Monday, April 23, 2018


We Took Apart Some Beats Headphones and Here’s What We Found

It’s nearly impossible to be on a train, fly on a plane or walk down the street without spotting the iconic “b” logo. Beats has been extremely successful in marketing its headphones and now enjoys large market appeal. But with a sky-high retail price of $199, is there more to Beats than meets the eye? Lots of optimizations are to be expected in a product manufactured in the millions of units: snaps and glue are used for assembly rather than screws (which require lots of human manipulation) and almost every part is injection molded plastic (which is essentially free at high volumes). Anytime I take a product apart there are a few exciting surprises to solve some tricky problems. Here’s what I found for Beats:

Use of metal components to increase weigh

Luckily the Beats headphones are fairly easy to disassemble, despite a few pesky glue joints.
One of the great things about the solo headphones is how substantial they feel. A little bit of weight makes the product feel solid, durable, and valuable. One way to do this cheaply is to make some components out of metal in order to add weight. In these headphones, 30 percent of the weight comes from four tiny metal parts that are there for the sole purpose of adding weight. The two larger parts are cast zinc. Cast parts are similar to injection molded parts in that there is a tooling cost and a per-part cost. Compared to injection molding, the tool is marginally more expensive, but the per-part costs are higher, and the tools do not last as long. The brilliant thing here is that the two large metal parts are not mirror images of each other — they are actually the same part! This means that only one tool would need to be made to produce both parts, which saves money in tool design and number of tools. It also makes the headphones easier to assemble, since there are fewer unique parts.

Complex mold design of headband

One-third of the entire weight of the headphones comes from metal weights. This is a somewhat common trick to make products feel more substantive.
This part probably has the highest tooling cost of any of the parts in the headphones, because it requires many cams in order for the part to be released from the mold. Cams allow for parts of the mold to move perpendicular to the parting line. These extra parts have to meet perfectly, in order for the parts to be molded properly. It is easy to tell what direction the two halves of the mold pulled apart from the round dots you can see in the photo above — those are ejector pin marks, from where the part was pushed out of the tool. From the flashing along the long snaps at the top of the part, I can tell there are two side actions that were used to create the undercut. You can see parting lines in the part right under the snaps, and at the bottom of the circle.
Close-up of witness lines on inner ear cup frame. Many actions and slides are necessary to create this complex part.
You can also tell that inside the circle where the ear cup goes, there were actions to create the pins that the ear cup swivels on — the witness lines are visible, even though it has been post-polished.

Minimal use of screws

Both parts of the ear cups are made from two totally different molds so a to avoid the extra screw holes on the right cup.
Screws are cheap but are tedious to install, hence nearly every part on this product is snapped or glued together. You can see how the number of screws are optimized at the cost of cutting two more molds by comparing the left and right speaker grills and speaker cups — one of them has an extra two screw holes. Screws are great here because they make sure the PCB does not rattle around near your ear — however, they could have shaved off some assembly time by using heat stake bosses, or simply trapping the PCB between the red plastic and the ear cup.
Complete commodity earphone drivers
So, do Beats by Dre headphones really enhance the bass? I couldn’t tell from the product teardown but the generic drivers make it seem unlikely. I was impressed, however, by the look and feel that was achieved with so few parts. While it’s difficult to accurately reverse engineer the COGS of a product, I will do my best with each product that I tear down. In this BOM, I break it down into several categories — plastics, metal parts and electronic parts.
*Part prices for plastics, metal, and electronics takes various assumptions into account.
I estimate that the COGS without labor or shipping is $16.89 — yet Beats is able to successfully retail these headphones for $199+. This is the power of brand. Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine have leveraged their personal backgrounds and a sleek design to launch a remarkable brand that’s become fundamental to music pop culture. *Plastic part price takes the following assumptions into account:
  • 2 percent scrap rate
  • 1 cavity / tool
  • 20 percent regrind allowed
  • No additives (Meaning not glass filled, etc)
  • Machine rate, setup labor, and direct labor adjusted per component
  • Cycle time of 15 seconds is assumed per part
  • Markup is not included
  • Tooling cost is amortized assuming 1M units
  • No downtime factored into molding machine
  • Assume simple tooling (It’s known that some of these parts have actions, but was not added to the tooling cost)
  • Tooling cost assumptions are broad and based in China
  • Production costs based on Asia. Somewhat conservative and broad
*Metal part price takes the following assumptions into account:
  • 5 percent scrap rate
  • 160 ton press
  • 95 percent uptime, 8hr setup
*Electronics part price takes the following assumptions into account:
  • Quoted from Zirui @ qty 6000 FOB
  • CB with routing and v-score, 1 part placement
  • 25 seconds to solder @ Shenzhen min wage RMB2,030/mo = US1.50/hr
  • Exact equivalent not found; found 40mm x 5.6mm, 32 ohm, 25mW for0.75

Inside Nokia’s Super-Fun Feature-Phone Nostalgia Trip

Let’s all agree that this has not been a year of feel-good stories in tech. Whether it’s Facebook privacy or YouTube algorithms, the headlines out of Silicon Valley have been a dismal parade of lapses and letdowns. So let’s take a moment to appreciate the one thread development everyone can get behind: Nokia’s perfect throwback party. You may not know the Nokia 3310 or 8110 by name, but you’d recognize them in a heartbeat. They’re two of the phones that made Nokia the dominant cell phone seller of the oughts, the candy bar and banana form factors that defined the pre-iPhone era.

Over the last year, as you’ve likely seen, a company called HMD Global has resurrected both, upgrading and updating them just-so for a world that still needs feature phones aplenty. What could have been a lazy cash-grab reboot—looking at you, Michael Bay’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles—has instead turned out two thoughtfully designed and executed devices. And they couldn’t have come at a better time.

Retro Magic

A quick clarification: HMD is a company that makes the phones—both smart and feature—sold under the Nokia brand, so this isn’t technically the same company that dominated the cell phone landscape through the turn of the millennium. But HMD resides in the same building as Nokia’s headquarters, and was founded by former Nokia employees—including chief product officer Juho Sarvikas, who shepherded the return of the 3310 and 8110, and started at Nokia over a decade ago. Everything about it is Nokia DNA.

That shows in its feature phone revivals. Take last year’s 3310, released nearly two decades after its namesake. It looks just enough like the original for instant recognition, but has just enough new design touches and feature improvements—smoothed over edges, a 2-megapixel camera, a web browser—to be viable today. Oh, and its battery still lasts a month.

That balance took more work than you might think.

“We actually took a long time to deconstruct the original 3310,” says Sarvikas. As it turned out, recreation required a certain degree of invention. “One of the most difficult things with the 3310 was to make the corner of the display so close to the edge of the physical enclosure. That was one area where we had to develop a completely new solution that did not exist in this space.”

And the reason it didn’t exist is fairly simple: Feature phones are cheap, which means they’re made with cheap parts. They all look basically the same, because the companies that make them typically buy in bulk from the same suppliers.

“Having attractive feature phones, standing out on design, when the other vendors who are doing feature phones are really plain vanilla, is a smart strategy,” says Avi Greengart, tech analyst with GlobalData.

That’s partly why the 3310 stood out so much; it was as much a familiar face as it was a rethinking of a whole category of devices grown stale.

A refined exterior also required some serious interior engineering; the original 3310 hadn’t had to accommodate internals for 2G or 3G signals; the 2017 model launched with the former, and got a network upgrade last fall. “It’s not about simply throwing together a nice-looking shape for the design. There’s a lot of very advanced engineering and asset development that you need to do. It’s amazing how much a couple of millimeters matter,” says Sarvikas.

This year’s 8110—that’s the banana phone, which you’ll remember best from The Matrix—presented an even more daunting challenge both inside and out. Start with the shape, which outside of an ill-fated dalliance with curvature from LG in 2013 simply doesn’t exist anymore. The phone doesn’t just curve; part of it pops down with the push of a button.

“How do you configure the length versus the thickness versus the actual physical curvature of the banana,” says Sarvikas. “As you’re building the inner blocks and designing the electromechanics around that, it becomes a really intriguing exercise. You could not modify one dimension without throwing the whole thing around and reconfiguring from the beginning.”

The slider mechanism, too, requires balance. It needs to travel smoothly from open to shut; it needs to lock firmly but be easy to open; it needs not to wiggle when extended. And Sarvikas points to one last consideration: You absolutely must be able to spin it like a top. “The spinning is the ultimate party trick,” he says.

The 8110 also represents a more ambitious effort under the hood; it comes with both 4G and Google Assistant on board. And yes, even with that gilding, the battery life still nudges up against a full month.

Double Feature

It might seem odd, in 2018, to focus so closely on a company’s feature phone efforts. Smartphones, after all, rule much of the world. In the US and Western Europe, feature phones account for less than 7 percent of sales. But in regions with limited broadband or resources generally, Nokia—again, really HMD—has become once again a dominant player.

HMD sold 59.2 million Nokia feature phones in 2017, a 70 percent bump over the previous year. That’s still nowhere near iPhone territory; Apple sold 77 million of those in its most recent quarter alone. But think what it must take to actually grow feature phone sales, to nearly double them, in a day and age when they’re in a decade-long decline. And because the 3310 and 8110 stand out so much, they can command a higher price than the competition.

“Is this going to make them number one? Obviously I don’t think that’s going to happen,” says Tuong Nguyen, a mobile analyst with Gartner. “But it gives them a better foothold than some of their competitors, the guys who are focusing on features or security or a super low price.”

‘The spinning is the ultimate party trick.’

Juho Sarvikas, HMD

Some of that resurgence comes, too, from people who see the 3310 and 8110 not just as a nostalgia trip, but a legitimate chance to disconnect from the always-on lifestyle amid mounting concerns over smartphone addiction. The 8110, in particular, connects just enough that you don’t feel unmoored, but not enough to keep you glued to its 2.4-inch display.

“I think there’s an increasing number of people who want to buy a secondary device,” says Sarvikas. “Most often it’s something you want to use to switch off a bit.”

A second phone, Sarvikas argues, still needs to offer what he calls “lifeline communications,” particularly messenger services that have gradually subsumed SMS. But maybe you don’t need Instagram or Candy Crush while you’re taking a long weekend. Maybe you just need a banana phone and Snake.

“For me as a tech geek, I’m a little bit excited about the Nokia products,” says Nguyen. “I’m OK with giving up many of those smartphone features to have less of a cognitive load on a daily basis. I definitely feel that I would be a lot happier, even though I’m giving up things like navigation and social networking.

