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Spotify comes to Android TV

The Google I/O opening keynote might be over, but that doesn’t mean there’s any shortage of news from the developer event. Spotify, for one, has announced that it is expanding its reach to TVs and set-top boxes by launching a new Android TV app. It’s exactly what you’d expect from a Spotify offering, in that it allows you to browse your tracks, albums and playlists, either with your Android TV remote or with the Spotify app thanks to Spotify Connect.

The app makes the most of your big screen, filling it with album artwork while you play. If you’re not already a subscriber, you can sign-up inside the app and you’ll be able to listen for free if you don’t mind the occasional ad. Of course, you can pay $10 a month to do away with them completely. The app is available to download from the Play Store right now, as long as you’ve own a supported Sony BRAVIA or Philips TV, Nvidia Shield or Nexus Player.

Via: Spotify Blog

Source: Spotify (Play Store)


Google’s Family Library will let Android users share apps

It’s been a long time coming, but Android users will soon be able to share apps with other family members. Android Police reports that Google has begun notifying developers that Family Sharing, which lets up to six family members enjoy the same paid app, will be enabled by default from July 2nd, giving Android households the opportunity to enjoy similar perks to those with iPhones and iPads.

While Google’s support documentation currently covers app downloads, Family Sharing will extend to other parts of the Play Store. Previous Android Police teardowns have shown that Books and Movies will also be covered, but there will be restrictions in place to stop the same title being streamed on more than one device at a time.

Although it’s not yet known how Android users will opt-in to Family Sharing, Google Music may provide some clues. The streaming service provides a family plan that caters for up to six users, who are invited to link their account by a “family manager.” It’s likely that Google will follow a similar route with Family Sharing, but include additional checks so that younger users can seek purchase approval for their own apps.

Via: Android Police, The Verge

Source: Google Support


Courts told to look down on licence dodgers with pay-TV subscriptions

If all goes to plan, the new BBC Charter will close the “iPlayer loophole” from January next year. That would mean anyone watching the broadcaster’s content would require a TV licence, regardless of how they’re accessing it — more money for the BBC and, if you want to be cynical about it, more dodgers to catch. Coincidentally, the Sentencing Council has today proposed new sentencing guidelines for Magistrates’ courts, one of which covers “TV licence payment evasion.” In it, the courts are told to consider additional subscription television services a factor that increases offender culpability. Basically, don’t pretend you can’t pay the licence fee when you’ve got a Sky Q box under your TV, and don’t try to claim you missed all the BBC channels listed on your TiVo EPG.

This doesn’t mean licence dodgers will be subject to higher fines (calculated based on your income) or longer sentences (in the most extreme of cases). The guidelines are merely giving the courts more comprehensive advice “to introduce a consistent approach to sentencing.” That is to say an expensive Virgin Media package and Netflix subscription on top was already likely to cast you in a bad light, but the proposed guidelines — which will be introduced later this year after further review — now explicitly state as much.

Magistrates’ courts might well have your entire entertainment expenditure to hand in the future, too, as the government is thinking about making pay-TV services hand over subscriber details so they can pinpoint obvious dodgers. Sounds like a recipe for getting more licence fee income than ever. Shame it’ll come too late to save BBC Food from the chop.

Via: Daily Mail

Source: Sentencing Council (1), (2), (3)


CBS All Access’ second show is a ‘The Good Wife’ spinoff

At CBS’ Upfronts presentation it had some news about its All Access subscription streaming service to reveal. Beyond the flash of a new logo and a brief teaser trailer for the Bryan Fuller-produced Star Trek show that will try to lure subscribers in January, it also revealed its second exclusive show will be a spinoff of the recently-concluded The Good Wife. The new show will arrive in the spring of 2017 featuring actresses Christine Baranski and Cush Jumbo reprising characters from the original.

In a statement, Executive Vice President and General Manager, CBS Digital Media Marc DeBevoise called the decision to add the show “data-driven,” since The Good Wife is one of its most-watched shows on internet platforms. That approach has seemed to work well for Netflix, and it will be interesting to see if an old-school network can adjust and pull off a similar trick.

Source: CBS Press Express (1), (2)


ICYMI: Electronics that can heal themselves and super camera

ICYMI: Electronics That Can Heal Themselves and Super Camera

Today on In Case You Missed It: You can get your museum on with a new camera from Google, that takes hundreds of high resolution images, then stitches them together into one amazingly-detailed photo capable of showing each individual brush-stroke. And Penn State researchers created electronic material that can heal itself after being completely cut in half (and still work).

We also found a video of virtual reality synced to a robot’s perspective pretty interesting, you can watch the full explanation here. As always, please share any great tech or science videos you find by using the #ICYMI hashtag on Twitter for @mskerryd.


Yahoo Mail App Updated With Link Previews and Stationery Features

Yahoo has introduced a new version of its Mail app for iOS with a handful of features migrated from its desktop interface, including support for inline URL previews.

The new Link Preview feature works by converting a web address typed into a message into a visual snapshot of the linked content, so recipients can see what’s on the other side of the link before choosing to click it. The ‘preview card’ can be created inline with the message text or users can opt to append it at the bottom of the message.

