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Opinionated news and reviews of consumer electronics
Copyright Ubergizmo 2004-2018

 
 
1. California Could Be Considering Taxing Texting04:50[−]

It seems that residents of California might be able to expect their text messages to cost more than before. This is because the state’s Public Utilities Commission is considering a plan in which your text messages could get taxed, potentially resulting in higher text messaging rates by carriers.

As pointed out by Engadget, the idea behind this tax dates back to the 90s where the US government implemented a Public Purpose Program. This program put a surcharge on all phone users, in which that additional money would be used to support other programs aimed at helping low income earners.

However given that voice calls are made less these days, thanks to users texting each other and/or leaving voice notes, revenues for the program have fallen by about a third, and conversely the budget for supporting low income earners has increased by 50%. By taxing text messages and classifying it under the same category as voice calls, it could help raise $44.5 million a year.

Carriers are reportedly not too thrilled by this program, but it should be noted that it is not set in stone yet as the FCC will vote on the measure come January 10, 2019. It should also be noted that this only applies to text messages, like SMS. Since other services like iMessage, WhatsApp, Messenger, LINE, Telegram, and etc. are sent over the internet, they won’t be taxed.

California Could Be Considering Taxing Texting , original content from Ubergizmo. Read our Copyrights and terms of use.

2. Apple Wants To Make Group FaceTime Audio More Realistic04:50[−]

One of the new features Apple introduced in the latest update to iOS and macOS is group FaceTime calls. This is a long overdue feature that has been promised for years, and is finally available. However we imagine that like with most group video/audio chats, this can get messy when multiple people talk at once.

However in a recently discovered patent by AppleInsider, it seems that Apple is exploring ways to process the audio in group FaceTime calls that will allow users to better discern who is talking, kind of like if you were in the same room where sounds can come from a variety of directions based on where that person is facing.

Based on the patent, Apple is suggesting that the calls from each caller be split up into separate channels. These channels are then fed into a system that is designed to simulate a virtual audio environment. This will help create the appropriate acoustic properties of the listener’s local environment, giving the feeling that the other members of the FaceTime call are in the room with them.

It is unclear if Apple has plans to make this patent a reality, although we suppose this will also largely depend on how popular group FaceTime calls prove to be, which will determine whether or not Apple will want to devote more resources into it, but for the most part it does sound like a pretty good idea.

Apple Wants To Make Group FaceTime Audio More Realistic , original content from Ubergizmo. Read our Copyrights and terms of use.

3. One In 10 Americans Expected To Own A Smartwatch In 201904:49[−]

According to the shipment figures, wearable technology like smartwatches appear to be on the rise, with companies such as Apple shipping more units of their Apple Watch than they did in the previous year. So much so that according to market research firm eMarketer, it could get to the point where one in 10 Americans could own a wearable in 2019.

eMarketer forecasting analyst Cindy Liu was quoted as saying, “Continuous improvements in design and functionality are key drivers of smartwatch adoption. Specifically, LTE connectivity will be a huge driver, as it allows smartwatch users to stay connected while leaving their phones behind.”

The company also thinks that older Americans will be the group of consumers that will actually make up the majority of those who adopt smartwatches. They cite health features that apparently make it more appealing to the older crowd. Devices like the Apple Watch come with features like a heart rate monitor that can alert the user to high or low heart rates, a fall detection feature that can make SOS calls, and also a built-in ECG which could have already saved its first life.

Whether or not these figures are accurate remains to be seen, but like we said, the increase in the number of shipments certainly seems to point towards wearables gaining in popularity.

One In 10 Americans Expected To Own A Smartwatch In 2019 , original content from Ubergizmo. Read our Copyrights and terms of use.

4. Tynker Junior Uses Games To Help Kids Understand Coding Fundamentals04:48[−]

There are multiple programming languages out there today depending on which platform you are coding on. However underlying all those languages is a fundamental concept which involves being able to understand problem solving, and that’s what Tynker is hoping to impart with its new app Tynker Junior.

The app does not rely on walls of text or technical manuals to impart the basics of coding, and will actually rely on games. This makes it ideal for kids who might not necessarily have the patience or understanding to go through text-based instructions. Instead the app will use what Tynker calls “age appropriate” features, such as large picture-based blocks that makes it easier for kids to tap.

It will also be tap-to-solve based meaning that younger kids won’t need to struggle (and get frustrated) with trying to drag and drop. There are also voice-over features for stories and puzzles for younger kids who might not be able to read so well just yet. This is actually not the first time Tynker has attempted to launch an app that teaches kids how code, and they are also not the first to try and use games and toys to impart programming fundamentals to children.

