“Culture isn’t just one aspect of the game,” Lou Gerstner wrote in the memoir of his historic turnaround at IBM, Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance? “It is the game. What does the culture reward and punish – individual achievement or team play, risk taking or consensus building?” Culture is, in many ways, is how an enterprise …

HUMM, a San Francisco-based tech company, has developed the Edge headset, a wearable electrical stimulation device that the company claims can boost learning and memory. The device consists of a headband that delivers electrical stimulation to the brain, and using it for just 15 minutes is reported to provide certain cognitive enhancements for at least one hour.

In an increasingly fast-paced and competitive world, researchers have been exploring electrical brain stimulation as a way to enhance our cognitive abilities at the flick of a switch. People think nothing of using a stimulant such as coffee to improve their concentration and energy levels, but stimulants can have side-effects such as sleep disturbance.

The goal of electrical brain stimulation is to enhance performance of cognitive tasks without the side-effects of medication or the time and effort required for meditation. The product has a wide base of potential users, from people in the workplace to students in college.

The technology is non-invasive and is based on previous clinical research. HUMM has carried out a clinical trial, and reported that users experienced no adverse effects, and demonstrated improved memory function in a battery of tests. The headset delivers a very small electrical charge, which the company describes as about 1/100th of the power already used by the brain. HUMM is inviting people to get involved in their early access program, to be one of the first to try the new headset.

Edge Headset for Enhanced Learning and Memory: Interview with Dr. Tim Fiori, Co-founder of HUMM [Medgadget]

Google’s core apps are almost designed to be taken for granted by owners of Android smartphones – Gmail, Maps and Photos are always there, delivering some of the core functions we use our handsets for. 

But dig deeper into what these apps can do, rather than just using them on autopilot, and you’ll discover a bunch of handy features you may never have known existed. 

So let’s take a look at some of the Google app features you may not have used before – we’re confident that a few of these will make it into your daily routine. 

The features below are designed for Android phones, but most of them are equally applicable to iPhone users – we’ll highlight where that might not be the case.

Google Maps

How to cache map areas in Maps

Google Maps lets you save huge chunks of map data, and this can be very handy. A phone doesn’t need mobile data to track your location, as it can use satellite-based GPS – but without downloaded or ‘streamed’ maps, it’ll look like your location is being tracked on a blank page. 

If you have the storage capacity on your phone you can download a rectangle hundreds of miles wide, and even more in the north-south axis. However, just saving a few square miles that you navigate around regularly should make Google Maps feel seamless. 

To select an area to download, tap Offline Maps in the Google Maps menu, then Select Your Own Map. You’ll see a map that you can pinch and drag to fit the cached area window, along with how much storage space it’ll take up.

How to use Street View on your phone

You can do a lot in Google Maps, but parts that Google doesn’t think you’ll want to use every day aren’t always the easiest to find. Street View is a good example. 

The app doesn’t let you zoom into Street View when you’re in Satellite view, as you can in a browser, but in any of the view modes you can tap and hold on a point on the map to bring up a red map marker, and you’ll then see a thumbnail image at the bottom-left of the screen – tap on this and Street View will launch from that point on the map. 

Log where you park your car

There are whole apps dedicated to letting you log where you’ve parked your car, but Google Maps can do it for you too. 

Just tap on the blue dot that identifies your location and menu will pop up that lets you find nearby spots and share your location – and also save that spot as your car’s parking location. 

This logs it as a saved point on the map, making it really easy to find – you’ll want to remember this tip next time you’re visiting an out-of-town shopping mall or parking at an airport.

Gmail

Creating a signature

Many of us use signatures for our work email, but few of us do so for our own accounts. 

You can add you own with just a few taps, and this will only apply to emails sent from your phone. In Gmail, tap the three-line icon to open the menu, scroll down to Settings and then select the account you want to add a signature to. 

Scroll down the Settings screen and you’ll see the Mobile Signature option. This lets you type in a message that’ll appear at the bottom of your mails – it might be the perfect place to apologize in advance for any egregious autocorrect errors you your phone makes. 

Gestures

If you want to change how Gmail feels to use, you can customize its gestures. As standard, when you flick left or right on an email it gets archived. However, you can change this, and make left and right swipes do different things – your options are delete, mark as read, move to a folder, snooze or no action at all. 

This is one of the clearest ways to make the Gmail interface work smarter for you – although if this all seems like overkill then it probably means you’re a ‘no action’ kind of gesture user. 

You’ll find these controls in the General Settings sub-menu in Settings, under Swipe Actions, although this tip doesn’t work with the iOS version of the app.

Shortcut search commands

Ready to get nerdy? Gmail offers a search feature that, we’d bet, 99% of people don’t know about. But if you have an inbox crammed with 10-plus years of emails and you need to find one, or you want to have a clear-out, Gmail’s ‘search operators’ are invaluable. 

These are codes that you type into the search bar, and here are some examples:

Size:0000000 Change those zeroes to a number and Gmail looks for emails that are larger than that number, in bytes. So 1000000 will look for emails that are roughly larger than a megabyte. 

Older_than:1y – No surprises here: this command brings up all emails received more than a year ago. 

Has:attachment – This filters emails that include an attachment

Has:YouTube – Handy if you want to see emails that include a YouTube video 

If those don’t sound especially useful for your needs you can check out the full list of commands at the Google website.

Make your emails look more interesting

Start adding color and formatting to your emails and you quickly risk entering Comic Sans territory in terms of taste; however, if you’re emailing your friends, rather than your boss, maybe it doesn’t matter. 

You won’t see formatting options as standard when composing an email on your phone. To bring them up, long-press some text to select it and then select Format from the pop-up menu to bring up a bar of options. 

Among other things you can use italics, underline phrases, change font colors and add highlighting to text.

If you’re using an iPhone, you’re limited to only italics, bold and underlining – perhaps Google thinks iOS users don’t have time for such frippery (or it was just too hard to implement).

Google Photos

How to free up space on your phone

If you’ve had your phone for any length of time, no end of storage will be taken up with photos of your kids, your lunch, and the occasional accidental snap of the inside of your pocket. 

Google Photos offers the best way to quickly free up a lot of storage space, short of deleting those 4GB games you only played once. 

In the Settings menu there’s an option called Free Up Space. This removes from your phone shots that have already been uploaded to Google servers, assuming that you’ve turned on photo backups. 

The one thing to note is that if you use Google’s free ‘unlimited’ online storage you’ll then permanently lose the photos at their original quality. To get around this you’ll want to back up your favorite shots to your laptop or desktop computer, if you still have one. 

On a Windows computer, plug the phone into a USB port and enable USB file transfers in the phone’s drop-down menu – you can then drag and drop photos in Explorer as if your phone was a USB stick. The process is similar on a Mac, but you need to download the Android File Transfer app, available direct from Google. 

Using search

Search is perhaps the most sneakily powerful part of Photos, making full use of the clever software Google always has working behind the scenes. 

You can probably guess some of the kinds of searches you can make – type in a place name, for example, and Google Photos uses the geocaching tag on the image find suitable matches. Search for a particular month and, sure enough, photos from that month will show up.

However, you can also search for all kinds of objects, because Google automatically AI-scans your images as part of the process. Want pics of puppies, cheese, pizza, castles, rocks or faces? Just type in that term and Google Photos works its magic to find what you’re after. 

Settings images as your wallpaper

Google Photos lets you set your phone wallpaper right from the app (if you’re not on an iPhone, that is), and many of you may have done so already; however, the whole point of this article is that we’re not assuming everyone’s an Google whiz kid.

To set one of your photos as your wallpaper, find the image in the Photos app itself. Now tap the three-pip Settings menu button in the top-right of the screen and select Use As. 

This will bring up a sub-menu of options, such as setting it as a WhatsApp profile picture (if you have that app installed), as well as making it your Android wallpaper. 

Making your images more social-friendly

Google Photos Assistant offers many ways to tweak your photos before sharing them online – and the less capable your phone’s camera, the more important editing becomes. 

There are two parts of this to explore. First, just open up a picture and select the button that looks like a column of sliders. This opens up the editing menu. Photos keeps this part simpler than most image-editing apps, with a just a row of presets and Light, Color and Pop sliders. 

For a natural look just apply the Auto preset, which adds a little more oomph to your shots without altering their character too much. 

All done? The next top pick is Collage, found in the Assistant tab. This fits multiple shots into a single image, for a fetching ‘lifestyle’ look. 

Brought to you in association with Nokia and Android One, helping you make more of your smartphone. You can learn more about the new Nokia 7.1 here, and you’ll find more great advice on getting the most from your phone here.

The best Android phones of 2018 are starting to look a lot more interesting, with some wild design changes showing up. Given the quantity of killer Android smartphones, it can hard to pick a winner, but we’ve had plenty of hands-on time with each, and have done the tough job of sorting for you.

For now, Samsung is still holding strong thanks to its talent for blending features, high specs, and a great design. But, with the way its competitors have been making quick advancements to their design and technology, the roster of best Android smartphones should get more and more interesting.

If you’re on the market for a new Android smartphone, be sure to check all of these devices out, as you might find some you’d never have thought of. You can also see the best phones and best unlocked phones to see how Android and iOS devices stack up. And, if you need mobile service to go with your phone, we can help you find the best unlimited data plan.

Now, let’s take a look at the best Android phones available right now.

While many try, it can be really hard to beat a Samsung flagship that nails just about every aspect of being a great Android smartphone. The Galaxy S9 Plus offers so much to meet the varied needs of just about any phone user.

The design of the Galaxy S9 Plus is great, with a nearly bezel-less display measuring 6.2 inches across. That screen is crisp with a high resolution, and it’s only made better by the Super AMOLED technology. And, let’s not forget about the inclusion of a 3.5mm headphone jack and an IP68 rating against water and dust ingress.

