Samsung’s Galaxy S8 Active is coming to Sprint and T-Mobile

The Galaxy S8 Active — the ruggedized version of the Galaxy S8 — is coming to Sprint and T-Mobile later this month, after an initial exclusivity period at AT&T. Samsung has not put an exact date on when to expect the expanded carrier availability, or how much it’ll cost, but if it’s anything like buying it via AT&T, expect to pay somewhere in the $ 850 ballpark.

The news isn’t too surprising: Samsung said that the S8 Active would only be exclusive to AT&T for a limited time. But given that previous Active variants of phones — such as the S7 and S6 — were only available at AT&T, it’s a welcome change for anyone looking for a more durable smartphone.

Like the AT&T variant, the…

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Now there’s a smart fork that cancels out noodle slurps

Do you enjoy your noodles or ramen so much you slurp them loudly? Do strangers give you death stares while friends just pretend they don’t know you? Apparently, enough people feel your pain that a company called Nissin created the battery-powered Otohiko fork that claims to detect those huge slurps and then masks the racket using noise cancellation technology.

The company claims to have collected “enormous” amounts of the slurps in order to data mine the “character of the sound.” In practice, the fork sends a signal to an app on your smartphone which then emits audio to cancel out the noise. It all sounds very scientific, and dumb, but such is the state of “smart” appliances.

“Some want to slurp noodles to enhance its flavor, but some…

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Here’s the standalone Animoji app Apple should have built

Animoji karaoke has been the latest meme to flood social media feeds since the iPhone X was released on Friday. Animoji is fun, essentially transposing your facial gestures onto one of several animated creatures. Unfortunately, it’s locked to Apple’s Messages app and limited to ten second clips that can later be saved as a movie files and shared in other apps.

Now developer Simon B. Støvring has created a standalone app that also doubles clip recordings to 20 seconds, as spotted by 9to5Mac. Støvring’s application is called SBSAnimoji and uses Apple’s private APIs. That means it’s unlikely the app will be available in the App Store any time soon unless Apple chooses to open up the Animoji APIs to third-party developers.

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Google Assistant can now tell you what song is playing near you

Google Assistant can now identify what songs are playing around you, in an update that came today to all devices that have Google Assistant.

After summoning Google Assistant, you can ask “what song is this?” or “what song is playing?,” and the Assistant will pull up a card for you with the name of the song, the artist, lyrics, and YouTube, Google Play Music (of course), and Spotify streaming links.

The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL have the ability to passively listen in to music around you and identify the song on the screen, but that song identification only kicks in after about a minute of listening and only works on popular songs. Though that feature remains Pixel-only, today’s update adds the ability to identify songs on-demand for…

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T-Mobile’s owner is now using a smart assistant made by will.i.am

Will.i.am’s tech start-up, I.am+, has raised $ 117 million in venture capital, according to Reuters, and it’s swiveling toward corporate tech. The startup is entering into the corporate computing market with a voice assistant called Omega that does customer service.

The I.am+ brand lines up with will.i.am’s peculiar Black Eyed Peas persona of being a futuristic yet fashion-savvy rapper. But what has I.am+ ever achieved since its founding in 2012? Its consumer gadgets have all been terrible, like its questionable line of smartwatches or its Bluetooth earbuds that resemble gauges. It’s hard to imagine the company having better luck in the already difficult smart assistant field, where we’ve seen even major tech companies struggle.

I.am+’s…

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The NichePhone-S is a tiny little Android phone

As Apple brings smartphones to bold new places, another company is trying to take us back to a simpler, calmer, and much cheaper time. FutureModel plans to release a surprisingly accurately named device called the NichePhone-S later this month that runs Android but doesn’t seem to do much more than make calls, send texts, and stream music. It’s similar in shape to a credit card and looks like an odd little calculator.

Engadget Japan called our attention to the device and has some hands on photos with it. According to the report, the phone will come out in Japan on November 10th and sell for around $ 95.

The phone is supposedly running Android 4.2, though I don’t know how you’d be able to tell. Its screen looks like a digital clock; it’s…

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Google updates Pixel 2 XL with new ‘saturated’ color display option and other bug fixes

The regular, monthly patches for the Pixel are one of the main reasons to buy a Google phone instead of another Android device. This month, however, the company has done more than add the usual security fixes. For the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, it has also layered on a bunch of bug fixes and new features. The most important of which, as Android Central reports, are new options for color saturation.

It also contains “a fix for the faint clicking noise heard in some Pixel 2s” as well as the subtle changes to the Pixel 2 XL’s display behavior to mitigate against potential screen burn-in — though those latter changes might not be obvious in normal usage, as a Google community manager writes:

As we mentioned in our deeper dive, this update also…

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Google is making it easier to create 3D audio for VR

Google has announced an immersive audio software development kit called Resonance Audio. A tool that brings scalable performance for high-fidelity 3D sound in 360-degree video, VR, and AR, Resonance Audio is built to work on both mobile and desktop, and is compatible across a variety of platforms, from game engines like Unity to the web. It’s even available as a standalone VST plugin, meaning it can be used within multiple audio creation programs.

Delivering quality 3D audio in VR in the past has been a challenge because the audio is interactive — changing based on both the object’s movements and the movements of the user. It’s a burden on hardware and requires lots of on the fly rendering, but Google says Resonance Audio is lightweight…

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Someone please help NASA come up with a better name for New Horizons’ next space target

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, which famously flew by Pluto in 2015, is now heading toward a very old, icy object at the edge of the Solar System — and the space agency wants your help in giving this world a new nickname.

The probe’s new destination is an object in the Kuiper Belt — the large cloud of small bodies that orbit beyond Neptune — and the space rock’s name is, to put it bluntly, a mess. The official title is (486958) 2014 MU69, a bunch of numbers that ultimately refer to when the object was discovered by the Hubble Space Telescope. It’s a bit of a nightmare to type and say out loud, so having a more eloquent nickname will be much more fun and incredibly helpful (especially for a certain space reporter you may know).

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The ACLU defends blogger who linked Taylor Swift with white supremacy

The ACLU of Northern California issued a press release today saying it intends to defend a blogger who has drawn the ire of Taylor Swift.

On October 25th, writer Meghan Herning received a letter from Swift’s legal team demanding the removal and retraction of a blog post she wrote in September titled “Swiftly to the alt-right: Taylor subtly gets the lower case kkk in formation.” The post appeared on PopFront, a tiny pop culture blog with 78 Twitter followers.

The post details how the online alt-right has latched onto Swift throughout her career, taking it upon themselves to dub her a white supremacist icon. From there, it dives into some textual analysis of Swift’s recent single “Look What You Made Me Do,” arguing that her lyrics “I…

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