You’re a self-aware vacuum-cleaner robot in this adorable new video game

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Smart appliances are becoming more and more part of our lives, but what if one of them becomes self-aware? What if your Roomba develops a consciousness, emotions, feelings and all of that? 

That’s the concept behind Rumu, the debut adventure game by Robot House, a small Sydney-based team of developers. 

As the emotionally packed trailer for the game shows, Rumu is a vacuum-cleaning robot designed to clean in a fully automated smart home. 

The voice that talks to you and gives you orders is from Sabrina, the house AI. She’s your only companion except for Ada, the cat. What happens next is a mystery, but the game promises to be “intimate” and “narrative-driven.” 

“When something draws you away from your home maintenance duties and into the hidden passageways and long-forgotten rooms of the house, you’ll be faced with challenging moral dilemmas forcing you beyond your programming to uncover the truth about the love and loss of your elusive family,” says the game’s description. 

If you’re a Westworld fan or just passionate about the debate on AI, smart homes and privacy, this is definitely for you. There’s no release date yet, but it’s coming late 2017. 

Google removes Maps feature showing calories and mini-cupcakes after huge online backlash

Google is constantly testing new features for its Maps app, from the estimated elevation for cyclists to video footage of the searched location. 

But this time, a feature for directions that shows you how many calories you’d burn when in walking mode caused quite a backlash online. 

With the test update, which also showed you how many mini cupcakes (!) you’d burn if you walked instead of drove, Google probably wanted to motivate people to stop being lazy bastards to be more healthy. It got the opposite reaction. 

While other navigation apps like Citymapper, which is incredibly popular in the UK, already have a calorie-counting feature, the pink-coloured mini cupcakes really upset people online who saw it as perpetrating fat-shaming culture, particularly of women:

In addition, it turned out it wasn’t possible to switch the feature off, as Politico’s Taylor Lorenz noted:

And people rightly pointed to the fact that it’s very triggering for people with eating disorders:

Google Maps confirmed to Mashable it removed the experiment, which was for iPhone users only, based on strong user feedback. 288d 6ba3%2fthumb%2f00001

Strava launches posts to bring athletes back for everything else beyond their workouts

When you walk upstairs at the Strava offices over on Third Street in San Francisco, you’ll find boards as tall as your typical human. They’re covered with images — screenshots of Instagram posts, comments and a whole lot of paper cutouts of other social networks printed onto little sheets — and they served as the launchpad for Strava’s latest product as it tries to continue to be the home for athletes and their activities.

It was a design exercise to discover how athletes were talking about their lives and adventures on platforms that were explicitly not Strava. After all, Strava was a place for activities, and not where you’d talk about the latest biking helmet. Now the design team and Strava hopes it has absorbed and learned everything it can from that kind of behavior and bake it into their own app, creating a space in the home feed where users can talk about the rest of their athletic lives when they aren’t just posting workouts and runs.

They’re called posts, and they now have a home in a feed within Strava alongside those updates about your friends’ latest runs. You might have logged in to Strava to post an activity or run, or maybe so you can quickly see your friends’ updates, but CEO James Quarles hopes now that users will have reasons to come to the app for everything else related to sports and athletics. It seems like a small step, but as something that could accrue even more minutes from an athlete, it brings it closer to being a more robust capital-N Network like many of the household names out there now.

“We don’t want people to misconstrue it as saying we’re trying to become Facebook,” Quarles said. “Sports have been inherently social since way before social networks happened. Its camaraderie, encouragement, and all that happens offline. Were trying to digitize it. We found that when Strava was just activities, people were asking questions in the comments and sharing links and things. That’s a horrible way to have that community content organized. We gave people the ability to make a post, share a photo, or embed information when they’re not active.

Posts are basically an evolution of what Quarles says people are already doing on Strava. But instead of getting their own home on the feed, they end up in comments. Users would post links, questions, and other kinds of content that would end up in a string of comments below an activity — the core unit of information in the Strava app. And because that was so unwieldy, and forced users to bend the app to their desires, a lot of that activity went elsewhere. Like Instagram.

