BlackBerry has announced another DTEK handset, with the new DTEK60 joining the existing DTEK50.
BlackBerry has been shifting over to Android, first launching the Priv slider, an innovative handset that offered a lot of BlackBerry and a lot of Android. The DTEK50 followed, a mid-range spec device, with the new DTEK60 fitting into a higher tier.
Both offer BlackBerry’s take on Android, with added security functions, rapid patching and a few nice tweaks through the BlackBerry launcher and Hub.
This is how the BlackBerry DTEK60 and DTEK50 compare, as we run down the essential hardware specs.
BlackBerry DTEK60 vs BlackBerry DTEK50: Design and build
- Toughened glass vs plastic
- The DTEK60 is larger, but slimmer
- DTEK60 features a fingerprint scanner
BlackBerry is moving on from building its own phones and focusing on being a secure software licensing company instead, hence both the DTEK50 and DTEK60 are build by TCL. If they look familiar, that’s because that’s you’ll have seen similar handsets badged as Alcatel, with the DTEK60 looking like an Alcatel Idol 4S and the DTEK50 the Alcatel Idol 4.
The DTEK60 is the larger device measuring 153.9 x 75.4 x 7mm compared to the 147 x 72.5 x 7.4mm of the DTEK50. There’s a 30g difference in weight, with the DTEK60 coming in at 165g and the DTEK50 at 135g.
They offer a similar looking design, with a nice slim build. There’s an aluminium frame sitting at the core. The DTEK60 gets itself a toughened glass rear, where the DTEK50 has to settle for plastic.
There’s also the addition of a fingerprint scanner on the rear of the DTEK60, meaning fast and convenient unlocking with a tap.
BlackBerry DTEK60 vs BlackBerry DTEK50: Display
- DTEK60: 5.5-inch, Quad HD display
- DTEK50: 5.2-inch, Full HD display
It’s in the display where things are really different and the DTEK60 asserts itself in more of a flagship position.
The DTEK60 has a 5.5-inch display with a 2560 x 1440 pixel resolution, resulting in 534ppi. That means it has the big screen advantage, with loads of space to view and read. This makes this the largest BlackBerry display currently available.
The DTEK50 is smaller at 5.2 inches, settling for a 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution. That means there’s a lower 424ppi, meaning that the DTEK60 should look better than the 50 in all situations: it has a greater resolution and it packs those pixels in more tightly.
BlackBerry DTEK60 vs BlackBerry DTEK50: Hardware power
- DTEK60: Qualcomm Snapdragon 820, 4GB RAM, 32GB storage + microSD
- DTEK50: Qualcomm Snapdragon 617, 3GB RAM, 16GB storage + microSD
The story of the display is reflected in the story of the internal hardware too.
The DTEK60 carries a hardware load-out that’s familiar from flagship devices, using a powerful Snapdragon 820 chipset with 4GB of RAM. There’s double the storage at 32GB, which can be expanded using microSD.
The DTEK50 offers a mid-range chipset, so there’s less power on offer than its bigger brother, and less RAM at 3GB. Storage also takes a hit, dropping down to 16GB, although it also supports microSD, so that might not be a problem for you.
Given the difference in hardware, we’d fully expect the DTEK60 to be the faster device in everyday use and offer a smoother experience.
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BlackBerry DTEK60 vs BlackBerry DTEK50: Battery life
- DTEK60: 3000mAh
- DTEK50: 2610mAh
The DTEK60, along with offering those increased hardware specs, also offers a larger battery. The bump up to 3000mAh gives the DTEK60 day-long use, with BlackBerry reporting a talk time of 26 hours.
The DTEK50, by comparison, sees itself with 17 hours of talk time.
If endurance matters, then go with the DTEK60.
BlackBerry DTEK60 vs BlackBerry DTEK50: Cameras
- DTEK60: 21-megapixel rear, 8-megapixel front
- DTEK50: 13-megapxiel rear, 8-megapixel front
Fitting the flagship vs mid-range positions that these BlackBerry devices occupy, there’s a 21-megapixel camera on the rear of the DTEK60, that offers 4K video capture.
