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30
Dec

6 gadgets that harvest energy from play


By Cat DiStasio

A lot of hard work goes into engineering the gadgets that surround us, but technology isn’t all work and no play. In fact, there’s a number of really smart, practical products out there that harvest energy from the power of movement. Many of these products are no- or low-electricity devices designed to make life in developing countries easier and, perhaps, a bit more fun. A soccer match can help light an evening homework session. A tedious chore like washing clothes becomes a great opportunity for a little exercise. And getting access to clean drinking water can quite literally be child’s play.Slideshow-352562

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30
Dec

Microsoft Considering Smaller Xbox One as Potential Apple TV Rival


Microsoft may be gearing up to launch a new Xbox One gaming console in 2016, with a download-only device that would be noticeably smaller than the current Xbox One and enter the market as a potential rival to the new Apple TV. According to a report from Petri IT Knowledgebase (via Business Insider), the console would also see a price cut to match the current market of streaming-centric devices.

xbox one apple tv rival Keeping with the Xbox brand, the slimmer Xbox One would be able to download games from the Windows Store, but the power restraints of a smaller box would likely prevent access to the full Xbox games store. This casual-leaning app marketplace is another category in which the Xbox would compete directly with the new Apple TV, which introduced a similar App Store for the first time on Apple’s living room device when it launched in October. The report gave no mention as to whether the Siri-like Kinect would be integrated as well.

Microsoft is said to be looking at a late 2016 launch for the new Xbox One, which would be sold in concert with current models akin to the slimmed down Xbox 360 S that launched five years after the original 360. The company has introduced design refreshes and low-tier prices on its gaming consoles in the past: as low as $199 for the 256MB Xbox 360 Arcade and 4GB Xbox 360 E. Although the Xbox One has seen multiple price cuts, it’s yet to have a major hardware overhaul.

Related Roundup: Apple TV
Tags: Microsoft, Xbox
Buyer’s Guide: Apple TV (Buy Now)

Discuss this article in our forums

30
Dec

Apple’s Kevin Lynch Explains Method Behind Apple Watch’s Precise Timekeeping


42mm SS LB Apple WatchOne of the Apple Watch features Apple often highlights is the device’s precise timekeeping, which Apple says is within 50 milliseconds of the global time standard. Apple’s VP of Technology, Kevin Lynch, today spoke with Mashable and The Telegraph to share some details on how Apple achieves that level of accuracy.

Lynch told Mashable that the Apple Watch is so accurate that the hands of two Apple Watches placed next to one another will move in perfect unison. This is achieved primarily through 15 Network Time Protocol (NTP) servers that Apple has around the world, kept inside of buildings with GPS antennas that connect to GPS satellites broadcasting time data from the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C. The Observatory houses an ultra accurate atomic clock, which uses electronic transition frequency to measure time.

Apple’s time servers communicate the time to iPhones across the world, and the iPhone in turn syncs with the Apple Watch via Bluetooth to provide the exact time. Communicating a GPS signal from a server to an iPhone to an Apple Watch over Bluetooth has its own delays, which Apple corrects for via software. Apple’s NTP servers make sure iPhones and Apple Watches keep time at “Stratum One” accuracy, within milliseconds of “Stratum Zero” devices.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Lynch also described the hardware inside of the Apple Watch that makes sure the time remains accurate. Each Apple Watch has a temperature-controlled crystal oscillator inside to combat time drift that clocks and watches see. The oscillator also makes sure the Apple Watch remains warm enough to keep accurate time in very cold climates. Thanks to this hardware, the Apple Watch is even more accurate than the iPhone.

“The second hand on every Apple Watch is perfectly in sync, and each device is accurate to 50 milliseconds of Co-ordinated Universal Time (UTC), the world’s time standard, which is below human perception, so when you look at it you can’t tell the difference,” he explains.

With New Year’s Eve approaching, Lynch says Apple Watch owners will have the most accurate watches in the room. “If you’re in a room on New Year’s Eve wearing one, you will be the best reference for when the New Year actually begins,” he said.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 2
Buyer’s Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)

Discuss this article in our forums

30
Dec

LG adds the new SmartThinQ Hub to its smart home lineup


LG-SmartThinQ-Hub-1-1024x926

We’ll no doubt be seeing tons of Internet of Things (IoT) related gadgets and systems at CES 2016, and today we can add another one to the list. LG has just unveiled its new SmartThinQ Hub, which will serve as a gateway to smart sensors and other connected appliances in the home. It’ll have the ability to display reminders from personal calendars, stream music with its built-in speaker and more. You can control the SmartThinQ Hub with the 3.5-inch LCD display on the top of the device. LG also plans to release a smartphone app so that you can control it right from your mobile device.

