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18
Mar

This $78 AmazonBasics wall mount allows you to move your monitor where you want


Put your monitor in the perfect position.

This AmazonBasics wall mount monitor stand is down to $77.79 on Amazon. That price is a discount from its $100 street price, and it is only one of two discounts we’ve ever seen for this mount.

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If you work in a semi-permanent office space and don’t mind attaching this to the wall behind your desk, you could really free up a lot of real estate for yourself. Just make sure your monitors have standard VESA mounts on the back (and they most likely will). The arm extends and contracts, tilts for different reading angles, and rotates from landscape to portrait mode. Mounting your monitor to the wall creates desktop space, and it’s easy to set up.

The mount has a one-year warranty from AmazonBasics. More than 1,000 users give it 4.4 stars on Amazon.

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18
Mar

Should you buy physical or digital PlayStation 4 games?


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Can’t decide on physical or digital? Let us help!

Digital or physical? It’s an age-old question that only started being asked just recently. Once all of our consoles were constantly connected to the internet, we entered a world where it was no longer necessary to trudge out to your local game store to acquire the newest game. You can now sit in the comfort of your own home and the games come to you. If you have a PlayStation 4 and you’re having trouble deciding what format to buy games in, read on and we will go over the benefits of each format in order to help you choose

All in on Digital

Saving space- If you are a gamer with an unending thirst for new games but a finite amount of space, then digital may be the way to go. You can build a massive library of games which only consumes space on your hard drive but none in meatspace.

Get games sooner- If you want to start playing a game the very second that release day starts, then you probably want to go digital. Often, with digital releases you can pre-install the game and the moment midnight strikes, you can start playing. Your friends that play physical games will have to wait until the store opens in the morning. And even if there is a midnight release at a local retailer, physical gamers will almost always have to download some updates before they get started.

Savings– If you’re looking to save some bucks, you may want to look to the PSN Store. In what seems to be an obvious attempt to compete with Steam, PSN has offered some pretty incredible sales and discounts in the last few years. Brick and mortar retailers are often unable to offer such deep discounts. If savings is job one, then digital may be your solution.

Only Physical for me!

Taking up space– Some of us absolutely love seeing all of our games stacked up in neat little rows. This is an itch that a digital library simply cannot scratch. If you like having a visible library of games to look at and show off to your friends, then physical games are definitely going to be the choice for you.

Resale value- One thing that digital games simply cannot offer is the ability to resell your games. If you’re the sort of person that finishes a game and never picks it up again, then it might make sense to take it back to your brick and mortar in order to make a dent in the cost of your next purchase. In addition, loaning a digital game to a friend is pretty much a non-starter.

Buy local- another upside to buying physical games is that it offers you the opportunity to support local gaming shops in your area. If the ability to go into a store and browse games is a thing that’s important to you, then it’s important to remember to spend some money there. If you want to ensure that game shops don’t go the way of the video store then this is something to keep in mind.

Ultimately, the choice between digital and physical formats is a matter of preference. Figure out what is most important to you and your game library and make your descion based on those needs. There is no right or wrong answer, just the one that fits your lifestyle best.

How do you buy your games?

Do you prefer digital or physical video games? Let us know your reasoning below!

Why are we talking about PlayStation 4 on Android Central? Let us explain.

PlayStation 4

ps4-controllers.jpg

  • PS4 vs. PS4 Slim vs. PS4 Pro: Which should you buy?
  • PlayStation VR Review
  • Playing PS4 games through your phone is awesome

Amazon

18
Mar

Coca-Cola and US government use blockchain to curb forced labor


The quest to end forced labor has created some unusual technological allies. Coca-Cola, the US State Department and a trio of crypto organizations (Bitfury Group, Blockchain Trust Accelerator and Emercoin) have launched a pilot project that will use blockchain to enforce worker rights. The initiative would use blockchain’s distributed ledger technology to create a secure, decentralized registry for workers and their contracts. They’d not only have the sort of identification that isn’t always guaranteed, but a trail of evidence in case employers abuse their power or don’t honor their end of a bargain.

