Credit: Melissa RiofrioIt may have taken nearly five years, but it s finally official: Chromebooks are no joke.More Google-powered laptops shipped than Macs in the U.S. during the first three months of 2016, IDC market analyst Linn Huang recently told The Verge.If Mac sales continue to decline, Chromebooks may beat out OS X-powered machines in future quarters as well, but that s not a bet I d put money on anytime soon.Chromebooks are still a young person s gameThe other issue is that Chromebooks are not getting the bulk of their sales from consumers heading to Best Buy or ordering laptops from the Google Store.Instead, as Huang told The Verge, Chromebooks are still largely a U.S. K-12 story.Windows 10 laptops, meanwhile, are comparatively complex and prone to more problems than Google-powered laptops.
Credit: Melissa RiofrioIt may have taken nearly five years, but it s finally official: Chromebooks are no joke.More Google-powered laptops shipped than Macs in the U.S. during the first three months of 2016, IDC market analyst Linn Huang recently told The Verge.If Mac sales continue to decline, Chromebooks may beat out OS X-powered machines in future quarters as well, but that s not a bet I d put money on anytime soon.Chromebooks are still a young person s gameThe other issue is that Chromebooks are not getting the bulk of their sales from consumers heading to Best Buy or ordering laptops from the Google Store.Instead, as Huang told The Verge, Chromebooks are still largely a U.S. K-12 story.Windows 10 laptops, meanwhile, are comparatively complex and prone to more problems than Google-powered laptops.
It s a convenient moniker but also confusing because there isn t one trend to follow.In Slack, for example, bots have been built for fetching Digg content , ordering an Uber transportation , pulling data from Google Analytics data , and more.This model is powerful, and represents a massive battleground.Continued advances in machine learning are just about guaranteed, and if we couple that with APIs everywhere to interconnect services, we could very well deliver on the sci-fi promise of intelligent assistants.Instead, it will be more transactional: I need new pillows Hilton , I m looking for a camera Best Buy , or I m at the corner of 2nd and Harrison Uber .As the reality of human afterall becomes possible, companies that excel at conversation will drive higher customer satisfaction, engagement, and retention.Jeff Lawson is CEO and cofounder of Twilio.
U.S. stocks fluctuated, after the S 500 rebounded from a seven-week low, as investors awaited further direction on the health of the economy and prospects for higher interest rates.Equities wavered in light trading following a week of alternating daily between gains and losses.Monsanto Co. climbed 5.1 percent to a 10-month high after Bayer AG offered to buy it for $62 billion.The seed maker s advance boosted raw-material shares, while Apple Inc. rallied for the third time in four days to bolster the tech group.Chair Janet Yellen is due to deliver remarks on Friday.Policy makers must appreciate the danger that higher rates could hurt the U.S. economy by strengthening the dollar and pressuring global growth, said Krishna Memani, chief investment officer of OppenheimerFunds Inc. That reaction is going to be negative, he said Monday in a Bloomberg Television interview.The rally ran out of steam in late April, hampered by disappointing financial results from technology giants including Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corp., and signs of lackluster economic growth.Data continued to be uneven, with a May manufacturing reading today coming in below the forecasts of economists surveyed by Bloomberg, slipping to the lowest since September 2009 with factory orders at the weakest level this year.As the earnings season draws to a close, Best Buy Co., Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. and Tiffany & Co. are among S 500 companies reporting results this week.An extended rebound in Apple helped lift equities, with the company on pace for its fourth daily advance of at least 1 percent in the past six trading sessions.
The company announced this morning the launch of a subscription-based companion service called Circle Go that lets parents filter the web and apps, limit screen time, and keep up-to-date on how kids are spending time online even when they re outside the bounds of the home s Wi-Fi network.Most devices – including iPhones, iPads, Android smartphones and tablets, and Amazon s Fire tablets – come with parental controls built-in.Meanwhile, traditional parental control software can come across more like spyware rather than policy management tools.Circle with Disney s current product is a small hardware device that connects with your Wi-Fi network but doesn t replace your current router , and is managed by an accompanying mobile app.This is not a standalone subscription service, however, but an add-on to Circle with Disney – it requires that you already have the $99 device and the MyCircle companion app installed.The new subscription service is available via meetcircle.com, while the device itself can be purchased online at the company s website as well as from DisneyStore.com, Amazon, and both online or in-store at Target and Best Buy.
