April 14, 2017 / Comments Off on Samsung reportedly planning rugged Galaxy S8 for AT&T
Samsung’s Galaxy S8 is a great looking smartphone — it’s also covered entirely in very scratchable glass. So it’s no surprise to hear that Samsung is developing a rugged version of the phone for people who’d rather not worrying about shattering it.
SamMobile reports that a Galaxy S8 Active is in the works and will likely be an AT&T exclusive. There aren’t many details beyond that, but the site says Samsung’s codename for the phone variant is “Cruiser,” which at the very least sounds kind of tough.
Samsung has been putting out “Active” variants of its top Galaxy phones for years now, but there have been enough changes between the S7 and S8 that there’s some uncertainty as to what it’ll look like.
Previous Active phones have had three physical front buttons, but that may not be the case this year since Samsung switched to on-screen controls. We’ve also never seen a rugged phone with a curved screen before. It’s entirely possible Samsung will switch to a flat screen for the Active model, but that would make for a very different looking device.
Of course, Samsung’s Active models have always stood apart from the phones they’re based on, usually to tackier results. The phones often end up with camo backing, like this:
Samsung did make plainer models of the S7 Active, though, so it’s possible there’ll be alternatives this year for people who want a simpler look.
While there aren’t details yet on what Samsung will do to strengthen the S8, the S7 Active’s key additions were a “shatter-resistant” screen and a larger battery. Samsung also added dust resistance, on top of the phone’s existing waterproofing.
SamMobile doesn’t know what timing Samsung is looking at for the S8 Active’s release, but it points out that in the past, Active models have launched in June. They’ve long been AT&T exclusives, too, and it seems like that isn’t going to change.
April 14, 2017 / Comments Off on Here’s how to activate YouTube’s hidden Dark Mode
Next time you’re staying up till three in the morning mindlessly watching YouTube videos, why not give your eyes a rest and turn the lights out? As discovered by Reddit, YouTube now a secret dark mode that’s easy to activate. Here’s how you do it:
Make sure you have the most recent version of Google Chrome (that’s version 57 onwards)
Open up the developer window by hitting Ctrl + Shift + I on Windows, or Option + Command + I on Mac
Select the “console” tab
Paste in the following text: document.cookie=”VISITOR_INFO1_LIVE=fPQ4jCL6EiE” and hit enter
Close the developer window, refresh your browser, and the dark mode toggle is available in the main settings menu in the top right. Turning it on is as easy as flicking a light switch:
This feature hasn’t yet been officially announced, but it’s part of a number of changes YouTube is testing for the website’s design. To our eyes it looks pretty slick, and hopefully will be here to stay. Happy browsing.
April 14, 2017 / Comments Off on How Steve Lacy and His iPhone Are Taking Over the Music Business
A few minutes after Steve Lacy arrived at a dingy, weed-clouded recording studio in Burbank, the 18-year-old musician flopped down in a plush leather chair in the control room. Vince, one of the studio’s proprietors, came in to show Lacy how the mixing boards and monitors worked. Lacy didn’t care; he was just in it for the chair. He picked up his new black-and-white Rickenbacker guitar, then reached into his Herschel backpack and yanked out a mess of cables. Out of the mess emerged his iRig, an interface adapter that connects his guitar directly into his iPhone 6. He shoved it into the Lightning port and began tuning his instrument, staring at the GarageBand pitch meter through the cracks on the screen of his phone.
Lacy’s smartphone has been his personal studio since he first started making music.
Guitar ready, Lacy relocated into the studio. He usually works in the vocal booth, where he’ll light candles and hang for hours, but since I had a cameraman with me he agreed to sit somewhere a little more visually appealing—and bigger. Lacy, wearing jean shorts and a plaid khaki shirt underneath an unzipped blue hoodie, sat on a drum throne in the center of the studio and re-assumed his previous pose: right leg crossed over left, Beats headphones on his ears, iPhone perched precariously on his bare knee (he swears this isn’t how he cracked the screen) and connected to the guitar in his lap. Then he went to work, kind of. He’d never call it work. He doesn’t even call it recording, or songwriting, or producing. He calls it “making beats.”
