LG V30 with improved AI chip could be the star of LG's appearance at the MWC

The Mobile World Congress 2018 is coming closer and closer and the mobile communications industry is preparing everything for the largest trade fair in the industry. It appears that LG has changed their plans at short notice. Since the G7 is apparently back on the drawing board, the star at LG’s stand in Barcelona will be a version of the V30 expanded with artificial intelligence.

Traditionally, one of the annual MWC highlights is a G-Series LG smartphone, but this year it looks very much like the G7 will not be presented in Barcelona. According to Jo Seong-jin, CEO of LG, the top smartphone lacks a unique selling point.

Which #MWC18 highlight will take the place of the G7?

The still very young high-end V30 smartphone from LG, with its focus on videographers, could close the gap with a brand new version. According to an industry source from the Korean Herald, LG is going to work on a V30 model with artificial intelligence. Will the name for this third version be the V30+ α? It would certainly fit into LG’s AI strategy for 2018. LG made an announcement at CES 2018 regarding the new ThinQ Smart-TV-Lineup, which will come with the 9 or 7 processor. The processors are designed to improve the image and color quality of the OLED and nanocell panels on smart TVs.

AndroidPIT Jessica LG V30 0636The V30 is not just for the eyes, but for the ears too, thanks to the Quad DAC. / © AndroidPIT

For an LG V30+ α modified chip could possibly be used. The question is: what could this chip do? Currently, AI chips are mainly used for image and scene recognition in camera apps. The possibilities with this technology are becoming more and more advanced, and it could be that the LG V30+ α will come with an optimized camera. At CES, LG announced that it will focus more on artificial intelligence as it develops the ThinQ brand. In addition, the company’s own AI ambitions should stand out clearly from the competition. A V30+ α would be the first AI-powered smartphone within LG’s ThinQ strategy.

What do you think LG has in store for the third version of the LGV30? Tell us what you think in the comments!

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This startup could make the Pixel 3's speakers disappear

It almost went unnoticed. Google bought Redux, a startup in the UK, which has several technologies capable of making smartphone speakers disappear. Could this be our first hint of a feature for the Google Pixel 3? It’s not that unlikely.

Google apparently bought the British startup Redux in 2016. The most interesting thing about the startup is that it has developed a technology which allows for sound to come from the display without separate speakers. This sort of thing isn’t completely new because TV manufacturers have already managed to make it work, in the high-end segment, of course.

For example, Sony has introduced the second generation of the Bravia A series at CES 2018 in Las Vegas. This OLED 4K Smart TV lacks conventional speakers. Instead, the whole screen vibrates with the help of actuators. LG showed off a similar technology called Crystal Sound at CES 2017 in Las Vegas.

Redux technology creates space for other components

Space inside a smartphone is a precious commodity. Thanks to Redux’s technology, Google could save room in the Pixel 3 by eliminating conventional speakers. The extra space inside could be used for a larger battery or possibly an Apple iPhone X-like TrueDepth camera.

Getting rid of the speaker opening could have other positive results, like potentially earning the Pixel 3 a higher IP rating.

Not just for Pixel phones

The Redux technology isn’t just for smartphones, because according to the company’s LinkedIn page, Redux owns 178 patents, including one that generates accurate vibrational feedback. Such feedback could also be used as a kind of keyboard haptic feedback on a larger display. This could be used in the next iteration of the Pixel C tablets. Another possibility would be to use the technology in potential successors to the Google Home or Home Mini, which could then be equipped with displays.

One step at a time, though. For the immediate future, putting Redux’s audio technology in the Pixel 3 is possible.

What do you think of this innovation? Do you think it’s realistic to expect to see this technology in the Pixel 3 by Fall 2018? Discuss it with us in the comments.

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Mobvoi Ticwatch S and E review: What more could you want from a smartwatch?

Mobvoi recently presented a new pair of watches, this time equipped with the most common Android Wear, and with a competitive price. Is it worth getting one? We’ve tested them out, so here is our review of the most talked about smartwatch right now!

Good

  • Competitive price
  • Excellent Display
  • GPS (Ticwatch S)
  • Nice design
  • Android Wear 2.0 with all functions
  • Decent battery life
  • Speaker for calls

Bad

  • Bulky on small wrists
  • Low quality materials (ticwatch E)
  • Straps not interchangeable (ticwatch S)
  • Hardware button badly positioned

Release date and price

Both watches are available to purchase on the official Mobvoi website at a price of $ 199.99 and $ 159.99 for the ticwatch S and ticwatch E. A 20% discount code is also available if you buy it here.