This sits in comparison to a 13-megapixel camera on the rear of the DTEK50 which settles for 1080p video capture.
Both offer an 8-megapixel front-facing camera, with a selfie flash.
BlackBerry DTEK60 vs BlackBerry DTEK50: Price
- DTEK60: £475
- DTEK50: £275
The difference in price really shows the difference in positioning of these two handsets, with a full £200 between them.
However, the DTEK60 is likely to be the better performer in all areas. If you’re after a phone for irregular use, then the cheaper DTEK50 might fit that bill, but if you’re a power user, you’ll want the DTEK60.
It seems Samsung is doing everything it can to save itself from the shambles that was the Galaxy Note 7. The South Korean phone manufacturer has just announced a software update for European phones that will limit the battery to charge to a maximum of 60 per cent.
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Samsung has said it’s issued the update as “the latest measure to reduce customer risk and simultaneously drive all remaining Galaxy Note 7 customers to replace their device immediately”.
Conor Pierce, VP IT & Mobile, Samsung UK & Ireland said the update is to increase customer safety and to remind Note 7 owners to replace their device as soon as possible, rather than live with a phone that can only charge up to 60 per cent. Samsung is currently running a Note 7 replacement programme that lets customers either claim a full refund on their device, or exchange it for another Galaxy smartphone, such as the Galaxy S7 or S7 edge.
- Samsung Galaxy Note 7 alternatives: Best super-sized smartphones that won’t explode
Samsung all but confirmed the existence of the Galaxy Note 8 when it announced a trade in programme in South Korea that lets Note 7 owners trade their device in for an S7 or S7 Edge for now, and then upgrade to a Galaxy S8 or Galaxy Note 8 when they’re released next year.
O2 has a range of smarthome packs, aiming to make it easy to get your home connected.
Rather than you going out and buying a range of individual devices, the O2 Home approach will let you choose a pack, have O2 install it and support it in your home, in exchange for a monthly fee, rather than paying for it all upfront.
All the O2 Home devices use the same central hub, which then gives you control via one central smartphone app. This app – available via browser, iPhone or Android apps – will mean that there’s one point of access, rather than many.
There are three packs on offer called View, Comfort and Connect.
O2 Home View
- Two internal cameras
- A motion sensor
- Door sensor
- O2 home hub
- £30 a month
This pack is designed to give you a enough to be able to remotely monitor your home. Using the cameras you’ll be able to see what’s happening, with the motion and door sensors able to alert you to what’s happening when you’re away. If someone opens your back door, you’ll get an alert on your phone, for example.
O2 Home Comfort
- Tado thermostat
- Two smart plugs
- A motion sensor
- O2 home hub
- £30 a month
With more of a leaning towards controlling your heating, the big piece of the Comfort pack is the Tado thermostat. This will give you controls over your heating remotely, meaning you won’t be wasting energy heating an empty house. Smart plugs are handy, letting you turn lights on and off, or turn off devices like hair straighteners remotely.
O2 Home Connect
- Two motion sensors
- Two door sensors
- Two smart plugs
- O2 home hub
- £20 a month
The final pack that’s offered has a range of devices to get your home connected. This misses out on the big ticket items like the thermostat or the camera from the other packs, but it does have a range of sensors so you’ll know when things are happening at home.
Those packs aren’t all that O2 offers however, there’s a full selection of additional devices that you can add to the system and control through your O2 Home app, but you have to get those devices from O2, which is the catch.
There’s a parcel box that will allow deliveries to be securely placed in the box, with an alert letting you know you’ve got mail, there’s smart door locks, intruder sirens and even a keyfob to let you secure your house with a click of a button and a whole lot more.
Underlying the O2 Home is that monthly bill you’re paying, with a 2-year contract. O2 aims to add to that with additional support services, something you wouldn’t get it you just started piecing together your own smarthome devices.
On the other hand, the ongoing subscription costs might deter some, especially when some smarthome systems will let you get started for a low initial cost and let you piece together what you want, how you want.
O2 Home is available now, but it’s initially only available in the south east of the UK. There’s plenty of information on O2 Home at home.o2.co.uk.
