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WALMART partners with AUGUST HOME

Friday, September 22nd, 2017

Walmart announced it will begin testing a new service that will allow customers with August smart home devices, like the August doorbell and security cameras, to have their packages delivered inside their home instead of left on the doorstep. This test will also include online grocery orders, which won’t just be placed inside the house like the packages, but will be put away in the fridge and freezer, when appropriate. Once the order is ready, a delivery driver will bring it to your home. If no one answers the doorbell, he or she will have a one-time passcode that you’ve preauthorised, which will open your home’s smart lock.

The moment the delivery driver rings your doorbell, you’ll receive a notification on your phone that the delivery is occurring and, if you choose, you can watch the delivery take place in real time from your home security cameras through the August app. The delivery driver will then stock up your fridge and leave. Walmart says that these tests are a natural evolution of what Walmart is all about “an obsession in saving our customers not just money but also time, making our customers’ lives easier in the process.”

While August is the first smart home partner that Walmart is working with on this effort, presumably, if the tests were successful, Walmart would add other smart home device makers to the list of supported device in the future. The company didn’t say what this new service would cost, instead noting that pricing is something that the experiment will focus on. In other words, Walmart will try to determine what price a customer is willing to pay for this added convenience.

The deliveries themselves are being handled by Deliv, a service that Walmart owned Sam’s Club began testing last year for last mile deliveries in Miami.The retailer says it will soon start this test in the Silicon Valley area with select customers who have opted into to try the new service.

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The 5 Best GoPro Drones

Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

Most drones have a built-in camera for capturing awesome aerial photographs. Chances are, you already have an action camera like a GoPro. Why not put it to use with one of these top-rated drones that are compatible with GoPro cameras? We’ve rounded up some easy-to-fly picks at every price point.

Traxxas Aton Plus Drone – Traxxas, the brand commonly known for RC cars and trucks, has finally entered the drone market with the Traxxas Aton. Its firecracker red body is eye-catching, and the drone has a two-axis gimbal that’s strong enough to hold a GoPRO HERO 3 or HERO 4 camera. It’s powered by a 5,000 mAH battery that’ll provide you with about 20 minutes of flight time. The Aton features dual-mode GPS and air brakes, and it can even be programmed to fly home automatically. It reaches speeds up to 50 miles per hour.

 

GoolRC X8HG Drone – This budget drone is ideal for learning to fly. It only has a 7-minute flight time, and the included camera is far from impressive. While the equipped camera looks just like a GoPro, it unfortunately doesn’t perform like one. The camera can be removed and swapped out for a better action camera, but it doesn’t act as a stand-alone camera. Not only that, you’ll need to purchase a adapter to use your GoPro HERO 4 or HERO 5. Because the gimbal is fixed, video is shaky, too. This is one of the most affordable drones you can buy, so if you want to experience aerial photography on the cheap, it could be the drone for you.

GoPro Karma Drone – This easy-to-fly drone is compatible with the GoPro HERO 4 and 5. Rather than controlling it with your smartphone, you fly using an included game-style controller with an integrated touch display. Its 9,840-foot range and 20-minute flight time are shorter than its competitors in the same price range, and it’s unable to automatically avoid obstacles. The Karma is long and slim, and it folds up, making it small enough to fit in a backpack.

 

3DR Solo Quadcopter Drone – This quadcopter flaunts a matte black 19-inch body. After factoring in a 5,200 mAh battery, its three-axis gimbal, and a GoPro HERO camera, it weighs in at 3.4 pounds. The drone can fly at speeds of up to 55 mph at a maximum altitude of 400 feet, and it can spend up to 25 minutes in the air. You control it with your smartphone.

Tokky Bugs 3 Drone – This entry-level drone is practically ready-to-fly right out of the box. Just charge its 7.4V 1,800 mAh 25C Li Pobattery, pop in three AAA batteries for its transmitter, and strap your GoPro HERO camera into its gimbal, and you’re good to go. The Bugs 3 is a no-frills racing drone that has a fixed gimbal, which leaves you with shakier footage. It only gets about 15 minutes of battery life, and it doesn’t have built-in GPS. However, the drone is reliable, easy to set-up, and has a bright white LED light that helps when flying at night.

 

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iPhone X Pro’s & Con’s

Monday, September 18th, 2017

Apple’s new iPhone X, with an edge-to-edge OLED display and a $999 price tag, is bound to shake up the high-end smartphone market in unforeseen ways. We don’t know how it will impact Apple’s overall sales, or whether it will set off a kind of mobile arms race to see which phone maker can outdo the other in the upper premium price point. It’s already dividing both diehard Apple fans and longtime iOS detractors over the very idea of a phone costing into the four digits. More than any device before it, the X is testing both the value we put on smartphones and consumers’ willingness to pay for the best Apple to has offer. The easiest way to dissect the decision is to do a bit of cost-benefit analysis, starting with what the iPhone X appears to do better than less pricey Apple models.

