Accessories

Smart Voice Assistant Ring is phone accessory of the future

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How do you imagine the technology of the future?

A few years back, I watched the movie Her which is, for the unfamiliar, the story of how a man (Joaquin Phoenix) falls in love with an operating system. The story ended (of course) with the protagonist heartbroken over the failed relationship with artificial intelligence. In the alternative world where this was all set, technology had advanced to the point where it was so well embedded in everyday life that the machined-induced connections seemed natural.

One step towards that high-tech world would be interesting new gadgets like this innocent-looking thing I stumbled upon at Computex.

This is the ORii.

ORii is the very-first voice assistant ring. This small thing connects to your phone through Bluetooth and works via gesture and voice commands; it works perfectly with Siri or Google Now. But, the best part? You can make and receive calls with just the ring on and your finger.

The ring uses bone conductor actuator technology which means that the ring sends vibrations to your ear through your finger. Yes, girls and boys, you basically hear the sound through your finger! A built-in microphone takes in your audio and voila, you can make and receive calls.

When all this was explained to me, I honestly didn’t believe it would work. (I mean would you have believed it if someone said you could call someone with your finger?) But, as technology has done time and time again, I was left amazed, surprised, and convinced.

ORii’s simple demo was connecting a smartphone to the ring and playing Spotify. A ring and a finger to my ear later, I was hearing my playlist.

What amazes me here is not that it’s wearable fashion, it’s that it enables users to utilize tech with what we already have naturally, in this case, your finger. (Though that usually gets me and it’s a plus that there are actual plans of producing it in many different colors with LED alert lighting.) This is not another tech addition like an earphone, nor are these Bluetooth headsets — this was my finger to my ear and it worked.

I guess in a way, my amazement comes with the realization that although we’re still pretty far from developing feelings for El Capitan or Windows OS, we’re not far off from technology that seems too awesome to be real. This year’s Computex has taught me as much.

This may still not mean a happy love story ending, but it involves a great piece of tech and in the wise words of Beyonce: “If you like it then you better put a ring on it.”

SEE ALSO: Things I’m excited to see at Computex 2017

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Accessories

Apple could launch new entry-level AirPods next year

Along with new AirPods Pro!

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AirPods

Apple’s AirPods have been an instant success, and the brand is all set to capitalize on its gains. A report says the giant could launch an entry-level pair of truly wireless earphones that’ll also be called AirPods, but will technically be the third-generation.

Bloomberg spoke to people familiar with the matter and reported that Apple could launch two AirPods next year — the entry-level AirPods and second-generation AirPods Pro.

The affordable ones are said to have a similar design as the AirPods Pro. It’ll have a smaller stem and replaceable ear tips. Obviously, premium features will be reduced or entirely removed. So, don’t expect active noise cancellation.

On the other hand, the Pro option could become more compact and completely eliminate the stem. The new design could look similar to Samsung and Google’s current TWS offering that looks like a bean and directly fits into anyone’s ears.

However, the report added that making the AirPods Pro more compact was a challenging task and the end result could be less ambitious. Apple is also going to add new wireless charging chips on both the TWS earphones.

While competition from Chinese players has made it difficult for Apple to justify AirPods’s high price, they continue to sell like hot cakes in the developed markets of the US, Europe, and Southeast Asia. An entry-level accessory makes a lot of sense because Apple has been able to successfully implement this strategy with the iPhone SE.

Lastly, the report added that Apple intends to launch over-the-ear headphones but has faced several development challenges in the last couple of years.

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Huawei launches FreeBuds Studio before Apple’s AirPods Studio

Noise reduction upto 40dB

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Officially called the Huawei FreeBuds Studio, it marks the entry of the company in the over-the-ear Bluetooth headphone market. The FreeBuds Studio are designed to be premium and go up against offerings from Sony, Bose, and Sennheiser.

The headphones offer a 40mm driver with 4-layer Polymer diaphragm. The company claims that it can reproduce frequencies as high as 48KHz and can go down to 4 Hz. It supports L2HC codec for best possible audio output and features six mics for calls that reduce background noise.

It also comes with eight mics that team up and provide dynamic noise cancellation. Huawei claims the headphones can reduce noise by 40dB and the headphones can automatically choose between three modes based on the surrounding environment. These modes are called Ultra Mode, Cozy Mode and General Mode.

Coming to battery life, the headphones can go 24 hours on a single charge, and fast charging ensures you get eight houts of playback within just 10 minutes. Although, these are official figures from the company and actual practical usage will definitely vary.

The FreeBuds Studio are priced at EUR 299 (US$ 354) and sales start from November. However, the brand hasn’t been clear about country-wise availability yet.

Huawei is a very interesting company because on one side it launches unique and mindboggling products like the Mate series, but leaves no stone unturned to take a cue from Apple. The AirPods Studio have been rumored for a long time and Huawei jumped the gun to launch its product first but took a lot of inspiration from Apple’s marketing.

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Apple’s MagSafe charger works on Samsung and Google phones

Specifically the Galaxy Z Fold 2 and Pixel 5

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This month, Apple announced the return of the wireless MagSafe system. This time around, the wireless charging solution powers the iPhone 12 series with a convenient snap-to-place method. Of course, as with most of Apple’s products, you don’t really expect it to work with non-Apple device. Fortunately, the historical rule of thumb is wrong. Apparently, Apple’s MagSafe charger works on Samsung and Google phones.

As tested by Max Weinbach, the wireless charger can snap and work on the Galaxy Z Fold 2. Further, YouTuber Aaron Zollo tested the charger on the recently announced Google Pixel 5. Unfortunately, neither test revealed how well the charger does with the devices. However, Weinbach commented that it took some effort to dislodge the charger from the Galaxy Z Fold 2.

Of course, it’s no surprise that the MagSafe charger will work on other Qi-based devices. However, it’s a surprise that Apple’s proprietary accessories are working on non-Apple devices.

Still, if you need an extra wireless charger, at least Apple’s charger can work on your device. That is, if you own both an Apple and Android device.

Now, the only remaining question is whether or not Apple’s other MagSafe accessories will work on non-Apple devices. The other accessories — like an attachable wallet — will come out later this year.

SEE ALSO: iPhone 12 will not come with a free charger and earphones

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