Why it matters to you
If you live near where you surf, this custom ride might inspire your own surfer bike.
Here’s the simplest take on the Sea Sider: It’s a lightweight motorbike with select bicycle parts and custom-built front basket and surfboard rack. The bike’s purpose is clear, carry one or two people and a surfboard to and from the water. Once you mention its origin, custom bike shop Deus Ex Machina, however, the story gets more complicated.
The Sea Sider remains a statement about surfing and highly functional two-wheeled mobility. Deus Ex Machina, however, or “Deus,” is much more than a one-off custom bike shop.
Deus’ headquarters is in Sydney, Australia, but there are also locations called “flagships” in Bali, Tokyo, Milan, and Los Angeles, plus a second Australian location in Byron Bay. Each flagship has a nickname. For example, the Tokyo store is the “Residence of Impermanence.” You’ll find “The Emporium of Postmodern Activities” in Venice, California, “The Portal of Possibilities” in Milan, Italy, and “The Warung of Simple Pleasures” in one of two locations in Bali. Each location’s name speaks to Deus Ex Machina’s creative intention.
In addition to creating custom motorcycles and sponsoring annual global custom bike “Build Off” competitions, Deus sells bicycles, surfboards, wetsuits, and accessories. The company produces and sells music on vinyl in limited pressings, creates videos, and distributes its t-shirts at hundreds of locations worldwide.
Clearly a firm with a mission, Deus has created a culture of creativity. At Deus flagship locations you can munch on a panini and drink an inventive barista creation as you choose a wetsuit or buy bicycle tires — all while listening to music few others have heard in the background.
But back to the Sea Sider, which was created by the artisans at Deus’ store in Canggu, Bali, Indonesia, The Temple of Enthusiasm. Deus sourced and restored the vintage bicycle handlebars and front light. The crew hand-built the front basket, inspired by one they saw on another old bicycle.
The donor motorcycle, which appears to be a Honda Supersport 125cc, was stripped of all unnecessary parts. Everything that remained was restored and polished. The exhaust and surf racks were handmade and the seat was constructed by a neighboring leather shop. The lightweight rims were imported from Japan.
The resulting ride can take one or two people and a surfboard to the beach, maybe with a packed lunch in the front basket, but it represents so much more.
Almost every car or truck driver who ever collided with a motorcycle typically retorts with, “I just didn’t see them.” Although this response irritates those on two-wheels, there’s no question motorcyclists (and bicyclists, for that matter) are harder to see than cars simply because they’re smaller. That’s where the Cosmo Connected comes in.
Available via the crowdfunding site Kickstarter for $79, the Cosmo Connected is a helmet-mounted LED brake light that uses an internal accelerometer to sense deceleration, triggering a bright oval of red LEDs. It has a magnetic mount for easy installation and removal and connects via Bluetooth to a free companion app on an iOS or Android smartphone — of which allows users to configure a variety of custom emergency alerts. It comes in several colors and finishes including black, white, and silver.
Digital Trends was given an early prototype of the Cosmo Connected to try out. None of the advanced features were ready yet, but we nonetheless got a feel for what it was like to ride with it. Here’s our first take.
Simply put, a helmet is the only logical place to place a brake light. It’s the highest (therefore, the most visible) point on a rider and in most countries and states, it’s required by law to wear one. The Cosmo Connected uses a magnetic mount that adheres to the back of a helmet with a non-damaging adhesive, and the brake light housing snaps into place as soon as it’s a few inches away.
Simon Cohen/Digital Trends
Simon Cohen/Digital Trends
Simon Cohen/Digital Trends
Simon Cohen/Digital Trends
There’s no on button as a user simply gives the housing a solid tap on one side and the LEDs light up twice when on. It turns off after two minutes of inactivity, but don’t worry – it’s very sensitive and won’t turn off simply because you’re resting at a long red light. For its primary mission as a highly visible extra brake light, that’s all there is to it — you’re good to get on the road and let the Cosmo’s sensors determine when you’re slowing down. Because the brake light comes on during any deceleration (and not just when you apply the brakes) it gives following drivers a much more accurate sense of your change in speed.
