Archive

Xiaomi’s Yeelight Speaker Uses Alexa and Looks Like an Amazon Echo Dot

Smart speakers with voice assistants are becoming increasingly popular. Amazon leads the market with its Alexa-powered Echo lineup of speakers, and Google's close behind with the Google Assistant-powered Google Home, Google Home Mini, and Google Home Max. Xiaomi, on the other hand, doesn't sell a smart speaker internationally, but that won't be the case for much longer. In July, Xiaomi took...

All 50 U.S. States Join FirstNet, a Nationwide Cell Network for First Responders

In the United States, firefighters, paramedics, police officers, and other first responders are at a bit of a disadvantage when it comes to mobile communications. Congestion on commercial networks can impede their ability to communicate with team members, and local jurisdictions use technologies that aren't always interoperable. Those were the motivations behind FirstNet, a nationwide mobile broadband network...

Huawei PSmart Reportedly Packs Kirin 659 and Dual Cameras

Huawei's Enjoy 7S went on sale in China last week, but it might be bound for international shores. Evan Blass, who has a reliable track record when it comes to smartphone rumors, said on Twitter that the handset will launch internationally under the name Huawei PSmart. It'll join the other devices in Huawei's growing P series, which...

Samsung and LG Confirm That They Haven’t Slowed Down Phones

Recently, Apple admitted to slowing down older iPhones' processor speeds as the batteries aged, ostensibly to prevent unexpected shutdowns. The fallout wasn't pretty, and Apple's throttling practices raised concerns that Android manufacturers were guilty of doing the same thing. On Thursday, HTC and Motorola said that they haven't slowed down old phones on account of aging batteries. And...

Alcatel 5 Passes Through the FCC, Appears to Have an Aluminum Body

Alcatel (formerly Alcatel OneTouch), which TCL fully acquired in 2015, is perhaps best known for its affordable Idol smartphone series, and all signs point to a big refresh in 2018. One of the upcoming handsets in the lineup -- the Alcatel 5 -- recently underwent FCC certification, and documents made public this week give a glimpse at...

More than 250 Android Games Use Your Mic to Track What You’re Watching

For years, people have accused companies of using their smartphones'  microphones to record conversations. We talked about the unlikelihood of corporate eavesdropping back in June, but paranoid delusions aside, some bad actors are actually listening in. And somewhat unsurprisingly, they're middlemen for marketers. Alphonso, a startup that sells media-viewing data, supplies a plugin that listens for audio signals in shows...

Grammarly Keeps Your Correspondence Typo-free and Suggests Improvements

Not all of us were born with Mark Twain’s gift for words. And, it's unreasonable for others to expect you to match the great man on style points, but spelling mistakes and poor grammar can make a bad first impression when you’re applying for a job. You could fix this problem by hiring your own writing...

LastPass Authenticator Update Fixes a Serious Security Vulnerability

LastPass is one of the most popular password managers on Android, and for good reason: It's incredibly secure. But the same couldn't be said of LastPass Authenticator, its companion application, which made headlines when a security researcher discovered a serious vulnerability in its code. Luckily, it was patched this week. LastPass Authenticator offers 2FA on LastPass...

ASUS ZenFone 4 is getting Android Oreo via OTA

In early December, we reported that ASUS was planning to bring Android Oreo to its newest mid-range smartphone, the ZenFone 4, before the end of the month. On Friday, the company made good on its promise and announced that it's issued a software update to the ZenFone 4 (ZE554KL). The Android Oreo update (which the carries build number 15.0405.1711.76)...

ZTE’s Blade V9 Marketing Materials Leak, Show 18:9 Display

ZTE first made waves in the smartphone market the Axon 7, an affordable premium phone that went head-to-head with the venerable OnePlus 3. Now, the China-based smartphone maker is gearing up to release a new budget phone, the Blade V9, and its Spanish-language website spilled the beans a little early. The Blade V9 is a budget phone like...

Amazon Blocks YouTube on the Amazon Fire TV Before Google’s Deadline

In recent months, Google and Amazon have had what can only be described as a petty fight. Amazon prevented Google's Chromecast from playing Amazon Prime Video and delisted Chromecast devices from its store. Google, for its part, blocked Amazon's Echo Show speaker from accessing YouTube, and announced it would no longer support the YouTube application on...

Alphabet’s Tacotron 2 Text-to-Speech Engine Sounds Nearly Indistinguishable From a Human

Alphabet's subsidiary, DeepMind, developed WaveNet, a neural network that powers the Google Assistant's speech synthesis, in October. It's capable of better and more realistic audio samples than the search giant's previous text-to-speech system, and what's more, it generates raw audio -- not spliced-together sounds from voice actors. Now, researchers at Alphabet have developed a new...