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Google Home becomes an Extra Kitchen Helper

Google Home becomes an Extra Kitchen Helper

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Google Home is getting an upgrade with the launch of a “start cooking” command. The home system already provides independent cooking recipe integrations. All that is needed is for the user to select their desired recipe from their mobile and select “Send to Google Home”. The recipe will then be loaded onto the system for whenever you need to cook.

Once the kitchen is set up and you are good to go, just say “OK Google, start cooking”. This launches Google Home to provide you with step-by-step instructions. The system is also able to multitask so you don’t have to only have it recite your recipe but also play music, answer questions from the Assistant as well.

The recipe database supports Bon Appetit, The New York Times, Food Network and much more. These are already big name databases so it shouldn’t be too difficult to find your desired recipe or something new and exciting.

Google Home is useful for various tasks including: acting as a timer, providing measurements, and answering your questions. To add the ability to provide step by step instructions is a great addition for chefs who own Google Home. The new feature is set to roll out starting this week.

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Google Play Store “My Apps & Games” Section Receives Rework

Google Play Store “My Apps & Games” Section Receives Rework

If you have not noticed yet, Google released an update that revamped the Google Play stores “My Apps & Games” section. The UI is now a lot more cleaner and simplified while showing more detailed information.

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Each line or card is now thinner so users can see more of the applications up front. The Update All function remains but now an Update function button is available beside each app to simplify matters. This change now enables users to skip having to click on the app in order to individually update the app.

The latest version of the Play Store has a better system of organisation for the apps contained. Apps are categorized into four different sect  ions: apps that require updates, apps already installed, apps associated with the user and then there are beta apps.

The Beta Apps section will not be shown if you have not downloaded and installed any beta apps.

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The update tab remains even if all apps are up to date. Beside each app on the cards show when the apps last got updated. This can please many users as it is a positive step towards a more transparent updating process. Installed apps can now also be automatically rearranged alphabetically, by date, by last used time frame, and by the size of the app.

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Overall the new update enables an easier access to already downloaded apps. The My Apps & Games section has a lot more utility now.

Xiaomi Mi 6 has the Same Specs as the Samsung Galaxy S8 for Half the Cost

Xiaomi Mi 6 has the Same Specs as the Samsung Galaxy S8 for Half the Cost

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The Chinese electronics company Xiaomi unveiled their latest flagship smartphone, the Mi 6. As tradition of Xiaomi the smartphone packs in high end components that rival the likes of the Galaxy S8. Sure, it isn’t perfect and it is missing a lot of other hardware components that the more premium Galaxy S8 boasts, but for about half the cost of the high end S8 what is not to like?

The Xiaomi Mi 6 features a Snapdragon 835 processing chip which is also found in the Galaxy S8, 6 GB’s of RAM, 64 GB’s of internal storage and a 12 megapixel dual camera setup on the back. There is also a decent 3,350 mAh battery pack, stereo speaker, and a USB-C port at the bottom.

Quick Specs Sheet:

  • Dimensions
    • 145.2 x 70.5 x 7.5 mm (5.72 x 2.78 x 0.30 in)
    • 168 g / 182 g (Ceramic) (6.42 oz)
    • Dual SIM
  • Display
    • IPS LCD 1080p display (1920 x 1080) (~428 ppi pixel density)
    • 5.15 inch
  • Platform
    • Android v7.1.1 (MIUI 8.0)
    • Snapdragon 835 CPU
    • Adreno 540 GPU
  • Memory
    • 64 / 128 GB internal
    • 6 GB RAM
  • Camera
    • Dual 12 MP (27mm f1.8 OIS 4-Axis stabilisation + 52mm f2.6)
    • Front facing 8 MP camera capable of 1080p video
  • Features
    • No 3.5mm headphone jack
    • Bluetooth 5.0 A2DP
    • USB-C
    • Quick Charge 3.0
    • 3,350 mAh Battery

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The phone is certainly shaped up to be competitive on paper and in terms of performance. The most compelling part of the deal is the price which Xiaomi says their entry-level Mi 6 will start at about $365 which then goes up to $435 if you opt for a higher grade version. They will have a nice looking ceramic back panel variant in the high tier. The Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus begins around 750$ US.

