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4
Sep

After Math: Call me, maybe


It’s been a banner week for mobile devices not made by Apple (you’ll have to wait until the 7th for those). Samsung, quite literally, blew its chance to gain ground on Apple, given the new iPhone’s reputed lackluster feature set. Google likely killed off Project Ara, its modular smartphone. Verizon and T-Mobile both rolled out new service plans aimed at stretching subscribers’ data plans. Hasselblad actually made a photography device that won’t require the life of your first born to obtain. And Nubia unveiled its newest flagship phone — but where’s the bezel. Numbers, because how else would we determine market share?

4
Sep

Ben Heck’s Xbox One S teardown


The Ben Heck Show - Episode 252 - Ben Heck's Xbox Slim Teardown

There are few things Ben Heck loves more than tearing down the newest gaming consoles. Watch how he unboxes the Xbox One S and takes apart each component, including the controller. As Ben does his thing, we see how Microsoft kept costs down by making alterations to both the chassis and printed circuit boards. Ben also compares the XBox One S side by side with the original XBox One and discovers that a connector is missing. Which one could it be? The power supply is another major change with Xbox One S; in the early days it was basically a huge brick. Ben also highlights the changes in the CPU/GPU heatsink and the limitations of hacking the HDMI ports on the board. Do you think there’s something else we can do with it? Let us know over on the element14 Community, where you can also learn about upcoming episodes.

4
Sep

Garmin’s spendy Fenix Chronos is a tax on Golfers


I’m a fan of Garmin’s Fenix smartwatches. I’ve been wearing the Fenix 3 for about a year, and, for me, it has a solid balance between battery life (two weeks), training tools, smart features and good old basic horological tasks. The only addition I’d like is all day heart-rate monitoring — something added in the Fenix 3 HR. The Fenix line has never been cheap — the 3 starts at $499, and the 3 HR, $599 — but the new luxury Fenix Chronos will test most wallets, starting at $899. For that extra $300 you sure are getting a nice looking timepiece, but glance at the spec sheet, and you’ll see some surprising downgrades. In their place are new Golf features that track your putts per round, greens and fairways hit plus average distance.

By far and away the biggest difference is the battery life. Both Fenix 3 models have a 300 mAh battery that’s good for about two weeks’ general use, or around 20 hours in GPS mode. The Fenix Chronos almost halves the battery life, with a 180 mAh cell, good for a week of general use or 13 hours of GPS tracking. A week is still manageable, but it means you might need to pack your charger for business travel or vacations. On the other hand, I gave the Fenix 3 full charge before two week-long back to back work trips, and I’m going to make it home with juice to spare.

Another feature that’s not present in the Chronos is WiFi. You have two ways of wirelessly uploading all your runs/fitness tracking data on the Fenix 3. You can connect to the mobile app via Bluetooth, or punch in your home WiFi password, and the watch will do it automatically as you walk back through the door. Not so with the flashy Chronos.

It’s a shame, too, as the Chronos really is a well-built timepiece. I’m comfortable with the rubber strap on my Fenix 3, but the leather or titanium hybrid both felt much more comfortable and like a “proper” watch. The titanium edition of Chronos in particular had me considering how much I really needed that battery and WiFi, but this beast costs almost twice the leather version at an eye-watering $1,500. I think I’ll stick with the WiFi.

Gold isn’t a cheap game to play, so it’s possible that those drawn to the sport’s tracking features are more than happy to peel off a few more bills for something that will work just as well with their business suit. This might make some sense if Garmin didn’t already have seven Golf-friendly wearables (albeit none that look like a dress watch).

We’re live all week from Berlin, Germany, for IFA 2016. Click here to catch up on all the news from the show.

