The world’s most popular music streaming service, Spotify, also wants to be the world’s most hipster music streaming service, by giving you valuable insights on just how good you are at spotting new artists that have gone on to become wildly popular. The service has unveiled a new tool called ‘Found Them First’, which gives you the information you need to boast about your talent-scouting skills to your friends.
Found Them First is available only to registered Spotify users. The tool scans your Spotify listening history and tells you if you were among the top 15 percent of early listeners for a particular ‘breakout’ artist that has since gone on to accumulate more than 20 million streams, as well as a growth rate of at least 2000 percent between January 2013 and June 2015. If you do happen to be an early listener of a breakout artist, then congratulations! You get to go onto your social media accounts and boast to the world about your hipster credentials.
It’s unclear which artists actually qualify as breakout artists, but the website’s marketing material includes FKA Twigs and Lorde as examples of the kind of artists you had to be listening to while they were still struggling to establish themselves.
Spotify was recently in the news for its user data collection policy, which asked for access to the user’s contacts and photos. The service defended itself by stating that he information need not be shared, and the company does not intend to misuse any data collected.
Apple has started to accept registrations for the new Apple TV Developer Kit, alongside the tvOS SDK beta. The company, which launched the new Apple TV on Wednesday, is now allowing app developers to make apps and do testing for the new Apple TV. The availability is limited, however, and the company is giving preference to developers who already have apps on the App Store.
The Apple TV Developer Kit includes the new Apple TV, the Apple TV remote, a power cord, Lightning to USB cable, USB-A to USB-C cable, and documentation, apart from access to the tvOS SDK.
The registration for the new software developer kit began at 10.30pm (IST) on September 9. Whether or not one can register also depends on one’s region, as only developers of selection nations are eligible for the new Apple TV Developer Kit. The nations include Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and the United States. It is worth noting that India isn’t on the list.
For those who aren’t eligible to purchase the device, they can still download Xcode 7.1 beta with tvOS SDK and make apps. And of course, you won’t get the hardware you need to test the apps, and will have to completely rely on the simulator, or purchase the required hardware at your own cost when it’s released.
“This version of tvOS is intended only for installation on development devices registered with the Apple Developer Program. Attempting to install this version of tvOS in an unauthorized manner could put your device in an unusable state, which could necessitate an out of warranty repair,” warns Apple on its developer website. The company specifies the third-generation Apple TV is not supported.
Unveiled at the company’s Wednesday event, the new Apple TV comes with improved hardware specifications, iOS 9-powered tvOS, and baked-in support for Siri, among other new features. The part set-top box, part iOS gaming console also comes with a range of game titles and supports MFi-certified Bluetooth controllers.
While Apple plans to launch the Apple TV in a plethora of regions by the end of the year, not everyone will be able to make the best out of the said set-top box device. Content partners such as Netflix, HBO and Hulu are the ones that complement Apple’s iTunes’ rich movies and TV shows collection. Places where many of the aforementioned services aren’t available yet, it is clear that the Apple TV wouldn’t be as useful, such as India.
The new Samsung Gear S2 smartwatch was announced at IFA recently, the device runs Samsung’s Tizen OS and is compatible with Samsung’s Android smartphones.
Now it would appear that Samsung may intend to male the Samsung Gear S2 compatible with Apple’s iPhones in the future.
Samsung has revealed to Digital Spy that they are considering the possibility of the new Gear S2 being made compatible with Apple’s iPhones, you can see what Samsung had to say below.
“We are looking at possibilities to open it up to iOS,” the spokesperson told us while discussing the Gear S2. They added: “Because we opened it up to Android, we are looking at this.”
At the moment the Gear S2 is compatible with the majority of Android devices available on the market, when it will get support for iOS remains to be seen.
The Samsung Gear S2 is equipped with a 1.2 inch display that has a resolution of 360 x 360 pixels, the device comes with 512MB of RAM and features 4GB of built in storage, there is also a dual core 1GHz processor.
The device is designed to be both dust and waterproof and it comes with an IP68 certification, there is also Bluetooth, NFC and WiFi and it features a 250 mAh battery.
Motorola showed us their new Moto 360 smartwatch last week and now it looks like the company will launch the device in China.
Motorola is now owned by Chinese company Lenovo and the company now plans to launch the Moto 360 in China.
Many of Google’s Android Wear devices rely on a range of Google services, like Google Now and Google Play, although these services are not available in China.
Lenovo and Motorola have teamed up with Chinese company Mobvoi, who will provide search information and voice recognition on the new Moto 360 in China. What Google have done is remove some of their services from the version of Android Wear that will be available on the Chinese version of the Moto 360.