The success of the retreads has also had a halo effect for Nokia smartphones, largely by reminding people that the Nokia brand, well, still exists.

And they’ll continue to. A ton of iconic Nokia designs await revitalization; Greengart has his fingers crossed for the 8800, which features prominently in John Wick Chapter 2. And Sarvikas says they’re nowhere near done.

“There’s so much to draw from, and there are so many cool emerging technologies,” he says. “I don’t think we’ll run out of fun things to do any time soon.”


Huawei P20 phone ‘can see in the dark’

Huawei’s latest smartphone can take photos in near-dark conditions without using its flash or a tripod. The P20 Pro takes exposures lasting up to six seconds to get enough light. It then uses artificial intelligence to deliver sharp images and avoid the blurring and smearing normally associated with employing this technique handheld. The Chinese company recently told the BBC it could soon become the world’s bestselling smartphone brand. At present, it is in third place behind Samsung and Apple, with US telecom networks’ refusal to sell its handsets proving an obstacle. Long exposure image Huawei boasted that its long-exposure feature gave it an edge over Apple’s iPhone X Like Samsung’s Galaxy S9-series phones – which recently went on sale – Huawei’s pitch to consumers for the P20 Pro is largely based on its new camera capabilities. But while the South Korean company’s S9+ made the leap to having two lenses on its rear, the P20 Pro is distinguished by being the first mainstream phone to feature three. “Huawei doesn’t have the brand Samsung or Apple have, so it’s almost had to go the extra mile in terms of the product,” said Ben Stanton, from the technology consultancy Canalys. “And it’s nice to see it taking the lead with some of the hardware it’s producing. “But the thing with camera technology is that unless you are looking at side-by-side comparisons [of photos] it can be very hard to tell which device is better. “So, Huawei has its work cut out to sell some of the new features.” Huawei P20 Pro The P20 Pro features a “notch” in its screen to accommodate a 24-megapixel front camera  The P20 Pro will cost 899 euros including tax ($1,115; £788). That is less than both the Galaxy S9+, which costs 949 euros, and the iPhone X, which starts at 1,149 euros.

Three lenses

The new flagship’s three rear cameras each offer different capabilities. The main sensor has an unusually high resolution of 40 megapixels. But it uses “light fusion” software to combine data from groups of four adjacent same-coloured pixels to produce 10MP photos.
Hauwei launch event
The P20 Pro and lower-range models were unveiled at a press event in Paris
The benefit is that images taken in low-light conditions should be less “noisy” as a consequence. “If you had an area of a table and put 40 little buckets on top and it was raining, it would take a longer time to get an inch-worth of rain in the bottom of each than it would if you had 10 buckets four times the size,” said marketing manager Peter Gauden. “And that’s essentially what we are doing. Using light fusion to combine four smaller pixels together to make a much larger pixel, and therefore enhance our capability of absorbing light into the sensor.” P20 Pro The P20 Pro is the first mainstream phone to feature three cameras on its rear The facility can be switched off, however, if the owner wants 40MP snaps. The two other cameras are:
  • a 20MP black-and-white sensor that can be used to take monochrome shots or to provide depth information to blur the background of images taken by the main sensor
  • an 8MP telephoto offering a hardware-stabilised 3x zoom lens, which can produce 5x shots when used in conjunction with a software-based digital zoom. This compares favourably to the 2x zoom of the Galaxy S9+ and iPhone X
The P20 Pro is being marketed as a superior long-range photography choice to rival premium handsets  The P20 Pro uses object-recognition technology to automatically adjust its settings to suit each subject, and then catalogue the imagery, which it can do without having to send data to the internet. In addition, the software makes composition suggestions when appropriate – such as when to adjust the phone to keep it level with the horizon, or to loosen or tighten a shot.

AI-enhanced photos

Like the Galaxy S9, the P20 Pro has a super-slow mode in which 960 frames per second can be filmed at 720p “high-definition” resolution. Huawei P20 Pro Huawei is seeking to convince consumers it can produce better photos than Samsung’s new phones But it also offers its unique long-exposure trick. To achieve this, Huawei says, the device uses its ability to distinguish objects to find the optimum frame for each item contained in a shot. It then takes information from other frames to improve the definition of each object, while ensuring that edges do not become blurred as a consequence. Finally, all the digitally finessed items are merged together to create a single photo.
P20 Pro photo
The BBC took this image using the P20 Pro in near-dark conditions, using the long-exposure feature 
As a result, a photo of the inside of a dim bar, for example, can end up looking brighter and more detailed than it appeared to the human eye. But quirks can occur. In one test by the BBC involving a person stood against a dim background, the frame selected of their face had them blinking despite the fact their eyes had been open for most of the six-second exposure.

Dialled-up threat

Huawei narrowed the gap with Apple last year, despite coming under pressure from other Chinese technology companies, including Oppo, Xiaomi and Vivo.
Manufacturer 2017 handset shipments Year-on-year change Market share
Samsung 317.7 million +2.0% 21.7%
Apple 215.8 million +0.2% 14.8%
Huawei (incl Honor) 154.2 million +10.7% 10.6%
Oppo 111.7 million +12.0% 7.6%
Xiaomi 92.7 million +75.0% 6.3%
Vivo 87.6 million +13.4% 6.0%
LG 55.8 million +1.2% 3.8%
Industry total 1.46 billion -0.5% 100%
However, efforts to crack the US market have been frustrated by AT&T and Verizon pulling out of talks to sell its devices. Reports suggested local politicians had pressured the telecom operators to turn their backs on the company because of concerns it had ties to the Chinese government. Richard Yu, chief executive of Huawei’s consumer products division, told the BBC that the Americans feared his company was “too competitive [and] too strong”. One industry-watcher, who is impressed by the new phone, said that was not necessarily good news for its rivals. “Huawei is going to throw everything that it’s got at Europe now because it needs to make up the sales volume expectation that it had in the US,” said Ben Wood, from CCS Insight. “Other smartphone-makers should be seriously concerned that the threat it poses has just been dialed up a whole order of magnitude as it’s just released up resources and money to resolve some of its brand issues.”

Tecno Camon CM debuts for professionals

For professionals, who are tech savvy, one gadget that promises to enhance their professionalism is Camon CM. Camon CM is the latest smartphone from the stable of Tecno, a leading Chinese original equipment manufacturer (OEM). The firm revealed that it took the research and development team over 15 months to come out with such a class high-end phone. One of the greatest features, which makes it more appealing to professionals, is its full screen display, which means consuming media, playing games, and whatever that finds its way to the frameless screen is going to be interesting. Market watchers are of the view that this new device will definitely set the pace for subsequent product designs in 2018. Aside from offering a bezel-less screen and offering users more screen space to better appreciate their multimedia content, the new Tecno phone is believed to revolutionize photography on a smartphone, especially for professionals. Three key areas of distinctive feature include its camera, battery and software architecture. Indeed, the phone is designed to cater to Nigeria’s multi-simming culture. It is a dual mini subscriber identity module (SIM) device with a storage capacity of 16 GB with support for memory card up to 128 GB. The Tecno Camon CM has a full body to ratio screen 18:9 which ensures users have media plastered all over the big screen – you’ll never have to miss the little details. Additionally, it comes with a large 5.7-inch screen. A full-screen device, it has 13MP on both rear and the front. The back camera is equipped with 13MP with f/2.0 aperture and the Quad-LED flash allows for great pictures in poor lit environments. The heart of the phone is driven by the MediaTek MTK6737H Quad-core chipset clocked at 1.3GHz. Coupled with 2GB of RAM, the result is a fast smartphone that executes tasks without much time wasting. It features a 16GB of storage, which can be expanded to 128GB with a MicroSD card, while the interface is spiced up with the Android 7.0 (Nougat), while the HiOS brings a revamped feeling to users. The Tecno Camon CM has a 3000 mAh battery that suits the screen resolution. There’s also significant battery conservation.

Samsung stretches competition with Galaxy S9 series

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. introduces the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+, the smartphones that reimagine the way people communicate, share and experience the world. Made for an age in which consumers increasingly communicate and express themselves more with images, videos and emojis, the Galaxy S9 and S9+ drive innovation with Samsung’s advanced camera. Redesigned with a new Dual Aperture lens that powers an innovative low light camera, Super Slow-mo video capabilities and personalized AR Emoji, the Galaxy S9 and S9+ ensure users do not miss a moment and make their everyday epic. The Galaxy S9 and S9+ deliver an enhanced entertainment experience with powerful stereo speakers tuned by AKG, immersive audio with Dolby Atmos and a refined edge-to-edge Infinity Display – a key staple in Samsung’s design heritage. In addition, the Galaxy S9 and S9+ will come with the new SmartThings app, which unites Samsung’s existing IoT services into one single, smart experience. Managing Director, Samsung Electronics West Africa, Jingak Chung, said: “The way we use our smartphones has changed as communication and self-expression has evolved. “With the Galaxy S9 and S9+, we have reimagined the smartphone camera. Not only do the Galaxy S9 and S9+ enable consumers to shoot great photos and videos anywhere, it’s a smartphone that’s designed to help them connect to others and express themselves in a way that’s unique and personal to them.” On the camera, Samsung said they are for more than taking pictures – they’re for connecting and communicating. Consumers want a smartphone camera with state-of-the-art technology, so they can express themselves with high-quality images and tools to tell their own, unique story. The Galaxy S9 and S9+ cameras are built with these consumers in mind, with a SuperSpeed Dual Pixel sensor with dedicated processing power and memory to take amazing shots with high photo quality. The Galaxy S9 and S9+’s camera features include: Super Slow-mo: Make everyday moments epic with dynamic, slow-motion video that captures 960 frames per second. The Galaxy S9 and S9+ also offer automatic Motion Detection, an intelligent feature that detects movement in the frame and automatically begins to record – all users have to do is set up the shot. After capturing the Super Slow-mo video, users can select background music from 35 different options or add a tune from their favorite playlist. Users can also easily create, edit and share GIF files with a simple tap in three playful styles of looping to watch the action over and over again. AR Emoji: Samsung lets users create an emoji that looks, sounds and acts like them. AR Emojiuses a data-based machine learning algorithm, which analyses a 2D image of the user and maps out more than 100 facial features to create a 3D model that reflects and imitates expressions, like winks and nods, for true personalization. AR Emoji shares users’ real-life emotions not only in video but also with a range of stickers and uses a standard AGIF file format so users can share their emojis across most third-party messaging platforms. The Galaxy S9 and S9+ are available in Nigeria from March 23rd, are in Midnight Black, Titanium Gray, and Lilac Purple colors. To purchase any of the devices, customers can visit the network providers, MTN, Airtel, Etisalat and GLO; Samsung Experience Stores, and select retail partners nationwide.