Pair that great design with powerful internals, ample storage that’s expandable via microSD card, and a suite of capable smartphone camera sensors, and you’ve got an easy winner. The pot is only sweetened by the lower price of the Galaxy S9 Plus compared to phones like the Mate 20 Pro, iPhone XS, and Galaxy Note 9.

Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus

If it weren’t for the slightly bulkier design and the higher price, the Galaxy Note 9 would likely be at the top of this list. But, it still lands a neat second place behind the S9 Plus.

With a sharp, 6.4-inch Super AMOLED display, it’s offering a great viewing experience for anyone that’s on the go often. Inside, it’s powered by the same components as the Galaxy S9 Plus, but with larger storage capacities available, a bigger battery, and more RAM optional. 

The Galaxy Note 9 sets itself apart with the S Pen, which enables some handy hands-free features and smooth note-taking. The cameras on front and back are just as impressive as the Galaxy S9 Plus shooters. For everything that the S9 Plus offers and a little bit more, this is a winner if you have the wiggle room in your budget.

Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy Note 9

Huawei’s Mate 20 Pro isn’t the easiest to get your hands on in the US, but that doesn’t make it any less impressive a phone. It’s the best we’ve ever seen from Huawei, and stacks up well against all other Android phones.

It’s QHD display measures 6.39 inches and supports HDR10 for a great visual experience, as long as notches aren’t an issue There’s a fingerprint sensor embedded underneath the display as well. Inside, it’s offering impressive performance with Huawei’s own Kirin 980 chipset and 6GB or 8GB of RAM. It comes with plenty of storage and a large battery as well. 

The camera offering on the Mate 20 Pro is truly impressive, with a combination of three cameras on the back and a super-sharp 24MP selfie camera. The rear camera system combines a 40MP wide-angle sensor, an 8MP telephoto sensor, and a 20MP ultra-wide sensor. The result is an incredibly versatile snapper with AI backing it up.

Read more: Huawei Mate 20 Pro review

Almost as impressive as the Mate 20 Pro is Huawei’s earlier P20 Pro, which took the company’s phones to the next level in terms of camera performance. The P20 Pro also features a versatile triple-sensor camera system on the rear, combining a 40MP, 20MP, and 8MP sensor with different Leica lenses to offer lots of flexibility.

Inside the P20 Pro is Huawei’s Kirin 970 chipset, 6GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and a 4,000mAh battery to offer plenty of life. At the price, which is comfortably below the Mate 20 Pro, these specs feel right.

The design is also eye-catching, with a two-tone finish on the rear and a big 6.1-inch OLED screen on the front. 

Read our full review: Huawei P20 Pro

The Galaxy S9 just isn’t quite as exciting as some of the other new phones, and that sees it fall a bit lower than its larger siblings despite having similar looks and internals.

Like 2017’s model, it has a stunning 5.8-inch display that fills almost the entire face of the device, ridding you of needless bezels and (for better or worse) the home button. 

The rear fingerprint sensor has been better positioned over the Galaxy S8. But, with newer phones offering in-screen fingerprint sensors, it’s just not that exciting. Still, the flagship quality and performance of this phone are not to be overlooked, nor is the recent trend in price, which sees it competing more closely with the likes of affordable OnePlus phones.

Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy S9

Google’s Pixel 3 XL is the best choice for anyone focused more on the camera than the phone. It’s the best camera phone on the market, and it does that with just one rear sensor, two front-facing sensors, and a whole lot of software optimization.

The design of the Pixel 3 XL isn’t quite as dazzling as the other offerings on this list, but it’s passable. It boasts a 6.3-inch OLED screen, but has a glaring notch at the top. The dual front-facing speakers help make up for that unsightly notch.

The internals are also competitive with the other flagship phones. And, with regular operating system updates guaranteed by Google, the Pixel 3 XL may have a longer life than some of the competition.

Read more: Google Pixel 3 XL review

For brilliantly high performance and the looks of a premium Android smartphone all at a fraction of the price of the competition, the OnePlus 6T is the phone to get. 

The new flagship from OnePlus has leapt ahead of some of its biggest competitors, Apple and Samsung included, to push forward a 6.41-inch display that has almost no bezel, a tiny notch, and a fingerprint sensor built into the display.

OnePlus’s cameras have also improved, making them close in quality to some of the best smartphone cameras around, if not quite as good. OnePlus also does a great job offering tweaks to Android that improve the experience without introducing a bunch of clutter.

Read more: OnePlus 6T review

LG may not be as present in the collective phone consumer consciousness as it once was, but it’s recent smartphones have been quality options. The LG G7 ThinQ is a testament to that.

Inside, the LG G7 is similar to other flagships, with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chipset and 4GB or 6GB of RAM depending on the device’s storage size. It has a 6.1-inch display with a sharp 1440 x 3120 resolution, and can offering a blazing 1000 nits when you really need to see the screen in direct sunlight.

The dual-sensor system on the rear offers both a standard camera and a super-wide-angle lens for versatile shooting. AI helps the cameras along as well, recognizing scenes and subjects to dial in the settings so you can get a good shoot.

Read our full review: LG G7 ThinQ

It may be older and running on 2017’s hardware, but the Galaxy Note 8 is still an impressive Android phone. And, it’s only getting more affordable.

The design is similar to the Galaxy Note 9, so no one needs to know it’s not the newer phone. And, the Snapdragon 835 or Exynos 8895 aren’t likely to feel slow too soon. The 6.3-inch screen is still plenty, and it offers a sharp resolution. The internals paired with the screen are still going to be great for gaming, and will compare favorably with the Note 9 for watching videos.

The dual-sensor camera on the back offer great bokeh in photography, even if they’re not quite as good as the newer cameras on the S9 Plus and Note 9. If you’ve got a tight budget, there will be plenty to like about the Note 8.

Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy Note 8

If you hate the smartphone notch, you can still get the best smartphone camera without it. Google’s Pixel 3 comes in smaller and more affordable than its bigger sibling, but it offers the same best-in-class camera performance.

The design of the Pixel 3 isn’t quite up to par with the rest of the new flagships from 2018, as it has sizable bezels above and below the screen. It fits a 5.5-inch display with a resolution slightly above Full HD. 

Though it’s not winning any contests for its looks, the internals are up to the task, with a Snapdragon 845 and 4GB of RAM to power through most tasks quickly. Google’s phones also get timely and ongoing updates to the operating system, so the Pixel 3 may remain relevant longer than some of its competition.

Read more: Google Pixel 3 review

Kodi boxes (otherwise known as Android TV boxes) are a massive success no matter how you slice them. The best models deliver 4K video to your TV and allow you unfettered access to audio and video streams of every format and service. If there’s a better, more versatile piece of AV software out there, we’ve yet to see it. 

On top of giving you the capability to stream video and music files over a local network, the software also includes the ability to install add-ons to stream from almost any streaming service you could think of, including Amazon Prime Instant Video, Spotify and Netflix.

One of the main selling points of Kodi is the fact that it’s supported by pretty much any platform you could think of, up to and including macOS, Android, Linux and Windows.

The only real drawback we can think of is that Kodi doesn’t actually manufacture streaming boxes (no, the official Kodi Raspberry Pi case doesn’t count), so you need to find your own device to run it on.

Luckily, dozens of manufacturers the world over are more than happy to provide some to you. In fact, to be totally honest, the requirements for running Kodi are almost laughably low: all you need is a 3D capable GPU graphics hardware controller for all rendering, a dual-core (or better CPU), and 1GB of RAM. 

That said, while there are plenty of boxes available with Kodi pre-installed, you have to be careful. So-called ‘fully loaded’ Kodi boxes come with lots of add-ons that give you access to pirated content. Unsurprisingly, there’s a huge crackdown on these types of boxes, with the EU declaring them illegal.

The best solution is to find a compatible media box and manually install Kodi. And with this guide, we’ve gathered together the best Kodi streaming boxes on the market in 2018. For each, we’ve tested how easy it is to install Kodi, how smoothly it runs, and how each handles playing 1080p or 4K video

Well, this is a surprise. The Xbox One X is the best Kodi player of the year. Sporting Kodi 18 Leia, installing the media streaming suite is impossibly easy on Xbox One X – just head to the App Store to grab the latest version. That makes it way easier than side-loading the software on Amazon devices and, thanks to the processor and copious memory inside the Xbox One X, it runs like a dream. 

The only thing holding the Xbox One X (and, to a lesser extent, the Xbox One S) back from utter perfection is that some add-ons haven’t been optimized for Kodi 18 yet – and, with no other options in the store, you’re forced to leave some add-ons behind. 

Still, if you don’t mind missing out on a few add-ons, the Xbox One X is our top pick for the best Kodi box this year.

Read the full review: Xbox One X

The Nvidia Shield is the most powerful Android set-top box that we’ve reviewed. It’s designed with all types of 4K home entertainment in mind, from Netflix to the latest games via Geforce Now. Unsurprisingly, this power makes the Nvidia Shield one of the best boxes for Kodi.

Running Android TV on Android 6.0, the Nvidia Shield is one of the easiest boxes to configure Kodi on. With Google Play reconfigured for your TV screen and remote control, rather than a touchscreen, installing Kodi was an absolute breeze; in fact, we didn’t have to type anything, since we were able to use the voice search provided by the remote control to find the Kodi app.

Kodi started in just a couple of seconds, with the box recovering from standby in a similar amount of time. There are no lengthy waits with the Nvidia Shield.

Once in Kodi performance was exceptional, with super-smooth menus and animations across the board. The menus and interface were easy to navigate using the excellent bundled remote control, too.

We tested 4K and 1080p videos, with both streaming smoothly. The Shield could also easily downsample 4K video to fill a 1080p TV, too. We had no problems using the built-in 802.11ac Wi-Fi; if your network signal isn’t strong enough, there’s an Ethernet port in the back.

