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Sonarworks Releases SoundID Listen: Personalized Sound on your Computer

Sonarworks had caught our eye back at CES 2019, when they showed off their then-still-in-progress mobile app for personalized sound signatures called True-Fi. The Latvia-based company has credentials to back all their claims, and the in-suite demo was impressive to say the least. Getting it out in the real world meant that the company had to build up their database of compatible headphones to first normalize the sound signature, and then work on the best option for recuperating R&D costs without breaking any wallets. As it turns out, the company had more insight on this at CES 2020 but are only now ready to show their retail plans in the form of SoundID.

SoundID, as both a mobile app (iOS, Android) and the new desktop SoundID Listen experience, takes over from where True-Fi started. The interface is more colorful and user-friendly to the masses, and the mobile app in the current beta form is being marketed more for profile-creation than usage, although it has the option to plug into your Spotify library. The older A/B tests are retained here, and at CES 2020 the app only had the "Core" experience. As of May, the app has new features to coincide with the desktop client's release, and read past the break for more on both.

Lenovo Announces Chromebook Duet in North America

The wait is over. The Lenovo Chromebook Duet, one of the thinnest, lightest and most hotly anticipated Chromebooks in the world, hits the North America market today. Designed for mobile productivity, the 2-in-1 detachable Lenovo Chromebook Duet has a 10.1-inch screen and comes with an ultrathin, detachable laptop-grade keyboard to help you get work done from the kitchen, to the home office or couch. The Lenovo Chromebook Duet runs Chrome OS - the powerfully simple operating system that boots up fast, and stays secure with seamless automatic updates for up to eight years.

Epic Games Abandons Android Strategy & Publishes Fortnite on the Google Play Store

Epic Games launched Fortnite for Android in 2018 players had to sidestep the Google Play Store and download the game directly from Epic as an APK. The reason Epic Games chose to go this route was the 30% fee Google Play takes on all in-app purchases, this move was understandable at the time. Over the last 18 months Google has vastly increased Android security measures with features such as Google Play Protect and "security pop-ups" in an attempt to increase control over Android. Epic Games wanted Google to revise their policies and take a smaller cut however Google has won out and Epic has announced that Fortnite will be available via the Google Play Store going forward in addition to the direct download from the Epic Games site.

Google Pulls the Plug on I/O 2020 Amidst COVID-19 Concerns

Google announced cancellation of the 2020 edition of Google I/O, the company's largest annual expo and trade-show. The announcement comes in light of the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) outbreak that is now quantitatively affecting all regions of the world. Google I/O was originally scheduled for May 12-14, held on Google's home turf of Mountain View, California. Google I/O is an annual gathering of software- and web developers, and consumer electronics manufacturers from within Google's various ecosystems, such as Android. Paying attendees will be given the option to get a full refund, or an option to buy a ticket to the 2021 edition of Google I/O.

Quick Look: Philips PH805 Active Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones

zAnother day, another audio product quick look. This time, the folks over at Philips get some love with the US launch of their PH805 active noise cancelling (ANC) headphones, the news of which we covered before. The company has gone through big changes over the years, and one of the effects has been regional business units operating independently enough to have separate launch windows for products. Take this very product, for example, which had been out for purchase for a couple of months already last year in Europe and parts of Asia, and Philips USA only just got it in 2020. Somehow, we had no coverage on this to date, but that changes now.

The PH805, also referred to as the PH805BK or TAPH805BK, follows a trend of product names that make little sense, but all you need to know is that this is from the same company and team that brought out the excellent Fidelio series that offered great value for money to those wanting an open-back, over-ear headphones with a neutral signature without any real shortcomings across the frequency range. They are readying the new Fidelio x3 for launch soon, but the PH805 aims to interest a different segment entirely. In particular, the frequent traveler or mobile user that wants a lightweight set of cans with ANC and wireless connectivity. It ships in a retail packaging that is well designed, with the company and product name on the front along with a large render and marketing features throughout, with a clear note on Google Assistant compatibility. Sorry, iOS users! Read past the break for more on the Philips PH805BK, including an unboxing, user experience, and what it costs to get you one of these in the USA.

