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2
Sep

Samsung’s ‘AI-powered’ washer is just trying to save you time


IFA 2017 isn’t all about smartphones, smartwatches and cute droids. The event is also a chance for companies to showcase their latest innovations for home appliances. Samsung did its part this year with the WW8800M washer, which sports technology called QuickDrive that promises to complete a full load of laundry in just 39 minutes –typically it’s about 70. The company says it’s able to do this without compromising washing performance, energy efficiency and fabric care, something that will matter deeply to people who are extra conscious of how they do their laundry. Oh and it says AI is involved.

Samsung is betting heavily on the “artificial intelligence” powers of its WW8800M to make laundry day less of a chore. The washing machine pairs with an app dubbed Q-rator, which offers modes including Laundry Planner, Laundry Recipe and HomeCard Wizard. The first two features let you do things like pick your desired cycle through the application and adjust the temperature and amount of spins. You can tell the virtual assistant what type of garments you plan to wash too, like if it’s a shirt or a sweater, and then it will suggest the best cycle for it based on the info you type in. HomeCare Wizard, meanwhile, monitors the WW8800M remotely and alerts you if it’s having any issues.

While Samsung’s main goal is to save you time washing your loads, these options could help you take better care of your clothes — all with just a couple of taps on an app. We don’t know if we’d agree with Samsung that the WW8800M is “AI-powered,” as the press release suggests, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t smarter than its previous WiFI models.

Unfortunately, Samsung didn’t reveal any pricing or availability details here in Berlin, so we’ll have to wait to judge it by its price.

Follow all the latest news from IFA 2017 here!

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2
Sep

Recommended Reading: Japan’s eSports struggle


The Crazy Laws
Keeping Japanese
Out of Video
Game Competitions

Yuji Nakamura and
Takako Taniguchi,
Bloomberg

Japan is a popular locale for video games, but laws are keeping eager players from participating in the eSports revolution. Bloomberg has the details on how regulations aimed at gambling and organized crime make paid gaming competitions impossible.

‘Narcos’ Is Even Better Without Pablo Escobar
Wes Jenkins, Complex

Narcos returned this week and Complex makes the case that it’s even better without one of its main characters from the first two seasons.

Silicon Valley Is on a Quest to Grow the Perfect Diamond
Tom Vanderbuilt, Wired UK

You’ve heard of lab-grown meat and a number of other things, but lab-grown diamonds? A Silicon Valley startup can make them in two weeks.

What Did ‘Game of Thrones’ Accomplish This Year?
David Sims, Lenika Cruz, and Megan Garber,
The Atlantic

Now that season 7 is complete, it’s time to discuss the merits of what we’ve just seen. Allow The Atlantic’s round table chat to do just that. And, yes, of course there are spoilers.

The ‘Death Note’ Movie Dims Its Source Material by Turning Its Protagonist Into the Good Guy
Justin Charity, The Ringer

The reviews of Netflix’s Death Note haven’t been too good and The Ringer offers an explanation as to what went wrong.

2
Sep

Google iOS App Update Brings ‘Smart Answers’ and ‘Trending Searches’


Google added a couple of new features to its flagship iOS app on Friday, one of which shows searches that are trending in a user’s geographical location before they begin typing into the search field.

Following yesterday’s update, whenever a user taps on a search box to start a search, a dropdown menu shows “Trending Searches” indicated by a blue jagged arrow icon next to them, contrasting them from gray icons that mark out the user’s search history. In our testing, trending searches didn’t show up in some locations, so it’s possible Google is still rolling out support on its servers.

Trending Searches appeared last year on Android, but the change prompted a number of user complaints that led Google to make the feature optional. Fortunately, iOS users can find the same opt-out toggle on the Settings screen by tapping their account profile in the upper left of the Search interface.

Apart from that, Google says the search box has gotten smarter, in that now users can often get the answer they’re looking for before they’ve even finished typing in the question, with possible answers appearing in the suggestions below. For example, typing in “how fast is a chee” immediately displays a cheetah’s land speed (110-120 km/h, for those interested).

