Microsoft and Xiaomi are partnering to make AI-powered speakers, smartphones, and more

Microsoft and Xiaomi have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to work closely in cloud computing, AI, and hardware. It has so far been uncommon for a US company to partner with a Chinese company on artificial intelligence, but it definitely makes sense as both countries are the biggest markets for those products and services.
Microsoft is planning to allow Xiaomi to use its cloud computing products, including Azure, to develop upgraded phones, laptops, and smart devices to bring them to an international market. At the same time, the partnership will also give Microsoft more reach and access to the Chinese market.

Xiaomi

The two are also in discussions about possibly integrating Microsoft Cortana with the Mi AI speaker, a budget speaker with a modern look. So far, Microsoft has only developed one Cortana smart speaker, the Harmon Kardon Invoke, which has struggled to compete with other popular digital assistant speakers from Amazon and Google.
Microsoft and Xiaomi are also in talks about projects that will use different Microsoft AI technology, including conversational AI and speech, and services like Bing, Edge, and Skype. Since the two companies have chosen to sign a memorandum, their partnership isn’t legally binding and it’s unclear if any financials are involved.
Microsoft and Xiaomi have ties that date back to 2015, when they signed a deal to test Windows 10 on Xiaomi devices. Last year, Xiaomi was the world’s fifth most popular smartphone company, shipping 92.4 million phones, trailing the likes of Apple, Samsung, and Huawei, according to IDC numbers. Xiaomi states in a press release that it stands to benefit from “Microsoft’s globally leading technologies in cloud computing and AI.”
More of these partnerships between major conglomerates are beginning to appear. Tencent and Samsung announced yesterday that they would invest jointly in AI and games, a partnership that came out of talks that began at CES last month.

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Source: https://www.theverge.com/2018/2/23/17044960/microsoft-xiaomi-mi-ai-speaker-cloud-computing-memorandum-understanding

Land Rover Explore Hands-on Review

There’s a Land Rover sitting in your garage, a pair of kayaks resting up against the wall, and you’ve got this weekend’s hiking route already sorted out. If only your phone was as prepared. Modern, high-end smartphones are delicate little flowers, and won’t keep up with a seriously active lifestyle. That’s where the Land Rover Explore comes in, a phone that goes beyond those dreary rugged phones none of us want to buy, while doing the job we want them to do. The Land Rover Explore is a lifestyle phone, in that it looks decent with a desirable brand behind it.
Video review
A modular phone
The Land Rover branding is the first thing you notice about the phone, and while crucial to its appeal, it’s not what makes the device special. Built in partnership with Bullitt Group, the manufacturer responsible for Cat Phones, the Land Rover Explore employs a Motorola Moto Mods-style modular design. Using special magnets on the back, you can attach modules to the phone, enabling extra functionality. In the box is the Adventure Pack, representing what the Explore is for, and the people interested in buying it.
Sliding the Adventure Pack into place is easy and satisfying. Not only is it easy to remove by simply sliding it down from the device, but it’s also designed to break apart in the event of a fall. Primarily, it’s a battery pack with a 3,600mAh capacity.
The Land Rover Explore is super tough, with an IP68 water resistant rating, a very tough body, including an H-4 glass screen protector fitted over the Gorilla Glass 5 screen at the factory. The Adventure Pack’s battery is bigger than most expensive smartphones, but so is the built-in battery on the Explore itself — coming it at a whopping 4,000mAh. With the Adventure Pack added onto the phone, expect this device to last a really long time.

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

But there’s also a special 25 x 25mm Ceramic Patch GPS antenna on the Adventure Pack that adds even more functionality to the Land Rover Explore.
Adventures with the Explore
Similar to the antennas used in standalone GPS devices, the Ceramic Patch GPS antenna is considerably more powerful than the one in your phone, pulling in specific location data in challenging environments. It doesn’t require data if you drop out of reception, and thanks to the extra battery pack, the Explore will still last a day with continuous GPS use and the screen on for 50 percent of the time. It’s linked with ViewRanger’s mapping technology — a voucher to download content comes with the phone — for incredibly detailed location data, and even uses the camera for augmented reality waypoint visualization.

A phone that goes beyond those dreary rugged phones none of us want to buy.

Currently, there is only one other module to use with the Land Rover Explore. It’s another battery pack without the GPS antenna, but with a massive 4,370mAh cell. Both this and the Adventure Pack are IP68-rated and drop proof too. There is also a thick protective case that fits the phone with the Adventure Pack added, which has a clip for either a cycle handlebar mount, or a carabiner clip.
Used on its own without the module, the Land Rover Explore still feels big and thick compared to modern high-end smartphones. Put the Adventure Pack on and it’s gigantic. It’s most certainly a phone to be stowed inside a big jacket pocket, rather than a pocket on skinny jeans.
We like the phone’s Land Rover styling references, from the grill on the front matching the new Discovery to the frame surrounding the camera lens on the back, resembling a Discovery headlight on the back; but the bezels on the phone are substantial, and the overall look is “traditional,” rather than ultra-modern. To its intended audience, this probably won’t matter.
Mid-range specs
This is a mid-range smartphone with a 5-inch touchscreen, a 1,980 x 1,020-pixel resolution, a MediaTek Helio X27 processor, 4GB RAM, 64GB storage space and the option of adding a MicroSD card or second SIM. The camera has 16 megapixels on the back, and 8 megapixels on the front. Android 7.0 Nougat is installed and an update to Android 8.0 is on the way, but the phone is fairly close to stock Android, with only a few apps and features added by Land Rover and Bullitt.