LG is taking a page out of Amazon’s book with the SmartThinQ Hub

Taking a look at the product images attached above, you might notice this new hub looks a lot like Amazon’s Echo connected speaker, only with a touchscreen display. One could argue this hub doesn’t need a display, seeing as how most of the interactions users will make with it will be through the smartphone application. On the other hand, this could make some sense, as it’s not always convenient to pull out your smartphone if the hub is just a few feet away.

The SmartThinQ Hub will be able to control home appliances like washing machines, refrigerators, ovens, robotic vacuum cleaners air conditioners and much, much more. Perhaps the most interesting part of this announcement is that the hub will be able to be used in conjunction with LG’s SmartThinQ sensors, which aim to turn your dumb appliances into smart home products. The SmartThinQ sensors were unveiled at IFA 2015 a few months ago.

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The unit itself sports a sleek metal body that comes in both Champagne Gold and Black color options. It’s a pretty attractive device, so if you plan to jump on board with LG’s smart home initiative, this device won’t look too bad sitting next to a television or in the kitchen somewhere. The SmartThinQ Hub is compatible with devices that support the AllJoyn Alliance open source framework. This hub also works with hardware store Lowe’s Iris smart home services.

All of these smart home products will be on display at CES 2016, which runs from January 6th through the 9th. Android Authority will be on the floor taking a look at all the new connected gadgets the tech world has to offer, so stay tuned for more coverage.


CES logoNext: CES 2016: what to expect6

30
Dec

Deal: Transcend MicroSD cards up to 70% off and more on Amazon


Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 9.10.55 AM

We see MicroSD cards and other memory products discounted pretty regularly on Amazon, but it’s not often we see these products discounted by almost 80%. Today we have a pretty great group of deals for you, as various Transcend MicroSD cards, USB 3.0 Flash Drives and other memory products are on sale up to 77% off. These are all part of Amazon’s Deal of the Day, so if you’re interested in anything listed below, you’ll want to grab them sooner rather than later.

For starters, Amazon has discounted Transcend MicroSD cards in 64 and 128GB variants up to 72% off. Both of the storage options also come with an adapter, which we don’t see often in these discounts.

If you’re looking for something more suited for your camera, a number of Transcend Flash Memory Cards are on sale, up to 69% off.

There are also two different sizes of Transcend USB 3.0 Flash Drives on sale, up to 77% off.

In addition, you can score four different sizes of Transcend solid state drives for up to 64% off. Those can be found at the link attached below. Are you planning on picking anything up? If so, which did you choose?

See all of these deals on Amazon

30
Dec

LG adds the new SmartThinQ Hub to its smart home lineup


LG-SmartThinQ-Hub-1-1024x926

We’ll no doubt be seeing tons of Internet of Things (IoT) related gadgets and systems at CES 2016, and today we can add another one to the list. LG has just unveiled its new SmartThinQ Hub, which will serve as a gateway to smart sensors and other connected appliances in the home. It’ll have the ability to display reminders from personal calendars, stream music with its built-in speaker and more. You can control the SmartThinQ Hub with the 3.5-inch LCD display on the top of the device. LG also plans to release a smartphone app so that you can control it right from your mobile device.

LG is taking a page out of Amazon’s book with the SmartThinQ Hub

Taking a look at the product images attached above, you might notice this new hub looks a lot like Amazon’s Echo connected speaker, only with a touchscreen display. One could argue this hub doesn’t need a display, seeing as how most of the interactions users will make with it will be through the smartphone application. On the other hand, this could make some sense, as it’s not always convenient to pull out your smartphone if the hub is just a few feet away.

The SmartThinQ Hub will be able to control home appliances like washing machines, refrigerators, ovens, robotic vacuum cleaners air conditioners and much, much more. Perhaps the most interesting part of this announcement is that the hub will be able to be used in conjunction with LG’s SmartThinQ sensors, which aim to turn your dumb appliances into smart home products. The SmartThinQ sensors were unveiled at IFA 2015 a few months ago.

