The best iPad deals for Black Friday 2017: Great deals on iPad, iPad Pro and iPad mini

Whether you’re an avid Apple fan or yet to own a single product from the tech giant, there’s no denying that the iPad is still the king of tablets. Its Retina display, premium design and the broad range of apps available to download still set Apple’s iPad far ahead of other tablets, securing its place as the premium device on the market. Unlike in the past, however, you no longer have to pay through the roof to get your hands on one. 
Black Friday deals have already started, so there’s never been a better time to score a great deal on the iPad you’ve been longing for all year. Many of the top tech retailers are offering discounts on various iPad models so it’s a great time to save right now. Plus, with so many models now available, there are also many more deals to take advantage of. Whether you’re looking for an iPad mini or iPad Pro, or have your heart set on no particular model, we pick out the best iPad deals every month so you can make your money go further.
The best iPad deals on Black Friday 2017

1. £50 off all iPad Pros and £25 off all iPads at Currys PC World
Use the code IPADPRO50 to get £50 off an iPad Pro or IPAD25 to get £25 off any iPad this weekend. You can save at least another £50 off the sale price by trading in an older iPad, too.
Buy it now from Currys PC World
2. Get an iPad Pro 
Certified Apple reseller KRCS always has great offers on Apple products and this month you’ll save even more in the Black Friday sale. Right now they’re offering iPad Pros from just £600.43, which is cheaper than most other retailers.
Buy it now from KRCS
3. iPad Pro 9.7in – 32GB (was £549, now £519)
You can always be sure you’re getting a good deal when you buy from Very. This month they’ve knocked £30 off the iPad Pro, meaning you can now pick up a 9.7in screen with a 32GB of storage. 
Buy it now from Very
4. iPad mini 4 Wi-Fi – 128GB (was £479, now £419)
The iPad mini 4 is sleeker and lighter than ever before – and now it’s cheaper, too. Buy it in Very’s big summer sale and you can get the 7.9in multi-touch screen, LED backlit Retina display and up to ten hours of battery life on Apple’s smallest iPad model for just over £400. 
Buy it here
5. iPad Pro Rose Gold 9.7in 256GB Wi-Fi + Cellular (was £849, now £789)
You can currently get all the benefits of the iPad Pro’s 9.7in display and its ample storage for less at Very right now. This month, the online store has slashed the price of the 256GB model by £60, so you can pick one up for less than £800.
Buy it now from Very
6. iPad Pro Space Grey 9.7in – 128GB (was £639, now £599)

If a 12.9in screen is more iPad than you need, there are some great deals on its 9.7in little sister. John Lewis has lowered its prices once again, this time saving you up to £40 off the Space Grey Wi-Fi model. You can now pick one up for less than £600, which isn’t a bad deal at all considering you’ll get 128GB of storage, too.
Buy it now from John Lewis
7. iPad Pro 12.9in (first-gen) – 32GB (was £729, now £669)
Don’t need all that storage space? If that’s the case, you can pick up an iPad Pro for even less. The first-generation model with 32GB of storage has been knocked down to £669 at Argos, saving you £60 off the former price right now. It still has double the CPU performance of the iPad Air 2 and comes with Apple’s biggest screen yet. 
Buy it now from Argos
More Black Friday iPad deals
8. MoKo Case for New iPad 2017 9.7in (was £19.99, now £8.99)
If you’ve forked out to buy a shiny new iPad, the last thing you want is to break it. This case will protect any 9.7in iPad and it comes in lots of eye-catching designs, too.   
Buy it now from Amazon

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Galaxy S7 Edge vs. Moto Z2 Play: Old flaghip, new mid-range

Galaxy S7 Edge vs. Moto Z2 Play: Design is important
The difference in design between these two models is night and day, but neither of them is ugly. The build of each model plays a big part because it will dictate which you like based on the design.
The Galaxy S7 Edge is beautiful, thin and elegant. It’s much better looking than its brother the standard Galaxy S7. It comes with that famous Edge display, with long curves down the sides that give it a smaller and slimmer feel. The backside is entirely made up of glass.

