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Google Maps adds live public transport updates for Sydney commuters

  • Google’s Transit Product Lead, Cayden Meyer, perhaps understands how mind-bogglingly difficult it is to keep tabs on Sydney’s public transport system, particularly during peak hours and rainy weather. 

    Apps like TripView help, with the paid version offering real-time updates for trains, buses and ferries, but the free version doesn’t have that option, leaving plenty of commuters fuming if they’ve missed their ride.

    There’s hope for Sydneysiders yet – starting today, Google has enabled the Google Transit feature in its Maps web and mobile applications (both iOS and Android).

    The new feature provides real-time updates on light rail, trains, ferries and buses in New South Wales, alongside potential routes, when you search for directions.

    Google has partnered with Transport for NSW to make this feature possible, with Sydney being the first city in Australia to have its public transport system updated on Google Maps.

    If you live in New South Wales and need to get somewhere via public transport, simply open the application, choose the ‘get directions’ icon and fill in your destination. Google will do the rest. Anything marked in green is running on time.

    6 hours 50 min ago

The one law of robotics: Humans must flourish

Amazon Prime Day 2017 date officially announced for Tuesday, July 11

  • The official Amazon Prime Day 2017 date is Tuesday, July 11, 2017, just as we had suspected in the lead up to today's official announcement.

    It's a day filled with Amazon deals, which is great news if you're looking to buy a cheap Amazon Kindle, Echo Fire Tablet, Fire TV. They're often on sale all day.

    You can expect hundreds of other Amazon discounts, too, as all sorts of sellers make a big push. After all, sales volume is up more than 30% on this day.

    It's become the summer version of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals in the US and UK.

    But, remember, Amazon Prime Day 2017 only available for Prime members. Pro tip: you can always sign-up for a free 30-day trial now and save come July 11.

    Amazon Prime Day 2017 start time

    While the Amazon Prime Day date is Tuesday, July, 11, the actual deals start rolling out on Monday, July 10 in both the US and the UK.

    The start time is July 10 at 6PM PT and 9PM PT in the US. Amazon Prime Day UK begins at 6PM in the UK. That should bring us exactly than 30 hours of deals.

    You should continue to read TechRadar the lead up to Amazon Prime Day on July 11. Amazon is already offering some deals on its Prime Day landing page.

    7 hours 23 min ago

Amazon’s 2017 Prime Day sale will be July 11th

  •  Amazon just announced its third annual Prime Day, the retailer’s answer to Black Friday that originally started to celebrate its 20th anniversary. While Amazon had previously said they would be doing a third year of Prime Day, this is the first time we’re getting the actual date and previews of some of the sales. Amazon is tempting Prime customers by saying there will be… Read More

    7 hours 25 min ago

Amazon Prime Day 2017: when is it and what's it all about?

  • Amazon has now officially launched Prime Day and this year it falls on July 11 - the second Tuesday of the month as per the last couple of years.

    If you’re not familiar with Prime Day, it’s when Amazon goes mad for 24 hours and offers big discounts on things you might actually want to buy. It's a bit like Black Friday and Cyber Monday except it's Amazon-only, available exclusively to Prime members and designed to drive sign-ups to the Amazon Prime service.

    This year, Amazon is once again running a huge offer on Prime subscriptions, allowing any non-Prime members to bag a year of Prime for just £59 rather than £79 - a truly fantastic deal. This deal only runs until July 3 though, so be quick if you like the look of it.

    Prime, remember, offers unlimited next day (and sometimes same-day) deliver, music and video streaming and a whole range of other awesome stuff.

    Amazon Prime Day 2017: all the details

    This year Prime Day will last for 30 hours rather than the usual 24. That's right, you'll get an additional 6 hours of deals, starting from 9pm on July 10 and running through to midnight on July 11.

    This is a side-effect of the Amazon Prime Day US strategy which is to start at 9pm Eastern and run through to midnight Pacific - three hours more at each end.