Siri won’t be reading hidden notifications out loud for much longer

The bug will get fixed in an upcoming update.

GoPro licenses camera tech to other companies amid sales struggles

There’s no question that GoPro is hurting: sales are struggling, its drone plans are dead and it’s not clear that the company can survive purely on sales of action cameras like the Hero6. What’s it going to do? Offer its technology to other companies, apparently. GoPro has unveiled a licensing deal that lets Jabil use its camera lens and sensor tech for a wide range of products. The two aren’t specific about what this will involve, but Jabil sees uses in everything from law enforcement (think body cameras) through to videoconferencing and self-driving cars. Yes, the tech that documents your mountain bike trip could also drive you across town some day.
Naturally, the licensing isn’t expected to allow competing action cameras. The pact isn’t a complete surprise when GoPro had already worked with Jabil on cameras from the Hero4 onward. However, it’s still a rare step for a company well-known for keeping its secrets close to the vest. There’s no certainty that GoPro will score many more deals like this, but it’s entirely possible that the company could rely on licensing agreements like these to shore up its bottom line. It wouldn’t have to depend quite so much on its own camera sales (which fluctuate wildly based on new releases and holidays) to survive.

Why we advocate gender friendly technology – LG

As global economy continues to digitize and transform women seem to suffer from persistent inequalities which even deepen on a daily basis. Women disproportionately hold jobs susceptible to automation whereas fields with employment growth are characterized by low female representation. When it comes to food preparation, a number of innovations would go a long way towards simplifying the culinary process. The benefits of smart technology are compounded exponentially by the presence of other connected devices. Obviously, when multiple appliances operate under the same ecosystem, each one is able to extend its benefits. For women to fully reap the benefits of digital dividend there is need to find ways to weaken and break down the barriers that hold them back and also to amplify how it works. The spread of technology has made it possible for creativity and innovation to soar higher. Technology companies are helping to improve the lives of millions of women through better access to markets, knowledge and networks. Yet gender inequality persists as a digital divide in many countries of the world. It is on record that women are often saddled with the responsibility of taking care of household chores which end up taking up most of their productive time. Research has shown that an average woman spends about 7.6 hours a week cooking compared to the men folk who spend less than that a week. What it simply means is that smart home should be designed bearing in mind the female user who uses the kitchen often. LG NeoChef Microwave Oven brings newer and richer cooking experience, which can efficiently and effectively reheat and defrost food thereby helping the female folks reduce time that would ordinarily be spent on cooking and makes it easier for them to prepare delicious meals. Female folks who are on the lookout for advanced culinary products will be able to find the ones that will enhance their cooking experiences with LG Gas Cooker that can help them prepare meals within a twinkle of an eye. Managing Director, LG Electronics West Africa operations, Mr. Taeick Son said: “We are deliberately focusing on our esteemed female consumers in commemoration of the United Nations International Women’s Day which comes up every March. In LG we are gender friendly that is why we have designed products would naturally appeal to the female consumers. Some the products include washing machines, microwave oven, vacuum cleaners, laptops etc.”

How hackers can access your MacBook without password

Hackers now have a new way to easily access your Mac. A new bug has been discovered in the Mac version of the Google Chrome Remote Desktop app.
It allows hackers to access an admin account on Apple Macs via the Google extension, bypassing the need for a password. The security flaw was unearthed by Check Point research (CPR). Google Chrome Remote Desktop allows users to access their desktop via another computer or smartphone. If the Mac has guest access enabled, then this can provide a back-door to get hold of password-protected information. CPR’s analyst noticed that by signing in as a guest user, hackers can jump into other sessions, including those started by an administrator account. For it to work, guest access must be enabled on Mac by the main account holder – the feature is not switched on by default. A spokesperson for Check Point Research said: ‘’To exploit this bug, once a Guest user connects to a remote desktop machine, the machine should have at least one active user in session. ‘’In the login screen, a user then clicks on the ‘Guest’ icon and, since a guest does not require a password, the system will proceed. ‘’What is expected to happen is that the local user that connects remotely to a macOS machine will receive the desktop of a ‘Guest. ‘’But while this is what appears in the remote machine, the local machine (the Chrome extension) receives the desktop of the other active user session, which in this case is an admin on the system, without ever entering the password.’’ An ‘embarrassing’ loophole in MacOS High Sierra was discovered in January that lets anyone with access to a machine bypass password protection. Using the fault, hackers could disable automatic security updates to take advantage of system vulnerabilities that are regularly patched in the future. This was the second time in two months that Apple had been hit by password based bugs in High Sierra, with a ‘root user’ flaw discovered in December. The latest problem was first highlighted via a bug report on the Open Radar developer community website. Experts said it was limited to the App Store and presents a relatively limited security risk.

Apple Skirts Tech Addiction Issue in Response to Worried Investors | Smartphones | TechNewsWorld

ple on Monday responded to an open letter from investors who called for the company to address the negative impact of the iPhone on children and teens. Though the company listed a number of controls provided to help parents screen content, it offered little to address the investors’ chief concern: the amount of time teens and younger children spend on phones.

Jana Partners and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, which together have invested about US$2 billion in Apple, on Saturday published the letter, which urges Apple to give parents more choices and tools to help ensure that young consumers are using the company’s products “in an optimal manner.”

There is a growing body of evidence that frequent use of Apple’s products by young people could be having unintentional negative consequences, notes the letter, which is signed by Jana Managing Partner Barry Rosenstein and CalSTRS’ Director of Corporate Governance Anne Sheehan.

The average American teenager who uses a smartphone first obtains a phone at age 10 and spends more than 4.5 hours a day on it — excluding texting and talking, Rosenstein and Sheehan pointed out.

Seventy-eight percent of teens check their phones at least hourly, and 50 percent report feeling “addicted” to their phones, they added.

“It would defy common sense to argue that this level of usage, by children whose brains are still developing, is not having at least some impact, or that the maker of such a powerful product has no role to play in helping parents to ensure it is being used optimally,” Rosenstein and Sheehan wrote.

Read more at:

Tech Takes Front Seat at Detroit Auto Show | Transportation | TechNewsWorld

In recent years, CES largely has usurped the North American International Auto Show in Detroit as the “first auto show of the year.” Automakers have used the annual Las Vegas shindig for all things consumer electronics to highlight the latest technology in vehicles.

So perhaps it was fitting that this year NAIAS, more commonly known as the “Detroit Auto Show,” looked a bit more like a technology trade show than a car show.

In addition to the major automakers’ press events highlighting vehicles that soon could be on road and futuristic concepts cars, this year’s auto show featured sessions on artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicle systems, vehicle security and mobility.

GM booth at NAIAS

Apple iPad Pro 2018 model may have this iPhone X feature

Apple claims that it uses TrueDepth camera for its Face ID feature on iPhone X, which with the much-talked Face ID feature that launched at its anniversary.  Now Ming-Chi Kuo Apple’s KGi Securities analyst prediction is that the upcoming lineup of Apple iPads will have TrueDepth camera for the year 2018 model iPads.  Therefore the upcoming iPads will feature facial recognition. It is predicted that the new Face ID feature in 2018 iPhone models. The company’s new iPad with ID feature will be launched on March of next year. Apple’s anniversary edition iPhone is ready to go pre-order in 55 countries starting October 27 and it will hit the retailer’s stores November 3rd.     Apple has priced iPhone X , which comes with two storage size of 64GB at $999and 256GB at $1149. According to RBC research, 57 percent of buyers are interested in the high –end variant and explains that despite Apple increasing the amount of storage consumers get at the entry-level price point, consumer preference is shifting towards wanting even more (via Business Insider).   The research shows that 75 % of iPhone customers interested to purchase iPhone with 256GB storage verses 45% iPhone 8 buyers who went to 256GB. RBC suggests that, because of the desire to have 256GB storage, iPhone-selling prices will increase.   Daryanani says this is partially driven by the people who desire to “buy the ‘best’ iPhone available, despite significantly higher pricing than any other iPhone in the past.”  Still when it comes for the iPhone purchase there are many factors gets involve: – affordability –storage size  need- or because of the increasing reliance on the cloud with features like iCloud  or Apple Music streaming. Soon we will find out what was the effective factor on purchase of iPhone X

Are you ready for a Facebook Smart Phone?

If a recent patent is any indication, Facebook may soon be coming out with a smartphone. Rumor has it that Facebook is possibly working on an advanced modular device which features a phone, a speaker, GPS support, a touch display, and a microphone. This is further substantiated by per a recent patent application. Modular hardware allows users to swap out different pieces to enable functions like a camera or a battery pack. According to the patent’s ABSTRACT: “Various embodiments of a modular electromechanical device are described herein. The modular electromechanical device includes a chassis and a plurality of functional modules that can be connected to the chassis. Each module is associated with a different functionality. The functionality of the modular electromechanical device is defined based on various attributes including the functionality of the different functional modules that are connected to the electromechanical device, the sequence in which the different functional modules are connected to the electromechanical device, the specific attachment structures used to attach the functional modules to the electromechanical device, or a pattern of traces formed with the chassis.” Facebook has already confirmed that the technology was acquired through Nascent Objects but didn’t provide any additional insight into a possible modular smartphone. The patent itself mentions that the product could work as a phone or an Amazon Alexa-esque music speaker. The modular device may work similarly to a phone or Amazon Alexa-like music speaker, according to the patent, which also notes that “millions of devices” connected to a server could be loaded with different software based on components that are swapped out. Facebook has a consumer hardware lab called Building 8 which is working on futuristic projects like the ability to type with your mind and understand language through your skin. The four employees named on the patent all previously worked for Nascent Objects, a startup Facebook bought last year that used 3D printing to quickly prototype modular gadgets. Building 8’s head of new product introduction, Bernard Richardson, previously worked in a similar role at Amazon on the Alexa speaker, according to his LinkedIn. People familiar with the matter told Business Insider that Building 8 is heavily focused on creating cutting-edge camera and machine learning technology. Coincidentally, the 4 Facebook employees mentioned in the patent had all previously worked at a startup called Nascent Objects which specialized in 3D printing modular prototypes.  

