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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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Enterprise

Qualcomm allegedly ordered a smear campaign against Apple

The two have beef against each other

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Image source: Flickr/Masaru Kamikura

Over the past two years, Facebook has been at the forefront of cybersecurity concerns. In 2016, the company allowed Russian intelligence to run rampant on the social media network. Though relatively subdued, the revelation revealed the company’s role in politics. Later, in 2018, the company was accused of mismanaging user data with Cambridge Analytica. Supposedly, the data influenced the US elections in 2016, as well as other political events around the globe.

Amid these controversies, a lone PR firm, Definers Public Affairs, has controversially managed the social media network’s failed redemption arc. Borrowing from Republican political campaigns, the firm infuses public relations with political strategies. This includes smear campaigns against a client’s rivals. Notably, Facebook hired the firm to take on George Soros, among others.

However, a key event in this timeline hints at a third player skulking in the shadows. Recently, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg allegedly ordered his executives to ditch Apple’s iPhones for Android. Prior to this, Apple threw shade at Facebook’s sketchy ethics, emphasizing the value of privacy. Later, conservative websites, including the Definers-affiliated NTK Network, lambasted the former for similarly detestable practices. The news reeked of Definers’ involvement.

True enough, Tim Miller, Definers owner, confirmed that his firm did work on Apple. However, Facebook isn’t to blame. According to a New York Times exposé about Facebook, a third tech company is responsible for the firm’s handiwork against Apple.

After the exposé’s release, Business Insider and NBC News have claimed the mysterious tech company’s identity — Qualcomm. The company in question is no stranger to Apple. Apple supposedly owes Qualcomm some US$ 7 billion in royalties, prompting legal action between the two.

According to Business Insider, Miller approached the publication with story ideas that are “damaging to Apple and positive for Qualcomm.” Meanwhile, in NBC News, a former NTK Network employee directly named Qualcomm as the mystery client.

Adding fuel to the fire, Definers and Qualcomm have refused to comment on the issue in both news reports.

SEE ALSO: Qualcomm’s newest Snapdragon 675 chip is based on 11nm process

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India

These Xiaomi phones have officially received permanent price cuts

In time for the holiday season!

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Just this week Xiaomi announced that a few of its products were receiving a price hike, these include the Redmi 6A, Redmi 6, Mi LED TV 4C Pro, Mi LED TV 4A Pro, and the 10,000mAh Mi Power Bank 2i. The company said a depreciating rupee had consistently increased acquisition costs and hence was forced to bring in a price hike.

Today, Xiaomi signaled a price cut for a few of its Redmi phones. These include two options of the Redmi Note 5 Pro, two variants of the Mi A2, and the Redmi Y2 4GB.

All the listed phones have received a flat price drop of INR 1,000 (US$ 14). The Redmi Note 5 Pro 4GB is available for INR 13,999 (US$ 195), instead of INR 14,999 (US$ 208). Similarly, the 6GB option is now available for INR 15,999 (US$ 223), instead of INR 16,999 (US$ 236).

The Mi A2 64GB is available for INR 15,999 (US$ 223) while the 128GB option costs INR 18,999 (US$ 264). Lastly, the Redmi Y2 4GB now costs INR 11,999 (US$ 167). These new prices are already effective across all sales platforms.

All the above devices have been launched this year and the Redmi Note 5 Pro has been a best-seller. When combined, these devices have contributed in making Xiaomi the top smartphone brand in India and even widen its lead over Samsung.

The company had long back announced its intention of keeping profits under control. The company never intends to cross more than a five percent profit margin on any hardware product, and in case it does, the sum will be given back to the “Mi Fans.”

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New iPad Pro can’t survive bend test because it’s too thin

Oh, snap!

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Image credit: JerryRigEverything (YouTube)

When a device gets released, it’s always nice to know how it holds up through a series of durability test. The new iPad Pro from Apple is beautiful, powerful, and expensive. But, can it survive a simple bend test? Spoiler alert: It can’t.

The iPad Pro (specifically the 11-inch variant) is the latest star on the JerryRigEverything YouTube channel. Zack’s newest video shows that the new iPad Pro can be bent and destroyed using two hands with little to no effort.

Why is that so? Let’s watch the full video first:

As always, the video started with the second-gen Apple Pencil that works well with the iPad Pro. The new Apple Pencil is redesigned to magnetically attach to the tablet and charge wirelessly. When Zack snapped the high-tech stylus in half, we could see the wireless charging component, the strong magnets, and batteries.

Now onto the main star of the video. The 11-inch iPad Pro, like with other iPads before, has an aluminum body which feels premium and cold to the touch.

The screen’s glass scratched at a level 6, which is normal but he pointed out that the glass is thinner than the usual. The sides, buttons, and overall body of the iPad Pro are made of metal. Although, there’s is a section of plastic where the Apple Pencil attaches and charges. There are also tiny holes for the microphones.

When it was time for Zack’s signature bend test, the iPad Pro cracked in the middle. The weak points of the tablet appeared to be the microphone hole on the tablet’s left side and the Apple Pencil’s charging dock on the right.

Based on initial observation, the tablet doesn’t have any sturdy structure inside its aluminum body. The new iPad Pro is indeed very thin, but Apple didn’t have to sacrifice the tablet’s durability.

SEE ALSO: Apple iPad Pro (2018) Unboxing

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