    Hundreds of thousands of deals will be available - exclusive to Prime members -throughout Prime Day, with a huge batch of 'deals of the day' which will run all day, supported by a smorgasbord of lightning deals which will go live every five minutes - you only get to find out the price when the deal goes live so you'll need to either be on your toes - or on this page on TechRadar where we'll list all of the best options!

    The "hundreds of thousands of deals" claim is slightly dubious as it adds up all of the Prime Day deals across all 13 participating countries. That being said, there will still be thousands of deals available in the UK so you probably won't be short of prices to browse through. 

    What Amazon says about Prime day 2017:

    “Our members love Prime Day and we were thrilled by the response over the last two years. It is inspiring us to make it even better this year for Prime members,” says Greg Greeley, Vice President Amazon Prime, about all of this.

    “Every side of our business is working to deliver more deals for a record number of shoppers. We even decided that 24 hours in a day just isn’t enough time to shop all of the great deals – so we’re giving Prime members 30 hours to shop on Prime Day!”

    Amazon promises that this year's Prime Day will see deals that are much easier to find and navigate which can only be a good thing. In general, the Amazon site is somewhat of a monstrosity if you don't know exactly what you're going for. The search is superb, but the browsing experience can be quite painful. Any wor to improve this gets a thumbs up from us.

    If you use the Amazon app, you'll also for the first time in the UK be able to track all of the Prime Day lightning deals and get alerts when the ones you want become active. Last year this service was only available in the US, and it makes the lightning deals experience a lot easier to make use of.

    What usually happens on Prime Day


    Last year it was the biggest day in Amazon’s history: Amazon's traffic was up 36%. It sold 90,000 TVs and thousands of Kindle Paperwhites, Fire TV Sticks and tablets.

    In just three hours US customers had bought 18,048 pairs of headphones, while in the UK we bought 600 Trunki suitcases before breakfast. Amazon sold enough Philips Hue bulbs to replace every light in the Albert Hall daily for four and a half years.

    So what exactly is Prime Day? Can you trust the deals or is Amazon at it? And when will Prime Day 2017 be anyway? Read on for the answers to these questions and some you might not have thought of.

    When is Amazon Prime Day 2017?

    Amazon Prime Day 2017 will fall on July 11, though in the UK it will start at 6pm on July 10. In the US it'll run from 9pm Eastern to midnight Pacific.

    What's the point of Prime Day?

    Prime Day exists to promote Amazon’s Prime subscription service, which Amazon says is the best deal in the history of shopping. Prime Day is for Prime members, many of whom will sign up for a free trial of the service so they can get the deals. Once signed up, many of them stay as Prime subscribers.

    If you're not a member, you can for the next few days bag a £20 discount, or sign up for a 30 day free trial.

    Why Amazon Prime Day matters

    If you’re looking for bargains, Prime Day 2017 is important - not just for gadgets, but for any kind of item. For example, on Prime Day 2016 Prime members bought 215,000 pressure cookers, 200,000 pairs of headphones, 24,000 hammocks, 23,000 Roomba robots and 14,000 Lenovo laptops. 

    The crucial difference between Prime Day and Black Friday/Cyber Monday - other than it being Amazon’s idea - is that November’s deals are geared towards gifting, because of course it’s the holiday season. Amazon Prime Day is more about personal shopping, either for treating yourself or for saving money household items.

    Will Prime Day 2017 be more exciting than last year?

    That depends on what you’re planning to buy. Discounts on Amazon’s own products - the Amazon Echo, Fire TV Stick, Fire Tablets and Kindle e-readers for example - are pretty much guaranteed, and there will be stacks of lightning deals on the day too. Unless Amazon decides to do things radically differently this year it’s going to be a really mixed bag, with laptop deals next to handbag deals next to power tools and prosecco. If only there was a website beginning with “T” and ending in “echradar.com” to find the best deals so you don’t have to delve through the dross. Hang on… there is!

    As you’d expect, we’re going to be hyped up on energy drinks throughout Prime Day on both sides of the Atlantic, finding the deals that you really don’t want to miss.

    Do I need a Prime subscription to get involved? 