Huawei’s Mate 10 phones have big screens, small bezels, and AI hardware

Huawei has announced the Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro, two new phones that occupy the highest end of its lineup. The Mate 10 phones see the Chinese giant get on board with the skinny-bezel trend of 2017 while leveraging its ability in silicon design to supposedly improve AI-related performance.

The main difference between the two phones is in screen size and shape. The Mate 10 features a 5.9-inch 2560 x 1440 LCD while the Mate 10 Pro’s display is a 6-inch 2160 x 1080 OLED; both have thin, symmetrical bezels at the top and bottom. The Pro feels like the smaller phone, however, due to the narrower 18:9 aspect ratio it shares with many of this year’s similarly sized “bezel-less” phones.

The regular Mate 10’s sharper 16:9 screen makes for an unusually proportioned device, albeit one that’ll probably work well for YouTube and other casual video watching — it feels very wide in the hand, but the combination of a huge, standard aspect ratio screen with slim bezels lends a distinctive heft.

Photo by Vlad Savov / The Verge

Both phones feature glossy glass construction and come in “mocha brown” or “pink gold,” with additional black and gold finishes for the Mate 10 and blue and gray colorways for the Pro. There’s also a Porsche Design special edition Mate 10 Pro with a “diamond black” finish. The Mate 10 is 8.2mm thick and has a fingerprint sensor below the screen; the Pro is 7.9mm and has its fingerprint sensor around the back. The Pro features IP67 waterproofing and an IR blaster, while the Mate 10 gets a headphone jack and a microSD card slot in return.

Beyond external differences, both phones are similarly specced. They each feature a Kirin 970 CPU, 4GB of RAM, a 4,000mAh battery, 64GB of storage, and dual cameras with f/1.6 lenses. That camera setup includes a 20-megapixel color sensor and a secondary 12-megapixel monochrome sensor designed to gather additional luminance information and detail, as with the P10 and other recent Huawei flagships. The Pro has an additional variant with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, while the Porsche Design model comes with 6GB of RAM and ups the storage to 256GB.

Both phones use USB-C, as you’d expect, and Huawei has developed a desktop docking solution that’s similar in concept to Samsung’s DeX, which in turn is similar in concept to Windows Continuum and the Motorola Atrix and a lot of other things that didn’t work out. Huawei’s spin doesn’t require a dock, however — you can plug your phone directly into a monitor with a cable and expect to get around three hours of use in the desktop environment, which features resizable windows and Office support. The system allows you to use your phone as normal while it’s powering the larger monitor, and there are privacy controls that allow you to stop notifications from popping up.

Photo by Vlad Savov / The Verge

But the biggest differentiator for Huawei this year is the Kirin 970 chip, developed in-house at the company’s HiSilicon semiconductor arm. The Kirin 970 includes what Huawei is calling an NPU, or neural processing unit, which is designed to handle tasks related to AI and deep learning. Apple announced much the same with the iPhone 8 and X’s A11 Bionic chip, which includes a “neural engine,” but Huawei is leaning harder into making the Kirin 970’s NPU a core feature of the device.

One of the biggest claims is that Huawei’s AI processing will be able to significantly reduce the phone’s performance degradation over time, which the company has identified as a major problem with Android devices in general. The Mate 10 uses on-device processing to build a model of how you use the phone and allocates resources accordingly with machine learning predicting user behavior. And while Apple’s lead in raw CPU processing speed is seemingly unassailable in the mobile space, Huawei believes it will be able to outstrip the new iPhones when it comes to on-device deep learning tasks such as image recognition.

It’s hard to judge any of this without having the phone in hand — in fact, it’ll be hard to judge much of it without having used the phone for several months. But it’s clear that dedicated AI hardware is going to have its uses, and Huawei is demonstrating a significant advantage by managing to spin up its own take on the idea before the likes of Qualcomm.

Huawei’s last flagship, the P10, came with some disappointing quirks, and the company’s claims about the Mate 10 require that we reserve judgement even further. On paper, though, Huawei’s latest are intriguing devices that carry a lot of potential.

Huawei has set European pricing at €699 ($824) for the Mate 10, €799 ($942) for the Mate 10 Pro, and a staggering yet unsurprising $1,395 ($1,645) for the Porsche Design Mate 10 Pro — the release date hasn’t been announced yet, nor have any plans for a US launch.

Samsung CEO Kwon Oh-hyun to resign citing ‘unprecedented crisis’

Kwon Oh-hyun, Samsung Electronics’ CEO, vice chairman, and the head of its hugely successful components business, has announced his resignation. He will step down from the CEO role, as well as his positions on the board and as CEO of Samsung Display, in March 2018.

“It is something I had been thinking long and hard about for quite some time. It has not been an easy decision, but I feel I can no longer put it off,” Kwon said in a letter sent to employees. “As we are confronted with unprecedented crisis inside out, I believe that time has now come for the company start anew, with a new spirit and young leadership to better respond to challenges arising from the rapidly changing IT industry.”

The unnamed “crisis” in Kwon’s letter no doubt includes the imprisonment of Lee Jae-yong, the de facto leader of the entire Samsung group, on corruption charges. While Lee didn’t take a hands-on role in Samsung Electronics’ regular business, Kwon’s resignation is the first sign that the scandal could have a major impact on the company’s operations and culture.

Samsung Electronics is performing well, however, having announced earnings guidance hours ago that predicts a second straight quarter of record profits. The company expects its operating profit to have nearly tripled year on year, demonstrating strong recovery after the equivalent period in 2016 saw the Galaxy Note 7 recall disaster. But Kwon says that the current performance is thanks to decisions made in the past, casting doubt over the company’s ability to predict trends and grow in the future.

“There are no words to describe how proud I am that we built together one of the most valuable companies in the world. We have come a long way to create a company that truly changes how people live, work and communicate with each other,” Kwon’s letter continues. “But now the company needs a new leader more than ever and it is time for me to move to the next chapter of my life.”

Kwon, 64, has been Samsung Electronics CEO since 2012 and was named Samsung Display CEO in 2016. He joined the company in 1985, rising to lead its semiconductor business before his appointment as CEO. Samsung hasn’t announced a successor, although Kwon has had two “co-CEOs” — BK Yoon and JK Shin — in the past. Both stepped back from day-to-day operations in 2015, however, retaining their titles.

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BlackBerry’s water-resistant Motion revealed in leak

© Provided by Engadget BlackBerry’s decision to embrace Android may not restore the brand to its former glory, but it’s been a promising start. We were impressed with its latest phone, the KeyOne, which catered to classicists with its hardware keyboard. But, its followup, will onceagain ditch the brand’s defining physical characteristic — at least, if a new leaked render is anything to go by. The image, tweeted by Evan Blass, gives us our first look at the front of the touchscreen handset. Okay, so the rumour mill already let slip that the device would pack virtual keys. And, TCL (BlackBerry’s partner on its handsets) told us it would be water-resistant. But, aside from offering up a proper look at its design — which we’ll touch on later — Blass also dropped what may be its official title. The handset everyone was referring to as the “Krypton” is reportedly dubbed BlackBerry Motion. We can’t say that the name change comes as much of a surprise, seeing as the KeyOne also had a different title (Mercury) during its prototype stage. In terms of its look, the BlackBerry Motion doesn’t fall in line with the current bezel-free trend. It also contains a home button with an embedded BlackBerry logo. And, there’s a 3.5mm headphone jack. So, in many ways it is a classic device — albeit not in the traditional Blackberry mould. Still, that doesn’t mean the company is doing away with its other defining features. The Motion will carry the robust security software that BlackBerry prides itself on, and apparently boasts a mammoth 26-hour battery life. Details on its full list of specs, however, are still scarce. The handset is rumored to arrive this month. Although, if past examples like the BlackBerry KeyOne Black edition are any indication, TCL could be releasing the Motion in some markets first before bringing it worldwide. Evan Blass (Twitter)

Turns out Pixel 2’s unlimited photo storage has a limit

© Provided by CNETWith the new and improved camera on the Pixel 2, you'll need a place to sore all your masterpiece photos. James Martin/CNET
Google’s promise of unlimited storage for the newly launched Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL isn’t so free and open after all. The company announced on Wednesday that owners of any Pixel phone will be able to store all the photos and videos they want to online in Google Photos for as long as they use a Pixel phone. That’s true, but there’s a catch. Not every photo will be as high-resolution as you might want. For background, Google Photos lets all non-Pixel phone owners upload photos in full, “original” resolution for free. That is, until you hit the 15GB storage limit across Photos, Gmail and Google Drive. You could alternatively choose to upload as many photos and videos as you want at “high quality,” with no storage limitations. Google defines “high quality” as 16-megapixel photos and 1080p videos. When you choose this unlimited storage option, Google will compress any larger photos and videos down to “high quality.” Pixel owners, on the other hand, get a little reprieve. They can upload all of their photos and videos at full resolution for free,  “original quality” in Google’s lexicon. That is, until 2020. After that, things change. New photos and videos taken on any Pixel phone after 2020 will be compressed to Google’s “high quality”standard (16-megapixel photos and 1080p video). According to the fine print, “Free, unlimited original-quality storage for photos and videos taken with Pixel through the end of 2020, and free, unlimited high-quality storage for photos taken with Pixel afterwards.” It’s a little confusing, we know. Google confirmed to CNET that after 2020, it won’t retroactively compress all your full-resolution Pixel uploads before 2020. Only new uploads will be compressed, and old uploads will stay at original quality. Google is banking on the Pixel 2’s camera quality, and perk of free storage to help it stand out from dual-camera phones like the iPhone X and Galaxy Note 8. In fact, Google thinks its single 12-megapixel is better than those dual-camera phones. The Pixel 2 also scored even higher than the original according to photography testers DxOMark, which awarded it a score of 98.
  Source : MSN

How to Get the Old Volume Control Back on Windows 10

Though many people (some begrudgingly) have moved onto Windows 10, some still prefer the way Windows 7 worked. Thankfully, it’s not hard to make Windows 10 look more like Windows 7, and you can even bring back some of the best lost features with some workarounds.How to Make Windows 10 Look More Like Windows 7 How to Make Windows 10 Look More Like Windows 7Windows 10 introduced many updated and the visual design wasn’t spared. If you prefer the aesthetics of Windows 7, we’ll show you the steps to take to mimic its user interface.READ MORE

