Gadgets

Wed
03
Nov
John Lister's picture

Phone Makers Attacked for Frequent Releases

Using the average phone a year longer would have the same environmental impact as taking 636,000 cars off the road each year according to campaigners. It's a claim that's sparked calls to end the habit of manufacturers to produce a new model every ... year. The calls come in the run-up to a major climate change conference, but remains unclear what incentive gadget-makers have to respond. The 636,000 cars figure comes from the Public Interest Research Group, whose campaigns include giving consumers a right to repair devices. It told The Register that an average of 416,000 US cellphones are ditched ... (view more)

Fri
29
Oct
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Gadget Shortages Could Last Till 2023

Intel says a shortage of computer chips could last until 2023. It's particularly bad news for video game players but could make it harder to buy affordable PCs. Pat Gelsinger, Intel's CEO, says the shortage is likely at its worst point now. He says ... the situation should improve throughout next year, mirroring his counterpart at AMD who believes supply should pick up in the second half of next year. However, Gelsinger believes it will be 2023 before production is back at a point where supply can meet demand. (Source: eurogamer.net ) Shutdown Means Slowdown The shortage is largely a result of ... (view more)

Tue
09
Oct
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Facebook Launches Dedicated Screens

Facebook is launching dedicated devices for video-calling friends and family. While they have some impressive technology, it's a bold move from a company whose reputation on privacy issues is controversial to say the least. The devices are known as ... the "Portal" and "Portal+". They both offer some of the features of 'smart speakers' such as Google Home and the Amazon Echo, but the main function is for making video calls. That's reflected in the 10 inch screen of the Portal and the 15 inch screen of the Portal+. There's no charge for making calls on the devices as they work ... (view more)

Thu
12
Apr
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Amazon Patent Eavesdrops, Targets User Ads

Amazon has patented a system for listening to devices in order to better target advertising to users. But it says it doesn't use the feature in its gadgets. The patent dates back to an initial application in 2011, but the most recent version was not ... approved by the US Patent and Trademark Office until last November and has only recently been made public. The basis of the patent is 'sniffer' technology, though that's used as an analogy to reflect the idea that the devices wouldn't permanently capture and store what people were saying. Instead they would use trigger words. Saying 'Like' Would ... (view more)

Thu
08
Mar
John Lister's picture

Survey: One In Five Have Smart Speakers

Nearly 47 million Americans have a 'smart speaker' device in their home according to a new survey. If true, the devices' user base has gone from almost nothing to one-in-five people in just two years. While models vary, smart speakers are small ... devices that perform two main functions: playing music (often from online streaming services) and answering spoken questions as a quicker alternative to typing something into a smartphone or computer. In some cases they are also used to control home devices such as lights and heating. The study says 19.7 percent of people have access to a smart speaker ... (view more)

Tue
24
Oct
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Cheap Apple Watch - If You Exercise

A life insurance company is offering the Apple watch for just $25 to customers. The catch is that they will have to meet health goals as tracked by the watch to be eligible for the discount. The smart watch connects wirelessly to an iPhone and has ... two main uses (besides telling the time): displaying information so that users don't have to retrieve their phone, and tracking activity for fitness apps. Normally the latest model costs at least $329, so the offer from John Hancock insurance is a significant discount. It's only eligible for people who take out life insurance and sign up for ... (view more)

Thu
13
Apr
John Lister's picture

Burger King Hijacks Home Gadget for Ad

Burger King has cheekily used a Google gadget to advertise its products. But the way it did so is pretty risky and could easily backfire. The stunt came in a television advert that contained a command for Google's Home device. That's a voice ... activated speaker that lets the user ask questions, control home devices, set alarms and other useful (and sometimes purely trivial) activities. While similar technology exists on many Android phones, those are usually set to recognize and respond only to the user's voice, including listening out for the trigger phrase "Okay Google" ... (view more)

Thu
05
Jan
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CES 2017 Brings Smart Hairbrush and Listening Fridge

It's the week of the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, and this year smart home gadgets seem to be attracting attention - rather than the latest TV technology. Everything from fridges to hairbrushes is getting some form of upgrade ... from gadget makers. One big story is the attempts by firms such as Google and Amazon to get their voice-operated "virtual assistants" connected to home devices. While gadgets such as Google Home and the Amazon Echo already control of some more common smart tech such as automated lighting and thermostats, several manufacturers showed ... (view more)

Thu
14
Apr
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New Luxury Kindle Carries Price to Match

Amazon has released a luxury version of the Kindle e-Reader, with a price tag to match. It's drawn comparisons to Apple's high-priced iPads, despite being a single-purpose device. New Kindle editions over the past few years have mainly involved very ... small tweaks to an established design. The new Kindle Oasis has been redesigned to be easier to hold. The most notable difference is that the device is no longer a perfectly flat device. One side of it is the thinnest a Kindle has ever been, at barely an eighth of an inch. However, the other side has a tapered bump that takes it up to a ... (view more)

Tue
22
Mar
John Lister's picture

Kindle eReaders May Lose Connectivity if not Updated

Owners of older Kindle eReaders have been warned to update their devices today or temporarily lose Internet connectivity. The loss won't be irreversible, but will cause added hassle. The issue affects all Kindle eReader models released before 2013. ... That includes the Keyboard, Touch and DX versions, along with the 5th generation and earlier of both the standard Kindle and Paperwhite editions. (Source: amazon.com ) The only unaffected models are those released from 2013 onwards, specifically the Paperwhite 6th and 7th generation, the 7th generation standard Kindle and the Voyage model. The ... (view more)

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