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Gemini PDA is a crazy dual-booting hybrid with a mechanical keyboard

It’s a phone. It’s a mini laptop Honestly it’s bizarre and I can’t stop staring at it.


There are two kinds of phone nerds in the world today — those old enough to remember lusting after PDAs so you could have a computer with you at all times, and people who weren’t alive before Wi-Fi existed everywhere. For the PDA folks out there, this is a throwback you’re going to want to see for yourself. It’s a pocketable clamshell PDA that dual-boots Android, but you can also close the lid and use this thing like a phone.

It’s called the Gemini PDA, and while that name may sound familiar to some there’s a whole lot more than nostalgia at play here.

Help! I’ve stumbled into a mirror universe where PDAs never died … and I don’t want to come back. Review? [Planet Computers “Gemini”] #ces2018 #instatech #technology #gemini #planetcomputers #android

A post shared by Michael Fisher (@themrmobile) on Jan 7, 2018 at 6:23pm PST

What you’re looking at here is a 6-inch 18:9 screen at 2160×1440 resolution with some padding on the sides to make room for that “full” keyboard. Most people are going to be a little cramped on a keyboard that size, but it’s a proper mechanical keyboard which is impressive. This 320g clamshell dual-boots Android and Linux, with a special Deca Core processor with 4GB of RAM and 64gb of onboard storage. With the 4220mAh battery powering this experience and two USB-C ports, it seems on paper like you could really have some fun.

The big thing missing from this experience, if you’re a modern phone nerd, is a camera.

The big thing missing from this experience, if you’re a modern phone nerd, is a camera. If you want something other than the 5MP camera on the inside of the PDA, you have to pay for an accessory you connect to your Gemini. Given the current state of excellence we have with smartphone cameras, there’s a good chance that accessory will not be worth your time or money.

Gemini comes in two flavors, Wi-Fi only and 4G LTE. If you choose the 4G model, you can use this machine as your phone full time. Not only does it run all Android apps, there’s a special voice mode where you can close the clamshell and hold the PDA up to your face like a phone to talk. You don’t have access to the screen in this mode, and this is clearly a little larger than your average phone, but if your goal is that all-in-one experience Gemini seems prepared to offer you an alternative to what you have now.

Gemini is currently available on IndieGoGo for $399, where the company’s original campaign has already pulled in more than 250% of the original goal.


Panasonic and Alexa Onboard bring offline voice control to your car

At CES today, Panasonic announced a partnership with Amazon that will bring Alexa to your car. Dubbed Alexa Onboard, it works with Panasonic’s Skip Gen IVI technology and is meant to make life with your virtual assistant more seamless as you move from your home to your vehicle.

Alexa Onboard’s functions were demonstrated on stage and the most interesting aspect is that it will still have use when offline. As expected, queries like what the weather’s like, how far away a destination is and where the nearest gas station is, for example, are answered by Alexa when you ask. You’ll also be able to take advantage of Alexa’s other skills such as controlling your smart home devices, receiving news briefings and ordering from meal delivery services. But when the assistant is offline, say when internet isn’t readily available, you can still get some help from Alexa. Users will be able to ask Alexa to change the temperature in their car, ask what’s coming up on their calendar and control the windows, among other commands.

Panasonic is one of the first companies to get Alexa Onboard and a seamless voice control system appears to be right around the corner.

.@amazon Alexa Onboard, the brand new integrated vehicle system, will have @Panasonic as one of the first collaborators. #CES2018 #PanasonicCES

— CES (@CES) January 8, 2018

Click here to catch up on the latest news from CES 2018.


Panasonic’s GH5s is the ultimate mirrorless camera for 4K video

The GH5 has been a video-centric camera since its debut, but Panasonic is pushing that into new territory with the launch of the GH5s mirrorless. Aimed specifically at videographers, it has a 10.2-megapixel “dual ISO” sensor with half the resolution of the 20.2-megapixel GH5. That gives it much better low-light sensitivity (up to ISO 51,200 native and 204,800 extended), and there’s a full sensor readout at up to Cinema 4K resolution (2,160 x 4,096) video, at 60 frames per second.

Just about every change in the GH5s is aimed at making it a better video camera. Panasonic borrowed the dual-native ISO (DNI) from its Varicam professional video cameras, for instance. “The way DNI works is that there are two circuits in the system, low-range and high-range,” Panasonic product manager Anthony Hanna explained at a briefing. “The GH5s is carrying a 400 native ISO, and 2,500 native ISO. So it has two native ISOs, and can ramp up the low-light sensitivity from there.”

What that means is that when you hit 2,500 ISO, a slower circuit that can gather more light is switched off, and a faster one kicks in. That has the overall effect of reducing noise, letting you crank up the ISOs without while retaining detail in darker parts of an image. During the demo, even at 12,800 ISO, the image held saturation and contrast in a way that handily bested Sony’s low-light champ, the A7S II.

Aiding in that regard is the 10-bit, 4:2:2 video captured at data rates as high as 400 Mbps (50 MB/s). The result is HDR video with a billion colors that will hold up against footage shot by professional video production cameras. It can also output HDR via the HDMI 2.1 port so that you can better judge your footage on set.