Image Source: Zach Epstein, BGRSamsung shipped more than 81 million smartphones in the most recent quarter, according to market research firm Gartner.The company s successful flagship smartphone launch was obviously a big driver for Samsung in the first quarter as it enjoyed its fastest profit growth in three years.Samsung s Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge are clearly the sleekest and most powerful smartphones the company has ever launched, but they also got a helping hand from some serious advertising and marketing campaigns.HUGE LEAK: This is our first look at a real iPhone 7Between now and the end of the day on June 4th, anyone who purchases a Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 edge at Best Buy for use on Verizon Wireless, AT or Sprint will also get a 32-inch Samsung Smart LED TV for free at Best Buy.And if 32 inches is too small, buyers can also opt to upgrade to a 48-inch Smart TV for $250.Plus, if you re planning to purchase one anyway, now you know you should do it at Best Buy rather than at a carrier store.
When it launched, the 360fly stood out in the 360-degree camera race by introducing a single-lens option at an affordable price.The 360fly 4K was officially released today across the U.S. and will be available internationally soon, including Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Latin America, Canada, South Africa, and China.Introduced earlier this year at CES, the camera offers almost four times the resolution of the original 360fly HD.But, like the original, the camera doesn t capture a completely spherical field of view.The 4K version will also be more accessible than the first, hitting big-box stores like Best Buy and Target as early as today.While the previous 360fly may have been unique in 2014, several 360-degree cameras have emerged that could give it some serious competition, including ones from Samsung, LG, Nikon, and Ricoh.
This year may very well be seen as the dawn of the modular smartphone, with LG and Motorola both offering an array of functionality-enhancing hardware accessories that attach to their flagship handsets and Google s Project Ara poised to ship its first development kit.But phones are not the only members of the mobile ecosystem to adopt this trend, now that protective case maker OtterBox has introduced its ambitious modular case system, known as Universe.Compatible with the current and previous generation of iPhones 6 / 6s / 6 Plus / 6s Plus , the system is built around a version of the manufacturer s $50 Symmetry series case, though it features one key design difference: a slotted rail expansion bay around back, at the bottom.But the real story here is the wide array of modules available at launch or soon after.OtterBox has teamed up with a number of other well-known companies that have contributed custom-built add-ons, which give the phone additional storage, payment processing, advanced camera, mounting, and larger battery solutions.Specifically, the partners and their modules include:– SanDisk, with its iXpand Flash Drive, in 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB capacities– Square, whose retail packaging for its credit card reader and NFC contactless payment device now ships with a compatible adapter.– Olloclip, with its swappable zoom, wide-angle, and fish eye lens kit– Nite Ize, with a vehicle vent mount kit– Manatee Works, which has contributed a version of its StingRay barcode scanner– Seek, with perhaps the most ambitious and priciest module, a $250 thermal camera– Influx, with a Wi-Fi booster– PolarPro, with a range of modules, including tripods, an external battery, clip-on Bluetooth speaker, wide-angle lens, armband attachment, and mobile wallet for storing cash– Goal Zero, with an external batteryAvailable immediately from OtterBox online, the case and modules will hit a pair of national retail channels on May 29: Best Buy online and in-store and Amazon.
For a few years, Amazon s protected users against immediate price drops after purchase with an informal price protection policy that refunded you the difference if the cost of something you bought was slashed mere days later.Most recently, Recode spoke to Earny, a startup that helps people find price difference refunds on items they ve purchased online, about the price protection policy.Amazon s price change policy has changed several times over the years.It s not clear why Amazon decided to cease the informal price protection policy.Recode suggests that startups like Earny were making the price difference policy too easy for customers.If that kind of guarantee is important to you, other retailers still offer pricing protection, including Best Buy, Dell, and Walmart.
For a few years, Amazon s protected users against immediate price drops after purchase with an informal price protection policy that refunded you the difference if the cost of something you bought was slashed mere days later.Most recently, Recode spoke to Earny, a startup that helps people find price difference refunds on items they ve purchased online, about the price protection policy.Amazon s price change policy has changed several times over the years.It s not clear why Amazon decided to cease the informal price protection policy.Recode suggests that startups like Earny were making the price difference policy too easy for customers.If that kind of guarantee is important to you, other retailers still offer pricing protection, including Best Buy, Dell, and Walmart.
