Apple didn't invent wireless smartphone charging. Actually, the iPhone-maker was far behind in this regard -- there were already many Android and Windows Phones with the capability. Hell, the Palm Pre had that feature all the way back in 2009! The iPhone didn't get it until 2017. Isn't Apple supposed to be a trendsetter?
And yet, despite being a laggard, as is typical with Apple, its use of Qi charging accelerated the standard's popularity. Shockingly, the comapny still doesn't sell its own such charging dock -- its own product has been delayed. Thankfully, there are plenty of third party wireless chargers that are iPhone compatible. Today, Logitech unveils a Qi wireless charger that is designed for the iPhone X, 8, and 8 Plus. Called "POWERED," it cradles the phone and props it up vertically. This eliminates the possibility of misalignment, which can cause a failure to charge. And yes, POWERED supports Apple's 7.5watt fast-charging.
Microsoft Surface Go is not an expensive tablet. Starting at just $399, it costs far less than the Surface Pro. Still, if you are spending your hard-earned money on it, you probably want to protect the investment. After all, if it does break, you probably cannot repair it on your own.
A case is a great way to shield the Surface Go from damage, and today, Urban Armor Gear launches two such products. Both cases -- the Metropolis and Plasma -- are MIL-STD 810G 516.6 rated and compatible with the official type cover. They even feature a place to hold the Surface Pen.
When it comes to processors, AMD has always been seen as the "underdog." Early on, many in-the-know system builders chose AMD chips for their computers as they offered comparable performance to Intel at a more affordable price. As time progressed, AMD retained its affordability, but Intel definitely pulled away from a performance standpoint.
With the Ryzen line, AMD has been on Intel's heels. With the Threadripper line in particular, AMD has been eating Intel's lunch, offering an unrivaled multicore experience. Today, AMD announces that its 2nd generation of Ryzen Threadripper is available immediately for pre-order. This is very exciting, as the top-model, the 2990WX, features an insane 32 cores and 64 threads. This drool-worthy chip has even set a Cinebench world record.
HyperX's cloud headsets are very popular with gamers and it's not hard to see why. The gaming headsets are comfortable, well-built, and offer solid audio performance. Not to mention, they are reasonably priced.
Today, HyperX launches the "Cloud for PS4" gaming headset. Essentially, it is just the existing Cloud headset with a blue paint job and PlayStation logo. That's OK though -- if you are a PlayStation fan in need of a headset, it's a great way to show off your fandom.
I'm a GNOME fan, but I appreciate other desktop environments too. KDE isn't my favorite, but when implemented properly, I can definitely see the allure. My favorite KDE-focused Linux distribution is Netrunner Rolling. It is based on the rock-solid Manjaro and Arch, but more importantly, it has a very polished user interface. Since it is follows a rolling release, the packages are always up to date too. An overall excellent distro for both Linux beginners and experts alike.
As a rolling release, it isn't necessary to upgrade the operating system at milestones, as with, say, Ubuntu or Fedora. But still, periodically, the ISOs are refreshed to roll up the latest updates and fixes. This way, there is less updating needed after a fresh install. Today, Netrunner Rolling 2018.08 sees release, meaning for those of you that are anal about maintaining up-to-date install media, it is time to burn a DVD or update a flash drive.
Kodi is great software for consuming media, but the best way to experience it is with a Linux distribution that focuses on it. If you aren't familiar, LibreELEC is one such distro -- it allows the user to focus exclusively on Kodi without any distractions. Best of all, it doesn't just run on traditional PC hardware, but the Raspberry Pi too. Yes, by leveraging an inexpensive Pi device, you can create a powerful media box for your television.
Today, the first Alpha of LibreELEC 9.0 becomes available for download. This follows the recent release of Kodi 18 Leia preview, and yes, LibreELEC 9.0 is based on Leia.
The Microsoft Surface Go launched this week, and unsurprisingly, it seems to be quite polarizing. Some reviewers give it high marks, while others disliked its anemic performance. While I have yet to try the device myself, I totally expected that -- people have different needs and expectations, and that includes reviewers. In other words, if you have meager needs, it will probably be a dream, but you obviously shouldn't expect too much from a computer that starts at $399.
Today, popular site iFixit did its typical "teardown" of the Surface Go, and the results are exactly what they should be -- it is a repairability nightmare with a lowly score of 1/10. You know what? While Microsoft haters will use that to take shots at the Surface Go, it really isn't a computer that is intended to be repaired. Starting at $399, it isn't exactly disposable, but if you do break it, it really wouldn't make sense to fix it. Right or wrong, just like Android tablets and the iPad, Surface Go isn't meant to be opened up.
The GNOME Foundation does a lot of important work, such as developing the best overall Linux desktop environment (GNOME 3) and countless useful apps. Quite frankly, without GNOME, the state of desktop Linux would probably be woeful. As a non-profit, the foundation depends on donations from both organizations and individuals. For example, back in May, we learned a mystery donor pledged a staggering $1 million to the GNOME Foundation. To this day, we still do not know the donor's identity. What we do know, however, is how some of the money will be used -- the hiring of four new employees.
