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14
Mar

Windows XP emulated to run on an iPhone 7 is fun, but hardly practical


Why it matters to you

With Windows XP support from almost every company now a thing of the past, getting a look at the old OS on modern hardware is a fun nostalgia kick.

Windows XP might be long gone, but not forgotten. One developer has managed to get the outdated operating system running on a new iPhone 7 through emulation. That does mean it’s rather slow, but if making songs from its error noises wasn’t enough for you, a quick mobile flashback might do the nostalgia trick.

Achieved by Youtuber Hacking Jules, Windows XP Professional was booted up on the iPhone 7 running iOS version 10.2.1 using the Xcode emulator. It’s not the speediest of boots, partly due to the old operating system and partly because it’s not being run natively. The reason it looks rather poor graphically, too, is due to the emulated video card being VGA only, we are told.

When it does finally boot up at around the three-minute mark of the above video, you can really tell how much Windows XP was not designed with the touch interface in mind, as getting the mouse pointer to do what you want with gesture commands is not easy.

More: Upgrade to Windows 10 to hang on to the latest and greatest version of Gmail

Still, Jules does manage it and we are treated to a slow loading control panel and system menu, as well as a look at a classic tool — the Windows calculator.

If you too would like to experience the wonders of a turn-of-the-century operating system on a contemporary piece of hardware, you can follow in Jules’ footsteps using the GitHub linked files and guide. You will need a bit of technical know-how and a willingness to turn your zippy, modern device into something far less impressive, but for anyone wishing for a fun, nostalgic challenge, it might fill a few hours of your time.

If you are still using Windows XP on your desktop or laptop, though, remember that it is not only not supported by Microsoft for even the most important security updates, but game developer Blizzard will be dropping support this year. XP gamers need to update before they miss out.

14
Mar

Windows XP emulated to run on an iPhone 7 is fun, but hardly practical


Why it matters to you

With Windows XP support from almost every company now a thing of the past, getting a look at the old OS on modern hardware is a fun nostalgia kick.

Windows XP might be long gone, but not forgotten. One developer has managed to get the outdated operating system running on a new iPhone 7 through emulation. That does mean it’s rather slow, but if making songs from its error noises wasn’t enough for you, a quick mobile flashback might do the nostalgia trick.

Achieved by Youtuber Hacking Jules, Windows XP Professional was booted up on the iPhone 7 running iOS version 10.2.1 using the Xcode emulator. It’s not the speediest of boots, partly due to the old operating system and partly because it’s not being run natively. The reason it looks rather poor graphically, too, is due to the emulated video card being VGA only, we are told.

When it does finally boot up at around the three-minute mark of the above video, you can really tell how much Windows XP was not designed with the touch interface in mind, as getting the mouse pointer to do what you want with gesture commands is not easy.

More: Upgrade to Windows 10 to hang on to the latest and greatest version of Gmail

Still, Jules does manage it and we are treated to a slow loading control panel and system menu, as well as a look at a classic tool — the Windows calculator.

If you too would like to experience the wonders of a turn-of-the-century operating system on a contemporary piece of hardware, you can follow in Jules’ footsteps using the GitHub linked files and guide. You will need a bit of technical know-how and a willingness to turn your zippy, modern device into something far less impressive, but for anyone wishing for a fun, nostalgic challenge, it might fill a few hours of your time.

If you are still using Windows XP on your desktop or laptop, though, remember that it is not only not supported by Microsoft for even the most important security updates, but game developer Blizzard will be dropping support this year. XP gamers need to update before they miss out.

14
Mar

The best drone you can buy


best-drones-150x150In just the past few years, drones have transformed from a geeky hobbyist affair to a full-on cultural phenomenon. They’re everywhere now, and they’re available in just about any shape, size, or configuration you could ever want. The market is absolutely saturated with them now, so to help you navigate the increasingly large and ever-changing landscape of consumer UAVs, we put together a definitive list of the best drones on the planet right now. So without further ado, here’s the cream of the quadcopter crop.

Our pick

DJI Mavic Pro reviewDan Baker/Digital Trends

Why you should buy this: It has all the features you need in a drone, yet is still compact enough to fit in a backpack or purse

Our Score

The best

DJI Mavic Pro

It has all the premium features you’ve ever wanted, and it takes up less space than a can of Pringles

$999.00 from Amazon

$999.00 from Apple

Who it’s for: Anyone looking for a full-featured yet highly portable drone

How much it’ll cost: $999

Why we chose the DJI Mavic Pro

What makes the Mavic Pro so amazing is that, despite the fact that it’s one of the most compact and portable drones we’ve ever flown, it’s also one of the most capable and full-featured. It’s equipped with a 4K camera, a 3-axis gimbal, forward obstacle avoidance, tons of autopilot modes, range over four miles, and somehow it still fits in the palm of your hand. It’s living proof that scaling down size doesn’t necessarily mean scaling back on features, and that big things really can come in small packages.