Now there’s a home for all those gear reviews, recipes and potentially mundane life updates to how someone’s feeling that morning when they are recovering from an injury. Posts are for all the other times you aren’t putting up an activity, and they’re designed to span the gamut of what kind of content ends up on Strava. Quarles said that because of Strava’s nice niche in the athletic space, it isn’t necessarily competing with the same networks that athletes have fled to for their content — just giving them the ability to put that content where they originally wanted it.

Since the Strava app aims to be lightweight, that certainly came with some design challenges. One of the longest discussions throughout the development process was where Strava’s posts fell in the length spectrum, so to speak. They could go the Medium route, optimizing to a blank slate and letting users throw out long-form content, or they could optimize for something much shorter like a Tweet. Folenta said the goal was basically about landing somewhere in the middle, making it easy for people to post a photo if they want or just post a link. For example, in the development process, the company decided not to make a title mandatory for the post as it seemed like it was just getting in the way.

“What we learned is that it becomes a barrier to putting a thought out there,” senior product manager Meghann Lomas said. “In our evolution as where we are right now, there’s nothing that’s precluding people. We’ve offered tools to have the shorter form easier. We wanted to not make it seem like a blank word document. But for people who want to do that, they can add a title, they can pour out thoughts out their heart’s content. In terms of prioritizing features to build, we’ve emphasized more on the lighter touch. You shouldn’t feel inhibited.”

Then there’s the entry point. Posts don’t exist as some dramatic button on the center of the screen. There’s no big plus right when you log in to jump straight to adding an update to your feed. Instead, when you tap into a selector where you’d record your activity and you’ll see the option to post. Of course, it would make sense to put an option to create content in a spot where you’re naturally going to go when you’re looking to post content on Strava. In that way, posts aren’t designed to chase the user around — just be where you’d expect them.

You also won’t be bombarded with notifications, senior product designer Tony Folenta said, and the hope is that users will discover the product and how to best use it on their own without major intervention from the actual app. After all, anything else would probably have been an intrusion into the core Strava experience that brought users there in the first place. And if you haven’t logged into Facebook in a while, you can certainly see how annoying those notifications can get over time.

“We wanted to respect the activity above all,”  Senior product designer Arlo Jamrog said. “We can’t introduce posts and have it be more prominent than the core experience or the way our athletes are familiar with being active on the platform. That was a huge consideration. We wanted it to feel like a natural extension of the existing product. And we wanted to make it quick and feel lightweight. We didn’t want it to feel like it has a prescriptive behavior.”

During the development of the feed, Strava also “future-proofed” products like posts on the engineering level, Quarles said. The team left plenty of possibilities out of posts to start — it is better to get something in the hands of users and figure out how they’re going to use it in the beginning, after all — and by engineering the cells in the feed to be easily reconfigurable it leaves open the door for Strava to play around with what works and what doesn’t work.

The next step is, naturally, to get it out there and test it. A/B testing is at the heart of optimizing every app, and realistically it’s the user base that discovers the real best use case for an app. That’s pretty much where this project started — they found users bending the app, took a bunch of screenshots to figure out what they were doing, and then tried to morph it into a product. The end result will, as is often the case, probably be quite a bit different than what’s coming out tomorrow, but that’s all part of the process.

“The other nice thing is, we’re at an early stage,” Folenta said. “We built this set of tools, we’re gonna give it to them. If we see people using it in a particular way, we’re gonna keep making it that way better. At this point, it’s, ‘here’s what we think is a gift to our athletes, and hopefully, they enjoy it and use it in new exciting ways’.”

Spotahome raises €13.6M to let you view and book mid to long-term accommodation online

Spotahome, a Madrid-based startup that lets you view and book mid to long-term accommodation online, has closed €13.6 million in Series A backing. This brings the total raised to €20.7 million since the ‘proptech’ company was founded in 2014.

In a call, Spotahome co-founder and CEO Alejandro Artacho told me the injection of capital will be used by the ‘proptech’ company for further expansion in the countries it already operates in, and for new product development as it looks to digitise more of the real estate experience. This will include services for both tenants and landlords, although he declined to go into further detail at this stage.

Setting out to solve the problem of how to find mid to long-term accommodation online, including negating in-person viewing for the tenant, Spotahome appears to be succeeding where similar startups have failed.

