Google sets down ground rules for notch support on Android P

In the lead up to the launch of its Pixel 3 smartphone line-up (which allegedly includes a notch-sporting Pixel 3 XL), Google has posted a Developers Blog entry detailing its rules for display cutouts and how they will be supported on its upcoming Android P operating system.

According to Android System UI product manager Megan Potoski, Google's rules for cutouts were drawn up in an effort to ensure that developers' apps would be cutout-ready, asking them to consider such things as how their "content is displayed relative to the cutout."

The good news for those developing for Android P is that by default, "the status bar will be resized to be at least as tall as the cutout and your content will display in the window below." Google states that "the app's window is allowed to extend into the cutout area if the cutout is fully contained within a system bar."

For developers, this means that all app windows "will be letterboxed so that none of your content is displayed in the cutout area," regardless of whether they're in landscape or fullscreen mode.

Hard rules for hardware

In terms of hardware, Google has declared that "devices must ensure that their cutouts do not negatively affect apps," stating that "devices may only have up to one cutout on each short edge of the device." 

This will ensure that we "won't see multiple cutouts on a single edge, or more than two cutouts on a device," and that we "won't see a cutout on the left or right long edge of the device."

Another rule set by Google states that "In portrait orientation, with no special flags set, the status bar must extend to at least the height of the cutout."

Aside from these stipulations, Google has stated that hardware manufacturers "can place cutouts wherever they want" on their devices.

We’re sure most people would agree that multiple notches sounds horrible, so we’re quietly glad that Google is limiting the number that Android P will officially support.

from TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Apple likely to include dual-SIM support in upcoming iPhones

The latest version of the iOS 12 developer beta (release 5) has allowed for some interesting discoveries that support existing rumors and raise some new ones.

While Android handsets are typically rather generous in offering a dedicated slot for a second SIM card, this feature has been notably absent from Apple’s handsets over the last ten years. 

However, rumors have been mounting for one of the upcoming iPhone models to support dual-SIM functionality, and these rumors have been strongly buffed by some lines of code that 9to5Mac has found in the iOS 12 developer beta 5. 

Dual-SIM iPhone

Evidence found in iOS 12 developer code supports dual-SIM iPhone. [Image courtesy of 9to5Mac]

The report has identified some lines of diagnostic text that specifically reference “secondSimStatus”, “secondSimTrayStatus”, and “isDualSimDevice” – all of which seem to suggest that dual SIM cards will be supported at the software level at the very least. And considering the mention of a “tray”, there’s also likely to be the hardware to match.

A second SIM card slot may not be useful to every user, but for those who like to switch between two different plans within their home country, or regularly travel abroad to regions with different networks, it’s an indispensable tool.

The second slot allows you to make the switch over to another plan via a menu option in settings rather than having to physically exchange SIM cards and risk losing the tiny sliver of plastic and copper.

The scenic route

Another fresh theory floating around the rumor-mill is specifically in regards to the reported iPhone XI Plus with its 6.5-inch OLED display, and it suggests that the mega-screened device may inherit one of the iPad’s neater features.

On the iPad, Apple apps such as Calendar, Mail, and Contacts offer a landscape view that makes much better use of the additional screen real estate. For instance, when using Mail, your inbox appears as a list on the left-hand side with a preview of each email on the right.

According to iHelpBR, the iPhone XI Plus will have a 6.5-inch display with a resolution of 1,242 x 2,688, and from their testing with the aforementioned iOS 12 developer beta 5, they noticed this iPad-style feature activated when running at this resolution and size. 

from TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Marte está en su punto más cercano a la Tierra desde 2003 y lo podemos ver en vídeo

Marte 2018

Hoy 31 de julio, Marte hizo su más grande aproximación a nuestro planeta desde agosto de 2003, creando un maravilloso espectáculo en el cielo ya que además el planeta está en oposición al Sol, lo que hace que luzca más brillante que nunca. Por ello, estamos ante una oportunidad única.

A las 03:50 EDT (07:50 GMT) de este 31 d julio, Marte alcanzó su punto más cercano a la Tierra, colocándose a 57,6 millones de kilómetros. En agosto de 2003, Marte estuvo aún más cerca a 55,6 millones de kilómetros, distancia que no se repetirá hasta el año 2287, según los cálculos de la NASA. Continue reading “Marte está en su punto más cercano a la Tierra desde 2003 y lo podemos ver en vídeo”

MoviePass adds a new restriction: ‘Every showtime may not be available’ on the app, and it will ‘vary from day to day’ (HMNY)

MoviePass card

  • MoviePass is no longer guaranteeing that every movie showtime will be available on the app, CEO Mitch Lowe told customers on Tuesday. 
  • The news comes less than a day after MoviePass announced plans to hike prices up to $15/month, and make big-ticket movies like “The Meg” and “Christopher Robin” unavailable for at least the first few weeks after release. 
  • Lowe also says that MoviePass customer support may be limited in the near future, as it prioritizes customers who are already at the theater.

