hardware

Amazon’s Show Mode Dock makes the Echo Show mostly unnecessary

Google gave us a hardware blitzkrieg at CES. Among other things, the company announced a new smart display category, aimed at taking on the Echo Show through sheer, brute force. The new Show Mode Dock isn’t a direct response, but it’s a clever one. Two years ago, Amazon introduced Alexa for the Fire tablet line. Last year, the feature went hands-free. In June, all of those additions finally paid off with the addition of Show Mode for the Fire HD 8 and 10, along with the dock, which effectively turns the tablets into an Echo Show. It’s a perfect bit of stream-crossing synergy for the company. When I met with Amazon prior to release, I asked if the company was afraid of cannibalizing the Show. They seemed unconcerned. Not surprising, really. Hardware has always been secondary to its strategy...

Nuraphones get active noise cancelling via software update

I like the Nuraphones a lot. In fact, I named the sound-adapting headphones one of my favorite things of 2017. Clearly I’m not alone in that enthusiasm, eithe — the Melbourne-based startup scored $4.7 million to expand its market early last year. Nura announced this week that it’s making its headphones even better, courtesy of a software update. The company is pushing out a bunch of tweaks to the headphones through a upgrade initiative it’s deemed “G2.” Chief among them is active noise cancelation — something that was conspicuously absent from the products upon release. Until now, the company has relied on the passive version — using the unique combination of over-ear cups and in-ear buds to muffle out ambient noise. The update, however, will bring the ability to filter out low-frequency s...

Kodak-branded KashMiner Bitcoin mining rig for rent wasn’t — and won’t be

Write off another piece of crypto craziness: A Kodak-branded Bitcoin-mining rig that was on show at CES in January, where it generated much headshaking and skepticism that it could ever deliver the claimed returns, has evaporated into the ideas ether from whence it came. The BBC reports that the plan to rent access to Kodak-branded KashMiner devices for the chance to earn Bitcoin returns has collapsed. Spotlite USA, the company that had shown off the rig at CES, was also never officially licensed to use Kodak’s brand for the mining rig, according to the report (although the company does seemingly license Kodak’s brand for use on LED lighting products which nonetheless have nothing at all to do with Bitcoin mining so…). Nor had it installed multiple KashMiner devices at Kodak’s offices, as ...

How much quieter are the new MacBook Pro keyboards? Hear for yourself

Specs? We’ll talk specs later. Right now we’re focused on something far more important: keyboard noise. It’s been a common complaint among MacBook users since the company shifted to the butterfly switch. Some of that can no doubt be chalked up to the fact that people really hate change when it comes to something as fundamental as a keyboard. Even so, there’s no mistaking the fact that, in the right hands, this thing can cause a ruckus. Turns out those right hands were here in front of our face all along. You probably know Anthony Ha from such websites as TechCrunch.com and conferences such as TechCrunch Disrupt. I know him from sitting right next to me in TechCrunch’s New York City headquarters. What you may not know, however, is that Anthony is a loud typist. Like ridiculously so. If the ...

Amazon Prime Day’s best tech deals

When you’re as big as Amazon, you get to make up your own holidays. And if you want to make that day 36 hours long, who’s going to stop you? This year, things kick off on Monday July 16, and just kind of keep going from there. Granted, many of the best deals won’t be announced until the day starts, but companies (including Amazon itself) have been more than happy to offer up a preview of what’s to come. Here’s a partial list of some of the best. We’ll no doubt be updating things over the next few days as more companies reach out.  Amazon Cloud Cam ($60, $60 off regular price): One of Amazon’s deepest cuts yet, the company is cutting the price of its 1080p connected security camera in half. Amazon Kindle Paper White ($80, $40 off regular price) – Amazon’s Kindle Paper White is getting a bit...

Apple partnered with Blackmagic Design on an external GPU for MacBooks

Apple announced external GPU support at last year’s WWDC, finally rolling out support for the feature back in March. Since then, a handful of manufacturers have brought Thunderbolt 3 functionality to their units, including, notably, Razer back in March. Alongside the release of new MacBook Pros, the company has taken an extra step toward embracing the tech by giving its seal of approval to a new system from Blackmagic —  the simply named Blackmagic eGPU. The company does these kinds of partnerships from time to time — the LG UltraFine 5K Display being perhaps the most notable example. The $699 accessory features an AMD Radeon Pro 580 graphics card and 8GB of DDR5 RAM in a fairly small footprint. There’s an HDMI port, four USB 3.1s and three Thunderbolt 3s, the latter of which makes it uniq...