4
Sep

How to get the fastest speed from public Wi-Fi when you travel – CNET


4
Sep

Apple Watch 2 Release Date, Price and Specs – CNET


The latest Apple news
  • ​Apple Watch 2: My wish list for September 7
  • Looking for big iPhone changes? Wait till next year
  • iPhone 7: What to expect

Apple has made it official: something’s happening on September 7 — and it’s most likely the debut of the Apple Watch 2 (and iPhone 7). As was rumored for the past few weeks, the company will indeed be hosting an event on the first Wednesday in September; we now know it’s scheduled for 10 a.m. PT and going down at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco. This puts us on track for a likely retail release on September 16 or 23, if the company follows the pattern of years past.

We already know that existing Apple Watch units will be getting a nice software upgrade in the form of WatchOS 3, which the company unveiled at its WWDC show in June (alongside iOS 10 and MacOS Sierra). The new software includes a tweaked interface, even faster performance, and better fitness tracking capabilities — and the functionality of the Watch’s side button even changes completely. In our brief demo, we found OS 3 quite promising.

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With built-in cellular connectivity off the table (according to an August Bloomberg report), what’s rumored to be coming to the new Watch (besides the software improvements of the aforementioned WatchOS 3) is generally rumored to be be GPS, a faster processor and a bigger battery.

With only days left before we find out for sure, here’s a summary of everything that’s rumored and expected for the Apple Watch 2.

Editors’ note: This story was originally posted on December 24, 2015, and last updated on August 29, 2016.

What’s new and different about the 2016 Apple Watch?

The current consensus is that the next Apple Watch won’t diverge dramatically, if at all, from the original’s rectangular, iPod Nano-ish form factor. Perhaps that’s for the best; according to CNET’s Scott Stein, “in terms of craftsmanship, there isn’t a more elegantly made piece of wearable tech” than the Apple Watch.

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KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who last year correctly predicted Apple would launch the iPhone SE, says there are two new Apple Watches coming in the second half of 2016, MacRumors reports. One model will apparently be an incremental upgrade to the current Watch, with a better processor and improved waterproofing.

A second model, to be called the Apple Watch 2, boasts those improvements plus more precise location tracking thanks to GPS and a barometer, as well as a bigger battery. Some have predicted that Apple will adopt its iPhone “S” refresh cadence for the Watch, releasing modest updates between more significant redesigns.

One particularly hot topic of conjecture has been the enhancement of the watch’s capabilities when not connected to an iPhone. In April 2016, The Wall Street Journal published a report suggesting that Apple is working on adding cellular network connectivity to the Apple Watch 2, in addition to a faster processor.

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Will the next Apple Watch be more independent?

Jason Cipriani/CNET

Though the recent Watch OS 2 update has improved the original Apple Watch’s capabilities when away from a phone, a second-generation would ostensibly extend the device’s independent functionality. And there is evidence in support of this: Apple paved the way for Watch independence when it required that all Watch apps submitted to the App Store after June 1 be required to be “native apps built with the watchOS 2 SDK.” In light of the August Bloomberg story, however, we may have to wait until the Apple Watch 3 for the iPhone-Watch link to be severed.

Many folks are hoping for better battery life. With the first generation Apple Watch, even moderate use can burn down the battery in less than 24 hours. In fact, one of the earliest Apple Watch 2 rumors to surface, back in July, characterized LG and Samsung as working to produce a thinner OLED display for the second-generation model, which would allow for a larger battery in a similarly sized device.

And though Apple has sometimes sacrificed functionality for best-in-class aesthetics — the merely adequate battery life of the iPhone 6 and 6S would serve as one example — it seems unlikely that Apple would want to deliver another Watch equipped with anything less than 24 hours worth of run time. Especially with competitors like the Pebble Time Steel capable of going more than a week between charges.

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The Pebble Time Steel.

Sarah Tew / CNET

There is speculation that Apple could add a camera to the Watch 2. According to 9to5mac.com, the company is considering building a camera into the top bezel, ostensibly enabling users to FaceTime via the device. The debut of Watch OS 2 has already made it possible to pick up or hang up calls using the watch’s controls. (This notion has received some additional support from a recent TechCrunch article.)