    Yes and no. While Prime is for Prime customers, there will be other deals on the day that are open to everyone - it’s just that with lightning deals, which tend to have limited stock, the Prime users get to see them before anybody else. That means some of the very best deals can be gone long before people who aren’t Prime members get to know about them.

    That doesn’t mean you need to pay for a Prime membership, though. You can sign up for a free trial and take full advantage of all the Prime benefits, including Prime Day. But don’t forget to cancel the trial afterwards if you don’t intend to continue. If you don’t, you’ll be automatically billed for membership when the trial period ends.

    Are there special Prime deals for students? 

    Yes. Amazon Student gives you Prime membership for £39 per year instead of the usual £79, and it’s completely free for the first six months. It’s worth considering not just for Prime Day, but for the included TV, music and movie streaming.

    What to expect from Prime Day 2017

    We’d expect Prime Day 2017 to follow the template of the last two Prime Days. In the week or two before hte big day, we'll see an enticing Amazon Prime subscription discount. Then on the day itself deals will be grouped into two category: Deals of the Day, which tend to be the most eye-catching and which are available in big numbers, and Lightning Deals, which cover every conceivable kind of product, have limited availability and often sell out very quickly. In the latter case Prime members get to see the deals before non-members.

    Top deals to expect on Prime Day 2017 

    All the Amazon things
    Last year’s biggest sellers included the Amazon Fire TV Stick, the Amazon Kindle Fire tablet and the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite. Spot the trend? This year we’d expect those items to be joined by the Amazon Echo, Amazon Echo Dot and Amazon Echo Look - so whatever you do, don’t buy an Amazon device this side of Prime Day unless you like spending more money than you need to.

    PS4 and Xbox One
    The current generation of consoles is well established and there aren’t any limited supply problems for the PS4 and Xbox One, so we’d expect some serious discounting on Prime Day 2016 - although probably not for the PS4 Pro, which is still relatively new. With the Pro out there and the Xbox One X incoming we think Prime Day could see some exciting deals, especially on bundles: they have more wiggle room when it comes to pricing than console-only offers.

    4K TVs
    Working out the value of a TV can be difficult: the pace of change and strength of competition means that even the most cutting-edge TV goes from can’t-afford to cheap-as-chips in an incredibly short time. Pay no attention to the RRP / MSRP, though: use a service such as PriceSpy or CamelCamelCamel to see if what looks like a great deal is just Amazon getting round to matching rivals’ prices. There will be lots of genuine deals, however, so Prime Day 2016 is a good day to look for a new TV.

    Laptops and gaming laptops
    We’re constantly monitoring laptop deals not just on Prime Day, but every day. There’s lots of flexibility in laptop-land, and we’d expect Amazon to take advantage of that to drop the price of big-name laptops quite dramatically. Keep a particular eye on Lenovo, Asus and HP laptops, which tend to see discounting across multiple models.

    Home electricals
    House stuff might not be glamorous, but you can save an absolute packet on everything from pots and pans to food processors on Prime Day. As we mentioned earlier it’s a big day for buying hammocks, pressure cookers and robot vacuum cleaners.

    The top 5 deals of Prime Day last year:

    Microsoft Surface Pro - £210 off
    There were lots of great laptop deals on Prime Day 2016, with a whopping £210 off Microsoft’s superb Surface Pro 4. There was nearly £200 off the Surface 3, £90 off Lenovo Ideapads and even money off Chromebooks: the Lenovo N22 Chromebook dropped from £160 to just £100.

    Gibson electric guitars - 20% off
    Amazon might not be the first place you’d think of when it comes to guitars, but if you were looking for a great price on a great guitar last year then it was the place to go - especially for Gibson’s more expensive models, which were on sale with whopping 20% discounts. Sadly our budgets didn’t stretch to top end Les Pauls, so we bought a whole bunch of heavily discounted Epiphone guitars instead.