This apparently took some work for them to remove these features from Android Wear, according to Google’s engineering director for Android, David Singleton.
For example instead of saying ‘OK Google’ to the Moto 360 in China, users of the device will say ‘Ni hao Android’ before speaking commands to the device.
As yet there are no details on exactly when the Moto 360 will launch in China, as soon as we get some more information, we will let you guys know.
Arduino fans will love the Makeblock Arduino starter robot kit that we have in the Geeky Gadgets Deals store.
The kit comes with everything you need to build a cool Ardunio robot, from a robot tank to a three wheeled robot car, have a look at the video below.
Who said mastering electronics and programming can’t be fun? This kit will teach you about programming a microcontroller board to control physical objects using sensors. Follow the detailed, beginner-friendly instructions to construct your choice of a robot tank or three-wheeled robot car. Then take the skills absorbed in this project and apply them to anything you think up—from a game console to a home alarm system.
If you wanted to make your dumb home smarter, buy a fancy TV or get on board with the smartwatch craze, the IFA trade show this week was the place to be.
The event in Berlin still has several days left to run, but here are the biggest trends we’ve seen so far.
Everything is connected
If the companies hawking gadgets at IFA are to be believed, every appliance in our homes will soon be connected and controlled from a smartphone.
LG Electronics rolled out the SmartThinQ sensor, which can be attached to existing appliances such as washing machines and refrigerators to make them smarter. Attached to a washing machine door, for instance, it can tell you when your wash is done. The company also announced a connected oven and air conditioner.
European appliance maker AEG also showed a connected oven –with a built-in video camera so you can see from afar when your roast chicken is browned to perfection.
And Samsung Electronics launched the new SmartThings home automation hub, and unveiled the SleepSense sleep tracker.
The connected future won’t be as straightforward as vendors here make it out to be, of course, with appliances from different suppliers all humming along in perfect harmony. They don’t mention what might happen if your heating system gets hacked, how the data collected from these systems will be used, or how complicated things could get when multiple vendors have their own apps to control things. Hold tight, it could be a bumpy ride.
More choice for smartwatch fans
Motorola, Samsung and Asus all launched new smartwatches, and if there was a common theme it was more choice. That includes in sizes, designs, colors and wristbands.
Motorola and Asus both showed two sizes of their respective watches, the Moto 360 andthe ZenWatch 2. The ZenWatch, with an oblong face, is available with a 1.63-inch or 1.45-inch display. The screens on the round Moto 360 measure 1.56 inches or 1.37 inches.
While the 360 and ZenWatch 2 are based on Google’s Android Wear, Samsung is betting on its Tizen OS, used in the Gear S2 and S2 classic.
Samsung is also going against the grain by using a rotating bezel to control the interface. The watches will all be shipping by the end of October.
Gaming rigs give PC industry some hope
Roaming the halls at IFA, you could also be forgiven for thinking the PC industry is doing well. With Windows 10 now out, manufacturers hope Intel’s new Skylake processor will give them a much-needed sales boost.
One group they’re all going after is gamers. Acer announced new Predator laptops that will compete with Asus’ G752.
Acer also unveiled the intriguing Revo Build, a PC made up of blocks stacked on top of each other. The base model will cost €199 ($220) when it goes on sale in Europe in October.
Your next TV will be more colorful
TVs have been big part of the IFA lately, and this year was no different. The main trend was the addition of HDR (high dynamic range), which is meant to improve contrast and color reproduction.
LG and Panasonic showed 65-inch OLED TVs — the 65EF9500 and TX-65CZ950, respectively. The image quality on the Panasonic looked impressive under the optimized conditions on the show floor here. Pricing wasn’t announced, but you can be sure that neither set will be cheap.
Sony is also betting big on HDR, and said it will upgrade many of its existing 4K TVs to support the technology. However, even with a TV that’s HDR-compatible, there isn’t much content yet to watch. Amazon is leading the way here.
Samsung has revealed that its new, circle-shaped Gear S2 smartwatches will start shipping in October, but has not yet said what they will cost.
The company announced the Tizen-based smartwatches earlier this week, and provided more details on Thursday at the IFA conference in Berlin.
The new lineup of smartwatches includes Wi-Fi versions of the Gear S2 and Gear S2 classic, as well as a 3G version of the Gear S2, which also can be used as a phone.
The Gear S2 classic has a more sophisticated design, while the Gear S2 tries to look a bit more sporty. In terms of looks and practicality, they are a step up from last year’s unwieldy Gear S.
Samsung has developed a new user interface that’s based on a bezel that can be turned to switch between apps and scroll down an email, for example. There is also a home button and a back button. The advantage with this approach compared to the standard touch user interface is that users can see the whole screen while using it, according to Samsung.
