Big changes are coming to your phone's smartphone camera next year, with Qualcomm previewing an update to its image signal processor (ISP) that will better support features like face recognition and mixed reality. While the next major Snapdragon update won't arrive until next year, the changes planned for the Spectra ISP have major implications not just for the cameras on 2018 Android phones but for virtual- and augmented reality headsets as well. Specifically, Qualcomm is promising that its new camera module will feature improved biometric sensing for detecting people's faces and support for depth sensing that can power mixed reality features for smartphones and headsets. The iris authentication module provides always-on security that can support phone unlocking features.
Amazon's virtual assistant, Alexa, has become commonplace in many homes, picking your music and helping you book Uber rides. Many Alexa commands make Amazon's Echo essential. One caveat: Some Amazon Echo Show owners have reported that recipes quickly disappear from the screen. This is why the Ad Council and the Natural Resources Defense Council created the Save the Food Alexa skill, which aims to reduce waste by helping you use up your food before it goes bad.
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If you're an Android phone user, great news. If you like listening to music or podcasts on YouTube Music or Google Play, just ask Google Assistant to set you up. One of the best things about virtual assistants and old-fashioned typed searches is that you can ask just about any question and get an answer. If you're already using Google Assistant on other devices, such as Google Home, you'll find that it works a little bit differently on different devices.