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4
Aug

Nucleus Anywhere Intercom comes with Amazon’s Alexa support


Nucleus now ships its smart intercom in the US and Canada and it comes with Amazon’s Alexa Voice Service built in.

The intercom, which costs $250, is like a tablet device that you can take around the home or mount to a wall and use to contact friends and family, or even stream music through.

It has an 8-inch touchscreen, a front-facing HD camera, built-in microphone and speakers. The idea is that multiple Nucleus devices are bought and placed around the home – even in another family member’s home remotely.

For example, place one in a baby room and it works wonderfully as a monitor, while a parent can sing or hum lullabies from another room in the house.

It also works with a dedicated app for iOS or Android, so you can technically use those as monitors.

The device was the product of much backing by multiple tech companies and startup specialists. Nucleus raised $3.4 million in order to bring it to market.

The Alexa support is a new addition. It can now read out the news, weather or connect to other smart devices around the house.

At present, there are no plans to bring the Nucleus Anywhere Intercom to the UK too.

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4
Aug

Engadget giveaway: Win an Axon 7 smartphone courtesy of ZTE!


It’s getting easier to find high-quality phones at affordable prices these days and this week’s giveaway offers one of the latest in that category. ZTE’s Axon 7 smartphone just launched this month and offers a series of premium features just $400. Inside the aluminum unibody shell, there’s a 2.15GHz quad-core Snapdragon 820 processor running Android 6.01 Marshmallow, plus 4G of RAM and 64GB of storage. On the front you get a 5.5-inch, 2K resolution screen protected by a sheet of Gorilla Glass 4.0, and for selfies you get eight megapixels worth of duckface smiles to share with friends. There’s a rear-facing 20-megapixel camera, as well, for serious captures. Oh, and it has Dolby Atmos software on board and front-facing speakers for some serious sound. Sound good? Luckily, ZTE has provided one of these handsets in gold for a lucky reader this week. All you need to do is head to the Rafflecopter widget below for up to three chances at winning a ZTE Axon 7!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • Entries are handled through the Rafflecopter widget above. Comments are no longer accepted as valid methods of entry. You may enter without any obligation to social media accounts, though we may offer them as opportunities for extra entries. Your email address is required so we can get in touch with you if you win, but it will not be given to third parties.
  • Contest is open to all residents of the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and Canada (excluding Quebec), 18 or older! Sorry, we don’t make this rule (we hate excluding anyone), so direct your anger at our lawyers and contest laws if you have to be mad.
  • Winners will be chosen randomly. One (1) winner will receive one (1) ZTE Axon 7 smartphone ($400 value).
  • If you are chosen, you will be notified by email. Winners must respond within three days of being contacted. If you do not respond within that period, another winner will be chosen. Make sure that the account you use to enter the contest includes your real name and a contact email. We do not track any of this information for marketing or third-party purposes.
  • This unit is purely for promotional giveaway. Engadget and AOL are not held liable to honor warranties, exchanges or customer service.
  • The full list of rules, in all its legalese glory, can be found here.
  • Entries can be submitted until July 27th at 11:59PM ET. Good luck!
4
Aug

Tesla Model X: The official SUV of the future


My eyeballs feel weird. It’s the fault of Tesla’s Ludicrous mode. With the feature enabled the Model X P90D is the world’s fastest SUV — launching from zero to 60 in 3.2 seconds. Sure that jolt of acceleration will fling you back into your seat, but what I wasn’t prepared for was how the g-forces affected my eyes as the acceleration seemingly pushed my corneas into my skull. Like the car itself, it was at first unsettling, but once that feeling passed, it was a hell of a ride. Even with those ostentatious Falcon Wing doors.

The (nearly) eye-popping boost of supercar-esque acceleration from Tesla’s $10,000 Ludicrous mode option is essentially an expensive party trick. For the price of a used Honda Civic, you can impress your friends and make sure you’re always the quickest car leaving the stoplight. But the real reason to buy a Model X (or any Tesla vehicle) is the battery under the floor, the sensors that make it semi-autonomous, the improving build quality after some initial Falcon Wing door missteps and the charging ecosystem.

At the heart of the car is Tesla’s electric power train and battery. The automaker is currently ahead of every other manufacturer when it comes to range. The P90D I tested can go 250 miles before dying. Of course that depends on how you drive, terrain and how much weight the SUV is dragging around town. During my trips around the city (including priming the battery for Ludicrous mode bursts) and a round-trip drive to Reno from the Bay Area, I averaged about 220 miles.