The feature additions come on the back of Google’s recent introduction of a personalized news feed for the app, offering a stream of content based on user search history and topics they choose to follow. The feed replaced Google Now, the company’s predictive search feature that displays traffic updates, weather, and other information, all of which has been moved to a new tab called Updates.

The Google app is a free download for iPhone and iPad on the App Store. [Direct Link]

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2
Sep

Huawei’s powerhouse Kirin 970 chip has its own processor dedicated to AI


Why it matters to you

Mobile artificial intelligence is a power hungry beast, and processors like the Kirin 970 are designed to cope with the load, and provide super fast AI in next-generation devices.

Huawei has announced the Kirin 970 processor, a new generation of hyper-fast mobile chips with a key new feature: A Neural Processing Unit (NPU). It’s key because it drives the Kirin 970’s mobile artificial intelligence platform, which will enable cloud-based AI and on-device AI to run alongside each other, faster than ever before.

These two AI technologies can complement each other, Huawei said, improving the experience for smartphone owners by providing more speed, more personalized data, and a better understanding of the world around it. While AI is most often associated with virtual assistants like Siri and Google Assistant, Huawei hasn’t launched an assistant of its own yet, and is staying quiet about how we’ll eventually use it. Instead, it’s demonstrating the NPU’s super speedy image recognition.

The Kirin 970 can process 2,000 images per minute, considerably more than other chips with similar capabilities, and it’s all thanks to the NPU. We’ve seen a demonstration of its image recognition skills too, and we were impressed with how quickly it could identify simple objects from chairs to birds. It also reacted at the same speed when faced with an unexpected image given to it by us. When shown a thumb, it didn’t know what appendage it was seeing, but did know it was attached to a person.

What gives the Kirin 970 its power? It’s built using a 10nm process, like Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835, and has an astonishing 5.5 million transistors in a space measuring a single square centimeter. Moving on from the quad-core Kirin 960, which powers the Huawei Mate 9 and Huawei P10, the Kirin 970 has an eight core CPU and a 12-core GPU. Huawei said it has 25 times the power and 50 times the efficiency of a quad-core chip with a Cortex A73 CPU, as used in the Kirin 960.

Huawei has big plans for artificial intelligence, but hasn’t leapt straight in with a virtual assistant, so what will the Kirin 970 and the NPU actually do for us? It’s a mystery at the moment, but more may be revealed in October when the company is expected to announce the Mate 10. It’s likely to be the first device to use the chip, and may include special AI-driven features we’ve yet to hear about.




2
Sep

Snag one of these cool and luxurious cases to protect your Surface Pro


Are you picking up a Surface Pro 4, or Surface Pro, and want to upgrade your case? Today’s Pro 4 cases offer superior protection and a little storage room on the side, perfect for urban professionals, travelers, students and many other others. Take a look at the best Surface Pro 4 cases to find out which is right for you!

Note: The Pro 4 and the new Surface 2017 model have precisely the same dimensions, so the case that works for one will work for the other (the stylus is a little longer, but that matters far less). Many cases will advertise that they are made for both models, for obvious reasons. Check out our Surface Pro review here.

Waterfield Microsoft Surface Sleevecase – $69

Waterfield’s sexy Microsoft Surface case is made with a neoprene interior and waxed canvas exterior with full-grain leather accents, giving it one of the best case styles we’ve seen. There are also plenty of customization options, including choosing the orientation and preferred trim materials, as well as an optional strap (you should include a strap). There is also an extra pocket and Surface Pen clip, which makes the high price tag a little easier to swallow. Make that you choose the case made for the Surface Pro 4—these cases are carefully fitted, and you don’t want to choose the wrong size.

Buy it now from:

Waterfield

Manvex Leather Case – $23

Are you looking for a compatible leather case for your Surface Pro, but don’t have a very large budget? This Manvex case meets your needs. It’s made of bicast leather, or a split leather material, with a layer of polyurethane (less authentic, but easier to care for). The inside of the case is lined with soft suede, and the whole ensemble easily folds up into a notebook-like protective cover, or out into a quick prop for keeping the Pro 4 stabilize while you work. It’s an excellent choice for a travel case.

