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9
Jun

Starship Technologies gets the cash to make its delivery robot dream a reality


Starship Technologies

Whether it’s airborne delivery drones like Amazon’s Prime Air initiative or ground-based delivery robots, we can honestly say that, for the first time in our lives, topics like “the future of conveyance infrastructure” carry genuine interest. It’s apparently not just us, either. Plenty of people — investors included — are excited about this next phase in delivery. To that end, robot delivery company Starship Technologies recently announced that it has secured an additional eight-figure round of funding to expand its growing fleet of six-wheeled robots.

“Starship has raised an additional $25 million dollars to take its service to market,” Ahti Heinla, co-founder of Starship Technologies, told Digital Trends. “The funding comes as we announce the full commercial rollout of services in the U.S. and Europe. Starship is already the world’s leading provider of autonomous delivery services, and we plan to capitalize on that position.”

The generous cash injection came from existing investors Matrix Partners and Morpheus Ventures, along with extra funding from Airbnb co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk and Skype founding engineer Jaan Tallinn. The news follows soon after the global introduction of the company’s autonomous delivery bots, which are now deployed on college campuses and in neighborhoods around the world. The money will go toward greatly expanding the fleet — which is hoped to exceed 1,000 robots across 20 work and academic campuses, as well as various neighborhoods, in the next year.

Starship Technologies

That is not the only bit of good news for Starship. To help it reach its goal, the company announced its new CEO, Airbnb veteran Lex Bayer. Heinla, the current CEO, will instead step into the chief technology officer position to make way for Bayer.

“Lex Bayer joins to strengthen the leadership team for the next stage of the company’s journey,” Heinla continued. “He has a wealth of experience in scaling tech companies and bringing revolutionary ideas to market. We’re looking forward to working with him as we prepare to scale our service across the globe.”

Considering that Starship Technologies only started in 2014, it’s amazing to see how far it has come in a few short years. With the promise of increased deliveries from the company’s autonomous robots — which navigate using a plethora of smart sensors, cameras, and GPS tech — we can’t wait to see what the remainder of 2018 and into 2019 will hold.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • A fleet of delivery robots could soon be coming to a campus near you
  • Waymo orders a huge number of self-driving cars for robot taxi services
  • Airbnb’s new filters aim to improve searches for guests with disabilities
  • Apple and Volkswagen are reportedly partnering to build self-driving vans
  • Elon Musk is sick of Tesla’s bad press, so he’s going to do something about it



9
Jun

9 bizarre drones, from web slingers to lake hoppers


Richard Newstead/Getty Images

As big a drone fans as we are, one of the most exciting things about watching the industry over the past few years has been seeing it evolve, mature, and enter the mainstream. But with maturation comes standardization — and there’s no doubt that some of the best drones out there, like the best smartphones, can often have far more in common than they do separating them.

But while the mainstream drone space may have found its groove, there are still plenty of unusual projects taking place at the fringes. Without further ado, then, here are some of the weirdest, coolest, and most unusual drone projects going on right now.

Spider-drone

To riff on the lyrics of the classic 1960s Spider-Man cartoon: “Spider-drone, spider-drone // Spins some webs and then it’s gone.” If ever there was a drone we can totally imagine Peter Parker buying, it’s this innovative creation called SpiderMAV.

Developed by researchers at the U.K.’s Imperial College London, it’s a modified DJI Matrice 100 drone, complete with magnetic perching module and web-shooting abilities. When SpiderMAV finds a magnetic surface it wants to perch under, it fires out a line a line of spider silk-style polystyrene thread, and then uses this to enjoy some motor-free hangtime.

Hop, skip, and drone

Drones have limited battery and, as a result, range. One way to solve that? The University of Sherbrooke’s SUWAVE drone is a lake-hopping drone that is designed to fly short distances, land in a body of water such as a lake, recharge using in-built solar panels, and then take off again.

Okay, so relying on regular still bodies of water somewhat limits where it can fly. But as an unorthodox solution to the problem, it’s incredibly smart. And it’s not the only innovative University of Sherbrooke drone, either…

A drone that can land on walls

Another drone created by researchers at Canada’s University of Sherbrooke, the Multimodal Autonomous Drone (S-MAD) is a flying squirrel-inspired fixed-wing drone that is capable of landing and taking off from vertical surfaces.