ANIMOJI IS A NEAT AND NOVEL FACE MAPPING CONCEPT – Animoji replicate your face movements, expressions, and speech using the front-facing camera and 3D mapping sensors of the iPhone X. It relies on the very same TrueDepth components required by Face ID and is another perfect example of Apple’s marriage of hardware and software to yield something more advanced than the industry standard. Apple’s implementation here feels like a wildly fun and goofy blend of cutting-edge tech with selfie-obsessed excess, if not also a bit of an extravagant resource waste.

THE FRONT-FACING CAMERA IS MORE POWERFUL – Hidden inside the small notch cutout at the top of the iPhone X is a significant number of new camera parts and sensors that do more than just transpose your face onto an emoji cat or scan it to unlock your phone. The front-facing camera module now contains an infrared camera, flood illuminator, proximity scanner, ambient light sensor, speaker, microphone, 7-megapixel camera, and dot projector. All of that together combines into what Apple calls its TrueDepth camera, used for Animoji, Face ID, and a number of cool camera tricks.

THE EDGE-TO-EDGE OLED SCREEN IS GORGEOUS – The most obvious standout feature of the iPhone X is the OLED screen, which the lucky few who’ve held it say is the most stunning smartphone screen they have ever seen. The edge-to-edge display is copied from past Android devices, starting more or less with the Xiamoi XI and making its way to global mainstream prominence in the Galaxy S8. But the lack of originality hasn’t stopped Apple from manufacturing a beautiful piece of hardware.

5.8-INCH SCREEN MEANS MORE REAL ESTATE IN A SMALLER PACKAGE – Apple’s new edge-to-edge display on the iPhone X means you’re getting a larger screen in a smaller package, at least compared with the iPhone 8 Plus. If you take a look at the dimensions, you’ll see that the display, measured diagonally, comes to 5.8 inches. That’s actually bigger than the height of the device itself, which comes in at 5.65 inches.

FACE ID FEELS LIKE THE FUTURE – At first blush, Face ID may feel like a setback, and there’s validity to that view. We don’t yet know how secure it will be, or whether it will come close to the efficiency of Touch ID and fingerprint reading. It’s also evident that if Apple could have built a fingerprint sensor underneath the glass of the iPhone X’s OLED display, that it probably would have.

THE IPHONE X IS EXPENSIVE… VERY EXPENSIVE – The only aspect of the iPhone X perhaps more noticeable than its display is its price tag. Apple has set the starting cost for its flagship product, for the very first time, at north of $1,000, when you factor in taxes or the 256GB storage configuration. The device is even more expensive outside the US customers in Italy, Russia, and Poland, for instance, will all have to pay around $1,600 for a 256GB version of the iPhone X.

THE LOSS OF TOUCH ID – You can embrace the bold, 3D mapping future promised by Apple’s new Face ID while at the same time bemoaning the loss of Touch ID. While it may not work on the edge-to-edge OLED display of the iPhone X, at least not yet, Touch ID has grown over the years into one of the fastest, most secure biometric unlocking system of any modern smartphone, if not the best. There’s also a growing debate over what it means for law enforcement, who can easily point the device at you to unlock your iPhone, as opposed to compelling you to put your thumb on the device’s home button or copying it from a fingerprint record.

UI COMPLEXITY MAKES ONE-HAND USE DIFFICULT – Because the iPhone X does not contain a home button, or even a software version of one, the entire user interface of iOS 11 on the device has been altered. There’s a whole new system of gestures and swipes to learn and master, and many of them will be annoying to remember and difficult to perform with just one hand. Closing apps now requires you swipe up from the bottom, while swiping up and then holding opens the multitasking app switcher. Control Center is now surfaced by swiping down from right corner, while a swipe down from the left gets you to the notification list.

A11 BIONIC CHIP AND WIRELESS CHARGING ALSO ON THE IPHONE 8 – Apple made a strategic decision to include its most powerful chip, the new A11 Bionic, in both the iPhone 8 and the iPhone X. That way, the company wouldn’t split its user base and developer community by pushing app makers toward optimizing for a device only a small number of consumers might have by year’s end. That’s a smart move. But it also undermines the value of the iPhone X, restricting its uniqueness to the OLED screen and front-facing camera tech. The same goes for Apple’s new wireless charging feature, which will work across the iPhone 8 family and the X because both devices have the same glass back.

APPLECARE+ COSTS $199, UP FROM $129 – Apple has set the price for its AppleCare+ insurance plan for the iPhone X at $199, a big jump from the current $129 for both the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8. While it may be related to the more expensive screen. Apple is still charging only $29 for a broken screen repair through AppleCare a $199 charge on top of a $999 or $1,149 device makes the purchase that much more unattractive.