Quick Look: Creative Outlier Gold True Wireless Earphones

Following up on our coverage of CES goodies that are more than just swag, we continue exploring the wacky world of true wireless (TWS) earphones. The first set in this quick look series examined the Altec Lansing Nano Pods that clocked in at just $30, and today we up the ante into the oh-so-barely-under-$100 with the Creative Outlier Gold at $99.99. The company has impressed yours truly for three CES showings in a row with their Super X-Fi headphone holography tech, which we examined in the first retail iteration via their SXFI amp. This technology aims to replicate a surround speaker speaker audio experience into earphones/headphones, and requires their SXFI DSP to make the most of it. So when Creative said they have TWS earphones with SXFI, I was intrigued and simply had to test them for myself.

As it turns out, the Outlier Gold does support SXFI, but only with a software experience from their mobile app. This makes sense considering these are meant to be quite small and, well, wireless, and yet Creative claim a whopping 14 hours of battery life per charge. In addition, this set is an upgrade to their previous Outlier Air TWS earphones, which were quite popular for offering good value for money, and we see signs of it already with the packaging going with a two-piece unboxing experience with renders, marketing features, and product specs all over the box. Read past the break for more on these, especially if you are looking for a good balance of audio performance, battery life, and price point.

Elevate the Google Experience with Samsung's First-Ever Galaxy Chromebook

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. today introduced Galaxy Chromebook, a premium 2-in-1 device that sets a higher standard in mobile computing. This new entrant to the Galaxy Computing portfolio redefines what a Chromebook can be. As the thinnest Samsung Chromebook ever released, it combines the best of Samsung technical innovation - such as an AMOLED display and built-in-pen support, offering users new ways to take advantage of Chrome OS experience that is simple, fast, and seamless.

"The notion that we do everything stationary at a desk is a thing of the past, and people need premium devices built for our new reality," said Alanna Cotton, Senior Vice President and General Manager at Samsung Electronics America. "By offering a seamless, premium user experience, Galaxy Chromebook helps you effortlessly switch between streaming, creative projects, word processing, and more."

Minecraft Gets Cross-Play Update on PS4

Players of Minecraft on PlayStation 4 rejoice! Minecraft is now getting an update on the PS4 platform that enables all PlayStation users to gain access to cross-play features, so they are now able to play with millions of other players on Xbox, PC, Switch, iOS, Android, and even Samsung Gear VR platform. In the so-called "Bedrock Edition" update that arrives today, Microsoft will push new features to Minecraft and connect millions of players.

In the words of Microsoft's game studio boss Helen Chiang: "One of Minecraft's core missions is to connect players across devices and provide the best experience regardless of platform. We continue to fulfill that mission here today by welcoming PS4 players to Minecraft on Bedrock and growing our cross-platform multiplayer community".

Sharkoon Launches Mobile DAC and Mobile DAC PD

Sharkoon Technologies is an international supplier of PC components and peripherals, offering performance at a reasonable price. Sharkoon now introduces the Mobile DAC and the Mobile DAC PD. These are two audio converters that are compatible with the most popular Android-based mobile devices. Both devices deliver a high-resolution audio amplification of sound output for headsets and headphones which have a TRRS connection, and, in addition, they provide quality voice transmission thanks to an integrated microphone input. Therefore, podcasters and streamers will also benefit from the Mobile DACs.

