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Lyft expands its ride-sharing service to 32 more states

Lyft just announced a major expansion of its services. As of today, Lyft will be fully operational in 32 additional states, bringing its total coverage to 40 states and 94 percent of the US population. “Our smile is as big as our coverage area — and since we’ve got the largest coverage area of any rideshare service in the USA, that’s pretty big!” the company said in a statement.

In January, Lyft stated that its goal for the year was to expand into 100 additional cities — bringing its total up to 300 — and to increase its reach from 55 percent of the country to 72 percent. But the company has blown through those benchmarks. It hit its city goal in February, started providing over a million rides per day in July and overtook Uber in growth last month.

“Since Lyft’s founding in 2012, our goal has always been to create better transportation, decrease the amount of cars and traffic on the road, and bring safe and affordable rides to the entire country,” said the company’s regional director of new markets, Jaime Raczka, in a statement to Engadget. “Through this expansion, we are one step closer to delivering on that mission.”

To celebrate, Lyft is offering new passengers $5 off their first ride with the code LYFTLOVE17.

Source: Lyft


Google’s Gboard for Android gets stickers and Bitmoji

Google announced today that the latest Gboard for Android update comes with support for downloadable stickers and Bitmoji that can be used in any app that supports image pasting. Once you have the latest version of Gboard, Android users will then be able to get the Bitmoji app or download sticker packs from the Play Store. To get to the new features after you’ve downloaded them, just hit the emoji button on Gboard and then the sticker or Bimoji button.

Some sticker packs available include NBAmoji, Google Allo selfie stickers, Hello Kitty, Garfield and others. Many of them are free but Mickey Mouse, Toy Story and Star Wars packs will cost you $2. More stickers are scheduled to be released in the coming weeks.

Stickers and Bitmoji have been a part of plenty of other apps for some time. Facebook Messenger, iMessage and Snapchat all offer them as do a number of others, like Tumblr and even Amazon.

Gboard for iOS doesn’t yet support them, but Google says the new features are rolling out to Android users over the next couple of days.

Source: Google


Instagram Stories now work in your browser

Those of you who peruse Instagram on mobile web or desktop will have more to watch now that Stories are viewable on an internet browser. Just head to and check them out at the top of your feed, just like you would in the app, and use the arrow keys to flip between each mini-video.

Not that you couldn’t watch them on the web before. A year ago, someone built a Chrome extension that made Stories visible while using Google’s browser. But alongside the official rollout of the feature to all web users in the next few weeks is news of more functionality down the line: In the coming months, users will be able to post stories from mobile web.

Source: Instagram


Apple calls for ‘strong’ open internet protection in FCC comments

Apple has historically kept quiet on the subject of net neutrality, but not anymore. The company recently filed a comment with the FCC calling for “strong, enforceable open internet protections” centered around the principles of consumer choice, transparency and competition. Apple got its comments in just under the wire, too: the FCC’s electronic commenting system says the filing, signed by Apple Public Policy VP Cynthia Hogan, was received on the last day public comments were allowed.

“Our deep respect for our customers’ security, privacy, and control over personal information extends to our customers’ broadband connectivity choices,” the filing reads. “We work hard to build great products, and what consumers do with those tools is up to them—not Apple, and not broadband providers.”

You can read the full text of Apple’s filing below, but broadly speaking, the company is officially against paid fast lanes and broadband internet providers being able to “block, throttle, or otherwise discriminate against lawful websites and services.” Apple also believes that ISPs “should meaningfully disclose the traffic management and network performance of consumer connections,” so that customers have all the information they need to make prudent choices about who gets their hard-earned money.

The move is unusual given Apple’s reticence to publicly support the cause in the past, but it doesn’t come completely out of the blue. At a shareholder’s meeting earlier this year, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that while the company “stays out of politics,” it remains invested in policy, and that “If Net Neutrality became a top thing, [Apple] would definitely engage in it.” Well, after years of open, industry-wide debate, it looks like Apple finally thinks net neutrality is a “big thing.”

While Apple’s stance here is generally in line with what net neutrality advocates have been pushing for, the company leaves itself a little wiggle room right at the end of its comments. Rather than push for the strict classification of the internet as a utility under Title II of the Communications Act, Apple says it’s “open to alternative sources of legal authority, but only if they provide for strong, enforceable, and legally sustainable protections, like those in place today.”

Apple’s NN Reply Comments (Final) by Chris Velazco on Scribd


Now you can rouse your kids to the smell of ‘Frozen’

Do your kids struggle to wake up, no matter how loudly you shout that if they’re not quick, you’ll steal their cereal? Perhaps you could try tempting them into wakefulness with the scents of either Olaf from Disney’s Frozen or the armpit scent of Despicable Me’s Minions. That’s the idea behind the newest couple of devices from the makers of Sensorwake’s perfume-based alarm clock.