By landing on walls, the idea is that S-MAD could either recharge at regular intervals or else carry out long duration surveillance. Not only is the idea unusual, but the tech that’s necessary to land on a wall without smashing into pieces in the process is pretty darn impressive.

A drone you can ride in

The word “drone” is often used synonymously with UAV, a.k.a. Unmanned Aerial Vehicle. That’s not exactly the case with the so-called Passenger Drone because, well, it’s entire purpose is to be manned. Offering room for two passengers and controlled by a touchscreen, the Passenger Drone is propelled through the heavens by 16 rotors.

Instead of steering it, the idea is that users will draw their route on a map. The drone will then fly them there, with autonomous driving tech making sure that nothing is collided with en route. There’s no word on when it will be available to buy, or how much it will cost, but just the knowledge that the Passenger Drone is in development makes us feel more cheerful about future commutes into work.

The world’s fastest drone

This drone is unusual not in the sense that it clings to walls, fires webs or any of the other wacky innovations in this list, but because it’s fast. Like, really, really fast. While regular drones are capable of reaching speeds of around 40 mph, the Drone Racing League’s DRL RacerX last year set a new drone speed record of 163.5 mph.

To put that in context, it’s around one-fifth the speed of sound. Impressively, DRL RacerX actually managed a top speed of 179.6 mph, but due to the averaging process that determines how the Guinness World Record is recorded, this did not count as the final score.

A drone with a gun

Have you ever looked at a drone and wished it came with a mounted firearm attachment? Quite possibly not, but then again you’re probably not the target market for Duke Robotics’ TIKAD.

Intended for military deployment, TIKAD is a 110-pound drone that’s designed to sport a plethora of semi automatic weapons in addition to a 40mm grenade launcher.

A flying cellular base station

Created as a research project at the University of North Texas, this innovative drone project is intended to act a flying cell tower for use in disaster zones when communications are down. Carrying a cellular base station as a payload, the drone is capable of providing cellular coverage up to two kilometers.

Were it to be scaled up, as the researchers think it can be, it could provide temporary cellular coverage to a city with a population of more than 100,000. In the aftermath of a natural disaster, that could be a genuine lifesaver!

Move over quadcopters, here’s a… hexacopter?

Called Voliro, this hexacopter with six individually tiltable axes was created by students from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and Zurich University of the Arts. Unlike regular drones, Voliro’s creators claim that it can offer a massive 12 degrees of freedom in the air.

That means that it can fly vertically, upside down, or at any other angle in a way that would make your average drone green with envy. Right now it’s still a research project regarding the potential of omnidirectional fight. Still, possible commercialization hasn’t been ruled out for the future.

A drone that can fly for an entire year, non-stop

While a typical drone has a flight time of up to 20 minutes, cutting-edge British companies BAE Systems and Prismatic are developing an ultralight, high-altitude drone which could achieve flight times of anywhere up to 12 months!

Called PHASA-35, it’s a drone with a wingspan of 35 meters that uses a combination of long-life battery technology and ultra-lightweight solar cells. The craft has been in development for the past two years, and a quarter-scale model took to the skies in 2017 for a test flight.

The team behind it is now hoping the real thing will be ready for test flights of two production prototypes sometime in the second half of 2019.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • From vaping to drones, 8 tech trends we may look back on and cringe
  • Here’s what to expect from Electronic Arts at EA Play 2018
  • We’re closer to China’s disturbing ‘Social Credit System’ than you realize
  • LED baseball cap fools facial-recognition tech into thinking you’re someone else
  • How to take a screenshot on a PC



9
Jun

High-end Always Connected Windows 10 PCs may pack Snapdragon 1000 in 2018


Qualcomm is supposedly tackling Intel head-on by producing a Snapdragon 1000 chip targeting high-end Always Connected Windows 10 PCs. There are no specific details for now, only that it will draw more power at around 12 watts than the upcoming 6.5-watt Snapdragon 850 chip designed specifically for Windows 10 PCs. That power requirement would put Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 1000 in league with Intel’s 15-watt Core “U” series processors installed in most current Windows 10 laptops and 2-in-1s. 

