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21
Oct

China ‘Shatters’ Records and Overtakes U.S. in App Store Revenue by 15% Margin


China has “shattered” records with the highest iOS revenue quarter reported to date, for any country that has been tracked by app intelligence firm App Annie. In total, the country is now the number one largest market in the world for App Store revenue on Apple’s iPhone and iPad devices, with its record-breaking number sitting at $1.7 billion for Q3 2016.

China is now 15 percent ahead of the U.S. in terms of iOS App Store revenue, with the U.S. sitting just below $1.5 billion on the charts. The U.S. had been the number one market in iOS revenue since 2010.

App Annie’s report notes that Chinese iOS users spent five times more in applications on iPhone and iPad than they did just two years prior. Much of China’s growth is estimated to be on the back of the Games category, a section it also bested the U.S. in during Q2 2016. Much of that is attributed to the worldwide success of Pokémon Go, which is described in the report as achieving “unprecedented global revenue.”

Besides gaming, popular categories in the iOS App Store in China are Entertainment, Social Networking, Books, and Photo and Video apps. Each category has seen impressive growth from the year-ago quarter, with Entertainment apps increasing 3.5 times from its Q3 2015 revenue and all of the top categories more than tripling in revenue year over year.

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App Annie predicts that iOS revenue for China will continue to grow, and the country will eventually “drive the largest absolute revenue growth for any country by 2020.” Elsewhere in Apple’s presence in China, the company recently announced plans to build a new R&D center in Shenzhen, with a focus on “strengthening relationships” with local partners and universities across the country.

Related Roundup: iOS 10
Tags: App Store, China
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21
Oct

Google Pixel makes Android’s long-press much more useful – CNET


Google Pixel knocks it out of the park

With a stellar camera, premium hardware and Google Assistant, the Google Pixel — and the Pixel XL — are excellent Android phones.

by Lynn La

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Google’s Pixel phones are the first to run Android 7.1, giving them a bunch of new features, including one that makes it possible to long-press on an app icon, revealing a list of shortcuts. For example, the app shortcut for Gmail brings up a Compose button. Long-pressing the Play Store app will take you directly to the My Apps section.

The feature is primarily available on Google’s own apps right now, but as developers begin optimizing apps for Android 7.1, expect to see app shortcuts become more common. Right now, Foursquare is one such app that’s already implemented it.

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Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

To use the feature, you need only place your finger on an app icon and wait until you feel a gentle vibration. The appropriate options for the app will show up, which you can then tap. App shortcuts are available in the app drawer, as well as on your home screen.

At first I had a hard time activating the feature, eventually learning that I had to keep my finger still while resting on the app icon. Any movement and the device would think I was trying to move the icon.

These shortcuts are very similar to a feature iPhone users have had since the introduction of 3D Touch on the iPhone 6S last year. 3D Touch means you can press on an app icon to bring up common tasks, and as of iOS 10, directly share a link to the App Store for the particular app.

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Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

App shortcuts on Android, however, have the added benefit of turning into a shortcut you can place on your home screen. Notice the small handle on the right side of a shortcut? Press on it and it turns the shortcut into an icon, which you can then place and arrange on your device for even quicker access.

As well as the Pixels, Google has released a beta version of Android 7.1 Nougat for the older Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P phones, and the Pixel C tablet, all of which now have access to this feature.

21
Oct

Alexa is the fantasy football assistant you’ve been waiting for – CNET


amazon-echo-skin.jpg Taylor Martin/CNET

Football season is in full swing, which means you’re probably already gloating (or crying) about how your favorite team is playing. (Go Panthers, right?)

If you’re having trouble keeping up with your team, Alexa can help. But that’s old news. Now, Alexa can also help you stay on top of your fantasy team by providing fantasy score updates mid-game, give advice on who to start or trade, tell you about injuries and more. Here’s how to turn your Alexa speaker into the ultimate football assistant.

Add teams to your Sports Update

Out of the box, you can ask Alexa things about sports games, such as “Alexa, when is the Panthers game?” or “Alexa, who do the Saints play next?” But if you want to hear information about your favorite teams (of any sport), you’ll want to add them to your Sports Update.

To do this, go to alexa.amazon.com from a Web browser or open the Amazon Alexa iOS or Android app. Go to Settings > Sports Update and begin typing the name of your favorite team in the search bar. Tap the team name to add it to your list. Teams for most major baseball, basketball, football, hockey and soccer leagues can be found and added to your Sports Update.

