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8
Jan

Your original NVIDIA Shield Android TV isn’t being left behind


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NVIDIA is keeping the first Shield Android TV in tip-top shape for the foreseeable future.

With a ton of attention being paid to the new Shield Android TV, some of the biggest questions surrounded how the new model compares to the original. More importantly, everyone wants to know how many of the features of the new model can come back to the old Shield Android TV, and where all of the new peripherals stand in terms of backwards compatibility.

Thankfully we have good news: all is well on the original Shield Android TV front, and you won’t be left behind as the new model hits store shelves. Here’s what’s happening with the original box.

You aren’t missing out on hardware

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The first thing to realize from the get-go is that internally the new Shield Android TV is identical to the model you have right now. Though the outside has shrunk down to take out unused space, the internals of your current box are still great and still top of the line. In fact, you have one benefit over the new model in that you still have an SD card slot for expanding your storage.

Sure the new Shield Android TV is dramatically smaller than the original making it easier to stash away in your entertainment center, but that’s hardly a reason to buy it as a replacement for an original. Stick with the current box knowing you have the latest specs still.

All of the new software is coming

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Now that you know your hardware isn’t out of date, it’s important to know that NVIDIA is continuing to support the original Shield Android TV with software updates. The company has committed to releasing the new Android 7.0 Nougat software unveiled at CES 2017 to the original box. And here’s a bit of good news: the update is coming the day that the new box begins shipping. While NVIDIA doesn’t want ot put a date on it, Amazon listings show that release date is January 16 — so you can expect the software to start hitting then as well.

When the software lands on your Shield Android TV you’ll get the new interface tweaks, improvements to the gaming system and better performance. You’ll also be right in line to get the next software update that’ll bring you Google Assistant.

The new peripherals will work

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NVIDIA has completely redesigned its Shield controller to be smaller, more comfortable and particularly more feature-packed. Its new TV remote also has dramatically better battery life and an IR blaster. Even though you already have a controller and probably a remote with your current box, you can buy the new accessories and they’ll work just fine with the current Shield Android TV.

You can turn your original box into the new one with fresh accessories.

You may consider buying the new controller as a new primary gaming pad while using your current one as a backup or for multiplayer, but also keep in mind that the new controller enables always-listening microphones for Google Assistant when it comes later this year. NVIDIA has yet to make the new remote available (in fact it’s still selling the old model) but when it goes on sale you’ll be able to pick it up and get year-long battery life for those times when you don’t want to pick up a full controller to navigate.

The new NVIDIA Spot microphone peripheral is also compatible with the old Shield Android TV as soon as it receives its Nougat software update. If you don’t want to pick up a new controller to enable always-listening for Google Assistant the new Spot will also do the trick, and it gives you more options in terms of being able to place it somewhere else around the house.

NVIDIA Shield Android TV

  • Read our Shield Android TV review
  • The latest Shield Android TV news
  • Join the forum discussion
  • Complete Shield Android TV specs

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8
Jan

SpaceX delays its comeback launch to January 14th


SpaceX’s much-vaunted return to flight just hit a snag. Iridium has revealed that the Falcon 9 rocket launch has been pushed pack several days to January 14th, at 12:54PM Eastern. Why the long postponement when most delays tend to be a day or two at most? Simply put, the weather at Vandenberg Air Force Base will just be that terrible — there are “high winds and rain” in the forecast for the next several days.

Not that SpaceX or Iridium will necessarily mind. The two want to know that the first Falcon 9 launch since the September explosion will go off without a hitch, both to protect the valuable payload (an Iridium Next satellite) and to show that Elon Musk’s private spaceflight plans are back on track. It also gives some extra opportunity to verify the helium loading changes intended to prevent another disaster. Waiting several days will be worthwhile if it sets minds at ease in the long run.

High winds and rain in forecast at VAFB. First launch of #IridiumNEXT now planned for January 14th at 9:54:34 am PST. #NEXTevolution.