The Mi 6 will not have Samsung’s Infinity Display which eliminates the majority of the bezels, nor will it have Samsung’s pressure sensitive home button beneath the display. The display itself will also be a lot sharper and high quality on the Galaxy phones compared to the Mi 6. The Xiaomi Mi 6 features a standard-yet-outdated design language that we have seen in a box phone for quite a few years. This does not mean that the phone has a premium build. It has a glass and metal frame with a 5.15inch 1080p display. The Mi 6 is not bezeless as their other device, the Mi Mix. The Mi 6 also forgoes the 3.5mm headphone jack (it must have taken a lot of courage, Apple knows this well). In contrast, Samsung made the wiser decision of keeping the 3.5mm headphone jack as it supports a near infinite selection of music accessories.
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Another little snag would be availability. Xiaomi has not been keen on releasing their models in the West side of the world. What ever hype or expectation the masses had has all but been extinguished by now. It seems that Xiaomi is having difficulty in expanding their business reach further out. Since it’s explosive popularity online in 2014 sales have been taking a nose dive due to a drop in online sales which is Xiaomi’s preferred method of business. The company is now looking to India to spur growth. jpg (2) jpg (3)   jpg (1)

 

 

Samsung Releasing Update to Fix Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus Red Tint Issue

Samsung Releasing Update to Fix Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus Red Tint Issue

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The Galaxy S8 and S8+ officially launches today (April. 21) here in Canada, but for some users who already have their hands on these devices around the world have noticed a strange red tint on the display.

Samsung was quick to respond and provide an explanation on April 18th. The red tint is not a quality-related defect of the device but a software calibration related topic. Samsung has stated that they plan to release an update that claims to fix this issue for all.

Most s8 and s8+’s did not see this problem but the incoming update will be applied to all models regardless. The update will increase the colour range of the S8 and S8+’s display and also supplement the colour optimisation function.

Users can also go to the settings menu, search for “colour balance” and adjust the setting to remove the tint problem.

The update is expected to arrive in the coming weeks.

 

Huawei P10 and P10 Plus Shows Slower Memory Speeds compared to others

Huawei P10 and P10 Plus Shows Slower Memory Speeds compared to others

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The reason why some Huawei P10’s and P10 Plus’ seem to be clocking in lower speeds compared to other units is due to supply chain problems. Due to a serious shortage of flash memory chips in the supply chain there is a miscture of eMMC and UFS memory chips inside the P10 units, stated Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei Business Group via a message on Weibo.

There are some P10 devices that are experiencing speeds of 250MB/s while others experience 750MB/s thanks to a faster memory chip. Yu did claim that a future software update should remedy this problem, bringing P10 units running on 250MB/s up to speed with similar devices. Unfortunately, we cannot see how software updates can make up for the 500MB/s difference between the two. There are many hardware differences as well.

Amidst heavy criticism, Richard Yu fought back stating that the competitors are making this a bigger issue than it is in hopes to taint the Chinese company’s name.

Yu stated, “we would never do such a despicable thing as cutting corners.”

The P10 and P10 Plus are the first Huawei flagship models that are coming in to Canada. The hope is that Huawei will be able to fix this problem before the launch date in the first week of June.

The BlackBerry KEYone Release Date Delayed to May

The BlackBerry KEYone Release Date Delayed to May

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The latest smartphone from BlackBerry, the KEYone, was expected to arrive in April but this dream was crushed with recent tweets from Steve Cistulli, general manager of TCL Communication’s NA. He quoted,

“Production is underway, but we want to be certain we can meet our customer demands and avoid disappointing stock-outs 4” and “Therefore the U.S. and Canadian KEYone launches will be in May 5/”.

