Gadgets for the week: from the smallest smartphone to the drones-police

Gadgets for the week: from the smallest smartphone to the drones-police


The world’s first 5G modem for smartphones, world’s smallest phone, a cordless Dyson vacuum cleaner, vintage camera Kodak, review of the related “model” smartphone Google Pixel and crawling on clothes robots. About these and other innovations of science and technology — a weekly digest of News.Hi-tech.

Smashing Taser drones

US law enforcement agencies are thinking about using unmanned aerial vehicles, equipped with a stun weapon. The idea to adopt drone with Taser (police electric gun that shoots metal arrows) filed by Taser International, the manufacturer of such devices.

US police only started to consider the proposal, but the drones with tasers has raised concerns about public safety and civil liberties. “The adoption by society of the idea that the UAV can be equipped with some kind of weapons is an obstacle to be overcome,” said Pete Simpson, a representative of the Portland police Department.

However, this summer in Dallas was a precedent, when the US intelligence services for the first time in history used a robot to neutralize a criminal. The suspect in the shooting was killed with a bomb the robot-the sapper, and hold the manipulator arm, was taken to the hiding place.

Browse reviews of the “Google phone” Pixel

This week in the USA started selling the first smartphones under the new brand Google: Pixel and Pixel XL. HTC collects new items, however search engine positioning them as their own product, developed from beginning to end. As “pixeltoy” were adopted by foreign experts, found out after reading the related basic Pixel and Pixel XL in the us media, News.Hi-tech.

IT-journalists unanimously adopted the product as “iPhone” on Android: the device has a similar design, and Google, integrating software and hardware, has managed to achieve optimization of operation of its components.

“Pixel is the best Android and best alternative to the iPhone. ‘Iron’ is easy. Today, anyone can produce a good phone, and even make it cheap. The real challenge is to teach him to do more with AI and other useful services. Pixel proves that Google is not just solves this problem. He can compete with the first attempt,” concluded columnist for Business Insider, Steve Kovach.

And David pierce of Wired was the only journalist who admitted that the “pixels” convinced him to abandon the Apple smartphone. What is so good new Google, you can learn from our review of reviews.

A swarm of tiny robots like the interface of the future

On the UIST conference 2016 in Tokyo, an international group of scientists introduced a whole new class of user interface in which a Central role is played by the swarm of tiny Autonomous robots. Open platform, called Zooids, not only gives information, but interacts with man.

Like a living organism, a swarm of small robots can take many provisions, displaying any information, and move things like small ants. “Tidy” working together, taking instructions from the computer, which monitors the movements of the pack.

Robots can apply the phone, tidy up or clean up crumbs on the kitchen table. Rotating “Sodom”, the user can lower the volume, or use it as a control in the game.

The world’s first 5G modem for smartphones

The developer of microelectronics Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon chip X50designed to provide the smartphones of the future connection speeds up to 5 Gbps in 5G networks. According to the company, this is the first smartphone 5G modem in the world.

5 Gigabit chip that fits into a smartphone — quite an impressive figure. In full support of such speeds by the operator and the appropriate rate of the channels in the operating system of the smartphone can, for example, to access data in the cloud even faster than now accesses the data on the internal drive. Streaming network video in any resolution or displaying high quality graphics in games that are run on remote servers and only broadcast on the smartphone will become a reality.

Though not soon. Qualcomm promised that I’ll start sending out samples of chips Snapdragon X50 customers in the second half of 2017, and they, in turn, will release smartphones with them in 2018. But the vast majority of mobile operators to this point not yet be ready to offer users access to 5G-speeds in their networks. Qualcomm operates in the millimeter wave band at a frequency of 28 GHz. Such radio waves cannot be transmitted for significant distances and even penetrate through walls, making the task of building the cellular network of the plurality of small base stations is very difficult.

Wireless cleaner, a new generation

British company Dyson has officially presented in Russia a new generation of its wireless vacuum cleaner — Dyson V8. Compared with the model-predecessor, the V6, the company’s engineers have increased the autonomy of the device, reduced noise and increased convenience of use. However, weight increased.