    Xbox One Guitar Hero Bundle - £105 off
    We described this as an “epic party deal”: an Xbox One, Guitar Hero Live, a guitar controller and a bundled Kinect Value Pack with camera and three family-friendly games. At just £235 for the lot that was extraordinary value for money.

    HDTVs and 4K TVs: up to £100 off
    We’ve written elsewhere about TV deals that were too good to be true, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t genuine discounts on Prime Day. You could save up to £100 on a wide range of TVs including HD, 4K and 3D models, and there were discounts on home cinema projectors too.

    Motion activated toilet nightlight: 25% off
    Okay, this one probably isn’t a must-have - but it does demonstrate the depth of Amazon’s Prime Day discounting. If toilet nightlights aren’t your thing, you could get money off LED flashing gloves and other fairly niche products. As Amazon told CNBC: “What could be weird to one person may be wonderful to someone else.”

    Prime Day 2017 FAQ: what it is, when it happens and where to get the best deals 

    What is Prime Day?
    It’s Amazon’s annual birthday celebration, when it discounts more than 100,000 products of all kinds.

    When is Prime Day 2017?
    Amazon hasn’t said yet, but we’re guessing that Prime Day 2017 will be held on Tuesday 11 July 2017. Prime Day 2016 was the 12 of July, which was the second Tuesday of the month. This year that falls on the eleventh. 

    Is Prime Day 2017 Amazon only?
    The name is Amazon’s, yes, but in 2016 plenty of other retailers decided to try and spoil Amazon’s fun by running their own doorbuster sales.

    Argos ran a “Big Sale” with discounts on PS4s, TVs, kitchen items, Android tablets, laptops and Dysons; Currys PC World offered “mega deals” with 10% off TVs, built-in appliances and Hi-Fi systems as well as deep discounts on laptops and consoles;

    John Lewis had a clearance event discounting towels, tablewere, furniture and garden furniture, Lenovo laptops, Bluetooth speakers, tablets and smartwatches; and Ebuyer treated us to the ultimate Dad joke with its Optimus Day of discounts

    Are Prime Day deals real?
    Yes and no. They’re real in the sense that you’re paying less than the official price for things, but sometimes that official price was just silly. 

    Like many retailers, Amazon is very keen on comparing prices against RRPs (MSRPs in the US) that nobody really expects anybody to pay - so for example in 2013 the Wall Street Journal noted that an Amazon deal of 45% off a $1,799 Samsung HDTV wasn't quite so impressive: the previous month, Amazon had been selling the same TV for $997.99, so the actual saving was less than ten dollars. Such deals are essentially the same thing as supermarket wine promotions or amazing, never-ending furniture sales.

    If you have a particular product in mind it's worth keeping an eye on the prices now to make sure the deals are genuine on Prime Day. We find sites such as PriceSpy invaluable, as they enable you to see exactly what prices are being charged for specific things - not just big purchases, but smaller items such as video games too.

    Some of the deals will clearly be paper bargains like the one the Wall Street Journal reported, but that doesn't mean all of them will be. Amazon will have been bargaining hard with key suppliers to cut the prices it pays for some products, and it'll sell some high-profile items as loss leaders in the expectation of cross-selling, up-selling and, well, selling. From Amazon's point of view it can lose money on big deals and make it back from Prime subscriptions and by shifting stock it wants to get rid of anyway.

    Where can I find the best Prime Day deals?
    Right here. We scour all the top retailers’ Prime Day deals so that you don’t have to - and we tell you whether the deals are worth getting excited about too. Whether it’s a 4K HDR OLED TV or an Xbox One controller, if it’s discounted we’ll have the details here. 

    How do I get the best Prime Day 2017 deals?
    Know what you want, know what you can afford to spend and know the market: you’ll often spot interesting price hikes in June to enable amazing-looking discounts on Prime Day. Pay particular attention to real prices, not RRPs: TVs are particularly bad for this, with sets whose RRP is eleventy billion pounds routinely selling for five hundred quid. Sites such as CamelCamelCamel and PriceSpy enable you to tell if you’re looking at a legitimate bargain or some timed tomfoolery.

