posted about 2 hours ago on yahoo! technology news
Nintendo has issued an official statement regarding the cause of the left Joy-Con connectivity issues plaguing the Switch, vowing that there's no inherent design issue, but a "manufacturing variation."

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posted about 2 hours ago on yahoo! technology news
More recent Amazon initiatives such as Prime Now and Flex Delivery aim to deliver orders to your doorstep in two hours or less. When Amazon (AMZN) began offering free two-day shipping to Prime members, that fast shipping time became the new expectation for many customers who were previously accustomed to waiting much longer for their packages. Now, the Seattle-based e-commerce giant is setting the bar even higher  with initiatives such as Prime Now and Amazon Flex, which ship goods to you in two hours and in some cases promise one-hour delivery.

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posted about 8 hours ago on yahoo! technology news
In its latest transparency report, Twitter said it shuttered a total of 376,890 accounts "for violations related to promotion of terrorism," bringing the 17-month total up to the end of 2016 to 636,248.

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posted about 10 hours ago on yahoo! technology news
Apple is not getting any special treatment from the Indian government.  Despite the company’s imminent plans to begin manufacturing iPhones in the country, the Indian government remains committed to not folding to the Cupertino giant’s demands.  SEE ALSO: Apple had its best year ever in world's fastest growing smartphone market When asked if the government has accepted the iPhone maker’s demands, commerce and industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman told Rajya Sabha (Council of States) that the ministry has said "no" to "most" of them. Apple has put up an "unprecedented" list of demands before the government. "Apple India has sought concessions, including duty exemptions on manufacturing and repair units, components, capital equipment including parts and consumables for smartphone manufacturing and service/repair for a period of 15 years," Sitharaman added. Apple sees big potential in India. The company’s CEO paid his maiden visit to the nation last year and expressed desires to bolster the company’s business in the country. Even though India remains one of the few places that has shown strong iPhone sales, there is no easy way for Apple to continue the momentum. For one, more than 50 percent of iPhones sold in the nation last year were iPhone 5s models. The four-year-old iPhone sells for under $300 in the country. Analysts say the company needs to lower the prices of the iPhone, which are higher in India due to domestic import laws. Apple's solution of sorts was to try to convince the Indian government to permit sales of refurbished iPhones — a proposal India was quick to discard.  Now Apple’s biggest bet at making iPhones affordable (and possibly to get India to say yes to refurbished iPhones) is if it could start manufacturing locally.  The Indian government offers various benefits to overseas companies to setup manufacturing plants in India as such efforts help in creation of new jobs and foster the development of cities and states.  Mashable was first to report about Apple’s plans to manufacture iPhone SE in India starting as early as April. It appears Apple will have to make do with the same usual incentives that other international brands get. WATCH: You can now take selfies... with your feet?

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posted about 16 hours ago on yahoo! technology news
If you can't beat it, buy it. That's what Apple did on Wednesday when it acquired an app...

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posted about 19 hours ago on yahoo! technology news
The problem with our grasp of cybersecurity isn’t so much that we remain dangerously illiterate — it’s that we think we know what we’re doing anyway. The Pew Research Center was a little more diplomatic than that though in characterizing the findings of a new survey of Americans’ understanding of online security. “Many Americans are unclear about some key cybersecurity topics, terms and concepts,” wrote Kenneth Olmstead and Aaron Smith in their introduction to “What the Public Knows About Cybersecurity.” But it’s that thinking that probably leads many internet users to make choices that they think make them more secure, but, in reality, leave them as exposed as ever.

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posted 1 day ago on yahoo! technology news
LinkedIn has announced Trending Storylines, a new section for web and mobile that shows news and content it thinks you’ll find relevant and interesting. In some ways, it's more useful than Facebook's newsfeed.

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posted 1 day ago on yahoo! technology news
Snapchat desperately wants to carve out a piece of the $70 billion in brand spending that...