Considering the small size of the Nvidia Shield, the performance is phenomenal. If you don’t care about the gaming content, the Amazon Fire TV is better value for 4K playback; if you want the absolute best performance, this is the media streamer to buy.

Read the full review: Nvidia Shield

Putting Kodi on the Amazon Fire TV takes a bit of finagling, yes, but when it’s on there the world of streaming video will be your oyster. We prefer the latest iteration of Amazon’s streaming device because it delivers 4K HDR video via a small, inconspicuous dongle. It’s easy to hide out of sight and does nothing to mar the appearance of a perfectly clean entertainment center.

In terms of specs, the Amazon Fire TV has a Quad core ARM Cortex-A53 CPU with speeds up to 1.5GHz. It uses the Amlogic S905Z SoC architecture and supports 32-bit apps. Inside you’ve got 2GB of RAM and 8GB of storage. Its Wi-Fi antenna supports  802.11 a/b/g/n/ac; 2×2 MIMO (2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz dual band)  which means it can handle 4K streams without a problem. 

Our only problem with the Amazon Fire TV is that the remote isn’t the best. It’s made from a plastic material and, due to its small stature, can be easily lost. Minor qualms aside, however, this is probably the best Kodi box on the market right now.

Read the full review: Amazon Fire TV (2017)

The Amazon Fire TV Stick is one of the most popular streaming devices among Kodi users – and it has been for a while. With the 2017 version of the Fire TV Stick, things are even better. A faster processor makes the media streamer 30% faster than the old one, according to Amazon. The new stick also features Alexa support built in (although this doesn’t work with Kodi), and the device is only slightly more expensive than the original.

However, getting Kodi on the Fire TV Stick can be a bit of a hassle, as the app is not listed in the Amazon app store. Instead, you have to sideload Kodi. Once installed, though, the Fire TV stick is phenomenal. 

The included Bluetooth remote control effortlessly navigates through Kodi’s menus and interface.  While the older Fire TV struggled a little to navigate Kodi’s menus smoothly, the new model has no such trouble with the default skin.

Keep in mind that the Fire TV’s HDMI output only supports up to 1080p video. Testing, we found that our 1080p videos played smoothly; 4K videos launched and were downscaled, but we soon ran into buffering problems as the Fire TV struggled to keep up with the high quality video.

If you don’t care about not having 4K and want a small, simple device that can handle 1080p Kodi, as well as Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video, this is the best Kodi streaming box for you. 

Read the full review: Amazon Fire TV Stick

The Amazon Fire TV is a top choice for anyone that wants a great all-rounder. At its heart, this media player is an excellent choice for Amazon Prime Instant Video and Netflix, supporting both services in 4K with HDR, but the power to play Ultra HD content means that the Fire TV is also rather good for Kodi.

As with the Amazon Fire TV Stick, Kodi is not available through the official app store, so it has to be sideloaded. This is slightly annoying to do, but not overly difficult. Once installed, Kodi can be launched quickly from the main menu.

Kodi runs beautifully smoothly on the Fire TV and takes just a few seconds to load. Amazon’s excellent Voice Remote is great for navigation and connects via Bluetooth, so you don’t need line of sight; voice commands are not supported in Kodi, though.

We tested using 1080p and 4K videos, with both playing smoothly. The Fire TV has 802.11ac Wi-Fi built in, but if your home network isn’t fast enough to play video without buffering, there’s an Ethernet port, too.

While streaming is the easiest option, the Fire TV has a microSD card slot so that you can load this up with movies. Given the media player’s small dimensions, you can load it up with content for travelling.

If you want Kodi in 4K, but want access to other streaming services, too, the Amazon Fire TV is the box to buy.

Read the full review: Amazon Fire TV

Want 4K, but don’t want to pay over the top for a box that can handle it? You need the Android-powered Seguro Trongle X4. 

There’s always a slight fear that bargain-basement products have severe limitations, but the Trongle X4 is refreshingly good, with only the minor annoyance. Measuring just 110mm square with a height of 17mm, the Trongle X4 is also one of the smallest set-top boxes that we’ve seen.

Wi-Fi is built in, but the X4 couldn’t see our 5GHz 802.11ac network, so could only connect via 2.4GHz. The connection was painfully slow, so we recommend using the Ethernet connection at the back instead.

As the X4 runs full Android 6.0, the Google Play Store is built in, making it straightforward to install Kodi (or other Android apps). As the play store is designed for touch, navigating it with a remote control is a little painful. It’s handy that the remote has a Mouse button, so you can move an on-screen pointer to make selection a little easier, though. Once installed, Kodi can be pinned to the front screen, making it easy to launch; the only thing you have to wait for is the X4’s 25s boot time, as there’s no fast standby mode.

The X4’s HDMI 2.0b output supports HDR10 and HLG HDR processing, along with Ultra HD resolutions, so you’ll easily be able to play the best-looking content on this box.

After all of the latest updates had downloaded and installed, Kodi ran smoothly on the X4, quickly connecting to our shared folders. We tested both 1080p and 4K films, with all playing smoothly, thanks to the 2GHz quad-core Amlogic S905X CPU. Buffering becomes an issue over Wi-Fi, but we had no such problems when using Ethernet. There’s even a microSD card slot (up to 32GB), so you can store content locally and carry the X4 around with you, making it great for holidays. The Amazon Fire TV and Nvidia Shield are slicker for 4K, but this is a good budget option.

The Raspberry Pi 3 is a brilliant little computer for all types of projects, and its diminutive size makes it an attractive option for building a tiny Kodi media centre. The Raspberry Pi Foundation makes this easy, too, with NOOBS supporting two pre-built options: LibreELEC and OSMC. We’ve used OSMC for this guide.

Once installed, the Pi 3 boots into OSMC and runs you through a quick configuration wizard before moving to Kodi. After that, the Raspberry Pi 3 takes around 20s to power on. OSMC gives you a custom skin designed for the Pi, although you can switch back to the Classic option. We recommend avoiding over-complicated skins, as the Pi may struggle to run them. As it stands, the default skins work well, but the animations are only just on the right side of smooth. It’s also worth buying a fast microSD card so that the Pi 3 boots quickly and remains responsive.

Thanks to its quad-core CPU, we found that that the Raspberry Pi 3 could handle 1080p videos easily. There’s no Ultra HD support from the HDMI output, and the Pi 3 can’t downscale 4K movies. With our test 4K footage, the Pi showed a broken image and became very jerky to use. Given the 802.11n Wi-Fi built into the Pi 3, you may find that you need to use the wired Ethernet connection if your wireless network signal isn’t strong enough and you get buffering issues.

The Pi 3 comes without a case, so you’ll need to budget for one. It doesn’t ship with a remote, either, although you may be able to control Kodi using an HDMI CEC-compatible TV’s remote; the smartphone app is otherwise the easiest method.

If you have a Raspberry Pi 3 already, it will make a decent 1080p Kodi media centre. If you don’t have one, the Amazon Fire TV Stick is a better choice, and cheaper considering it comes with a remote and doesn’t need a case.

Read the full review: Raspberry Pi 3

The Emtec GEM Box might seem like a good choice for Kodi, but we’d only recommend it if you’ve already got the box itself lying around. Running Android 4.4, the GEM Box is not compatible with the latest builds of Kodi, and the Google Play Store doesn’t show the software as available for download.

Instead, you have to install the Complete Kodi Setup Wizard, which gives you access to older versions of the software. From here, we could install Kodi 15.2 Isengard instead. It’s fiddly using to Google Play Store to install the Setup Wizard, and we had to flick the switch at the bottom of the game controller to move between normal and mouse mode in order to select the search box and installation options.

Kodi 15.2 ran smoothly enough on our GEM Box, and we soon had it set up to stream content. Full HD content played without trouble. The GEM Box doesn’t have a 4K output, nor can it downsample 4K video; our Ultra HD video just crashed the media player, and we had to cycle the power. Struggling with larger video files shows that the quad-core processor is a little behind the times.

We had no problems streaming videos over either the 2.4GHz Wi-Fi or Ethernet connections. If you want local storage, the GEM Box can take a microSD card, for locally stored video. That can make the diminutive GEM Box a handy device to carry around.

The issue with the GEM Box is its price and out-of-date operating system. If you have one already, being able to install Kodi is useful; if you want to buy a new Kodi box, look elsewhere in this guide.

The PC is the most versatile platform on Earth, so why not use it to build your very own Kodi box? Yes, the total cost will outstrip that of the other models here, but you’ll get a more powerful unit that can run more than just Kodi.

There are lots of options to go for, too. The simplest is to buy a pre-made mini PC. We tested on the excellent, but not widely available, Asus VivoMini VC65. This tiny computer measures 197 x 196 x 62mm, so will easily squeeze underneath your TV. There’s even a version with a built-in DVD drive, too.

The other option is to build your own computer – check out our guide on how to build a console-sized gaming PC for a good guide.  The benefit of the second option is that you can specify the exact PC you want, so that it can even play the latest games.

There are a few things to watch out for. First, integrated graphics on Intel processors only support an HDMI 1.4 output. That means you’re restricted to 4K at a jerky 24Hz; you have to use DisplayPort to get the full 60Hz in Ultra HD. For that reason, you will need a mini PC with a dedicated graphics card that has an HDMI 2.0 output.

You don’t get a dedicated remote control with most PCs, but the control options are huge: you can use a wireless keyboard, game controller or the smartphone app, amongst others.

This is probably the most expensive method on this list, but the resulting satisfaction from having built an HTPC entirely yourself is worth the effort it takes several times over.

2018 is almost over, and so many great new phones have come out vying for the top spot as best phone in the US. Apple has released the iPhone XS, XS Max and the more affordable iPhone XR. The new OnePlus 6T hit the market with a price well below its competition while its specs and design are highly competitive. Samsung’s Galaxy S9 and Note 9 continue to stand out. And, Google’s new Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL have hit the scene not just looking to be the best camera phone.