Last year, for example, Rocket Internet-backed Nestpick gave up on the idea of moving the entire rental process online, pivoting to become a more traditional meta-search engine for furnished apartment rentals instead.

In contrast, Spotahome has managed to make the model work and says that over the last three years it has generated more than €60 million in total contract value for landlords, although it only takes a fraction of that as its own revenue, charging a fee as part of collecting the first month’s rental.

Key to this is the startup’s insistence that all accommodation is vetted in-person by members of the Spotahome team. These so-called “Home checkers” visit every property to create accompanying audio-visual material and to verify the listing. That isn’t as scalable as a self-service model where suppliers are responsible for creating their own content, but Artacho says is needed in order to build the trust of users who are being asked to take out a contract for accommodation they have never viewed in person.

To date, Spotahome has created an audio-visual library of more than 40,000 properties in Europe and the Middle East, including photographs, high-definition video and 360 degree tours. The startup operates in nine different countries (Italy, Spain, France, Belgium, U.K., Ireland, Germany, Austria and UAE) and 16 cities across the EMEA region, with a headcount of more than 200 people, most of whom work in its headquarters in Madrid.

Meanwhile, the long list of investors in Spotahome include Passion Capital, Seaya Ventures, Howzat Partners, Samaipata Ventures, Arthur Kosten, Nordic Makers, Gate 93, Mexico Ventures, Apostolos Apostolakis, Javier Etxebeste, Charlotte Street Capital, Samos Investments, and Modara Technologies.

Notably missing are so-called top tier European VC firms, such as Accel, Index or Balderton. However, Artacho says that for the stage the startup is at and while fully validating market fit, he wanted to build an investor base with operational experience in the areas of marketplaces and software design, something he seems to have achieved with Spotahome’s Series A line up. The array of investors include ties to Just Eat,, Zendesk, and Ticketbis.

The NBA has an AR app that lets you test your jump shot anywhere

Why it matters to you

The NBA is the first major sports league to feature its own augmented reality app.

You are not Steph Curry, but now you can shoot like him with your iPhone. On October 16, the NBA augmented reality (AR) app, NBA AR, was released, and it allows you to test your jump shot on a backboard and basketball court no matter where you are.

In NBA AR, once you load the app, you get to choose your the team whose logo you wish to have emblazoned on your augmented court. Then you will be prompted to move your iPhone left and right around the spot you wish to place your court and backboard so the camera can scan your surroundings before plopping some AR hardwood before you. The app suggests playing in a large space with good lighting, including outdoors, but I was able to get some AR court time inside the Digital Trends offices in New York City.

Once the game starts, you have 30 seconds to drain as many jump shots as you can by tapping the screen to have a ball materialize in front of you. You can shoot the ball by simply flicking your phone forward to shoot. Only two-point and three-point shots are counted in the game, but you are free to move around the court, depending on how much space you have in real life. After each game, you are given your score, and prompted with the next game on the schedule of the team you selected.

Augmented reality has started to heat up around the league this year with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Sacramento Kings releasing their own AR apps. “We’ve always said that basketball can be played virtually anywhere – and today that takes on an expanded meaning,” said Melissa Rosenthal Brenner, NBA senior vice president of digital media, in a press release.  “Augmented reality presents a variety of fascinating engagement opportunities, so we hope our fans download the app and try out their skills wherever they might be.”

This news comes less than a week before the NBA starts its second season in virtual reality. Starting October 21, the NBA will live-stream 27 regular season games in virtual reality via the NextVR app.

NBA AR is currently exclusive to the iPhone and utilizes the new ARKit technology that Apple debuted earlier this year. The app is available for free on the App Store, and is compatible on iPhone models 6s and later running iOS 11. The NBA has plans to add more experiences to NBA AR later this season, so you might be dunking in augmented reality before Isaiah Thomas plays a single game for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Australia launches a world-first national reporting tool for revenge porn

Taking steps to reporting and removing revenge porn, a.k.a image-based abuse, can be arduous, both emotionally and regarding the amount of steps required to get it done.

Australia’s government is aiming to make the process simpler, with the launch of a national portal for reporting instances of image-based abuse.

