Until now, the smartwatch market had seen year-over-year growth each quarter since the devices made their debut. For Q2 2016 though, that wasn’t the case. Global smartwatch shipments were down 32 percent, totaling 3.5 million gadgets during the period. That figure is down from 5.1 million of the wearables shipped during the second quarter of 2015. Apple still led the pack with 1.6 million units, but it was the only top-selling company to experience an annual decline. It’s worth noting that Q2 2015 was when the Apple Watch launched and there hasn’t been an updated model yet.
Speaking of new devices, the lack of updated hardware is a key reason the for the drop in numbers. Improvements to Apple’s watchOS were announced back at WWDC, but they won’t arrive until this fall. There’s a new version of Android Wear on the way as well. Combine that with no new model from the top company and buyers are waiting to nab a wearable if they haven’t done so already. As IDC points out, Apple’s share of the market is nearly half (47 percent), so when it sees a decline that shift significantly impacts the entire segment of devices.
IDC also notes that only a select few traditional watchmakers have delivered a more modern spin on the timepiece. The likes of Casio, Fossil and Tag Heuer have done so, but the analytics company expects the smartwatch market stands to benefit if more of those companies join the tech OEMs that are cranking out the devices at a solid pace. A little brand recognition goes a long way.
That 32 percent figure may also seem like a significant drop, but that has to be considered alongside the overall size of the smartwatch market. 3.5 million total units shipped in a quarter for all vendors is still quite small when compared to other gadgets like phones. Sure, smartwatches have yet to take hold like handsets have, but the comparison shows that those wearables continue to be a niche item. In terms of other top-5 companies, Samsung still ranks number 2 behind Apple thanks to the Gear S2 and its ability to function without being tethered to a phone. Lenovo sits in third after nabbing Motorola as the Moto 360 continues to be a top choice for Android Wear fans who prefer a circular display.
Source: IDC (Business Wire)
The LG G5 has a lot of expensive “Friends.” The Korean manufacturer’s series of accessories meant to be used with the phone have included to date a VR headset, camera grip, 360 camera and Hi-Fi audio module. The latest to join the fold is the LG Action Cam LTE.
The camera is meant for rugged exploration, with IP67 water-proofing (as well as dust and sand) that means you can leave it under water up to one meter for 30 minutes and still use it afterward. With a Snapdragon 650 processor, 2GB RAM, 4GB of storage, and a 1/2.3-inch 123 MP wide angle camera, it’s as powerful as it is good for taking on the go.
If you’re the type to share the video you capture while out doing water stunts or rock climbing or something equally physical, the camera supports LTE and 3G so you can stream using YouTube Live or other streaming services. This way you can skip the whole uploading step and broadcast live, whatever it is that you’re doing.
The camera is coming out today in South Korea, but according to LG a release in other market will be announced in the “weeks to come.”
This post was done in partnership with The Wirecutter, a buyer’s guide to the best technology. Read their continuously updated list of deals at TheWirecutter.com.
You may have already seen Engadget posting reviews from our friends at The Wirecutter. Now, from time to time, we’ll also be publishing their recommended deals on some of their top picks. Read on, and strike while the iron is hot — some of these sales could expire mighty soon.
Monoprice 9723 Subwoofer
Street price: $108; MSRP: $108; deal price: $86 with code CRAZY
Make sure to use the code CRAZY to get this discount, it takes 20% off of any Monoprice branded items. This subwoofer rarely goes on sale, and the last time we posted a deal on it, the street price was $116 so the sale dropped it to $96. Now that the street price has dropped, you’re getting an even better price. This coupon is only valid today.
The Monoprice 9723 is the top pick in our guide on the best budget subwoofer. Brent Butterworth said, “Unlike some of the smaller subwoofers we tested, the 9723 sounds like a “real” subwoofer. Its addition to a stereo system is not subtle; it adds a lot more bass, enough to shake my listening chair when playing the deep bass line on Olive’s “Falling” or the explosions of depth charges in U-571.”
He added, “For a subwoofer, the 9723 even looks sort of nice, with curved sides and a detachable fabric grille covering the woofer. At 17 by 17.25 by 17.5 inches, it’s not small, but it’s also not so huge that it’s hard to fit into an ordinary living room.”
UE ROLL Wireless Bluetooth Speaker
Street price: $85; MSRP: $100; deal price: $50
This matches the best price we’ve seen on this speaker, which we’ve seen twice before. However, despite their being a new version of this speaker, we’ve seen the street price of the original push upwards the past few months. This particular deal is part of Best Buy’s Deal of the Day, so it’ll only be available today, and it’s available on all 4 colors they have listed.
The UE ROLL Wireless Bluetooth Speaker is our pick for the best portable Bluetooth speaker. Brent Butterworth wrote, “The ROLL offers an irresistible combination of sound quality, ruggedness, water resistance, portability, cool features, and a modest price.”
