Google creates personalized stream of news on iOS and Android

Back in December Google previewed a feed as a new feature. Today it evolves into a stream of news and other relevant cards for all Android and iOS users. Google is relying on the gathered info through searches and cookies to provide personalized information.
The company hopes the app will be used as frequently as Facebook and Twitter on mobile. It will include sports highlights, news, YouTube trending videos and stories to read. It will also have flight info, weather updates, recipes and upcoming events in the calendar in a separate tab.
When a card seems irrelevant, you can unsubscribe from the topic and from the whole media outlet as well. You can also add your favorite sports teams to receive live results and standings through the Settings option or a new “Follow” button Google is implementing in the search.
Most of the features are not new – they were a thing back when Google Now was used. Now that service is replaced by the feed and the advanced Google Assistant.
The new feed is launching initially in the US. It will roll out internationally in the next couple of weeks. The app should update automatically when the upgrade is available.

Samsung OWY phone certified with Bluetooth 5.0

The Bluetooth SIG just certified a Samsung phone called OWY. That’s an unusual name for sure, it doesn’t fit with the company’s usual naming scheme. Still, it’s curious because it supports Bluetooth 5.0, the latest version of the wireless protocol.
Only very recent chipsets support that protocol – the Snapdragon 835, of course, but also the 660 and 630. Samsung’s Exynos 8895 does too. So whatever this phone is, we’re looking at a shiny new chipset – either a flagship one or a new (still to reach the market) premium mid-range chip.

Apple is once again selling Nokia products

Apple is once again directly selling Nokia products through its online store, and they should be available in its physical retail locations soon too. That’s not an error – we’re obviously not talking about smartphones here, even though more and more Nokia-branded Android handsets are starting to appear. Apple would definitely never offer those, but it is eager to sell you a Nokia connected health device or two.
These products, ranging from scales to thermometers to blood pressure monitors, were formerly Withings-branded. Nokia bought Withings last year and has since renamed all of those accessories, using its own brand.
So the Nokia Body Cardio and Body+ scales are up for grabs from Apple, as are the Thermo and BPM+ (the former a thermometer, the latter a blood pressure monitor). Apple had been selling the original Withings products, but then some patent lawsuits filed by Nokia against it prompted a halt of those sales. A legal settlement regarding those lawsuits was reached between the two companies in May, and this cleared the way for Nokia connected health devices to be available in Apple stores.

Toshiba shows us the Yoga-like Satellite Radius, plus two new detachable notebooks

Poor Lenovo. HP co-opted its contortionist laptop design in February with the Pavilion x360, and now Toshiba is introducing a Yoga copycat. The Satellite Radius is a 15.6-inch convertible with a 360-degree hinge that offers five usage modes: Laptop, tablet, presentation, audience, and tabletop.

In a briefing last week, Toshiba’s Senior Product Marketing Manager Carrie Cowan pointed out that Lenovo doesn’t offer a Yoga model with a display this large. “We’re targeting the mobile worker who needs to make presentations on the road,” said Cowan. “This is a high-end laptop that’s convertible.”

The Satellite Radius will feature an aluminum enclosure and will be available with either an Intel Core i5 processor and a 750GB hard drive for $926, or a Core i7 CPU and a 1TB drive for $1049. Both models will come with 8GB of memory, LED-backlit keyboards, and 802.11ac Wi-Fi adapters with support for Bluetooth 4.0. The IPS display will offer native resolution of 1920×1080 pixels.

Holding this 4.85-pound computer in tablet mode is a tall order. I imagine most people will cradle it in the crook of one arm, if they use it tablet mode at all, because it’s just too heavy to hold any other way. But the large display will be terrific in “presentation” mode (with the laptop set up like a tent) and “audience” mode (with the keyboard facing down and the display at a right angle to it. Cowan told me a “smart-lock” feature can be configured to turn the keyboard off when it’s not needed.

