Mere weeks after announcing Project Tango was out of beta, Google revealed its software-only augmented reality program, ARCore. Google’s announcement followed the release of Apple’s ARKit, which brought AR to millions of Apple devices via a software update, giving developers plenty of options to run their programs on.
Currently, there are only two devices that utilize Tango: The Lenovo Phab 2 Pro and the Asus Zenfone AR. They are both optimized with extra hardware — such as a barometer, motion-tracking camera, and an infrared depth-sensing camera — which improve the function of various AR applications. ARCore, which will run on many Android phones and doesn’t require specific hardware components, has made these two phones redundant.
Tango has been around in some capacity or another since 2014, but the number of AR apps on its devices are limited. Both the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro and the Asus Zenfone AR are severely underrepresented in the smartphone industry. ARCore is smart move for Google considering the reach and implications of its competitor’s platform, which is why Google decided to shut down Tango come March 1, 2018.
But how different are the two technologies? Despite its limitations, Tango’s refined hardware makes it faster and more accurate than ARCore. Instead of tracking planes in a video feed like ARCore and ARKit does, Tango uses its hardware to compile a 3D map of a designated area, one that allows you to leave objects in space and return to them later.
While ARCore and ARKit work well on a table and other flat surfaces, Tango is much more successful in mapping larger or irregular shapes, specifically rooms and buildings.
But even though Tango is objectively a better system than ARCore, the new augmented reality program will be able to bring AR to more devices. That’s exciting for consumers and developers who are interested in the budding technology, and gives us opportunities to see more content.
Google will likely take what it learned from Tango and use that knowledge to improve ARCore, which is still in beta. Moving forward, however, we might see elements of Tango’s hardware incorporated into devices running ARCore.
David Cogen — a regular contributor here at Digital Trends — runs TheUnlockr, a popular tech blog that focuses on tech news, tips and tricks, and the latest tech. You can also find him on Twitter discussing the latest tech trends.
- Google kills augmented reality project Tango to focus on ARCore
- Google taking ARCore to next level with AR Stickers, more on Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL
- Google wants to bring augmented reality to your smartphone with ARCore
- Insert Stormtroopers into your life with Google’s new AR stickers for Pixel
- Google Poly API, a 3D object and scene repository for developers, rolls out
Every week, there are thousands of new songs hitting the airwaves — and it’s just too much for your two ears to handle. With all those options, you can’t be wasting your time on tracks that deserve a thumbs-down click — you want the best new songs to stream right now.
But don’t worry, we’re going to save you the hassle. We listen to some of the most-hyped and interesting songs each week, and tell you which are worthy of your precious listening time.
Here are the best new songs to stream this week. And don’t forget to subscribe to our Spotify page for a playlist of our weekly picks, which can also be found at the bottom of this post. Not sure which streaming service is best for you? Check out our post about the best music streaming services, or go in depth and learn the differences between Apple Music and Spotify to better weigh your options.
Tyler, the Creator — Boredom (and more, live at NPR)
California rapper Tyler, The Creator curated a very memorable experience during his recent appearance at NPR’s offices in Washington D.C., bringing in a full lighting team to illuminate his band during their recent live set. The tones of pink and blue perfectly complement his music, with jazzy drums, upright bass, and keyboards joining elegant background vocals below the rapper’s hyper-personal lyrics.
Future Islands — Beauty Of The Road
Sweaty, energetic live performances are a hallmark of indie-electro band Future Islands, so it seems appropriate that they take center stage in the group’s recently released music video for Beauty Of The Road. The track begins with a simple keyboard and drumbeat, eventually evolving into the a classic four-on-the-floor anthem in the same style that fans have long loved from the Baltimore band.
Ramin Djawadi — Game Of Thrones Main Title (live on KCRW)
Fans of HBO’s smash-hit Game Of Thrones will enjoy this recent live performance on California’s KCRW radio, as composer Ramin Djawadi presents the theme song he composed for the show with a full, live band. Viewers will be interested to see the strings and massive drums that help fuel the famed title track, as well as watch the composer himself play the harpsichord line that acts as its cliffhanging conclusion.
