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This little laser could be the key to inexpensive self-driving cars

To listen to the Googles and the Elon Musks of the world is to believe that one day soon, we’ll be tooting down in the highway in cars that control themselves. Those cars will need eyes, though, and that’s where a company called Velodyne Acoustics comes in — it whipped up the Puck, a scaled down version of the laser scanning tech that helps Google’s self-driving cars see (which they also make) that only costs about a tenth of the price. Not up on the market rates for portable LiDAR arrays? Let’s put it in perspective: the units Google use cost around $75,000. This new model? Just a shade under $8,000. That old cliché about getting what you pay for still holds true here, though — this cheapo LiDAR array only has 16 lasers with which it scans the world, down from the 64 seen in higher-end units. As a result we’re looking at a pretty staggering dip in the sheer number of environmental data points, but the unit’s smaller size and price tag just might mean big things for car companies trying to craft the first truly affordable wave of autonomous cars.


Via: Wired

Source: Velodyne

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Shark Tank Bundle: 3 great buys as seen on ABC’s hit reality series [Deal of the Day]


With tonight’s premiere of Shark Tank’s newest season, we’ve put together a bundle of deals that have been featured on the competitive series. Dive in!


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RipSurfer X Workout System

Designed to simulate the movements of surfing, this workout system helps you obtain a shredded boarder’s physique without the sand or salty water. With a low learning curve and the ability to adjust to your skill level, the RipSurfer X system is a total body solution for everyone looking to burn fat and build muscle. AndroidGuys readers get 19% off, bringing your total to $525 for the complete system.




The MistoBox Coffee Bundle

Can’t get started in the morning without your initial cup? Coffee lovers and connoisseurs will find delight in this deal. You’ll receive the Aeropress coffee maker which brews a bubbling batch with simplicity and ease. You’ll also receive three months of premium coffee delivery from artisan roasters — right to your doorstep. Fill your cup with this deal for just $59.




The Clean Bottle Bundle

Want to be for environmentally friendly by carrying a reusable water bottle but have heard horror stories of mold and scum build-up? With a removable top AND bottom cap, these bottles allow you to easily clean the entire container and ensure you’re getting hydration from the most hygienic of sources. You’ll receive the workout-friendly “Runner” bottle as well as the stylishly metallic “Square”. Both are BPA-free and guaranteed for life. The cost? Just $50 for a lifetime of clean drinking!


Check these deals out, and many others at!

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The post Shark Tank Bundle: 3 great buys as seen on ABC’s hit reality series [Deal of the Day] appeared first on AndroidGuys.

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The Biggest iPhone Has Arrived

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The biggest iPhone ever has arrived, and it’s called the iPhone 6 Plus. Showcasing a 5.5-inch screen, this is Apple’s attempt at targeting smartphone users who prefer larger devices, as well as those who are fans of the phablet, which is that famous cross between a smartphone and tablet. Samsung had released a 5.5-inch smartphone when they launched the Galaxy Note 2, so it really is about time Apple got in on that market.

Up until now, the iPhone had only come in two sizes: 3.5 inches and 4 inches. And this is why the 5.5-inch smartphone is now making headlines. To learn more about the 6 Plus, continue reading.

Screen Size Upgrade
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Aside from the obvious size difference between the two newest iPhone models, there are some other notable differences, the most obvious of which is the much larger 5.5-inch screen size found on the iPhone 6 Plus. If you’re a fan of phablets and the many larger Android phones that have been on the market, and if you’ve been thinking about switching to Apple, this would be the best choice. Plus, with one of the many SIM-Only plans available, which you can learn about at, you can find this otherwise expensive phone surprisingly affordable.

Aside from size, what else does the iPhone 6 Plus’ screen have to offer? Well, to start, it gives you full HD clarity on a 1920×1080, 440PPi display. On top of that, the dual domain pixels in this new model, combined with the LED backlight, provide a much wider viewing angle.

The 1300:1 contrast ratio and IPS panel result in brighter, more vibrant colours than on older iPhones. And Apple has also added an oleophobic coating that’s fingerprint-resistant to keep the screen as clear as possible, no matter how much you swipe your fingers across it.

Overall, compared to older smartphone models, the screen on the iPhone 6 Plus is definitely an upgrade, and a welcomed one at that, considering the advancements already made by Android manufacturers.

For more details, visit

Camera Improvements
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The new 8MP iSight camera on the iPhone 6 Plus is another welcomed upgrade, even though the megapixel count hasn’t gone up since the iPhone 5S. The front-facing camera is a 1.2MP HD camera that allows additional light to enter the lens, providing for improved FaceTime sessions and selfies.