Coca-Cola is playing a major role as part of a pledge to conduct 28 national studies on labor and land rights for its sugar supply chains before 2020. Ideally, this tackles complaints that it and similar companies fail to protect workers’ rights at every step. The State Department will offer its experience with labor protection, while Bitfury Group and Emercoin are producing the blockchain platform itself. Blockchain Trust Accelerator is a non-profit aiming to use its namesake tech for social good.

The pilot already has its limits. Blockchain can persuade companies and governments to respect work contracts, but it can’t make them respect those contracts. Also, blockchain’s digital nature raises some implementation questions: how do you ensure that workers can access their info when many of those affected might not even have a smartphone? The project is still young, however, and this could still represent an improvement over a modern employment system that frequently lets companies abuse workers with relatively little consequence.

Source: Reuters

18
Mar

Twitter may be the next to ban cryptocurrency ads


Twitter may soon join Facebook and Google in cracking down on ads for cryptocurrency-related products. Sky sources have claimed the social network will institute worldwide ban against ads for initial coin offerings, cryptocurrency wallets and token sales within the next two weeks. It might also ban ads for cryptocurrency exchanges with “some limited exceptions,” according to the apparent leak.

The company told Engadget it had no comment at the moment.

While the tipsters didn’t provide Twitter’s exact reasoning, it’s likely to be the same as for the site’s peers: it doesn’t want to knowingly put users at risk. Many ICOs and token sales have uncertain prospects, and in the worst cases are take-the-money-and-run scams. Meld that with the threat of hackers and there’s a real chance investors will lose money, with little recourse if things go sour. More regulations are likely coming, but that’s not much comfort to Twitter, Google and others who face pressure to protect their users while the crypto market remains a wild frontier.

Source: Sky

18
Mar

Best Cheap Android Phones in 2018


  • Best overall
  • Best for all-metal
  • Best for software
  • Best for even less
  • Best for battery life

Best overall

Moto G5 Plus

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See at Amazon

Motorola performed yet another pricing miracle with the Moto G5 Plus, the successor to the excellent Moto G4 series and a contender for the best affordable smartphone today.

It starts with the excellent 5.2-inch Full HD display, but the real benefit to the G5 Plus this year is the excellent performance and battery life from the combination of a Snapdragon 625 platform and a 3000mAh battery.

Also of note is the improved low-light performance from the 12MP camera, which boasts the same hardware as (and similar results to) the Galaxy S7.

Bottom line: This is the best sub-$250 phone you can buy today, and it’s still a great device even if price isn’t a factor.

One more thing: Motorola.com is offering the Moto G5 Plus with inexpensive financing if you don’t want to pay up front.

Why the Moto G5 Plus is the best

Motorola has changed up the phone’s design with the Moto G5 Plus, adding a metal back and a more compact, mature look that complements the Moto Z series, and the excellent 5.2-inch IPS display is easily manageable in one hand. Also improved is the improved shape of the front fingerprint sensor, which is turned oblong and considerably easier to activate.

Motorola has also bestowed a fantastic camera on the Moto G5 Plus, giving it the same 12MP sensor and lens combination that’s in the Galaxy S7 — though the results aren’t quite as good. The phone isn’t perfect — there’s no NFC on the U.S. model, and it still uses the older Micro-USB charging port — but it’s close. It also works on all four U.S. carriers, so Verizon and Sprint users are still in the game.

While we’re looking forward to the Moto G6 series — the Moto G5 Plus was announced over a year ago, in February 2017 — this is still the best sub-$250 phone you can buy, especially since the 4GB RAM / 64GB storage variant frequently goes on sale.

Best for T-Mobile and AT&T

Honor 7X

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See at Amazon

A big upgrade to the Honor 6X is the Honor 7X, a capable and well-made all-metal budget phone coming in at $199. Launching with Android 7.0-based EMUI 5.1, the device takes everything that made its predecessor good and adds a great new design, an improved dual camera setup, and plenty of power from the Kirin 659 chip and 3GB of RAM. Best of all, the new 5.9-inch 2:1 screen is bright and beautiful, and provides plenty of space for, well, everything!

Bottom-line: A fantastic flagship-like experience at $200 — now with more Android 8.0 Oreo!

One more thing: If you’re looking to save a bit of money, or get it from Amazon, the Honor 6X is a solid pick at $140.