Company CEO John Chen had to announce the delay during their company fiscal Q4 2017 earnings call. He stated that the phone would ship sometime after May. TCL, the Chinese firm that partnered with Blackberry to manufacture nd market the phones across the globe is expected to start producing the devices beginning at the end of April.

John Chen quoted, “We just launched two phones, or we helped our partners launch two phones. One in Indonesia and that one is shipping already. The second one, that TCL announced at Mobile World Congress which is the physical keyboard on an Android, that one is not going to be slated to ship until probably the May timeframe. I think the first manufacturing production run is at the end of April. So the product looks pretty good, but the worldwide availability is going to be later than May.”

No further details were provided on Canadian pricing and availability. Blackberry Keyone Unlock Code
The KEYone was unveiled at the Mobile World Congress in February which boasts a 4.5 inch 1620 x 1080 display, a Snapdragon 625 processor, a 3,505 mAh battery and a full physical QWERTY keyboard.

Google Play Music is now the Default Music App on Samsung Devices

Google Play Music is now the Default Music App on Samsung Devices

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The Perks that Google is throwing in for Samsung customer’s include a three month trial and the ability to upload 100,000 songs to stream on Play Music.

A renewed effort is seen on the horizon as Google and Samsung, two of the most biggest tech giants in the world, take on a cooperative approach to try and increase usage for their own software’s; Bixby from Samsung and Play Music from Google. The partnership mean’s that the stock music player in your new Galaxy S8 or new Galaxy tablet will be Google Play Music. This new partnership begins with the Galaxy S8 and S8+ and will include exclusive features for Samsung customers. This includes a three month trial to Play Music subscriptions. The offer is only available to non-subscribers and New Subscribers. Samsung users will have the ability to upload and stream 100,000 songs online to Play Music for streaming play back.

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Google makes big efforts to compete against the likes of Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music and others with their partnership with Samsung. Technically, this partnership began one year ago on the S7 and S7 Edge where Google Play Music was the default app in those devices as well. This was due in part to Samsung trying to eliminate duplicate applications in their devices.

Users will be able to still download (from the Samsung store) a regular music app called Samsung Music to play back local offline content on your SD card or internal storage.

Google has also promised to provide even more “special features” in Google Play Music exclusively for Samsung customers. Google is also furthering interest by integrating Samsung’s Bixby into their music software. This essentially enables users to command Bixby to play back music from Google Play Music services. Bixby is estimated to be ready for launch by this spring.

 

Samsung S8 Dual Camera Proto-Type leaked

Samsung S8 Dual Camera Prototype leaked

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Samsung has been experimenting with alternative versions of the Samsung Galaxy S8. An image showing the Galaxy S8 with a Dual Camera set up leaked online which indicates that Samsung has been considering such an offering. Samsung stated that the company did not include dual-camera capabilities in this years offering because “Samsung has not found real value for it yet.” Regardless, Samsung did indeed slap together prototypes to entertain the idea. The image was leaked online thanks to a Weibo leaker.

The information shown do not reveal a great amount. However, it does suggest that Samsung is considering the feature in future iterations. This can ultimately move the awkwardly placed finger print sensor around to a more convenient spot on the back or even possibly under the display at the front.

Experimentation opens doors for the company to create something remarkable in the near future and that is what we are expecting from Samsung. Samsung is certainly not eliminating the idea of utilizing a dual camera solution. Today, Samsung is taking its chances on its already fantastic single lens set up which provides awesome low light performance for a smartphone. Especially considering today’s competition in the dual camera set up, it is not exactly exciting yet so Samsung does not feel rushed. Samsung also stated that including an advanced dual camera set up would require more of everything (from CPU, RAM to more complex lens setups) which sounds like something they can include into the Note 8 that is to come.