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Keeping the SUV powered up wasn’t a problem with all the chargers scattered throughout the Bay Area. But to really get the Tesla experience you have to use one of the company’s proprietary Superchargers that are free for Model S and X owners. I went from 32 percent charge to 92 percent in 40 minutes on one of my trips. It’s far quicker than the hours it usually takes fill the battery of other EVs with regular chargers.

The Model X will support those slower industry-standard level 2 chargers. But, you have to use an adapter that ships with the car. It also comes with a home charging system that if you plug into your regular outlet will take more than 24 hours to go from zero to EV hero.

The truth is, the battery technology and the charging ecosystem are incredibly important to Tesla. The company is even building a giant factory in the desert to make sure all its cars stay charged. But it’s also jumped feet first into the semi-autonomous driving world with Autopilot.

While adaptive cruise control and lane assist are becoming prevalent on luxury vehicles from Audi, Mercedes, BMW and Cadillac, Tesla’s system still feels like the most polished and ready for the road — that doesn’t mean it’s close to being out of beta or that the driver can use it as an excuse to start texting friends. I felt confident that the Model X would stay in its lane correctly and track the vehicle in front of it about 90 percent of the time. But, there were moments when I felt that if I hadn’t taken control, I would have hit a median or another car. At one point the system got confused when trying to track a white truck, on a white road with a white concrete median running alongside it. It tried to follow all three simultaneously, and eventually I had to take control of the car.

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Still, when it is working, it feels like the future. For example when stuck in gridlock, it lowered my stress level about 80 percent. Like most people, I despise the hours wasted sitting in traffic. Although Autopilot didn’t give me that time back, it did make the experience a bit more bearable by tracking the vehicle in front of me and keeping the car in its lane, giving me the opportunity to relax while still keeping my eye on the road. It’s a reminder that when cars are fully autonomous, commutes won’t make you make you want to rip your hair out with rage.

But, there are moments when having the car “drive for you” could lead to bad habits. At times when I became too comfortable with Autopilot and let my eyes linger on the giant center console too long. Features like Autopilot are wonderful, but we shouldn’t to trust our lives to robot cars just yet. Keep your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road — even if that means disregarding the gigantic dash tablet.

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There are very few buttons outside of the steering wheel and column stalks; the 17-inch display controls nearly everything. A giant screen makes sense for navigation, media, energy data and accessing options like Autopilot, ride height and sensors/camera. But for stuff like lights and climate control, it’s less than ideal. I don’t want to hunt and peck to adjust the air conditioner and or turn on the fog lights. I’m a fan of tangible knobs and buttons for items I’ll be adjusting regularly or need to access quickly.

That said, navigating the menus and apps presented less of a learning curve than expected. I was tapping away raising and lowering the suspension height and adjusting the steering from sport to comfort while cruising through town after just a few days. Yet with all that control at my fingertips, it’s disappointing how the car handles media. Playing music from your smartphone requires you to sync your smartphone via Bluetooth. Once that’s done, the only controls available in the Model X media app are volume (which goes to 11) and skipping forward or back. That’s it. Everything else needs to be handled on the phone. There’s no support for Android Auto or CarPlay or even third-party apps like Spotify. The Model X is basically a giant Bluetooth speaker with a really nice screen which might be fine on an entry-level compact car. It seems out of place on a luxury vehicle.

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Once you get away from the technology that permeates Tesla and its vehicles, the Model X is at its core an amazing SUV to drive. The handling feels oddly lighter than the Model S sedan and, thanks to the always-on torque of the electric motors, you’ll never want for acceleration. Body roll (the amount a car leans) around corners was less than expected and experience felt more like driving a sports sedan than a sport-utility vehicle.

The styling, while polarizing, grew on me. I’m a fan of the front end that looks futuristic and bland at the same time. The rear of the car still feels too heavy design-wise. Some passengers entered the car ambivalent about its looks but once they got out and saw it at certain angles (usually from the front) decided it that “on second thought” it’s something they would want in their driveway.

One opinion that stayed constant was how people felt about those Falcon Wing doors. They either loved them or hated them. But everyone still wanted to see them open, which was initially a problem because Tesla inadvertently gave us an early build of the Model X to review. After one of the doors broke, they swapped out the SUV with a more current version of the car. This “newer” Model X displayed enough differences in the dash cluster and cab to make us feel comfortable that the first car wasn’t just a lemon.

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That said, the Model X we eventually received had solid build quality, and the doors opened and closed without issue approximately 120 times during our tests. And, while I’m still not a fan of doors that open up like I’m in an episode Miami Vice or 2000s music video, the Model X does give me faith that the Model 3, the $35,000 Tesla for the average person, will be a well-made car that also happens to change the world of driving with its electric power train.

