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11
Oct

The new Razer Raiju Mobile gaming controller works with Android phones


More functionality than on-screen controls.

The Razer Raiju Mobile is a new gaming controller designed for gaming on your phone. Specifically, it’s designed to work with the recently announced Razer Phone 2, but it will connect to any smartphone running Android 6.0 or higher via Bluetooth or USB-C (or micro USB with the included adapter).

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The controller lasts up to 23 hours before needing to be recharged, and you will be able to map and customize all the buttons using Razer’s Android app. Razer plans to make it compatible with PC Windows 7 and up eventually as well. That will give you the ability to transition from your phone to your computer without missing a beat.

The Raiju Mobile is similar to other controllers Razer has made in the past, like the Razer Wolverine, but it will be a bit more flexible.

While not quite available to order yet, you’ll be able to get it through Razer’s site for $149.99. Razer also announced an upgrade to the Hammerhead USB-C in-ear headset that includes active noise-cancelling for $99.99.

See at Razer

11
Oct

Google Home v2.6 brings huge redesign, in-app smart home controls


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Google’s Home app is looking better than ever.

While Google’s Home line of smart speakers has been outstanding ever since the first Google Home, the companion Home app has never been fantastic. Thankfully, with the v2.6 update that’s rolling out now, Google’s made the best version of it yet.

The new Home tab is what you’ll see upon open the app, and here you’ve got quick controls for toggling your smart lights on/off, playing music on any speakers or audio groups, broadcasting a message, adding an item to your home, or diving into the settings.

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Below these controls is a breakdown of each room and what Assistant devices and smart home gadgets are in each one. If you’ve got something like a smart bulb, switch, or thermostat, you’ll be able to fully control them right here.

The Discover page shows recommended Assistant commands, Chromecast apps, and any available promotions while the Browse section aims to be a hub for movies, TV shows, and music Google thinks you’ll be interested in. The last page, Account, offers access to your Google activity, account preferences, etc. Lastly, there’s a microphone near the bottom-center that allows you to quickly prompt the Google Assistant from any page.

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Google Home v2.6 is rolling out to the Play Store now, so be sure to check and see if you’ve got the update waiting for you.

Download: Google Home (free)

11
Oct

The best gaming controllers for the Amazon Fire TV


Looking to invite friends over for a multiplayer session on your Amazon Fire TV but not sure what controllers are compatible with it? Whether you have a first-generation Fire TV, a 4K Fire TV dongle, or the new Fire TV Cube there is a variety of Bluetooth and wired game controllers available. Your best bet is probably Amazon’s own Fire TV Gaming Controller, which is available for just $20.

Keep it in the fam

Amazon Fire TV Gaming Controller

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if you enjoy the gaming controller that came with your Amazon Fire TV Gaming Edition, you can buy extra controllers from — where else — Amazon.

The Amazon Fire TV controller connects via Bluetooth and has a number of features specifically designed to get the most out of your Amazon Fire TV box. For starters, it includes a built-in microphone, which gives you full access to Alexa features and allows you to search for games, movies, music, and more information, using only your voice.

$20 at Amazon

Best for Android

SteelSeries Stratus XL

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The SteelSeries Stratus XL is a great controller that works for gaming on your Windows PC, Android phone, and Amazon Fire TV. SteelSeries has basically taken the best features from the DualShock and Xbox 360 controllers and combined them to create the Stratus XL. It connects via Bluetooth and plays for up to 40 hours on two AA batteries. It’s perfectly weighted and has been designed to fit comfortably in your hands for marathon gaming sessions.

$35 at Amazon

Old school cool

AmazonBasics Xbox 360 Wired Controller

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The AmazonBasics wired Xbox 360 controller should work flawlessly with the first generation of Amazon Fire TV. Simply plug in the controller to the USB port on the back of your Amazon Fire TV and you’re good to go. With the second generation, you may need to go into settings and ensure that USB debugging is turned off before the system will find the controller. You can connect multiple if you use a USB hub.

$25 at Amazon

Iconic design

DualShock 4 Bluetooth Controller

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Sony’s DualShock 4 Bluetooth Controller is a great option that’s compatible with your Amazon Fire TV. It’s quick to pair — simply go into the Amazon Fire TV’s Bluetooth controller settings, then hold down the Share and PS button on the DualShock controller to start the pairing. The DualShock 4 controller is a surprisingly versatile controller; beyond using it with your PS4 and Amazon Fire TV, it’s also compatible with Windows for PC gaming.

