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Lefkofsky Talks About the Need for More Empathy

Lefkofsky Talks About the Need for More Empathy People who have success in the realm of business innovation, like Eric Lefkofsky, may ...

After the release of the Google Pixel 2 and Google Pixel 2 XL, work is now well underway on a trio of Pixel 3 phones

After the release of the Google Pixel 2 and Google Pixel 2 XL, work is now well underway on a trio of Pixel 3 phones

Google's own-brand phones might not have taken the world by storm, but they've had a fairly consistent and loyal fanbase for some time now - first with the Nexus series, and now with the Pixel phones. 

Google intended Pixel to have the kind of mass-appeal that would put it on a rival footing with Apple's iPhone, but to date, with both the first-gen Pixels and both the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL from 2017, sales have been fair, but not mind-blowing.

But with most of Google's mountain of cash coming from its Android OS, search, ads, services, and YouTube enterprises, the company has enough padding that it can keep trying to make its phones take off. Perhaps 2018's Pixel 3 series will make it third time's the charm?

The Google Pixel 2 and Google Pixel 2 XL are now widely available all around the world. Both handsets feature brilliant cameras and one of the best software experiences around, but there is still plenty of room for improvement.

Google only sold 3.9 million Pixel phones in 2017, a paltry figure when you consider how many iPhones Apple ships per quarter (spoiler: it's almost 80 million). But Google is new to this game, building an install base will take time, and it is still very much getting its ideas down at this stage of the game.

The Pixel and Pixel 2 series were both very impressive, but both releases lacked that all-important wow factor. Sure, they had brilliant software and amazing cameras. But to look at? Yeah, they weren't too exciting. And this is where I see things developing in 2018.

In order to compete with the big boys, the Apple and Samsung's of the world, Google needs a rock-solid design that inspires as much as it performs ergonomically. This is why Google acquired HTC's phone design division – it wants more direct control over its phones, how they're designed, and how they're built.

The software and hardware side of things is sorted. Android runs better on a Pixel phone than any other phone on the planet. Google just needs to make them more attractive to users en masse. And the best way to do this is by switching up the design to something more, well…. Eye-catching.

And in 2018, there will be three Pixel 3 phones to choose from. Interestingly, this was also meant to be the plan for 2017, until one phone was axed. So what can we expect from Google's Pixel 3 smartphones?

And we now have some Pixel 3 concepts to look at courtesy of Concept Creators. Granted, none of these concepts are official, but they are based on the current run of rumours, so they might be quite close to what we actually get to see later on this year.


I'm a huge fan of the Pixel 2 XL, but I do think the design of the phone is a bit, well… pedestrian. Google could – and should – give its 2018 Pixel phones are BIG update in the physical design department. Doing this would increase the appeal of the handset as well as make the price of the devices a little more palatable.

The bezels on the Pixel 2 are too big and the next generation of Pixel phones, if 2017 trends are anything to go by, will see more display and less bezel on the front of the handsets. I also love the color options used in the concepts as well, so fingers crossed Google steps up its game in both regards in 2018.

The fact that there will be three is definitely interesting, as it could mean Google is looking at releasing a budget-oriented model, something similar to the Nexus 4/Nexus 5 from a few years back.

Time For A Notch?

In a bizarre move, Android phone makers seem to be copying the worst features implemented on iPhone and bringing them to Android handsets. The first instance of this was the removal of headphone jacks. The second will be the "notch" – a unit on the front of the handset that houses a camera and sensors.

The notch wasn't exactly popular on the iPhone X, it broke up the display and looked, well, a little out of place. Why Android phone makers are copying this feature remains to be seen, but they ARE copying, as Android P even has references to a notch in its source code. So notches are coming to Android in 2018.


The notch does serve a purpose, however, as for a phone to be completely edgeless it has to have one, so you can get a phone speaker and a camera unit, as well as sensors, in the front of the device. In years to come, these features will likely be integrated into the display – just like what Samsung will do with its fingerprint scanner this year – but this is likely a ways off yet. So for now we're stuck with the notch.

A New Kind of Nexus 5-Style Release For 2018? 

