Huawei put a dog on a runway and drove a car at it to showcase the AI chip in its Mate 10 Pro

The latest video from smartphone manufacturer Huawei is definitely one of the stranger publicity stunts I’ve ever seen.
To showcase whether the AI in its flagship device, the Mate 10 Pro (read our review here), could safely drive a car, the Chinese firm hired a dog, a runway and a modified car.
In the opening scenes, said pooch can be seen tilting its head as a car emblazoned with colourful Huawei vinyls starts to approach, all accompanied by suitably dramatic music.

Video of Huawei Mate 10 Pro becomes first AI enabled phone to drive a car

In the clip, as the car hurtles towards the animal, the Mate 10 Pro is showing detecting the outline of the dog before taking actions to avoid the car crashing into it.
All in all, the whole thing makes for pretty awkward watching, but there is some logic to Huawei’s decision to show off the phone’s AI capabilities (if not its choice to use a living, breathing animal as a pawn in its experiment).
READ NEXT: Huawei’s new AI kirin chip could help the Mate 10 mimic the human brain
The Mate 10 Pro features the company’s Kirin 970 chipset, which boasts baked-in AI. Prior to its launch, Huawei claimed the chip would lead to “truly personalised” experiences for users. But, perhaps having not received the accolades they hoped it would, Huawei has taken this a step further, making a more dramatic a song and dance about the impressive hardware.
Of course, the car needed substantial modifications before the experiment could take place. “The first thing we had to do with the car was allow it to be robotically controlled,” explains head of creative technology Duncan Kerracher. “Then we had to build a communication method that allows the phone to tell the car that it’s a specific object”.
Next, the phone uses this information in order to manoeuvre the car accordingly. But don’t let us spoil the ending for you. Watch the video in full for yourself and draw your own conclusions.
Just be prepared, you might not see it as the slick showcasing of mobile technology that Huawei hopes it will be.

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Cat S61 hands-on review

The Cat S61 is not your usual smartphone. Built to last with a tough body and IP68 water resistance, it has a thermal imaging camera, an air quality sensor, and even a laser distance measure. It’s for people who need their phone to do way more than take pictures, browse social media, and make calls. […]
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Source: https://www.digitaltrends.com/cell-phone-reviews/cat-s61-review/

Pentax K-1 Mark II Sample Images

Here are some official sample images taken with the Pentax K-1 Mark II DSLR camera (full size JPEGs supplied by Ricoh/Pentax).

The Pentax K-1 Mark II is a 35mm full-frame DSLR camera that succeeds the 2 year-old Mark I version.
A gallery of sample images taken with the Pentax K-1 Mark II DSLR camera.
Pentax K-1 Mark II JPEG Images

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Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra review: An excellent, albeit huge phone

The Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra was just one of a handful of phones launched at CES, along with its smaller sibling the Sony Xperia XA2. Most manufacturers, including Sony, opted to hold back their flagship devices until later in the spring, but that doesn’t mean the Xperia XA2 Ultra isn’t worthy of your attention. If you go ahead and buy one today, it’s unlikely you’ll regret it, not least because you’ll save a fair bit of money compared to buying the Xperia XZ Premium.
READ NEXT: The best budget smartphones of 2018
Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra review: What you need to know
Like many of today’s mid-range handsets, the Xperia XA2 looks every bit like a flagship device at first glance, and it’s not too far behind in terms of specs either.
For starters, it has a large 6in (1,920 x 1,080) screen, and there’s also a 23-megapixel rear camera and a dual front-facing camera (which features 16-megapixel and 8-megapixel sensors). A mid-range octa-core Snapdragon 630 processor powers things, with 4GB of RAM and the choice between a 32GB and 64GB model, both of which are expandable via microSD card. The phone also has a sizeable 3,850mAh battery and runs Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box.
Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra review: Price and competition
At only £380, the Xperia XA2 Ultra is £80 more expensive than its smaller alternative and launches later this February.
The stiffest competition probably comes from the OnePlus 5T, which is a smidge more expensive at £450. Other decent handsets at this price range include the moddable Moto Z2 Play (£365), the Honor 7X (£270), Honor 9 (£300), and HTC’s U11 Life (£345).
Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra review: Design
The first thing you’ll notice about the Xperia XA2 Ultra is its considerable size. There’s an enormous 6in screen on the front, which makes it a perfect device if you stream lots of Netflix, BBC iPlayer or Amazon Video on your commute.
However, it’s also the largest and weightiest smartphone I can ever remember holding. It’s 163mm tall, 9.5mm thick and tips the scales at an almost absurd 221g. While the bezels to the left and right of the display are suitably thin, its top and bottom bezels are considerably chunky by modern standards, too.
Despite this, you can just about hold the thing one-handed, and the phone looks and feels solid. It has rounded sides, making it easier to grip, and chamfered edges at the top and bottom, which although a little sharp, look great. Gorilla Glass 4 protects the front and the back is coated in a matte plastic, so it doesn’t pick up fingerprints as easily as say, the Honor 9. 
On the bottom of the handset, there’s a USB Type-C port with Quick Charge 3.0 support and on the right side, you get a volume rocker, the circular power button and a dedicated camera shutter button. The microSD and nano-SIM slots are on the left, beneath a removable flap.
Finally, at the top is a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a circular fingerprint reader is placed just below the camera on the rear of the phone. There’s NFC too, so you can use it for contactless payments, but what the Xperia XA2 doesn’t offer is any kind of dust or water resistance.
It’s available in silver, gold, blue and black, and looks nice in all but the gold that we were sent to review, which has an odd greenish tint when it catches the light and looks like it belongs in a Bond movie or a hip hop video – I’m not sure which.
Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra review: Display
Sony is yet to adopt the trendy long-tall 18:9 aspect-ratio display we’ve seen other manufacturers slowly move towards over the last year. Instead, the XA2 Ultra uses the old-fashioned 16:9 aspect ratio and in many ways that’s not a bad thing – after all, it allows for more space for my fat thumbs when typing.
The Ultra’s 5.2in display may only be capable of reaching a Full HD resolution, but in the flesh, the screen looks great. Images are sharp, colours are punchy and a contrast ratio of 1,607:1 is fantastic.
Place our X-Rite colour calibrator on the screen, and you’ll see why. Engage the slightly-saturated “Ultra-Vivid” colour mode and the screen returns a coverage of 92.3% of the DCI-P3 colour space, which is excellent and the display is also capable of reaching a sunlight-friendly 616cd/m2 peak brightness. This is a pretty darn fancy screen for a sub-£400 phone.
Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra review: Performance and battery life
With the XA2 Ultra ticking all the right boxes so far, there had to be some kind of compromise, and CPU performance is its biggest foible. With a Snapdragon 630 processor and 4GB of RAM, this is hardly the quickest phone on the market, and even compared to other mid-range handsets like the OnePlus 5T and Honor 9, it feels pretty sluggish.

However, the 1080p display keeps things reasonably smooth in casual games and the silver lining to its slower processor is that the XA2 Ultra has a decent battery life – its 3,850mAh battery means it can comfortably last almost a day and a half with moderate use, and it recorded an impressive 16hrs and 54mins in our video rundown test.

Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra review: Camera
The Xperia XA2 faces strong competition in terms of camera performance, and it fends of its rivals in terms of specifications, at least. On the rear is a 23-megapixel snapper with an f/2.0 aperture, a decent-sized 1/2.3in sensor, phase-detect autofocus and a single-tone LED flash.
The front-facing camera arrangement combines two cameras – one with a resolution of 16 megapixels and an aperture of f/2.0 and the other an 8-megapixel snapper with an f/2.4 aperture. They’re also supported by single LED flash, which can help brighten your shots in low light.
In good light, the rear camera is great. It consistently outperformed the OnePlus 5T at sunrise, especially with HDR mode enabled, perfectly reproducing the winter sun’s golden tones. Things weren’t quite so good in low light, unfortunately, especially compared to the OnePlus 5T, which captured much cleaner images.
The dual front camera setup lets you capture both regular and wide-angle selfies, but unfortunately the quality of both cameras was also somewhat disappointing, especially in low light. As for video, you can capture 4K, but not in the main part of the video recording app. There’s also no image stabilisation in the phone’s 1080p 60fps mode, but you do get HDR video at 1080p and very good stabilisation.
It’s important to remember that the Sony Xperia XA2 costs only £380 – not £580 – so in this context, its cameras still represent excellent value for money.
Sony Xperia XA2 review: Verdict
There’s little you can fault with the XA2 Ultra. It’s great to look at; the rear camera produces excellent-quality stills and video; and it’s got a really solid battery life. When it comes to your next smartphone upgrade, those are three of the most important boxes ticked, especially for a mid-range handset, where you can’t necessarily have everything.
But personally, I find it slightly too big and weighty, so I’d much more likely opt for its smaller sibling, the XA2, which has more or less the same features, with the exception of its smaller battery and single front camera.
And it’s also worth remembering that Honor produces an 18:9, 6in smartphone for £100 less than the XA2 Ultra. Although its battery life and performance aren’t quite on par, it’s slimmer and lighter, so might have the edge depending on your tastes.

