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Google updates Wear OS with more features

Coming in September!

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A few years ago, smartwatches dominated the hip scene. The market itself was a burgeoning community highlighted by Pebble, Samsung Gear, and Apple Watch. Now, the industry has stagnated into a paltry selection of a few good options and a multitude of copycats.

Following this tempestuous trend, Google is pushing for a new renaissance for the wearable technology. Right on the cusp of new hardware, the Silicon Valley giant is starting things off with the industry’s most neglected aspect — software.

For years, smartwatch makers have neglected to do anything revolutionary with their devices’ insides. Until now, these devices have limited themselves to only a handful of functions — tracking your health and checking your notifications. For a “revolutionary” technology, that’s not saying much.

Unfortunately, we’re not closer to getting industry-defining innovations just yet. However, if anything, Google’s latest updates are making our wearables more streamlined and convenient.

For one, Google is emphasizing the “smart” in smartwatch. Instead of a simple notification display, Google’s Wear OS now infuses Google Assistant with the watch’s software.

With simple swipes, users can access and attend to all their notifications. As is now standard with messaging on Android, users can reply to messages with automated smart replies, instead of texting on their phone.

Additionally, watches can now display Google Assistant’s automated reminders. From Google’s website, Wear OS notifies you on the weather, traffic jams, flight delays, and promos in nearby establishments.

Finally, Google has revamped smart fitness by adding two new metrics to measure your health — Heart Points and Move Minutes. Supported by the American Heart Association and the World Health Organization, the new metrics measure both low- and high-intensity movement including walking, biking, and hiking. With the new feature, Google wants to keep you on the move.

As of now, Google plans to roll the new updates throughout September. If you don’t have a Wear OS smartwatch yet, Google is also planning to launch its own Pixel Watch very soon.

SEE ALSO: Wear OS is Google’s new name for Android Wear

India

Vivo Y19 is an affordable phone with triple rear cameras

A phone that gets everything right

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Photo by GadgetMatch

The affordable segment has seen a wide range of new phones this year thanks to a raging war between Xiaomi and Realme. While the two are constantly trying to undercut each other, brands are striving to take advantage of the situation.

Vivo has unveiled a new phone dubbed the Y19 and it’s being launched in India as well as the Philippines. The design is rather different and incorporates a 3D design that can mimic a wide range of reflective colors. The phone will be available in Magnetic Black and Spring White color options.

On the front is a 6.5-inch LCD Full HD+ display with a tiny water-drop notch on the top. Powering the phone is an octa-core MediaTek Helio P65 SoC, paired with 4GB of RAM and 128GB internal storage.

In terms of optics, the triple rear camera setup of the Vivo Y19 includes a 16-megapixel primary sensor, an 8-megapixel wide-angle lens, and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. The phone also gets a 16-megapixel selfie camera at the front.

It has dual SIM support and ships with Android 9 Pie-based Funtouch OS 9.2. For a better gaming experience, an Ultra Game Mode has been provided for optimization.

In India, the phone has been priced at INR 13,999 (US$ 195) and will be available for purchase via all major online as well as offline sellers.

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Phone case by castAway doubles as a secondary display

Any phone can fold!

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Folding displays have been the highlight of 2019 thanks to the Samsung Galaxy Fold, Huawei Mate X, and Motorola razr. From a use-case scenario, a small phone can be converted into a tablet that offers a bigger screen.

However, folding phones aren’t a new concept. A range of phones have been made that incorporate a secondary display. If the Surface Duo got your attention, this phone case is made for you.

castAway is a second screen for your smartphone that the creator’s claim will fit 95 percent of smartphones, giving you the dual-screen experience for less than US$ 200.

If the implementation looks familiar, that’s because we’ve sort of seen this before from LG with their Dual Screen handsets — the LG V50 ThinQ and the LG G8X ThinQ.

The small variant, the castAway One runs at 5.8-inches while a larger castAway One Plus 6.3-inch variant supports larger devices. Across both size categories, the case supports either iPhone or Samsung devices at launch. That’s not all though.

The case itself is like a very small Chrome OS tablet and is powered by a 1.5GHz ARM-based processor with 4GB RAM and 32GB of storage. You’ll be able to hold it like a book, turn it to a landscape orientation, and even close it up fully.

That comes complete with USB-C horizontal and vertical ports, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and an EMR stylus. The castAway case battery is comparable to a smartphone battery too, allowing standalone use.

 

The castAway case supports all Apple iPhone’s since the 6. Supported Samsung phones include the S7, S8, S8+, S9, S9+, S10, S10+, Note 7, Note 8, Note 9, and Note 10.

For early adopters of the case, the prices start out at US$ 129 for the smaller castAway One. Just US$ 10 more nets buyers the larger castAway One Plus. Shipping will start in May 2020, if everything moves forward smoothly.

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Samsung reveals Galaxy Note 10+ Star Wars Special Edition

Embrace the dark side

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Samsung and Star Wars have always had the “galaxy” in common and now these two worlds are colliding with the South Korean company’s announcement of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ Star Wars Special Edition.

The collaboration ties directly with the upcoming film Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker which will hit theaters on December 20. The Galaxy Note 10+ Star Wars Special Edition does feature a Skywalker, but it’s one that does not carry that name.

The phone’s design has Kylo Ren all over it. Kylo Ren is the son of Han Solo and Leia Skywalker. He’s also the most prominent user of the dark side of the force in the most recent movies on the film franchise.

The device is all black with some red accents. Also in red is the accompanying S Pen, mimicking the color of the light saber that Kylo Ren carries around. On its back is the Samsung logo as well the logo of the First Order which is essentially the new army inspired by the Galactic Empire.

The special edition smartphone will come in a bundle that includes Galaxy Buds that is also all black with red accents. Also included is a special edition leather case that shows Kylo Ren and a metal badge that acts as a collector’s item.

Pricing and Availability

According to Samsung’s release, The Galaxy Note 10+ Star Wars Special Edition unlocked by Samsung version will be available only in limited quantities and will retail for US$ 1299.99 staring December in USA.

SEE ALSO: Samsung Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10+ Review

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