The news arrives after ARM introduced its new Cortex-A76 processor design last week. Chips manufactured by Apple, Qualcomm, Samsung, and many others are based on ARM’s processor architectures that target high performance with little power draw on mobile devices. ARM’s designs are completely different than what you see provided by AMD and Intel (x86) thus Qualcomm chips and Intel processors seemingly “speak different languages.” 

While ARM’s processor architectures dominate the smartphone and tablet markets, Intel (and AMD to some degree) still rule the laptop and desktop markets. But ARM aims to change that, as its new Cortex-A76 design promises to provide laptop-class performance while keeping the same power draw required for smartphones. In Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 1000, these Cortex-A76 cores could be joined by Cortex-A55 cores that will kick on when you don’t need a lot of processing horsepower. 

Qualcomm is expected to introduce the Snapdragon 1000 later this year, possibly during the third-annual Snapdragon Technology Summit, given the company introduced its “always connected” initiative with Microsoft during last year’s show in December. At the time, Asus and HP were among the first manufacturers to jump on the always-connected bandwagon, producing laptops based on the Snapdragon 835 chip. The always-connected aspect stems from seamless movement from Wi-Fi to LTE no matter where you are, complemented by a battery life of more than 20 hours. 

Asus is supposedly one of the first to use the Snapdragon 1000 in an always-connected PC. Code-named “Primus,” the motherboard within the laptop design is said to support 15 watts, so perhaps Asus plans to increase the base and boost speeds to get more performance out of the Snapdragon chip. The chip will reportedly support at least one display with a 2K resolution and WiGig connectivity. 

Microsoft’s Always Connected initiative with Qualcomm is its second attempt to bring Windows to ARM-based devices. Microsoft’s first entry was Windows RT for the original Surface tablet, which confused and annoyed owners because they couldn’t run their favorite desktop software on the device. Why? Because ARM-based chips speak a different “language” than AMD- and Intel-based processors. The last release of Windows RT was on September 15, 2015. 

Now we have Windows on ARM. With Microsoft’s Universal Windows Platform foundation in full force, developers can use a common application programming interface to create apps that run on all Windows 10 devices, whether it’s an always-connected laptop, a desktop, a smartphone, or the Xbox One. 

With all of this said, Qualcomm’s always-connected roadmap seems to indicate PCs with the Snapdragon 850 will arrive “later this year” followed by Snapdragon 1000 units possibly landing toward the beginning of 2019. 

Editors’ Recommendations

  • HP reopens pre-orders for its first ‘always connected’ Windows 10 PC
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 850 is made for Windows PCs with ‘innovative form factors’
  • Samsung may be developing a Snapdragon 850-powered Windows 2-in-1
  • Dell is reportedly working on its dual-screen version of the Surface Phone
  • Microsoft is giving Always Connected PCs a performance boost and more apps



9
Jun

High-end Always Connected Windows 10 PCs may pack Snapdragon 1000 in 2018


Qualcomm is supposedly tackling Intel head-on by producing a Snapdragon 1000 chip targeting high-end Always Connected Windows 10 PCs. There are no specific details for now, only that it will draw more power at around 12 watts than the upcoming 6.5-watt Snapdragon 850 chip designed specifically for Windows 10 PCs. That power requirement would put Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 1000 in league with Intel’s 15-watt Core “U” series processors installed in most current Windows 10 laptops and 2-in-1s. 

The news arrives after ARM introduced its new Cortex-A76 processor design last week. Chips manufactured by Apple, Qualcomm, Samsung, and many others are based on ARM’s processor architectures that target high performance with little power draw on mobile devices. ARM’s designs are completely different than what you see provided by AMD and Intel (x86) thus Qualcomm chips and Intel processors seemingly “speak different languages.” 

While ARM’s processor architectures dominate the smartphone and tablet markets, Intel (and AMD to some degree) still rule the laptop and desktop markets. But ARM aims to change that, as its new Cortex-A76 design promises to provide laptop-class performance while keeping the same power draw required for smartphones. In Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 1000, these Cortex-A76 cores could be joined by Cortex-A55 cores that will kick on when you don’t need a lot of processing horsepower. 

Qualcomm is expected to introduce the Snapdragon 1000 later this year, possibly during the third-annual Snapdragon Technology Summit, given the company introduced its “always connected” initiative with Microsoft during last year’s show in December. At the time, Asus and HP were among the first manufacturers to jump on the always-connected bandwagon, producing laptops based on the Snapdragon 835 chip. The always-connected aspect stems from seamless movement from Wi-Fi to LTE no matter where you are, complemented by a battery life of more than 20 hours. 