With so many great phones launching, it can be hard to keep track, but we’ve thoroughly tested all of the best and determined which stand above the rest. We’ve got all the specs and details you’ll need to know and detailed accounts of how each phone performs. Whenever a new phone comes out, we’ll see how it stacks up against the current roster of best smartphones. So, whether you’re excited about a new iPhone or Android coming out, or have heard a new phone has the best specs around, you can see where it ranks among the best smartphones right here.

Now, with all the phones ready to compare, we’ll make one thing clear. The best phone isn’t simply the new iPhone, although our list is made up of familiar names: Apple, Samsung, Google and LG, all in the top 10. 

The good news is that our team of smartphone experts has tested the best phones to be released in the United States, and buying the right one is more than just a hunch for us. We’ll tell you which phone is best and explain why on this page.

We test out the latest and – sometimes – greatest phones in comprehensive mobile phone reviews. That’s our job. We’re here to separate the best from the mediocre. To drill down to a list of our favorites in the US for October 2018, we based our newly updated rankings system on a lot of geeked-out factors: design, performance, battery life, camera quality, and consistency software updates. The truth is they’re all so close, but you want to walk away with the greatest phone for you.

Why we have more than just a No. 1 pick: Your personal preference among iOS 12 and Android Pie could sway you to another device besides our top-ranked phone. No one in the US wants to get rid of iMessages, and we understand that. Likewise, Android is better for a lot of people who like to tinker with their settings – that’s Google’s speciality with its mobile OS.

Likewise, your contract with AT&T, Verizon, Sprint or T-Mobile is a preference. The best phone for AT&T may not be available on-contract on Verizon, and vice-versa. We have to take that into account when recommending phones.

If you didn’t catch it the first time, spoiler alert, our top pick isn’t just Apple’s iPhone XS or iPhone XS Max. We’re not that predictable. Before you lock into a binding contract or spring for an expensive unlocked phone, consult our best phone guide, updated regularly.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is the best phone you can buy today if you’re not one to shy away from its $1,000 starting price for the 128GB version. The 512GB model is an eye-popping $1,250. But that version, when combined with a 512GB microSD card, gives you the first 1TB phone – bigger than many laptops sold in the US.

Screen: Samsung’s 6.4-inch Infinity Display is slightly bigger (taller, but actually more narrow than the Note 8) and wraps around the sides for a nice curved look and feel. Samsung is anti-bezel and anti-notch. What you may not see at first is the extreme brightness of this display and the color reproduction. It’s impressive when you see it in person.

Battery life: The Note 9 has a 4,000mAh battery and is the key reason we like it over the S9 Plus, the second best phone in the US. The capacity is 14.2% bigger than the S9 Plus and 33.3% bigger than the S9. It lasts all day with heavy use and deep into a day two with normal use. You can also charge over wireless easily, and fast charging boots in 17% battery in 15 mins.

Camera: The Note 9 camera is impressive, just like the S9 Plus six month before it, and it has the added benefit of remotely capturing photos from up to 30 ft away via the Bluetooth S Pen. Samsung also added AI smarts to the camera that automatically adjusts the white balance and color based on the scene it detects. The camera does as well as the Google Pixel 2 in low-light (sometimes better, sometimes worse, but not by much in either direction), and the default camera app is robust (more so than Google’s), yet remains streamlined and initiative. It does lack HDR video recording, seen on other Android phones from Sony and LG.

Mini verdict: The Note 9 is bigger in all ways, including the price. It’s one of the most expensive phones in the US, right up there with the iPhone X. But you’re getting a better camera and more storage (and a microSD card slot) for your money. The battery is bigger, too. Samsung packs a lot into its all-day smartphone with a stylus.

Read more: Samsung Galaxy Note 9 review

The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus is the second best phone you can buy today, and meant for anyone who won’t use the stylus. It’s slightly cheaper and marginally smaller than the Note 9. It’s still a big phone with an expansive screen, top-of-the-line camera and all-day battery life. This is one of the best Samsung phones you can buy in the US if you’re willing to pay the price and have large enough hands for its massive size.

Screen: Its 6.2-inch Super AMOLED display that really sells this phone, and not because it has more pixels than before (it doesn’t) than last year’s S8. It’s the futuristic-looking curved edges, vibrant colors, and high contrast ratio that make the screen pop. It’s hard to go back to any other size once you hold this large, beautiful light beam in your hand. 

Battery life: Samsung’s 3,500mAh battery is large enough to last all day and a little bit more. It’s better than the normal-sized S9, though other phones out of China are maxing out at 5,000mAh these days. It’s the one area this handsets seems adequate and not Plus-sized. Luckily, it support Samsung’s very quick fast charging standard.

Camera: Low-light scenarios are no match the the Galaxy S9 Plus dual-lens, dual-aperture. It does a fine job at amping up dark environments without adding noise that you’ll see from other camera phone. It does smooth out textures in the process, but it’s on par with, and at times better, than the Google Pixel 2.

Mini verdict: The Galaxy S9 Plus is Samsung’s answer to the iPhone X, but better in several ways. It too has stereo speakers, face unlock, AR Emoji and vertically stacked 12MP dual cameras. What’s better? Its better low-light photos, 3.5mm headphone jack and larger 6.2-inch curved all-screen display – without a notch. No one else has this combination right now. 

Read more: Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus review

The iPhone XS Max is Apple’s new big iPhone with an expansive 6.5-inch display that can’t be missed if you’re looking for the best phone running iOS 12. It’s fast, has a brilliant all-screen display, and gives you great photos out of its noticeably upgraded 12MP dual-lens rear camera.

Screen: The 6.5-inch OLED screen is the reason to choose the iPhone XS Max over its smaller 5.8-inch iPhone XS counterpart. The phone is still about the size of an iPhone Plus, but thanks to the all-screen display (minus the notch cut out at the top), you get a lot more real-estate. It looks more color-rich vs the old iPhone LCD displays, too.

Battery life: You’ll get the best battery life out of the iPhone XS Max simply because it has room for a bigger battery. The 3,174mAh capacity is by no means the biggest (Samsung’s Note 9 is 4,000mAh), but Apple’s ownership of both software and hardware means it’s smartly optimized. You’ll get all-day battery life even with heavy use.

Camera: This is the best iPhone camera ever made, even if the 12MP dual-lens rear camera number hasn’t changed in several years. It’s all about the software inside and how the A12 chipset interprets scenes with Smart HDR. It’s up there with the Google Pixel 2 and Samsung Galaxy Note 9, even if Apple’s photos tend to be less vivid in our tests and more true-to-life.

Mini verdict: This is the iPhone for anyone who wants what’s new and doesn’t care what it costs. The iPhone XS Max is expensive, but it’s the best upgrade if you’re into big screens and Apple’s ecosystem, like the App Store and iMessages.  The iPhone XS is a good choice if you have smaller hands, and the iPhone XR may be better if you have a smaller wallet.

Read more: iPhone XS Max review

The Galaxy S9 is the standard-sized Samsung flagship for 2018, giving you a way to experience a curved screen smartphone. It’s minor specs bump from last year’s very similar looking handset, but it’s a better value than the iPhone XS. 

Screen: The 5.8-inch Quad HD curved screen is the standout feature, and you can hold this version in one hand without too much trouble. It’s bright, with punchy colors thanks to Samsung’s Super AMOLED technology, and even at the default 1080p resolution looks fantastic.

Battery life: Battery life is a little disappointing for a top-end smartphone, meaning you’ll need to think about a top-up during the day if you’re a harder user. Wireless and fast charging capabilities help with this though.

Camera: The Samsung Galaxy S9 takes stunning photos, and especially amps up low-light photos without increasing the usual noise we see from other cameras. It has a single rear sensor compared to the Galaxy S9 Plus, but it’s nearly as good. You’ll still be wowed by the camera.

Mini verdict: The Galaxy S9 is the top Android smartphone for people with smaller hands who don’t want a giant phablet or pay top price. It’s still expensive compared to the Galaxy S8 when there aren’t that many advancements, but if you want a better camera and stereo speakers, this is the phone for you.

Read more: Samsung Galaxy S9 review

Apple’s iPhone XR was a little bit late to launch after the iPhone XS and XS Max that launched a bit earlier. But thanks to its lower price point, it makes for a more affordable option than the XS models. For some, the powerful internals paired with the large screen and lower price will make for a compelling buy, especially thanks to the surprisingly good battery.

Screen: The iPhone XR screen isn’t its strongest selling point, as it’s a notable downgrade. It’s resolution falls short of Full HD, and it’s not a battery-friendly OLED. Still, the Liquid Retina LCD display used still has good sharpness and brilliant colors.That said, the 6.1-inch display offers plenty of real estate.

Battery life: Though this is the more affordable iPhone to come out in Apple’s latest batch, its battery life stands out. Thanks to the A12 Bionic and chipset and lower resolution, the battery performance is great, making it the first iPhone that could comfortably get through a whole day of use in our testing without us worrying about.

Camera: While the other iPhones have dual rear cameras, the iPhone XR has just one sensor. For normal photo shooting, it does a great job though. The lack of a second camera also reduces the quality of Portrait Mode photos. But, the detractors came largely in comparison to other top cameras. 

Mini verdict: The iPhone XR has all the performance of its more expensive siblings on the inside. It’s camera and screen may not be as impressive, but where it truly dazzles is in the battery life. If you want an iPhone with a battery you won’t always worry about, the iPhone XR is it.

Read more: iPhone XR review

The Google Pixel 3 came out in October, offering some internal upgrades, improved camera performance, a second front-facing camera, and a better screen than its predecessor. And, as with past Pixels, when it comes to smartphone cameras, this is a top contender. 

Screen: The Pixel 3 stretches the previous model’s screen to 5.5-inches for an 18:9 aspect ratio. There are no notches taking up any of the screen space either. Colors are rich on the OLED display, and thanks to the dual front-facing speakers, it makes for a handy streaming device.