The Nexus 5 was one of the most loved Android phones of all time. If you spend any time on Reddit, you will know that the handset is still thriving despite its age and lack of support from Google.

And the reason why the Nexus 5 was so popular is simple, it was a great phone with a great price tag. Made by Google in cahoots with LG, the Nexus 5 was all about value for money, software, and getting stuff done with minimal fuss or fanfare.

The hole left by the Nexus 5 was never really filled, though OnePlus has made a valiant attempt to do so with its excellent phones over the years. But as good as the OnePlus 5T is it still misses the one thing that made the Nexus 5 – and all Nexus phones, for that matter – special; updates.

And this got me thinking, especially after reading that there would be three Pixel 3 phones released in 2018, that perhaps it is time for Google to revisit what it was doing with the Nexus 5? In a sea of almost-£1000 phones, a low-priced Google phone would be extremely popular, especially if it borrowed from the Nexus 5's modus operandi.

Will this happen? Don't count on it – reports suggest the third Pixel option will be an ultra-premium affair, meaning Google is keen to go after the example set by the iPhone X and charge $1000 for a phone.

This is the wrong approach, however, as I am sure it would have more success with something similar to the Nexus 5, only dressed in Pixel clothing. By using its old model, Google could create an exceptional phone that, when priced around the same as the OnePlus 5T, could do some serious damage to Apple's dominance of the space.

Google wants to be more like Apple. But competing with the company head-on, and on pricing, I feel, is not the way to go about it. A better approach would be to offer up something that gave users unparalleled value for money, get them locked into the Pixel ecosystem, and then, a year or two later, try and get them upsold to a bigger and more costly model.

This is basically what Apple has done, although over a 10 year period, and it definitely works. Android is not iOS, it's always been more inclusive, and I think this is something Google should reflect with its product choices in 2018.

By offering a compelling-but-easily-affordable Pixel phone in 2018, Google would increase brand exposure, secure itself millions of new users, and help push its Pixel install base from barely anything at all to something approaching decent.

I am a HUGE fan of the current Pixel phones, but you definitely do not need an even more expensive version. There's not much else you could do to make the phone better, for instance, unless you're talking about its physical appearance. And even then, why would you pay more just for some arbitrary design tweaks?

A cheaper, functional handset that undercuts the OnePlus 5T is definitely more compelling. It offers something different, something that is attainable for more people, and it is something that could be used, over a period of 24 months, to lock a user into Pixel phones for good.

The world does not need another £1000 Android phone, it needs more value for money like the OnePlus 5T. So, come on, Google, sort it out!

Don't count on it, though. Most seem to agree that Google's third handset will be an ultra-premium model similar to Apple's iPhone X – so, expect to pay around $1000 for it. 

I don't think there much of an appetite for this kind of thing in the Android space, even more so when you factor in how irked many users were by the price of Google's Pixel phones, to begin with.

But this is where the problem resides in the mind of phone makers: they love profits and will do anything to get their hands on them. A value proposition would add more value and make more sense, something close to the OnePlus 5T for instance, as it would encourage people to give Pixel a try.

And once they've experienced the Pixel, its fast updates and superb camera, it'd be easier to convert them to more expensive models. As it stands, Google's Pixel phones account for hardly any of the mobile space. Google needs market share for its phones, not higher profit margins (these will come in time with volume).

I was worried that everybody else would follow Apple down the $1000-Phone route and, if early reports are to be believed, it looks as if both Google and Samsung definitely are with their 2018 plans.

Finger's crossed Google goes for value this time around, as the Pixel 2 XL is already VERY expensive anyway.

Google Pixel 3 Will Use Snapdragon 845 CPU

Qualcomm releases a new Snapdragon CPU every year and 2018's flagship device will be the Snapdragon 845 CPU. Samsung will take the lion's share of these chipsets during the first part of the year, though Google, HTC, LG, and others will pick up plenty of these CPUs during the latter part of 2018.

