Gather the family ‘round and play What’s That Smell?

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The New York City Toy Fair is this weekend, and a company called WowWee has a new game to show off called What’s That Smell? Yup. What is What’s That Smell? As you might assume, players have to smell a scratch-and-sniff card and guess the smell. It could be poop! It could also be garbage, bacon, grass, or rotten fish. The game comes with 48 “mystery whiff” cards. Players have to guess the smell under a certain amount of time — up to five minutes depending on what setting you choose — and receive points if they guess certain other smells. So for the apple card, you’d get five points for saying apple, but you could get two points for saying strawberry. Close enough!

The game also complements a companion iOS / Android app that provides…

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3Doodler’s new kit lets kids draw bodies for robotic insects

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We’re already seeing a bunch of STEM toys pop up in the days leading up to Toy Fair 2018, and WobbleWorks, makers of the 3D-printing pen 3Doodler, is throwing its hat into the ring. The company is launching the 3Doodler Start STEM series kits, which includes a range of activity kits that let you build robotic dinosaurs and make your own skeleton figurines.

3Doodler has also partnered with robotic insect toy company Hexbugs to launch a “Make Your Own Hexbug” set, which lets kids draw insect body parts and legs on a custom DoodleMold. The little motor inside the completed Hexbug lets the robotic insects hop and scurry across, which kids can put inside mazes or race against their friends.

The kits are meant to be used to teach kids about…

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Chat heads are now on Google’s Phone app for easier multitasking

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Google’s latest update of its Android phone app comes with the addition of a rather popular interactive messaging feature: chat heads. You may recognize the little floating chat bubbles that you can drag around your phone as a mainstay of Android, but they were in fact invented in their modern form by Facebook back in 2013 as part of a now-defunct Android lock screen product called Facebook Home, which bundled Messenger chats with your SMS text messages for the first time.

Chat heads have since become a popular feature for messaging apps across the board (except for iMessage), and Google is now integrating them into Google Phone version 17, as reported today by 9to5Google. Similar to how chat heads pull up a drop-down menu of recent…

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These built-in dongle headphones are the horrifying end to removing the headphone jack

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I suppose it was always going to come to this. As soon as Apple removed the 3.5mm headphone jack from its phones, it was inevitable that someone would eventually create this chimerical monster. But it doesn’t make it any more enjoyable to see in real life: a pair of Lightning headphones with a second, integrated Lightning dongle for charging the phone while listening to music, as seen on Engadget Japan.

This is the world that Apple has created, one with the Cheero Earphones with Charging Dock. They cost 2,980 yen (around $28), and claim to be MFi-approved, which would make it one of the few third-party Lightning charging dongles around.

Tracing your eyes along this hybrid horror is almost like an optical illusion: one…

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Essential is selling three stunning colors of its smartphone for a limited time

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Essential is launching three limited-edition colors of its phone, which will go on sale over the next week. Those include two announced at launch — Ocean Depths and Stellar Gray — and one new option, Copper Black.

All three models will be available for $599, which is $100 more than the standard black or white model of the phone. Essential says it’s only making a “small batch” of these new colors because “colored ceramic is extremely difficult to produce consistently.” The company didn’t say how many units will be available of each.

The unique teal and gold Ocean Depths design was first revealed on Essential’s website way back in the spring/summer along with the black, white, and matte Stellar Gray option. The black Essential Phone led…

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The A Song of Ice and Fire book coming this year is still not the one you want

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Notoriously slow Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin plans to release a book in his A Song of Ice and Fire series this year. Unfortunately, it’s not the long-awaited sixth novel, The Winds of Winter. Instead, it’s the companion book Fire & Blood, which will be a written history of the franchise’s House Targaryen. Martin confirmed on his LiveJournal that the first volume is “planned” for a 2018 release, while “the second is hardly begun.”

Fans have been waiting for The Winds of Winter for years at this point, with no definitive answer on when it will actually arrive. The last official entry in the saga, A Dance with Dragons, was released all the way back in 2011. According to a follow-up LiveJournal comment by Martin, The Winds of…

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Wireless chargers are out; wireless chargers with extra hubs are in

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Wireless chargers are bigger than ever, and with more and more devices supporting the wireless charging standard, they’re starting to get… weird. Regular, boring wireless charging pads are out.