Ticwatch S (S stands for Sport) is available in Knight (black) Aurora (Yellow) and Glacier (white). All three versions have a black ring with numbers printed in the yellow color, same as the Aurora verson.

Ticwatch E (E stands for Express) is available in the same colours but with different names: Shadow, Ice and Lemon. On Ticwatch E you don’t have the numbered ring, but on the other hand you can change the strap, which is not possible on the sports model, as it has GPS antennas inside the rubber bands.

For this review, we received the Tickwatch S in ‘Aurora’ and Ticwatch E in Ice colour.

Design and build quality

Ticwatch Express has a classic and simple design. In the Ice colour I received, the 44 mm case (and 13.5 mm thick) is made entirely of transparent glossy plastic that surrounds a second layer of white plastic. Visually, it looks great, but you can immediately feel that the material may not be very resistant and is somewhat reminiscent of some of the cheaper Smartwatch models from the early ’90s.

The bracelet itself seemed fragile, but at the end of the testing there was no damage or signs of wear, so I could be wrong. The strap is made of rubber with an almost velvety finish, which makes it easy to fasten and does not move or feel uncomfortable once on the wrist.

AndroidPIT ticwatch e ticwatch s smartwatch android wear wearables 8154 Simple and classic design of the Mobvoi Smartwatch / © AndroidPIT

The Ticwatch Sport differs in terms of the overall size, which is up to 45 mm. At the same time, it is slightly thinner at 13 mm, however, both watches are quite bulky. Around the display there is a fixed numbered ring nut, which I thought looked great.

Both the case and strap are highlighted in yellow with a matt finish in the Aurora version. After only a week, there was already a difference in colour between the plastic case and the rubber strap that began to darken. So overtime, you can expect to see the wear and tear.

AndroidPIT ticwatch e ticwatch s smartwatch android wear wearables 8136 Scratches and dirt can be seen on this color / © AndroidPIT

All in all, the design and construction of the two smartwatches is not so bad and given the reduced cost I certainly didn’t expect more valuable materials. I want to emphasize the fact that I’m absolutely not disappointed by the quality of smartwatches, just don’t expect the quality level of a Gear Sport or Gear S3.

One unusual feature on both Ticwatches, is that the button is located on the wrong side of the watch, I don’t think this a terrible thing, but it might be irritating for some as you will have to place your wrist in a slightly uncomfortable position, covering the display with your hand. I would say the Ticwatch E is the best in this instance, as the button is more accessible and handles better overall.

AndroidPIT ticwatch e ticwatch s smartwatch android wear wearables 8139 The button located on the left / © AndroidPIT

The Ticwatch S weighs 45.5g and the Ticwatch E stops at 41.5g; both are protected from splash water with IP67 certification.

Display

The display of the two smartwatches is 1.4 inches with a resolution of 400×400 pixels, resulting in a pixel density of 287 ppi. Not bad for cheap smartwatches. Not only that, the technology used is OLED, which guarantees absolute blacks and almost zero consumption of the Always-on display that will not affect the battery much if used. The viewing angles are also excellent; you don’t have to rotate your wrist completely towards you to view the screen

Both watches feature a scratch-resistant protective glass. I used the smartwatches during many day-to-day things (maintenance of PCs, moving furniture, washing dishes) and despite some small knocks on the glass, both came out unscathed.

AndroidPIT ticwatch e ticwatch s smartwatch android wear wearables 8127 The displays are bright / © AndroidPIT

The visibility in the sun is very good especially when compared to some LCD displays of the competition. In the dark, brightness is not disturbing. The only complaint I have about the display is that neither of the two watches has an automatic brightness sensor (unlike the Moto 360).

During the test the touch screen has always reacted very well to the controls even with the screen slightly wet, which was a pleasant surprise.

Software

Android Wear is certainly not a novelty and Google is not introducing many new features to the platform after its advancement to version 2.0. Despite Google’s lack of functionality updates, the Ticwatches feature Android 7.1.1 with October’s security patches and will apparently be updated in Oreo.

Since i’ve had then, I already received two different OTA updates on both watches, which shows the company’s interest in supporting the product (other more famous companies seemed to have abandoned their products).