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

This includes the ViewRanger app, and an app to display key information relevant to your activity, all pulled from online sources and the built-in sensors. If you’re hiking, the screen shows the compass, weather information, barometric data, and more. If you’re cycling, it shows speed, distance traveled, and other details. A quick-access widget is placed on the home screen to make it easy to find on the move, and you can set up multiple profiles to track different activities.
We also really liked a special night vision filter that can be applied to the screen. Think of it like a reading mode for viewing the screen in ultra-low lighting. The screen goes almost red in color, which minimizes any glare that obscures vision when you look away. Important if your safety depends on seeing where you’re going.
Live the life
The Land Rover Explore is made to appeal to those who don’t want a Cat phone, due to its utilitarian looks and possibly superfluous functionality. It’s also for people who who would rather opt for a rugged device, over an all-glass, expensive smartphone.

Land Rover Explore Compared To

What it’s not is a phone only for Land Rover owners, despite the brand’s input. We see it as a lifestyle phone, fitting in with the activities of people who either do buy a Land Rover, or desire one. We dislike dreary, cash-in brand partnerships, and are thankful the Land Rover Explore doesn’t fall into such a category.
However, for it to succeed long term, more modules need to come. Bullitt told Digital Trends it is working on others, and is keeping tight control over those that make it to production. It wants them to serve a purpose, and benefit the type of person that buys the Explore in the first place. It won’t be offering a hardware development kit, for example, stopping dozens of unneeded battery packs from third-party developers.

For it to succeed long term, more modules need to come.

We’ve heard this before, and have still seen modular phones fail — LG with the G5 and its Friends, and Google’s own Project Ara — so we’d be wary of buying the Land Rover Explore on the basis of what modules may come in the future. But for now, if the Explore fits in with your lifestyle and it’s a struggle to find a phone that keeps up, this could be exactly what you’re looking for.
You’ll pay 600 British pounds, or $839 for the Land Rover Explore and the Adventure Pack when it goes on sale in April. There are no plans to bring it to the U.S. at the moment.

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Source: https://www.digitaltrends.com/cell-phone-reviews/land-rover-explore-review/

Bracketology 2018: Does anyone want to play in the NCAA Tournament this season?

We might get some answers to that question, thanks to this weekend’s bubble-heavy schedule.
At least the top of the bracket has remained stable since Tuesday, as the Virginia Cavaliers, Villanova Wildcats, Xavier Musketeers and Kansas Jayhawks maintain their hold on the four No. 1 seeds. However, KU’s next opponent, the Texas Tech Red Raiders (Saturday 4:15 p.m. ET, ESPN), slipped down to the three line from the two, thanks to a Wednesday loss at the (still alive) Oklahoma State Cowboys. In response, the North Carolina Tar Heels, one of the hottest teams in the country thanks to six straight wins, jumps up to join the Auburn Tigers, Duke Blue Devils and Michigan State Spartans as the quartet of No. 2 seeds.
Note: Quality win data (the ratio in parentheses, see Jan. 26 post for more info) and RPI information are courtesy WarrenNolan.com and accurate as of the morning of Feb. 23, 2018 and only reflect games against Division I opponents.

This week, I’ve added the average number of losses for each seed quartet, which will grow from line to line in most, but not all cases. This exercise will be more illustrative as we get closer to the cut line, as this season will feature a high number of at-large teams with double-digit losses, as I covered back on Tuesday.
Of the top 16, the Clemson Tigers, losers of three straight, are the team most in danger of dropping out. While Brad Brownell’s team should take care of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at home on Saturday (3 p.m., ACC Network/ESPN3), next week’s slate — a visit from the Florida State Seminoles and trip to the desperate Syracuse Orange — isn’t quite as manageable. Honorable mention goes to the Arizona Wildcats, currently a three seed, but not likely to hold that position unless Allonzo Trier returns from his ineligibility issue relatively quickly. The Pac-12 leader needed overtime to take down the Oregon State Beavers last night and next visits an Oregon Ducks squad (Saturday 10:15 p.m., ESPN) whose faint NCAA hopes got a boost with a completed season sweep of the Arizona State Sun Devils late Thursday.

Another new addition to this week’s post is the sum of the overall seed numbers for each region’s top four seeds. I’ve done this to show the balance between them. According to the Selection Committee’s Principles and Procedures document, no more than five points should separate the strongest and weakest regions. I achieved that goal with this arrangement.
Other than a pair of games involving Texas Tech, which faces a difficult road test at West Virginia (Monday 9 p.m., ESPN2) a little more than 48 hours after hosting Kansas, the remainder of the top 16 play winnable games over the next few days. (Note that Xavier has its weekend bye.) However, teams like Florida, Syracuse, Virginia Tech and Texas will all be aiming for a late top tier win for their respective profiles.
Other Games to Watch
Seed numbers in parentheses. All times Eastern.
(4) Tennessee at Ole Miss, Saturday 1 p.m. (SEC Network)(4) Wichita State at SMU, Saturday 2 p.m. (ESPN)(1) Villanova at (8) Creighton, Saturday 2:30 p.m. (Fox)(1) Virginia at Pitt, Saturday 4 p.m. (ESPNU)(bubble) Syracuse at (2) Duke, Saturday 6:15 p.m. (ESPN)(4) Gonzaga at BYU, Saturday 8 p.m. (ESPN2)(2) Auburn at (8) Florida, Saturday 8:30 p.m. (SEC Network))Tulsa at (3) Cincinnati, Sunday 12 p.m. (CBSSN)(2) Michigan State at Wisconsin, Sunday 1 p.m. (CBS)Minnesota at (3) Purdue, Sunday 4 p.m. (FS1)(2) Duke at (8) Virginia Tech, Monday 7 p.m. (ESPN)(11) Texas at (1) Kansas, Monday 9 p.m. (ESPN2)(3) Texas Tech at (5) West Virginia, Monday 9 p.m. (ESPN2)