It’s a weird recording setup, but it’s working for Lacy. Last year, he was nominated for a Grammy for executive-producing and performing on the 2015 funk-R&B-soul album Ego Death, the third release from The Internet and Lacy’s first with the band. He’s a sought-after producer, featured on albums like J. Cole’s “4 Your Eyez Only” and Kendrick Lamar’s new “Damn.” Earlier in 2017, he released his first solo material, which he’s playing as part of the setlist for The Internet’s worldwide tour. (Somewhere in there he also graduated high school.) The only connection between his many projects? All that music is stored on his iPhone.
That night in Burbank, Lacy had no real agenda or deadline. It was just a brainstorm, a jam session. He paged through the drum presets in GarageBand for a while before picking a messy-sounding kit. With two thumbs, he tapped out a simple beat, maybe 30 seconds long. Then he went back to the Rickenbacker. He played a riff he’d stumbled on while tuning, recording it on a separate GarageBand track over top of the drums. Without even playing it back, Lacy then reached down and deleted it. It took three taps: stop, delete, back to the beginning. He played the riff again, subtly differently. Deleted it again. For the next half hour, that’s all Lacy did: play, tap-tap-tap, play again. He experimented wildly for a while, then settled on a loose structure and began subtly tweaking it. Eventually satisfied with that bit, he plugged in his Fender bass and starts improvising a bassline. A few hours later, he began laying vocals, a breathy, wordless melody he sang directly into the iPhone’s microphone. He didn’t know quite what he was making, but he was feeling it.
All night, Lacy goofed around. He found a sword in the studio, and made up a shockingly catchy song called “Sword in the Studio” that’s still rattling around in my brain. He paused every few minutes to snack on Sour Patch watermelons or let out a deafening burp. Occasionally, when I asked him a question, he’d respond with a British accent. He paced around the room, took a call from his mom, and joked with his manager, David Airaudi. Watching him work, it felt more like play.
Lacy’s smartphone has been his personal studio since he first started making music. Even now, with all the equipment and access he could want, he still feels indelibly connected to something about making songs piece by piece on his phone. He’s also working this way to prove a point: that tools don’t really matter. He’s feeling a tension that’s been in the music industry since the Tascam 424 Portastudio made mobile recording easy in the 80s, and has come up time and again since then. He wants to remind people that the performance, the song, the feeling matter more than the gear you use to record it. If you want to make something, Lacy tells me, grab whatever you have and just make it. If it’s good, people will notice. Maybe even Kendrick Lamar.
The Accidental Grammy Nominee
One of Lacy’s earliest music memories comes from fifth grade or so. This was circa 2009, when Jerkin’ was the new dance craze. At school in Torrance, California, a bunch of eighth-graders would tell him to grab two pens and tap out beats while they jerked. “I was so honored,” he says, “because they were the cool kids!” He quickly learned to use erasable pens, which are plastic, because the glass ones would break and get ink all over his hands. He also learned he had a knack for making beats, though everyone else seemed to know that already.
Since it’s all in his pocket, Lacy is ready to play his stuff at any time. Which was particularly handy last fall, when Lacy found himself in the studio with Kendrick Lamar.
When Lacy and I first talk, on the Venice beach a few hours before heading to the studio, he seems to be thinking about his musical history for the first time. (He’s also distracted by the cheetah tattoo on his abs he got the first half of the day before, which itched like crazy.) Most of his stories go the same way: our young protagonist shows up, goofs around, and something magical happens. Like when Jameel Bruner, a high school senior when Lacy was a freshman, took Lacy under his wing. Bruner played keys; Lacy had learned guitar and bass. “He puts me on all this new music,” Lacy says of Bruner. “I looked up to him a lot. On keys, that man? Crazy. Playing with him felt so good.”