Today, it’s all about wireless chargers that go beyond just wireless charging. There are now pads that add extra USB ports, chargers that attach to portable battery packs for charging on the go, chargers combined with USB-C hubs, and whatever this Pikachu thing is.

On Circuit Breaker Live, we dove into a few of the latest and wildest wireless charging gadgets out there: the Nomad Wireless Charging Hub, which combines a fast-charging Qi charger with a full USB hub (including a USB-C port); the Synavolt modular charger; the Hyperdrive USB-C Hub,…

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Saru is Star Trek: Discovery’s unsung hero

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With all the betrayals, torture, time-looping, and universe-hopping crammed into the first season of Star Trek: Discovery, fans can be forgiven for missing subtler story points aboard the Federation vessel Discovery. From the personalities of the ship’s bridge crew to the finer physiological points of “species reassignment,” many of the show’s smaller details traveled painlessly under the radar, though season 2 — tentatively scheduled for 2019 — might expand on them. But one downplayed element of this season’s grand, multidimensional adventure can’t go unmentioned. For the sake of the show’s larger narrative and emotional impact, and the sake of justice in the Star Trek universe, the show needs to spend more time with Saru, the alien…

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The latest trailer for Pacific Rim Uprising is packed with giant mech vs. giant monster action

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AMC Theaters released an IMAX trailer for Pacific Rim Uprising, the upcoming sequel to Guillermo del Toro’s 2013 film Pacific Rim, and it’s packed with giant robot vs. giant monster action.

Prior trailers for the film revealed that this movie is set a decade after the first film, in which humanity faced down a horde of otherworldly monsters known as Kaiju, using giant mechs called Jaegers. The Last Jedi‘s John Boyega heads up the cast, starring as the son of Stacker Pentecost (played by Idris Elba in Pacific Rim) as he gathers a new band of Jaeger pilots to face a renewed threat.

Those prior trailers helped set up the story and introduce the new characters, but this latest trailer shows off the real reason to see the movie: the…

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Amazon Echo is now available in India

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Amazon has made its line of Echo speakers available to everyone in India, four months after launching the speakers in the country on an invite-only basis. As spotted by Android Police, customers in India can now purchase the Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Plus, and Harman Kardon Allure, although all of the speakers are notably more expensive than the versions sold in the US.

The Echo speakers have also received support for English (India) to go along with English (English (Australia), English (Canada) English (UK), English (US), German, and Japanese), but so far they seemingly don’t support Hindi, which will limit the potential audience for the Echo in India.

You can purchase the line of Echo speakers from Amazon.in today.

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Project Fi will now let you know if you’re covered ahead of international trips

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Google’s Project Fi has announced it is expanding its international coverage, making it now available in 170 countries and territories. Additionally, Project Fi will also now let you know if you’re covered for your next trip based upon international flight information from Gmail. Prior to today, Project Fi was already available in 135 countries. Added to this list are now places like Belize and Myanmar, all available for the same price users pay at home.

Project Fi is also introducing a new notification system for international travelers. If you are covered for your upcoming trip, you will receive a notification in your Project Fi app shortly before that lets you see the cost of data and voice calls. The notifications will be on by…

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Pandora Premium is now available for the web

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Last March, Pandora launched Premium, a $10 per month streaming service available only as an iOS and Android app. Now, nearly a year later, Pandora Premium is available for the web.

While it might seem like Pandora is late to the streaming service game, the company already has around 80 million monthly users, and it says it wants to make streaming more approachable for the users it already has.

“We’re really going to be just maniacally focused on what really enhances the experience for everybody,” Pandora CEO Tim Westergren told The Verge in March. “There will be power user capabilities. Will video appear on Pandora? That’s been on our list for a long time. But it’s more about what are the right things to do next and in what order, to…

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Samsung’s updated Notebook 9 laptops will start at $1,200

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Samsung unveiled its refreshed Notebook 9 series of laptops last December, which had three models including the Notebook 9 Pen, a 13.3-inch 2-in-1 notebook with an integrated S Pen. Now, the company has released pricing for all the models, and says they will be available to purchase starting Sunday, February 18th.

Pricing is as follows: the Notebook 9 Pen 13-inch starts at $1,399.99, the Notebook 9 13-inch without the stylus will cost $1,199.99 with a Core i5 processor and $1,299.99 with a Core i7, the Notebook 9 15-inch will start at $1,299.99, and lastly, the Notebook 7 Spin is $899.99.