Much like last week, the lock group simply hasn’t grown much over the past seven days. The Michigan Wolverines and Kentucky Wildcats are the only two new additions, while three teams in this portion of the bracket, all from the SEC, have 10 or more losses on their records, while Kentucky and the Seton Hall Pirates are each at nine defeats.
Much like the top 16, consolidation will be the primary theme for the second-tier’s weekend games with the notable exceptions found in primetime. On Saturday, the Alabama Crimson Tide will welcome an Arkansas Razorbacks squad (6 p.m., SEC Network) that would like to stop its tumble toward oblivion, while the Missouri Tigers head to Lexington aiming to defeat the Kentucky Wildcats for a second time (8:15 p.m., ESPN). Then on Sunday night, the Florida State Seminoles take on the N.C. State Wolfpack in Raleigh (6 p.m., ESPNU) with seeding a key consideration for both.
Other Games to Watch
Dayton at (5) Rhode Island, Friday 7 p.m. (ESPN2)(6) Seton Hall at St. John’s, Saturday 12 p.m. (Fox)(5) Michigan at (bubble) Maryland, Saturday 12 p.m. (ESPN)Boston College at (7) Miami, Saturday 2 p.m. (ACC RSNs/ESPN3)(7) Texas A&M at Vanderbilt, Saturday 4 p.m. (ESPN2)Iowa State at (5) West Virginia, Saturday 6 p.m. (ESPNU)Santa Clara at (6) Saint Mary’s, Saturday 6 p.m. (TheW.tv)
It’s time to check in on the number of bids still up for grabs. With 23 likely one-bid conference winners (I’ve removed the Atlantic 10 from this group for the moment) and these 28 locks and near locks accounted for, just 17 of the 68 places in this season’s NCAA Tournament remain up for grabs.

Thanks to late road losses for Arizona State (Oregon) and Houston (Memphis), this group looks slightly different than I anticipated when I first put it together early Thursday evening. And more change could be afoot, as the Kansas State Wildcats will have a great chance on Saturday night (6 p.m., ESPN2) to extend the Oklahoma Sooners’ losing streak to seven and send Lon Kruger’s team ever closer to the NIT. While the Wildcats are 0-6 against the Big 12’s top three of Kansas, Texas Tech and West Virginia, they’ve won every single league game against teams outside of that grouping.
Before Virginia Tech hosts Duke on Big Monday, the Hokies face the Louisville Cardinals in the middle game of a three-game homestand (Saturday 1 p.m., CBS). That’s a contest the Cards, currently on the wrong side of the cut line, badly need.
Other Games to Watch
(8) Arizona State at Oregon State, Saturday 8 p.m. (ESPNU)East Carolina at (9) Houston, Sunday 3 p.m. (ESPN3)Colorado State at (9) Nevada, Sunday 4 p.m. (CBSSN)
Most of this week’s action is on the bubble, with the Pac-12 taking the lion’s share of attention, following a trio of midweek matchups that shook things up considerably. On Wednesday, the USC Trojans took care of the first leg of their Rocky Mountain road trip, smacking the Colorado Buffaloes by 11. Then Thursday’s lineup featured a pair of key results — the Utah Utes boosted their chances by simultaneously denting those of the UCLA Bruins, while the Washington Huskies saw their hopes take a serious hit as they were swept by the Stanford Cardinal. These results mean there was some significant late jostling around the cut line.

Last four in
Avoiding Dayton: 39. N.C. State, 40. Arkansas, 41. Providence, 42. Marquette
41. St. Bonaventure Bonnies

(21-6, 11-4 A 10); RPI: 26; KenPom: 68; “Super Average”: 49.5; SOS: 92
The Bonnies’ win last Friday over Rhode Island Rams was their third Group 1 victory and second triumph over a team with at-large hopes. Yet Mark Schmidt’s team cannot get comfortable, as they already own a quartet of losses to teams ranked 100th or worse in the RPI, with a pair of those coming against sub-150 foes. All three of St. Bonaventure’s remaining regular season games come against squads with triple-digit RPIs, with two of those on the road.
Next game: at VCU, Saturday 8 p.m. (CBSSN)
42. Baylor Bears