Terra Master Unveils the Cost-effective F2-210 2-bay NAS

TerraMaster, a professional brand that specializes in providing innovative storage products, including network attached storage and direct attached storage, is thrilled to share with everyone its undisputed budget offering for the NAS market. The TerraMaster F2-210 is built with quality in mind but offers a comprehensive feature set for the unbeatable price of $149.99. The TerraMaster F2-210 is perfect for new NAS users or SOHO usage that need a centralized storage solution but don't want to break the bank. With the F2-210, experience a full NAS experience at less cost so you can focus on what you need to do. The TerraMaster F2-210 has an MSRP of $149.99

TerraMaster builds the F2-210 around the ARM v8 quad-core processor. This CPU is used by many competing product but only TerraMaster is offering it at this price range. With speeds up to 1.40 GHz, users can enjoy performance of up to 114 MB/s for both read and write, perfect for file sharing amongst multiple devices or backing up your important data and memories. Use the TerraMaster as a media entertainment server for your 4K video files and enjoy real-time transcoding so you can enjoy your files with any devices. The F2-210 will handle most functions with no problem and easily repay itself in a year with savings in multi-device cloud backup account or live-streaming service accounts.

NVIDIA Launches the New Shield TV

NVIDIA today raised the bar higher still for streaming media players — unveiling the next generation of SHIELD TV, which delivers unmatched levels of home entertainment, gaming and AI capabilities right into the living room, starting at $149.

The two new SHIELD models — SHIELD TV and SHIELD TV Pro — provide exceptional visual and sound experiences. Their new Tegra X1+ processor, delivering up to 25 percent more performance than its predecessor, helps bring to life Dolby Vision for ultra-vivid imagery and Dolby Atmos for extraordinary audio. Its computational prowess dramatically improves picture quality by using AI to upscale HD video streams into 4K resolution.

TerraMaster Announces the F2-210 2-Bay NAS Priced Under $150

TerraMaster, a professional brand that specializes in providing innovative storage products, including network attached storage and direct attached storage, recently released an affordable storage solution for home and SOHO users that offers great value and performance especially for those looking at a sub-$200 product.

If you're a first-time NAS user or a power user looking for an affordable solution for file-sharing for the home, the TerraMaster F2-210 offers everything you expect from a entry-level NAS for less whether it's for simple file storage to cloud sharing to media and entertainment. TerraMaster has you covered. The F2-210 2-bay NAS storage is optimized for affordable yet optimal use for file sharing and multimedia and entertainment use. Its price position makes it one of the most powerful 2-bay NAS solution at its price bracket. The TerraMaster F2-210 has an MSRP of $149.99.

SteelSeries Launches First Four-In-One Wireless Headset for Nintendo Switch, PS4, PC and Mobile

SteelSeries, the makers of the most award-winning headset line in history, today announces the newest member of the Arctis family, the Arctis 1 Wireless. The Arctis 1 Wireless features the new slimmed down body of the Arctis 1, but connects via a small USB-C dongle for a true lossless and low latency connection across Nintendo Switch, PS4, PC and mobile.

The Arctis 1 Wireless is the ultimate 4-in-1 wireless headset. Through a small USB-C dongle, it features SteelSeries' lossless 2.4 GHz wireless technology for ultra-low latency wireless on Nintendo Switch, PC, PS4 and Android. This allows users to easily take the same console or PC experience on-the-go on Nintendo Switch or Android devices.

ARM Revokes Huawei's Chip IP Licence

As the trade war between the US and China continues to unfold, we are seeing major US companies ban or stop providing service to China's technology giant Huawei. Now, it looks like the trade war has crossed the ocean and reached the UK. This time, UK based ARM Holdings, the provider of mobile chip IP for nearly all smartphones and tablets, has revoked the license it has given Huawei.

According to the BBC, ARM Holdings employees were instructed to suspend all interactions with Huawei, and to send a note informing Huawei that "due to an unfortunate situation, they were not allowed to provide support, deliver technology (whether software, code, or other updates), engage in technical discussions, or otherwise discuss technical matters with Huawei, HiSilicon or any of the other named entities." The news came from an internal ARM document the BBC has obtained.