The app will be free to download and get started, but will later require a subscription fee of $0.99 a month, or $9.99 a year, and will also be exclusive for iOS devices. According to Tynker CTO, Srini Mandyam, “At Tynker, we believe that kids of all ages should develop the critical thinking skills needed to become the ‘makers of tomorrow’. We are very excited to launch Tynker Junior so that a whole new age group of children can begin to develop fundamental STEM skills that will serve them well as they progress in school and ultimately prepare for 21st century careers, in both technical and non-technical fields.”

Tynker Junior Uses Games To Help Kids Understand Coding Fundamentals , original content from Ubergizmo. Read our Copyrights and terms of use.

5. Google Pledges Not To Sell Its Facial Recognition Technology (For Now)04:47[−]

Companies like Google have developed a variety of hi-tech tools, and just like tool like a hammer or a knife, what it can be used for is up to the person using it, although admittedly sometimes certain tools do seem ripe for abuse. So much so that Google has announced that they will be holding off on selling their facial recognition technology.

In a post on its website where the company talked about how their use of AI and facial recognition tech has found plenty of use in the medical industry, they admit that it could be used for abusive and harmful outcomes, is why they have stated that they will not be making its tech available for sale.

According to Google, “However, like many technologies with multiple uses, facial recognition merits careful consideration to ensure its use is aligned with our principles and values, and avoids abuse and harmful outcomes. We continue to work with many organizations to identify and address these challenges, and unlike some other companies, Google Cloud has chosen not to offer general-purpose facial recognition APIs before working through important technology and policy questions.”

Google had previously come under fire when it was discovered that the company had taken on a military contract where its AI could be used to potentially identify targets for drones. Google has since promised not to use its AI for weapons for surveillance systems, and also stated that they would not be renewing their military AI contracts.

Google Pledges Not To Sell Its Facial Recognition Technology (For Now) , original content from Ubergizmo. Read our Copyrights and terms of use.

6. Google Chromebooks Gets Better Screen Time Management Features03:06[−]

If you’re looking for a better way to manage screen time on Chromebooks, you’ll be pleased to learn that in an update to Chrome OS, Google has rolled out better screen time management features to the laptop. Prior to this, Chromebooks did come with parental controls although they were a bit limited.

However in the update, Google is bringing some of their Digital Wellbeing initiatives that they introduced to Android to Chromebooks. This includes being able to set screen time limits and bedtime hours, so if your kid uses a Chromebook, these are some the limitations that you can put into place to ensure that they don’t spend too long in front of the screen than necessary.

There will be notifications to tell the user to “Take a break” once the allotted screen time is up, along with a “Come back” time that lets them know when they can use it again. Of course all these limitations can be bypassed via the Family Link app which parents can control when necessary.

Parents will also be able to better whitelist and manage websites that they deem are safe for their kids to visit, along with what kind of Android apps are available for download. There will be review and approval processes put into place for installs, and manage in-app purchases.

Google Chromebooks Gets Better Screen Time Management Features , original content from Ubergizmo. Read our Copyrights and terms of use.

7. Philips Hue Bulbs Can Now Stay Off During A Power Surge03:05[−]

Power surges and blackouts can happen from time to time for a variety of reasons. However the problem with such instances is that if you rely on connected objects like smart light bulbs, they can turn themselves back on when the power is back. This can be a bit problematic if you’re not home or if it’s in the middle of the night and everyone’s sleeping.

However in an update to the Philips Hue app, it seems that Philips is now giving users more options when it comes to controlling their lights. Basically the new option gives users more control over what happens in the event of a power outage, where upon the power returning, users can choose the state of their lights, such as returning to its previous settings.

So for example if you had it off before, it will stay off and won’t revert back to on once the power is back. Philips has confirmed that the rollout for the support of the “power on” option will take place towards the end of the year, and that this will be applicable to all the official Hue lamps that the company has since released. So if you are encountering issues with bulbs not being supported, try giving it some time as the update might not have reached your particular device just yet.

Philips Hue Bulbs Can Now Stay Off During A Power Surge , original content from Ubergizmo. Read our Copyrights and terms of use.

8. Apple Music Connect Will Be Shutting Down In 201903:05[−]

Musicians and bands already have their own social media pages like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram where they post updates like tour dates, new album releases, new music videos, and so on. Apple attempted to create its own social network with Apple Music Connect, but it looks like that experiment has since failed and will be shutting down.

In a report from 9to5Mac, Apple has been sending emails to artists informing them that Connect will be shutting down, although they have phrased it as their attempts to “streamline”. “Today we’re streamlining music discovery by removing Connect posts from Artist Pages and For You. This means you’ll no longer be able to post to Connect as of December 13, 2018, but all previously uploaded content will still be searchable until May 24, 2019. You can still create Artist Playlists with the latest version of Apple Music.”

If you have been using Apple’s services for a long time now, you might recall that this is actually the company’s second attempt at launching a social network related to music. Back in 2010, Apple launched a service called Ping which allowed users to follow their favorite artists to get updates on them, although much like Connect, Ping was a short-lived experiment as well.