There is yet another sizeable donation being announced by the GNOME Foundation, but this time, the donor is not a secret. Handshake.org, which describes itself as "a decentralized, permissionless naming protocol," has pledged $400,000, with $100,000 of it being earmarked for GIMP -- the essential image editor and manipulator. As a reminder, GIMP -- which stands for "GNU Image Manipulation Program" -- recently started to be hosted by GNOME on GitLab. Handshake will be donating to other open source projects too.
5G is the future, but it is certainly not the present. For now, 4G LTE will have to be good enough as we await the major cell carriers to roll out 5G networking across the United States. Once this blazing-fast next generation wireless standard becomes ubiquitous, it won't just revolutionize mobile internet, but it can potentially disrupt home internet too. Yes, the future may spell trouble for traditional cable-based ISPs.
Motorola and Verizon seem anxious to sell 5G phones to consumers, as the upcoming Moto Z3 -- which is exclusive to the carrier -- shows us. No, the Android smartphone does not contain a 5G radio -- it is still a 4G phone. However, Motorola promises a future "Moto Mod" that will snap onto the rear and enable Verizon 5G wireless connectivity. Since this radio dongle will likely drain the device’s battery, it contains its own 2000 mAh battery. The phone has the typical internals that you'd expect -- a Snapdragon 835 processor and 4GB of RAM.
More and more laptops are being manufactured without SD card slots. For many consumers, this isn't a problem. For others, such as photographers, it is a huge pain point. Thankfully, adding a card reader to a notebook or desktop is as easy as plugging in a USB adapter.
Of course, these days, laptop manufacturers are also forgoing USB Type-A ports, making existing adapters incompatible without a USB-A to USB-C dongle. Alternatively, you can simply buy a USB-C card reader, and today, Satechi launches an absolutely gorgeous such product. Its new reader, which is made with aluminum, supports both SD and micro SD cards with up to UHS-II speeds. It doesn't just work with laptops, but tablets and smartphones too.
There is no shortage of web browsers for Linux. Two of the most popular browsers -- Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox -- are easy to install and work quite brilliantly. Another fairly popular option is available too -- Opera. All three aforementioned browsers are cross-platform, making them great options not only for Linux, but Mac and Windows too.
Today, the Opera web browser for Linux becomes available as a Snap. If you aren't familiar, this means it is packaged for installation on any Linux distribution that supports Canonical's Snap format. This has the benefit of helping the developer, as they don't have to waste resources with multiple packaging options.
For whatever reason, Android tablets have largely fallen out of favor with consumers. Some people will blame cannibalization by large-screen smartphones, while others will point to low-quality offerings from no-name manufacturers. I would say both are contributors. Sadly, quality Android tablets are few and far between because the market is littered with low-cost models that are poor quality -- it makes it difficult for the top-tier makers to compete.
Thankfully, Samsung has not yet given up on the Android tablet market. Today, it unveils an absolutely beautiful -- albeit pricey -- 10.5 inch tablet. Called "Galaxy Tab S4," it ships with Android 8.1 and comes with an S Pen at no extra charge. It is powered by an impressive Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Octa Core processor and 4GB of RAM. While the base model is Wi-Fi only, an LTE model is available too.
When one company acquires another, the deal it is often judged by how much financial sense it makes. For instance, when Microsoft bought LinkedIn for $26 billion, many pundits thought it was a colossal waste of money. I suppose time will tell if the Windows-maker made a mistake or not. On the flip side, Amazon's acquisition of Twitch for nearly $1 billion is now looking quite brilliant -- the video platform is getting more popular every day.
Today, Logitech announces it is acquiring Blue Microphones for $117 million. While obviously not as big as the two aforementioned acquisitions, it is still very intriguing. Actually, Logitech's purchase of Blue makes a ton of sense, as the microphone-maker's portfolio fits in perfectly with its new owner's products. Logitech is known for producing high-quality accessories, and while it does make headsets, it doesn't really produce high-end microphones -- the acquisition fills a void. And so, the deal seems like it could be a match made in heaven.
Back in June, we reported that Linux Mint Debian Edition 3 BETA would be released in July. Well, LMDE 3 did make the deadline, albeit barely. Yes, today, on the final day of the month, the BETA version of the rolling release operating system becomes available.
Unlike the traditional Linux Mint operating system which is based on Ubuntu, LMDE is based on Debian. To be more precise, LMDE 3 BETA is based on Debian Stretch. While this Debian version of Mint is perfectly usable as a daily driver, its real focus is as a contingency plan in case development of Ubuntu ever ceases in the future.
Ubuntu is a great Linux distribution, but understandably, the GNOME desktop environment isn't for everyone. Thankfully, there are many flavors of the operating system with alternative DEs, such as Xubuntu with XFCe and Kubuntu with KDE. Ultimately, with so much choice, you should have no problem finding a version of Ubuntu that best meets your needs and wants.
One popular Ubuntu flavor is Lubuntu. If you aren't familiar, it uses the lightweight LXDE desktop environment which makes it a good choice for older hardware. In fact, one of the focuses of the Lubuntu developers is to support aging computers. When Lubunu 18.10 is released in October 2018, it will ditch LXDE for the newer LXQt. Despite it also being a desktop environment that is easy on resources, the Lubuntu developers are planning to drop their focus on old hardware after the transition.