(16-11, 7-8 Big 12); RPI: 58; KenPom: 36; “Super Average”: 41.3; SOS: 23
Predictive-based metrics love the Bears, particularly Sagarin, where they’re ranked 22nd. However, a 4-9 record against Group 1 and 2-7 mark in true road games mean Baylor has a bit more work to do. Scott Drew’s squad closes against a trio of opponents who they have yet to defeat this season, all of whom currently qualify as Group 1 victories. Unfortunately, two of those will come on the road, starting on Saturday in Fort Worth, with a home contest against fading Oklahoma in the middle.
Next game: at (10) TCU, Saturday 12 p.m. (ESPN2)
43. Texas Longhorns
(16-12, 6-9 Big 12); RPI: 53; KenPom: 41; “Super Average”: 41.8; SOS: 16
While the Longhorns have lost 12 times, they also own five Group 1 wins, with three of those coming away from home. Those totals are things the other teams on this list can’t claim. Texas has two chances to improve upon those marks, starting at Kansas on Monday night. However, next Saturday’s finale, at home against West Virginia, might be a more likely victory. In any case, an early exit from the Big 12 Tournament wouldn’t be a good idea for Shaka Smart’s squad.
Next game: vs. Oklahoma State Saturday 2 p.m. (LHN)
44. Syracuse Orange
(18-10, 7-8 ACC); RPI: 46; KenPom: 51; “Super Average”: 48.3; SOS: 22
Had the Orange defeated North Carolina on Wednesday, their position would be much more secure. However, losses elsewhere keep them in for now. In the unlikely event they win at Duke on Saturday night, they’ll finally have the top tier win their decent, but unremarkable profile needs. However, Syracuse will probably have to wait a week, as Clemson, 10th in the RPI, visits the Carrier Dome to close out the regular season next Saturday.
Next game: at Duke, Saturday 6:15 p.m. (ESPN)
First Four Out
69. Utah Utes
(18-9, 10-6 Pac-12); RPI: 42; KenPom: 59; “Super Average”: 58; SOS: 59
The Utes seem to be peaking at the right time, as they’ll look to extend their current winning streak to six when USC visits on Saturday afternoon. Other than a November win over Missouri, Utah’s non-conference schedule does it no favors, which puts Larry Krystkowiak’s team a bit behind its competition. A weak Pac-12 doesn’t help either. Arizona swept Utah, while the Utes took two from Washington. With a win Saturday, they’ll have splits with UCLA, USC and Arizona State.
Next game: vs. USC, Saturday 2:30 p.m. (Pac-12 Networks)
70. USC Trojans
(20-9, 11-5 Pac-12); RPI: 35; KenPom: 52; “Super Average”: 47.7; SOS: 53
Even though the Trojans won at Colorado on Wednesday, they lost a Group 1 victory on Thursday, when the New Mexico State Aggies, whom USC defeated in the Diamond Head Classic final, dropped out of the RPI Top 50. That makes USC’s position particularly tenuous and a win at Utah, which would keep Group 1 status the rest of the way, an absolute requirement.
Next game: at Utah, Saturday 2:30 p.m. (Pac-12 Networks)
71. UCLA Bruins
(19-9, 10-6 Pac-12); RPI: 50; KenPom: 54; “Super Average”: 52; SOS: 64
Wins over Kentucky in New Orleans and Arizona in Tucson are among the best the Pac-12 bubble teams have to offer. However, the victory over the Wildcats is just one of two true road wins UCLA has managed to cobble together in eight tries — and that makes Thursday’s loss at Utah hurt even more. And things won’t get easier, as Steve Alford’s team won’t see Pauley Pavilion the rest of the way. On Saturday, the Bruins face a Colorado team that’s aiming for a historic season sweep, while a trip to USC follows to wrap up regular season play.
Next game: at Colorado, Sunday 4 p.m. (ESPNU)
72. Louisville Cardinals
(18-10, 8-7 ACC); RPI: 49; KenPom: 38; “Super Average”: 41; SOS: 31
Wednesday’s hammering at the hands of Duke didn’t close the door on the Cardinals. No, results elsewhere ensured that David Padgett’s squad would remain in the picture. And that’s fair, since Louisville still has a trio of Group 1 win chances remaining, three further opportunities to improve upon a 2-8 record against that tier. However, none are gimmes. The Cards’ 3-6 record in true road games is more likely to get worse than improve, thanks to trips to Blacksburg and Raleigh. Meanwhile, Louisville’s lone remaining home contest comes on Thursday — against top-ranked Virginia.
Next game: at Virginia Tech, Saturday 1 p.m. (CBS)
Next Four Out: 73. LSU, 74. Temple, 75. Washington, 76. Nebraska

As you’ll see below, there are plenty of potential near-elimination games for bubble teams this weekend. The most interesting might be in Lincoln, where the Nebraska Cornhuskers host the Penn State Nittany Lions (Sunday 5:15 p.m., BTN). While Pat Chambers’ team has seen its at-large chances all but evaporate after consecutive losses to Purdue and Michigan, the Huskers still have a shot — they just might need to make a run through the early Big Ten Tournament to get there.
Currently, Nebraska and Michigan are tied for fourth in the league with a 12-5 record, but as our Purdue blog, Hammer and Rails, points out, the Cornhuskers have the edge for the tournament’s No. 4 seed, and the bye to the quarterfinals that goes with it, thanks to their 72-52 win over the Wolverines from back on January 18th.
Michigan closes at Maryland on Saturday. If Nebraska equals or betters the Maize and Blue’s result, they’ll have that No. 4 seed, which could be vital for their at-large hopes. Why? While both the No. 4 and 5 seeds present the holder with a chance to meet the No. 1 seed, likely to be Michigan State, in the semifinals, avoiding that extra game against either the 12 or 13 seed — a potential bad loss — is vital at this point of the season.
Other Games to Watch
(11) Providence at Georgetown, Saturday 12 p.m. (CBSSN)(11) Marquette at DePaul, Saturday 12 p.m. (FSN)(bubble) LSU at (bubble) Georgia, Saturday 2 p.m. (ESPNU)(bubble) Notre Dame at Wake Forest, Saturday 3 p.m. (ACC Network/ESPN3)South Carolina at (bubble) Mississippi State, Saturday 3:30 p.m. (SEC Network)(bubble) Washington at California, Saturday 4:30 p.m. (Pac-12 Networks)Old Dominion at (bubble) Western Kentucky, Saturday 7 p.m. (Stadium)(bubble) UCF at (bubble) Temple, Sunday 2 p.m. (ESPNU)(11) Marquette at Georgetown, Monday 7 p.m. (FS1)

