Tag Archive | "take"

Deal: Take $50 off the BlackBerry KEYone for a limited time

When it comes to smartphones, the BlackBerry KEYone is the epitome of the classic phrase, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” You can look at the keyboard, the processor, and the display as independent components and frown at them, but put together, they make the BlackBerry KEYone a productive device that has carved a niche with the Android faithful.

Starting tomorrow, October 18, that productive device will get quite a bit cheaper as the silver-colored KEYone will be offered for $ 500, $ 50 cheaper than what it usually goes for.

There are a few things to keep in mind regarding the discount, the biggest being that it will be in effect for only 24 hours. This means that you have from 1am EST on October 18 until 12:59am EST on October 19 to purchase the KEYone for $ 50 off. Also, both the GSM and CDMA unlocked versions are discounted, but not the Black Edition KEYone.

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As previously mentioned, the KEYone is certainly greater than the sum of its parts, which start with the keyboard that features touch-sensitive frets between rows of keys. The phone also features Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 625, which, when paired with the 3,505 mAh battery, means that battery life is among the best out of any current phone. The KEYone also gets by with 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage, the latter of which is augmented by the microSD card slot.

Finally, the phone currently runs a stock-ish version of Android Nougat, with an update to Android Oreo presumably incoming.

If you had your eye on the KEYone and were waiting on some sort of discount to pick it up, now is your chance to do so. The phone’s flash sale is through Amazon and Best Buy, and lucky for you, we have purchase links down below.

Android Authority

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Sony’s new Google Assistant-powered speaker will take on Google Home and Amazon Echo

Yesterday, Google announced at IFA in Berlin that its Assistant will soon expand to more third-party speakers. Only a day later, one of them has already been revealed by Sony. The company took the wraps off the LF-S50G, which offers a lot of the same functionalities found on the Google Home and other similar devices.

The Assistant-powered speaker will play you music based on your commands from services like Spotify, Google Play Music, and Pandora, let you know what the weather is like, and even answer any weird questions you might have. Additionally, you can also use it to control other smart devices found in your home.

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The device is not completely waterproof but is splash-resistant (IPX3), has a simple yet attractive design, and even shows you what time it is. According to Sony, the speaker offers a 360-degree audio experience and has enough power to “comfortably fill the average room with sound”. It supports Bluetooth as well as NFC and sports a gesture control top that allows you to play music, skip tracks, and adjust the volume.

Sony’s smart speaker will go on sale in the US in October and will set you back $ 200. You’ll be able to get it in either black or gray. A month later, it will also be available in certain European countries — Germany, France, the UK — where it will cost you around €230 or £200.

The demand for voice-controlled speakers is on the rise, so it’s no wonder that companies like Sony are entering the market with their own products. However, the LF-S50G is facing some serious competition from devices like the Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa-powered speakers, just to name a few.

The competition will only heat up in the future, with Apple releasing the HomePod in December, while Samsung is expected to announce its own speaker with Bixby on board, although there’s no word on when exactly that might happen.

Android Authority

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What would it take for you to buy a new tablet?

Most tablets are kind of hard to tell apart, aren’t they? Samsung’s current tablet lineup is filled with near-identical products, and when a new one pops up, it’s not always clear what has been improved or changed. Though there are a few exceptions (examples of which should be visible throughout this article), very little separates tablets from 2012 and tablets from present day in terms of functionality.

This sense of tablet stagnation may be at the heart of recent reports that tablet shipments for Q1, 2017 are down 8-10% year-on-year. While that isn’t a fascinating statistic in isolation, tablet sales have been in decline since a peak around 2014, and the market has now seen ten quarterly drops in a row compared to the same quarters a year previous.

Fewer and fewer people are buying or upgrading these gadgets — so what would it take for you to buy a new tablet? Before you leave your answers, let me highlight some things to consider.

The cycle of life

Firstly, recent tablet shipment numbers don’t necessarily mean that people have stopped using or being interested in tablets — only that they have stopped buying them. It’s possible tablet owners are satisfied with their current product (I’d even say, likely), with even three or four-year-old tablets still being considered “good enough.” Where tablet manufacturers seem to have failed is with upgrades.

