Move over Huawei, the Samsung Galaxy A8s is coming on December 10

Mere hours after Huawei announced that it will unveil the nova 4 with a selfie camera inside the display on December 17, Samsung announced it will show off the Galaxy A8s a full week earlier – on December 10.

The move is by no means coincidental – a fight to bring out the first phone with a screen hole has been on since late November. At this point it looks like Samsung will indeed beat Huawei to the punch, but things could change.

The Samsung Galaxy A8s is coming on December 10
The Samsung Galaxy A8s is coming on December 10

The screens on both the nova 4 and the Galaxy A8s are LCDs made by BOE, but it’s said that Samsung’s phone is the the more premium of the two.

Specs-wise the Samsung Galaxy A8s is expected to have a 6.3-inch 2340×1080 19.5:9 LCD, a Snapdragon 710 chipset with up to 6GB of RAM, a 24MP selfie camera embedded into the display and a triple camera on the back – likely a regular and an ultra-wide accompanied by a depth sensing third snapper.


With this $25 gadget, Amazon will finally get you to stop scoffing at the idea of a ‘smart home’

Dave Limp, Senior Vice President of Amazon Devices, introduces the 'smart plug' during an event at the Amazon Spheres, on September 20, 2018 in Seattle Washington.

Stephen Brashear | Getty Images News | Getty Images
Dave Limp, Senior Vice President of Amazon Devices, introduces the ‘smart plug’ during an event at the Amazon Spheres, on September 20, 2018 in Seattle Washington.

Earlier this year, Amazon launched a $25 smart plug that lets you control any outlet in your home by voice with an Amazon Echo. That means you can control any lamp, appliance or anything else that plugs into an outlet by speaking a phrase to Alexa like “turn on the living room lamp,” without having to find a switch. It even lets you add other smarts, like a schedule so the light turns on and off at certain times.

It’s a really easy way to turn a “dumb” home into a smart one that you can control with your phone or by voice. You don’t need to fiddle with complicated hubs or spend too much time trying to get something to connect to your WiFi network.

If you can plug in a lamp, you can get the smart plug working. I’m going to show you how to get the most out of it.

This is the smart plug

Amazon smart plug

Amazon smart plug

It’s very simple. Think of it as a sort of adapter that adds the brains to anything you want to plug into an outlet. It will let you schedule an appliance to turn on and off at a certain time, enable you to turn it on or off even when you’re away from home and let you activate it by speaking to Alexa.

All you need to do is take the smart plug, plug in the appliance to one end —it makes the most sense with a lamp because it’s a simple on/off appliance, but you can use anything from a humidifier to a fan — and then plug it into the wall.


New leak offers closer look at the Galaxy A8s Infinity-O glass and its selfie camera hole

The future of Samsung’s mobile display tech is nothing short of exhilarating at the moment, but also equal parts confusing. After the official announcement of the eagerly-anticipated Infinity Flex Display, along with a roadmap for at least four other display designs (Infinity-U, Infinity-V, Infinity-O and New Infinity) the industry and especially the rumor vines permeating it are struggling to put their finger on the exact look of future models. Samsung’s constant patent filing for even more solutions for the notch dilemma and slight design variations are only making things worse.

The latest leak in this regard thankfully comes from a reputable source, who claims that the Galaxy A8s will have an Infinity-O design panel with the camera and sensor hole in the top left corner. A la original Samsung design, showcased on stage and unlike another recent leak, picturing an Infinity-U notch for the same upcoming device. Of course, somebody in the information chain may have easily mislabeled the part, pictured in the photo. Given its curvature, it could easily belong to one of what will likely be three upcoming Galaxy S10 flagships. Obviously not the alleged flat-screen one. Although, looking at the shot once again, we have to wonder how that display curvature would relate to corner curvature, as described in this paten filing and its “Model A”, “Model B” and so forth designations. You see what we mean? Total chaos!

Anyway, looking past the inner-working of Samsung, which are clearly not out on display in any coherent way, this photo does serve a great overall purpose, since unlike previous leaks, it only shows the glass panel, or perhaps a screen protector, without the rest of the display assembly. This makes it a lot easier to actually get a feel for the new “hole in the display” design that is coming to Samsung devices in the near future, one way or another. Speaking of which, the source also throws a February 2019 date out there – a typical time frame for a Galaxy S flagship announcement. This could rule out the A8s bit of the leak. Then again, it might not, since the S10 has been rumored to come tardy on several occasions. Bottom line here – this is what Infinity-O will probably look like when and where it first pops up.

