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Will ‘Eve’ be the next high-end Chromebook made by Google?

Google might be working on new Chromebook features, and maybe even a new Chromebook to go with those features.

First, the new features could be a fingerprint reader and a key specifically for bringing up Google Assistant. As for the new Chromebook, which is codenamed Eve, it may even be produced by Google itself. All these details have emerged thanks to Chrome Unboxed, which has been tracking related leaks and comments from Chrome OS developers over the past year.

The new Chromebook has been under development for at least eight months now, and it’s believed the device will feature a 2400×1600-pixel resolution display (3:2 aspect ratio) and a Kaby Lake processor. The fingerprint scanner is also expected to be included, allowing for more security, and there will be a dedicated key for Google Assistant, which might offer voice activation capability.

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Eve is thought to be a convertible laptop with a backlit keyboard, stylus, and an improved trackpad. But it’s not yet clear which manufacturer is making the Chromebook. Chrome Unboxed suggested Google could be making it. The company axed its premium Chromebook Pixel line earlier this year, though it did hint that it wasn’t opposed to making more Chromebooks down the road.

Is Eve the next Google-branded Chromebook? It certainly seems to have a few high-end features, if so.


Netflix now offers Dolby Atmos 3D sound, but there’s a catch

Vudu is no longer the only streaming service that supports Dolby’s Atmos 3D sound technology.

Netflix does as well, with the launch of Bong Joon Ho’s Okja, a film that debuted at the Cannes Film Festival. It’s now available on Netflix, and with Atmos support, it can specify where sounds emit from in a three-dimensional space, making the entire viewing experience much more immersive. For instance, when you see a car approach a character from behind, it’ll really sound like that to you.

Here’s how Netflix explained Dolby Atmos:

“Much like how 4K and HDR bring more stunning and realistic visuals to the screen, Dolby Atmos delivers captivating sound that places and moves audio anywhere in the room, including overhead, to bring entertainment to life all around you, all in the comfort of your own living room. Imagine being surrounded by the sounds of the scene you’re watching – an airplane passing overhead, or the subtlety of the wind rustling tree leaves all around you. Having the extra dimension of immersive audio is a game changer for experiencing the realism of a story”.

But there are a few caveats: right now, you can only experience Atmos if you stream Okja on a Microsoft Xbox One or Xbox One S, and you need an Atmos-enabled home theater system, TV, or soundbar. You could use headphones if you download the Dolby Access app from the Xbox Store. Netflix said support for LG’s OLED TVs is coming “soon”, as they come with built-in Atmos technology.

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Netflix is also lining up a bunch of upcoming releases with Atmos support. The film BLAME!, for instance, will be available on 28 July. The film Death Note, which will be added 25 August, will also support Atmos, as will Will Smith’s Bright, which will arrive in December. And finally, the last the movie, Wheelman, will support Atmos, though Netflix will probably add more titles over the next year.


Now you can make local Snapchat filters on your phone

Geofilters have been making Snapchat boatloads of money, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that the company is making them even more accessible. Starting today, you can create Geofilters right within the application, but only if you’re in the US. If you are, there’ no need to visit Snapchat’s website anymore if, say, you’re whipping up a design guests can use for a July 4th house party or for a friend’s wedding. You don’t even need to be a graphic designer, since you can just edit one of the app’s stock templates.

To access On-Demand Geofilters, go to Settings in the app, find the option and choose a template based on the occasion. You can personalize the design by adding stickers, emojis and even tweak whatever text is on it, but forget trying to make anything too risqué. Snapchat still has to approve your creation before anyone can use it. The ephemeral messaging app says it’ll take a day to review your submission, and if it passes muster, you’ll get a notification telling you how much it’ll cost.

If it’s the first time you’re making a Geofilter, take note you’ll have to indicate the area you’d like it to cover — that’s why it’s called Geofilter. The amount you’ll have to pay is based on how big that area is. For instance, the $6 minimum payment will make your overlay accessible within an area that covers a couple of houses, enough for a small July 4th BBQ with family. While the feature is only available in the US at the moment, Snapchat says it’ll roll out in the UK, Canada, Australia, Brazil, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates “soon.”

Source: Snapchat


Redesigned PS4 media hub showcases the best streaming videos

Sony is streamlining the way it presents TV and video on the PlayStation 4, making it easier to discover films and shows from across apps, all in one convenient location.

In the past, PS4 users had to navigate to different apps (such as Netflix, Now TV, and Sky) to find shows, which resulted in a clunky process at best. Now, you can browse through trending films and shows, live events, and your PS Store “My Videos” collection from the new interface. If you still decide that you want to access an app instead, or if you have a go-to favorite platform, its icon will be available at the top of the screen, alongside other popular video services.

The refresh actually looks a lot like the “cinematic” layout that was introduced with the Amazon Fire TV software update in October. As a result, the interface boasts more visuals, with categories populated with a series of rectangular tiles that represent titles, each with its own unique image and a corresponding label listing its origin app or rental store.