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Apple’s Tim Cook

James Martin

Other possibilities being discussed include the ability to track sleep and smart straps that would include extra sensors for tracking fitness; Apple’s recently filed patent application shows a ring-shaped device that can test your heart’s rhythm, which might hint at a future product. In fact, Apple CEO Tim Cook hinted in an interview that the company could build “something adjacent to the watch” that would be more medically focused and would require US Food and Drug Administration approval. That could be an app, he said, or “something else.”

And here’s an oddball one. As reported by 9to5mac.com, in February, 2016, Apple filed a patent application for a wearable device that could measure ambient sound levels and adjust the volume of alerts (or Siri) accordingly.

And then there’s pricing. The original Apple Watch was priced along a rather remarkable spectrum, starting at $349 and soaring to $17,000. On March 21, 2016, Apple announced a slight price drop for the entry-level Sport model. The 38mm Apple Watch Sport now starts at $299, down from $349. In the UK it starts at £259 and in Australia AU$429. Is the price drop a trial balloon for a revised strategy? Or are retailers merely clearing “old” first-gen inventory in anticipation of the next generation?

Time will tell.

Scroll down for a reverse-chronological look at the latest rumors.

August 29, 2016

Apple sends invites for September 7: iPhone 7, Apple Watch 2 most likely on tap

Rumored no longer: The company sent out invitations for its event, confirming the date of Apple’s next product announcement.

August 19, 2016

Battery concerns may keep cellular abilities out of the next Apple Watch

A report says Apple planned to untether its Watch from its iPhone by the end of 2016, but technical issues interfered.

August 18, 2016

Apple Watch 2 reportedly faces hurdles in bid for iPhone independence

Rumors pegged Apple’s next smartwatch as a standalone cellular device that would work without being connected to the iPhone. Now, major problems are cropping up, Bloomberg reports.

August 11, 2016

An Apple wearable heart reader may be its next big thing

A patent application shows a ring-shaped device that can test your heart’s rhythm and may hint at a future product.

August 9, 2016

Two new Apple Watches coming this year, report says

An analyst says the two smartwatches will offer improved specs, though not a radical redesign.

June 14, 2016

Apple’s total rethink of the Apple Watch is exactly the step forward it needed

First impressions: WatchOS 3 could be the start of a much better wearable.

May 24, 2016

WSJ: Apple Watch 2 could include cellular connectivity and faster processor

Sources report that the company is working on adding cell-network connectivity and a faster processor to the next-generation Watch.

May 3, 2016

Apple Watch needs time to improve (The 3:59, Ep. 38)

One year after the wearable’s release, we talk about its strengths and weaknesses.

April 28, 2016

Can the iPhone 7 and Apple Watch 2 change Apple’s fortunes?

Apple’s earnings were down across the board, but do they have anything that can turn things around? Plus, get lunch with Tim Cook…for over $200k.

April 23, 2016

Apple Watch apps could get zippier with new requirement for app makers

Apple says third-party Watch apps for the App Store must be able to run without the help of an iPhone.

April 21, 2016

Apple’s Watch Outpaced the iPhone in First Year

Apple is working on including cellular network connectivity and a faster processor in the Apple Watch 2.

April 19, 2016

Apple confirms WWDC 2016 developers conference begins June 13

Apple announces dates for this year’s developer conference in San Francisco, confirming what we learned earlier from the company’s own digital assistant.

April 14, 2016

Video: Is the Apple Watch S coming before the Apple Watch 2?

Will the company adopt the iPhone midcycle refresh?

April 11, 2016

Apple Watch due for a sophomore slump

Don’t expect any big design changes to Apple’s smartwatch in 2016, says a keen-eyed analyst. But do expect sales to tail off significantly.