    It’s also a very good idea to be flexible: for example, if you fancy a Sony 4K TV then think about the features you want rather than a specific model number: the BRV123ABD54-88C-9218-B may not be discounted on Prime Day, but an almost identical set with the specification you want probably will be.

    Can I get cashback on Prime Day deals?
    Sometimes, yes. Your debit card or credit card may offer cashback on purchases. It’s definitely worth looking into, not just for Prime Day but for any online shopping. 

    Am I protected when I buy on Prime Day?
    Yes. In the UK, anything you buy from a company online is covered by a wealth of consumer protection legislation including the Consumer Contracts regulations, which give you the same rights as with any other online purchasing - including the short-term right to return items even if they aren’t mis-sold or defective. 

    How can I stay safe on Prime Day?
    There’s a good chance that spammers and scammers will latch on to Prime Day much as they have with Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so be wary of unsolicited emails or links to deals on social media no matter how legitimate they look: anything asking for card details or login details is a scam. If you’re on a PC, make sure your security software is up to date. Many suites automatically block known scam sites.

    7 hours 25 min ago

Arianna Huffington brings her enterprise-grade wellness program to India


  • Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post and a member on Uber’s board, launched Thrive Global in the US last year to tackle stress and burnouts in the workplace, by offering wellness workshops, tech products to address the needs of your body and mind, and a content platform that focuses on well-being in our modern world. And now, the company is making its services available to businesses across India. Thrive believes there’s a need for this sort of service in the country: in a survey it conducted, it found that 46 percent of working professionals in India suffer from some…

    This story continues at The Next Web

    7 hours 44 min ago

The best Australian iPhone 7 Plus deals in June

  • If you're keen on one of Apple's tasty iPhones but need something with a bigger display, longer-lasting battery and better camera, then the iPhone 7 Plus is probably the go. Whether you're looking for huge data, the best budget option, or simply the best overall value, this page will help you choose the best plan to get you rolling with Apple's finest. 

    iPhone 7 Plus prices have always been steep, but with the imminent announcement of the next generation, and healthy competition from Samsung's flagships, now is a decent time to buy. We've had our heads turned by this deal from Virgin Mobile which nets you the 128GB model and 9GB of data for only $100 a month, and comes with some neat extras. And we're still blown away by the monstrous 100GB plan from Optus, but there's plenty more where that came from so read down the page to see what we recommend for each network this month!

    See also: iPhone 7 Plus review

    The best iPhone 7 Plus deals (29nd June 2017)

    Here we've gathered three of the best deals across all the networks at the top of the guide, all of which are chosen purely on their respective values (as we don't manipulate the results for commercial gain). Below that you'll find the top deals section from the three major networks, Telstra, Optus and Vodafone.

    Best overall value — iPhone 7 Plus 128GB | 9GB data | Unlimited talk and texts | Music streaming that doesn't count towards data | $100 pm
     If you're after unlimited calls and text, a decent amount of data and don't want your music streaming to count towards this cap, then this plan from Virgin is right for you. You'll also get $300 of included international calls and texts, which is the cheapest tier from Virgin to have this much international value included. To top it all off, if you sign up to the $100 plan online, you'll get a bonus $100 gift card that you can use anywhere Visa is accepted. Total cost over 24 months is $2,400

    View this deal here.

    Best budget option — iPhone 7 Plus 32GB | Unlimited talk and texts | 2GB data | Music streaming that doesn't count towards data | $81 pm
    While there is a cheaper tier on the Virgin network at $69 a month, paying the extra $12 is absolutely worth it considering you get unlimited national calls and texts rather than $300 of value, along with a data cap bumped up from 500MB to 2GB. This is an ideal plan if most of your data usage comes from music streaming, because if you use select services (including Spotify and Google Play Music) it won't count toward your data cap, while the lower tier doesn't have this boon. Total cost over 24 months is $1,944

    View this deal here.

