Many living room media players support headphones to let one person watch videos without disrupting anyone. But that’s not how it always works. What if you want to watch Netflix with your spouse when the kids are sleeping, or catch up on YouTube with a friend while your roommate is studying? Roku will have you covered. On top of its new support for live news, it’s promising a Roku OS 8.1 update that enables private listening for up to four additional people using the company’s Android and iOS apps. That’s not enough to support a big house party, but it’ll probably handle most instances when you want to keep quiet.
The 8.1 release will come in May as a staggered release that will take weeks to complete. While that could be an agonizing wait, it’ll give Roku a decided advantage over competitors that limit you to solo listening for those late night sessions. It won’t be surprising if competitors follow suit.
Pandora has dragged its heels expanding its Premium service beyond mobile — a web player only arrived in February, nearly a year after the mobile launch. But now it’s opening up its offerings further still. From today, you’ll be able to use the streaming service on Xbox One while you’re gaming.
It’ll work in much the same way as it does on web and mobile — search and play your favorite albums, create the perfect gaming playlist and so on — but with a couple of new features. The Xbox One version has a refreshed look, making it easier to navigate your music collection, and includes background audio support and an autoplay function that means you’ll never be left sitting in silence when your gaming gets too intense to pause and find something else to listen to.
Xbox One fans don’t have a huge amount of choice when it comes to on-demand background-streaming music services. Since Groove — which was first on the scene — is no more, Pandora’s main rival Spotify has taken the top spot. Whether Pandora will overtake Spotify as the gamer’s streaming service of choice is yet to be seen, but its arrival on Xbox One certainly increases competition between the two.
If there’s one thing streaming video watchers love, it’s free stuff. So it wasn’t a huge surprise to see Roku launch a free ad-supported movie channel of its own last year. Now, it’s adding news coverage to that selection, starting with ABC News Live, the network’s first stab at a 24/7 online offering. And on top of that, there will also be live streams from Cheddar, People TV and Newsy. Sure, it may seem like what’s old is new again, but it’s a smart move for Roku, since it makes its streaming platform much more useful for consumers. And more importantly, it gives them one more reason to stick around.
With ABC News Live, the network hopes to provide continuous coverage of breaking news from all over the world. There will be on-air talent, of course, but it’ll also incorporate footage from its shows, like a relevant Good Morning America segment. You’ll be able to watch the channel on ABC’s website and mobile apps, but Roku’s platform will be its exclusive home on streaming devices. Roku is planning to deliver the live news channels through a phased roll out in May.
“Our ambition is not to recast cable, but to reinvent what a 24/7 news channel can look like today,” said Colby Smith, ABC News’ VP of digital, in an interview with Engadget. Naturally, the network hopes to entice younger viewers who are probably more used to streaming video than cable. While the content didn’t look much different than standard cable news coverage, based on our demo, that’s exactly the point. Now, Roku customers won’t need a subscription to the likes of Sling TV to enjoy a steady flow of news.
Amazon Key’s in-home delivery is all well and good (assuming you trust it in the first place), but there’s an obvious caveat: you have to go home to get your package. Now, you might not even have to go to that trouble. Amazon has launched a Key In-Car service that, as you can guess, lets couriers deliver packages to the trunk of your vehicle as long as it’s in a publicly accessible parking space. You’ll need a 2015 or newer GM-made or Volvo car with an internet-savvy account (OnStar or Volvo On Call), but after that it’s relatively seamless: the delivery driver requests access to your car, and you’ll get a notification when the package has been dropped off and your car is relocked.
Crucially, the driver never gets a special code or key, so they won’t have access to your vehicle beyond a given delivery. Amazon also checks that the driver is in the right location and carrying the right package. You shouldn’t have to worry about a malicious driver using this as an excuse to swipe your ride.
The service is live for Prime subscribers in 37 cities around the US, and doesn’t carry an extra charge. As with existing options like Key and Prime Now, Amazon isn’t shy about its strategy here: it wants to be the fastest and most convenient option for your orders, particularly when you can’t be home. And there’s plenty of competitive pressure to do this — Walmart has been speeding up its own delivery process, and it won’t be surprising if in-car deliveries quickly become more than a novelty.