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Smartphone depreciation: How Galaxy S7, S8 and S9 prices fall

In less than a week, Samsung will unveil its latest flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S8. It will undoubtedly be faster and more powerful than its predecessor, but an increase in price is expected. Don’t let that scare you too much though. Over time, the price of the S9 will fall drastically, just as it has done with the Galaxy S7 and S8 before it.

Most consumers are vaguely aware that smartphone prices fall over time, but you might not know to what extent or how quickly after launch the prices drop. By taking a look at the price history of the Galaxy S7 and S8 though, we can make an educated guess about how the pricing of the upcoming Galaxy S9 will behave.
The Samsung Galaxy S7 was introduced in March 2016 at the suggested retail price of $669, and the Samsung Galaxy S8 came around just over a year later in April 2017 for $724. It’s been about two years since the S7 was released, and the price has fallen significantly. New units now sell for $469 from Samsung and on Amazon for $434. The S8 on the other hand has only been on shelves for about a year and is still being sold on Samsung’s website for $724. Nevertheless, the S8 can be bought new on Amazon for $599, much less than the original price. That’s a price drop of $200 to $235 after two years for the S7, and $125 after nearly one year for the S8. 

We expect the S9 to experience a price drop proportionate to that of the S7 and S8 which came before it. / © AndroidPIT

Another year, another Galaxy S flagship. We can a similar drop in price for the upcoming Galaxy S9. If the price of the device at release is around $900 as expected, then it could cost $750 after one year and $650 after two years. Waiting a bit of time could save you a lot of money.
It’s not just Samsung
Naturally, depreciation isn’t unique to Samsung. All smartphones tend to lose value rather quickly, whether due to loss, damage or falling behind technically. No wonder prices sink like there’s no tomorrow. Apple’s smartphones are a bit better, but even iPhone values go down significantly each year too.

Opinion by Steffen Herget

You shouldn’t buy a smartphone right when it launches.
What do you think?

 
The consequences of this reality are different depending on you and your priorities. If you’re an early adopter, then you’re always jumping on the latest trend and you’ll still want to buy the latest and greatest as soon as possible. If you trade in your phone, it can help a lot with the cost. Everyone else might just want to sit tight for a few months and wait for the price to drop. Even just a few months can make a big difference in cost savings.
Keeping your smartphone longer can help your budget and the environment
Just because some manufacturers crank out a new model every six months or every year, it doesn’t mean you have to buy it. It’s ok to be seen with last year’s flagship, and it’s likely to keep up with your needs for at least two years. So, waiting to get a new smartphone can save you money and help minimize environmental impact. 
What wins in the end? The temptation to have the latest tech or the desire to save money by waiting?

This article was written with contributions from Steffen Herget and Brittany McGhee.

