Sony to add Google Assistant to some of its older headphones
By Matt Adams
- Sony will update six pairs of headphones to include Google Assistant in the future.
- Once updated, the headphones will require a connection to an Android device to use Assistant.
- Sony did not provide a timetable for the updates.
Google Assistant is a hot topic at CES 2018 this week. JBL announced headphones with Assistant inside. We got a look at Assistant in your car. Lenovo gave us a peek at its Assistant-powered Smart Display. Now, Sony is making a Google Assistant announcement too. The Japanese tech giant announced it is adding the virtual Assistant to older headphones.
The announcement came with little fanfare, at the end of a PR document announcing other wireless earbuds and open-ear headphones, but Android Police spotted it. Here are the older models getting the update:
- WF-1000X– noise-canceling truly wireless earbuds
- WI-1000X– noise-canceling earbuds
- WH-1000XM2– noise-canceling wireless headphones
- WH-CH700N- noise-canceling wireless headphones
- WF-SP700N- truly wireless fitness earbuds announced at CES 2018
- WH-9000N- aka h.ear on 2 wireless headphones
Turns out Sony’s confusing naming scheme isn’t limited to just its Xperia smartphones.
Updating older headphones with new functionality is an interesting idea. We see OEMs add new features via software updates to smartphones, smart TVs, and cars, so it makes sense for a company to go back and do it with something like headphones. Assistant in headphones is something of a new trend, but it certainly seems to be gaining traction. It would be a great move if other companies followed Sony’s lead.
Once the headphones are updated, they’ll be able to use Assistant when paired with an Android device. That will allow users to ask questions, request music, or make calls without touching the phone. If you want to see Assistant on headphones in action, check out our review of the Bose QC35 II.
Source:: android authority
Huawei Mate 10 Pro coming to the U.S. without a carrier partner for $799
This year was a hopeful one for Huawei. The Chinese OEM has sold phones unlocked in the U.S. for years, but it always hoped to bring one of its smartphones to the West with a carrier partner. Things changed in December when Huawei CEO Richard Yu, announced its Mate 10 Pro flagship would be launching sometime in 2018 with a U.S. carrier.
Unfortunately it didn’t pan out that way. The company just announced it’s bringing the Huawei Mate 10 Pro to the United States this February for $799 — without a carrier partner.
The phone — available in Midnight Blue, Titanium Grey, and Mocha Brown colors — will be sold unlocked at Best Buy, Amazon, Microsoft, Newegg, and B&H on February 18, with pre-orders beginning February 4. If you’d like to see the device in person, brick-and-mortar Best Buy stores will have it on display. It’ll be compatible with GSM networks in the States, including AT&T, T-Mobile, Cricket, MetroPCS, Simple Mobile, and Tracfone.
A report from The Information claimed AT&T pulled out of the partnership due to “political pressure,” after the Senate and House intelligence committees sent a letter to the FCC raising concerns about Huawei’s plans. The Information‘s report has not been verified by AT&T nor Huawei, so we aren’t able to take this as fact.
It will take consumers a long time to forget about failed foray into the United States.
If the report is to be believed, this is an absolute nightmare for Huawei. Pulling out of a major partnership like this, days before its announcement, is a big deal. It will take consumers a long time to forget about Huawei’s failed foray into the U.S. market.
The Mate 10 Pro isn’t the only new Huawei phone coming to the States. The Porsche Design Mate 10 will also be available unlocked on February 18 for $1,225. The luxury device will be sold via Amazon, Best Buy, Microsoft, and Porsche Design stores in the U.S.
Huawei also had some non-smartphone news to share at CES this year. The company is launching the world’s first hybrid smart home network solution, which aims to support the long list of Wi-Fi-connected home products. The Huawei WiFi Q2 Series will automatically connect to the fastest hotspot and frequency nearby to deliver a reliable signal throughout the house.
Be sure to stay tuned to Android Authority for more CES 2018 coverage.
Source:: android authority
Motorola announces keyboard and vital monitor Moto Mods
By Dima Aryeh
Motorola has announced two more Moto Mods for its Moto Z lineup. The two new mods further expand the companies module phone system and provide new functionality for supported devices.