Users will immediately notice that, because Apple wanted to keep the phone body itself so slim, the camera on the back of the unit actually protrudes just a bit. With the right case, though, this problem will be resolved and you can rest assured the delicate technology will be properly protected. Plus, the lens is further protected with sapphire glass.

Shooting options include timer, HDR, and flash, as well as various effects you can add to your images. And you can also enjoy a handy panorama shooting mode too.

The volume keys on the side of the large phone make it easier to snap the shutter when you are ready to take your shot. And faster auto-focusing capabilities make it easier to snap a photo as soon as you want to. Plus, with blink, eye, and face detection, you can rest assured every portrait will be perfectly focused.

In terms of video, you can shoot HD video at 60fps, 120fps, or 240fps for some really slow motion footage.

For more information on the iPhone 6 Plus’ camera, see

Improved Battery Life
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With all of the power that the iPhone 6 Plus comes with, consumers are rightfully concerned about the battery life they can enjoy on this device, especially since the battery quality of previous versions of the iPhone has been a little disappointing.

Apple has stated that you can expect roughly 12 hours of browsing time on the new device. If you enjoy watching videos on your smartphone, you can expect to get 14 hours from a full charge. And if you prefer listening to music, you can get 80 hours of playback time.

For more information, visit

The iPhone 6 Plus is certainly making waves, and as more consumers invest in the latest incarnation of Apple’s famous smartphone, you will continue hearing about the technology it boasts. In the meantime, if you want to get your hands on one of your own, be prepared to be surprised by its size if you aren’t used to larger smartphones. Once you get accustomed to handling it, you will find that the iPhone 6 Plus is definitely a step in the right direction for Apple.
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Attention makers! You have until 11:59PM tonight to enter Insert Coin 2014

Makers, it’s time to put down those soldering irons and stop worrying about any detail you’ve potentially forgotten. It’s September 26th, which means this is the last day we’re accepting Insert Coin entries. Remember, you’ll have two chances to take a nice fat wallet home with you, since our panel of judges and our readers will be voting separately. You can win up to $25,000 to kickstart your hardware project, and earn some bragging rights, as well as generate publicity, in the process. Also, the top 10 semi-finalists will receive $1,000 each in travel stipend to showcase their masterpieces at the 2014 Expand event in New York this November. Not a bad deal at all, right? So, read our submission guidelines thoroughly one last time, make sure the pictures and videos of your work are top notch, and fill out our entry form by 11:59PM EDT tonight. Good luck!


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After seven years, Australia’s rescue-drone challenge has a winner

If you’re planning a hike through the Australian outback, and hoping technology will keep you safe, you might want to re-read the small print on your travel insurance. The UAV outback challenge is an annual event designed to promote the use of drones in Australia’s expansive inland regions. If anything, it only highlights how far from safety you could find yourself. Each year, teams compete to find “Outback Joe” (a mannequin in high-viz attire) using unmanned craft and — once located — deliver him a bottle of water. It’s like “Where’s Waldo” but harder, and with UAVs. The thing is, since the competition’s inception in 2007, no one has managed this — until now. CanberraUAV was the team that successfully airdropped the liquid payload just 2.6 meters from ole’ Joe, finally ending the competition’s empty-podium problem. Of course, the real business here is raising awareness about how UAVs could be used in real world safety and rescue situations. But, for now at least, Outback Joe can quench his thirst until the challenge returns next year.

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Source: UAV Outback Challenge

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Where to buy Sony’s Xperia Z3 and Z3 Compact

It’s a pretty interesting time to be in the market for a new mobile. Over the past month, we’ve seen Samsung’s Galaxy Alpha and Apple’s iPhone 6 and 6 Plus launch, not to mention Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4 will join that list in a few weeks. And as if you didn’t have a hard enough choice already, Sony’s latest handsets are now available in the UK, too. With a design that’s almost identical to the company’s previous flagship, the Xperia Z3 crams future-proof specs into a thinner and lighter package. The Xperia Z3 Compact is for those who prefer a smaller device, and while some specs like screen resolution have taken a hit in the shrinking process, the Z3’s powerful chipset and camera have made a full transition to the miniature model. But how much are they, and where can I get ‘em?! Woah, calm down with the questions there buddy — we got you covered.