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Acer Windows Mixed Reality headset review

ACCESSIBLE VIRTUAL REALITY (VR) has been with us for a few years now, with the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive taking care of high-end headsets, and the likes of Samsung’s Gear VR and Google Daydream offering more affordable smartphone-powered VR goggles.
But as the Oculus, SteamVR, and Daydream platforms expanded their portfolio of virtual games, apps and experiences, another player entered the fray in the form of Windows Mixed Reality.
Now part of Windows 10, Redmond’s soiree into the VR world stems from its HoloLens augmented Reality (AR) goggles and attempts to combine VR and AR into ‘mixed reality’ (MR).
And Acer’s Windows Mixed Reality headset was one of the first Windows-centric MR headsets out of the gates.
Retro chicLooking like goggles that a character from a sci-fi 90s cartoon would wear, the Acer MR headset presents a compact and rather angular headset in glossy-blue and black.

Two sensor arrays sit like eyes on the visor, which make it look a little like a robot’s face but allow the headset to offer 6-degrees-of-freedom positional tracking without external sensor nodes.
Compared to other Windows Mixed Reality headsets from HP, Dell and Lenovo, Acer’s arguably looks the most futuristic and sleek.
The plastic build doesn’t scream quality when compared to the likes of the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, though the headset feels nice enough to pop on one’s bonce.
That’s easily done as well, thanks to a single padded headband, reminiscent of the PlayStation VR headset, that holds the headset in place and is adjusted by a screw-like wheel to tighten or loosen the band to fit the wearer’s noggin.

Foam surrounds the eyepiece to make the headset more comfortable when its pressed against the face. The cushioning is decent and resistant to sweat, though it doesn’t feel particularly plush and we found it got a little warm after 30 minutes of wear if we were moving around a lot.
If things get too toasty or claustrophobic, getting a brief respite is easy as a hinge on the headset allows it to be flipped-up like a visor. It’s a neat feature that’s a lot easier than taking the headset on and off, especially if you want to check things back in the real world.
Two cables, one HDMI 2.0 and another USB 3.0, run out of the headset’s right side to be connected to a laptop or desktop. A 3.5mm jack dangles by these cables for wearers to plug in headphones.
On the whole, Acer Mixed Reality headset is roomy and comfortable to wear, it just has a more no-frills feel to it than more expensive and demanding VR hardware.
The headset’s bundled controllers follow Microsoft Mixed Reality hardware reference designs more closely and look like the Oculus Touch controllers.

They come equipped with trigger and grip buttons, a clickable touchpad and joysticks. At the end of each controller is a ring of white LEDs that work in tandem with the headset’s front sensors to track a user’s movements.
While they can withstand a knock or two and are nice and lightweight, the plastic construction doesn’t feel as smooth or premium as, say, a PlayStation 4 controller. And needing two AA batteries to power each controller feels a little retrograde for a device that’s meant to evoke feelings of next-gen tech.
Nevertheless, they aren’t too shabby for navigating the Windows Mixed Reality platform.
Window into mixed realityGetting started with Windows Mixed Reality is a doddle. Once the headset was plugged in it took a mere 10 minutes or so to set up.
Acer’s Mixed Reality headset can be used sitting down with a mouse or standing up with the controllers. And once you set up a VR ‘boundary’ by tracing a rough square in front of your machine and have paired the Bluetooth controllers with a Windows 10 PC or laptop, you’re good to dive into Windows Mixed Reality.
It greets you with the imaginatively-named “Cliff House” environment which features a minimalist virtual house situated on cliff overlooking the sea.

 
At first glance, Cliff House looks rather lovely. Acer has equipped the headset with two 2.9in displays running at a combined resolution of 2,880 by 1,440 pixels and offering 110 degrees horizontal field of view.
It has a sharper resolution per eye than the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, which both sport resolutions of 1,080 x 1,200 per peeper. But while the image was sharp we found that the LCD panels in the Acer Mixed Reality headset couldn’t match vibrancy or contrast of the OLED displays in the aforementioned headsets.
That might be a slightly unfair comparison as both of those headsets were considerably more expensive at launch than the £400 Acer headset.
Still, Acer’s headset put on an impressive display regardless, particularly as it was refreshing at 90hz which kept motion sickness at bay for us.
It’s worth noting that we had the headset plugged into an Asus ROG Strix GL702VM, equipped with a quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM and Nvidia’s 6GB Geforce GTX 1060. The gaming laptop can crunch through games at 1080p with settings maxed out and does a fair job with gaming at 1440p resolution, meaning its a gutsy ‘VR-ready’ machine.
Acer’s headset can be used on laptops with integrated graphics, but the refresh rate is set at 60hz which may cause some people to feel a little nauseous.
While the Acer headset doesn’t demand the same level of computing power as higher-end headsets, we still reckon its best used with a gutsy machine for the smoothest virtual experience.
Poking around Redmond’s virtual holiday homeZipping around the Cliff House is done using either a mouse while sitting or the controllers when standing to select a zone to teleport to. You can then move physically around an area depending on how large your VR boundary is.
Thanks to the use of an integrated gyroscope, accelerometer and magnetometer, movement is a rather neat mix of physical and virtual actions that bypass space constraints and the potential for feeling nauseous.

