What are they actually good for? In the recent months we've heard a lot about specialized silicon being used for machine learning in mobile devices. Apple's new iPhones have their "neural engine"; Huawei's Mate 10 comes with a "neural processing unit"; and companies that manufacture and design chips (like Qualcomm and ARM) are gearing up to supply AI-optimized hardware to the rest of the industry. What's not clear, is how much all this benefits the consumer. When you're buying your phone, should an "AI chip" be on your wish list?
After trying out Google's Pixel Buds, I agree with my colleague Karissa Bell when she says the Apple AirPods competitor is the most important gadget the tech company's announced in years. You're either going to think they look cool or look cheap. And while that's important, it's the technology inside that I think will change the way we communicate forever. I'm, of course, talking about their real-time translation feature. I just tried them on today and they're (excuse the language) f**king amazing.
With the revolution of machine learning, a new trend has come to town and it is called face recognition. When Apple announced its FaceID feature, everyone started talking and thinking about implementing face recognition everywhere – business, mobile apps, medicine, retail, and whatnot. But how can you be sure this technology is what you need without its thorough understanding? We'll tell you today what face recognition is, how it works, and what are the different use cases for this technology. Let's just say, after reading this article, you'll become a real Jedi of face recognition.
In what appears to be a first, Amazon's Alexa will act as a guide for a board game called When in Rome, according to the startup Sensible Object. Due out in March 2018, When in Rome will be the first of six voice-augmented games Sensible Object plans to release next year. Each game in the series called Voice Originals will cost $24.99, CEO Alex Fleetwood told VentureBeat in a phone interview. When in Rome serves up trivia questions from locals in 20 cities around the world.
It was only a matter of time: Samsung's Bixby assistant isn't confined to just phones anymore. The company will soon bring its digital assistant to appliances, starting with its own refrigerators and smart TVs. Samsung is also working with third-party developers to open up Bixby to non-Samsung products "in the near future." The news is part of Samsung's "Bixby 2.0" update, announced today at the company's developer conference in San Francisco. The revamped Bixby is smarter, has better voice recognition capabilities, and has improved personalization features.
Ever wanted to have an Amazon Echo speaker with you wherever you are, rather than relying on your phone's built-in voice assistant? Motorola is betting you do. As promised, it's releasing an Alexa-powered Moto Mod (the Moto Smart Speaker with Amazon Alexa, to be exact) that slaps an Echo-like device on the back of compatible phones like the Moto Z2 Force or Z Play. The key, as you might guess, is that it delivers that across-the-room voice control in a way your phone can't by itself. The large dedicated speaker is clearly one advantage, but there are also four mics to make sure it picks up your voice in relatively noisy environments.
Voice assistants seem to represent the best of what films offered us in the future: the ability to control your home, your music and everything else about your life simply by talking to a digital butler. But science fiction never had them sounding quite so bad. Despite all the hype around voice assistants, they have mostly been confined to things that make them sound terrible when they speak. Siri mostly comes out of your phone speakers, for instance, and the best the Google Assistant can do is the little rounded Google Home. The Sonos One represents the first time that you can talk to a voice assistant and actually have its voice – and anything else it does – sound good.
In my house, we use it to play radio stations, to get the weather, and to answer questions like "When was the Edo period?" One thing I don't often use the Echo for is music. That's because it sounds terrible. As good as Amazon's Alexa voice service is, the Echo's black tin can croaks out audio just a notch better than the 20-year-old Coby FM radio I keep in the garage. Amazon has taken steps to improve the Echo's sound quality with a reboot last month, and companies like Lenovo have coaxed Alexa into nicer-sounding enclosures.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is at the heart of modern big data. It's what allows companies, and even cities, to collect endless quantities of information with minimal effort – and to act on that information, monetizing it, basing decisions on user data. Right now, though, IoT is on the edge of change because there's a new kid on the scene: 5G connectivity. Now phones act like computers and the competition for the next cutting edge innovation is stiffer than ever. As of this writing, 5G wireless technology is not yet ready to launch but the competition to bring it to market is stiff.
It's impossible to predict whether Google's brand-new Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL smartphones will fare better than last year's well-reviewed but poor selling first-generation models. Among other reasons, the smartphone crowd loves their iPhones and Galaxys, and Apple and Samsung obviously remain formidable competitors. What I can say is that the new phones prove how good Google has gotten at hardware, bolstered by artificial intelligence and software. And if you're in the market for a premium handset, Pixels belong in the conversation. For starters, the AI-infused Google Assistant that was a banner feature on the first Pixels is only getting smarter.