The first mod is the Vital Moto Mod. It was created for personal health monitoring and can check your heart rate, respiratory rate, oxygen saturation, body temperature, and systolic and diastolic blood pressure. It’s a pretty serious device and the $395 price tag reflects this. Nonetheless, it may be a vital (get it?) companion for some people and will be launching in April.
The other is the Livermorium Slider Keyboard. You might have seen this mod at the Transform the Smartphone Challenge, where it won the grand prize. It’s a slide-out keyboard reminiscent of the old days, and it gives you the ability to tilt the screen 60 degrees. It may add bulk but this is a seriously awesome mod that should be available later this winter for $99.
Motorola is sticking with the idea of modular devices and we’re finally seeing some truly useful Moto Mods on the market.
Google announces Lenovo Mirage Solo, the first standalone Daydream headset
By Dima Aryeh
Previous Google Daydream headsets required the use of a compatible phone installed in them. This is awesome because it uses existing high end hardware and makes the headsets cheap, but it also means that you’re using hardware not optimized for VR.
Google has announced a few new products made by its partners and one of them is the Lenovo Mirage Solo. It is the first standalone Daydream headset and it can provide the full VR experience with no extra parts. It features a 5.5-inch QHD display with a 110 degree view, a Snapdragon 835 processor, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage with a microSD slot, and a headphone jack for audio.
The device also features Google WorldSense, which is a new positional tracking technology that claims to provide PC quality tracking without extra sensors. This gives you the maneuverability of the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive on the go.
Google also announced two VR180 cameras made by Lenovo and Yi Technologies which shoot 4K 180-degree video. Google claims that they have a more natural sense of depth than 360-degree cameras while being more useful than traditional cameras, though I wouldn’t be surprised if most people would struggle to see the point.
The idea of a standalone mobile VR headset is definitely a good one and should provide a better experience than using your smartphone. The Lenovo Mirage Solo will be launching in Q2 of 2018 for an unknown price. How many of you will be picking one up?
After almost two decades, WPA3 is here to fix the Wi-Fi security sins of the past
- The Wi-Fi Alliance announced the next-generation WPA3 security protocol
- The new protocol includes several improvements, especially for open Wi-Fi networks
- WPA3-certified devices are expected to ship later this year
The WPA2 security protocol for Wi-Fi has been with us for almost 20 years. The Wi-Fi Alliance thinks that’s long enough. The Alliance, the network of companies like Apple, Microsoft, Qualcomm, and more, that brought Wi-Fi to the world, announced its next-generation WPA3 security protocol Monday.
Unlike previous incarnations, WPA3 finally secures open Wi-Fi networks by using individualized data encryption. This means the connection between your device on the network and the router is scrambled to ensure websites you visit aren’t tampered with.
Security researcher Mathy Vanhoef believes that could refer to Opportunistic Wireless Encryption, or encryption without authentication, though we are not completely sure if that is what the Wi-Fi Alliance is using.
Also notable is WPA3’s newer kind of handshake. WPA2 uses a four-way handshake to allow devices with pre-shared passwords to join a network. The new handshake, Vanhoef told ZDNet, “will not be vulnerable to dictionary attacks.”
41 percent of all Android devices vulnerable to “exceptionally devastating” Wi-Fi attack
A researcher has discovered a security flaw in the WPA2 Wi-Fi protocol, putting most modern, protected Wi-Fi networks at risk. According to the research, which was published earlier today, this can be used to steal …
For context, a dictionary attack is an attempted illegal entry to a computer system using a dictionary headword list to guess passwords.
WPA3 also blocks attackers once they make too many incorrect password guesses and implements a 192-bit security suite aligned with the Commercial National Security Algorithm (CNSA) Suite. This gives greater protection for government, defense, and industrial networks, which have higher security requirements than other networks.
Even if your password is relatively weak, WPA3 includes “robust protection” and simplifies security configurations for devices with either have very small displays or no displays at all.
Even with all of the improvements, WPA2 isn’t going away just yet — even with the recent KRACK exploit, which basically puts all modern networks using WPA or WPA2 at risk. Last October, it was reported that 41 percent of Android devices were vulnerable to the exploit, and even though Google pushed out security patches to address it, they have not made it to other affected devices.