Almost the same size, but the S7 Edge looks much smaller. / © AndroidPIT

The borders aren’t just easy on the eyes either, they’re actually useful. They have exclusive apps and features that have direct access to notifications when the screen is off. The fingerprint sensor is on the front. Although it does have quite a bit of a bezel on the top and bottom, on the sides, it’s pretty much nonexistent. However, this does end up harming the ease of use since you can easily touch things without meaning to.

Galaxy S7 Edge vs. Moto Z2 Play: Size comparison


156.2 x 76.2 x 6 mm

150.9 x 72.6 x 7.7 mm

The Moto Z2 Play has a more practical, modern and stripped-down look. It feels solid in your hand, and even though there isn’t much difference in size compared to the S7 Edge, it just looks bigger. The fingerprint sensor is on the front as well, and on the back, the finish is metal with a camera that sticks out quite a lot.
That lump on the back is actually there for a reason. The Z2 Play supports Moto Mods, modular snap-on accessories that connect using magnets on the backside of the device. They can come with different features like a speaker, projector, gamepad, 360º camera, extra batteries and a lot more.
Galaxy S7 Edge vs. Moto Z2 Play: Super AMOLED is king
Once again, the design comes into play here, because although they both have 5.5-inch displays, the Moto Z2 Play seems bigger. Apart from that, as I said above, the screen on the S7 Edge is less user-friendly, but it is better looking, and it comes with more features.
They both have similar displays with Super AMOLED technology since that’s something that more advanced users are looking for. Comparatively, it’s worth it to mention that the colors on the Moto Z2 Play are more balanced, whereas the S7 Edge tends towards slightly bluer hues, but that can be tweaked in the settings menu.

Both devices are Super AMOLED  / © AndroidPIT

The screen on the Moto Z2 Play seems to be slightly more intense, but if you’re not looking at it straight on, the colors are bit fuzzier than those on the S7 Edge, which maintains excellent definition in that aspect. Both are protected by Gorilla Glass, but the S7 Edge has version 4, where the Z2 Play comes with version 3.
Another difference between them is that the S7 Edge is Quad HD while the Z2 Play is Full HD. To the naked eye, this doesn’t really mean much, but it does make a difference when you look up how much area each one uses. In this, the S7 Edge comes out ahead.

Galaxy S7 Edge vs. Moto Z2 Play: Display comparison

Display Size
Display Technology

5.5 inches
Super AMOLED, Full HD (1.080 x 1.920 pixels), 16:9, 401 ppi, takes up 70.1% of the display

5.5 inches
Super AMOLED, Quad HD (2.560 x 1440 pixels), 16:9, 534 ppi, takes up 76.1% of the display

Galaxy S7 Edge vs. Moto Z2 Play: Similar hardware, different cameras
This is the exact reason that we’re comparing a top-of-the-line from 2016 with a mid-range model from 2017. From one year to another, components evolve, and mid-range devices can hold their own against the hardware of last year’s top models.
You can take a look at the specs below, but what we’ve got here is a battle between an Exynos 8890 against a Snapdragon 626. Both with 4GB of RAM which makes this a very even contest. Either device can handle practically anything you throw at it.

As for camera, the S7 Edge comes out on top. / © AndroidPIT

We already know that hardware on mid-range models is good enough to compete with high-end models in a lot of different categories, and this is even more evident when it’s compared to last year’s model. They may not be able to run the most demanding games out there, but they’ll do just fine with any other task you can think of.
The Moto Z2 Play is dual SIM, with slots for two chips, whereas the Galaxy S7 Edge is, unfortunately, just a single SIM.
The cameras are also quite a bit different. Although they both have 12MP cameras with f/1.7 aperture on the back, the S7 Edge has the advantage in quality as it has much better post-processing.
Not that the photos on the Z2 Play are bad, they’re actually quite good. But the S7 Edge takes excellent pictures, easily better than a lot of phones launched this year. They both have autofocus with face recognition, but the Z2 Play has dual flash, and the S7 Edge comes with optical stabilizers.
They both can take 4K or Full HD videos with up to 60fps, but the slow-motion camera on the S7 Edge can take up to 240fps whereas the Z2 Play can only take up to 120fps, both in HD. Both front cameras are 5 MP, but the S7 Edge has an aperture of f/1.7 against f/2.2 on the Z2 Play. So, as we can easily see, the camera on the S7 Edge once again, comes out on top.