He wrote more detail about the interesting design of the speaker, “The ROLL’s design might be the most radical of any Bluetooth speaker (except maybe that one that floats in the air), but the radical aspects of it enhance its functionality. Its flat saucer shape makes it easier to slip into a laptop bag or suitcase, and also creates an omnidirectional sound pattern that fills a room better than most conventional Bluetooth speakers do.”
Kelty Cosmic Down 20 Sleeping Bag
Street price: $160; MSRP: $160; deal price: $128 with code SAVE20
Kelty is holding a site-wide sale that gives you 20% off of any items, as well as free shipping. Make sure to use the code SAVE20 to get this discount. We’re focusing on the Cosmic 20 sleeping bag, normally $160 for the regular size, which drops to $128 with the code. You can also drop the Woobie 30 sleeping bag down to $52. We don’t tend to see sales from Kelty that often, so this would be a great time to stock up on camping supplies.
The Kelty Cosmic Down 20 is our budget pick for the best sleeping bag. Tim Neville said, “The bag is pretty much your standard mummy bag when it comes to shape, hood, and draft collar, but a few nice features deserve applause. For one, it comes packed with 21 ounces of 600-fill DriDown, the same as the Mobile Mummy, which has just 0.2 ounces more of it. The Cosmic actually weighs 2 ounces less than our top pick, too, though it doesn’t compress quite as easily. The shell is a beefy 50-denier polyester ripstop; the liner is a 50-denier taffeta. The footbox features a “natural fit,” but our testers really didn’t notice much of a difference there. The no-snag strip along the zipper is nice and wider than in previous models (but not totally snag-proof).”
LG Electronics 34UM95C-P 34-Inch Ultrawide LED Monitor
Street price: $600; MSRP: $900; deal price: $509
The best price we’ve seen to date on this monitor. While we did see a couple good sales around this price around the holiday season, none made it quite this low. Afterwards, prices stayed pretty consistently around $600. This is the model without Thunderbolt.
The LG 34UM95 is the ultrawide pick in our guide on the best 27-inch monitor. David Murphy said, “If you need a lot more space than our 27-inch 1440p pick provides, it’s either this, a 4K monitor, or an ugly multi-monitor setup. LG’s ultrawide monitor is the best option, because it makes more sense to get the equivalent of a seamless two-monitor setup than a single, ultra-high-res panel right now.”
Deals change all the time, and some of these may have expired. To see an updated list of current deals, please go to The Wirecutter.com.
Amazon has already dipped its toes into the waters of high dynamic range video, but it’s now ready to get its feet wet. The internet giant has started integrating Dolby Vision HDR into its video subscription and purchase services. Watch the right shows (currently Amazon’s Bosch and a handful of Sony movies, like Fury) and you’ll get a wider color range as well as more details in highlights and shadows. The big catch? Right now, you’ll need one of LG’s HDR-capable 4K or OLED TVs to notice the difference — until there’s more content and hardware support, this is more of a technology showcase than anything else.
By Liam McCabe
This post was done in partnership with The Sweethome, a buyer’s guide to the best things for your home. Read the full article here.
After five summers of researching, testing, and recommending window air conditioners, we’ve learned that quiet and affordable ACs make most people the happiest—and we think the LG LW8016ER will fit the bill in most rooms. It cools as efficiently and effectively as any of the latest ACs with an equal Btu rating, and compared with other window ACs at this price, it’s easier on the ears and gives you more control. The LG is a top choice for an office or den, and some people will find it quiet enough for a bedroom, too.
How we picked and tested
The air conditioners we tested in 2016. (Note: Stacking them in this way does not constitute a proper installation.) Photo: Liam McCabe
For this guide, we focused on 8,000-Btu window air conditioners because it’s the most popular size at retail, which implies that it’s what most people need. These ACs are suited for spaces between 300 and 350 square feet, roughly the size of a comfy living room or large master bedroom. We tracked down about 30 current-model window air conditioners with that cooling capacity. Then, based on specs, features, price, and our experience with older versions of some models, we settled on seven finalists.
We focused on noise as the primary distinguishing factor. Window air conditioners are all pretty damn loud these days—and louder than they used to be. But some models are easier on the ears than others, and we heavily favored air conditioners with a lower operating volume and a smoother frequency response.
The other way we judged our finalists was the level (and quality) of user control they allowed. One important area where window ACs can differ is their fan vents, which control the direction of airflow. If you sleep near your AC, you’ll want to be able to point the cold air away from your body, or at least away from your head. But some models have blind spots where airflow can either never reach or always reaches. We also considered the number of fan speeds, extra cooling modes, and the depth of remote control.
