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Here's when we'll learn more about those new Windows 10 VR headsets

Uncategorized October 31, 2016

Still thinking about the new Windows 10 VR headsets with a temptingly low starting price Microsoft teased at its Surface event last week? 

So are we, and turns out it won’t be much longer until we learn much more about them.  

The only real details we got at Microsoft’s event, which saw the unveiling of the Surface Studio PC, Surface Book i7 and Surface Dial, was that the headsets would run a virtual Windows experience, come from key partners (see photo above) and have a low starting price of $299 (about £245, AU$295). 

But Alex Kipman, who runs HoloLens and other VR/AR experiences at Microsoft, tells Polygon more headset details, such as specs, will be announced during the WinHEC events in December.

Those are slated for December 8 – 9 and December 14 – 15 in Shenzhen, China and Taipei City, Taiwan, respectively. 

According to the firm’s developer site, WinHEC will go over guidance on “building PCs optimized for a variety of Windows Holographic HMDs and content,” so talking up the headsets the events makes perfect sense.   

Great ex-spec-tations

Though more details are due in December, Kipman did share the first batch of WinVR devices (can we call them that?) will be opaque, meaning they’ll lack any transparency, much like Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and PlayStation VR.

The headsets will also have a “high field of view” and six degrees of freedom, allowing users to move in any direction. 

What’s more, the same inside-out tracking tech found in HoloLens will be built into the headsets. Inside-out tracking uses cameras woven into a headset to follow user movements instead of relying on external cameras positioned around the environment. 

Disappointingly, these third-party headsets will need to be tethered to a computer in order to work, at least to start, though perhaps they’ll break free as time goes on. 

We wouldn’t be surprised to learn even more details about the headsets – including possible release dates – during CES 2017 in early January, so stay tuned for the latest on this cheaper batch of VR viewers. 

Source: TechRadar

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Why Tesla’s new solar roof tiles and home battery are such a big deal

Uncategorized October 31, 2016

press_solar_roof On October 28, Tesla unveiled its new solar roof tiles. Few of us in attendance, if any, realized the solar roofing tiles were actual functional solar panels until Elon Musk said so. Sure, it’s a neat trick, but what’s the big deal? Read More

Source: TechCrunch

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3 smarthome ecosystem alternatives you can use instead of Apple HomeKit

Uncategorized October 31, 2016

The race to a fully connected house has been going on for some time now, but it’s just recently that one of the biggest players in the game has arrived to steal the show. The device maker in question is Apple, and its play into the IoT space is called HomeKit

We’ve covered the app and the devices that work with HomeKit with in detail elsewhere, but the short version of the story is that devices with the Home Kit branding will all work together in one ecosystem that’s run by Apple. For many’a Apple owner, the HomeKit ecosystem is a dream come true. For the rest of us, however, it’s not so great. 

Instead of wallowing in our lack of inclusion, however, we’ve done something a little more productive with our time and compiled a list of ecosystems and devices that you can buy into right now, only one of which requires iOS to operate.

Our starting point? Samsung’s SmartThings, the old mainstay. This one has been around forever and, as far as we can tell, has the most devices under its umbrella. 

Samsung SmartThings

Talk about platform-agnostic, Samsung’s SmartThings is probably the most egalitarian option on the list with the most available devices under its banner.

From lighting options from Philips, Leviton and OSRAM, to thermostats from Honeywell and Ecobee, to both major smart speakers – Google Home and the Amazon Echo family of devices – the list of products compatible with Samsung’s SmartThings platform seems to go on endlessly. 

That said, because no one has the time (or the budget) to go through and test out all the options, a good starting combination would be a Honeywell Lyric Thermometer, Samsung SmartCam HD Pro Camera, Skybell HD Video Doorbell and an Amazon Echo to give you the option of speaking specific commands rather than finding your phone every time you want to use a smart device.

OK, caveat time: while Samsung definitely doesn’t need Apple’s permission to sell smart home products, it does require that you purchase a Samsung SmartThings Hub before you dig into any of its interconnected wares. The Hub plugs into your router at home and allows you to control your smart home devices whenever and wherever you go.

Google Home (a.k.a. Made by Google platform)

If you’re looking for the most cutting-edge option out there, check out Google’s brand new Home speaker. This AI-equipped speaker connects to other Google devices – including Nest thermostats, Google Chromecast and other Google Cast-enabled devices like Vizio’s SmartCast speakers – as well as devices from Honeywell, Ecobee, Philips and Belkin. (Here’s our round-up of the best Google Home-compatible devices.) 

The Home is powered by the Home Assistant, which is in charge of parsing commands given to the speaker and relaying pertinent information to the other devices in the home. 

On top of the physical devices that can be controlled on an individual basis, Google Home also connects to IFTTT (recipe-based smart device software) and is one day expected to hook into SmartThings. 

