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Nest isn’t trying to own the Smart Home, and that’s okay

Nest isn’t trying to own the Smart Home, and that’s okay

Nest now has three products, a freshly-firmware-flashed thermostat, a 2nd-gen Nest Protect, and a new Nest Cam, but it’s a fairly humble play for the smart home, at least on the face of it. At a time when Apple is not only launching HomeKit but working on its next big update, that might seem naive, but Nest CEO Tony Fadell isn’t worried. Instead of trying to make Nest the dominant brand, Fadell is apparently content for automation to be a group effort.

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Nokia’s return to phones won’t be smart

Nokia’s return to phones won’t be smart

Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri makes an offhand comment about their plans to sell phones in the future and the crowd goes wild. What today's news on Nokia's return to the smartphone market consists of is Suri answering a question about mobile devices, suggesting that the company is "looking for suitable partners" in the mobile phone business. This should not be a surprise to anyone following along closely with the brand, but there it is. After selling their phone hardware business to Microsoft in 2013, Nokia's set to return to phones as soon as 2016.

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Temper your Minecraft HoloLens enthusiasm

Temper your Minecraft HoloLens enthusiasm

It was the mic-drop of Microsoft demos, Minecraft coming to life in augmented reality on the HoloLens headset, and it unsurprisingly stole the E3 keynote. Given Microsoft's previous hints about just what it had in mind for HoloLens, which overlays digital graphics on top of the real world, the idea of a special version of the brick-building game shouldn't have come as a surprise. Nonetheless, the sight of a table suddenly overcome with virtual blocks proved more than enough for us to temporarily forget HoloLens' big issues.

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As WWDC ends, the mood in the trenches is neighborly

As WWDC ends, the mood in the trenches is neighborly

Apple’s WWDC is over for another year, and as the dust settles on the iOS 9, Apple Music, and OS X El Capitan launch, it’s a chance to reflect on five days of sessions. It’s hard to gauge the tone of a week-long developer event from a fast-paced keynote - even with an Apple Music section which went on too long, and which several developers I spoke to suspected was padded to fill up space originally intended for an Apple TV SDK announcement. If there can be such a thing as an overarching theme, though, it felt like it might be harmonious co-existence.

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This is Apple’s history of music

This is Apple’s history of music

Today Apple presented Apple Music, a streaming music ecosystem made to turn the tides on other top-name players in the space. Apple's power comes not from a good product in and of itself, but from its ecosystem of success. If you have one Apple device, you know. You're made to feel that you're part of a family, and that every product Apple makes that you use, you're more a part of that family. You're made to FEEL good. Apple knows this. Because of this, Apple made their case with a history lesson.

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Wearables and Fitness – Is it a permanent union?

Wearables and Fitness – Is it a permanent union?

We see wearables on the rise. But when we says "wearables", we mostly mean smartwatches and, more often and more ubiquitous, fitness bands. While the term "wearable" itself seems to cover a whole swathe of products, why is it that most, if not all, wearables in the market are those that we can only wear on our wrists? And why are almost all of them, even those that we don't wear on our wrists, seem to be focused, if not totally dedicated to fitness and health? Are wearables fated to be tethered to this particular use case?

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First Virgin Births in the Wild are No Miracle

First Virgin Births in the Wild are No Miracle

The endangered small tooth sawfish is discovered to have produced the world's first "virgin births" in the wild. When we first broke news of this wild parthenogenesis yesterday, we received a number of replies on Twitter and Facebook which suggested there was some confusion about how the process occurred. "If this really happened, it's nothing short of a miracle," said one [Name Redacted]. "This is just like those West African Frogs in Jurassic Park," said another commenter, "I can't honestly believe it." In fact while the circumstances might seem positively Hollywood, the reality of the situation is entirely scientific - proven and factual.

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Google I/O 2015 Wrap-Up: Bangs and Whimpers

Google I/O 2015 Wrap-Up: Bangs and Whimpers

It's tough to stand out when you're still in the shadow of a skydiving co-founder, and Google I/O 2015 ended with many still holding their breath for the big bang. Even with Android M on the agenda, what we got instead was a more rounded view of how Google sees computing evolving, not only in near-saturated markets like the US and Europe, but for the "next billion" whose first taste of the internet will most likely come through an affordable smartphone. It was a lot to fit into even an extended keynote, at times feeling like Google was rushing to name-check projects without giving them the context they perhaps needed. In fact, most of the really cool stuff didn't even get a spot on the big stage.

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Google’s VR circle is now complete: Cameras to Cardboard

Google’s VR circle is now complete: Cameras to Cardboard

Google's virtual reality ecosystem is now prepared to handle the public, with everything from low-cost VR headsets to YouTube 360. What we've got here is a full ecosystem, with the three main components ready to roll. The first step is providing the means to capture media, in this case 360-degree cameras - while Google's own 360-rig system Google Jump isn't quite prepared for the public as yet, they've already released tools for creatives with their own 360-capable cameras to upload to YouTube. Therein lies the second step: providing a place for creative people to share the media they've created - YouTube, of course.

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Android Marshmallow’s best feature is a real snoozer

Android Marshmallow’s best feature is a real snoozer

Google's next version of Android is revealed to have a "Dozing" feature which effectively puts your smartphone to sleep. With Android 6.0 Marshmallow, Google will be bringing a Doze mode that detects when your phone has not been in use for an extended period of time - when you've accidentally left it on the counter over a long weekend away, for example. When your Android device senses this amount of inactivity, it powers down all non-necessary functions. Google suggests that with this feature enabled, smartphone users could be seeing battery life extended by 2x or more.

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Microsoft needs a new tune to woo developers to Windows 10

Microsoft needs a new tune to woo developers to Windows 10

"Developers! Developers! Developers!" That chant might trigger nightmares of a rather sweaty Ballmer, but what was true almost a decade ago is now even more critical for Microsoft's success. Yes, success, not just survival. There is little doubt Microsoft could live on for a few more years on life support should Windows 10 flop, but if the next operating system is to become the success that Windows 8 was not, it needs to have more apps. Not just any app, clones or fakes, but the kind of apps that make iOS and Android users go nuts. And to get those apps, Microsoft will obviously need developers, developers, developers.

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Galaxy Note 5 Edge is better off S Pen-less

Galaxy Note 5 Edge is better off S Pen-less

Samsung's Galaxy Note 5 Edge edition is tipped to be released without the standard S Pen. This follows well with feedback from commenters on their experience with the S Pen and the first Galaxy Edge, as slipping off the bend isn't all that uncommon. A much larger edition of the Galaxy S6 Edge is what this new Galaxy Note 5 Edge would be, with two edges like its smaller relative and no S Pen inside. A simple way to move beyond the required stylus, or a mistake waiting to happen?

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