Asus is supposedly one of the first to use the Snapdragon 1000 in an always-connected PC. Code-named “Primus,” the motherboard within the laptop design is said to support 15 watts, so perhaps Asus plans to increase the base and boost speeds to get more performance out of the Snapdragon chip. The chip will reportedly support at least one display with a 2K resolution and WiGig connectivity. 

Microsoft’s Always Connected initiative with Qualcomm is its second attempt to bring Windows to ARM-based devices. Microsoft’s first entry was Windows RT for the original Surface tablet, which confused and annoyed owners because they couldn’t run their favorite desktop software on the device. Why? Because ARM-based chips speak a different “language” than AMD- and Intel-based processors. The last release of Windows RT was on September 15, 2015. 

Now we have Windows on ARM. With Microsoft’s Universal Windows Platform foundation in full force, developers can use a common application programming interface to create apps that run on all Windows 10 devices, whether it’s an always-connected laptop, a desktop, a smartphone, or the Xbox One. 

With all of this said, Qualcomm’s always-connected roadmap seems to indicate PCs with the Snapdragon 850 will arrive “later this year” followed by Snapdragon 1000 units possibly landing toward the beginning of 2019. 

Editors’ Recommendations

  • HP reopens pre-orders for its first ‘always connected’ Windows 10 PC
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 850 is made for Windows PCs with ‘innovative form factors’
  • Samsung may be developing a Snapdragon 850-powered Windows 2-in-1
  • Dell is reportedly working on its dual-screen version of the Surface Phone
  • Microsoft is giving Always Connected PCs a performance boost and more apps



9
Jun

To give bees a break, farmers pollinated an entire apple orchard using drones


With bee populations continuing to decline, farmers, conservationists, and technologists alike are busy searching for a solution to help carry out pollination. A New York-based company recently lent a high-tech hand to assist a local apple orchard pollinate its 300 acres of tasty crops. The Beak & Skiff Apple Orchard in LaFayette called in startup Dropcopter and its pollen-spreading UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) to perform the world’s first apple orchard pollination by drone.

“Since 2015, we have been pollinating almond orchards with drones,” co-founder and CTO Adam Fine told Digital Trends. “We have a patent-pending device which accurately distributes a measured amount of pollen directly over the tree canopy. The drone flies an autonomous prewritten mission optimizing its speed to deliver the most effective application. We are the first real-world testing of automated aerial pollination in the nation.”

Pollination by drone isn’t the only alternative to insect pollination, but it may just be the most efficient current solution. Alternatives include using large tractor-mounted liquid sprayers or leaf blowers driven on quad bikes. Both of these are problematic due to the lack of reach and, in the case of liquid sprayers, the time-sensitive nature of the pollen once it gets mixed with liquid.

Dropcopter

Dropcopter’s drones, meanwhile, can cover 40 acres per hour, and can double the pollination window by also flying at night. This is one advantage they even have over bees since bees don’t fly at nighttime, when flowers remain open. At present, the company is seeking funding to help further improve its drone’s flight path efficiency.

“One-third of all food products rely on insect pollination,” Fine said. “Over the past 25 years, the world has lost one-third of its insect biomass, which is a scary figure since 80 percent of all species on Earth are insects. At the same time, rising populations and changing climates mean we’re going to have less arable land and fresh water to feed the 9 billion people that will be on this planet in the next 50 years. We are going to have to farm far more efficiently with far fewer resources to meet the 60 percent increase in crop production necessary to feed those 9 billion people.”

Using drones to pollinate crops doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to get to the bottom of the current crisis affecting bees. But just like other forward-looking projects such as robot bees (yes, really!), drones like Dropcopter’s could serve as a useful supplement for when bees are unavailable or weather prevents them from flying. Since a 1,000 acre farm can spend $400,000 on honeybees alone each year, they could even turn out to be a cost saver.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • In bid to compete with Amazon, Walmart files patents for farming drones
  • The best drone apps
  • This super-sized drone has several tricks up its sleeve
  • Powered by a laser, this insect-sized RoboFly can take off and land wirelessly
  • Watch your lawn mower cut your grass – while you sit on your front porch sipping a beer



9
Jun

Best Leather Bands for Samsung Gear S3


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Looking for the perfect leather band for your Samsung Gear S3? Then look no further than this list!