$46 at Amazon

Budget pick

Matricom G-Pad BX Wireless Gamepad

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There’s a number of features that make the Matricom G-Pad a compelling third-party Bluetooth controller to buy for your Amazon Fire. For starters, it’s powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery which means you won’t need to stock up on AA batteries, and if you’re running low you can plug the mini-USB cable to your Amazon Fire and play wired.

$18 at Amazon

Chances are you might already have some of these older controllers kicking around your house, or you could try and seek out a cheap used version at a local gaming shop. Otherwise, the Amazon Fire TV Controller is a safe option while the Steel Series XL is my favorite Bluetooth controller and available at a great price.

11
Oct

Kuo: Apple Has Opportunity With iPhone XR in China as Chinese Rivals Face ‘Lower Than Expected’ Demand


In a research note obtained by MacRumors, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said cumulative smartphone shipments from four major brands on the Chinese market, including Huawei, Oppo, Vivo, and Xiaomi, declined 10 percent on a year-over-year basis during China’s Golden Week, a national holiday and major sales period.

iPhone XR in (PRODUCT)RED
Kuo, writing on behalf of research firm TF International Securities, said the estimated 6.5-7 million shipments during Golden Week were “lower than expected.” He called Huawei the “major winner” as the only brand with a year-over-year increase in shipments during the October 1-7 holiday.

The well-known analyst attributed the year-over-year decline to a lack of innovative selling points among Chinese-brand smartphones. Kuo is positive on the trends of triple-lens cameras and fingerprint sensors under the display in smartphones, but said only limited models currently support both functions.

Kuo also cautioned that the US-China trade war “may be affecting consumer confidence, which makes the replacement cycle longer.”

A third reason is that some consumers—particularly existing iPhone owners—will opt for more affordable legacy iPhone models or wait for the iPhone XR, according to Kuo, who expects replacement demands for the iPhone XR in China will be better than last year’s demand for the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus.

Extrapolating from Golden Week, Kuo said smartphone shipments in China in 2018 as a whole may be “lower than expected.” He estimates shipments may decline 10-15 percent to 410 million units on a year-over-year basis.

Chinese brands have to rely on overseas markets for further growth, according to the research note, shared with investors Thursday. Kuo remains confident about Huawei’s future shipment momentum because the brand has “the best competitiveness among Chinese brands in overseas markets,” the note said.

As for Apple, the iPhone XR represents an opportunity for the company to increase its market share and revenue in the Greater China region, where it has faced increasing competition from the likes of Huawei, Oppo, Vivo, and Xiaomi.

With a lower starting price of $749 in the United States, the iPhone XR lacks some of the bells and whistles of the flagship iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, including an OLED display and glass rear casing, but it has many identical tech specs and longer battery life than both of the more expensive models.

iPhone XR pre-orders begin Friday, October 19 in more than 50 countries, followed by in-store availability on Friday, October 26.

Related Roundup: iPhone XRTags: China, Ming-Chi Kuo, TF International SecuritiesBuyer’s Guide: iPhone XR (Caution)
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11
Oct

Developers’ Opinion of Mac App Store Improving, but Many Still Unhappy With Lack of Upgrade Options and Free Trials


Setapp, a company that offers a subscription service for Mac apps, today published the results of an annual survey querying Mac app developers on the state of the Mac App Store.

Many Mac developers continue to be unhappy with the Mac App Store and fewer are choosing it for app distribution, but Apple’s efforts to improve the Mac App Store in Mojave have improved opinions in some cases. To get the data for this survey, Setapp queried a total of 814 developers.

Just 22 percent of Mac app developers choose to distribute their apps exclusively through the Mac App Store. 32 percent, up from 30 percent last year, distribute their apps outside of the Mac App Store entirely, while 46 percent sell their apps both in the Mac App Store and outside of the Mac App Store.

Developers continue to make more money outside of the Mac App Store for the most part, with 59 percent earning more revenue without the Mac App Store and 41 percent earning more money through the Mac App Store.

Despite the fact that fewer Mac developers are using the Mac App Store, among those who do exclusively sell through the Mac App Store, overall opinion has improved. Those who sell outside of the Mac App Store and both through the Mac App Store and outside of it also had a higher overall opinion, though it still trends toward the negative.