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Wireless charging – The new Movement..

Thursday, September 14th, 2017

The new iPhone X and iPhone 8 support wireless charging for the first time in an Apple smartphone but what is it, how does it work and is it worth using? Wireless charging means, as the name suggests, you no longer need to plug a cable into your smartphone to charge it. Simply placing it face up on a special mat or tabletop is enough to start charging up your smartphone’s battery, be it the iPhone 8, iPhone X, Galaxy 8 or any number of different smartphones that support wireless charging.

There are a couple of competing standards in the wireless charging industry designed for portable gadgets such as smartphones. Most smartphones support both the Wireless Power Consortium’s Qi and the PMA or AirFuel Alliance standards, meaning that they will work on most available chargers. Qi is rapidly becoming the most popular wireless charging standard, and the one used by Apple for its new iPhone 8 and iPhone X. In most cases wireless charging is slower than charging via a cable for smartphones that include fast-charging technology, such as the Galaxy S8.

Some wireless chargers are faster than others, with modern higher-powered chargers capable of fully charging a large battery smartphone in around two hours. They’re typically rated by wattage, with 5W and 10W chargers common, or by output amperage, with 1A at 5V wireless chargers comparable to a standard USB cable charger such as that that comes with the iPhone 7.

Wireless charging works by transferring energy from the charger to a receiver in the back of the phone via electromagnetic induction. The charger uses an induction coil to create an alternating electromagnetic field, which the receiver coil in the phone converts back into electricity to be fed into the battery.They typically have to be in close proximity to each other and correctly aligned over the top of each other, although a set orientation is normally not necessary.Rechargeable toothbrushes and other bathroom accessories have used inductive charging since the 1990s.

The biggest downside is that wireless charging cannot be performed through metal with current technology. That means most wirelessly charging smartphones have either plastic or glass backs, the later of which makes them more fragile. It also may not work through thick cases, although generally does through thin plastic cases, dependent on the phone and the charger.While the standards for wireless charging have been in flux for years, now that most devices either support multiple standards or at least Qi, wireless charging is likely to become a standard part of smartphones in the near future. Apple’s adoption of Qi is likely to make it the primary standard going forward.

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2018 BMW X7

Tuesday, September 12th, 2017

There’s no disguising the X7 concept’s size and the styling does little to understate it. The firm’s signature ‘kidney’ grilles are massive – easily the largest versions ever fitted to a BMW – and the slender headlights help them look even bigger. The enormous alloy wheels fitted to this concept enhance its imposing image, though it’s not clear if they’ll make it to the production model. At the back, tall air ducts accentuate the car’s width and the slim LED brakelights are similar to those used on the recent Z4 concept. It’s expected that both of these elements will be toned down before production although, overall, the finished car is expected to bear a striking resemblance to this concept.

Besides a few concept design touches, the X7’s interior looks very close to what could be fitted on a production model. The two large digital screens will almost certainly be kept one to replace traditional dials and one to deal with the infotainment and navigation. The latest version of BMW’s gesture control will feature allowing passengers to alter settings with a wave of their hand. A full-length glass sunroof lets light flood into the cabin and this could well be an option on the finished X7. Passengers in the middle row will be treated to lots of leg and headroom, while the two iPad-sized screens on the back of the front seats could also remain. The X7 will be BMW’s most expensive and luxurious SUV, so the materials will feel plush and premium. The X7 could either feature five very spacious seats and a large boot or could be a full-fledged seven seater with a slightly smaller cargo area. If the X7 turns out to be a seven-seater SUV, the rear two seats will probably be best suited to children or smaller adults.

Under the behemoth bonnet, it’s expected that there’ll be a choice of petrol and diesel six-cylinder 3.0-litre turbo engines and a 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 petrol with 445hp. These photos also show an electric charging point by the front doors, meaning the X7 will probably come with a plug-in-hybrid powertrain consisting of a four-cylinder turbo engine, a powerful electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack offering limited electric-only range. The X7 could be offered in both a rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configuration. We expect the X7 to be exclusively fitted with an automatic transmission – reflecting the relaxed and luxurious driving style of this large SUV.

It’s only a concept for now but when the production BMW X7 gets released, entry level models should cost around £75,000, while fast V8 versions could cost upwards of £110,000. It’s likely to be revealed at September’s Frankfurt Motor Show and it could arrive in showrooms in late 2018. The upcoming BMW X7 will be the firm’s largest SUV when it makes its debut sometime in 2018. This seven-seater model is expected to be a colossal five-metres long, helping it wage battle against full-sized SUVs such as the upcoming Audi Q8, Range Rover and Mercedes GLS. Images courtesy of Autoevolution  give us a glimpse of this upcoming model being put through its paces.

 

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