MoviePass is adding a new limitation: Not every showtime for every single movie is guaranteed to be supported by the app.

“Showtimes that are offered through our service will vary from day to day, and every showtime may not be available,” MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe wrote in an email to customers on Tuesday afternoon. Previously, the service would support every 2D movie showing at all compatible theaters.

This news comes less than a day after MoviePass announced that it would hike the monthly price of its unlimited movie service to $14.99, and that it wouldn’t support big-ticket movies like “The Meg” or Disney’s “Christopher Robin” in at least the weeks immediately following their release. The company said this would reduce its cash burn by 60%.

Beyond the changes to showtimes, Lowe also tells customers that it’s changing its approach to customer support, and “access to immediate support may become limited.” He says that its customer support will prioritize those who are already at the theater, with more self-service tools for other customers in the works. 

Lowe further writes that “Mission: Impossible — Fallout” will continue to be unavailable via MoviePass as the company works to reconfigure its business model.

MoviePass and its business model have come under renewed scrutiny in the last week or so, after a service outage on Thursday was revealed to have been caused by its parent company, Helios & Matheson Analytics, running out of money to pay its fulfillment processors.

It took a $5 million short-term loan to get things going, but the app has been plagued by problems and intermittent outages ever since, causing fans and pundits to speculate that this is the end for the service.

Stock in H&M is currently hovering around $0.50 per share; well below the $1 per share threshold the company needs to maintain to stay listed on the public stock markets.

SEE ALSO: MoviePass CEO announces in all-hands meeting that tickets to big upcoming movies will not be available on the app

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Best Portable DACs: The best external DACs to replace your phone’s awful amp

On paper, reproducing sound should be simple. There's a source that has music and a speaker that generates noise. Press play on the player and audio should be spit out on the other end as crisp and clear as the day it was recorded. Right? 

Wrong. Oh, so very wrong.

It turns out there is a TON of work that goes into reproducing sound. From the way the music is recorded to how it's stored, from what headphones or speakers you use to the source's DAC and amplifier, everything in the chain affects how music sounds.

That being said, if your music is sounding quite as spectacular as it should – and the only thing you've changed recently is the source – it's likely that your new device (a new laptop, desktop, phone or tablet) has a poor quality DAC.

A DAC, or Digital-to-Analogue Converter, is the device that takes the bits and bytes stored in a music file and converts it into something a headphone or speaker (analogue devices) can play back. 

The advantages of using an external DAC

So why use a DAC if the device you use has one built-in? The first advantage of using an external DAC rather than the DAC that already exists in your device is simply that – most of the time – the performance you get out of an external system will be better than your phone's internal one. Why? Your phone's internal DAC may be lacking either for reasons of cost, or else a desire to keep the phone as compact as possible.

The second reason to shell out for a better system is the fact that some of the more premium headphones on the market are 'high-impedance' headphones, which require more power through the headphone jack on your music source in order to work properly. (Impedance, for the record, is measured in a unit called ohms, and less than 50 ohms is considered to be low-impedance.)

The general consensus is that the harder a pair of headphones is to drive, the better they will eventually sound when paired with the right equipment.

An external DAC helps with these headphones as it can work as a headphone amp to provide the extra power needed to drive a high-impedance pair of 'phones.

Now that you know how the technology works, let's talk about which devices you can get your hands on to amp up your audio.

What is the best DAC?

Chord Mojo

The Mojo is one of the larger DACs we've tested as a result of the onboard battery that needs to be charged before you can use it with your iPhone.

Having to charge an extra device – even if that charge lasts for 10 hours – before listening to music out and about is hardly ideal, but that's the price you have to pay for the Mojo's more power-hungry innards.

Thankfully the Mojo puts that power to good use, delivering a much rounder sound than the stock iPhone jack. Without the Mojo the treble and bass frequencies tend to take over, but introduce the external DAC into the mix and the mids are much more present and full.

The device's size means it's a bit cumbersome, and not exactly an inconspicuous accessory. I ended up carrying the Mojo in my front pocket (where I could easily access the device's volume controls), with the USB cable leading to my phone in my back pocket.

This probably won't be your ideal setup, and that might mean leaving the Mojo behind when you're going out on the town. Using the device at work, where I'm able to leave both my phone and the DAC on the desk, is a lot more user-friendly.

Other features include a second headphone output and a cool lighting feature whereby the volume buttons change colour based on the quality of the music file being received.