That being said, Apple Music is still very much one of the more popular music streaming services around. Last we heard, the platform had managed to amass about 56 million subscribers, and considering that Apple Music has no free tier (save for the free trial), that’s a lot of money Apple is raking in on a monthly basis.

Apple Music Connect Will Be Shutting Down In 2019 , original content from Ubergizmo. Read our Copyrights and terms of use.

9. Half Of Switch Owners Have Bought Zelda, Mario Kart, & Super Mario Odyssey03:03[−]

Nintendo has a stable of classic franchises that are almost always guaranteed to do well whenever they launch. This is why it doesn’t really come as a surprise to learn that half of Nintendo Switch owners own a copy of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, and/or Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.

This is according to Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime who spoke to IGN about the attachment rate for some of the company’s flagship titles. “Those three games continue to attach to hardware at better than 50 percent. Just think about that. For everyone who owns a system, more than one out of every two have bought Zelda, more than one out of every two have bought Kart, more than one out of every two have bought Odyssey. That’s never happened in U.S. video game history.”

Fils-Aime also talked about the company’s plan for the future, where they are hoping to maintain a steady release of games to keep up their momentum. “We’ve launched many systems, we’ve seen what works in driving a system forward. We’ve seen where we’ve lost momentum, and a critical component is having a great cadence of launches, and as you highlight, we have a number of key franchises teed up for next year.”

So far the Switch has been selling very well, along with its flagship games such as the recently-launched Super Smash Bros. Ultimate which managed to sell 1.23 million units in Japan in three days.

Half Of Switch Owners Have Bought Zelda, Mario Kart, & Super Mario Odyssey , original content from Ubergizmo. Read our Copyrights and terms of use.

10. Unofficial Apple Music Player For The Web Launches03:02[−]

We’re sure that Apple would love for everyone to sign up with Apple Music. However the service isn’t available for all platforms, such as Linux where iTunes isn’t available, meaning that Linux users who want to listen to iTunes will need to rely on their phones. That’s one of the main reasons why Redditor NaveedGol decided to make a web version of Apple Music.

Available via PlayAppleMusic.com, this is the unofficial Apple Music player for the web. Now we know that Apple Music can be accessed via the web via widgets that artists can embed on their websites, but this version seems to be able to pull the entire Apple Music library and put it on the web, and if you sign in with your Apple ID, you’ll be able to access your own personal library and playlists as well.

We’re not sure about the legality of such an endeavor, but one of the comments on the post points out that due to the name of the domain, it might run into some legal issues where Apple could contest the name where they would most likely win as well. The OP has stated their plans to eventually change the domain and is currently trying to think up names for it. However you can still go ahead and keep using the current domain as when the new domain launches, users will be redirected to it instead.

In the meantime the launch of this unofficial player has us wondering why Apple doesn’t have a web player to begin with. Platforms such as Spotify and Tidal both allow access via the web, and we imagine that more users, such as Linux users, would sign up for Apple Music if similar conveniences were made, although at the same time we suppose Apple is trying to get users to download its iTunes software which makes perfect sense.

Unofficial Apple Music Player For The Web Launches , original content from Ubergizmo. Read our Copyrights and terms of use.

11. Google Maps Will Now Surface Lime Scooters And Bikes For TransitЧт., 13 дек.[−]


Electric bikes and scooters are increasingly being adopted as cheaper means of urban transportation in cities across the United States. They can help you get someplace where it would take you 15 minutes to walk in half the time. You may have to wait for much longer to catch the next bus or get a ride-share, so to plug that last mile, Google Maps will show scooters and bikes from Lime as a transit option in supported cities.

Google has teamed up with Lime so that Maps can show nearby scooters, pedal bikes, and e-bikes as a transportation option within the app in 13 cities across the globe. Users just navigate to their destination and tap on the transit icon to see Lime options nearby.

If a Lime bike or scooter is available, the app will show them how long it will take to walk to that vehicle, how much the ride could cost, and what would their total journey time and ETA would be.

Tapping on the Lime card would open the app where the exact location of the vehicle would be marked and from where it can be unlocked. Those who don’t have the app installed will be taken to the App Store on iOS and Play Store on Android first.

Lime scooters and bikes will be visible in Google Maps in Auckland, Austin, Baltimore, Brisbane (AU), Dallas, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, San Diego, Oakland, San Antonio, San Jose, Scottsdale, and Seattle initially. More cities will be added down the road.

Google Maps Will Now Surface Lime Scooters And Bikes For Transit , original content from Ubergizmo. Read our Copyrights and terms of use.

12. Amazon Free Holiday Shipping Offer ExtendedЧт., 13 дек.[−]


Amazon announced its free holiday shipping promotion last month. It waived the minimum purchase requirement for an order to qualify for free shipping for those who are not subscribed to Prime. Customers in the United States normally have to spend $25 to qualify for free standard shipping. This requirement was waived until December 14th. Amazon has now extended the deadline.