We found that the Cosmo was bright enough to be seen clearly even during the day, though we did not get a chance to see it in full, direct sunlight.
There’s an app for that
If the brake light function were the only benefit to using the Cosmo Connected, we’d argue it’s already worth the price of admission in terms of the extra visibility it offers. But the free app turns the device into a fall sensor, with the ability to set three levels of response based on the severity of the fall. We didn’t get a chance to try this feature out as it’s still under development, though it does sound promising. In theory, you could arrange for emergency responders to come to the last known GPS location of your phone if no further movement is detected after a fall. Or, if the fall wasn’t that bad, an alert could be sent to a friend or family member who could then decide what action should be taken if they can’t get in touch with you.
The app also shows you remaining battery life and lets you control how the LEDs on the brake light behave. You can choose to have them come on only while braking, activated all the time for extra visibility, or set them to flashing for emergency signaling (handy if you’re stuck at the side of the road).
It’s hard to find fault with the Cosmo’s design. It’s weatherproof, easy to operate, highly visible when braking, and can quickly swap between helmets if you buy additional magnet mounts. However, it simply won’t work for all riders. The curved shape and rubber gasket are designed to work with helmets that have a smooth, continuous radius on the rear surface; not every helmet does. Our three-quarter Daytona helmet was nearly a perfect match for the Cosmo’s curves, with only a tiny gap between the helmet and the gasket. However, our Schuberth M1 proved to be incompatible thanks to its integrated rear vent and non-continuous surfaces.
We’d love to see a lower-profile version in the future.
The biggest oversight, however, is that the Cosmo Connected doesn’t act like a true rear light. Normally, a rear light is always lit for general visibility and then glows brighter to indicate braking. Not so with the Cosmo, which can turn on for braking or be set to always-on (at the same intensity as the braking mode), but it can’t do both. During a briefing phone call, Digital Trends discussed this with Cosmo Connected COO, Laurent de Bernede. Impressively, in a follow-up email, he told us that this would be fixed by the time the product is ready to ship to backers.
The Cosmo is a bit on the bulky side. When attached, the large profile isn’t a problem — you won’t even notice it’s there. We think it looks a little goofy sticking out as far as it does but that’s hardly a deal-breaker unless looks are everything (in which case you probably aren’t interested in a helmet-mounted brake light at all). We’d love to see a lower-profile version in the future.
The company is also working to strengthen the magnets used in the mounts. The prototype we tested certainly seemed to be well anchored and didn’t come off unless intentionally removed, but neither did we hit any major potholes in an attempt to dislodge it. Stronger magnets could only improve this.
There’s also no indicator that the brake light is charging when connected to a micro-USB power cord, and thus no way to know when it’s done charging unless you consult the app. Yet another feature de Bernede told us may be addressed in a future version.
If a better braking indicator for motorcycles seems like something that ought to already exist, you’d be right — it does. The $99 GearBrake, for instance, offers the same accelerometer-based deceleration detection and response as the Cosmo Connected but alters the behavior of your bike’s existing rear light. The company claims it gives following drivers an extra one-second warning, which is good in theory but if a driver fails to notice it, it won’t help. We think the Cosmo’s extra high mounting position is far more visible.
Simon Cohen/Digital Trends
Then there’s the $99 BrakeFree — another crowdfunded device — which has the same, magnet-mounted helmet position and accelerometer-triggering as the Cosmo. While it lights up the same way as a regular tail light, it lacks the Cosmo’s app-enabled emergency functions.
The $72 CDN EZC Smartlight places the brake light anywhere on a rider’s clothing, giving it good visibility but it requires wiring it into the vehicle, and some light damage to the apparel in question. It’s not designed to be moved from location to location and only responds to brake application, not other kinds of deceleration.
We even found a shockingly inexpensive $17 helmet light on BangGood.com that not only acts as a brake light but also as a turn signal, too. It mounts directly to a helmet with adhesive and requires the included transmitter to be wired into your bike’s lighting system.
