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Google Home smart speaker gets Mini and Max versions

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The smart speaker market gets two new entries from Google today. The Google Home family grows with smaller and larger siblings, which are designed to meet their competition from Amazon and Apple.

The Google Home Mini is a smaller companion to the standard Google Home smart speaker, and is also the cheapest in the family. It’s designed like Amazon’s Echo Dot, with its miniature and friendlier-looking form factor. It connects with other speakers wirelessly and can stream music to a Chromecast-enabled speaker if you want it to.

It has Google Assistant built in like any other Google Home product. It’s actually meant to get the digital assistant into more rooms and corners of your home, but has its own speaker so it can talk and play music.

The Google Home Mini will only cost US$ 49 and comes in three color options: chalk, charcoal, and coral. It’s now up for pre-order and will be available starting on October 19.

The Google Home Max, on the other hand, is a huge desk speaker that’ll compete with the Apple HomePod due to its size. It has two 4.5-inch woofers for deep bass and two tweeters for the high notes, which are all hidden behind a stylish fabric cover.

Of course, the Home Max has Google Assistant that’ll respond even when you’re playing music, thanks to the speaker’s far-field microphones. It has a feature called Smart Sound, which automatically tunes the speaker for the room size and to the audio you’re listening to — may it be a song, podcast, or phone call.

The Home Max features touch controls and supports Bluetooth and Google Cast for wireless music playback from any compatible device. It also has access to YouTube Music, Spotify, Google Play Music, Pandora, and iHeartRadio for streaming. If you want to go wired, it still has a 3.5mm audio port.

The Google Home Max will retail for US$ 399 and is coming sometime in December. It’s actually fifty bucks more expensive than the HomePod, but Google will throw in a 12-month ad-free YouTube Music subscription with every purchase.

SEE ALSO: Amazon introduces Echo Spot: your next bedside smart clock

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OnePlus 8 Series specs, price leak ahead of launch

OnePlus and its consitently rising prices…

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While most companies are deferring launches due to a global lockdown amid the Coronavirus pandemic, OnePlus is braving against the storm and launching its flagship phone on April 14. The OnePlus 8 Series shall launch in-line with its previous upgrade cycle, continuing a long followed legacy.

However, you won’t have to wait for the official announcements because the phone’s specifications and prices have already leaked. It was always known that the phones shall be powered by a Snapdragon 865 processor.

OnePlus 8 Pro:

The OnePlus 8 Pro is expected to have a 6.8-inch 120Hz Fluid AMOLED display with HDR 10+ support. For authentication, the brand shall continue with an in-display fingerprint scanner. It could also be the first phone to finally bring IP68 water and dust resistance to an OnePlus phone.

On the rear would be a quad-camera setup consisting of a 48-megapixel Sony IMX689 primary sensor, a 48-megapixel IMX586 wide-angle lens, an 8-megapixel telephoto camera, and a 5-megapixel color filter. For selfies, the front shall have a 16-megapixel camera.

Backing these internals should be a 4,500mAh battery with support for not only 30W fast charging but also 30W wireless charging. OnePlus has already detailed this concept before launch and it shall be one of the most exciting features of the phone.

The 8GB+128GB OnePlus 8 Pro is alleged to come with a whopping cost price of €930 (US$ 1,010) while the top-tier option with 12GB+256GB configuration is expected at  €1,020 (US$ 1,110).

OnePlus 8:

The smaller sibling would come with a slightly smaller 6.5-inch 90Hz Fluid AMOLED display with an integrated fingerprint scanner. Obviously, both the phones shall also have support for face unlock. However, the OnePlus 8 could miss out on waster and dust resistance certification.

The OnePlus 8 will have a triple-camera setup with a different choice of sensors. The primary lens shall consist of a 48-megapixel Sony IMX586 sensor, followed by a 16-megapixel wide-angle lens, and a 2-megapixel macro lens. For selfies, it’ll have a 16-megapixel sensor, the same as the OnePlus 8 Pro.

Powering these components shall be marginally smaller 4,300mAh battery with the usual 30W fast charging support. Both the phones will have Dolby Atmos support, stereo speakers, and 5G support. Like all OnePlus phones, they’ll ship with OxygenOS based on Android 10 out-of-the-box.

Lastly, the OnePlus 8 could have a starting price of €729 (US$ 790) for an 8GB+128GB option, while the 12GB+256GB variant may have cost €835 (US$ 910).

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Huawei just launched its own credit card

Partnered with UnionPay

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Nationalistic ties aside, Huawei has created some of the more interesting smartphones of recent history. Throughout the years, the company’s flagship series have brought remarkable performance for a fraction of the usual cost. That said, they also promised to expand their portfolio beyond their usual fare, starting with a flurry of smart home devices.

Today, Huawei has announced a new (and strangest) addition to its menu. In the Chinese launch for the Huawei P40 series, Huawei head honcho Richard Yu announced an official Huawei credit card.

Of course, a tech-endorsed financial service isn’t unheard of. Last year, Apple rolled out the Apple Card, a plastic and virtual service with Goldman Sachs. It’s no surprise that Huawei wants to get in on the action.

Like the Apple Card, Huawei’s credit card is available both physically and digitally. The company will work together with UnionPay, a sizable Chinese financial service. Likewise, the card can link with Huawei’s smartphones for mobile payment options, especially through Huawei Pay or the company’s digital wallet. For security, Huawei offers the same security it provides for its smartphones.

The program is already offering some tempting benefits for signing up. There is no annual fee for the first year. They can also reduce the second-year fee for those who spend enough money on Huawei Pay purchases. Finally, card owners will get travel benefits, like lounge access in certain train stations and airports.

Currently, Yu has not when the card will launch or whether it will launch exclusively in China.

SEE ALSO: Huawei Mate Xs price, availability in the Philippines

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Tired of a ‘lockdown’ relationship? Facebook has Tuned for you

Facebook and its wild ideas…

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Public display of affection, going out on dates, and even holding hands is a thing of the past. Stay indoors and self-quarantine yourself from the fatal virus out there. Facebook truly understands the problems of long-distance relationships and has an advanced solution to help you. It’s called Tuned.

Yes, it’s a dating app. But it doesn’t let you meet new people like Tinder or Bumble. It’s supposed to offer you a personal space, virtually. It’s not about finding love, but about sustaining it. Messaging is just one tiny feature of the app, it’ll further let you create a scrapbook-like-feed to see all your memories together.

Moreover, you can add pictures, voice notes, custom stickers, and more. That’s not all. You can also connect your Spotify playlist and share your mood with your partner. “With Tuned, you can be as mushy, quirky, and silly as you are together in person, even when you’re apart.” the team said in a statement.

Obviously, you can do all of this on any instant messaging app like WhatsApp or Messenger, both of which, are owned ultimately by Facebook. Perhaps the team thought having a dedicated app for a committed relationship would be a brighter idea?

The app is a creation of Facebook’s New Product Experimentation team that’s responsible for working around whacky ideas like these. Basically, throw a dart in the dark and hope it hits the mark. The app is limited to iOS for now and we don’t know if there will be an Android version any time soon.

Almost every other country is urging its citizens to practice social distancing amid the Coronavirus outbreak. In such times of crisis, couples are among the most hit victims who can’t even meet casually.

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