March 22, 2016

Where are the wearables? Apple Watch no-show caps off slow start for smartwatches

Apple joins the ranks of companies failing to introduce a new watch this year, signaling that 2016 may be more about refinement than new products.

March 21, 2016

What’s new with the Apple Watch

So far it’s just a slightly cheaper entry price, new bands and updated software, but more exciting news will come later this year.

March 21, 2016

Think $50 off Apple Watch is a good deal? How about $100?

From the Cheapskate: Apple just cut $50 off the price of the Apple Watch, but at least two retailers already have it for even less.

March 15, 2016

Everything we expect at Apple’s iPhone event on March 21

A smaller, cheaper iPhone and an update to the iPad Air 2 are likely to headline the announcements for next week’s event.

February 27, 2016

Apple To Debut New iPad, 4-Inch iPhone On March 21, Day Before FBI Hearing

Apple’s first media event of 2016 will occur one day prior to the company’s March 22 showdown with the government over a motion that would compel it to help hack an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino terrorists.

February 27, 2016

(Re)Mark Your Calendars: Apple’s Product Event Will Be Held the Week of March 21

Attention Apple nerds, investors, media and everyone else who needs to know when Tim Cook’s next product event is going to be held: It’s going to be the week of March 21.

February 18, 2016

Apple Watch remains most popular smartwatch in Q4 2015

Apple Watch captured an impressive 63 percent share of the global smartwatch market in Q4 2015, followed by Samsung with 16 percent.

February 15, 2016

Apple Watch Price Drops By $100 Ahead Of Rumored March 15 Apple Event

Fans are now treated to a very low price for the company’s smart timepiece.

February 15, 2016

Top 5 things the next Apple Watch needs

The original Apple Watch is pretty good, but it could be so much better if Apple adds these five features.

February 12, 2016

9to5mac.com: 4-inch iPhone 5se & iPad Air 3 planned to go on sale March 18th

Apple is currently on target to start selling its next iPhone and iPad alongside new Apple Watch Sport Band colors.

February 11, 2016

Apple Watch 2 could measure ambient sound to adjust volume of alerts

A patent application published today describes how an Apple Watch could periodically measure ambient sound levels, adjusting notification volumes to an appropriate level.

February 2, 2016

Thanks to Apple Watch, smartwatch sales could hit $11.5 billion this year

Apple’s smartwatch is leading to the popularity of wearable devices as a “lifestyle trend,” says research firm Gartner.

January 22, 2016

Apple to update Apple Watch in mid-March with new bands, OS + full redesign in fall

In addition to launching a new iPhone, Apple plans to announce new Apple Watch models in March.

January 15, 2016

When Will We See a New Apple Watch?

Reports of rumors suggesting that Apple might ship a minor revision of the Apple Watch that includes a FaceTime camera.

December 16, 2015

Apple to add polish, not product lines, in 2016

The tech giant likely will update its current gear, but don’t hold your breath for a car.

December 11, 2015

Apple Watch 2 rumors and Apple’s live TV service is put ‘on hold’

If Apple’s live TV service doesn’t launch in 2016 it will be a major fail. We’ll be as nice as possible when we talk about that iPhone Smart Battery Case, and we talk MacBooks.

December 8, 2015

Want an Apple Watch? Try Best Buy to save $100

Best Buy is shaving $100 off the price of an Apple Watch, but only through the holidays.

December 3, 2015

Apple hot on Fitbit’s heels as global wearable sales soar

Wearables sales are booming, with Fitbit and Apple leading the way and Chinese companies not far behind.

4
Sep

How to return your recalled Galaxy Note 7 to Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile or Sprint


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Samsung has initiated a recall for the Note 7, but all you care about is your interaction with your carrier.

Since a majority of us in the U.S. still buy our phones from the big four carriers, we don’t really care about the process of returning our still-new recalled Galaxy Note 7 elsewhere — we want to know how to get it done here. Well, it turns out that one of the benefits of buying your phone from a carrier is that it handles a bit of the responsibility. In this case, that means you get to turn over your recalled Note 7 to the carrier you bought from, and it in turn figures out how to get it back to Samsung.

