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26
May

Lyft’s new ‘Lux’ service features high-end cars to challenge Uber Black


Why it matters to you

Lyft’s new Lux service offers you another option if you fancy rolling up to a special event in style.

If you’ve ever wanted to roll up to a special event in style, you’ve always had options. In more recent years, Uber gave riders even more choice with the launch of Uber Black, and now Lyft is joining the party with its own version of luxury pick-up, called, would you believe, Lyft Lux.

Lyft Lux is one level above Lyft Premier, another comfy ride that the company introduced last year. It comes in two flavors: Lux — “our most luxurious ride experience: a black car piloted by a top driver,” and Lyft Lux SUV — “all the amenities of Lyft Lux, in a more spacious black SUV that seats six.”

The San Francisco-based Uber rival is targeting its new service at folks attending formal functions, business meetings, and group events like weddings, introducing it first in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, and Silicon Valley. Other cities are said to be “coming soon.”

Request a Lux vehicle — now the priciest of all of its ride options — and you can expect an ultra high-end sedan or SUV (such as a BMW 5-series, Cadillac Escalade, or Lexus LS) with a black exterior and leather or leather-like seats, while a Lux SUV will guarantee riders an ultra high-end SUV (such as a Cadillac Escalade, BMW X5, or Lincoln Navigator), complete with a black exterior and leather or leather-like seats. The slightly cheaper Premier service, which launched in 2016, matches riders with a high-end sedan or SUV (such as a BMW X3, GMC Yukon Denali, or Lexus ES) featuring the apparently all-important leather or leather-like seats.

By way of comparison, the Uber Black service offers high-end vehicles such as the BMW 7 Series, Jaguar XF, and Mercedes-Benz S-Class, together with a driver who you can expect will dress to impress. And yes, they’ll have a black leather interior, too. Or leather-like.

As for Lyft drivers, the new service offers the chance to earn between 3 and 5 times the fare of regular Lyft rides, or between 1.5 and 2 times the fare of Lyft Premier rides, a Lyft spokesperson told Digital Trends.




26
May

Grab the 128GB Xiaomi Mi Note 2 with global LTE bands for just $429


This is the lowest price we’ve seen for the global variant of the Mi Note 2.

The global variant of Xiaomi Mi Note 2 is currently on sale for just $429 at GearBest. The phone debuted at the end of last year, and is the first Xiaomi handset to offer global LTE bands. It has 37 LTE bands in total, and is compatible with most GSM networks around the world, including T-Mobile and AT&T in the U.S.; EE, O2, Three, and Vodafone in the UK.

xiaomi-mi-note-2-15.jpg?itok=n1bYP5_t

Here’s the breakdown of the LTE bands supported by the Mi Note 2:

  • GSM (2G): 850/900/1800/1900MHz
  • CDMA 1X: B0/1/10/15
  • WCDMA (3G): B1/2/4/5/8
  • TD-SCDMA: B34/39
  • LTE-FDD (4G): B1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/13/17/18/19/20/25/26/28/29/30
  • LTE-TDD (4G): B38/39/40/41

Global LTE support isn’t the only thing going in its favor — the Mi Note 2 offers a 5.7-inch Full HD dual curved display, and is powered by a 2.35GHz Snapdragon 821 SoC. There’s 6GB of RAM, 128GB storage, a 22.5MP camera at the back with 4K video recording, 8MP front shooter, Wi-Fi ac, USB-C, NFC, and a 4070mAh battery with Quick Charge 3.0.

More: Xiaomi Mi Note 2 review

On the software front, the phone is still running Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow, but it has the latest version of Xiaomi’s custom ROM, MIUI 8, with the March 2017 security patch.

The main drawback with the global variant of the Mi Note 2 was that it was too costly when it launched last year, with prices going up to $750 on reseller sites. At $429, there’s no reason not to get one — it is in fact more affordable than its retail counterpart in China. If you’re in the market for a capable mid-ranger, you should definitely take a look.

The price is listed as $519 on GearBest, but you can use the coupon code DNote2 to pick up the phone for $429.

See at GearBest

26
May

SmartCar connects Facebook’s chatbot to your Tesla


We’ve seen AI-powered chatbots for almost everything, and now a company called Smartcar has developed one specifically for Tesla electric vehicles. Owners can access any number of features via Tesla’s mobile app, and by logging in via TeslaBot, they can pop open Facebook Messenger to ask questions or send commands. That’s a pretty low bar for use, particularly compared to the Tesla app Smartcar’s founder developed for Google Glass. Of course, most of us don’t have a Tesla yet (at least until the Model 3 comes out), but we could see more tech like this quickly, as Smartcar is already working with Hyundai on its Ioniq platform.