It is unlikely current devices will be updated to support WPA3, though devices using the protocol are expected to ship later this year.
Source:: android authority
Razer Phone gets HDR and Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 in the Netflix app
By Matt Adams
- Razer and Netflix are teaming up to bring HDR and Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 to the Razer Phone.
- It will be the first phone on the market to support both of the standards.
- The enhancements will come by way of an OTA update later this month.
Razer’s debut phone hit the market back in November. The company may have designed the Razer Phone for gamers, but it’s entertainment junkies who may get the most from the device. The large 5.7-inch display and massive speakers make watching video on the device a real treat. Now, thanks to a partnership with Netflix, that experience is getting even better.
The two companies are teaming up to bring HDR and Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 to the Razer Phone. Several phones on the market can display HDR content, but the Razer Phone will be first to do both HDR and Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 audio. There are also several devices on the market that support Dolby audio, but none of them support Dolby Digital Plus 5.1. You generally find 5.1 audio in home entertainment centers with a multi-speaker setup. But, because of the Dolby-optimized speakers on the front of the device, it can be accomplished on the Razer Phone.
The enhancements to the Netflix app will come by way of an OTA update later this month. That app will also come preloaded on all Razer Phones sold from here on out.
Source:: android authority
Sony announces super premium Android Auto head unit
By Dima Aryeh
Sony is stepping its head unit game up this year. The last generation Android Auto featured a 6.4-inch resistive touch screen that the new XAV-AX5000 is trading in for a large 6.95-inch capacitive panel. Sadly, this display size increase means we also lose the volume knob.
Fortunately the buttons at the bottom as well as the panel they’re in are made out of aluminum. The whole thing is described as “astonishingly flat” with a flush display and a rear that takes up 23% less space than the previous model and a single-DIN protrusion for easier install into tight spaces. The unit also features two USB ports and FLAC support.
Unfortunately, Sony hasn’t commented on the presence of wireless Android Auto connectivity that Kenwood has promised in its future units. Hopefully we won’t need to use a USB cable, though it seems that Sony brings up the USB ports as for iPhone and Android device connections.
No price was given, but it will likely be a bit more expensive than the previous gen unit that debuted at $500. Nonetheless, it’s good to see Sony pushing Android Auto as it improves. I might have to pick one of these up.
WattUp wireless charging powers its first product – smart underwear
Energous has been talking up its wireless charging solution WattUp for years. Now it looks like consumer products are finally on the way. At CES 2018, Energous opened pre-orders for the first WattUp-enabled product — the Myant SKIIN. In addition, the company has been demoing wireless charging hearing aids from Delight and SK Telesys.
Myant’s SKIIN itself is pretty interesting. It’s a smart underwear range featuring integrated sensors to monitor your body’s heart rate, activity, posture, and even your hydration levels and temperature. It’s clearly a niche product, but an intriguing concept nonetheless. Energous’ technology comes in when charging the modules that fit into the SKIIN clothing.
Unfortunately, we’re not looking at any long range over-the-air charging here. Instead, up to two modules can be placed on the WattUp charger with any orientation to power them up, delivering power at short ranges. Given that PowerMat and Qi now work in virtually the same way, Energous will have to begin showcasing examples of its longer range wireless charging technology if it wants to offer meaningful product differentiation.
SKIIN The WattUp powered wireless charger to power up SKIIN module.
Speaking of which, Energous says the sensors inside the SKIIN products will support the company’s Mid Field and Far Field charging transmitters once they become available. No launch timeframe has been given for these two technologies. Partnered with chip manufacturer Dialog Semiconductor, Energous also showed off its latest chipset, which will enable mid-range wireless charging products at up to three feet in the future.
It’s worth noting Energous’ Mid Field wireless charging solution recently received the first FCC certification for power-at-a-distance wireless charging. This was filed under Part 18 which caters to industrial, science, and medical devices, rather than under the more regularly used Class B consumer electronics section of Part 15. This may be due to the high amount of power required, up to 10W, to transmit energy over that distance. It’s been caused concern that a longer range charging device would have to switch off if movement was detected close to the unit, in order to meet FCC safety specifications. The company’s long range 15 foot technology remains unapproved.
