5G phones are here: Galaxy S10 5G, OnePlus 7 Pro 5G, LG V50, Moto Z4 and more – CNET

A handful of US carriers including Verizon, AT&T and Sprint are ramping themselves up for 5G. On Saturday, AT&T demoed its 5G network at the Warner Bros. studio in Los Angeles and hit peak speeds over 1Gbps.

A handful of US carriers including Verizon, AT&T and Sprint are ramping themselves up for 5G. On Saturday, AT&T demoed its 5G network at the Warner Bros. studio in Los Angeles and hit peak speeds over 1Gbps. Earlier in May, Sprint turned on its 5G network in four cities, and its coverage was impressively consistent when we tested it first-hand in Dallas with the LG V50 ThinQ. And before that, we tested Verizon’s 5G network twice, after an initial, rocky start in April and speeds were lightning-fast on the second try with the Galaxy S10 5G. (For more details, we compare Verizon, AT&T and Sprint’s 5G here.)

While none of these networks are quite ready for a nationwide rollout, it’s understandable why the carriers want to get a jump on 5G. 5G is the latest generation of cellular tech that will connect users to a super-fast mobile network, and carriers are fighting to get there first. In April, Sprint and AT&T reached a settlement after Sprint sued AT&T for displaying “5G E” connectivity on some of its phones, including iPhones. This is despite the fact that its network technology remained unchanged from 4G. (Although our recent tests in Los Angeles were on the network’s 5G network.)

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More 5G deployment will take place throughout this year and next. Carriers in the US and around the globe are laying the necessary infrastructure to roll out a faster and more expansive wireless network. In Britain, for example, UK carrier EE became the first 5G carrier in the country. Vodafone then said it will launch its network in July and Three said it will switch on its 5G in August. Britain’s government is also allowing Huawei access to set up the country’s 5G infrastructure.

Many industries will benefit from faster connectivity — self-driving cars, drones and the internet of things, to name a few — but most people will likely experience the benefits of a robust 5G network only through a 5G-enabled phone. After all, the grand promises carriers and chip-makers are making with 5G coverage don’t mean much if you can’t access the network with your own device.

Since the beginning of this year, many phone-makers unveiled their upcoming 5G phones. To help you keep tabs on all the 5G phones and when we can expect more, here’s what the major phone-makers are planning.


Samsung, LG, Motorola: How soon can we expect 5G phones?
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Apple

Apple’s in no rush to launch a 5G iPhone and it’s likely you won’t see one until at least 2020. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, Apple usually isn’t the first in on mobile trends, preferring instead to perfect an emerging technology before committing to it. For example, it was behind its competitors in making phones with 3G and 4G LTE connectivity when those networks just launched.

Second, Apple stopped working with the leading 5G modem provider, Qualcomm, because of a dispute over Qualcomm’s licensing fees. The two companies settled their litigation in April, and then agreed to a multiyear 5G chip deal. This lead to Apple’s previous partner of 5G modems, Intel, to ultimately exit the 5G phone modem business altogether. Apple is again working with Qualcomm for 5G modems, but it got started too late to launch a 5G phone this year.

Despite all these legal issues, that doesn’t mean Apple is totally ignoring 5G. As mentioned before, some iPhone models on AT&T are displaying the misleading “5G E” symbol on its network.

Apple did not respond for a request to comment.

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Samsung

Verizon has begun selling the Galaxy S10 5G. Priced at $1,300 and originally unveiled during Unpacked, it has a 6.7-inch display, four rear cameras and the ability to wirelessly charge other devices. The device is also available on Sprint on June 21, and will head to AT&T and T-Mobile afterward.

Interested buyers will have to be on Verizon’s Above or Beyond unlimited plans to access 5G on phones. But the company said it will waive its $10 5G add-on fee for a “limited time” for those users who buy a 5G phone, including those purchasing the S10 5G. Sprint’s Premium Unlimited plan to access 5G costs $80 to $90 a month.

The Galaxy S10 5G won’t be the only 5G phone from Samsung. Its foldable Galaxy Fold will have a 5G variant too, however that phone’s launch has been delayed due to reported screen issues that the company said it recently solved. And AT&T announced it will carry additional Samsung 5G phones by the second half of 2019 (no word yet on the specific devices though).

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Google

Google hasn’t revealed its plans for 5G, and the company declined to reply to a request to comment. What we do know is that Verizon is continuing its plans to roll out its 5G network in early 2019, similar to other carriers.

What does that have to do with Google exactly? For the past few years, and for better or for worst, Google has tapped Verizon as its exclusive carrier partner for its Pixel phones, including its last flagship, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. (However, Google also sells the phone unlocked or on its Wi-Fi-first network, Google Fi. Its most recent mid-range phone, the Pixel 3A and Pixel 3A XL, are also now available from other carriers.)

This could mean that its next flagship, which Google confirmed will be the Pixel 4 (and Pixel 4 XL), could be a 5G phone. If it sticks with its usual phone launch schedule, the Pixel 4 would debut around October 2019 — well after the first half of the year.

LG

The LG V50 ThinQ 5G is available now to Sprint users for $1,152 and the carrier’s network is now live in four cities: Dallas, Houston, Kansas City and Atlanta. As mentioned earlier, we tested Sprint’s 5G network in Dallas with the V50 and coverage was more consistent but slower than Verizon’s. Sprint will also flip the switch for a handful of other cities afterward, like Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C. later in 2019. (FYI, Sprint is also expected to merge with T-Mobile soon, a move that carrier speed analyst Ookla said “could result in an unmatched network in the face of 5G.”)

The V50 is Sprint’s first 5G phone but it’s also available on Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network on June 20, as well as T-Mobile and AT&T later in the year. The phone features a 6.4-inch OLED display, three rear cameras that include a wide-angle and telephoto lens, the Snapdragon 855 chipset and two front-facing cameras. It can also attach to a Dual Screen accessory that increases the phone’s display size, though that won’t be available in the US.

Lenovo/Motorola

Lenovo’s first 5G device was 2018’s Motorola Moto Z3. Its successor, the Moto Z4, launched this month without much fanfare. Like the Z3, the Z4 connects to 5G with a Moto Mod modular accessory, which attaches to the back of the phone using magnetic pins. The phone is $499 and the Mod costs extra, but for a limited time you can get both for $440, making the Z4 the cheapest 5G phone yet.

When we first tested Verizon’s 5G network with the Z3 and Mod in April, Dolcourt noticed “theoretical download speeds kissing 600Mbps.” But other times, “The download would start strong, the phone would flicker to show the 4G logo, and speeds would plummet.”

As for a Motorola phone that wouldn’t need an accessory to connect to 5G, the company is working on making such a device, but you’ll have to wait much longer. Doug Michau, Motorola Mobility’s director of technical sales and operations, said that phone would come much later than early 2019. More specifically, Michau said it would launch in “definitely less than three years, but no time frame yet.”