If you’ve ever wanted to get financial advice from a computer, then you’re going to love what Bank of America is working on. The company has announced that it’s developing Erica, a “virtual assistant” designed to help customers better manage their finances. The service will sit inside the firm’s mobile banking apps and is designed to become your “trusted financial advocate.” This means that it won’t be long before an AI starts asking why you spend so much money on hats instead of paying rent.
Users will be able to interact with Erica over voice and text chat, and the ‘bot will be able to analyze your spending and spot patterns. You’ll get warnings when you have a few days of excessive spending well before you go into overdraft, advice on how to improve your credit rating and budgeting tips. More importantly, Erica will be available 24/7 to help you process transactions and, presumably, be the first point of call if have a problem with your account.
It all sounds pretty exciting, so it’s sad to learn that we won’t be able to spend any time with Erica in our phones until late 2017. Bank of America’s digital chief Michelle Moore said that the firm is still developing the tool and expects to launch it towards the back end of next year. Until then, you’ll just have to stare at yourself in the mirror and ask those tough questions about the size of your hat budget.
Source: Bank of America
BT celebrated the 80th birthday of London’s iconic red phone boxes earlier this month, and while some of these are being updated for the digital age, there are still countless antiquated payphones across the country needing a new lease of life. Today, BT has announced plans to rip out hundreds of these and replace them with next-gen kiosks that’ll offer free gigabit WiFi, free UK calls, charging facilities and access to maps, directions and info on local services via an embedded Android tablet.
If the rejuvenation project sounds a little familiar, that’s because BT’s teamed up with Intersection to make this happen — the same subsidiary of Google’s Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs that’s behind the Links kiosks in New York City. The monoliths themselves are identical, serving as up to 1 Gbps WiFi hotspots, providing free calls (headphones are recommended if you don’t want to broadcast your conversation through the booth’s loudspeaker), hosting two USB ports for emergency device charging and offering all kinds of useful information via the built-in tablet.
All of this will be paid for by advertising revenue, with two large displays on either side of the kiosks showing promotional material alongside public service announcements. Beyond what you can see, the pillars will also host environmental sensors for recording temperature, air and noise pollution, as well as traffic conditions and other metrics suitable for future big data/smart city applications.
The London Borough of Camden will be the first testbed for the payphone replacements, with 100 expected to be installed starting next year. “At least” 750 kiosks are planned in central London alone, with rollouts in other major UK cities over the next couple of years also on the agenda. Unsurprisingly, there’s no mention of free internet browsing on the embedded tablets, which had to be switched off in New York after less fortunate residents of the city began monopolizing them, sometimes for, erm… self-gratification.
Source: BT, LinkUK
Ubisoft is facing the same problem with The Division that Bungie encountered with Destiny: how do you keep people playing after they’ve hit the level cap, especially when extra content only goes so far? Its solution: dangle the promise of more loot. The developer has released that promised patch to overhaul the game’s mechanics, and its centerpiece is a new World Tiers feature that increases the difficulty of enemy characters in return for greater rewards. The higher the tier, the greater the chance you’ll get items you’d want to keep. You can also accrue experience beyond the regular and Underground level caps, and Ubisoft has tweaked loot drops across the board — you’re more likely to get equipment appropriate to your level, and any enemy has a chance of dropping advanced gear.
As for those overhauled mechanics? A lot has changed, and it’s mainly for the better. There have been “many improvements” to enemy AI, and it takes less time overall to kill them. Scavenging has been removed from the game entirely, for that matter, and you now progressively heal when you’re outside of combat. Weapons and armor have seen significant rebalancing as well. To top it off, skills behave very differently — there’s no longer a cap, but you face diminishing returns the higher your skill levels get.
It’s hard to say if the update will inject new life into The Division, although it at least clears the way for the DLC that Ubisoft had delayed for the sake of the new patch. From a cursory glance, though, the update appears to tackle some of the biggest complaints with online role-playing games of all kinds, especially shooter RPGs. You not only have more reason to play past the usual endgame, but should spend less time grinding or licking your wounds.