When you ask for your Sports Update, similar to your Flash Briefing, Alexa will give you a briefing on any recent scores and tell you when the next game is for each team on your Sports Update. Just say “Alexa, what’s my Sports Update?”

Listen to sports radio

If you want to listen to sports radio, there are two ways to listen to ESPN using Alexa.

First is through TuneIn Radio. Just say, “Alexa, play ESPN Radio on TuneIn.” The live radio feed will begin to play.

The other route is to add the ESPN skill for your Flash Briefing. Either say “Alexa, enable the ESPN Radio skill” or go to Settings > Flash Briefing at alexa.amazon.com or in the Alexa app for Android or iOS. Tap get more Flash Briefing content and search for the ESPN Radio skill.

When you ask for your Flash Briefing, ESPN updates will play in the order it is queued among the other Flash Briefing feeds.

Track fantasy football

For fantasy football, Yahoo Sports Fantasy Football just launched a skill for Amazon Alexa last week.

To add Yahoo Fantasy Football, say “Alexa, enable the Yahoo Fantasy Football skill” or search for Yahoo Fantasy Football in the skills catalog in the Alexa app. Next, link your Amazon account with your Yahoo account and agree to the terms and conditions.

After the skill is enabled, you can say things like:

  • “Alexa, open Yahoo Fantasy Football.”
  • “Alexa, ask Yahoo Fantasy Football for a score update.”
  • “Alexa, ask Yahoo Fantasy Football if I have any injuries on my roster.”
  • “Alexa, ask Yahoo Fantasy Football about my matchup.”

For advice on your fantasy football league, you can enable the Fantasy Football Nerd skill. With this skill, you can ask things such as:

  • “Alexa, ask Fantasy Football Nerd if I should start Eli Manning or Aaron Rodgers.”
  • “Alexa, ask Fantasy Football Nerd if I should trade Eli Manning for Tom Brady.”
  • “Alexa, ask Fantasy Football Nerd for the latest news.”

And the FantasyMatrix skill allows you to ask for specific metrics on players’ fantasy standings since 2014. You can ask how many rushing touchdowns a player had in a specific week in 2015 or how many fantasy points a player had in 2014.

21
Oct

Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, Amazon Music Unlimited and Google Play Music: Which music streaming app is right for you? – CNET


Forget CDs and MP3s — streaming music is where it’s at.

A streaming music service lets you pay a flat monthly fee to play unlimited tracks. For a music nerd like me, that’s like having a Golden Ticket to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. You don’t actually own the music, so if you cancel your subscription, you’re screwed, because you no longer have access to that music. But — except for some pesky high-profile exclusives — you also don’t have to shell out money every time you want to hear a new song or album.

If you’re interested in trying out streaming music, or want to switch services, there are many options out there with varying similarities and differences. This guide details the top music streaming services, plus lesser-known offerings, to help you decide which one is worth your money.

Nor sure you even want to stream music? Check out CNET’s guide to the six things to consider before you sign up for the full pros and cons of using these services.

Editors’ note, October 20, 2016: This story has been updated with details of Amazon Music Unlimited, and modified from an earlier version written by Sarah Mitroff.

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Streaming music services provide a la carte listening, unlike streaming radio.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Before we get to the details, let’s establish some ground rules:

Radio silence

This guide covers on-demand music streaming services, and for that reason, I’ve purposefully left out services that only play music in a radio format. That includes Pandora , Slacker Radio, TuneIn and iHeartRadio . Those services play music stations based around a theme or artist, without you explicitly picking tracks. You can read all about those in CNET’s guide to Internet radio services.

Music lockers: Your MP3s in the cloud

The Apple, Amazon and Google services listed below each allow you to combine your personal music collection with the streaming catalog, so if you’ve invested money in digital music over the years, that money isn’t wasted. Those so-called “music lockers” are available independently of the subscription services below, but also work in concert with them for subscribers of both. For a rundown of the details, check out CNET’s guide to music lockers.

A note on music catalogs

Each music streaming service on this list offers at least 10 million songs to listen to, however, some have a more robust catalog that include many under-the-radar, indie artists. If you’re musically inclined, constantly on the hunt for your favorite new band, a streaming service like Spotify or Tidal will be more up your alley. Those less ambitious about expanding their musical taste will be satisfied with the smaller catalogs Amazon Music Unlimited and Google Play Music offer. Apple Music is somewhere in the middle, offering a healthy mix of mainstream tunes and underground unknowns.