The GH5s has other pro video features like a line level mic input toggle, making it easier to use with professional microphones, and a free V-Log L high-dynamic range setting that yields footage suitable for fine color correction. It also has a faster readout than ever, reducing distortion from rolling shutter, along with a body design that lets you shoot for an unlimited time without overheating.

We’re targeting the videographer and not the photographer. So that’s we we decided to eliminate in-body stabilization.

Unlike the GH5, the GH5s has a low-pass filter, as the lack of one would be noticeable in such a low-megapixel camera. It has also no in-body stabilization (IBS) system, meaning you’ll only get optical stabilization via supported lenses. “We’re targeting the videographer and not the photographer,” said Hanna. “So that’s we we decided to eliminate IBS.” Because of that, the GH5s also weighs 65 grams less than the GH5.

Panasonic didn’t completely forget about photographers. The GH5s now supports 14-bit RAW, rather than just 12-bit images, which will be handy in a camera with a lot of light sensitivity. Focus speeds are .07 seconds, and you can shoot up to 12 fps bursts, or 8 fps with continuous autofocus. There’s also 225 focus points, face-eye recognition, and 4K photo mode at up to 60 fps.

Other features include dual UHS-II SD memory card slots, USB 3.1 Type-C, WiFi and Bluetooth 4.2, and an optional battery grip and external XLR microphone adapter. For all that, you’ll pay the sum of $2,499 for the body only, about $500 more than the GH5, but around the same price as Sony’s aging A7S II.

Click here to catch up on the latest news from CES 2018.


Apple updates macOS and iOS to address Spectre vulnerability

Just a few days after Apple disclosed how it would be dealing with the Meltdown bug that affects modern computers, it’s pushed out fixes for the Spectre exploit as well. iOS 11.2.2 includes “Security improvements to Safari and WebKit to mitigate the effects of Spectre,” the company writes on its support page, while the macOS High Sierra 10.13.2 Supplemental Update does the same for your Mac laptop or desktop. Installing this update on your Mac will also update Safari to version 11.0.2.

The Spectre and Meltdown CPU vulnerabilities are a wake up call for the tech industry, affecting most of the processors made over the past twenty years. While companies like Microsoft, Apple and Google have been quick to issue fixes, it will still take a while to get everyone with a personal device up to speed. Hopefully the next generation of chips that power our own devices and those we use for the cloud will find a way to bust this exploit for good.

Via: Rene Ritchie

Source: Apple iOS, Apple macOS


Senate bill to undo the net neutrality repeal will get a vote

How could any of us forget that dreary day in December when the FCC voted to repeal Title II net neutrality regulations? However, all hope is not lost. In mid-December, Edward Markey (D-MA) and 27 other senators proposed a resolution to restore net neutrality. Today, Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) tweeted that she is the 30th cosponsor of the bill. This also happens to be the number of cosponsors required to ensure a full vote by the Senate.

30 is the magic number of cosponsors needed to get a #NetNeutrality vote in the full Senate.

Proud to be that 30th cosponsor of @SenMarkey bill to restore free and open internet.

— Claire McCaskill (@clairecmc) January 8, 2018

This is certainly good news for the future of net neutrality and ensuring a free and open internet, but this doesn’t mean that net neutrality will be restored and all will automatically be well. Thirty cosponsors is a long way from the majority needed to pass a repeal. All this does is ensure that Markey and the other cosponsors can force a vote. Mustering up the votes to pass the bill is a different story altogether.

A big step toward restoring a free and open Internet: with the support of @clairecmc, we now have the 30 votes we need to force a vote on my CRA to reverse the repeal of #NetNeutrality!

— Ed Markey (@SenMarkey) January 8, 2018

Source: Twitter


Panasonic adds to its 4K OLED lineup with FZ800 and FZ950 TVs

Panasonic is kicking off 2018 with two new 4K, OLED and HDR-compatible TV ranges. The FZ800 and FZ950 series, which will ship in 55-inch and 65-inch sizes, follow the flagship EZ1002 from last year. They come with Panasonic’s original HCX processor, which enables a feature called Dynamic LUT (Dynamic Look-up Table). LUTs are essentially preferences that shift the image to match the colors and brightness intended by the content creator. Normally, these are set at the start of the movie or TV show, but with Dynamic LUT the image can be updated every millisecond.

Panasonic’s TVs support the HDR10+ standard backed by Samsung and Amazon. That means you should be able to watch Amazon originals such as The Grand Tour and The Tick in their highest quality. The trade-off is that neither the FZ800 nor the FZ950 will support rival HDR format Dolby Vision. It’s a peculiar choice given that Panasonic’s newly announced DP-UB820 Blu-ray player is both Dolby Vision and HDR10+ compatible. HDR10+ has its supporters – Warner Bros. has confirmed it will support the standard on its 4K video releases — but it would be nice if both were available out of the box. Hopefully this standards war will be over soon…

Click here to catch up on the latest news from CES 2018.