So what can you expect from the Snapdragon 845 CPU with respect to performance and new features? Quite a bit as it goes; here's what Qualcomm said about the 845 at launch:

"Thoughtfully designed with tech-savvy consumers in mind, Snapdragon 845 utilises Qualcomm Technologies' industry-leading wireless heterogenous compute expertise to design a platform for immersive multimedia experiences including eXtended reality (XR), on-device artificial intelligence (AI), lightning-fast connectivity, and introduces our new secure processing unit (SPU) delivering vault-like security for premium, flagship mobile devices."

You can check out a full breakdown of the Snapdragon 845 CPU here

More as we get it!


The Moto G6 series is allegedly poised to launch imminently; here's what we know so far

The Moto G6 series is allegedly poised to launch imminently; here's what we know so far

Smartphone firms launching multiple variants of particular models seems to be increasingly commonplace, but Motorola's Moto brand has been at it for a few years already. Parent firm Lenovo plans to reboot the Moto G brand once again in 2018, making it the 6th generation of the series, and this time there will, according to rumours and leaks, be three distinct models; the Moto G6, Moto G6 Plus and the Moto G6 Play.

In terms of when to expect them...well, we don't know exactly. The Moto G5 series launched at MWC 2017, but as we're already past MWC 2018 with no show from Lenovo that throws things up in the air somewhat. Some sources say the Moto G6 series could launch any day now.

Adding fuel to the fire, all three handsets have now received their official network certifications in Thailand and Indonesia - such certifications only tend to start popping up when a launch is on the horizon. Although the trio is yet to appear in more prominent certifications such as the US FCC, we know that the Moto G6 series will be launched across a variety of regions and not just the two mentioned Asian markets.

Moto G6

Publication DroidLife claims that all models in the Moto G6 series will feature the Moto X4 style curved glass back and "hockey puck" camera module design. It also says the Moto G6 will launch in black, silver and rose colour options.

It'll allegedly feature a 5.7in FHD+ (2160 x 1080) display, a 1.8GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 processor,  and a 3,000mAh battery cell.

The front-facing camera is a 16MP setup, while the rear will be a dual-sensor affair with both a 12MP sensor and 5MP sensor working in tandem.

Moto G6 Plus

The Moto G6 Plus will be the highest spec model of the series. While Moto "Plus" devices in the past haven't tended to feature larger screens - just higher specs - the Moto G6 Plus will have a slightly bigger panel at 5.93in and it'll again be FHD+ resolution. The battery will be slightly beefier at 3,200mAh, as will the processor; a 2.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 630

In the past, Moto G Plus phones tend to have better camera hardware also, but so far there are no leaked specs on this front. We also don't know about RAM or storage.

Android Headlines has some leaked images of the Moto G6 Plus, and also reports it'll come in five colour options; gold, silver, white, blue and cyan.

DroidLife, however, has some contradictory information, saying the Moto G6 Plus will come in black, silver and dark teal.

Moto G6 Play

Traditionally the Moto G series has been an affordable brand, but within the overall Moto branding the "Play" moniker also signals an affordable variant, meaning that a Moto G Play handset is usually the most affordable Moto model around. Last year's Moto G5 series skipped over the "Play" model, but it's reportedly making a return in 2018 for the Moto G6 range.

Information is somewhat sparse so far, but we do have a leaked image posted by TrendyTechz, as well as some specs.

As you can see from the image, for a budget model, it's looking somewhat premium, as it is using design cues from the Moto X4 flagship, including a curved glass back panel. Another feature from the Moto X4 is the large circular "hockey puck" style camera array.

Leaked specs suggest a 5.7in display with an 18:9 wide-screen aspect ratio, just like many flagships. It's thought to have a 720p HD resolution.

The cameras are also impressively specced for a budget device, with 16MP on BOTH front and rear, while inside is a 4,000mAh battery cell and a 1.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 processor.

On the RAM side of things, both 3GB and 4GB have been mentioned; based on past Moto handsets it's plausible that we could see both, with the RAM differing between storage models. So far storage hasn't been mentioned.

DroidLife says the Moto G6 Play will arrive in dark blue, charcoal and gold.