Until then, however, the best place to start with the Made by Google platform is with the $129 (around £100, AU$170) Google Home speaker, a Chromecast, a Nest thermostat, a couple of LIFX lightbulbs and Google’s strange new Google WiFi router. 


“Now wait,” you might say. “I have to buy additional hardware just to make this other hardware I just bought work?” 

Well, not always.

While you’ll have an easier time controlling smart home devices via voice commands through Google Home, or through an interconnected hub like Samsung’s SmartThings, you don’t always need one. There are plenty of app-based options out there that will allow you to “string” connected devices together without additional hardware. 

The one I’ve tested the most is called, somewhat ironically, Stringify. It’s available only on iOS at the moment, but the idea here is that once you get in the devices you want to use (Stringify not only supports traditional smart home devices, but also other applications like Evernote, Reddit, Twitter and Slack), all you need to do is connect them to your main Stringify account – no additional hardware required. 

Once connected you can then create “flows” to string multiple devices together. One example could be that when you get close to home (the app can pull your location at any time if you enable it), you want to turn up your thermostat, start some music and turn on your Philips Hue lights. 

Can’t find a flow you like? Stringify invites you to create flows of your own via its drag-and-drop interface that’s sort of like Legos meets low-level programming 101.

Two other options

If you still haven’t found a smart home hub that fits your needs, don’t worry. There are plenty of other options out there. (There’s a really helpful forum for the subject on Samsung’s website, actually.) 

If you live in the UK, you might want to check out Zipato or VeraPlus, two popular options there, while those living in Australia should look at Z-Wave or Insteon for their smart home fix.

Don’t see your favorite smart home ecosystem on the list above? Let us know which one you recommend in the comments below.

Source: TechRadar

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Benchmark Capital co-founder Andy Rachleff takes over CEO role at Wealthfront

Uncategorized October 31, 2016

wealthfront Wealthfront has a new man in charge at the top of the company, with Andy Rachleff — the company’s co-founder and executive chairman — taking the chief executive spot, according to an announcement on the company’s own blog.
Rachleff, who is perhaps most famous for co-founder Benchmark Capital (one of Silicon Valley’s most successful venture firms), launched the… Read More

Source: TechCrunch

89 total views, 1 today

What to expect from Tesco on Black Friday 2016

Uncategorized October 31, 2016

Tesco is one of the UK’s leading retailers, well known for Marmite and Pot Noodles, but did you also know that it sells games consoles and tellies and that? No? Well it does, and it goes in for Black Friday in a pretty significant way too. 

In the dirty, offline world, Tesco makes sure that certain key stores are stocked up with extra Black Friday gear for people to rush in at opening time. Great if you want to join the hoi polloi, but those of us who like shopping from home more, there’s the website.

Here’s the thing to remember about Tesco. The retailer sort of has two online stores. Tesco.com is the main entry for the grocery shopping portion. There are often electronic and other items on this store but there is a larger selection on Tesco Direct, and deals might only appear on one or the other. Tesco will also have some deals that are in-store only, so you may see mention of things online that you can’t find unless you go to a shop. 

The Tesco site is already live, but there’s nothing on there just yet. We would expect that Tesco, like most retailers, is really going after all that pre-Christmas money – so expect big things. We’ll be updating TechRadar regularly with news about the sale, as we get it.

What Tesco did on Black Friday last year:

Last year there were cheap deals on things like the PS4 Star Wars Battlefront pack and the Xbox One Fallout 4 bundle. TVs were reduced too, although not as dramatically as some retailers and you could nab other things – like printers – cheap too. Best deal last year was on a Samsung Quantum Dot TV with an £880 discount – crikey!

Top 5 Tesco  Black Friday deals from 2015:

1. Big home cinema TVs
The massive 60-inch LCD TV from Samsung got an equally massive price drop from £2300 to £1420 – a great TV and Quantum Dot TVs are superb for deep blacks and rich colour. Expect more deals like this on Black Friday this year!

2. Sony PS4 bundle deals
PS4 with CoD Black Ops III was £289 on Black Friday last year and you got Fifa 16 free – console bundle deals are always hot in Black Friday week and this year there are new consoles coming, so deals will be even better.

3. Amazon Kindle Paperwhite
Amazon’s brilliant Kindle Paperwhite was down to £79.99 at Tesco Direct on Black Friday last year, always a great christmas gift this one, and a great price. Kindles are great for reading especially when you are away from home.

4. Fitbit Charge
The Fitbit Charge is one of the best and simplest fitness trackers out there, last year Tesco dropped to to just £49 a steal, make sure you run away with it fast. This year the Fitbit Charge 2 is selling well so you could expect some decent discounting.

5. Navitech Apple watch dock
Apple Watch owners got £14 off a Navitech Apple Watch charging dock last year on Black Friday, a smashing deal at the time. Apple Watch accessories like straps are prime fodder for price drops during Black Friday.