Source: Amazon (1), (2)
After first launching the “Amazon Key” service for users to allow delivery people to enter their home and drop off packages, Amazon today has revealed the expansion of the platform into “Amazon Key In-Car.” Now, when Prime members in select cities checkout on Amazon, they will be able to choose an in-car delivery option.
The company says that the service is available at no extra cost for Prime members, and it is limited to certain vehicle brands: Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac and Volvo. Users can check their vehicle’s eligibility on Amazon.com, and then download the Amazon Key iOS app [Direct Link] to complete setup.
“Since launching Amazon Key last November, we’ve safely delivered everything from cameras to collectable coins inside the home. Customers have also told us they love features like keyless guest access and being able to monitor their front door from anywhere with the Amazon Key App,” said Peter Larsen, Vice President of Delivery Technology, Amazon.
“In-car delivery gives customers that same peace of mind and allows them to take the Amazon experience with them. And, with no additional hardware or devices required, customers can start ordering in-car delivery today.”
Afterwards, customers shop as normal on Amazon.com or in the Amazon mobile apps, select an eligible address, and then choose in-car delivery at checkout. The app gives customers a 4-hour time window for delivery, and requires the car to be parked within two blocks of the selected address.
Then, as the delivery arrives, Amazon says that it authorizes the delivery driver prior to unlocking the vehicle, and that “no special access or keys are given to the driver.” The app then alerts customers that the package is in their car and their vehicle is relocked.
In a frequently asked questions section of the Amazon Key In-Car page, Amazon explains how the platform uses an active connected car service plan (OnStar or Volvo On Call) to communicate and lock/unlock a vehicle:
Amazon Key enables in-car deliveries by linking your Amazon Prime account with your Chevrolet, Buick, GMC or Cadillac Owner Center account and active connected car service plan. If you do not currently have an active connected service plan, just push the blue OnStar button inside your vehicle to activate service. Services vary by model, and most 2015 model year and newer retail Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles qualify for a standard connectivity plan at no additional charge.
Amazon says this process is secure thanks to multiple layers of verification in the in-car delivery process. Each time a driver requests access to a vehicle, the company verifies that an authorized driver is at the designated location with the correct package, “through an encrypted authentication process.” After that’s complete, Amazon unlocks the car, sends customers a notification, and relocks the car after the package is secure.
There are some limits to the location of the parked car, with Amazon stating that in-car deliveries can only be made to a vehicle in an “open, street-level, and publicly accessible area,” so no parking garages. Still, customers can order “tens of millions” of items on Amazon and deliver them to a vehicle, according to the company. Amazon Key In-Car launches today in 37 cities and surrounding areas across the United States.
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Apple wants to reduce the price it pays Samsung for OLED displays used in current and future iPhone X models, according to DigiTimes.
The report, citing industry sources, claims Apple is requiring Samsung to lower its price to $100 per panel, down around 9.1 percent from the $110 that research firm IHS Markit estimated the iPhone maker paid in 2017.
Rather confusingly, the report first says Apple is negotiating with Samsung about the revised price, but later says it is a requirement.
If the price cut is indeed being forced upon Samsung, then Apple likely feels confident in its ability to secure OLED displays from LG as a second supplier, and is thereby benefitting from diversifying its supply chain and making its suppliers compete against each other on price in an effort to win millions of orders.
LG is widely considered to be ramping up its OLED display production capabilities in hopes of securing orders for Apple’s next-generation iPhone lineup, but a recent report claimed mass production challenges have caused the company to fall behind schedule. It’s unclear if those issues have been resolved.
Apple is expected to purchase up to 100 million OLED displays from Samsung in 2018, to be used for the current iPhone X, in addition to a second-generation iPhone X and so-called iPhone X Plus expected to launch in 2018.
The price cut would help Apple lower its bill of materials for the iPhone X and future models with OLED displays, and the savings could potentially be passed on to customers. RBC Capital Markets analyst Amit Daryanani, for example, believes the second-generation iPhone X will start at $899, down from $999.
No doubt, Apple’s own bottom line also stands to benefit from reduced production costs, so these negotiations are most likely par for the course.
Tags: Samsung, digitimes.com, OLED
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Let’s face it, really long flights aren’t for everyone.
Wedged into a coach seat for 16-plus hours, the seat in front fully reclined, and your neighbors having claimed the armrests minutes after sitting down, such journeys can be brutal for both body and mind.