The Cliff House acts as both a virtual space and a user interface with access to the Windows Store and a variety of familiar apps.
The Edge browser, Skype and Photos apps are displayed on the walls of the virtual house and can be interacted with or moved around at will to be placed on other surfaces or just left to hang in the air.
Once we got used to wrangling with the controls and accurately using the pointers that protrude out of them – movement tracking didn’t feel quite as accurate as the HTC Vive with its mass of built-in and external sensors, but messing around with apps and virtual windows felt pretty good.
We downloaded the Netflix VR app and placed the window onto the screen of a personal cinema style room in the Cliff House. It’s arguably a novelty, but being able to watch the latest Netflix series on a massive virtual screen rather than a TV in our poky London flat was a nice way to ease into VR.
Matrix movementBut things get more compelling when you boot up the albeit limited VR experiences Windows Mixed Reality has to offer. The best example being Superhot VR.
Taking the indie game that has players fighting enemies in a stark world where time only moves forward when the player does and putting it into VR is bloody brilliant.
If ever you want to feel like Neo from The Matrix, then Superhot VR is the game to evoke those feelings.
Being able to physically dodge bullets in slow motion while slinging an ashtray at a glowing assailant, then catching their gun mid-air and riddling their oncoming pals with lead is nothing short of brilliant.

With the Acer headset movement tracking is spot on here, with the rare exception of when we flailed our arms too far to our sides or behind us thereby losing the headset’s sensor detection.
In one firefight situation, we quickly ducked below a set of shelves to avoid bullets, found a book and various other bits and bobs and hurled them at the enemies in a makeshift Jason Bourne-like fashion. Thanks to the solid moment tracking, such a move felt intuitive and helped make the game feel intense and captivating despite the minimal use of colours and graphics.
This felt like VR at its finest. Just don’t do what we did and forget to turn on the VR boundary, as walloping a load-bearing wall at force leads to skinned knuckles.

Unfortunately, other such experiences on the Windows Mixed Reality platform are lacking, and Superhot VR is available for SteamVR, which prevents it from being a game to compel people to adopt Redmond’s take on VR.
And that’s the crux of Windows Mixed Reality overall. There’s simply no enough VR content on it to make it a platform to commit to over those from Oculus or Steam.
Windows Mixed Reality support is offered in SteamVR but it’s currently in its early days and there aren’t many games that are supported for MR headsets.
Also, the MR part is a bit of a misnomer, as unlike Microsoft’s HoloLens, there’s no AR superimposing of digital assets and apps over real-world objects. One could argue that having access to desktop apps in a VR space is a form of mixing apps we use in the real-world with a virtual environment but that’s a bit of a stretch.
In shortWith the current software lineup, it’s difficult to recommend Windows Mixed Reality and its compatible headsets over platforms from Oculus and others, though that could change over time if Microsoft gets more developers on-board and shores up compatibility with the likes of SteamVR.
This isn’t Acer’s fault, and it has produced a capable and comfortable VR headset with only a few minor gripes when compared to its high-end rivals.
However, where Acer loses out is on price; £400 is a lot of money for just a VR headset that doesn’t have a massive range of apps to jump into. But Acer’s not alone, with other Windows Mixed Reality headsets priced well above £300.
Such Windows-reliant headsets may be more compelling if the PlayStation VR didn’t offer a headset and games bundle for the same price, and if the Oculus Rift bundle hadn’t dropped in price down to £400.
With such a price drop, an established software library and SteamVR support as well, the Oculus Rift is the headset we’d recommend to anyone keen to get into PC-based VR.
Microsoft needs to bulk out Windows Mixed Reality and actually add in some AR features to make MR more than a swish tech term. If and when that happens we’d be keen to see Acer follow up its headset with a refined successor that has access to enough content to let it stretch its virtual chops. µ
The goodSharp screen, neat design and easy setup, decent movement tracking, team VR comparability.
The badLess than premium materials, plasticy build, controllers need four AA batteries.
The uglyThere’s not enough VR or true mixed reality content to justify the £400 price tag, especially when the Oculus Rift is now the same price and offers more.
Bartender’s Score7/10