As for other news on the Galaxy A8s, for now, the rumors suggest the phone will be powered by a Snapdragon 660 chipset although, there’s a possibility that we see a more powerful SD670 or even SD675 paired with 6GB of RAM and up to 128GB of internal storage. The back panel will boast a triple-camera setup – perhaps something similar to the Galaxy A7 (2018).


Weekly poll results: manual sliders are the way forward

The Rule of Cool states that people are willing to make allowances for something that’s cool. And powered pop-ups like the one on the Oppo Find X and vivo NEX S are certainly quite cool. The final verdict from last week’s poll shows that slightly less cool but more practical solution – manual sliders – prevailed.

With nearly half the vote, the style of phones represented by the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 and the Honor Magic 2 are the clear favorite. Reliability seems to be the major concern here and the mechanized sliders have an extra point of failure – what happens when the motor stops working?

That said, nearly 30% of people said they are fine with bezels and notches, because these designs are simple, reliable and offer unobstructed access to the selfie camera.

That’s the situation now, previous polls and the comments on this one make it clear that all of this is just a stopgap measure until cameras can go under the display. Then we’ll have the reliability of bar phones with the sleek aesthetics of a slider/pop-up phone.


Suzuki Burgman 125 Review : Should the TVS NTorq & Honda Grazia be worried?

Image result for Suzuki Burgman 125 Review : Should the TVS NTorq and Honda Grazia be worried?

The 125-cc scooter segment has witnessed a lot of new entrants in the last one year and the latest offering comes from Suzuki. Priced at Rs. 68,000 and available in one version, this small capacity maxi scooter is based on the Access 125 and promises to deliver a premium experience for customers. We rode the scooter for a few days in and around NCR and you can watch our verdict in the video below – click the Play button right now!

What is it? 

The Burgman is the largest scooter in the 125-cc segment and makes use of the Access in terms of its underpinnings. The Burgman range of scooters are quite popular internationally but get larger engine options, as big as 650 cc! However for the Indian market, Suzuki has played it safe and utilised the reliable engine from the Access 125. It locks horns with rivals, such as the TVS NTorq and the Honda Grazia.

Is it more powerful?

No. There are no mechanical updates and the engine continues to put out 8.7 PS of power and 10.2 Nm of torque. The engine itself is known for its punchy performance for city usage and given the road, the little Burgman does hit the 100 km/h mark. Suzuki claims an economy of over 50 kmpl as per global test standards, which means it’s safe to assume 40+ for typical city rides. This combined with the large 5.6-litre tank gives it a real world range of over 200 km.

And features? 

This is one area where the Burgman scores high. From combined braking system to LED lights with DRLs, the Burgman also gets storage spaces up front – the right one can accommodate a one-litre bottle while the left compartment is where you phone gets placed. The under-seat space is excellent and we like the Gixxer-inspired LCD display. Practical touches include the generous pillion grab rail and XXL sized seat!

At Rs. 68,000 (ex-showroom Delhi), the Burgman is about Rs. 4000 more expensive than the Honda Grazia and a good Rs. 8,000 dearer than the Ntorq. This is a large amount for this segment but this new Suzuki cannot be ignored for its sheer size, road presence, comfort levels and the excellent 125-cc motor that offers best-in-segment performance-fuel economy combination.


Is the most expensive Royal Enfield worth the money? Our review of the 500X

Image result for Is the most expensive Royal Enfield worth the money? Our review of the 500X

Royal Enfield is moving fast with the changing times and does not shy away from experimenting. The Continental GT, for example, was a step in the right direction and another such move comes in the form of the new Urban X twins based on the Thunderbird models. Called the 350x and the 500x, these new bikes promise to up your fashion quotient. We rode the 500x for a week in and around Delhi and here is what I have to say about the bigger 500x.

As discussed above, the X models are based on the Thunderbird 350 and 500 but there are a lot of changes. The shift to alloy wheels, with tubeless tyres, is a big change and also makes the riding experience safer. For the uninitiated, the leakage of air during a puncture is far slower in a tubeless tyre than in one with a tube. The alloy wheels also get a color coded rim tape that gels well with color coded seat stitching as well. In fact, the only contrasting color on the bike is the tank paint; everything else is finished in black.

The next big change is the flatter and shorter handlebar that is geared towards providing a better city experience. It also makes the posture a lot more sportier though I would have preferred the pegs to be set backwards as the current set-up puts a lot more pressure on your lower back. The seat on the 500x is also different, being a single unit than twin on the conventional Thunderbird. And lastly, this model misses out on a back-rest for the pillion and instead you get two grab rails by the side of the rear seat.