Toshiba will bundle a copy of Nuance’s Dragon Assistant with the Satellite Radius, which will have dual-array microphones embedded in its bezel. The convertible will be equipped with Harman Kardon speakers and DTS Sound audio-processing software. Cowan said the Radius will be available in July at Best Buy and directly from Toshiba.

Toshiba’s Click convertible gets a revamp, too

Toshiba also showed me two new notebooks with detachable displays. “Detachables have been out of reach for the average consumer,” said Cowan. So Toshiba will price the budget-oriented Satellite Click 2 at just $587 when it ships in July. That will buy you a 13.3-inch IPS display (with native resolution of 1366×768 pixels) that can detach from its keyboard dock to become a tablet.

A new docking mechanism eliminates the need to push a button or slide a catch to release the display: You simply push down on the top edge of the display and pull it away from the dock. The prototype I saw last week didn’t work perfectly—one side kept getting stuck—but you can’t expect prototypes to be perfect. Cowan said the combo will be 0.9 inches thick and tip the scales at 4.85 pounds , while the tablet on its own will measure 0.55 inches thick and weigh 2.81 pounds.

The Click 2 will be entirely passively cooled, but I don’t imagine it will be a barn-burner when it comes to benchmarks, being powered by a Bay Trail-class CPU (a quad-core Intel Pentium N3530) and 4GB of memory. Storage will come in the form of a 500GB mechanical hard drive. On the upside, it will come with an 802.11ac Wi-Fi adapter and an HD webcam.

Since the drive resides in the tablet half of the duo, Toshiba is including its own impact sensor software that moves the read/write heads away from the platters when it detects vibrations that might jeopardize data integrity.

Toshiba collaborated with headphone manufacturer Skullcandy to design the Click 2’s audio system. Cowan handed me a pair of Skullcandy’s Crusher headphones for a quick listen, and the cans literally vibrated in time with the bass beat. I doffed them in short order, but I’m clearly not the target market (for the record, I don’t think much of Beats headphones, either).

Toshiba’s Satellite Click 2 Pro will be more of a performance play. It will be offered in two configurations, one of which will feature additional storage and a second battery in its keyboard dock. Cowan said Toshiba expects the Click 2 Pro will last around 9.5 hours with both batteries. Like the Click 2, the Click 2 Pro will have a 13-inch IPS display, but the native resolution on this model will jump to 1920×1080 pixels. Like the less-expensive Click 2, a push-down-to-release mechanism connects the display to its keyboard dock.

The Click 2 Pro will be available with either an Intel Core i5 CPU and 4GB of memory for $1029, or a Core i7 processor and 8GB of RAM for $1280. Both configurations will come with a 128GB SSD and an 802.11ac Wi-Fi adapter, but the Core i7 model will come with a supplemental 500GB hard drive and a second battery in its keyboard dock. Those prices are considerably lower than the $1799, business-oriented Portege Z10t I reviewed in April.

The Click 2 Pro will also have more ports than the Click—including a micro HDMI port and dual cameras in the tablet half of the equation. Toshiba tapped Harman Kardon and DTS to help design the audio system in the Click 2 Pro. Toshiba expects both configurations to be available by the end of June.

How to Receive a Wi-Fi Hotspot on a Home Desktop PC

It’s easy to receive a Wi-Fi hotspot connection on a laptop, but most people don’t know that you can receive a connection on your home desktop personal computer. Getting wireless access on your desktop PC is just a matter of installing a wireless adapter to your home desktop PC. Using a wireless network connection on your desktop PC helps reduce wiring and allows you to station your Internet connection source farther away from the desktop PC.

Install a wireless adapter to your home desktop PC. Most wireless adapters come in the form of a USB dongle that can be plugged into one of the USB ports of your computer. Plug in the wireless adapter and follow the installation instructions that came with the adapter. A more permanent solution is to install a wireless adapter card into one of the expansion slots of your desktop. This solution is more work-intensive and requires opening your desktop computer.2

Open the network configuration settings on your home desktop PC. Scroll through the list of available wireless networks until you see the name of your desired hotspot. Click on the name of the hotspot and enter any security information needed to connect to it.

