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All posts by Hadlee Simons

  • Google at CES 2018: Assistant everywhere, smart displays now a thing

    CES 2018 is in full swing this week, as a variety of companies use the opportunity to reveal new products and services. Google is no exception, using the Las Vegas mega-event to make several key consumer-related announcements. Starting with Google Assistant, the tech firm revealed that the voice tool was available on over 400 million devices. It adds that it sold just over one Google Home a second since the Home Mini (review) started shipping in October -- more than seven million units by our calculations. Assistant in more places Google isn't stopping there though, announcing more partnerships with third party manufacturers to bring...

  • Here’s why your budget phone might not be vulnerable to Meltdown, Spectre

    AMD, ARM and Intel have made headlines recently following the disclosure of processor exploits (dubbed Meltdown and Spectre). The exploits centre on the "speculative execution" feature in many processors, being heavily used by Intel. The focus seems to be on Intel for the most part obviously, being the biggest loser in the whole situation. But the exploits also affect ARM processors, powering the vast majority of smartphones on the market. There's a good chance that your mid-range or entry-level phone won't be affected by the exploits though, as ARM disclosed last week that its energy efficient A7, A53 and A55 cores (used in all...

  • Rockchip is latest processor brand to jump on AI bandwagon

    Chinese brand Rockchip has quietly carved out a niche in the processor world, powering a range of set-top boxes, Android TV devices and even a few Chromebooks. Now, the company's latest chipset, the RK3399Pro (h/t: Liliputing), has been revealed. And yes, it's packing AI hardware in the form of a neural processing unit (NPU). The manufacturer claims that its NPU delivers 2.4 TOPS of performance. By comparison, Nvidia touts 47 TOPS for its Tesla P40 data centre GPU. The NPU offers support for TensorFlow Lite, OpenVX and the AndroidNN frameworks, while Rockchip adds that it supports computer vision, voice processing and deep learning tech. Rockchip is...

  • Intel, AMD reveal new CPU wares ahead of CES 2018

    It's time for the biggest tech expo of the year in the form of CES, and Intel and AMD have already shown new processors for desktops, laptops and more. Intel shed more light on its eighth generation Core chips with AMD Radeon Vega graphics, marking a notable partnership between the CPU rivals. Intel, AMD's collaboration The new chips will feature a quad-core CPU (all packing eight threads) and Radeon Vega RX graphics, as well as 4GB of HBM2 (high bandwidth memory). And all of this will come in a size that makes the range suitable for two-in-one designs and other lightweight devices, Intel claims. "With...

  • VRChat: could this viral creation be VR’s killer app?

    VR enjoyed a resurgence in the last few years, as technology caught up and allowed for some truly immersive experiences. But as the hype dies down, it could be argued that killer apps are still thin on the ground. Enter VRChat. The application, available on Steam, allows community members to chat with each other, complete with avatars, full body tracking, hand tracking, emojis, emotes and more. There are also a few minigames to play, such as Capture the Flag and "battle discs". But VRChat's greatest strength has to be its open nature, encouraging users to create their own minigames, scenarios, worlds,...

  • Nvidia announces BFGD: swanky monitors with integrated Shield

    CES 2018 has kicked off this week in Las Vegas, and it was Nvidia that held a pre-show conference to announce its wares. And the headline consumer announcement was its BFGD (big format gaming displays) range of monitors. Created in partnership with Asus, Acer and HP, the BFGD monitors combine "a high-end 65-inch, 4K 120Hz HDR display with Nvidia G-Sync technology together with Nvidia Shield", read an excerpt of the announcement on its website. Between the large screen size, G-Sync tech, 4K support and HDR capabilities, it seems like the BFGD range isn't skimping on specs then. But it's the Nvidia Shield integration that also makes...

  • 4 2016 video games that actually became great in 2017

    We now live in a time where a video game release doesn't mean the developer can stop caring. Instead, the rise of digital downloads and persistent connectivity (for many) means that post-launch fixes and updates are the norm right now. In fact, we can think of a few games released in 2016 that became good or even great with a constant stream of updates... No Man's Sky I practically made this list for No Man's Sky (review), having seen a series of substantial updates in 2016 and 2017 to finally become a great game in its own right. It's a stark contrast to...

  • LG reveals more robots ahead of CES 2018

    We saw LG introduce a variety of robots at CES last year, including several commercially focused gadgets, such as a robotic lawnmower, airport cleaning robot and an airport guide robot. Now, the company has revealed three more commercial robots, in the form of the Serving Robot, Porter Robot and Shopping Cart Robot. It adds that the trio are part of LG's new CLOi brand -- yes, it's pronounced KLOH-ee. The Serving Robot is meant to "deliver meals and drinks to guests and customers at hotels and airport lounges quickly and efficiently", LG notes on its website. What about the Porter Robot? It's...

  • Nokia 6 2018 is now official in China

    The first Nokia-branded smartphone under HMD Global was the Nokia 6, having made its debut a year ago in China. Now, the Nokia 6 2018 model has been revealed in China, packing a few notable upgrades. Spotted on the Chinese version of HMD's website, the 2018 version of the Nokia 6 packs a Snapdragon 630 chipset, 4GB of RAM, 32 or 64GB of expandable storage, a 5.5-inch full HD LCD screen, USB Type-C and Android 7.1 (an upgrade to Oreo will come afterwards). The Nokia 6 2018 also packs a 16MP f/2.0 (1 micron pixels) main camera and an 8MP f/2.0 selfie...

  • Processor exploits: what are affected companies saying?

    The recent disclosure of exploits in several processors, chiefly Intel's x86 chips, has resulted in a firestorm of controversy as companies scramble to fix the issue or deflect blame. The exploits, discovered by Google researchers, involve the processor speculation feature in many chips, with Intel relying on this most aggressively. However, other companies are also affected by the news, so what are they saying? Apple The Cupertino company is also affected of course, using Intel chips in its Mac computers and the ARM instruction set in its iOS devices. "All Mac systems and iOS devices are affected, but there are no known exploits impacting customers...