All in all, the 500x looks good and did manage to turn a few heads. Shows how minimal changes can make a bike look so much better. It continues to get a single-disc brake up front and rear, a twin-pod speedometer console and retro looking round rear view mirrors, which though offer a decent view, do vibrate a lot at higher rpms.

The 500x carries forward the same engine that powers the Thunderbird and this means you get a single cylinder 499-cc engine that puts out 27.2 bhp of power and 41.3 Nm of torque. While I agree the power output is nothing to boast of, 41 Nm of torque is way higher than other bikes, such as the Duke 390 and the BMW 310 offerings. And this comes handy while pottering around in city traffic. Even with a load of a pillion, the 500x picks up speed effortlessly and though anything under 1500 rpm makes the engine and chain protest, once you are above that the 500x rewards you with a great experience.

At 85-90 km/h in top gear, the vibes also cease to exist (almost completely) and this is the sweet spot for this bike. Don’t get me wrong, given the road, the 500x will hit 130 on the speedometer but this is not its forte. The sheer joy of pinning the throttle and making use of the strong mid-range is what leaves a smile on your face. And in the process, the bike delivers over 25-30 kmpl easily, giving a real world range of almost 600 km, something none of the other bikes in the price band can match.

The 500x uses the same underpinnings as the T’bird, which means that the ride quality is comfortable. And with the shorter/flatter handlebars, weaving through traffic is a lot easier. That said, the protruding foot pegs do foul with your legs in rush hour traffic and take time getting used to. Talking of which, the dual horn set-up is LOUD and helps keep other motorists at bay.

At Rs. 2.25 lakh, on-road Delhi, the 500x is expensive but offers you an opportunity to stand out among the crowd of other Rs. 2-lakh bikes. If you want a bike for Sunday morning thrills, the occasional office commute and one that others take notice of, this one ain’t a bad deal. True it won’t set sales charts on fire but the 500x (and the cheaper 350x) widens the target audience for Royal Enfield and every bit counts in my opinion.


Chipmaker Aims to Help Free Amazon’s Alexa From the Power Cord

Chipmaker Aims to Help Free Amazon's Alexa From the Power Cord

Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant started out in Amazon’s own Echo speakers but is spreading fast, embedded directly inside products from other companies such as light fixtures, thermostats and dashboard cameras for cars.

But one place Alexa often cannot be found is too far from a power outlet. The “always on” microphones that listen for the assistant’s name, plus an Internet connection, require so much electricity that Alexa-enabled devices usually need to be plugged in.

Milpitas, California-based chipmaker DSP Group on Thursday said it has partnered up with Amazon to try to change that. The company is offering a standardised chip that is a little smaller than a US 10-cent coin that gadget makers can use to embed Alexa into their own device.

DSP is not the only entrant in the race. Though its Alexa Voice Services division, Amazon has been working with a broad range of chipmakers to offer gadget makers an easy way to embed Alexa in their hardware – Intel Corp, Qualcomm and Cirrus Logic, among others, all offer chips that will put Alexa inside a gadget.

But DSP is hoping to compete on low power consumption, said Chief Executive Ofer Elyakim. It has designed its chip for use in smart watches, smart glasses and other tiny devices where space and batteries are at a premium.

“If you want to add voice as a user interface to such a device, you have to have a very, very low power consumption,” he told Reuters in an interview.

Such devices are key to DSP’s future. The company’s legacy business supplying chips to cordless phones still made up half of its $28.1 million (roughly Rs. 193 crores) in revenue in its most recent quarter, but that market is shrinking as landline telephones disappear.

While DSP’s chips for embedding voice features in gadgets make up only 6 percent of its revenue, DSP has won some notable customers, with chips in smart watches and phones from Samsung Electronics Co, one of GoPro’s recent cameras and a wireless speaker from Logitech International SA.

Those are all large companies with many engineers, but by working with Amazon to make its chip easier to use in a device, DSP is hoping to spur more products from gadget makers of all sizes to include Alexa, Elyakim said.

“We are at a fairly early level in this market, but I think over the next 12 months we’ll see a lot of announcements,” he said.


The Apple Watch Is Inching Toward Becoming a Medical Device

The Apple Watch Is Inching Toward Becoming a Medical Device

Apple is trying to turn its smartwatch from a niche gadget into a lifeline to better health by slowly evolving it into a medical device.

In its fourth incarnation, called the Series 4 and due out later this month, the Apple Watch will add features that allow it to take high-quality heart readings and detect falls. It’s part of Apple’s long-in-the-making strategy to give people a distinct reason to buy a wrist gadget that largely does things smartphones already do.