We have our first bracket of the postseason, courtesy of the ASUN! That conference will halve its field on Monday night — the first four games of hundreds of elimination contests that will play out across the country over a two-week period. For all but one of the teams in the table above, the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders, sweeping through a bracket is going to be the only way for them to secure a place in the field of 68.
My next update will arrive on Tuesday, which is when we’ll start really turning things up for the stretch run.
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Team GB curlers beaten by Sweden in Pyeongchang – video | Sport

* Available to UK viewers only. 
Team GB’s curlers were beaten 10-5 by Sweden in the semi-finals but can still salvage a bronze medal in Pyeongchang on Saturday. An error by Eve Muirhead in the seventh end allowed Anna Hasselborg to steer Sweden advanced to the final

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German men’s hockey team stuns Canada to reach 1st Olympic gold medal game ever

Germany will face Russia for a chance at Olympic glory.
The German men’s hockey team’s stunning run at the 2018 Winter Olympics continued Friday with a 4-3 victory over Canada in the semifinals. The victory books Germany’s first trip to the Olympic gold medal game in hockey history, an incredible feat that required major upsets over several teams.
A tournament without the NHL ensured that this would be a chaotic tournament, and the Germans have taken advantage with a result that would’ve been impossible in a tournament with the best players in the world. Sorry, Leon Draisaitl, but leading that team past juggernauts from Canada, Sweden, Finland, Russia, and the United States wasn’t going to be happen.
But in a tournament without all of those players, an unheralded group of Germans has made an incredible run to its first gold medal game. Now the team has already guaranteed its first Olympic medal in men’s hockey since 1976, when the country was still split in two and Berlin was divided by a massive wall.
The way it happened was surely a stunner to everyone watching up north in Canada. Brooks Macek, a dual-national who was born in Winnipeg, scored the Germans’ opening goal in the first period.
Germany would push its leads to 3-0 and 4-1 from there before Canada started a third-period comeback that proved to be too little, too late. Mat Robinson and Derek Roy scored in the first 10 minutes, leading to a thrilling end that included two Canadian power plays, but goaltender Danny Aus Den Birken hung on to get the win.
While there are no NHL players in this game, it was a major upset of hockey’s main national powerhouse. According to the IIHF, “there were 20,646 registered hockey players in Germany in 2017. The number in Canada was 631,295,” says the Toronto Star. Canada had a lot more players to choose from to build its roster for this tournament than the Germans did, even without the game’s biggest stars available.
Now we wait for the gold medal game Saturday night between Germany and a heavily favored Olympic Athletes from Russia. If the Germans can pull off one last upset and leave Pyeongchang with gold, it’ll go down as one of the biggest Olympic upsets ever.

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Best Huawei Phone You Can Buy Right Now?

Richard Goodwin

23/02/2018 – 9:03am

Huawei has quite a few phones out right now, but I'd only get one right now because it is the best Huawei phone…

Huawei has grown massively in the past few years and is now one of the biggest phone makers on the planet, next to Samsung and Apple. Grit, vision, termination, and great products is how this was achieved. And the company has spent A LOT of money over the years, securing itself a seat at the big boy’s table.
I had an inkling the tides were turning when I tested the Huawei Mate 8, a phone I was all that interested in but was left completely bowled over by after testing. The battery life was superb and the handset performed better than my current daily driver at the time (Google’s Nexus 6P). This was news to me – and since then, I’ve closely followed the company.
Right now there is only ONE Huawei handset I’d buy… And that phone is the Huawei Mate 10 – a phablet along the lines of the Galaxy Note 8. This phone is ultra-powerful, ultra-good-looking, and features a rather exceptional camera. It is a fine, fine handset in almost every regard.
Huawei Mate 10 – The Best Huawei Phone You Can Buy Right Now

They look great, pack in TONS of performance, and retail for less than their newest and dearest rivals, the Galaxy Note 8 and iPhone X.
Huawei Mate 10 Specs

5.9-inch Huawei FullView IPS LCD 16:9 display 2,560 x 1,440 resolution, 498 ppi
Octa-core Huawei Kirin 970 processor
4 GB of RAM
64 GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion slot
Dual 20 and 12 MP rear cameras, 8 MP front camera
Non-removable 4,000 mAh battery
Android 8.0 Oreo
150.5 x 77.8 x 8.2 mm, 186 g

Huawei Mate 10 Plus Specs

6.0-inch Huawei FullView OLED 18:9 display 2,160 x 1,080 resolution, 402 ppi
Octa-core Huawei Kirin 970 processor
4/6 GB of RAM
64/128 GB of on-board storage, no microSD expansion
Dual 20 and 12 MP rear cameras, 8 MP front camera
Non-removable 4,000 mAh battery
Android 8.0 Oreo
154.2 x 74.5 x 7.9 mm, 178 g

Why You’d Buy The Huawei Mate 10

The Mate 10 Plus model has options for more RAM and Storage 
Only the Mate 10 features a headphone jack and microSD support

Carphone Warehouse has A TON of deals for the Huawei Mate 10 right now, so if you’re in the UK and you want the best possible deal – check them out! 