Buy it now from:

Amazon

UAG Metropolis – $70

Urban Armor Gear is well known for its military-like designs and high levels of durability. This Pro 4 case is no exception with its ruggedized materials, grips, and army-tech sense of design. It includes a magnetic holder for the Pen and an aluminum stand with five different possible positions, depending on how you like to work. And yes, that design has its merits. The case meets military drop-test standards as long as you are using the Type Cover keyboard. However, keep in mind that this case is bulkier than most, and your new Pro may not be able to slide into the same old places when outfitted by UAG.

Buy it now from:

Amazon

ProCase Premium Folio Cover Case – $30

ProCase opts for a more traditional composition leather design for this minimalistic case. It comes with enough flexibility to provide a variety of viewing angles without letting your Pro slide around. There’s also a simple loop to hold the Surface Pen, and an elastic band to secure the case when you have it closed. While it may not protect much from falls or truly bad weather, it’s a good general-purpose case that doesn’t take up much room or set too high a price, and one of the best Surface Pro 4 cases for people who don’t want to waste any time.

Buy it now from:

Amazon

Tomtoc 360 Protective Sleeve – $23

Tomtoc offers a full tote case for the Surface Pro 4 (again, make sure you choose the right model here), with a handle that allows you to carry the hybrid tablet around as if it were a regular laptop. The zipper-operated case also provides a whole lot of extra room, with pockets for storing pens, phones, notebooks, and all sorts of other little things. The cushioning is simple but effective, and will resist any spills from nearby drinks. If you carry your Pro 4 around all the time, you have an easier time with this case, especially since our tablets keep getting larger.

Buy it now from:

Amazon

Kensingtong Black Belt 2nd Degree – $26

This Kensington model is a ruggedized–and rubberized–case with an interesting twist — it comes with a back strap that you can slide your hand into for better viewing and control when you are on the move (for longer travels, check out bigger smart luggage). When standing still, there’s a multi-position stand built in for laying down on a nearby surface. The ruggedized style does include military grade protection, but again, keep in mind that this will add some extra bulk to your tablet. It also comes with a built-in screen protector, which Pro users have mixed feelings about if they prefer more direct screen contact.

Buy it now from:

Amazon

Icarecase Luxury Series – $60

Icarecase provide a genuine leather folio cover for those who want a very simple case that also makes a statement—the statement here is that you prefer genuine cowhide leather with an authentically aged, textured appearance for basic screen guarding (and a small loop for your Surface Pen). It’s not going to provide much real protection, but it looks great and will keep the corners safe from small accidents. The cover comes with a magnetized strap to make securing the case easier.

Buy it now from:

Amazon

Fintie Surface Pro 4 Case – $15

Fintie offers a simple, dependable case for the Pro 4 that is available in many colors and designs. It’s affordable, easy to personalize, and comes with a dual-stand design that offers multiple viewing angles. The microfiber interior is gentle on your screen, but you will need to keep it clean to protect the Pro 4 properly. Fintie also includes basics like an elastic strap for securing the cover and a holder for the Pen. It’s not the most complex case, but the variety of patterns available will please those with more creative things in mind.

Buy it now from:

Amazon




2
Sep

Avoid smudges and cracks with 7 of the best Note 8 screen protectors


If you’re looking at grabbing the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, you’re sure to have noticed the gorgeous 6.3-inch Infinity display. With this incredible screen taking up so much real estate, you’d be forgiven for having anxious thoughts of broken screens — and that’s why we’ve put together this list of the best Note 8 screen protectors to keep your display fully covered, and give you some peace of mind.

Griffin Survivor Glass Screen Protector ($35)

One of the biggest names in device protection and accessories, Griffin has brought back its Survivor Glass range for the Note 8. Crafted from 9H-rated tempered glass, this screen protector is all but impervious to scratches from keys or coins (no need to worry about which pocket you keep your Note 8 in), as well as protection from micro-cracks, which can spread across other screen protectors and compromise structural stability. Only 0.5mm thick, the Survivor Glass has been “kiln-finished” to match the curves of the Note 8 — so no unsightly edges to detract from the beauty of your new phone. At $35 it’s definitely on the pricey side for a screen protector, but Griffin is certainly a name you can trust.