Battery life: A 2,915mAh battery is nothing to get excited about in a modern smartphone. That said, with conservative us, it’s not hard to get all-day battery life. If you’re not taking a lot of photos, it may be easier to get a full day of battery, but with such a good camera, it may be tough to avoid.

Camera: The Pixel 2’s cameras are its best selling point. On back, the 12.2MP sensor paired with Google’s brilliant software optimization make for stunning photos in most situations. Optical Image Stabilization certainly helps, too. Selfie lovers get a bonus with dual front-facing cameras that can snap photos with different viewing angles.

Mini verdict: The Pixel 3 is powerful on the inside, and even though its design isn’t the most exciting from 2018, nor is its battery, it’s all about the camera in the end. And, with Google’s knack for photo optimization, this phone can almost sell itself with the camera alone.

Read more: Google Pixel 3 review

Following its trend in recent years, OnePlus has released its iterative update in the OnePlus 6T. The new phone doesn’t substantially change the internals of the phone, but the design is tweaked with some exciting improvements that can challenge the best of them.

Screen: The new OnePlus 6T screen is the most exciting part off the device. It’s a huge 6.41-inch AMOLED display, and though the resolution is just 1080×2340 (not as sharp as more expensive competitors), OnePlus has made the screen dominate the space on the front of the phone. It’s even shrunk down the notch to a negligible side, and the coup de grace is an under-screen fingerprint scanner.

Battery life: The OnePlus 6T packs in a nice 3,700mAh battery. In our testing, it was easy to get through a full day. With fast charging, it’s not too hard to add in a extra battery life if you’re using the phone a lot on any given day. 

Camera: The back of the OnePlus 6T packs two good cameras, both with wide aperture. There’s a 16MP wide-angle camera and 20MP secondary sensor. They take great photos that may not beat the top competitors, but they come satisfactorily close. For sharp selfies, the front camera has a 16MP sensor.

Mini verdict: For all that the OnePlus 6T offers, it’s all the more impressive that it’s priced as low as it is. The value proposition of the OnePlus 6T is so good, anyone looking for flagship quality without the high price has a good option here.

Read more: OnePlus 6T review

The Google Pixel 3 XL brings higher end internals and a notched screen to the latest iteration of Google’s larger phone. It’s got the same great cameras as its smaller sibling, but more screen and more battery. Unfortunately that also means a higher price.

Screen: The Pixel 3 XL has a sizable 6.3-inch OLED screen with an 18.5:9 aspect ratio. There’s HDR support and a sharp 1440 x 2960 resolution. The viewing experience is good, though this screen does have a rather chunky notch that may not be to everyone’s liking.

Battery life: In our testing, we found the 3,430mAh battery to be plenty. Power users can get a full day, and average users are likely to find themselves getting a day and a half. Some of that battery performance is likely coming from good battery optimization within Android Pie. Fast charging and fast wireless charging just round out the offering.

Camera: The Pixel 3 XL has the cameras to beat. Google knows how to make a good camera that far exceeds what the specs sheet says. It uses a 12.2MP rear sensor, but software optimization helps it outperform other smartphone cameras in just about all cases. The dual front-facing cameras also give selfie-lovers some extra versatility.

Mini verdict: The Pixel 3 XL improves on the previous generations design, fitting more screen into roughly the same size. It also manages a battery life that should satisfy most. Best of all, the camera is better than anything else you’ll find (except the Pixel 3, which is just as good).

Read more: Google Pixel 3 XL review

iPhone XS is a minor, but important upgrade over last year’s completely redesign iPhone. It’s noticeably faster and has an improved dual-lens camera to make it a better choice, if you’re willing to pay the same launch price. No the look of the 5.8-inch new iPhone hasn’t changed on the outside, but if you want a more one-hand-friendly size for a cutting-edge iPhone, this is the one to buy.

Screen: The 5.8-inch OLED on this iPhone is big, but not a turn off for some people who literally can’t handle the 6.5-inch iPhone XS Max (which we like a bit more in our big mitts). This phone size isn’t too much bigger than your old 4.7-inch iPhone 7 or iPhone 6 thanks to its reduced bezel – though you’ll miss the Touch ID home button. You’ll forget about that when staring into the color-rich OLED that’s dreamier than the old iPhone LCD.

Battery life: The iPhone XS has about the same battery life as the iPhone X, so you’ll get all-day battery life with normal use. Power users may struggle a bit without one of the best power banks, and although Apple says it has 30 minutes more battery life than the iPhone X, the smaller capacity and our tests show it’s shy of that claim.

Camera: This is where you’ll see differences in the otherwise familiar-looking iPhone XS. Its dual-lens camera offers Smart HDR and optical image stabilization (OIS). It’s not as vivid as the cameras on a Google Pixel 2 or Samsung Galaxy S9, but you’ll get true-to-life photos that make the 2018 iPhone’s a worthy upgrade.

Mini verdict: Although still expensive, the iPhone XS is our best phone for someone who wants to use iOS 12 and doesn’t want to spend even more money on the bigger iPhone XS Max. You have your limits, and that may be 5.8 inches and $1,000.

Read more: iPhone XS review

Google Pixel 2 is the best phone if you’re looking for a pure Android experience with a big screen, incredible camera and stereo speakers. It’s not cheap like an old Nexus phone, but it’s a big improvement in terms and quality and specs.  

Screen: The Pixel XL 2 has an expansive 6-inch display that’s decent for gaming and video playback (although a few issues have surfaced around its viewing angles), and it boasts an improved design over the smaller Pixel 2, with slimmer bezels housing its dual front-facing speakers.

Battery life: The XL has good battery life – you won’t have a problem with it. It will comfortably last you a full day under normal conditions and with normal use, and its ability to save power when it’s not doing anything means it’ll last a few days in standby.

Camera: Like the smaller Pixel 2, the camera on the XL is stunningly good. Photos look fantastic, and they’ll please both casual and more serious snappers alike. Low light conditions in particular are where this phone shines – perhaps not as competent as the Galaxy S9 pair though – and you’ll struggle to take a poor snap with this phone.

Mini verdict: This phone is for you if you want to go for a pure Android experience with the best camera on the market, and with a large screen. It’s a pricey phone but worth it if the above appeals. 

Read more: Google Pixel 2 XL review

The OnePlus 6 represents excellent value compared to its competitors, with a strong package put together for far less money than you might expect given the spec and performance of this thing.

Screen: The negative thing here is that we’re looking at a Full HD display, but it’s a long 19:9 ratio with a notch at the top. Yes, it lacks HDR, but it does have decent OLED contrast ratio – it’s far from shabby to look at.

Battery life: The battery life of the OnePlus 6, despite using the thirsty Snapdragon 845 chipset, is more than decent, with it mostly landing on around 15% left at the end of the day through medium usage.

Camera: A dual 16MP sensor on the back, combined with a 16MP option for the front, means that you’ll get some decent snaps out of this phone. There’s no ‘AI smarts’ to play with here, but ultimately you’re getting some good bokeh modes and impressive low-light work.

Mini verdict: Sure, there’s nothing here that really wows… except the price. The design, screen, battery life and camera are all more than serviceable, and the operating system is pretty close to stock Android, which will attract many. There’s a lot of power and storage on offer here too, making it an easy recommendation.

The LG G7 ThinQ is an impressive little phone from the brand (irritating name aside), bringing with it a strong package and a decent price in many regions. There’s an attempt to right the wrongs of the LG G6 – and it’s resulted in a good alternative to the traditional big hitters.

Screen: LG’s Super Bright screen might not be OLED – LCD is preferred here – but it’s capable of delivering good peak brightness, can handle HDR10 and Dolby Vision playback and has a large, expansive look with a smaller notch. It’s a little large to hold, but it’s one of the most capable screens around.

Battery life: At 3,000 mAh, the LG G7 ThinQ isn’t the largest on the market… and it shows in the performance. It’s not terrible, with some clever background processing keeping things going, but it’ll only last you around a day when others are starting to eke into two.

Camera: The smart camera here is great if you want to capture more of the picture, with a much wider field of view bringing in more information. The smart sensor tries to work out what’s in front of you – with great results, but only when it gets things right. It’s not the best camera out there, but you can take some stellar shots.

Mini verdict: It’s so tight at top of our best smartphone list that the small tweaks can make all the difference, and LG impresses thanks to offering up a tightly-made package for a pretty reasonable price – it’s similar to many other top Android phones out there, but you’ll certainly find some elements to enjoy here.

Read more: LG G7 ThinQ review

The LG V40 is all about its cameras, and that’s obvious with one look at it – the five cameras are its standout feature. It doesn’t rival Google, Apple, or Samsung on photo quality, but it does have more angles and that’s fun for creative types. We ranked it just below the LG G7 only because its price is unnecessarily higher.

Screen: This smartphone has a great big OLED display that stretches 6.5 inches with support for HDR10. It’s almost as bezel-free as an iPhone XS, and it includes a smaller notch, with just enough room for a small speaker and two selfie cameras.

Battery life: The LG V40 battery is smaller than we had hoped, which is a key reason why this phone didn’t rank a lot higher. You’ll get all-day battery life, thanks to the lower peak brightness of the display, but you may want to take the charger with you to work and on overnight trips.

Camera: There are a total of five cameras on this phone, and that’s been the most fascinating part of testing it. It offers both super-wide and telephoto lenses on back as well as a regular lens. On the front, you get a wide lens and normal lens. The HDR isn’t always as good as you’ll find on a Samsung, Apple or Google phone, but there are some creative perspectives you can capture and neat tools like Cine Shot (cinemagraphs) and Cine Video (tap-to-zoom-anywhere).