Source: TeslaBot AI (Facebook Messenger), TeslaBot.ai

26
May

Second-gen Moto 360 smartwatches will get Android Wear 2.0 soon


A bunch of smartwatches got Android Wear 2.0 when it finally came out in April, but sadly, Moto 360 wasn’t one of them. The company promised a late-May availability, and it sounds like it’s staying true to its word. Motorola Support’s Twitter account has revealed that the updated OS will soon start rolling out to second-gen Moto 360s in phases — it might have even begun yesterday, which means some people could already have updated devices.

The long-delayed Wear 2.0 comes with a new user interface that was especially designed for computing on a tiny screen. It reduces the number of clicks and swipes needed to navigate the OS, and it puts the Play Store right on your smartwatch so you can download apps directly. The platform also adds Google Assistant to your device, giving you an easy way to make a query or to control your apps with voice commands.

Before you celebrate, though, make sure that what you have is the base second-gen version. The Moto 360 Sport will eventually get an update, but it won’t be anytime soon. As for the first-gen Moto 360, the company is unfortunately leaving it out of the update altogether.

@NamelessWing @Moto Happy to report that AndroidWear 2.0 will start rolling out in phases on Moto 360 2nd Gen, possibly as early as today.

— Motorola Support (@Moto_Support) May 25, 2017

Via: 9to5google

Source: Motorola Support

26
May

HTC just released a new VR headset, and it’s the first of its kind


Why it matters to you

By offering the first mobile VR headset to feature 6DOF tracking, HTC is expanding the options available to consumers in the VR space.

If you’re looking to dip your toe into the waters of VR, this may just be the product for you. The latest product from HTC isn’t part of its Vive family, but is rather a standalone product called the HTC Link. A step above, say, the Google Cardboard, this VR headset isn’t quite as advanced as the high-end options like the Oculus Rift (which feature their very own displays on depend on a computer to send content their way).

But it is a step above something like the Samsung Gear, which uses your smartphone as both a source of content and as a display. In short, the HTC Link is a compromise. While it connects with your smartphone, it features its own display, perhaps heralding a new phase in VR headsets.

As originally reported by Japanese site Mogura VR, the Link will work with HTC’s newest smartphone, the HTC U11. However, it will employ an outside-in tracking system, thereby supporting its full six degrees of freedom (6DOF) tracking. This makes it the first mobile headset to offer such a feature. But alas, for now, the Link will only be available in Japan, and HTC told UploadVR that the kit isn’t currently slated to go on sale anywhere else.

There’s not a ton known about the HTC Link quite yet, but it doesn’t look like the headset will use HTC Vive’s lighthouse stations. Instead, the headset and its two controllers seem to have lights on them that are potentially trackable using an external sensor. Released specs note that the Link features two 3.6 inch 1,080 x 1,200 LCD panels with a 90Hz refresh rate. And it’ll weigh in at a manageable 554g.

The Link announcement comes just a week after Google announced its plans to create new standalone VR headsets alongside HTC. So if you’re a VR enthusiast, keep your ear to the ground. It looks like we could be expecting a lot more in the space in the near future.




26
May

From solar stoves to skewers, 12 grill gadgets that’ll crown you king of summer


It’s nearly summertime, which means barbecue season will soon be in full swing across the country. That being the case, we figured we’d round up a few of our favorite high-tech cookout contraptions for you, so you can get your grilling situation in order. Feast your hungry eyes on these drool-worthy grilling gadgets.

Front Runner Outfitters Spare Tire Mount — Stainless steel BBQ grate ($158)

Who says your cookouts have to be confined to your backyard? With this cleverly designed grill from Frontrunner, you’ll always be prepared for a backcountry BBQ, no matter where in the world you happen to end up. Once you’ve got a fire started, you simply place this grate atop the flames and start cooking. The grate’s three integrated legs hold it above the coals and also ensure that you’ve got a large, sturdy surface to cook on.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

Steven Raichlen’s Best of Barbecue — Grilling grate oiler brush ($25)

Steven-Raichlen's-Best-of-Barbecue-—-Grilling-Grate-Oiler-Brush_

Keeping your grates well oiled is the best way to make sure your food doesn’t stick, and the Steven Raichlen Grilling Grate Oiler makes it easy. Its design combines a grill brush with a small reservoir for the oil, letting you get solid coverage with each swipe. It’s even made from temperature-resistant plastic and silicone and is dishwasher safe for easy cleanup.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