The portability factor is huge. Thanks to a very clever hinge system, the Mavic’s arms fold up into a neat little package just smaller than the dimensions of your average brick, which makes it a breeze to stuff in your backpack or messenger bag and lug along on your adventures. Photographers always say that the best camera is the one you have with you, and the same could definitely be said for drones. If it’s portable, you’re far more likely to have it with you when you need it.

When it comes to portable drones, the Mavic Pro has no equal — at least not yet. The GoPro Karma is arguably its closest competitor, but it can’t match the Mavic in range, speed, compactness, or flight capabilities.

Our review

14
Mar

LeEco could be working on a new flagship to take on the Samsung Galaxy S8


Why it matters to you

LeEco’s flagship phones are often very powerful and very cheap. It’s new flagship will likely be no different.

LeEco could have a big year ahead of it and it could take on the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus. How? Well, with a flagship smartphone, of course. That phone could actually end up looking very similar to the Galaxy S8 too — apparently, it has curved edges.

Apart from the display, the phone is tipped to have some pretty impressive specs under the hood. For example, it could offer the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, along with 6GB of RAM, which is expected to become a standard amount of RAM in this year and next.

More: LeEco update marks the debut of an app drawer for two of its smartphones

We also, thankfully, have a few leaked images of what the upcoming phone could look like. As you can see in the images, the phone does seem kind of like a mashup of the Galaxy series with LeEco’s previous phones — like the LeEco Le Pro 3 and Le S3. The leaks come from Gizmo China.

leeco  flagship

leeco  flagship

The photos obviously aren’t of an excellent quality, but they do give us a first look at the upcoming device — for example, we can see a USB-C port.

So when will we see the phone? Well, good question. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 processor supply is reportedly somewhat limited right now, so it may not be for a few months that the phone is unveiled. The LeEco Le Pro 3 was launched in the U.S. in September, so the company’s new offering may serve as a follow-up — in which case we probably wouldn’t see it until the fourth quarter of 2017. Still, we could see the phone launched in China first, and that could happen a lot sooner than September.

It’s very likely we will hear more about a new LeEco phone in coming months and we’ll keep this article updated as we hear more.

14
Mar

Google I/O 2017 preview: Everything you need to know about Google’s dev conference


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What we expect to see from this year’s Google I/O.

Google I/O 2017 will be here before you know it. Everyone’s involved: Google itself, presenters, hardware partners, and anyone else who will make the three-day event awesome is busy getting ready. We’re going to have fun and learn stuff. That’s the perfect combo.

Last year’s Google I/O had some logistics problems that shouldn’t return in 2017.

2017’s I/O is going to be at Mountain View’s Shoreline Amphitheatre like it was in 2016. That caused a few, ahem, difficulties last year and we learned that even Google is unable to control the weather and figure out you need more than 50 chairs to seat 200 people. I’m sure they did a good bit of post op and think they have a better handle on things this year. I know we do and we’re already talking about how we can do our jobs better at this type of event.

Of course, the most important things to come out of Google I/O will be seeing the direction Google’s products will be taking for the year. We typically see several announcements that have everyone shifting gears and trying something new, but most of Google’s products are mature and won’t see any major changes on the user-facing side. When the event is over, some will be excited and some will be disappointed, so it will be the same as every year on that front. But make no mistake; Google will be pushing Android and Chrome forward while they chase the next billion users.

Android O

1200px-oreo-two-cookies.jpg?itok=1eiKEhI By Evan-Amos – Public Domain

There’s no way Google can get through the week without saying something about the next version of Android.

I expect to see some early demos on the big screen, as well as just enough information about what’s changing to get developer interest piqued. But we’re not going to be flying home from the Bay playing with any type of beta software.

Expect Google to announce Android O without giving it a name, announce a beta program without giving it a date, and announce that it will be the best Android version yet. It’s early in the year so all we really need is a good bit of hyperbole.

Security

There is so much misinformation being spread around (much of it on purpose) about phone hacking that Google almost has to address this area.

Expect Google to affirm that the encryption methods used to secure your data inside Android haven’t been cracked by anyone no matter what any ex-pats may say on Twitter. But they will recognize the threat we’re seeing from leaked documents and how the focus has changed. A shift from widespread surveillance then pouring through it all has moved to targeted methods to attempt to gather intel one phone at a time. That’s a very big challenge for Google, Apple, and Microsoft to tackle and will mean some changes have to come.