Bruner started bringing Lacy around to a Hollywood recording studio in 2014, where he was working on a new album with his band, The Internet. Lacy watched and learned, seeing the production process first-hand. Then one day, Matt Martians, one of The Internet’s founding members, needed a bass player. Bruner said, hey, Steve plays bass. “And we get to the studio,” Lacy says, “and we’re just instantly making bangers.” Much of what Lacy and Martians made in those early sessions wound up on Ego Death, but at the time Lacy just thought he was jamming. “When people ask how it felt to know you’re co-executive producing an album,” Lacy tells me, “I’m like, I didn’t know?”
It was only after Ego Death got that Best Urban Contemporary Album Grammy nom that Lacy decided a music career was for him. (Some signs are hard to ignore.) But he was going to school in Harbor City, 25 miles and untold traffic away from the Hollywood studio. He didn’t own a laptop, either. But he did have a phone. He jailbroke his iPhone, which gave him access to an app called Bridge that could save songs straight from the internet. He also tore through the App Store, experimenting with iMachine, BeatMaker 2, iMPC, GarageBand, and others. Mostly he started making beats all the time. At home. While driving. In class. Once outside a barbershop, when there were a bunch of people ahead of him in line and he had a hook idea in his head. Lots of musicians use voice memos to record and remember snippets of songs, of course. It’s just that for Lacy, the stuff stayed on his phone. He’d build tracks in pieces, then put them together and upload to Soundcloud or Tumblr. At first, nobody was really listening, but song by song, beat by beat, he gained a following.
Making music on his phone is mostly about the simplicity, the convenience. It’s a little about skipping the traffic on the way to the studio. But there’s one other advantage: since it’s all in his pocket, Lacy is ready to play his stuff at any time. Which was particularly handy last fall, when Lacy found himself in the studio with Kendrick Lamar.
Normally, Lacy likes to do all his dealing artist-to-artist. He’ll DM other musicians who follow him on Twitter, or just call them. But he got to Lamar a slightly more traditional way: through producer DJ Dahi, who he met thanks to Vampire Weekend frontman Ezra Koenig. Dahi, Lacy says, “brought me in to see Kendrick just to make some beats with him, just work on some ideas.” At one point, as things naturally do, the room got quiet. Everyone was on their phones, nothing was really happening. So Lacy pipes up. “Let me play you some stuff,” he told Lamar. That’s how Lacy likes to work—not jumping straight to collaborating, just playing everyone what he’s working on. If they’re into it, great. If not, no worries.
With Lamar’s attention, Lacy played him a couple of songs from his demo, and then a track he’d worked on with singer Anna Wise, a longtime Lamar collaborator. Wise and Lacy had recently been in the studio together—Lacy’s more versatile with his tools when he’s working with other artists, some of whom think the whole iPhone thing is weird—and all the equipment was screwing up. So Lacy told Wise, “OK, let me make a lick on my laptop, bounce it to my phone, and we’ll play this acoustic.” He showed Wise how to use GarageBand, and sent her into a vocal booth with a phone and a pop filter. As soon as she sang the track, which they called “Wasn’t There,” they both knew they had something special.
So Lacy played this track for Lamar, his beat with Wise’s singing. “And as soon as I played it,” Lacy says, “[Lamar] goes, ‘Yo, put your number in my phone.’” Lamar hit Lacy up later, saying he might want to do something with the beat, so Lacy sent it to him. He hoped for the best, but didn’t expect much—plans change all the time, especially when you’re Kendrick Lamar. A few months later, after never hearing back, Lacy texted Lamar to see if he wanted to get together again. Lamar responded he couldn’t, he was in the studio finishing his album. So Lacy replied, “Got the tracklist?” followed by the eyes emoji. Lamar responded, “Lol, ‘Wasn’t There’ is Track 4.” (It’s actually track seven on the album, “Pride.”) Suddenly Lacy, who’s been a fan of Lamar’s since middle school and still rues the day his M.A.A.D City CD got stolen, had a hand in the most anticipated hip-hop album of 2017. He sat in his car for a while, screaming with joy.