Best for software

Nokia 6 (Prime Exclusive)

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See at Amazon

The caretaker of Nokia’s smartphone brand, Finnish upstart HMD Global, has made a name for itself over the past year by releasing phones that are reliably well-made and extremely enjoyable to use. The Nokia 6 is one such phone, and at $199 from Amazon’s excellent Prime Exclusive program, you get a lot for the money here.

While the Snapdragon 430 processor lacks the power of the Moto or Huawei above, the rest of the experience, especially the pared-down Android 7.1-based software (soon to be based on Android One) is the perfect blend of power and simplicity.

Bottom line: If you can stand some Amazon app pre-installs, this phone will not disappoint.

One more thing: Even without Amazon Prime, this phone is relatively inexpensive at just over $230.

Best for even less

Moto E4

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See at Amazon

The Moto E line has always been about getting a barebones smartphone experience in order to get a super low price, and that’s where the Moto E4 still lands. The specs aren’t amazing, nor is the physical design, but you get that core Moto DNA that means this is a slick little phone for a great price.

You get a 5-inch HD display, a Snapdragon 425 processor, and 2800mAh battery. But you also get nice-to-haves at this price, like an 8MP auto focus camera and a fingerprint sensor.

It all retails for just $129 brand new, and it’s tough to argue with that. Amazon has a Prime Exclusive version for $99, and Verizon’s prepaid service charges just $70 for this phone — both are a steal of a deal.

Bottom-line: For a bargain basement price, it’s tough to get a phone that performs better or has the features of the Moto E4.

One more thing: Be on the lookout for better deals and sales — this is a phone that will be discounted regularly to entice budget buyers.

Best for battery

Moto E4 Plus

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See at Amazon

Whereas you get a lot for your money with the Moto E4, its Plus variant is only slightly more expensive and gives you a bigger screen, slightly more power and, best of all, a massive 5000mAh battery that lasts, well, forever.

Aside from that two (or three) day battery life, you get a decent 13MP rear camera, a nice 5MP front-facing camera with a flash, and Motorola’s excellent Android software. The phone is available for a reasonable $139.99 through Amazon’s Prime Exclusive series, but its $179.99 MSRP isn’t bad, either.

Bottom-line: The Moto E4 Plus is one long-lasting candy handset. Expect two or three days on a single charge.

One more thing: It’s compatible with all four major U.S. carriers, including Verizon and Sprint.

Conclusion

If you don’t want to spend over $250 and still want a great Android phone, the Moto G5 Plus is the best choice. You don’t get the best looking or feeling phone, but it offers a top-notch experience, especially for the price.

Best overall

Moto G5 Plus

moto-g5-plus-review-7.jpg?itok=ipIG4zIw

See at Amazon

Motorola performed yet another pricing miracle with the Moto G5 Plus, the successor to the excellent Moto G4 series and a contender for the best affordable smartphone today.

It starts with the excellent 5.2-inch Full HD display, but the real benefit to the G5 Plus this year is the excellent performance and battery life from the combination of a Snapdragon 625 platform and a 30000mAh battery.

Also of note is the improved low-light performance from the 12MP camera, which boasts the same hardware as (and similar results to) the Galaxy S7.

Bottom line: This is the best sub-$250 phone you can buy today, and it’s still a great device even if price isn’t a factor.

One more thing: Motorola.com is offering the Moto G5 Plus with inexpensive financing if you don’t want to pay up front.

Updated March 2018: We’ve added the excellent Nokia 6 to this list of the best cheap phones you can buy.

18
Mar

Become an Excel whiz with this bundle of training courses!


Microsoft’s Excel, the spreadsheet tool in its Office suite, has an incredible amount of depth that most people never touch. Figures and graphs are what Excel is usually used for, but there’s so much more potential if you have the correct knowledge.

Use coupon code MADMARCH10 for additional 10% off! Learn more

Whether it’s PivotTables, Pivot Charts, macros, or powerful formulas, in-depth Excel training to automate spreadsheets and solve complex problems can be quite expensive. There’s a lot of content to cover, and there are many questions to answer.

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If you’re interested in extensive spreadsheet training, Android Central right now has a Microsoft Excel course that includes over 70 hours of content spread over four courses. Instead of paying the regular price of $1,380, you’ll instead pay just $49. That’s 96 percent off the regular price!