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Huawei

Chinese phone maker has two 5G phones waiting in the wings. One is the Mate X, which combines 5G speeds and a foldable display. The device has a 6.6-inch display when folded closed, and and 8-inch OLED screen when you flip it open. It also features a 4,500-mAh battery and three rear cameras. The Mate X is scheduled to launch in the middle of the year and will cost a whopping 2,300 euros (about $2,600).

Its second phone is the Mate 20 X 5G. Available in the UK in June for £999 (or about $1,279 in the US and AU$1,856 in Australia), the device has a huge 7.2-inch display, a 4,200mAh battery and a triple rear-camera setup. EE, Vodafone, Three and O2 will carry the Mate 20 X 5G.

Don’t expect these phones to come to the US, though. Calling it a security threat to the Department of Defense, the US government banned the sale of Huawei phones on US military bases. In May, an executive order put limits on foreign involvement in the US’ carrier networks, which Huawei said will leave the US behind in 5G. Retail giant Best Buy also stopped selling Huawei products in March 2018 and Huawei’s CFO was arrested in Canada at the request of the US in an act her father said was politically motivated. Italy also wants to ban the company from supplying 5G equipment.

That doesn’t necessarily spell the end of Huawei and its 5G ambitions, though. “Our products and solutions are used by major carriers, Fortune 500 companies and hundreds of millions of consumers in more than 170 countries around the world,” a Huawei spokesman said last March. “We have earned the trust of our partners across the global value chain.”

OnePlus

OnePlus’ latest phone, the OnePlus 7 Pro has a 5G variant that currently sells on the UK carrier EE’s 5G network. Though the company didn’t release official pricing, the regular OnePlus 7 Pro starts at $669, and £649 (or AU$962 in Australia). EE’s 5G deployment will also span 16 cities in 2019, starting with London, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Belfast, Birmingham and Manchester.

The OnePlus 7 Pro features a 6.67-inch, 90Hz display, a pop-up selfie camera and three rear cameras. In the US the phone is available through T-Mobile, but unlocked models work on AT&T and Verizon.

Nokia

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Though Nokia isn’t the phone giant that it was 15 years ago, it’s still taking steps toward a 5G future. It’s currently working with Qualcomm to make 5G devices and in July, the company announced a $3.5 billion partnership with T-Mobile, which includes taking advantage of T-Mobile’s 600MHz spectrum to back its 5G network.

But don’t expect 5G Nokia phones anytime soon; in February HMD CEO Florian Seiche (who makes Nokia phones) said those devices probably won’t arrive until 2020. Nokia also stands to benefit from 5G in other ways though. In addition to Qualcomm and Ericsson, the company has patent rights to 5G technology, and stands to make up to $3.50 for every 5G smartphone sold.

HTC

Taiwanese electronics company HTC also had something 5G-related to show off at MWC. Instead of a phone, though, it was a 5G hotspot. Available on Sprint for $600, the hub connects up to 20 people simultaneously. Equipped with a 5-inch display, audio speakers and Android Pie software, the device is also a media hub that users can make video calls with or use to check mail. The HTC 5G Hub hotspot ships out May 31.

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ZTE

ZTE’s latest phone, the Axon 10 Pro 5G, will launch in June, but a 4G version of the phone is already available in Germany for 599 euro ($671, £520, AU$967). It’s equipped with a Snapdragon 855 processor and has a fingerprint scanner embedded in its screen. On the back are three cameras that have AI capabilities, including scene recognition. The rear setup includes a wide-angle camera, a standard lens and a third telephoto camera. For your selfie shots, the front of the phone has a 20-megapixel camera.

In February ZTE said it was aiming to have 5G phones off the ground in either late 2018 or early 2019, but followed that up with a “late 2019” prediction. Currently, ZTE is working with eight international carriers to roll out 5G testing. While the future of ZTE in the US is up in the air due to a recent (now lifted) ban on its phones because the company violated trade sanctions, the Axon 10 Pro will at least be available in the first half of this year in Europe and China.

Xiaomi

Chinese phone-maker Xiaomi remixed its Mi Mix 3 with a new 5G model. Aptly named Mi Mix 3 5G, the phone costs 599 euros (about $679) and will launch on May 23. It’s unlikely that the phone will be available in the US. The company’s initial 5G network partners include many European carriers, including Orange, Sunrise, Telefonica, Three, TIM and Vodafone — the last of which will exclusively carry the Mi Mix 3 5G first.

The phone itself features 6.39-inch AMOLED display, a Snapdragon 845 processor and dual 12-megapixel rear cameras. Calling it “almost the perfect phone,” CNET editor Aloysius Low also mentioned that it’s neither water resistant nor do its front-facing cameras have secure 3D face unlocking.

Oppo

After showing off a prototype at MWC, OnePlus’ sister company Oppo finally debuted its trio of Oppo Reno phones in Shanghai. One of the phones includes a 5G model and will be available on the UK carrier EE. The device features a 6.6-inch screen, a Snapdragon 855 chipset and a pop-up selfie camera.

Though it’s unlikely to come to the US, the 5G version is scheduled for release some time between April and June. In addition to EE, Oppo is working with four other carriers (Swisscom, Australia’s Telstra and Optus, as well as Singtel in Singapore) to launch the phone. It’s also partnering with China Mobile to sell the phone later this summer.

The story originally published on Oct. 23, 2018.

Update, April 5, 2019: Adds information about Verizon debuting 5G network in Chicago.
Update, April 26: Adds preorder information about Galaxy S10 5G and confirmation of OnePlus 7 Pro.
Update, May 18: Adds information about manufacturer availability and the Oppo Reno.
Update, May 31: Adds information about LG V50 ThinQ on Sprint.
Update, June 19: Adds information about LG V50 ThinQ on Verizon, Galaxy S10 5G on Sprint and Moto Z4.
Update, June 24: Adds information about AT&T’s 5G network.

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Apple fires back: Spotify pays fees on less than 1% of its members – CNET

Spotify pays Apple a 15% fee for only about 0.5% of its paid members, according to Apple’s response to Spotify’s complaint about App Store fees. In March, Spotify filed a complaint against Apple to Europe’s antitrust watchdog, claiming that Apple uses App Store policies and a system of fees to smother competition.

Spotify pays Apple a 15% fee for only about 0.5% of its paid members, according to Apple’s response to Spotify’s complaint about App Store fees. In March, Spotify filed a complaint against Apple to Europe’s antitrust watchdog, claiming that Apple uses App Store policies and a system of fees to smother competition.

In its response, Apple said that Spotify doesn’t currently pay the highest fee of 30% on any of its members and that it’s paying a lower rate (15%) for only about 680,000 Spotify premium-tier members. Apple’s response was meant to underline how little Spotify pays in fees and emphasize that Spotify continues to grow under the current App Store policies.

Spotify pays Apple so little in fees because Spotify opted out of Apple’s in-app payment system in 2016, specifically because the company believed the fees associated with it were unfair.

Spotify declined to comment directly on the Apple response. German newspaper Der Spiegel first reported the news.

The feud pits Apple, a gadget giant whose App Store is essential for mobile services to thrive, against the biggest subscription music service in the world and one of the most popular iOS apps. The outcome of their face-off could change what you’re able to buy — and how easy it is to buy things from Apple’s competitors — on Apple devices and in iOS apps.