In addition, the update to Yahoo Mail brings stationery themes to mobile users, enabling one-click email personalization for custom greetings or special occasions like birthdays. The app also gets system share support with a Yahoo Mail Share Sheet button for sending files and media from other apps straight to a new message compose window.

The update comes less than a month since Yahoo added the ability to include files from Google Drive and use Tumblr GIFs in the client app, as the company attempts to catch up with feature-rich mail services such as Gmail.

Yahoo Mail is a free download from the App Store for iPhone and iPad. [Direct Link]

Tag: Yahoo Mail
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Today Marks the 15th Anniversary of Apple’s First Two Retail Stores

Today marks 15 years since the first two Apple retail stores opened on May 19, 2001 in Tysons Corner, Virginia and Glendale, California. The locations welcomed over 7,700 people and combined to sell $599,000 worth of merchandise during their first two-day weekend. Apple opened 25 more stores by year’s end.

The retail initiative was spearheaded by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who recognized the need for a better customer experience than provided by third-party retailers such as Circuit City. Jobs was helped by a retail team led by former Target vice president of merchandising Ron Johnson and Gap CEO Millard Drexler.

Steve Jobs introduces the Apple Store in Tysons Corner, Virginia
While some critics believed that Apple retail stores would be a resounding failure, especially given the dot-com collapse, the concept proved to be highly profitable and successful. Apple Stores now attract over 1 million customers worldwide per day and often generate the highest sales-per-square-foot of any U.S. retailer.

The first Apple Store outside of the U.S. opened on November 30, 2003 in Tokyo, Japan, and the company now operates over 475 stores in the U.S., U.K., Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and United Arab Emirates.

marseille_heroApple’s latest retail store opened in Marseille, France on May 14
Under the leadership of Angela Ahrendts, Apple has been aggressively expanding its retail footprint in China, its second largest market by revenue, while opening and renovating several stores in Brussels, Cupertino, Dubai, London, Memphis, and other cities with Jony Ive-inspired next-generation designs since 2015.

Read our Apple Stores roundup to learn more and keep track of new, renovated, upcoming, and rumored stores around the world.

Related Roundup: Apple Stores
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OnePlus 3 vs OnePlus 2: What’s the rumoured difference?

The OnePlus 3 has been the subject of rumours for several months now, since the end of 2015 in fact. The OnePlus 2 launched in July 2015 but speculation suggests we might see the OnePlus 3 arrive a little earlier.

With that in mind, here are the rumoured specs for the OnePlus 3 against the OnePlus 2 to see how they might compare and what the differences might be when the next “flagship killer” arrives.

We will update this feature as more information appears. For now though, here is how the OnePlus 3 stacks up to the OnePlus 2, based on the speculation.

OnePlus 3 vs OnePlus 2: Design

The OnePlus 3 will launch with a new design. Co-founder Carl Pei said that OnePlus One was “a more captivating device than its second generation”. He also said he “hopes the OnePlus 3 will have at least that special feeling cast by the OnePlus One when users first saw it”.

The OnePlus 2 measures 151.8 x 74.9 x 9.85mm and weighs 175g. It comes in Sandstone Black and there are four covers available to offer a slightly different look. There is also a fingerprint sensor on board, along with USB Type-C.

Based on the leaked images, it looks like the OnePlus 3 will feature a metal body, with slightly rounded edges in comparison to its predecessor. The rear camera lens appears to be square and much larger than the OnePlus 2, similar to HTC’s One M9, and it looks like a fingerprint sensor will be housed on the front.

USB Type-C also appears to be on board the OnePlus 3, as you might have expected, and the alert slider from the OnePlus 2 also seems to be present. No measurements or weight details have been rumoured as yet but the leaked images, if legitimate, present a lovely slim handset.

OnePlus 3 vs OnePlus 2: Display

The OnePlus 2 features a 5.5-inch with a pixel resolution of 1920 x 1080 for a pixel density of 401ppi. OnePlus uses an IPS LCD display for its OnePlus 2 and the results were excellent.

Rumours have suggested the OnePlus 3 will come in three screen sizes comprising 5-inches, 5.2-inches and 5.5-inches. Whether this will be the case of not is unclear but we would expect a similar size to the OnePlus 2 so for now, we would expect to see a 5.5-inch display at least.

It has been claimed OnePlus will be sticking to a Full HD resolution so if you were hoping for Quad HD, you might be disappointed. Other reports have suggested the OnePlus 3 will feature an AMOLED display, which would mean rich, vibrant colours and deep inky blacks, like the OnePlus X.

OnePlus 3 vs OnePlus 2: Camera

The OnePlus 2 offers a 13-megapixel rear camera and a 5-megapixel front-facing camera. The rear camera comes with a 0.2-second autofocus, as well as optical image stabilisation and in terms of image quality, the OnePlus 2 does a sterling job.

It has been claimed that the OnePlus 3 will offer a 15-megapixel rear camera capable of 4K video recording. The front facing camera is rumoured to be 7-megapixels and capable of Full HD video recording.

