Lyft’s dashboard display helps drivers with hearing impairments

Typically, Lyft drivers hear an audible “ping” when they get a new ride, which isn’t the best way to notify someone with a hearing impairment. Now, though, Lyft will visually notify its drivers of a new ride with large text on the company’s new in-car display, Amp. This device already lights up, changes color, and can send little happy messages to riders; why not add something to benefit the driver, too?

Lyft has also started letting riders know when their driver is deaf or hard of hearing. Before the car arrives, passengers will get a text message telling them to contact their driver via text instead of voice, and to let the driver lead the communication when in the car. It’s such a simple thing, it’s hard to believe it wasn’t already happening.

The ridesharing company has partnered with the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) to continue improving its app. It also hopes to promote awareness of opportunities for the deaf and hard of hearing and promote the importance of equal access to policymakers.

Uber has similar features to what Lyft announced today, though it’s all done via the Uber app instead of a hardware add-on in the car. When a new ride is available, Uber drivers will see a flash on their smartphone’s screen instead of just a sound, and passengers also get a notification about their driver’s status. Simple changes to existing hardware and software like this make everything much nicer for all of us, regardless of ability.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/04/20/lyft-hearing-impairments/

Facebook’s plans for Oculus are finally taking shape

While we’re still waiting on the “video games” part of that promise, today Facebook launched the beta for Spaces, its first attempt at translating social networking to VR. Spaces is a digital world exclusive to the Oculus Rift that you can share with up to three other people at a time. Create a 3D avatar of yourself and hang out with digital renditions of your VR-capable friends, talking, drawing objects, exploring 360-degree films and taking photos with a selfie stick. And that’s about it.

Facebook's plans for Oculus are finally taking shape

Even though Spaces is fairly barebones and still in the early stages of development — Facebook says the beta represents 1 percent of its goal product — it’s our first glimpse at Zuckerberg’s grand VR vision. This is what Facebook wanted when it bought Oculus: selfie sticks in VR.

Seriously.

“This is really a new communication platform,” Zuckerberg wrote about VR in 2014. “By feeling truly present, you can share unbounded spaces and experiences with the people in your life. Imagine sharing not just moments with your friends online, but entire experiences and adventures.”

Facebook Spaces is precisely what Zuckerberg laid out from the beginning. It’s a way to share an experience with a friend, even if that person lives across the world, and even if your adventure is as simple as taking a photo together. Spaces lays the foundation for grander features like playing games together in VR, and its goal is clear: Blur the line between hanging out in reality and “hanging out” on Facebook (where algorithms and advertisers can more easily find you).

However, Facebook’s dream of trans-continental selfies (and ads) won’t come true if you or your friends don’t own an Oculus Rift — and chances are, you don’t. Oculus hasn’t shared actual Rift sales figures, but third-party industry trackers suggest it sold between 250,000 and 400,000 headsets in 2016. Regardless of the actual number, Facebook’s headset is firmly in last place, hundreds of thousands of units behind the HTC Vive and PlayStation VR.

Not to mention, Facebook Spaces requires users to own the Oculus Touch controllers as well — a $99 accessory that doesn’t come bundled with every Rift.

Facebook's plans for Oculus are finally taking shape

This hardware shortfall makes one aspect of today’s announcement particularly intriguing: Anyone using Spaces is able to call friends via Facebook Messenger video and talk with them inside the VR world, regardless of whether that friend has a Rift. Facebook is aware that VR can’t survive on its own right now; it has to be incorporated into our existing systems until the hardware itself is more accessible and normalized. Or, until the bulky VR headsets disappear entirely, replaced by mass-market augmented reality systems instead, like HoloLens or a functional Google Glass.

Unsurprisingly, Facebook has pounced on the AR industry as well, today announcing the Camera Effects Platform to help developers create apps that overlay objects, information and filters on the real world. This parallel focus on AR and VR isn’t an accident — in fact, both industries are a large part of Facebook’s 10-year roadmap.