Harman is designing smart interiors for tomorrow’s autonomous cars

The days of owning your own car may soon be coming to an end, what with the growing popularity of ride sharing matched with the promise of autonomous vehicle technology. Should that self-driving car service future come about, Harman International want to be ready with audio and connected vehicle systems to match whatever you’re riding in to your specific mood and tastes.

On Monday, Harman announced its new Configurable Entertainment and Moodscape experiences, built using the company’s new AudioworX development platform. Configurable Entertainment is geared towards commercial ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft and will allow them to “offer multiple in-car brand and entertainment experiences through a single set of in-vehicle hardware,” according to the release. To do this, the company also announced that it is developing shape-shifting speakers. If the car you hailed arrives equipped with a BOSE sound system and you want a Harman Kardon, the vehicle’s central soundbar will literally change shape to look and sound like the HK.

The Moodscape concept is just as nuts. Using a QLED display, biometric feedback, GPS and app syncing, tomorrow’s autonomous cars will be able to match its music to your mood, whether you’re on the way to the gym or a funeral. It will also conceivably be able to generate personalized audio alerts. That QLED display, it’s going to be mounted on the ceiling, called the “MoodRoof” and generate “immersive visual landscapes” that you can watch instead of a billowing headliner.

By 2025, all of these designs, along with level 5 autonomy — are expected to be rolled into what is essentially a person-sized shoebox on an electric truck chassis. Behold the future of autonomous transportation everyone, the Rinspeed Snap. Harman plans to show off all of these concepts at CES 2018 in Las Vegas from January 9th -12th.

Click here to catch up on the latest news from CES 2018.


Philips launches new 4K TVs with Dolby Vision HDR

If you’re building a 4K TV with HDR, then you have to pick a side: Dolby Vision or HDR10+, and Philips is squarely in the former camp. This year, the company is expanding support for the standard, launching a new line of displays that will offer deeper, richer, Dolby-branded colors. The 69-and-59-series televisions come in a variety of sizes running from 43-inches through to 75-inches, and all offer Philips’ NetTV smart TV platform. Other bullets on the spec list include macro dimming, wide color gamut, dual-band 802.11ac WiFi and HDMI 2.0a with HDCP 2.2.

At the same time, the company is also pushing out a line of series 57 TVs, which offer a more affordable 4K display without the benefits of HDR. In addition, Philips is pushing out a new UHD Blu-ray player (BDP7303) that offers both generic HDR and Dolby Vision, plus upscaling for sources like Netflix, YouTube and Vudu. It’ll turn up at some point this summer for a price that, perhaps unsurprisingly, has yet to be announced. Similarly, Philips’ new TVs will be available in April 2018 for amounts of cash nobody’s yet determined.

Click here to catch up on the latest news from CES 2018.


Philips’ kitchen-friendly TV packs Google Assistant

A voice assistant can’t help you chop vegetables, but it can talk you through how to get your own to look like they were sliced by a professional. It’s one of the reasons that Philips has crammed Google Assistant into its new Android TV for kitchens, the 7703. The 24-inch Android TV comes on a large plinth that is also a 16-watt Bluetooth speaker to fill your kitchen with tunes. The unit also has Chromecast integration, letting you push content from a mobile device to the display with very little fuss.

The headline feature here is, of course, the presence of Assistant, which will let you bark instructions at the display when you’re otherwise engaged. Because the always-on microphone is built into the TV, you’ll not have to even awkwardly cram your elbow on a remote to prompt the interface to begin working. Plus, when you’re finished preparing the meal, you can ask the TV to fire up Netflix and let you watch Chef’s Table to fuel that inferiority complex. Plus, there are two HDMI inputs for adding in a games console or set-top box, should you need one.

It’s not the first device we’ve seen that’s tried to blend smarts and screens for the kitchen, and we’ve seen plenty of other attempts. Like Sony and Archos’ attempts to build tablets that are capable of being used by the cooking fraternity. Hopefully Philips’ effort will have better luck, although we won’t find out pricing and availability until the second half of the year.

Click here to catch up on the latest news from CES 2018.


SOLOS smart cycling glasses are going for a run

While the consumer smart glasses craze has ebbed, the technology has found a niche in the sport training world — especially among cyclists. At CES 2018 on Monday, SOLOS debuted the latest iteration of its smart cycling glasses, also called SOLOS.

In addition to new abilities like being able to listen to music and communicate with the rest of your cycling group, the smart glasses can now be used by runners as well. The SOLOS software has been freshly rejiggered to work for runners including the most common tracking metrics like elapsed time, speed, pace, cadence, and heart rate. In addition to music, the glasses can also display visual notifications (say if you get an important email) and provide audio turn-by-turn navigation.

The glasses reportedly offer around 5 hours of battery life, though I’m primarily concerned with trying the read the HUD while these goggles and the rest of my head are bobbling about as I run. Audio directions shouldn’t be as much of an issue as the headset includes both directional speakers and earbuds, depending on your preference. The system is compatible with Android Wear 2.0 and ANT+ which means you’ll be able to integrate them with your existing Strava, Training Peaks, and Under Armor equipment. The glasses will retail for $500 when they hit the market some point in the first quarter of 2018.

Click here to catch up on the latest news from CES 2018.

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