Moto Z2 Play supports Moto Mods. / © AndroidPIT

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge vs. Moto Z2 Play technical specifications

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
Moto Z2 Play

150.9 x 72.6 x 7.7 mm
156.2 x 76.2 x 5.99 mm

157 g
145 g

Battery size:
3600 mAh
3000 mAh

Screen size:
5.5 in
5.5 in

Display technology:

2560 x 1440 pixels (534 ppi)
1920 x 1080 pixels (401 ppi)

Front camera:
5 megapixels
5 megapixels

Rear camera:
12 megapixels
12 megapixels


Android version:
6.0 – Marshmallow
7.1.1 – Nougat

User interface:
Stock Android

4 GB
4 GB

Internal storage:
32 GB64 GB
64 GB

Removable storage:

Samsung Exynos 8890
Qualcomm Snapdragon 626

Number of cores:

Max. clock speed:
2.3 GHz
2.2 GHz

HSPA, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 4.2
HSPA, LTE, NFC, Dual-SIM , Bluetooth

Galaxy S7 Edge vs. Moto Z2 Play: Battery for more than a day
This aspect, which is very important to all users, is well done on both devices. They aren’t incredible, but in the hands of less demanding users, they should last throughout the day or even more. The Moto Z2 Play was under scrutiny for having a smaller battery than its predecessor, Moto Z Play, which was a massive success in this category.
However, with 3000 mAh, it lasted up to 36 hours with normal use which included an hour of gameplay, two hours of WhatsApp, half an hour of video and an hour of Facebook, among a few other things.

The fingerprint sensor on the Z2 play has some unique features. / © AndroidPIT

With the same use, the S7 Edge and its 3600 mAh battery last about the same amount of time. It uses a bit more energy because of its more demanding and year-old processor, but it can easily handle a full workday.
The advantage on this one goes to the Moto Z2 Play since it comes with a Turbo charger and in just a few minutes you can have up to 3 more hours of battery life. Plus, it also has the Moto Mods battery option, which adds up to 2200 mAh to the total.

A mid-range model from this year easily matches up with a top-of-the-line from 2016
What do you think?

Galaxy S7 Edge vs. Moto Z2 Play Space: A pure system or not?
If space is something that’s important to you, you’ll have plenty of it with these models. The Moto Z2 Play has 64GB, and there are about 48.5GB for you to play with. It doesn’t have the hybrid slot like the Z, but you can have a dual chip and use a microSD card of up to 2TB.
The Galaxy S7 Edge has a microSD slot as well since it’s a single SIM device, and you can add up to 2TB of space as well. One significant advantage here is that there are currently 128GB versions of the S7 on the market, which is more than enough for almost any user.
The Z2 Play brings with it Motorola’s fame of putting the purest version of Android possible on their devices. And, although that is the case here, Motorola still adds some extras like the Moto App.