AndroidPIT ticwatch e ticwatch s smartwatch android wear wearables 8083 Both use Android Wear 2.0 and will be upgraded to Oreo / © AndroidPIT

Mobvoi’s only software additions are for step counter, heartbeat detector and charts for monitoring activities during a day. These functions can be deactivated if you use Google Fit like me. The addition of the company’s specific dials specifically designed for the two watch models, which perfectly match the colours of the bracelets and case.

Performance

Ticwatch Express and Sport share the same internal hardware. The only difference is that the S version has GPS. Both have a dual-core Mediatek MT2601 dual-core CPU with a frequency of 1.2GHz. Normally I’m not satisfied with the operation of the SoC Mediatek, but this time I changed my mind: the chip responded well and provided smooth performance consistently.

AndroidPIT ticwatch e ticwatch s smartwatch android wear wearables 8144 The heart rate monitor (only on the Express version) / © AndroidPIT

The RAM is 512MB and the internal memory is 4GB for apps and music to listen with Bluetooth headphones. In more expensive models the accelerometer, gyroscope, compass, proximity sensor and optical heart rate reader for hardware equipment functions at the same level. Of course, heart rate monitor readings are generally not accurate and therefore you should take those readings with a pinch of salt. Another feature includes a vibration motor for. There is also a vibration motor for notifications.

To connect to the smartphone, the two watches use Bluetooth 4.1 BLE and can connect to the internet for receiving notifications and updates also via WIFI antenna 802.11 b/g/n.

Audio

Both watches are equipped with microphones and speakers. You’ll not only be able to give commands to Google Assistant but you’ll also be able to answer and make calls directly from your wrist.

The microphones work well, they are fast to respond and Google Assistant works just like any other platform. Speakers have enough volume to make a call in low noise situations such as driving, but the sound quality is not high. I would not recommend using it in a crowded place as you won’t be able to hear the conversation, and of course people could eavesdrop on your conversation!

Another great feature, is that you can download music with Google Play Music for listening via bluetooth heaphones. This could be useful if you go running while leaving your smartphone in the car or at home.

Battery

Mobvoi’s two smartwatches are powered by a 300mAh battery that has proven to be more than enough in everyday use.

Don’t be afraid to use Google Assistant or respond to notifications via voice commands, the battery will definitely support you for a full day. In most cases even two days can be easily reached with normal use. Using the GPS of the Ticwatch S, the hours of use drop significantly but you will probably be able to reach your destination before the battery runs out!

AndroidPIT ticwatch e ticwatch s smartwatch android wear wearables 8143 The charging cable / © AndroidPIT

Charging is done by a magnetic connector. Unfortunately, if you break this cable, you cannot purchase spare parts. In addition, the magnets that connect it are not that strong and therefore disconnect if badly positioned. During the testing I wanted to charge one of the smartwatches overnight and woke up to find a low battery.

Final verdict

Mobvoi has certainly proved to have learned from its past experiences with his Ticwatch and Ticwatch 2. After experimenting with various software, the company decided to rely on the most popular Android Wear and embrace an ecosystem already appreciated by developers.

Even without the discount code, Ticwatch S and Ticwatch E are the champions of quality/price ratio and as the first smartwatch are more than recommended. Don’t expect elegant and luxurious devices, but they are more than suitable for young people and sportsmen. In their price range, they are the best buy.

AndroidPIT ticwatch e ticwatch s smartwatch android wear wearables 8159 You wont be disappointed with either of these Smartwatches / © AndroidPIT

If you are looking for your first smartwatch, a device to be used for day-to-day activities, sports, or just an accessory to accompany your smartphone, then I would really recommend Ticwatch Express and Ticwatch Sport.

We only hope that the company, like many other startups of the past, does not stop the software support.

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Beware: The Pixel 2 XL could have screen burn-in problems

The display of the Pixel 2 XL has been criticized by many over the last few weeks due to color and texture issues. Beyond disappointment with the lackluster display, now there’s anxiety over a different, much worse problem. Some who have been testing review units have noticed signs of screen burn-in and Google is now actively investigating these reports.

Alex Dobie of Android Central was the first to report seeing evidence of screen burn-in, and since his initial post on Twitter, others have confirmed seeing the same. You can see the apparent burn-in when the screen is set to display a solid grey background, as the navigation buttons on the bottom are still faintly visible. If you have a Pixel 2 XL already, you can check your unit by following the directions here. It seems that the smaller Pixel 2 is not affected.

