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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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Enterprise

Huawei thinks about selling its 5G business

Will hopefully appease Western tensions

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Once again, Huawei is weighing all its options. As time rolls by, the company is slowly losing its grip on the Western market. Even after a temporary wave of full support, the US government has gone cold turkey. Huawei is still on the blacklist. In the meantime, the company’s temporary operating license is merely receiving extensions. Unfortunately, extensions don’t mean much without a definitive end.

Huawei is in dire straits. According to a recent interview with The Economist, Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei is mulling over a drastic move: selling its 5G business to the highest bidder.


Throughout the entire controversy, Huawei’s detractors have often decried the company’s 5G technology as a potential security threat. According to the detractors, the Chinese government can seize control of the company at any time.

Hence, a potential sale can alleviate geopolitical pressures. If a sale is concluded, the purchasing customer will have access to the technology’s inner workings. The customer can check if the network does have a Chinese backdoor built into it. Further, they can tailor the technology in any way they want.

Since plans are plans, the Huawei boss still doesn’t have any potential customers in mind. Likewise, the company has not announced a price yet. If you’re eyeing your wallet for a huge purchase, you’ll have to wait for when Huawei announces the sale.

SEE ALSO: Huawei is still getting the Android 10 update

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Huawei is still getting the Android 10 update

For models before the Mate 30 series

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If you’re a Huawei user like me, you’re probably worried about the future of your daily driver. Will my Huawei P20 Pro just wither away when Google finally leaves the building? Fortunately, no.

According to the latest news surrounding the Huawei-Google brouhaha, Huawei’s current lineup is immune from the upcoming purge. Specifically, all of Huawei’s devices released before the Mate 30 series will still enjoy Google’s beautiful suite of products. Naturally, here’s the next question: will we still get valuable software updates?


At IFA 2019, Huawei unveiled the upcoming roadmap for software updates going forward. The update specifically refers to Huawei’s Android 10 package — the customized EMUI 10. The roadmap confirms which of the current models will receive the update. Surprisingly, the update will as far back as the Mate 10 series.

Starting November 2019, the main P30 unitsthe regular P30 and the P30 Pro — will start receiving the package. Afterwards, December will introduce the update to the Mate 20 series and the Honor 20 series. Finally, the P30 lite, the P20 series, and the Mate 10 series will receive the update starting March next year.

After that, Huawei has alluded to “other models” getting the update in the second quarter of next year. However, the roadmap does not clarify which models this includes. On the one hand, this might pertain to past models before the Mate 10 series. On the other, Huawei is possibly holding on to a fleeting hope that they reconcile with Google in the future.

Regardless, Google is still supporting Huawei’s current phones in the meantime. The roadmap should come as a sigh of relief for those still sticking to their Huawei devices.

SEE ALSO: Huawei announces flagship Kirin 990 processor

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Siri will never say ‘feminism,’ thanks to Apple

New directive forces Siri to deflect gender questions

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Let’s face it: an AI-powered voice assistant is unbelievably fun to tease. We’ve all joked around with Siri. From charming compliments to making Siri talk dirty, we’ve all tried to break Apple’s programming. For what it’s worth, Apple specifically programmed quirky responses to equally quirky questions. It’s all about finding the right question.

As with every fun pastime, there will always come people who take things too far. Some users will try to get Siri say forbidden words and discuss touchy topics. Without much of a choice, Apple must put its foot down somewhere. Based on leaked documents from The Guardian, the developer is already discovering its limits.


Internally, Apple has changed several directives regarding today’s more sensitive topics. For feminism and the #MeToo movement, Siri should respond in three ways: don’t engage, deflect, and inform. The new directive even forbids the voice assistant from mentioning the word “feminism” even when asked directly.

According to the leaked documents, Apple is maintaining a “guarded” stance against controversial topics. However, the company is still ensuring their neutrality in the matter. At the most general level, Siri will respond with statements of equality. One such response states: “I believe that all voices are created equal and worth equal respect.” Another example triggers when users ask about Siri’s identity: “My name is Siri, and I was designed by Apple in California. That’s all I’m prepared to say.” The new Siri is a lot more direct than yesteryear’s general responses. Further, the document also detail how Siri should be addressed: a genderless non-human whose “true origin is unknown, even to Siri; but it definitely wasn’t a human invention.”

Besides explaining the current directives, the document also details the voice assistant’s future. Apple will eventually release a more substantial update in 2021. The update will include several new features, including the ability to talk back-and-forth with Siri about health.

SEE ALSO: Tell Siri to ‘lace up’ the Nike Adapt Huarache

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