— Iridium Corporate (@IridiumComm) January 8, 2017

Via: The Verge

Source: Iridium (Twitter)

8
Jan

CES 2017 by the numbers


As CES 2017 slowly winds to a close, we look back on the week that was. This year’s show saw a number of new devices and technologies make their debut. Razer debuted a triptych laptop display, Griffin brought out its smart toaster, Ford announced a 300-mile electric SUV and Dr. Samsung will see us now. Numbers, because how else will we determine the Best of CES winners?

8
Jan

Robots and drones will work together to deliver all our goods


The infrastructure to support traditional deliveries has been strained ever since the growth in online orders. What’s more, the projected growth will exceed anything UPS, FedEx and the like can currently support. Because of that, companies like Amazon have been working on both an air-drop solution using drones to autonomously drop packages at customers doors, while others have been working on delivery robots. That’s why some believe autonomous UAVs and robots might work together on the delivery trucks of the future.

I talked to two people who care quite a lot about what this all means from the Engadget stage at CES2017: Paul Dragos, a flight trainer for FAA certification at UXV University and Henry Harris-Burland, the marketing head of Starship Technologies, a company that makes a delivery bot.

Click here to catch up on the latest news from CES 2017.

8
Jan

It’s no longer enough for budget phones to just be cheap


Two years ago, the world of smartphones looked very different. It was hard to find a decent phone for less than $500, batteries took forever to charge and screens were generally smaller than five inches. These days, you can get a long-lasting 5.2-inch (or larger) phone with speedy performance and the latest operating system for $400. Heck, you can even get one for $200.

But it’s no longer enough for affordable smartphones to offer close-to-flagship specs; they aren’t rarities anymore. At CES this year, competing companies put out basically the same phone at slightly different prices. Compare the Honor 6x — a $250 5.5-inch phone that has two cameras on the back — to the ZTE Blade V8 Pro, a $230 handset with a 5.5-inch screen and two cameras on its rear. And let’s not forget the ZenFone 3 Zoom, a 5.5-inch phone with a dual… you get the idea.

Each of these three phones has a few things to differentiate it, such as the ZenFone’s generous 5,000mAh battery and the Blade V8 Pro’s relatively clean version of Android. But these aren’t enough when the market for budget phones is this competitive.

This year, we saw some of the more prolific companies in the space struggle to stand out. ZTE launched a crowdsourcing campaign last year to mine its fans and customers for creative suggestions on what it should make next. The collective efforts of thousands of voters led ZTE to build an eye-tracking phone with an adhesive shell that you can stick on any surface and use without your hands. ZTE also promises that this new project, dubbed Hawkeye, will come to market soon for an affordable price. Indeed, you can already order it on Kickstarter for just $200.

Another well-known affordable phone maker that’s shifting gears this year is Alcatel. The company has, for at least three years, rolled into CES with a slew of new budget phones from its Pop, Pixi and Idol lines. This year, though, its parent company TCL chose to highlight only its new BlackBerry phone, tentatively codenamed “Mercury.” There wasn’t a single new budget device in sight.

President of TCL Communications Steve Cistulli tells Engadget that the company intends to take on the market’s two top players (i.e., Apple and Samsung) with its broad portfolio of brands and devices. In fact, the company’s big reveal last year was a sub-$400 phone that came with its own VR headset, showing that Alcatel is capable of differentiating itself. This doesn’t mean that Alcatel is going to stop making budget phones, but it does further suggest that companies know it’s time to do something different.

On the other hand, Huawei’s Honor sub-brand again this year put out a handset that matches the feature set of more expensive flagships for a surprisingly low price. To be fair, Honor is only in its second year of doing business in the US, and its debut device last year offered a strong set of features for an unexpectedly low price of $200. But this year’s release failed to measure up to competing phones.

The Honor 6x is basically the same phone as the ZTE Blade V8 Pro, except that the latter has sharper cameras, a cleaner version of Android and a denser build for $20 cheaper. It may have lost to the competition here at CES 2017, but Honor still has a good shot at differentiating itself. It already has a compelling example in the Honor Magic — a sleekly designed concept phone with an artificially intelligent assistant and eye-tracking camera. If the company is able to bring those features to market for a reasonable price, Honor has a shot at being the last budget brand standing.