Facebook is poised to combine Oculus’ hardware chops with a steady stream of camera-based AR innovation rolling in from developers across the world — and within its own walls. Facebook is preparing to take over our reality, in whatever form it eventually takes.

Click here to catch up on the latest news from F8 2017!

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/04/19/facebooks-plans-for-oculus-are-finally-taking-shape/

Samsung's Gear VR controller makes mobile VR more immersive

Hardware

The Gear VR controller is about the same size as the Daydream View’s, but it’s angled slightly so it’s a bit more ergonomic to hold. It’s a minor detail that allows your fingers to rest more naturally — perfect for extended gaming sessions. The controller is made out of a smooth, black plastic that’s also pleasant to touch. It’s not as refined as the Rift’s Touch gamepads, but Oculus’s influence is clear. It feels like something that’s made by a company that’s been thinking about hardware for virtual reality for a while.

You’ll notice just how ergonomic Samsung’s controller is as soon as you hold it. Your thumb rests on the trackpad on the top, which also doubles as a button. There are also the usual back, home and volume buttons right below it. Your index finger, meanwhile, sits on the trigger on the rear of the controller. You can reach everything you need to without straining too much, and it’s pretty easy to figure out which button is which without taking off the headset.

Samsung's Gear VR controller makes mobile VR more immersive

That trigger button, by the way, really makes the Gear VR controller something special. It gives Samsung’s headset an additional input option that the Daydream View doesn’t have. The trigger isn’t just useful for shooting, it can also help you do things like hold and grip objects in VR naturally. That’s something Oculus Rift and HTC Vive owners are used to doing with their more sophisticated controllers, so it’s nice to see the concept brought down to the cheaper land of mobile VR. Most importantly, the trigger button really helps to cement the idea of “virtual presence” in the Gear, which is essential for every VR platform.

And if you’re wondering why we’re not reviewing the Gear VR headset this year, it’s because nothing has really changed since last year’s model. The new headset is tweaked a bit to fit the Galaxy S8, but beyond that it’s exactly the same as before.

In use

Samsung's Gear VR controller makes mobile VR more immersive

Setting up the Gear VR controller is a multi-step process. First, you have to install the two AAA batteries included in the box and pair it over Bluetooth. Then, the Oculus Home app walks you through a few calibration steps, which involve placing the controller on a flat surface and waving it in the air in a figure-eight pattern. The entire process takes a few minutes, and I didn’t run into any issues while setting it up on our Galaxy S8 review unit.

Once I was good to go, I headed to the special section of the Oculus store reserved for controller-compatible apps. Oculus says 20 apps will support the Gear VR controller in April, and that number will grow to 50 in the next few months. The initial lineup includes Gear VR mainstays like Drop Dead and Star Chart, and a new entry meant to show off the controller’s motion capabilities: A Starry Night. Samsung still has some catching up to do with Google though, as every Daydream app includes motion controller support.

Across several different apps and games, I found that the Gear VR controller’s motion tracking worked well. It’s accurate and responds to fast movements, although it sometimes felt like it showed up much lower in my virtual environment compared to where my hand was in reality. It felt about as precise as the Daydream View’s remote, though it’s certainly not up to what we see on the Rift or Vive. If you end up repositioning your arm while playing, you can just hold down the Home button to re-orient the controller.

Samsung's Gear VR controller makes mobile VR more immersive

When it came to Drop Dead, one of the best shooters on the Gear VR, the controller was ideal for targeting and blasting zombies. It was certainly far more immersive than the way you previously played the game, which involved moving your head to target and tapping the headset’s side touchpad to shoot. The controller also showed off its precision in A Starry Night, which involves connecting different points of constellations in the sky.

Beyond apps and games, the Gear VR controller is also helpful for navigating around the new Oculus Home interface, which received a resolution bump and web browser last month. As you’d expect, it’s far more intuitive to browse and select menu options with the controller than with the Gear’s built-in touchpad. I also enjoyed browsing the web in VR with the remote. The new virtual keyboard makes it easy to type in addresses, and websites were a joy to read thanks to Oculus Home’s higher resolution. In many ways, it’s more convenient than browsing the web in desktop VR offerings, since the Gear VR is wireless and far lighter.