Amazon’s free holiday shipping promotion came in response to competitors like Target which is offering free two-day shipping until December 22nd.

Amazon today confirmed that it has extended its free holiday shipping promotion through December 18th. Customers who place their orders by then are guaranteed to receive them in time for Christmas.

The company also announced that free one-day shipping and free same-day delivery has been expanded to more than 10,000 cities this year for Amazon Prime members. This means that members will be able to shop for gifts up until December 24th.

Moreover, with Prime Now, customers in around 30 cities across the United States will be able to order items as late as 9:15 p.m. local time or earlier. The extension in these days will go well with Amazon customers who may want to get some last minute shopping done online before the upcoming holidays.

Amazon Free Holiday Shipping Offer Extended , original content from Ubergizmo. Read our Copyrights and terms of use.

13. Google Launches Diabetic Eye Disease Screening AI ProgramЧт., 13 дек.[−]


Google today announced that it has launched an artificial intelligence program in Thailand. The program’s purpose will be to screen for a diabetic eye disease that can cause permanent blindness. The company has previously launched a similar program in India. These programs are meant to showcase the social benefits of artificial intelligence.

“As a society, we have a responsibility to use AI in the best possible way,” said Kent Walker, Google’s Senior Vice President for Global Affairs, in a speech at a Google event in Bangkok earlier today.

The company has announced this program in Thailand in collaboration with Rajavithi Hospital, a state-run entity. The program follows a joint study which revealed that the AI program has an accuracy rate of 95 percent when detecting the disease compared to 74 percent from eye doctors or opticians. It looks at the patients’ eye screen results to determine if they’re at lisk of permanent blindness. Early detection leaves with time for pre-emptive treatment.

Thailand has the right conditions for a project of this sort. Ravajithi Hospital’s assistant director Paisan Ruamviboonsuk mentioned that the country only has around 1,400 eye doctors for the estimated five million diabetic patients in the country who are all at a risk of permanent blindness.

Google Launches Diabetic Eye Disease Screening AI Program , original content from Ubergizmo. Read our Copyrights and terms of use.

14. Shenzhen Boasts The World’s First Fully Electric Bus FleetЧт., 13 дек.[−]


Shenzhen is one of the biggest cities in China. It’s a business hub, one that has its sights set firmly on becoming a global business leader in the future. It’s also leading in some other respects. Shenzhen now has the world’s largest fully electric bus fleet. All 16,000 buses in this megacity are fully electric.

There used to be a time when diesel buses used to rule the road. You could hear them coming down the road owing to that distinctive growl of a big, thirsty diesel engine. You’d certainly smell them too since the fumes would also announce their arrival.

Those buses have since been replaced with the world’s first fully electric fleet. More than 16,000 buses in total are fully electric. They are significantly quieter and generate no emissions.

“We find that the buses are so quiet that people might not hear them coming,” Shenzhen Bus Group deputy general manager Joseph Ma said. He adds that city’s largest bus company has received requests to add some artificial noise so that people can actually hear them. Shenzhen Bus Group is considering the proposal.

According to the company’s estimates, the fully electric bus fleet has enabled them to conserve 160,000 tonnes of coal per year and cut down the annual CO2 emissions by 440,000 tonnes. Not to mention that the fuel bill has been cut significantly as well.

The city also wants all taxis to be fully electric as well. All of the 22,000 taxis in Shenzhen are required to switch to electric before the end of this month. The Shenzhen Bus Company has already switched all of its 4,600 taxis to electric well ahead of the deadline.

Shenzhen Boasts The World’s First Fully Electric Bus Fleet , original content from Ubergizmo. Read our Copyrights and terms of use.

15. SoftBank May Replace Network Equipment From HuaweiЧт., 13 дек.[−]


Huawei’s network equipment business appears to be in a bit of pickle these days. Amid growing concerns that the equipment may allow the Chinese government to carry out spying operations, mobile carriers in a couple of countries have decided against sourcing them from Huawei. A new report claims that Japan’s SoftBank is now considering replacing the Huawei equipment on its network.

SoftBank already sources some equipment from both European suppliers. It also has the longest running relationship with Huawei of any top Japanese telecommunications provider.

Nikkei reported today that SoftBank is planning to replace the 4K network equipment from Huawei with hardware from Ericsson and Nokia. It’s not surprising to hear this following the increased scrutiny of Huawei by the United States. The country has reportedly been leaning on its allies to shun Huawei equipment as well.

SoftBank is the third largest telecommunications company in Japan. The report mentions that not only is the company planning to replace the existing Huawei equipment, it’s also going to source the equipment for its 5G network from Nokia and Ericsson instead of Huawei.

The company itself hasn’t confirmed or denied such a move at this point in time. A spokesperson for SoftBank said that the Nikkei report was “based on speculation and no decision has been made.”