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Spotify’s original complaint argued that Apple wields the App Store’s power to benefit its own products, like Apple Music subscriptions that go head-to-head with Spotify. It claimed that some of Apple’s practices — like charging subscription companies a 30% fee for in-app purchases and allegedly rejecting updates to Spotify’s app for opaque reasons — abuse the market power of the App Store.

Because Spotify pulled out of in-app purchases in 2016, it no longer acquires any new customers through its iPhone or iPad apps. That’s why it’s paying a 15% fee to Apple — the 30% fee drops to 15% after the first year of a subscription, and Spotify’s members acquired through an iOS app have long since passed that one-year point.

That’s also a factor in why Spotify owes fees to Apple for such a small number of members; Spotify has been adding members during some of its most rapid years of growth in ways that circumvent the App Store in-app purchase system.

If Spotify were to resume in-app purchases and let listeners sign up to be paid members in its app, any of those new members would be subject to the 30% fee.


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Originally published at 8:08 a.m. PT.
Updated at 2:52 p.m. PT: With more details and context.

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How to install MacOS Catalina public beta right now

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macOS Catalina public beta is now available to download

If you can’t wait until later this year to test out Apple’s latest operating system, then you can now download the macOS Catalina public beta.

Apple has now released the early version of macOS Catalina for anyone with a compatible Mac to try out.

If you can’t wait until later this year to test out Apple’s latest operating system, then you can now download the macOS Catalina public beta.

Apple has now released the early version of macOS Catalina for anyone with a compatible Mac to try out. Initially, macOS Catalina was released as a Developer Preview, which required people to enrol in the Apple Developer Program, which costs $100 (about £69, AU$140).

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However, the public beta is free. Check out our guide on how to download and install the macOS 10.15 Catalina public beta for steps on how to get the software.

Use with caution

As the macOS Catalina public beta is an early version of Apple’s operating system for Macs and MacBooks, you should only install it if you’re happy with the risk of running a beta version. Because it’s an early version, there will be incomplete features – as well as bugs and other issues – that come part and parcel with a beta release.

The aim of releasing beta versions is for people to test the software and report back with any problems. This will allow Apple to fix those issues before the official release of macOS Catalina, which we expect to be around September 2019, going by previous macOS releases.

If you rely on your Mac for important tasks and don’t want to risk running into any bugs or errors, we recommend holding off until later this year.

However, if you want to try out the very latest features then you can sign up for the Apple Beta Software Program. Just make sure you back up your Mac first.

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Harry Potter: Wizards Unite: How to play the magical game available in nearly 150 countries – CNET

Ready to join with other witches and wizards to battle dark forces, subdue magical beasts, save Harry Potter and his friends, brew potions and get to the bottom of the Calamity, an unexplained event scattering magical items across the Muggle? Good.

Ready to join with other witches and wizards to battle dark forces, subdue magical beasts, save Harry Potter and his friends, brew potions and get to the bottom of the Calamity, an unexplained event scattering magical items across the Muggle? Good. Here’s how to get started playing Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, the mobile game now available for download in nearly 150 countries for Android and iPhone from the creator of the wildly popular Pokemon Go.

The mobile Harry Potter: Wizards Unite AR game is a combined effort from WB Games San Francisco and Niantic under the Portkey Games label. Its pedigree shows. Harry Potter: Wizards Unite builds on Pokemon Go and Ingress, also from Niantic, to offer combat situations and varied locations, such as Inns, Greenhouses and Fortresses. Now available around the world — spanning North and South America, Europe, Africa and Asia — the game on its first day of release took in $300,000.

It has a strong story driving the game: As a member of the Statute of Secrecy Task Force, your task is to contain chaotic magic turning the magical and Muggle/No-Maj worlds upside down. It also loses some of the more frustrating parts of Pokemon Go, such as Gym Battles.

And while it’s similar to the wildly popular Pokemon Go, it’s OK if you’ve never played that game because Harry Potter: Wizards Unite really feels like a new game and not a reskinned Pokemon Go. In fact, we think Harry Potter: Wizards Unit beats Pokemon Go every way but one.

Harry Potter: Wizards UniteHarry Potter: Wizards Unite mashes up J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world with Pokemon GoHarry Potter: Wizards Unite available to play now in the US and UKHarry Potter: Wizards Unite developer Niantic acquires AR studioPokemon Go creator will sell its AR tech to spawn games like Harry Potter

Ready to play? Here’s how to start Harry Potter: Wizards Unite.

Set up Wizards Unite on your phone

To get started, enter your date of birth and then sign in using your Facebook or Google credentials. Grant the game permission to use your GPS and to access your device’s location.

Then, fill out the volunteer registration form and if you didn’t reserve your Niantic agent or trainer name, pick a code name. Finally, make your way through the tutorial, which offers a bit of the story behind the Calamity and walks you through how to deal with a foundable, a wizarding world person or item that displaced the chaotic magic from its location to yours.

Note: The game comes with assets, and depending on your connection, they may take some time to download. If you have a restrictive data plan, download everything over Wi-Fi.

By tapping the wizard icon in the bottom left of your screen you can view your Ministry ID, change your name and select your Hogwarts house and wand (by registering it). Don’t fret too much about your house and wand choices — you can change those later and your choice doesn’t impact gameplay. (And if you don’t want to choose, you can get sorted into a house instead of choosing one.) You can also create your portrait and customize your look.

What’s on the map

The game’s map will feel familiar if you’ve played Pokemon Go or Ingress: It displays your real-life geographic location using your phone’s GPS and is littered with items and structures you interact with from the phone screen.

Items include Ingredients you can use to create potions. Some are common and others are rare, so if you’re a gatherer, you’ll need to manage your inventory so it doesn’t fill up. It doesn’t take much to hit the free cap for items you can store, so be prepared to either buy more store space or prune items as you go.

Items you find can vary depending on the weather and time of day. You can check current conditions by tapping the weather icon near the top on the right.

Structures include Inns, where you collect food to restore your spell energy; Greenhouses, where you can collect potion ingredients and accumulate energy to cast spells; and Fortresses, which require a Runestone to enter and where you work with up to four other players to dispel magical creatures and Death Eaters.

You can set up Dark Detectors in Inns, which act like lures in Pokemon Go to attract foundables.

The map also displays magical traces of the Calamity. These traces, which look a bit like a floating medallion, point to displaced items from elsewhere in the wizarding world and come in pairs: a Foundable — Harry Potter, say — and a Confoundable — a Dementor attacking Harry. (Part of your job is to dismiss the confoundable to return the foundable back to its proper time and location.)

To dismiss a Confoundable, align the two sets of stars on the screen to focus on your target and then cast a spell.

What about spells?

Spells play a large role in the game. You’ll spend a lot of time casting spells to overpower or dismiss the confounding magic you encounter and return the found object back to its proper place. You’ll also cast spells to gather food in an Inn, when you battle an enemy in a Fortress and when you come across dark wizards on the map.