Should you back it?
Plain and simple, we really like the Cosmo Connected. It provides a simple, affordable, and flexible solution to a problem that’s plagued bikers forever. Its helmet-mounted position is ideal for enhanced visibility, giving the driver behind you — and likely several more behind them — a much better sense of your slowing speed.
We can’t speak to its emergency contact functions but so far, the Cosmo Connected looks like a great, if not perfect, add-on for any safety-minded rider. Our short time with the prototype suggests this device is almost ready for production, which should ease the minds of those who may not want to back a crowdfunded project.
It’s time to be unproductive and have fun!
Even a short work week ends in a weekend. And since it’s Saturday, that means it’s time to fire up the post where you get to say anything about anything. Almost anything. You still need to be kind to each other.
There are plenty of things to talk about if you’re out of ideas. A new phone from MotoroLenovo, Andy Rubin’s Essential phone, or all the reasons you don’t care that Bixby Voice Assistant is delayed. Or you can just talk about a Nintendo theme park complete with a Mario Kart ride. Whatever.
Image courtesy of Nintendo
I have the house to myself this weekend so I plan on drinking too much, playing the music too loud and not wearing pants until Sunday night. So, a normal weekend here.
What y’all up to?
It’s all hardware this week, folks.
This week, Andrew, Jerry, Flo and Russell get back to the roots talking about all of the new hardware. We get into the merits of buying an unlocked HTC U11 or Galaxy S8 or Xperia XZ Premium, the new Moto Z2 Play replacing its predecessor, and everything we know so far about the Essential Phone.
And of course, you’ll never guess what Jerry has to say!
- The U.S. unlocked HTC U11 doesn’t support Verizon’s CDMA network, and that’s okay
- The U.S. unlocked Galaxy S8 is available
- Sony Xperia XZ Premium is up for pre-order at $799
- Moto Z2 Play review
- Moto Z2 Play announced as Verizon exclusive until July, unlocked this summer for $499
- Essential Phone is now official
- Essential Phone will have near-stock Android, expand to U.S. carriers soon
This episode of the Android Central Podcast is brought to you by Thrifter, the best place to get great deals in your inbox every day!
Podcast MP3 URL: http://traffic.libsyn.com/androidcentral/androidcentral338.mp3
It’s easy to do, though you’ll want to pair your Bluetooth peripherals first.
The Samsung DeX isn’t a replacement for your laptop, but it does make a nice little companion computer for when you’re on the go. Don’t forget the peripherals, however, which you’ll need if you want to actually use the desktop mode to get things done. If you’re curious about what kind of peripherals to actually purchase for the device, we’ve got suggestions for that, too.
If you’re planning to use Samsung DeX on the road, make sure that you pair all of the Bluetooth-connected peripherals before you leave the house. This way, everything will be raring to go once you plug the Galaxy S8 into the DeX dock at your final destination.
How to pair Bluetooth peripherals to Samsung DeX
You can save yourself a ton of headache if you elect to pair all of your Bluetooth peripherals to the Galaxy S8 or S8+ before you play it into the DeX dock. This is all possible from the Settings panel.
In the notification shade, tap the Settings icon.
Tap the toggle to turn on Bluetooth.
Tap the device you want to pair under Available Devices.
Once the peripheral is paired, you’ll see it appear under Paired Devices. Tap the Settings icon in the same line for more options, including the ability to rename the peripheral or unpair it entirely. Now that everything is paired, the Bluetooth peripherals that tag along on your journey will work instantly with the Galaxy S8. You can even test what you’ve paired while the device is in phone mode before plugging it into DeX.
How to set up USB-connected peripherals
The nice thing about the Samsung DeX is that you can use almost any USB-connected peripherals you might have lying around. All you have to do is plug them in while the DeX dock is operating and they should be instantly recognized.
Plug anything that’s USB-connected in and it just works.