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MWC 2018: What to expect from Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next week

Mobile World Congress (MWC) is one of the largest tech shows of the year. Fresh off the back of CES, the latest and greatest smartphones, tablets and chips of 2018 will be unveiled or go on display at the Barcelona event this month. 
Below we’ve rounded up everything you need to know about MWC 2018 and what to expect from Samsung, Sony, Apple, Huawei, Nokia and more.
MWC 2018 dates
MWC 2018 runs from 26 February to 1 March in Barcelona. While it was set up for, and as its name suggests, the release of smartphones, in recent years its remit has extended to wearables as well as enterprise software and hardware and even VR.
READ NEXT: The best launches at CES 2018
The main show takes place at Fira Gran Via although events are held across Barcelona.
MWC 2018: What to expect and highlights
MWC 2018: Samsung
Although, technically, Samsung doesn’t unveil its latest flagship at MWC, it takes advantage of having the tech community in the city to lay on its own Unpacked event elsewhere in Barcelona. Last year, it broke with tradition likely due to the furore surrounding the “exploding” batteries on the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, meaning the Galaxy S8 launch was much more muted.
READ NEXT: Samsung Galaxy S9 release date
This year we know Samsung is using MWC 2018 to take the cover off its much-anticipated Samsung Galaxy S9 and it looks to be doing so with aplomb. Invites have gone out for the S9 event on 25 February, with the press conference kicking off at 6pm CET.
The Samsung Galaxy S9, and accompanying Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus, are rumoured to have 5.8in and 6.2in displays respectively. They’re both said to be powered by Exynos 9810 processors and have more advanced cameras. 
MWC 2018: Motorola
It may no longer be running with big boys, in the ways it once was, but Lenovo’s Motorola will still likely use MWC 2018 to unveil the mid-range G6 lineup, featuring three different models. Prices are expected to be around the £250 mark and the G6 cameras could feature dual cameras and an 18:9 display.
At the higher end of the scale, the Moto 5X could make an appearance, designed to rival the iPhone X (at least with the notch). 
MWC 2018: Apple
Apple reserves its major phone launches for its own event, typically held in September, meaning it doesn’t have a presence at MWC. We’re expecting the tech giant to follow suit for MWC 2018, but the company may want to showcase its new watch or HomePod smart speaker.
READ NEXT: The iPhone 9 – or iPhone 11 – to appear alongside two new iPhone X phones for 2018
Alternatively, we wouldn’t be surprised to see leaked images or similar of the iPhone 11 appearing around the same time as MWC 2018 which could detract away from some of its competitors’ big reveals.
MWC 2018: Sony
Sony went quite hard on its announcements at CES 2018 and showcased its budget and mid-range Xperia XA2, Xperia XA2 Ultra and Xperia L2 handsets so we’d be surprised to see a vast number of new releases from Sony at MWC 2018.
Instead, the firm will likely use the show to unveil its latest flagship after launching the Xperia XZ Premium flagship at last year’s show.
MWC 2018: Huawei
Following in the footsteps of the Huawei P10, a Huawei P11 launch is all but inevitable at MWC 2018, as is a cheaper P11 Lite and larger P11 Plus.
The firm, traditionally, would save its major launches for its own event later in the year but it has suggested it wants to shift this to MWC 2018 to catch the March/April release date cycle, and run alongside its rivals. Huawei’s vice president of handsets product line Bruce Lee recently told Android Central: “In the future, we will probably launch the devices at Mobile World Congress.”
READ NEXT: What is 5G?
During its traditional pre-MWC media briefing ahead of MWC 2018, Huawei said its main focus this year will be on 5G and AI so we’d expect to see a greater focus on AI in any devices it launches. This will build on the Kirin chip announced at IFA 2017 on the Huawei Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro. 
Beyond phones, Huawei may use MWC 2018 to refresh its tablet range. 
MWC 2018: Nokia
Since the Nokia brand was bought by HMD Global, it’s gone from strength to strength. In 2017, HMD Global released a number of Nokia phones, including the Nokia 3, Nokia 5 and Nokia 6, the Nokia 8 and the revamp of its iconic Nokia 3310. Figures suggest these handsets have catapulted Nokia back to near the top of the global smartphone sales chart again. In fact, reports suggest Nokia phones outsold handsets from HTC, Sony Google, Alcatel, OnePlus and Asus.
With this in mind, we’re expecting to see a myriad Nokia phones at MWC 2018, from the budget to the (relative) high-end. You can sign up for updates from Nokia at MWC 2018 here.
MWC 2018: LG
LG used last year’s MWC to unveil the LG G6 but it was quickly bettered by Samsung’s Galaxy S8. This year, LG had been expected to be looking to outdo its rival with the LG G7. However, it looks like the V30 will be the flagship phone LG is pinning its hopes on. In a press release ahead of MWC 2018, LG said it will “introduce the first of a suite of AI technologies for its smartphones” at this year’s Mobile World Congress and that the next-level technology will feature on the 2018 version of the LG V30. 
Called Vision AI, the image version of the technology will reportedly make the camera of the LG V30 smarter by analysing objects and recommending the best shooting mode. It will also be able to give shopping advice by pointing the camera at an object. The LG V30 will then perform an image search, or give shopping options including where to buy the item for the lowest price.
MWC 2018: HTC
HTC’s smartphone arm was recently bought by Google – after making the Pixel 2 – so we’re unlikely to see any handsets from HTC at MWC 2018. The HTC U11 Plus was the firm’s last release before the company was absorbed so that may have been its last hurrah, too.
Instead, HTC Vive – the VR arm of the Taiwanese firm – could showcase its virtual reality set up at MWC 2018.
MWC 2018: Qualcomm
Being the muscle behind many of the rumoured, next-generation handsets means chip maker Qualcomm typically has a large presence at MWC. Ahead of MWC 2018, Qualcomm announced a number of themes for the year ahead. Namely, its Artificial Intelligent Engine will be available on a variety of chipsets, including the Snapdragon 835, 820 and 660, as well as the Snapdragon 845.
Such AI features (like those seen on the Huawei Mate 10), means phones and applications can be faster, it boosts performance and enhances privacy.
Additionally, Qualcomm has been working with French car manufacturer Groupe PSA to add its 9150 C-V2X chipset to self-driving cars. The chip will help develop autonomous communication between vehicles. 