I’ve been using Google Assistant for over a year now, and these are the 20 most useful “OK Google” commands I’ve discovered

I've been using Google Assistant for over a year now, and these are the 20 most useful "OK Google" commands I've discovered

Google Assistant is one of the best digital assistants around. It lives inside millions of devices, including phones, tablets and devices like Google Home, and it is getting smarter all the time, as Google adds more features and abilities.

Most of you will be familiar with Google Assistant inside Google Home, as that was the device to be built solely around Google Assistant. Designed to do battle with Amazon's Echo and Dot, Google Home is an affordable smart speaker that brings a lot of functionality to your home.

But Google Assistant is also present on most Android phones as well, so you don't necessarily need a Google Home device to access it and use it run your day-to-day.

The big idea behind Google Assistant is pretty simple: to remove the need, eventually, for users to have to touch anything. One day everything will be done by voice – just like in the film, Her.

This is likely a ways off yet, but don't be surprised if it happens sooner than you expect – just think how fast phones developed between 2010 and 2018.

Google Assistant is essentially Google's first, consumer-facing stab at an actual AI (artificial intelligence). But you can bet your ass The Big G is working on far more advanced AIs in its skunkworks.

So while it might feel a little slow, lumpy, and unintuitive right now, you can expect to see some massive changes in the coming months and years. Chances that will affect everything from your phone to how you do things around your home.

I use both Google Home and the Google Pixel 2, so I'm pretty well versed with what Google Assistant can and can't do. I also know that while it isn't perfect, it is definitely one of the better options around right now – especially when compared to Apple's Siri.

Image Source

If you haven't really tapped into the potential of Google Assistant, here are some useful commands for Google Assistant to get you started. These commands are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what Google Assistant can actually do, but they're the ones I find most useful in my day-to-day.

The 20 Most Useful "OK, Google" Commands (In No Particular Order)

  • Open A Website/Blog – "OK Google, Go To"
  • Create Appointment – "OK Google, Create An Appointment For 10 am on Friday"
  • Timer – "OK Google, Set A Timer For 5 Minutes"
  • Specific Emails – "OK Google, Show Me Emails From [Insert Name of Contact]
  • Define A Word – "OK Google, Define [Insert Word]"
  • Calculate Percentages – "OK Google, What's 23% of 4567"
  • Play Music – "OK Google, Play The Sword In Spotify"
  • Make A Cocktail – "OK Google, How Do I Make An Old Fashioned?"
  • Order An Uber – "OK Google, Order Me An Uber"
  • Distance – "OK Google, How Far is New York City From My Home"
  • Discover Music – "OK Google, What Song is This?"
  • Start Metronome – "OK Google, Start Metronome"
  • Find Your Phone – "OK Google, Find My Phone"
  • Translation – "OK Google, Translate [insert word] into Finnish"
  • Flight Times – "OK Google, Is My Flight On Time?"
  • Business Opening Times – "OK Google, Is Pizza Hut Near Me Open Now?"
  • Places of Interest – "OK Google, What Is The Name of This Place?"
  • Currency – "OK Google, Now Much is $100 in Euros?"
  • Medical Tips – "OK Google, What Is Hypertension?"
  • Directions – "OK Google, Navigate To [Insert Name of Destination]"

If you’ve got an upgrade coming, and you want an Android phone, what Android phone should you go for in 2018?

If you've got an upgrade coming, and you want an Android phone, what Android phone should you go for in 2018?

When it comes to Android phones, you're kind of spoilt for choice in 2018. The Q1 update cycle is now well underway, following MWC, and this presents you with some new options.

The most notable of which is Samsung's new Galaxy S9. But that handset isn't the only game in town right now. Far from it, in fact – you also have solid releases from Google, OnePlus, and LG to consider as well.

I've laid this article out in three sections:

  • Current premium options – i.e. handsets that are flagships and available right now.
  • Value for money options – handsets that offer great specs and performance for A LOT less than a flagship phone
  • Incoming Flagships – handsets that will launch later on this year and might be worth waiting for

This way, you'll have a better idea of your options going forward. No one likes upgrading their phone and then finding out a few months later it's been usurped by a successor model. That always sucks.