Mac App Store developers happy with the Mac App Store
51 percent of developers surveyed said that providing Apple with a 30 percent cut of revenue is worth it, an impressive jump from the 31 percent that said the same thing in 2017.

Compared to 2017, when developers were upset with Apple’s sandboxing practices and named it as a key reason for avoiding the Mac App Store, opinions have improved. Sandboxing is no longer seen as a critical issue.


Developers are, however, concerned with a lack of pricing upgrade options, no analytics, and an inability to offer trials.

Developers who do not choose the Mac App Store said they avoided it because of the unclear app review process, 30 percent revenue share, and lack of trials.

This year, 20 percent of developers decided to switch to a subscription model for their apps, and 52 percent of those said that it had an overall positive impact on their business. Of those using subscription models, increased revenue and an active growing user base were cited as positives.

Full details and comparisons between data collected in 2016 and 2017 can be viewed on Setapp’s survey website, which also includes details on how developers view the Setapp service.

Tags: Mac App Store, Setapp
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11
Oct

CVS Pharmacy Now Accepting Apple Pay in Stores


CVS Pharmacy has officially launched support for Apple Pay nationwide this week, a few months after Apple CEO Tim Cook confirmed that the retailer would be accepting Apple Pay later in the year. CVS has been gradually rolling out support for Apple Pay at its stores in recent weeks, and now it appears to be officially complete.

Using Apple Pay, CVS customers can now pay for their items on compatible iPhones and Apple Watches, by placing the devices close to a near field communication (NFC) payment terminal at checkout. In a marketing email being sent out to customers, Apple encourages shoppers to check out at CVS with its mobile wallet:

Get your essentials in a flash. Buying snacks, vitamins, personal care, and prescriptions from CVS Pharmacy just got faster and more secure.

At the launch of Apple Pay in 2014, CVS disabled NFC payment terminals at some of its locations in order to stop the use of Apple Pay. A few years later, the company debuted “CVS Pay,” which used a barcode-based system to allow customers to check out using their smartphone and the CVS Pharmacy app.

Now that CVS has turned around and rolled out Apple Pay support, there are just a few remaining large retail chains refraining from supporting Apple’s mobile wallet. This includes Target, which previously said it has no plans to accept Apple Pay in its stores and instead launched a “Wallet” feature in the Target iOS app, allowing customers to pay for their groceries and other items with their smartphone at checkout.

Another is Walmart, which has followed a similar trajectory as Target: the company confirmed it has no plans to support Apple Pay in its retail stores, instead pushing its own “Walmart Pay” mobile wallet checkout option. As with CVS, these companies could eventually decide to accept Apple Pay as a checkout option for customers, but as of now it doesn’t appear like this will happen anytime soon.

Apple Pay launched in the United States in October 2014, providing tap-to-pay functionality with a compatible iPhone or Apple Watch after setting up a supported credit or debit card in the Wallet app. Apple Pay is now available in more than 20 countries, and now also supports a person-to-person payment feature called Apple Pay Cash.

Related Roundup: Apple PayTag: CVS
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11
Oct

Discover Cashback Debit Cards Now Work With Apple Pay


Discover today announced that its Cashback Debit card can now be used with Apple Pay.

Discover Cashback Debit cards are issued to customers with a Discover online checking account. Cardholders will continue to receive 1% cashback on up to $3,000 in qualifying debit card purchases each month when paying with Apple Pay.

To use the card with Apple Pay, simply open the Wallet app on a compatible iPhone and tap on the plus symbol in the top-right corner. Then, position the card within the camera viewfinder, or tap on Enter Card Details Manually.

Discover credit cards have worked with Apple Pay since September 2015, with support for redeeming cashback bonuses added last year.

In related news, pharmacy chain CVS has completed its rollout of Apple Pay in the United States. Wholesale retailer Costco and convenience store chain 7-Eleven also recently began accepting Apple Pay in the United States.

Related Roundup: Apple PayTag: Discover
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11
Oct

Apple Music Partners With Lyric Database Genius


Apple Music and lyric database Genius today announced a partnership, allowing Apple Music subscribers to visit Genius and play any song in full on the song’s lyric page. This will work both on the Genius website and in its iOS app.

The partnership will also beef up Apple Music’s own lyric database with Genius’s information, providing the music streaming service with lyrics to “thousands” of songs. Apple first introduced lyrics in Apple Music with the launch of iOS 10 in 2016, and now the feature will be enhanced with Genius.