The Model X P90D that we tested on the other hand is expensive. At $132,000 it costs more than any of the homes I grew up in. But at its core, it’s an outstanding vehicle both on the technical and automotive levels, from a company that’s maturing quickly as it tries to complete Musk’s master plan to bring EVs to everyone. It’s an SUV that’s a blast to drive without the nagging concern in the back of your mind that you’re slowly destroying the planet. But more importantly it’s part of an evolution that could lead to a mass-market family car that runs on electrons instead of dead dinosaurs.

4
Aug

Google’s iOS GIF keyboard now supports more languages


GBoard, Google’s kooky iOS keyboard that lets you push GIFs and emoji to your friends is getting a multilingual update. Starting today, the service will now work in French, German, Italian and Spanish as well as Portuguese and its Brazilian dialect. If that list includes your native tongue, you don’t even need to do anything as GBoard should detect your phone’s default language and switch to it. The update also adds smart GIF suggestions, so if you type out a recognizable keyword, such as party, then party-themed GIFs will be but a single tap away. Oh, and if GBoard’s standard light theme doesn’t go with your apps, no worries, as it now has a dark option to remain en vogue.

If you’re not caught up, GBoard is a Google-made iOS app that bakes in the search engine to your device’s keyboard. In addition, the service offers glide typing in a similar way to Swiftkey’s slidey-typing system. Most of GBoard’s features have been promised to Android users as well, although there’s no clear date for when some will arrive. In the meantime, it’s proving to be a beachhead for Apple owners who’ve seen the number of Google services on their devices gently fade away. Oh, and it can let you search for GIFs and Emojis that’ll make sure you’re the coolest and most millennial person in your WhatsApp group.

Source: Google

4
Aug

‘Prey for the Gods’ is a modern ‘Shadow of the Colossus’


It’s strange that Shadow of the Colossus, a game so well-received on the PlayStation 2, has had so few imitators. The beautiful art style, spectacular battles and surprising story (I won’t spoil it) seem ripe for adaptation. That’s why we’re curious about Prey for the Gods, a new game kickstarted by fledgling developer No Matter Studios. The team has name-dropped Shadow of the Colossus as an inspiration, and its DNA is clear in early screenshots and trailers. You play as a lone hero, wandering a wintery island filled with giant, fantastical creatures. Survival is no easy task.

The developers have been focused on a PC version, but recently confirmed that console ports (PS4 and Xbox One) are also in the works. If those versions materialize, they’ll be outliers — many take to Kickstarter promising ports for Sony and Microsoft hardware, but few actually deliver. Those that do are often poor (Mighty No. 9) but there are some exceptions, such as Broken Age and the episodic stealth series Republique.

Brian Parnell, co-founder and director of No Matter Studios said: “I look to Shadow of the Colossus as a game that inspires ambition. I watched friends play it, and what I saw blew me away. I was amazed at what they accomplished. To push oneself to the limits like Team ICO pushed itself on the PlayStation 2 is certainly something we want to honor.”

Sony has highlighted the game on the PlayStation Blog, lending some credibility to the project and its likelihood of success. As with all crowdfunded video games, however, there’s no guarantee, so be warned if you feel inclined to make a pledge on Kickstarter. Prey of the Gods is being worked on by a three-person team and has been in development since January. The group says they’re “about 25 percent” done, but admits there’s “still a lot of work left to do.” We’re trying to stay optimistic — a spiritual successor to Shadow of the Colossus would be pretty rad.

Via: PlayStation Blog

Source: Prey for the Gods

4
Aug

Listen to the full ‘No Man’s Sky’ soundtrack on YouTube


No Man’s Sky is just a few days away. If you’re itching to explore its vast and colorful galaxy, there’s an easy way to whet your appetite: by listening to its stellar soundtrack. 65daysofstatic, an electro math rock band from the UK, has uploaded the 10-track set to YouTube. It’s just over 45 minutes in length, offering a hint of the atmosphere and depth that Hello Games is trying to deliver. And if you like what you hear, there’s always the No Man’s Sky tour to look forward to. Or one of these cool-looking vinyl records.

Source: 65daysofstatic(YouTube)

4
Aug

Facebook is ramping up its fight against clickbait


Two years ago, Facebook began its fight against clickbait in its news feed. It down ranked articles based on how quickly you gave up on them after you clicked through, and also prioritized pieces with a preview link so you can see what the story is about. However, the problem is still pretty rampant, so Facebook is scaling up its efforts. Now, the company is implementing a system that actually examines the words used in these headlines, automatically detecting and demoting the ones that it deems as clickbait.

