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Microsoft May Be Making A Movies & TV App For iOS And Android

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Microsoft may be working on a Movies & TV app for iOS and Android, anonymous sources told Windows Central.

Last October, Microsoft announced that Windows 10 mobile was effectively dead, and began making versions of its best Windows 10 apps for iOS and Android. Since then, Microsoft has promoted apps like its web browser Edge and the Microsoft Launcher, but left out apps like Movies & TV, which is only available on PC, Xbox, and Windows 10 Mobile browsers.

If the app were to arrive on iOS and Android, it could compete against the likes of iTunes, Google Play Movies & TV, and other platforms. iTunes, in particular, has already demonstrated its popularity among Windows fans: before it arrived in Microsoft’s Windows Store in April, it was one of the most searched for apps that wasn’t available in the store.

Still, the sources told Window Central not to expect the iOS app and Android app version of Movies & TV anytime soon, as work is supposedly in progress.

Source: The Verge

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Editor’s Choice: LG G7 ThinQ

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My favorite phone released this year doesn’t have the fastest performance, doesn’t have the best camera, and has worse than average battery life. It also has a superfluous button for a virtual assistant that I can’t reprogram to something more useful and has the worst name for a phone I’ve seen in years. It’s not a phone that I recommend most people should buy. But LG’s G7 ThinQ (I told you it has the worst name) is my favorite phone right now because it meets my specific set of wants and needs better than anything else at the moment.

The primary reason why I like the G7 so much is that it’s the Android phone that best mimics the iPhone X’s ability to cram a large screen in a frame that can still be managed in one hand. I love the iPhone X’s design because it is optimized for how I use a phone, which consists of a lot of vertical reading while on the go. Tall, skinny phones are the best for this. But I don’t necessarily love iOS, and I often crave Android’s flexibility and interface.

LG aped the iPhone’s notch and 19.5:9 aspect ratio, giving the G7 a similarly tall and skinny appearance, but stretched the display dimensions to a 6.1-inch diagonal, allowing for even more screen real estate. At the same time, the G7 measures just 2.8 inches across, which lets me reach across the screen easily with my thumb when I’m using the phone in one hand. It’s narrower than any other Android phone with an iPhone X-like design I’ve used, such as the OnePlus 6 or Huawei P20 Pro, yet has a larger display than the Samsung S9 or iPhone X. The G7 does have more of a “chin” (the bezel at the bottom) than the iPhone X, but that doesn’t bother me, nor does the notch at the top of the display.

But the screen isn’t the only thing that keeps me coming back to the G7. It has a headphone jack, which doesn’t matter to me for use with headphones (I was on the wireless headphone train long before the headphone jack started going the way of the buffalo), but does matter a lot when I get in my wife’s car and want to plug into the auxiliary input and charge my phone at the same time, without having to deal with the car’s terrible Bluetooth set up.

It has the loudest, clearest speaker I’ve ever heard on a phone, which is great for when I’m watching YouTube while sitting on my couch, something I do a lot. It’s not a stereo setup, like many other phones offer, and it is possible to block the speaker with your hand if you hold the phone wrong, but it’s so loud and so clear that those things don’t bother me. LG’s “Boombox” internal resonance chamber isn’t just a marketing gimmick, it makes the whole device pulsate when the volume is cranked and makes the output even louder when the G7 is resting on a table.

The G7 also has wireless charging, which I use every time I work from my desk at the office and on my nightstand every evening. Wireless charging isn’t as fast as wired charging, obviously, (and the LG doesn’t have Samsung’s better, faster wireless charging) but it’s extremely convenient and, whenever I use a phone that lacks it, I miss being able to just drop my phone on a charging pad or stand when I get to my desk. It also helps me cope with the G7’s admittedly bad battery life, which is far shorter than I can get with many other phones.

Like LG’s V30, the G7 also has the best haptic vibration feedback available in the Android world. It’s not quite as good as Apple’s Taptic Engine in the iPhone, but it’s damn close, and puts every other Android phone to shame. As my colleague Sam Byford has said, “LG continues to make phones that make it enjoyable to hold backspace to delete a lot of text.”

The G7 is also good enough in the departments of performance, software, and camera for my needs. I would love for the camera to be faster (it’s one of the slowest modern cameras I’ve used) and I would certainly love for better battery life, but neither of those issues are so bad that I’m compelled to give up the other things that the G7 brings to the table. I’ve long hated LG’s software design, but after years of refinements, the G7’s interface has gotten to a point where it doesn’t get in my way or turn my stomach with poor aesthetics. Since it’s Android, I’m also able to customize it extensively, even to the point of bringing the iPhone X’s best-in-class gestural interface over to it.

I, of course, have other complaints with the G7, but those would apply to any phone I pick up in 2018. I’m paranoid that I’m going to scratch the display, so for the first time ever, I’ve put a screen protector on my personal phone. Before I bought a G7 with my own money, I used our demo unit from LG for a couple of weeks and sure enough, I scratched the screen in this time. There are scratches on my iPhone X display that I can’t unsee and drive me insane, so the G7 is certainly not unique in this respect.

I’m also extremely wary that LG will deliver software updates in a timely manner, despite its recent launch of a special software update initiative. History says the G7 will be forgotten and receive few, infrequent updates on the software front. My Project Fi model is running Android 8.0 with the June security patches, but who knows where it will be a few months from now when Android 9.0 P officially drops.

