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China’s moon rover is alive and analyzing moon rocks

Turns out China’s Jade Rabbit (Yutu) successfully came back from the dead after a serious malfunction in 2014. In fact, the rover has recently beamed back data that could reveal more about the moon’s younger years when there were small volcanic eruptions all over the place. See, the Chang’e-3 probe that served as its ride to the moon in 2013 landed on a “relatively young” impact basin visible from Earth, giving Yutu the chance to collect samples that are only 3 billion-years-old. The samples brought back by the Apollo missions were as old as 4 billion years.

Since the rocks in the probe’s landing basin aren’t mixed with debris, the rover was able to gather pure samples resembling the composition of the moon’s volcanic bedrock beneath the lunar surface. Various ground teams of researchers have determined that it’s quite rich in titanium dioxide and the mineral olivine. They say this proves that moon rocks aren’t all the same and are much more diverse and complex than we thought, since the Apollo samples had a different mineral makeup.

Bradley L. Jolliff, a professor at Washington University in St. Louis which helped analyze Yutu’s data, explains that the results are significant because “The diversity tells us that the Moon’s upper mantle is much less uniform in composition than Earth’s. And correlating chemistry with age, we can see how the Moon’s volcanism changed over time.” Considering it’s believed that the moon formed from a piece of our planet that flew out when it collided with a Mars-sized celestial body, the data could shed more light on the Earth’s past, as well.

“diff[Image credit: CNSA/CCTV]

Source: Washington University in St. Louis


Sprint’s 2-year contract option may not be going away afterall


Earlier this year, Sprint reported that 2-year contracts would be going away at the conclusion of 2015. However, according to a new report, this may not be the case for the U.S. carrier.

2-year contracts are clearly coming to an end, but then again, maybe not for Sprint subscribers. Sprint wants to ensure that its users have options when it comes to paying for their phone and data. When signing up with Sprint, users have the choice to pay for their device upfront for retail price, pay with installment payments, sign a 2-year agreement, or if you have an iPhone, sign up for the new iPhone forever offering.

We should be hearing from Sprint in the coming days to know exactly what the carrier’s plans are moving forward. So let’s just keep patient.

Source: FierceWireless

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Leaked image exposes the full body of the Xiaomi Mi 5


Xiaomi Mi 5 leaks have been off the charts the past few days, and today we have a glimpse of yet another one. This leak reveals an actual image of the Xiaomi Mi 5.

According to the leaked image, the Xiaomi Mi 5’s design will be mainly made of metal. It will have extremely thin bezels on the sides and include a tactile home button at the front. The home button will also house a fingerprint scanner. A USB Type C port looks to be at the bottom of the device for charging, but it’s a little unclear due to the angle the shot was taken from. The Mi 5 also contains two speaker grills located at the bottom of device.

In addition to the leaked photo, we also have bits and pieces from the Mi 5’s design patent. You can check them out in the gallery down below.


Source: Weibo
Via: GadgetzArena

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Santa Claus is coming to town: Google Tracker live


You better watch out, you better not cry, better not pout, I’m telling you why — okay, you know the rest by now. Today’s the big day, it’s Christmas Eve and Santa is already in route. For those looking to track Santa with their kids – or if you just really, really love Christmas – Google’s tracker is now live and ready to go!

This year the tracker has received a few tweaks and upgrades to the interface, showing you a customized map that tells you where Santa is, where he has been, and how far away he is from you. There’s also info on how many gifts he’s delivered, and more. Once again, there’s also support for Chromecast, so you can watch Santa deliver presents on the big screen.

Aside from tracking Santa, Google’s Tracker also includes the new game “Code Boogie” which teaches the basics of programming through activities such as making an elf dance. There are also a few other activities including a Present Drop game, a tool that lets you translate holiday greetings and phrases into different languages, and plenty of other activities to keep the kiddos happy.

As a Google fan, the Santa Tracker is certainly a no-brainer, added by the fact there’s so many extras shoved in. For those that prefer the official “NORAD endorsed” option, however, Microsoft and Norad have once again teamed up to offer their own Santa Tracker as well. This “official” option isn’t quite as loaded with extras, but you can check it out here if you’d prefer.

