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4
May

Roost Smart Smoke Alarm Release Date, Price and Specs – CNET


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Roost

Roost isn’t just a battery anymore. Today, the company known for a Wi-Fi connected 9V announced two smart smoke detectors — an $80 model that senses smoke, fire, CO, and natural gas and a $60 model for just smoke and fire. Both products will include a Roost Smart Battery, will connect to your Wi-Fi network, and will send you push alerts when your alarm sounds so you can stay informed when you’re out and about if something’s wrong at home.

Other smart smoke devices
  • Buying Guide
  • Nest Protect 2nd Gen
  • First Alert Smoke and CO Alarm

As with the Roost Smart Battery, you won’t have to deal with low battery chirps with the company’s smoke alarms either. You’ll get a push notification weeks in advance so you have plenty of time to deal with the issue. Both the Roost Smart Smoke Alarm RSA-400 (the $80 model) and the RSA-200 are available for preorder today on the company’s site. Delivery is slated for June. The smoke detectors are only available in the US for now.

Both models are hardwired, with the Roost Smart Battery acting as a backup. The battery is designed to last 5 years, and you can buy a replacement pack for $15.

The smoke detection capabilities of the alarms come from Universal Security Instruments, Inc (USI) — a company that’s been making smoke alarms for decades. Thanks to USI’s involvement, the new Roost alarms will feature specialized technology designed to reduce false alarms and more quickly detect both slow and fast moving fires.

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The smoke alarm relies on the battery for its smarts.


Roost

But since the smarts of these smoke alarms actually come from the Roost Smart Battery, you won’t get any extra app-enabled capabilities than you would if you swapped a Roost battery into your existing detector. I’d hoped you’d at least be able to silence these alarms remotely, but that feature won’t be available on these models.

Since the Roost Smart Batteries on their own only cost $35, the Roost Smart Smoke Alarms might have a hard time proving their value. You won’t get the extra smarts of the $100 Nest Protect or the affordable retrofit smarts of the original Roost Battery. That said, the Nest Protect is currently the only smart smoke detector we’d recommend on the market, and it isn’t perfect. If Roost’s alarms can be faster and better for less, they might be worth it when you are ready to replace your home’s detectors.

4
May

Enter Android Central’s contest, and May the Fourth be with you!


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There are a few days that geeks everywhere celebrate. March 14th is Pi Day. April 8th is Rex Manning Day. September 19 is Talk Like A Pirate Day. And May 4th is known far and wide as Star Wars Day!

Thanks to the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and later this year Rogue One, there’s a new era of Star Wars underway. Long time fans have new material to be excited for, new fans are being made every day, and there’s just a lot to celebrate all around! You know we love celebrating stuff, and giving away fun things to our readers, so we decided to make it happen today.

THE PRIZES: We have a bunch of fun stuff to give away, and a total of 7 people will be winners! One person will win a Sphero BB-8 Droid, one will win the Star Wars: Six Movie Collection (either digital or on Bluray), and 5 people will win a copy of Star Wars: The Force Awakens (either digital or on Bluray). Awesome!

THE CONTEST: Use the widget below to enter. There are several different options, and if you complete them all you’ll have the maximum chance at winning! Please note, we DO verify the winning entries, so if you say you completed something, but you didn’t actually do it, you’ll be disqualified and a new winner will be chosen.

This one’s open to all folks everywhere such contests are legal. In the event the winner does not reside in the US, please be aware that the prize may be subject to customs fees and taxes, which are the responsibility of the winner. The contest ends at midnight tonight, May 5th. We’ll announce the winner here on this post shortly after the closing date.

That’s it! Good luck, everyone!

Enter Android Central’s contest, and May the Fourth be with you!

4
May

Cricket Wireless to sell the LG Stylo 2 on May 13 for $170


AT&T’s no-contract subsidiary Cricket Wireless will begin selling the LG Stylo 2 starting on May 13. The 5.7-inch smartphone will be priced at $169.99.

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Cricket stated the phone would be sold both in its retail stores and on its website. The LG Stylo 2 is already available from Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile for the price of $179.