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Masters of Photography Launches with Joel Meyerowitz

Mac users, Macphun’s all-in-one photo editor Luminar 2018 is now available for just $69£64 for new users and $49£44 for upgrading users. We’ve rated Luminar as “Highly Recommended”. Visit the Luminar web site to try it for free.
Use coupon code “PHOTOBLOG” to save another $10£9 on Luminar (new users and upgrades).
This special offer runs until February 26th and also includes 2 E-books from Andrew Gibson: “The Creative Photographer” and “Mastering Exposure”, Ultra Violet LUTs by Richard Harrington, Ultra Violet Preset Pack by Richard Harrington, and a Futuristic Preset Pack.

Download Luminar & Try Free »

Windows users, Macphun’s all-in-one photo editor Luminar 2018 is now available for just $69£64 for new users and $49£44 for upgrading users. We’ve rated Luminar as “Highly Recommended”. Visit the Luminar web site to try it for free.
Use coupon code “PHOTOBLOG” to save another $10£9 on Luminar (new users and upgrades).
This special offer runs until February 26th and also includes 2 E-books from Andrew Gibson: “The Creative Photographer” and “Mastering Exposure”, Ultra Violet LUTs by Richard Harrington, Ultra Violet Preset Pack by Richard Harrington, and a Futuristic Preset Pack.

Download Luminar & Try Free »

Masters of Photography have just launched their first masterclass with legendary photographer Joel Meyerowitz. Masters of Photography is a new and unique online learning platform which brings together some of the worlds most acclaimed photographers; the Masters. Students can enjoy an unprecedented insight into the way the Masters work during intimate lessons that capture their knowledge, ethos and philosophy.
Each Masters of Photography masterclass is priced at $170 (approximately £120 / €135).
Masters of Photography Press Release
Masters of Photography; Unique online masterclasses from the best photographers in the world.
London, 21 February 2018. Announcing the launch of Masters of Photography and their first masterclass with legendary photographer Joel Meyerowitz.
Masters of Photography is a new and unique online learning platform which brings together some of the worlds most acclaimed photographers; the Masters. Students can enjoy an unprecedented insight into the way the Masters work during intimate lessons that capture their knowledge, ethos and philosophy.
Each online masterclass of 5 hours has been broken down into around 30 easy to follow lessons, allowing students to learn at their own pace as they embark on a personal journey with the greatest Master photographers.
Chris Ryan, professional photographer and filmmaker for 40 years and cofounder of Masters of Photography said: “The idea for Masters of  Photography came after an unsuccessful search for a site where I could learn from the photography greats who have inspired me throughout my career”.
MoP aims to teach and inspire all photographers to create better images. The classes do not feature technical lessons about how to use a camera, nor are they biased to any type of camera device. 
Production quality was a high priority for filmmaker Chris Ryan. He said: “We filmed the Masters in such a way that students feel like they are  walking side by side with their Master photographers gaining inspiration, listening, learning and watching. We wanted to make these masterclasses hugely engaging by using high production values, taking the Masters to locations across the world that both excited us and stimulated them. This gives students a unique view into how the Masters create their images”. 
The Masters’ roster opens with acclaimed artist photographer Joel Meyerowitz who gives the first masterclass; American photographer Steve McCurry follows in the Spring and influential photographer Albert Watson soon after. 
Joel Meyerowitz is one of the most important protagonists of street and colour photography. He is a two-time Guggenheim Fellow, has 26published books and 350 exhibitions across the world. Talking about his masterclass he said: “Once you have a camera in your hand, you have a license to see, seeing is what photography is all about. You learn about yourself, and the world you live in. So what will you get out of my class? It’s about finding your identity. Your identity as an artist, and as a human being who is interested in the world around you”. 
A selection of synopses, taken from Joel Meyerowitz’s masterclass 
Lesson No 02 – InfluencesJoel shares with you some of the significant artists who have influenced him in his 55 years as a photographer and how to begin building your own photographic library of ideas. 
Lesson No 04 The Street is oursJoin Joel on the streets of Manhattan. See through his expert eye how to observe seemingly mundane things and hear how you can bring them together in one unique image. 
Lesson No 09 Street photographyJoin Joel as he takes photographs in beautiful Siena and learn the tactics he uses to become invisible on the street. 
Lesson 27 Conversations between objectsWe join Joel in his studio in Italy as he creates a still life and demonstrates the relationship between objects.
Joel Meyerowitz said: “I have rarely had, during a long life in photography, an opportunity to really dig deeply into my personal values and ideas about the medium, as much as I have during the making of my Masters of Photography course”. He went on to say: “Creating this course has both reaffirmed my own feelings about the medium, and has developed a deep sense within me that this is the right moment to pass along the humanistic values I have learned about and developed through living a long life in Photography”.
Masters of Photography (MoP) have brought together some of the greatest photographers; those who truly define this art form. MoP cofounder Gilles Storme said: “The Master’s generosity allows us to share their extraordinary history, philosophy and thought process. We have made these unique courses to be accessible to anyone who wants to be inspired to see the world in a new way and develop their own craft and vision. We hope Masters of Photography will set a new quality standard for the photography e-learning market.”
MoP look forward to opening Steve McCurry’s masterclass in Spring 2018. 
Subscribe to mastersof.photography to receive the latest updates and news. Celebrated for his incredible images that have captured the world around us including the iconic Afghan Girl in 1984, Steve McCurry said: “Mine is not a technical masterclass, it’s about developing your eye, it’s about finding those interesting pictures to tell great stories. I’m looking forward to showing the students that you can never go wrong by following your heart, you never go wrong photographing what you care about and what you are passionate about”.
Each masterclass is priced at $170 (approximately £120 / €135 based on local currency exchange rates as of February 2018)• The first masterclass has over 5 hours of intimate modular video learning, broken out into 34 easy to watch lessons for students to take at their own pace.• Each masterclass contains entirely original content.• Learn from the Master’s and take up the challenge of their assignments.• Download workshop notes, a transcript and synopsis from each lesson.• Students can upload and share their photographs with the MoP Community for critique and feedback from fellow students.• Be inspired by peer images uploaded onto the student Photostream.• Each student will receive a certificate of participation.• Students can watch at their own pace using a lifetime access to their masterclass.• Inspire someone by giving the gift of a course.
Watch or download the trailer for the Joel Meyerowitz masterclass here:
Watch or download the trailer for the Steve McCurry masterclass here:
Watch or download the trailer for the Albert Watson masterclass here:
Watch or download from a selection of short films here:https://vimeo.com/album/499416…

