News

LG Watch Style and Sport introduce Android Wear 2.0

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It’s hard to believe, but Android Wear has been around for more than two years, and it’s only now we’re seeing a serious update. Like with the first version, LG is once again launching new smartwatches to introduce the latest update of the operating system.

While Android Wear 2.0 isn’t introducing any revolutionary features — a lot are available on other platforms — it makes smartwatches feel more functional and independent. As explained by its developers at Google, the latest update provides more useful watch faces, Google Assistant integration, and less dependence on a connected smartphone to function.

That last part is especially handy for smartwatches with SIM card compatibility. By connecting directly to the internet, they can be used on their own to talk to Assistant, track your workout progress on Google Fit, and download apps directly from Google Play. You can even reply to messages from the smartwatch using your voice, handwriting, or keyboard input.

Combined with an always-on screen you can now personalize, glancing at the screen for information you choose to display becomes all the more intuitive, and all it takes is a single tap to order an Uber ride or contact someone. And thanks to native Android Pay integration, smartwatches with NFC connectivity can execute wireless transactions without a hitch.

LG Watch Style

To show off all these new features, Google partnered with LG to launch the Watch Style and Watch Sport which come with Android Wear 2.0 off the bat. Both will arrive in the US on February 10; other countries will follow shortly after. Prices start at $250 for the former and $350 for the latter.

As the more affordable of the two, the Watch Style is pretty basic, offering Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, but no 4G LTE for the neat features we mentioned earlier. Still, the 1.2-inch display is perfectly round, and the efficient Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor should keep the 240mAh battery alive long enough. There’s also IP67-rated water and dust resistance for its steel frame and leather straps. It’ll be available in titanium, silver, and rose gold.

The Watch Sport ups a few of the specifications, opting for a larger 1.38-inch display and 768MB of memory (compared to the Watch Style’s 512MB of memory). The chipset and 4GB of storage remain the same, but a battery capacity of 430mAh should increase endurance. What really sets them apart is the inclusion of LTE, NFC, GPS, and a heart rate sensor for the Watch Sport, as well as a stronger IP68 rating. Dark blue and titanium are the color options here.

LG Watch Sport

Already have a smartwatch and want all the upgrades that come with Android Wear 2.0? Your device has to be part of this list:

  • LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition LTE
  • LG Watch Urbane
  • LG G Watch R
  • Moto 360 (2nd Generation)
  • Moto 360 Sport
  • Huawei Watch
  • ASUS ZenWatch 2
  • ASUS ZenWatch 3
  • TAG Heuer Connected
  • Fossil Q Wander
  • Fossil Q Marshal
  • Fossil Q Founder
  • Michael Kors Access
  • New Balance RunIQ
  • Nixon Mission
  • Polar M600
  • Casio Smart Outdoor Watch
  • Casio PRO TREK Smart

No promises have been made by Google on when all these gadgets will get the update. If it’s anything like Android Nougat’s rollout, expect this to take a long time.

SEE ALSO: Smartwatches are doing even worse than expected

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Accessories

Apple is launching new Powerbeats with the iPhone 9, leak says

According to new FCC entry

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In modern times, smartphone launches usually come out with a flurry of complementary accessories, particularly earpieces. Take note of the Huawei Freebuds or the Galaxy Buds, which both released concurrently (or in proximity) with respective smartphones. As you might expect, today’s latest surge of complementary ear gear originates from Apple, the owner of Beats and maker of AirPods.

As of late, Apple has jumpstarted a wave of new earphone and headphone rumors. For the first, we were expecting a midrange set of AirPods Pro coming later this year. Another leak spoke about an even more premium variant, potentially introducing the series to the headphone segment.

Today, a new leak has revealed an upcoming expansion of Apple’s Beats catalog. According to a revently revealed FCC entry, Apple is working on a set of earphones codenamed “A2015.” To the keen observer, the blueprinted set looks like the Powerbeats 3, a set currently available right now. Very likely, the upcoming earphones will come out as the Powerbeats 4.

Much like the incumbent entry, the Powerbeats 4 is slightly wired, likely connecting both buds without an input/output port. As expected, the FCC entry confirms Bluetooth LE support.

Unfortunately, the entry doesn’t reveal any more information about the upcoming product. However, it will probably launch soon. An FCC entry signals a product further along the development cycle. Given the timing, the Powerbeats 4 can go hand-in-hand with the iPhone 9 coming in March.

SEE ALSO: iPhone 9, Galaxy S20 suddenly appear in Korean pre-order posters

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Enterprise

Remote work grows in popularity amid Covid-19 outbreak

Is remote work the future of workplace?

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Covid-19 outbreak shows no sign of stopping. As such, most companies are now turning to remote work arrangement for its employees. An insight from LinkedIn shows an increase on people searching for tips related to remote work in January.

According to the latest statistics from LinkedIn insights, remote work has been steadily increasing since March 2018. To be exact, searches for “remote work” grew by 2.6 times from that period until February of this year.

However, what is interesting here is the sudden spike from January to February. This is not surprising given the spread of Covid-19 in recent months. What’s more interesting here are the key region drivers. Singapore, Hong Kong, and mainland China are behind the increase in the searches. These regions are hard-hit by the virus, and companies have to resort to remote work for their employees.

Making remote work, work

LinkedIn’s insight also found that there had been a rise in employers searching for tips to manage their remote workforce. As a matter of fact, the two of the trending searches in LinkedIn are “communicating in virtual meetings” and “managing remote teams”. The company expects the demand for remote work to increase over the years as it becomes ubiquitous.

The role of technology in driving remote work is undeniable. Messaging and communication apps drive instant communication behind team members. Storing and sending important stuff is possible through cloud storage and email. And of course, better smartphones and laptops enable access to productivity apps for a streamlined remote workflow.

SEE ALSO:
MWC 2020 cancelled over Coronavirus
Apple: Coronavirus might cause iPhone shortage

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India

Apple will open its first store in India next year

Online store to launch this year

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Apple is planning to open its first retail store in India next year, CEO Tim Cook confirmed during the company’s annual shareholder meeting in Cupertino, California. The electronics giant will also open an online store in India this year, he added.

“We needed to get approval from the government to go in there ourselves,” said Cook on Wednesday, answering a question from a shareholder. He added that the company doesn’t want “somebody else to run the brand” for it.

“We wouldn’t be a very good partner in retail,” Cook added. “We like to do things our way.”

India’s laws prohibit Apple from directly selling, hence it has to rely on a range of “resellers”. This means the company isn’t directly selling to the end-user and relying on a third party. Not only does this affect the overall experience but it also makes the product more expensive.

The move comes just over six months after the Indian government relaxed local sourcing norms for single-brand retailers in the country. With demand for Apple products slowing in China — even before the outbreak of Coronavirus — the firm is hoping it can spur growth in other developing markets like India.

Experts have often accused Apple of neglecting India as a serious market. But, the tides are changing. The iPhone SE was a monumental success in developing markets and Apple is expected to launch a successor soon. Even the iPhone XR has received a phenomenal response in the country.

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