“Being able to read lyrics and annotations on Genius while you listen along on Apple Music is a dream Genius experience,” said ​Ben Gross, Genius’s Chief Strategy Officer​. “We’re proud to make Apple Music our official music player, and we’re doubly excited to bring Genius lyrics to their amazing platform.”

To use the Apple Music player on Genius, search for any song, and then tap “connect account” when the player pops up. This process will require you to allow Genius to access your Apple Music, media library, and listening activity, and once you accept you’ll be able to listen to full tracks within Genius on the web (desktop and iOS mobile web) and in the iOS app.

In Apple Music, you can check on a song’s lyrics by tapping the ellipsis icon at the bottom right of the player screen on iOS, then tapping “Lyrics.” Not every song supports lyrics, and it’s unclear how soon the Genius encyclopedia of lyrics will be added to Apple Music.

Tag: Apple Music
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11
Oct

Huawei komt met herkenbare Honor 8C op de proppen


Tegenwoordig moeten we de specificaties induiken willen we het verschil tussen alle nieuwe Huawei en Honor-toestellen weten. Zo ook bij de zojuist aangekondigde Honor 8C. Die lijkt verdacht veel op andere recente modellen van het Chinese merk die inmiddels allemaal een schermnotch hebben, kleurrijke achterkant en dubbele camera met AI.

In een notendop is de Honor 8C (naast de opvolger van de Honor 7C) een 6,28 inch grote telefoon met HD+ scherm, 13 + 2 megapixel camera achterop, 8 megapixel selfiecam, Dual SIM en een stevige 4000 mAh batterij. Dit alles wordt draaiende gehouden door een Snapdragon 632-processor op maximaal 1,8 GHz met een keurige 4 GB aan werkgeheugen.

De Honor 8C in z’n toekomstige kleuren

Uiteraard zijn de camera’s voorzien van het nodige AI-geweld. Deze kunstmatige intelligentie zorgt vooral voor het automatisch selecteren van de beste instellingen afhankelijk van de situatie. Dat gebeurt direct en zonder dat je er erg in hebt. Ook de camera voorop ontkomt niet aan het AI-sausje waar Huawei momenteel graag mee strooit. De AI Beautify maakt huidtinten meer effen wat ideaal is voor het wegwerken van puistjes. Al wordt de functie niet bij iedereen gewaardeerd want het levert soms wel een wat onnatuurlijk plaatje op. Huawei brengt de Honor 8C uit in de kleuren Aurora Blue, Platinum Gold en Nebula Purple. Al deze uitvoeringen kennen een achterkant met 3D nano-structuur waardoor licht op een bijzondere manier weerkaatst wordt. De 8C is eerst voor China aangekondigd en onduidelijk is nog of een Europese release in het verschiet ligt.

11
Oct

Pocket’s Text-to-Speech ‘Listen’ Feature Updated With More Natural Voice and Easier Controls


Read-it-later app Pocket has announced a few new features coming to the iOS and Android versions of the app today, including an updated text-to-speech ability and a new design.

After updating to Pocket 7.0, users will be able to listen to text-based articles that they’ve saved in their Pocket list more easily. With an upgrade to the “Listen” feature, articles can be saved into Pocket from around the internet, opened in the app, and played in their entirety through text-to-speech. This feature is now more easily accessed through a dedicated headphone icon right on the Pocket main screen.

Pocket’s Listen feature is now also more human sounding thanks to Amazon Polly, a cloud service that can convert text into lifelike speech. Because of this, Pocket says that Listen is not limited to any specific publishers or articles, but can be applied to any text articles viewed inside of the Pocket app.

Your Pocket list just became your own personal podcast, curated by you. Our new listen feature frees the content you’ve saved to fit into your busy life. It enables you to absorb articles whenever and wherever, whether you are driving, or walking, working out, cooking, or on the train.

The new update also brings a fresh design to Pocket, which the company says is tailored to ensure that readers can focus on their saved articles. There’s a new and cleaner article view right when the app is opened, a new app-wide dark theme and sepia theme, and updated fonts and typography so reading is more comfortable overall.

Earlier in the year, Pocket introduced time estimates for articles and videos into the iOS app, allowing users to see exactly how long it will take them to read each piece of content. The new additions to the app follow Mozilla’s acquisition of Pocket in February 2017.

Tag: Pocket
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