One of the greatest achievements of smartphone manufacturers is the way in which they have leveraged planned obsolescence. The LG G4 is almost the same as the LG G6 — the core experience hasn’t changed much in the past two years. Yet there’s no doubt that some, perhaps many, LG G4 owners believe their phone must be ditched for a newer model, purely thanks to the G6’s presence.

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Of course, every business wants to foster this idea of “new is good, old is bad,” but few are as successful as smartphone companies, be it through the way new features are marketed, software security concerns highlighted, the way smartphone battery life dwindles, or how some devices just seem to fall apart, in the hand, on the day they reach their upgrade window (don’t tell me it hasn’t happened to you).

This bi-annual upgrade habit hasn’t been achieved to the same extent with tablets, where years-old devices are still perfectly capable products. Further, advances in operating systems tend to target smartphones first and foremost, leaving less incentive for the tablet owner to upgrade. Yes, there are some features which stand to benefit tablets more than phones, such as the recent split-screen mode, but generally speaking, phones are the priority.

Thus the upgrade from Android 5.0 to 6.0, or 6.0 to 7.0, doesn’t have the same appeal on tablets. It’s not a big enough deal, especially when tablets owners can enjoy the latest Android OS on a new smartphone anyway. Tablets simply aren’t used frequently enough to feel the daily pain of an older OS version, while it’s a very different story with the smartphone in your pocket.

Though tablets are upgraded in a similar fashion to phones with regard to better displays, more RAM, and more impressive cameras each year, the benefits here are also less apparent. Smartphones are our go-to communication tool; they stay with us the entire day. We can instantly apply the advances in the camera tech of a new phone with some photos for friends; we’ll feel immediately how much faster it is than its aging predecessor. That feeling of gratification isn’t as powerful with new tablets, partly because of what we use them for and partly because we don’t use them as often.

In other words, the latest OS and some beefed up specs don’t mean much on the device you only take out to occasionally watch a video or play a free game on a long road trip.

On necessity

Another reason tablet sales may be dropping is that the niche they fill is losing relevancy. Tablets aren’t as portable, and therefore as useful, as smartphones are, and they aren’t as powerful, or indeed versatile, as laptops. You wouldn’t replace your phone with a tablet, just as you wouldn’t replace your laptop or PC with one. (That is, if you need it for business purposes and specific software — more on this below).

That’s not to say they aren’t interesting products. They are ostensibly lighter, smaller and have longer battery life than some laptops. They also provide touch input that’s preferable for certain activities and run apps from the Play Store or iTunes. They evidently have benefits —  and are still selling by the millions — it’s just that they’re not essential benefits.

And with smartphone screens getting bigger and laptops getting smaller, they’re being somewhat crushed.

Wrap up

Based on the above, I see six scenarios in which someone decides to buy a new tablet:

  1. Current tablet breaks
  2. Tablet software distinguishes itself from other platforms (and is good)
  3. Great tablets become so inexpensive that they just buy one anyway
  4. Tablets become “better” alternative to laptops
  5. Tablets become “better” alternative to phones
  6. A radical hardware shift

Point four is where I see a clear opportunity — and I’d bet some people would already argue this has happened. Hybrid tablets can offer touch and keyboard interfaces natively in a more portable form factor than a laptop. And since some of them run Chrome OS or Windows, they’re different enough from an Android phone to feel necessary. Google is also introducing Android app support to Chrome OS sometime soon which will strengthen that platform further.

Of course, that would only replace laptops with tablets. As to what would make me upgrade to a new tablet, as a “current-gen” smartphone and laptop owner, I’m not sure.

Tablets can continue to become less costly, with better specs, for years to come — but will that reverse the current trend of consumers holding onto their previous devices? I don’t think so. In my eyes, it can only come from a radical hardware shift (like foldable tech) or a radical software shift. Because, as long as there are Android phones, just another Android or Chrome-based tablet won’t cut it.

That’s my view of the situation. Tell me what it would take for you to buy a new tablet in the comments below.

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