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Feb

Images of Huawei’s rumored Honor 8 Lite leak ahead of Mobile World Congress


Why it matters to you

Huawei might further its push into the minds and wallets of budget-minded folks with the Honor 8 Lite.

Xiaomi announced it will not make any product announcements during February’s Mobile World Congress, which gives fellow Chinese manufacturer Huawei the opportunity to cement its lead over Xiaomi. Based on recent leaks, Huawei might pull this off with the help of the rumored Honor 8 Lite.

As the name suggests, the Honor 8 Lite looks to be a less powerful version of the Honor 8 that precedes it. Based on leaked images, that certainly seems to be the case in terms of aesthetics. There are two key differences between the two phones, however — the Honor 8 Lite is rumored to feature one main camera and a Micro USB port, which seem like setbacks when compared to the Honor 8’s dual rear cameras and forward-thinking USB Type-C port.

More: Xiaomi won’t announce the Mi 6 — or any products — at Mobile World Congress

This brings us to the next reason why ‘Lite’ is part of the name: the Honor 8 Lite is rumored to cost around $300 when it launches at the end of February or early March, about $100 less than what the Honor 8 currently goes for. It is unknown whether the phone will launch in the U.S., but when it does, the phone will reportedly be available in blue, black, gold, and white.

Specifications are unknown, though the Honor 8 Lite also looks similar to the P8 Lite (2017). If internals also remain similar, expect the former to feature a 5.2-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 resolution display, Huawei’s in-house octa-core Kirin 655 processor, 3GB RAM, 16GB of expandable storage, and a 3,000mAh battery. Furthermore, the Honor 8 Lite might run Android 7.0 Nougat with Huawei’s EMUI 5.0 overlay out of the box.

Keep your eyes peeled once MWC is in full swing, however. During its MWC 2016 presentation, Huawei only announced the MateBook, the company’s first 2-in-1 tablet PC, alongside smaller announcements like the gold-colored Nexus 6P. Since MWC is mobile-centric, expect Huawei to announce at least a few mobile devices during its presentation.

1
Feb

Want a new turntable for your old vinyl records? Check out LOVE


Why it matters to you

As vinyl makes a resurgence, we’re in need of a modern turntable. Love is here to answer that call with its mobile-friendly, tech-forward design.

Vinyl is making a comeback, and you know what that means — the return of the turntable. After all, what good is a record without a record player? And while we may be harking back to disc formats of old, that doesn’t mean we don’t get to give those familiar turntables a 21st-century makeover. Meet LOVE, branded as the world’s first intelligent turntable, which has just launched a Kickstarter campaign to bring its technology to the masses.

With a bold attempt to put a new spin on vinyl, LOVE looks to merge traditional sound with its revolutionary technology. “Although audio technology has made incredible strides over the last 40 years, the traditional turntable has remained relatively unchanged,” said CH Pinhas, CEO of Love Turntable Inc. “Record sales have spiked over 60 percent in recent years, but nearly half of the people who own vinyl records don’t play them. Our goal is to make it simple for anyone to enjoy the natural melodies and pure traditional sound of analog through the convenience of modern-day technology.”

More: Shallow Side’s streaming chops run deep, but they love vinyl, too

Using its linear tracking sensor, LOVE can scan any record to determine its size and number of tracks, and with nothing more than a tap, users can turn the turntable on and off, or skip to the next track. LOVE actually spins on top of the record (which remains still), while employing a traditional cartidge and stylus to pay homage to the tactile experience and classic sound that true vinyl enthusiasts know and love. But because no additional weight is placed on the grooves, your records are kept in pristine condition.

And of course, because we live in the age of the smartphone, LOVE comes with an Android and iOS app that lets you control the turntable by way of your mobile device. Whether you want to start or stop a record, select a track, or adjust the volume, you can do it all from the palm of your hand.