HTC’s blockchain phone is real, and it’s arriving later this year

HTC isn’t gone just yet. Granted, it’s closer than it’s ever been before, with a headcount of fewer than 5,000 employees worldwide — that’s down from 19,000 in 2013. But in spite of those “market competition, product mix, pricing, and recognized inventory write-downs,” the company’s still trucking on. And while its claim to being “the leading innovator in smart phone devices,” is up for debate, the Taiwanese manufacturer has never shied away from a compelling gimmick. Announced earlier this year, the Exodus definitely fits the bill. The “world’s first major blockchain phone” is still shrouded in mystery, though the company did reveal a couple of key details this week at RISE in Hong Kong intended to keep folks interested while it irons out the rest of the product’s hiccups. Chief among the...

Samsung’s ‘Galaxy Watch’ trademark fuels speculation about a Wear OS device

Samsung’s got a new smartwatch on the way. That much seems certain. It’s been about a year since the last big announcement, and the company is about to have two large platforms in the form of August’s Note 9 Unpacked event and Berlin’s IFA trade show the following month. A couple of new tidbits, however, are fueling speculation that things might be a little different this time around. First, a trademark filing in Korea for a Samsung Galaxy Watch logo. The company dropped the Galaxy bit from its Gear line between the first and second generation watches, back in 2014. About Gear S4 (probably called Galaxy Watch) Based on Android Wear, 470mAh battery, PLP package, it is expected to have new UX interaction and blood pressure measurement. — Ice universe (@UniverseIce) July 6, 2018 Among the mor...

This is Microsoft’s $399 Surface Go

Microsoft dropped a pretty clear hint about this big news. After all, the latest addition to the Surface line has been over the past couple of months the subject of everything from early rumors to FCC approval to spec sheet leaks. And for the most part, the rumors were spot-on. This is the Microsoft Surface Go. It represents the low end of the Surface line. The $399 starting price puts it well below the Surface Pro’s $799. More to the point, really, it puts the product firmly within spitting distance of the $329 9.7-inch iPad. Surface has long been an entirely different class, focused on creative professionals, with higher-end specs and peripherals, putting it more in line with the iPad Pro, perhaps. The Surface Go is meant to be a kind of halfway point between the standard tablet and the ...

Canon and Nikon are reportedly both planning full-frame mirrorless cameras this year

It’s going to be an exciting year for photographers — finally — as both Canon and Nikon are reportedly planning full-frame mirrorless cameras for debut before the end of 2018. It’s good news for consumers, because it means that both companies have been investing heavily in the next phase of digital photography, and that competition in the mirrorless world is about to heat up. Photography is a difficult space right now because smartphones have been eating up the low-end and increasingly the mid-range market. Point-and-shoots are effectively extinct, and DSLRs are reserved for serious shooters — though those occupying the middle ground, such as Fujifilm with its lively X series and Olympus with its PENs and OM-Ds, have been prospering modestly. Mirrorless cameras, which basically do away wit...

New Microsoft Surface hardware is probably arriving tomorrow

Microsoft all but announced as much via the official Surface account. The company tweeted out the leading question “Where will Surface go next?” along with a image of the full lineup — the Pro, Laptop, Book 2 and swiveling all-in-one Studio. The desktops each displaying 6:00 on Tuesday, July 10 is the other key hint here. The big news will probably drop tomorrow, most likely in the A.M. So, what’s on deck for the Surface line? Given that all of the key players are present and accounted for here, an entirely new entry seems like a pretty reasonable guess. The rumors of a new, low-end device have been making the rounds for a few months now. Back in May, talk surfaced (😐) of a new, low-cost entry, aimed at competing more directly with the iPad. That certainly makes sense from a Portfo...

Samsung’s new India phone factory is ‘world’s largest’

This week Samsung is opening what it’s calling the world’s largest mobile phone factory in the the world’s second largest smartphone market. Expansion, which will be fully complete in 2020, is expected to nearly double Noida (New Okhla Industrial Development Authority), India’s current phone producing capabilities from 68- to 120 million phones per year. The electronics giant has been producing phones in the country for well over a decade (while the original factory dates back to 1996), while much of the competition has mostly been dabbling. Earlier this year, for instance, Apple started a manufacturing trial run of the iPhone 6S, after having previous done a small batch of the iPhone SE. Along with bringing jobs, such localized manufacturing could also go a ways toward helping bring the c...