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Amazon is a newcomer to the streaming music scene.

Screenshot by Xiomara Blanco/CNET

Amazon Music

Amazon Music Unlimited is the newest kid on the block. It looks to follow in Tidal and Apple Music’s footsteps, signing an exclusive contract to release Garth Brooks’s latest record. Brooks doesn’t have the same hip factor as Drake or Beyonce, but neither does Amazon Music Unlimited. Rather than having a big focus on helping subscribers stay on the cutting-edge of music, the service features recommended playlists and radio stations that are grouped around artists you’ve already listened to.

Where it excels

  • Cheapest per month — if an Amazon Prime member
  • Lyrics automatically pop up on the “now playing” screen
  • Offers cheaper plans for Amazon Echo, Echo Dot and Amazon Tap (but restricts listening to those devices).
  • Has music locker, and allows you to “mix and match” music in locker, streaming catalog and Prime Music catalog into one playlist

Where it falls flat

  • Smallest music catalog out of all options
  • Artist profiles don’t have biographies

Best for: Amazon Prime members who want to save a few bucks and don’t mind a smaller music catalog.

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Apple Music got a redesign in iOS 10 with a simpler layout.

Xiomara Blanco/CNET

Apple Music

Apple Music has an edge over the competition for one big reason: exclusive releases. It was the only place to stream Adele, Drake, Chance The Rapper and Frank Ocean’s newest albums upon release and it remains the only service that streams Taylor Swift’s “1989” record. The service also offers a ton of playlists, many hand-crafted by musicians and tastemakers, however it lacks the robust sharing options built into Spotify.

Where it excels

  • It combines your iTunes library with music you don’t own, rounding out what you can play.
  • A combination of human music experts and algorithms help find music you’ll want to hear based on what you play.
  • You can control what you hear or search for new music using Siri on iOS devices.
  • Has music locker via iTunes Match

Where it falls flat

  • Despite being overhauled in iOS 10, the app’s design remains confusing, making it frustrating to use
  • Android app not compatible with all devices
  • Doesn’t work with old iPods (except iPod Touch)

Best for: Those who want to listen to albums and songs they’ve added to iTunes. Anyone who wants to listen to the newest, hottest music from the world’s biggest musicians.

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Google Play Music is heavy on the radio stations.

Screenshot/Xiomara Blanco

Google Play Music

Google Play Music works as a streaming music service and a music locker. It allows you to store and stream your entire music library (up to 50,000 songs), as well as stream any of the 30 million songs in its catalog. Instead of playlists, well-curated radio stations are the standout feature of Play Music. Unlike playlists, which are finite and contain specific tracks, radio stations play endlessly and are updated often. What makes these stations unique from other services is that you can view the entire track list and save it as a playlist.

Where it excels

  • This hybrid service seamlessly integrates your personal collection with the streaming catalog.
  • Monthly fee includes subscription to YouTube Red: commercial-free streaming on YouTube and YouTube Music
  • Offers music locker service for free

Where it falls flat

  • It’s not great for discovering new releases because it emphasizes stations and recommended music.
  • The design of the mobile apps for Android and iOS is a bit messy and overwhelming.

Best for: Google fans who want to blend the music they’ve purchased with streaming selections.

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Spotify is all about playlists.

Screenshot/Xiomara Blanco

Spotify

Spotify was one of the first streaming services to crop up and it’s arguably the most well-known. It’s highly lauded for its Discover Weekly playlist, a custom-made two-hour long batch of recommended music that’s curated to your specific taste (generated fresh each week) has garnered a great reputation amongst music fans. Thanks to its Facebook integration, it’s also great for sharing music. The abilities to send a track/album, collaborate on playlists with friends or lurk what your Facebook friends are listening to are all built into the Spotify app.

Where it excels

  • Free version is impressively robust
  • It’s easy to build your own playlists and sync them for offline listening.
  • User-friendly apps that are updated frequently and have enough features without being overwhelming.
  • Allows you to follow artists to be alerted when they release new music or announce an upcoming show
  • Highly personalized custom playlists

Where it falls flat

  • Advertisements in the free service can be intrusive.
  • With a free account, you can only shuffle songs in the mobile apps.