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Source: https://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/review/3027033/acer-windows-mixed-reality-headset-review

Snapchat responds to the Change.org petition complaining about the app’s redesign

Snapchat has posted an official response to users who signed a petition on Change.org asking the company to reverse its controversial update, which people say makes the app more difficult to use. In the response, Snapchat promises to make a few more changes to the Friends and Discover section in order to address user complaints.
These changes were announced yesterday, along with GIF stickers from Giphy.
The backlash against Snapchat has been growing in the months since the company rolled out a major revamp, which aimed to make the social app more accessible to a mainstream audience. Snapchat users have left the app bad reviews, complained on social media, turned to rival Instagram, and they signed a Change.org petition entitled, “Remove the new Snapchat update.”
Users are upset over a number of things in the new design, including the mixing of Stories in a single “Friends” page, increased difficulties with finding friends and rewatching Stories, and a revamped Discover section which combines content from professional creators, big news outlets, video makers, and social media stars.
Tweets complaining about the update have gone viral.
Celebrities, like Chrissy Teigen, and YouTuber Marques Brownlee (MKBHD), have also weighed in.

I’m seeing this same comment so often. I liked that you guys felt like we were friends. I’m sad it doesn’t feel like that anymore. How many people have to hate an update for it to be reconsidered? https://t.co/PI7OAf9Qlg
— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen)

The Change.org petition didn’t delve into the specifics regarding the changes Snapchat users hate, but says the update is “annoying,” and has made “many features more difficult.” It asks Snap, Inc. to “change the app back to the basics.”
To date, Snapchat has been vigorously standing behind the update, with Snap CEO Evan Spiegel saying earlier this month that, basically, people just need time to get used to it.
“It’ll take time for people to adjust, but for me using it for a couple months I feel way more attached to the service,” said Spiegel.
The user backlash is reminiscent of the one Facebook had faced years ago, when users rebelled over the addition of News Feed which radically changed the Facebook experience. News Feed was ultimately a success; whether Snapchat can pull through is still unknown.

Snap’s earnings, however, pointed to the redesign’s potential to positively impact the company’s numbers. Publisher Stories on Discover grew 40 percent compared to the old design, and users older than 35 were engaging with the app more, the company said, when posting its first earnings beat. 
But many users, right now, are not happy. As of February 13, 2018, the Change.org petition had grown to over 800,000 signatures. Today, it stands at 1,223,722, as of the time of writing.
Last night, Snapchat posted an official response to the petition, reiterating its stance but also promising a few tweaks that may help to address users’ concerns.
Specifically, the company said that “beginning soon on iOS and with Android in the coming weeks” it will introduce tabs in the Friends section and in Discover, which it says will make it easier for users to find the Stories they want. This update will let users sort things like Stories, Group Chats, and Sub>
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Google’s Reply app is woefully bland — exactly the way it should be

Last week, Google’s Area 120 division announced that it’s building a new app that would add Smart Reply features to a number of popular messaging apps, such as Facebook Messenger, Slack, and Hangouts. This week, Android Police surfaced an APK so you can download and try Reply on Android devices right now. Note, however, that it’s just a beta, so try it at your own risk.
In my initial testing, the app does work as promised, though it is a little less contextual than Gmail’s version of the feature. When you set up the app, you can add different modes such as “Vacation responder” or “Urgent sound” so the app can detect tones from incoming messages and know how to respond to them. Based on your phone accelerometer, Reply can also tell if you’re in a vehicle or biking and can auto-respond appropriately. One of the options in Reply is “sleeping,” though it is unclear to me how the app can tell when you’re in bed versus just hanging out in your house with your phone on a table.