Having a Samsung Gear S3 means that you can do a ton of awesome things with your fancy-schmancy wearable, but you know what you can’t do straight out of the box?

Look stylin’ with a leather band.

Luckily for you, there are a couple of leather bands for your Samsung Gear S3 that are totally worth picking up and putting on your wrist!

Here are the best leather bands out there for your Samsung Gear S3.

  • KADES Genuine Leather Retro Cowhide Smart Watch Band
  • Austrake Replacement Leather Strap Classic
  • TOROTOP Leather Strap Replacement Band
  • Katrice Genuine Leather Strap
  • Swees Classic Genuine Leather Band with Buckle

KADES Genuine Leather Retro Cowhide Smart Watch Band

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Keep it stylish, comfortable, durable, and most importantly, 100% genuine cowhide leather with the KADES Genuine Leather Retro Cowhide Smart Watch Band.

This particular replacement band for your Samsung Gear S3 can easily be installed with quick-release pins, while the timeless, classic look makes it perfect for a day at the office, a night out on the town, or a quick run at the gym.

You can pick up your KADES Genuine Leather Retro Cowhide Smart Watch Band for around $12 to $13 depending on the style or a pack of two for $20.

See at Amazon

Austrake Replacement Leather Strap Classic

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Looking to add a bit of class n’ leather to your Samsung Gear S3? Then look no further than the highly rated Austrake Replacement Leather Strap Classic.

The Austrake Replacement Leather Strap Classic is made from a super comfortable leather, meaning that you can wear it throughout the day without any rubbing or chaffing (plus you can easily adjust the band based on your wrist size).

This specific band comes with a stainless steel buckle, meaning you don’t have to worry about it snapping off if you’re doing some more rigorous activity, like travelling or hiking.

The Austrake Replacement Leather Strap Classic comes in five different color combinations, including a black band with a black buckle, a black band with a silver buckle, a brown band with a silver buckle, a brown band with a black buckle, and a gray band with a silver buckle for $13.

See at Amazon

TOROTOP Leather Strap Replacement Band

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Adding a leather strap to your Samsung Gear S3 is one way to turn heads and take away from that chunky, clunky, techy, wearable vibe: and the TOROTOP Leather Strap Replacement Band does a great job helping with that look!

The TOROTOP Leather Strap Replacement Band is a band that’s made to easily be adjusted, so whether you have really large wrists of smaller wrists, this band’s got your back — er, wrist.

This leather band is made from a soft, genuine leather, and is also super easy to install and uninstall with its one-button removal.

You can pick up the TOROTOP Leather Strap Replacement Band in a number of colors and patterns including crocodile skin red, plain black, plain brown, crocodile skin white, plain red, and plain navy blue for between $15 to $16, or you could pick up a duo pack of the black and brown for $26.

See at Amazon

Katrice Genuine Leather Strap

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Super highly rated, beautiful to look at, affordable, and designed to be worn through a plethora of situations, the Katrice Genuine Leather Strap is a phenomenal leather strap option for your Samsung Gear S3.

This specific watch band has nearly 250 5-star reviews on Amazon, so you know there’s got to be something good there: with its stainless steel buckle and genuine leather design, the Katrice Genuine Leather Strap combines both form and function into one fabulous package.

The Katrice Genuine Leather Strap makes adjusting the strap easy depending on the size of your wrist, while easy to remove pins make it simple to install and reinstall this particular watch band.

You can pick up your very own Katrice Genuine Leather Strap in a number of different varieties and styles, including black braided leather, coffee, brown leather with rainbow stitching, black, black with white stitching, plain brown leather, brown leather with white stitching, and orange leather with white stitching for between $13 to $18.

See at Amazon

Swees Classic Genuine Leather Band with Buckle

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Swees up your life with this genuine leather replacement band for your Samsung Gear S3 that’ll deliver the comfort, the style, and the function you deserve in a watch band.

The Swees Classic Genuine Leather Band with Buckle is designed to be adjusted to fit a variety of wrist sizes, so whether you have a larger wrist or a smaller one, you won’t have to worry about this band slipping off you as you go about your busy day.

