May 2018
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Apple HomePod trails far behind Amazon Echo, according to new shipping estimates

By | May 18th, 2018|Categories: TechRadar|

Apple's HomePod is trailing far behind its biggest rivals when it comes to the number of units shipped, according to new data from market research firm Strategy Analytics.

Apple shipped an estimated 600,000 HomePods in the first quarter of 2018, reports Strategy Analytics, netting 6% of smart speaker market share.

That's significantly behind Amazon, which Strategy Analytics estimates shipped 4 million Amazon Echo speakers in the quarter ending March 31, allowing it to corner a whopping 43.6% of the market. 

The Apple HomePod didn't go on sale until February 9, so it does have a disadvantage when it comes to time on sale.… Read the full article

Google Assistant comes to Sony’s top-tier noise-cancelling headphones

By | May 17th, 2018|Categories: TechRadar|

Sony and Google have announced that the award-winning Sony WH-1000XM2 and Sony WI-1000X Headphones will now be compatible with Google Assistant. 

The headphones previously worked with whatever digital assistant came built into your phone, but the new update will allow iOS users to chat one-on-one with Google Assistant while wearing Sony’s headphones.

Google Assistant will be rolling out to the headphones via an OTA update, which Sony says should be available to download right now for free to all customers. 

This added functionality helps Sony’s headphones rival the Bose QuietComfort 35 II, another pair of  leading noise-cancelling headphones that came built-in with the feature at launch.… Read the full article

YouTube Music is official: packed with playlists, radio and music videos

By | May 17th, 2018|Categories: TechRadar|

YouTube has finally revealed its grand plan for music streaming and it comes in the form of YouTube Music. 

This new music streaming service is set to launch 22 May, with the US, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and South Korea getting the platform first and other countries, including the UK, set to get it in the "coming weeks".

But what exactly is the service? Well, it's YouTube's big music push, something that has been rumored for, well, years now and was recently said to be called YouTube Remix.… Read the full article

Music-streaming service Tidal under fire over late royalty payments

By | May 17th, 2018|Categories: TechRadar|

In December of last year, it was reported that the much-hyped streaming service Tidal may only have enough money for 6 more months of operation. 

With that timeframe having just passed us, a new story from Dagens Næringsliv, the Norwegian newspaper that originally broke that news, is now reporting that Tidal is several months behind on its royalty payments to a number of record labels.

According to the publication, the claim that the streaming service is “behind with payments directly to the three major international record companies” is backed by multiple execs, painting a rather dire picture of Tidal's future. 

Is Tidal washed up?

Read the full article

The amount of Sonos-compatible products just doubled without any new launches

By | May 16th, 2018|Categories: TechRadar|

Sonos is doubling the amount of Sonos-compatible products – all without releasing any new products of their own.

It’s all thanks to a new OTA update that’s coming to Onkyo’s network branded receivers, including those made by Onkyo, Integra, Pioneer and Pioneer Elite. According to Onkyo, these receivers will all soon be certified “Works with Sonos” products, allowing you to treat them just like you would a Sonos speaker.

The update is rolling out in June and, when it hits, certified models will integrate seamlessly with the Sonos ecosystem, allowing receivers and any connected speakers to act just like any other component in a Sonos system.… Read the full article

OnePlus Bullets Wireless earphones cut the chord between your phone and ears

By | May 16th, 2018|Categories: TechRadar|

Alongside the arrival of the OnePlus 6, the Chinese firm also launched a new pair of headphones, the OnePlus Bullets Wireless.

An evolution of its corded Bullets line, the Bullets Wireless are a water resistant set of Bluetooth earphones connected to each other by a cable-come-neckband, but that doesn't extend to your smartphone.

The back of each of the buds are magnetic, allowing you to clip them together around your neck to prevent them getting in the way. 

When they are clipped together, the Bluetooth 4.1 connection with your smartphone is cut, helping to conserve your battery.… Read the full article

The Google Pixel Buds update you were waiting for has arrived

By | May 15th, 2018|Categories: TechRadar|

Google Pixel Buds, while a good-sounding set of Bluetooth earbuds, are sorely lacking in gestures that let you do more without yanking your phone out. 

A few months after its launch, Google is now in the process of issuing a sizeable update that aims to fix that.

The first is a triple tap gesture that powers the Pixel Buds on and off. Previously, the only way to turn them off was to return them to their charging case. This will be good for saving battery life.… Read the full article

Sony’s new audio system allows users to play the drums

By | May 15th, 2018|Categories: TechRadar|

The Japanese electronic giant, Sony, known for it's prowess in audio, has launched three new audio systems in India. The MHC-V81D, MHC-V71D and the MHC-V41D are only available in black and cost Rs 51,990, Rs 41,990 and Rs 31,990 respectively. Readers can buy them at any Sony Center or major electronic store in India. 

The MHC-V81 is the more rugged speaker with a dust-proof and splash-proof top surface and a touch panel that allows you to use the device's touch screen to play the drums.… Read the full article

Someone is tricking voice assistants with white noise and secret commands

By | May 11th, 2018|Categories: TechRadar|

Ever get the feeling that your voice assistant of choice isn't doing what you actually want it to do? Well, it might not be your dodgy accent to blame as a bunch of researchers have found ways to manipulate the likes of Siri and Alexa, using white noise and a series of commands not audible to us puny humans. 

According to the New York Times, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, have revealed how they managed to embed commands directly into music or spoken word that could potentially get a voice assistant to add something to a shopping list or control parts of a phone. 

This is something that has only been done in lab conditions but speaking about the findings, which follow on from a study conducted in 2016 by the team, Nicholas Carlini, one of the paper's authors said: “My assumption is that the malicious people already employ people to do what I do.”

Carlini went on to note that: “We want to demonstrate that it’s possible, and then hope that other people will say, ‘Okay this is possible, now let’s try and fix it.’” 

Panic prevention

Apple, Amazon and Google have responded to the New York Times' article, noting that steps are always taken to make sure smart speakers are secure and, in the case of the Apple Homepod is designed to "prevent commands from doing things like unlocking doors," and it noted that "iPhones and iPads must be unlocked before Siri will act on commands".… Read the full article

Polk announces a Google Assistant speaker at the tail-end of Google IO

By | May 11th, 2018|Categories: TechRadar|

One of the key highlights from this year’s Google IO developer conference was the announcement that the first Google Smart Displays would be launching in July of this year. Smart Displays, with their built-in screens and Google Assistants, are Google’s answer to the Amazon Echo Show and an evolution of the voice-only Google Assistant speakers like the Google Home and Google Home Mini.

Surprisingly absent from Google IO was Polk, who has today just announced a Google smart speaker of its own – albeit one without a built-in display

The speaker is called the Polk Assist and it shares a striking resemblance to the canister-shaped JBL Link 20 in that it has a mesh covering along the sides and front of the speaker and a set of control buttons and speaker array on the top lid. 

Beyond simply building Google Assistant into the speaker, the Polk Assist will also support Chromecast Built-in, allowing you to group the speaker up for multi-room playback and Cast audio streams to the Assist from your mobile device or PC.… Read the full article