Dropbox is continuing to make the education market a priority as it looks for new customers. About six months after introducing its first product aimed specifically at schools, the company is announcing a new partnership with Blackboard Learn, one of the most widely-used “virtual learning” applications out there. If you haven’t used Blackboard Learn before, it’s a tool that makes it easier for students to collaborate and for professors to build an online home for their coursework.
The new partnership will put Dropbox right in the middle of Blackboard Learn — if you have a Dropbox account, it’ll be the default document sharing and collaboration tool in the app. Students will be able to work on documents shared in Dropbox together and use it to share files with their course instructors. And while Dropbox is now selling an education-focused product to universities, Blackboard Learn will support any level of Dropbox account. So students who may not want to shell out for a paid Dropbox account can still take advantage of it (until they run out of space, anyway).
Professors will also be able to use Dropbox as the default sharing space when organizing materials for a particular class. All the class materials can go into Dropbox, but students accessing the files won’t need to leave the Blackboard Learn experience — Dropbox will be integrated right into the software, without the need to jump to a separate website or app.
In a lot of ways, it’s similar to how Dropbox has been integrated deeply into Microsoft’s Office products over the last few years. When you use Office 365 online, Dropbox can show up as a default place to save and store documents, essentially putting it on the same plan as Microsoft’s own OneDrive. “A big part of our strategy is making dropbox work seamlessly with applications that people use every day, just like we did with Office,” says Billy Blau, head of Dropbox’s technology partnerships.
Given that 100 million people are using Blackboard Learn, it sounds like this partnership is another example of the company integrating with a tool that many of its education-focused customers are likely already using. And the company says that the number of education institutions using Dropbox jumped from 4,000 to 6,000 since it rolled out its new edu-focused plans in May. If you’re in education, either a student or a teacher, using one of Blackboard’s products, Dropbox integration should be rolling out today.
It’s hard to recall today, but being able to edit a document at the same time as others was a transformative feature for Google’s suite of online office apps. That feature debuted a decade ago, though; these days, it’s something most of us take probably take for granted. And as useful as real-time collaboration is in Docs and Sheets, it’s not as organic as throwing ideas up on a physical whiteboard. So, in a bid to evolve the way we work once again, Google is unveiling Jamboard, a cloud-connected digital whiteboard that lets teams collaborate together no matter where they are.
At its core, Jamboard is basically just a 55-inch 4K display that you can use like a typical digital whiteboard. You can sketch out your ideas with a stylus for a small conference room full of coworkers. But what makes it quintessentially a Google product is its cloud connectivity. Whatever you draw on the device — which the company calls your “jam” — gets saved to your Drive folder automatically. You can pull in content from the web or other Google apps to buoy your ideas.
Most importantly, there are multiple ways for colleagues to collaborate on your work in real-time. Remote teams can use their own Jamboards to tune and contribute to your sessions as if they were right next to you. You can also pipe your jam to a Hangouts call, allowing you to potentially broadcast it to the world. And there are companion apps for Android and iOS that allow colleagues anywhere in the world to follow along. If you have an iPad or Android tablet, you’ll be able to take advantage of all of the editing tools available to Jamboard devices. Phone collaborators, on the other hand, will be able to see everything going on and input data. (You can also pipe your jams to the web, but there’s no online editor yet.)
The Jamboard itself basically looks like an oversized Nexus 10, right down to the thick bezels and the webcam above the screen. There’s a small tray at the bottom for the passive stylus and eraser, right below the downward firing speakers. You can mount it to a wall, just like any other flatscreen TV, or you could opt for the stand that sits atop four large caster wheels, which makes it easy to move about your office. There are USB and HDMI ports along the side of the Jamboard (yes, you can use it as a standard 4K display), along with volume controls and an input select button right behind the bottom-right corner.
In many ways, Jamboard is a physical extension of Google’s office suite. But it’s also a way for the company to promote freeform brainstorming without tying users to specific apps. “From the beginning… we were putting people in sort of productivity boxes from the start, you had to choose right away, are you going to use Docs, a spreadsheet, or a slide deck,” G Suite product director Jonathan Rochelle told Engadget. “We thought that might somehow limit creativity.”