This particular band is made from a soft, comfortable genuine leather, while the strap is designed from a tough stainless steel. You can you quick release pins on both ends to clip the band on and off your S3 without a tool.

You can pick up the Swees Classic Genuine Leather Band with Buckle in a number of colors, including black, brown, coffee, dark brown, alligator skin black, alligator skin blue, and alligator skin coffee for between $14 to $17.

See at Amazon

What are your top picks?

Is there a particular leather band that you have in mind that didn’t quite make my list?

Let me know what your top options are in the comments below and I’ll be sure to take a peek at ’em!

Updated June 2018: This article still has the best of the best band options available out there!

9
Jun

The Fire TV Cube is available for pre-order and Prime members get $30 off


Something new and exciting.

Update: The pre-order discount on this item for Prime members ends later tonight. Make sure to get in on this deal while you can!

Amazon Prime members can pre-order the Fire TV Cube streaming media player for $89.99 if they order it before June 8. For everyone else, it is still available for pre-order, but they’ll have to pay $119.99 instead. The pre-order discount ends June 8, and the item releases June 21.

As an extra bonus, if you activate the Fire TV Cube before July 1, you’ll get a $10 credit for Amazon Prime Video. The credit has to be applied by August 31 and only works on digital video content sold by Amazon.

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We broke down the Fire TV Cube earlier today. Essentially, imagine the way you use an Echo Dot now to control all the wirelessly connected appliances around your home. Then imagine that control plugged into your TV so you can control everything plugged in there with your voice as well. That’s what you get with this new device. It’s a way to turn on the TV, play your favorite DVD, adjust the volume on your home audio system, dim the lights, and get your microwave to cook some popcorn all without moving from the best spot on the couch.

You can also get $30 off a bundle that includes the Fire TV Cube and Amazon’s Cloud Cam Security Cam. The bundle is discounted to $200 instead of the $240 you’d have to pay for each item individually, and Prime members pay just $169.98 total with the extra $30 off.

If you’re not a Prime member but want to take advantage of these discounts, you can sign up for free today and get the deals with your 30-day trial.

See on Amazon

9
Jun

Best Places to Buy a Used Phone in 2018


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Getting a second-hand phone doesn’t have to be overly complicated or stressful.

The used phone market is an iceberg; you can only see the tip sticking out of the water, but it goes far deeper than you can imagine. This bears out in a recent Deloitte report that claims the used phone market grew to 120 million units in 2016, generating $17 billion for their owners. That number is only going to get bigger faster, too: IDC believes that by 2020, over 220 million used devices will be sold or traded in annually.

That’s a lot of gear, and similar to how a new car loses its value once it’s driven off the lot, phones immediately become cheaper once they’re removed from the plastic wrapping. For a seller — even one who treats his or her phone with the utmost care — that can be problematic. For a buyer, though, that becomes an opportunity to pick up a gently-used device for a great deal.

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Things to consider before you buy a used phone

We’ve already written of the most important considerations you need to take into account when buying a new phone — do a visual inspection if possible; always purchase from a reputable seller; be patient; be aware of carrier locks or other roadblocks; look into insurance, especially if the phone is out of warranty — but there are a few other things to think about.

The first is what kind of used phone you’re looking to buy:

  • A used phone purchased directly from a seller (eg. Swappa, Craigslist)
  • A used phone purchased through an intermediary that has verified its condition (eg. Gazelle, Best Buy)
  • A refurbished phone that has been through a “touch-up” directly from the manufacturer or a partner (eg. Verizon, Samsung)

Know what kind of used phone buying experience you want before you start shopping around.

You can probably get the best deal buying directly from someone else because there is no intermediary taking a fee, but you also run the risk of the phone having issues that the naked eye can’t see. If you know exactly what you want and know what to look for, you’re probably going to be comfortable buying a used phone from a direct marketplace like Craiglist, Swappa or one of many buy/sell forums.

If you don’t want to take any chances with the quality, but still don’t mind a bit of wear and tear, buying through an intermediary marketplace like Gazelle could work really well. The phones often come with (admittedly limited) warranties and money-back guarantees which, as a buyer, offers considerably more peace of mind than the average “meet up at the nearby 7-Eleven and hand over a wad of cash” type deal.