The portal will allow victims to report revenge porn online, and provide immediate access to support that had been previously been unavailable, according to a statement. A pilot phase will examine the complexity and the volume of the reports before the portal officially launches early next year.

The Australian government has pledged A$4.8 million (US$3.84 million) dedicated to the portal’s development, as part of a A$10 million (US$8 million) plan to tackle image-based abuse. 

State governments around Australia have been moving quickly to criminalise the non-consensual distribution of intimate images. 

New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory recently introduced laws, catching up with Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia which have revenge porn legislation. 

Queensland, the Northern Territory and Tasmania are yet to have specific laws on revenge porn, nor is there legislation on a federal level. However, the Australian government is looking closely at specific penalties for image-based abuse.

One in five Australians are victims of image-based abuse, according to a survey by RMIT earlier this year. The figure is more drastic for Indigenous Australians (one in two), people with a disability (one in two), and LGBTQ Australians (one in three).

While a necessary measure, laws and portals can only be reactive to abuse. 

The onus is really on creepers to stop sharing images, but also the platforms which facilitate distribution — like Facebook, who introduced photo matching tech to combat revenge porn earlier this year.

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Google Play helps fight hunger on World Food Day, donates proceeds

Why it matters to you

All proceeds made from specific in-app purchases will be donated to World Food Program USA.

In honor of World Food Day on Monday, October 16, Google Play launched a week-long campaign to raise funds and awareness for the cause. Google Play will donate 100 percent of revenue — made from in-app purchases in the “Apps and Games Against Hunger” collection — to World Food Program USA.

The UN World Food Programme consists of an international community that is committed to not only ending hunger but achieving food security and improved nutrition by 2030. While we do grow enough food to feed every human being on the planet, 815 million people still go to bed hungry every day.

You have the option to choose from 12 different popular apps and games — available in North America and South America. From Monday until October 21, all proceeds from designated in-app purchases made from the “Apps and Games Against Hunger” collection will be donated. Among the list include Dragon City, Sling Kong, Cooking Fever, and more.

Within the collection is ShareTheMeal – Help children, a charity app by the WFP. Using your smartphone, you can help feed a child with a 50 cent donation at a time. The app launched almost two years ago and garnered 81,000 new users within only a few days of being live.

At the time, the beneficiaries of the donations were Syrian refugee children living in Jordan. The children received necessary and vital nutrition each day, as part of WFP’s school meals program. In trial runs, ShareTheMeal had proven to be extremely effective — providing more than 1.7 millions meals for children in Lesotho throughout the month of June 2015 alone.

The app also encourages transparency when it comes to giving and users can follow progress within the app as well as track where their donations are going. As part of its most recent update, the app now includes a feature called Camera Giving — which takes a photo of your food, places a #ShareTheMeal filter, and allows you to share your meal.

With this current campaign, Google Play aims to fight hunger, one app at a time while simultaneously bringing attention to a serious issue. World Food Program USA is only one branch of contributors who support WPF and its mission to feed families in need across the globe.

Drone-delivered burritos are a real thing, at least for a lucky few

The future is here, and boy is it spicy. Alphabet’s Project Wing announced Monday that it will start delivering burritos to hungry customers via drone. That’s right, you can soon have heavenly manna slathered in Australian Jack cheese dropped right on your head — that is, if you happen to live in the outskirts of the Australian Capital Territory.

Project Wing, one of Alphabet’s “moonshot factories” under the X umbrella, is testing delivery drones and has selected the relatively remote area for its latest voyage into the tinfoil-wrapped unknown. In addition to Mexican food from a chain, the company will also ferry medication on behalf of a pharmacy. 

So, one imagines, your Tums and pico de gallo can be timed to arrive simultaneously. 

The company also grabbed headlines in 2016 with drones delivering burritos at Virginia Tech. Apparently, someone at the company has a thing for the densely packed food item with an undeniably high deliciousness-to-weight ratio.

Go burrito, be free.

Go burrito, be free.

Image: Guzman y Gomez

“Guzman y Gomez, a Mexican food chain, and Chemist Warehouse, a chain of pharmacies, will receive orders from our testers who’ve purchased items using the Project Wing app on their smartphones,” Project Wing’s James Ryan Burgess explained on the company blog. “We’ll dispatch our drones to pick up the order from our partners’ loading sites and then transport and deliver the goods to testers at their residences.”