Google is already investigating these reports of possible screen burn-in on Pixel 2 XL units, saying in a statement that it puts all of its products through “extensive quality testing before launch and in the manufacturing of every unit. We are actively investigating this report”. We’ll update you when more information is released. In the meantime, it’s important to keep in mind that we might not be seeing a worst-case scenario here. As suggested by Dieter Bohn at The Verge, this could be non-permanent image retention or ‘ghosting’. And it might not happen with every unit. 

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At $ 849, even the possibility of screen burn-in is a deal breaker for now

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We’ll have to wait and see if this really turns out to be burn-in. But, if that is indeed the case, it could certainly be a deal breaker for many who are looking to buy a Pixel 2 XL until Google works out a solution. Be sure to check out our round up of the best alternatives to the new Pixel phones if you’re considering making a purchase soon.

What do you think of this issue? Are you seeing signs of burn-in already? Let us know in the comments!

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Samsung Galaxy Note 8 with DeX: great, but could be better if…

Samsung introduced the DeX station alongside the Galaxy S8, and this feature, which turns a smartphone into a PC replacement, will supposedly make the Galaxy Note 8 even better. It does the job, but there is still a whole lot to do—mainly when it comes to the commitment of app developers.

Samsung has given DeX mode a few improvements for the Galaxy Note 8. More icons can be shown on the menu, multi-window usage was simplified, which now works very much like in Windows, and performance was improved. The dock itself remains the same, but it has only been available for a few months anyway. Although you can’t really use the smartphone as a standalone device in DeX mode – it sits firmly in the holder with the display off – the improvements not only sound good but are also good in practice. It does, however, falter in other areas.

When using DeX with the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, you immediately notice that the only apps that actually run smoothly on the large display are Samsung’s own. Many applications can’t even be enlarged; rather, they remain in a small window in smartphone format that the user can’t expand. Although some apps, such as Twitter, can be set to full screen, they are displayed in a way that is hardly practical.

Screenshot 20171006 095144 Am I actually supposed to work in these mini-windows? / © AndroidPIT

Samsung fears a chicken-and-egg problem

One thing is crystal clear: App developers are obviously either not interested in DeX and similar solutions or do not see enough potential in them to invest their efforts into the adaptation. This is a classic chicken-and-egg problem that is all too familiar to me as a former Windows Phone user: few apps and therefore few users, which therefore leads to little interest from app developers, which generally does not result in a bright future.

Opinion by Steffen Herget

If the apps are bad, then it’s all bad

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During the Galaxy Note 8 presentation, Samsung not only praised DeX as a work device but also as a device for games. It makes sense; gaming is definitely much more fun on a large screen with a keyboard and a mouse. There’s just one problem: Hardly any games really support DeX. In most titles, DeX gamers only see the games in an emulated smartphone screen and often enough the keyboard is not even supported; rather, your mouse needs to act as a finger replacement. Sometimes it works quite well, such as in strategic titles, but sometimes it doesn’t work at all. In all seriousness, you’ve got to be kidding me if I’m supposed to control Need For Speed – No Limits by using the mouse button to click on the gas pedal in the mini-game window on the monitor.

Screenshot 20171006 094226 Large screen, small games. That’s no fun. / © AndroidPIT

Paradox: In Samsung’s game launcher, an entire series of games, which bear the title “Games discovery for Samsung DeX”, are shown via DeX. I expected to find some games that were adapted for DeX among these several dozen titles, but no dice. Hardly any games work with the large display and input devices. Samsung also bears some responsibility here, as it’s no longer the fault of the app developers alone. Why do they advertise titles that are not in the least suited for DeX?

DeX isn’t for the masses

The Galaxy Note 8 is actually predestined for DeX. Improvements in the system will make the replacement PC run more quickly and smoothly, work better with many open programs, and display more content than what was possible with the Galaxy S8. The smartphone will not become excessively warm either thanks to active cooling. However, the DeX does not offer good and true mobility compared to a notebook PC, because in addition to the dock, you ultimately need to pack a keyboard, mouse, cable and even a monitor for good measure as well. Most customers simply don’t need DeX. Nevertheless, it is a good approach to show everything you can do with that high-performance computer in your pocket.