Finally, buying a certified refurbished phone is your safest bet, but comes with the least discount over a new product. Both Samsung and Apple sell refurbished phones directly on their websites, and though the savings are not substantial, they’re at least guaranteed to work, and well properly. For example, Samsung sells an AT&T-locked 32GB Galaxy S6 for $399. The same phone can be had for between $239 and $309 at Gazelle, which inspects but doesn’t refurbish the products, and between $130 and $225 at Swappa, which merely connects buyers and sellers. But Samsung sells its refurbished models with a 12-month warranty, a charger and cable, and brand new headphones. Gazelle throws in a charger but no headphones, and Swappa just ensures a clean exchange (for a small fee).

The best places to buy a used phone

This is not an exhaustive list. There are innumerable places to buy a used phone on the internet, and depending on your country, this list may not be as applicable (though we tried to highlight international marketplaces as much as possible).

Craigslist

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Craigslist tends to set up “meet up at the nearby 7-Eleven and hand over a wad of cash” type phone deals, which can be hit-or-miss depending on how adept you are at identifying scams — of which there are many.

The main thing Craigslist has going for it is size and scale — it’s practically everywhere, and has communities for almost every city in the world. You will be able to find a used phone on Craigslist, that’s not the problem; the problem is sifting through the thousands of listings to find something worth pursuing and ensuring that the phone you decide on does not have underlying damage or, worse, that its IMEI (a unique number that helps identify individual devices) hasn’t been blocked due to theft.

Good: Good prices, excellent availability, and plenty of choice, with the option of buying local to check condition.

Bad: Hard to verify sellers or the quality of the phones.

Learn more at Craigslist

eBay

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eBay is enormous, and today continues to be one of the top places to purchase a used phone. It has the advantages of Craigslist, scale, with few of the disadvantages, especially since it uses PayPal to ensure that payments can be recalled should there be a problem.

For buyers, eBay has a robust filtering system, allowing you to search for exactly what you want, with filters for price, carrier — even color. Of course, eBay still has its roots as an auction house, and that is how some used phones are still sold, but far more of them are sold at set prices. eBay charges sellers, not buyers, to host their listings, so all you need to do is find the right listing and you’re off to the races.

eBay’s best feature is its Money Back Guarantee which, combined with the extensive seller profiles, make it easy to buy with confidence. If there’s an issue with the device, or the shipment, you can apply to get your money back and, within reason, eBay will either cancel the PayPal transaction or, if it’s already gone through, refund you. And seller profiles let you filter potential purchases based on trusted sellers that have been around the block once, ten, or ten thousand times.

Good: Lots of selection with verifiable sellers with a money-back guarantee and buyer protection.

Bad: Potentially high cost of shipping, and you won’t be able to see the device before buying.

Learn more at eBay

Swappa

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Swappa began its life as a small Android-based phone buying and selling community, but it’s since expanded to include all mobile devices like iPhones, as well as tablets, Chromebooks and MacBooks.

Swappa works on a set fee structure that’s very different to most other platforms, and this is important: the buyer pays the fee. Most will pay under $20 for the privilege, and all payments are done over PayPal, which is incredibly convenient and secure. Why is a buyer fee better for both buyers and sellers? Because it encourages sellers to list their products on Swappa, adding inventory to a service that relies heavily on participation.

Swappa does not physically inspect devices, but it does do a few things to make sure the buyer is getting what he or she pays for: all listings are verified by a human, who ensures that the IMEI is valid and can be activated. All listings must have good quality photos that clearly show any damage, and the quality (fair/good/excellent) should match the photos. And the cost of shipping is included in the price of the listing, which should prevent post-sale price gouging. And because Swappa uses PayPal, all listings are protected, so if a device doesn’t arrive as advertised, buyers have recourse to get their money back.

Finally, Swappa’s prices tend to be lower than many curated services since, aside from the flat fee, the seller sets the price.

Good: Plenty of listings with clear quality guidelines and good prices.

Bad: Buyer pays fee, but there’s no warranty or guaranteed accessories.

Learn more at Swappa

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Gazelle

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Gazelle uses an interesting model: it buys phones from sellers and resells some of them on its website just like a regular e-commerce store (the rest are either recycled or sold to third parties). The advantage is that once Gazelle receives the device it performs a so-called “30-point inspection process” to ensure that it is in working order, and puts a SIM card in it to make sure it can properly connect to a network.