To cast one, trace the hint that appears on your screen with your finger. The onscreen motions are not unlike the glyphs you trace in Ingress and can be a little tricky to learn and master because you are rewarded for your tracing speed and accuracy. The game can be a little judgy, and if your trace is not accurate enough, the game will tell you your spell is incomplete and you need to recast. You can cast both offensive and defensive spells.

How to make and use potions

As you walk around, you’ll come across potion-making ingredients on the map. Some ingredients just appear in distinct biomes, and others only spawn during different weather conditions. You can also find potion materials in Greenhouses.

Potions provide various benefits, such as healing you during a battle. Once you’ve gathered up enough ingredients, you can start brewing potions. Tap Potions in your Suitcase — it’s at the bottom of the screen where the game stores items you collect — to get to your Potions Bench and start brewing.

What you need to know about Portkeys

With a Portkey, you can travel to a room another location. To get a Portkey, look on the map for a triangular box — it’s call a Portkey Portmanteau — and collect it. These act like eggs in Pokemon Go, which in that game hatch into monster critters. Walk a specified distance — 2, 5 or 10 kilometers — to unlock the Portkey, which lets you travel to a different AR environment within the game to complete a task to earn magical items. Once completed, you’ll return back to where you started.

How to advance and gain a profession?

You level up by dismissing confoundables, doing challenges and completing tasks. When you hit level 6, you can choose a profession and train to become an Auror, Magizoologist or Professor, professions introduced in the Harry Potter books.

Each profession has its own role in the game and skill tree. You progress through your chosen profession and unlock abilities by earning tokens from encounters and completing challenges.

Aurors are focused on combat and excel at defending against the dark arts. Magizoologists handle magical beasts and assist teammates. Professors strike a balance between Auror and Magizoololgist professions and are solid at combat and teammate support.

You can also gain ranks in specific areas by by capturing magical creatures, dealing with mysterious artefacts, discovering wonders of the wizarding world, and more.

What about currency?

Much like with Niantic’s Ingress and Pokemon Go, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is designed to play without paying or hitting microtransaction walls. You can, however, buy supplies by spending the gold you either earn from playing or by paying real cash. You can also buy more space to store items you collect. If you’re a collector, you’ll hit the free cap pretty quickly in the game.

Originally published June 20.

Updates: June 21, 2019: Edited for clarity; June 23: Add additional countries; June 24: Edited for clarity.

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Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e and Galaxy Tab A 10.1 launched in India

Moving beyond smartphones, Samsung has launched two new Android tablets in India. These are the Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e and Galaxy Tab A 10.1 which aim to provide a great viewing experience without compromising on performance or portability.

Moving beyond smartphones, Samsung has launched two new Android tablets in India. These are the Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e and Galaxy Tab A 10.1 which aim to provide a great viewing experience without compromising on performance or portability. Let’s take a look at the price and specifications.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e and Galaxy Tab A 10.1: price and availability

Samsung offers both the tablets in two variants– Wi-Fi-only and Wi-Fi + LTE, along with three colour options– black, gold and silver. The Tab S5e starts at Rs 35,999 for the Wi-Fi-only version and Rs 39,999 for the Wi-Fi + LTE model. It is already on sale across India and can be purchased from Samsung e-Shop, Opera House along with regional retail shops. The Wi-Fi variant of the Tab S5e is also available on Amazon India and the LTE variant on Flipkart.

More affordable out of the two, the Galaxy Tab A 10.1 starts at Rs 14,999 for the Wi-Fi model and Rs 19,999 for the LTE variant. The Wi-Fi version will be available from June 26 while the LTE one will go on sale starting July 1. The Tab A 10.1 will also be available on Amazon India.

As part of the launch offer, people buying the Tab S5e on or before July 31 can shell additional Rs 3,500 for the Book Cover Keyboard which usually sells for Rs 7,999.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e specifications

With an all-metal construction and a 5.5mm heft, the Tab S5e is a gorgeous looking tablet. It features a 10.5-inch Super AMOLED screen with a resolution of 2560 x 1600 pixels. The display occupies 82% of the body and gives it a wide 16:10 aspect ratio.

The tablet is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 with an octa-core CPU and Adreno 615 as the GPU. This is paired with 4GB of RAM and 64GB storage. It runs on Android 9.0 Pie based OneUI. There’s a 13MP rear camera and an 8MP front-facing camera. On the audio front, the Tab S5e is outfitted with four speakers tuned by AKG.

The side-mounted power button doubles up as a fingerprint sensor. It is powered by 7,040mAh battery and supports 18W fast charging. Samsung claims that it can go up to 14.5 hours of video playback, but we’ll be testing that claim for our full review.

Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1 specifications

The Galaxy Tab A 10.1 features a 10.1-inch Full HD (1920 x 1200 pixels) IPS display, with a 16:10 aspect ratio. It is powered by Exynos 7904 chipset with an octa-core CPU and is paired with 2GB of RAM and 32GB storage. Like the Tab S5e, this one also runs Android P topped with OneUI.

There is an 8MP camera on the back and a 5MP selfie camera on the front. The tablet has a 6,150mAh battery that powers it through the day.

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Apple fires back at Spotify: We’re paid fees on 0.5% of Spotify members – CNET

Spotify pays Apple a 15% fee for only about 0.5% of its paid members, according to Apple’s response to Spotify’s complaint about App Store fees. Spotify filed a complaint against Apple to Europe’s antitrust watchdog in March, claiming that Apple uses App Store policies and a system of fees to stifle rivals.

Spotify pays Apple a 15% fee for only about 0.5% of its paid members, according to Apple’s response to Spotify’s complaint about App Store fees. Spotify filed a complaint against Apple to Europe’s antitrust watchdog in March, claiming that Apple uses App Store policies and a system of fees to stifle rivals.

In a response, Apple noted that Spotify isn’t currently paying the top fee of 30% on any of its members and that it is paying a lower rate (15%) for only about 680,000 Spotify premium-tier members. Spotify opted out of Apple’s in-app payment system in 2016 because the company said it believed the fees associated with it were unfair.

Spotify declined to comment.

The feud pits Apple, a gadget giant whose App Store is essential for mobile services to thrive, against the biggest subscription music service in the world and one of the most popular iOS apps. The outcome of their face-off could change what you’re able to buy — and how easy it is to buy things from Apple’s competitors — on Apple devices and in iOS apps.

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Spotify’s complaint said that some of Apple’s practices, like charging subscription companies a 30% fee for in-app purchases or allegedly rejecting updates to its app for opaque reasons, abuse the market power of the App Store. Spotify argued that Apple wields the App Store’s power to benefit its own products, like Apple Music subscriptions that go head-to-head with Spotify.

Apple’s response seeks to underline the fact that Spotify continues to thrive and add members even under the current App Store policies. German newspaper Der Spiegel first reported the news.

Because Spotify pulled out of in-app purchases in 2016, it no longer acquires any new customers through its iPhone or iPad apps. That’s why it’s paying a 15% fee to Apple — the 30% fee drops to 15% after the first year of a subscription, and Spotify’s members acquired through an iOS app have long since passed that one-year point.