Best for: People who love to make, browse and share playlists for any scenario. Also, anyone who wants to stream unlimited music for free.

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Love Beyonce? Try Tidal.

Screenshot/Xiomara Blanco

Tidal

Launched by hip-hop mogul Jay Z, Tidal is the only streaming music service that offers high-fidelity streaming. Its superior sound quality is similar to what you would get on CDs and other physical media formats. Like Apple Music, Tidal has a leg up on other services with exclusives. The difference is that the exclusive content on Tidal is usually from one of its superstar co-owners. This year alone Tidal was the exclusive home to stream — at no extra cost beyond the monthly subscription fee — Beyonce’s stunning visual album “Lemonade,” Rihanna’s highly anticipated new record and Kanye West’s controversial “living album,” “The Life of Pablo.” As a fan of those artists, I’ve found myself resubscribing to Tidal, just to listen to the newest albums.

Where it excels

  • High-fidelity music streams
  • Lots of video content, including concert livestreams
  • Exclusive songs and playlists from big names like Beyonce, Kanye West and Jay Z
  • Full Prince and Neil Young discographies (unavailable on other services)
  • Offers occasional ticket pre-sales
  • Big focus on under-the-radar artists

Where it falls flat

  • The mobile apps and Web player are both cluttered with too much information on the screen, making them hard to use.
  • The mobile apps have bugs and stability issues.

Best for: Musically inclined purists who care deeply about sound quality and discovering new, up-and-coming artists.

Streaming services compared

$9.99, £9.99, AU$11.99 $9.99, £9.99, AU$11.99 $7.99 for Amazon Prime members, $9.99 for non-Prime members, $4.99 for Echo-only service Premium: $9.99, £9.99, AU$14.99; HiFi: $19.99, £19.99, AU$23.99 $9.99, £9.99, AU$11.99
Yes, with ads No No No Yes
30 days 3 months 30 days 30 days 30 days
More than 30 million 30 million “tens of millions” 25 million 30 million
320Kbps 256Kbps 256Kbps 1,411Kbps 320Kbps
Yes, $5, £5, AU$6 per month per additional user, up to 5 Yes, $14.99, £14.99, AU$17.99 for up to 6 users Coming soon Yes, 50% off each additional account, up to 4 Yes, $14.99, £14.99, AU$17.99 per month for up to 6 users
$4.99 (US only) Yes, Price varies by country No Premium: $4.99, HiFi: $9.99 (US only) No
No No No Yes No
Mobile and desktop Mobile only Mobile and desktop Mobile only Mobile only
Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Yes No No No Yes
Yes Yes No Yes No
No Yes Yes No Yes
21
Oct

Nintendo Switch Release Date, Price and Specs – CNET


Nintendo’s got a completely new game system coming next year, and it’s totally modular. The Nintendo Switch is a lot of things: a tablet, a console and even a portable multiplayer tabletop game system.

The Switch is a bold move, not a surprise from a company that’s made bold hardware moves its modus operandi since the ’80s. The Nintendo DS introduced crazy dual-screen touch gaming in a handheld; the Virtual Boy was a tabletop 3D game system. The Wii introduced motion gaming and a wild reinvention of the classic game controller. The 3DS has glasses-free 3D. The Wii U has its bizarre quasi-tablet GamePad controller.

Nintendo Switch: The first pictures
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Compared to all those wild ideas, the Switch leans on a concept that’s relatively sane. It’s a combination portable system and home console. It might bridge the gap between Nintendo’s long-lasting handheld game business and its TV-connected gaming. And, maybe, it’s pointing towards the future of Nintendo and where it’s headed as a company.

Here’s what we know so far, now that the Switch has been announced.

It’s a system that will play connected to a TV, or by itself on the go.

Nintendo demonstrated that the Switch will play its games connected to a TV like a regular games console, or as a tablet-style handheld with its own controls. It can also be played while standing up on its own kickstand, with detachable controllers.

It pops into a dock.

The “Nintendo Switch Dock” is where the Switch lives when it’s in your living room. The tablet slides into the dock, and then seems to instantly switch into a TV-connected mode. This is a bit like the Nvidia Shield tablet, which had a similar play-on-TV, play-on-the-go idea.

You can hot-switch between TV mode or handheld mode on the fly.

Nintendo’s preview video shows people playing games on the TV, then popping the tablet out and playing on the sofa. Games should instantly switch, and play in either mode.