They both come with audio jacks. / © AndroidPIT

With that app, all you need to do is shake your device to activate the camera or flashlight. You can even see relevant info when you tap on the display or wave your hand over it, among other features. They’re really cool features, and the system is fluid and light, without being too flashy.
The S7 Edge has TouchWiz, which is Samsung’s modified version of Android. It’s already been heavily criticized, but it’s starting to become cleaner and lighter, as is the case on this device. It’s still full of features, and so it’s perfect for someone who likes to personalize as much as they can on their devices.
TouchWiz is heavier than the Moto App, and it demands a bit more from the processor, but since this device is top-of-the-line, that shouldn’t be a problem. The features on the S7 Edge are really nice and comprehensive, giving users the ability to tinker with a lot of different aspects.
No need to worry either, both will be updated to Android Oreo 8.0. However, they probably won’t go past it.
Both are solid options, but which one is better for you?
Galaxy S7 Edge vs. Moto Z2 Play: Which is a better choice for you?
After all that, we’re left with the question: which is a better choice for you? It’s going to depend on what you’re looking for. Let’s recap:

Design: the S7 Edge is better looking and with a glass finish. Plus it uses more of the display while being thinner and with curved edges. The Z2 Play has a better feel, with a metal back and it works with Moto Mods, which opens up a lot of extra possibilities
Display: they both come with solid displays that are practically identical.
Hardware: even though one is top-of-the-line, it’s from last year. Whereas the other is from this year, but it’s a mid-range model. This evens it all out, and the only difference here is if you’re looking for a dual SIM device, then Z2 Play is the one for you.
Camera: The S7 Edge takes this one. That doesn’t mean the Z2 Play is bad, it’s just that the Samsung device is a lot better and it will please anyone looking to take high-quality photos. Pictures on the Z2 Play won’t have any problems on social media, and they both come with manual controls.
Battery: Both can last for more than a day if users aren’t too demanding. With heavier use, you can get up to 18 hours out of them, which really is a decent number.
System: a purer and lighter Android with fewer features or a more modified version with more features and personalization? That’s something that only you can answer.

To make your decision, you should consider the design, camera usage and the type of system, whether you want something simpler or more complicated. However, the S7 Edge and Z2 Play are very similar devices, and they deliver an almost identical user experience.

Choose Galaxy S7 Edge or Moto Z2 Play.

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Galaxy S7 Edge

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Moto Z2 Play

How about you? Which would you go with if you had to choose?

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Google launches three new photography apps for testing experimental technology

Google today is launching a trio of new photo apps – a part of new series of what it has dubbed photography “appsperiments.” (Get it? Ha ha.) The apps, some of which are available on both the iOS App Store and Google Play, give Google a way to test out more experimental features to see how users respond, the company explains in an announcement on its Google Research blog.
The apps involve a number of technologies now in development at Google, including those focused on object recognition, person segmentation, stylization algorithms, efficient image encoding and decoding technologies, Google says.
Specifically, the three apps in question are called Storyboard, Selfissimo!, and Scrubbies.
The first, Storyboard, turns videos into single-page comic layouts on your device. Turning photos into images inspired by art – including comic book art – is something that grew popular with the launch of the A.I.-powered editing app Prisma. While that company has more recently shifted focus to b2b, its consumer app still ranks in the top 150 in the Photo & Video category on the App Store. But attention for this sort of creative photography has waned a bit. Perhaps turning it on for video could bring it back to the limelight again?

Storyboard is a new take on those art-inspired photo effects apps. Instead of turning a photo into comic book art, it automatically selects interesting frames from a video then lays them out using one of six visual styles.
Storyboard is Android-only for now.
The second app, Selfissimo!, is designed for selfies, as the name implies.
In this case, the app is an automated selfie photographer that takes black and white photos of you every time you pose. Whenever you stop moving, a new photo is taken. The end result is a contact sheet of photos – like you’d have from a real photoshoot. (But hey, Google, c’mon, we need more than just B&W photos here!)

This one is available on both iOS and Android.
The third, Scrubbies, is designed for video. This app lets you change the speed and direction of video playback to create looping videos. Instead of looping apps like Instagram’s Boomerang, Scrubbies has you go hands-on. You actually swipe on the video itself to “remix” it. Google describes this process as “scratching it like a D.J.” One finger plays the video, while two fingers captures the playback for you to save and share.
Scrubbies is iOS-only.