SoftBank May Replace Network Equipment From Huawei , original content from Ubergizmo. Read our Copyrights and terms of use.

16. Nintendo Won’t Restock NES And SNES Classic Mini ConsolesЧт., 13 дек.[−]


Nintendo hit its fans with a heavy dose of nostalgia in 2016 with the NES Classic mini console. It followed that up with the SNES Classic in 2017. Supplies have almost always remained tight, more so during the holiday season, and if you’ve been thinking about picking one you might want to get your hands on one soon before supplies run out. That’s because Nintendo has said that once they do run out, these mini consoles won’t be restocked.

Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime provided this confirmation in an interview with THR. This is the first year that both the NES Classic and SNES Classic are available in the same holiday season.

There are countless stories about how hard it can often be to find either of these two consoles. Supplies have remained tight and they run out fairly quickly. Nintendo has at times released more stock in the market but availability hasn’t been as flush as some would have liked.

It now seems that Nintendo is going to stop pumping more stock into the market altogether. “We’ve also been clear that, at least from an Americas perspective, these products are going to be available through the holiday season and once they sell out, they’re gone. And that’s it,” Fils-Aime said.

He also mentioned that Nintendo doesn’t have any plans right now to release more Classic Mini consoles. If fans want to continue playing its classic games, they will have to use the classic games program of Nintendo Switch Online.

Nintendo Won’t Restock NES And SNES Classic Mini Consoles , original content from Ubergizmo. Read our Copyrights and terms of use.

17. Samsung Patches Bug That Allowed Full Take Over Of User AccountsЧт., 13 дек.[−]


A security researcher found a bug on Samsung’s website which could have allowed hackers to fully take over a user account just by tricking the user into clicking on a malicious link. The vulnerability was reported to Samsung earlier this month by Ukrainian bug bounty hunter Artem Moskowsky.

ZDNet reports that at the heart of this vulnerability is something that’s referred to in the online security industry as cross-site request forgery exploit. What this exploit allows hackers to do is to trick their target’s browser into running hidden commands on other sites the user is logged into while they’re on an attacker’s site.

Moskowsky actually discovered three cross-site request forgery-related issues in the company’s account management system. The first would have enabled attackers to change the profile details of their target. The second would have let them disable two factor authentication and the third would have allowed a change of the security question. It’s the third one that could have potentially been used to take over accounts.

The attacker could have tricked the user into clicking on a malicious link which would have changed their security question and its answer. A password recovery could thus be initiated with the compromised security question to gain access. Samsung quickly patched the bugs after they were reported by the security researcher. The company awarded Moskowsky $13,300 for his disclosures.

Samsung Patches Bug That Allowed Full Take Over Of User Accounts , original content from Ubergizmo. Read our Copyrights and terms of use.

18. NASA’s InSight Lander Sends A Selfie From MarsЧт., 13 дек.[−]


NASA InSight lander’s selfie game is literally out of this world. It recently arrived on the Red Planet and to prove that it is indeed chilling up there on Mars, it has sent a selfie which shows the lander in all its glory. The image was posted on NASA’s official Twitter account.

NASA’s InSight robot landed on Mars late last month. It had quite a bit of a travel day heading there from Earth. The lander was moving through space for six months before it finally arrives on November 26th. This happened to be NASA’s first Martian landing since 2012.

Taking the selfie wasn’t exactly a one-second job for the lander. It had to take 11 images with a camera that’s attached to its robotic arm and then stitch those images together to create what you see above.

This isn’t the first NASA robot to send selfies down to Earth from Mars. The Curiosity rover has done it many times before. The image shows off the InSight’s solar panels in all of their glory. Some of the science equipment onboard the robot can be seen in the image as well.

The equipment includes a probe that can measure the heat flowing out of the planet’s interior, a seismometer to measure quakes on Mars in addition to storms and meteorite impacts. There’s also a pair of antennas onboard that can track the wobble of the Mars North Pole.

NASA’s InSight Lander Sends A Selfie From Mars , original content from Ubergizmo. Read our Copyrights and terms of use.

19. Scientists Will Soon Drill Into An Ancient Antarctic LakeЧт., 13 дек.[−]


Lake Mercer is a subglacial body of water that is believed to have formed thousands of years ago. It’s beneath 4,000 of Antarctic ice and is without a doubt one of the most isolated lakes on this planet. Scientists will soon be drilling into it so that they can explore this ancient lake and its contents as part of a project called Subglacial Antarctic Lakes Scientific Access or SALSA.

The SALSA project aims to find out more information about the many subglacial lakes in Antarctica. That are some 400 such lakes that are known to exist. The scientists will first be exploring one of the largest subglacial lakes in this part of the world called Lake Mercer.

The scientists are going to bore through 4,000 feet of ice with a 60-centimeter-wide drill hot water-capped drill. They will be extracting mud and water samples. A remotely operated vehicle will be deployed as well which is a first for a subglacial lake.

