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Tech

Mobile Google CEO Promises 11 Daydream-compatible phones

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Tech

Ford’s 2018 Mustang GT can do 0-to-60 mph in under 4 seconds

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Tech

Hulu hires Google marketing veteran Kelly Campbell as CMO

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Tech

NASA seeks to build a quieter supersonic plane for passenger flight

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Tech

Microsoft Paint is finally dead, and the world Is a better place

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Tech

Netflix was the top grossing app in Q2, with mobile revenue up 233%

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Tech

5 Crowdfunded products that actually delivered on the hype

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Tech

Startup adds beds and Wi-Fi to buses to turn them into ‘moving hotels’

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Tech

Apple’s iPhone 8 might not ship in September

Apple has practically settled into a routine with its flagship iPhone launches: it announces the new model in early September and ships it later that month. You can practically set your clock by it. Well, you might not want to bank on that schedule this year. KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has a mostly solid track record when outlining Apple’s plans, believes that the long-rumored OLED iPhone won’t enter production until October or November. Reportedly, the new model’s “significant hardware upgrades” (such as the OLED screen and depth-sensing front camera) are pushing back the release. There could be shortages until Apple refines its manufacturing, too.

Provided the analyst is on the mark, this won’t be great for either you or Apple’s bottom line. While there has been talk of Apple releasing three new iPhones later this year, the OLED model is believed to be the truly exciting one — the other two would be mild upgrades to the iPhone 7 line. You may end up waiting several weeks longer to get the iPhone you really want, and that could leave Apple’s sales in the doldrums for a while.

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Tech

The Moto Z2 Play looks very familiar

You probably picked up the Moto Z Play for its long battery life, mid-range price and compatibility with Motrola’s flagship modular backs. If you were worried that those components wouldn’t work on the next version of the handset, don’t — leaked images of the Moto Z2 Play from TechnoBuffalo suggest that the device will be almost visually identical to the original. Well, there is one notable change: the Moto Z Play’s square button has been replaced with a round one.

Ultimately, this isn’t too much of a surprise — any drastic changes to the phone’s chassis would have made it incompatible with the battery, camera back and other accessories created for the Moto Z line. Keeping the same shape was important. Unfortunately, beyond form factor and the hard-point connector that confirms mod compatibility, the leak tells us precious little else about the phone. The leaked image’s clock does have a date listed for June 8th, however, which could be a tease, but take that with a grain of salt. If we hear anything, we’ll let you know.

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Articles Featured/Opinions

How Gorillaz brought a global listening party to your phone

Gorillaz are having a house party at 500 locations around the globe. The animated band — brainchild of musician Damon Albarn (Blur) and artist Jamie Hewlett (Tank Girl) — is hosting the unusual audio soirée for its upcoming album launch for Humanz. Just streaming the new music to its recently launched app isn’t Gorillaz’s style, so instead it’s created a sort of musical scavenger hunt that’s part Pokemon Go, part concert.

The technical team that helped bring Hewlett and Albarn’s vision to life is known more for working with the likes of Nike and Google than cartoon rockers. While located around the globe, it was B-Reel’s London office and executive creative director Davor Krvavac’s team that took on the slightly insane but definitely impressive app and its worldwide dance-party ambitions. “It was a sort of a sense of awe really, because all of us here, we really respect what Jamie, Sheila and Damon Albarn have been doing over all these years in so many different manifestations,” Krvavac said.

Gorillaz are more than just a band. Each album mixes music, art and technology into interactive sites, games, movies, DVDs, live chats with cartoon characters, an upcoming show at an amusement park and concerts that fuse the live band with their animated avatars. The lead up to Humanz is no different and if anything has raised the bar. The band has released a 3D music video, Twitter-moment “books” for each member of the band and of course the mixed-reality Gorillaz app.

“It was a very different sort of creative process than we might follow as an agency with one of our branded clients,” Krvavac told Engadget. “It’s all about building trust, because the Gorillaz and the creative products of the Gorillaz, that’s the crown jewels.”

The two teams worked closely together on the app, which, like the upcoming album, places the Spirit House at the center of the story. The band handled the story and art, and B-Reel handled the tech. “Of course they’re super switched on and well aware of all the kind of developments that have happened in the six years since the last album. You know AR, VR all of that stuff,” Krvavac said.

The result is an app that launches right into mixed reality with a vision of the real world overlaid with objects from each band member appearing as you spin around. It’s a reminder that you’re leaving your world and entering the band’s domain. The dilapidated Spirit House has been overtaken by Murdoc Niccals, 2-D, Russel Hobbs, and Noodle, and users can explore the band members’ rooms either with or without a VR headset.

“It’s all about discovery. It’s all about immersing yourself into the story,” Krvavac said. “Really early on we were talking about when you buy the bonus pack that comes with your vinyl or CD and you go over sleeve notes and all the little things to discover. Well it’s kind of like that. It’s a mixed-reality kind of extension of their world that sort of spills over into our world, and I think the listening part is the ultimate sort of reward. Everything in the house essentially builds up to the actual location of the house and discovering it for yourself.”