This is not the first time Google has launched experimental photography apps.
Google researchers developed Motion Stills to make iOS’s Live Videos less shaky, then brought a variation of that app to Android to offer a new recording experience for shooting sharable clips. This same Live Photo editing technology was also baked into the main Google Photos app, after some initial testing.
That means it’s possible that – if all goes well with the new app experiments – the features they offer could eventually make their way to Google Photos, as well.
Google also hinted that these three apps may be the first of many tests to – the company tells us they’re the “first installment” in a series of “appsperiments.”

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BlackBerry Motion review

BlackBerry has had a rough few years, but it’s slowly trying to claw back some territory now that it has switched to the Android operating system. We put its latest phone to the test in our BlackBerry Motion review.
The post BlackBerry Motion review appeared first on Digital Trends.
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Google launches Star Wars augmented reality stickers for the Pixel and Pixel 2

After announcing them back in October, Google is launching its augmented reality stickers on the Pixel and Pixel 2 this week. The stickers are cute 3D creatures that appear inside of photos and videos taken in Google’s camera app using new AR tech to appear like they’re really in the scene.
To make the whole thing a bit more fun, Google is launching the feature with two branded sticker sets: Stranger Things and Star Wars. You’ll be able to pull up cartoon versions of the Stranger Things kids and the Demogorgon (with season one outfits — so probably no punk Eleven), as well as a handful of Star Wars characters and creatures, including stormtroopers, R2-D2, BB-8, and porgs.

More sticker packs will arrive in the future

Google also has a handful of its own creatures, including a donut, a coffee mug, and a weightlifting stalk of broccoli. Early videos using the feature suggest the stickers work pretty well.
These AR stickers are exclusive to Pixel phones for the time being. They also require that phones are updated to Android 8.1 — and not all phones have received the update yet. For those that have made it to 8.1, Google says the feature should appear inside the camera app over the “coming days.” It also plans to release more sticker packs in the future.

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Honor 7x and Honor View 10 First Impressions

We were at the global launch of the Honor 7x and the Honor View 10 smart phones in London last week. During the event, Honor CEO George Zhao took us through the key features of the two new phones. 
If the features are anything to go by, both phones appear to offer excellent value for money. 
We had a brief hands on with both phones afterwards and have taken away a full-production version of the Honor 7x. Shipping of the Honor 7X in the UK started on the day of launch, 5th December. 
The Honor View 10 will be officially launched on 8th January during CES. The units of the Honor View 10 at the event were not full production versions so we are unable to supply sample images from the phone. 
Let’s start with our first impressions of the Honor 7x, and then we’ll take a look at the key features of the Honor View 10.
For more information please visit the Honor website. 
Honor 7x
There has already been shipment of 2 million Honor 7X units in China, but as of 5th December it is now available in the UK. The phone looks like great value at £269. Here’s what you need to know. 
Honor 7X: Design & Features

For its price point, the Honor 7X packs a lot of features. You get an impressive 4GB ram, 64GB internal storage and support for micro SD cards up to 256GB. 
The 5.93in edge-to-edge screen is in 18:9 format and its 2160×1080 resolution display gives a crisp image. Such a wide format is a big plus for gamers but it also allows dual screen display – meaning you can easily view messages as they pop up while operating other apps. 
A metallic-finish body gives a comfortable hold and comes in three colours; Black, Blue and Gold. Honor has made comparisons between the Honor 7X and iPhone 8 Plus, where the Honor 7X is thinner and its battery inside is a more powerful 3,340mAh unit. 
Battery capacity provides power for up to 22 days standby, 12 hours video playback, 21 hours talk time or 12 hours internet. Impressive stuff. 
Honor 7X: Camera