Guided By Voices — Space Gun
Legendary indie rock band Guided By Voices provides your workout track of the week with Space Gun, a heavy-hitting bit of rock ‘n’ roll that will fuel you through any strenuous exercise you take on. Gritty guitars and a heavy beat permeate this gritty new jam, offering the same lo-fi appeal that helped drive the band to prominence in the first place.
Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah — Freedom Is A Word
Freedom Is A Word by Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah Featuring Vic Mensa
Trumpeter Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah has released three incredible albums this year already, but even that’s not enough for the prolific musician. The jazz-pop songwriter recently released this collaboration with Chicago Rapper Vic Mensa, a slow-rolling jam with trumpet and flute solos, as well as passionate, politically charged verses from Mensa.
That’s it for now, but tune in next week for more songs to stream, and check out the playlist loaded with our recent selections below:
- Best new songs to stream: Porches, Alvvays, Feist, Grizzly Bear, and Goon
- Best new songs to stream: Arcade Fire, Mac Demarco, and more
- Best new songs to stream: Benjamin Booker, King Krule, Ty Segall, and more
- Best new songs to stream: Lin-Manuel Miranda, Sufjan Stevens, and more
- Best new songs to stream: Big K.R.I.T., MGMT, Curls, and more
Like most people, our Gmail accounts are full of promotions we don’t remember signing up for, but luckily, Google now has a fix for that. AndroidPolice reported that Google has released a new feature that makes it easy to unsubscribe from promotional emails you haven’t checked on in at least a month.
The new feature, which works with the web client and mobile app, consists of a new “Inbox Tip” card that asks if you want to unsubscribe from a particular sender’s emails. The card features options to unsubscribe or ignore the tip card.
This new feature doesn’t appear to be available to all users yet, and we’ve seen no reports that it is available on the iOS app, though that doesn’t confirm anything regarding the feature’s place on Apple’s OS. It’s unclear as to when Google plans to roll out the feature to all users, but we imagine it will be coming fairly soon, as it doesn’t appear to be an overly complex addition to Gmail.
Aside from the limited rollout, the other major limitation of this feature is that it only seems to work on emails that Google is able to flag as promotions, so you’ll still need to keep an eye on your inbox.
This is only the latest new feature to be added to Google’s email service. Recently, Google announced that its smart reply feature, which automatically generates email responses, was being used in about 10 percent of all emails sent via the mobile app.
“What this does is it takes an incoming email message and then, given the text of the email message, it tries to predict what are likely responses you might want to give,” Google’s Jeff Dean said. “Now, 10 percent of mobile responses on email on the Inbox product are generated with this Smart Reply feature, so it’s saving people a lot of time.”
Smart replies and inbox monitoring aren’t the only ways that Google is working to save users time. In September, the company rolled out an update which allowed Gmail to automatically convert phone numbers and email addresses into automatic hyperlinks,saving users the trouble of copying and pasting.
- Google will delete your Android device backups if you’re not diligent
- You can finally do more with the Fitbit Ionic thanks to an OS update
- Google Assistant now lets you subscribe daily to news briefings, weather, facts, and more
- Like that restaurant pic on Snapchat? Now you can book a table within the app
- You can now control Sonos smart speakers directly from the Pandora app
Who’d of thought cardboard was better than a plastic sleeve?
Leading up to the launch of the Pixel 2, Google started a trade-in program to help drastically lower the cost of its shiny, new phone. Quotes for the trade-in program are more than reasonable, but it hasn’t been without its fair share of hiccups. One of the main complaints we’ve heard is that the trade-in kit Google sends out is pretty flimsy, but it looks like this is now being addressed.
The new kit for Google Store trade-ins.