The smartphone, which comes with Android Marshmallow pre-installed, includes an embedded stylus, along with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. It also supports a way to use two apps at once by splitting the screen in two. The LG Stylo 2 has a 13 megapixel rear camera, a 5MP front-facing camera and a 3000mAh battery.

4
May

Dolby Digital Plus surround sound support arrives for Play Movies on Android TV and Roku


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Google has announced that Play Movies now support Dolby Digital Plus surround sound on Android TV and Roku. That’s right, movies that you rent or purchase from Play Movies will now output a better sound, and allow you to take full advantage of your home theater system.

Play Movies now support @Dolby Digital Plus surround sound on Android TV & Roku!

— Google Play (@GooglePlay) May 4, 2016

You don’t need to do anything different to enable the support. Simply head to Play Movies, take your pick from the huge selection, and then play it on your Android TV or Roku hardware. Once you experience it, be sure to let us know what you thought of it, and if it made any noticeable difference on your set up.

4
May

HTC 10 camera patch: Updated impressions and sample shots


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HTC makes some welcome tweaks to an already great smartphone camera.

The HTC 10 has a pretty good camera — one of the best in an Android phone, and certainly HTC’s finest to date, as we discovered in reviewing the phone. But as the phone’s release date approaches for many of us, HTC has pushed out an over-the-air update which, among other things, provides several camera-related enhancements. Auto HDR tuning has been improved, HTC says, along with sharpness in outdoor and low-light situations. And the laser autofocus UI has been tweaked to stop it firing error messages quite so often. (It really didn’t want you getting too close to it.)

So just how does the HTC 10 perform with the latest camera tweaks? We’ve spent the past day getting reacquainted with the HTC 10 camera, and you’ll find our updated sample shots down below.

Pretty pictures

HTC 10 — v1.30 Sample shots

Note: Click to enlarge. Scroll down for 100% crops.

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General observations:

  • Compared to the earlier firmware, HTC has addressed some of the issues we saw with loss of fine detail, particularly in HDR shots. It also appears to have upped the saturation and sharpening applied to photos, which is most visible in bright daylight shots.
  • In night shots, we’re noticing less chroma noise compared to the earlier firmware.
  • The issues we encountered where the camera app would think the laser autofocus is being blocked when taking macro shots has been mostly fixed. We came across it once or twice in our testing of the new software, but nowhere near as much as before.
  • While photos in general appear sharper than before, we’re still seeing some cloudiness and mushiness in certain daylight pics compared to the Galaxy S7.
  • And taking macro pics — though much improved thanks to HTC’s laser autofocus fix — remains more of a challenge than with Samsung’s camera, with noticeably slower focus times.

Quick comparison

Galaxy S7 versus updated HTC 10

In this first shot, in HDR mode with relatively challenging lighting, the HTC 10 produces a more natural looking image with more shadow detail.

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Left: HTC 10; Right: Galaxy S7

The second shot, taken at twilight, shows the GS7’s HDR mode pulling ahead, while the HTC 10 captures a darker, grainier image.

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Left: HTC 10; Right: Galaxy S7

And finally, the GS7 captures a sharper, lighter night shot — although the HTC 10 captures an image with more realistic lighting. (This pic shows the yellowish hue that often affects night shots from Samsung’s camera.)

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Left: HTC 10; Right: Galaxy S7

Zoom, enhance!

HTC 10 — 100 percent crops

Note: Click to enlarge these photos, and go full-screen to ensure you’re viewing these crops at 100 percent.

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Some welcome improvements

The bottom line

A great camera, made even better.

The HTC 10 was a great camera when we reviewed it, and it’s even better with this latest software update. With sharper and more vibrant photos, particularly outdoors, the HTC adopts some of the characteristics that make photos from Samsung phones look so great. Meanwhile, welcome changes to the software processing of night shots mean it’s no longer a foregone conclusion that Samsung will take better pics in the dark.

And while the GS7’s shooter still feels faster to use, particularly in HDR mode, the newly-updated HTC 10 is absolutely worthy of its place among the best phone cameras of 2016.

What do you think of the HTC 10’s camera with this latest update? Share your thoughts down in the comments, and let us know if you’ll be picking up an HTC 10 in the weeks ahead!

