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Eight things AI assistants need to improve on

Eight things AI assistants need to improve on

HTC's announcement of its U Ultra and U Play phones, and consequently the revelation of its Sense Companion, may have you cringing at yet another AI-powered, disembodied, virtual assistant. But HTC's spiel has a nugget of sense. AI agents today are so bright they can tell jokes or even hold conversation, whether with humans or with each other. But when it comes to actually assisting us humans to get things done, they're not that smart yet and need more than a little nudging to work. If these assistants are to be the way we interact with our devices, our homes, and our digital selves, they need to be able to do a bit more, and soon. Here are some things these virtual secretaries and butlers need to be able to do in order to really make a significant impact in our modern lived. Not all of them even require substantial advancements in artificial intelligence.

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Google Pixel 2 : How Pixel XL’s success could shape the next release

Google Pixel 2 : How Pixel XL’s success could shape the next release

The release of the Google Pixel 2 (and Pixel XL 2) will refine an already-shining example of how good, and simply good, an Android device can be. Google seems to have reached a point at which they're ready to handle consumers directly, instead of relying on big brands to do all the heavy lifting. As the HTC-manufactured, Google-designed Pixel and Pixel XL had sparkling reviews upon release in 2016, the next generation won't likely change in any drastic way.

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Tech Privacy 101 – Ways to keep private things private

Tech Privacy 101 – Ways to keep private things private

Privacy is no longer a concern of a few well-informed, conscious, or even paranoid individuals. Given how much of our lives we have stored on computers, phones, or the cloud, digital privacy should already gain the same level of attention that we give our physical spaces. Sadly, that just isn't the case and many, sometimes even the best of us, take such things for granted. And with governments seemingly more invested in actually invading citizens' privacy, the responsibility of securing our digital lives falls on us. Fortunately, you don't need to be a computer scientist nor a lawyer to implement these simple steps to protect your privacy, whether online or offline.

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Can my phone be tracked?

Can my phone be tracked?

Absolutely yes, your smartphone can be tracked - the question we should be asking is: what can we do about it? Today we're going to run down several easy ways in which we can see our phone being tracked, first of all. Then we're going to shut down this tracking in a few easy steps. It's really not too big of a hassle, just a trade-off - location tracking lets us map where we're going, but in exchange, our phone has to know where we are.

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Surface Pro 3 vs iPad Pro 9.7 vs Lenovo Yoga Book Android showdown

Surface Pro 3 vs iPad Pro 9.7 vs Lenovo Yoga Book Android showdown

If there were a few takeaways at CES 2017 last week, it would be that cars are the new darlings of the tech industry, that Amazon Alexa is taking over the world, and that laptops are becoming tablets or tablets are becoming laptops - laptops and tablets are becoming one. Whichever angle you look at it, the lines separating these two forms of portable computing have become even more muddled, with detachables and convertibles sporting pens and tablets sporting keyboards.

As it seems to be a growing trend, we take a look at three of the most popular laptop/tablet hybrids, the Microsoft Surface Pro 3, the 9.7-inch Apple iPad Pro, and the new Lenovo Yoga Book, to see how they fare against each other in the "tablet that can replace your laptop" category.

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Top AI personal assistant apps for Android (2017)

Top AI personal assistant apps for Android (2017)

Thanks to Siri and, more recently, Amazon Alexa, most people are familiar with AI-powered personal assistants, yet few utilize them. That's unfortunate, as AI personal assistants can perform many actions that save you time, including getting quotes for rides, sending messages, checking the weather and your email, making lists, and scheduling tasks. If you'd like to experience this yourself but you don't have an iPhone and aren't in the market for an Echo, try out one (or all) of these AI assistant apps for Android.

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So far, CES 2017 is about refinement

So far, CES 2017 is about refinement

While generally we see a collection of new or otherwise daring devices at the Consumer Electronics Show, CES 2017 is about improving what works. This can be seen best in the collections of devices shown by Acer, Lenovo, and HP, the lot of which revealed a set of notebooks, displays, and keyboards improved incrementally from years past. It's as if the entirety of the PC industry has finally caught Apple "Just a bit better each time" fever.

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It’s time this car safety tech was standard

It’s time this car safety tech was standard

Some car technology is frivolous or pure luxury; other added-extras are a matter of personal taste. If you want leather seats, or a 1,300W audio system, or autonomous parking, you probably should pay extra for it. Even some safety technology, like adaptive cruise control or active lane-keeping assistance, falls into the convenience category more than a must-have essential.

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The Google Pixel shipping nightmare (and Verizon’s XL role)

The Google Pixel shipping nightmare (and Verizon’s XL role)

Google and Verizon are not doing a very good job handling supply and demand with the Pixel. In a Reddit thread 2,888 messages long (at publication time), potential Google Pixel smartphone users discuss delays in shipment and inconsistencies in stories from Google and Verizon. This situation is unique in that Verizon is selling the same phone as Google is supplying AND selling. What we're asking here is why there's an issue with shipping at all with what should be a well-oiled machine.

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Nintendo Switch needs retro games to succeed

Nintendo Switch needs retro games to succeed

With the Nintendo Switch on the horizon, many people will tell you that the console needs a strong launch library out of the gate if it wants to succeed. They're right, of course, but I also think there's a segment that could have a great effect on whether the Switch sinks or swims: retro games. Nintendo's Virtual Console has been around since the Wii, and the Switch will almost certainly have a Virtual Console of its own. While perfecting the Virtual Console may not be as important as a deep and varied games catalog, it still needs to be a key area of focus if the Switch wants to succeed.

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Smartphone trends to watch for in 2017

Smartphone trends to watch for in 2017

As we bid 2016 farewell, and the explosive controversies along with it, we naturally have to look forward to the upcoming 12 months. Many analysts have remarked how the smartphone market has seemingly plateaued this year, both in terms of sales as well as innovation. Perhaps with one exception, 2017 might somewhat be the same. It isn't exactly a bad thing as it allows the smartphone industry to hunker down on its technologies before it makes the big leap which is expected to happen before the year's end.

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Here’s how Android tablets can survive 2017 and beyond

Here’s how Android tablets can survive 2017 and beyond

Smartwatches seem to be the new poster boy for "device categories that miserably failed" this year. But long before that, prophets of gloom and doom have long been circling around tablets like vultures waiting for a critter to expire. Especially when it comes to Android tablets.

With perhaps the sole exception of the Lenovo Yoga Book, this year hasn't seen any significant movement in the Android tablet front, whether it be from major manufacturers or even the Android community at large. But as the success of the Microsoft Surface Pro and Apple iPad Pro showed, there is still a market for tablets, even expensive ones. Fortunately, the Android platform can still catch up, and most of the solutions can even be done through software only, though it will definitely take some guts from OEMs to make it happen.

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