The global listening party is live for the next three days. During that time, the app will guide fans with directions and distances toward the nearest geolocation of the Spirit House. It’s bit like Pokemon Go, but instead of finding a tiny monster, you’re rewarded with a stream of the entire album. With 500 locations all over the globe, most major metropolitan areas will be covered.

Of course, the developers and band added a challenge to finding the final digital jukebox. The directions lead you in the general location of the nearest Spirit House, but you’ll still have to do a bit of sleuthing to discover the exact spot. Fortunately, Gorillaz’s Facebook page has been dropping the longitudes and latitudes of various Spirit Houses to help you along.

It’s an ambitious endeavor for something that’ll shut down on Sunday night. But the tech is there, and in the future it could be used for something else. “What I can tell you for sure is that the stream will cease with the actual launch of the album, but there are some ideas and thoughts about what happens with the house after that. So, you know, watch this space, essentially,” Krvavac said.

With all that’s been invested into the prelaunch of the album, it’ll be interesting to see what Gorillaz finally comes up with summer when it launches for real. “They’ve always had to push the technology so hard and kind of invent new things in order to manifest themselves as a band,” Krvavac said.

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Tech

The best laser printer

After nearly 250 hours of research and testing over the past few years, we’ve found that the best choice for an affordable laser printer right now is the Brother HL-L2340DW. Among the dozens of laser printers we’ve looked at, the L2340DW is one of the most economical and least frustrating models you can buy.

Who should get this

If you print less than once a week on average, or mostly print text-first documents—like school assignments, invoices, shipping labels, tax forms, real estate applications, personal records, permission slips, tickets—a mono laser printer is probably all you need. Assuming, that is, you really need a printer at all.

Compared with inkjet printers, laser printers cost more to buy, but less to own over time because the toner is so cheap. Lasers won’t cause as much stress as inkjets, either, because they never clog, and their large toner cartridges can print at least twice as many pages as a typical ink cartridge before they need to be replaced. Laser printers also tend to be faster than inkjets, and they usually produce sharper-looking text as well.

So who shouldn’t get a laser printer? If you don’t have a lot of money to spend but need to print in color, an inkjet printer is the only way to go. Inkjets are also the only (relatively) affordable way to print glossy, high-quality photos at home. And a decent inkjet that can scan, copy, and print in color costs much less than a color laser machine with the same features. We recommend some decent inkjet machines here.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Based on the best-seller lists at major retailers, most people want a printer that’s affordable, with a low cost per page and minimal maintenance—a simple machine that can handle basic jobs. Most of those printers are monochrome laser printers, so we focused on those when considering candidates for our main pick.

To start, we scouted for all the current monochrome (black and white) laser printers we could find for under $200. Then we whittled these down to printer-only models (we considered copy/scan models separately), and those with automatic duplex printing, Wi-Fi, and support for mobile printing. We also favored models with cheaper toner costs. To weed out any clunkers that had good specs but poor real-world performance, we read through dozens of customer reviews and editorial reviews.

Plenty of people want a copier and scanner in addition to a printer, so we also sought out a great monochrome multifunction printer.

We set up each printer on both a Windows PC and a Mac, following the manufacturer’s instructions and trying to use Wi-Fi where possible. We considered setup a success once we could print a page from a Web browser and then shut the printer off, turn it back on, and get it to print again. We also tested other connectivity standards, which you can read about in our full guide.

For print-quality testing, we used reference documents that were predominantly text-based, with some elements like columns, tables, or charts.

We also checked out each printer’s quality options, including toner-density sliders and any available print-resolution settings, to see what you can expect with toner-saving options and whether we could eke out better-looking text.

We stress-tested all the paper-feeding parts of each printer, including the main paper trays and document feeders if the printer had one. We (slightly) overstuffed them with paper to see if they’d jam, and we also fed them single sheets to see if they could pick up each. For more on our testing procedures.

The Brother HL-L2340DW (pictured) and HL-L2360DW fit onto (or under) most desks. Photo: Kimber StreamsThe Brother HL-L2340DW monochrome laser printer is the laser printer that we think will work the best for most people. Toner is a bargain, and it was easier to add to a simple home network than other models like it. All the crucial features you can expect from a decent document printer are here: Wi-Fi, auto duplexing, and support for important mobile printing standards. Text is crisp, and print speed is as fast as you’d ever need in a home office.

Though the L2340DW’s default print quality is worse than that of its closest competitor, the Samsung M2835DW, it’s fine for most home use. If you boost the print-quality setting, the difference mostly vanishes anyway. Even with that downside, we think the L2340DW is the better affordable laser printer overall because it’s easier to set up and troubleshoot, and user reviews suggest that it’s more reliable over a couple of years, too. You probably (probably) won’t ever feel like beating the L2340DW to a pulp Office Space style.

The best thing about the L2340DW is the dirt-cheap cost of ownership. It uses only about 1.7¢ worth of toner per page. Even counting the wear on the drum, the cost works out to about 2.3¢—less than most other residential printers out there. Compared with a similarly low-cost inkjet printer, you’ll save something like $20 per year on document printing even if you print just 500 pages per year. The more you print, the more the math favors the Brother.