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Possible Reasons Why Samsung didn’t upgrade the main camera on the S8

Possible Reasons Why Samsung didn’t upgrade the main camera on the S8

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With the introduction of the next best from Samsung; the S8 and S8 Plus introduces a fantastic “infinity display” that eliminates most of the bezel’s on the phone, alongside a blazing fast Qualcomm SoC built on Samsung’s latest 10nm FinFeTT process and much more. One big notable point is the main camera. It remains largely unchanged from last years S7 Edge. Don’t get us wrong, we aren’t really complaining here because the S7 Edge still has, hands down, one of the best cameras on the market still today. But why? Let us dive a bit deeper.

A representative from SamMobile did point out that the S8 seems to utilize a new image chip though the megapixels and features seem largely the same. Samsung did not make any big sales pitches on it during the unveiling. It still has that fantastic f/1.7 aperture for fast low light photography and the module still captures brilliant colors and detailed images.

Again, during the unveiling, Samsung did not spend much time but rather brushed on the topic of it’s camera. This is quite unusual compared to past unboxing keynote events. Previously Samsung would spend a great deal of time touting all sorts of new tricks their camera could do. Even back when they announced the S4 the keynote was accompanied by a super awkward live skit of people pretending to use the phone’s camera in their choreography.

What has changed, however, is the front facing camera. We see a bump from 5 MP up to an 8 mega-pixel camera with an added feature: Auto Focus. The S7 Edge’s 5 MP front facing camera was already a big winner and has been receiving countless awards and praise from critics and users alike. Now that Samsung added autofocus we are quite excited to see what amazing results would start popping up online. The AF (autofocus) function will be able to detect faces in the front facing camera and focus on them all to prevent a blurry face.

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A big theory that we have in terms of why Samsung decided to play out their 2016 camera module for another year could be also found in the DSLR / Mirrorless camera market. Manufacturer’s in the DSLR and Mirrorless camera market do not provide massive upgrades every year as the market would stagnate with a lack of innovation. Great photo’s aren’t necessarily provided by the newest bodies or even lens’. Not even innovation could help a poor photo sometimes. No we believe that rather, Samsung is taking a back seat on an already fantastic award winning image sensor. We believe the next big upgrade will arrive on the Note 8. This can fall in line with what president of Samsung Mobile, DJ KOH, also mentioned. He mentioned that he would bring back the Note in a more safer, more innovative, and more powerful way.

Almost all the leading smartphone manufacturers are utilizing a 12 to 16 MP main cameras with most of them already with apertures of f2.0 or faster. Almost all phone’s now do the same thing, take consistently good photos without too much effort. The camera is becoming less and less of a factor in the buying process of a new smartphone. The only upgrade we know of is on the software front with the Galaxy S8. This increases speed, performance and now combines three images to give a highly detailed final image. Instead of the best specs, we are seeing manufacturers try to be “unique” in how they introduce their camera system on their flagship smartphones now. This includes Google who made a huge emphasis on software performance for increased image quality (IQ), and with Apple who added on a secondary “telephoto-ish” lens with a slower aperture that takes tighter shots (as an added bonus for users to use). LG also added a secondary camera that is used for ultra wide angles. It is becoming increasingly difficult to really judge who’s image quality is the best. It is possible that Samsung is heading in a direction that Google has begun treading upon already: software. By tweaking and innovating on the software front, manufacturers are able to find new ways to make an already existing (yet still fantastic) image sensor do something beyond what it’s limitations are supposed to be.

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Software advancement and innovation gave Google the edge in low light photography with their Pixel line. Using Pixel’s HDR+ mode users are able to produce images that would have normally been under exposed, noisy, with less detail (due to lack of light). Google truly nailed it there.

Normally, the traditional Samsung used their Note line (that usually comes out in late August) to introduce revolutionary tech. We hope that the Note 8 would come out with some new camera technology on top of others to really differentiate itself from the competition. While it seems that Samsung is exercising well timed patience with the Galaxy S8 line up we are excited to see what the company has in store for the rest of the year.