4
May

Google Play Music celebrates Star Wars Day with a John Williams radio station


It’s May 4, known to many fans as “Star Wars Day,” and Google is celebrating with a new radio station in Google Play Music. The Galaxy of John Williams plays music from movies scored by John Williams, the legendary film composer, responsible for the music not only of Star Wars, the Harry Potter films, and many of the movies of Steven Spielberg.

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Fans can also check out Google Play Music’s existing Star Wars radio station, Star Wars Finest. Don’t forget, you can also grab the latest film in the franchise, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, from Google Play Movies. There’s also a collection in Play Books that offers the first four volumes of four of Marvel’s ongoing Star Wars comics.

  • Get Star Wars: The Force Awakens on Google Play
  • Get the Star Wars 4-Collection Bundle on Google Play

4
May

Samsung Galaxy S7 vs LG G5: Which is better?


Samsung and LG both unveiled their 2016 flagship smartphones at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona back in March and both are now available to buy in the UK and the US.

The Galaxy S7 and the LG G5 see the South Korean companies go head-to-head once again. Samsung went for a familiar design to the S6 and S6 edge with the S7 and S7 edge making a couple of refinements, while LG opted for a redesign for the G5, but which should you choose?

We have put Samsung’s Galaxy S7 up against LG’s G5 to see what features the two devices offer and how they compare based on our experience and their numbers. Read on to see what the differences are between the LG G5 and the Samsung Galaxy S7.

Samsung Galaxy S7 vs LG G5: Design

Samsung was all about design when it launched the Galaxy S6 at MWC 2015, bringing a metal and glass body to the flagship line. This year was a little more understated though with the Galaxy S7 featuring a very similar, but slightly refined slim, metal build as its predecessor. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?

The quick-responding fingerprint sensor remains on the front, while the protruding camera lens on the rear has been made a little more subtle with the new device. The Galaxy S7 measures 142.4 x 69.9 x 7.9mm and weighs 152g so a little thicker and heavier than its predecessor but like the S6, the S7 offers a lovely design with a great build quality. The glass back is still prone to fingerprints but the S7 introduces IP68-certification for dust and waterproofing, which is a good feature to have even if you don’t realise it straight away.

LG did what Samsung did last year, offering a complete shake up in terms of design. The G5 offers a full metal body complete with a fingerprint sensor on the rear within the power button, although the fingerprint sensor is a little slower than the S7 and the metal build feels a little plasticky. The G5’s modular design does offer a lovely soft curve from the display that tapers off the top of the handset though and there aren’t any visible reception bands either, which we liked.

Above the power button is a fancy rear camera array, while the volume controls have moved to a more conventional side position. The LG G5 measures 149.4 x 73.9 x 7.7mm and weighs 159g so it’s a little larger in footprint and heavier than the Galaxy S7 but ever so slightly slimmer. Its design doesn’t feel quite as premium as the S7, but the G5 does offer a removable battery thanks to its modular nature, as well as the addition of other modules, such as a Hi-Fi DAC and amp.

Samsung Galaxy S7 vs LG G5: Display

The Samsung Galaxy S7 features a 5.1-inch Super AMOLED display with a Quad HD resolution, while the LG G5 has a 5.3-inch IPS LCD display, also featuring a 2560 x 1440 resolution.

This of course means that the LG G5 has the larger display of the two devices, but Samsung is the sharper of the two with a few more pixels packed in per inch. It’s not something you can detect with the human eye really but based on the numbers, that’s the story. In reality, both devices offer great displays.

AMOLED technology tends to deliver brighter, more vibrant colours and deeper blacks than LCD but LG does have its reasons for opting for LCD over OLED. Both the Samsung and the LG have what the companies are calling always-on displays whereby information is still available on the main display without the user having to wake up the display.

You’ll be able to see notifications or the time and such like without turning on the display and using less than one per cent of battery per hour on both devices, but the technologies are different. The end result is similar but the G5 is better as it offers notifications from third-party apps too, while the S7 only shows notifications from Samsung apps.

Samsung Galaxy S7 vs LG G5: Camera

The camera department is where both the Samsung Galaxy S7 and the LG G5 hope to shine. Starting with the Galaxy S7, Samsung has used a 12-megapixel rear snapper but increased the pixel size to 1.2um over 1.4um from the Galaxy S6.

