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Samsung Galaxy X: What we know so far, in video

Foldable smartphones have been talked about for years, ever since the first foldable OLED prototypes were shown off at trade shows. But it’s only recently that they’ve started to become a reality.

One big name that everyone’s expecting to see in this space is Samsung, with its rumored Galaxy X. A name like “Galaxy X” really plays into the old narrative of Samsung as the iPhone copycat. But the rumored name actually predates the iPhone X by more than a year, with the first serious reports bubbling up in early 2016. And even years before that, there was plenty of rumor fuel around the idea of a Samsung phone with a flexible, foldable screen — a device that could fit in your pocket like a phone, and also fold out to provide a more expansive viewing area.

Check out our video feature above to find out what we know so far about what could be a revolutionary new flagship smartphone.

  • More about the Samsung Galaxy X
  • Android Central on YouTube
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 8 review
  • Samsung Galaxy S9 / S9+: What we know so far


Audi smart home battery grid creates a ‘virtual power plant’

Audi isn’t going to let rival automakers like BMW and Tesla corner the market on home batteries. The German badge is testing a Smart Energy Network where solar-powered batteries not only help your home minimize use of the electrical grid, but talk to each other. The result is, as Audi put it, a “virtual power plant” — households collectively feed power into the grid and help balance overall consumption.

The trial is limited to both Audi’s home of Ingolstadt as well as the Zurich area. There’s no mention of how long it will run or how likely it is the pilot will expand.

The strategy is a logical one for companies making deeper commitments to electric vehicles. It’s easier for Audi to sell you on the concept of an EV if it can promise to lower your power bill in the long run. Also, this makes the most of the VW brand’s work on batteries — it can venture beyond selling cars and make sure the batteries it makes find customers. It just so happens that this can both save you some money and, potentially, help the environment in the process.

Via: Electrek

Source: Audi MediaCenter


BMW to switch Apple CarPlay to subscription service

Apple CarPlay is being offered in more and more vehicles, often as standard equipment. BMW, though, charges for it. BMW currently offers CarPlay as a $300 option on cars equipped with navigation. This will change, though, as The Verge reports the German automaker will switch to a yearly subscription service.

CarPlay will be free for the first year, then cost $80 a year to continue the service. At the Detroit Auto Show, BMW technology product manager Don Smith explained that there’s actually a customer benefit to doing it this way. “This allows the customer to switch devices. A lot of people buy [CarPlay] and think it’s OK, but sometimes they stop using it or switch to Android.” If a customer decided to keep the service over the course of a three-year lease, they would end up paying less than the one-time cost of $300, as the first three years would cost just $160. Four would cost $240.

Autoblog reached out to BMW, and a spokesperson confirmed the details for the U.S. market, reiterating the benefit to lessees.

BMW currently doesn’t offer Android Auto. Late last year, the automaker announced (with a really slick video) that all new BMW and Mini models would offer Amazon Alexa as an in-car service in 2018. Smith told The Verge that BMW models will also offer Google Assistant later this year.

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Source: The Verge


How to buy Ripple

While all cryptocurrencies are a little different from one another, Ripple stands apart with its backing by major banks. That’s lead to some interesting partnerships, which in turn helped boost Ripple and by extension its transactional protocol, XRP, to become one of the largest cryptocurrencies by market share in early 2018.

If you want to get some XRP for yourself, you need to know where to go and what to do. You need to know how to buy Ripple. As with our other guides on buying cryptocurrencies like Ethereum, we’ll walk you through the steps you need to take, as well as give you a couple of different options with the pros and cons of each.

Still not quite sure what cryptocurrencies are all about? Here’s our guide to help explain them.

Buying on an exchange

Although there are definitely better places to store your cryptocurrency than on an exchange, they still represent the easiest and most automated method of buying and selling them. There are tens of options out there, and popular ones like BitStamp and Kraken remain the easiest to recommend. Ripple Lab’s site has a list of exchanges that support the cryptocurrency, though when making your decision, make sure you choose one that is well established and has insurance should theft or hacks occur.

Each exchange will operate slightly differently, but most will involve several important steps. You’ll need to sign up for and verify an account, which in most cases will require some form of identification for fraud prevention, though it’s often a simple process.

The next step is to link your bank account or another form of payment method. That can be handled through the exchange dashboard. In the case of some exchanges — BitStamp and Kraken for example — you will then need to deposit some fiat current, like USD, into your account. Once it’s there, you’re ready to buy.

What you’re then looking to do is make a new “buy order.” That may involve inputting a certain amount of XRP you want to buy, or a certain amount of USD (or equivalent) you’re willing to spend. Regardless, when you have settled on an amount you’re happy with, you hit the buy button and the money will be deducted from your deposit address and the equivalent XRP will be sent to your account.

Some sites employ additional terminology for transactions which is worth knowing. A “market” buy order will purchase XRP at the best market price, while a “limit” buy order will only make a transaction at a fixed, or better price.

Whichever choice you opt for, you should now be the proud owner of some Ripple cryptocurrency. Unless you plan to sell it again soon, we would recommend transferring it out to a more secure wallet just in case the exchange goes down, or becomes hard to use due to heavy traffic or DDOS attack.

Buying through direct trade

For those who don’t like the risk of having any currency stored on an exchange for any period of time, or just want more control over the price, direct trades are a better bet. Although peer to peer trades with XRP are no way near as common or as supported as similar trades with bitcoin, there are still some routes you can go down.

The only established site for trading fiat currency for XRP in a direct manner is Cointal. It supports a variety of payment methods, including Paypal, bank transfers, visa debit and credit cards, and gift cards, among others. To use the service you simply head to its homepage, input the amount of XRP you want, or how much USD you’re willing to spend, and then search for an offer. Relevant trades will be presented to you in list form, and you can filter the results by buy/sell orders, payment method, and local currency.

To select which trade to go for, you can look at prices, payment options, and seller feedback, to make sure you’re trading with someone reputable. Direct trades do have a little more trust involved than exchange trades, but the upside is that you are far less reliant on the website itself functioning. Were it to go down, you can still access your currency and/or XRP.

To complete a transaction, set up an account, login to it, and click the “buy now” button on the respective trade page. You will then be taken into a private chat with the seller, whom you can discuss the specifics of your trade. The short of it is that you make your payment, often into an escrow account for security reasons, and then once that’s been verified, the seller will send you the XRP to your specified wallet.

The only caveat to Cointal is that one Reddit thread recently appeared that suggested there was a security issue with the site’s deposit system. It does appear now to have been resolved with all parties happy, but it’s important to check the latest reviews of sites before using them, just in case.

‘Buying’ with other currencies

The above methods are the only current ways to buy XRP with your real-world money. If you already have cryptocurrencies like Ether or bitcoin, you can use “asset exchange” sites to trade one for another quite swiftly. For a full breakdown of the methods involved in that, check out our guide on how to trade cryptocurrencies, but for a quick recommendation, services like ShapeShift and Changelly have proved popular over the past year, and are even incorporated directly in certain wallets. Cointal and Paxful also have some direct trade asset exchanges with XRP, though that depends very much on the sellers.

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