The Notebook 9 Pen is being updated to include Intel’s eighth-generation processors, up to 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of SSD storage. The regular Notebook…

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Samsung halts Android Oreo rollout on Galaxy S8 due to ‘unexpected’ restarts

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Samsung started rolling out Android Oreo for the Galaxy S8 at the beginning of the week, but then just hours later, it seemed to have stopped. Now Samsung is revealing why: it was causing some phones to randomly reboot, according to a statement given to SamMobile. Samsung says it hopes to roll out a fixed version of the update “as quickly as possible.”

SamMobile first reported that the update had been pulled on Monday, saying that it heard Samsung was already at work on a new version of the update. At the time, though, it wasn’t clear what had gone wrong. Samsung now says the problem affects both the S8 and S8 Plus in “a limited number of cases,” but clearly it was enough to halt the software’s rollout.

While this means that some S8…

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Versus is back, and ‘we’ are kicking it off with iPhone X vs. Pixel 2

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There’s reviewing a new phone, and then there’s living with a phone for an extended period of time, which is what I — excuse me, “we” — have had the chance to do in the few months since the iPhone X and the Pixel 2 started shipping.

And then we figured: what better products to compare in a new episode of Versus than these two flagship phones?

You might remember the Versus video series from back in 2016 when we sparred over Kindles, smartphones, laptops, hair dryers, robotic vacuum cleaners, even Wi-Fi-connected Brita pitchers. Sometimes it’s obvious that a new product is simply superior to its competitor or predecessor; sometimes it’s not so clear. With any new thing, the promise is that it should be better designed, run more…

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Windows 10 is getting an ‘Ultimate Performance’ mode for power users

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Microsoft is adding a new power scheme to Windows 10 Pro for Workstations, enabling power users to get more out of their machines. The new mode will be available in the next Windows 10 update, expected to be released in March or April. It’s designed for power users with high performance workstations, and will include special power management features to ensure performance is as best as a system will allow.

“This new policy builds on the current High-Performance policy, and it goes a step further to eliminate micro-latencies associated with fine grained power management techniques,” explains Windows Insider chief Dona Sarkar. “As the power scheme is geared towards reducing micro-latencies it may directly impact hardware; and consume more…

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Microsoft’s new photos app for iOS and Android lets you quickly transfer pictures to a PC

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Microsoft is releasing a new Photos Companion app for iOS and Android today, designed to make it much quicker to get photos from a phone to a PC. The new app is available immediately, and it’s being released as part of Microsoft’s Garage project which lets employees release experimental apps. Microsoft’s own photos team has been working on the app for several months, and it links directly to Windows 10’s built-in photos app.

If you’re a OneDrive user or you already backup phone photos to another cloud service, this new app probably isn’t for you, but Microsoft has primarily designed this for students. “The biggest hurdle many classrooms faced was getting the content students had captured with their phones onto their project PCs,” e…

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Windows 10 testers can now try beta apps without updating the entire OS

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Microsoft is introducing a new option for Windows 10 testers this week, allowing them to access beta versions of built-in apps without having to install early operating system code. The software maker has been updating its built-in apps like mail and photos throughout its Windows 10 test periods, but you’d typically need to be on the Fast or Skip Ahead rings to get the very latest app updates.

“We heard feedback from Windows Insiders that having to opt-in to Skip Ahead to receive the latest app updates wasn’t ideal as it required Insiders to also be on super-early and sometimes unstable builds of the OS,” says Windows Insider chief Dona Sarkar. The change now means you can stay safely on the Release Preview Ring or even the Slow Ring and…

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New renders reveal the upcoming Nokia 7+ and Nokia 1

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Notable leaker Evan Blass has revealed images of the upcoming Nokia 7+ and Nokia 1 in several tweets. The Nokia 7+ will be HMD Global’s first Android One device, and is expected to debut at MWC with the entry-level Nokia 1 at the end of this month. Android One devices run an unmodified version of Google’s mobile OS, meaning less bloatware and (hopefully) more frequent software updates.

The image of the Nokia 7+ shows a white device with copper highlights on the buttons, camera, and sides of the phone. The device has the Android One branding stamped on the back, and what looks to be a fingerprint scanner below the camera. (The second-generation Nokia 6 also has a fingerprint scanner on the back and a similar design to the 7+.) We only…

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