Though the Jamboard’s stylus looks like a fat crayon, it’s capable of drawing lines up to a fine 1mm. There’s also a round eraser that also helps to clear off smudges from the screen. Both of those devices are passive, meaning you won’t have to worry about battery life or even pairing them. Any stylus-like device will let you draw on the Jamboard, and, just like a real whiteboard, you can also use your finger to erase things as well.
In my brief hands-on time with the device, I was impressed with the responsiveness of the stylus, which felt almost as fast as drawing on a real whiteboard. Jamboard is capable of detecting up to 16 touch points at once, so you and a few colleagues will be able to use the screen at once. Clearly, Google is targeting the same market as Microsoft’s Surface Hub, but it could be even more appealing to companies already tied to Google’s apps.
Google plans to release Jamboard for under $6,000 in the first half of 2017 for G Suite customers. The company has already started testing the device out with big companies like Netflix, Spotify and Instrument, and is accepting signups for an early adopter program for companies who are eager to start jamming sooner.
Apple is sneaking in one more big product unveiling before 2016 comes to a close, and expectations for new Macs are running high. And how couldn’t they be? Aside from last year’s iMacs and the 12-inch MacBook, Cupertino’s computer lineup has gone largely untouched since 2015 — and there are numerous systems that have remained the same for even longer. But which Macs are going to get an upgrade on Oct. 27th? And is there a chance that other devices will get their moment in the sun? We’ve rounded up some of the more credible rumors to give you a sense of what’s likely in store.
Redesigned MacBook Pro
If there’s anything that could be considered a lock for the “Hello Again” event, it’s a refreshed MacBook Pro lineup. Apple hasn’t made any significant changes there since mid-2015, and some elements have stuck around for ages. The 15-inch models are still using the fourth-generation Core i7 chips they got back in 2014, for example, while the basic designs of both the 13- and 15-inch systems have remained largely the same since they were introduced in 2012. Even if you discount the rumors, it’s safe to say the MacBook Pro is long overdue for a makeover.
Thankfully, it sounds like you’re going to get just that. Numerous scoops (supported by a case leak from Cult of Mac) suggest that the new Pros are coming this fall, and will center around an OLED touch strip above the keyboard that adapts to the context of whatever you’re doing. You’d get media playback controls if music is playing, or app-specific shortcuts for tasks like video editing or web browsing. Also, Apple might introduce a fingerprint-reading power button that streamlines your sign-ins and online purchases through Apple Pay.
Those same leaks also hint that the MacBook Pros’ ports will be a mixed bag. Instead of the usual variety of connections, you’d get USB-C ports (with Thunderbolt 3 for some high-speed peripherals), a headphone jack … and that’s about it. You might need adapters for video output, SD card readers and other hookups that might have had native connections before. It could be an inconvenience, at least in the short term when USB-C peripherals are rare, but it would give you a more flexible computer in the long run. You wouldn’t have to buy a 15-inch system (or a hub) just to get more than two USB ports or worry about where you plug in an external display.
What’s powering these laptops is a tougher call. Intel did just introduce its first seventh-generation Core (aka Kaby Lake) processors, but the current versions are lower-power chips designed for ultraportables, not mobile workhorses like the MacBook Pro. Unless Apple can score higher-power parts, you may have to “settle” for sixth-gen Core CPUs. You could get improved battery life, though, and there are hints you’ll be able to configure it with up to a 2TB solid-state drive.
The graphics on the 15-inch model would definitely get a boost too. Rumors have it sporting AMD Polaris-based video that would help with creative work and the occasional round of gaming. Just don’t expect a 4K display, because the tidbits we’ve seen suggest that you’ll get the same screen resolutions (2,560 x 1,440 and 2,880 x 1,800) that you have now.
Whatever mystery is left comes down to the pricing. Will these systems carry any kind of premium over their ancestors? And will the base models have enough horsepower and storage to keep you satisfied? Barring last-minute revelations, that may have to wait until event day.
A 13-inch MacBook … or is it a new MacBook Air?
It’s when you consider other possible Mac introductions that things get tricky. There have been conflicting reports as to how Apple will tweak its lower-cost laptops, and both sides can make a persuasive case.