Buy one now from:

Griffin

Spigen Neo Flex Film Screen Protector — Twin Pack ($9)

The second of the big boys on this list, and the first choice if you’re looking for a screen protector made of TPU film instead of tempered glass, is Spigen’s Neo Flex. It’s made of soft, self-healing TPU that provides great protection from everyday scratches. Spigen has also opted for a wet installation method for these protectors, rather than the usual dry method. By having a layer of fluid sit between the screen protector and the device, Spigen has made it harder for bubbles to form and decreased the likelihood of any loss of touch-sensitivity that can occur with other screen protectors. Since it comes in a twin pack, you can easily switch out for a new one as soon as the old starts looking battered.

Buy one now from:

Amazon Spigen

Olixar Galaxy Note 8 Case Friendly Glass Screen Protector — Twin Pack ($28)

An up-and-coming name in smartphone accessories, Olixar has previously impressed us with their strong showing in screen protection for the S8 and S8 Plus. With their screen protectors for the Note 8, Olixar is offering reasonably-priced tempered glass screen protection, with all of the bells-and-whistles you’d expect from a bigger brand. Olixar has also ensured this screen protector is case-friendly, so it shouldn’t be pushed up by protective cases — an issue that plagued the early days of the S8. With the screen protector measuring only 0.3mm thick, you’ll barely even notice it’s there. As an extra bonus, Olixar is sending these tempered glass protectors out as a twin pack — giving you even more value for money.

Buy one now from:

Mobile Fun

Ringke Invisible Defender Film Screen Protector — Twin Pack ($8)

The second option for film-lovers (pun intended), these film protectors from Rearth boasts a multilayer design that includes self-healing TPU, a touchscreen sensitivity layer, and a layer of adhesive that ensures full adhesion across the entire Note 8 screen. Whereas most screen protectors cover just — unsurprisingly — the screen, the Invisible Defender also covers the sides of the phone, and includes cutouts for the side buttons. Interestingly, Rearth also lists this as being case compatible — whether this is because the case can simply go over the top of the screen protector’s side coverage is unknown, but it’s impressive that Rearth managed that with such wide coverage. Thanks to the coverage of the screen and the sides, Rearth’s Invisible Defender is a great choice if you’ve decided to forgo a case.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

BodyGuardz Pure Arc Privacy Premium Glass Screen Protector ($40)

Perfect if you have sensitive information on display, or just don’t like strangers snooping at your screen, the Pure Arc Privacy tempered glass screen protector from Bodyguardz comes with a built-in privacy filter that shuts down any attempts to look at your device from a sideways angle. While this could lead to issues when you’re actually trying to show people something, the trade-off is more than likely worth it if you’re sensitive about your privacy. While the price is high, this protector comes with the impact and scratch-resistance you’d expect from Bodyguardz, as well as their lifetime replacement service. And it’s case friendly too!

Buy one now from:

Bodyguardz

Vigeer Film Screen Protector — Twin Pack ($8)

A simple and classic option for the traditionalist, the Vigeer is a film screen protector with no additional extras. No wet application like the Spigen Neo Flex, no extra cover like the Rearth — no frills, all action. Simply apply the screen protector as you would have for every smart device you’ve ever owned and be safe in the knowledge that your screen is covered. It boasts 99 percent transparency, and uses a high quality TPU material. Vigeer promises an invisible layer of protection, and for a bargain price as well.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

SUPCASE Premium Tempered Glass Screen Protector — Twin Pack ($12)

SUPCASE are known for their protective cases, but they also make waves in quality screen protection. Their tempered glass screen protector for the Note 8 packs a 9H hardness rating, and a supremely thin 0.3mm edge-to-edge design that’s also case friendly. So far, it’s nothing you can’t get elsewhere. But at less than half the price of most on this list, SUPCASE boasts similar specs and performance. While SUPCASE may lack the lifetime guarantees of some competitors, this screen protector is able to compete with the big boys.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

Looking for more accessories for Samsung’s latest? Check out our breakdown of the best cases and covers for the Note 8 — and if you’re interested in turning your new phone into a computer, check out our review for the Samsung DeX station too! Still want more Note 8? We’ve just published our Note 8 hands-on review, and have the best ways you can get your hands on Samsung’s newest phablet in our Note 8 buyer’s guide.




