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Instagram has an unlaunched ‘Portrait’ feature hidden inside

Eager to one-up Snapchat, Instagram appears to be preparing to expand its collection of shutter modes beyond options like Boomerang and Superzoom. Buried within Instagram’s Android Application Package (APK) is an icon for a Portrait shutter for the Stories camera. This could potentially let people shoot stylized portraits with bokeh effect-blurred backgrounds or other lighting effects. Read More

Second-Gen Eero Boosts Wi-Fi Speed, Adds Security

The new Eero mesh Wi-Fi system is smaller and faster, and even doubles as a nightlight.

Mapping the world in 3D will let us paint streets with augmented reality

If you believe tech optimists, 10 years from now self-driving cars will be ubiquitous, drones will deliver our parcels, and robots will bring us our groceries....

DeepMind’s AI has used teamwork to beat humans at a first-person shooter

Deep learning algorithms have already mastered games like Starcraft to beat humans—now they have shown they can team up to beat us too.The news: In a paper published in Science...

What if you could diagnose endometriosis with a tampon?

On an unremarkable side street in Oakland, California, a few blocks down from an animal dermatologist and just past an organic grocery store, Ridhi Tariyal and Stephen Gire are trying...

Ford Wants to Get in on Drone Deliveries, Too

Ford said it plans to have a fully autonomous vehicle ready for package delivery fleets in 2021.

China Plans Gas, Diesel Vehicle Ban

No cut-off date has been worked out yet, but China is officially calling time on the production of CO2-belching cars.

You Can’t Escape the Google Assistant, Even on TV

The Google Assistant and Android O may be appearing on a TV near you.

Google quits selling tablets

Google has quietly crept out of the tablet business, removing the “tablets” heading from its Android page. Perhaps it hoped that no one would notice on a Friday and by Monday it would be old news, but Android Police caught them in the act. It was there yesterday, but it’s gone today. We (well, Romain) called tablets dead in 2016, which was probably a little premature, since over 160 million of them shipped last year — but even so, it’s not much of a life they’re living. Google in particular has struggled to make Android a convincing alternative to iOS in the tablet realm, and with this move has clearly indicated its preference for the Chrome OS side of things, where it has inherited the questionable (but lucrative) legacy of netbooks. They’ve also been working on broadening Android compatibility with that OS. So it shouldn’t come as much surprise that the company is bowing out. Sales have dropped considerably, since few people see any reason to upgrade a device that was originally sold for its simplicity and ease of use, not its specs. I, for one, have been using the 3rd-gen (1st Retina) iPad since its release approximately 500 years ago and have never felt any compulsion whatsoever to get a new one. What happened to tablet sales? Cheap Kindle tablets from Amazon have proliferated somewhat, presumably as distractions for kids who would otherwise get fingerprints all over mom’s new phone, or for ultra-compact time-wasting on airplanes. Google’s exit doesn’t mean Android tablets are done for, of course. They’ll still get made, primarily by Samsung, Amazon, and a couple others, and there will probably even be some nice ones. But if Google isn’t selling them, it probably isn’t prioritizing them as far as features and support. Fortunately tablets aren’t subject to quite the same feature mania as smartphones, so it won’t really matter if your new Galaxy Tab or what have you doesn’t do all the cool new Google Assistant things. It plays a few games, stores your Pocket articles, and lets you watch Netflix in coach. Something cheap along those lines will always be available, but Google’s done with that whole scene. I’ve reached out to Google for comment and will update if I hear back.

Earth’s “fingerprint” could one day help us find a habitable exoplanet

The telltale signature that Earth's atmosphere produces when it passes in front of the sun could help us find out if other worlds are potentially habitable. Stellar signs: When a planet...

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