As for the camera, it’s a dual rear camera array with the main camera featuring a 16MP sensor and the second 2MP camera is used for depth sensing. The camera pairing provides portrait and wide aperture modes. The front camera has a 8MP sensor and offers a wide aperture mode too.
Phase detection AF (PDAF) is included in both cameras and promises focusing as fast as 0.18 seconds. In good contrast light we have found focusing to be quick and accurate, though the phone struggles more when in low contrast light. There were several times out on the streets of London at night where the phone has struggled to acquire a sharp focus at all. But hey, this is a phone.
Shooting modes wise, the Portrait Mode is available for both from and rear cameras. In addition there are panorama, time-lapse, light painting, HDR and funny effects modes. Truly, there is a comprehensive array of shooting modes.  
It is possible to trigger the front camera by gesture, where by a palm to camera starts the timer for selfie. A smile will work too, as does saying cheese when using audio control.
Video specification is less comprehensive. There is no image stabilisation and the Honor 7X is limited to 1080p at 30fps. No 1080p at 60fps or 4k video recording. 
Honor 7X: Other Impressions

We’ve had our hands on the Honor 7X for a short while and generally first impressions are positive. 
Fingerprint ID on the rear of the camera is super comfortable to access and quick to function. When the large edge-to-edge screen comes to life it is wonderfully vibrant. 
The camera menu is nicely laid out. Swipe to the left and you find the plethora of shooting modes, including Pro Photo, Light Painting and Slow-Mo among others. 
Swipe to the right and the Settings menu appears, where there is access to GPS, watermarking, gesture controls and display preferences.
On the main camera screen you have quick access to library, photo and video modes, plus direct access to the Portrait Mode camera, wide aperture activation, flash mode and switching between front and rear cameras. 
All in all, the handling of the camera is intuitive, despite the volume of features on offer. 
We have used the camera both in bright light and in low contrast light. We’e already mentioned about auto focus, but what about image quality? We say that it’s respectable for the price, but there are plenty of other smartphones out there with better cameras. Images are crisp in bright daylight, but detail is much more smudged and noisy in low contrast light. 
Take a look at our sample images gallery to judge for yourself. 
Honor 7X Sample Images
Honor 7X: At a Glance
•       18:9 full screen 2,160×1080 (FHD+) display
•       5.5inch body
•       5.93in edge-to-edge view
•       Available in three colours: black, blue, gold
•       Tough and with rounded edges
•       One-key split screen to use two functions simultaneously 
•       16MP rear camera with additional 2MP depth sensing camera + 8MP front camera
•       Portrait Mode for both from and rear cameras 
•       Full HD 1080p videos at 30fps 
•       3340 mAh battery gives up to 12 hours internet time
•       Kirin 659 processor + 4GB ram 
•       64GB internal memory 
•       support for 256GB micro SD card 
•       £269 or 299 euros
•       Available 5th December in UK
Honor View 10
Honor’s new flagship phone is the Honor View 10. Features wise it goes up against the iPhone X and Samsung Galaxy Note 8, while it costs around half the price at £449 (499 euros). Shipping of the Honor View 10 commences on 8th January.
Honor describes the Honor View 10 as the first AI (artificial intelligence) phone. Let’s take a closer look.
Honor View 10: Design & Features

There are a whole tonne of features in the Honor View 10 and we won’t mention all of them here. But we will touch on the key features, such as the 6GB ram and internal storage of 128GB. 
Design wise, you get a 5.99in screen in 18:9 format. It’s pretty much the same display as found in the Honor 7X. 
It’s premium metal body is available in two colours; Midnight Black and Navy Blue. At 6.97mm thick, the View 10 is thinner than the iPhone X and Samsung Galaxy Note 8, but the battery inside is a more powerful 3,750mAh unit. That battery can be charged to 50% in around 30 minutes with the super-charge option. 
You get dual SIM card slots, with dual 4G & volte support, meaning it is possible to make an internet call and your other functions like web browsing remain at full capacity.
Then there is dual face recognition ID and embedded fingerprint sensor in the front glass. 
We haven’t even got on to the AI aspect of the phone which improves much of the phone’s functionality. Features include Easy Talk, which detects whispering and boosts the audio for clear signal. Honor has also teamed up with Microsoft for an Advanced Assistant translator, including immediate translation from a picture of text. 
Honor View 10: Camera