Rather than sending out plastic bubble wrap-lined sleeves, the Google Store is now shipping actual cardboard boxes for people to send out their phones in. Google initially stood behind the plastic sleeves, but we’d be lying if we said we weren’t glad to see this change.
The new cardboard box is relatively slim, but the inside is padded with foam on the top and bottom to keep your device safe and secure during its trip.
Most people on the Reddit thread where photos for the box were shared seem to be quite happy with the new packaging, and this should hopefully help to keep headaches during the trade-in process to a bare minimum.
Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL
- Pixel 2 FAQ: Everything you need to know!
- Google Pixel 2 and 2 XL review: The new standard
- Google Pixel 2 specs
- Google Pixel 2 vs. Pixel 2 XL: What’s the difference?
- Join our Pixel 2 forums
Making your jacket even smarter.
If you’re one of the ten people that decided to throw down $350 for Levi’s Commuter Trucker Jacket with Google’s Jacquard technology, you’ll be happy to know that the companion app is receiving its first major update with a couple new features to keep your jacket as smart as can be.
The latest version of the app is now 1.1.1(5), and the two biggest additions are Illuminate and Find My Phone. Illuminate lets the Jacquard snap tag blink or shine so you can either show it off at a party or use it as a little flashlight when making your way through town at night, and Find My Phone allows you to tap your jacket to, well, find your phone.
In addition to these two features, there’s also an update to What’s Playing that allows it to work with every music service that’s supported by Jacquard.
The Commuter Trucker Jacket is still a very niche product even with this update, but it is cool to see the thing gaining a couple more tricks to help users get the absolute most out of it. Google’s Jacquard technology isn’t meant to replace your Pixel 2 or anything along those lines, but Illuminate and Find My Phone do seem like smart and useful additions for this platform.
Levi’s will sell its Google-powered connected jacket this fall for $350
Google is aware of the issue and actively looking into it.
Android 8.1 started rolling out to Pixel and Nexus devices at the beginning of December, and while I’ve been enjoying the update without any issues, this hasn’t been the case for everyone.
Shortly after 8.1 started getting pushed out, some owners of the Pixel 2 XL took to Google’s official support forum to complain about a slowdown with the phone’s fingerprint sensor performance on 8.1 compared to 8.0.
The initial post stated that it takes the 2 XL “a good second” after using the sensor for the screen to turn on, and this was followed up with quite a few other users reporting similar issues. In addition to the fingerprint sensor, some users also say that the screen is slow to turn on when just pressing the power button to get to the lock screen.
Some people have noticed that this issue goes away when the 2 XL’s always on display is turned on, but for those that prefer not to enable this battery-hungry feature, a fix should be coming soon. A Google representative has stated that the team is aware of the issue and that they’ll be reaching out to users for bug reports to get to the bottom of what the heck is going on.
If you own a Pixel 2 XL running 8.1 Oreo, have you noticed any performance issues with the fingerprint sensor? Drop us a comment down below and let us know.
Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL
- Pixel 2 FAQ: Everything you need to know!
- Google Pixel 2 and 2 XL review: The new standard
- Google Pixel 2 specs
- Google Pixel 2 vs. Pixel 2 XL: What’s the difference?
- Join our Pixel 2 forums
Available at B&H, Best Buy, and the Google Store.
The Google Pixelbook isn’t the laptop for everyone, but if you’re an avid Chrome user and are a fan of impressive hardware, it’s pretty tough to beat. One of the biggest things going against the Pixelbook is its high price, but at select retailers, you can score the laptop for $100 off, and get a free Google Home.
That $100 discount is applied to both available models of the Pixelbook, meaning you can get the base configuration with an Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM, and a 128GB SSD for just $899. If you want to keep the same processor and RAM but upgrade to a 256GB SSD, you’ll pay $1,099.
You can get the $100 savings pretty much everywhere the Pixelbook is sold, including Amazon, B&H, Best Buy, the Google Store, and Walmart. However, if you want to get the discount and a free Google Home, you’ll need to purchase it at either B&H, Best Buy or the Google Store.