According to the manufacturer, the power of the V8 in turbo mode, activated by a separate switch, is 115 AVT (“air watts”, airwatt), and standard — 22 ed. For comparison, the V6 is a 100 ed and 28, respectively. In standard mode, and with nozzles that do not have their own motors (slit, for example), from one full charge vacuum cleaner can work 40 minutes (compared to predecessor figure has doubled). With elektronaladka 20-25 minutes.

Along with increased autonomy and weight of the unit from 2.3 kg to 2.63 V6 from V8. Most likely this happened due to the increase of the battery. When cleaning the floor, when the weight of the vacuum cleaner partially account for the nozzle, it is not as important. But in cases when it is necessary to keep on weight (cleaning furniture, corners, ceilings, etc.), the hand can get tired faster.

Tesla electric cars will be even smarter

The company Tesla has announcedit and electric vehicles will now be equipped with systems providing full self-governing. True to activate them, the manufacturer will gradually, as the availability of appropriate SOFTWARE.

In the number of systems that will allow “teslam” to move without the driver, consists of 8 cameras with 360-degree coverage, “seeing” at a distance of 250 metres, and 12 ultrasonic sensors that can detect hard and soft objects. New radar aimed in the direction of motion of the machine will be my backup camera in the rain and fog. Analyzes data from sensors, “neural network Tesla” running on the GPU Nvidia Titan.

Although equipment making electric cars, Tesla Autonomous, with today being installed on all new cars, self-driving, they have yet to become. The company said that engineers will have to further calibrate the system using data passed by the machines in the real world millions of miles away.

Moreover, new vehicles source will not receive those partial functions of autonomy to security, which the Tesla Model S and Model X was fitted with in recent months: automatic emergency braking, collision warning, deduction of number and active cruise control.

Huawei Honor 6X: “two-chamber” and available

In China officially announced a new smartphone brand Honorowned by Huawei. Honor 6X combines metal housing, average characteristics and a dual rear camera with an affordable ($150 for the base modification).

The device is equipped with a 5.5-inch FullHD screen covered with glass with the effect of 2.5 D. was placed Inside 8-core processor Kirin 655, 3 or 4 GB of RAM and drive on 32 or 64 GB. Working on new Android 6 (Marshmallow) and will probably get eventually upgrade to Android 7.

On the rear panel of the smartphone can be seen round the fingerprint scanner and dual camera. The main camera in the pair has a resolution of 12 megapixels, secondary — 2 megapixels. The battery capacity of the device is 3340 mAh, one slot for SIM-cards you can insert a microSD card, the device also supports VoLTE (voice transmission with high quality in LTE networks). From the announcement it is unclear whether a smartphone charging port microUSB or USB.

Honor 6X will be available in China from October 25. The most affordable version with 3 GB of RAM and drive on 32 GB will cost 999 yuan ($150), increase RAM to 4 GB raises the price tag up to 1299 yuan ($190) and the top version on 4/64 GB will cost 1599 RMB ($240).

The Razer Blade Pro: powerful gaming laptop

The company Razer announced a gaming laptop of equal performance level desktop systems. The new Blade Pro is equipped with a graphics desktop-level NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080, low profile mechanical keyboard and 17-inch 4K-screen with IGZO matrix.

In Razer system called “desktop in your laptop.” In addition to the 4-core Skylake processor, the device is equipped with 32 GB of RAM, a 2 terabyte SSD with Thunderbolt 3. With all this, the Blade Pro is pretty portable: the filling exposed body with a thickness of 23 mm, and the entire notebook weighs 3.5 pounds.


Like all gaming laptops, the new Razer is not cheap. The entry-level model, with memory for 512 GB will be sold for 4199 euros. In sale it will arrive by November.

Camera Kodak under the legendary brand Ektra

The American company Kodak, which was once a recognized leader in the market of photographic equipment, has introduced the first Android smartphone under the legendary brand Ektra. New camera phone named in honor of rangefinder cameras 1941 release and eponymous series 110-film cameras of the 70s.

With the exception of vintage design, with previous Kodak products had little in common. The device has a dark trim “leatherette”, grip and shutter button on the right side. Responsible for shooting a 21-megapixel IMX230 image sensor Sony.