Mini verdict: The LG V40 is for creatives, even if its execution puts it behind Apple, Samsung, and Google. If it’s on sale below $900, it’s something you should consider. The dedicated Quad DAC gives it good audio, and you’ll have fun with all five cameras.

Read more: LG V40 review

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is an incredibly impressive phablet that’s perfect for anyone who wants a productive, powerful device. It’s got one of the best displays, a top camera, and an excellent mix of speed and performance under the finger. On top of that, the S Pen is a real point of differentiation in a sea of similar phones.

Screen: The Note 8 maximises Samsung’s dual curved edge and nearly bezel-less Infinity Display to the point where this phone feels like a mini tablet from the future. It’s more squared off than the Galaxy S phones, but still lovely to look at. 

Camera: The camera on the Note 8 is superb and near the front of the pack for all round quality. On the rear its dual lenses allow for optical zoom as well as digital zoom, as well as live focus which enables you to do all kinds of effects including blurring the background – even after you’ve taken the shot.

Battery life: The battery in the Note 8 isn’t quite best in class – you can thank the large screen and slender design for that. But it’ll still last you all day unless you’re streaming a lot of video or using it with the brightness pumped up.

Mini verdict: It’s an expensive phone – only just behind the iPhone X in terms of out-and-out cost. But it’s a better choice than the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus – its competitor in terms of overall size and quality – if you want to be able to jot things down in an instant and take beautiful bokeh photos, as well as splash the phone in water. 

Read more: Samsung Galaxy Note 8 review 

No surprise, the curved Samsung Galaxy S8 was the best phone when it launched a year ago and it deserves to remain on our top 10 list thanks to its remarkable design and now cheaper price.

Screen: The 5.8-inch curved screen was deemed the best on the market when it launched and it still holds up thanks to its 18.5:9 aspect ratio that stretches up and down the phone. Its color reproduction and contrast ratio look even, if if you don’t have it cranked all the way up wot Quad HD.

Battery life: The battery life, despite being smaller than in previous devices from Samsung, is still pretty decent. It’s not amazing, but it’s not very far from the performance of the Galaxy S9 and will last around a day… although you might want a little top up wirelessly or fast charged.

Camera: The camera is still very strong, despite being usurped by the S9 – the auto mode offers clean, crisp and clear shots every time and combined with screen quality makes you want to show off your best snaps. There’s an easy-to-use pro mode as well to get the best out of your snapping.

Mini verdict: The Samsung Galaxy S8 is an easy way to upgrade a recent Samsung flagship smartphone without paying the full price of the slightly superior Galaxy S9. It has a great camera and enviable curved screen design. The not-center-aligned rear fingerprint sensor is a pain, but one you can overcome if the price is right.

Read more: Samsung Galaxy S8 review

This week’s Qualcomm Snapdragon Technology Summit was supposed to be the coming-out party for blazing-fast 5G cellular networks — the first time that journalists would be able to see real, consumer 5G devices running on real 5G networks from Verizon and AT&T.

That’s only partially true. A handful of 5G devices are here on the beautiful island of Maui. But journalists aren’t being allowed to try 5G in any meaningful way. They can’t touch the Samsung phone, or the AT&T hotspot, or the Verizon hotspot, or run an actual speed test on Motorola’s 5G modded phone. There are demos, like a VR headset plugged into a computer connected to Wi-Fi that’s also technically 5G, but we can’t peer behind the curtain to verify that 5G is actually working.

Why the cloak and dagger? It’s because the networks aren’t anywhere near as fast as 5G is supposed to be. They’re slower than the Comcast internet connection I have at home.

While Qualcomm’s newly announced Snapdragon 855 processor will theoretically be capable of multi-gigabit speeds, and even today’s most LTE networks can cross 400Mbps in some areas, the single 39GHz millimeter wave 5G network here in Maui is currently running at a measly 130-140Mbps, network provider Ericsson tells The Verge.

 Photo: Sean Hollister / The Verge
Ericsson 5G base stations, overlooking the Verizon demo room.

Ericsson set up the network for both Verizon and AT&T here in Maui, and representatives for each side told me the same thing: Because they threw together a network here with just 100MHz worth of spectrum, and only a few days to test and optimize it, the speeds aren’t what they should be.

These 5G networks should have more like 400 to 800MHz worth of spectrum in the real world, says one Ericsson rep. As the devices are able to latch onto more of that spectrum simultaneously, both speeds and latency should improve, said another.

To AT&T’s credit, it’s not trying to hide the slow speeds. “I’ll tell you straight up that the speeds aren’t as eye popping as I’d like them to be,” AT&T assistant vice president of mobile broadband Glenn Couper tells me.

“It’ll be multi-gigabit when it’s live, production, tuned, optimized,” Verizon director of architecture Chris Emmons assured me.

But Netgear, which is providing AT&T’s first 5G mobile hotspot, suggested you might not see those gigabit-plus speeds everywhere. “It varies market to market — some markets they may have a couple hundred megabits of bandwidth in the 39GHz, others can go all the way up to 5Gbps,” he says.

 Photo: Sean Hollister / The Verge
Netgear’s hotspot will be the first AT&T 5G device. The company had two in Maui, but only let journalists take photos of this one with the screen off due to non-final branding. (They showed me a 5G logo on the other one.)

None of the other 5G-hopeful companies at Maui contests that the speeds are slow here on the island. Each one independently offered a very similar comment, suggesting that they’d been prepped in advance for this very question.

  • Samsung rep, onsite: “We’re only talking use cases here, we’re not trying to show any speeds.”
  • Verizon, via email: “The intent of the live 5G networks at the tech summit is to demonstrate 5G user experiences rather than peak speeds.”
  • Qualcomm, via email: “The intent of the live 5G networks at the tech summit is to demonstrate 5G user experiences rather than peak speeds.”
  • Ericsson rep, onsite: “What we’re showing here is not the actual performance measurements, but what you can use it for.“

And each company also pointed me to the multi-gigabit speeds they’d previously claimed they’d seen in behind-closed-door demos as proof that things will be better in the real world.

 Photo: Sean Hollister / The Verge
Verizon, similarly, wouldn’t let us take pictures of its chunky mobile hotspot with the screen on, or connect to it ourselves.

But Maui was supposed to be the real-world test, or so we thought. With just four weeks left before AT&T is scheduled to launch its 5G network in the United States, we can’t yet bring you first-hand proof that 5G is actually delivering on its promise of speed.

If you need a hand entertaining over the holidays, Stella Artois has a suggestion. The brewing company has come up with its Bartending Automated Robotic Technology (BART), which converts a robotic vacuum cleaner into a drinks- and snacks-toting bartender that can both serve guests and clean up simultaneously.

Sometimes it’s the simplest of ideas that have the biggest impact. We don’t know if BART will change the course of history, but it does have the potential of freeing up the host to enjoy the party for a bit while letting the robot get on with serving the edibles and potables.

BART is a simple Plexiglass assembly consisting of a base that fits on top of a robotic vacuum, a support pillar, and a top tray with holes to hold four beer bottles, four glasses, and a snack bowl. Of course, it’s still a robotic vacuum at heart, so avoiding knees might be difficult and it can’t take special drink request unless the tray includes a notepad and pen.

As a bonus to mingling with the guests, the robot can also be set to give the rug a quick touch up, which cuts down on the post-festivities clean up chores. However, small talk remains the duty of the host.

“Everyone can relate to hosting a holiday party and spending more time running around or cleaning up than actually enjoying spending time with their friends and family. So this year, Stella Artois decided to make our consumers’ lives a little easier by introducing BART,” says Lara Krug, VP, Stella Artois.

A limited number of BARTs were on sale for US$19.99, but these sold out almost immediately. Those still keen on having a robot-delivered Saki can still go the DYI option as the company has posted the blueprints online.

BART robotic bartender lets your vacuum serve the drinks [New Atlas]

A new smart clothing line promises to help you get your yoga moves right when you’re at home and without an instructor. It’s called Pivot Yoga and it claims to give feedback through small sensors on the clothes that can tell you whether you’re in the right position.

“We know how hard it is to learn yoga, how much yogis want to improve, and how many yogis want to practice at home,” Joe Chamdani, who’s the CEO and co-founder of TuringSense, the developer behind Pivot Yoga, said in a press release.

The Pivot Yoga clothes are supposed to “look, feel, breathe, wash, and perform” like regular yoga clothes, but also maintain a wireless connection to the company’s mobile app. You can take online yoga classes through the app and the sensors will insert a “live avatar” of your body into the video so you can easily compare your movements with the teacher’s.

The app has voice control capabilities so you’re supposed to be able to tell it to pause and start again. The app will say, “Garments detected,” and then you can command it to start by saying, “Begin.” You address the smartphone’s voice assistant by saying, “Pivot, how’s this look?” and the assistant will respond to correct your posture with lines like, “Move your right knee six inches.” You can also cast the app to an Apple TV, any compatible Chromecast device, a Samsung TV from 2013 or newer, or connect it directly via HDMI.

While the premise of the app and clothes sounds like it’d be a huge boon to yogis, it’s difficult to see how the sensors are able to give accurate readings of a body’s movements while the body is in motion. Pivot tells The Verge, “It’s a big challenge, since every yogi’s body is different, and a good question. We’ve designed the clothes so that sensor movement is relatively rare. And we’re designing the clothes and the entire system so that any remaining sensor movement is handled automatically.”

That seems to imply the clothes stay relatively still while a person is moving, which might not be the most comfortable fit, and definitely means that Pivot is constrained from offering a wide variety of sizes. (Indeed, the clothes are available in XS to XL, but there’s no sizing chart to indicate the precise ranges these sizes run.)

The clothes charge by Micro USB and run on 2.4Ghz Wi-Fi. They’re made of aluminum, leather, fabric, and plastic. There’s a non-replaceable battery that gives roughly five hours of continuous use, according to Pivot. You’re able to machine wash the clothes in cold water, but you cannot put them in the dryer.