    Biggest data option — iPhone 7 Plus 256GB | 100GB Data | Unlimited local, international, and roaming talk and text | $166 pm
    If you use mammoth amounts of data and need somewhere to store it all, this plan from Optus is the way to go. With a whopping 100GB of included data, this almost triples the nearest competition. Not only that but you won't have to worry about any calls or text you make as they are all unlimited, even international and roaming calls, and you'll also get a nifty 1.5GB of included roaming data a month. Total cost over 24 months is $3,984

    View this deal here.

    Now let's break down the best iPhone 7 Plus deals for June 2017 by network...

    Best iPhone 7 Plus deals on Telstra (June 2017)

    Best value overall — iPhone 7 Plus 128GB | 12GB data | Unlimited local and international talk and texts | $130 pm
    Tesltra definitely aren't the cheapest of the carriers, but if you're after the perks specific to this telco, then this plan has the best of everything. This is one of the cheapest plans that will give you unlimited international calls and texts, and with its extra 4GB of data with an online sign-up, you'll get a massive 12GB total a month. You'll also be able to stream Apple Music without it counting towards your data cap. Total cost over 24 months is $3,120

    View this deal here.

    Best budget option — iPhone 7 Plus 32GB | 1GB data | $550 talk and unlimited texts | $100pm
    The cost of entry for an iPhone 7 Plus plan with Telstra is $100 a month. Included you'll get $550 of calls, unlimited text, 1GB of data, and streaming on Apple Music that won't count toward your cap, so this is ideal if you're after the coverage that Telstra offers but don't use your device heavily. If this isn't you, we'd recommend a different carrier as they tend to offer much more in the way of calls and data at this price point. Total cost over 24 months is $2,400

    View this deal here.

    Biggest data option — iPhone 7 Plus 256B | 35GB data | Unlimited national and international talk and text | $195 per month
    You won't have to worry about going over your cap here, with 35GB of included data and unlimited calls and texts locally and internationally. You'll also get  1.5GB data roaming when abroad and can waive the $149 fee that normally applies if you wish to upgrade your handset and plan 12 months into the contract. Total cost over 24 months is $4,680

    View this deal here.

    Best iPhone 7 Plus deals on Optus (June 2017)

    Best overall value — iPhone 7 Plus 128GB | 10GB data | Unlimited talk and text | Optus Sport | $112 pm
    Unlimited calls and texts, an extra 3GB and the inclusion of free Optus Sport make this an awesome value deal from Optus. You likely won't reach that new total of 10GB considering this deal comes with a variety of music, TV, and movie streaming services not counting toward your data cap too. Grab this deal while it's currently reduced to the same prices as an equivalent iPhone 7 Plus 32GB and make use of that extra free storage. Total cost over 24 months is $2,688

    View this deal here.

    Best budget option — iPhone 7 Plus 128GB |  1GB data | Unlimited talk and text | $90 pm 

    Although normally the best budget option would be going for the lower capacity (32GB) iPhone 7 Plus, Optus currently has an offer where you can get the next step up (128GB) for the same price. You can grab unlimited talk and text and 1GB of data, which is very respectable for the lowest tier plan. There's also the included streaming from several music services without it counting toward your data cap, which will go a long way in keeping you afloat with the 1GB. Total cost over 24 months is $2,160

    View this deal here.

    Biggest data option — iPhone 7 Plus 256GB | 100GB Data | Unlimited local, international, and roaming talk and text | $166 pm
    Optus has the most data on offer out of all the providers at 100GB, almost tripling the nearest competition, and this plan comes with a host of other premium options to boot. You won't have to worry about any calls or text you make as they are all unlimited, even international and roaming calls, and you'll also get a nifty 1.5GB of included roaming data a month. Total cost over 24 months is $3,984

    View this deal here.

    Best iPhone 7 Plus deals on Vodafone (June 2017)

    Overall best value — iPhone 7 Plus 128GB | 10GB data | Unlimited talk and text | $107 pm
    Coming with an extra 4GB for a limited time, this plan is by far the best value on Vodafone at the moment. Unlimited talk and text and a total of 10GB make it a decent all-rounder, however overall this carrier isn't as competitive as other carriers given its lack of included extras. Total cost over 24 months is $2,568

    View this deal here.