Pricing and the competition

Samsung's Gear VR controller makes mobile VR more immersive

At $39 on its own, the controller is a no-brainer purchase for existing Gear VR owners. You can also get it together with the headset for $129. Google has the advantage when it comes to pricing: Its Daydream View headset and controller are only $79. Still, you can expect to see plenty of deals on the Gear VR, based on what we’ve seen with previous versions. Samsung is already offering it for free to people who pre-order the Galaxy S8, and you can bet that carriers will use it as a way to tempt their subscribers.

Now that the mobile VR landscape is getting a bit more complicated, you’ll have to plan a bit if you’re interested in a particular headset. The Gear VR is only compatible with Samsung phones from the last few years (starting with the Galaxy S6), whereas Daydream works with Google’s Pixel lineup and a handful of other phones. At this point, Samsung’s platform is much more mature, and it’s clear that its partnership with Oculus is helping to evolve its hardware and software quickly.

Wrap-up

Ultimately, the Gear Controller is exactly what we’ve been waiting for from Samsung. It lets consumers get a taste of large-scale, motion controlled virtual reality at a fraction of the price. And it’s another reminder that mobile VR can be just as compelling as the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/04/18/samsung-gear-vr-controller-review/

Toddlers who use touchscreens sleep less, study says

“It isn’t a massive amount when you’re sleeping 10-12 hours a day in total, but every minute matters in young development because of the benefits of sleep,” study co-author Dr. Tim Smith told the BBC. That’s because the brain’s “neuroplasticity,” or ability to form new connections in response to new situations or environmental changes, at its highest during infancy.

While the study does associate smartphones and tablets with potential sleep problems, researchers don’t yet think it’s necessary to ban them outright. For one thing, the science behind infant sleep and how it relates to touchscreens is brand new, so “it’s too early to make clear proclamations,” says Smith.

Toddlers who use touchscreens sleep less, study says

The overall usage observed in the study wouldn’t have a great impact on your baby’s sleep, either. “The children in this study used a touchscreen for about 25 minutes a day, a child who used a touchscreen for this average length of time would sleep for about 6 minutes less,” Smith adds.

Furthermore, touchscreen devices have some positive benefits to balance the sleep problem. In a previous study, the same researchers found they help accelerate a toddler’s motor development compared to infants who don’t use them. “Thus, total restriction of touchscreen use may limit young children in terms of the potential benefits of these devices,” the study concludes.

Pending further studies, the best course of action for parents is common sense. A good course of action is to limit screen time in favor of physical toys and activities. The American Pediatricians Association, for one, recently recommended that parents limit screen time for kids between 2 and 5 to an hour per today. In addition, “it may be worth parents limited touchscreens [with blue light] in the hours before bedtime,” cognitive development researcher Dr. Anna Joyce told the BBC. That’s good advice for parents, too.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/04/17/toddlers-who-use-touchscreens-sleep-less-study-says/

It’s robot killing time in Overwatch’s Uprising event


Archive declassification complete.
Overwatch “Uprising” file status: OPEN.

Commencing playback in 3…2…1…

⏰📂 https://t.co/jqvaWx0diz pic.twitter.com/12q4e7l2bV

— Overwatch (@PlayOverwatch) April 11, 2017

Uprising is the first event to touch on Overwatch‘s extensive lore, which mostly resides in the game’s Pixar-quality standalone cinematics, online comics and backstory entries. It explores Lena “Tracer” Oxton’s first foray on the superhero-stacked peacekeeping team, Overwatch, as they stoically resist the hordes of invading robot omnics. Appropriately, players get a new PvE game type while the event is active. Given how the Capture The Flag mode introduced during February’s Lunar New Year celebration became a permanent fixture, it’s entirely possible that the horde mode stays on after Uprising ends.