The phone case company is trying to extend this image to now include stylish and sleek products — meet the Universe Case System.You can add modules like a camera grip with dedicated shutter and video record buttons, as well as one that enables high-definition audio.Google is also experimenting with a modular phone from its Advanced Technology and Projects division.Project Ara wants to let people easily swap out cameras, speakers, battery packs, and more.It s hard to tell yet if consumers are interested in modular upgrades for their phones, but OtterBox has come out with a whole lot to choose from, and it s likely that more modules will be on the way if the platform is successful.The Universe Case System is available now in white and black on OtterBox s website, but you ll be able to buy it from Best Buy s retail stores and Amazon on May 29.
View photosMoreHttps%3a%2f%2fblueprint-api-production.s3.amazonaws.com%2fuploads%2fcard%2fimage%2f97815%2focrft098On Wednesday, electronics store Best Buy quietly launched the online purchase page for the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, just a few weeks after the retailer made the device available in limited quantities at its brick and mortar locations.The device is listed at the normal price of $599.99 and offers free shipping, however, anxious VR fans obviously acted quickly, because the page already lists the device as "sold out."And while the scarcity of the device might lead some to believe that the Oculus is already a breakaway hit, the company has admitted that the inability to meet demand is due to a component shortage.Nevertheless, based on the rapid sell out on Best Buy's site, there's at least enough demand out there to keep the Oculus production lines running at full steam, even if that doesn't necessarily spell a huge hit.In the meantime, if you've been looking to snag the elusive and well-reviewed VR headset, you now have yet another option to check in on as you attempt to get your virtual fix.
Eero, the hardware company behind a system of good-looking home routers — announced today that it has picked up a $50 million investment led by Menlo Ventures and Index Ventures.The San Francisco-based startup says it will use the capital to expand the team and improve its customer support.The money will also fuel distribution efforts.Though the products are already available at Eero.com and Amazon, customers will also be able to buy one hell of a fancy router  — the kind you d expect to see from Apple — on BestBuy.com, starting this week.Eero products will debut in physical Best Buy stores this summer.Eeros aren t cheap: The company s three-pack costs $499, while single units are priced at a slightly more modest $199.Both Menlo s Mark Siegel and Index Ventures Mike Volpi will work closely with Eero as part of the deal.Siegel will join Eero s board, while Volpi will collaborate as a partner.First Round Capital, Shasta Ventures, Redpoint Ventures, and Playground Global —all previous Eero investors — also participated in the funding round.Eero has put together at least $90 million in funds since its seed round in February 2015, when the startup secured $1 million in presales in two days.
Just months after finally shipping its product to consumers, smart wireless routing system eero has pulled in a new $50 million in growth funding from Menlo Ventures, as the first investment from the Menlo Opportunity Fund.Existing investors First Round Capital, Shasta Ventures, Red Point Ventures, and Playground Global also added to this round.Co-founder Nick Weaver is not bothered by that competition, however.The new funds will help give the startup the assistance needed to grow and begin to forge relationships with retailers both online and off.eero plans to launch with one such brick-and-mortar chain, Best Buy, this summer and is expected to begin selling through BestBuy.com at the beginning of next week.Sometimes big retail stores give products a test run, but, in this case, eero will sell in more than 500 Best Buy stores, or more than half the retail giant s physical outlets, which is a nod to the product s success so far.
Credit: Jared NewmanGoogle s own set-top box is no more, again.At the time, we said the player was a fine first draft.Since then, while Android TV has slowly been integrated into several smart TVs and Nvidia's fancy Shield TV, the best bet for Google s living room strategy still appears to be Chromecast.It s a great premise that many people have grown fond of.The impact on you at home: If you absolutely must have a Nexus Player, Google says some units may still be available from third-party retailers.At this writing major tech stores such as Best Buy, Newegg, Staples, and Walmart weren t carrying the device.