The LG LW8016ER is the best affordable AC for a home office or living area because it’s quietish, gives you more control than others, and tends to cost less than its competition. Photo: Liam McCabe
The LG LW8016ER is the window AC you should probably get, especially if it’s for an office, den, or other room where you won’t be sleeping. Though for some people, it’ll be fine in the bedroom, too. Its price is fair, and this model is widely available, so you’ll have no trouble running out and grabbing it for a decent price on short notice—for instance, in the middle of a heat wave, like when you’re probably reading this article. Compared with other ACs at this price, it’s quieter and hums along at a lower pitch, so it’s easier on the ears. And though AC controls aren’t rocket science, this one offers a greater level of flexibility in total than most of its competitors, covering all the little details—from the fan’s directional controls and outdoor-air vent to the dehumidifier mode and removable drain plug.
Affordable, available, and a bit loud
A close look at the fan blades on the Frigidaire—our previous pick—a solid window unit that’s a bit loud compared with the units we’ve found this year. Photo: Liam McCabe
If our main pick is sold out, grab the Frigidaire FFRE0833S1, our former top pick in this guide. It’s a little bit louder and higher-pitched than our new pick, but it’s an equally capable performer that’s usually around the same price. The Frigidaire is also a little bit easier to install because it’s smaller and lighter.
Quieter but pricier
The Haier Serenity Series ESAQ408P is a great AC for a bedroom because it’s much quieter than its competitors. Photo: Liam McCabe
If you’re installing an air conditioner in your bedroom, or you just value peace and quiet in any other room, treat yourself to the (relatively) hushed performance of the Haier Serenity Series ESAQ408P. It gets quieter than any other window air conditioner we tested, offers tons of control, and is relatively easy to install.
If you need a portable
The Haier HPN12XCM is the least-worst portable air conditioner we tested. It runs quieter, rolls around easier, and looks better. Photo: Liam McCabe
Though a window (or wall) air conditioner is almost always a more effective, efficient way to control a room’s climate, sometimes a portable is the only kind of AC that fits your space. So if you need one, we think that the Haier HPN12XCM is the best portable air conditioner for most people. It offers the best combination of cooling comfort, intuitive control, portability, and quiet operation among its competitors.
If the Haier is sold out or its price jumps, the LG LP1215GXR is a good alternative.
The right air conditioner size for you
Measure the square footage of the room you need to cool, then look at this Energy Star chart to find the appropriate cooling capacity, as measured in British thermal units (Btu). For most people, it’s as simple as that. You won’t always be able to find an AC with the perfect Btu rating, so you might have to round up. For example, nobody makes a 9,000-Btu window AC, so a 10,000-Btu window AC is the next-best option in that case.
Don’t fall into the trap of buying a significantly under- or overpowered air conditioner. Smaller units cost less, so you may be tempted to size down if you’re looking to save a few bucks. But an underpowered AC will run constantly, trying and failing to get the room down to the target temperature and a comfortable humidity. If you get a unit that’s too big, it can leave your room feeling clammy because it reduces temperature faster than it removes moisture from the air.
Need to cool multiple rooms? It’s more effective to get several smaller air conditioners and put one in each room than to buy one big unit. Sure, you’ll have to spend more money to buy two 6,000-Btu ACs than you would to buy a single 12,000-Btu AC. But you’ll get much more accurate, comfortable climate control when you use the right machine for each room.
This guide may have been updated by The Sweethome. To see the current recommendation, please go here.
Hey, AT&T subscribers: you no longer need an iPhone to make calls over WiFi. The carrier has introduced WiFi calling for Android. If you have a supporting device (currently limited to the LG G4), a postpaid plan and HD Voice support, you can grab an update that lets you make calls over the internet when cell service just isn’t an option. As on the iPhone, what you pay for a call only depends on who you’re calling — you can reach a US number at no extra charge while you’re abroad. AT&T certainly isn’t the first out of the gate with WiFi calling on Android, but this will definitely make a difference if you’d rather not switch networks just to get the improved coverage.
For the past few years, LG’s OLED TV lineup has been the pinnacle of TV quality, with deep black levels, insanely bright colors and none of the motion blurring issues that LED/LCD TVs have. But they’ve also been far to expensive for most consumers. It doesn’t look like anything’s changing this year: LG just announced that its latest 4K OLED lineup will start at $3,999 for its 55-inch OLEDB6P and OLEDC6P (a curved variant) models. If you want the larger 65-inch version of those sets, be prepared to shell out $5,999.
At the highest end of this already pricy scale are LG’s models with its new “Picture on Glass” design, which are only around a tenth of an inch thin and feature a translucent glass back. Those start at $4,999 for the 55-inch version and go all the way up to $7,999 for the 65-inch model with integrated soundbar. (There’s also a 77-inch version that hasn’t been priced yet, but will be sure to cause heart palpitations.)