All three models have the same basic specs, including a 1.2-inch Super AMOLED with 360 x 360 pixels, or 302 pixels per inch. They are powered by an unspecified dual-core 1GHz processor and have 4GB of storage.
The battery on the Wi-Fi version has a 250mAh capacity, which is enough for up to three days of usage, according to Samsung. The 3G variant of the Gear S2 offers 300mAh, which still isn’t enough to offer the same battery life as the Wi-Fi versions. Samsung said it would last for up to two days.
This year has been a change of pace for Samsung’s smartphone push, with a more concerted effort to get its Tizen operating system off the ground. One of the challenges it faces is the availability of apps, which in the end will to a large degree decide whether the products are successful or not.
The company is working with partners to expand what the smartwatches can be used for, including car and room keys, and to remotely control a connected home. The Gear S2s also have onboard NFC to enable mobile payments. At the Berlin rollout, the company also showed an Uber app, a SmartThings home automation app and a Nike fitness app.
The Botvac Connected robot vacuum cleaner that Neato Robotics will be showing off at the IFA trade show later this week will deliver a couple of firsts, according to the company: It’s the first house-cleaning automaton to feature Wi-Fi connectivity, and it’s the first to sport a lithium-ion battery.
As with earlier models in the Botvac line, the Botvac Connected will use a laser to navigate its way around your home, automatically moving from one room to another—transitioning from hard surfaces to carpet—and cleaning the floors in a linear pattern.
“Other robot vacuums bounce around and sometimes cover the same places several times while missing others,” said Neato VP of Marketing Nancy Nunziati in an embargoed briefing last week. “With Neato’s Botvision technology, a laser on top of the vacuum spins five times a second to build a map of the room. The vacuum performs real-time object recognition so that it doesn’t bump into things, and it can detect stairs and ledges, so you don’t need to worry about it falling down; but it can also go underneath beds and other furniture to clean places conventional vacuums can’t reach.”
Nunziati said the company added Wi-Fi connectivity to enable users to program the vacuum using a smartphone or tablet. “You can start it, you can stop or pause it, and it will also keep you informed of what it’s doing via push notifications. You can also control the robot remotely for spot cleaning.”
Switching from a nickel-metal-hydride battery to a lithium-ion model gives the new vacuum longer run times, and the battery itself lasts longer, according to Nunziati. “Battery life varies according to floorplan, floor type, the amount of furniture in the room, and other factors,” Nunziati said. “But it will clean a 4500- to 5000-square foot home in three circuits, automatically returning to its base twice to recharge its battery.”
Nunziati said the Botvac Connect’s D-shaped form factor is an improvement over the more typical round designs because it enabled the vacuum’s designers to put a long brush in the front of the unit, while leaving room for an extra-large dirt bin. “A lot of other robots out there are really just sweepers,” Nunziati said. “Ours is a true vacuum system.”
The Botvac Connect has two cleaning modes: Eco and turbo. The former operates over a longer but quieter cleaning cycle, and the latter uses more powerful suction.
The Botvac Connect uses two types of brushes, too. The Combo brush is a helical type consisting of both a blade and bristles; it’s particularly well suited to picking up pet hair. The Spiral blade is better for picking up dust. Neato has also developed a new pleated filter than can trap very fine particles, as small as 0.3 microns. “If you vacuum daily and don’t have pets, cleaning the filter once a week should be good enough,” Nunziati said. “If you vacuum once a week, you should clean the filter every time.”
The Neato Botvac Connect will sell for $699 when it reaches the market in the fourth quarter of 2015.
Sony has taken to a Japanese crowdfunding website to raise funding and consumer interest for their new concept Sony Wena Watch, which combines both traditional design and smartwatch functionality.
The traditional looking watch has been equipped with NFC connectivity to enable users to make mobile payments together with Bluetooth connectivity to pair with smartphones for notifications via the wrist worn wearable when incoming calls or messages are received.
To aid with notification Sony have equipped the Wena Watch with a vibration motor and LED light, to provide subtle yet instant notifications. Unlike other smartwatch devices currently on the market the Sony Wena Watch is not equipped with a touchscreen display, but has it technology encased in the watches strap.
The Wena Watch is also fitted with a battery that is capable of providing up to a weeks worth of battery life as well as being encased in a waterproof housing. Sony is currently investigating how many versions of the watch they should create and has listed details for “Chronograph” and “Three Hands” versions in black or silver.
Watch the video below to learn more about the watches functionality and design. Or jump over to the Japanese crowdfunding website for full specifications and the ability to pledge.