I tested the ability with both a wired mouse and a USB-connected one. The latter was of the Logitech Unifying receiver variety, and I didn’t have to install software to have the scroll wheel and back buttons properly work. You can also an external webcam or high-performance microphone if you have the appropriate third-party apps installed. By default, the Galaxy S8 supports OTG, so it theoretically accepts anything that’s USB-connected. You can also use DeX to offload files and apps from external flash drives.
The DeX options screen.
Note that some keyboards may require a bit of a learning curve as you figure out which keys correspond to what. Under Language and input, select Physical keyboard to take a peep at the keyboard shortcuts. You can also adjust the Pointer speed in the DeX settings panel.
One thing was very clear at Computex: It’s going to be a transformational year for computing. We’re seeing several trends from the past few years — like the move towards thinner and lighter laptops, and the rise of mobile computing — evolve in new and intriguing ways. It was a surprising revelation for a trade show that’s sometimes regarded as irrelevant. But, in some ways, it makes plenty of sense. Computex has always been the place to see the groundwork being laid for technology industry’s next steps. It just so happens that this year was particularly ripe with innovation.
Microsoft is betting big on Always Connected PCs
Expect to hear plenty more about “Always Connected” PCs over the next year. It’s an initiative spearheaded by Microsoft, along with partners Intel and Qualcomm, to develop PCs that are never without an internet connection. Key to Qualcomm’s strategy is bringing Windows to Snapdragon SoCs (system-on-a-chip), which can ultimately lead to lighter and longer lasting devices with gigabit LTE built-in. Another important element is e-SIM technology, which allows you to easily update your carrier details without juggling SIM cards.
Speaking of e-SIM, it’s also going to be integrated into all of Intel’s modem’s going forward. Intel mentioned at Computex last year that it would be trying to build up its modem business, and this is one way it can make that happen. While it might just seem like a minor convenience, Microsoft says e-SIM could make it much easier for consumers to get their PCs online whenever they want. When you buy a new PC, for example, you could conceivably sign it up for data service without calling your carrier. Even better, it could lead to the idea of “snackable” mobile data, where you can buy a gigabyte or two only when you need it. That could eventually be the sort of thing you seamlessly buy on the Windows Store, representatives said.
Microsoft and its partners are basically hoping to make ubiquitous networking as important as WiFi to consumers. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see Microsoft explore this idea with a whole new Surface device — perhaps with the long-rumored Surface phone, or a small tablet. It would be similar to how, with the original Surface devices, the company jump-started the idea of laptops that can double as tablets. Not surprisingly, Microsoft reps wouldn’t comment when we asked about a potential Surface Always Connected device.
Gaming laptops get thin
NVIDIA’s Max Q design philosophy is focused on one thing: Making sure gaming laptops are significantly lighter and thinner than before. The company is aiming to make GTX 1080-equipped laptops almost as thin as Ultraboooks, with a weight around five pounds. That’s hefty when you’re judging against typical productivity laptops, but that’s incredibly impressive for something that can go toe-to-toe with gaming desktops.
The ASUS ROG Zephyrus, one of the first machines to benefit from the Max Q philosophy, is the thinnest gaming laptop we’ve ever seen. Acer, meanwhile, revealed that its sleek Triton 700 was also built with Max Q in mind. Obviously, these are going to be expensive machines. But they’re a huge change from the 10-pound behemoths that we used to call gaming notebooks. If you can afford it, Max Q means you won’t have to compromise as much with portability if you constantly need to feed your Overwatch addiction.
Meet the first 18-core desktop CPU
If you’ve got $2,000, you’ll soon be able to stuff Intel’s 18-core i9 Extreme processor into your rig. Aside from giving you bragging rights, it’s also Intel’s first consumer CPU to offer a teraflop worth of computing power. The company is targeting it at “megataskers” who do things like play games in 4K and broadcast them in HD simultaneously. It’s not the sort of thing many people need yet, but it’s a good sign for the power hungry among us.