But it wouldn’t be Overwatch without a ton of Loot Box fodder. 100 new items are getting thrown in the mix — and, like every event, they won’t be available once it ends. While missing out on the minor errata won’t be a big loss, there are a few incredible character skins looped in, like Genji’s Metal Gear Solid-style suit or McCree’s dark ops Blackwatch outfit. Plus all the light-side Overwatch-team getups for your favorite good guy heroes. In short, it’s a collector’s nightmare. Get grinding.

It's robot killing time in Overwatch's Uprising event

Even if you could care less about player-vs-AI modes, the event is proof the team wants to take the game into new territory. While Halloween‘s Junkenstein zombot brawl was a delightful twist on what had been a PvP-only game, Uprising shows that the team wants to bring the game world’s whispered history out of level backgrounds and into dedicated play. Good luck knocking down those bots, Overwatch fiends.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/04/11/it-s-officially-robot-killing-time-in-overwatch/

Alabama tests filing taxes via selfie

The eID is essentially an identity verification system in app form, though it’s only available for iOS at the moment. Every time a user wants to unlock the eID, they must scan their physical drivers’ licenses or state-issued IDs and then use their phone to scan their face. This information is compared to state databases, matching data and photo, to certify and authenticate the eID — and then it’s off to the tax-filing races.

Essentially, it’s using a panorama selfie to unlock digital identification, which Alabama officials believe to be just as secure as filing in person using a certified ID. With tax fraud a growing issue that costs the government over $400 billion every year, at least the eID could help folks ensure security on their end. According to the Alabama government’s website, the plan is to keep the system around for next year and potentially let folks use their eID for other identity-sensitive processes, like applying for benefits online.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/04/11/alabama-tests-filing-taxes-via-selfie/

Showtime’s streaming apps can download video for offline viewing

A day after trumpeting that it’s coming to cord-cutting Sling TV, Showtime is helping out another neglected group: Offline viewers. The premium network announced that its Showtime and Showtime Anytime apps now let users download content to watch later in both standard and 720p high definition format (or up to 1080p on tablets).

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/04/06/showtime-anytime-offline/

Moto G5 and G5 Plus review: Still the best budget phones

Hardware

Moto G5 and G5 Plus review: Still the best budget phones

Every year since Motorola released the first G, it’s made relatively minor tweaks to a common design language. Last year’s G4 series represented the biggest shift at the time. The domed back was abandoned in favor of a flatter, boxier shape, making for a more serious look compared to past G models. With the G5 and G5 Plus, Motorola has continued down that road to the extent that its latest smartphones bear little resemblance to their storied predecessors. But I’m not convinced that’s a good thing.

The Moto G concept has always been about putting affordability first. That hasn’t changed with this generation, but the value proposition now includes metal, a premium building material that hasn’t featured on any previous models. For me, though, this is little more than a gimmicky selling point. Motorola has been careful in its description of the new phones’ “metal finish.” That’s important because you aren’t getting an aircraft-grade aluminum unibody (which would be a significant leap in construction) but a lone metal panel that fills the majority of the back plate on both devices.

This is most obvious on the G5, as you have to pry off the back piece to get at the SIM and microSD slots. Looking at the entire rear panel inside-out, you can clearly see where a thin metal sheet has been bonded to an otherwise all-plastic frame. The G5 Plus uses a drawer to absorb all your little cards — a clever double-sided one that accepts two SIMs and a microSD, in fact — so the limited amount of metal isn’t as conspicuous. There’s also virtually no discernible difference in texture between the metal and plastic parts, which further disguises the marriage of materials.

Moto G5 and G5 Plus review: Still the best budget phones

I’ve probably labored the point enough already, but my final word would be to ignore the marketing spiel. The G5 and G5 Plus are not metal phones; they’re plastic with a sliver of metal glued to the back. That said, I don’t want you thinking they’re flimsy or fragile. Both are solid, well-built handsets that laughed off my feeble attempts to bend and twist them.

There are other things to like about the design of the G5 and G5 Plus. For starters, both are small enough that you can easily use them one-handed, with no sharp corners digging into your palm. I’m also a fan of the bold black ring encircling the primary camera and companion flash on both handsets. It reminds me of the old Nokia Lumia 1020, though it’s actually a design element borrowed from Motorola’s higher-end Z line.