Head over to Google’s Tracker


Unlocked Motorola Moto G (2015) receiving Android 6.0 Marshmallow in the US

Moto G 2015 Hands On-11

Following the rollout of Android 6.0 Marshmallow for the Moto X Style, Moto X Pure Edition (2015) and Moto X Pure Edition (2014), it looks like Motorola has begun pushing out the big update to the unlocked Moto G (2015) in the United States. If you own this variant of the budget-friendly device, the update should be waiting for you.

As previously noted, the update to Android 6.0 Marshmallow will bring a ton of new improvements and features, including Doze mode, more granular app permission controls, Google Now on Tap, Android Pay, and much simpler volume controls. Also, Motorola will be taking away a few features with the Marshmallow update, including Moto Assist, Motorola Migrate, and the Google Chrome extension for Motorola Connect. Motorola claims that there is no need to pre-install these features on their devices anymore because Google provides similar functionality in Android. The company says it wants to compliment Android, not compete with it.

Android 6.0 marshmallow logo DSC_0126See also: Android 6.0 Marshmallow updates roundup – December 18, 201588

Interested in finding out more about the Moto G (2015)? Be sure to check out our full review.

If you have yet to receive the update, head to Settings>About phone>System updates to check manually. Has your Moto G been updated yet? Do you have a different Motorola device that’s gotten the update? If so, be sure to let us know how you’re liking it in the comment section below.

Next: Best cheap Android phones


Confessions of an ab-toning addict

I always thought that those as seen on TV-style ab-toning belts were a con, with only the most credulous of fools being taken in by them. “That’s not a way to get fitter,” scoffed my internal monologue, “it’s a bunch of hocus-pocus and flim-flam.” When Slendertone launched Connect, a smartphone-orientated reinvention of the technology, it seemed like the ideal time to torpedo the concept once and for all. Except I can’t, because I’m increasingly certain that my thinner, flatter stomach is down to wearing this and using it each day. In fact, I’ve gone from being the archetypal doubter to being a stone-cold convert, maybe even an addict.

Slendertone is probably the biggest brand in the niche world of consumer electrical muscle stimulation. It’s a technique predicated upon the fact that passing a current through your muscles will cause them to contract. It’s an FDA-approved process that’s designed to strengthen muscles and has been used by athletes to help improve muscle resistance and blood flow. Its reputation as a practical, effective tool has been tarnished by companies that promise that wearing one of these will help you lose weight or get abs like Brad Pitt’s in Fight Club. They won’t, precisely because the issue isn’t the size of your abdominals, but the quantity of fat that sits in front of them.

The Connect is Slendertone’s latest device that wraps around your stomach in order to juice up your insides. Up front, you’ll find a detachable controller that recharges over micro-USB, while on the other side are three metal electrodes onto which you attach gel pads. These pads conduct the energy from the controller into your guts with a series of short or long pulses, depending on the program that you’ve set. Thankfully, rather than having to use the controller to manually adjust the intensity, you can now use your iPhone (via Bluetooth), giving you much finer control.

The app itself has a variety of set-ups for various programs with anodyne names like Essential Toning, Fitness, Advanced and Upcoming Event. Each of these lasts for six weeks, and you’re expected to wear the belt for five sessions, which normally shake out to be up to 30 mins long. As you progress, you’ll be given FIT Points, which are earned by completing sessions and increasing the intensity beyond what’s expected of you. You’re handed a target of, say, 22 a week, and if you’re prepared for some extra discomfort, can push well past that — I’m on 31.1 for the past seven days.

You know when a doctor tells you, shortly before an injection, that you’re about to feel a slight scratch? That same sort of half-truth applies here, too, since EMS at any useful intensity is kinda-sorta unpleasant, at least initially. Imagine someone grabbing your love handles and shaking your flab at an impossibly high frequency, but the gloves in question have a few metal pins sticking into your flesh. It all sounds a bit nasty, although you very quickly get used to it while sat (or, in my case, stood) at your desk. I’m no masochist, but if I take a day off, I actually start missing the sensation.