Xperia Z3

O2 Vodafone Carphone Warehouse
Cheapest contract (with upfront) £13 (£530) £26.50 on 3G (£199) £26.50 on Voda 3G (£60) £24 on T-Mob 3G (£240) £14 on Orange 3G (£335)
Cheapest contract (no upfront) £38 £38.50 on 4G £34.50 on Voda 3G £39 on EE £28 on O2
Pay-as-you-go £530
Unlocked (SIM-free) £550

As is the way with flagship phones, everyone’s playing the game. That means you basically have your pick of carriers and retailers if you’re headed down the contract route. EE and Three have confirmed the Xperia Z3 is coming to their networks, but no pricing information is available right now, should you want to take out a contract with either directly. If so, hold tight — we’ll be adding this info as it comes in.

MVNOs don’t seem quite as keen on Sony’s latest as the major players, with only giffgaff confirming it’s ranging the Xperia Z3. While showing as out of stock right now, it’ll be available on contract for just under £22 per month with £50 upfront, or for £529 outright (though you might as well get a giffgaff SIM and unlocked device elsewhere instead).

If it’s a SIM-free, unlocked model you’re after, Unlocked Mobiles has by far the best deal currently at £499 all-in. Clove, Expansys, Amazon, Tesco (direct) and Sony itself are all lagging behind by various degrees, though Carphone Warehouse wants the most for an unlocked Z3, flogging them for £550 a piece. (Note that not everywhere is showing available stock, but we expect that caveat to disappear shortly as listings get updated.)

Xperia Z3 Compact

O2 Vodafone Carphone Warehouse
Cheapest contract (with upfront) £13 (£414) £22.50 on 3G (£99) £17 on O2 3G (£230) £15 on EE (£240) £7.50 on Talkmobile 3G (£340)
Cheapest contract (no upfront) £27 £30.50 on 3G £26.50 on Voda 3G £31 on EE £24.46 on Voda 3G
Pay-as-you-go £414
Unlocked (SIM-free) £430

The Z3 Compact is proving to be just as popular as its bigger brother where carriers and retailers are concerned. Most have been quick to let their contract options be known, but we’re still waiting on EE and Three to show their hands. We’ll continue to update the above table as this information rolls in.

As with the full-fat Z3, giffgaff is the only MVNO interested in the Compact for now. It’s available for £16.90 per month with £50 upfront, or for £419 if you don’t fancy signing a contract (again, though, you can get a much better deal if you buy the phone elsewhere).

Clove is leading the pack when it comes to unlocked pricing, selling the Z3 Compact for just £349. Unlocked Mobiles isn’t exactly a close second at £399, but it’s still cheaper than offers from the likes of Tesco (direct), Expansys, Sony, Amazon and Carphone Warehouse. (Note that not everywhere is showing available stock, but we expect that caveat to disappear shortly as listings get updated.)

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Say Ello to the anti-Facebook

Ello seems to have come out of nowhere.

The creators are designers and artists. Its CEO, Paul Budnitz, makes toys. There’s no big marketing push and no obvious ties to Silicon Valley. These are not the typical building blocks of a hot new social network.

Yet, people are joining it in droves. In the past few days, Ello has seen an incredible influx of new users. Its network more than quadrupled in size and there’s no sign of it slowing down. As I’m writing this, I’m told that Ello has gained nearly 20,000 new users in just the past hour. A quick scan of my Twitter and Facebook feeds reveals a whole slew of my friends have joined the service, which is a remarkable achievement considering Ello is still at the invite-only stage. Only existing users can invite those looking to sign up, which means it’s mostly spreading by word-of-mouth. Ello had to stop taking invites because its servers were slammed. People are even selling Ello invitations on eBay for $100 a pop.

So what’s the big deal with Ello? And why is it so popular all of a sudden?

The short answer: It’s not Facebook.

In the past couple of weeks, Facebook has been on the receiving end of negative press for deleting profiles of drag queens for not following its “real names” policy. The company has stated that it’s not targeting them in particular and is applying this rule to everyone, but it’s enough to tarnish Facebook for some members of the LGBTQ community, many of whom have safety and personal reasons to hide their real names from public view. It’s also a genuine concern for anyone who’s a victim of stalking or online harassment.

Ello, however, does not have a “real name” policy. You can be whomever you want on it. Not only that, but it’s also vehemently anti-advertising. Its manifesto ends with: “You are not a product.”

“We want you to be exactly who you are,” said Todd Berger, one of the designers for Ello. “We don’t really care — we don’t want the data associated with the name because we’re not selling it.”