Make It Up as You Go
When I ask Lacy what he thinks of how far he’s come, he seems almost afraid to overthink it or jinx it somehow. Nothing he’s accomplished so far was planned, he says. “I literally had no fucking idea what I was doing,” he says. “And from that, I got a Grammy nomination. So I’m like, OK, this is my life.” Not planning got him here; he’s going to keep not planning. But now that he’s out of high school, and putting off college for now, there’s a lot more to do. Lacy and Airaudi are trying to figure out how to make more money off all these collaborations, for one thing. And there’s that tour coming soon, too. Lacy’s deciding how that’ll work. He digs the idea of a backing band playing his songs, but says “the DIY in me wants to do a one-man show.”
It’s immediately clear that Lacy’s not interested in fitting into anyone’s idea of what a musician should do or what music should sound like. Some of Lacy’s songs are 90 seconds long, verse and chorus meant to be played over and over. Others are more traditional. “He talks about changing what it means to be pop music,” Airaudi, his manager, tells me. “Why doesn’t that include song structure? Why doesn’t that include song length?” Lacy refuses to call his solo debut, “Steve Lacy’s Demo,” an album, and hates that iTunes labeled it an EP.
Even the style of his music is hard to pin down: he’ll take the melody from a folk song, pair it with a soul-heavy bass, and then funk the funk out of the guitar line. “The hybrid sounds a little odd at first glance, I know,” The music website Consequence of Sound wrote about his song “Dark Red,” “but just think of Mac DeMarco kicking it with some Motown records.” Lacy calls his style “Plaid,” a jumble of colors and patterns that somehow work together to make one awesome design. Whether it’s wild shirts, Prince songs, or the movie Get Out, Lacy says he has a thing for art that’s one of one. Musically, he experiments with everything, trying not to sound like anything you know.
One thing won’t change, though: Lacy’s going to keep making music on his iPhone. He does own a laptop now, and he knows how to use the producer-preferred Ableton software. But there’s something about the freeform creativity the phone allows, the fact that recording in GarageBand isn’t the hacky first step in the process but the whole thing. He’s even come to like its sound better. He’s made a few songs on his laptop, which “sounded too clean,” he says. “The beats I make in Ableton, I feel like I have to get those mixed by a professional to beef them up. But GarageBand masters it so it’s at a cool level already.” But it’s more than that, even: When Lacy tried to work on his laptop, he says he found himself creatively bare, just completely out of ideas. So he grabbed his phone and starting goofing around. Suddenly the juice started flowing again.
The most recent addition to his studio setup? A second phone. Mostly because too many people now have his number and it won’t stop ringing long enough to let him work, but also because it helps with the process. “I can play the instrumental” on one handset, he says, and “and record the voice memo on my other phone.” The previous setup was clunkier—and the way Lacy did it, downright dangerous. “I would have to drag the beat into GarageBand, try to get the vocal as I’m driving.” What he does now is just as illegal, but probably a little safer.
The problem is, the new phone is an iPhone 7, which doesn’t have a headphone jack. That means he can’t plug in the iRig and hear the track played back at the same time—he tried a bunch of dongles at the studio, and nothing worked. So it was back to the cracked iPhone, at least until he can get his hands on the iRig HD2 and its integrated headphone jack. The cracks don’t seem to bother him, though. He doesn’t care what he’s using. He’s just there to make beats.
April 14, 2017 / Comments Off on Get 3D-printed sandals molded for your feet using just your phone
Insoles molded to your feet can be incredibly comfortable, and they’re sometimes even a necessity for people with problems like fallen arches. That’s why startup Wiivv wants to make it as easy as possible for people to get a personalized insole. Using its app, the company lets you model and measure your own feet just by taking pictures of them. It uses this data to create a 3D model of your foot, and then 3D-prints an insole perfectly fitted for you. The company has been offering this service for over a year now, but has now launched a Kickstarter campaign to create fitted sandals as well.