U.S. Tech Industry, Including Google, Microsoft, Intel, and Qualcomm, Ban Huawei

The United States tech industry has overnight dealt a potentially fatal blow to Chinese electronics giant Huawei, by boycotting the company. The companies are establishing compliance with a recent Executive Order passed by President Donald Trump designed to "stop the import, sale, and use of equipment and services by foreign companies based in countries that are potential adversaries to U.S. interests," particularly information technology security. Google has announced that it will no longer allow Huawei to license Android, and will stop updates and Google Play access to Huawei smartphones. Huawei can still equip its phones with open-source Android, but it cannot use Google's proprietary software, including Google Play Store, Chrome, and all the other Google apps. Intel decided to no longer supply processors and other hardware to Huawei, for use in its laptops and server products. Sales of AMD processors will stop, too. Qualcomm-Broadcom have decided to stop supply of mobile SoCs and network PHYs, respectively. Microsoft decided to stop licensing Huawei to use Windows and Office products.

The ban is a consequence of the U.S. Government placing Huawei on a list of banned entities, forcing all U.S. companies to abandon all trade with it, without prior approval from the Department of Commerce. Trade cuts both ways, and not only are U.S. firms banned from buying from Huawei, they're also banned from selling to it. Huawei "buys from" over 30 U.S. companies, (for example, Windows licenses from Microsoft). CNN reports that U.S. firms could lose up to $11 billion in revenues.

beyerdynamic Innovates Lifestyle Headphones with Soul BYRD and Blue BYRD

beyerdynamic, one of the world's leading manufacturers of headphones, microphones and conferencing products, announces Blue BYRD, the first wireless, in-ear headset within the BYRD Series, and the Soul BYRD, an in-ear headset. Featuring a unique, extra-flat design, the Blue BYRD and Soul BYRD allow for unrestricted listening with state-of-the-art technology and crisp acoustics.

Blue BYRD combines simple elegance, impressive sound and enjoyable wearing comfort to create an everyday wireless headphone. Blue BYRD boasts flawless Bluetooth transmission with Qualcomm aptX and AAC technology for a balanced listening experience for up to six hours of playing time. Blue BYRD's universal, three-button remote microphone provides flexibility to manage media playback, phone calls, and virtual assistants on both Android and iOS playback devices. Blue BYRD retails for $199.00 USD and is currently shipping. For more information, please visit north-america.beyerdynamic.com/blue-byrd.html.

Valve Announces Steam Link App for Mobile Game Streaming Anywhere

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Valve had promised continued support to the Steam Link after discontinuing it last year, and most took it to mean basic updates to the hardware device itself at the time. That was 2018, and it is remarkable how the topic of in-house game streaming has come up since. Be it Google's Project Stream which seemingly is leading up to a major announcement by the company at GDC coming up very shortly, or Microsoft introducing their new Wireless Display app for PC game streaming on the XBOX One, as well as bringing its XBOX Live service to mobile platforms on iOS or Android alike, 2019 seems to herald a re-focus into the concept of game streaming whether the infrastructure is ready or not.

Valve for their own part has had their Steam Link be enjoyed by a fairly niche audience, one that shares a more local form of game streaming from a host device to another on the same network. NVIDIA's Shield offered a similar concept, and that too has not really made the news as much as NVIDIA would surely have wanted. This latest news from Valve allows streaming of one's Steam library (games, in particular) to phones, tablets, and TVs with no download or service fees applicable. Interested users can participate in the open beta program by simply downloading the app (Google Play store only for now) or on the Raspberry Pi as has been the case for a few months already. The Steam Link app is compatible with a number of popular Bluetooth controllers, including the Steam Controller, and Valve recommends a 5 GHz network or wired Ethernet for best experience. Looks like the weekend just got busier than I originally planned!