Now would be a good time to encrypt Gmail from end to end, Google.

VR

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Daydream is just the beginning. Google needed to make VR inexpensive and comfortable before they could take the next step and we’re already seeing enormous amounts of work from the Android and Chromium teams when it comes to VR and AR.

Strap yourself in because VR is going to be bigger than ever.

We can say with confidence that Google wants to be able to bring rich mixed reality content to your eyeballs via the web, on every screen you own. How they plan to do this is still a mystery, but the first steps — a VR web experience through Chrome for Android — are already in place. More importantly, developer tools that make it easier to build a VR web are a priority and alliances, like the Khronos Group, are making the technology ready for content.

The success of products like the HTC Vive and PlayStation VR mean that the market for people who won’t or can’t spend that much money is super important. Google and Facebook and Samsung and Oculus all competing to try and outdo each other is great news for us.

You’ll be able to get your fix for everything VR from Google I/O both here at Android Central and VRHeads, so you won’t miss a thing!

Google in your house

Google has been thirsty to get into our living room for years. The combination of Chromecast, Google Home, and Android TV give them the best shot of doing it that they’ve had.

Google knows the edge they have when it comes to Assistant. It’s part of an internet writer’s job to remind you that Alexa can do 11 more things than Assistant right now, but that’s the tiny picture. Google has a mountain of your data. When combined with the mountains of data from everyone else, they have the most difficult part of training an AI system to be smart. They just have to figure out how to present it while it’s learning so we want to keep using it. Amazon doesn’t have this, but Facebook does and they will soon make their play in the same space. Google needs to be one step ahead here.

One of the bigger pieces of the puzzle that often gets overlooked is Android TV. With Nougat, Android TV has most everything it needs to become (and replace) your cable box and DVR. Potential changes planned with Android O could fill in the rest and the right hardware partner could mean Google is at your cable company, too. Google routers and TV boxes can provide everything we want from an entertainment package and Google gets more of that precious data they need to survive.

Android Wear

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Google was very smart in how they handled the Android Wear 2.0 update and it reminds us that they are serious about wearables, even if we don’t get news on them every day.

Wear 2.0 took the best ideas about how computing on your wrist can be done and implemented them without adding extra cruft to a system designed for very limited hardware. From first experiences, it looks like they were successful and Wear 2.0 is part of what it will take to make smart watches compelling again.

Wear 2.0 is good enough to make us want smartwatches again and Google is going to make sure we know it.

What’s missing (and what we saw from Apple) is the right fitness partner. Names like Nike can make a platform mainstream as long as the initial release is good enough to get people to buy the next release. Any new platform, whether it be on your wrist, on your TV or in your car, is instantly caught in the worst Catch-22 situation available: Content is needed to attract buyers and buyers are needed to attract content creators.

We know companies like LG can make the hardware and Android Wear can power it all. Now Google needs to make sure everyone else knows and some big news for wearables at their annual developer conference would be a smart way to get started.

The Web

Google has some amazing products and projects for use on the web in general. Some we use every day and others that we only know the buzzwords surrounding them. And plenty of others we don’t know about at all.

Besides the obligatory news and improvements for advertisers and analytics (someone has to make all the money so everyone else can have some fun), we might get to hear some really cool stuff about Tensorflow and deep learning. And there’s a lot there to talk about, covering a wide range of spaces like cancer research, cars that drive themselves, or even something as mundane as finding files on your Google Drive faster.

The Cloud is a platform and Google knows it. And it will take everything Google can do to wrest it away from Amazon and Microsoft.

These and other web technologies Google has at work all mix into another area where google would love to get a stronger hold — Internet As A Service. Amazon and Microsoft have a tight grip on the market because they offer great products and services. Google has great products and services of their own and as they further develop and work together, we’ll see more and more ways Google can provide what a business needs for data services.

There is a lot of money to be made here. Like every company, Google wants their chunk of it.

Everything else

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Every department at Google will have something worth seeing and hearing about at Google I/O. Hearing about some of them, like Android and Chrome, is a given, but there will certainly be a surprise or two. Last year, Firebase came out of nowhere (not really, but tech press wasn’t ready) and stole the show with the way it makes everything easier for people developing for the future.

Who knows what this year’s sleeper hit might be? That’s anyone’s guess, but you can bet that we’ll be itching to talk about everything we get to see at Google I/O 2017.

14
Mar

Gmail app adds Google Wallet money attachments so you can get paid faster


A sneakily great Gmail feature is coming from the web to Android.