It’s the same basic idea, but instead of just ordering the insole, you get the whole sandal. You can watch the quietly insane promo for the service below. (Note to people raising money on Kickstarter: not every product video needs to look and feel like a spiritual journey.)
Ignoring the hyperbole here (did Wiivv really “reinvent” the toe-thong?), the basic idea sounds pretty great. Sandals are usually pretty uncomfortable, and a custom insole would certainly. We tried Wiivv’s app for ourselves, and the whole foot-measuring process is as quick and easy as you’d like. Obviously when it comes to something as personal as a fitted insole, the proof is in the pudding, but Wiivv has some satisfiedreviewers online, and the company also offers a 30-day returns policy with full-refunds.
If you’re interested you can back the Kickstarter campaign starting at $79 for a single pair of sandals, or $150 for two pairs. The company says it’ll be delivering the shoes by August this year.
April 14, 2017 / Comments Off on Google Spins VR Experiences on the Web
Google on Thursday announced compatibility of its WebVR on Chrome with its low-cost Google Cardboard virtual reality system. It also launched WebVR Experiments, an online showcase for virtuality reality content in development.
WebVR became available on Daydream-ready phones earlier this year.
The newly launched WebVR Experiments are essentially proof-of-concept offerings — from simple VR games such as Konterball (ping pong) to The Musical Forest, which lets users around the world tap or click on objects to make sounds.
Chrome desktop support for virtual reality headsets such as Oculus Rift and HTC Vive is in development and will be available soon, Google said. In the meantime, those without a Cardboard or Daydream unit can view the WebVR Experiments in 2D on a desktop PC or a handset.
Google has invited users to submit their own projects, which could be featured in the WebVR gallery.
VR for the Mainstream
As VR is still very much a new — and arguably cutting-edge — technology, Google’s efforts appear to be aimed toward attracting a wider audience that may not be ready to spend big money to experience it yet.
“It isn’t as much about mainstream acceptance — it is simply about trying to scale mainstream awareness and exposure,” explained Paul Teich, principal analyst at Tirias Research.
“The sales cycle always starts with awareness, then moves to consideration,” he told TechNewsWorld.
“In this way, WebVR Experiments is the consumer friendly and social front-end to the fairly dry WebVR information site, as well as the work-in-progress deep-geek WebVR developer site,” added Teich.
Taking the Low Road
Instead of appealing to early adopters with expensive hardware promising the next big thing, Google’s is aiming to win over the masses via low-cost solutions.
“Google took what is an interesting approach to VR, and rather than going the high-end route showcased by HTC and Facebook — with Oculus Rift — they started at the other end with smartphones and a cheap headset,” said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group.
Whether this strategy is the right one is yet to be determined.
“Google’s approach could get to volume, but the experience was low quality,” Enderle told TechNewsWorld, “while HTC and Facebook had better quality, but the price point kept them from critical mass — and the necessary tethers were dangerous.”
However, over time Google’s quality has improved and there has been a better focus to showcase the technology, while similar focus and improvement haven’t yet been seen from the higher-priced alternatives.
“As a result, Google’s side appears to be closer to success, and this latest step is another example of that progress,” added Enderle.
Seeing Is Believing
As with many forms of visual technology that have come before — notably HDTV — people have to see it to know what they might be missing. The issue is even more amplified with VR. Unlike higher-definition TV, which can be explained as something that “looks better,” VR is hard to explain if you haven’t seen it.
“The challenge for VR is that most online consumers have not been exposed to it yet. If they have heard of VR, they don’t know what it really is, and you certainly don’t have the urge to upgrade all of that as the capabilities and depth of experiences improve,” said Tirias Research’s Teich.
“If you don’t know what you’re missing out on, then you don’t have an urge to buy the equipment and rent the experiences and services,” he said.