What qualifies as clickbait? Well, Facebook is looking specifically for headlines that appear to either withhold information or are misleading. So examples could be “This one weird trick will help you find an Articuno in Pokemon Go” or “Driving is the worst thing you can do.” Facebook’s system identifies these phrases much in the same way as email spam filters. Once it figures them out, those stories or Pages will automatically appear lower in your News Feed. The system has just started to roll out and Facebook says it’ll improve and tweak the algorithm over time.

“We’ve heard from people that they specifically want to see fewer stories with clickbait headlines or link titles,” said Facebook in a blog post. “With this update, people will see fewer clickbait stories and more of the stories they want to see higher up in their feeds.”

4
Aug

Beloved indie game ‘To the Moon’ heads to iOS, Android in HD


To the Moon is a heartwarming RPG that landed on PC in 2011 and quickly found success, garnering multiple accolades including a nomination at the 2012 Independent Games Festival. In 2017, mobile players will get the chance to play To the Moon in an HD, remastered version coming from Ragnarok Online developer XD Network. The iOS and Android editions feature updated mechanics and a softer overall design: The original game’s sharp pixel edges have been smoothed out in a painting-inspired art style.

To the Moon deals with death through the veil of time travel. It stars two lovable doctors who traverse through an old man’s memories in order to make his dying wish come true, and along the way, they discover a tender tale of love and platypuses.

To the Moon creator Kan Gao expects the HD remaster to be ready for testing in 2016, with a full launch in 2017. Gao is the sole developer behind To the Moon and its sequel, Finding Paradise, which is also set to come out in 2017. Finding Paradise features the doctors from To the Moon as they attempt to alter the memories of a new patient.

Earlier this year, we spoke with Gao about the pressures involved in following up a successful independent project.

“To the Moon’s release certainly changed my life in a lot of ways,” Gao said in January. “It is certainly wonderful to be able to not worry about stability for the time being while making the game, but at the same time — and I really don’t mean to sound ungrateful, as it has really been so fortunate — there is a kind of expectation and pressure that comes with it that almost balances things out in terms of my focus.”

4
Aug

Gwyneth Paltrow to Serve as Mentor in Apple’s ‘Planet of the Apps’ Reality Series


Academy Award winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow has been named a mentor for Apple’s upcoming “Planet of the Apps” (casting website) competition show, alongside hip-hop artist will.i.am and tech investor Gary Vaynerchuk, according to Variety.

“Developing and launching a business based on your own original idea can be exhilarating, but intimidating,” Paltrow said in a statement. “This is a great opportunity to be part of a series that lets us use our experiences to help app developers break through and create viable businesses that will impact peoples’ lives.”

The reality TV series, co-produced by Apple and Propagate Content’s Ben Silverman and Howard Owens, will be an unscripted program about apps and the people who make them. Apple is currently looking for up to 100 developers from San Francisco, Austin, New York, and Los Angeles to participate.

In addition to mentorship, participating developers will receive up to $10 million in funding if they reach the final round of the show, and featured placement in the App Store at the end of the show. The series is set to debut in 2017, with filming to begin in late 2016. Developers can apply until August 26.

Paltrow served as the female lead of the Iron Man franchise, having portrayed Pepper Potts in Iron Man, Iron Man 2, The Avengers, and Iron Man 3. She has also appeared in the popular Fox musical series Glee, for which she won an Emmy Award, and dozens of hit movies like Shakespeare in Love and Seven.

Despite backing Planet of the Apps, and reportedly pushing into original programming, iTunes chief Eddy Cue recently said Apple is “not in the business of trying to create TV shows.” Cue added that Apple is only interested in entering the content space when the projects are tied to its existing products like Apple Music.

Tag: Planet of the Apps
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4
Aug

Launch of Revamped Apple Store iOS App Appears Imminent


It appears that Apple’s revamped Apple Store app for iOS is set to go live at any moment, as signs of the new app have begun appearing on Apple’s sites and in the App Store.

As noted on Twitter, a new featured banner promoting the app with a color-reversed icon has gone live on the Turkish App Store, while we also spotted it in the United Arab Emirates App Store. The banner text promotes “the new Apple Store app” with “shopping designed around you.”

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Earlier today, Apple also added a new “Easily track your order” section to its Shipping and Pickup page, showing off a partial order tracking screen.

The new app should be going live shortly, but Apple has not made any official announcement about its launch plans.
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