On the G5, this camera enclosure is flush with the back plate, whereas on the Plus it’s elevated by roughly two millimeters. This hump is actually quite attractive, highlighting what’s arguably the phone’s only eye-catching accent. Aside from this obvious difference, the G5 and G5 Plus look almost identical. You can barely tell the G5 Plus is a couple of millimeters taller and one millimeter wider than the G5 (all in the name of accommodating its slightly larger display). The standard 3.5mm headphone jack sits on the top edge of the G5 and on the bottom edge of the G5 Plus, next to the micro-USB charging port, but that pretty much covers the exterior differences.

Moto G5 and G5 Plus review: Still the best budget phones

Whereas past iterations have been colorful and playful, this year’s models are just a bit boring by comparison. The little dimple on the back of previous Gs where the Motorola logo sat (also serving as a natural finger rest) is gone, replaced by a raised, shiny plaque that has as tendency to collect hand grime. I get that Motorola is going for a more mature look, but it lacks a certain refinement. There’s a significant amount of dead bezel framing the displays, for instance.

Furthermore, the G5 and G5 Plus don’t allow for Moto Maker customization, meaning you’re torn between either the drab two-tone gray/silver color scheme or the slightly ostentatious gold. A “sapphire blue” model has begun hitting some markets and is the best-looking option from what I’ve seen online, but it’s not widely available yet. In general, I feel the signature characteristics of the G line are progressively being eroded. The peak, for me, was the 2015 Moto G, which was the first model to offer Maker personalization and the only member of the lineage to boast true waterproofing.

Display

Moto G5 and G5 Plus review: Still the best budget phones

The G5 and G5 Plus both sport full HD (1,920 x 1,080) LCD displays, which is the best resolution you can reasonably expect at these prices. Last year’s G4 models offered the choice of 5- or 5.5-inch panels, but this time you have your pick of either a 5-incher on the regular G5 or the 5.2-inch screen of the G5 Plus — at least you do in some parts of the world, anyway, as only the G5 Plus is sold in the US.

Bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better and I actually prefer the display of the G5 over the G5 Plus, though it’s worth noting that the latter is protected by Gorilla Glass 3 and the former soda-lime glass. Blacks are excellent on both devices and white balance accurate, but colors appear a bit more vibrant on the smaller model. You need to see them side by side to catch this slight difference, though, and colors are still nicely saturated on the G5 Plus.

This discrepancy is likely due to the fact the G5’s display has a bit more power behind it. Neither panel performs particularly well in bright sunlight. You can still check the time and read your emails, but even at maximum brightness, glare is very obvious.

Software

Moto G5 and G5 Plus review: Still the best budget phones

The next version of Android, simply called “O” for now, is already available for developers to poke around. It would be slightly disappointing, then, if your new phone didn’t have a relatively fresh public release out of the box, which is something I’ve experienced recently. Thankfully, both Moto G5s are running Android 7.0 Nougat. It may not appear to be lightyears ahead of Marshmallow, but many of the tweaks are hidden, designed to improve performance and stability, among other things.

If you’re not familiar with the functionality specific to Nougat, there’s little to catch up on. You can now run apps side by side, similar to how the deceased Xbox One Snap feature works. Except here, running two apps on a 5-inchish display isn’t particularly useful; switching between full-screen apps typically gets the job done more comfortably. This leaves the richer notification drawer as the only genuinely useful improvement. The way it groups notifications and allows you to expand your recent emails (as an example) so you can see progressively more info after every tap is neat. This means you can do more micromanaging within the drawer, instead of having to go into individual apps.

Motorola has never been one to stray too far from stock Android, and the G5s are no exception. Better yet, the few customizations the company included are all much appreciated. Motorola’s circular clock widget, which shows the time, date, local weather and remaining battery charge is gorgeously minimalist. Also, the icon to bring up the app drawer has been removed and replaced with an arguably more natural up-swipe gesture, giving you an empty spot for another homescreen shortcut.