With PowerMat and Qi now working with each other at the Wireless Power Consortium, a notable rival in the wireless charging market is probably needed. Energous’s first WattUp product announcement is here, but it’s longer range wireless charging technology remains to be seen.
Source:: android authority
Hands-on: Lenovo Mirage Solo is the first standalone Daydream headset
By David Imel
Google’s official standalone Daydream View VR headset has yet to make its way to consumers. However, the good news is that partners like Lenovo are stepping in to fill that gap. Here at CES 2018, we take a quick look and go hands-on with the Lenovo Mirage Solo and Camera with Daydream!
The Mirage Solo VR headset takes advantage of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor to power Google Daydream. As the “solo” in the name suggests, this headset doesn’t need a phone to be plugged in, and is a completely standalone device. The Mirage Solo uses the same Daydream controller as the official model to control the virtual world around you.
The Mirage Solo is definitely bigger than a regular VR headset, but is still relatively compact when you consider all that it’s packing inside. Unlike Google’s model, most of the pressure is on your forehead when you wear the Mirage Solo, and it remains comfortable enough even when using it for a longer duration.
The Mirage Solo comes with high quality lenses with a 110 degree field of view, which should keep everything nice and sharp while minimizing the screen-door effect. The field of view isn’t as wide as something like the PIMAX VR headset, but it’s pretty respectable for Daydream.
Since the headset utilizes the Snapdragon 835, you are also going to get “six degrees of freedom” to work with, or what Lenovo is calling “WorldSense.” That means you can duck, jump, and peek around corners to really feel like you are immersed in a new world, without needing additional wires.
Along with the standalone VR headset, Lenovo also unveiled the Mirage Camera. This is a stereoscopic camera that can capture 13 MP photos and videos in a wide, 180 degree field of view. The device itself doesn’t have a screen or viewfinder on it, but it’s easy to see what you are capturing via the available app.
Anything you capture can be used with Google Daydream or shared on YouTube and Google Photos. You can also use the device to run a livestream with just a tap of a button. A tripod thread is built into the bottom, so it is obvious that Lenovo wants you to take this with you wherever you go.
So there you have it for this quick look at the Lenovo Mirage Solo and Camera! The Mirage Solo VR headset is priced at $449, while the Mirage Camera will set you back $229. Both devices are expected to be available later this year in Q2 2018.
Stay tuned with Android Authority for more great coverage from CES 2018!
Source:: android authority
Razer will shut down Nextbit Robin’s cloud storage March 1
By Evan Selleck
Ever since Razer acquired Nextbit back in January 2017, support for the Nextbit Robin has been fading out. Now the last bit of support finally has a sunset date.
Confirmed by emails sent to Nextbit Robin owners, Razer will officially shut down support for the Robin’s cloud storage feature on March 1. When Nextbit unveiled the Robin, it also announced Smart Storage, a feature that would store apps and app data in the cloud so that they could be easily retrieved when needed but not take up any room on the device’s built-in storage when the user didn’t want it.
Here’s part of that email to customers:
“If you haven’t signed out of Smart Storage, you will be automatically logged out of our servers. Images (thumbnails in gallery) and apps (cloud icons on launcher) that are archived and are not local to the phone will not be accessible through your phone anymore. This includes Apps in the FAB tab. All the images that are backed up until that point will be available on our tools https://cloud.nextbit.com. Only the content that is local will be accessible from the phone at that point.”
The email reminds Robin owners that if they don’t want to lose any of their data, they will need to download their apps from the Smart Storage and make sure that they aren’t offloaded at a later date by pinning them. Anything that gets lost in the cloud storage after the March 1 cut-off date won’t be retrievable.
It is possible to get your stored pictures off Nextbit’s cloud storage if you visit Nextbit’s official site. You will be able to either download individual pictures to your computer, select groups, or get all of your stored pictures as a large zip.
That tool will be active until April 1, 2018. Once that date passes, “all the personal information and data that has been collected from you will be purged and we won’t be able to recover your data.”
Considering that support for the Robin has been waning as Razer focuses on its own smartphone, this next step isn’t surprising in the slightest. Either way, it’s good for Robin owners to be aware of what’s happening and to be able to take the necessary steps to keep what they want.