One rumor from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman (who has a solid track record for Apple scoops) has Apple releasing an upgraded 13-inch MacBook Air with USB-C ports. It’s not certain what else would be improved. A higher-quality display, perhaps? The current batch of seventh-generation Core processors would work in a new Air, at least, so performance could easily take a step forward. And like it or not, Apple may have to keep the Air current simply because it’s the only MacBook you can buy at a sub-$1,000 price point. Don’t expect the 11-inch Air to survive, as it’s supposedly being cut (it feels a bit redundant now, thanks to the 12-inch MacBook).
However, a conflicting prediction from KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (who also has a good record) has Apple passing over the Air in favor of something else: a 13-inch version of the MacBook first launched in 2015. Little is known about what that would entail besides a likely Retina display, but a larger frame could allow for a beefier processor (not just one of Intel’s lowest-power Core chips), as well as additional ports. More than one USB-C socket, please! The question is, where this would fit in the lineup? Unless the 12-inch version becomes more affordable, a 13-inch MacBook could be priced well into MacBook Pro territory.
We wouldn’t rule either portable out at this stage, but history would suggest that the second option is more likely. Once Apple introduces a new Mac design at the heart of its lineup, it rarely revisits the old hardware. This is the company that’s still selling a four-year-old MacBook Pro to optical drive diehards, remember. Combine that with the Air’s aging circa-2010 chassis and it’s easy to see why Apple would want to move on.
Wild cards: New iPads, more Macs
What else could appear on Oct. 27th? You might not want to get your hopes up for new desktops. When seventh-generation desktop Core processors aren’t due to appear until 2017, an iMac revamp seems unlikely. Ditto the Mac Pro, which would depend on new Xeon E5 models. A fabled 5K stand-alone display may have to wait until the new year as well, according to rumors. About the only Mac desktop that could qualify for a near-term upgrade is the Mac mini, and any update (we’re not expecting one) could easily be limited to a low-key press release.
If anything beyond MacBooks appears onstage, it’s more likely to be iPads. The 12.9-inch iPad Pro is approaching the first anniversary of its ship date, and it’s looking long in the tooth compared to the 9.7-inch model. We’re skeptical of purported A10X benchmarks, but Macotakara (which is sometimes accurate, but not always) hears that a 12.9-inch refresh is in the cards with the 12-megapixel rear camera and TrueTone display of its smaller sibling. The site even talks about a 7.9-inch iPad Pro with many of the features from larger models. Let’s also not forget that the iPad Air 2 is marking its second birthday. It’s old enough that Apple may see fit to either replace it or give it the ax, although there haven’t been any rumors so far.
Image credits: Martin Hajek; AP Photo/Eric Risberg; AOL
We can think of more than one situation when you wouldn’t want to touch your phone because of what’s on your hands. Imagine needing to quickly consult a recipe on your tablet when your fingers are covered in sticky, tech-unfriendly dough. That’s where a device like Bixi comes in, since it brings wireless gesture controls to your iOS and Android devices. Bixi is a little puck that uses time of flight sensors to monitor the movement of your hand in the 25 centimeters or so of air above it.
It’s not just for on-screen tasks, either, since Bixi can also be used to interact with plenty of smart home apps via your smartphone. For instance, raising and lowering your hand can alter the brightness of your Hue bulbs while swiping left and right changes the song on Spotify. The device can interact with a whole host of name-brand tech, including Apple TV, Sonos, Nest and can even control PowerPoint presentations.
The company is also pledging to expand Bixi’s capabilities across 2017, including adding turn-by-turn navigation for cyclists. LEDs, arranged in an X shape, will light up to indicate left or right when you’re approaching a nearby turn. At the same time, you’ll be able to use the gesture controls to control your smartphone or even a GoPro, should you own one. Bixi should sip at its battery to give you up to two months of use at a time, although that claim depends on how frequently you reach for it.
Like all gadgets these days, Bixi is launching on Kickstarter, with early birds able to pick up one of the devices for $69. Latecomers, meanwhile, will have to pay the full retail price of $79, and all should receive their gear by March 2017.