This is why Google is ensuring that people both understand what VR is and — more importantly — can access it in its early days.
“The first task is to educate and show people what they are missing, so if consumers like what they see on a 2D display, they might buy a cheap Cardboard clone or knockoff with their current cheap smartphone,” suggested Teich.
“This is also about showcasing other people’s stuff, and what you can do in the sandbox to create VR experiences,” said Roger Kay, principal analyst at Endpoint Technologies Associates.
“The truth is that VR needs help; there has been a lot of hype, but it hasn’t taken off as quickly as its developers and supporters thought or hoped it would,” he told TechNewsWorld.
From Cardboard to Serious VR
Google’s bet is that if users like what they see through Cardboard, they might upgrade their smartphone and buy an $80 Daydream viewer, and so on.
“This is another prod in the direction of making VR more practical,” noted Kay.
“The point is that they start down the path for free, or nearly so, and then get hooked on the experience and content. WebVR is that first taste of fun and engaging content, with the very explicit message that there are already even more engaging ways to view it,” said Teich.
“This use of Web sources and related expanded developer support further increases the probability that their cellphone-based approach will [be] that one experience that will drive people to their platform before the high-end folks can solve their price, tether and content issues,” Enderle suggested. For Google, “this represents a solid — but not yet winning — step towards the finish line in this race.”
Peter Suciu has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2012. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, mobile phones, displays, streaming media, pay TV and autonomous vehicles. He has written and edited for numerous publications and websites, including Newsweek, Wired and FoxNews.com.
April 14, 2017 / Comments Off on Poll: How many chat apps do you use?
Last month I argued that our phones, be they Android or iOS, have pretty much solved chat fragmentation. The way they handle notifications and contacts helps us keep track of everyone we chat with, no matter what app they use. Agree or not, there’s no denying that we’re using more chat apps than ever.
When I tally up all of the apps I use to chat with people, I count Messages, Slack, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Twitter — and that’s just on my phone’s most important real estate: screen one. Diving deeper I also count Facbeook Messenger, Snapchat, Skype, Hangouts, and Signal. Excluding email, that gives me a total of 10 apps that function as regular chat clients with at least one of my contacts.
So, what about you dear reader, how many chat apps do you use?
Streaming videos in your room just got a whole lot less lonely.
Binging for hours on Netflix has long been an inherently isolating experience: You’re solo, it’s late, and you definitely should have gone to bed by now. It’s the ideal setup for introverts and people just generally afraid of the world, but it’s also possibly the fastest route to spending an unhealthy amount of time alone — Doritos dust piling on your chest like a neon monument to social anxiety.
It doesn’t have to be that way. Thankfully, the same tech that feeds our desire to stay in for the night (and the next night, and the next) can also be used to turn tumbling down a YouTube rabbit hole into a shared group adventure.
The ability to watch videos online in real time with friends and family has been around for years now, and programs like Watch2Gether make it easy to discuss the action on the screen. However, with chat rooms being the main way to communicate during a watch party, the process has always felt less like hanging out with friends and more like continuously checking Slack to make sure you’re not missing important work messages.
It kind of kills the buzz, in other words.
A good remote watch party takes work: Work to set up, and work from everyone involved to make it worthwhile. During the most exciting parts of streaming shows or goofy YouTube videos — those moments you’d want most to experience with others — friends and family are likely to be engrossed in the content and not typing their reactions.
Because let’s be real, no one is busy pounding out “OMG” when that 1-day-old baby goat starts learning to jump. They’re all too busy squeeing, and you’re too busy receding into your universe of auto-loading content for one.
But just as technology taketh away, so can it give. The all-important selfie camera in particular changes the game here by presenting would-be digital recluses with more than just a chance to vomit rainbows.
Apps like Let’s Watch It, which was released April 12 and launches inside iMessage, take advantage of this opportunity. Let’s Watch It uses a phone’s forward-facing camera and microphone to capture the responses of people in your group as you all simultaneously view the same video via YouTubeLive, YouTube, or Twitch.