The "Premium" Options

Premium phones are pricey, but they pack in the latest and greatest technology and features. When you buy a flagship, you're getting the best of the best – with no expense spared.

These handsets are our current favorite Android flagship phones. We have tested them all and were very impressed by them, which is why they are listed here, as we feel they are the best options right now for the top-end of the Android market.

Google's Pixel 2 & Pixel 2 XL

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The Google Pixel 2 and Google Pixel 2 XL are two very strong options if you value best in class software, brilliant camera performance, and never want to miss an Android update again.

They're pricey, sure, but they are essentially the iPhones of the Android space, in that Google controls every aspect of the device and its software, so when something new lands, you get it first. They also have the best camera money can buy right now.

LG V30

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Power. Design. Features – the LG V30 has them all. By the truck-load. Next to the Pixel 2 phones, I'd say it was easily one of the strongest and most compelling Android phones released in 2017/18.

The phone was positively received by reviewers and consumers alike, so if you're after something that really packs a punch, looks great doing it, and features some of the latest in technology innovation, the LG V30 should be high on your list.

Samsung Galaxy S9

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Recently launched at MWC 2018, the Samsung Galaxy S9 carries on the momentum set by its predecessor, the Galaxy S9. The design is similar, yet still very impressive. The display is the best OLED panel in operation right now. Bar none. And it performs brilliantly.

Samsung is the biggest phone maker on the planet, and the reason for this is its Galaxy S releases. These phones are insanely popular – and with good reason too. They are fantastic performers, have great cameras, and pack in really useful software.

The "Value For Money" Options

If value for money is important to you, there really is only one game in town right now.

OnePlus has pretty much carved out a niche just for itself in recent years and it has been filling it with solid releases ever since.

OnePlus 5T

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OnePlus 5T
OnePlus 5T

When writing about the OnePlus 5T a few months back, I said it was the best value Android smartphone money could buy. Five months later, this still stands. Nothing comes close to this phone in this regard. It's a flagship priced like a mid-range phone. And in 2018, that alone is headline worthy.

It looks fantastic, performs brilliantly, and has a great camera. Basically, this is one of the best phones you can buy right now. And, best of all, it retails for around half the price of the Galaxy S9. What more could you want?

The "Incoming" Options – If You Want To Wait…

The release cycle of phones varies from year to year, but there are constants. Samsung always releases its Galaxy S update at the beginning of the year, for instance, while Google releases its Pixel phones later on in the year.

These are the handsets we're most excited by for later on in 2018.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9

Samsung's Note phones are always pretty exciting. Normally, they take everything the Galaxy S update had, add a few more cool features, and release it inside a bigger phone that comes with a stylus.

It's a heady mix and Samsung has had a lot of success with its Galaxy Note series over the years. 2018's Galaxy Note 9 is shaping up to be a massive upgrade as well – things like a fingerprint reader in the display are rumoured, as is a 4K OLED panel.

This one could definitely be worth waiting for.

Google Pixel 3

I'm something of a Pixel purist these days. I know there are technically better Android phones around. But for me, it's all about the software – and this is where Pixel phones come into their own. You get Android updates as soon as they're released and Google has consistently dominated camera performance in the two years it has been making Pixel phones.

If you love Android and what the best possible Android experience, as well as an awesome camera at your disposal, you could do a lot worse than waiting to see what Google comes up with later this year inside its Pixel 3 update.

OnePlus 6

The OnePlus 5T is easily one of the best value phones you can buy right now. As I mentioned earlier, in this context, OnePlus has few competitors. And this means that the company's next release (the OnePlus 6) is always worth consideration.

It will likely cost more than the OnePlus 5T, the company has been increasing the price of its handsets incrementally since day one, but it will still cost A LOT less than 90% of the competition. And it is this, combined with the performance of the handset, that always makes OnePlus a great option.


Samsung Bixby Is Going To Revamp Voice Reorganization?

Samsung Bixby Is Going To Revamp Voice Reorganization?