Well, folks, with aircraft becoming more fuel efficient, even longer flights are on the horizon.
Take Airbus. The company’s ultra-long-range A350-900 XWB can fly for a staggering 20 hours without needing to refuel. In that time, it can cover 9,700 nautical miles, 1,600 more than the current A350-900 aircraft.
The aerospace giant has just completed the first test flight of its newest A350. The plane took off from the company’s Toulouse headquarters on Monday, performing a short flight over the south of France before returning to base.
Singapore Airlines is the first customer and has ordered seven of the aircraft, which besides an enhanced fuel system also features improved aerodynamics. The carrier will deploy the new planes on routes between Singapore and the U.S., with several of them flying between Singapore and New York City. The colossal 19-hour trip will make it the longest commercial flight to date, beating the current record holder — Qatar Airways’ service between Doha and Auckland, New Zealand — by almost an hour.
Airbus says the new aircraft incorporates “the latest aerodynamic design, carbon fiber fuselage and wings, plus new fuel-efficient Rolls-Royce engines.”
The plane boasts a 25-percent reduction in fuel burn and emissions, and significantly lower maintenance costs, with an “Airspace” cabin offering “absolute well-being on board with the quietest twin-aisle cabin and new air systems.”
Combining a range of up to 9,700 nautical miles and the highest level of passenger comfort, the Ultra Long Range #A350 XWB opens the way for the world’s very longest flights, with unbeatable economics. pic.twitter.com/FiWTkuKxnj
— Airbus (@Airbus) April 23, 2018
Whichever way you look at it, 19 hours is a long time to spend in a metal tube at 36,000 feet, so it’s just as well that most of the seats on the Singapore-New York route will be business class, offering a decent amount of space and allowing travelers to keep out of each others’ faces.
The A350-900 XWB already looks like it could be a winner for Airbus. By March 2018, the company had received more than 850 orders for it from 45 customers around the world, making it one of the most successful wide-body aircraft ever — before it has welcomed a single passenger.
If you have a long-haul flight coming up and you’re looking for some ideas on how to handle it, check out Digital Trends’ suggestions for some great travel tech to make the journey a little more bearable.
- The five longest flights in the world make New York to London feel like a hop
- Sleep tight: Airbus wants to fill plane cargo holds with beds
- 9 premium economy classes that let you stretch your legs and your dollar
- Google co-founder’s self-flying taxi venture takes off in New Zealand
- Squeeze up! The latest Skyrider airplane seat still looks really uncomfortable
Whether you’re listening to the newest installment of a daily podcast you’re subscribed to or binging the latest true crime series, being able to pause a podcast on one device and pick it back up on another is a useful feature. And according to Pacific Content, it’s a feature that Google offers right now. If you start an episode on your Android phone, for example, you can finish it with your Google Home, and Zack Reneau-Wedeen, Google’s podcasts product manager, says this “device interoperability” will eventually expand to everything on which you use Google. We asked Google about the feature and were told that it’s “not new” but it’s unclear how long the ability has been around.
Though Apple launched its podcast app in 2012, Google still doesn’t have a dedicated app for podcasts. As of now, your only options are to find podcasts through Google Play Music, Google Search on Android, Google Assistant or a third-party app like Stitcher or Pocket Casts. When searching for podcasts through Google Search for Android, you do have the option to add a shortcut of that to your home screen, which essentially functions as an app, giving you access to your podcast subscriptions and sections like Top Podcasts, Trending Podcasts and popular options in specific categories.
Though he didn’t say that Google was working on a standalone podcast app, Reneau-Wedeen did say that a way to get to Google’s podcast feature through something like the Play Store, for example, would be a logical step.
Last year, Google bought 60dB, a short-form audio startup that offered personalization for each listener and it led some to wonder what the company’s plans were regarding its podcast efforts. Pacific Content will be reporting on some features of Google’s podcast strategy throughout the week.
Source: Pacific Content
Hey, good morning! You look fabulous.
Welcome to Tuesday! We review the best Android phone you’ll probably never get to buy, the wonderful game mash-up of Super Mario 64 and Ocarina of Time and Google’s podcast app — which was apparently there all along. Amazon is also looking to build a domestic robot we’ve been dreaming of. It won’t be the first.