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Leak suggests Galaxy S9+ cost will be huge, but still cheaper than iPhone X

The Samsung Galaxy S9+ will cost just a few Euros under 1,000 according to noted leaker Evan Blass.
Samsung is planning to charge 997 Euros for the larger of the two, Blass said in a tweet from his @evleaks account, while the standard Galaxy S9 will be 847 Euros,
With a direct currency conversion, that works out to £880/$1229 for the S9+ and £743/$1,036 for the S9, although each region will almost certainly have its own pricing.
Related: Best smartphones
It’s also not clear whether these prices represent the base storage models. This could very well be the starting point for both handsets, with more capacious storage costing more.

Pricing.
— Evan Blass (@evleaks)

As it stands the Galaxy S9+ will still be cheaper than the iPhone X, which starts at £999 in the United Kingdom.
However, last year’s Galaxy S8+ cost £779, while the SIM-free S8 started at £689. If these prices are accurate, Brits may be facing a pretty significant hike.
US buyers will likely be significantly paying more for an S9+ than they would for the homegrown iPhone X ($999), unless Samsung prices the phone more aggressively across the Atlantic.
The pricing leak comes just three days before the handset is unveiled at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, during the firm’s Unpacked event.
Related: MWC 2018
We’re expecting a modest update in terms of design, but plenty of significant upgrades in terms of the camera. For starters, the S9+ is almost certain to become the first handset in the range to pack a dual camera.
Do you think modern smartphones represent good value for money? Drop us a line @TrustedReviews on Twitter.

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President Trump Comments on Video Game Violence

During a meeting at the White House, U.S. President Donald Trump (R) discussed various methods to improve school safety. This meeting follows the recent Parkland shooting that claimed 17 lives, and in this meeting, President Trump also suggested that video games are somewhat responsible for mass shootings. It is noteworthy that Trump is not the first Republican to make such suggestions.

His comments follow Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin (R), who believes that violent video games “celebrate the slaughter of people.” Both of these politicians believe that video game violence is partly responsible for mass shootings, despite contrary evidence. Recent studies suggest that 70% of high schoolers play video games, whereas only 20% of school shooters have.
Nevertheless, President Trump made the following statement during the meeting:

“We have to look at the internet, because a lot of bad things are happening to young kids and young minds, and their minds are being formed, and we have to do something about maybe what they’re seeing and how they’re seeing it. And also video games. I’m hearing more and more people say the level of violence on video games is really shaping young people’s thoughts. And you go one further step and that’s the movies. You see these movies, and they’re so violent, a kid is able to see the movie if sex isn’t involved, but killing is involved, and maybe we need to put a rating system for that.”

Speaking of rating systems, Rhode Island House of Representatives Robert Nardolillo (R) has recently proposed a tax increase on video games with an ESRB rating of Mature or higher. Although President Trump does not mention from whom he hears that video game is violence is shaping “young people’s thoughts,” it would seem that Gov. Bevin and Rep. Nardolillo are at the top of that list.

At meeting on school safety, President Trump says violence in video games and movies is responsible for shaping young people’s thoughts: “We have to do something about maybe what they’re seeing” https://t.co/VfXvVkwQmq
— CNN (@CNN)

Perhaps, at some point on this discussion about violence and video games, stricter laws will be set for controlling the purchase of video games. There’s no doubt the conversation has only just begun and there will be arguments made from both sides, but some would argue there are bigger issues to tackle ahead of video game violence.
Source: Kotaku

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