Since Windows itself doesn’t provide options for most of these tweaks, you’re stuck with third-party options. But strangely, Windows 10 does let you enable the old-school volume control slider from Windows 7 without installing anything. You’ll need to open the Registry to perform this tweak. Remember that messing around in the Registry can damage your system, so take care to follow the instructions. Type regedit into the Start Menu, accept the administrator prompts, and launch the tool to get started. Use the tree on the left sidebar to head to the following location:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion
Once you get here, right-click on the CurrentVersion folder in the left sidebar. Select New > Key. Give it the name MTCUVC.
Now, right-click the new MTCUVC key you just created and select New > DWORD (32-bit) Value. Call this EnableMtcUvc and leave its value at 0. That’s all you have to do — close the Registry Editor window now. When you click the volume icon in your System Tray, you’ll notice that it’s the older style panel now. To reverse this change, simply head back to this Registry location and delete the EnableMtcUvcvalue. Note that unless you really love the old volume panel, you should stick with the new version. The Windows 10 volume slider lets you easily switch outputs without diving into a menu, so it’s more efficient. Plus, it blends with Windows 10’s aesthetic more smoothly. Which volume slider do you prefer? Have you tweaked other parts of Windows 10 to make it more like Windows 7? Let us know what you like better down in the comments! Image Credit: paulion/Depositphotos
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Google’s Pixel Buds Can Translate Foreign Languages

Google pixel buds
Google has unveiled its own brand of wireless earbuds. The Pixel Buds are primarily made for listening to music, podcasts, and whatever else you listen to on your smartphone. However, they also offer access to Google Assistant and the real-time translation of 40 foreign languages.

Let’s not bury the lede here. Google has ditched the headphone jack on the Pixel 2, hammering the final nail in the coffin of that particular port. This makes it easier to sell people a pair of earbuds for $159. So now we know why the Pixel Buds are even a thing, let’s see what they have to offer…The Headphone Jack Is Dead and I Blame Google The Headphone Jack Is Dead and I Blame GoogleThat’s right, folks, with the Pixel 2, Google has joined the Apple-led ranks and killed the headphone jack.READ MORE

Google Assistant Makes All the Difference

The Pixel Buds are wireless earbuds you wear around your neck. They connect to your mobile device via Bluetooth, offer audio controls via a touchpad, and come with a charging case. So far, so meh. The real genius of the Pixel Buds comes in the form of Google Assistant and Google Translate.

The new Pixel Buds offer instant access to Google Assistant. All you have to do is touch and hold the right earbud, and you can then ask Google Assistant to “play music, make a phone call, or get directions,” all while keeping your phone firmly ensconced in your pocket safe from muggers.10 Things You Didn’t Know Google Assistant Could Do 10 Things You Didn’t Know Google Assistant Could DoAndroid’s version of Siri — Google Assistant — is more powerful than most people realize.READ MORE

The Babel Fish Is Reborn

As for the Google Translate functionality, this lets you get real-time translations of any of 40 different languages. Making you an instant multilinguist without any of the effort. Adam Champy, the Product Manager for the Pixel Buds, explains it best in a post on the Google Blog, saying:
“It’s like you’ve got your own personal translator with you everywhere you go. Say you’re in Little Italy, and you want to order your pasta like a pro. All you have to do is hold down on the right earbud and say, ‘Help me speak Italian.’ As you talk, your Pixel phone’s speaker will play the translation in Italian out loud. When the waiter responds in Italian, you’ll hear the translation through your Pixel Buds.”

The Pixel Buds Class System

Before you get too excited about the Google Translate functionality, this feature is only available on the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. At least for now. One has to assume that this is the first stage of the plan, with the ultimate goal being to offer real-time translations on every device. But that’s some way off.

Google Assistant is available through the Pixel Buds when connected to “an Assistant-enabled Android device”. The Pixel Buds are also compatible with iDevices running iOS 10.0 or higher, but only for listening to music via Bluetooth. So we recommend Apple fans stick with the AirPods.Should You Buy AirPods? 5 Affordable AirPod Alternatives for All Devices Should You Buy AirPods? 5 Affordable AirPod Alternatives for All DevicesThe Apple AirPods cost a fortune and doesn’t offer great audio quality. We’ve covered five affordable AirPod alternatives ranging from $20 to $150.READ MORE

A Genuinely Innovative Product… on Paper

The Pixel Buds look, on paper at least, to be a genuinely innovative product. With a little help from Google Assistant, and a lot of help from Google Translate. Unfortunately, we don’t yet know how good these real-time translations will be in the wild, so we’ll reserve judgement for the time being. Do you like the look of the Google Pixel Buds? Are you happy to pay the asking price for a pair of earbuds? Has the Google Assistant functionality sold you on the Pixel Buds? Or are you more excited by the real-time translations? Please let us know in the comments below!

iPhone X Alternative? 9 Smartphones With Better Value

With Apple charging more and more for its phones, you may need an iPhone X alternative. Thanks to Microsoft and Google, there are a lot of smartphones that do everything Apple does — for much less money.Apple Announces iPhone X & iPhone 8: Everything You Need to Know Apple Announces iPhone X & iPhone 8: Everything You Need to KnowWhat’s so special about the iPhone X? Can you really justify the $999 price tag, or is the refined iPhone 8 a better buy?READ MORE

It’s true that the iPhone X delivers a premium experience. From its 5.8-inch OLED screen to bezel-less design and Face ID, it’s an amazing phone. But the iPhone X comes in at around $1,000! Check out these nine iPhone X alternatives.

What Is the iPhone X?

It’s a phablet-sized iPhone with everything you’ve ever wanted inside of it. It isn’t the 10th iteration of the iPhone. Instead, it celebrates the 10th anniversary of the iPhone. If Apple forgos an iPhone 9, this follows suit with the Windows model of jumping from Windows 8 to Windows 10. iphone 8 wireless Its specifications are a testament to advancements in smartphone technology. Onboard, you’ll find an OLED screen that’s just under six inches. A phablet form factor, the iPhone X comes in a whopping 5.65 x 2.79 x 0.30-inch package that weighs 6.14 ounces. Primarily, facial recognition is a top feature the iPhone X touts.

On the inside, the X gets its power from an Apple A11 chipset with a whopping six-core GPU and M11 motion co-processor with 3GB of RAM. According to Gadgets360, benchmarks from the A11 are demolishing competitors. Apple’s A11 chip is a performance beast. Though it’s certainly a hot device, the Apple Watch Series 3 overshadows the X.Forget the iPhone X, the Apple Watch Series 3 is the Future Forget the iPhone X, the Apple Watch Series 3 is the FutureConfused? Enraged? Bought a Samsung? Relax, this benefits us all.READ MORE

Should You Buy an iPhone X?

On paper, the iPhone X is a terrific buy. Because of its gorgeous screen and top of the line specs, it’s arguably the best phone available. If you’re ingrained in the Apple ecosystem, you may consider the iPhone X as your next handset. However, upgrading will cost around $1,000. For that price, can snag a tablet, phone, and laptop. Maybe even a desktop. But if you are an Apple user (and have no qualms about dropping $1,000 for a new handset), by all means, splurge for the iPhone X. For the vast majority of consumers, though, an iPhone X is not worth the cost.

Best iPhone X Alternatives

1. Moto G5

Moto-G5-Plus iphone x alternative
Image Credit: Amazon
When it comes to spectacular devices on a budget, Motorola is king. TechRadar calls the Motorola Moto G5 the “best cheap phone in the world.” That’s high praise and well deserved. Starting with the exterior, the Moto G5 features a high-end feel that extends into its interior. The body is part metal, a pleasant touch considering even some flagships come with cheap plastic outers. The screen is lifelike, and there’s even a fingerprint scanner.

But the Moto G5 lacks NFC which you’ll need for many applications including Android Pay and VR mobile gaming. Further, processing power is underwhelming. But for around $200, this is easily the best substitute for an iPhone X on a budget.The Best Virtual Reality Games for Your Smartphone The Best Virtual Reality Games for Your SmartphoneLooking to play games in a new dimension? Experience virtual reality using your smartphone, a compatible headset, and these awesome games. You’ll love playing games in VR, and many are free!READ MORE

Why you should consider this as an iPhone X alternative: The Moto G5 is the best phone available for under $300.

2. Asus ZenFone 3

ASUS Zenfone3 Laser 5.5″ Unlocked Smartphone, 32GB, Android 6.0ASUS Zenfone3 Laser 5.5″ Unlocked Smartphone, 32GB, Android 6.0Qualcomm msm8937 (s430) Octa core 64bit 1 2ghz processor BUY NOW AT AMAZONCDN$ 377.08asus zenfone 3 iphone x alternative The Asus ZenFone’s lack of popularity is a mystery. Android Authority awarded the ZenFone 3 (our 8-point review) an 8.2 out of 10 in their score, hailing it as a premium device masquerading as a modest handset. Asus’s third generation ZenFone affords silky performance and commendable battery life. Both its front and rear shooters capture spectacular photos and video. It’s also a sexy device. But Android Authority does note that the ZenFone 3 comes with a bit too much bloatware. Moreover, it’s prone to collecting fingerprints and is a tad slippery. Still, for under $300 the ZenFone 3 is a solidly specced device that’s gorgeous to look at and use. Why you should consider this as an iPhone X alternative: Sweet appearance and performance.

3. Moto Z Play

MOTO Z PLAY UNLOCKED 32GBMOTO Z PLAY UNLOCKED 32GBTransforms with Moto Mods using interchangeable back covers BUY NOW AT AMAZONmoto z play iphone x alternative Motorola’s Moto Z Play stands out as a very unique handset. That’s largely on account of its modular design with add-on accessories. Dubbed Moto Mods, these snap-on accessories are simple to install and include functional tools such as a speaker, projector, and True Zoom camera. This mod makes the Moto Z Play a phone with one of the best cameras. Additionally, the Moto Z Play delivers long-lasting battery life. Whereas Motorola dumped the headphone jack a la Apple on its Z and Z Force, the Moto Z Play retains a 3.5 mm headphone jack. As CNET reports, the Z Play isn’t as powerful as the Z and Z Force, but the modular accessories, stellar battery life, and headphone jack make it a top Android device. Why you should consider this as an iPhone X alternative: Has a headphone jack, superb battery life, and modular accessories.