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You’ve been able to send and request money via Gmail for some time now — but curiously, the function was limited to the web. With the latest update to the Gmail app for Android, you now have the ability to make the same money transfers within the app, making it even easier to transfer money between friends and family.

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Just like the web, you can attach money — or a request to be paid — right in an email message, just like you attach a document or image. You type in how much you want to send or receive, and the person on the other end gets the email and sees it right inline with the message.

Now your friends have even fewer excuses to not pay you back for that dinner.

Because it’s powered by Google Wallet, you won’t see any fees for sending, receiving or transferring to your bank. Best of all, people receiving emails with money attachments don’t have to have Google Wallet installed — they’ll have redemption or payment options built right into the email.

So whether you’re already set up with Google Wallet for money transfers or not, there’s real utility to being able to attach money or a request to be paid right through the Gmail app rather than waiting to get home and use a full web browser. Now your friends have even fewer excuses to not pay you back for that dinner.

14
Mar

The LG Stylo 3 is just $179, now available from Boost and Virgin


The surprisingly popular low-end Stylo line gets a third revision.

Sprint’s prepaid subsidiaries Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile are both offering the latest iteration of the LG Stylo lineup with the Stylo 3, and it’s only going to set you back $179 outright. For that money, you can’t expect much — but LG makes some good decisions here, putting in a big 5.7-inch display, a fingerprint sensor and a big 3200 mAh (removable) battery.

The rest of the specs actually round out fine for such a cheap phone: that display is 720p, and powered by a Snapdragon 435 octa-core processor, 16GB of storage, 2GB of RAM and thankfully Android 7.0 Nougat. The cameras (yes, there are actually two — not a given at this price) are 13MP on the back and 5MP on the front. The hallmark of the Stylo series, its stylus, of course makes a return.

boost_vmu_lg-stylo3_infographicfinalv2.j

Sure the body is cheap and lacking any design flair, but what the heck do you expect for just $179 on a cheap prepaid plan? Boost will give you “unlimited” data for optimized streaming videos, gaming and music with a few restrictions for $50 per month. Virgin offers a more traditional setup of 5GB of LTE speeds for $35 or 10GB for $45 per month.

If you buy from Boost, the carrier will throw in a $25 Google Play gift card or 32GB SD card as well. Not bad.

See at Boost Mobile

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14
Mar

LG G6 will launch in the U.S. and Canada on April 7


The LG G6 will come to the U.S. and Canada three weeks before the Galaxy S8.

LG Canada has confirmed that the highly-anticipated LG G6 flagship will launch at several carriers on April 7. A U.S. launch is expected the same day.

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The U.S. launch day was revealed by Evan Blass, whose leaks on the G6 have been reliable, and Android Central has corroborated that release day with people familiar with LG’s plans. We’re likely to get official confirmation in the coming days.

LG Canada, on the other hand, says that the G6 will arrive on Friday, April 7 at the following carriers:

  • Bell
  • Eastlink
  • Fido
  • Freedom Mobile
  • Koodo Mobile
  • Rogers
  • SaskTel
  • TELUS
  • Videotron
  • Virgin Mobile

It’s unclear right now whether the version sold at Freedom Mobile will be LTE-enabled, but we have no reason to believe otherwise (and have reached out to LG for confirmation). The Canadian model will also be without the wireless charging that will be present on the U.S. model, but the units will otherwise be identical: Snapdragon 821, 4GB RAM, 32GB storage, 3300mAh battery, IP68 water resistance, 3x carrier aggregation, and a dual 13MP camera setup.

If the rumored April 28 release date of the Galaxy S8 holds, the LG G6 will have a full three weeks on the market before Samsung’s behemoth swoops in and steals all the attention. The LG G6 is expected to be released in Australia on March 28.

LG G6

  • LG G6 review!
  • LG G6 specs
  • LG G6 vs. Google Pixel: The two best cameras right now
  • Everything you need to know about the G6’s cameras
  • LG forums

14
Mar

Insta360 Air review: Here, have a weird (pretty good) selfie camera


Finally, a plug and play 360-degree camera.

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As much as I love taking photos with my trusty Ricoh Theta, it’s not the easiest thing in the world to use. I have to remember to keep it charged, the Bluetooth connection with my phone can occasionally be a little finicky, and while it’s thin enough to be pocketable it’s also long and needs a protective sleeve to keep the lenses safe. Most other 360-degree cameras are worse, especially the ones that have removable storage slots that also need to be independently managed.

I need a 360-degree camera that doesn’t feel like work when I use it to capture something fun, and the people at Insta360 think the new Air camera for Android is the right way to go. Here’s how that worked out.

