The Cat S61 packs an improved FLIR thermal camera and rugged design

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The Cat-branded S60 was a very interesting phone, even if it wasn’t the best phone for most people. This phone was the first and only Android device to have an integrated FLIR thermal camera, but it won’t be the only one for long. Now, Cat is following it up with the Cat S61. It has a lot in common with the S60 (as the name implies), but all the specs have gotten a boost—even the thermal camera.

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The Cat S61 packs an improved FLIR thermal camera and rugged design was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 VR reference design announced

Couple of months after the announcement of Snapdragon 845, Qualcomm today introduced new virtual reality (VR) reference platform based on Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform, ahead of Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2018 in Barcelona next week. Similar to last year’s Snapdragon 835 VR platform, it is partnering with GoerTek that allows for global manufacturers to quickly build commercial designs based on the Snapdragon 845 Mobile VR Platform. It uses Snapdragon 845’s Adreno 630 visual processing subsystem offering 30% faster graphics performance, 30% better power efficiency, and more than twice as much display throughput compared to the Snapdragon 835 Mobile Platform. Adreno Foveation combines graphics rendering with eye tracking to understand where the user is looking. “It is engineered to direct the highest graphics resources to where the user is physically looking, providing the sharpest visuals possible,” said Qualcomm. It offers Six degrees of freedom (6DoF) motion tracking and SLAM for Roomscale — the ability to track the body and location within a room so you can freely walk around your Xtended Reality (XR) environment without cables or separate room sensors – the first on a mobile standalone device. It has dedicated Qualcomm  Hexagon Digital Signal Processor (DSP) and Adreno Graphics Processing Unit that processes all these. It …
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Leaked Samsung Galaxy S9 Renders Show Rumored Design Again, New Color Options

Samsung Galaxy S9 leaks have been coming thick and fast of late, and now, two new reliable sources have shared renders and stock imagery showing just what we can expect next week.

[ Continue reading this over at RedmondPie.com ]

Redmond Pie

Apple ‘didn’t test the HomePod enough,’ design experts claim

HomePod Rings vs Sonos One

The HomePod, a $ 349 smart speaker that signaled Apple’s opening salvo in the war against Amazon Echo and Google Home, is off to a bad start. Despite reviews that stressed fantastic sound from such a small speaker, the HomePod failed to sell out, likely hurt by a poor voice assistant and a lack of standard features like multi-room pairing.

To make bad things even worse, it was revealed last week that the speaker can leave a white ring on some wooden surfaces. Apple tried to downplay the issue, saying that it’s ‘not unusual‘ for a speaker to do that, but by that point, the ‘Ring of doom’ narrative was already too strong.

 

Apple’s statement made it seem like nothing was out of the ordinary. “It is not unusual for any speaker with a vibration-dampening silicone base to leave mild marks when placed on some wooden surfaces,” the company said in an updated support article for the HomePod. “The marks can be caused by oils diffusing between the silicone base and the table surface, and will often go away after several days when the speaker is removed from the wooden surface. If not, wiping the surface gently with a soft damp or dry cloth may remove the marks. If marks persist, clean the surface with the furniture manufacturer’s recommended cleaning process. If you’re concerned about this, we recommend placing your HomePod on a different surface.”

But according to industrial design specialists contacted by Business Insider, the problem was indeed “unusual,” and a lack of attention to detail was the culprit:

“I’m actually very surprised,” said Cesar Viramontes, a Senior Industrial Designer at Y Studios, a San Francisco based firm that has worked on everything from TV set top boxes to digital picture frames. Viramontes, who has worked on numerous speakers in the past, said it’s not an issue he’s encountered before.

“They didn’t test the product enough and in the right variety of circumstances, especially considering that a wood surface is a very likely support for the product,” said Ignazio Moresco, a product design expert who has worked at frog design, Microsoft and Ericsson.

“They should have caught the issue if they followed a rigorous QA process,” he said, referring to the quality assurance process that hardware makers put new products through to ensure that they are consumer-ready.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that it might be an easy fix:

Apple may need to “re-tool” the manufacturing process since silicone is manufactured using a different process than the other kinds of elastomer,” said Berkowitz. If that’s necessary, the process could take anywhere from two weeks to six weeks, he noted.

“It’s an issue, but I think it’s probably going to be one that’ll be corrected in the next round of manufacturing,” said Y Studios’ Viramontes. “I think it will be a minor issue, and people will probably forget about it in the next couple of months when it goes away.”

At this point, the damage is likely done for Apple. Anyone who already owns a HomePod (or is thinking about buying one) will use a coaster, regardless of whether or not Apple “fixes” the problem. The stains from the HomePod were never really the problem — it’s a simple issue to work around, even for the small number of customers affected — but it’s the fact that Apple seemingly didn’t know about the problem that made it embarrassing.

Apple – BGR

Design Experts Claim the HomePod’s White Ring Issue Can Be Rectified Easily

Much has been said about the HomePod’s white ring issue on certain wooden surfaces. But some industrial design experts believe that the issue shouldn’t be hard to solve. Continue reading
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