Device makers, stop it with the rose gold

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I’ve lost count of the number of devices that came with a rose gold finish that I’ve written about and reviewed in the past year. From phones to laptops to smartwatches to speakers, the luxurious hue is everywhere – and now I’m done with it. While rose gold was first seen on devices as far back as 2012 (ASUS featured it on its ZenBook back then), it seemed to gather steam over the past few years after Apple began using it for its Watch and iPhones in 2014. It’s not that I detest the color on its own, but rather…

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MFi makers can now build accessories that integrate USB-C ports & Lightning to 3.5mm out

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Apple a few days ago updated its “Made for iOS” (MFi) branding and now we’re learning that the company also added refreshed new specifications for implementing USB-C ports and a Lightning to 3.5mm output cable on MFi accessories…. Read the rest of this post here

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Meet The Makers: The man who gets millions of Xperia owners out of bed everyday

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No one likes being woken up in the morning, so if you are going to be torn from the sweet embrace of sleep, it needs to be by something that doesn’t make you want to throw your smartphone out of the window.

Did you ever stop to think that it’s actually someone’s job to compose the alarm music that wakes you up? Well, it is and the experts at Xperia have been working on making the process of getting up that little more bearable.

To learn more, we dropped in on Jun-ichi Nagahara who has worked for Sony in Tokyo for 27 years and is a Sound and User Interface Designer, AKA the mastermind behind the music that starts your day, every day.

First off, how does it feel to wake up Xperia users every morning?

It’s an immense responsibility; millions of Xperia users are relying on us to ensure they get out of bed. It’s a job we take very seriously.

What makes a good piece of music to wake up to?

It has to have a good melody-line, it’s the morning so it needs to be quite gentle with a simple arrangement and of course it has to be specially mastered to suit a phone alarm.

How did you decide on the default Xperia alarm tone?

We did lots of ‘Shingi’ (deliberation, discussion) to decide, and, of course, lots and lots of testing.

How have alarms and ringtones developed alongside the progression of smartphones?

For each Xperia generation, there are total design concepts for each new product. We need to consider the new design concept and make sure the sounds fit – all aspects of the phone have to work in harmony, even the alarms.

What alarm tone wakes you up in the morning?

Personally, I use the Xperia default alarm on the Z3 Compact, I use it alongside the Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock app (available via the Google Play Store, an intelligent alarm clock that analyses your sleep and wakes you in the lightest sleep phase.)

Finally, what’s the trick to avoiding the snooze button?

I find putting the phone as far away from the bed as possible does the trick, the other side of the room for example, it just means you have to get up to turn it off. I also like to think that we make good alarm-music that people want to wake up and listen to!

So there you have it, the next time you get aggravated by your alarm, think about how much more annoying if it would be if it wasn’t for the tireless work of Jun-ichi Nagahara to make it that much more bearable.

The post Meet The Makers: The man who gets millions of Xperia owners out of bed everyday appeared first on Sony Xperia Blog.

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RememBear is a password manager for Windows/Mac/iOS/Android, from the makers of TunnelBear

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TunnelBear has been a popular VPN service for years, partially thanks to its ease of use, and partially thanks to the adorable bear graphics. Now TunnelBear is working on a password manager, aptly named ‘RememBear,’ and it’s free while in beta.

At the moment, there are native applications available for Windows and macOS (sorry Linux users), and mobile apps for Android and iOS. There are also browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.

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RememBear is a password manager for Windows/Mac/iOS/Android, from the makers of TunnelBear was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Apple updates its Made-for-iPhone (MFi) branding for accessory makers

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Apple’s Made-for-iPhone/iPad/iPod (MFi) licensing program is being updated with new branding that manufacturers will have to adopt over the coming months. 9to5Mac has confirmed the updated branding is now available for MFi partners, as first reported by Chargerlab.



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Makers of the World’s Largest Airplane Have Extraterrestrial Ambitions

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The Stratolaunch is sizing up to be the world’s largest airplane. Last year, entrepreneur Paul Allen revealed that the plane will have a massive wingspan of 117 meters (385 feet), but since the announcement details regarding what the aircraft would be used for have been scarce — until now. New information coming from an interview Allen did with The Washington Post finally brings the plane’s purpose into focus.

Instead of making a massive plane just to be able to carry more people and cargo around the world, Allen wants to use the Stratolaunch to transport and launch a reusable space shuttle currently known internally as Black Ice.

If built, the space shuttle would be roughly the same size as the space shuttle built by NASA, and could be launched from anywhere in the world, provided that Stratolaunch could utilize a runway big enough to accommodate the plane. Black Ice would be used to carry satellites into orbit and to travel to the International Space Station (though the ISS is expected to be defunded or handed off to private companies soon).

“I would love to see us have a full reusable system and have weekly, if not more often, airport-style, repeatable operations going,” Allen said during the interview.
Essentially, the Stratolaunch would serve as launch platform and first stage of the launch, while the Black Ice would be stage two and continue its voyage using its own fuel supply. After stage two commences, the plane would land and be prepped for a future flight.