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posted 1 day ago on yahoo! technology news
Feeling heartburn? Just type ❤️. Zocdoc, an online service that helps you find doctors and schedule appointments, has revamped its search to be more user-friendly. It's calling the initiative "patient-powered search," and it's all about finding ways to help those in need speak naturally, according to the company's blog post. SEE ALSO: Google's new messaging app translates your voice into emoji  The revamp aims to address the "disconnect between medical speak and patients' own colloquial language—think 'gyno' not 'obstetrician-gynecologist.'" This also means you can search for doctors with emoji. There's 蠟 for allergies, ❤️ for heartburn and ✈️  for travel medicine. You can even use the   emoji to find and book with a gastroenterologist.  "We see it more as a fun addition to the experience, rather than a core feature of the product" a representative from Zocdoc said via email. Is this really necessary, though? The emojification of apps of every kind is far from new, and it's getting a bit ridiculous. While it's important especially in areas like health care to make experiences as user friendly as possible, we don't need Zocdoc to behave like our actual friends do. Forcing emoji into apps results in combinations like ☀️ for dermatologist and   for primary care physician—at which point, they're not even useful. Sorry Zocdoc, we give this one a . WATCH: Indulge your fear of heights with China's latest glass bridge

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posted 2 days ago on yahoo! technology news
Ever had the experience of opening your gym bag to be greeted by the smell of sweaty workout clothes? The folks behind new Kickstarter Paqsule think they’ve come up with a solution: a bag which cleans itself.

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posted 2 days ago on yahoo! technology news
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos demonstrated this insane-looking, 13-foot-tall mechanical robot at the second annual MARS (Machine-Learning Automation, Robotics & Space Exploration) conference. The robot, called Method-2, is a product of Hankook Mirae Technology, a South Korean company. If you think it looks like something out of a sci-fi flick, that’s because the creator worked on major sci-fi films such as “Terminator” and “Transformers.” Bezos must have felt the same way, since he was quoted as saying “Why do I feel so much like Sigourney Weaver?” referencing the actress’s 1986 flick, “Aliens. ...

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posted 2 days ago on yahoo! technology news
Apple’s new-ish iPad debuted with little fanfare. Apple (AAPL) just dropped a new iPad with all the excitement of an IRS audit. It feels like the company just woke up Tuesday morning and decided, “Hey, let’s announce a new iPad.” Instead of a flashy event like Apple usually holds when it debuts a new product, we simply got a press release.

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posted 2 days ago on yahoo! technology news
You want to hear some numbers that’ll curl your toes? An estimated 187 million Americans (58%) are on at least one prescription drug, according to the Network for Excellence in Health Innovation (NEIH). 110 million prescriptions were never even picked up in the year 2008 alone, according to an estimate from CVS Pharmacies. Up to 50% of us don’t take our medicines as prescribed (wrong times, wrong amounts, wrong meds), according to NEIH. And roughly 125,000 Americans die every year as a result, according to research cited by the then-US surgeon general in 2012. ...

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posted 2 days ago on yahoo! technology news
Google has updated its Android and iOS apps to make it easier to find what you want as fast as possible. Google (GOOG, GOOGL) wants to make searching the web on your smartphone a bit easier with new shortcuts for its Android, iOS and web apps. The shortcuts, which will appear just below the search bar in the Google app, will provide users with quick access to things like the weather, entertainment, places to eat and drink and sporting events in your area.

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posted 3 days ago on yahoo! technology news
‘Mass Effect: Andromeda’ invites you to strap in for another space opera. “Space is big,” beloved author and interdimensional traveler Douglas Adams noted in his seminal towel-seller, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” “You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big,” he wrote, hammering home the point that when it comes to bigness, even our new president has nothing on the universe. The team behind the blockbuster “Mass Effect” trilogy managed to capture the epic scope of the big unknown while keeping our eyes trained on the intimate interactions between characters, a space opera in its truest — and, in terms of video games, among its best — form.