The real benefit doesn’t make itself apparent until long after the session has ended, like when you stretch your arms over your head and realize your torso is burning. The muscles, after such an intensive workout are now aching, knitting themselves back together as if you’d spent your morning doing nothing but stomach crunches. It’s the sort of endorphin-bringing discomfort that gym rats and Instagram braggers love to talk about and I’m enjoying it for precisely zero effort. Buried beneath the layers of flab that still adorn my frame, there’s a thinner and significantly more jacked Dan Cooper working hard at his own reinvention. That guy’s so smart and attractive he’s probably a hit with everyone and wears nice suits, which means I already hate him.

As you read this, you’ll be tucking into turkey and booze with only the vaguest of intentions of losing weight after January 1st. You’ll be wondering if this piece of hardware is worth investing in to shed your holiday flab? Yes, although nobody but you is likely to feel the benefit unless you lay off the chips and soda from now on. I’ve been using this device for the better part of eight weeks, racking up more than 22 hours of strength training. With almost no change in my diet, I’ve started to notice my hanging gut recede, at least by half a centimeter. When I suck my stomach in, the effect is so pronounced that it looks as if I don’t have much of a belly at all. Again, this isn’t because ab toning is making me lose weight, but because there’s more muscle behind it to pull the fat in. It’s all anecdotal evidence, too, but I’m certainly going to persist with this to see how far I can go.

Here’s the downside, at least for now: Slendertone Connect isn’t yet available in the US, and the firm has yet to respond to my queries about that situation changing. Here in Europe, it’s available for £179.99 ($267), but we imagine the price will be closer to $179.99 if and when it does make its journey across the Atlantic. For now, Americans will have to make do with the $199 Abs7, which offers a rechargeable battery and built-in controller, but can’t interact with your smartphone. But if you’re in dire need of a way to jumpstart your own revolution, there are few easier ways.

Source: Slendertone


Firefox OS may live on in a TV stick and Pi-powered keyboard

Shortly after Mozilla said that it was done with Firefox OS smartphones, it confirmed that the OS would live on in connected devices. We might now have a better idea of what that means, thanks to a leak from Hipertextual. The Spanish site unearthed several internal Mozilla documents showing a Firefox keyboard, stick, hub and, most unusually, a Raspberry Pi powered keyboard. When queried by Venture Beat, Mozilla confirmed that the devices were “early product concept work by one of our developers,” but wouldn’t say if they were still under development.

The router and TV stick are aimed at the connected home market, a niche where Firefox OS already has a toehold with Panasonic Smart TVs. The goal with the Firefox Stick is to “bring the Firefox OS TV experience to any TV,” in much the same way that NVIDIA’s shield gives a regular TV similar capabilities to, say, the Sony X900C. An earlier attempt at building a Firefox OS stick failed, however, and Firefox conceded that the device “must have DRM and content partnerships to be successful.” The router, meanwhile, would give users a hackable product with built-in privacy controls, and could also function as a web server and connected home devices hub.

The tablet would be “just a web browser,” according to Mozilla, and be targeted at late adopters and the elderly. It wouldn’t be the first Firefox OS slate on the market, but would be an inexpensive, highly pared-back version, lacking an app store, mobile connection and other frills. The keyboard is a more interesting idea, as it would be equipped with a Raspberry Pi, and “dedicated to using and making the web.” Mozilla pointed out that it could be plugged into a spare TV or monitor, making it a cheap computer in nations like India with millions of obsolete TVs. It would be equipped with Mozilla’s Webmaker kit and be useful for web creators, educators and makers.

Mozilla stressed that “we are still at the early stages of exploring and prototyping new use cases for Firefox OS in the world of connected devices as an open source project.” However, as shown in the video below, the company does have concrete plans to develop connected devices similar to the ones leaked here. As for what form they’ll take, we’ll have to wait to find out more — hopefully, in about two weeks, when CES 2016 starts.

Via: Venture Beat

Source: Hipertextual


LG’s V10 is selling well in the U.S.


In 2015, LG released two flagships to maintain consumer interest in the brand; however, little space was left between them. The V10 followed the G4 in a release that came less than six months later. There were many analysts that felt the V10, which is a bit pricy, would have no place in the market. And the handset actually got off to a poor start in LG’s homeland of South Korea. But the same cannot be said for the V10 in the United States as LG has revealed its sales of the handset in the United States.