This project aims to study how water might flow in and out of these reservoirs buried under heavy ice. They will be looking for clues on how life and to survive in such conditions and the environmental factors that led to the formation of these lakes.

Scientists Will Soon Drill Into An Ancient Antarctic Lake , original content from Ubergizmo. Read our Copyrights and terms of use.

20. Huawei P30 Pro May Feature Curved And Notched OLED DisplayЧт., 13 дек.[−]


Huawei is done with its flagship product launches for 2018 and many of its fans are now looking forward to the upcoming models of its P series. There haven’t been a lot of rumors about these devices just yet. A source in the know suggests that the Huawei P30 Pro is going to have a curved OLED display with a notch.

China-based leakster @UniverseIce claims that the P30 Pro is going to feature a curved OLED display supplied by either LG or BOE. While some have claimed that this device will also have a hole in the display for the front camera, this source suggests otherwise.

Notches were a major trend in the smartphone market this year. It was a solution for companies that wanted to expand the screen sizes on their devices. The notch would sit the middle and house the front camera and sensors.

The hole in display technology does away with the notch by drilling a hole in the panel itself to accommodate the front camera. Samsung and Huawei have both unveiled devices with this technology already. However, the P30 Pro is still believed to have a notch as of now, so it may not jump on the display hole bandwagon just yet.

Who knows, it may change in the coming months, it’s still a bit soon to be sure about what the Huawei P30 and P30 Pro will bring to the table.

Huawei P30 Pro May Feature Curved And Notched OLED Display , original content from Ubergizmo. Read our Copyrights and terms of use.

21. Xiaomi Confirms Mi Mix 3 UK Launch For 2019Чт., 13 дек.[−]


Xiaomi hasn’t rapidly expanded outside China and other Asian countries but it has been taking concrete steps to improve its brand recognition in the West. It recently launched a couple of handsets in the United Kingdom alongside other accessories and smart products. The company has now confirmed that it will launch the Mi Mix 3 in the United Kingdom.

Xiaomi considers the United Kingdom an important market for its expansion into the West. The company even has a flagship retail store in the capital city of London to position itself as a serious contender in the smartphone market.

The Mi 8 Pro is currently the best device that Xiaomi has on offer in the UK but that’s going to change starting early next month. That’s because the company will be launching the latest Mi Mix 3 high-end device in the country.

There’s obviously no saying right now how much this device will cost in the United Kingdom, but given the company’s aggressive pricing strategy both at home and abroad, it’s certainly going to be cheaper from other high-end models made by the likes of Samsung. What Xiaomi hasn’t confirmed at this point in time is that if it’s going to offer the 5G variant of the Mi Mix 3 that it received showed off in the country as well next year.

Xiaomi Confirms Mi Mix 3 UK Launch For 2019 , original content from Ubergizmo. Read our Copyrights and terms of use.

22. Motorola One And Moto X4 Android Pie Update Released In The U.S.Чт., 13 дек.[−]


Motorola has reached out to confirm that it’s now releasing the much awaited Android 9 Pie update for the Motorola One and Moto X4 in the United States. The successor to Oreo brings a variety of new features to these handsets. That’s in addition to the user interface improvements introduced by the company. Motorola has also updated the official support page on its website to reflect the roll out of this update.

The Motorola One and Moto X4 Android Pie update brings new features such as Intuitive Navigation and an improved Do Not Disturb mode. Android Pie also delivers improvements for the battery life, a revamped split-screen mode, and other enhancements.

User interface tweaks include a redesigned Quick Settings, more simple volume controls, easier notification management, and more. Aside from the Android Pie update, the Moto X4 will also receive the Alexa Hands-Free feature before the end of this year. This experience will work with the Amazon Alexa app and will let users access features like messaging and calling hands free.

It has been a few hours since Motorola started rolling out the Pie update for the aforementioned devices in the United States. Those who haven’t received an over-the-air update notification as yet can expect to get one in the near future.

Motorola One And Moto X4 Android Pie Update Released In The U.S. , original content from Ubergizmo. Read our Copyrights and terms of use.

23. Fortnite’s Cross-Platform Tools Offered To Other Developers For FreeЧт., 13 дек.[−]


Fortnite battle royale is a massive cross-platform hit. The title is available on a variety of gaming and mobile platforms. The underlying software infrastructure which supports this cross-platform behemoth is quite complex and Epic would be justified in keeping it closed. It’s not doing that, though, as Epic has said that it’s going to offer all of the underlying software and tools to other developers for free.

Epic Games has confirmed that the infrastructure and tools that enable the cross-platform capability of this title will be offered to other game developers for free. The tools include the capability to sync player profiles and in-game purchases between platforms, cross-platform matchmaking, voice communication, and other features.