If Spotify were to resume in-app purchases and let listeners sign up to be paid members in its app, any of those new members would be subject to the 30% fee.


Apple vs. Sonos vs. Google: The best (and worst) Wi-Fi speakers
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iOS 13: public beta, release date and feature list

The iOS 13 public beta release date is imminent, and today we’re looking over what features you can expect when it does launch and change your iPhone.

You can get iOS 13 beta right now, but it isn’t meant for everyone – yet.

The iOS 13 public beta release date is imminent, and today we’re looking over what features you can expect when it does launch and change your iPhone.

You can get iOS 13 beta right now, but it isn’t meant for everyone – yet. Paying Apple developers are the intended audience; Apple strongly advises normal users wait.

The list of iOS 13 features starts with Dark Mode, the long-awaited UI tweak to invert those bright white-screen backgrounds. The new QuickPath swipe keyboard is a big highlight, too, and iPadOS has been split into its own separate update.

There were a lot of iOS 13 announcements earlier this month, so we’ll explain them all. But we’ll start with the iOS 13 release date schedule and all-important compatibility list first.

iOS 13 release date scheduleJune 3: iOS 13 beta 1 and first look at WWDC 2019June 17: iOS 13 beta 2 launched for developersAny day: iOS 13 public beta release date for adventurous testersEarly September 2019: iOS 13 Golden Master (final dev beta)Mid-September 2019: iOS 13 likely to launch with new 2019 iPhones

The iOS 13 public beta release date is going to be announced very soon. Apple said it would launch in July, though last year’s iOS beta came on June 25 (today is June 24), so we’re eager to see how the timing shakes out in 2019.

We’ve mapped out an iOS 13 beta timeline, from the beta 1 and beta 2 that are out now to the final version of the software. It all begins with a first look at the update in the form of the developer beta. We had June 3 date pinned down as the release date months ago, long before we got our WWDC invite.

1. iOS 13 developer beta: The iOS 13 beta 2 is available today but restricted to paid Apple developers. Good news: unlike iOS 13 beta 1, this new version can be installed over the air (OTA), whereas beta 1 required Xcode or macOS 10.15 to be installed first. It’s a bit easier to install, but you should probably wait for the public beta, which is always more stable, or upgrade to the dev beta on a non-primary device.

2. iOS 13 public beta: This is Apple’s way of testing features on a larger scale. When is the iOS 13 public beta release date? Apple said July, although last year the iOS public beta launched on June 25. It’ll be worth the wait – it’s typically a more refined version of the iOS developer beta, although it can still be rough, and never includes all of the features implemented in the final version of the software.

3. iOS 13 golden master: This will be the final version of the iOS 13 software, released one week before the final iOS release, meant for developers and public beta testers. At this point it’s very stable, and gives app makers seven days to adapt to the final software.

4. The official iOS 13 release date: We’ll get the new iOS 13 software in its final, stable form about one week after the next iPhone launch event, at which we expect to see what we’re calling (for now) the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Max and iPhone 11 XR. The date? Probably mid-September (last year it was September 17).

iOS 13 compatibility listiOS 13 requires iPhone 6S or later, iPad Air 2 or later, the new iPad mini 4 and iPhone SEIt won’t come to older devices that support up to iOS 12: iPhone 5S, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Air, iPad mini 2 and mini 3

iOS 13 compatibility requires an iPhone or iPad from the last four years (depending on the device category). That means phones like the iPhone 6 won’t be getting iOS 13 – if you’ve got one of those devices you’ll be stuck with iOS 12 forever.

iOS 13 sheds several old devices (Image credit: Apple)

You’ll need an iPhone 6S or later, the iPad Air 2 or later, and the new iPad mini 4 or later, or the iPod touch 7th generation. No surprise, the new iPod Touch 7th gen is the only devices of its class that gets iOS 13 support.

The iPhone SE fits into an odd category, as it has iPhone 6 era specs, but came out after the iPhone 6S. Don’t worry, everyone’s favorite little iPhone will get iOS 13.

iOS 13 Dark ModeOverdue Dark Mode is coming to iOS 13 and iPadOSWe saw macOS get a system-wide Dark Mode in 2018Shortcut to black-and-dark-gray UI lives in Control Center

Dark Mode in iOS 13 is going to be system-wide, meaning it’ll change the hues from bright white and light grey to black and dark gray on all supported apps.

It’s a nice feature when you’re using your iPhone at night and want to avoid bright white hues shining in your face. It may also save battery life on the OLED-equipped iPhones, from the iPhone X onward. Apple didn’t talk about this at all, but we know that OLED displays essentially ‘turn off’ pixels when rendering blacks.

Turning on iOS 13 Dark Mode can be done in Control Center inside the Display slider (right next to the Night Shift and True Tone toggle), according to Apple, or you can set it automatically to turn on at night through a schedule or custom time.

The yellow-tinting Night Shift mode finally gets a bright-light dimming companion, and a lot of people couldn’t be happier.

iOS 13 on iPad is iPadOS, and it’s a big change

Some of the biggest changes we expected for iOS 13 on the iPad are actually coming in an update called iPadOS. Apple is signaling that the iPad needs its own platform.

That means big improvements to your iPad workflow, starting with the home screen redesign. Pinned Widgets, as we predicted in our iOS 13 rumors roundup, lets you add widgets from the Today View screen (that left-mode screen on your iPhone and iPad). So far, it’s iPad-exclusive, and not coming to iOS13 for the iPhone.

Slide Over lets you have multiple apps open and cycle through them like rolodex. You can also fan to preview them all at once with a swipe gesture, kind of like the recents menu on many phones and tablets. It’s multi-tasking made easier.

Split View has been enhanced to let you open one app on both sides of the screen (it wasn’t possible before), and Apple demoed this by showing Notes side-by-side with Notes. You can also pair an app with more than one app – so now Safari can be paired with Pages in one space and Safari can be paired with Mail in another.

App Expose is new to the iPad software, letting you see all of the space you have open. There’s an App Expose icon on the Dock, requiring only a single press to get into the convenient overview mode.

New copy, paste and undo gestures are coming to iPadOS. Three fingers scrunched down was shown to copy text, three fingers expanding (in the opposite direction) dropped the text on the page, and sliding three fingers across the screen undid the last action. We’ll have to see how this performs when the software lands.

Apple’s keyboard can float around the screen in a smaller form, and it’s debuting a swiping gesture keyboard, which it calls QuickPath Typing. There are also more keyboard shortcuts (a lack of shortcuts was a complaint we had about previous iOS versions).

There are actually too many iPadOS changes to detail here in the iOS 13 explainer, so we’ve spun the full rundown off into a separate iPadOS release date, news and features article.

iOS 13 features a QuickPath keyboard

With iOS 13, Apple’s default QuickType keyboard will be incorporating swipe-to-type, a popular way of sliding across the keyboard to form words. We’ve used this in prior iOS keyboard extensions like Google’s Gboard and SwiftKey.