On paper the Honor View 10 possesses one of the most impressive cameras in any smart phone. 
It’s a dual rear camera setup, with a 20MP front facing camera and a 16MP front facing camera. Both lenses feature a fast f/1.8 aperture. 
Honor is intent on marketing the AI element of the camera, which offers an unparalleled fast image recognition of 33 images per second and 13 intelligent scene recognition, all of which are built-on by ‘deep learning’ AI. 
What does that mean in reality? The Honor View 10 should select the correct exposure settings in more situations. For example, AI motion detection uses tracking prediction in order to freeze movement rather than let it be blurry. There’s also a digital zoom to enhance detail in a text document.
As for portraits, Portrait Mode uses segmentation to separate subject from the background in order to then blur the background. This technology is available for selfies, solo and group pictures. There are then options to extract the ’segmented’ subject and then place them onto any background, green screen style. 
We look forward to trying out the new phone when it’s launched in January. 

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Ryan Shazier celebrated with his Steelers teammates over FaceTime from the hospital

This is so great to see.
Ryan Shazier couldn’t be with his Steelers teammates in person while he recovers from spinal surgery, but he was there in spirit. The team made sure he could celebrate along with them over FaceTime following their win over the Ravens:

Ryan Shazier face-timed his Steelers teammates from the hospital after they beat the Ravens. ❤️
( : mrs.shazier50 / Instagram)
— SB Nation (@SBNation)

We can see from the video that Shazier was brought inside the Steelers locker room postgame to hear the team’s victory speech, bring it in (which he did from the bed), and give two claps and a Ric Flair with the team.
Shazier suffered the spinal injury in Week 13 on the first offensive possession of the game against the Bengals. Football fans and beyond have been anxiously awaiting more updates on Shazier’s condition, but it’s amazing to see him following the team from his bed and celebrating like he was on the field with his teammates.

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers)

Get well soon, Ryan.

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Dennis Rodman asks Trump for formal role as North Korea envoy | World news

Dennis Rodman, the American basketball star turned freelance diplomat , has urged Donald Trump to sign him up as a peace envoy to North Korea after his latest foray into Kim Jong-un’s hermit kingdom was scuppered by a travel ban preventing US citizens from visiting.
During an interview in Beijing, from where Rodman had hoped to fly to Pyongyang for his sixth trip there, the former NBA star said US officials had discouraged him from doing so amid continuing tensions between the countries. “Basically they said it’s not a good time right now,” he said.
A state department ban on US passport holders visiting North Korea came into force on 1 September after the death of Otto Warmbier, an American student who was detained in Pyongyang for more than a year. On 29 November, North Korea celebrated its latest intercontinental ballistic missile test, claiming it could now strike anywhere on the US mainland.
However, Rodman, who first visited North Korea in 2013 and calls Kim his friend, claimed that now was the perfect time – and he was the perfect man – to press for peace.
“If I can go back over there … you’ll see me talking to him, and sitting down and having dinner, a glass of wine, laughing and doing my thing. I guess things will settle down a bit and everybody can rest at ease.”
Rodman, 56, added: “I think a lot of people around the world … want me to go just to see if I can do something.”