Grillbot — Automatic grill cleaning robot ($70+)

Grillbot-automatic-grill-cleaning-robot_

Grilling is awesome, but cleaning all the blackened, caked-on food goo afterward? Not so much. Fortunately, we live in a time where robots can perform most of the menial tasks we hate doing, and much like vacuuming and cleaning the gutters, grill maintenance can now be performed by a robotic underling. Just pop this little bugger on top of the grates when you’re done cooking, and he’ll go to work picking up all the baked-on burger bits you left behind.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

Lynx Grills SMART30F — 30″ freestanding SmartGrill ($7,600)

_Lynx-Grills-SMART30F-—-30'-Freestanding-SmartGrill_

Ever wished you could bark orders at your grill like you do with Siri on your smartphone? Well good news: With the Lynx Smart Grill, you totally can. Under its sleek chrome exterior, this beast boasts a slew of high-tech features — including temperature sensors, automatic heat controls, and voice recognition. That means you can scream “Make me a steak!” from the comfort of your patio chair, and the grill will take it from there. Read our full review here.

Buy one now from:

Lynx Grill

Refuel — Smart propane tank gauge ($30)

Refuel-—-Smart-propane-tank-gauge_

There’s nothing worse than inviting over all your buddies over for a cookout, only to discover that you’re out of propane and have to leave your beer to make an excursion to the supermarket to get more. If you’d prefer to avoid such a situation, you should check out Refuel. It’s basically an intelligent, app-enabled propane tank scale that keeps tabs on how much you’ve got left. When you’re running low, you’ll get a smartphone alert, so you’ll know well in advance that you need more gas.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

Onward GrillPro 00150 — Cast iron smoker box ($18)

Onward-GrillPro-00150-—-Cast-iron-smoker-box

Cooking your food over an open flame generally imparts a little bit of smoky flavor into it, but if you want more of that delicious smokiness, you need to get yourself a smoker box. Fill this sucker with dampened wood chips and toss it on the grill, and after a while, it’ll begin to fill your grill hood with smoke. It’s not quite as good as putting your meat in a full-on smoker, but it’s a good, cheap substitute!

Buy one now from:

Amazon

Sur La Table Bitterman’s Himalayan salt block ($32)

Sur-La-Table-Bitterman's-Himalayan-Salt-Block

If you can muster the courage to leave your meat off your perfectly seasoned grill grates, we highly suggest you try cooking your next meal on a block of Himalayan rock salt. It might just be our favorite new way to prepare food. The idea is fairly straightforward. You start by slowly heating a slab of salt on your grill, and once it’s up to temp, you just drop whatever you’re cooking on top and watch it sizzle for a few seconds. Because of the block’s unique composition, it imparts your food with a subtle hint of mineral saltiness that’s absolutely fantastic.

Buy one now from:

Sur La Table Amazon

Maverick PT-100 Pro-Temp — Commercial thermometer ($51)

Maverick-PT-100-Pro-Temp-—Commercial-thermometer_

For certain meats, there’s a fine line between cooking something to perfection and endangering everyone at the cookout. So, if you’d rather err on the side of caution and know for sure that your food has reached a safe temperature, you need to snag yourself a grilling thermometer. This particular model from Maverick is designed give you accurate readings in the blink of an eye, so you don’t have to hold your hand over the grill for too long and singe the hair on your knuckles.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

Looft Industries Looftlighter — Fire lighting tool ($80)

Looft-Industries-Looftlighter-—-Fire-lighting-tool

Invented by a company from Sweden, Looftlighter uses a continuous blast of superheated air to ignite your charcoal without the help of matches or lighter fluid. It can also be used to “fast forward” your charcoal briquettes and get them up to grilling temperature in just a few minutes. Sure, you can achieve the same result with one of those old-school charcoal chimneys, but this gizmo has a lightsaber-like design, which ups the fun factor considerably.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

GoSun — Portable solar cooker ($198)

If you’d rather not mess with charcoal briquettes or propane tanks at all — and also happen to live in a section of the globe that has fairly reliable sunlight — check out this solar grill from GoSun. This model can produce up to 550 degrees of heat, which is more than enough to cook your favorite meals. At just eight pounds, the Solar Cooker is exceptionally portable, unlike many of the bulkier solar stoves on the market.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

Fire Wire — Grilling skewer ($8)

A kabob is a classic grilling go-to, however traditional skewers can be rather hard to work with — especially on a full grill. These flexible skewers allow you to easily adjust the arrangement to more easily fit around or between your other foods.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

Charcoal Companion — Stainless grill clips ($12)

Vegetables can can sometimes fall through the grates, wasting precious asparagus. Thankfully, these clips from Charcoal Companion allow you to flip your vegetables all at once, rather than painstakingly turning each cut. These clips also keep the vegetables just above the grill surface to minimize sticking.