As a buyer, that means you may pay slightly more than Swappa for the equivalent model, but you get a phone that is guaranteed to work, either unlocked on a number of carriers or the one that it is advertised to be locked to, and there is a 30-day return policy if you’re not completely satisfied.

Gazelle also offers financing options, which allows it to compete with carriers by offering flexible payment plans that don’t require a lot of money up front. At the same time, Gazelle doesn’t accept every type of Android phone because its inspection system is only optimized for a handful of models — all popular Galaxys are accepted, but it only recently started buying (and selling) the Google Pixel — which ensures a higher-quality buying experience.

Good Seamless buying experience with plenty of choice, all phones come with a charger and are guaranteed to work, 30-day money back return policy.

Bad: Doesn’t sell every type of phone, and could be more expensive than other options.

Learn more at Gazelle

Glyde

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Glyde has an interesting business model, somewhere between Swappa and Gazelle. Like Swappa, it’s a user-to-user e-commerce portal but, like Gazelle, it asserts some control over the potential exchange by forcing the seller to use its secure shipping container, and doesn’t release payment to the seller until the buyer receives it. It also promises to refund a disappointed buyer within 72-hours.

All phones, from iPhones to Galaxys to Windows phones, are available to purchase on Glyde, and buyers pay no additional fee beyond what is shown on the site.

Good: Lots of choice and buyers have leverage if unhappy with a sale

Bad: Phones are not inspected beforehand so what you see may not be what you get

Learn more at Glyde

Update June 2018: Updated with the latest links and information to help you get a great deal on a used phone.

9
Jun

Gmail now lets you customize swipe actions on emails


Available in v8.5.20 of the app.

Gmail’s desktop site got a huge redesign in late April, but since then, the Android app has remained more or less the same. However, the v8.5.20 update adds a handy trick we think a lot of you will like — customizable swipe actions.

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Prior to this update, swiping left or right on an email in your inbox would archive it. This is a handy tool, but the limitation to just archiving has always been slightly irritating. In v8.5.20, jumping into the Gmail app and going to Settings -> General Settings -> Swipe Actions now allows you to customize the action for both left and right swipes.

The Swipe Actions page shows what you have each direction currently set to and tapping the blue Change button near the top right of either one allows you to set it to one of the following:

  • Archive
  • Delete
  • Mark as read/unread
  • Move to
  • Snooze
  • None

This is something that really should have been in Gmail all along, but we’re still thrilled to finally see it make an appearance.

Download: Gmail (free)

9
Jun

How to indent list items in Google Keep


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Tabbed lists are live in Google Keep here’s how to use them.

Google Keep is part to-do app, part note-keeping app, part inspiration board, and all awesome. While there may be more powerful productivity services out there like Evernote, Google Keep is easy to use, available on just about every platform you work on — and built right into the recent Gmail redesign — and it is free. Google Keep’s lists have long been my go-to for article outlining, grocery shopping, and theme building, but now they’ve been turned up to 11 with the ability to indent list items.

Indenting items in Google Keep allows you to create sublists and keep sections of items together. For instance, I can now arrange my handy-dandy Grocery shopping list by food type or store section, like Produce, Frozen, or most importantly, Snack.

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Indenting items is easy to do, and there’s two way to do it:

  • Drag a list item right along its line to indent it on mobile or on Keep’s website. Drag it left to un-indent it
  • When using a keyboard on Keep’s website or the Google Keep panel in Gmail, type Ctrl and ] to indent a list item. To un-indent, type Ctrl and [.

At the moment, you can only indent items one level, so you can’t have a sublist inside a sublist. Indented items are automatically grouped with first non-indented list item above them.

If you check the item at the top of a sublist as done, it will mark every item in that sublist as done and move them down to Completed items. If you mark a single item in a sublist as done, then that sublist item will appear in Completed items under a second sublist heading while the unfinished items stay under the main sublist in the Non-completed items.

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Sublists were one of the few things that Google Tasks had that Google Keep did not, and Google Keep does them out of the gate better than Google Tasks ever has. There are still a few more things Keep needs — a black note color, allowing multiple reminders and reminder types on a single note, bringing back proper Google Assistant integration — but sublists are a welcome addition to Google Keeps’ robust toolbox and I intend to take full advantage of it.

Google Keep: Everything you need to know

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