    Best budget option — iPhone 7 Plus 128GB | 2GB Data | Unlimited talk and text | $90 pm
    Although this contract doesn't come with any extras, 2GB is very decent for the lowest tier plan and, at present, the 128GB iPhone 7 Plus is at the same price as the 32GB iPhone 7 Plus, so you may as well get a free storage upgrade. Unlimited talk and text across all of Vodafone's plans make it a better choice in the budget range compared to Telstra, but perhaps not when put next to Virgin or Optus.  Total cost over 24 months is $2,160

    View this deal here.

    Biggest data option — iPhone 7 Plus 256GB | 32GB data | Unlimited talk and text | $138pm
    A bonus 10GB bumps this plan up from 22GB to 32GB, which is truly monstrous.  As with all Vodafone plans, you're getting unlimited calls and texts here, but unfortunately there aren't any other perks at this premium price-tier such as are offered by Telstra and Optus networks. That's fine if you're purely after the data, but you'll be missing out on unlimited international calls from both Telstra and Optus' top-tier plans.  Total cost over 24 months is $3,312

    View this deal here.

    7 hours 50 min ago

'The iPhone will fail' and other hot takes on the original iPhone

  • One of the reasons I hate it when people "call bullshit" on technology that still hasn't played itself out in the market yet (cough, VR, cough), is that it's just too easy. 

    Most new products fail. So when journalists "boldly" say that something sucks, is stupid, or won't work with consumers (before most have even touched it), it's usually not insightful courage, it's just a simple thing called "playing the odds."

    Which brings us to the debut of the iPhone in 2007. 

    SEE ALSO: iOS 11 is about to radically change the iPad for the better

    Oh, yessss... How sweet it is to look back upon the doubters. No, I didn't write a review at the time, but I was an early iPhone believer. And unlike the four establishment techies who were afforded early access to the device for review, my opinion of the iPhone was primarily informed by Steve Jobs' stagecraft during the initial reveal of the device months before its release.  Read more...

    More about Apple, Iphone, Steve Jobs, Tech, and Consumer Tech

    7 hours 55 min ago

This laptop sleeve says it can charge your computer, phone, and tablet at the same time

  • One of the most stressful parts of leaving home is wondering if your laptop and smartphone will die when you need them most. 

    LAER, a Bluetooth-enabled laptop sleeve currently raising money on Indiegogo, thinks it's the solution to that problem. 

    SEE ALSO: Smart Light Bulb Doubles as Bluetooth Speaker

    The premise of the product is pretty simple — it claims it can charge your laptop (PC or Mac), smartphone, and tablet all at the same time. This way, you don't have to bring all of your chargers with you and attempt to find a plug wherever you're at. And it simplifies the need for multiple portable chargers for those of us with a lot of devices.  Read more...

    More about Iphone, Android, Smartphones, Innovation, and Indiegogo

    8 hours 4 min ago

Best smart speaker: which one should you buy?

  • Smart speakers, virtual assistants or smart home speakers, whatever name you decide to call them, they’re pretty frickin’ cool. 

    Many consider them the future of home automation, not only controlling other smart home devices like Philips Hue lightbulbs and smart locks but also contain within them the smarts and versatility to manage your schedule and record this week’s shopping list. 

    Each of the speakers that follow have something called an artificial intelligence (“AI”) inside of them. Everything we just mentioned is done with some help from the AI and, without it, the Amazon Echo, Google Home and Apple HomePod would just be, well, regular speakers. 

    While there’s no doubt that each of the aforementioned speakers are capable in their in own right, you’re here because you want to find the absolute best smart speaker – the one that syncs up to the most smart devices, understands the most enquiries and, ultimately, sounds the best when its time to rock out. 

    You’re in luck, because that’s just about to happen. 

    It’s no small wonder that the smart speaker who pioneered the entire category is still on top three years into its existence. The Amazon Echo had more time to incubate than the Home has and a whole lifetime of experience over Apple’s still unreleased Apple HomePod smart speaker. 