Use coupon code MADMARCH10 and pay just $44.10! Learn more

Access to this course remains open forever, so even if you don’t have the time at this moment, you can jump in whenever you’d like. At just $49 for extensive Excel training, how can you go wrong?

18
Mar

After Math: Space Farce


It was a parabolic week for space nerds. The president teased the creation of a fourth military branch dubbed the “Space Force,” world-renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking passed away at the age of 76, and NASA’s acting chief retired without someone ready to succeed him. But hey, at least to listen to Elon Musk’s Wonka-esque visions for the future of spaceflight during his sold out SXSW keynote. Numbers because the only thing harder than math is space.

2019: Elon Musk is not messing around with this whole “Get your ass to Mars” plan of his. He announced at SXSW this week that he intends to test the 31-engine BFR rocket in “short up-and-down flights” some point in the first half of next year. Capable of carrying 5 times as much cargo as the Falcon Heavy, getting the BFR off the ground should make colonizing the moon a snap.

Stephen Hawking

76 years: Professor Stephen Hawking, one of the only people in history who upon entering a room automatically became the smartest person in it, passed away this week at the age of 76. His life’s work revolutionized humanity’s understanding of the Universe, while inspiring generations of young scientists to seek out secrets hidden among the stars.

The Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) earth observation satellite CARTOSAT -2, onboard the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C40) along with 28 satellites from six foreign countries including the US, France, Finland, South and Canada, launches at Satish dawan space center in Sriharikota in the state of Andhra Pradesh on January 12, 2018.India's Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) launches its 100th satellite. / AFP PHOTO / ARUN SANKAR        (Photo credit should read ARUN SANKAR/AFP/Getty Images)

4: Regulations are there for a reason but hey, space-tech startup Swarm Technologies, don’t let a little thing like the federal government stand in the way of lobbing a quartet of microsatellites into orbit. I mean, what’s the FCC going to do? Revoke its approval for your subsequent launches?

14 months: It shouldn’t be that surprising, given the astronomical rate of turnover in this administration as well as its nearly pathological inability to staff federal agencies, but NASA’s about to have yet another vacancy to go unfilled. After just over a year, the acting administrator, Robert M. Lightfoot Jr., announced that he will be stepping down on April 30th. No successor has yet been named for what is NASA’s second most senior position.

115,000 feet: Netflix typically isn’t the first name that springs to mind when one thinks of space travel — though it is pretty near the top of the list when it comes to self-promoting stunts. For this year’s company Hack Day, a group of enterprising employees launched an iPhone loaded with Star Trek episodes into the heavens where it will boldly go on to become orbital space trash.

U.S. President Donald Trump pumps his fist after speaking at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego, California, U.S. March 13, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

2017: “We may even have a Space Force, develop another one, Space Force. We have the Air Force, we’ll have the Space Force.”

18
Mar

L’Oreal buys an augmented reality beauty app maker


Makeup empire L’Oreal wants to promote its huge collection of brands the high-tech way, so it’s buying Modiface to make that happen. It’s now in the process of acquiring the beauty tech company, which has been teaming up with big cosmetics brands for over a decade to create augmented reality apps for mobile and desktop. Modiface’s AR tech powers quite a lengthy list of beauty apps, including a website where you can digitally try on Estee Lauder’s lipsticks, which you can see in the image above.

It also provides the magic behind Benefit’s perfect brow-finder, Sephora’s Virtual Artist App, which gives you way to see what the retailer’s products look like on your face, and even Bixby Vision’s make-up tool for the S9 and the S9+. In addition to apps, Modiface also develops AR mirrors that can superimpose makeup on your face in real time.

The company previously worked with L’Oreal to create an app that allows you try on various hairstyles and colors on a selfie. Now that its (70) developers and engineers are officially joining the Paris-based cosmetics giant, L’Oreal’s hair products aren’t the only ones getting the AR app treatment. Modiface will fulfill its existing contracts with other companies, but it will focus on creating digital experiences for L’Oreal’s 30-plus brands going forward.