Screenshot 20171006 094605 One thing holds true: Samsung’s own apps work flawlessly, and I hope that Samsung doesn’t get discouraged by the DeX’s somewhat rough start. / © AndroidPIT

If developers would be a bit more committed and if the entire setup would become a bit more flexible – a wireless connection and touchscreen to replace the mouse and keyboard are key – DeX could become even more exciting, mainly with the Galaxy Note 8. Although these kinds of PC-replacement docks for smartphones will never become something for the mainstream, they could thoroughly enrich the lives of enthusiasts.

What do you think of DeX and similar solutions that we will see in the near future? Are they worth it or not?

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DJI Spark review: You could fly it with your eyes closed

DJI Spark is the smallest drone in this Chinese company’s catalog. With a little over a decade of experience, it has launched a drone that absolutely anyone can use. The Spark may just be the easiest drone to fly, and the most versatile the market has to offer. Its price may seem a bit high for the size, but the Spark isn’t just a toy; it can take semi-professional videos, as well.

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Good

  • Lightweight
  • Easy to control
  • Very stable
  • Gesture control
  • Follow mode
  • Phone-less selfies
  • Avoid obstacles
  • Solid build

Bad

  • Limited smartphone control
  • Expensive remote
  • Expensive drone
  • Video up to 1080p 30fps
  • Battery life
  • Noisy

release date and price

The DJI Spark is available in five colors (white, blue, green, red, and yellow) starting at $ 499 directly from the DJI store.

The basic package comes with a battery, a pair of spare propellers and charger and costs $ 499. However, if you’re looking to go all in, there’s a pack where you can save a bit, which comes with the controller, an extra battery, three battery protectors and propeller guards for $ 689 at the time of writing this article.

DJI Spark Fly More Combo (2 batteries + controller)

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design and build quality

The DJI Spark’s body is sturdy and compact: 14.3 cm on each side, 5.5 cm tall and it weighs 300 grams. It’s light, so much so that with a bit of wind (15mph/h) it struggles to stabilize. It comes with four arms with a motor on each as any decent quadcopter should. The propellers are pretty sharp though, so it’s probably best to keep it at a distance from chlidren and pets. Obviously, you’ll also need to be careful when you take off and land from the palm of your hand. 

AndroidPIT dji spark 7663 Without its protection, the DJI Spark is the size of both my hands. / © AndroidPIT

At the front, there’s a square area right above the camera. This zone hides the proximity sensors that help the device to avoid obstacles and lets you control it with your palm. On the back, there’s a button, and four LED lights (which is the battery) and a flap that covers a microSD card slot and micro USB port. You can charge the battery and download photos/video to your computer through the USB port.

The main camera is located on the bottom of the drone, and is mounted on an optical stabilizer on the front part. There are also 4 small rubber supports, two on the body and two on the battery. Between the front supports, there’s a second camera which always points at the ground, and it also comes with a few proximity sensors. These sensors help the drone to land on your hand, which we’ll look at a bit later. 

AndroidPIT dji spark 7688 Landing camera (bottom of drone), main camera and sensors (front) / © AndroidPIT

Each propeller consists of two blades that can be folded to make them easy to transport, and they need be locked on according to the arrows to fly. Under each motor, there’s a light that changes depending on the mode it’s in. Normally, it’s an excellent way to check the status of the drone. The only inconvenience though is remembering what each color means when it flashes. It gets easier after you’ve used it a few times and have read the manual. A cool accessory is the propeller guards. They help to avoid breaking a propeller as well as the skin on your hands.

AndroidPIT dji spark 7696 The DJI Spark has foldable propellers. / © AndroidPIT

special features

Spark remote controller

The remote gives you even more versatility with the Spark. The video and control of the drone extend to up to 2 km, compared to the 100 meters that you’ll get with a smartphone. 

AndroidPIT dji spark 7699 You can clip your phone into the remote to watch the live video stream on the DJI Spark. / © AndroidPIT

First, it needs to be paired with the drone. The process is a bit meticulous. You’ll have to pair the phone to the remote’s Wi-Fi network and then pair the remote to the drone. Pairing the remote to the drone is done automatically, without need for a password.

An OTG cable can be used to improve the connection between the remote and your phone if you like. To do this, you’ll have to link your phone and remote through its Wi-Fi network first. If bought separately, the remote costs around $ 120 to $ 150, that’s why the pack, which also includes another battery and propeller guards, is a pretty sweet deal.