The out-of-the-way Australian location was selected specifically because it is, in fact, so out there. It seems that at least some local residents were down to participate as a way to reduce their time spent in the car. 

“Residents near our testing area on the outskirts of the ACT live an idyllic country lifestyle on 10-acre blocks of rolling land spotted with gum trees and horses,” added Burgess. “But they face a 40-minute round trip in the car for almost anything, whether it’s a carton of milk, veggies for dinner, or a cup of coffee. Our testers, including young families, busy professionals and retirees, had many suggestions for how our technology could address this fundamental inconvenience.”

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Ah yes, the fundamental inconvenience of having burritos (and, sure, medicine) far away from wherever you are. Project Wing is clearly focused on making the world a better place. 

So, when — if ever — will this lunch-altering tech come to your town and/or hamlet? Burgess doesn’t exactly say, but you can rest assured that should the tests go well, the company will likely test the tech again (and again) — maybe closer to your home. 

Until then, you’ll just have to stick to terrestrial-based delivery like the rest of us. 

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Opternative sues Warby Parker for allegedly stealing its online eye exam

Eyewear e-commerce giant Warby Parker is accused of signing partnership contracts and NDAs with online eyeglass prescription test startup Opternative, then stealing the technology to launch its own competing “Prescription Check” feature. That’s according to a legal complaint filed by Opternative last month that was unsealed today as the lawsuit unfolds.

Opternative is seeking extensive financial compensation for damages due to breach of contract and theft of trade secrets, and reassignment of a Warby Parker eye test patent it says is derivative of its inventions.

“We have spent countless hours, days, weeks and years pouring our hearts and minds into building Opternative’s intellectual property and making ocular telehealth accessible to more people,” Opternative co-founder and Chief Science Officer Dr. Steven Lee told TechCrunch. “It is a huge disappointment that another company, which was in the startup category like us not too long ago, would take advantage of us for their own financial gain.” Opternative’s lawyer, Barry F. Irwin, of Irwin IP LLC, told TechCrunch, “We feel strongly that we will prevail in the litigation.”

Opternative’s eye test

Warby Parker’s eye test

Warby Parker provided this statement to TechCrunch when asked about the lawsuit:

The preposterous claims made by Opternative do not accurately reflect reality, and we’re prepared to take all necessary steps to defeat them. This is an unfortunate example of a company choosing to address competition with litigation instead of innovation. 

We started Warby Parker to radically transform the optical industry, and we’ve been interested in the emerging field of online vision tests for quite some time. Our goal is to offer the safest, most accurate, and most user-friendly telemedicine product, regardless of whether that product is built internally or externally. Over the years, we’ve looked at many potential solutions, including Opternative’s test. We gave Opternative the opportunity to demonstrate that its product could live up to the high standards of quality and service that customers have come to expect from Warby Parker. Ultimately, they failed to meet those standards, and we determined that the product and user experience were unfit for our customers. Opternative is now trying to correct those failures through meritless litigation. 

We recently launched a homegrown online vision test called Prescription Check, which leverages our patented technology to provide an intuitive user experience. We independently developed Prescription Check and did not have access to or use any of Opternative’s technical information that could have benefitted (sic) the development of our app. At Warby Parker, we’ve built our business and reputation on innovation, best-in class service, and fair competition—and we’re looking forward to exposing that Opternative’s claims are not supported by the facts.”

From partnership talks to competitors

Founded in 2013, Opternative’s technology allows people to take a 15-minute online refraction eye test to determine their eyeglass prescription using a phone and computer, rather than specialized equipment typically only found at an eye doctor’s office or an expensive smartphone dongle. [Disclosure: I was friends with Opternative’s now-CTO in college 10 years ago.]

Users take a specific number of steps back from their computer before it shows eyesight accuracy quizzes, such as determining what letters are on the screen or detecting colored symbols in a different colored circle. They receive instructions from their phone while tapping in the answers. After paying $50, the results are reviewed by an eye doctor and the patient receives a prescription for glasses or contacts within 24 hours, or a modification to an existing prescription.