SteelSeries Announces New Dual Wireless Controller Optimized for Gaming on Android and PC- The Stratus Duo

SteelSeries, the global leader in gaming peripherals, today announced its newest full-size, multi-platform controller, the Stratus Duo. Gamers can swap between the low latency 2.4GHz wireless connection for gaming on Windows, and Bluetooth for mobile gaming on Android, Oculus Go and Samsung VR. Gamers can utilize the Stratus Duo in multiple ways using the 2.4GHz wireless, Bluetooth and wired connections. With its Bluetooth connection, the Stratus Duo supports Android, Samsung Gear VR and Oculus Go. Gamers no longer need to struggle with awkward touchscreen controls while playing mobile games on their Android devices.

The Stratus Duo allows gamers to enjoy playing on their Android device via Bluetooth or on their PC via the 2.4GHz wireless connection with no additional software needed for setup. "The gaming ecosystem is continuing to evolve and grow beyond PC and consoles to include mobile devices and VR systems," said Tino Solberg, SteelSeries CTO. "The Stratus Duo allows gamers to easily navigate across several platforms through wireless and Bluetooth technology to create a truly seamless experience."

Sonarworks Debuts True-Fi Mobile App, Demonstrates Personalized Audio Profiles at CES 2019

If you had not heard of Sonarworks prior to this or the press release that went out last week, you may not be alone. The Latvian company is a little over 6 years old, and has since already managed to grab attention of some of the largest players in the audio market, including car makers interested in stereos, DJs, music producers, and of course more typical headphone and speaker makers. Their True-Fi desktop program claims to calibrate headphones to where everyone is able to hear the same sound no matter where they are- provided you use a supported headphone. This makes use of software sound processing and filtering, and the process works well enough to where they say over 30,000 recording studios worldwide currently use their technology.

At CES 2019, Sonarworks demonstrated the mobile version of their True-Fi program, currently in the Apple and Google Play stores as unreleased versions that will remain free until ready, following which it will cost $3.99/month or $99 for a lifetime license (the desktop version costs $79 by itself at this time). I was able to try out the app at their suite, and then also at home on my own phone, and came out impressed with the changes made. I did happen to have one of the ~300 currently-supported headphones though, and Sonarworks say they are working on adding more all the time. Users can also specifically request support to their own headsets if not on the list, although that might involve round trip shipment to Latvia. Read past the break for more, including their equally exciting personalized audio feature coming later this year.

Sonarworks Releases Mobile App, Making the Ultimate Sound Experience Accessible Anywhere

Pioneering audio calibration software company Sonarworks has announced the launch of its new Sonarworks True-Fi mobile app at CES 2019. The revolutionary mobile app, which provides audio calibration references on both iOS and Android for nearly 300 headphone models, has already launched in 'early access' and will be available for purchase later this year in the App Store and Google Play at a price of $3.99 USD per month, or as a lifetime license for $99 USD. Existing Sonarworks customers who already own the desktop version will be provided a free upgrade option to a lifetime license for the mobile app.

Sonarworks True-Fi mobile app- provides consumers with the ultimate sound experience 'while on the go- supports wide a range of native file formats as well as content from iTunes and Android local content libraries. True-Fi mobile supports native file formats including MP3, WAV, AIFF, AAC and ALAC (iOS) and MP3, WAV, OGG (Vorbis) and AAC (Android).

AMD Kicks-Off 2019 Offering Complete Mobile Portfolio with Ryzen, Athlon, and A-Series Processors for Notebooks and Chromebooks

Today, AMD announced the first members of its 2019 mobility line-up encompassing all notebook segments: 2nd Gen AMD Ryzen 3000 Series Mobile Processors powering ultrathin and gaming notebooks; AMD Athlon 300 Series Mobile Processors powering mainstream notebooks with the fast and efficient "Zen"3 core; and optimized 7th Gen AMD A-Series processors, elevating performance for mainstream Chromebooks. In addition, AMD announced that starting this quarter, gamers, creators and enthusiasts will be able to install Radeon Software Adrenalin software to bring the latest GPU features and game optimizations to all systems powered by AMD Ryzen Processors with Radeon Graphics.