It’s still too early to say whether Black Ice is going to be built at all. Right now, all attention is on the Stratolaunch. In December, the airplane completed its low speed taxi test, demonstrating that the craft was capable of steering and stopping properly, and could safely travel down the runway at 25 knots (28 miles per hour). Its first test flight had previously been set for 2019, though The Washington Post writes it could take place later this year. Regardless of when the test flight occurs, it’s sure to be an exciting display many will tune in for.

The post Makers of the World’s Largest Airplane Have Extraterrestrial Ambitions appeared first on Futurism.


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Rating the big smartphone makers at MWC 2018

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 With that in mind, this seems like the perfect opportunity to take a good look at how the industry’s big names fared at the show. Barring any sort of unforeseen circumstances, here’s a list of this week’s biggest winners and losers. HMD (Nokia): HMD scored a coup for a second year in a row, led by another nod to Nokia’s former successes. This time out, it was a return… Read More
Mobile – TechCrunch

Chinese discount phone makers were supposed to rival Apple’s iPhone globally. Instead, they’re dying off within China

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Ever since iPhones officially went on sale in China back in 2009, pundits have claimed that local production of cheaper smartphones would not only block Apple’s growth prospects in China but also invade smartphone markets globally. They were wrong, here’s why.
AppleInsider – Frontpage News

Android phone makers review the iPhone X: 5 stars, would copy again

iPhone X Review

Apple’s tenth-anniversary iPhone X continues to get stellar reviews, but not only from gadget bloggers and Apple fans. There’s another group that is absolutely enamored with Apple’s latest and greatest iPhone: Android phone makers. Several Android phone companies love Apple’s new design so much that they’re not even trying to hide it anymore, blatantly ripping off Apple’s work in their own upcoming devices.

Bigger companies like Samsung will stick to copying features such as Face ID and Animoji (well, aside from this upcoming gem from Huawei). But other Android smartphone makers are taking things much, much further by shamelessly copying Apple’s iPhone X design. That’s right, Apple’s signature iPhone X design feature — the “notch” at the top of the display — will appear on a number of different Android smartphones this year. But Android vendors won’t stop there, and they plan to steal even more key elements from Apple’s iPhone X.

Last week, we told you about two upcoming Android phones that were shaping up to be blatant iPhone X ripoffs. Both phones came from smaller China-based smartphone makers, and their iPhone X knockoffs will never make it to US shores. Still, it’s a bit unsettling to see how shameless these companies have become; our favorite of those two iPhone X knockoffs is the “Leagoo S9,” which impressively manages to steal the name of Samsung’s upcoming new flagship phone while stealing the design from Apple’s just-released flagship phone. You can see the phone here. Impressive work indeed, Leagoo.

As we mentioned earlier, better-known companies that sell their phones around the world are mostly steering clear of Apple’s iPhone X design. Instead, they’re just stealing key features from the iPhone X. This is something that happens all the time, so it’s hardly a surprise. Android phone makers steal features from Apple, Apple steals features from Android phone makers, and time marches on.

In this case, Apple’s Face ID feature on the iPhone X has prompted Android phone vendors to work on 3D facial recognition, since current facial recognition features on Android phones are terribly unsecure. Other iPhone X features are being aped by Android phone makers as well, of course. The big one this year appears to be Apple’s Animoji feature, which will come to smartphones from Samsung, Huawei, and other companies in 2018.

Smaller phone makers are going full steam ahead, though. They have no qualms with shamelessly stealing from Apple. Interestingly, however, the latest iPhone X clone comes from an unlikely place: Sharp.

Sharp was one of the first phone makers in the world to release a smartphone with an “all-screen” design, like the one pictured above. The company has continued to explore designs with wonderfully narrow bezels since first launching the Aquos Crystal in 2014. In 2018, however, it looks like the company has a new design in store for its upcoming flagship smartphone… and it’s Apple’s design.

The image above was posted by a user on Chinese microblogging site Weibo. No, that’s not the iPhone X. Instead, it’s an upcoming Sharp smartphone believed to be called the Sharp Aquos S3. That’s quite a nice notch at the top of the display, no? Quite unique, right?

Now let’s take a look at the back of the phone:

We know we’ve seen a dual-lens rear camera setup like that before, but we can’t quite put our finger on it…

The upcoming Sharp Aquos S3 is just the latest in a long line of iPhone X clones that are set to flood the market this year. It shouldn’t really come as a surprise that Android phone makers are comfortable with copying Apple so blatantly, and yet we’re still taken aback every single time. Apple has certainly aped various aspects of smartphone designs from other companies, but can you imagine what would happen if Apple released a device that was a spitting image of some other company’s phone? Jony Ive et al. might not always hit home runs, but at least they design Apple products themselves.

Apple – BGR