Buy one now from:

Amazon




26
May

Zotac lines up a gaming desktop, graphics cards, and mini PCs for Computex


Why it matters to you

Zotac is cramming Nvidia’s powerful GeForce GTX 1080 Ti chip into a small graphics card for PC gamers with compatible, compact systems.

Like clockwork, device makers are beginning to roll out their lineups for the upcoming Computex show, including Zotac. The company will have on display a huge load of devices spanning a new gaming desktop, graphics cards, miniature PCs, and more. However, PC gamers might be tickled green by the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Mini announcement alone, which crams Nvidia’s latest GPU into an 8.3-inch add-in card.

Let’s dive in.

MEK Gaming PC

For starters, Zotac is introducing a new brand called Zotac Gaming. Shown above, the first product launched under this umbrella is the upcoming MEK Gaming PC, a Mini ITX desktop packing a seventh-generation Intel Core i7 processor and a low-profile CPU cooler. The details regarding this desktop are scarce, but we know it will be powered by Zotac’s GeForce GTX 1080 Mini graphics card when it finally hits the market.

GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Mini

And here it is. Following Zotac’s recent GTX 1080 Mini graphics card launch, the company plans to sell a Mini version of the GTX 1080 Ti card as well. It will be offered in two versions: one “vanilla” model packing two cooling fans, and one ArcticStorm model with a full-card water block. Zotac says this is the world’s smallest and one of the lightest water-blocked graphics card to date.

As for other details, Zotac wouldn’t budge. However, both cards will require two 8-pin power connectors, and measure a mere 8.3 inches long (210.8mm). The ArcticStorm model will even include Zotac’s Spectra illumination system.

External VGA Box

In addition to the new PC and graphics cards, Zotac will showcase a new external enclosure built to beef up your PC’s graphics capability without breaking it open. Connecting via a Thunderbolt 3 port, this enclosure supports graphics cards up to nine inches long, and up to the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti. It will include five USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A ports too, one of which is capable of charging mobile devices.

VR GO

This is Zotac’s backpack PC for tether-free virtual reality experiences. Zotac updated this wearable unit with a seventh-generation Intel Core processor, but currently we don’t have any other information regarding the overall VR GO refresh. The previous model had a sixth-generation Core i7-6700T processor backed by a GeForce GTX 1070 graphics card. The outputs are likely unchanged, providing three HDMI 2.0 ports, two DisplayPort 1.3 connections, and six USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A ports.

Pico PI225 / PI335

Moving away from the mainstream PC gaming products, we have Zotac’s portfolio of miniature PCs. As shown above, the Pico PI225 will be the company’s thinnest Zbox device yet, packing a fanless passive-cooled design and support for a 4K resolution. Zotac says the device is card-sized, meaning it should blend in at any location in the home or office. The larger PI335 will also passively cooled and capable of powering a 4K display.

Magnus EN1050K

Zotac’s Magnus-branded miniature PCs are built for PC gaming. They’re bigger than the Pico units and capable of playing host to “Mini” graphics cards built by Zotac. In the case of this model, it will include the GeForce GTX 1050 Mini graphics card, a seventh-generation Intel Core processor, or one of the new Ryzen processors from AMD. The Intel-based version will support Intel’s new Optane memory products, which are currently served up as 16GB and 32GB cache sticks for speeding up hard drive access.

Magnus EK71070 / EK51060

Staying with the Magnus family, this duo will sport “Mini” graphics cards built by Zotac, too. Based on the product names, the EK71070 will feature a seventh-generation Intel Core i7 processor and a GeForce GTX 1070 Mini graphics card. Meanwhile, the EK51060 will have an Intel Core i5 processor and a GeForce GTX 1060 Mini card. Both will support Intel’s Optane memory devices.

Magnus ER51070 / ER51060

As for these two units, they’re similar to the Magnus EK models listed above in their overall design. However, these Magnus ER versions are powered by AMD’s 65-watt Ryzen processors instead of Intel Core CPUs. Yet despite the processor switch, these two models will rely on “Mini” versions of the GTX 1070 and GTX 1060 graphics cards, respectively, instead of AMD’s own Radeon RX 500 Series of discrete graphics chips.