2
Sep

Kirin 970’s dual image signal processors make the Galaxy S8 camera look like a blurry mess, Huawei says


It’s definitely an understatement to say that the Samsung Galaxy S8 has a more-than capable camera. From the sensor to the lens to the image signal processing, no one would deny this fact.

Huawei, however, has a few things to say about that.

kirin-970-vs-gs8.jpg?itok=L6YsvcnN

The Chinese behemoth unveiled its new Kirin 970 processor today at the IFA conference in Berlin. In addition to cramming in 5.5 billion transistors on a 10nm manufacturing process, and putting artificial intelligence directly onto the SOC, they’ve also added not one but two image signal processors. That is, the part of the SOC that makes cameras work.

And as you’d expect, more ISPs should mean faster photos, and better photos. How much better? Well, we’ll have to wait until we see the 970 in an actual production phone before we have definitive results. But for now, Huawei is more than happy to serve up this image of how it says the 970 performs alongside the Samsung Galaxy S8 when it comes to what otherwise would be a blurry pic. Faster processing means less motion blur.

Is it really that simple? Huawei would like you to think so. (At least until you read the disclaimer at the event that said “All data used in this presentation is based on Huawei lab test results and are intended only for customers’ convenience.”

Samsung fans, however, probably aren’t finding anything convenient about this.

2
Sep

Huawei unveils AI-equipped Kirin 970 processor at IFA 2017


kirin-970-richard-yu.jpg?itok=jC_uK5LG

Mate 10 CPU features 10nm process, Neural Processing Unit, first Mali G72 GPU, 1.2Gbps 4.5G modem.

At the company’s IFA keynote in Berlin, Germany, Huawei CEO Richard Yu officially unveiled the new Kirin 970 processor, which will feature in its upcoming Mate 10 flagship phone.

Huawei is focusing on AI in the new processor, an octa-core chip built on a 10nm manufacturing process, with 5.5 billion transistors. Kirin 970 will enable AI on the Mate 10 and future Huawei phones, thanks to the new NPU (Neutral Processing Unit), which Yu says can deliver 25 times the performance with 50 times the power efficiency of a quad-core Cortex-A73 cluster, as found in the previous-gen Kirin 960.

In today’s presentation, the Huawei CEO showed a demonstration of photo recognition, showing the Kirin 970’s NPU crunching images 20 times as fast as a CPU, and emphasized how combining cloud-based AI and on-device AI can help to balance power efficiency and latency.

kirin-970-richard-yu-huawei-hero.jpg?ito

Other major features in Huawei’s new chipset:

  • A new dual ISP supporting improved noise reduction, 4-way hybrid autofocus and improved capture of moving subjects without motion blur.
  • A new 4.5G modem with 5CC carrier aggregation, 4x4MIMO, 256QAM, for up to 1.2Gbps speeds at Cat. 18.
  • The first ARM Mali-G72 GPU, featuring improved performance and efficiency, and a 12-core design.

Yu also explicitly confirmed for the first time that the Mate 10 series would use the chip, which will break cover at an event in Munich, Germany on October 16.

kirin-970-specs.jpg?itok=sn-__g4k

Huawei Reveals the Future of Mobile AI at IFA 2017

CEO Richard Yu Unveils the Kirin 970, Huawei’s first mobile AI computing platform

BERLIN — September 2, 2017 – Today at IFA 2017, Huawei Consumer Business Group unveiled a new era in smartphone innovation. As part of CEO Richard Yu’s keynote address, he revealed Huawei’s vision for the future of artificial intelligence with the launch of the Kirin 970. By combining the power of the cloud with the speed and responsiveness of native AI processing, Huawei is bringing AI experiences to life and changing the way we interact with our devices.

“As we look to the future of smartphones, we’re at the threshold of an exciting new era,” said Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei Consumer Business Group. “Mobile AI = On-Device AI + Cloud AI. Huawei is committed to developing smart devices into intelligent devices by building end-to-end capabilities that support coordinated development of chips, devices, and the cloud. The ultimate goal is to provide a significantly better user experience. The Kirin 970 is the first in a series of new advances that will bring powerful AI features to our devices and take them beyond the competition.”

