Whether you've just gotten rid of cable or want to supplement your TV package with online video, now's an excellent time to buy a media streaming device. Compared to the typical smart TV, standalone streamers such as the Roku Streaming Stick and Amazon Fire TV tend to have bigger app selections, faster performance, and more features. And with so much competition between device makers, the hardware is becoming faster, more capable, and more affordable. We constantly test all the latest devices, including Roku players, Fire TV devices, Android TV devices, Apple TV, and Chromecast. We review each new generation of hardware and constantly revisit the software and app selection so we can help you determine which platform is right for you.
For years, a company called Imagination Technologies gave Apple the tech behind your iPhone's Retina-ready graphics and eye-popping image processing. From here on out, according to an Imagination Technologies release, Apple will design its own underlying technology for GPUs. The reason is simple: They're officially too important to entrust to someone else. Losing such a major customer has cratered Imagination Technologies stock; about half the company's annual revenue came from Apple. But that doesn't mean Apple's sudden yen for graphics independence should come as a surprise.
Infinity Display and design: Ten years ago, designers did mockups of what phones would look in the distant future as one slab of glass. The S8 is the closest phone yet that represents that vision. The 5.8" and 6.2" are not only large display, but have incredibly-high resolutions of 2960x1440 (Quad HD) with 570 and 529 PPI (pixels per inch). The Infinity Display is stunning and I'm looking forward to seeing how this performs with the GearVR where PPI is paramount to the experience. DeX docking: There have been many attempts at smartphone-to-PC modularity and each one gets better.
Samsung's Unpacked 2017 event in New York City is set to kick off tomorrow and it's no mystery at this point that the big unveil will be Samsung's "next Galaxy," the Galaxy S8 and potentially the Galaxy S8 Plus. So much has leaked about the device(s) that much may be already known about Samsung's next flagship Android handset that is poised to take on the iPhone for smartphone domination. We've heard about display sizes, with the Galaxy S8 standard device measuring in at 5.7-inches (or maybe 5.8) and the Galaxy S8 offering gargantuan phablet proportions at 6.2-inches. However, those displays also come with very minimal bezel, as Samsung reportedly is going to take a page from Dell with something called an "Infinity Display" that will surely keep the two new Galaxy's footprints down significantly, similar to what LG delivered with the wonderfully-designed G6. Regardless, even with all these design updates -- and Samsung's new Bixby AI virtual assistant that claims to learn the human, rather than requiring the human to learn it – there's still one more unconfirmed major advancement I expect with Samsung's new pocket super computers and it lies under the hood.
Intel surprised many observers when the company hired outsider Venkata Renduchintala to lead the company's PC, Internet of Things, and Systems Architecture groups. With more than a year under his belt, he's spearheading a cultural change inside the company, getting employees to think beyond PCs and talk about technologies like 5G and IoT. There's been a lot of chatter about changes in the company's chip development strategy, with the recent announcement of the 8th Generation Core processors, an unprecedented fourth chip architecture on the 14-nanometer process. The chip industry veteran sat down with the IDG News Service at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona to talk about what spurred the move and also his thoughts on 5G. Renduchintala: I'm noticing there are a hell of a lot more people interested in 5G.
A new PowerVR graphics architecture from Imagination Technologies will give a serious graphics boost to Apple's future iPhones, including 4K graphics. Imagination is announcing Furian, the first major graphics architecture upgrade since Rogue, which was announced in 2010. Apple's iPhone 7 currently has graphics based on the Rogue architecture. The Furian architecture also sets up future iPhones for graphics-intensive applications like virtual reality. Furian will be used in new PowerVR GPUs like the Series8XT, according to Imagination.
People gather in the Nvidia booth at the Mobile World Congress, the world's largest mobile phone trade show, in Barcelona on Feb. 27. (Photo: Manu Fernandez, AP) Tesla, the electric car maker, (TSLA) saw it shares dip 4.1% to $243.45, down $10.43, on a day that the overall market was rising. Ask them where those technologies will have an impact, on the other hand, and the responses will likely be all over the map. Smartphones, smart cities and intelligent assistants are just a few of the many options you might hear. Ironically, the one answer you probably won't hear is the category that all of these technologies are either already in or quickly coming to: cars. Today's automobiles have some of the most advanced tech available, and over the next several model years, the amount and capabilities of that technology is going to increase dramatically.
The most interesting thing about Huawei's latest flagship, the Mate 9, is actually invisible to the naked eye. Under the hood, the phone uses machine learning to anticipate which apps you're going to use when, allowing for supposedly smoother performance. What the phone would have been like without this AI, we don't know, but we can say that the performance feels brisk throughout. If fluid day-to-day use seems like table stakes, you might also be impressed with the long battery life, bright display and the fact that it actually has a headphone jack. Unfortunately, what's otherwise a great phone stumbles with low-light photography, as well as some heavy-handed software tweaks that will turn off Android purists.
While you were weekending, you might have missed Roku's cheap, entry-level video streamer, our first 24 hours with Olympus' intriguing new camera and Samsung's attempts to hype up its next smartphone way in advance. What's going on this week? Well, there's a certain election happening on Tuesday... The time is now for cheap set-top boxesReview: Roku's new $30 player is more intriguing than its high-end siblings The Roku Express is a streaming marvel thanks to its low price. If you can live with some speed issues, it's perfect for bringing streaming video to screens all over your house -- and could well be your first set-top box.
Huawei's slice of the worldwide mobile pie isn't as big as it used to be, but hey -- at least it keeps getting better at making big phones. Then came the enormous Mate 8, which was incredibly well built (even if the company's EMUI interface sometimes made me want to jam a fork in my eye). All together, these flourishes make the Mate 9 feel like a premium piece of kit and a little smaller than you'd expect. The thing about using Huawei phones was that even though they pack a lot of power, the underlying software and interface was always sort of a mess.