Although it lacks the cross-app search bar offered by the fourth-gen Apple TV, the refresh is a step in the right direction. And with Sony promising more updates down the line, it could build upon the feature by emulating the categorization and search tools offered by the likes of Amazon Fire TV, Apple, Chromecast, et al. From this, the PS4 could evolve into a solid media streaming destination.

The new TV and video interface is available in the UK, Australia, Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, and Sweden — there’s no word on US availability yet.

Source: Sony


Chinese tech giant LeEco can’t stop losing money

Chinese tech company LeEco has been busy over the past decade, producing everything from TVs to electric cars (or at least, trying to). But now, the conglomerate is in trouble: They are in a cash crunch and haven’t been able to raise enough money to ease the burden.

The crux of the problem is the company’s rate of expansion; LeEco debuted thirteen years ago as a Netflix-style streaming video site. Now, it’s expanded into almost every sector of consumer electronics. Earlier this year, founder and CEO Jia Yueting acknowledged that the company was in financial difficulty, but a 15 billion yuan investment from Sunac, a Chinese property development firm, was supposed to present a solution to the crisis.

However, the investment simply was not enough. Over the next two to three months, the finances of some of the non-listed business units became even tighter, despite the cash infusion. As reported by Reuters, Jia blamed the choice to use the money to pay off debt and loans, rather than refinance, as the source of LeEco’s current difficulties.

So what now? The company is looking to move forward and start production on its electric cars, which is the largest source of the company’s financial woes. LeEco will also have to consolidate and sell off some of its non-listed entites, as well as liquidate assets to manage this current crisis.

Source: Reuters


Théoriz recreates the Holodeck with AR tech and projectors

If you had to list the most mind-blowing tech demos in recent memory, Microsoft’s Hololens AR headset would need to be included, as would its projector-enhanced Illumiroom. A company called Théoriz from Lyon, France has married both of those things to create a “mixed reality room” that uses projector tech, motion tracking and augmented reality together. Its latest technology demo video made it seem like we’re closer to Star Trek’s Holodeck than ever before, so we went to take a closer look.

Théoriz is located at the “Pole Pixel,” a sprawling collection of studios east of Lyon used by Panavision and other cinema companies. The company’s mission is as much artistic as tech-oriented, so the engineers are both bohemian and code-savvy. “We are a team mostly composed of creative engineers,” says Théoriz co-founder David-Alexandre Chanel. “Engineers who have an artistic sensibility and also do good code.”

To wit, the company has created some very technical and very whimsical projects, including an art installation called “Doors” featuring portals that open up to an infinite space and change perspective as the viewer moves, and “Are You my Friend,” an industrial robot that communicates with the exhibit-goers via a keyboard.

Art aside, the mixed reality room tech is impressive. The team tracks the camera (typically a RED model that can record and output in real time) with an HTC Vive Tracker, and feeds the data to a computer running the Unity game engine. That generates digital environments like flying space skulls, a Minecraft-like room with holes that open up on the floor and geometric shapes that interact with actors to form stairs, wells or small hills.

The computer syncs everything together, so that when the camera operator pans or tilts, the Unity scenes tilt or pan to match. Those are then beamed into the room via six projectors — four for the floors, and two on the walls. At the same time, three Kinect-style 3D cameras, combined with Théoriz’s in-house “Augmenta” system, detect the position of the actors so they can interact with the environment. Everything must be processed and played back in real-time by the Unity based system, something that required some clever coding and computing horsepower.

In the resulting videos, live actors interact seamlessly with virtual environments, creating a hallucinogenic effect. “It’s called mixed reality because we use and merge things from the virtual world with reality,” says Chanel.

For instance, dancers can make the walls “move” with their movements and bat away flying asteroids. In the latest demo video (above), actors interact with bizarre geometric environments, opening up holes in the floor where they move and walking up fake stairs.

Though most of the tech is off the shelf, none of it is intended for consumers — at least, not yet. For now, the company wants to just sell its services for things like music videos, dance performances, art installations and other live events. At the same time, they’re improving the tech to make it more realistic and immersive. “We think that by changing the content creation process, we can open new creative possibilities and achieve unprecedented kind[s] of visuals,” says Chanel.

The next project will test everything Théoriz has learned so far, both artistically and technically. “We’re trying for the first time to show an artistic video with two dancers,” Chanel says. “And they’re going to dance and interact in the virtual world, moving through different kinds of totally surreal scenes.”

Eventually, Théoriz might make its software available to other companies, but for now it’s just trying to make its services more compelling for artists and audiences. “It’s a new field,” says Chanel. “We still have to evangelize it and create demand so it can eventually find its place.” And the best way to do that? “Seduce the audience with something new, poetic and unexpected,” he says.