As for sound quality, the LOVE streams analog sound via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to audio devices including speakers, headphones, hi-fi components, and home theater systems. And if your speaker system isn’t equipped with Bluetooth, this record player comes with a 3.5mm or RCA plug-and-play Bluetooth aptX adapter.

LOVE turntables start at $299 for the first 500 backers, with your choice of three colors for the base of the turntable — black, red, and white.

1
Feb

Want a new turntable for your old vinyl records? Check out LOVE


Why it matters to you

As vinyl makes a resurgence, we’re in need of a modern turntable. Love is here to answer that call with its mobile-friendly, tech-forward design.

Vinyl is making a comeback, and you know what that means — the return of the turntable. After all, what good is a record without a record player? And while we may be harking back to disc formats of old, that doesn’t mean we don’t get to give those familiar turntables a 21st-century makeover. Meet LOVE, branded as the world’s first intelligent turntable, which has just launched a Kickstarter campaign to bring its technology to the masses.

With a bold attempt to put a new spin on vinyl, LOVE looks to merge traditional sound with its revolutionary technology. “Although audio technology has made incredible strides over the last 40 years, the traditional turntable has remained relatively unchanged,” said CH Pinhas, CEO of Love Turntable Inc. “Record sales have spiked over 60 percent in recent years, but nearly half of the people who own vinyl records don’t play them. Our goal is to make it simple for anyone to enjoy the natural melodies and pure traditional sound of analog through the convenience of modern-day technology.”

More: Shallow Side’s streaming chops run deep, but they love vinyl, too

Using its linear tracking sensor, LOVE can scan any record to determine its size and number of tracks, and with nothing more than a tap, users can turn the turntable on and off, or skip to the next track. LOVE actually spins on top of the record (which remains still), while employing a traditional cartidge and stylus to pay homage to the tactile experience and classic sound that true vinyl enthusiasts know and love. But because no additional weight is placed on the grooves, your records are kept in pristine condition.

And of course, because we live in the age of the smartphone, LOVE comes with an Android and iOS app that lets you control the turntable by way of your mobile device. Whether you want to start or stop a record, select a track, or adjust the volume, you can do it all from the palm of your hand.

As for sound quality, the LOVE streams analog sound via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to audio devices including speakers, headphones, hi-fi components, and home theater systems. And if your speaker system isn’t equipped with Bluetooth, this record player comes with a 3.5mm or RCA plug-and-play Bluetooth aptX adapter.

LOVE turntables start at $299 for the first 500 backers, with your choice of three colors for the base of the turntable — black, red, and white.

1
Feb

Justin Long returns as a tech pitchman with the Huawei Mate 9 as his co-star


Why it matters to you

Justin Long’s employment with Huawei is a direct challenge to Apple, which used the actor in Mac commercials more than a decade ago.

Justin Long, known to many as the “I’m a Mac,” guy from those anti-PC, 2000-era Apple commercials, has shown up in his first tech commercial in years, this time promoting Huawei’s new hardware. The new commercials represent Huawei’s attempt to break out into more international markets, to fulfill its goal to become the No. 1 smartphone manufacturer in the world by 2021.

Long has been acting for almost 20 years and has starred in a number of iconic and cult classic movies like Dodgeball, Waiting, Idiocracy and if you’re a fan of director Kevin Smith’s offbeat horror films, Tusk. However, many still remember him best as the Mac in Apple’s adverts, where he would act as the cool, casual alternative to the stuffy, suited and tied PC played by John Hodgman.

That may change following new commercials for Huawei though. The first commercial to feature Long has him playing himself, not a Huawei device, but he does talk to one. The Mate 9 acts as an analogous interviewer, auditioning Long for the job of directing a Huawei commercial for the device. Throughout comments are made about how great the phone looks and seems to operate.

More: Huawei wants to beat Apple and become the world’s largest smartphone vendor

This was just the first of several commercials Long is contracted to be a part of, with the suggestion that allusions will be made to his previous Apple employment, though not explicitly stated. MacRumors has it that Huawei did initially want to make much more overt references, but was talked down by Long, who suggested they make it more subtle.