There is also a wider aperture on board at f/1.7 and dual pixel technology, which is also found in DSLRs, for quicker auto focusing. In a nutshell, the Galaxy S7 is all about offering better low light capture. The front-facing camera is 5-megapixels and both perform very well. You point, you shoot and you get consistently good results. It offers fast, accurate auto-focusing and it’s very easy to get good results with very little effort.

The LG G5 has a 16-megapixel rear camera, along with a secondary 8-megapixel 135-degree wide-angle sensor for a wider field of view that is said to be closer to a human eye than a regular camera. The G5’s 16-megapixel lens will still take regular pictures, with the secondary lens there more for when you want that wider shot. The results? Ridiculously good. The G5 has super-fast and super-accurate autofocus whatever you point it at, aided by a bright f/1.8 aperture for low-light shooting. It also has an 8-megapixel front-facing camera.

As cameras go in flagship handsets, LG’s dual offering is a storming performer with some great features that’s easily up there in among the mix for best of the bunch. It’s very impressive.

Samsung Galaxy S7 vs LG G5: Hardware

There’s been a lot of confusion when it comes to the processor under the Galaxy S7’s hood. Samsung offers two versions of the Galaxy S7 depending on the region, with one offering a quad-core chip and the other an octa-core chip. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 will be the quad-core model and the octa-core model will be Exynos 8 Octa. The LG G5 opts for the Snapdragon 820. Both the S7 and the G5 are excellent performers though. They are powerful, slick and fast in operation and neither overheats when you throw harder tasks at them.

LG has 4GB of RAM on board, as well as 32GB of internal storage, supported by microSD for storage expansion. Samsung also offers 4GB of RAM along with 32GB and 64GB storage options with microSD support reintroduced for this device, which is good. Neither the S7 or the G5 support Marshmallow’s adoptable storage feature though, which is a shame for both handsets.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 comes with 3000mAh battery under the hood, charged via Micro-USB, while the LG G5 has a slightly smaller 2800mAh capacity that is charged via USB Type-C. The battery life on both devices isn’t amazing, although better on the S7. That said, as we mentioned previously, the G5 has a removable battery thanks to a button on the side of the device that allows you to remove the bottom of the smartphone.

This button on the G5 is also where LG has managed to make itself a little more fun than the Galaxy S7, offering modules that it calls Friends, which can be attached to the bottom of the phone to offer more features. There is a Cam Plus module for a more natural camera experience, as well as a Hi-Fi Plus module for higher quality audio output, as we mentioned. The latter allows the G5 to deliver 32-bit high-res playback, which sounds great, but the G5’s built-in headphone socket already supports 24-bit audio, as well as offering aptX HD so the module isn’t really necessary.

Samsung Galaxy S7 vs LG G5: Software

The Samsung Galaxy S7 and the LG G5 both launch on Android Marshmallow from the box. As you would expect, both companies add their own software overlays so it won’t be a stock Android experience and they won’t offer the same experience as each other.

Samsung users will get a familiar experience with the addition of a couple of features such as the Games Launcher and Samsung Pay. The Galaxy S7 also comes with Samsung’s security software called Knox from the box.

LG users will also get a familiar experience but LG has removed the app launcher for the G5 in a bid to offer a simpler experience. You can read all about the different software experiences in our separate reviews. The LG G5 review can be found here and the Samsung Galaxy S7 review here.

Samsung Galaxy S7 vs LG G5: Conclusion

Both the Samsung Galaxy S7 and the LG G5 are great smartphones. The LG G5 is a flagship that’s going to split the crowd because of its module-based design. It’s not as premium-feeling as the S7, but it has some really standout features: the dual-camera is something special, the Quad HD screen looks the part, and with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 processor, 4GB RAM and QuickCharge 3.0 to boot, there’s all the power you could need.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 on the other hand has great design reinvention, again plenty of power, a great display, a pretty good battery performance and a consistently good camera. It’s a difficult smartphone not to like, fixing most of what was generally disliked about the SGS6.