It took a little bit of scrambling, but the major carriers in the U.S. have all devised the same basic plan with various little wrinkles to let customers return or exchange their faulty Note 7. Here’s how everything breaks down at Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint.

Returning a Note 7 to Verizon

Like every carrier below, Verizon has stopped selling new Note 7s while Samsung restocks things with new units. In the meantime, those with a Note 7 from the carrier can return their phone until September 30, which gives you nearly a full month. As you would expect, Verizon is waiving the restocking fee for anyone who returns a phone. You can exchange it for another phone, or just get your money back.

The best route for this is to simply head in to your nearest Verizon store — but perhaps call ahead of time to make sure they’re aware of the situation.

Returning a Note 7 to AT&T

AT&T took a little while to figure out exactly what it would do with the exchanges, but has settled on something similar to the others. Take your Galaxy Note 7 into an AT&T store, and they’ll let you exchange it for any other smartphone — if you choose to exchange for a Galaxy S7, S7 edge or S7 Active, you’ll get a $25 bill credit. You can also return any Note 7 accessories you bought with the phone.

Here’s the kicker: AT&T will also let you bring back that exchanged device to get a new Note 7 when the recall has finished and new devices are available. That’s a good deal.

Returning a Note 7 to T-Mobile

T-Mobile will let you return your Note 7 to any store by September 30, or call 1-800-937-8997 to initiate the process. You can return the phone for a complete refund, or choose to put that money toward a new phone if you wish. Like AT&T, you can also get a refund for any Note 7 accessories you may have purchased. If you pre-ordered the Note 7 and received incentives like the free Netflix subscription, SD card or Gear Fit 2, you can keep them even when you return the phone.

If you want to stick with the Note 7, T-Mobile is offering a straight swap for a new unit as soon as stock becomes available.

Returning a Note 7 to Sprint

Sprint Note 7 customers can return their device to any Sprint store or initiate the process by calling 1-800-SPRINT1. If you want to move to a Galaxy S7 or S7 edge, Sprint will move you to the new phone and refund you the difference in price, while also letting you return any Note 7 accessories you purchased. You can also put the cost of the Note 7 toward any smartphone of your choosing.

If you prefer to move to a new Note 7 when the recall is finished, Sprint will let you do a straight swap for a new device when they become available to the carriers.

Samsung Galaxy Note 7

  • Galaxy Note 7 recall: Everything you need to know
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 7 review
  • The latest Galaxy Note 7 news!
  • Here are all four Note 7 colors
  • Complete Galaxy Note 7 specs
  • Join the Note 7 discussion in the forums!

Verizon
AT&T
T-Mobile
Sprint

4
Sep

Modular phones really never stood a chance


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The more complicated a plan is, the more likely it is to fail.

Project Ara is dead.

Just four months after Google announced they were going to work on a developer model for the end of this year and a consumer model sometime in 2017, the program was laid to rest. And really, is anyone surprised? The deck was stacked against them since the idea was born.

The idea itself is great. Forget the folks who say they will carry around different cameras or different speakers or different anything because those will end up just being one more thing left on a dresser after a few weeks. But Google’s example of an insulin monitor that can be plugged in when you need to test your blood is awesome, and I’m sure smart people had ideas of other ways it could actually be useful. That’s how some great ideas are born — think big and sort the details out later. But back to reality for a bit.

Great ideas and practicality seldom mix.

Phones and other small electronic things that use embedded hardware are pretty specific when it comes to the software that powers it. Writing the software and optimizing the code for a very specific set of components is mandatory. You have limited storage and limited power so you’re forced to use both very efficiently. Writing the software so that it can support more than one part for a single function would make that very difficult. It could be done, and Google may very well have a solid plan to make it work. Google isn’t the only company involved, though.