Still, as I survey the field of phones released so far this year and look forward to what’s coming in the back half, it’s hard to see anything else meeting my needs better than the G7 does right now. Google will certainly have a new Pixel lineup this fall, but they likely won’t have space efficient designs or wireless charging, and they certainly won’t have a headphone jack. Samsung and LG both are expected to have new models out, but they will be bigger phones, and Apple’s next lineup of iPhones won’t address any of my complaints with the current iPhone X.

All of that is to say, for my wants and needs, LG’s goofily named G7 ThinQ is the best phone released this year. Who’d have thunk it.

Source: The Source

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Samsung Will Reportedly Launch A Foldable Phone Next Year

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Samsung is working on a foldable smartphone that might be introduced early next year, according to The Wall Street Journal.

This phone will reportedly feature a 7-inch display that can bend in half to transform it into a wallet shape. The outside of the device would still have some sort of display. Because of its two displays, the company would have to build in a larger battery, which is worrisome because of the prior Galaxy Note 7 battery issues (aka explosions). This phone could cost more than $1,500 and would first be marketed toward niche users, like gamers.

This foldable phone concept isn’t new for Samsung; we’ve been reporting on it for years. In October last year, we published images of a Samsung patent that showed off a bendable phone design. It looks similar to what The Wall Street Journal describes.

The company has even said it was working on this device multiple times. In April 2017, Samsung Display’s principal engineer, Kim Tae-woong said the company was focusing on bezel-free displays first and would then pivot to bendable displays. The company has now introduced multiple phones with minimal bezels, albeit not completely bezel-free, so it seems the team could be refocusing on something new. At the time, Samsung said it would likely release a bendable phone in 2019, which, again, aligns with the Journal’s reporting.

Since that time, other companies like ZTE have introduced folding phones. ZTE’s Axon M was released in the US through AT&T, and it features two, non-flexible displays. The idea was that users could watch full-screen movies or easily multitask. Samsung’s phone might not be any more ideal for multitasking or gaming, but it would at least look cool and be super unique.

Source: The Verge

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Uber Now Monitors Drivers In Real-Time For New Criminal Charges

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Uber will now continually monitor drivers for new criminal charges in an attempt to make the service safer by quickly removing people it deems dangerous, according to Axios. Until recently, Uber only ran background checks on drivers “periodically,” but with these changes, Uber is supposed to get “real-time” updates on drivers’ backgrounds, allowing the company to learn of any charges that occur right away and weed out anyone potentially problematic.

People with convictions or charges for felonies, violent crimes, and sexual offenses, as well as registered sex offenders, are not allowed to drive for Uber. It’s these types of charges that the continuous background checks will be monitoring for to get people removed from the platform.

Charges are not convictions, and they can still be dropped or defeated, so it’s possible that Uber will end up kicking off people who are ultimately deemed innocent. But Uber also spins this speediness as an upside of the change, since the real-time checks will allow the company to see if charges are dropped, according to Axios, allowing someone previously banned from driving to start working again.

Pretty much since the beginning, Uber has struggled with stories of drivers attacking passengers. CNN recently found that there were accusations of sexual assault or abuse against at least 103 Uber drivers in just the past four years; so far, 31 have been convicted.

In April, Uber said it would shift to running background checks on all drivers at least once a year, but this seems to go beyond that. Those annual checks still seem to serve a purpose, though. Axios says the continual monitoring won’t check for traffic violations, which can also get a person banned from driving.

Source: The Verge

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Facebook Poaches Top Google Engineer To Help It Design Its Own Chips

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Facebook has hired one of Google’s lead chip developers, Shahriar Rabii, to help the social network in its ongoing effort to design its own silicon, according to a report from Bloomberg. Facebook hopped on the chip-developing bandwagon earlier this year, when they started to build a team that could design custom chips to power server and consumer hardware. Rabii’s new role at Facebook will be as a vice president and head of silicon, according to an updated Linkedin bio.

It’s a move that’s on trend with other tech giants, many of which are bringing chip design in-house rather than relying on big-name suppliers like Intel and Qualcomm. Apple has been creating its own custom processors for iOS devices for nearly a decade, and it has designed custom single-purpose chips for artificial intelligence and other tasks in recent years. The iPhone maker is also reportedly planning on using its own chips to replace the Intel processors for their Mac computers by 2020. Earlier this year, Amazon reportedly embarked on a new initiative to design its own chips, specifically to help power AI features for its Echo line of smart speakers.

Google produces their own custom Visual Core chips for the Pixel smartphones — and Rabii, Facebook’s recent hire, had previously led the team that developed them. In his new role, Rabii isn’t likely to be developing chips for Facebook-branded smartphones, but the company is working on several types of hardware that could use a custom processor.

Earlier this year, Facebook-owned Oculus VR launched the standalone Oculus Go virtual reality headset that currently relies on a Qualcomm-branded chip. Future models may use custom Facebook chips instead. The company is also reportedly developing its own series of Echo Show-like smart speakers with AI features, and a custom chip may give Facebook a competitive advantage in the home.

The custom chips could also be used to better train the AI algorithms that Facebook has patrolling its site for hate speech, fake accounts, and potentially dangerous content. Right now, the company uses modified third-party GPUs from companies like Nvidia. Designing its own AI training servers with proprietary chips, as Google does with its Tensor Processing Units, could help with the very tricky problem of using AI instead of human eyes to police its ever-growing platform.

Source: The Verge

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