4. OnePlus 5

MOTO Z PLAY UNLOCKED 32GBMOTO Z PLAY UNLOCKED 32GBTransforms with Moto Mods using interchangeable back covers BUY NOW AT AMAZONoneplus 5 iphone x alternative Since the OnePlus 1, OnePlus devices have created lots of buzz. That doesn’t change with the OnePlus 5 (our OnePlus 5 review), except that it continues to offer incredible hardware at an affordable price point. In their opinion, Android Authority lauded the OnePlus 5 for its vivid 1080p screen and dual-camera array. Unlike many handsets, the OnePlus 5 opts for a metal build which lends a premium feel.

Performance is unrivaled, and battery life is excellent. But the OnePlus, like the iPhone X, still lacks expandable storage. With the prevalence of streaming services for video and music, and cloud storage options, that’s not a deal breaker. Nevertheless, a microSD card slot would mean the potential for 400GB additional storage.Supersize Your Phone! Should You Buy a 400GB microSD Card? Supersize Your Phone! Should You Buy a 400GB microSD Card?Looking for the largest microSD card? SanDisk’s 400GB offering might break all records for size, but its per-gigabyte value falls flat. We’ve covered the best large-sized microSD cards around.READ MORE

Why you should consider this as an iPhone X alternative: Fantastic dual-camera setup and blisteringly fast performance.

5. iPhone SE

Apple Iphone SE 64gb Rose Gold Unlocked GSMApple Iphone SE 64gb Rose Gold Unlocked GSM64gb storage BUY NOW AT AMAZONiphone se iphone x alternative As CNET explains, a year later the Apple iPhone SE remains an amazing device. A departure from the phablet trend, it’s a device capable of being used with a single hand. The iPhone SE (our review) yields a snappy experience and excellent cameras on its front and rear. It’s available with as much as 128GB of storage space. But where the SE shines is with a low price. Apple’s iPhone SE holds the distinction of being the most affordable iPhone on the market.

The SE doesn’t feel like a current phone. While devices such as the iPhone X and Samsung Galaxy S8 come in phablet form factors with bezel-less screens, the SE opts for a smaller package with a bezel. Nevertheless, the SE is one of the best iPhone X alternatives. Before making the plunge, however, make sure you know all about the iPhone SE.5 Things You Need to Know About the iPhone SE 5 Things You Need to Know About the iPhone SEThe iPhone SE is more than a boring, cut-price iPhone 5c refresh, and it’s not cheap either.READ MORE

Why you should consider this as an iPhone X alternative: The iPhone SE stays in the Apple ecosystem and balances power, storage, and affordability.

6. iPhone 7

Apple iPhone 7 Unlocked Phone 128 GB – US Version (Black)Apple iPhone 7 Unlocked Phone 128 GB – US Version (Black)Keep everything you love about iPhone up to date, secure, and accessible from any device with iCloud. BUY NOW AT AMAZONCDN$ 859.99iphone 7 iphone x alternative Though the iPhone 7 (our review) doesn’t pack the same punch as the iPhone X, it’s a solid device. While many new versions don’t deliver exceptional upgrades, the 7 does. There’s a great camera, up to 128GB of storage space.

You still won’t find a headphone jack or dual camera. However, it’s a worthy flagship and costs less than the iPhone X. Though it may look like the iPhone 6, the 7th-generation iPhone is pretty distinct.Everything You Need to Know About the iPhone 7 & iPhone 7 Plus Everything You Need to Know About the iPhone 7 & iPhone 7 PlusNo headphone port, water and dust resistance, and Apple’s best camera yet — this is the iPhone 7.READ MORE

Why you should consider this as an iPhone X alternative: Stays in the Apple ecosystem and is less expensive.

7. Samsung Galaxy S8

Samsung Galaxy S8 64GB Unlocked Phone – US Version (Midnight Black)Samsung Galaxy S8 64GB Unlocked Phone – US Version (Midnight Black)Infinity Display: a bezel-less, full-frontal, edge-to-edge screen. Default resolution is Full HD+ and can be changed to Quad HD+ (WQHD+) in Settings BUY NOW AT AMAZONCDN$ 899.95samsung galayx s8 iphone x alternative In our review, we found the Samsung Galaxy S8 to be one of the best overall handsets available. Unfortunately, at launch, its high price proved detrimental to recommending adoption. A technically well-endowed phone, the S8 competes with high-end phones including the iPhone 7, 8, and Google Pixel. Its Infinity Display and luscious screen make Samsung’s Galaxy S8 a wonderful contender for the iPhone 8. For fans of virtual reality gaming, the S8 sports both Gear VR, and Daydream compatibility. With its powerful hardware, the S8 may even be used as a desktop with the DeX dock. Why you should consider this as an iPhone X alternative: Infinity Display, powerful hardware.

8. HP Elite x3 (Available via Microsoft)

Elite X3 4G 64GB Qcomm SD820Elite X3 4G 64GB Qcomm SD820Elite X3 4G 64GB Qcomm SD820 BUY NOW AT AMAZONCDN$ 885.65
The Windows Phone may be a rarity. But it’s not completely dead. PCWorld Senior Editor Mark Hachman calls the HP Elite x3 the best Windows phone ever created. The hardware is exquisite and even comes with an iris scanner. Truthfully, Windows Phone is lightyears behind Android and iOS. However, the HP Elite x3 dominates with its ability to act as a desktop or laptop. A dock brings the x3 to monitors and televisions, while a notebook-like device transforms it into a laptop. Beefy hardware is capable of running Win32 applications such as Photoshop and Chrome. Essentially, it’s like having a PC in your pocket. The major downside is its price. Starting around $700, this is one pricey phablet. Want the Desk Dock? That runs an additional $150. Keen on the Lap Dock? Prepare to shell out $500. It’s tough to justify well over thousand dollars for the Elite x3, Lap Dock, and Desk Dock. For that price, you can get a much more powerful laptop or desktop and phone with a modern operating system, like, well, Android or iOS. Update: It’s sold out at Amazon, but available at a steep discount over at Microsoft for both the phone and dock.

9. Samsung Galaxy Note 8

Samsung Galaxy Note8 (US Version) Factory Unlocked Phone – 6.3″ Screen – 64GB – Midnight Black (U.S. Warranty)Samsung Galaxy Note8 (US Version) Factory Unlocked Phone – 6.3″ Screen – 64GB – Midnight Black (U.S. Warranty)6.3″ Dual edge super AMOLED Quad HD+ display BUY NOW AT AMAZONCDN$ 1,249.99
samsung galaxy note 8 iphone x alternative
Image Credit: Amazon
If you’re even considering the iPhone X, think about a Samsung Galaxy Note 8 instead. It’s possibly the greatest mobile device Samsung has yet produced according to TechRadar. Plus, the Note 8 is similar to the iPhone X. The Note 8 affords a massive 6.3-inch screen with its Infinity Display. Plus, there’s a bundled stylus. Its 6GB of RAM top the X’s comparatively measly 3GB. Additionally, the Note 8 packs in two cameras. Unfortunately, the Note 8 bears another similarity to Apple’s iPhone X: price. The Note 8 retails for around a grand. But for those debating an iPhone X, the Galaxy Note 8 is a much better use for your money. Though the Note 8, unlike its predecessor, won’t explode, your bank account may. Why you should consider this as an iPhone X alternative: Similar specs and price tag.

iPhone X Alternatives: What You Should Buy Instead

Fact: the iPhone X is an amazing phone, and arguably the best phone you can buy. Its A11 Bionic completely obliterates the competition in sheer brute force computing power. However, it’s difficult to justify the price when it doesn’t really do all that much that its Android and even Windows phone counterparts are not capable of performing. Rather than snagging an iPhone X, consider what attracts you to the iPhone X. Then, look for those qualities in a smartphone. If you’re set on staying in the Apple space, the iPhone 8, or even iPhone 7, are top choices. Don’t overlook the iPhone SE which is still one of the best iPhones you can buy. For Android, flagships such as the Samsung Galaxy S8 should satisfy anyone thinking of getting an iPhone X. But plenty of budget and mid-range devices pack plenty of features, including the best budget pick in the Moto G5, premium specced ZenFone 3, and all-around amazing OnePlus 5. Though Windows Phones are hard to recommend, the HP Elite x3 serves as a condensed desktop or laptop, though it’s primarily relevant for the business world instead of the average consumer. What iPhone X alternatives do you recommend?

The Headphone Jack Is Dead and I Blame Google

Google has unveiled the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. These new smartphones both run on Android, both share an aesthetically pleasing design sensibility, and both are missing the 3.5mm headphone jack. That’s right, folks, Google has joined the Apple-led ranks and killed the headphone jack.

In September 2016, Apple launched the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. And while these devices won plaudits from journalists and fans alike, Apple’s “courageous” decision to remove the headphone jack proved to be controversial. And now, 12 months on, Google has followed suit with the Pixel 2.Everything You Need to Know About the iPhone 7 & iPhone 7 Plus Everything You Need to Know About the iPhone 7 & iPhone 7 PlusNo headphone port, water and dust resistance, and Apple’s best camera yet — this is the iPhone 7.READ MORE

We Love You, 3.5mm Headphone Jack!

In the time since Apple launched the iPhone 7, other smartphone manufacturers have removed the headphone jack from their flagship devices. But given how Google mocked Apple over its decision just 12 months ago, I expected the Big G to be the last man standing by refusing to follow the herd. Instead, the Pixel 2 has arrived, and the 3.5mm headphone jack is nowhere to be found.
Google knew that removing the headphone jack would annoy people. So the company won’t have taken this decision lightly. In fact, as product chief Mario Queiroz said after the Pixel event, this is all about maximizing the size of the screen in future hardware iterations. He told TechCrunch:
“The primary reason [for dropping the jack] is establishing a mechanical design path for the future. We want the display to go closer and closer to the edge. Our team said, ‘if we’re going to make the shift, let’s make it sooner, rather than later.’ Last year may have been too early. Now there are more phones on the market.”
This is the very definition of following the herd. Apple broke ranks first, others followed, and now Google feels comfortable enough to jump on board the edge-to-edge express. The problem is not everyone is obsessed with a bezel-less future. Especially those who have spent a fortune buying a decent pair of headphones.

The kicker is, of course, that Google has a ready-made replacement for you in the form of the Pixel Buds. Like Apple with its AirPods, Google’s decision to kill the headphone jack has a positive knock-on effect for the company. Which is, in essence, millions of people buying Google Pixel Buds.Apple AirPods Review Apple AirPods ReviewREAD MORE

I’d Rather Have Beefy Bezels, Thank You

So, in conclusion, while Apple sat the headphone jack down in the electric chair, it’s Google that has flipped the switch.

And while I understand Google’s desire to maximize the size of the screen by getting it as close as possible to the edges of the device, that shouldn’t be as the expense of another feature most of us use on a regular basis. Especially if the ugly notch cut out of the new iPhone X is anything to go by. I’d rather have beefy bezels and my headphone jack back than that abomination.Apple Announces iPhone X & iPhone 8: Everything You Need to Know Apple Announces iPhone X & iPhone 8: Everything You Need to KnowWhat’s so special about the iPhone X? Can you really justify the $999 price tag, or is the refined iPhone 8 a better buy?READ MORE

Are you interested in buying a Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL? If so, what’s the main draw for you? Are you bothered by Google removing the headphone jack? Would you prefer a bezel-less, edge-to-edge display over a headphone jack? Or has Google messed up? The comments are open below. Image Credit: B Rosen via Flickr

How to Share Your Wi-Fi Without Password in iOS 11

Ios 11 control center

One of the coolest features in iOS 11 has to be the ability to share your Wi-Fi password with other iOS 11 users. No more having to remember where you wrote your Wi-Fi password down and no more having to read out a long string of letters and numbers.You Can Now Download iOS 11 on Your iPhone or iPad You Can Now Download iOS 11 on Your iPhone or iPadApple is finally releasing iOS 11 to the general public. And all you need to download iOS 11 is a compatible Apple device.READ MORE

There are some requirements in order for this feature to work:
  • iOS devices have to be running iOS 11 and have Bluetooth turned on.
  • You have to be in each other’s contacts.
  • Home owners can also use their Macs to share their Wi-Fi connection, but must be running MacOS Sierra for it to work.

If you meet the requirements, you can share your Wi-Fi password with other devices nearby without revealing the password.How to Find & Change Your WiFi Password How to Find & Change Your WiFi PasswordOnce your WiFi is set up, you feel no reason to remember the password. Until you need to connect another device. What’s the password again? Fortunately, it’s easy to find out!READ MORE

With both devices next to each other, on the unconnected device, go to Settings > Wi-Fi and tap to connect to the Wi-Fi network you want to join. On the connected device, as long as your device is unlocked, you’ll get an alert that another device wants to join your network. The device requesting access will be identifiable by its name. Tap Share Your Wi-Fi to let the other device connect. And that’s it! You’ve shared your Wi-Fi connection without revealing the password. To see this process in action, check out the video below:
What’s your favorite iOS 11 feature? Have you found the Wi-Fi sharing feature useful? Let us know in the comments.
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Google is tryharding at phones right now, and I love it

Google pixel 2

At my high school, it wasn’t “cool” to make an effort during PE. I distinctly remember being told this during a basketball game where I out-hustled a kid six inches taller than me for a rebound. I paused for a moment, and then went back to hustling. “Nah,” I thought to myself. “I’d rather win.” Ever since then, I’ve always considered myself on the side of the tryhards. If you can win with seemingly zero effort, good for you. But in my opinion, it’s better to break a sweat than to lose the game.

The part of this blog post where I talk about playing sports is now complete. Thank you for your patience.

It’s hard to think of Google as a scrappy underdog, but in the hardware business that’s absolutely the case. And, more importantly, in the Paul-buys-phones-sometimes business, Google is almost a non-player.

I’ve been an iPhone user since the day the first model came out in 2007. I’ve used a bunch of Android devices for work, and even bought a couple for my personal use over the years, but I always come back to iOS’s welcoming arms. But something about Google’s hardware event this week really spoke to me, in a way that Apple’s recent iPhone X event didn’t.

Google looks like a bunch of tryhards right now, and it’s great.

It sounds like a stupid distinction, but it matters to me that the Pixel 2 is $649, while the iPhone 8 is $699. Is $50 a lot of money? Not really. But by undercutting Apple on price (even just a little), Google looks hungry to compete, while Apple looks like it just needed a way to get more cash out of its regular customers.

According to Apple, people like me who enjoy small phone form factors don’t deserve the best cameras the company has to offer. Google begs to differ, and managed to put its version of Apple’s Portrait Mode in both the Pixel 2 XL and the regular-human-sized Pixel 2, using the exact same sensors in both phones. Thanks, Google!

In Apple land, if you take too many photos and video you basically brick your phone, and even if you pay for extra iCloud storage beyond the sad default of 5GB, it’s a chore to keep your local storage clean. My solution? Don’t take too many pictures. In Google’s world, cloud storage is cheap enough to offer as a carrot, and with the Pixel 2 you can upload unlimited original-quality video and photos to Google’s cloud. As a company desperate to contend with Apple and Samsung as a hardware brand, it makes sense that Google is willing to spend a few extra 2017 dollars on data centers to win converts who might stick around into the future.

Photo by James Bareham / The Verge

Google sadly missed an opportunity to dunk all over Apple by keeping the headphone jack. But I do prefer the neckbud form factor of Google’s Pixel Buds to Apple’s imminently losable AirPods. I’m not going to put this in the “Google wants it more than Apple” column, but at least Google’s tastes here line up with mine.

I like that Google moved the search bar down to the bottom of the phone where it’s easier to reach with my thumb. I like that Google is going with OLED on phones that aren’t $999. I like that Google is doing a low-key Shazam on the phone 24/7, and can show me information when the screen is “off.” I like that the Pixel 2 does quick charging with the charger that comes in the box. I think the Pixel 2 is beautiful. And the Pixel 2 XL with that orange side button and tastefully sized top and bottom bezels is perhaps the best-looking phone since the iPhone 5, if it wasn’t a big phone which I hate.

It’s like Google really gets me right now, in a way Apple just doesn’t.

In fact, Apple is increasingly getting on my nerves. The number one app I use on my phone is Audible, but Apple’s draconian app policies mean I can’t actually purchase new books from within the Audible app. Apple’s FaceTime doesn’t support multi-person video calls, so I’ve been transitioning to Facebook Messenger for those purposes. iOS has always had the best and highest-quality third-party apps, and I feel like that’s still true, but I’m seeing more small upstarts and experimental apps show up as Android exclusives.

Many of the things that make Android appealing right now aren’t new to Android users, but as an Apple user who has trusted deeply in one company to manage a large portion of my digital life for me, it’s much more appealing to see Google offer an alternative to the iPhone than another hardware player like Samsung or LG. Google, now more than ever, has a clear vision for what phones should be like, how they should be used, and how they should integrate with Google services. I already use Google’s Inbox, YouTube, and Docs on my iPhone all the time. Now that Google’s hardware looks mature and in sync with its services, it’s finally made me take Android seriously in a way I never have before.

I think I can tolerate my iPhone 7’s cracked screen for a few more months (maybe a little bit longer). But when the time comes to upgrade, I’m going to have a really hard decision to make. The iPhone 8 seems boring and lazy, the iPhone X is big and expensive, and Google’s got a $649 phone now that’s almost made exactly to my tastes.

The hardest part of leaving the iPhone would be becoming a green bubble to my friends and family. iMessage has a powerful hold over me. But if I switch, it won’t be me leaving iMessage. It will be the platform that runs iMessage leaving me.

The Pixel 2/Home Mini bundle is a big deal for Google Assistant

Google home mini

Today’s Google event was a non-stop two hour deluge of Assistant news. Yet one small, overlooked announcement may have been the biggest bit boost to the company’s burgeoning AI ecosystem so far. The simple decision to include a Home Mini in early Pixel 2shipments could prove a more successful method for spreading the Assistant gospel than anything Google has done to this point.

The bundle highlights what’s so unique about Google’s play. The company is the only one of the the big three that has solid footing in both the mobile and home markets. Amazon has managed to get Alexa on a smattering of phones with limited success, and Apple’s first smart speaker is still several months away from release. Google, meanwhile, has slowly seeded Assistant on both sides of the fence.

The Pixel/Mini bundle represent a key bridge between the two sides. Users who play around with Assistant on the phone will be able to bring it into the home with no extra charge. Sure, the limited availability of the bundle won’t be nearly enough to tip smart home marketshare (Amazon currently commands between 75 and 80 percent, depending on who you ask), but it lowers the barrier of entry considerable for people looking for something other than an Echo.

Most users don’t want to deal with multiple voice assistants in their lives — it’s a bit like asking someone to constantly switch between desktop or mobile operating systems. The company that’s able to grab the biggest piece of the mobile and home marketshare will have a unique foothold in the market. Google has a leg up on everyone in that respect, and the introduction of a virtually free home device will tip it over even more in that direction.

Of course, in order to make sure the free Minis don’t end up sitting in the closets of early adopters collecting dust, Google needs to provide the most seamless experience possible. It’s a play that wouldn’t have worked in the earliest days of Google Home, but the company’s solid integration of applications like Calendar and Gmail will go a ways toward realizing the company’s dream of making Assistant a persistent presence.

Sure, Google still seems to be playing catch up from a hardware perspective, and it’s hard to see the Mini as much more than a direct response to the Echo Dot, but this small gesture is bound to do a better job advocating for Assistant than any ad campaign.

  Source :

Google dropped the Pixel’s headphone jack to lay the groundwork for a bezel-free phone

Another domino has fallen in the march toward a post-headphone jack world. Today Google became the latest company to drop the once ubiquitous port from its phones, though it hardly devoted any time to its own courageous move. The driving motivation for dropping the jack is pretty clear after a quick survey of the mobile landscape: the Pixel is moving to an edge-to-edge display.

“The primary reason [for dropping the jack] is establishing a mechanical design path for the future,” Google product chief Mario Queiroz told TechCrunch after the event. “We want the display to go closer and closer to the edge. Our team said, ‘if we’re going to make the shift, let’s make it sooner, rather than later.’ Last year may have been too early. Now there are more phones on the market.”

The move was “absolutely” a driving factor in the company’s decisions to launch its own AirPod competitor, the Pixel Buds, according to Queiroz. The company essentially created an opening in the market by dropping the jack, and it was able to step right in with hardware that also helps make Assistant more ubiquitous, while turning Translate into a real world version of Douglas Adams’ Babelfish.