Which is the winner of these two handsets? Well that’s really up to you and what you want from your smartphone. LG and Samsung are certainly more on par this year with these two devices than they were with the G4 and S6 and neither device will disappoint so your choice will probably come down to which you like best in terms of design. The Samsung is safe, while the LG could be lots of fun depending on your view of those modules.

4
May

Apple Music could be getting a revamp in June


As the one year anniversary of Apple Music approaches, a report suggests it could be getting an overhaul. Bloomberg claims the service will get a rebooted user interface, one that will likely bring the streaming and download offerings closer together. The report stops short of specifics, but it claims the changes are likely to be unveiled at this year’s developer conference.

Apple Music racked up 10 million paying users in its first six months, despite earlier figures suggesting the initial surge of interest might have been bolstered by people enjoying (or forgetting about) the free trial period. No doubt, that fact that Apple broke from tradition and opened the service to Android users has helped widen the audience. These moves pleased many, but not without stirring some criticism, and lest we forget the high profile spat over how it compensated artists.

Bloomberg’s sources suggest that the revamp will be overseen by Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor and VP, Apple iTunes Conten Robert Kondrk. Back in March, Reznor was tipped as being tasked with making Music a stronger rival to Spotify, adding credibility to the new report. Jony Ive’s fingerprints are also said to be on the product, too. Whether the changes will be enough to give Music a boost is yet to be seen, but recent figures from the RIAA at least suggest the market for streaming is on the up. With WWDC kicking off next month, it might be a good time to revisit some of your favorite explicit tracks.

Source: Bloomberg

4
May

UK telephone boxes to be turned into tiny offices


Some of the UK’s iconic telephone boxes will soon be converted into small personal offices. Bar Works, a company operating a trio of co-working spaces in New York, has leased 15 of BT’s old call receptacles in London, Leeds and Edinburgh. They’ll soon be kitted out with WiFi access, a printer and scanner, a 25-inch monitor, a wireless mouse, a plug powerbank and a hot drinks machine. Aimed at entrepreneurs, the “Pod Works” subscription will run you £19.99 per month and net you access to any box, at any time of day or night. Access will be regulated through a smartphone app.

“Entrepreneurs constantly on the move need a convenient, affordable and private place to work,” Bar Works CEO Jonathan Black says. “Why should they sit in Starbucks or any other coffee bar when using one of our Pods will allow them to truly focus on their job before an important meeting or presentation at less than the price of two cups of coffee a week?”

The red telephone box is a cherished part of British culture. It was voted the nation’s greatest design achievement, ahead of the Spitfire and the London taxi. These days, however, the smartphone is king, reducing telephone boxes to pavement-straddling relics. Some have been repurposed as WiFi hotspots, while others have been used to serve coffee and ice cream. Bar Works’ office concept is novel, but we’re a little skeptical about its practicality. Telephone boxes are pokey places, and visible to anyone walking by. They’re also prime targets for theft and vandalism.

We’ll reserve judgement for now. Perhaps the company can work some magic and, like the Tardis, make them feel an awful lot larger on the inside.

Via: Ars Technica

Source: Bar Works

4
May

Biotech companies get permission to test brain death reversal


Brain death in humans is normally considered irreversible. Even if you keep the body running, those damaged brain cells just won’t recover to the point where you get a fully functioning person again. However, that isn’t stopping Bioquark or Revita Life Sciences. They recently received approval from American and Indian review boards to conduct a trial aimed at eventually reversing brain death in humans. The initial, months-long test will use multiple techniques to try and regenerate brains in 20 patients, including lasers, nerve stimulation and injections of both peptides as well as stem cells.

The hope is that the brain stem cells will wipe their history and start things anew, much like some animals regrow whole segments of their bodies. This trial isn’t expected to bring people back to life, though — it’s just a “proof of concept” study that will see if the idea is viable.

Bioquark and Revita Life are taking care to walk a fine ethical line. The patients are officially brain-dead, and their bodies are only functioning due to life support. The bigger debate may revolve around whether or not there’s any chance of modern technology bringing someone back to life. As Cardiff University’s Dean Burnett tells the Telegraph, there’s a big difference between reanimating parts of the brain and doing enough to completely revive someone. While the brain might start regulating body functions again, you might never get the person you knew before.

Source: Bioquark (PRWeb), ClinicalTrials.gov

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