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posted 3 days ago on yahoo! technology news
Visa is testing a prototype that will let you use sunglasses to make purchases. A small NFC chip inside one of the arms will be linked to your Visa account. Instead of swiping your debit card, you would tap the payment terminal to make the transaction. Visa says the concept plays well into its tagline, “Everywhere you want to be.” Let’s just hope these shades don’t wind up where you don’t want them to be: lost. Source:  https://www.engadget.com/2017/03/14/visa-is-testing-nfc-sunglasses-that-can-pay-for-stuff/ More:

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posted 3 days ago on yahoo! technology news
Samsung has a new voice. And it has world-changing ambitions. In the upcoming Galaxy S8, users will find an extra button on the left side of the phone, just below the volume controls. Pressing it will activate Bixby, Samsung's new voice assistant. Once activated, Bixby will help you navigate what's arguably the most sophisticated piece of technology you own — the smartphone in your hand. If Samsung gets its wish, though, Bixby will eventually do much more than just help you order Lyfts or set up complex calendar appointments. The long-term vision is for Bixby to act as a kind of uber-interface for all of Samsung's products: TVs, wearables, washing machines, even remote controls. SEE ALSO: Samsung Galaxy S8: all the leaks in one place Samsung designed Bixby with a specific goal in mind, one that veers away from its fellow voice assistants — Apple's Siri, Amazon's Alexa, Microsoft's Cortana and the Google Assistant. Those platforms were generally built to help users quickly perform common tasks ("Remind me to buy milk") and perform search queries ("What's the capital of Brazil?"). Bixby, on the other hand, is all about making the phone itself easier to use, replicating the functions of many apps with voice commands. Yes, Siri et al. already do that to a certain extent — you can easily set a reminder with your voice, for example — but the voice integration typically only handles the basics. The goal of Bixby is to voice-enable every single action in an app that you'd normally do via touch, starting with Samsung's apps. So, not just "set a reminder to buy pickles at 6 p.m., but "Set a reminder on my Shopping List to buy pickles at 6 p.m. and make it repeat every week, then share the list with my wife." Bixby speaks Injong Rhee, CTO of Samsung Mobile and the architect behind Bixby, says the voice assistant is nothing short of an "interface revolution," freeing users from hunting down hidden functionality within menus and hard-to-find screens. "Bixby is an intelligent user interface, emphasis... on 'interface,'" Rhee says. "A lot of agents are looking at being knowledgeable, meaning that you can ask questions like, 'Who's president of the U.S.?' A lot of these are glorified extensions of search. What we are doing with Bixby, and what Bixby is capable of doing, is developing a new interface to our devices." Bixby architect Injong Rhee, CTO of Samsung Mobile. Image: Pete Pachal/Mashable Although it makes its debut on the Galaxy S8, it will soon spread. Rhee sees the Bixby button eventually spreading to all kinds of smart-home devices, from TVs to refrigerators to air conditioners. "Anywhere there is an internet connection and a microphone, Bixby can be used," he says. "There is some technology in the device, but a lot of it lives in the cloud. That's why the range of devices goes beyond just a smartphone. It means it can be in any device we produce." Samsung began work on Bixby about 18 months ago, Rhee says. It grew out of the company's S Voice tool, which has been on Samsung phones since 2012. (The timing might explain why Samsung's smart fridge — announced right around then — failed to deliver on its planned integration with Alexa.) S Voice hadn't progressed much over the years, but then last year Samsung acquired the much-hyped Viv Labs and its sophisticated assistant, a strong indicator of the company's renewed interest in voice control. However, Rhee says Viv's technology is planned for future updates to Bixby and doesn't have a role in the initial release. The name Bixby came out of Samsung's focus groups, but it was actually their third choice overall. It was the top pick among millennials — a demographic the company is specifically targeting with the Galaxy S8 — so it won out. (Rhee declined to say what the other names were.) It's also distinctive enough, with hard consonants, for it to work well as an activation word. Bixby, which will initially speak just English and Korean, is intended to be a user's "bright sidekick," helping them navigate their devices in a more natural way. "[What came before], it's been people trying to learn how the machine interacts with the world, but... it should be the machine learns how the human interacts with