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The Switch in both of its forms.

Nintendo

Its Joy-Con controllers detach and become stand-alone wireless controllers.

The Switch has a flexible idea of controllers: two “Joy-Con” side pieces slide onto the edges of the Switch tablet, adding four buttons and an analog stick on each side, plus shoulder buttons, just like the Wii U GamePad. But when these are slid off, they can become standalone Wii remote-like controllers, held sideways to play games. The Joy-Con controllers also slide into another accessory, the Joy-Con Grip, turning them into a full controller separate from the tablet.

There’s a kickstand, too.

The Switch can stand up on a table, and games can be played with the controllers like a mini console. Local multiplayer games can be played on one or several Switch tablets. It looks like several people could play games on one together, or network several for LAN-style gaming.

There’s a cartridge slot.

Besides downloading games, the Switch will have its own little card-based cartridges. It doesn’t support any DVD or Blu-ray-style discs.

Is it backwards-compatible with old Nintendo games? We don’t know.

Nintendo did show the Switch using 3DS-like cartridges, but the safe bet is that this will use its own category of software.

What games will it play?

We don’t know about much that yet, but Nintendo’s upcoming Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will be a launch title. Nintendo’s new Switch video also shows a Splatoon game, Skyrim, a Mario Kart title, a Super Mario game, and an official NBA basketball game.

Nintendo’s already announced a lot of development partners.

The list of partners unveiled by Nintendo is pretty extensive: Activision, EA, Capcom and more are onboard. Of course, they haven’t said what games they’ll release. Ubisoft’s CEO Yves Guillemot said in a statement, “With the Nintendo Switch’s unique capacities and design, Nintendo could again redefine the way we play games. The Nintendo Switch is accessible at its core and also seizes on the growing trends of sharing more experiences and playing anywhere at any time.” Of course, similar statements were made by developers during the launch of the Nintendo Wii U.

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Some of the partners developing for the Switch already.

Nintendo

It’s powered by an Nvidia Tegra processor.

Nvidia says the Switch uses a custom Tegra processor. Nvidia Tegra processors have previously powered Nvidia’s Shield gaming tablets and other mobile devices, but Nvidia promises this processor is “based on the same architecture as the world’s top-performing GeForce gaming graphics cards,” adding a revamped physics engine and other tools. Nvidia’s Tegra processor might sound like it’ll be less powerful than a full “normal” console, but it’s hard to tell how advanced the Switch will truly be.

It’s arriving March 2017.

We don’t yet know the price.

21
Oct

Samsung HW-K950 review – CNET


The Good The Samsung HW-K950 is one of the best sound bars we’ve ever heard for both movies and music. The dedicated rear speakers deliver increased immersion compared to single-speaker designs. It’s cheaper than buying a Dolby Atmos receiver and speakers.

The Bad It’s expensive for a sound bar, and DTS support is limited. Dolby Atmos is only available on a limited number of titles compared with other surround formats.

The Bottom Line The Samsung HW-K950 combines the discreet looks and simple setup of a sound bar with truly impressive sound for both movies and music.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

For the longest time my recommendation for people shopping for sound bars was “spend no more than $500.” Sound quality doesn’t typically take a massive leap beyond this amount, because the necessity of keeping cabinets small and bar-like restricts how good they sound.

In the past year I’ve been rethinking my approach after hearing excellent-sounding models such as the $899 Sony HT-NT5, the $1,100 Definitive Technology Studio W, and now the $1,500 Samsung HW-K950. The Sony and Samsung speakers make the most of the available sound bar real estate, specifically by by angling their drivers back into the cabinet, which enables them to have larger diameters. The larger the driver, the better it can sound.

The Studio W was CNET’s favorite high-end sound bar, with great looks, wireless streaming and superb sound for movies, but the Samsung has eclipsed it in almost every way. It sounds clearer, it’s a more capable streamer thanks to the Samsung Multiroom app, and it has superior features. The Samsung HW-K950 is the best reason I could think of to spend over a grand on a sound bar. Especially if you listen to music a lot.

The HW-K950 is now available in the US for $1,499 , in the UK for £1,299 and in Australia for $1,999.

Design

samsung-hw-k950-atmos-soundbar-04.jpgView full gallery Sarah Tew/CNET

You’ll notice how I said the Samsung is better than the DefTech in almost every way. Well, the Studio W has it over the Samsung in the design department, with its solid aluminum billets and its massive subwoofer.

