also let you control connected devices within the home, and you ll be able to cast content with the speaker as well.Duo also switches seamlessly between cellular and Wi-Fi connections, and it manages video and audio in real-time to adjust quality on the fly when available bandwidth increases or decreases.Performance and graphics improvements are a big part of Android N, which is extremely important when you consider how much smoother iOS still is despite all of the multi-core processors and gobs of RAM on leading Android phones.Moving on to the app switcher screen, Android will automatically remove apps from the UI when it determines the app is no longer needed.Unicode 9 emoji will also be supported in Android N, complete with support for all skin tones.
The iPhone SE isn't Apple's most premium iPhone — it costs $400, comes with a tiny 4-inch screen, and uses a chassis design that's four years old.But there's one area where it blows the iPhone 6S away: battery life.The iPhone 6S only managed 7.45 hours.Turns out, the iPhone SE's smaller screen paired with its modern processor results in a phone that can last a long time on a single charge.Apple even hired the publication's founder, Anand Lal Shimpi, in 2014.Unfortunately, Anandtech didn't compare the SE to the iPhone 6S Plus, which also boasts better battery life than the iPhone 6S, thanks to its larger battery.Still, the finding lines up with other reviewers' impressions as well as Apple's own official marketing, which claims the iPhone SE has the best battery life for web-browsing usage of all three current-generation iPhones.On paper, Apple says the 6S Plus can last up to 12 hours on Wi-Fi, while the 5SE will last up to 13 hours on Wi-Fi.You can read the entire Anandtech iPhone SE review here.
Outside of the the cost-saving arguments, there are still some good reasons to opt for a player that sticks to 'standard' Blu-ray discs.Being priced higher than all other entry-level Blu-ray decks isn't the negative it could be, but the DMP-BDT160 lacks WiFi which might be a problem for you because the optional WiFi dongle costs about £50, while the step-up DMP-BDT260 - which merely adds WiFi - costs just £109.But if WiFi isn't important and you're looking for the best quality images, and perhaps Netflix and BBC iPlayer for good measure, the DMP-BDT160 is a good option.This player will upscale both DVDs and standard Blu-ray discs to 4K with impressive results, and can even upscale audio to 24-bit/192kHz as well as handling a full suite of hi-res audio formats.Panasonic DMP-BDT360The DMP-BDT360 is a classic mid-range option that will suit owners of 3D TVs as well as those after some specific apps and Wi-Fi.Its bright, contemporary GUI is a pleasure to use and makes setting up and multimedia playback an absolute doddle.
Google unveiled a new video calling application named Duo that will compete with Apple Inc. s FaceTime.Duo will work on both Android and Apple Inc. s iOS mobile operating system and is designed to adjust to slower, low-bandwidth networks, said Erik Kay, a product manager for Google, during a presentation at the company s IO developer conference Wednesday.It is encrypted and switches automatically between Wi-Fi and cellular networks, he added."We obsessed over every last detail of video transmission," Kay said."It has a feature named Knock Knock that shows a live video of the caller upfront, letting the receiver see who is calling and what they re doing.That s part of Google s goal to draw people into more conversations over its services, said Kay.Duo works with Allo, a new mobile messaging app, that includes an artificially intelligent digital assistant and Google s search engine.The two new offerings may help Google compete with Apple s FaceTime video calling service and Facebook Inc. s messaging services WhatsApp and Messenger.Google, the main division of Alphabet Inc., has lagged behind rivals in messaging and broader communications apps in recent years.
The update gives the UI a comprehensive Material Design-themed overhaul, enables compatible watches to do more without a phone attached, introduces some new input methods to make communication easier, and copies one of the things that the Apple Watch gets right.And since it s based on Android N, it picks up support for features like Data Saver, Java 8, and new emoji, among other platform features.Apple doesn t offer full-fledged smartwatch APIs for Wear to hook into, and so using Wear with an iPhone is an inherently limited experience; with standalone apps, watches will be able to communicate directly over the Internet using Wi-Fi or your iPhone s LTE connection, skirting around the API problem that currently makes Wear on iOS so lackluster.These complications should obviate the need for purpose-built weather or fitness-related watch faces, among others.Some of these are really only of interest to developers—watch apps can automatically be notified and updated when Fit data changes, rather than having to query for updates constantly.We won t know more details for sure until the finished version of Android Wear 2.0 is released this fall, presumably around the same time that the final Android N code is released to Nexus devices and the AOSP repositories.