Intel’s plan for smart devices is modular
The Compute Card doesn’t look like much. But inside Intel’s credit card-sized sliver is everything you’d need to make a functioning computer. There’s a processor, memory, storage and networking capabilities. It’s the first fix we’ve seen for the smart device dilemma — and it’s only a matter of time before your connected devices become obsolete. If manufacturers bite, the Compute Card could be used to power things like TVs, all-in-one PCs, laptops and intelligent displays. Once things start to get slow, you can just pop in a new card.
Intel isn’t the only company to take a stab at modular computing. But it’s the only one that has the clout to get device makers aboard. So far, Intel’s partners include Dell, LG and Lenovo. Based on the brief demos we saw, they’re all still experimenting with the platform. But there’s clearly room for unique ideas. Dell, for example, built a monitor stand with a Compute Card slot. All you need to do is add a monitor of your choosing for an instant all-in-one.
Not all of the big ideas we saw at Computex will succeed, of course. But what makes this year different compared to most others is that they’re rooted in clear consumer need. We all want computers that can get online anywhere. Gamers want sleeker devices that can pack in a ton of power. And consumers don’t smart devices that won’t become obsolete in a few years.
Click here to catch up on the latest news from Computex 2017!
Pop star Ariana Grande is hosting a benefit concert on June 4th to help victims of the Manchester terrorist attack, and you’ll have plenty of ways to both watch and contribute online. The gig will livestream at 2PM Eastern (7PM local time) on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and iHeartRadio. If you want to pitch in, Twitter will have a dedicated donation tab alongside the concert feed. You can also contribute directly to the British Red Cross’ Manchester fund if you’d prefer to skip the concert altogether.
Online charity concerts are nothing new, but Grande’s (which includes big names like Coldplay, Katy Perry and Pharrell Williams) is notable for the sheer range of viewing and listening options. Combined with conventional broadcasts, it should be easy to tune in regardless of where you are. The circumstances prompting the internet move are heartbreaking, but there may be a silver lining if it leads to greater support for good causes.
Source: Twitter, YouTube, Facebook
Update: We added the latest carrier deals from Verizon, Sprint, and AT&T, and removed the expired T-Mobile offer.
The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus have been available for some time now, and the latest offers from carriers can save you some money on Apple’s latest and greatest smartphone. Read on to see how you can get a new iPhone 7 at a discounted rate – or even for free.
Your best bet for saving on a new iPhone through Verizon is to either switch to the carrier or, if you are already a Verizon customer, to add a new line to your account. The company is currently offering up to $650 per line in the form of a prepaid Visa card when you sign up for a new plan and trade in your current device.
You can get an estimate of how much your current phone will be worth online by checking out Verizon’s trade-in page and entering your carrier, device, and model. You’ll ger a rough estimate on the spot; the actual value of the phone isn’t finalized until you ship it in.
After you order your new iPhone, Verizon will send you a box for you to ship your trade-in device in, and you will then be able to claim your offer. Upload a copy of your final bill from your current carrier and Verizon will give you up to $650 via a prepaid Visa card if you have an outstanding balance. This is enough to cover the cost of your brand-new iPhone 7. If you don’t have an outstanding balance with your previous carrier, you will still receive a tidy $350.
See offer on Verizon
Sprint’s promo is similar to Verizon’s in that you need to purchase an iPhone 7 or 7 Plus in order to quality for the offer, but Sprint will throw in an additional iPhone 7 completely free. Through the company’s current promotion, if you buy a 32GB iPhone 7 at $27 for 24 months or a 32GB iPhone 7 Plus at $32 for 24 months and then add a second line, you’ll get another 32GB iPhone 7 for free.
Note that this offer requires you to have two lines on your plan: Either switch to Sprint and sign up for two plans (one for your first iPhone 7, and a second for your free iPhone) or, if you have a Sprint plan already, purchase a new iPhone 7 and then add a second line to receive your free one. As a bonus, you will also be automatically enrolled in Sprint’s iPhone Forever plan, which will let you upgrade to the newest iPhone after 12 lease payments.