The recent dustup over real names is just another in a long line of complaints in Facebook’s history. The splintering of Messenger into its own app, the increase in autoplay video ads on mobile, its past experiments on users and a generally sketchy track record when it comes to privacy have done plenty to damage Facebook’s reputation over the years. While the exodus of many in the LGBTQ community might have been the catalyst for Ello’s popularity, it appears that the very idea of a Facebook alternative is attractive enough to entice new users.

The Paint Ball Hosted By Kidrobot

Paul Budnitz, founder of Kidrobot, is also one of the minds behind Ello

That also happens to be the reason Budnitz and his friends created Ello. “We had just become really sick of other social networks,” said Budnitz, who’s also the founder of Kidrobot, a producer and retailer of designer toys. “We didn’t want a place that was run by advertisers, a place that would mine our data. We just want a place that’s simple and beautiful.”

So Budnitz and a group of designers and developers (from Berger & Föhr and Mode Set respectively). created a private social network about a year and a half ago just for themselves and a few friends. But there was so much demand for it that the team decided to build a version for the public.

“When we started building Ello, we started with a few principles,” said Budnitz. “The first is: no ads. A social network doesn’t have to be complicated and it especially doesn’t have to be that way if it doesn’t have ads.” He went on to say that when a network like Facebook shows ads, the advertiser is the customer, not you. “The thing that’s being sold is the user,” he said.

Additionally, because Budnitz and his team have strong design and art backgrounds, they wanted the site to look good. “I wanted something really clean and very different,” he said. “I also wanted to deal with clutter.” Berger added that Ello was also intended as a shared art space, and that’s apparent almost immediately. It has a minimalist interface, with plenty of white space and a wide layout that really lets art and photos take center stage. And for all you GIF-lovers out there, Ello supports those animated images out of the gate. In my first few hours with it, Ello feels a lot more like Tumblr than either Facebook or Twitter, but even that is not an accurate comparison. On the whole, Ello is just very different from any of the other social networks I’ve seen.

You can move people between two streams: Friends and Noise. The Friends stream features large photos and long-form text, while the Noise feed is a fluid grid layout designed for browsing information quickly. So the folks you’d add to your Friends stream would be people you’re really interested in, while Noise is just for quick news consumption. Similar to Twitter, you don’t have to follow someone who follows you and vice versa. In fact, by default, Ello is completely open and anyone can follow anyone else.

That openness has resulted in the first big criticism against Ello: It doesn’t have any privacy settings. So if I want to block someone or flag inappropriate content, I can’t. That’s an especially big pain point considering the reasons many flocked to it in the first place. However, Budnitz said privacy controls are coming soon.

“We were going to roll it out eventually,” he said. “But with so many people joining, especially since we have all these new users where that sort of thing matters, we’ve pushed up the schedule.” Plus, Budnitz said that Ello has a pretty strict set of rules already. “We have a zero-tolerance policy around hate, trolls, stalking and hurtful behavior.” Still, it seems that the rules aren’t entirely set in stone. In the initial policy, there was a statement of “No porn.” Now, however, it’s been reworded to allow for NSFW content, as long as it isn’t something illegal, like child pornography.

Indeed, Ello is still very much in beta. Notifications, for example, currently clutter up the Friends stream and the Discover/Search feature is slow and buggy. The team is hard at work to fix these issues and introduce new features, many of which are listed in the publicly viewable Feature List. Several upcoming features include private messaging, bookmarking and the ability to embed SoundCloud audio and video from Vimeo or YouTube. As for mobile apps, those are coming too, but only after the team is happy with its web product. In the meantime, you can view Ello on your phone via a mobile browser.

Of course, Ello is not the first social networking alternative. Remember and Diaspora? They’re still around and certainly have their fair share of fans, but they didn’t quite take the world by storm. Ello has the buzz, but it takes resources to harness and sustain that momentum. If Ello doesn’t plan to show ads, how will it make money?

Well, as far as initial financing goes, Ello did actually take some funding in the form of $435,000 from FreshTracks Capital, a VC firm in Vermont. That might sound some alarm bells regarding the direction of Ello and if it’ll really remain true to its ad-free goals, but the VCs in question appear to be relatively hands-off, telling GigaOm that it’s perfectly fine with Ello’s current business plan.

And how does that plan go? Well, Ello will be free to use if you want the simple, no-frills experience, but if you want something extra, you’ll have to pay for it. So, for example, if you wanted to manage multiple Ello accounts with a single login, that feature would cost you something like $2.

“Ello isn’t designed to be perfect for everyone, and it’ll never be perfect for everyone” said Berger. “But we’re going to let you customize the environment that’s suited for you and we’ll sell that to you.”