DJI Spark Remote Controller

Gesture control

The best innovation that Spark has introduced into the drone market is its gestures control. You don’t need a phone or a remote to control it at short distances. However, it is recommended to have your phone close by and connected, just in case things start to get out of hand.

dji spark gesture Control the DJI Spark using hand gestures. / © AndroidPIT

The drone can take off from the palm of your hand. Press the battery button twice, open your hand, and keep it steady so the drone can start to fly. Once it’s in the air, show it the palm of your hand (the lights will switch to green). Then, just by moving your hand from side to side, you can control it. By waving your hand back and forth, then saying goodbye, it will move away from you. Raise your arms, and it will come closer. If you want it to land, get within 0.5 meters and put your hand, palm up, under the drone for it to land. It’s the closest any of us will ever get to being true Jedi. It takes a bit of getting used to for the Spark to recognize you but after a few attempts, it becomes a smoother transition.

dji spark landing The DJI Spark can take off and land on the palm of your hand. / © AndroidPIT

Following moving objects

In addition to gesture control, there are some options that we’ve already seen on other models from the brand, like the ability to track moving objects.

In tracking mode, it can follow any moving object that you mark on your phone’s display. This mode is perfect for action sports. It gives an entirely new perspective to traditional GoPro type cameras. Careful with what you mark though, if you’re controlling it with the remote, it can move very far away without you realizing it.

AndroidPIT dji spark 7647 Multiple control options on the DJI Spark make it very versatile. / © AndroidPIT

Flight experience

Flying the DJI Spark is simple, but it moves quickly. It has a take-off mode which will put it hovering at about 1.2 meters off the ground, the perfect height to start manually controlling it. It will hover there until you send it an order from either your phone or remote. Sometimes, prior to taking off, you might need to calibrate the compass to improve the stability. Its ascent speed is much faster than its descent speed, for obvious safety reasons.

You can control the drone much more accurately with the remote than your phone, and you can fly the Spark at higher speeds. If it happens to be a windy day, the device will counteract the gusts as much as possible to maintain a fixed position. If the GPS signal is good, it can also land where it took off, at the press of a button.

AndroidPIT dji spark 7645 The DJI Spark has an automatic take-off mode. / © AndroidPIT

software

Like the other models from the brand, the DJI Spark is controlled with an app that’s available for both Android and iOS.

To pair your devices, the drone (or remote) creates its own Wi-Fi network with a password, which can be found on the bottom of the battery on the drone itself. You’ll need to connect to the Wi-Fi and open the app to be able to use your drone. If there are any updates available, it will be the first message that pops up. To download an update, you should connect back to your home Wi-Fi, download it, and then connect to the Spark again to update the drone.

AndroidPIT dji spark 7675 Under the battery of the DJI Spark, you’ll find a QR code to make pairing even faster. / © AndroidPIT

In September 2017, some security improvements were released, so you’ll have to update the Spark, or it won’t let you take off. We recommend checking to see if there are updates before you leave the house, so you can update the software before you try to fly.

Once connected to the drone, all you need to do is push ‘Go and fly’ and the display will pop up with the video stream, movement control, camera options, etc. 

AndroidPIT dji spark 7640 We didn’t lose the video signal once with the DJI Spark. / © AndroidPIT

On the top of the display, there is information about the GPS signal, Wi-Fi signal and battery life. As you can see in the photo below, the battery only has 6% left, and it wouldn’t let us take off. You can set up the low-battery warning to any percentage you want. On the right, you’ll see the setting and camera controls. On the left, the automatic takeoff and landing controls and also access to follow mode and gesture control.

On the screen, there will be two circles to control the drone. Navigation settings can be adjusted but initially, the right is to control side to side and back and forth movements while the left is to go up, down and turn.

AndroidPIT dji spark 7658 You can customize the controls to your liking on the DJI Spark. / © AndroidPIT

In the app, in addition to controlling the drone, there’s a gallery for the videos and photos taken by the Spark, an editor to quickly create videos and a social network to share material with other DJI pilots.

From the app menu, you can see your flight history with loads of information under ‘Flight record,’ such as accumulated flight time and distance. If you swipe up, you’ll find a complete list of all the flights, and if you click on one, it will show you all the information and tracking for that flight.

AndroidPIT dji spark app The DJI Spark’s complete flight history. / © AndroidPIT

camera

The camera on the DJI Spark has a 12 MP sensor and is mounted on a 2-axis gimbal system. The third axis works with the software to stabilize the image. It creates an automatic crop, reducing the area that it records, which leaves a margin for stabilization. I should mention that it hybridizes and the two axes work just fine for stabilization, especially if you consider the size of the stabilizer and price of the drone.