Runner-up

The HL-L2360DW is the fraternal-twin Brother (hey-o!) to the HL-L2340DW, and is worth grabbing if it’s cheaper, or if you need an Ethernet port. The L2360DW can print a few extra pages per minute, but both printers are wicked fast for home-use standards, and you probably won’t notice the difference. From what we’ve seen so far, the L2360DW tends to cost a few dollars more than the L2340DW, and isn’t available at as many stores. But again, the differences hardly matter—follow your wallet.

A practical multifunction monochrome printer

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

If you want an affordable printer that can also copy and scan, the Samsung Xpress M2875DW mono laser is our favorite option. The cost of operation is low, and this printer is easier to install than most of its competitors. It also has a 50-page auto document feeder, whereas many of its competitors have only a flatbed scanner. The ADF makes copying and scanning multipage documents much easier. The M2875DW also has reliable Wi-Fi connectivity, auto duplex printing, convenient mobile apps, and support for both AirPrint and Google Cloud Print. We think it’s best for home users, but it could work for a small office with modest needs.

 

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Toyota is testing a hydrogen fuel-cell powered semi

Toyota built a larger sibling for the hydrogen fuel cell powered Mirai, a semi truck. The automaker is testing a water-expelling big rig at the Port of Los Angeles that it hopes will yield data to help build a fleet of zero-emission trucks.

Gallery: Toyota Portal Project | 11 Photos

Called the “Portal Project,” the study will determine how well hydrogen fuel-cell heavy duty vehicles work in a shipping environment. The truck itself will be use two Mirai fuel cell stacks and a 12kWh battery to power two motors connected to the rear wheels working in parallel. With a range of over 200 miles per fill-up, the truck can haul a gross combined weight capacity 80,000 pounds.

“We think that there’s a market demand for this technology in the ports today and there are no there are no competing services to diesel solutions,” said Craig Scott, national manager of Toyota’s advanced technology group.

Tony Gioiello, deputy executive director of port development for the Port of Los Angeles said “the Port of Los Angeles has been a leader in working to reduce pollution from port operations, and we’re excited at the potential for a true zero-emission heavy-duty truck to push our Clean Air Action Plan even further.”

The truck and the project are part of Toyota’s larger plan to help kick start an infrastructure for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles like the Mirai. Initially the automaker will hire its own driver to help collect data on the big rig and it’s trips. But it will eventually hand the keys over to the driver of a yet-to-be-determined shipping partner.

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Tech

Baidu wants to work with everyone on self-driving tech

Like many big technology companies, Chinese giant Baidu has been working on self-driving cars for a few years now, even investing with Ford in LIDAR sensor company Velodyne. Collaborations between tech firms and carmakers are now commonplace, but after an unsuccessful marriage with BMW, Baidu is seeking new partners — or rather, all the partners. In a project Baidu calls “Apollo,” the company is offering up its whole self-driving platform to the wider industry, from software to reference vehicles, to give the general pursuit of autonomous cars a NOS-like boost.

From July, Baidu says it’ll begin sharing more and more of what it’s been developing in-house. The company claims its particular strong suit is employing AI to solve the self-driving puzzle, but the Apollo project will offer a complete “solution.” That includes vehicles, other hardware like sensors, software, cloud services and all kinds of code, as well as testing tools. It’s not just about what Baidu can provide others, though, as the firm is hoping that allies will also help the project out with improved vehicles and components. “This will lower the barriers to entry for research and development of autonomous driving technologies, making it more accessible to the general public, and accelerate the overall pace of innovation,” Baidu’s release reads.

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Tech

Lenovo’s convertible Chromebook is built with Android apps in mind

Convertible Chromebooks are all the rage lately, but you wouldn’t have known it by looking at Lenovo’s offerings. It did release the Chrome-powered ThinkPad Yoga 11e, but that was aimed at schools. Now, however, Lenovo is building a 2-in-1 Chromebook aimed at the mainstream — it just launched the Flex 11 Chromebook, a budget 11.6-inch hybrid designed to run Android apps. It can’t actually use Android apps yet (Google Play support is “coming soon,” Lenovo says), but its combination of a tablet mode with a quad-core, 2.1GHz ARM processor should make it well-suited to your favorite mobile titles. Just don’t expect it to be speedy compared to Chromebooks using Celeron or Core chips.

The 4GB of RAM, 32GB of storage and 1,366 x 768 screen resolution won’t blow you away, but there are a few perks to this relatively no-frills design. The Flex 11 includes USB-C to support newer peripherals and charge your system (there’s also USB 3.0, HDMI and an SD card slot), and it’s built to take some abuse between the reinforced ports and water resistance on both the keyboard and trackpad. You might like the 10-hour estimated battery life, as well.

However, the real allure is likely the price. The Flex 11 Chromebook will cost just $279 when it arrives this month. That’s not exactly revolutionary (Acer has a lower-priced option for students), but that’s much better than the $439 you had to pay for the school-oriented ThinkPad when it was new. This is clearly aimed at anyone looking to get their feet wet with Chromebooks, whether they’re doing schoolwork or just watching Netflix on the couch.

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