“Throughout 2019, we’ll be launching a large set of cross-platform game services originally built for Fortnite, and battle-tested with 200,000,000 players across seven platforms,” it said in an official announcement, adding that these services will be free for all developers. They will also be open to all platforms, engines, and even all stores.

Epic won’t make developers list games using those tools on its newly launched online games store. Developers are free to mix and match solutions from Epic and others. It promises that all services are going to be operated in a ” privacy-friendly, GDPR-compliant manner.”

Fortnite’s Cross-Platform Tools Offered To Other Developers For Free , original content from Ubergizmo. Read our Copyrights and terms of use.

24. Opera For Android Now Has A Cryptocurrency WalletЧт., 13 дек.[−]


Opera had confirmed earlier this year that it would build a cryptocurrency wallet inside its Android browser. The company has followed through on that promise and confirmed today that the latest version of its browser does indeed come with a cryptocurrency wallet. The announcement was made at a blockchain event in London today.

The latest version of Opera for Android comes with a built-in crypto wallet. It will enable users to make transactions online and also securely store their digital tokens within the browser itself.

The Opera browser’s cryptocurrency wallet only supports Ethereum at launch but it goes without saying that support will be added for other coins in due course. This feature isn’t available on the iOS version of the browser just yet.

“We’ve decided to support Ethereum, as it has the largest community of developers building Dapps and has gathered a lot of momentum behind it,” Opera Crypto product manager Charles Hamel explained.

Users can get started with the cryptocurrency wallet by first downloading the latest version of the Opera browser for Android. They will obviously need to have some Ethereum tokens to store inside the wallet. If they don’t have any tokens, they’ll have to purchase them first.

Opera For Android Now Has A Cryptocurrency Wallet , original content from Ubergizmo. Read our Copyrights and terms of use.

25. Apple Setting Up A $1 Billion New Campus In AustinЧт., 13 дек.[−]


Apple today announced a significant expansion of its U.S. operations. The company is setting up a new campus in Austin which it values at $1 billion. It also announced plans to build new sites in Culver City, Seattle, San Diego in addition to expanding in cities across the country including Pittsburgh, New York and Boulder over the next three years.

Apple already has two facilities in Austin and its new $1 billion campus will be located less than a mile from them. Spanning over 133 acres, it will initially accommodate 5,000 additional employees while having the capacity to grow to 15,000. This campus is expected to make Apple the largest private employer in Austin.

The jobs that will be created at this new campus will include various functions such as finance, R&D, engineering, sales, and customer support. Apple already employs some 6,200 people in Austin which is the largest population of Apple employees outside its Cupertino headquarters. The new campus is going to have 50 acres of preserved open space and in a similar fashion to Apple’s facilities across the globe, it will be powered by 100 percent renewable energy.

In addition to the new campus, Apple is looking to grow its employee base in the country over the next three years. It will bring in over 1,000 employees in Seattle, San Diego and Culver City each while hundreds of jobs will be added in Pittsburgh, New York, Boulder, Boston, and Portland.

Apple Setting Up A $1 Billion New Campus In Austin , original content from Ubergizmo. Read our Copyrights and terms of use.

26. YouTube’s Rewind 2018 Is The Most Disliked Video EverЧт., 13 дек.[−]

Throughout the year, there are various videos that manage to achieve iconic status or have gone viral, and this is pretty much what YouTube tries to highlight with their “Rewind” videos that showcases some of the biggest and most popular videos of the year. Unfortunately it seems that for the company’s Rewind 2018 video, it has managed to end up being the most disliked video on YouTube ever.

Prior to this, that “honor” belonged to Justin Bieber’s Baby which accumulated 9.8 million dislikes since the video’s release. However with YouTube Rewind 2018, it managed to rack up 10 million dislikes in less than two weeks. It is unclear as to why everyone seems to be hating on the video, but it has been suggested that it could be because YouTube has opted not to include certain videos that gained notoriety earlier this year.

Some of you might recall that YouTuber Logan Paul managed to attract a lot of unwanted attention earlier this year for his filming of a dead body in Japan’s “suicide forest”. There was also the boxing match between Paul and another YouTube KSI that managed to garner a ton of attention but also did not make the cut, along with other videos from PewDiePie, who has also managed to court a lot of controversy in recent times.

As a result, some have speculated that the dislikes could be coming from the millions of fans of these YouTubers who are disliking the video to protest their omission. In any case if you have some time to spare, maybe you might want to check out the video if you haven’t done so already.

YouTube’s Rewind 2018 Is The Most Disliked Video Ever , original content from Ubergizmo. Read our Copyrights and terms of use.

27. Netflix Testing Instant Scene-Replay FeatureЧт., 13 дек.[−]

Scrubbing on Netflix isn’t quite as easy compared to using apps such as VLC. This is because Netflix is streamed which means that when you try to scrub, it will need to pull that data from that particular point in the stream, and depending on your connection, could either be a fast or slow experience.