With one-button navigation, you can also free up space on the screen by using the fingerprint sensor as all three standard Android keys. You tap it as if it’s a normal home button and swipe left for back or right for recents.

Moto G5 and G5 Plus review: Still the best budget phones

The handy little tweaks continue on the lockscreen, should you choose to enable Motorola’s special notifications feature. Move the phone to any degree after it’s been left alone for a few seconds and the time plus a record of any unchecked notifications will briefly flash on the screen. Hold your finger on any of the bubble icons signaling something unseen, and it expands to show more info. From there, opening it fully or dismissing it is only a swipe away. It’s not a revolutionary new take on lockscreen notifications by any means; it just looks prettier than the white bars you get when you fully wake your phone.

By far the best feature contributions by Motorola are the whole-phone gestures you can enable. Without needing to unlock the G5 and G5 Plus, two successive chop motions turns the flashlight on, while two wrist twists opens the camera. They may sound gimmicky but the camera quick-launch feature is genuinely the first I’ve found myself using naturally, probably because it’s so physical (as opposed to more fiddly implementations like entering the Konami code on a volume rocker). It certainly made grabbing camera samples on both phones while strolling around London much more spontaneous.

Otherwise, the G5s run the flavor of Nougat you know and like, with Motorola slipping in only helpful additions that don’t hinder Android performance.

Camera

Moto G5 and G5 Plus review: Still the best budget phones

If there’s one thing I like about a camera app, it’s simplicity, being able to point and shoot without feeling like I should be picking a different scene mode for every snap. That’s why Motorola’s camera app is exactly my cup of tea. It boots up almost immediately and has a clean interface, with HDR, flash options and a countdown timer the only settings you can fiddle with from the viewfinder. In addition to familiar modes including panorama and slow-mo video, there’s a “professional” option that puts additional settings in the viewfinder. They allow you to manually adjust ISO, white balance and exposure — standard stuff. I’ve never been one to labor over settings when I just want to grab a quick snap, so it’s fortunate that Motorola make it easy to ignore them.

That’s because, even in the regular point-and-shoot mode, if you tap the screen to select your focal point, a little exposure slider appears around the perimeter of the reticle. It’s a stroke of genius. How often do you look at the viewfinder and question the white balance setting? Likely never. But I bet you’ve been in a situation where you frame your shot and the exposure meter picks up a bright blue sky and hides your subject in darkness.

Moto G5 and G5 Plus review: Still the best budget phones

It’s normal — auto-exposure is a fickle beast — but Motorola solves that problem with one, simple slider. Between that, the wrist-twisting quick-launch gesture and the uncluttered interface, the camera app is a joy to use. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention you can use the camera to scan QR and bar codes. Not something you’ll be doing all that often, I imagine, but it’s convenient you don’t have to install another app for this.

Though the G5 and G5 Plus carry different cameras, there’s little that separates them where image processing is concerned. Shutter and focus response are basically immediate across both devices; and even in low-light conditions, or when you force HDR mode (it’s set to auto by default), you’re only waiting an extra few milliseconds for these photos to process before you can grab your next shot. In short, both handsets lend themselves well to moments you have to be quick to capture.

Both devices have the same front-facing 5-megapixel camera with wide-angle lens and f/2.2 aperture. You don’t find many front-facers with lower resolutions than that these days, but it does the job if you’re the type who doesn’t demand selfies or video calls of the highest quality. There’s a beautification mode if you prefer your skin homogenized, an HDR mode that works as expected, and the display will double as a makeshift flash in a pinch. So, not a great number of megapixels, but all the features you might want.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/04/06/moto-g5-and-g5-plus-review/

GoPro’s $100 accessory puts Karma’s gimbal (almost) anywhere

The Karma Grip already comes with a mounting ring that makes it wearable, as you can attach it to any existing mount (more or less) in your collection. That said, as the Karma grip is about the size of a standard flashlight, it isn’t ideal for wearing on helmets or perching on handlebars. With the new extension cable, you can slip the grip part in a pocket or backpack and just mount the gimbal and camera (and the three inch-ish connector) on the aforementioned helmets and handlebars (and beyond).