After years of development, Cloud AI has seen broad application, but user experience still has room for improvement, including latency, stability, and privacy. Cloud AI and On-Device AI can complement each other. On-Device AI offers strong sensing capabilities, which are the foundation of understanding and assisting people. Sensors produce a large amount of real-time, scenario-specific, and personalized data. Supported by strong chip processing capabilities, devices will become more cognitive of user needs, providing truly personalized and readily accessible services.

Kirin 970 is powered by an 8-core CPU and a new generation 12-core GPU. Built using a 10nm advanced process, the chipset packs 5.5 billion transistors into an area of only one cm². Huawei’s new flagship Kirin 970 is Huawei’s first mobile AI computing platform featuring a dedicated Neural Processing Unit (NPU). Compared to a quad-core Cortex-A73 CPU cluster, the Kirin 970’s new heterogeneous computing architecture delivers up to 25x the performance with 50x greater efficiency. Simply put, the Kirin 970 can perform the same AI computing tasks faster and with far less power. In a benchmark image recognition test, the Kirin 970 processed 2,000 images per minute, which was faster than other chips on the market.

New developments in AI require joint effort across the entire value chain, involving tens of millions of developers, and the experience and feedback of hundreds of millions of users. Huawei is positioning the Kirin 970 as an open platform for mobile AI, opening up the chipset to developers and partners who can find new and innovative uses for its processing capabilities.

2
Sep

Huawei Mate 10 coming on October 16, powered by AI-centric Kirin 970


huawei-mate-10-teaser-ifa-2017.jpg?itok=

Huawei’s next-gen Mate flagship phone is coming on October 16th: get ready for the Huawei Mate 10. Details are still few on the phone, but here’s what we know.

You can expect both Huawei Mate 10 and a higher-specced Mate 10 Pro to be unveiled. Both will be powered by the Huawei Kirin 970 chipset, which Huawei unveiled at an IFA 2017 keynote. The Kirin 970 places a huge emphasis on artificial intelligence with a new on-board NPU (Neural Processing Unit) that can pull off impressive computational feats on-board the device, like performing image recognition on 200 photos in 6 seconds, versus the 120 seconds needed to do it on a CPU alone. The Kirin 970 also features dual image signal processors to make for sharper and quicker photos.

Huawei’s next flagship will run a 10nm chip with AI onboard.

The Mate 10 will also feature Huawei’s take on the reduced bezel trend in the form of a Full Vision bezelless display. Whether that will take the form of a Samsung Galaxy S8-style with thin side bezels, like the Essential Phone with the top and sides pushed right to the edge, or even the soon-to-be-unveiled iPhone 8 with its leaked nearly-entirely-bezel-free design remains to be seen.

Either way, we’ll be on site in Munich on October 16, 2017 to bring you everything you need to know about Huawei’s latest and greatest.

2
Sep

Here’s all the big launches from IFA 2017


The first half of the year saw companies flock to CES in Las Vegas and MWC in Barcelona to show off the devices they hope you’ll want to buy for the rest of the year. As we approach the holiday season, tech companies are clamoring for your attention once again, launching gadget after gadget that fight each other for a spot on your shopping list. At IFA 2017, a dizzying array of wearables, laptops, smartphones and headsets were unveiled at various press conferences before the show floor even opened.

Samsung launched three new wearables while Sony improved its popular wireless headphones, updated its Xperia phones, unveiled its Google Assistant speaker and even pushed out a teeny tiny new RX0 GoPro-like camera. Then there’s Lenovo, which officially unveiled its Explorer mixed reality headset, refreshed its mainstream laptops and made a speaker accessory for its tablets to turn into makeshift Amazon Echo Shows. Whew. I’m barely even close to being done recapping all of them.

As we hunt the hidden gems inside the labyrinthine convention center here in Berlin, here’s a video to catch you up on all the important news from the show — and all without even leaving your chair. You lucky reader, you.

Follow all the latest news from IFA 2017 here!

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