Google just announced Google Home, a smart home appliance that consumers can speak to and do things like order food, play music, and get updates on traffic and weather.The sleek, speaker-shaped device is Google's highly anticipated answer to Amazon's increasingly popular Echo product.Google didn't announce a price for the device, which is set to launch later this year.The Amazon Echo costs $179.99.Onstage at the Google I/O conference, Google CEO Sundar Pichai credited Amazon with building excitement for the idea of a home gadget that can answer your questions.Here's our first look at Google Home:Home is a stand-alone hardware product, but it's based on another new Google service that Google announced on Wednesday: Google Assistant, a voice-based, digital assistant that's similar to Apple's Siri, or the Alexa virtual assistant at the heart of the Amazon Echo gadget.Google wants to put its new Assistant service across a variety of new products.But one of the most high-profile incarnations of the virtual assistant will be in the Home gadget.Home will be able to play music as a Wi-Fi speaker as well as answer your questions based on Google Search.The company said users would be able to customize that baseplate to match their home's color scheme and decor.Home will also integrate with the smash-hit Google Chromecast and other Google Cast-compatible devices, so you can control video and other speakers with your voice.It will integrate with Nest smart thermostats and other connected gadgets.NOW WATCH: How to see everything Google knows about youLoading video...
A screenshot of Allo's predictive replies.The messenger has a wide variety of stickers you can exchange with others, and the Whisper Shout function lets users decide how big or small they'd like to send their message to give the impression of volume NO MORE ALL CAPS WHEN YOU'RE SHOUTING!!!!!OpenTable, for instance, is working with Allo to help users make reservations at a restaurant if they're talking about going there later that evening.The app was built by the WebRTC team using a new protocol called Quic.Duo is supposed to work in low-bandwidth situations to minimize video lag frustration.The app proactively monitors the connection and degrades performance, Google said, adding that it can switch from Wi-Fi to cellular as needed.
HTC had a busy week in announcing the One M9, A9, and of course 10 will be first in line to get Android N when it exits beta.Credit: Jason CrossYou can forgive software teams everywhere for being a little distracted this week by all the news coming out of Google I/O.Frankly, we re still trying to get the taste of the terrible hot dogs and sad French fries out of our mouth.Each week, we compile all the major software updates to hit the Android ecosystem, including phones and tablets on U.S. carriers, unlocked phones, Android Wear smartwatches, and Android TV devices.HTCHTC 10: This phone is relatively new to the wild, but there s already a software update that improves camera performance, Wi-Fi stability, and fixes other bugs.HTC says you should connect to Wi-Fi and expect at least 20 minutes for the update process.
Google has just had its 2016 annual developer conference and a number of exciting new innovations were announced.Here are the most interesting takeawaysGoogle just had its 2016 Google I/O developer conference and a lot of exciting stuff has been announced, although some of the predictions about what was expected to be covered haven't quite come true, and instead, the internet giant has managed to surprise the tech industry with new technologies and innovations to existing products.Google also says that it has improved the Google Assistant to provide even better search that provides accurate answers immediately and works better than existing assistants on the market.Then there's Duo, which offers instant video calling that is also end-to-end encrypted and offers a much better video quality by proactively monitoring network quality several times a second and seamlessly switches between data and Wi-Fi.A demo showing the new Daydream VR controller being used to wave a magic wand in a VR game appA demonstration of the controller in action playing games looks really positive and Google says that users will also be able to watch IMAX films as immersive experiences on Daydream as well as enjoying watching all standard videos from YouTube in a new way.A key part of this is its improved Vulkan graphics processor, as well as the new Just In Time JIT compiler, which is able to install apps 75% faster and reduce the size of compiled code by 50%.