Here’s QuickPath in action (Image credit: Apple)

You can use the QuickType and QuickPath methods of typing interchangeably, and so far supported languages include English, Simplified Chinese, Spanish, German, French, Italian, and Portuguese is now included.

iOS 13 debuts new ‘Find My’ app

Apple is combining Find My Friends and Find My iPhone in iOS 13, and the union lets you locate your friends and missing gadgets with a faster, easier-to-use interface.

Find My iPhone and Find My Friends come together in one app (Image credit: Apple)

What’s really neat is that it’ll use a crowd-sourced encrypted Bluetooth signal to help you track down devices that aren’t connected to Wi-Fi or cellular. That’s mostly a big help for Macs, but it could also help with an iPhone in rare cases, too.

Best of all, while Find My Friends didn’t always work for us, Apple may be making a bigger push to get location tracking right with this new iOS 13 app now in the limelight.

iOS 13 hints at Apple Tag product

The theory that Apple is taking on the Tile tracker is backed up in the iOS 13 beta, according to a new leak regarding what’s been dubbed the ‘Apple Tag’.

Could Apple be working on something similar to this Tile Sport? (Image credit: Tile)

While the redesigned Find My app is supposed to locate your Apple devices and also your iPhone-carry friends, the Apple Tag is allegedly designed for everything else. Think: keys, bag, water bottle, or anything else a Bluetooth tracker could attach to.

The Apple Tag wasn’t a part of the iOS 13 reveal during WWDC 2019, but it could be an announced alongside the iPhone 11 in September. After all, it is mobile hardware.

iOS 13 makes your old iPhone faster, last longer

More people are holding onto their iPhones for longer, and that’s something Apple seems to recognize – and the company is speeding up iOS 13 to accommodate them.

The most important iOS 13 stats: app launch speed is up to twice as fast according to Apple, and Face ID unlocking will be 30% faster than before. Apple also found a way to make app downloads smaller, up to 60% on average; iOS 12 gave us a faster update, and iOS 13 looks to build upon that.

Battery life is also something Apple is tackling this year. Its aim is to slow the rate of battery aging by reducing the time your iPhone spends fully charged. iOS 13 is supposed to learn from your daily charging routine so it can wait to finish charging past 80% until you need to use it.

Reminders gets a big overhaul

Of all the built-in apps, Reminders is getting the biggest revamp in iOS 13. It appears to be better organized, and includes shortcuts that make it easier to add reminders.

Reminders appears to have gotten the freshest reimagining among iOS 13 apps (Image credit: Apple)

Big, color-coded buttons for Today, Scheduled, All and Flagged categories offer you a better oversight of your pressing tasks, while the keyboard when you’re in this app has a top-line Quick Toolbar that acts as a shortcut to easily add times, dates, locations, flags, photos and scanned documents.

Making plans in Messages? Siri will step in to suggest reminders that can be created, like a personal assistant who chimes in at all the right times.

Camera and Portrait Mode changes

The iOS 13 is going to offer important changes to camera features, starting with enabling you to change the intensity of light in Portrait Mode, which is something we’ve wanted for a while. Portrait mode is also getting a new monochromatic effect called High‑Key Mono.

The new Photos tab in the iOS 13 Photos app – Apple sees it as becoming your photo diary (Image credit: Apple)

The Photos gallery is becoming what Apple called “a diary of your life”, with a new tab designed to document your best photos by day, month and year. You’ll also have more pinch controls to zoom in and out of the Photos gallery.

Photo editing is refined with iOS 13, adding adjustment controls and filters, while the video editing portion mirrors this almost entirely: nearly every photo tool and effect – including filters, rotating and cropping – will make it over to video. If you’re not good at tinkering with video, there’ll even be an ‘Auto’ adjustment button.

New Siri voice sounds more natural

There’s a new Siri voice debuting with iOS 13, and it sounds more natural than before – we’ve heard a sample and the tone is the same, but it sounds less robotic.

It uses advanced neural text‑to‑speech technology, according to Apple, and you’ll particularly notice this when Siri says longer phrases, like reading the Apple News aloud or answering knowledge questions.

The timing is good, because Siri can also do a lot more talking if you wear AirPods – Siri can read incoming messages and pipe them through the buds, which is convenient.

One more new Siri perk: your voice assistant on HomePod will understand the voices of the various family members in your home. This should mean, for example, that asking “What’s on my Calendar?” won’t bring up someone else’s irrelevant information.

Memoji gets makeup, Messages gets info sharing

Apple is putting more of ‘Me’ in Memoji, allowing one trillion configurations: new hairstyles, headwear, makeup, and piercings to name a few categories. Examples on the WWDC stage showed that these personalized Animoji masks allow for such granular accessory detail as eyeshadow, braces and even AirPods.

Memoji gets better in year two (Image credit: Apple)

Memoji Stickers are something entirely new – iOS 13 will bring more iPhone and iPad users into the Memoji fold, TrueDepth camera or not. You can customize a Memoji and iOS 13 will automatically create a fun-looking sticker pack that lives in a sub-menu on the keyboard, which you can use in Messages, Mail, and third‑party apps.

You’ll be able to share your personalized Memoji with contacts through iMessages, but only when you grant them access. The same applies to sharing your name and photo with contacts, so you can chose how people see your name, for example. According to Apple, you can decide whether you want your profile shared with everyone, with only your contacts, or just once.

New HomePod features

You might not know this, but the HomePod is part of the iOS family, and it’s getting updates too.

First, you’ll be able to transfer songs from your iPhone by simply holding your phone closer to the HomePod speaker. Previously, you had to tell Siri to do this, but now this hand-off feature is a bit easier, and you don’t have to talk to do it.

The HomePod will also introduce Live Radio – you can ask Siri to play 100,000 stations from all around the world. And HomePod will allow you to recognize who in your family is talking, and personalize the response – great with Apple Music, where selections will be based on your taste and history. It goes beyond Music, Messages, Notes, Reminders, and more.

Sign-in with Apple

Apple wants app developers and sites to use its sign-in feature, and there are some perks for user privacy, too (Image credit: Apple)

Apple is taking on Facebook Connect, Google and other platforms that allow you to conveniently sign in to third-party accounts. Sign-in with Apple is poised to protect your privacy more than Facebook and Google do.

What’s neat is that if you don’t want to fork over your email to an app developer or website, Apple will create a unique random email for you, and the email will be unique to that site or app.

Maps get revamped

iOS 13 Maps looks a lot better, even if everyone likes to hate on it. Will it ever be better than Google Maps? No, probably not. But for people who want Apple’s pre-loaded maps app on iOS 13, it’ll be much better.

360-degree city tours are coming to Apple Maps (Image credit: Apple)

There’s way more detail here by way of Apple rebuilding maps from the ground up. There’s more realistic detail for roads, beaches, parks, and buildings, and you can now explore cities with a 3D 360-degree experience.

Favorites were a part of Maps before, but iOS 13 makes these saved locations easier to navigate to with one tap – they appear at the very top of a search menu. Sometimes Google Maps on iOS doesn’t get this right (but does better on Android). That’s one reason to keep Apple Maps installed, even if you’re a Google Maps person.