Google will stop giving away free Homes with Pixelbook orders after December 31, and although there’s no confirmed date for the end of the $100 discount, we guess that it’ll either be on or around this same time.
See at Google Store
- The best Chromebooks
- Should you buy a Chromebook?
- Google Play is coming to Chromebooks
- Acer Chromebook 14 review
- Join our Chromebook forums
Oh hey, what a surprise, the guy who joked just last week about how he was a “puppet FCC Chairman” in front of his former Verizon bosses just so happened to spearhead a campaign to roll back Net Neutrality protections — something Verizon has long lobbied for. Such a coincidence. Of course those weren’t the only shenanigans to take place this week. The UK declared the website of accused serial rapist Julian Assange, Wikileaks, a media organization; a crew physically stole $1.8 million in cryptocurrency somehow, Disney managed to become an even larger evil empire than it already is and AOL finally took AIM out back behind the woodshed. Numbers because how else will you maintain an accurate body count?
A lot: That’s how much harder it will be for the US to ever extradite Julian Assange from his spider hole in the Ecuadorian Embassy located in London now that a UK court has ruled that his webiste constitutes a media organization.
$1.8 million: That’s how much Ethereum cryptocurrency armed robber, Louis Meza, tried to make off with in Manhattan before being arrested. He would have been better off by just hacking his way into the system and decrypting the mainframe.
$17,589: That’s how much Bitcoin is currently worth for virtually no reason whatsoever beyond that a bunch of speculators are telling everybody else it is. The wise investment: Emu ranching.
$52 billion: That’s how much Disney bought 21st Century Fox for because why not. Not like there were enough media monopolies in existence as it was. But hey, now at least we can look forward to a Beast from Beauty and the Beast and Beast from X-Men buddy cop movie in three years time. Won’t that be fun.
30 years: That’s how long AOL Instant Messenger managed to hold out in spite of the crushing march of technological progress.
2 million: That’s the number of forged comments supporting the rollback of Net Neutrality the FCC received, which Chairman Pai leveraged to support his campaign against the regulations. Isn’t that convenient.
By Brendan Nystedt
This post was done in partnership with Wirecutter, reviews for the real world. When readers choose to buy Wirecutter’s independently chosen editorial picks, it may earn affiliate commissions that support its work. Read the full article here.
After more than 50 hours of research and testing—and making stacks and stacks of toasted white bread, mini pizza bagels, and cookies—we think the Panasonic FlashXpress toaster oven is the best for most people. This model performed as well as (or better than) models that cost twice as much. The Panasonic FlashXpress delivers four slices of perfectly browned toast every time due to its unique combination of both quartz and ceramic infrared heating elements. Its compact size takes up less space on a counter, and its interior is still large enough to comfortably reheat leftovers and frozen snacks.
How we picked and tested
Toasting bread in the Breville Smart Oven. Photo: Michael Hession
We looked for toaster ovens that were easy to use, reliable, quick, great at toasting bread and baking cookies, and available for between $25 and $270. For our last update, a Wirecutter survey revealed that most of our respondents wanted to cook leftovers, pizza, and convenience foods like Hot Pockets, so we looked for a model with enough capacity for those jobs. But we didn’t want to go too big, because many of those surveyed said they toast only two to four slices of bread at a time. And, of course, we wanted to find a toaster oven that was durable and performed reliably.
The compact, Panasonic FlashXpress excels at basic tasks like toasting bread, reheating pizza slices, and cooking bite-size snacks. Photo: Brendan Nystedt
We recommend the Panasonic FlashXpress for its strong baking performance, compact size, and reasonable price. It cooked toast and other foods to an even, lovely golden-brown better than most other models we tried, and its toast-shade settings were among the most accurate we tested. For a relatively low price, the FlashXpress stands out from a crowded pack of mediocre, cheap models, offering performance and features we found comparable with toaster ovens that are larger and double the cost.