Pivot costs $99 for the top and pants, and the online videos cost $19 per month. The app is only available on iOS 11 or higher for iPhone 7 and up, although the company says an Android version is “expected later.” Preorders are now available, and they’re currently only open to residents in the US and Canada. Pivot tells The Verge the clothes can be expected to ship in spring 2019.

California-based electric car startup Faraday Future might have a strange new ally in its roiling fight with main investor Evergrande: the Trump administration. The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) issued an update on Wednesday to its “Section 301” investigation into China’s alleged practices of intellectual property theft and technology transfer, and Faraday Future was listed among the many examples cited in the refreshed report.

The USTR says in the report that Evergrande’s $2 billion pledge to Faraday Future is an “illustrative example” of how the Chinese government “directs and unfairly facilitates the systematic investment in, and acquisition of, US companies and assets by Chinese companies to obtain cutting-edge technologies and intellectual property.” News of the inclusion of Faraday Future was first reported by the South China Morning Post.

Faraday Future has made similar claims across the last month, arguing that Evergrande shut off funding to push the EV startup into bankruptcy, making it possible to walk away with the IP, which includes some 400 patents. Access to Faraday Future’s patents, as The Verge first reported in April, was a major component of the investment.

China’s government has pushed the country’s domestic car industry to heavily invest in “new energy vehicles” in recent years, and so deals like the one with Faraday Future were encouraged, even as overseas investments trended downward, according to the report. The report also highlights Evergrande chairman Hui Ka Yan’s close connections with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) as evidence that the Chinese government may have influenced the deal, including a speech where he said that “everything that Evergrande and I have, it is all given by the Party, given by the State, given by society.”

“The US government has now taken notice of Evergrande’s conduct toward Faraday,” Brian Timmons, a partner with Quinn Emanuel, who represents Faraday in the dispute with Evergrande, said in a statement. “Faraday is on the brink of producing a revolutionary electric vehicle, and Evergrande’s actions are jeopardizing both the introduction of this new technology in the U.S. and the jobs of more than a thousand American workers.” Representatives for Faraday Future, Evergrande, and the USTR did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Evergrande invested in Faraday Future at the end of 2017, during a time when the EV startup was facing the real threat of running out of cash. The Chinese real estate conglomerate committed $2 billion to Faraday Future, which was to be doled out over the course of three years. The EV startup received the first installment of $800 million by early spring.

But by July, basically all of that money was gone. More than $400 million went to getting the company’s California factory ready for production of its luxury SUV by the end of 2018, as well as hiring between 300 and 400 new employees, while $130 million was earmarked for paying back suppliers, recent court documents showed. About $200 million was also directed at bringing production online in China.

Facing another cash shortage, Faraday Future CEO and founder Jia Yueting — who has been blacklisted in China because of massive debts he racked up at another company he founded, LeEco — asked Evergrande for an advance on the $1.2 billion remaining on the contract. Evergrande initially agreed to let $700 million loose in small installments through the end of the year, and in return was promised that Jia would distance himself from the company, according to recently revealed court documents.

But Evergrande never made those new payments, claiming that Jia had not truly divested himself from the company, and that he was still operating as a “shadow director.”

While the two sides argued back and forth in private over this, Faraday Future once again started to miss payments to suppliers. In an October filing with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, Evergrande outed Jia’s plan to break the investment deal, and accused him of “manipulating” the board of directors set up after the investment.

The companies continued to trade blows in public, and Faraday Future was awarded some relief: a Hong Kong arbitrator decided in October that the startup could seek new funding. But in the meantime, Faraday Future had to resort to salary cuts, layoffs, and eventually a furlough for hundreds of employees that is still in effect. A co-founder and a number of other significant executives all resigned, and while the startup says it is drawing interest from investors, it only has enough cash in the bank to last through mid-December, The Verge previously reported.

China’s cavalier treatment of intellectual property rights has been a touchy subject in the auto industry for years. The government long mandated that any foreign automaker who wanted to make cars inside the country had to partner with a Chinese manufacturer, and could not own more than 50 percent of the joint venture. This helped the government quickly build up knowledge and skill at big state-owned automakers as China transformed from a primarily agrarian society to an industrial one. But foreign car companies — and, now, the Trump administration — often complained about these close relationships and the risk they presented for protecting assets like patents and trade secrets.

China recently announced plans to relax some of those joint venture rules. But the new USTR report claims that the CCP is already establishing roadblocks that will incentivize foreign automakers to stay close to Chinese automakers, regardless of the rule change. In the meantime, China’s domestic car industry has boomed in recent years, especially for electric and hybrid vehicles. The country leads the world in EV sales, and nearly 500 new EV startups have cropped up, according to a recent report.

By Danny Tomsett, CEO, FaceMe 

“Hey Alexa – what comes next…?” 

Almost every strategy article today sets the scene with stats that scream: “The world has gone digital…so should you.” Brands are increasingly turning to AI to automate customer services and assistants like Amazon Echo are playing a key role in doing so – you only have to utter the words: “Alexa, open Dominos and place my Easy Order” when hungry.

The age of humanless customer experience is well and truly here – but will the future really be all about voice-led commands directed at plastic boxes of different shapes and sizes? With smartphone saturation on the cards and businesses in danger of digital-disconnect (or worse – anonymisation), now is the time to ask: what’s next? 

Siri, I’m bored… 

Voice-based user interfaces are gaining popularity and have changed how we interact with computers. Astonishingly, nearly 1 in 5 US adults have access to a smart speaker, and the adoption of voice-powered devices has grown to 47M in just two years. (By way of comparison, it took 13 years for televisions to reach a similar mark, and 4 years for internet access to achieve the same.) (CBInsights.com)

 

Consumer experience has well and truly entered an ‘automation apocalypse’ – 74% of consumers say they have used voice search in the past month, while daily use is up 27% compared to last year (HubSpot). In 2017, 35.6 million Americans used a voice-activated assistant device at least once a month – a jump of 128.9% over the previous year (eMarketer).

But despite the novelty, consumers are already asking: what’s next? CBInsights reports that consumers are increasingly looking to their devices for immersive media experiences. “Mixed reality (MR) offers a new digital experience that isn’t confined to handheld mobile screens. The tech — also known as hybrid reality — refers to the merging of real and virtual worlds.”

This unbundling of the smartphone’s grip on consumers will see the next mobile computing and augmented reality platforms emerge. Consumers will start to seek out more immersive experiences in which virtual, augmented, and mixed reality undergird the shift away from traditional screens. What’s more, the demand for AR/VR is projected to reach $80B by 2025, according to Goldman Sachs, while Citigroup pegs it at more than $2T by 2035 as industries and use cases increase.

In the next decade or so, mixed reality is expected to overtake current AR/VR markets to become the dominant technology for everyday computing, with its three main drivers being MR technology, voice driven virtual assistants and anticipatory AI. This could see the adoption of new mobile computing platforms and expand the mobile experience away from screens.

We’re also seeing a shift away from command explicit interaction in which the end user instructs the computer to do something vs implicit understanding in which the computer observes the user’s behaviour and infers, predicts, and responds to user intent. (CBInsights.com)

Put simply, the average Joe is tired of Siri…

Digital disconnect

In addition, although businesses have delivered exactly what consumers want when it comes to self-service, research consistently drives home that the human touch is still critical to customer satisfaction. Harvard Business Review reports that “Research across hundreds of brands in dozens of categories shows the most effective way to maximize customer value is to move beyond customer satisfaction and connect with customers at an emotional level.” There is also a growing body of research that suggests that over-automation is damaging to brands.

Rachel Barton, Managing Director, Advanced Customer Strategy, Accenture, believes “Companies abandon the human connection at their own risk and are facing the need to rebuild it to deliver the varied and tailored outcomes that customers demand.”

The question we’re now asking is: has going digital caused a ‘digital disconnect’? Somewhat counter-intuitively, it was our desire to be more connected (customers to businesses) that caused the disconnect.

My Customer puts technology’s emergence into perspective: The more technology enhances us, the more it creates the opportunity for a human touch. It also calls for “the new machine” – one that delivers superior customer experiences.

Who would have thought, pre-digital, that we’d be asking the question: how can technology make the customer experience more human?

The rise of the ‘invisible’ brand

Equally as concerning for brands is phenomenon we like to call the rise of the ‘invisible brand’. Within a voice-led future in which consumers turn to Alexa and others with increasing frequency, how do brands ensure their customers value them and not their voice-activated assistant? Put another way – when every bank allows voice-activated account setup, account balance enquiries or transfers via Siri, the only way to compete is price. Brands will become anonymous, unless they can stop big brand behemoths from coming in between them and their customers. Earlier this year, KPMG cautioned: “Retail banks could become largely invisible to consumers. Customers already trust tech companies such as Amazon more than their primary bank.”

This trilemma: higher and higher consumer expectations; a digital disconnect and the anonymisation of brands bodes well for emerging digital human technologies as the ‘next’ of customer service. Essentially a way of wrapping the best of humanity around the best of the intelligence of machines to create a better, more engaging experience, chatbots and voice-led tech are the start of this journey as brands fight for their relevance.

In a recent paper on how digital assistants communicate, the authors put forward that “In persuasion one has to convince with logos (rational argumentation), ethos (the persuader’s credibility and reliability), and pathos (the appeal to the emotions…).” While chat and voice-based technologies might tick the first two boxes, it’s the third one that they fall short on. It’s also this one that successful brands of the future are starting to hone in on.

Experiments have been done for years around how we as people can connect the dots between interfaces and experiences. Previously, technology has been the only barrier, but the emergence of digital humans is the promise of a universal way of connecting the two. In future, 3D rendered humans will be able to understand the tone of your voice, facial expression and non-verbal cues like body language. Companies will use them to embody their brand in a way that other digital channels can’t and to engender loyalty and trust through face-to-face interaction that drives emotional connection and engagement. These digital humans will deliver better conversion and provide real-time analytics about their level of customer support.