Nailing portability

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Insta360 Air is, without a doubt, the smallest 360-degree camera you’d actually want to use. This is accomplished by removing things like batteries and storage slots and excess plastic. Instead, what you have is a pair of fisheye sensors with an image processor to stitch the two halves together and a USB-C port to connect to your phone.

This setup doesn’t get much simpler. You install the app from the Play Store, and when you connect the camera to the bottom of the phone, it immediately launches the app. Take the photos or video you want to take, the photos are immediately stored on your phone, and you remove the camera when you’re done.

When not in use, this little camera stores in a small rubber sleeve that keeps the USB-C port safe and the lenses mostly protected. I say mostly because it’s possible for sand or sediment to get in between the rubber and the lens when in your pocket, which could score the lenses over time if you aren’t careful.

The important thing for day to day is that the rubber casing protects the camera housing well enough that you could toss it in a bag and be off without a worry. With this casing added, the little orb isn’t the most comfortable thing to have in a front pocket, but it’s no more uncomfortable than a large set of keys, so it’s probably fine for most folks.

Simple, straightforward, kinda clumsy software

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When the Insta360 Air app launches, you’re immediately ready to take a photo or grab a video. The time from connecting the camera to taking a photo is less than 10 seconds if your phone is locked, which isn’t bad. Flipping from photo mode to video mode to live broadcasting is all a single button press away, and since it all relies on your internal storage and cellular connection, there’s no Bluetooth delay for anything.

If you’re looking for a quick and easy 360-degree selfie camera, this would be the one to get.

Once you’ve taken a photo or video, you can either share immediately to your preferred social network, add a filter or two, or get involved in the Insta360 social stuff built into the app. There’s nothing particularly advanced here, unless you’re trying to see the 360-degree photos you’ve taken from outside of this app. Google Photos won’t have access to these photos unless you specifically export your images to a folder on your phone, which has to be done individually. This is clearly designed to be a quick and contained experience, and there are some seriously fantastic photos shared by others in this app.

But the whole thing is upside-down, which is fine when taking photos but weird once you’ve removed the camera. Even when the camera isn’t attached, the UI for this app rotates so you have to hold your phone as though it were. It’s probably more confusing for new users if the UI was constantly switching back and forth, so I can appreciate the design decision, but it’s an odd experience once you’ve become familiar with the way the camera works and just want to quickly share something.

You’re really only using this for selfies

While the camera and its software score high marks for convenience and portability, the camera itself just isn’t all that great. The image quality is relatively low when compared to the Ricoh Theta S, especially when it comes to detail and low-light performance. This is a usable camera when lighting is perfect and everything you want to take a picture of is within 10 feet of you, but if you’re trying to capture a large room or an outdoor scene it’s going to disappoint.

There’s something to be said for the ability to quickly livestream in 360, and this camera does handle that well. With services like Facebook and YouTube looking into more 360-degree content, cameras like this one will be valuable for quickly capturing the whole scene around you when something needs to be shared. It’s very cool to see such a future-forward feature on this camera.

You’re also never going to be able to use this camera without holding your phone, so every photo with this camera is a selfie. Even if you have a stand for your phone and can set the camera up to capture a scene without you in it, there’s no remote shutter for Android Wear or anything like that. The best you get is a time delay for capturing a shot, so you can set the phone up and run away quickly. If you’re looking for a quick and easy 360-degree selfie camera, though, this would be the one to get.

See on Amazon

14
Mar

Sony’s Motion Sonic wristband makes sound with a wave of your arm


Sony’s wild “Wow Factory” at SXSW uses the company’s technology for a host of oddball immersive experiences. One of those, the Motion Sonic Project, was quite a bit less ambitious than putting four perspectives into one VR headset or strapping players into full-body video gaming experiences. But nonetheless, it was fun, and it’s pretty easy to imagine how the technology could be used once it graduates from the prototype phase.

The core Motion Sonic Project is a wristband that you strap on like a watch. The prototype I saw wasn’t terribly refined, but it’s early days still, so I won’t judge it for its bulky appearance. Once you put the device on, it hooks up to a tablet and speakers and starts producing sound in sync with your movements. Sony had five different demos, one of which had me punching the air as loud, booming noises came out of the speaker in sync with my flailing arm. Another had me tapping my body to produce xylophone-esque sounds. And, of course, I did the robot.

The demo was frivolous and fun, but the idea of moving your body to manipulate audio isn’t a new one. Any improved tech to make that more precise and engaging is worth keeping an eye on — a new way to manipulate music you’re playing by moving parts of your body could lead to some weird but cool new sounds.

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

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