LG is proud to announced that 450,000 units of the V10 were sold in the handset’s first 45 days of availability. What attributed to the strong start in sales for the V10, according to the company, were interest in larger phones and an active young customer base. Nearly 40% of V10 owners in the United States are 25-34 years old, indicating that the commercial featuring Joseph Gordon-Levitt is working with decent effectiveness.

Source: LG

Click here to view the embedded video.

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Deal: buy the Phonejoy GamePad 2 bluetooth controller for 22% off


It’s one thing to get funded on Kickstarter, but making it to our best Android gifts under $100 and best Bluetooth controllers lists is a whole other feat. PhoneJoy introduced its first Bluetooth controller back in 2012.

We now have the second iteration in the market, and it just so happens to be a very worthy successor. But as we all know, Bluetooth gamepads can get expensive, so it’s a good idea to take advantage of offers like today’s. The AA Deals Store is currently selling the PhoneJoy GamePad 2 for $59.99, a 22% discount over the original price.

Phonejoy featured in:

The PhoneJoy design is quite unique, as it wraps around the phone or tablet to provide maximum comfort while holding both the controller and device. It blends your device and controller, turning them into a single unit.

And don’t even worry about long gaming sessions. This thing will last up to 14 hours alive with active playing on a single charge. And with support for over 200 games, you will likely need all that time.

It’s a hell of a controller. I happen to like the fact that it can be so versatile. It’s portable when you close it down, but comfortable to hold when expanded. It’s definitely a good investment for the serious gamer. Swiping and tapping can only take you so far.

Buy the Phonejoy GamePad 2 for $59.99


HTC One X9 officially announced in China

htc one x9 official

The HTC One X9 has been officially announced in China. Powered by an octa-core MediaTek processor, the One X9 is a premium smartphone that doesn’t command a premium price tag. Equipped with a 5.5-inch display, the One X9 features a good-looking design that’s been combined with a metal unibody. HTC claims that it takes more than 300 hours and 50 advanced steps to assemble one of these beauties.

On the inside of the One X9 ticks MediaTek’s high-end Helio X10 processor, which is comprised of 8x Cortex A53 cores clocked at 2.2GHz. The 64-bit chipset is paired with a PowerVR G6200 GPU clocked at 700MHz, 3GB of RAM, and 32GB of internal storage. The One X9 has an UltraPixel front camera, great for low-light conditions and selfie lovers. Turn the device around and you’re greeted by a 13MP camera that’s armed with OIS and capable of 4K video recording. There’s also support for RAW image capture, which serious mobile photographers are sure to appreciate.

The One X9 comes with a large 3000mAh battery, which HTC claims can last about 15 hours of voice calls over 3G, 10 hours of high-definition video playback, and 40 hours of uninterrupted music playback. Support for fast charging is present, which is said to be 30% faster than charging with a regular 5V, 1A charger.

htc one x9 image

Just like most other high-end HTC handsets, the One X9 has powerful BoomSound speakers on the front side, which when coupled with Dolby Audio makes for an immersive audio experience. Also, the speaker holes are such that they are effectively water- and dust-proof. The handset is capable of powering professional hi-fi headphones, thanks to the in-built amp that can drive power output of up to 0.98V.

The One X9 is HTC’s smallest 5.5-inch device ever, as specified on their website, having a width of only 75.9mm. The display, which boasts 170-degree wide viewing angles and high contrast for good daylight visibility, is protected by Corning’s Gorilla Glass. HTC opted for a Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) panel instead of Quad HD or 4K. The resultant improvement in battery life is sure to be appreciated by end users.

HTC’s website doesn’t mention the Android version running on the One X9, but seeing that the One A9 released with Marshmallow out-of-the-box, we would be surprised if it weren’t the same case with their new smartphone. Perhaps one of the best part about the One X9 is its price, which is 2399 yuan in China, or roughly $370. Keep in mind the phone is currently a Chinese exclusive, but let’s hope that HTC introduces the One X9 to other markets across the globe at the same aggressive price point.

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