Author Archives: JC Torres


Microsoft Band 2 will finally track your hikes and walks

Microsoft Band 2 will finally track your hikes and walks

Fitness bands are made for tracking your activities, most of which happen to take place outdoors. While the latest Microsoft Band 2 is of the same bent, it strangely didn't take interest in one particular outdoor activity: hiking and exploring. Nearly a year after it launched the product, Microsoft is finally putting that GPS on the band to even better use. With a new Explore tile in an upcoming Microsoft Health update, the fitness band will be able to keep a record of your adventures, whether it be through a forest or even just through your neighborhood.

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Alexa-powered Amazon “Knight” tablet said to be in the works

Alexa-powered Amazon “Knight” tablet said to be in the works

On the heels of news about Google's attempt to one up Amazon's Echo with a "Home" of its own, there is now word that Amazon is also preparing for war. Amazon might soon turn the tables on Google, who mostly reigns in the mobile market, by putting out a new kind of tablet. Codenamed "Knight", this tablet will differentiate itself from Amazon's existing Fire tablet line by being focused around its smart assistant, Alexa. While more portable than other Alexa devices, this tablet is pretty much part of Amazon's agenda to take over your entire, presumably smart, home.

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Snips “Intelligent Memory” AI promises to be private and smart

Snips “Intelligent Memory” AI promises to be private and smart

Today, artificial intelligence is seen as a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it represents a bright future of possibilities the likes of Star Trek have painted on television for years. On the other hand, it also summons fears of robotic overlords hell bent on eradicating inefficient humans. But at its very core, AI is supposed to help relieve humans of mundane and repetitive tasks. Snips, a young Paris-based startup, believes in that kind of AI vision, and it is starting somewhat from the ground up with an iOS app that focuses on the first, and most important, foundation of artificial intelligence: memory.

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DAO organization raises $100m, without CEOs, managers

DAO organization raises $100m, without CEOs, managers

Every employee, at one point in time or another, probably dreamed of working in a company where no one is the boss. While there are indeed some small businesses, especially startups, that follow that culture, every organization has leaders, managers, board members, and what not. Not DAO. Short for "Decentralized Autonomous Organization", the very name itself signifies that it has no such overlords. Instead, everything DAO does is determined through "contracts" and computer code. And despite that somewhat nebulous description, DAO has already managed to raise more than $100 million from investors. At least the real world eqiuvalent of virtual money.

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DxOMark puts Moto G Plus at #9 in photography lineup

DxOMark puts Moto G Plus at #9 in photography lineup

In previous years, the only time you really get to hear about a smartphone's camera performance was in a review, sponsored or otherwise, days or weeks after the device goes to market. But with mobile photography taking on a more central role in smartphones today, you just can't get those reviews soon enough. That is why some OEMs like Lenovo have taken to DxOMark to provide that much needed "professional" verdict right on Day 1. And luckily for Lenovo and Motorola, the Moto G (or G4) Plus took away a rather glowing review that put it within the top 10 smartphones in DxOMark's list.

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Apple sets up iOS app dev center in Bengaluru, India

Apple sets up iOS app dev center in Bengaluru, India

Apple, especially Tim Cook, has made it no secret that China and India are the newest darlings of the tech industry at large and, of course, Apple. After flying to China to deal with the iBooks and Movies blackout, Cook flew to India to help cement Apple's position in the market. In addition to Cook's first visit to the country as Apple's highest executive, it was also an occasion for Apple to announce the establishment of a Design and Development Accelerator in Bengaluru to help spur iOS app development in the country.

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BitTorrent Live tries to fix live streaming woes with P2P

BitTorrent Live tries to fix live streaming woes with P2P

BitTorrent, or simply "torrent", may now be more easily associated with piracy, but the technology originated from a desire to distribute files, especially large ones, more efficiently, without being beholden to a single server or its limited bandwidth. That need is greater today with the rise of live streaming, which has practically democratized news and event coverage away from media giants. In a similar vein, BitTorrent, the company behind the technology, is announcing BitTorrent Live, a "multichannel, live and linear video streaming platform". In other words, a peer-to-peer live streaming platform.

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Amazon remembers it has a Fire TV, adds Alexa support

Amazon remembers it has a Fire TV, adds Alexa support

Do you remember that Amazon has its own Android Fire OS set-top box and even a Chromecast HDMI streaming stick? You might be forgiven a bit if you have forgotten, seeing as how the Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick have mostly taken a backseat compared to Amazon's latest darlings, the Echo and its cousins, as well as third party devices that integrate Alexa. Still, Amazon boasts that the Fire TV is the streaming media player in the US so, better late than never, it has finally introduced Alexa to its Fire TV.

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Moto G4, G4 Plus set the mid-range bar higher

Moto G4, G4 Plus set the mid-range bar higher

Motorola launched the Moto G way back in 2013 to be its mid-range champion vis-a-vis the more premium Moto X flagship. For the next two years, it has established itself as the mid-range smartphone in emerging markets even as the Moto X eventually slid off the charts. This year, the fourth generation Moto G is launching first in India and it is stepping up its game with specs and features you might also find in some late 2015 flagships. And yes, Lenovo/Motorola is indeed calling them the Moto G4 and the Moto G4 Plus.

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Raspberry Pi Zero now comes with a camera connector

Raspberry Pi Zero now comes with a camera connector

Almost each and every new Raspberry Pi board has been met with blazing hot reception and quickly depleted stocks. Even so, the success of the Raspberry Pi Zero, their smallest board to date, still took its creators by surprise. Who would have thought that a compute board the size of a HDMI dongle would be so popular. Actually, everyone except perhaps the Raspberry Pi Foundation expected it to be so. But just because the RPi Zero is small doesn't mean it has to be less featured. Case in point: now it comes with a camera connector.

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Google alums to make self-driving 18-wheelers a thing

Google alums to make self-driving 18-wheelers a thing

Google's passion, nay perhaps even obsession, for self-driving vehicles seems to run deep in its employees even after they have left the mothership. Or rather, they leave in order to extend Google's dream beyond the current passenger car limits. That does seem to be the case for Anthony Levandowski, who was instrumental in steering, pun intended, Google's self-driving car efforts. He and two other Google veterans, including other former employees from Tesla and even Apple, have formed Otto, a startup that is working on self-driving trucks that would make highways a safer place to drive.

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Disney Movies VR brings iconic spots to HTC Vive, Oculus Rift

Disney Movies VR brings iconic spots to HTC Vive, Oculus Rift

Ever wondered what it would feel like to be snooping around the Avengers HQ, or swinging (or at least walking) around a jungle, or even beating the desert heat of Jakku? Short of actually traveling to preserved studio sets of those fictional places, the only way you'd be able to experience that would be through your imagination. Or, thanks to new technology, virtual reality. Thank your lucky stars, then, that Disney has made available a new Disney Movies VR app that take you to these places at no extra charge. Other than buying an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, of course.

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