Samsung partners with Google to bring ARCore platform to Galaxy devices

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Today, Samsung and Google announced a partnership to bring Google’s new ARCore framework to Samsung’s line of Galaxy smartphones, uniting the two giants’ augmented reality efforts as the market is starting to really crowd. The news is a big boon for Google’s ARCore, which Google announced earlier this year as a competitor to Apple’s ARKit. It is effectively a software platform for building out AR apps that make use of both advances in cloud software and on-device hardware to place digital objects into the real world.

Now, developers will be able to design ARCore apps that work on both Google Pixel devices and Samsung Galaxy devices, including the Galaxy S8 and Note 8. Samsung was an initial launch partner for ARCore with the S8, but…

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This clever hack turns the iPad’s camera into a button

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iPad apps don’t have access to a single physical button, so an app developer found a way to hack one on. Astro HQ, the company behind the drawing app Astropad, uses its latest app to turn the iPad’s camera into a button: you tap the camera, and an on-screen panel slides out; tap again, and it’s gone. It’s a really clever idea that allows controls to be taken off the screen, freeing up space.

Of course, this approach comes with a major downside: the camera has to be on and analyzing the entire time. That poses some potential battery issues, not to mention privacy concerns. Astro says it’s addressed both. It claims to blur camera imagery “to the point of not being able to see any data coming in,” so that it’s only looking at whether the…

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Samsung announces Bixby 2.0 six months after launching Bixby 1.0

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Samsung today announced a second-generation version of its digital voice assistant Bixby: dubbed Bixby 2.0, it’s geared toward smart home devices. The news, announced at the company’s developer conference in San Francisco, means that Samsung wants to position Bixby as even more of a competitor to Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant, both of which are racing to lock consumers into their own respective hardware and software ecosystems. Samsung says the new Bixby will also be more capable at processing natural language and predicting user needs, regardless of which device it’s running on.

The new version of Bixby will “act as the control hub of your device ecosystem,” Samsung says, which includes phones, TVs, refrigerators, speakers, and…

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Samsung’s 360 Round camera has 17 lenses

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Samsung launched a new camera today called the 360 Round. It shoots, as you can likely infer from its name, 360-degree footage. It’s equipped with 17 lenses, including eight stereo pairs that are positioned horizontally and a single lens positioned vertically. The camera and its lenses are water and dust resistant for outdoor shooting and live-streaming. The 360 Round builds on Samsung’s prior work with its Project Beyond camera.

Samsung’s particularly proud of the fact that the camera doesn’t require a fan for cooling, meaning it’s quieter and lighter than other cameras. The camera stitches images together to create a virtual environment through included PC software. It goes on sale at some point in October, but Samsung hasn’t announced…

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DeepMind’s Go-playing AI doesn’t need human help to beat us anymore

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Google’s AI subsidiary DeepMind has unveiled the latest version of its Go-playing software, AlphaGo Zero. The new program is a significantly better player than the version that beat the game’s world champion earlier this year, but, more importantly, it’s also entirely self-taught. DeepMind says this means the company is one step closer to creating general purpose algorithms that can intelligently tackle some of the hardest problems in science, from designing new drugs to more accurately modeling the effects of climate change.

The original AlphaGo demonstrated superhuman Go-playing ability, but needed the expertise of human players to get there. Namely, it used a dataset of more than 100,000 Go games as a starting point for its own…

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Sennheiser’s new IE 800 S earbuds up the ante (and the price)

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Sennheiser is updating its audiophile IE 800 earbuds, debuting a new model called the IE 800 S. This next generation of the IE 800 not only has improved acoustics, but has been given a face-lift to the design, as well. This follows Sennheiser’s recent announcement of the over-ear HD 660 S, which succeed the HD 650.

The IE 800 S earbuds have a tweaked version of the company’s Extra Wide Band (XWB) driver, which promises to up the ante when it comes to distortion-free listening. There’s also in-house designed 7mm transducers, which are actually a tad smaller than what most other companies offer in earbuds. But when it comes to speakers, bigger does not always mean better. The quality of the build ultimately wins, and Sennheiser has a s…

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Pixar’s latest Coco clips reveal more about its animated Mexican musical

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Yesterday, Pixar released two new clips of its upcoming animated film Coco, a musical inspired by Mexico’s traditional Day of the Dead celebrations. One is a teaser, and another is a behind-the-scenes look at the film.

In recent years, Disney has ramped up its diversity efforts, producing films like Moana, derived from Polynesian culture, and Queen of Katwe, the based-on-real-life story of a Ugandan chess champ. But Pixar, acquired by Disney in 2006, hasn’t followed the same trends: it’s focused on stories set in Scotland (Brave), France (Ratatouille), America (Inside Out), and the fantasy worlds of The Good Dinosaur, Finding Dory 2, and Cars 3. “With Coco, we got to visit the beautiful country of Mexico,” says story writer Adrian…

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Apple adds more indoor airport maps including Chicago and Las Vegas

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Apple Maps on iOS 11 now features indoor maps for a few more airports around the United States. Ars Technica reports that Apple has very recently added interior layouts for a handful of locations including Chicago’s O’Hare International and Midway International, plus Las Vegas’s McCarran International airport. Baltimore–Washington International, Miami International, Minneapolis-St. Paul International, Oakland International, and Portland International are also now available if you’re running iOS 11.

Indoor maps were announced as a new iOS 11 feature at WWDC 2017. Apple wants to give users a detailed look at shopping malls and airports around the world so that it’s easier to find food and other pre-flight areas of interest near your gate.

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Samsung’s new SmartThings Cloud will unite all of its IoT devices

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Samsung is combining its various Internet of Things services under a single banner called SmartThings Cloud, the company announced today at the 2017 Samsung Developer Conference.

While in the past various Samsung IoT devices have used SmartThings, Samsung Connect, and ARTIK platforms, going forward the company will be uniting them into SmartThings Cloud. Samsung says that SmartThings Cloud will provide “a single, powerful cloud-based hub,” and that SmartThings Cloud will be a new open ecosystem, that will work with both Samsung devices and other third-party products.

The company hasn’t said much more about what to expect from SmartThings Cloud, but Samsung is saying that consumers should expect to be able to start using products with…

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Gmail plugin Boomerang arrives on iOS with a voice assistant

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Gmail and Microsoft Outlook plugin Boomerang comes to iOS today, and it’s got a built-in AI voice assistant. The app syncs your email so that you essentially have two different apps to view your mail in, but it gives you tools Gmail and Outlook have yet to offer, like the ability to pause your email notifications for hours or weeks and send an email chain back to yourself as a reminder to follow up when needed. It’s taken Boomerang over four years to release its iOS app after launching on Android, and the latter isn’t getting the AI voice assistant for now.

Boomerang is also getting a few updates beyond its voice assistant. On the iOS app, you can swipe to the left on an email, and then move, mark, star, or delete the email with the…

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Adobe Photoshop now supports Microsoft’s Surface Dial

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Microsoft originally unveiled its Surface Dial accessory for its Surface Studio all-in-one PC almost a year ago. App support has been fairly limited so far, but Microsoft did promise that Photoshop would start supporting the accessory. That support is finally arriving today, beyond the basic zoom options that have existed for the past year.

Adobe is updating its popular software to Photoshop CC today, and it includes Surface Dial integration to tweak brush settings. I’ve tested the Surface Dial integration, and it’s limited to just the brush settings. Adobe’s implementation brings up a separate brush menu when you trigger the Dial, and you can adjust size, opacity, hardness, flow, and smoothing by rotating the Dial.

Other…

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Stranger Things’ spoiler tweets reveal the nightmare future of marketing

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Remember in Minority Report, when Tom Cruise’s character tries to lose some pursuers in a crowded mall, but the sophisticated advertising technology of 2054 keeps identifying him by name and trying to sell him things? It’s a funny gag, and a useful plot point, since it means he can’t go anywhere without wall-holograms ratting him out to his enemies. But it’s also meant to be the sign of a dark future dystopia, where privacy has disappeared, and facial-recognition scanners and complicated algorithms target consumers individually.

The team behind the hit Netflix series Stranger Things has been taking us a step closer to that dark future lately, with a series of short Twitter “spoiler” videos aimed at calling out prominent individual fans…

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The Pixel 2 XL would be the best phone in the world if its screen wasn’t so weird

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First thing’s first: if you want to read The Verge’s canonical opinion on Google’s new Pixel 2 phones, read Dieter Bohn’s authoritative and comprehensive review. Dieter’s judgment is something I rarely question, but on this one occasion, he and I diverge on how we feel about a very important aspect of Google’s new flagship pair. Dieter thinks the Pixel 2 XL’s screen is imperfect but can be lived with; I think it’s an inexcusable disaster.

I have been using the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL for nearly a week now, and in that time I’ve immersed myself in the goodness that is Android 8.0, Google’s pleasantly updated design, and the unprecedented and unequaled Pixel camera. I’m a satisfied Android user, and I know for a fact (because I’ve reviewed…

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Mr. Robot season 3, episode 2: watch our digital after show

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Episode 2 of Mr. Robot season 3 airs tonight, which means our digital after show won’t be far behind. Tune in after the episode at 11PM to watch Nilay Patel, Russell Brandom, and me, Megan Farokhmanesh, break down the episode. This week, we’ll be chatting with actor Jeremy Holm, as well as cryptocurrency expert Peter Van Valkenburgh to talk us through ecoin.

Catch us here on The Verge, or on the Mr. Robot Facebook page. If you missed our show last week, don’t fret! You can watch us chat with Portia Doubleday (who plays Angela) and break down the episode on YouTube. Don’t forget to take all your burning questions for Jeremy and Peter to our official Mr. Robot Reddit thread, and send us all your brilliant thoughts using the #RobotAfterShow…

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Blade Runner 2049 and Tron: Legacy have a surprising number of things in common

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The summer of 1982 was an extended cinematic Christmas for science fiction, horror, and fantasy fans. Steven Spielberg’s E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial dominated the summer’s box office, and the canon of classic genre movies added many more entries that summer, with Conan the Barbarian and George Miller’s The Road Warrior in May, and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and John Carpenter’s The Thing in June. But right around the July 4 holiday that year, two visually groundbreaking science fiction films were released to mild box-office returns, unremarkable reviews, and eventually passionate fanbases: Blade Runner and Tron.

Both Blade Runner and Tron are unlikely cult hits. Both are considered state-of-the-art examples of science fiction…

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Final Fantasy XV continues to grow in strange ways with mobile and VR spinoffs

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Final Fantasy XV is a game, but it’s also the center of a steadily growing universe. Even before the long-awaited RPG made its debut last November, it was preceded by a feature-length CG movie and a five-part anime series. Since launch, we’ve seen a number of updates, multiple story expansions, and a handful spinoffs. Like most blockbuster games nowadays, FFXV is a title that lives well beyond its initial release date.

As we approach FFXV’s anniversary next month, it doesn’t show any signs of slowing down — though it is moving in some curious directions. One, Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition, completely reimagines the game as a cute, streamlined game on mobile. Another, Monster of the Deep: Final Fantasy XV, takes the surprisingly fun…

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Cardhop is a fast and simple new contacts app from the creator of Fantastical

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I gave up on my contacts list a long time ago. It got too big, too messy, and too confusing. But for the first time in a while, I actually want to dive back in and straighten it up. That’s thanks to Cardhop, a new Mac app from Flexibits that makes it much easier to manage your contacts and actually get things done with them.

Flexibits is best known as the company behind the calendar app Fantastical — and its roots show. Just like it did with Fantastical, Flexibits’ goal with Cardhop is to use natural language typing support to make it much quicker and simpler to get things done.

Image: Flexibits

Above “birthdays” is the search box.

The app pops down from your menubar and is largely based around a search box,…

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Motorola is making a $150 Alexa speaker Moto Mod

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Motorola just announced a new Moto Mod for its Moto Z phones: a $150 speaker attachment with Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant.

Officially called the Moto Smart Speaker with Amazon Alexa, the new modular attachment is more or less what you’d get if you took the existing Soundboost 2 speaker mod and built in Alexa. There’s even a giant, glowing blue LED ring on the back, just like you’d get on an actual Echo device.

Now, turning a phone into a mini Echo isn’t really a bad thing, per se, but it is kind of a weird product, seeing as any phone that you’d attach the Mod to would already have Google Assistant available for free. If you simply must have an Amazon Echo, the $149.99 that Moto is charging for the Alexa Smart Speaker…

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