It is a very close call between the Chord Mojo and the RHA Decamp L1 which one we like more. While the Mojo offers a more compact form factor, the Decamp caters to iOS users with a dedicated USB input. That being said, the Decamp is a bit longer than the Chord Mojo and a fair bit heavier if you're the kind of person who doesn't mind hauling their audio gear around with them.

While it definitely fights for space in our already overcrowded backpacks, we genuinely love the Decamp – it makes playback sound smooth even when playing music from some less-than-ideal sources and the adjustment knobs on the side allow you to do simple, subtle tweaks to the sound. The knobs might not offer the most robust of changes (moreso than a software EQ, for example) but we appreciate their existence all the same.

It comes in a very close second here, but RHA's Decamp L1 is one of the better DACs to cross our desks and comes highly recommended.

Audioquest Dragonfly Red

Audioquest basically invented the USB DAC with the original Dragonfly back in 2012, but until now the the device’s power demands limited its use to desktop use thanks to the iPhone’s 100mAh limit on power draw through its lightning port.

But Dragonfly’s latest devices, the Red and Black models, completely change that. By using an all-new USB microcontroller, Audioquest’s Dragonfly Red/Black’s DACs now consume closer to 25mA, and can now be used happily with any iOS device.

This makes the Dragonfly a pretty compelling iPhone DAC. With a total size smaller than most USB sticks the Dragonfly fits easily into a pocket alongside an iPhone.

So what’s the difference (other than color) between the two flavors? Dragonfly Red is the more premium offering. It contains a better DAC chip, and outputs 2.1 volts of power as opposed to the Black’s 1.2 volts. That mean the Red is a better choice for driving high-impedance headphones.

With my headphones plugged directly into my iPhone I was comfortable listening to music with the volume set halfway, but with the Red I could listen at just a quarter and with the Black this was strangely reduced to just one volume bar.

In effect this means that you have a lot less control over the listenable volumes – turning the Black up just one volume notch meant that music was too loud, and turning it down one muted the iPhone completely.

Both versions, however, added a good amount of heft to the bass without sacrificing the clarity of mid frequencies. A playthrough of Daft Punk’s Get Lucky didn’t shimmer in the same way without the DAC than with it.

Whether you’ll want to pay extra for the Red version depends entirely on how difficult your headphones are to drive. If you’re looking for a personal anecdote, with my standard portable cans I could barely tell the difference between the two DACs. But, when I switched to a more power-hungry set of over-ears, the Red delivered a much punchier bass.

Neither the Dragonfly Red or Black can match the refinedness of the Chord Mojo, but their budget price and much more practical form-factor make for a far better portable listening experience.

Creative Labs is a name you've heard before. It was the company that started the sound card craze in the late '90s and became king of the audiophile crowd for a short period of time. In the time since, Creative has been hard at work crafting extraordinary triple-driver in-ear headphones and an 11.2.4 soundbar while simultaneously working on a portable DAC for more … uh, affordable price points.

The result of all that hard work is the Creative Sound Blaster E5 – the middle child in a large line-up of DACs that offers wireless connectivity options for those of us that can't be bothered with a cord.

While the idea of wireless is a great one, it's not without its limitations – Bluetooth can't transmit music at CD-quality without the help of more advanced codecs like LDAC or aptX HD. Because of that limitation, music over wireless just sounds OK. Sure, Creative can upscale it after it's been received, but it never sounds quite as good as native Hi-Res audio. Still, if wireless convenience is what you're looking for to power those powerful headphones in your closet, the E5 is far from the worst choice you could make.

Arcam MusicBoost

The Arcam MusicBoost S is the most practical portable DAC, as it's built straight into an iPhone case, but the downside is that the MusicBoost S is slightly limited by its form factor – it's built for just two models of phone, the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6S. Owners of the 6S Plus or the iPhone SE need not apply.

Like the Mojo, the MusicBoost is a power-hungry DAC that will need to be charged, but the added benefit is that it can use its extra battery life to power your phone as well as itself.

Arcam claims that the 1200mAh battery has the capacity to hold 120% of an iPhone's charge, which could potentially be a lifesaver if you're using the DAC to listen to music on a long flight.

Disappointingly, however, similar to the previous Arcam MusicBoost we tested, I found the MusicBoost made the smallest difference out of all the DACs. I really wanted to hear more of an impact, but the difference was only audible with a more demanding set of cans.

That said, the potential market for Arcam's portable DAC is probably small, limited to those with a specific model of iPhone and a pair of high-end headphones that can benefit from more power.

The positive news here is that the device doesn't suffer from the same volume issues as the Dragonfly – the volume slider has more freedom to move around before your portable music player becomes an ear canal-destroying rock show.