That last part is important. Not only do budget phone makers need to innovate — they also have to keep offering their devices for cheaper than the Apples and Samsungs of the world. The struggle to stay afloat in the cutthroat affordable phone industry is real, but the competition means good things for consumers, who can hopefully look forward to exciting and helpful new developments coming out of this race.

Click here to catch up on the latest news from CES 2017.

8
Jan

HTC is readying a Vive-branded smartphone


For weeks, HTC has been teasing a January 12th event that will show what it has in store “for U” in 2017. But just what does that cryptic clue mean? We might have a better idea. Well-known leaker Evan Blass has obtained a promo video (below) showcasing HTC’s future smartphone efforts, and it’s clear that the company is eager to try something different. Most of the clip centers on experiments with unusual phone designs, such as cloth or splashes of color. However, the most interesting part is toward the end: HTC briefly shows a Vive-branded phone, suggesting that the company wants to bank on the popularity of its virtual reality headset.

Unfortunately, just what a Vive phone means isn’t clear right now. Is that a hint of support for Google’s Daydream VR platform, or a custom approach to mobile VR? A special tie-in for Vive owners? Or just an attempt to use a familiar name? We’ll know the full story soon if HTC unveils this device at its event, but even this brief hint is intriguing.

HTC 2017? pic.twitter.com/ppONWlT5Mr

— Evan Blass (@evleaks) January 8, 2017

Source: Evan Blass (Twitter 1), (2)

8
Jan

Ben Heck’s PS4 accessibility controllers


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Technology should be accessible to everyone, and that includes gamers. Indeed, one of the most popular requests received by the Ben Heck Show Team has been to create custom controllers. The current generation of game consoles have made this difficult, especially the PlayStation 4, and in fact, it wasn’t until a recent third-party controller came to market that Ben and Felix found an easy way to hack in custom parts.

Watch in this episode as Felix tears down the controller, while Ben shows us how to measure and model the gamepad as a guide for creating 3D-printed or laser-cut pieces. Then it’s up to Ben and Karen to put the controller through its paces. What other gamepads do you think the team should create or modify for accessibility? Let the team know over on the element14 Community.

8
Jan

Sony should be taking bigger risks at CES


I’ve always had a soft spot for Sony. I grew up with a Walkman cassette player and an absurd 13-inch Sony TV set hooked up to the Sega Saturn in my bedroom. But in recent years I’ve grown increasingly concerned about the company’s future. Yes, the PlayStation brand is strong, and its image sensor division remains a lucrative asset. But in so many other categories, Sony is struggling. Take its smartphone business: The X line was a disappointment last year, doing little to change the sluggish sales of the Z series that came before it.

Sony needs a revival, and the best time to do it is at CES. Typically, the company shows off a mixture of TVs, projectors, headphones and speakers. We see the occasional smartphone and whacky R&D project, but they’re never more than a sliver of its showing. There’s nothing wrong with this focus, given that personal audio and home theater represent a large part of its business. But so often these products are iterative, offering minor improvements over the previous year’s model. They might be best in class, but Sony needs a bolder, wilder hand at CES to grab headlines and get the public excited again.

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Kazuo Hirai unveils a new 4K, OLED TV on stage. Credit: DAVID MCNEW via Getty Images

Occasionally, Sony delivers. The company’s PS-HX500 turntable was a hit last year, winning praise for its minimalist design and digital copying abilities. But vinyl, despite its recent resurgence, is still a niche format. Even its compact cameras, like the slick A7R and RX100 series, could be considered minor releases. They take amazing photos, and shutterbugs love them, but they’re part of an ever-shrinking market. Specialist items, just like the hi-res Walkman players that it continues to roll out every year.

I had hoped for a change this year, but Sony stuck to its playbook. Chief executive Kazuo Hirai unveiled a new, 4K OLED TV that packs impressive picture quality into a tiny frame. I was smitten with the design, although the TV’s approach to sound, which uses the screen itself as a speaker, didn’t impress some of my Engadget colleagues. There was also a $25,000 short-throw projector that can throw a 100-inch image from only six inches away. That price, however, instantly makes it a pipe dream for most people. Aspirational, yes, but not even close to attainable.

Sony’s new ‘Life Space’ projector is perfect for tiny apartments. Shame it costs $25,000.