The Samsung still has some design touches that elevate it above the usual “black oblong you flop in front of your telly,” however. The endpieces are thin slices of brushed aluminum that curve subtly at the edges. The front has a black steel mesh that conceals a blue LED text readout — no confusing flashing lights here. The speaker is suitable for most bigger televisions at just 3 inches tall, 48 inches wide and 5 inches deep.

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Sarah Tew/CNET

Most sound bars don’t come with rear speakers, but the ones that do, including the K950, provide a sense of immersion during movies that faux surround ‘bars can’t match. The two satellites are roughly desktop audio monitor size at 8 inches tall, and our own resident Audiophiliac Steve Guttenberg remarked that they seemed like “real speakers.” High praise, indeed, coming from Steve!

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Sarah Tew/CNET

The included subwoofer is 16 inches tall and deep, and half that across. It’s not the discreet, hide-under-the-couch size of the sub that comes with the Vizio SB4551-D5, but it’s not toweringly ugly, either.

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Sarah Tew/CNET

The remote control looks just like the ones CNET’s David Katzmaier liked so much on Samsung’s 2016 TVs, and it’s a big improvement over the dire clickers included with most sound bars. The small wand comes with a handy dedicated volume control for the subwoofer, and it feels premium when you hold it in your hand.

Features

The HW-K950 is one of the first products to be designed at Samsung’s audio facility in California, after the Radiant360 range. It is one of two Samsung sound bars that can handle Dolby Atmos. The other is the HW-K850 ($999), which is virtually identical to the K950 but doesn’t include rear speakers.

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Sarah Tew/CNET

The HW-K950 incorporates a 5.1.4 setup for Dolby Atmos: five surrounds, one subwoofer and four overheads. The Samsung HW-K950’s main speaker has dual sets of ceiling-facing drivers as well as three forward-firing driver sets that come with a dedicated tweeter in each. On my visit to the Samsung audio lab, the technicians explained that the drivers are paper-based, which they claim has better acoustic properties than other popular materials such as Kevlar.

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Sarah Tew/CNET

Connections include two HDMI ports and one output, optical digital audio, 3.5mm analog stereo audio in addition to Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. The system is compatible with the proprietary multiroom system Samsung brought into the world with the Shape system back in 2014. As such it is also compatible with the Radiant360 speakers.

The Samsung will decode Dolby Atmos from Blu-rays as well as from Vudu/Netflix streams if the source device supports it. I tested it with an Nvidia Shield (3.2 firmware) and found it was able to output Dolby Atmos test scenes from Vudu correctly. While the Samsung will decode Dolby in all its forms, unfortunately for movie fans the sound bar is unable to decode DTS:X, and further will only decode DTS streams in stereo.

The Yamaha YSP-5600 costs about the same but comes without a sub (in the US) or rear speakers. The Yamaha will decode DTS:X, however.

Multiroom app

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Screenshot by Ty Pendlebury/CNET

The competition for multiroom music is fiercer than ever, but I expect things to consolidate in the next year or two, thanks largely to the influence of Google Cast/Home.

In the meantime, Samsung’s Multiroom app is one of the best following an update earlier this year. The app now features a very straightforward layout which lists the music on your phone first and then lets you scroll horizontally through other streaming services available. The list is quite comprehensive and includes most of the big apps like Spotify (Connect), Pandora, Amazon Music and Tidal. I wasn’t surprised to learn that Samsung doesn’t support Apple Music.

21
Oct

Do these 5 things when you get your Google Pixel


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You just got a Google Pixel, now it’s time to get up and running the right way.

You’ve done your research, you’ve read the review and you’ve placed your order. Now your fresh new Google Pixel or Pixel XL is awaiting your setup and customization. Just like any new phone there’s a lot to take in with the Pixels, and we’re here to point you in the right direction so you can start things off the right way.

Here are the first things you should do with your new Google Pixel.

Add your fingerprints

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If you took your time during the setup process you likely went ahead and enrolled a fingerprint for Pixel Imprint, but before you get too far into setting up your new phone you should enroll your other index finger as well. Head into the Settings, tap on Security and then tap Pixel Imprint to enroll your other finger.

Considering the placement of the sensor on the back of the phone you probably won’t want to enroll anything other than your index fingers, but having both sent up from the start means never having to worry about it again. It’s simple, secure and takes only a few seconds to add both fingers.