“We wanted it to approximate the shared experience that’s common for watching TV, movies, and other media together,” Kris McDonald, the cofounder of Let’s Watch It developer Little Labs, wrote in an email. “When a football game is on, it’s more fun to have a group of friends yelling at the TV than to sit alone — we try to recreate that vibe through Let’s Watch It.”
In other words, you can see your friends go slack jawed as a horse fights an alligator without ever leaving the comfort of your couch.
And while it’s obviously no replacement for that old fashioned human touch (seriously, you should still get out and interact in the meatspace), this digital approximation can help people connect with others even when all they feel like doing is vegging out at home.
This is a good thing for all the introverts of the world, and reminds us that watching videos by yourself doesn’t need to be the same as watching it alone.
WATCH: This paper can fold itself into a beautiful crane
April 14, 2017 / Comments Off on We really, really want this new iPhone 8 rumor to be true
The world of iPhone rumors is in flux. Early reports that the iPhone 8 (if that’s what it’ll be called) will basically be a slab of uninterrupted glass on the front have now given way to rumors that it will be a much more conventional phone, albeit with very thin bezels around the screen.
Now, a new report from iDrop News, citing a source from Foxconn, the Chinese manufacturer who builds the iPhone for Apple, once again claims that the iPhone will be all screen on the front.
In fact, the report brings back into play pretty much all the cool things we’ve heard (and were then told they probably weren’t true) about the next iPhone: Touch ID under the 5.8-inch OLED display, “invisible” selfie camera under the display, slightly curved glass on both front and back, puny, 4mm bezels around the screen. The report also says the phone will have wireless charging, but it doesn’t mention which type, and it mentions a large power button with “two points of contact.” Finally, the entire package will have the same dimensions as the iPhone 7, the report claims.
So how does all this fit into the reports that the new iPhone will have a fingerprint scanner on the back and larger bezels above and below its display? Well, the outlet claims there are currently two iPhone 8 prototypes being tested: one is the cool one, and the other is the more convenient one.
While it’s certainly possible (and probable) that Apple is testing more than one prototype of the upcoming phone, this particular report sounds a little too much like a wish list, so take it with a chunk of salt.
The outlet also went to the trouble of creating a few renders of what this upcoming iPhone (the cool version) might look like; check out the rest of them here.
WATCH: iPhone 8 rumors include a ‘Smart Connector’ for AR headset
April 14, 2017 / Comments Off on Samsung’s new app replies to your messages so your eyes can stay on the road
Why it matters to you
Remaining undistracted while driving won’t just save your life — it could save other lives, too.
Samsung wants to help keep drivers safe, and as such the company has created a new app called In-Traffic Reply, which is aimed at helping drivers reply to messages without taking their attention off the road.
The app was developed by Samsung Netherlands, and it automatically knows when the user is in a car or riding a bike, and will reply to incoming messages with a standard response that reads “I’m sitting in traffic, so I can not answer at this time.” The reply can be customized, too, so you don’t have to use such a boring response.
The app itself is currently in beta, and if you’re interested in using it, you can get it from the Google Play Store. The app will officially launch next month, according to Samsung, and while it will only launch in the Netherlands, if successful we can expect to see it get a much wider release.
It makes sense that a tool like this would be useful. In its press release, Samsung Netherlands said that one third of drivers in the country admitted to using their phone while driving, according to statistics from PanelWizard. According to the survey, the reason for that is social pressure. Specifically, users indicated that they felt like they needed to reply to calls or messages as soon as they appeared.
Samsung isn’t the only company trying to help users continue to use its services while keeping drivers safe. Google has launched a number of different products aimed specifically at in-car use, the most obvious of which is Android Auto, a simplified and basic version of Android that focuses on maps, as well as in-car entertainment like music playback. Android Auto makes buttons larger and easier to press, ensuring that drivers keep their eyes on the road as much as possible.