In terms of features, rumours suggest the OnePlus 3 will arrive with autofocus, face detection, HDR and touch focus.

OnePlus 3 vs OnePlus 2: Hardware

Previous OnePlus flagships have been renowned for offering the same hardware as competitors but for half the price, and the OnePlus 2 is no different. It features the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor and Adreno 430 graphics under the hood with 3GB or 4GB of RAM support.

The OnePlus 2 is available in 32GB and 64GB storage options with no microSD support for storage expansion and it has a battery capacity of 3300mAh.

The OnePlus 3 is rumoured to arrive with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, which would make sense. There are a couple of different claims regarding RAM and storage but the more likely options seem to be 32GB with 4GB of RAM and 64GB with 6GB of RAM.

Whether OnePlus will add microSD support to the OnePlus 3 as they did on the OnePlus X is unclear yet. There has been mention of a 128GB model, suggesting this won’t be the case. The battery is also expected to have a smaller capacity than the OnePlus 2 at 3000mAh. Something called Dash Charge has been patented though, which rumours are suggesting will appear on the new flagship as an equivalent of Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0.

OnePlus 3 vs OnePlus 2: Software

The OnePlus 2 features a modified version of Android called OxygenOS. It’s built on Android Lollipop and is primarily Android but with a few extra customisations and features on top. The OnePlus 2 has yet to be updated to Marshmallow.

There haven’t been any rumours surrounding the OnePlus 3’s software but we would expect another customised version of Android rather than vanilla Android. It should at least be built on Marshmallow for the OnePlus 3 but based on the OnePlus 2, it might be a while before it is updated to Android N when that launches later this year.

OnePlus 3 vs OnePlus 2: Price

The OnePlus 2 starts at £239 and creeps up to £289 for the higher storage capacity. There was an invite-only system to buy the OnePlus 2 when it first launched, but it is now available to buy the device without one.

The OnePlus 3 is rumoured to be starting at 2299 Yuan (£245) and increasing to 2499 Yuan (£265) in China depending on the storage and RAM configuration. There have also been reports of $310 (£215) and the higher-end model around $60 (£40) more expensive.

The latter report seems a little low as a starting point however so we’d expect around the £250 mark for the OnePlus 3. Whether you’ll need an invite or not isn’t currently clear but the company has said it will be offering a “better buying process”.

OnePlus 3 vs OnePlus 2: Conclusion

Most flagship successors improve on the models that have gone before them. That’s no secret and that’s what the rumours are suggesting will be the case for the OnePlus 3, making many of them plausible.

Based on the speculation, it looks like the design will be a little more premium compared to the OnePlus 2 and we will see advancements in the power and camera departments. It could be that the battery is reduced from the OnePlus 2 and the display resolution remains the same, but overall it looks like there will be enough to warrant an upgrade.

This is all speculation for now though. If you want to read more about the OnePlus 3 rumours, you can head to our separate feature. We will be updating this feature as more rumours flood in, as well as when the official specs are announced.


Is your broadband fast enough for video streaming? Here’s how to find out

If you’re always wondering how fast your broadband actually is but can’t decifer the multiple results provided by Speedtest, Netflix has launched a simple solution:

If you’re not worried about ping or upload speeds, Netflix’s dedicated webpage gives you an easy and quick way to find out how fast your broadband’s download speed is.

Click here to get to (or head there through a browser) and the site will instantly start to work out the speed. It’s also an ad-free service, so is clean and uncomplicated in design.

The site works for mobile, tablet or home broadband access, so you can always see the current speed rating. You can also click through to after if you want more details.

Netflix has put together the site as it’s important to know how your broadband will cope with streaming video. It has a series of different recommended minimum speeds depending on the quality you wish to view at, so you can match your real world result to the following chart:

  • 0.5 Mbps – required broadband connection speed
  • 1.5 Mbps – recommended broadband connection speed
  • 3.0 Mbps – recommended for SD quality
  • 5.0 Mbps – recommended for HD quality
  • 25 Mbps – recommended for Ultra HD quality

If you have over 25 Mbps you’ll be fine with the very best images and sound.

Netflix also rates different internet service providers around the world on a monthly basis. You can find out how your ISP comes out here.


‘Star Wars: Battlefront’ lacks a story mode thanks to some movie

When Star Wars: Battlefront launched, barring a lightweight solo play arcade mode, it didn’t have a true single-player campaign. During publisher EA’s recent earnings call, executive VP Patrick Söderlund explained that it “was a conscious decision we made due to time and being able to launch the game side-by-side with the movie that came out to get the strongest possible impact.” Star Wars movies are a big deal, in case you didn’t know.

He added “We got criticized for the depth and breadth of [Battlefront], So as we look at why that was, we have to go back and course-correct that for another version.” That makes a whole lot of (marketing) sense, but left players that prefer the solo experience with a game that was a bit lacking.

Perhaps some incoming Death Star adventures will keep them playing, at least until we get the campaign mode everyone wants.

Via: Wired

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