Back in 2015, Sensorwake burst onto the scene as a Kickstarter project that replaced a noisy alarm clock with scents. Created by 18-year-old student Guillaume Roland, the device managed to raise nearly four times as much cash as intended. Now, the company, which is now renaming itself Bescent, is launching three follow-ups.

The first two are the aforementioned kiddie versions, which are called Lexibook by Sensorwake with branding from Frozen and of the Minions. Rather than the wide variety of nuanced scents available in the adult equivalent, each device will only produce one scent. The former, in tribute to Olaf the Snowman, will shoot out peppermint smells, while the latter will make your home smell of bananas.

Rounding out the trio is the Sensorwake 2, an updated version of the original that won the hearts and minds of everyone on Kickstarter. Because the idea of smell-based alarm clocks is a little off, the company has refreshed the hardware with dynamic lighting and melodies. In addition, Bescent is unveiling a whole host of new capsules, including chocolate, cappuccino and fresh grass.

The Lexibook by Sensorwake will be available in Europe from the start of November, setting you back €59 ($71) and will travel to the US at some point afterward. The Sensorwake 2, meanwhile, is priced at €99 and will hit store shelves across Europe and Japan in October.

Follow all the latest news from IFA 2017 here!


Watch LG’s showcase from IFA 2017 in under eight minutes

LG kicked off day 2 of IFA with a new smartphone, and it’s a looker. The V30 comes just months after the company’s flagship G6 landed, but this could well be the better phone. There’s the OLED display with a distinct lack of bezel, and a lot of camera smarts — and that’s just the start. Watch how LG unveiled it all right here. You’ve got eight minutes, right?

Follow all the latest news from IFA 2017 here!


Generation II Legendaries debut in ‘Pokémon Go’ today

Starting today, Pokémon Go players will get to battle a new set of Legendary Pokémon. Raikou, Entei and Suicune, originally from the Johto region, will start to pop up in different areas around the world. From now until September 30th, those in the Americas will have the chance to battle Raikou, while players throughout Europe and Africa will get access to Entei and people in the Asia-Pacific region will be able to challenge Suicune.

The three Legendary Pokémon will then switch locations until October 31st when they’ll make their final stop for an additional month. Like Articuno, Moltres, Zapdos and Lugia before them, these Legendary Pokémon will only be around for a limited time.

The Pokémon Go team will also start field-testing EX Raid Battle (previously called Exclusive Raid Battle) at select Gyms. While in testing phase, EX Raid eligibility requirements, frequency, times, locations and durations will be tweaked as it’s prepped for a global release. EX Raid invites will be sent out soon and invitees are expected to be able to play by early September.

Source: Pokémon Go


AMD unveils its cheapest Threadripper CPU yet

Intel and AMD are duking it out once again to see how many cores they can cram into a single CPU, and that’s great news for PC enthusiasts across all budgets. Professionals likely won’t have any qualms dropping $1,000 or $2,000 for their 16- and 18-core behemoths, while thriftier shoppers get more options for less. Today, AMD rounded out its Threadripper lineup with the eight-core Ryzen 1900X, which will cost just $549. In comparison, the recently announced 12-core Threadripper sells for $799, while the top of the line 16-core model goes for $999.

The Threadripper 1900X features speeds between 3.8GHz and 4GHz, and of course, it’ll be fully unlocked for all of your overclocking needs. It’s $50 more than AMD’s other eight-core CPU, the Ryzen 7 1800X, but it packs in more capabilities for demanding users. For example, it supports four-channel DDR4 RAM, instead of just two channels. The Threadripper chip also packs in 64 PCIe lanes, compared to 24 on the 1800X. That makes it better suited cramming in a ton of GPUs, as well as for tasks where you need to push lots of data.

Source: AMD


Nearly Half of All Smartwatches Shipped Last Quarter Were Apple Watches

Apple Watch was the world’s most popular smartwatch by a significant margin last quarter, with an estimated 49.6 percent market share in the April-June period, according to data shared with MacRumors by research firm IDC.

In other words, the Apple Watch accounted for just under half of all smartwatches shipped in the June quarter.

IDC estimates Apple Watch shipments totaled 3.4 million units in the quarter, well ahead of runner-up Samsung’s estimated 800,000 smartwatches shipped. Garmin trailed in third place with an estimated 600,000 shipments.

IDC: worldwide smartwatch shipments (units in millions)
Strategy Analytics estimated Apple Watch shipments totaled 2.8 million units last quarter, which is 600,000 lower, so there is clearly some discrepancy between the datasets. As it stands, only Apple knows exactly how many watches it’s sold.