The Panasonic FlashXpress made crispy-yet-melty Bagel Bites that were more consistently browned from one edge of the oven cavity to the other. Some ovens’ results weren’t dark enough; others put out too much heat or hot spots in the center. The FlashXpress toasted evenly throughout, except for a 1-inch margin right behind the door. Only our upgrade pick, the Cuisinart TOB-260N1, performed better. It can fit four pieces of bread, which the overwhelming majority of our survey respondents said was the most they’d toast at one time.
A pricier, medium-sized toaster oven
The roomier Breville Smart Oven is our runner-up pick. Photo: Michael Hession.
If you need a larger toaster oven than our main pick, we recommend the Breville Smart Oven. This model did well across the board in our tests, evenly toasting bread almost as well as our upgrade pick, the Cuisinart TOB-260N1. Though it’s pricier than our main pick, the Breville Smart Oven has a more modern, intuitive interface and an easy-to-read display. This model doesn’t have an internal light, but it turned out consistent results batch after batch.
In our tests, the Breville Smart Oven toasted bread evenly from front to back, with paler results from side to side and could fit up to 6 slices of bread or a 12-inch pizza. The Breville Smart Oven comes with several accessories, too: a single rack along with a baking pan, broiler pan, and a nonstick pizza pan. We also liked the magnets on the Breville Smart Oven that glide the rack out when opening the door, making retrieving hot items easier.
A large toaster oven with more accessories
Our upgrade pick, the Cuisinart TOB-260N1, is large enough to fit nine pieces of bread. Photo: Brendan Nystedt
If you want your toaster oven to cook nine slices of toast at once, the big, versatile Cuisinart TOB-260N1 convection toaster oven is the best that we found. The Cuisinart TOB-260N1 is a different beast entirely than the Panasonic FlashXpress: It’s more than twice the price, almost twice the size, and its much bigger oven cavity can handle a wider variety of cooking tasks. Compared with all the other large toaster ovens we tested, this was the top performer by an impressive margin. It heated its voluminous cavity more evenly than any other comparable toaster oven. It includes metal hooks that pull the middle rack out when the door is opened, and it also has a better warranty, more accessories, and a slightly bigger capacity.
Our testers found that the Cuisinart TOB-260N1 preheated quickly, even when set to high temperatures, and cooked evenly throughout the cavity. It comes with a number of accessories: two racks, a baking pan, a broiling tray, and a pizza stone. These accessories, like the warranty, are also a step up from other competitors in this price range. The Cuisinart TOB-260N1 comes with a three-year limited warranty; most competitors include only a one-year warranty.
This guide may have been updated by Wirecutter. To see the current recommendation, please go here.
Note from Wirecutter: When readers choose to buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn affiliate commissions that support our work.
If you were planning to purchase AirPods as a last-minute holiday gift, it may be challenging to find a pair in time for Christmas.
Apple’s wireless earphones are currently estimated for delivery in early January if ordered today from Apple’s online store in the United States, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom, and several other countries.
AirPods are also currently out of stock at most of Apple’s retail stores around the world, and at authorized resellers such as Best Buy, Macy’s, Target, Walmart, and Verizon in the United States. Bottom line: they’re hard to find anywhere.
At $159, AirPods are a more affordable gift idea than many Apple products, which may be causing stronger demand than Apple can keep up with.
If you are still hunting for AirPods, there may be one option. AT&T appears to have stock on its website, but you may have to pay an extra $14.95 for express delivery within 2-3 business days, and there is no guarantee they’ll arrive before Christmas.
Other gifts available by Christmas for under $200, and that an Apple fan is likely to appreciate, include the Apple TV 4K, BeatsX, an official Apple-branded iPhone case, Apple Watch bands, or simply an Apple Store or Apple Music gift card.
Apple’s online store is now offering free next-day delivery for all in-stock items ordered by 3 p.m. local time on December 22 in the United States.
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