Category Archives: Gadget News, Reviews, And Features

Netflix gets its shows into China through iQiyi licensing deal

Obviously, this isn’t the unfettered broadcasting access that Netflix would prefer, but it allows them to start distributing content into the region. This will grow awareness of the streaming service’s unique content and brand, a Netflix vice president told The Hollywood Reporter.

Netflix didn’t offer any further details, like what content would be distributed through iQiyi or when it would be available. The company expanded into East Asia in 2015, but despite its efforts, strict regulation has kept it and other content providers like Amazon from expanding into China. Licensing content through subscriber-based distributors is a viable alternative, but iQiyi faces stern competition in the streaming content market from Tencent Video and the Alibaba-owned Youku Tudou.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/04/25/netflix-gets-its-shows-into-china-through-iqiyi-licensing-deal/

‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ music player is getting built into Doritos bags

In news that seems well-suited to April 1, Doritos and Marvel have announced a partnership that will see the release of “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2“-branded bags of Doritos that come equipped with a cassette-style music player.

Yeah.

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This ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ branded Doritos bag will be both a snack container and a music player.


Frito Lay

As reported by Billboard, this is only meant to resemble a cassette player, though it does really play music. By plugging in headphones, you can listen to the movie’s full soundtrack, with songs from Fleetwood Mac and George Harrison, among others. David Hasselhoff has a song on there as well, which somehow feels appropriate.

Based on the image, the bag will be available in at least the standard Nacho Cheese flavor, as Doritos has seemingly decided to forgo the superiority of Spicy Nacho.

These special bags won’t be available in stores, instead being sold on Amazon while supplies last. A price was not shared, but you’ll be glad to hear the bag can be recharged so that you aren’t limited to a single battery’s worth of listening sessions.

The bags go on sale here this Friday, April 28. On May 5, Doritos will host events in New York and Los Angeles where fans can win one of these bags.

As for the movie itself, it launches on May 5. For an idea of what to expect, read our “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” review.

Article source: https://www.cnet.com/news/guardians-of-the-galaxy-vol-2-music-player-is-getting-built-into-doritos-bags/#ftag=CAD590a51e

Vizio’s $250 soundbar hosts Google Assistant and Chromecast

The company has also wheeled out an addition to its Sonos-troubling Crave speakers in the form of the Crave Go. The WiFi-streaming device can either be used as part of your whole-home audio setup, or on the road as a portable speaker. Again, it’s packing Chromecast, so you can use it to play a variety of music services, including Google Play Music, Spotify Premium and Pandora. There’s a built-in battery, promising up to six hours of life while on the go, and the unit is available for $199 at Vizio’s website.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/04/25/vizio-updates-its-soundbar-and-speaker-ranges/

Icky wax worms could offer solution biodegrading plastic bags

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Wax worms could hold the key to our plastic problem.


CSIC

The larvae of the Galleria mellonella, also known as the greater wax moth, could hold the key to solving our plastic bag problem.

Scientists from the Institute of Biomedicine and Biotechnology of Cantabria (CSIC), Spain and the University of Cambridge’s department of Biochemistry have found that the caterpillar version of the moth has the ability to digest and break down polyethylene, the material most commonly used in plastic bags, according to Phys.org.

That’s good news for science, because recent discoveries, such as a gut bacteria, aren’t able to do it as fast as the worms can, who munch their way through the bag while digesting them. And to ensure that it’s not just a simple case of them eating the plastic without actually properly biodegrading it, scientists also mashed up the worms (ewww) and smeared the remains on the plastic, and discovered that the polymer chains in the plastic are actually being broken down.

Instead of breeding horse-size caterpillars to digest plastic, though, researchers plan to figure out just what exactly is in the caterpillar — be it the salivary glands or a symbiotic bacteria — is breaking down the plastic. Once that’s solved, it’s possible to replicate the solution on an industrial scale.

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Article source: https://www.cnet.com/news/icky-wax-worms-could-offer-solution-biodegrading-plastic-bags/#ftag=CAD590a51e

NVIDIA’s Shield TV upgrades to 4K for Cast and Google Play movies

Despite all the 4K material NVIDIA’s Shield TV can handle, there have still been a few gaps: you couldn’t play Google Play Movies TV content in 4K, for instance, and you definitely couldn’t Google Cast the 4K videos of your choice. Thankfully, NVIDIA is plugging those two holes today. An update lets all Shield TV boxes play both the content you Cast and Google Play titles in the ultra-sharp resolution, so you don’t have to be quite so picky when looking for material beyond 1080p.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/04/24/nvidia-shield-tv-4k-google-videos/

‚ÄčSpotify could make a smartwatch, fitness band, or even earphones

Music-streaming company Spotify is looking to debut dedicated hardware, according to a job posting. The “Senior Product Manager” would work on a “category-defining product” akin to the Pebble Watch, Amazon Echo and Snap Spectacles.

The idea of Spotify-dedicated hardware makes a lot of sense, for more reasons than you might think. In fact, Spotify’s already been dipping its toes into wearable and fitness tech.

Spotify lives on smartwatches already

The Samsung Gear S3 has a Spotify app that streams music and was originally intended to store music locally for offline playback. An updated app for Google’s Android Wear platform was also supposed to offer more independent music streaming and downloading options, but hasn’t arrived yet. The Android Wear Spotify app is pretty basic, and just acts as a remote. But it shows Spotify has been exploring ideas already.

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Pebble Core, the Spotify wearable Pebble never made.


CNET

Pebble almost made a Spotify product

Before Pebble was sold to Fitbit, the smartwatch company was also working on a standalone, GPS-enabled Android device called Pebble Core. Its big feature was supposed to be Spotify, streaming music and also playing back locally stored tracks for workouts. Pebble Core doesn’t exist, but the basic idea still could be interesting.

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Lifebeam Vi, AI-enabled fitness headphones that already have some Spotify integration.


Sarah Tew/CNET

Spotify is already exploring music and fitness

The Lifebeam Vi, a pair of fitness heart-rate enabled headphones I’ve been wearing over the last week, connects with Spotify to sync playlists for quick playback during workouts. According to Lifebeam CEO Omri Yoffe, whom I spoke with a couple of weeks ago, the longer-term goal is for Spotify’s tracks to match up with your running pace to match your workout’s intensity. Spotify could be developing that type of idea — music that matches your workout — in a future fitness wearable. It would be a great idea, and something that doesn’t exist right now.

Headphone + voice activated music makes sense

Consider Amazon Echo and Google Home. Those are dedicated speakers dedicated to music. Why not a Spotify-type device, or maybe a pair of AirPod-like headphones that could call up playlists automatically? If Spotify’s job listing is looking at voice services, an Echo-alike seems like an obvious direction. But maybe fitness headphones are a good fit, too, if Spotify’s able to develop headphones that could locally store music for runs and use a voice interface to interact.

Spotify glasses? (Please, I hope not)

Spotify’s job listing mentions Spectacles, but I sincerely hope that doesn’t mean music glasses. Instead, it’s likely that the idea of a dedicated wearable, tied into one app, is Spotify’s hardware goal. Much like Spectacles are a perfect extension of Snap, a Spotify band could be a wearable remote for Spotify’s music service. If someone can explain why something for music would be on my eyes, please do.

Article source: https://www.cnet.com/news/could-spotify-make-a-smartwatch-fitness-band-or-other-music-wearables/#ftag=CAD590a51e