The Kodak camera has a 5-inch screen Full HD, 10-core processor MediaTek Helio X20, 3 gigabytes of RAM and 32 GB built-in, battery capacity of 3000 mA*h the device Works on Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The novelty will be available only in Europe for £449/€499. The sales will start in December.

Review: Sony Xperia Ultra XA

This smartphone with narrow frame around a huge 6-inch screen has a 16-megapixel front-facing camera with autofocus, optical stabilization and led flash that guarantees high-quality selfies even in low light. News.Hi-tech found out all the features of the Sony Xperia Ultra XA.

The new phablet from Sony has received the updated nice design, overall repeating 5-inch smartphone Xperia XA in the same range X. the main advantages of Xperia XA Ultra is also add on bright and contrasting 6-inch screen with a narrow frame, NFC interface, allowing, in particular, to read the balance of the transportation card, and a quick charging battery. However, the main feature of novelty was, of course, the front camera equipped with auto focus, smart flash and optical image stabilization.

An obvious disadvantage of the new phablet looks modest amount of internal memory. Video playback time in offline mode also adds trumps Xperia XA Ultra. Thus, the presence of a fingerprint scanner could be another advantage of the new smartphone (for middle-class devices, such a device is not surprising).

The smallest smartphone in the world

Of 46.7 37.3 9.9 mm are the dimensions of the new smartphone Vphone S8 announced in China. The gadget is only slightly greater than the dimensions of the smart watch Apple Watch, but it is significantly easier to “Apple” gadget is only 30 grams. The manufacturer claims that it is the smallest smartphone in the world.

Vphone S8 is equipped with a colour touch screen with a diagonal of 1.54 inches, the screen is protected by rounded edges (“2.5 D effect”) glass. The gadget only 64 MB RAM and 128 MB of internal memory (and microSD slot), and as used MT2502 processor — low-power system-on-chip designed for smart watches.

In fact, the gadget is a smart watch, just without the mounts for the strap and with the ability to make voice calls. Given its size, the call will probably be more comfortable with a headset (there are like 3.5 mm Jack and Bluetooth interface). The gadget, which is embedded with FM radio, heart rate sensor and pedometer, you’ll likely need to frequently charge — capacity built-in battery is only 380 mAh.

Operating system “smartphone” manufacturer not specified, but the on-screen system buttons look the same as in the latest versions of Android. Price of the device is not yet known.

Electric LeEco

The Chinese company LeEco in honor of his appearance on the American market is going to present unmanned electric vehicle, says Reuters. The company also plans to offer the Americans smartphones, TVs and entertainment content.

Currently, the California office LeEco has about 500 employees. However, the company plans to hire another 12 thousand people for a new office complex in Silicon valley. We will remind that earlier the company was going to invest $1.8 billion in the establishment of a plant for the production of electric vehicles in China.

Company LeEco has been working for 12 years until January 2016 called LeTV. The scope of activities of the company includes the production of electronics (phones, TVs) and electric vehicles, the creation and distribution of video content, e-Commerce and cloud services.

Rovables: crawling on the clothes robots

Engineers from Stanford University together with colleagues from the Massachusetts Institute of technology are working on creating a device Rovables, which was presented at the Symposium on user interface UIST in Tokyo. Rovables — a tiny climbing clothing bot with magnetic wheels. The presented prototypes are able to easily crawl on the clothing and to perform various useful tasks.

Each boat has a battery, a microcontroller and a wireless communication port. Neodymium magnetic wheels adhere on the cloth to keep the bot on the clothes. Unique sensors and algorithms allow Rovables to carry out some operations independently. While a bot can continuously perform its function for 45 minutes before again the battery will need recharging.

The device can be equipped with tiny vibrating motors to gently squeeze the skin of the person. Thus, the bot will be able to Wake the man, has become unusual and a little strange alarm, or to serve as a bot-reminder.

The researchers describe the situation when a woman wears a few miniature Rovables at the same time. The bots measure her progress at the gym, about the same as a fitness tracker. During her subway rides they join together to form a screen, like a smartphone, and play the video. They pulled her by the sleeve, if it gets too hot, touch her shoulder when she receives an important message, watching her sleep and Wake her in the morning.

Material prepared by Oleg Ilyukhin, with the participation of Nicholas Belkin and Andrey Borzenko