See offer on Sprint
AT&T is offering its own “buy one, get one” deal similar to Sprint’s, with one catch: The company will give you a 32GB iPhone 7 for free when you switch to AT&T and have a monthly subscription to DirecTV, which is its live-TV streaming service. To get the offer, you must have both phones on AT&T Next.
To get the free phone, you must purchase a qualifying wireless service for $50 per month or more for the first line (a second line can be added for as little as $20 per month) and have a DirecTV service that starts at $30 per month. The monthly bill credits start within three billing cycles, and after you’ve earned a total of $650 in credits, another iPhone 7 will be yours for free.
See offer on AT&T
Keep in mind that each of these promotions basically tie you into a 2-year contract, in which the $650 price of the iPhone 7 is distributed over the course of 24 months or so. If you leave your contract early, any free credits disappear and you’re on the hook for whatever portion of the phone hasn’t yet been paid.
One final note: If you’re going with a trade-in, read all the fine print before you sign off on anything, double-check that trade-in credits can be used in combination with other offers, and remember that the carriers have the final word on how much you’ll get for current phone.
See iPhone 7 offers on:
AT&T Sprint Verizon
We have everything we need right on our phones, but sometimes pulling out your phone can be cumbersome, impolite, or just downright annoying, especially if you’re being bombarded by unimportant notifications or simply need to see who’s calling or be alerted by a reminder.
Get the Ticwatch 2 for $170 Learn more
A smartwatch is a great way to keep connected without having to constantly look at your phone. You can use multiple apps, get notifications, send texts, make calls, track workouts, and much more, but some of the more popular Android Wear brands are just too expensive. If you’re looking for something a bit more off the beaten path, then consider this:
The Ticwatch 2 Active smart watch is an alternative to Android Wear and Apple Watch, and it runs on its own proprietary Ticwear OS. Right now, you can get it at Android Central Digital Offers for $169.99, down from $199.99. Thought not completely waterproof, you can still take Ticwatch 2 out for a rainy jog, since it has an IP65 rating, making it dust tight and able to stand up to jets of water.
The Ticwatch 2 lasts about 2 days on a single charge and can be fully recharged in about 80 minutes, meaning you’ll never have to spend very long without this wearable. It features a dynamic heart rate sensor, built-in GPS, an accelerometer for movement tracking, and more. With a simple and clean user interface, this watch is perfect for people who don’t want to drop an arm and a leg on the latest and greatest wearable but still want something fully functional and useful. Check it out at Android Central Digital Offers for only $169.99 and save 15%.
Get the Ticwatch 2 for $170 Learn more
You can make calls through Alexa! But what does that actually mean?
Alexa Conversations is Amazon’s way of offering a way to contact other Alexa users with either your voice or an app, and it works great as long as you remember where everything is. It also helps if you have lots of friends and family who also use Alexa.
Want to send messages with Alexa? Here’s your guide!
Here’s a quick how-to on Alexa Conversations!
How to make a call with Alexa Conversations
Calling friends with Alexa Conversations can be done in two different ways. The first was is using your voice, which goes a little like this:
Alexa, make a call.
Saying this will cause Alexa to ask you who you want to call. From here, you can speak the first name of anyone in your Alexa contacts list. This list is created when you install the Alexa app on your phone. The Alexa app checks your contact information and checks to see if any of those people have an Alexa account. If they do, you’ll see their name in the contact list and be able to speak their name to your Echo.
Once you say a name, the call will begin. The recipient’s Alexa devices and apps will start ringing. This means the call can be answered from an Echo or an app on a phone with the same basic result.
The other way you can make a call is directly through the Alexa app on your phone. It’s simple enough to do, as long as you know where all the buttons are.
Open your Alexa app
Tap on the Conversations tab at the bottom of the app
Tap the People icon in the top right of this page
Tap the contact you want to call
Tap the Phone button in the top right
This will start the call, after which everything is the same as using your voice. When a call is over, you’ll see the call details next to the contact in your Conversations tab with any messages you’ve sent.