"Users expect mobile PCs that excel at both everyday tasks and compute-heavy experiences, and with our latest mobile processor portfolio AMD offers exactly that across all levels of the market," said Saeid Moshkelani, senior vice president and general manager, Client Compute, AMD. "Notebook users want to experience the latest modern features while streaming, gaming, or finishing work faster. Enabling breakthrough entertainment experiences, AMD is pleased to enable a wide range of AMD powered notebooks than ever that deliver on those expectations with blazing fast performance, rich graphics, and long battery life."

Basemark GPU 1.1 Update Released, Adds DirectX 12 Support

Today Basemark releases version 1.1 of its multi-platform graphics hardware evaluation tool Basemark GPU. Basemark GPU has been made available for free to download and use for personal users. Additionally, Basemark has provided professional versions for Benchmark Development Program members, corporate and commercial users.

Basemark GPU 1.1 Benchmark offers unparalleled, objective comparisons between Vulkan, OpenGL, OpenGL ES and now DirectX 12 for graphics performance analysis across both mobile and desktop platforms. Our desktop Linux version of Basemark GPU 1.1 will be available in the next few days utilizing the easily installable universal Flatpak delivery format.

Basemark GPU is available for download now.

VIA Launches ALTA DS 3 Edge AI System Powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 820E

VIA Technologies, Inc., today announced the launch of the VIA ALTA DS 3 Edge AI system. Powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820E Embedded Platform, the system enables the rapid development and deployment of intelligent signage, kiosk, and access control devices that require real-time image and video capture, processing, and display capabilities.

The VIA ALTA DS 3 harnesses the cutting-edge compute, graphics, and AI processing capabilities of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820E Embedded Platform to facilitate the creation of vibrant new user experiences by allowing customers to combine their own AI applications with immersive multimedia signage display content in a compact, low-power system.

Antitrust: European Commission Fines Google for Record €4.34 billion for Illegal Practices

It's a record-setting fine: the European Commission has officially ruled that Google must pay a fine of €4.34 billion for breaking antitrust laws, specifically related to the implementation of its services within the Android ecosystem. The three key areas within which the EC has found wrongdoings pertain to bundling of its search engine and Chrome apps into the operating system; blocking phone makers from creating devices that run forked versions of Android (claiming, without proof, that these versions would offer more security risks), and "made payments to certain large manufacturers and mobile network operators" to exclusively bundle the Google Search app on handsets.

Google now has 90 days to comply with the EC's decision (notwithstanding payment of the fine), which Google, obviously, has already announced will appeal the decision. In a statement to The Verge, a Google representative said that "Android has created more choice for everyone, not less. A vibrant ecosystem, rapid innovation, and lower prices are classic hallmarks of robust competition," and that Google "(...) will appeal the Commission's decision." The idea here seems to be to stop Google from forcing manufacturers to bundle their app and search software stacks - many times in a seemingly unremovable way. You can check the press release in the source link, but some of the more interesting snippets have been collated after the break.

Samsung Launches the Chromebook Plus (V2)

Samsung Electronics America, Inc., announced the Samsung Chromebook Plus (V2), a 2-in-1 convertible designed to help people get the most out of Chrome OS wherever life and work take them. Available at Best Buy starting June 24, the Samsung Chromebook Plus (V2) is equipped with a built-in pen and offers a light, thin and stylish design that delivers versatility, portability and a premium experience at a competitive price point.

"Today's consumers want to be able to maximize their communication while also expressing their creativity wherever they are, and the new Samsung Chromebook Plus fulfills that need, " said Alanna Cotton, Senior Vice President and General Manager at Samsung Electronics America. "For those who choose Chrome OS, we wanted to give them a lot of reasons to choose the new Samsung Chromebook Plus, as it is designed especially for people who never stop moving, to match their pace and magnify their creativity."
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