Android might be open source software, but the open portions can’t be used to write a working operating system. The people who make things like the processor or the camera or the memory controller will have some very model-specific software need to make them work. Without these files, your phone just isn;t going to work. A modular phone would not only need software support from Google but from the companies who make each individual part, too. And then those companies will need to be convinced to allow Google to redistribute that software as a downloadable package. And we already have seen how a single company can bring things to a screeching halt when it doesn’t like that idea, as Qualcomm held back needed software for the Nexus 7 2013 Lollipop update. Things can get a little ugly. Good people can quit their job in frustration.

Software support comes from many different companies.

Now multiply that situation by the number of companies who build the parts that fit into one of the six slots on the Ara chassis. Suddenly, unoptimized software that takes a lot of storage space isn’t such a big issue.

We aren’t sure why the project was scrapped, and I’m not saying this was the reason. But this would be a pretty big stumbling block and I don’t think even Google could work around it. Other folks in the “industry” that I’ve talked to feel similar, and we even heard some doubt about the project’s future at Google I/O 2016 as the news of Project Ara’s future was being announced.

Other companies are still going to work on a modular phone. One day someone will succeed and make one we can buy.

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4
Sep

Amtrak’s next-gen high-speed trains, and more in the week that was


When it comes to high-speed rail, the US lags behind many other nations – but that’s set to change, as the government just gave Amtrak a $2.45 billion loan to launch a new generation of high-speed trains within the next five years. Magnetic levitation technology is often associated with trains, but one engineer came up with a wild concept for a self-driving mag-lev vehicle that doubles as a living room. In other transportation news, a technology group 3D printed a cutting-edge bicycle from scratch, and a group of Gaza students built a sun-powered car to battle the region’s fuel crisis.

Renewable energy is surging in the States – and Iowa just officially approved the largest wind project in the country, which will produce enough electricity to power 800,000 homes. Meanwhile, MIT developed a new solar cell that is more efficient and less expensive than existing technologies. We also explored how Sweden manages to divert 99% of its waste from the landfill by investing in recycling initiatives and waste to energy plants, and the Scandinavian nation is also planning to transform two disused power towers into soaring picnic platforms in the sky.

DUS Architects are leading the charge on 3D printed buildings – and they just unveiled a micro cabin in Amsterdam that welcomes anyone to spend the night. Researchers at MIT are pushing the technology forward by 3D printing objects that change shape according to variance in temperature. In other design news, architects are looking to the natural world for inspiration to create towers (and even cathedrals) from living trees. A Syracuse University art professor used grafting techniques to grow a plant that produces 40 different kinds of fruit. And the Biodesign architecture competition extended its deadline to September 6th.

4
Sep

Elevate your selfie game with this pocket-sized drone


Selfie drones? Sigh. We’ve only ourselves to blame. That said, the gadget fan inside of me is shamelessly drawn to the meretriciousness of the idea. The general problem of the aerial selfie is a nut that’s been cracked already, but we’re all for more options — and Dobby (above) from ZeroTech is one of them. Pitched as a “pocket drone,” Dobby is (as you might have guessed) small, with arms that fold out when an emergency selfie opportunity presents itself. It’s not a truly hands-free experience, as you’ll need your phone to control it, but it’s crammed with an array of smart features and we tried most of them here in Berlin.

Dobby selfie-drone Hands-on

Some of you might have seen Dobbie before. It’s been on sale in China since summer, and even made a cameo in our very own ICYMI. This weekend, ZeroTech brought Dobby to Berlin to celebrate it’s US and European launch. We’ll say it right up top, at $399 (469€) — the sort of money that can get you a family-size 4K quadcopter — you’ll have to really want one, but there’s a lot going on, so get comfortable, and we’ll get right to it.