In the second advertisement, Long is auditioning hardware for various roles in his commercial and who gets the job? A new Huawei laptop, which made him remember his dear, old dog, Rip.

Although the commercials aren’t over the top, there is no denying the fact that Huawei using a formerApple pitchman to help sell its new products is an obvious challenge to MacBook maker. As one of China’s largest handset manufacturers, it is looking to international expansion, hoping that Long’s name and its contemporary, humorous commercials will help raise its profile with western audiences.

1
Feb

The Memo Box Mini is a smart pillbox to help you take your medication on time


Why it matters to you

With mismanagement of medication leading to thousands of cases of death in the U.S. alone, this smart pill box could be a lifesaver.

Your daily medications can save your life, but only if you remember to take them. Alas, such a critical component of our health is often forgotten — in fact, research suggests that neglecting to take medication is the cause of more than 125,000 deaths and $100 billion in preventable costs. But now, technology may have a solution for us and the health sector. Meet the Memo Box Mini, a new smart pillbox and app from TinyLogics that hopes to help with both tracking and managing medication use.

As the name suggests, this little pillbox fits in the palm of your hand, but it’s got a much ‘bigger’ brain. The connected device communicates with your phone via Bluetooth to remind you when it’s time to take your medication. Moreover, its GPS functionality ensures that you never leave home without your medication. If you leave a pre-set location — whether it’s your home, office, or somewhere else altogether — sans Memo Box Mini, you will get an alert.

More: Stanford’s Laboratory for Cell and Gene Medicine aims to ‘cure the incurable’

The pillbox also tracks your daily consumption to prevent any overdosing. “Whether a doctor prescribes you antibiotics for a two-week period or mom needs help remembering about her blood pressure medicine, Memo Box Mini is essential for keeping everyone on track,” said Shan Lu, CEO of TinyLogics, the company that developed the Memo Box Mini pillbox and app.

With 36 days left in its Kickstarter campaign, the Memo Box Mini has already surpassed its original fundraising goal, with more than 400 backers donating more than$15,000 to the project. If you or a loved one may need a gentle reminder every once in awhile to take their daily medication, you can grab one of these smart boxes yourself for the early bird price of $25. Delivery is estimated for March.

1
Feb

Ripple is a penny-sized safety wearable with a 24/7 support team


Why it matters to you

Using a safety wearable like the Ripple can sometimes be faster than dialing 911 when seconds count.

Safety wearables are becoming a dime a dozen. From a smart ring that lets you push a button to notify your friends, to even the Apple Watch, which lets you dial 911. Ripple is yet another wearable that’s there for you during emergencies, but the company’s approach stands out among its competitors.

Ripple looks like a small padlock, but if you click the center button once you’ll immediately receive a call from the Ripple support team. If there is a legitimate emergency, the support team acts as an intermediary to contact the relevant authorities. But you can also contact them if you’re feeling particularly vulnerable on your walk home.

More: Nimb is a smart ring that lets you secretly notify people when you’re in trouble

When setting up your Ripple, you can choose to enter information such as your picture, physical description, allergies, medical conditions, any current medications you’re taking, and more. The benefit of using Ripple as the intermediary instead of just dialing 911 is that you won’t need to waste time by detailing this sometimes critical information as the support team will already have the information pulled up.

But for moments when you can’t answer the phone, tap the Ripple three or more times. This is for emergency situations — when you build your profile you have to specify what action you want the support team to take when the Ripple is pressed repeatedly. You can either specify them to call your phone, or send an ambulance or police to you. The Ripple team will have your location via your phone’s GPS, allowing them to direct the relevant first-responders to you.

The Ripple is water-resistant, and the size of a penny. It uses Bluetooth to pair with your smartphone, and as the battery lasts up to six months, you never need to charge it. When you’re out of juice, the company will send you a replacement for free.