Tesco Black Friday deals to expect in 2016:

1. As with a lot of retailers, expect a cheap deal on the PS4. The old model is getting replaced with the Pro soon, so stock will need to be cleared – bundles offer the best value and snag you a game or two.

2. Expect another round of deals on the Amazon Kindle, the company has updated them again so the old stock needs to go.

3. Last year’s insane TV deal is likely to get another outing. Entry-level 4K TVs will cost meer hundreds, with high-end models coming in with massive discounts too.

4. It’s reasonable to expect some of Tesco’s summer toys for kids will get a massive price drop too – need a trampoline? This is likely the time to buy, and they’re great even in the winter. Paddling pools less so.

5. New Apple Watch and iPhone mean there may be reductions on the older models, Tesco has its own mobile network, so deals are quite likely.

How to find the best Tesco Black Friday deals:

We’ll take you through all the different Tesco options. If we hear about in-store deals, we’ll post them. We’ll also be linking you to all the newest and best hardware deals on the Tesco site, so make sure you check back as Black Friday and Cyber Monday approach. 

Source: TechRadar

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Google doling out $50 Play Store credits due to Pixel shipping delays

Uncategorized October 31, 2016

Google Pixel XL Google’s new Pixel-branded smartphones have proven to be a little too popular. Already, Google stated that pre-order demands had exceeded the company’s expectations, and now the company is trying to make up for shipping delays by offering affected customers $50 Play Store credits as an apology. In emails being sent to those whose phones won’t arrive by the promised ship… Read More

Source: TechCrunch

77 total views, 0 today

Twitter tests opening all web links in Safari’s ad-free “Reader mode” on iOS

Uncategorized October 31, 2016

If Twitter hosted more content in Beyond 140, it would have to figure out how to compensate publishers Amid all its turmoil – layoffs, failed attempts at finding an acquirer, the closure of Vine – the company is still futzing around with its product in an attempt to make it easier to use. The latest odd test involves Twitter’s iOS app launching web links in Safari with the Reader mode automatically turned on.
This mode is a Safari feature which allows you to load up a… Read More

Source: TechCrunch

113 total views, 0 today

Flirtey drones deliver socks from the sky at Menlo Ventures’ annual partner meeting

Uncategorized October 31, 2016

Flirtey's drone delivers medical supplies from ship to shore in New Jersey. Around the world, drones have been delivering life-saving drugs and blood to clinics, and contrarily tasty treats like burritos, pizza, and Slurpees to homes or campuses. Civilian drones have also conducted countless surveys of farms, construction sites, and surveillance around venues with a high security risk. Now, in a stunt that begs to be spoofed by Mike Judge for his HBO… Read More

Source: TechCrunch

92 total views, 1 today

Here’s Fisker Inc’s first car, the all-electric EMotion luxury sport sedan

Uncategorized October 31, 2016

emotion-image-1 Fisker Inc., the new electric car company founded by Henrik Fisker (not to be confused with his previous venture, now Karma) has revealed the design and specifications of its first vehicle, the luxury sport sedan all-electric EMotion (see what they did there). The car will boast a top speed of 161 MPH, and will have a 400 mile range from its electric battery. The body of the vehicle (which you… Read More

Source: TechCrunch

89 total views, 0 today

This All-Singing, All-Dancing Canon Printer Lets You Print From An App With Ease

Uncategorized October 31, 2016

There are so many printers on the market nowadays that it can be hard to figure out which to buy for your home. You don’t need constant, industrial-powered printing, but at the same time you want it to be smart enough to scan, copy and connect to your phone, if needs be. 

That’s the sweet spot that the Canon PIXMA MG6851 printer occupies. It’s an all-in-one inkjet printer, copier and scanner, which makes it a multi-tasker. But let’s be honest, it’s that kind of all-in-one convenience that most of us expect from a printer nowadays. 

It’s ideal for printing everything you might want to from home, from last minute tickets and gig passes that you can quickly print off in black and white through to creative projects and photographs that have a really high output quality of 4800 x 1200 dpi.

The PIXMA MG6851 hooks up to your home Wi-Fi network, which means you can print from your computer, like you usually do, or from a tablet or smartphone. And while we’re talking smartphones, the Canon print app is worthy of a mention. Many people we chat to say they find cloud printing apps a bit tricky to use and either end up printing the wrong thing or not even getting anything to print at all-not ideal. Fortunately, the Canon print app is one of the best around, making the whole process easy as soon as you hit print thanks to wireless connectivity.

If you don’t want to use an app or your computer, you can use the printer’s SD card slot instead.

So, if you’re after a trusted printer that sees to all your home needs, then go for the Canon PIXMA MG6851. Especially with Christmas around the corner, who knows how much cash you can save printing off your cards and decorations instead of buying them and printing off your New Year’s Eve photos come January. 

Source: TechRadar

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