MI553 / MA551

Zotac says its “M” series of miniature PCs is getting a whole new design starting with these two units. The letter after the “M” in the name provides a clue as to what’s inside. Thus, the MI553 will have a seventh-generation Intel Core processor supporting Optane-branded cache sticks. Meanwhile, the MA551 will rely on one of AMD’s new 65-watt Ryzen processors. Both will include a Thunderbolt 3 port.

External Storage Box

Finally, Zotac will have an external storage box on display in addition to its external graphics enclosure. Connecting to a PC via a Thunderbolt 3 port, this storage box will consist of one PCI Express x16 slot for add-on storage cards, and four USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A ports. For example, during the show, this external storage device will be packed with Zotac’s Sonix 480GB NVMe PCI Express solid state drive.

We expect to hear more about the detailed specifications, prices, and release dates during or sometime shortly after the Computex tech convention. The show will take place in Taipei between May 30 and June 3.




26
May

The educational games of your youth have their own museum exhibit


The Minnesota Education Computing Corporation might not be the most recognizable game developer today, but if you went to elementary school in the US anytime in the eighties or nineties, then you’ve almost certainly played — and probably learned something from — one of its educational games. The company started in 1973 as an initiative to put more computers into classrooms across Minnesota and eventually created over 300 different software titles, including the version of The Oregon Trail that became the cultural touchstone it is today. Now MECC and The Oregon Trail are finally getting the recognition they deserve in a retrospective exhibit from the Strong, the National Museum of Play.

The museum actually inducted The Oregon Trail into the Video Game Hall of Fame back in 2016, and the new exhibit will include playable original versions of the game so younger generations can experience the excitement of hunting for buffalo in all it’s 8-bit glory. Aside from teaching countless schoolkids grammar with Word Munchers, MECC is also considered a pioneer in STEM education that popularized computer learning. To preserve that legacy, a group of former MECC employees, including Oregon Trail co-creator Don Rawitsch and co-founder Dale LaFrenz, recently donated a cache of documents, videos, and software to the museum that will show how the company evolved from a part of the public school system to a beloved piece of our collective memories.

The Oregon Trail, MECC, and the Rise of Computer Learning exhibit officially opens on June 17th. But if you can’t make it to Rochester, New York, you can also explore and play the original on Archive.org or take a trip down memory lane on MECC’s own site.

Source: The Museum of Play

26
May

Forget flexible displays, Samsung is moving on to stretchable ones


First there was bendable, rollable, and foldable… but now, thanks Samsung, we have stretchable displays.

The company has showed off a new display technology at Display Week – and it can stretch like a rubber band or a trampoline. The 9.1-inch stretchable OLED display is just a prototype for now, but Samsung said it can be flexed in two directions instead of just one. Keep in mind existing flexible OLED displays, such as bendable, foldable, and rollable displays, can only be formed in one direction.

When you press on the new screen, it’ll depress, and when you stop pressing, it’ll bounce back into its flat shape. Whether stretched up or down, it has sufficient elasticity to recover, Samsung explained. That also means the new display can also roll and bend when pushed on before snapping back to its original shape. Unfortunately, there’s no plans on when this screen will show up in a real-life device.

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The company said it figured the technology could be used for wearables, internet of things devices, and automotive applications. Samsung even described how it could be used as a face for a robot. When it comes to displays, Samsung certainly stands out. Its flexible displays are now found in its Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus phones, which is why the the screen can curve around the sides of the phones.

Samsung has also shown off foldable and bendable displays in the past.

Samsung

26
May

Amazon opens its first drive-through grocery store


Need to pick up some supplies but can’t be bothered to walk across a parking lot for them? Amazon’s got you covered. In Seattle on Thursday, the company opened a grocery store that doesn’t require you leave your vehicle, promising customers will only have to “drive in… and drive out.”

The service, dubbed AmazonFresh Pickup, is now live at two locations: in the SODO and Ballard neighborhoods. It’s free for Prime members and there is no minimum order amount. Customers simply place their order online, drive to the store and wait. Once the order is ready, an employee wheels it out to the car and puts it in the trunk. That’s it.

The stores carry everything you’d expect to find at your local supermarket, albeit at a significantly higher price. Expect to pay $1 per lemon, $6.60 for a gallon of milk and $1.29 per apple. Or you can just do your shopping like you always have and save some cash.

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