AndroidPIT dji spark 7680 The gimbal on the DJI Spark and the area with the proximity and recognition sensors. / © AndroidPIT

However, the resolution of videos, which are shot in Full HD 1080p at 30 frames per second isn’t particularly amazing, but it’s more than enough for hobbyists and quick shots for social media. Everything it records is available on your phone, where you can easily edit and share.

Luckily, the DJI Spark doesn’t have any microphones, which means it doesn’t record any sound with the video, but considering the amount of noise it makes, you can be glad it doesn’t.

AndroidPIT dji spark 7650 Video resolution isn’t amazing but it’s acceptable on the DJI Spark. / © AndroidPIT

Most of the settings for the camera, videos, photos, and even the gimbal parameters can be adjusted from the app.

The image quality is pretty good overall. The image stabilization of videos is good and offers an incredible perspective for YouTube videos. The resolution may not be up to par if you’re creating professional videos, but for amateur material or videos to share on social networks, it’s more than enough. The dynamic range in backlit photos or landscapes isn’t great, and it leaves a lot of shadows, but in general, it’s acceptable. This type of device is mostly used for videos anyways.

AndroidPIT dji spark 7636 Permanent live stream with the DJI Spark. / © AndroidPIT DJI 0011 Photo taken with the DJI Spark. Not bad, eh? / © AndroidPIT

battery

Each battery is 1480 mAh, which means you can fly for about 15 minutes. This is around half the time the Mavick model can be in the air. This autonomy can also vary a bit if you fly quickly, use the features a lot or if there’s some wind, which significantly reduces fly time.

That’s why we firmly advise having more than one battery.

AndroidPIT dji spark 7661 Each battery for the DJI Spark has four LEDs to indicate battery life. / © AndroidPIT

Final verdict

The DJI Spark is a useful drone, easy to transport and with enormous versatility thanks to its control. It’s a great drone to get you started in the world of piloting or for video-enthusiasts. Its main cons are price and battery life, but I truly believe the possibilities that it offers make this drone worth every penny.

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Xiaomi vs Apple: the Mi MIX could allegedly take on the iPhone

Xiaomi would like to launch a preemptive strike against Apple by rolling out their brand new Mi MIX 2 smartphone a day before the new iPhone 8 is launched. The Mi MIX successor will also follow the general bezel-less design, but albeit packing in improvements across most aspects to make it worthy of being a next generation smartphone.

The main trend that smartphones are moving toward these days would be carrying as little bezel as possible, and the likes of Samsung and LG have led the way this year. No doubt the Mi MIX 2 is going to be better than its predecessor in terms of a bezel-less presentation. So far, rumored hardware specifications of the Mi MIX 2 point to a possible Snapdragon 836 chipset from Qualcomm and Android 8.0 Oreo support right out of the box.

The Mi MIX 2’s launch is Beijing this September 11 is definitely an event that many are looking forward to, taking into consideration how its previous generation Mi MIX proved to be quite a hit when released in October last year. Apple’s grip on the China market has been slowing down, and it would take more of a revolution than an evolutionary leap for the iPhone 8 to wow users. Perhaps smartphone users are starting to suffer from “iPhone fatigue”, making them willing to try out new brands and a different operating system.

AndroidPIT Xiaomi mi mix 2122 The Xiaomi Mi MIX successor is arriving this September 11. / © AndroidPIT

Xiaomi has long been deemed to be a pretty good copycat of Apple, and this has been reflected in its product design over the past few years. While the overall quality of Xiaomi’s products has improved over time, it has not quite managed to achieve the level of desirability. You will definitely not be able to see anyone outside of China queueing up a week before a brand new Xiaomi smartphone is released. We do not expect that to be the case in the future either, but it is nice to see Xiaomi introduce more improvements to its upper range smartphones that will provide stiff competition in the value-for-money market segment.

With Xiaomi being a home-grown brand, patriotism would also be a factor in boosting the sales of the Mi MIX 2. China is the world’s biggest market for everything by virtue of their population and has an ever growing appetite for consumerism, where it would be a mistake for any company, Apple included, to overlook the trends in China.

What do you think of Xiaomi’s claims for the Mi MIX 2? Will it be able to live up to claimed expectations, or will the new iPhone continue to blaze a trail that leaves the other players behind? Or would you prefer to settle for “safer” bezel-less choices like the Samsung Galaxy S8 or the LG G6?