It’s unclear if all those brands are getting their own individual apps, but they include drugstore makeup-makers Maybelline and Nyx, as well as luxury cosmetics companies Lancôme and YSL. Considering those high-end brands’ products can cost an arm, a leg and your favorite eyebrow, it’ll be nice having an AR app you can consult before shelling out $40-or-so for a tube of lipstick that makes you look like a corpse or a floating pair of lips.

Source: Bloomberg

18
Mar

How to stop your PlayStation 4 from starting up in safe mode


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Time to get back to your normal PlayStation 4 menu

Sometimes choosing options that could change your console entirely can be anxiety-inducing, especially when PlayStation’s Safe Mode has, not one, but two options for initialization. You also may have come across the problem where your PlayStation won’t stop launching in safe mode. Take a deep breath, we’ve got some advice to get you out of Safe Mode and back to your games and streams!

What is safe mode?

First things first, let’s take a look at what this is so you can better understand why your PlayStation may be launching in it. Safe mode on a PS4 is basically the same Safe Mode option your computer has. If your system isn’t starting up normally then Safe Mode will start up your console with some basic functions to help find a solution to get your PS4 working again. Furthermore, if you’re PS4 is starting up normally but is having some issues you can launch into this options yourself and see if the menu options can help get them solved!

To get into the safe mode you follow these few steps:

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Note: Do not attempt to go into safe mode if your USB ports are not working. The steps to get into it will require you to re-sync your controller through the USB ports. Click here to see options for getting your USB ports working again before you move forward.

Start with your console being off.
Press and hold the power button until you hear two beeps: one when you first press, and another seven seconds later.
Connect the DualShock 4 controller with the USB cable and press the PS button on the controller.

First choice options

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If you turned on your PlayStation and have been met with this screen, it is attempting to start in Safe Mode. Here we’ll let you know the different options you have to get out, and why these problems might be happening to you. Make sure you have a USB cable that will allow data transfer to sync your controller. Most chargers have this ability already, but thankfully you can find one on Amazon for $8.49 if you find that your cord is not working.

See on Amazon

These options are the ones you want to try out before anything else because none of them have any risk of you losing any precious data!

  • Using the Menu option to exit Safe Mode normally
  • Updating your system software
  • Unplugging the console
  • Rebuild Database
  • Checking your USB cables
  • Sending it in for repairs
  • Go on to more extensive options

Using the Menu option to exit Safe Mode normally

The Safe Mode actually has a menu option to re-launch the PlayStation in regular mode. Although “Restart PS4” might look like it might reset your device’s memory, have no fear because it won’t. Following these steps will only cause your PlayStation to shut down and, after a few moments, restart with a message saying, “Welcome back to PlayStation.”

Connect your controller to your PlayStation via USB port.
Select the first menu option. It will be labeled “Restart PS4”.

Updating your system software

Whether your PlayStation is not normally connected to the internet or you lost power/connection during the update, lacking the required updates can cause your console to have a conniption. Within the Safe Mode options, you’ll see a few different options for updating your system. We’ll go into the more in-depth options later, but for now, let’s look at the easiest one.

Connect your PlayStation to the internet.
Select “Update System Software” from the Safe Mode menu option.

If you do not have the means to connect your PlayStation to the internet:

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Be sure to have 375 MB of free space on the USB of your choosing.

On the USB storage device create a folder named “PS4”.
Inside that folder, create another folder named “UPDATE” (See above.)
Download the update to a USB port from here, and save it inside of the “UPDATE” folder with the name “PS4UPDATE.PUP”
Connect the USB to one of your USB ports on your PlayStation.
Select “Update System Software” from the Safe Mode menu option.

Unplugging the console

If your PlayStation is still starting in Safe Mode after selecting “Restart PS4” from the menu options you should try unplugging your system entirely. The good ole’ “unplug it, and plug it back in” solution has an odd success rate.

Shut your PlayStation down properly with the Power Button to avoid the “PlayStation was not shut off properly” error code.
Unplug your consoles power cord.
Leave it unplugged for 20 minutes minimum.
Plug the cable back in and turn on your console.
If it still loads into Safe Mode attempt to use the menu option of “Restart PS4” once more.

Rebuild Database

This is the 5th option on the Safe Mode menu and will scan the hard drive of your PS4 to create a new database of all the content (games and apps) on the system. While this does not fix any hard drive issues for the system itself, any compromising data from a game or app that could be the source of your problems will be amended. None of your safe files will be compromised with this option.