What’s next, you ask? Perhaps instead of Alexa connecting you to information, she becomes a global directory for connecting you to specialist Digital Humans. People don’t have to talk to plastic boxes. They can have meaningful conversations and come away feeling valued. Digital Humans offer an incredible future for brands…but not only this. They could revolutionise mental health, healthcare and a number of other specialist fields currently under the resources pump. It’s a future that is being made possible today.

 

The exterior of the Draper features black corrugated metal with a hint of red wood. Much like its sister design, the Drake, this RV has a unique, slanted shape that creates a sense of movement even when it is not in motion. The elevated volume not only gives the tiny home a bold presence and more interior space, but it also helps with the aerodynamic pull while on the road.

The two designs are quite similar, but the Draper has a few extras such as an ingenious fold-out deck. Made out of renewable Brazilian hardwood, the deck can be folded out to create a wonderful seating area, or folded up flush to the exterior when on the road.

In contrast to its bold black exterior, the interior of the RV is light and airy. White-washed pine lends a fresh aesthetic, which is further enhanced by an abundance of natural light thanks to the many clerestory windows. The interior is also quite spacious, with 10? ceilings that open up the space.

Although the living area, which is installed with LED lighting, boasts a sophisticated design, the layout was created with adventurers in mind. There is a 7-foot-wide mud room at the entryway to store gear such as hiking boots, climbing equipment and more. There is also additional storage installed throughout the home.

Custom-made, flexible furniture makes the living space highly versatile. For example, a large galley kitchen with a convertible U-shaped dining space can be configured into different uses. When not needed, the dining table can be stowed underneath, opening up room for the sofa cushions to be folded out into a queen-sized bed, perfect for overnight guests.

On the other side of the kitchen, the living room extends to the outdoor deck through a set of large sliding glass doors. The master bedroom is located on a sleeping loft at the far side of the home. The bedroom is reached by ladder and has enough space for a king-sized bed. The tiny home’s bathroom also comes installed with a vanity, wall-hung toilet and a full-size shower.

This jet black RV is designed for intrepid travelers who like to explore in style [Inhabitat]

Dishing out Asset Light IT Strategies


I have to commend Ahead, Experts in Enterprise Cloud, and based in Chicago for the AWS courses they are conducting and dishing out. And I do mean dishing out. I attended last weeks presentation at Gibson’s Steakhouse in Oak Brook and aside from the rich lab content on IaaS, virtual cloud (VPC), Storage (S3), and Cloud Compute (EC2) that only an IT connoisseur can appreciate, the lunch included portions of Gibson’s famous prime rib. Well done Bryan and Jaime.

 

While large enterprises (Netflix, Siemens, GoDaddy, etc. ) understand fully the benefits of an asset light IT strategy that the AWS pay-as-you-use business model offers… the barriers for mid-to-small enterprise organizations on making the leap still exist. These barriers manifest themselves in…fear of change or losing IT control, lack of competitive urgency, redesigning and re-learning IT frameworks, indifference to lower-cost advantages…and others. With MS Azure giving AWS a run for its money, this increased competition adds to the complexity of weighing an outsource strategy. Nevertheless, these asset light strategies offer excellent opportunities for instructors, SME’s, and IT consultants to drive the message on game-changing reduced CAPEX/OPEX that brings music to the ears that only C-Levels can appreciate.

Samsung may be just days away from taking the wraps off its very own foldable smartphone-tablet hybrid, but consumer electronics company Royole has stolen a bit of its thunder with its very own flexible display device. Called the FlexPai, the 7.8-inch hybrid device can fold 180 degrees and transform from a tablet into a phone, albeit a bulky one.

At an event in San Francisco this evening, Royole brought out a working version of the FlexPai that we actually got to hold, and the folding feature works as advertised. Granted, it feels miles away in quality from a high-end modern flagship, but it is still the first real foldable device I’ve seen in person, and not just in a concept video or prototype stage.

The FlexPai will be available as a consumer device in China with a base model price of 8,999 yuan, or around $1,300. You can also pay that amount of money in USD for a developer version if you live in North America. That gets you 128GB of storage, but you can double it for an additional $150 and add an additional 2GB of RAM for a total of 8GB.

 Image: Royole

As for the other specs, the device is going to come with a 2.8Ghz, eight-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, the display resolution is 1920 x 1440 when fully expanded, and it comes with a 3,800 mAh battery. Both the consumer model and the developer version are up for preorder on Royole’s website right now. Royole says the Chinese consumer model and the developer version are slated to ship in December.

 Image: Royole

It should be said that this device is very much a first-generation product. The software seemed extremely sluggish, apps continuously opened accidentally, and the orientation kept changing randomly when one of the Royole representatives was demonstrating the folding process. That, to me, indicates that the company’s custom Water OS (a fork of Android 9.0, Royole says) is probably not the most robust operating system just yet.

 Image: Royole

Still, this is much more about the hardware innovation of making a virtually unbreakable AMOLED display, with a reasonable enough battery that can sustain the folding process. Royole says the screen can withstand being folded 200,000 times. (What happens after that was not made immediately clear.) We don’t know how it will stack up against Samsung’s version, or whatever competing display makers like LG are working on. But it certainly bodes well for the imminent foldable / flexible display trend that we’re already seeing working devices like this hit the market.

Ahead of the US midterm elections next Tuesday, Twitter is hard at work scrubbing its platform of thousands of fake accounts and coordinated activity seemingly designed to influence voter turnout, according to a report from Reuters today. The report says Twitter has removed around 10,000 such accounts targeting Democratic voters and masquerading as party members and officials, and it continues to monitor its platform for similar activity.

Twitter confirmed to The Verge that it has been removing these accounts throughout September and October, but the company did not confirm the 10,000-account figure. The tweets were first brought Twitter’s attention by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DNCC), Reuters reports. The DNCC has increased its efforts to detect and shut down such behavior on social platforms following the widespread Russian influence campaign that aided President Donald Trump and sought to harm Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

“For the election this year we have established open lines of communication and direct, easy escalation paths for state election officials, DHS, and campaign organizations from both major parties,” a Twitter representative said in a statement. “We removed a series of accounts for engaging in attempts to share disinformation in an automated fashion — a violation of our policies. We stopped this quickly and at its source.”

Twitter too has been amplifying its efforts to combat bots, misinformation, and election interference of late, as activity on the social networking platform has intensified ahead of the midterms. Earlier this week, Twitter added a function to its reporting process that lets users specific when they think a specific tweet has been sent out by a bot account. The company also said back in July that it had suspended more than 70 million accounts in May and June alone, and that it was removing up to 1 million additional accounts per day that were violating rules around misinformation, propaganda, and other forms of coordinated activity that may be used as election interference tools.

While most of us are perfectly happy with our smartphones, some prefer something a little more compact and pocketable. For those people, Japanese company Kyocera has come up with a device that it’s billing as the “thinnest smartphone in the world.” It’s called the KY-O1L, and it’s built specifically to fit inside a business card holder. For that, the phone has been given the nickname of the “card phone.”

The phone itself comes in at 5.3mm thick and weighs a measly 47g, making it also one of the lightest devices around. On top of that, it boasts LTE connectivity and a 2.8-inch monochrome epaper display. Powering it all is a 380mAh battery, which should be more than enough for a phone with an epaper display.

Of course, there is some debate about whether or not this is really the thinnest phone out there. As The Verge notes, the 2016 Moto Z came in at only 5.2mm — though that excludes the camera bump. Before that, there was the Oppo R5, which came in at a tiny 4.9mm thick. That said, none of those phones offer the same adorable basic-ness as the KY-O1L.

Whether it is truly the thinnest phone or just one of them, it’s still an interesting device. The user interface offers everything a basic phone needs, though there is no app marketplace and as such, this is perhaps only a good choice for those that need something to make calls and text people, with the occasional news reading online. There’s also no camera so don’t expect to get any shots with this device.

The Kyocera KY-O1L comes at 32,000 yen, which equates to around $300. It’s also only available in Japan so don’t expect to get your hands on the phone anytime soon if you don’t live there. Even in Japan, it’s only available on the country’s NTT Docomo carrier.

Smaller phones may be a growing trend. Just recently Palm took the wraps off of a new smartphone that’s specifically aimed at reducing people’s addiction to their phones. It syncs to your primary phone, so you’ll get all your notifications and calls.

The world’s thinnest smartphone fits alongside your business cards [New Atlas]

Nov. 3rd- Saturday

Noche de Ciencias…join SHPE Chicago and our student chapter SHPE/UIC as they host Noche de Ciencias (Night of Science) from 10am to 2pm at Instituto del Progresso Latino in Chicago. This is a free STEM career awareness event for parents and Latino students K6-12. 

Registration required...click here!

 

Add to Calendar
11/03/2018 10:00 AM
11/03/2018 02:00 PM
America/Chicago
Noche de Ciencias
This is a free STEM career awareness event for parents and Latino students K6-12. Join SHPE Chicago and our student chapter SHPE/UIC as they host Noche de Ciencias (Night of Science)
Instituto del Progresso Latino 2520 S. Western Ave. Chicago, IL 60608

Did you know?…

 

 



Society for Hispanic Professional Engineers

Follow us on……Facebook! 
Become a member…Join us!

Adrian Alvarado

Executive Board
Corporate Development
vp-corporate@shpechicago.org

“Looking forward to an exciting 2019… con impacto! 

Get on board with SHPE Chicago events  and support our high tech career and D&I initiatives.

We sometimes come across gigantic 3D printing projects that send your imagination racing, but these generally involve an equally large 3D printer. Just this week we’ve seen an actual lawnmower being printed with a garage-filling machine.

more:New York artist creates a life-sized Honda CB500 motorcycle using just an Ultimaker 3D printer