News

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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News

Samsung deploys Galaxy tablets for Grab rides

An attempt to make your commute bearable

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Commuting in Manila is a dreadful experience due to traffic. Grab passengers wait for hours before arriving at their destinations. Thankfully, Grab rides will be more bearable with Samsung Galaxy tablets.

Samsung has partnered with Grab Philippines to equip select Grab cars with Galaxy tablets until the end of October. The tablets equipped in select cars are the recently-launched Galaxy Tab S6 and Tab A 8.0. With these tablets, every Grab commutes will be a much bearable and entertaining experience.

Both the Galaxy Tab S6 and Tab A 8.0 feature large displays perfect for viewing Netflix episodes on the go. The Galaxy Tab S6 has a 10.5-inch AMOLED display while the Tab A 8.0 has an 8.0-inch LCD display. On the performance front, the Tab S6 is the more powerful of the two with a Snapdragon 855 inside. Meanwhile, the Tab A 8.0 has frugal Snapdragon 429 for daily tasks.

Both tablets are now available in all Samsung concept stores nationwide. But while saving up for one of the Galaxy tablets, why not take a Grab and try them out?

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Instagram will tell which accounts you should already unfollow

Test rolling out slowly

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Open your Instagram right now. How many accounts are you following? Ten points, if you already have more than a thousand. Regardless of how many followed accounts you have, you have a bunch you should probably unfollow already: an ex you still keep stalking, your old classmate’s bankrupt jewelry business, or a quirky meme page you thought was funny at the time. Of course, with hundreds of followed accounts, where should you even begin?

If you’re suffering this particular predicament, Instagram is testing an extremely helpful feature. Spotted by app reverse-engineer Jane Manchun Wong, the popular image-sharing social network has slowly released a new sorting algorithm for followed contacts.

Image source: Twitter / Jane Manchun Wong

The test sorts followed accounts into easily manageable accounts. The most prevalent categories are “Most Shown in Feed” and “Least Interacted With.” The “Most Shown in Feed” category will “review the accounts with the most posts in your feed over the last 90 days.” Meanwhile, the “Least Interacted With” category will “review accounts you’ve interacted with the least in the last 90 days, such as liking their posts or reacting to their stories.” In a way, this category will help you sort out accounts you don’t really care about.

Additionally, the categories also include seemingly custom ones defined by the user: “Art,” “Comics,” “Travel.” You can likely lump together accounts based on arbitrary criteria. The feature is useful for catching up on certain interests.

Unfortunately, the update has not rolled out for everyone. The test will likely take a while to conclude before it gets a wider release.

SEE ALSO: Instagram is finally getting a dark mode

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Gaming

PUBG Mobile has a host of surprise gifts this Diwali

Burst in-game crackers!

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Diwali is a very auspicious festival in the Hindu calendar and is comparable to Christmas in India. With the onset of the festive season, everyone is on a shopping spree. Companies are gearing up to send out gifts and streets will be lit up with diyas and lanterns.

The country is also one of the largest markets for PUBG Mobile, and the brand intends to leverage the festive season this year. The game has announced a plethora of in-game offerings as well as physical gifts.

Starting October 19, ‘Diwali Dhamaka Event’ will go live in the game and players need to complete daily missions to collect ‘Diwali Sparklers,’ which can be used to ‘Burst Crackers.’ Bursting these crackers will get you ‘Gift Tokens’ that can be redeemed for exclusive in-game items.

For reference, bursting crackers has been a tradition during Diwali. However, everyone is urged to refrain from bursting actual crackers because it leads to massive air pollution. A virtual celebration is best for everyone.

Progressing up the ladder, there will be three levels and each will offer you up to 25 tokens. Once all the Gift Tokens are collected, players will get a Diwali special in-game item for free. Additionally, few lucky winners will also stand a chance to win physical rewards like TVS Apache Bike, OPPO Phones, gold coins, and more.

In-game offering currently includes a Kurta Pajama Set (traditional clothes worn during Diwali), Cricket Costume, Future Policewoman set, Lobster Set, AWM/M416 gun skins, Crate Coupons, and more. The festivities will be available in-game till November 4.

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