More: Italian engineers build a safety-first terrain park in just three hours

Ripple is able to provide this 24/7 support team thanks to a partnership with Tunstall, a connected health-care platform — but the support team isn’t free. While the company is offering free subscriptions for Kickstarter backers, 24/7 service will likely require a monthly subscription fee.

You can order a Ripple on Kickstarter now for $49, but that only nets you three months of the Ripple support service. The $129 option gives you a year of 24/7 service. The company is looking to raise $50,000 on Kickstarter, and if it succeeds, the product is expected to ship in April.

1
Feb

Ripple is a penny-sized safety wearable with a 24/7 support team


Why it matters to you

Using a safety wearable like the Ripple can sometimes be faster than dialing 911 when seconds count.

Safety wearables are becoming a dime a dozen. From a smart ring that lets you push a button to notify your friends, to even the Apple Watch, which lets you dial 911. Ripple is yet another wearable that’s there for you during emergencies, but the company’s approach stands out among its competitors.

Ripple looks like a small padlock, but if you click the center button once you’ll immediately receive a call from the Ripple support team. If there is a legitimate emergency, the support team acts as an intermediary to contact the relevant authorities. But you can also contact them if you’re feeling particularly vulnerable on your walk home.

More: Nimb is a smart ring that lets you secretly notify people when you’re in trouble

When setting up your Ripple, you can choose to enter information such as your picture, physical description, allergies, medical conditions, any current medications you’re taking, and more. The benefit of using Ripple as the intermediary instead of just dialing 911 is that you won’t need to waste time by detailing this sometimes critical information as the support team will already have the information pulled up.

But for moments when you can’t answer the phone, tap the Ripple three or more times. This is for emergency situations — when you build your profile you have to specify what action you want the support team to take when the Ripple is pressed repeatedly. You can either specify them to call your phone, or send an ambulance or police to you. The Ripple team will have your location via your phone’s GPS, allowing them to direct the relevant first-responders to you.

The Ripple is water-resistant, and the size of a penny. It uses Bluetooth to pair with your smartphone, and as the battery lasts up to six months, you never need to charge it. When you’re out of juice, the company will send you a replacement for free.

More: Italian engineers build a safety-first terrain park in just three hours

Ripple is able to provide this 24/7 support team thanks to a partnership with Tunstall, a connected health-care platform — but the support team isn’t free. While the company is offering free subscriptions for Kickstarter backers, 24/7 service will likely require a monthly subscription fee.

You can order a Ripple on Kickstarter now for $49, but that only nets you three months of the Ripple support service. The $129 option gives you a year of 24/7 service. The company is looking to raise $50,000 on Kickstarter, and if it succeeds, the product is expected to ship in April.

1
Feb

Flipagram gains AI-customized feeds after acquisition by China’s Toutiao


Why it matters to you

Flipagram’s social aspect could start to customize users feeds using AI technology from its new parent company.

Flipagram users could soon see content customized to their interests. Today, the Chinese content company Toutiao announced that it had acquired the video-generation app. Financial details behind the acquisition were not released.

Toutiao, which means “headlines” in Chinese, is a platform that uses artificial intelligence to deliver individualized, aggregated news content, continually improving based on the stories users choose to read or watch. For Toutiao,  the acquisition is a step forward in the content company’s goal for global reach. Toutiao will recommend Flipagram to it’s users — and vice versa.

More:  Video slideshow app Flipagram now has 200 million creators, 4 billion daily video views

For Flipagram users, that acquisition likely means that Toutia’s custom news feed will eventually make its way inside the social aspect of its app, recommending other users’ videos based on the content you’ve watched in the past. Flipagram videos could also see enhanced reach integrating with Toutiao.

Flipagram founder and CEO Farah Mohit says the company will continue to operate independently, remaining in its Los Angeles office, while the main changes will stem from the two apps sharing their technology. With over 10 million Flipagrams produced every month, Toutia’s machine learning platform that delivers individualized content will help get those videos in front of the right viewers, Mohit suggests.