Since the Apple Watch launched in April 2015 , most people haven’t figured out why they need to buy one. Apple doesn’t release sales figures, but estimates from two analysts suggest the company shipped roughly 18 million of the gadgets in 2017. Apple sold almost twelve times as many iPhones – 216 million – that year. Apple shipped another 7.3 million during the first half of this year, according to Canalys Research, compared to more than 93 million iPhones.

Worldwide, about 48 million smartwatches are expected to be sold this year compared to nearly 1.9 billion phones, according to the research firm Gartner.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has long aimed to emphasise the health- and fitness-tracking abilities of the smartwatch. The original version featured a heart-rate sensor that fed data into fitness and workout apps so they could suggest new goals and offer digital “rewards” for fitness accomplishments.

Two years later, Apple called its watch “the ultimate device for a healthy life,” emphasizing water resistance for swimmers and built-in GPS for tracking runs or cycling workouts. In February, the company announced that the watch would track skiing and snowboarding runs , including data on speed and vertical descent.

The latest Apple Watch version unveiled Wednesday is pushing the health envelope even further – in particular by taking electrocardiograms, or EKGs, on the device, a feature given clearance by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Apple said. The watch will also watch for irregular heartbeats and can detect when the wearer has fallen, the company said.

EKGs are important tests of heart health that typically require a doctor visit. The feature gained an onstage endorsement from Ivor Benjamin, a cardiologist who heads the American Heart Association, who said such real-time data would change the way doctors work.

“This is enormous,” Gartner analyst Tuong Nguyen said of the Apple Watch’s EKG feature. It could turn smartwatches “from something people buy for prestige into something they buy for more practical reasons,” he said.

It could also lead some health insurance plans to subsidise the cost of an Apple Watch, Nguyen said. That would help defray the $400 (roughly Rs. 28,600) starting price for a device that still requires a companion iPhone that can now cost more than $1,000 (roughly Rs. 72,000).

The watch will use new sensors on the back and on the watch dial. A new app will say whether each reading is normal or shows signs of atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation is an irregular heart rate that increases the risk of heart complications, such as stroke and heart failure.

Apple says the heart data can be shared with doctors through a PDF file, though it’s not yet clear how ready doctors are to receive a possible flood of new EKG data from patients – nor how useful they will find the electronic files.

This new features will be available to US customers later this year, Apple said – an indication that it may not be ready for launch.

Fall detection could also be significant, especially for elderly users. The new Apple Watch claims to be able to tell the difference between and trip and a fall – and when the latter occurs, it will suggest calling 911. If it receives no response within a minute, the watch will automatically place an emergency call and message friends and family designated as emergency contacts.

Only certain Apple Watch models support cellular calls, but those that don’t can still make emergency calls when near a paired iPhone or Wi-Fi service.

Apple says it monitored some 2,500 people – measuring how they fell off ladders, missed a step while walking or got their legs caught in their pants while getting dressed. It used that data to separate real falls from other heavy wrist movements, such as clapping and hammering.

The feature will turn on automatically for users 65 and over; younger people can activate it in the settings. “I can see kids buying one for their parents and grandparents,” said analyst Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights.

But the Apple Watch still lacks one feature found in rival wrist gadgets: the ability to analyse sleep quality. Battery life in the new watch remains at 18 hours, meaning it needs a daily – or nightly – recharge.


Thugs Of Hindostan Box Office Collection Day 2: Despite A ‘Decline’ At The Ticket Window, Aamir Khan’s Film Earns Rs. 81.50 Crore

Thugs Of Hindostan Box Office Collection Day 2: Despite A 'Decline' At The Ticket Window, Aamir Khan's Film Earns Rs 81.50 Crore

Vijay Krishna Acharya’s Thugs Of Hindostan couldn’t have got a better start at the box office as the film has managed to collect a whopping sum of Rs. 81.50 crore (adding the business of Tamil and Telugu releases) within two days of its release, reports Bollywood trade analyst Taran Adarsh. However, the film’s performance witnessed a dip in its performance on Friday as it managed to collect Rs. 28.25 crore. According to Mr Adarsh, the film needs to perform well on Saturday as well as Sunday in order to keep its performance at the box office intact. Mr Adarsh tweeted: “Thugs Of Hindostan has to show a positive upturn on Day 3 [today], else its sustainability from Day 5 [Mon] onwards will be extremely doubtful…One thing is crystal clear. Thugs Of Hindostan has not met the monumental expectations…The BO numbers are doing the talking now.”