Connect your PlayStation to the internet.
Select “Rebuild Database” from the Safe Mode menu.
Leave your console alone, as this process will take quite some time.

Check your USB cables

If your PS4 is not only starting in Safe Mode but not allowing you to navigate the menu options chances are there is a hardware issue. Before you do anything try changing out your HDMI cables. Another PlayStation user was met with this terrible fate and found that changing his cables allowed him to navigate the menu to use the “Restart PS4” option and get back to his regular boot mode. Luckily you can find some pretty good HDMI cables on Amazon for about $12.99.

See on Amazon

Sending in your PlayStation for repairs

Depending on your warranty, you may be either entirely covered for the fix or have to dish out a bit of cash for your console to be repaired. Unfortunately, unless you are willing to move on and attempt to initialize your PlayStation (removing all of your personal data), this is your last option. Sending your console back means the experts themselves will be able to take a look at the issues and hopefully fix them without your data being compromised. Be sure to ask if they have a way to transfer your data to an external hard drive before they try anything as the options to do so yourself will not be available from the Safe Mode menu options!

Initializing your PlayStation 4

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This is the last measure option to getting your PlayStation out of Safe Mode, because both of these options will permanently delete all data and settings from your PS4 system.

Initialize option

This option will delete all user data and restore the PS4 to its original state. While the firmware will still be intact it will remove all trace of you ever owning this PlayStation. This will permanently delete all data and settings from your PS4 system. To do this, select the *Initialize PS4″ option from the Safe Mode menu. You do not need to be connected to the internet, but you will need to leave your PlayStation on and running for quite some time without disturbance.

Initialize PS4 (Reinstall System Software)

This option will not only delete all user data but it will also remove the PS4 firmware. This will basically have your PlayStation start from absolute scratch for your to reinstall all of the firmware with a fresh new device. This will permanently delete all data and settings from your PS4 system.

On the USB storage device create a folder named “PS4”.
Inside that folder, create another folder named “UPDATE” (See above.)
Download the update to a USB port from here, and save it inside of the “UPDATE” folder with the name “PS4UPDATE.PUP”
Connect the USB to one of your USB ports on your PlayStation.
Select “Initialize PS4 (Reinstall System Software)” from the Safe Mode menu option.

Get back to enjoying your downtime

Were you able to get your PlayStation back to a regular launch by one of these solutions? Are you still experiencing problems? Let us know in the comment section below!

PlayStation 4

ps4-controllers.jpg

  • PS4 vs. PS4 Slim vs. PS4 Pro: Which should you buy?
  • PlayStation VR Review
  • Playing PS4 games through your phone is awesome

Amazon

18
Mar

GE test-flies the world’s largest jet engine


Airliners are growing ever bigger to haul more people per flight, which means they need appropriately massive engines — and GE Aviation is happy to oblige. It recently conducted the first test flight of the GE9X, widely billed as the world’s largest jet engine. It’s easy to believe the claim from a glimpse (it’s as wide as a Boeing 737), but the specs back it up as well: it has a whopping 11.2ft diameter front fan that, combined with carbon fiber blades, a next-gen high-pressure compressor and a new combustor, puts out over 100,000 pounds of thrust. For comparison, some of the earliest GE90 engines aboard Boeing 777s kicked out ‘just’ 74,000 pounds.

All that extra brawn is necessary. The GE9X is destined for Boeing’s stretched-out 777X series, where even the smaller -8X variant will carry 353 passengers (the larger -9X will haul 407). There’s even talk of a mammoth 450-passenger 10X that would compete with the likes of Airbus’ A380. If Boeing is going to compete in that size class while promising a more efficient design (it’s 10 percent more efficient than the GE90), it has to step up its design skills.

The GE9X should be certified for flight in 2019, when the 777X should undergo its first test flight. Full-on commercial service isn’t expected until December of that year at the earliest. Whenever it is ready, it could easily influence air travel by sparking more competition for long-haul flights. After all, you may fly with a carrier more often if there are more available seats at the times you prefer to leave.

Via: New Atlas

Source: GE Aviation

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