The 6ft 7in former sportsman, who calls the North Korean dictator “the Marshal”, said it was far-fetched to imagine Kim and Trump one day sitting down for a beer, but “a 30-second conversation” was feasible.
Rodman said he had been seeking Trump’s ear on North Korea for months. “I’ve been trying to tell Donald since day one: ‘Come talk to me, man … I’ll tell you what the Marshal wants more than anything … It’s not even that much.’”
However, when the Guardian inquired as to what the Marshal wanted, Rodman was tight-lipped: “I ain’t telling you … I will tell him [Trump] when I see him.”
Despite claiming that Kim is a “friend for life”, there is little evidence Rodman has the North Korean leader’s ear when it comes to affairs of state. Kim appears to view the retired athlete as a benign outsider, someone to whom he can present a gentler image of himself as a lover of basketball and horses, safe in the knowledge that this is the image that will circulate around the world as soon as Rodman returns home.
On Monday, Rodman painted Kim as a Frank Sinatra fan and said Kim had asked him to write a book about Kim’s life. Rodman said he was considering calling it The Middleman (“That’s me”).
The pair appear to have formed an unlikely bond during skiing trips and karaoke sessions, but on some of Rodman’s five previous visits the pair have not met, including on his most recent, in June this year.
Rodman admits that he has shied away from sensitive political subjects, to the anger of rights groups that accuse him of lending credibility to one of the world’s cruellest dictatorships. “I don’t even try to think about [the bad things],” he said.
Trump has not commented on Rodman’s North Korean travels but in 2013 hailed his visit that year as “smart”. “The world is blowing up around us. Maybe Dennis is a lot better than what we have,” he said.

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This kid’s emotional video about bullying has rallied the sports world and beyond

A boy in Knoxville, Tenn., brought the world face-to-face with the effects of bullying in a way few videos can.

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Why Google Should Make A Nexus 5-Style Pixel Phone in 2018

Richard Goodwin

11/12/2017 – 11:57am

The Nexus 5 is dead and gone, but its memory lives on. This is why Google should do another in 2018, just with Pixel branding

The Nexus 5 was one of the most loved Android phones of all time. If you spend any time on Reddit, you will know that the handset is still thriving despite its age and lack of support from Google.
And the reason why the Nexus 5 was so popular is simple, it was a great phone with a great price tag. Made by Google in cahoots with LG, the Nexus 5 was all about value for money, software, and getting stuff done with minimal fuss or fanfare.
The hole left by the Nexus 5 was never really filled, though OnePlus has made a valiant attempt to do so with its excellent phones over the years. But as good as the OnePlus 5T is it still misses the one thing that made the Nexus 5 – and all Nexus phones, for that matter – special; updates.
And this got me thinking, especially after reading that there would be three Pixel 3 phones released in 2018, that perhaps it is time for Google to revisit what it was doing with the Nexus 5? In a sea of almost-£1000 phones, a low-priced Google phone would be extremely popular, especially if it borrowed from the Nexus 5’s modus operandi.
Will this happen? Don’t count on it – reports suggest the third Pixel option will be an ultra-premium affair, meaning Google is keen to go after the example set by the iPhone X and charge $1000 for a phone.
This is the wrong approach, however, as I am sure it would have more success with something similar to the Nexus 5, only dressed in Pixel clothing. By using its old model, Google could create an exceptional phone that, when priced around the same as the OnePlus 5T, could do some serious damage to Apple’s dominance of the space.
Google wants to be more like Apple. But competing with the company head-on, and on pricing, I feel, is not the way to go about it. A better approach would be to offer up something that gave users unparalleled value for money, get them locked into the Pixel ecosystem, and then, a year or two later, try and get them upsold to a bigger and more costly model.
This is basically what Apple has done, although over a 10 year period, and it definitely works. Android is not iOS, it’s always been more inclusive, and I think this is something Google should reflect with its product choices in 2018.
By offering a compelling-but-easily-affordable Pixel phone in 2018, Google would increase brand exposure, secure itself millions of new users, and help push its Pixel install base from barely anything at all to something approaching decent.
I am a HUGE fan of the current Pixel phones, but you definitely do not need an even more expensive version. There’s not much else you could do to make the phone better, for instance, unless you’re talking about its physical appearance. And even then, why would you pay more just for some arbitrary design tweaks?
A cheaper, functional handset that undercuts the OnePlus 5T is definitely more compelling. It offers something different, something that is attainable for more people, and it is something that could be used, over a period of 24 months, to lock a user into Pixel phones for good.
The world does not need another £1000 Android phone, it needs more value for money like the OnePlus 5T. So, come on, Google, sort it out!

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