All of LG’s new OLED displays support HDR10 and Dolby Vision HDR standards, which allow them to display a wider amount of colors and an increased amount of dynamic range. For example, in very dark scenes, you’ll be able to make out more details in shadows. More so than 4K, HDR has the potential to change the way how we watch TV, so it’s good to see LG supporting both standards. The TVs are also running LG’s WebOS 3.0 platform, which it says offers more ways to find and watch content.
While LG deserves plenty of credit for bringing OLED to the television market, the technology won’t really have a chance to take off until it can make its sets more affordable. With companies like Vizio developing great-looking 4K LED sets for just $1,000, only the most discerning consumer will pay four times as much for an OLED experience. Unfortunately, since LG is pretty much on its own in the OLED TV market, prices will likely remain high for some time.
All of LG’s new OLED TVs are available today at retailers like Best Buy and Amazon.
When LG announced its modular G5 phone last month, it also revealed a line of “Friends” companion devices to go along with it (See what it did there?). Included in the lineup are the 360 VR headset, 360 Cam, the Harman Kardon-powered Tone Platinum audio headset and the Cam Plus camera grip. While the phone itself is already available in the US, these gadgets that the company intends for you to use with the handset were not until now.
LG says that the major carriers in the States will offer these add-ons or you can purchase them directly from the company. The Cam Plus module that adds a grip, camera controls and takes advantage of the G5’s modular design is the most affordable of the group at $70. If you’re looking to nab the VR headset, Tone wireless audio headset or 360 Cam, be prepared to hand over $200 for each of those. Unfortunately, there’s no mention of the BB-8-like Rolling Ball, but LG did note that more third-party companion devices were on the way.
Source: LG (PR Newswire)
Chris Chang of investment bank Nomura Securities has issued a note to investors claiming that Sony may be running behind schedule in terms of supplying Apple with dual-lens camera modules for the next-generation 5.5-inch iPhone, which rumors suggest may be called the iPhone 7 Plus or iPhone Pro.
We think Sony may not be able to deliver its full share of dual cameras to Apple due to: (1) lower-than-expected yield, and (2) damage to its production facility from the April earthquake in Kumamoto.
Chang believes that Apple will instead turn to LG as its primary supplier of dual-lens camera modules for the larger-sized iPhone expected to launch in September.
Both Nomura Securities and Citi Research believe all 5.5-inch iPhones will be equipped with dual-lens camera modules, rather than just one model, echoing comments made by KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo earlier this month.
Kuo previously said that Apple had two 5.5-inch versions of the iPhone 7 Plus in development, including one with a single iSight rear-facing camera and another boasting a dual-lens camera module. Meanwhile, the 4.7-inch iPhone 7 is widely expected to retain a single-lens camera.
Nomura Securities also believes that Apple will include optical image stabilization (OIS) on both the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhone, whereas the feature has been exclusive to the larger iPhone 6 Plus and iPhone 6s Plus over the past two generations.
Leaked images, components, and renders potentially offer a first look at Apple’s dual-lens camera system, but rumors have been conflicting about the exact design.
The switch to dual-lens camera modules has been linked to Apple’s acquisition of LinX Technology, which could lead to “DSLR-quality” photos on iPhones. LinX’s multi-aperture cameras are also smaller sized than single-aperture cameras, meaning the iPhone 7 Plus could have a slightly less protruding camera lens.
LinX camera modules offer a number of other benefits, including 3D depth mapping, better color accuracy and uniformity, ultra HDR, low noise levels, higher resolution, low costs, zero shutter lag, and a compact design that allows for edge-to-edge displays. A recent video demo provides a good overview of dual-camera technology.
Apple recently patented a dual-camera system consisting of one standard wide-angle lens, similar to what is found in the latest iPhones, and a second telephoto lens capable of capturing zoomed-in video and photos. In a recent video, we visualized what the interface could look like on future iOS devices.
Dual-camera smartphones like the Huawei P9 and P9 Plus are expected to inspire “killer apps” from smartphone manufacturers and third-party developers.
Related Roundup: iPhone 7
Tags: Sony, LG, Nomura Securities, Chris Chang
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When Google developed its popular line of Nexus phones and tablets, it didn’t just give the reference designs to third parties and hope for the best: It built and sold its own hardware to showcase just what those designs could achieve. The company announced on Thursday that it will take the same tack with its newly unveiled Daydream VR hardware. That’s right, Google is going to build its own line of Daydream headsets and controllers to show third-party developers how it’s done.
Since the Daydream is an evolution of the Cardboard headset — albeit a heck of a lot easier to wear — it’s not going to have any onboard processing power, instead relying on the user’s phone. To that end, Google’s already in the process of certifying handsets from LG, Samsung, HTC, Xiaomi, Alcatel and others. And you can bet the Nexus line will be among them.
For all the latest news and updates from Google I/O 2016, follow along here.
Source: Google (Twitter)