Part of Opternative’s online vision test

Opternative had passed its clinical trials by 2015 and was expanding to more states. Soon it had raised a total of more than $9.5 million in rounds led by Tribeca Venture Partners and Jump Capital, and had a partnership with 1-800-Contacts. Some optometrist associations began fighting back against Opternative in order to protect their in-person test business, lobbying to have the startup’s service banned by the FDA. But now some optometrists have broken rank and begun working with Opternative to make their practices more efficient and manage patients remotely.

According to the lawsuit, Warby Parker reached out to Opternative back in 2013 about potential partnership opportunities. Warby Parker agreed to sign non-disclosure agreements forbidding the eyewear seller from using info about its technology to reverse-engineer the online eye exam or do anything besides partnering with the startup.

By 2015, discussions had advanced to include a potential acquisition of Opternative, and Warby Parker sought additional sensitive information about Opternative’s clinical trials and operating expenses. Opternative’s lawsuit contends that in May 2015 it sought and was given assurance that Warby Parker was not developing its own version of the technology, with Warby co-founder Dave Gilboa replying that he was “sensing a bunch of concern that I think is misplaced.”

Warby Parker allegedly requested its own test version of Opternative’s technology that it used in more than 60 tests, as well as raw outputs of the tests. However, in June 2015, the complaint says Warby Parker filed its own patent on a similar online eye exam using a phone and computer, with the main point of contact with Opternative listed as one of the inventors.

Opternative alleges that when Warby Parker questioned how it measured the distance from users to the computer screen in footsteps, Dr. Lee suggested a mobile phone camera could alternatively be used, and this ended up in the patent filing a month later. Warby Parker was later granted U.S. Patent No. 9,532,709 for an online eye exam.

On May 22, Opternative tells TechCrunch that Warby Parker called its founder to inform him that Warby was launching its own Prescription Check feature, which debuted the next day.

Warby Parker’s Prescription Check

As the lawsuit unfolds, the question will be whether Warby Parker is seen as having drawn from its NDA’d information to create its version of the eye exam. Warby Parker’s defense may hinge on the idea that it asks users to place a credit card in the corner of their computer screen and then measures it on the screen of their phone to determine their distance from the screen. Opternative’s measurement system that requests a user’s shoe size and asks them to take a certain number of heel-to-toe steps back may be less accurate.

Opternative’s argument is that Warby Parker’s test was still derivative of its exam, and that its co-founder Dr. Lee suggested the idea of using a phone’s camera for measuring the distance.

For now, Warby Parker has until November 6 to answer Opternative’s complaint or otherwise plead, such as filing a motion to dismiss. You can check out Opternative’s complaint in full below, and we’ll report back as the suit progresses.

Huawei Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro are here — with some strange differences

Why it matters to you

The Huawei Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro are finally here, and they’re the best phones Huawei has built to date.

We’ve seen a few awesome flagship smartphones in recent weeks — including the Google Pixel 2 XL and the Apple iPhone 8 — but Huawei isn’t taking the competition lightly. The Chinese company has finally unveiled its successors to last year’s Mate 9: The Huawei Mate 10 and Huawei Mate 10 Pro.

Both feature a beautifully large edge-to-edge display that could go toe-to-toe against the Samsung Galaxy S8, and they pack a Huawei-built processor that might give the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 a run for its money. Perhaps a little surprising, however, is how the phones are fairly different. The Mate 10 Pro is not just a larger version of the standard Mate 10. Here’s a rundown of the two phones, and what they have to offer. For more reading, check out our Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro hands-on review.

Huawei Mate 10 Pro

We’re starting with the Mate 10 Pro because it’s the only one of the two you’ll be able to purchase in the United States. This 6-inch AMOLED smartphone has skimpier edges around the screen than the regular Mate 10, and that’s largely because the fingerprint sensor sits on the back. The size allows for an 18:9 aspect ratio, with a surprisingly low 2160 x 1080-pixel resolution. At this size, most manufacturers offer a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels, and it’s unclear why Huawei has gone with something lower.