The inevitable death of the bezel was also a big driver behind the company’s move to P-OLED for the larger Pixel XL. “It’s a new technology, but we’re really excited about the possibility of being able to wrap the screen around the side,” explains VP Product Management,” Brian Rakowski. “We designed it in a way that’s still comfortable to hold and you’re not necessarily holding the display. It gives you the ability to get a little bit closer, so you can start to see the curve without it being more a blocky, slab of a phone.”

Of course, a quick glance at the new Pixels makes it clear that Google opted not to go in that direction this time out, unlike the likes of Apple, Samsung and LG. So, why not just go full bore into the bezel-free future? The move was overrided in part by the decision to include the front-facing speakers that flank the screen.

According to Queiroz, the company also simply wanted to give users a place to hold the phone. “One of the things that I pushed pretty hard for was the side band so you don’t feel like you’re gripping the display,” he explains. And with the Pixel’s 2 U11-inspired Active Edge feature, it also means a more place to put the squeeze on.

Total Control allows you to control phones from PC

Looking for a way to configure your computer to be able to control your smart phone? Occasionally we need to control our mobile phones from a computer. For example, the phone screens are broken, touch screens become unresponsive, you need to type a lot, you want to watch something in bigger screen, etc. Total Control lets you control your Android phone from PC easily. As you would expect, the USB debugging option needs to be enabled in order to grant the phone control software the access to your Android device. Total Control enables the full control over Android powered phones and tablets on your desktop. It mirrors your phone’s screen on your desktop or laptop computer and enables you to control the mobile device with mouse clicks or swipes, keyboard and shortcuts. mirror android phone screen to pc using total control
Total Control is available in both free and paid versions. The free version is simplified, ideal for personal use. Unlike other phone control apps, this one is ads free. You will not be bothered with ads. You are not limited to wired connections. Even the free version supports wireless connection over Wi-Fi network. The setup of Total Control is easy. Just install and run the PC client on your computer, then enable USB debugging on the Android device and connect it to computer via USB, Total Control for Android app will be pushed to your phone or tablet. After that your phone’s screen will be mirrored to your computer and you can control your phone from computer via mouse, keyboard, play mobile games and videos on PC, control multiple phones and tablets on PC and many more.

Control Phone from PC when phone screen is broken?

When your phone screen is broken or becomes unresponsive, this free phone control app allows you to use the PC as the phone screen so you can still export data from phone to computer, send files from PC to phone or else. Note that the USB debugging on the Android device must be enabled already.

iPhone 8 Plus may be the ‘most expensive’ Apple smartphone to make so far

he new Apple iPhone 8 Plus, equipped with 64GB of NAND flash memory, carries a bill of materials (BOM) cost that comes out to $288.08, higher than any previous versions of the company’s smartphones, according to a preliminary estimate from IHS Markit. After $7.36 in basic manufacturing costs are added, Apple‘s total cost to make the iPhone 8 Plus rises to $295.44, $17.78 higher than that of the iPhone 7 Plus. IHS Markit also estimates that the iPhone 8 bill of materials is $247.51, or $9.57 higher than the Phone 7 at the time of release. The unsubsidized price for a 64GB iPhone 8 starts at $699, which is $50 more than the starting price for the iPhone 7 at launch. The iPhone 8 Plus starts at $799, which is $30 higher than that of the iPhone 7 Plus at launch. IHS Markit is in the process of performing an analysis of the iPhone 8, which will explain how the price differential on the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus was $120 last year, while the iPhone 8 price differential returned to $100.
The higher total BOM cost for the iPhone 8 Plus can’t be tied to a single area or feature. The higher cost is the result of slower annual component cost erosion tied in with additional features, said Andrew Rassweiler, senior director of cost benchmarking services for IHS Markit. From a teardown perspective, the biggest cost adders would be the increased NAND flash memory content and new wireless charging components.
Like the iPhone 7 Plus, the iPhone 8 Plus features a 5.5-inch Full HD display, an aluminum frame and hardened glass. This year’s model features wireless charging, hence the aluminum uni-body design was abandoned for a more traditional glass back. The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are available in Silver, Space Gray and Rose Gold.
The introduction of the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus comes at a time when the major smartphone makers are in a fierce battle for market share. According to the IHS Markit Smartphone Model Market Tracker for Q3 2017, the top three smartphone makers are Samsung, with 23 percent of the market; Apple, with 12 percent; and Huawei with 11 percent.
The new iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, and later the iPhone X, are important devices for Apple and anticipation is running high. Apple’s shipments for the last quarter were flat year-on-year and Samsung’s Galaxy S8 devices have been successful in the high-end pricing segment, creating a competitive environment, said Gerrit Schneemann, senior analyst for mobile handsets. The iPhone X stands to further confirm Apple’s grip on the premium pricing tier when it becomes available in November.   Source: gadgetsnow

The cheap Nokia MD-22 wireless speaker may be introduced alongside Nokia 2

There are many rumors running around regarding HMD’s plans for the remaining of the year. Many expect the Finnish company to announce at least one more Android smartphone, probably the Nokia 2. The budget-friendly smartphone is said to go official alongside one more Nokia-branded device, which we thought it would be the Nokia 7 or Nokia 9. However, Finnish media claims HMD will introduce a mere wireless speaker together with the Nokia 2. The unannounced Nokia MD-22 wireless speaker is said to cost €30-€40 and should be available for purchase by the end of the year. No word on how much the Nokia 2 will cost though, but it’s likely to be more expensive than the wireless speaker. The sequel MD-12 wireless speaker launched a few years ago, Nokia MD-22 will probably be sold in all countries where HMD is actively selling its products through official channels. Up until now, HMD did not confirm any unveiling events for the rest of the year, but given the fact that both devices belong to the low-tier, they will probably be announced through a press release and made available on the market soon afterward.
source: Eero Salminen‏ (Twitter) via Nokiamob

Apple explains how Face ID learns from its mistakes

Feel the iPhone X

Today, Apple published a newly refreshed privacy page. With it came the most new information the company has released on Face ID since the iPhone X was announced. The details come from a new support page and a technical white paper on Face ID security, mentioned during the keynote and currently live on Over the course of six pages, the paper walks through the various privacy and security measures built into the new facial recognition system, including crucial details on how the new system works and how it will hold up under pressure.

The most detailed information comes from the description of how the iPhone X stores faceprints. In broad strokes, Face ID works the same way Touch ID did: the system reads your face (or fingerprint), then creates a partial version to compare against future prints. It’s a purposefully incomplete picture, so even if you could extract the data, it would be impossible to fully reconstruct a person’s face. According to the white paper, there’s also a random element to which information is retained, making it even harder to predict and spoof the system.

Even more interesting is that the initial enrollment is just the beginning of the process. Once you’ve registered your face with the system, Face ID will update its model by occasionally pulling images from successful login photos. The white paper insists those updated face images won’t leave your phone, although they may be stored there for longer than usual. That rolling enrollment explains why Face ID won’t be thrown off if a user grows a beard or buys new glasses. With new images periodically incorporated into the model, the phone’s idea of what you look like can grow incrementally, just like the face itself. Here’s how the white paper puts it:

To improve unlock performance and keep pace with the natural changes of your face and look, Face ID augments its stored mathematical representation over time. Upon successful unlock, Face ID may use the newly calculated mathematical representation — if its quality is sufficient — for a finite number of additional unlocks before that data is discarded. Conversely, if Face ID fails to recognize you, but the match quality is higher than a certain threshold and you immediately follow the failure by entering your passcode, Face ID takes another capture and augments its enrolled Face ID data with the newly calculated mathematical representation. This new Face ID data is discarded after a finite number of unlocks and if you stop matching against it. These augmentation processes allow Face ID to keep up with dramatic changes in your facial hair or makeup use, while minimizing false acceptance.

Apple is also preparing to step in when the system doesn’t work. The white paper goes into detail on a process Apple calls “Face ID Diagnostics,” which lets users reset the enrollment process and walk through it with Apple riding shotgun. If you’re setting up Face ID in diagnostics mode, you’ll be able to send enrolled pictures to Apple for examination and veto any enrolled pictures that might be throwing off the system. Apple insists that process would only take place as part of customer support, basically as one more option for an Apple employee trying to fix a misbehaving phone. Still, the measures go well beyond what’s available for Touch ID, suggesting Apple wants to be prepared for any users that end up on the wrong side of the algorithm.

After Face ID was announced, one of the biggest concerns was the chance that it could be used to unlock a person’s phone against their will. The new document details some of the protections against that kind of unlocking, but it’s not entirely reassuring. Your eyes will have to be open and pointed at the phone for Face ID to trigger the system, but the system is fast enough that instinctively looking at a presented phone might be enough to unlock it. The good news is: you can disable Face ID by pinching the side buttons to put the phone in shutdown mode. After that, it will require a passcode to unlock.

Some measures seem to acknowledge the possibility of an accidental unlock. Face ID is designed to work with Apple Pay, giving users an easy way to transfer money without typing in any passwords. But just looking at your phone won’t be enough to trigger a transaction. Apple Pay requires you to “confirm intent” by double-clicking the sleep button before holding the phone up to the payment terminal. It’s a smart protection to have, but it suggests Face ID is every bit as easy to accidentally trigger as the early demos indicated.

Then there’s the impostor problem. Phil Schiller joked about evil twins (specifically Evil Spock) at the keynote, but Apple clearly takes the problem seriously, recommending against Face ID use if you’re worried about someone with your facial features accessing your phone. The support page puts it this way:

The probability that a random person in the population could look at your iPhone X and unlock it using Face ID is approximately 1 in 1,000,000 (versus 1 in 50,000 for Touch ID)…. The statistical probability is different for twins and siblings that look like you and among children under the age of 13, because their distinct facial features may not have fully developed. If you’re concerned about this, we recommend using a passcode to authenticate.

In security terms, this is a pretty obscure line of attack. Even if you have a twin, it seems unlikely that an attacker could successfully enlist them in a scheme to unlock your phone. (Let’s call it a Bowfinger attack.) Still, the attack tells us something about Face ID’s limitations. Apple has built protections against printed photos and masks, but if there’s a real face with the same features as yours, it might slide through. That’s the price of a fast and seamless system.

There are still a lot of unanswered questions — most notably how well Face ID will hold up across different races. Apple says it tested the system on a diverse set of a billion different photos, but like a host of other questions, we won’t have a solid answer until the iPhone X goes on sale next month. Facial recognition is a much trickier process than fingerprint scanning, but so far, Apple seems to be treating Face ID like a smarter, faster version of Touch ID.

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