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What could Amazon's new messenger app do for you?

Amazon is mainly known for being a commercial platform, but the company is also working on a few other projects behind the scenes. It’s proven this through its Kindles, while also trying its luck at making smartphones, and today it continues to develop its smart assistant, Alexa. But if one is to believe the rumor mill, it’s also working on an app that’s somewhere between a chat and a social network. 

Anytime: the communication service from Amazon

The AFTVnews website published an article suggesting that Amazon may be creating its own email app. We emphasize the ‘may’, because the information isn’t yet confirmed by Amazon, but what is certain is that Amazon has launched a survey asking what features users would like to see on the app. The author of this AFTVnews article seems pretty convinced, providing some extra details, including the name of the app: Anytime.

It would be an instant communication service that would encompass everything that one can already find on the market. Texts, audio (calls, possibly voice messages), and video (video conferences) would be among the features this app would offer. Fans of photography should also find this app beneficial, since it’ll be possible to use “special effects and masks” on images, probably using augmented reality software just like Snapchat, MSQRD, etc.

Apparently, the app would allow several different types of interaction with third party companies. Making a booking was the example given by AFTVnews, which could mean the use of a system of virtual assistants, as seen on many other apps.

Goolge Allo teaser Google Allo just can’t win the hearts of users. © AndroidPIT

Can an instant messaging service be successful today?

Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Snapchat already share the biggest shares of the messaging market, so it’ll be very difficult to get even a tiny share. Anytime will be tackling all the big competitors in the market, and will undoubtedly need to borrow ideas here and there to improve, but it’ll have difficulty exceeding the current range of features (message encryption, no need for a phone number, etc.). It’ll likely take a lot more to convince users to install yet another app on their phone. 

Where’s the real problem? Having multiple messenger apps isn’t usually a hindrance, as many use WhatsApp in addition to Facebook Messenger and/or Snapchat. Neither is it about the reputation of the developer, as even Google can’t seem to establish Allo. Maybe the market’s just saturated?

What do you think? Would you install a messenger app from Amazon in addition to whichever app(s) you already use? Why? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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Dvmap could become the first true Android virus

It’s finally happened: Android malware is now old hat, as the first true Android virus is in the works. The malware Dvmap has mastered the process of code injection and could thus be used as part of a big attack. Kaspersky Labs has analyzed the first findings and explained how this malware can spread, despite the Play Store’s safety mechanisms.

Kaspersky has been monitoring the distribution of a Trojan horse in the Play Store since April 2017. Dvmap was able to hide from Google’s protection and verification mechanisms by regularly swapping clean code with malicious code and vice versa. Now we know the Bouncers, introduced in 2012 to keep malware from the Play Store, can be tricked easily.

The malware, classified by Kaspersky Labs as Trojan.AndroidOS.Dvmap.a is, according to experts, a particularly tricky form of Trojan horse. Not only does the software try to gain root privileges in four different ways, even with 64-bit compatible code, it also injects malicious code into system libraries libdmv.so and libandroid_runtime.so.

Subsequently, the Trojan triggers protection mechanisms to verify and install third-party apps. This is done by an administrator service called com.qualcmm.timeservices, which looks similar to a legitimate background service like com.qualcomm.timeservices.

kaspersky dvmap At certain points in time, the app was clean. At other times, it was infected. / © Kaspersky Labs

Since the malware could install third-party software on infected devices at a later date, the author of the malware could offer this ability on the black market to anyone interested. So far, only a maximum of 50,000 affected devices are mentioned, but due to the fact that the malware is very difficult to detect, a considerably higher number could possibly be infected.

Theoretically, Google is able to delete harmful apps remotely from your device. But, since the malware manipulates system libraries, it may be able to prevent this or report the uninstallation immediately to the malware’s author. The author could then install a revised version of the malware under a different name and escape the protection mechanism once more.

Only formatting the system partition and re-installing the original firmware can remedy an affected smartphone. Most lay people wouldn’t be able to do this themselves, so they would have to turn to a service for help.

Opinion by Eric Herrmann

Android’s lack of security is upsetting.

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The only way to prevent infection, generally, is to have the most recent security patches. But, these are unfortunately only available to a small number of users. Many manufacturers deliver security patches with considerable delay or not at all, since implementation can be expensive and they fear customers won’t buy a new phone if their current one still gets updates.

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