Navigate to a website to confirm that you have network access. Attempt to access another website if you cannot access the current one. If you cannot reach any websites, check that the wireless adapter is operating correctly.

Morgan Stanley: iPhone 8 supercycle delayed, still happening

Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty said in a statement that Apple would experience a supercycle with the upcoming iPhone 8. It is expected to happen in October, when the phone is released, rather than the usual September launch.

Supercycle is a phenomenon where owners of older iPhones are deliberately withholding a phone purchase because they are waiting for a major upgrade. The iPhone 8 is expected to bring around 10% sales bump, according to previous reports.

The top-notch iPhone 8 is projected to cost more than $1000. The extra bucks are expected to get you an OLED panel, wireless charging and 3D sensor for Augmented Reality. There are also rumors for the in-screen fingerprint sensor, but we might see the scanner implemented in the power key.

Average sales price of iPhones is predicted to jump to a record high of $775, with 62% of the shipments being for the iPhone 8.

Samsung Galaxy S9 will reportedly maintain the screen sizes of the S8

Info from “unnamed industry sources” claims that the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ will use the same screen sizes as the S8 generation. Samsung Electronics has allegedly already given Samsung Display the specs – 5.77” for the S9, 6.22” for the S9+.

That is not to say that the displays themselves will not be updated. If nothing else, Samsung is going to have another shot at placing the fingerprint reader under the screen. Qualcomm and vivo already showed a working prototype, so maybe next year things will work out better (though rumors would have us believe that Apple is struggling with this too).

Anyway, the Galaxy S9 will feature the same Infinity Display design with curved sides and nearly no bezels. Small surprise, given the hugely positive response the company got for the new flagship.

A very similar screen (sans the fingerprint reader) is expected to feature on the soon to be unveiled Galaxy Note8 – a 6.32” panel.

Deal: Sony Xperia X drops to $230 in the US

You could have bought an Xperia XA1 for $240, but how about an Xperia X for $230? Head to B&H Photo (US) in the next half a day if that deal sounds appealing.

Even if you miss the deal, Amazon US has the original X at $250. NewEgg has it at $270, which isn’t that bad considering other stores are asking over $300.

The Xperia X is getting old now (it launched a year ago) and the XA1 is a solid offering. But the X is a premium device and has a better screen (1080p vs. 720p, similar contrast and sunlight legibility), there’s a pair of Cortex-A72 cores for better single-core performance too.

In terms of camera, the headlining feature of the XA1 was the flagship main camera, so those are pretty similar. You do get a better selfie cam with the X, though, a 13MP shooter with a bigger sensor (1/3” vs. 8MP 1/4”).

LG V30 appears on GeekBench with 4GB of RAM and Android 7.1.2

Both Samsung and LG have been in the news lately as the anticipation for both smartphone makers to release their second flagship device of the year, halving the life cycle of its main flagship counterpart (Galaxy S8 and LG G6, respectively).

The LG V30 was spotted in the popular GeekBench app with a Snapdragon 835 paired with 4GB of RAM. Which has silently become the standard hardware setup for flagship smartphones this year like the Galaxy S8 and the HTC U11. Meanwhile, other Chinese smartphone makers are putting 6GB of more of RAM their devices like the Xiaomi Mi 6 and the OnePlus 5.

The device tested ran the very latest Android Nougat version 7.1.2 and while the device’s multi-core result is well around the 6,300 mark, it technically didn’t beat the Xiaomi Mi 6’s score of over 6,700.

The LG V30 is expected to drop the secondary display from its V-series predecessors in favor of a 6.0-inch 2:1 aspect ratio Full Vision OLED display. Like the G6, the V30 will have a new integrated design with a non-removable battery and water resistance. The phone is also rumored to ship with built-in wireless charging capabilities.

There’s not much more than a month left for LG to announce the V30. LG already sent out save-the-date invites for August 31 in Berlin, the day before IFA kicks off.