If you're in the market for a battery pack and protective case, and dig the idea of an enhanced audio experience, the Arcam MusicBoost S might be the accessory you've been searching for.

from TechRadar – All the latest technology news

The rising tide of messaging platforms — and how brands, businesses, and publishers can capitalize

Messaging App Time Spent

This is a preview of a research report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service. To learn more about Business Insider Intelligence, click here.

Nearly every major messaging platform has spent the past few years rolling out tools to attract new users and give businesses tools to reach those users.

The consumer-oriented products are working: The combined total monthly active user (MAU) count of the top 4 messaging apps has grown to 4.1 billion in 2018, with the top three messaging apps touting user bases of 1 billion or more.

Not only are these consumer products drawing in more users, but they’re effectively increasing the time consumers are spending within messaging apps. The average daily time US consumers spent in a messaging app in 2017 was 10 minutes, up 15.2% from 8 minutes in 2016, according to eMarketer. That 10 minutes is expected to grow to 11 this year, and 12 in 2019 (see chart).

This large and engaged consumer base is a prime market for businesses and publishers to target, particularly as social media networks like Facebook become more difficult to leverage. In order to capitalize on this opportunity, messaging apps like Facebook Messenger and WeChat have developed a range of tools, from chatbots to payments methods, that businesses and publishers can use to reach and monetize consumers.  

In this report, Business Insider Intelligence sizes the messaging app market and examines how businesses, brands, and publishers can take advantage of the new features offered by these platforms. It compares and contrasts the largest messaging platforms by user base, and presents the types of opportunities that have emerged from the growing audience that uses messaging services daily. Finally, it explores how these messaging apps are likely to change in the months and years ahead. 

Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

  • Messaging app platforms are competing for the eyes of consumers in order to win over businesses that want to reach them. Some are more effective in this regard than others. 
  • At a minimum, successful messaging app platforms offer businesses tools to create official accounts. But most offer much more, like chatbot automation, integration with other platforms to create a more holistic understanding of consumers, broadcast abilities, and the ability to actually sell goods or services via a messaging app. 
  • The rise of conversational commerce will accelerate as the major messaging platforms continue to roll out assistive tools for businesses. Businesses and brands can leverage messaging platforms to automate and improve customer relationship management (CRM), and to drive sales from the platforms.
  • Messaging apps present an excellent opportunity for businesses and publishers to reach consumers, but there are threats to their future growth and sustained success. Competing platforms like iMessage and RCS, as well as efforts to reduce reliance on apps in general, like Google’s Instant Apps product, could diminish the role messaging apps play in the lives of consumers. 

In full, the report:

  • Sizes the current messaging app space and future growth potential.
  • Details the major consumer-facing and business-facing offerings of the top three messaging apps by MAU count. 
  • Presents how these tools can be used by businesses and publishers to engage with consumers. 
  • Examines the potential external factors that could inhibit the growth of messaging apps.

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Larry Page and Sergey Brin’s Google Camp is as star studded as ever and most definitely not an ‘actual summer camp’ (GOOG, GOOGL)

stromboli sicily italy


  • Celebrities from entertainment and sports are guests of Google Camp 2018
  • The annual event, organized by Google cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, is taking place in Sicily.
  • Basketball legend Michael Jordan is rumored to be attending this year. 

The “conference” known as Google Camp is not your typical sleep away.
This is not the Catskills.

Few campers are likely to careen down any ziplines or go tubing.

This is an ultra-exclusive, super-secret, three-day gathering in Sicily of elite actors, fashion designers, media tycoons, models, pop stars and athletes hosted by Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page.

Certainly, the name can be misleading.

“My dumbass thought it was an actual summer camp sponsored by Google for really, really smart kids,” one person posted to Twitter on Tuesday.

Larry PageWhat actually is accomplished at these annual events, typically held in sunny and sandy locals, is not altogether clear. In past years, attendees have toured local ruins, enjoyed sumptuous meals and attended discussions on various topics. 

It’s fun to imagine attendees laughing derisively at the plebeians who frequent other conferences, like the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The Financial Times identified the guests at Google’s event as the “.0001 percent.”

This year’s event is being held at the Verdura Resort in Sicily. According to some tabloids and British newspapers, Lady Gaga, Harry Styles, Matthew McConaughey Bradley Cooper, and Leo DiCaprio are all in attendance this year. Former Chicago Bulls great Michael Jordan is rumored to be on his way.

Last year, campers included Snapchat cofounder Evan Spiegel, Pharrell Williams and Prince Harry.

SEE ALSO: Forget the sex, the hot new book about Google is an important reminder of what Sergey and Larry are really after

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