In its current beta build, Reply is unable to parse my calendar or track commute time via Google Maps, which is unfortunate since they are the two features people seemed most excited about. My colleague Jake Kastrenakes asked me a series of time availability questions, but Reply would not recognize that I already had plans for 5:30PM.

I specifically put “Dinner” in my calendar for 5PM. Sorry, Jake!
The app can, however, locate you based on GPS. A “Where are you?” query offered the smart reply of my exact address along with a Google Maps link. I attempted to add that address as “Work” in the app, but Reply just hangs at the address search page, then cancels out of the menu option. Since I couldn’t clarify which address was work and home, Reply would offer completely contradictory responses, like this:

It also seemed to lean toward affirmative responses, which makes social situations difficult for me, a hermit.
Some suggestions seem completely nonsensical or useless, with three replies that essentially say the same thing rather than offering some variety. Often, Reply just feels like you’re role-playing as Google Assistant, responding to random opinions, statements, and questions with utter blandness.

Reply feels like you’re role-playing as Google Assistant

And in a way, maybe that’s a good thing. You want the robotic options to be available when you need them instead of pre-writing complete responses for you. I have no doubt that AI and messaging apps, like Facebook Messenger, can tell who your parents or significant others are based on how often you talk to them or make plans together. If Reply begins crafting fully passable responses, we’ll all just be stuck in an endless loop of talking to chatbots instead of each other.
That dystopia is not here yet — at least, not today.
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Source: https://www.theverge.com/2018/2/21/17036126/google-smart-reply-app-slack-facebook-messenger-whatsapp-hangouts-hands-on

This is what an Olympics curling disaster looks like

Everything went to hell, in one shot.
It takes something very special to deserve the phrase “curling disaster,” because honestly — what kind of disaster can happen in curling? This.

일본 컬링팀의 기적의 마법샷ㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ
— 文派 The SteelraiN_강철비 (@SteellraiN)

Yusuke Morozumi of Japan was trying to set up a blocking shot to keep the house guarded, when somehow, for some reason he was too strong and took out his own stones. The shot was so bad it took Japan from a commanding scoring position, to none at all in an instant.
Japan would (thankfully) go on to win the game. Neither Japan, nor Denmark was in the position to make it to the semi finals. Which is probably a good thing, because if this cost someone a medal — well, welp.

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Referees’ body to meet Manchester City over concerns about bad tackles | Football

Manchester City have been granted a meeting with the governing body of Premier League referees to discuss Pep Guardiola’s concern regarding tackles made against his players.
The meeting, requested by the club, is expected to take place next month but it is unlikely the Professional Game Match Officials Limited will consider City’s wish for panels to retrospectively review questionable challenges dealt with by the referee during the game.

City contacted the body earlier this month following what the manager believed was a run of dangerous tackles on his players. The club believed nine of these deserved a higher sanction than that handed out during the match.
The tackle Kevin De Bruyne received from Crystal Palace’s Jason Puncheon in a goalless draw at Selhurst Park on New Year’s Eve and a challenge on Leroy Sané by Joe Bennett in the FA Cup fourth-round win at Cardiff City that caused the winger ankle ligament damage are thought to be among those they are frustrated about.
Both Puncheon and Bennett were booked which incensed Guardiola and City who believed the players should have been sent off. Yet it is understood the PGMOL, which is headed by Mike Riley, will not consider introducing a rule to allow yellow cards to be increased to reds by a panel.
The PGMOL are expected to outline to Guardiola and his staff what considerations referees take before issuing red cards following a challenge. These include the point of contact and whether excessive force is deemed to have been used.
Guardiola’s players have joined the manager in addressing the issue. After De Bruyne was again the target of a dangerous tackle by West Bromwich Albion’s James McClean during a 3-0 win at the end of last month, he said: “I don’t know what [opponents] are thinking – you can also pull a shirt, that’s more effective than a tackle. Sometimes it gets frustrating. A lot of teams are making a lot of fouls against us. We make a foul, we get a yellow card, I don’t know how it’s possible sometimes.”

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