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The best phone you’ll never buy.Huawei P20 Pro review
Huawei is dealing with its fair share of trouble in the US, but that doesn’t mean it forgot how to make a great phone. Its potent blend of style, solid software and a great camera experience makes the P20 Pro one of the year’s great Android phones.
Hyrule Castle is owned by Peach and patrolled by pink Bob-ombs.‘Super Mario 64: Ocarina of Time’ is the perfect Nintendo mashup
An unofficial and legally dubious project allows players to traverse Hyrule, the mystical kingdom found in the Zelda series, as Nintendo’s portly plumber. It’s a bizarre but perfectly playable mashup that’s been in development for five years. The modder behind it is now working on a slew of follow-up hacks inspired by PUBG and Fortnite, the romance simulator Doki Doki Literature Club and others.
They’re hopeful it will restore near-normal urinary and sexual functions.Johns Hopkins performs the first total penis and scrotum transplant
Doctors at Johns Hopkins University have successfully transplanted an entire penis and scrotum to a young serviceman who sustained injuries in Afghanistan resulting in the loss of his genitals. Nine plastic surgeons and two urological specialists at Johns Hopkins University took 14 hours to successfully transplant a deceased donor’s entire penis and scrotum (minus testicles), along with a partial abdominal wall.
‘I need your clothes, your boots and to offer you a discount on HDMI cables…’Amazon wants to build a home robot
According to Bloomberg reports, Amazon’s looking to build a home robot. Its hardware division, Lab126, is apparently working on some sort of domestic droid, codenamed Vesta. The project, it seems, has been a long time coming, but the company has now begun aggressively hiring roboticists — and things are speeding up. The first tests of Vesta, in select employees’ homes, should kick off at the end of this year.
Google’s podcast app was hiding in plain sight.Did you know that Google Search on Android is a podcast player?
A series of reports from Pacific Content this week are digging into Google’s podcast strategy, but the first big surprise is something that’s already available: a podcast app. If you use Android, you can just search for podcasts to subscribe to and listen to them in a web app that syncs across devices like your phone or home speaker with Google Assistant. Google told us the feature is “not new” but we hadn’t heard about it, and we’re guessing most of you hadn’t either
Check it out at Tribeca or Cannes, if you’re in the area.Michael Muller’s ‘Into the Now’ VR film brings terrifying sea creatures up close
Photographer Michael Muller confronted his own deep fear of sharks by “learning to dive without protection and cage-free with great white sharks,” ultimately documenting that journey in his new VR film series Into the Now.
Do not adjust your screen.Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury EV brings its own tea service
The Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury (yes, that’s the name) is a four-wheel drive EV with an emphasis on passenger comfort, which comes with its own tea service. The pot, cups and wooden tray are in a center console, which retracts with a push of the button.
But wait, there’s more…
- Atlanta spends more than $2 million to recover from ransomware attack
- Google Assistant’s routines are an easy way to automate your home
- What’s on TV: ‘Handmaid’s Tale,’ ‘3%,’ ‘Archer’ and ‘Taskmaster’
- YouTube removed 8.3 million videos in the last quarter of 2017
- Netflix gives ‘Fast and Furious’ the cartoon treatment it deserves
- Why is a celebrity personal-finance guru suing Facebook? Because of cryptocurrency scams
- Samsung is making six TV series just for VR
- The best lightweight gaming laptops
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Apple is way behind Samsung in the Korean brand’s home country, so it has decided to recruit someone who knows the market and its staunchest rival very well. According to Bloomberg, Cupertino has hired Samsung VP Brandon Yoon to lead its business in South Korea. Yoon’s LinkedIn profile says he was a VP at Samsung from September 2015 to as recently as March 2018 and was also a Microsoft exec before he joined the conglomerate.
The former Samsung VP must love a challenge. As Bloomberg noted, authorities raided Apple’s offices in Seoul before iPhone X’s launch last year to ask questions about its business practices. The tech giant could also face sanctions in the country for requiring local carriers to foot its advertising bills. While Apple is having a tough time in Samsung’s home turf, Yoon didn’t jump into a sinking ship. Apple’s sales in the country went up by 3.3 percent in the last quarter of 2017 (while Samsung’s went down) compared to the year before. It recently opened its first official store in Seoul’s swanky Gangnam area, as well.