Text formatting in Mail

Mail is getting some changes when it comes to writing out properly formatted email. You’ll have more control over font style, size, color, alignment, indenting and outdenting text, and numbered and bulleted lists.

What we’re really hoping to see in iOS 13 is the ability to insert a hyperlink into some text in an email. On both iOS and Android devices, that’s just not possible in their default mail clients (that we’ve seen) – you have to paste long URLs, and that’s not a computer, no matter what you call your operating system.

Connect to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth from Control Center

This is huge – and we’ve been asking for it for several years. You’ll soon be able to select Wi‑Fi networks and Bluetooth accessories right from Control Center.

Android has had this for years, and it was always convenient to connect to new Wi-Fi networks or Bluetooth earbuds without having to navigate away from your current app and dive into five Settings submenus. Apple is finally coming around in iOS 13.

Xbox One and PS4 game controller support

If you’re going to play games on your phone, you might as well do it with one of the two best controllers available (and maybe something you already own).

Enter PS4 and Xbox One game controller support for iOS 13. Apple didn’t say if all games will support this or if it’ll be limited to Apple Arcade, but whatever the case may be, we’re happy to be able to put our PS4 controller to use everywhere we roam.

Silence Unknown Calls

Nuisance SPAM calls drive us crazy every day, and iOS 13 wants to fix the issue with the help of Siri, which scans your Contacts, Mail and Messages to see if you’ve previously been in contact with the caller.

Silence Unknown Calls sounds fairly smart, if you’re not expecting business numbers cold-calling you for work. Those that do call you and aren’t on your personal ‘VIP list’ will go straight to voicemail.

More iOS 13 features to come with the public beta

We’re waiting until the iOS 13 public in July to test out the software, but there’s so much more to this update that we haven’t yet explained – there’s just that much to it.

We’ll continue to update the iOS 13 news here, with our guide to what you need to know about its features and how it’ll change your iPhone. There might be a separate iPadOS now, but iOS 13 is still mighty important to millions of people.

Get a first-gen Sonos One for just $144.95 – CNET

If you like the Amazon Echo but wish you could have Alexa in a speaker that sounds a lot better, say hello to the Sonos One.

If you like the Amazon Echo but wish you could have Alexa in a speaker that sounds a lot better, say hello to the Sonos One. It’s a very Echo-like smart speaker, right down to built-in Alexa. However, it also gives you the option of using Google Assistant.

Discounts are rare, but ending today, and while supplies last, B&H has the first-gen Sonos One smart speaker for $144.95, the lowest price I can recall seeing. That’s for the black model. The white one is still $169.95.


See it at B&H

I tend to think of Sonos as the Apple of multiroom speakers: Great products, but you pay a premium for them. And as I noted, discounts tend to be rare (and small).

The Sonos One debuted in 2017 with a $199 price tag. This first-gen model now sells for around $169, so an extra $25 off is noteworthy.

As mentioned above, it has Alexa baked in, but you now also have the option of switching to Google Assistant. You can’t use both at the same time. It’s one or the other, and you have to repeat the speaker setup process to switch between them. Still, it’s nice to have the choice, and nicer still to have it in a speaker as good as this one.

How good is it? For that I’ll turn you over to Ty Pendlebury’s Sonos One review. He called it “the best sounding smart speaker you can buy.” And although there’s a newer second-gen model that has a faster processor and more memory, it’s otherwise identical.

As we get closer to Prime Day, it’s possible will see other Sonos speaker deals. Right now, however, this is the best One by far.

Your thoughts?

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Bonus deal: Buy a smart thermostat, get a free Dot

The smart way to buy a smart thermostat is to see if your local utilities are offering any kind of rebates, then choose one that actually makes you money when you buy it.

For example, Best Buy has the Honeywell RTH6580WF programmable smart thermostat for $79.99 (save $20), a price that includes a free Amazon Echo Dot. The latter is worth $50 all by itself.


See it at Best Buy

That model is one of five Honeywell options that include the free Dot (though it’s currently the only one on sale). The others include the $150 Honeywell T5+ and $170 Honeywell T9.

But the $80 job handles the basics, including seven days’ worth of programming and app-powered controls. It has a 4.5-star rating from well over 500 buyers.

And be sure to check with your utilities. In my neck of the woods, for example, the electric company and gas company each offer a $50 rebate on Wi-Fi-enabled thermostats, meaning I’d actually make $20 on this purchase.

Giveaway! Your (last) chance to win an Apple TV and Plex bundle

Time is running out to enter CNET’s ultimate live TV and streaming giveaway, which includes this grand prize: An Apple TV 4K, a $25 gift Card to CBS All Access and a $100 gift card to a streaming service of choice (HBO Now, Hulu or Netflix).

The grand-prize winner will also receive a premium Plex Pass membership (with tuner and antenna included) courtesy of Plex. You’ve got until June 30 to get your entries in.

CNET’s Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on PCs, phones, gadgets and much more. Note that CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page. Find more great buys on the CNET Deals page and follow the Cheapskate on Facebook and Twitter!

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Raspberry Pi 4 boosts performance, keeps $35 starting price – CNET

Raspberry Pi is getting an upgrade.

On Monday the Raspberry Pi Foundation dropped a new model of its popular Raspberry Pi line. Aptly named the Raspberry Pi 4, the new PC board boasts several significant upgrades.

Raspberry Pi is getting an upgrade.

On Monday the Raspberry Pi Foundation dropped a new model of its popular Raspberry Pi line. Aptly named the Raspberry Pi 4, the new PC board boasts several significant upgrades. Among them:

A new 1.5 GHz quad-core CPU that the group says is three times faster1GB, 2GB, or 4GB of LPDDR4 SDRAM Two USB-A, full-size USB 3 ports (in addition to two USB 2 ports)Gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth 5.0 and Wi-Fi ACTwo micro HDMI out (as opposed to one full-size HDMI) capable of driving two 4K displaysUSB-C for power input (as opposed to micro-USB)

The new computer retains its $35 starting price for the 1GB board (a 2GB board is $45, 4GB is $55), with casing available for an additional $5. A USB-C power supply is available for $8, while those upgrading from an older Pi can buy a $1 micro-USB to USB-C adapter.

In addition to the hardware improvements, the Raspberry Pi Foundation says the new PC will have an “extensively modernised user interface” including an updated Chromium 74 web browser.

The new boards are available to order now.

Xbox boss confirms Project Scarlett will have a disc drive: Here’s what else we know about the upcoming console, including 8K graphics, 120 fps and SSD.

Watch every E3 video game trailer from Square Enix, Ubisoft, Bethesda and Microsoft’s E3 conferences: All the trailers you need to see are right here!

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Amazon Echo Show 5 review: New Alexa display costs under $100, makes smarter alarm clock – CNET

The Amazon Echo Show 5 will fit in nicely on your nightstand. It’s a pretty good smart display and a pretty good smart alarm clock at an attractive $90 price that’s well below the list price of the next lowest competition — the $130 Google Nest Hub (formerly the Google Home Hub).