“We’ve already had thousands of different suggestions for premium features and a lot of them overlap each other,” said Budnitz. “We already have people who are interested in paying us for them. Just based on that, we know that we can be profitable.”

Even so, Budnitz has no plans to compete with Facebook.

“We’re not trying to rule the world,” he said. “We’re not competing. We’re just building this thing that we really want to use … We don’t need or want to be a $30 billion company. We just want to build a great business.”

[Image credit: Getty Images]

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Audio Testing Confirms iPhone 6 Not Yet Capable of Direct HD Audio Playback

Earlier this year, Apple was rumored to be adding support for high-definition audio playback in iOS 8 and shipping new EarPods with the iPhone 6 in order to support this 24bit/96kHz standard. Apple ultimately made no such announcements for iOS 8 or the iPhone 6, and Mashable has now confirmed with some testing that Apple’s latest iPhone 6 does not currently support high definition audio playback.

With the help of audio testing expert David Ranada, Mashable tested several sample .wav files encoded at a 96kHz sampling rate with 24 bits per sample. The tracks were played using third-party apps such as Onkyo’s HF music player and recordings were made through the headphone jack to determine the quality of the audio output.

The results show that iPhone 6 does not yet support HD audio playback, even though the audio hardware inside the phone may be capable of 24bit/96kHz output. According to teardown analyses, Apple’s iPhone 6 includes the custom made Cirrus Logic 338S1201 chip, which is likely the successor to the Cirrus Logic CS42L61 chip used in previous iPhone models. Though also a custom build, the older CS42L61 chip is part of Cirrus Logic’s CS42L51 family, which supports 24bit/96kHz HD audio.

It’s hard to conceive of Apple either creating a custom chip that’s less capable than the equivalent off-the-shelf component, let alone downgrading the audio capabilities of the iPhone’s DAC in subsequent generations. So it stands to reason the DAC on board the iPhone 6 is capable of sampling 24-bit/96kHz audio.

It’s possible, however, that Apple could later update iOS 8 with support for HD audio and enable the playback of hi-res music through the iPhone’s headphone jack. Apple is accepting 24bit/96kHz uploads from musicians and is allegedly preparing to enable high-definition 24-bit downloads from iTunes.

Customers who want HD audio sooner will have to look at Lightning-equipped audio devices such as the recently announced Fidelio M2L headphones from Philips. The Fidelio M2Ls will connect to an iPhone or iPad via the Lightning port and will support 24-bit audio using an internal DAC and amplifier built into the headphone unit.

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Facer allows you to fully customize your smartwatch face [‘Watch’ This App]

If you want: a fully customizable watch face, to choose from a wide array of watch faces, or even to create your own watch face, then you may want to check out the Facer app. It’s an app for Android Wear devices (yes even round ones) that allows you to get your watch face just… Read more »

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DU Battery Saver review


What’s the number one complaint among smartphone users? Ask anybody what they think of their new iGalaxy One M6 Pro, or whatever, and without fail you’ll hear “but the battery life sucks”. It’s seems to be a prolific problem as screens become lusher and more vivid. It’s not enough that we have these devices for mobile calling; they have to function as flashlights, televisions, and stereos as well. We’re demanding so much from our digital companions that it seems low-battery life is just a forgone conclusion at this point.

Suffering from the low-juice blues, myself, I tried out DU Battery Saver from DU APPS STUDIO. Promising to optimize power consumption and prolong battery life, this app has over 50 million downloads from Google Play and reviews that are just as impressive.

The installation was super easy. A small icon was added to my notification bar which reads the battery’s current charge percentage. Opening the app allows you to analyze power consumption and select different modes that fit your usage style. I didn’t really tinker with any of these presets as I wanted to see how it would fair out of the box, so to speak. One feature that I was immediately drawn to was the ability to view the phone’s power level by time remaining. It seemed to be pretty accurate and helped me quantify how much time I had until I needed to find a power source. It also displayed my phone’s temperature, to boot.

Even with the default settings, I could instantly tell that the app was managing my power usage in a way that delivered a longer charge-life. How it managed this, I haven’t a clue but I can tell you that there was absolutely no discernible difference to my experience. The screen wasn’t dimmer, apps didn’t load slower, and WiFi and Bluetooth weren’t disabled.

There’s not a downside I could find in my time with DU Battery Saver, aside from potentially having too many options for some users. It irrefutably delivered on its promise of extended battery life without any compromises to my device. That makes it a winner in my book.

Check out DU Battery Saver for yourself on Google Play.

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