However according to a report from the LA Times, it seems that Netflix is now testing out a new feature which will allow users to instantly replay a particular scene that they were watching. How it works is that during certain scenes in a movie or a TV show, the feature will pop up that will give users the option to replay it.

This means that these scenes have been decided by someone to be “key” scenes that might be worth rewatching, and unfortunately this only seems to apply to a selection of Netflix’s original shows and licensed content, meaning that their entire library won’t get this feature, at least not yet.

Netflix has since confirmed that this feature is indeed in testing and may or may not roll it out in the future. “We’re trying out a feature which gives Netflix members the ability to rewatch favorite scenes and memorable moments with the click of a button. Right now we’re just looking to learn from it and may or may not roll it out more broadly in the future.”

Netflix Testing Instant Scene-Replay Feature , original content from Ubergizmo. Read our Copyrights and terms of use.

28. Google CEO Admits Fears Surrounding AI Are ‘Very Legitimate’Чт., 13 дек.[−]

AI in theory sounds great. A computer that can think for you and anticipate your needs and detect things that humans might otherwise miss, sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? However from what we have seen in the movies, a computer thinking for itself could lead to bad things, and these are some of the fears that some in the tech industry have talked about.

In fact during a recent interview with The Washington Post, Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai admits that fear surrounding AI is one that is “very legitimate”. According to Pichai, he believes that there needs to be certain ethical guardrails to be put into a place, as well as discussions on how such technology could be abused.

He adds, “I think tech has to realize it just can’t build it and then fix it. I think that doesn’t work.” He also spoke about the need for companies to self-regulate. “Regulating a technology in its early days is hard, but I do think companies should self-regulate. This is why we’ve tried hard to articulate a set of AI principles. We may not have gotten everything right, but we thought it was important to start a conversation.”

Like we said, Pichai isn’t alone in his concerns about AI. Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk has expressed his own concerns in the past, along with Bill Gates and also the late Stephen Hawking. There are also various organizations that have been created that aim to help keep AI beneficial.

Google CEO Admits Fears Surrounding AI Are ‘Very Legitimate’ , original content from Ubergizmo. Read our Copyrights and terms of use.

29. Vitamin Water Bets $100,000 You Can’t Ditch Your Smartphone For A YearЧт., 13 дек.[−]

Smartphone addiction is a very real thing and there are many who can’t seem to put their phones down. Companies like Apple, Facebook, and Google have come up with various tools to let users restrict themselves or their kids and also highlight how long they’ve been on their phones, but how helpful these tools are is still unclear.

However Vitamin Water thinks they might have the solution and are betting $100,000 that users can’t stay off their phones for a year. The company has basically issued a challenge in which if you are interested, you can take part and stay off your phone for an entire year, in which if you are successful in doing so, you will walk away with a cool $100,000.

It is unclear as to how they will monitor your phone usage, but if you are successful, there will be a $100,000 prize waiting for you at the end of it. The rules state that you cannot use a smartphone or tablet belonging to someone else either, but computers like desktops and laptops are okay. Smart devices like the Amazon Echo or Google Home are still okay to be used.

There also seems to be a consolation prize of sorts where if you can last at least six months, you walk away with $10,000 instead. If this sounds like something you might be interested in, head on over to Vitamin Water’s website for the details. Submissions to enter the competition will be open until the 8th of January, 2019.

Vitamin Water Bets $100,000 You Can’t Ditch Your Smartphone For A Year , original content from Ubergizmo. Read our Copyrights and terms of use.

30. Microsoft 365 For Consumers Reportedly In The WorksЧт., 13 дек.[−]

Last time when you wanted to purchase a software, you’d pay for it one time and you’d be done. The only downside is that whenever new major versions are released, you’d have to pay for those to get the upgrades. However these days companies are starting to offer up subscriptions, where for a monthly/annual fee, you can get all the upgrades for “free”.

This was something that Microsoft was going for with the Microsoft 365 bundle which was aimed at enterprise users, but now according to a report from ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley, it seems that Microsoft 365 for consumers could be in the works. This is according to job listings that calls for a product manager for “M365 Consumer Subscription”, with the job description reading, “The Subscription Product Marketing team is a new team being created to build and scale the Microsoft 365 Consumer Subscription.”

It is unclear what the difference between the enterprise and consumer versions will be, but presumably it might contain the consumer version of certain softwares. For those unfamiliar, Microsoft 365 is a subscription bundle similar to Office 365, but will contain Windows 10, Office 365, Enterprise Mobility Security, and more, making it a more complete bundle compared to just subscribing to Office 365.

Of course whether or not consumers will need such a subscription bundle is unclear, but it is expected to be made available as an option for users who might see the value in it. Windows is expected to continue to be bundled for “free” with new computers, so it’s not as if this subscription will change that.

Microsoft 365 For Consumers Reportedly In The Works , original content from Ubergizmo. Read our Copyrights and terms of use.


 
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