Samsung is striving hard in the fight of who's the best smart phone giant, this fight is not only confined to smartphones not, but also includes all related devices and features, and as for Samsung, this fight also includes all the Samsung Smart home appliances. As for now, Samsung is working on getting in pace with the much popular voice assistants and wants the Samsung Bixby to come in competition with the other Voice assistances from Google and Apple, the current most prominent and popular Voice assistants are the Google Assistant, Siri, and Alexa. Cortina has also made its place in the voice assistant market. Yet, Samsung was still a little behind, but it is never too late, as Samsung has decided to not only upgrade Samsung Bixby with artificial intelligence, but also, to introduce Bixby to almost all Samsung devices to come. But the initiative will be taken from the Samsung Smartphone and then to the rest of the devices.  

So, what exactly is Bixby? Recently, through its blog post, Samsung itself announced that it will be coming up with artificial intelligence that is designed to enable easier device interaction, and to make features more user friendly and less time consuming. It is also specifically designed to avoid the complexity of increasingly fully-featured devices. The Samsung Bixby has also already made its debut through the latest Samsung Signature smartphones that are; the Samsung Galaxy 8 and Galaxy 8+ as well as the Samsung Galaxy Note 8. But Samsung has rather bigger plans, for this year, 2018, Samsung wants to incorporate the amazing Bixby feature to all its smartphones as well as home appliances, or whatever other devices we have by Samsung such as speakers etc. Now coming to the Samsung Family Hub, yes, the amazing Samsung Family hub that has everything to make your household experience a lot better and easier, for everything including TVs to washers.  

With the Bixby in all smart home appliances you will finally live your fantasies, Samsung Bixby along with Samsung Smart Things support, let's see in a smart Samsung fridge already lets you see outside your door when the doorbells rings and to also open or unlock your door from your fridge screen, but with the addition of Bixby and it's amazing artificial intelligence, you will be able to unlock or open your door without having to touch your pretty and clean fridge when you're covered in cookie dough all over.  

This is not all your Bixby will do for you, it will actually make all your science fiction fantasies come true, through the other amazing features, such as, it's early morning and you've finally made it from your dressing room to your kitchen but with a lot of questions brimming in your mind, how's the traffic outside? Should I take an umbrella or my sun glasses? What's the date? Did I have any meetings? What's the schedule for today? Do we have enough groceries for dinner? Are there any pending bills? What do the kids need for lunch? Shopping list for today? Well, ladies specially, your questions will never end, but it's time you say good bye to your good old sticky notes all over the kitchen and fridge and say hello to the amazing Samsung Smart fridge with Bixby, Bixby is here to rule, it will tell you the weather, the traffic outside, the daily news update, hourly maybe, you decide, it will also tell you your calendar, the day the date, the events you have scheduled for the day or week, and whatever else you want to ask. If you are still not impressed, we have more, Bixby will also come with the ability to learn individual voices, so it will personalize answers for you depending on who asks. This amazing feature was Alluded to during CES 2018 in January that is almost a month back, and Samsung also plans to integrate its artificially intelligent assistant Bixby in numerous products over the coming year, these products would include smart TVs and smart kitchen appliances that include smart fridges, smart washers and dryers, smart microwaves and almost everything from the Family Hub range, the new TVs will be first to get these amazing feature and the other devices will follow. Washing machines, for example, will come with Bixby from early spring 2018, in a few months' time.  

Following the Samsung Bixby timeline, in October 2017, Samsung announced the second-generation version of the amazing Samsung Bixby. According to Samsung, Bixby 2.0 is a "fundamental leap forward for digital assistants" and a "bold reinvention of the platform". In a nutshell: Bixby 2.0 is designed to make Bixby available on "any and all devices". It will be available on all smartphones, smart TVs, smart refrigerators, smart washers, smart dryers, smart speakers, and other such connected devices. Furthermore Bixby 2.0 will be "open", which means that it will be allowing other developers to also integrate the voice assistant into their own products and personalize it, or modify it and choose how you will be able to interact with their services. So, we are expecting several different companies from all over the world will announce Bixby-powered smart speakers or smart phones and other devices in the coming months. Samsung also said Bixby 2.0 features enhanced natural language capabilities, which will result in more natural commands and complex processing. 


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