Now with over 200 million users, Flipagram grew in popularity partially because of the global music licensing deals that allows users to legally use many different popular songs in their videos. “Since the launch of our free app in late 2013, Flipagram has been one of the most popular mobile video creation apps in the world. We pioneered the licensed use of music clips in user generated videos, and have enabled hundred of millions of users around the world to create and share amazing video stories, with just their phones,” Mohit said. “Today we are thrilled to take the next step in our journey, with Toutiao, whose expertise in content recommendations can help take the Flipagram mobile video network to the next level.”

Founded in 2012, Toutiao is a news aggregation app with a team of 1,000 engineers working to give users the content that’s most interesting to them. Around 175 million people use the platform —  but even more impressively, Toutiao claims the average user spends 76 minutes a day on the app.

1
Feb

Nintendo says it wants to release a new mobile game every few months


Why it matters to you

Be prepared for a frenzy of Nintendo games invading seemingly everyone’s smartphone on a consistent basis.

Nintendo has had massive success with its first official mobile game, Super Mario Run, and to no surprise, it wants to repeat that. With that in mind, it’s announced its intention to release between two and three new mobile games a year from here on out, Reuters reports.

Many big name developers have created apps for the mobile space, often augmenting already existing properties on other platforms. For a long time, Nintendo was hesitant to do that, seemingly over fears that it would eat into its lucrative portable gaming business. In 2016, though, that all changed and following the massive success of Pokémon Go, Super Mario Run became the fastest growing app ever.

While it’s arguable that Nintendo needs to learn a little more about how to market its content in the world of app stores — the $10 charge for Super Mario Run’s full game hasn’t been stomached by more than a few million — the fact that it managed to pull in close to 80 million players already, even without an Android version, shows there is huge potential on the platform.

That Android version is expected to show up in March and could lead to a big resurgence in the app’s growth.

More: ‘Super Mario Run’ on Android coming in March — will the buy rate be higher?

With those kinds of numbers, it makes a lot of sense that Nintendo would look to create more mobile content on a regular basis. If it were able to generate a fraction of the buzz that Super Mario Run received and similar numbers for paying customers, mobile could become one of Nintendo’s largest growth sectors.

This announcement came from Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima as part of an earnings call, where he also claimed that there were currently 70 different developers working on over 100 titles for the upcoming Nintendo Switch console.

1
Feb

How does it make you feel? Wearable system predicts wearer’s mood


Why it matters to you

By predicting moods, AI like this can help ease social interactions for people who find them difficult.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and the Institute of Medical Engineering and Science (IMES) have developed a wearable they say can predict the mood of its wearer by analyzing speech patterns and physiological signs. The system may someday serve as a social coach for people with anxiety or Asperger’s syndrome.

“Imagine if, at the end of a conversation, you could rewind it and see the moments when the people around you felt the most anxious,” Tuka Alhanai, a CSAIL graduate student who worked on the project, said in a statement. “Our work is a step in this direction, suggesting that we may not be that far away from a world where people can have an AI social coach right in their pocket.”

Using two AI algorithms and a Samsung Simband, the system measures vitals like heart rate, blood pressure, blood flow, and skin temperature, while recording audio data related to the wearer’s pitch, tone, and vocabulary. It then attempts to identify the speaker’s mood, from positive to neutral to negative, in five-second increments.

More: Keymochi, the smart mobile keyboard, can judge your mood based on how you type

“As far as we know, this is the first experiment that collects both physical data and speech data in a passive but robust way, even while subjects are having natural, unstructured interactions,” Mohammad Ghassemi, a CSAIL doctoral student who worked on the project, said in a statement. “Our results show that it’s possible to classify the emotional tone of conversations in real time.”

The system is imperfect and not yet ready for real-world applications, but it’s better than current methods. Results showed it could identify moods with an accuracy of about 18 percent above chance and 7.5 percent better than existing technologies. Alhanai and Ghassemi will present their findings at Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) conference in San Francisco next week.

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