The Amazon Echo Show 5 will fit in nicely on your nightstand. It’s a pretty good smart display and a pretty good smart alarm clock at an attractive $90 price that’s well below the list price of the next lowest competition — the $130 Google Nest Hub (formerly the Google Home Hub).

Alexa’s as good as ever, with an abundance of voice activated features. In addition, the Show 5 cleverly combines the best features of the excellent Nest Hub — a smart home control panel and adaptive screen brightness — with the best parts of the new $80 Lenovo Smart Clock — sunrise alarms and a customizable clock face. The camera allows you to make video calls — neither the Nest Hub nor the Lenovo Smart Clock have a camera. If you’re concerned about privacy, the Show 5 includes a physical shutter and a new feature lets you quickly delete your stored voice commands just by asking.

Add it up and the Amazon Echo Show 5 checks the right boxes to be the best entry level smart display on the market, but as far as overall experience, the Nest Hub is still better for the most part. The Show 5 has made strides as far as smart home touch controls, but the Nest Hub still offers a cleaner interface, and it’s better at showing off your pics, walking you through recipes, getting directions to restaurants and more. The steeper price of the Nest Hub is also mitigated by frequent discounts.

The sunrise alarm feature makes the Show 5 a better alarm clock, so if you want a smart display for your bedside, go with the Amazon Echo Show 5. Otherwise, despite a solid showing from the latest Amazon smart display, the Nest Hub’s still the model to beat.


The Amazon Echo Show 5 will wake you up and show you what you need to know
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Crashing the crowd of smart displays

Despite the name, the Amazon Echo Show 5 is not the fifth version of the Echo Show. The number 5 refers to the 5.5 inch touchscreen. Amazon has released two previous Echo Shows, but the Show 5 isn’t going to replace the current second generation Echo Show. That $230 smart display has a 10-inch screen and it can now serve as Amazon’s premium model with the $90 Show 5 joining as its entry level compliment.

Strangely, Amazon already has a smart alarm — the $130 Amazon Echo Spot ($130 at Amazon). The Spot does less and costs more, so I expect the Show 5 to simply replace it, but the Spot will remain on the market for now — just don’t buy it.


Smart displays let Amazon, Facebook and Google show you the answers to your questions
14 Photos

In addition to the touchscreen, the Show 5 has physical buttons for volume along the top of the triangular body. You can mute the mic and cut power to the camera with a single button next to the volume controls. You can also slide a physical shutter over the camera and still talk to Amazon’s built-in assistant Alexa.

The physical shutter is a nice touch, especially for a device meant for your bedroom. It’s also a shot at Amazon’s main competition in the smart display category — Google. The existing Nest Hub doesn’t have a camera at all, but the upcoming $230 Nest Hub Max will and it won’t have a physical shutter. One button will cut the power to the mic and the camera, but you won’t be able to cover the camera and still talk to Google’s version of Alexa — Google Assistant.

The Show 5 isn’t really aimed at the Nest Hub Max, though. Its main competition is the current $130 Google Nest Hub. Google also just partnered with Lenovo on the Lenovo Smart Clock. That $80 gadget includes the sunrise alarm feature, in which the display screen lights up leading up to your alarm time to ease you out of your sleep. The Lenovo Smart Clock lacks a few of the other traditional smart display features, though. You can’t watch videos, look at pictures, or interact much with the touchscreen outside a few prescribed functions.

Enter the Show 5, which keeps all the customary smart display tricks of a full-sized Echo Show and added the best parts of the Lenovo Smart Clock like the sunrise alarm. You can buy the Show 5 via Amazon now and it starts shipping to customers on Wednesday, June 26.

Bells and whistles galore

Other than those buttons on the top, the back of the Show 5 has a spot for the power cord and an output jack for a 3.5 mm audio cable. You can plug the Show 5 into your own speakers if you want beefier sound. The fabric cover and the sloping back look somewhat similar to a full-sized Echo Show, only the Show 5 is much smaller.

Plug it in to get started and the Show 5 will walk you through setup. You can connect it to your Wi-Fi on the touchscreen itself; you need to use the Google Home app for the Nest Hub. Once you’re connected, you can swipe down from the top of the Show 5’s touchscreen for a detailed settings menu that lets you customize the clock face, play with settings for the alarm and more.

You generally need the Google Home app to change settings on the Nest Hub, so the Show 5 is more self-sufficient. You can also browse the web freely on the Show 5 with both the Firefox and Amazon Silk browsers.

For the most part, once you’re up and running, you’ll interact with the Show 5 with voice commands. Amazon’s built-in assistant Alexa responds to all of the same commands as on a smart speaker like the Amazon Echo ($100 at Amazon). You can search the web, make a call, play music, check your calendar, control your smart home gadgets and much, much more. Alexa is a truly robust digital assistant.

After some responses, you’ll see additional info on the screen. Search for the weather and you’ll see the forecast for your area. Ask about nearby restaurants and you’ll see pics. You can also use the touchscreen to watch videos and make video calls. You can call other Alexa devices and check on the feed of connected security cams. If you have a Ring Video Doorbell or the Ring Door View Camera, you can talk to whoever is on your porch with a voice command.

The Show 5 works with various news sites like Reuters for daily briefings. You can watch shows via Amazon Prime or NBC and you can watch music videos with Vevo.

You can’t watch videos on YouTube with a voice command. You can access them if you go through the built-in browsers, but it feels like a workaround. The popular streaming site is owned by Google and after a famous dispute over a year ago, Google pulled the rights to YouTube from Amazon’s smart displays.

New Show, new tricks

All of this is standard fare for Amazon’s smart displays so far, but the Show 5 did bring some new tricks with it in addition to the sunrise alarms.

Scroll left from the right side of the screen for a new control panel that includes shortcuts for alarms, watching videos, playing music, controlling your smart home, seeing your skills (basically apps for Alexa) and communicating with other Alexa devices.

The smart home control panel has been overhauled. Previously, you could see one giant list of all of your groups and devices. Now, hit the smart home button, and Alexa offers better organization. You’ll see recently used devices at first. Buttons at the top let you see your devices by any groups you’ve established or by device category like lights, switches or thermostats.

Find the right device and you can control it with a tap. Tap the name of the device for more detailed options like brightness for a lightbulb. As before, you’ll see similar buttons and sliders without needing to navigate the menus if you control a device with a voice command. For example, change the temperature of your thermostat with your voice and you’ll see a slider pop up on screen automatically to tweak the temperature further.

Having the additional touch controls is a nice extra as a means of getting a quick overview of your home and it could come in handy if your family members have trouble remembering what you’ve named various bulbs and switches. In the device menu, you’ll also see a button to turn off everything — a nice option to have for a bedside gadget as that’ll come in handy when you’re ready to go to bed.

The other options on the panel do what you’d expect. Video and music pull up entertainment choices. Alarms let you quickly set a wake up time. Skills & Games shows you a list of options. Communicate lets you make an announcement, send a message, call or drop in on other Alexa devices. The Skills & Games button was not ready at the time of testing. According to an Amazon rep, that shortcut will replace “routines” in the picture above by the time the Show 5 ships on June 26.