Apple doesn’t break out Apple Watch sales like it does with iPhones, iPads, and Macs. Instead, it groups the wearable under its “Other Products” category, alongside Apple TV, AirPods, Beats, iPods, and other accessories.

Apple reported “Other Products” revenue of $2.7 billion in the June quarter, representing year-over-year growth of 23 percent.

On a conference call in early August, Apple CEO Tim Cook did reveal that Apple Watch sales were up 50 percent in the June quarter.

Sales of Apple Watch were up over 50 percent in the June quarter, and it’s the number one selling smartwatch in the world by a very wide margin. Apple Watch is having a positive impact on peoples’ health and daily lives, and motivating them to sit less and move more. With features like built-in GPS and waterproofing, Apple Watch Series 2 is the perfect companion for hiking, running, and swimming.

Quarterly smartwatch shipments totaled an estimated 6.9 million units overall, including 300,000 shipments by Fossil. IDC said it defines smartwatches as watches that can run third-party apps on the device itself.

IDC reports that Apple trailed Chinese company Xiaomi by 100,000 shipments in the overall wearables market, but the broader category consists of many inexpensive fitness trackers and bands with limited functionality.

“The transition towards more intelligent and feature-filled wearables is in full swing,” said Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst for IDC. “For years, rudimentary fitness trackers have acted as a gateway to smartwatches and now we’re at a point where brands and consumers are graduating to a more sophisticated device.”

Read More: Basic Trackers Take a Back Seat as Smartwatches Accelerate in the Second Quarter, According to IDC

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 3, watchOS 4
Tag: IDC
Buyer’s Guide: Apple Watch (Caution)
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Pixie Tracker Uses Apple’s ARKit to Guide You Towards Lost Items in Augmented Reality

A collection of ARKit demos have steadily released over the summer following the announcement of the developer platform at WWDC this past June, and now we’re merely weeks away from ARKit’s debut alongside iOS 11 sometime in September. Today, item tracking company Pixie Technology announced the newest iteration of its “Pixie Point” tracker, which will use a few miniature-sized finding devices and ARKit to guide users to their lost items in augmented reality.

The introduction of ARKit into Pixie follows the company’s previous version of the Pixie Point, which originally used a combination of proximity-guiding menus and in-house augmented reality technology to discover lost items. Now, ARKit is being used to improve upon the previous technology with “one continuous AR experience,” and Pixie Technology is calling the new tracker and iOS combination, “one of the first practical everyday apps using Apple’s ARKit in iOS 11.”

Instead of traditional sound-based Bluetooth trackers, Pixie uses visual data as well as audio cues to provide a more accurate position of a lost item. To use Pixie, users need to attach one of the Pixie Points to an included iPhone case (or use an included adhesive sticker to attach the Pixie Point to a different case), while the second Pixie Point is linked to items of importance. While indoors, users first perform a panorama room scan with the iOS Pixie app to discover a 3D avatar of their missing wallet, keys, or bag.

The avatar will float over an augmented reality area of “Pixie Dust,” related to the exact location of the lost item in the room, while the exact distance to the item (down to the amount of inches) will be overlayed on the app’s user interface. As users get closer, the avatar grows in size, and once they’re within five feet of the item the audio cues kick in from the Pixie Point on the lost item, further helping in rediscovery.

With the help of ARKit, a Pixie Point can be seen through walls and furniture, which Pixie Technology noted will help finding lost items under cushions, in drawers, and in nearby rooms. The company also explained that the Pixie Point’s reduced reliance on sound will help item discovery even in noisy environments.

The new Pixie is a complete paradigm shift and leverages Apple’s ARKit, enhanced 3D motion tracking, powerful animation tools and patented signaling technology. As a result, it is:

Faster – Reducing overall search time
Friendlier – Providing the ability to continually use the ultimately intuitive AR interface through the entire finding process even while on the move
Functional – Improved accuracy and the ability to conduct even the hardest searches and even in a noisy environment, increasing Pixie’s leadership as the most accurate finder on the market
Fun – While a serious tool, it is an almost game-like experience that’s super simple and quick to use

The trackers work outdoors as well with a range of 150 feet outside, and within 30-50 feet indoors. Each Pixie Point has a 12 month battery life (there is no discounted replacement program for dead trackers, akin to what Tile offers), are water and dust resistant to IP67 standards, and measure 47mm x 35mm x 3.2mm in size.

Users interested can purchase Pixie today on the company’s website and on Amazon, starting at $29.99 for a 2-pack, $54.99 for a 4-pack, and $104.99 for an 8-pack. The company confirmed that any Pixie pack purchased today will be compatible with the advanced ARKit features coming in September, and the Pixie app is expected to see an update alongside iOS 11 at that time.

Tag: Pixie
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