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The unit itself sports a sleek metal body that comes in both Champagne Gold and Black color options. It’s a pretty attractive device, so if you plan to jump on board with LG’s smart home initiative, this device won’t look too bad sitting next to a television or in the kitchen somewhere. The SmartThinQ Hub is compatible with devices that support the AllJoyn Alliance open source framework. This hub also works with hardware store Lowe’s Iris smart home services.

All of these smart home products will be on display at CES 2016, which runs from January 6th through the 9th. Android Authority will be on the floor taking a look at all the new connected gadgets the tech world has to offer, so stay tuned for more coverage.


CES logoNext: CES 2016: what to expect6

30
Dec

Facebook must deal with class-action lawsuits over its IPO


If Facebook thinks the legal troubles with its initial public stock offering are over, it has another thing coming. A federal judge has ruled that the social network must face two class-action lawsuits accusing it of masking doubts about its growth before the IPO kicked off in 2012. Both of them claim that Facebook pulled a fast one, tricking investors into buying stock at high prices that ultimately lost them money.

For its part, Facebook is appealing the decision. It insists that the class-action status is “without merit” and goes against precedent. Whether or not that’s true, it’s clear that a lot of people are still seething over the lofty expectations for Facebook’s IPO — they assumed that they would get windfall profits on day one, and were shocked when that didn’t happen.

[Image credit: Zef Nikolla/Facebook via Bloomberg]

Source: Reuters

30
Dec

‘Halo: Reach’ runs poorly on the Xbox One


The Xbox One’s backwards compatibility with Xbox 360 games has largely worked as promised, but there’s now one glaring exception. Microsoft has confirmed reports that Halo: Reach (aka one of the 360’s biggest titles) runs much slower than you’d expect. While talk of it being “unplayable” is extreme, Bungie’s shooter fell from a largely steady 30 frames per second on the original hardware to the mid-teens — enough to throw you off during intense action scenes. Others report audio glitches, too.

Microsoft says it’s working on a fix, but it’s not certain when that will arrive or how well it’ll work. Either way, the debacle illustrates the challenge of emulating highly customized console hardware: even if you largely get it right, there are bound to be a few games that slip through the cracks. It’s no wonder that Sony is being cautious with its own compatibility plans.

Source: Reddit, Kotaku

30
Dec

India now has over 1 billion mobile users


Just as we’ve been expecting for a while, India has joined China in the billion-user mobile club. India’s total number of mobile subscribers reached 1.03 billion in October, Bloomberg reports, based on a statement from the country’s telecom regulatory agency. With a total population of around 1.25 billion, India is the second-most populous country in the world after China, so it’s not a huge surprise to see it follow its neighbor with this milestone. India has around 12 mobile carriers fighting for dominance, the largest of which (Bharti Airtel) has over 200 million users. In comparison, the biggest American carrier, Verizon Wireless, has around 137.5 million subscribers.

(AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

Source: Bloomberg

30
Dec

DARPA wants a military drone that can land on small ships


For the longest time, the US Navy has conducted surveillance and reconnaissance missions by launching planes from large aircraft carriers. Those vessels are expensive though, so the Office of Naval Research and DARPA are working on a long-endurance drone that can launch from small ships instead. Project TERN (Tactically Exploited Reconnaissance Node) has now entered phase three, meaning the initial designs are complete and the team is ready to build its first prototype. It’s being developed for $93 million by Northrop Grumman, a defense contractor with plenty of experience building nightmare-inducing military assets.

The current design (shown above) is an aircraft that looks like a single wing, albeit with a couple of stabilisers and two counter-rotating propellers attached to the nose. It’ll take off like a helicopter — paramount for TERN’s object, which is to perfect a drone capable of taking off from confined spaces and in rough weather conditions. The unmanned air system (UAS) will then orient itself and fly horizontally for the duration of the mission, before returning to base and landing in an upright position again.

DARPA says the plan is to build a “full-scale demonstrator” on dry land, before transitioning to an at-sea version with a test platform similar in size to a destroyer warship. “The design we have in mind for the Tern demonstrator could greatly increase the effectiveness of any host ship by augmenting awareness, reach and connectivity,” DARPA’s Dan Patt said.

Unmanned military aircraft have been launched from vessels before, but they normally require runways like their piloted counterparts. If successful, TERN could change the role of smaller naval ships by making them agile launch and recovery platforms for military-grade UAVs.

Via: Popular Science

Source: DARPA

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