HP has finally come around to this widespread attitude with a fresh take on its classic Omen line of gaming notebooks and desktops.Both are slated to hit Best Buy and HP.com on July 10, though the 17-inch model asks for $1,029 about £699, AU$1,433 on the latter.Turn an existing, affordable design into something gamers might appreciate.This focus gave room for HP to hone in on the other modern basics of a solid gaming laptop: namely 802.11ac Wi-Fi, backlit keyboard and HDMI 2.0.You re looking at a monolithic new chassis with sharp lighting effect options that can even represent its current CPU temperature.You ll also get to cram up to 3TB worth of hard drive in there with up to a 512GB SSD and as much as 32GB of RAM.
ZTE has launched its second Axon-branded flagship, the Axon 7, alongside a compatible virtual reality headset, known as ZTE VR.The 5.5-inch, Android 6.0 Marshmallow-powered handset aims to deliver top-of-the-line features and components for much less than competing brands, starting at just $450 in the U.S.Despite its sub-$500 price point, the spec sheet for the BMW Designworks-crafted phone reads like one for nearly any other major flagship.Starting with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 system-on-chip, Axon 7 can be configured with either 4GB RAM / 64GB storage or a class-leading 6GB RAM / 128GB storage.That latter configuration also delivers a force touch-enabled version of the 1440 x 2560 AMOLED display.Other highlights include front-firing stereo speakers powered by a pair of discrete digital audio chips; a rear-mounted, haptically enhanced fingerprint sensor it vibrates to assist in finger placement ; and NFC for contactless payments.The main camera combines a 20-megapixel Samsung-built sensor with an optically stabilized f/1.8 lens, while the front-facing selfie cam offers an 8-megapixel resolution.The Gear VR-like goggles include a five-piece glass configuration and 9-axis gyroscope, and claim an 18-millisecond delay plus 96-degree field of vision.The phone itself is available immediately in China, and will hit the U.S. shortly through a wide range of channels: directly from ZTE itself, as well as Amazon, Best Buy, B, eBay, and Newegg.U.S. customers benefit from a two-year warranty and a white glove service contract as part of the Axon Passport Program 2.0.
Mophie is the 1 brand in extending your range between charges, and with the launch of Charge Force , the brand wants to remove incessant plugging and unplugging from your life, too, with a brand new wireless ecosystem.Dress your phone in a fetching little electronic tuxedo in the form of a Mophie Juice Pack battery case and you re good to go.For your home or office, you can purchase a desk mounts with powerful magnets in it; it keeps the phone securely mounted, and you can use it while it s charging, or pick it up and walk off with it to make a call or run off to lunch.Of course, you still need to plug it into a cigarette lighter or a USB port in your car, but the advantage with having the charging pad permanently installed is that you can tuck away the wires out of sight.For the wireless charging geeks among you: The charging pads are Qi pads running at about 1 amp of charging power, so you shouldn t see a huge drop the charging speed you re used to with your cables — but the Juice Packs support both Qi and PMA standards, so if you find yourself in a bar, restaurant, or hotel that has wireless charging pads installed, you can drop your phone on one of them and giving your phone s battery a much-needed spoonful of electronic love.The kits retail at $99 and are available from Mophie, Apple and Best Buy, with Apple retail stores and Best Buy stores following in a few weeks.
The Xperia X, Xperia XA, and Xperia X Performance will go on sale at Sony s retail stores, Best Buy, Amazon, Reagan Wireless, and B Photo Video later this year.But the similarities are only skin-deep.A soft press on the key allows you to focus, and a harder press takes a shot.In fact, the phone feels very compact, and that s largely due to the 5-inch screen.Secondly, it has a slightly bigger battery at 2,700mAh and it doesn t have a bigger screen or higher resolution to power, so we would expect the battery life to be good.Given the choice we would certainly opt for the top-end X Performance, for the faster processor and waterproofing.
Dubbed the Juice Pack Wireless, the new cases from Mophie bring wireless charging to the classic Mophie ecosystem.The pads use magnets to help keep your phone safely and securely connected, either vertically or horizontally.These mounts also work with Mophie s existing wireless cases for the Samsung Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge.The Palm Pre supported wireless charging – but it s only been in the past year or so that we ve seen wider adoption.Restaurant chains such as McDonald s and Starbucks support wireless charging, and more phones including Samsung s Galaxy S7/Galaxy S7 Edge support it too.You can order the Juice Pack Wireless from Mophie.com, BestBuy.com and buy it in Best Buy retail stores now.
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