Arrange your quick settings

Android Nougat’s notification shade quick settings can be arranged in whatever order works for you, and it only takes a minute to get set up. Pull down your notification shade, swipe a second time to reveal the full set of toggles, then tap the pencil icon at the top of the notification shade to edit them.

Tiles in the top black portion of the shade are active while those lower down in the grey area are inactive. Press and hold the tiles to move them around to whatever order you like. The first nine toggles you put in the quick settings show up on the main page, and additional toggles you add go to a second page that are just a swipe away. The top six toggles are available to be tapped at any time with a single swipe down of the notification shade, so choose the group and ordering wisely!

Configure Google Assistant

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Getting started with Google Assistant is also part of the general setup process of the phone, but there’s plenty more to configure after you’ve made it to the phone. To configure Google Assistant, press and hold the home button, then tap on the overflow menu button in the top-right corner of the Assistant interface and tap Settings.

Not only can you do the basics like turning on/off the Assistant and choosing which Google Account to use, but you can also configure the “OK Google” detection to train it to your voice, choose which news sources are included in the narrated news ticker, and manage input and output languages. You can also see your recent activity with Google Assistant, and configure the personal information that Assistant has access to.

Though Google Assistant is smart, going through a bit of setup to give it a head start absolutely helps you get the best possible experience out of this new feature.

Using Verizon? Check your network settings

If you bought your Pixel unlocked and put a Verizon SIM in it, everything should work out of the box. But chances are you can make a couple tweaks to the network settings to make it work at tip-top performance. First, open up your Settings, tap on More under Wireless & networks and then tap on Wi-Fi Calling to configure the feature. You’ll have to accept some terms and provide your E-911 address, but then you’ll be able to make Wi-Fi calls. Unfortunately you won’t have any further configuration options, but WI-Fi calling will be enabled and ready to go.

Going a step further, tap on Cellular networks to make sure that “Advanced Calling” features are turned on. This will make sure that your Pixel connects to VoLTE for HD Voice calls and simultaneous voice and data. Finally, tap on Preferred network type and switch it over to the simple “LTE / CDMA” for local use. If you plan on traveling abroad the phone will automatically switch back to “Global” mode to use other networks, but when you’re in the U.S. you’ll want to keep things on the standard LTE/CDMA mode.

Get the camera interface set up just right

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The Pixel has a pretty simple camera interface, but out of the box there are a few configuration options you can hit from the start so you don’t have to fumble with them later while you’re trying to take a time-sensitive photo. When you open up the camera, in the top-right corner of the viewfinder you’ll see an option for grid lines in the middle of the five icons — consider turning on the grid to help you line up your shots perfectly. While you’re there, tap the flash icon on the right to turn off auto flashing — nobody needs that.

After that, tap the menu button on the lefthand side and tap into the settings for some more advanced options. If you take panoramas, tap the Panorama resolution settings to set it to “High” for the best quality. Then tap on Back camera video resolution to up things to 4K if you want the highest resolution possible, and double check that “Video stabilization” is also turned on for the smoothest shots.

Finally, if you want to save the location of photos and videos for future searching and remembering exactly where your best shots were taken, you can turn that on at the very top of the settings — you’ll have to approve the permission from the system when you do so.

Join the forums!

As you’d expect, you’re definitely not the only one who got a Pixel or Pixel XL in the mail. Thousands of Android Central members are going through the experience of setting up their Pixels right now as well, and the AC forums are the place to go whether you want to share your experience or get help with a question.

Google Pixel + Pixel XL

  • Google Pixel and Pixel XL review
  • Google Pixel XL review: A U.S. perspective
  • Google Pixel FAQ: Should you upgrade?
  • Pixel + Pixel XL specs
  • Understanding Android 7.1 Nougat
  • Join the discussion in the forums!

Google Store
Verizon

21
Oct

Digital Offer: Learn coding, design and more with a lifetime subscription to Stone River Academy for $89!


Choosing a specific career in the field of app development, web design, and 3D-animation can be tough — each is a growing field with high demand for specialists, and you have many interests. What if you want to learn them all? How can you afford the education needed for each career, and where will you find the time to go back to school?

Stone River Academy might be the answer you’re looking for; they’ve put together what can be likened to a complete tech-education bundle. Courses for all levels of knowledge are available, and you can learn at your own pace; course availability stays open indefinitely thanks to a lifetime subscription. Master app development, web design, 3D-animation, coding languages, and more. You have the ambition and you can squeeze time into your busy schedule, but how can this be affordable?

Enter Android Central Digital Offers. Right now, we’re offering this lifetime subscription with over 110 courses and over 2000 hours of content for only $89. That’s no mistake — that’s a 93% discount off the regular $1445. You’re essentially paying a one-time fee to be enrolled for life. No matter what comes in the future, you’ll be already set up to tackle it. Talk about a head start.

stacksocial-stone-river-academy-press-01

There are a ton of courses to choose from, but each course is broken down into a comprehensive curriculum to help keep things sorted. Learn programming languages like Java, Python, and CSS, as well as the ins and outs of game development tools like Unity 3D. Not only will you learn development, design, and programming, you’ll also acquire the skills needed to carve a career in the tech industry.

Do you want to always keep on top of current tech trends? With a lifetime subscription to Stone River Academy, you’ll always have access to the latest courses — yes, new content is added all the time. Thanks to the broad range of content available, you might even discover a hidden interest. Imagine the possibilities available to you for only $89. The need for all sorts of specialists in the tech industry is high — why not get started today on a new career?

See at Android Central Digital Offers

21
Oct

Never stop at a red light again with future Ford and Jaguar Land Rover cars


Ford and Jaguar Land Rover have announced they’re working on a system for their cars that will let them communicate with traffic lights and relay information to the driver. The system will let the driver know what speed to travel at to make the green light and avoid stopping at a red. If you’re unlucky and have to stop at a red light, the system will let you know how long it will be until it turns green.

The car manufacturers say the system will result in no or shorter waiting times and minimise emissions produced. Ford says we spend an average of two days a year waiting at red lights.

Ford is also developing another technology called Electronic Emergency Brake Light which alerts the driver when the car in front up to 500 metres brakes particularly hard and can brake the car if the driver doesn’t react in time.

Jaguar Land Rover is also working on an Advanced Highway Assist technology that will be a semi-autonomous driving system that can operate the steering wheel and pedals, as well as overtake other cars, without the driver having to do anything.

Both companies will begin testing their systems on roads in Coventry and Milton Keynes over the next two to four years.

  • Tesla confirms heavily upgraded Autopilot for all new cars

Electric car company Tesla has already developed a completely autonomous driving system for its Model X, Model S and Model 3 cars and offering the hardware with all Tesla cars ordered from now.

21
Oct

The Engadget Podcast Ep 11: Everybody Hurts


Managing editor Dana Wollman and senior editor Mona Lalwani join host Terrence O’Brien to talk Macbook rumors, Amazon ISP ambitions and Julian Assange. Then they’ll talk about all the work that went into Engadget’s five part series covering the world’s first cyborg games, Superhumans and look at VR’s ability generate empathy.

The Flame Wars Leaderboard

Wins

Loses

Winning %

Mona Lalwani
3
1
.750
Christopher Trout
2
1
.666
Dana Wollman
8
5
.615
Devindra Hardawar
9
7
.563
Chris Velazco
3
3
.500
Cherlynn Low
6
7
.461
Nathan Ingraham
4
6
.400
Michael Gorman
1
2
.333

Relevant links:

  • Apple could bring E Ink keyboards to MacBooks in 2018
  • Amazon wants to sell internet service in Europe
  • Ecuador confirms it cut Assange’s internet for US election interference
  • Superhumans: Inside the world’s first cyborg games – Episode 1
  • Superhumans: Inside the world’s first cyborg games – Episode 2
  • Superhumans: Inside the world’s first cyborg games – Episode 3
  • Superhumans: Inside the world’s first cyborg games – Episode 4
  • Superhumans: Inside the world’s first cyborg games – Episode 5
  • VR helped me grasp the life of a transgender wheelchair user
  • The New York Times VR app launches with portraits of refugee children
  • The United Nations is turning VR into a tool for social change
  • The Godmother of Virtual Reality: Nonny de la Peña
  • ‘That Dragon, Cancer’ forced me to confront my past

You can check out every episode on The Engadget Podcast page in audio, video and text form for the hearing impaired.

Watch on YouTube

Watch on Facebook

Subscribe on Google Play Music

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Subscribe on Stitcher

Subscribe on Pocket Casts

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