    But what is it that makes the Amazon Echo so great? 

    Well, for one, it supports dozens and dozens of smart home devices including the most popular ones to date: the Nest and Honeywell Smart Thermostats, the Philips Hue and LIFX smart light bulbs, Belkin smart outlets and even the Samsung SmartThings platform that extends to even more devices. 

    More than a capable smart home controller, the Echo can sync up to Amazon services like Amazon Music Unlimited and even, believe it or not, connect to your Google Calendar. Audio performance might not be its strongest suit and it’s not the best at answering every enquiry you might have, but it does provide the best combination of all of the above. 

    Read the full review: Amazon Echo

    Coming in a very close second is the Google Home. It has a somewhat bigger brain than the Amazon Echo in the sense that it knows a bit more about the world thanks to its tight integration into Google’s search engine, and it can control Chromecasts like it’s nothing. 

    It connects to a few fewer devices than the Amazon Echo – although the list of supported services is nearly identical – and only sounds slightly better than the Echo. What might put the Home ahead of the Echo is the pace at which it’s catching up to the market leader. In less than a year’s time, the Google Home has learned quite a few new tricks, including the ability to recognize different users and be able to call anyone anywhere. Stranger, however, the Home will soon have the ability to connect to Bluetooth devices, a feature Google is adding via a firmware update despite nothing changing on a hardware level.

    We like that Home is a bit smarter than its corrival, and sounds a bit better, too. But considering the Echo already has Bluetooth, Echo-to-Echo calling and a few new tricks up its sleeve for 2017 as well, it’s probably the better pick of the two.

    Read the full review: Google Home

    The Amazon Echo Show is a bit of a strange one. It’s more or less the Amazon Echo but with a screen that gives you visual notifications to go along with audio cues. It’s a bit more expensive than the original Echo and, honestly, hasn’t quite proven to be worth that extra fee. 

    Most of that has to do with the Echo Show’s age – it’s the youngest of the group, and only became available to purchase in the US on June 28. 

    With time, and a lot of help from developers, the Show could combine the aspects from the Amazon Echo that we’ve come to appreciate like its ability to speak to smart home devices, answer enquiries and play music on command with a more familiar tablet-style interface.

    Read up on everything we know about the Echo Show

    So far we’ve painted the Apple HomePod as an Amazon Echo or even a Google Home competitor. It’s not. The HomePod is probably better described as a Sonos alternative packing a still-in-development AI under the hood. (Sorry Siri, you’re just not there yet.) 

    To that end, the Apple HomePod packs a pretty serious seven beam-forming tweeters and a four-inch upward-facing woofer that Apple promises will rock the house with distortion-free audio. And while the HomePod seems primarily focused on providing the best audio experience it can, bolstered by Apple Music no doubt, it will also pack in some smart home functionality as well in the form of Apple’s HomeKit platform. HomeKit, still in its early stages will allow you to control the home from your iOS device and the HomePod itself via voice commands when it launches in December of this year. 

    The reason HomePod is ranking below the others is because, at the moment, we’ve only had the chance to play around with it at Apple’s busy Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) – and even then, Siri wasn’t properly up and running. We’re excited to try the smart speaker out in our own homes, however, and will certainly re-calibrate this list when that time arrives down the road.

    Read our hands on review: Apple HomePod

    Last up on this list is the Amazon Echo Dot. While it shares many of the admirable traits of its full-size progenitor, the Echo, it’s pretty limited in the music playback department and . But the reason you’d buy an Amazon Echo isn’t for its pristine audio performance – no, the real reason is because you can hook it up via 3.5mm Aux to any speaker in your house. That’s right, awesome sound quality from the speaker you already own plus a pretty smart artificial intelligence who can help you out around the house. It’s a win-win. 

    Add to that the Amazon Echo Dot’s crazy-low price point and you’ve got all the makings of a perfectly affordable entryway into the burgeoning smart home category. Don’t worry, you can thank us later. 

    8 hours 7 min ago

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