The rest of Sony’s press conference this week was mostly devoted to rehashing older products. The company touched on the RX100 V, a point-and-shoot announced last October. Hirai referenced PlayStation VR too, but didn’t disclose sales numbers or any meaningful new software that might have swayed people on the fence about buying one. Instead, we got a new sales milestone for the PlayStation 4: 53.4 million, an impressive figure but one that serves merely as self-congratulation. We know the console is killing it, Sony.

I think the company needs a new strategy. A CES press conference is a preview of the next 12 months; a statement of intent from executives and product designers alike. For Sony, treading water is not an option. Hirai and the team need to punctuate its usual announcements with some bolder, wilder products. I like its black obelisk aesthetic, but maybe it’s time to try something new. Remember when Samsung reinvigorated its Galaxy line with the first Edge phones? Sony needs a similar leap in design to stand out from the competition. Some ideas will invariably fail, but the company shouldn’t be afraid to take risks. It’s time to leave pride and tradition at the door.

It’s time to leave pride and tradition at the door.

What’s frustrating is that Hirai knows this. At the start of his speech, Sony’s CEO reiterated the idea of “kandou.” “Whenever you see, touch or interact with our products, we want to stimulate an emotional response,” he said. “Kandou just doesn’t happen in some abstract space in the cloud, it happens when we create objects of desire.”

We’ve seen glimpses of a bolder Sony before. The Xperia Agent, for instance, packed a projector and adorable robot face into an Echo-style speaker. It even made my colleague James Trew a cup of coffee. But almost 12 months later, can you buy one? Not that I’m aware of. Sony needs to pick its best R&D projects and really get behind them. Court developers like Amazon did with the Echo and take them on the road, where people can see them and fall in love. It’s done it before with gaming products like the PlayStation VR, it just needs to blow the idea out.

The Xperia Agent, in all its adorable glory.

Sony’s press conferences should end with people clamoring for prices and release dates. Walking around its booth this week, I just didn’t get that impression from other attendees. Curious and impressed, yes, but not inspired to suddenly embrace an all-Sony lifestyle. PlayStation aside, Sony’s image is a little musty. The name is synonymous with quality but not, I would argue, excitement. Most people don’t aspire to own a home full of Sony hardware, and that’s a problem for Hirai and his team.

Click here to catch up on the latest news from CES 2017.

8
Jan

ASUS’ new displays include one with a wireless charging pad


ASUS didn’t show all its cards at its CES event. The computing giant has unveiled a pair of high-end desktop displays that each have their own clever tricks. The Designo Curve MX38VQ (above) is arguably the star if you’re an everyday user: the 37.5-inch, 3,840 x 1,600 monitor packs a Qi wireless charging pad to top up your smartphone. We’ve seen charging before, but not on a screen this big and wide. It also packs a “frameless” panel and Harmon Kardon-boosted speakers (albeit a modest 8W) if you’re tight on space.

The other display is aimed squarely at the creative crowd. The 32-inch ProArt PA32U is billed as the first pro-oriented, directly lit monitor with 4K and high dynamic range. Not surprisingly, image quality is the main hook: you can get 95 percent of the movie-grade DCI-P3 color gamut, calibrate it with settings saved in hardware, and pump out up to 1,000cd/m2 of brightness. And did we mention that there are a pair of Thunderbolt 3 ports? If you have the new MacBook Pro or a suitably-equipped Windows PC, your monitor can serve as a dock.

There’s also a mid-tier monitor, the 27-inch ProArt PA27AQ, that includes Thunderbolt 3 while moving to a slightly less jaw-dropping 1440p resolution.

You’ll have to wait a while to get your hands on these displays. Both the high-end models are poised to ship sometime in the third quarter of the year, starting at $1,099 for the Designo Curve model and somewhere between $1,799 to $1,999 for the 32-inch ProArt variant. They’re clearly aimed at the spare-no-expense crowd, and you’re paying accordingly.

Click here to catch up on the latest news from CES 2017.

Via: HotHardware

Source: ASUS

8
Jan

2018 Ford F-150 Release Date, Price and Specs – Roadshow


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