If you look at the photo above though, you’ll note that there’s a coiled tether between the connection plugs. It’s extendable, but it’s also pretty tight. Tight enough that the distance between your helmet and your pocket is probably too far to be comfortable. GoPro tells me that the cable is designed to be rugged, and good enough to deliver the power required for the gimbal.

Even without the grip, the gimbal and the part it slides into are still a touch bigger than many other wearable gimbals on the market (of which, there are a few,) and most don’t need wires for power, putting the batteries in the gimbal instead. For GoPro’s part, if you ignore the tether, the gimbal doesn’t have the cheap look that most of the others do, and definitely feels more robust than any I’ve used to date.

GoPro's $100 accessory puts Karma's gimbal (almost) anywhere

Then, there’s the price. The extension cable is pretty much just that, a cable. Two connectors (one for the grip, one for the gimbal) and a cable between them. For this GoPro wants $100, once it goes on sale this Sunday. When bought without the drone, the handheld Karma Grip is $300, and that includes: The detachable grip, the actual gimbal (the part with the motors), a harness for your camera and all the cables and mount ring you need to get going — plus a snazzy case. Asking another $100 for the cable seems a little out of balance with the value proposition GoPro was going for with its modular kit at launch.

That said, while technically GoPro is a camera company, it’s also a master marketing company. Watch the video below, and you’ll see the new extension cable being used in a manner of exciting activities, all being recorded with stability that GoPro users have been dreaming of for years. (The Hero 5 Black comes with built-in stabilization, but it’s not a patch on the gimbal.)

If you’ve ever tried wearing a GoPro attached to a chest strap, you’ll know that the footage gets shaky, fast. I tried to record several runs when I was training for a marathon a couple of years ago, and most of the footage was useless. While wearing this, I can instantly see the difference that it makes. There’s still movement, but it’s way less, resulting in much more usable video. I can imagine there are people much more adventurous than I that would appreciate the added flexibility the accessory brings, after all, one cable could be the difference between decent footage, or total garbage. Though likewise, the tethered design will not suit a number of activities or mount locations at all.

Along with the new extension cable, GoPro’s also releasing new firmware for the Hero 5 Black and Hero 5 Session that adds new languages for voice control: Korean, Russian and Portuguese. GoPro said there would be more language support in the pipeline, and it’s coming good on that promise. Hero 5 Black owners will also get a few new features, such as the ability to pull stills from a multi-shot series and new Protune modes. The Session also gets a new 4K/24fps video mode, and a bump in field of view options when shooting at 1080p.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/04/05/gopro-karma-extension-cable/

Verizon is rebranding Yahoo and AOL as ‘Oath’


Billion+ Consumers, 20+ Brands, Unstoppable Team. #TakeTheOath. Summer 2017. pic.twitter.com/tM3Ac1Wi36

— Tim Armstrong (@timarmstrongaol) April 3, 2017

Right now, the transaction is scheduled to close in the current quarter, which means we could hear something official about the future of the Yahoo and AOL brand names before too long. That’s a bit later than originally anticipated; the delays came from Yahoo’s huge security breach and the subsequent restructuring of the deal that saw Verizon save $350 million on its purchase.

Even before the name change became official, the internet passed swift, merciless judgement:


My Twitter feed is 60% “Oath” jokes, and this is why I love Twitter.

— Shira Ovide (@ShiraOvide) April 3, 2017



My name suggestion for the combined websites will always be Verizon Zero Dawn

— Casey Newton (@CaseyNewton) April 3, 2017



… well, it’s better than Tronc at least. https://t.co/9DNWbujvb1

— Tim Stevens (@Tim_Stevens) April 3, 2017



i’ll take this as a sign that the ya-hole campaign is DOA https://t.co/c4mJ8SpMzp

— Christopher Trout (@Mr_Trout) April 3, 2017

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/04/03/verizon-might-rebrand-yahoo-and-aol-as-oath/