Source: Théoriz


Xiaomi is bringing cinema tech to a living room projector

When it comes to home theater setups, high-quality projectors have traditionally been the pricier way to enjoy your movies. Now, however, Chinese tech company Xiaomi is hoping to change that with its new cinema-quality Mi Laser Projector. Priced at a reasonable 9999RMb (around $1470), Xiaomi’s latest offering boasts a 150inch display and custom laser tech straight out of movie theaters.

The Mi Laser Projector utilizes ALPD 3.0 laser light source tech developed by Appotronics, the company behind the laser tech in 90 percent of China’s movie theaters. Yet, Xiaomi doesn’t end its cross-company projector collaboration there, as it also features its own custom digital light processing (or DLP) solution created by Texas Instruments.

In a bid to make the Mi Laser Projector a fully integrated home theater setup, Xiamoi has also included a built in a speaker system and integrated the interface from its recent TV streaming box – Mi TV.

While laser projectors aren’t new, Xiaomi’s proposition of bringing the same tech used in cinemas to the home at such a cheap price is definitely tantalizing. Lasers offer the benefit of increased energy efficiency, longer life, faster startup times, better brightness and a wider color gamut.

With its RRP undercutting a lot of the competition, if it can live up to its lofty promises, Xiaomi’s latest could certainly turn a few heads. Pre-orders for the Mi Laser Projector go live on July 4th at Xiaomi Mall, and on the company’s MIJIA app.


Tinder’s new ‘Gold’ subscription shows your likes before you swipe

Tinder is introducing another subscription option, which comes with an exclusive perk to get existing premium members to fork out some extra cash. Tinder Gold gives you access to a new “Likes You” option that basically allows you to browse through all of your pending likes. Think of it as a shortcut that lets you cut out the riff raff and head straight to the people on the app that are interested in you.

Gold members should see the “Likes You” feature from the top of the match list. From there you can access the “Likes You” grid and start auto-matching, dismissing, or clicking into each person’s profile. When swiping in general, Gold members will be able to identify their likes thanks to the presence of a gold heart next to the person’s name. The rapid-fire function is tailor-made to suit our hyperactive browsing habits.

Both free users and Tinder Plus subscribers can access the Gold subscription for an as-yet undisclosed fee (according to TechCrunch, the company is trying out price points in different regions). The dating app is initially testing the service in just a handful of markets, including Argentina, Australia, Canada, and Mexico — it is currently not available in the US.

Gold also comes bundled with all the perks you get with Plus, such as Passport, Rewind, unlimited likes, five Super Likes per day, one Boost per month, and more profile controls. Like Tinder Plus, the price of Gold will also decrease based on the duration you choose, with reductions for 6 and 12 month plans.

Gold is another in a steady line of attempts by the company to wrangle some cash from users. And it might be working: Tinder is tight-lipped about the amount of paying members it has, but at last count it was estimated that 1 million of its 50 million user base had signed up to its premium service.

Source: Tinder


LG’s 77-inch Wallpaper TV is selling for the low, low price of $20k

LG’s W-series “Picture-on-Wall” TVs wowed us at CES, but we knew the massive 65-inch and 77-inch hyperthin screens would cost a mint. Especially since last year’s top-of-the-line G-series started at $5,000. Wonder no longer, screen aficionados: The larger 77-inch-wide W-series will retail for $20,000.

To be fair, you’re getting incredible visuals on a colossal screen about one-fifth of an inch thick that is wall-mountable (and only wall-mountable — sorry, stand fans) via magnets. It doesn’t even have space for ports: Those are on a companion sound bar, which connects to the TV by thin cable. Given those limitations (and the jaw-dropping price), the screen supports 4K Ultra HD resolution and all major HDR formats. You could lower your ambitions for the 65-inch W-series model, which only costs $8,000, but how much are you willing to sacrifice for your perfect home theater experience?

Source: PR Newswire


Apple Music’s latest personalized playlist helps you chill

Ever since Apple Music got its big redesign last year, you’ve had access to just two personalized playlists: a favorites mix and a new releases mix. Suffice it to say that this won’t cover the bases if you want tunes that suit a specific mood. However, Apple is spreading its wings a bit: it’s gradually rolling out its first new custom playlist. The weekly My Chill Mix uses a combination of human curation and an algorithm to deliver songs that help you relax, but also reflect your tastes. You could have a laid-back hip-hop selection, for instance, while your friend gets downtempo electronic tracks.

Only a small number of testers can see My Chill Mix right now, but it’s expanding availability to testers over the summer.

The concept of mood-specific playlists certainly isn’t new. If you can’t wait, you can already listen to a Chill station that might do the job. However, Apple’s algorithmic focus promises a more personal touch than you might be used to. And while Apple hasn’t announced long-term plans, it’s easy to see its service offering a wide range of automated playlists that match other vibes and activities, such as when you’re feeling upbeat or want to go for a run. They’d also provide more fresh music to play and give you a good reason to keep listening when you might otherwise grow bored.

Source: TechCrunch

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