The first thing you’ll notice about Dobby is its petite design. It’s about the size of a PS Vita, maybe a little fatter, and looks somewhat like a giant bar of soap. Until you fold out the arms, at which point it starts looking more drone-like. Perched on the front is a 13-megapixel camera, and on the underside is where you’ll find the removable battery and sonar/downward camera for indoor positioning. Somewhere hidden inside of Dobby are GPS and GLONASS sensors for satellite positioning. Dobby maybe small, but it’s not lacking in gizmos.

The camera snaps photos, of course, with a burst mode to make sure you “trap” the perfect picture. Video is grabbed at 1080p/30fps. ZeroTech told me the camera is similar to that found in phones like the Xioami Mi 4. The idea being, a mobile-style shooter takes better personal photos — no fisheye, or wide angle weirdness. The similarities with a phone don’t end there, as there’s also a Snapdragon 801 processor running the show. Those brains aren’t powering apps, though, instead it’s put to use to drive the smart features, of which there are a few. Maybe too many?

In our time with Dobby, ZeroTech tried to show us everything it could do. This includes voice enabled control (call it’s name, it’ll take off). You can also set Dobby to take off from, and land onto your palm. It’s not exactly the throw launched promised (but as yet undelivered) by Lily, but moving your hand upwards will see the drone take flight. Be careful of your fingers though, as Dobby nipped a pinkie from our demonstrator at one point.

One feature we sadly didn’t get to test was target tracking. The idea is, you select a person/cat/whatever currently in the camera’s view (via the app), and the drone will follow it. DJI’s Phantom 4 and Osmo also do this, with mixed results, so it’ll be interesting to see how well Dobby can hold up. Video is stabilized digitally, which should smooth it out a little, but again, this isn’t as effective as a dedicated gimbal, or OIS. One final feature that probably could have been left out are flying tricks — in particular Dobby can barrel roll. You can’t film while it flips, so it’s just a novelty.

While we had fun flying Dobby outside the IFA grounds (and taking the awkward selfie above), the first thing my colleague asked was, what is this for? It’s a good question. I enjoy flying drones generally, and shooting smooth high quality video. Dobby can’t really match something like a DJI in that regard. Of course, you can’t shlep a DJI around with you everywhere, which is the key selling point here. But, the number of times I’ve been caught drone-less when I needed one are few. That said, no one needed selfie sticks at one point (and I’m still not sure they do). Still, at $400, like I said before, put this one firmly on the executive toy list.

4
Sep

Bang and Olufsen’s 360-degree speakers deliver sound in style


Earlier this week, Bang and Olufsen introduced its BeoSound 1 and BeoSound 2 multi-room speakers, and we just checked them out at IFA 2016. As expected, considering they both cost upward of $1,000 each, the new 360-degree speakers look stylish and unordinary. And while they do resemble Samsung’s R wireless speakers, B&O’s set is made with more premium materials — namely “rock solid” aluminum, according to the company. The biggest feature of the BeoSound 1 and BeoSound 2, however, is the fact they can project sound all around you. That, in theory, should make for a more immersive experience when you’re listening to any audio.

On top of that, they can pair to other devices through AirPlay, Google Cast and Bluetooth. In other words, you won’t have trouble streaming your music from a smartphone or tablet. One of the main differences between the BeoSound 1 and BeoSound 2, aside from size, is that the former comes with a rechargeable battery. The other, meanwhile, needs to always be plugged into an electric outlet. Bang and Olufsen says its main goal is for these to be unobtrusive in someone’s home or office, hence the rather minimalist, lamp-like design.

You’ll have to break the bank if you want them, though. The BeoSound 1 and BeoSound 2 arrive in October for $1,495 and $1,895, respectively. That’s a lot more than Sonos’ best multi-room speaker, the Play:5, which itself isn’t cheap at $500. It’s definitely something to think about.

We’re live all week from Berlin, Germany, for IFA 2016. Click here to catch up on all the news from the show.

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