The rear is covered with glass, and above the fingerprint sensor sits a dual camera set up. One is a 20-megapixel monochrome camera, while the other is a 12-megapixel RGB camera with optical image stabilization. The LG V30 is the first smartphone with a f/1.6 aperture, but the Huawei Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro are the first to use a f/1.6 aperture in both rear cameras. It allows the cameras to take in more light, so it should help in low-light environments. Like most smartphones with a dual-camera setup, there’s a portrait mode and a 2x hybrid zoom feature for close ups.

The Mate 10 Pro is powered by Huawei’s latest and greatest chip, the Kirin 970, which also offers a so-called “Neural Processing Unit,” or a chip dedicated to processing neural networks. It’s coupled with 6GB of RAM, which should help with multitasking by keeping apps in memory. The NPU is the highlight here, as Huawei said it dramatically improves the speed of artificially intelligent queries, and it can offer up a smarter software experience. For example, if you’re watching a movie or playing a game and you get a notification, the phone will suggest split-screen mode so you don’t have to stop what you’re doing. If it detects you’re in a low-light setting, it will suggest turning on eye-comfort mode.

But one of the cooler implementations is with the camera, as the NPU allows the Mate 10’s camera to recognize objects in real time. This allows the camera to tune photos to certain presets. For example, if it recognizes you’re taking a food photo, it will try to boost the saturation of the food to make it look more appealing.

The Mate 10 Pro comes with 128GB of internal storage and no MicroSD card slot. Unlike the standard Mate 10, the Pro offers an IP67 water-resistant rating. That means you can take it underwater up to 1.5 meters for 30 minutes. Sadly, there’s no headphone jack — for no specified reason — but on the bottom you’ll find a USB Type-C charging port. A USB Type-C to 3.5-mm headphone jack dongle will be included in the box if you want to use your wired headphones.

Huawei Mate 10

The regular Mate 10 also features skinny edges around the screen, but the bezels are slightly larger than the Mate 10 Pro. One reason is because the fingerprint sensor is on the front of the phone, unlike the rear sensor on the Pro. On the back, the phone offers the same vertically aligned dual-lens camera as the Mate 10 Pro, which was built in collaboration with Leica. The regular Mate 10 has the same all-glass design, but you may be happy to hear that there is a headphone jack on the top.

Unlike the Pro, there’s also a MicroSD card slot, though you get less internal storage — 64GB. The LCD display, however, offers a higher 2560 x 1440 pixel resolution despite a smaller 5.9-inch screen (16:9). The camera and the rest of the internals are the same, except instead of 6GB of RAM, the Mate 10 has 4GB.

You’ll find the Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro running Android 8.0 Oreo with Huawei’s EMUI 8. They each also have a huge 4,000mAh battery and can charge back up fast thanks to Huawei’s SuperCharge technology. While the Mate 10 has a headphone jack, Mate 10 Pro owners may be disappointed about the option to use Bluetooth 4.2 rather than the newer Bluetooth 5 technology, which offers improved range and faster data transfer speeds.

Desktop mode

With a USB Type-C-to-HDMI dongle, you’ll be able to plug the Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro into an TV or monitor to use the phone in desktop mode. You can control the external display with the phone, or with a keyboard and mouse if they’re connected. You can continue using the phone separately while outputting to the TV. This puts the phones in serious competition with Samsung, which offers a desktop mode only if you purchase the Samsung DeX Station — you can’t use the Galaxy S8 or Note 8 when it’s in this docked mode.

Pricing and availability

The Mate 10 Pro will be available in the U.S. in mid-November along with more than 24 countries such as France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Poland, Thailand, and the United Kingdom. It will cost 800 euros (about $945), though U.S. pricing may be different. The Porsche Design Mate 10 will also arrive in mid-November, but at an absurdly high 1,395 euros (about $1,647). It will likely not be available in the U.S.

The Mate 10 won’t be coming to the U.S., but it will cost 700 euros (about $827), and it will be available starting late October in countries including Mexico, Spain, and the United Arab Emirates.

Huawei Mate 10 Lite?

While Huawei has not officially spoken of a Mate 10 Lite, rumors about one have been circulating for some time now. Most recently, known leaker Evan Blass tweeted an image of what’s purported to be the Mate 10 Lite, and it has a similar design to the Mate 10 Pro. We’ll update this article as we hear more about the phone.

Update: Added official details of the Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro.