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Amazon makes a grand announcement of new Alexa-enabled Echo devices

A smart home has to have these

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Amazon continues to make a mark in the smart home market with their announcement of new Alexa-enabled Echo devices. The company released a slew of devices, but let’s know more about the key Echo products that have new upgrades.

Amazon Echo Dot

The new Echo Dot gets redesigned to look stylish and more modern. The plasticky design of the previous model is a thing of the past; the new model now has a fabric design that comes in three colors. The new model also claims to sound louder and better, but it’s still priced at US$ 50.

Amazon Echo Plus

The new Echo Plus has similar upgrades with its new fabric design. It comes with an upgraded 3-inch speaker for stronger bass and clearer mids and highs. Like the Dot, the new model is still priced like its predecessor which is at US$ 150.

Amazon Echo Show

The gigantic Echo Show has been redesigned, as well. It features a new body with a large 10-inch HD display. Of course, the new display comes with a better sound system composed of two 2-inch drivers with a passive radiator and Dolby audio processing.

It also comes with a new 5-megapixel front-facing camera for HD video calls. Alexa will soon support Skype audio and video calls, so you will be able to use Skype straight from your Echo Show. Additionally, it now has a built-in web browser. Pricing remains at US$ 230 like with the previous model.

Amazon Echo Auto

The Echo Auto is probably the most intriguing of the bunch. It’s a US$ 25 accessory (the cheapest Echo, yet) designed to let you access Alexa even while in your car. It powers itself from your car’s power outlet or a USB port and connects to the Internet via Bluetooth through your phone.

Using the Alexa app on your phone, it can play music or give you turn-by-turn navigation. You can also ask it pretty much anything you’d ask with other Echo devices.

The new Echo Dot, Echo Plus, and Echo Show are already up for pre-order and will go on sale starting October 11. The Echo Auto is also up for pre-order, but by request only.

Accessories

Even Samsung calls them Beans, according to teardown

They also have an easily replaceable battery

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Marketing will always clash with engineering. Whereas the latter will use quirky names for a product, the former will always prefer a more marketing-friendly name. Take the Android 11 versus Android Red Velvet Cake debate, for example. Now, another weirdly named product is falling into the same marketing versus engineering clash: the Galaxy Buds Live. If you’ve seen the product, you already know what it should be called. Apparently, Samsung does, too. According to a tear-down video, even Samsung calls them Beans.

In iFixit’s latest teardown video, the infamous dissector of tech revealed the inner workings of the small Galaxy Buds Live. Composed of many minuscule components, each earbud contains a flexible strip that holds the entire thing together. Each cable has a perfectly readable label called “bean left” or “bean right.” Without a doubt, Samsung — at least, their engineering department — calls them beans as well.

In other news, iFixit also comments on the relative ease of taking the earbuds apart, making them much easier to fix. They even found it easy to replace the battery (provided you even have a spare battery in the first place). Overall, the YouTuber gave it a repairability score of 8.

Regardless of what you call the Galaxy Buds Live or Galaxy Beans, the new wireless earbuds are a marvel of product design. The bean-shaped design makes for a more comfortable fit than more elongated earbuds out there. It fits snugly rather than protrudes invasively. Right now, the Galaxy Buds Live are available for US$ 169.99.

SEE ALSO: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 series: Staying the course

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Enterprise

Facebook blames Apple for harming small businesses

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Today, Facebook launched a new service wherein small businesses can now effectively host paid livestreaming events right on the platform. Of course, while individual users might not find much use for the service, small businesses will benefit from centralizing their operations in fewer platforms. However, in the same launch, Facebook blames Apple for harming small businesses.

You might ask why Facebook took the time to attack Apple during their own launch event. Well, for two reasons.

The first reason concerns the new service’s payment structure. The new service includes a host of possible events like fitness classes, meet-and-greets, and pay-per-view events. Naturally, paid online events will help recoup losses from a still-ailing live events industry. To help these small business, Facebook chose to forego any revenue from hosting any events on their page. Small businesses will essentially earn 100 percent of their ticket sales from the event.

Now, Apple currently has a 30 percent cut on all transactions made through their devices. Hence, small businesses will earn only 70 percent of the revenue made from Apple users. Facebook asked Apple to either reduce the revenue cut or allow Facebook to shoulder the burden. Apple declined.

The second reason is, strangely, because of Fortnite. Lately, the still-popular battle royale game launched a crusade against the App Store’s monopolistic 30 percent cut. Epic Games migrated Fortnite’s transaction system away from Apple or Google and into Epic Games directly, earning them 100 percent of the revenue. As a result, Apple and Google kicked Fortnite from their respective stores. Now, Epic Games is suing Apple for the monopolistic practice.

Facebook’s dig against Apple is timely. In exposing Apple’s decision, Facebook can hope to change the practice in the future.

SEE ALSO: Facebook wants to acquire Dubsmash to fight TikTok

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OPPO Reno4 price and availability in the Philippines

Launched with Careless Music Manila

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The OPPO Reno4 is now official in the Philippines.

Touted as a content creating smartphone, the Reno4 is treading the same path that the Reno line has been taking since the Reno2. On its back is a quad-camera setup: 48MP main camera, 8MP ultra wide angle lens, 2MP macro lens, 2MP mono camera. Up front, it has a 32MP selfie camera.

Night photography enthusiasts will enjoy the Night Flair Mode, which allows users to apply neon effects against the backdrop.

Moreover, its camera also comes with 960fps Smart Slow Motion for impressive slo-mo shots. There’s also an upgraded Ultra Steady Video 3.0 that now works in both front and rear cameras.

Inside, it’s powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G SoC. It also has 8GB of RAM with 128GB storage. It has a 6.4-inch display in a very thin and light body at just 7.7mm and 165g.

It also comes pre-installed with OPPO’s own SoLoop video editor for editing all your social media videos.

Pricing and availability

The OPPO Reno4 in the Philippines will come in Galactic Blue or Space Black and will retail for PhP 18,990.

The pre-order will start from August 15-21. Pre-orders come with a free Rock Space EB100 True Wireless Stereo Earbuds worth PhP2,899.

Starting August 22, the latest handset will be available in all OPPO concept stores nationwide, dealer partners, and e-commerce partners Shopee and Lazada.

The new OPPO Reno4 will also be available via Globe Postpaid, free at ThePlan 1499 with free Rock Space EB100 Stereo Earbuds starting August 22.

To maximize your mobile experience, ThePLAN 1499 comes with 11 GB Mobile Data, Unli All-Net Text, Unli calls to Globe/TM, 50 mins All-Net calls and 1GB data allocation for Facebook. You’ll also get a free subscription to Amazon Prime Video (for 6 months) and iflix VIP (for 3 months).

You can also get 0% interest for up to 12 months with OPPO’s official credit card bank partners Metrobank, PNB, and Citibank. Additionally, you can also purchase OPPO Reno4 at 0% interest installment with Home Credit, with a 20% down payment requirement for any of the 9-month, 12-month, 15- month, and 18-month installment plans.

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