the world," Rhee says. "The learning curve shouldn't be steep." All talk, all action For an app to be considered Bixby-supported, every possible touch action needs to be mapped to a voice command. Rhee explains that, for a typical app, there are about 300 different actions the user can perform. That doesn't sound too bad until you consider there are around 15,000 different ways to perform them. And the ways to verbalize those actions number in the millions. That's a lot of stuff to map out. Still, Samsung says it's up for the challenge, at least as far as its built-in apps are concerned. But what about third-party apps? Considering the amount of development work, will Snapchat or Facebook ever work as well with Bixby as Samsung's apps? Rhee says Samsung has a plan to get third-party apps talking to Bixby, and an SDK to be released at a later date will introduce tools that make the mapping much easier. He also suggests Viv's technology can help here, too. "Viv Labs is coming in by way expanding our vision into third-party ecosystems. It doesn't necessarily have to be all of the touch commands that they can perform. At a minimum, [Bixby will perform] the basic functionalities: like the settings, or changing the language from English to French." On the Galaxy S8, a total of 10 apps will be Bixby-supported, Rhee says, with a second "wave" coming a few weeks later. Out of the gate, users will be able to use Bixby with Contacts, Gallery, Settings, Camera, Reminders and a few others. Another way Bixby is different from its peers: it will be aware of what you're doing on the phone and suggest different actions depending on what's on screen. So if you press the button while, say, looking at a single photo in the Gallery, editing and sharing controls are probably more relevant to you than searching. And if Bixby doesn't understand every aspect of a complex command, it will take you as far as it can rather than just hitting you with a "Sorry, I didn't catch that." All this "awareness" brings up an important question: How much data is Samsung collecting about you? Rhee says most user-specific data is kept on the device, but, as a cloud service, Bixby needs to store some information in the cloud. It's not yet clear what the exact breakdown is. The button Having a dedicated button for Bixby brings a number of advantages. For starters, it means Samsung won't have any need for Clippy-style pop-ups directing users to the assistant — people will inevitably find it on their own. It also ensures there will be far fewer accidental activations than if Bixby were mixed into a home button — something users of Siri are all too familiar with. "We actually have done a lot of research to have the Bixby button as part of the home button like our friends in Cupertino," Rhee says. "A lot of people find it a little awkward to use it in public. The home button is a very overloaded place — there's a lot of functionality into it. Having a dedicated button really removes a lot of friction." And since the idea is to press and hold, lifting your finger when you're done, Bixby will know definitively when you're done speaking. Still, there will also be a wake-up phrase — you can just say "Hi Bixby," to activate the assistant at any time. It's the dedicated button that really epitomizes Samsung's approach, and if it indeed ends up on all Samsung products, Bixby will become much more than just a smartphone assistant — it'll become the gateway for Samsung to finally, truly become a major player in the internet of things. Sure, Samsung has had its "Smart" devices for a long time, and its low-power Tizen OS is ideal for powering the many products with connections to the internet. It also acquired SmartThings in 2014 to strengthen its IoT brand. But until now, Samsung has lacked a gateway for its customers to really take advantage of that interconnectivity. For most, it's hard work hunting down the right settings on your phone to connect a smart TV to an air conditioner, but what if you could just tell Bixby to do it? And if you can talk to it from all those devices — asking any question or even making phone calls — then you're really onto something. "It's actually omnipresent in a sense," Rhee says. "Even if I speak to Bixby in, say, a washing machine, you can still do a lot of things that you do on your phone. For instance, you can say, 'Bixby, send a text to my friend Michael,' or 'Make a phone call.' That's the vision." The more capable assistant Amazon and Google already know this, and the success of Alexa and buzz around Home are a testament to the unquestionable efficiency of adding voice control to devices. But Samsung, with its high standard of controlling all functions of a device via Bixby, might end up with the advantage. Alexa, for all of its "skills," often falls short of full control (you can turn on or dim LED lights, for example, but might not be able to select specific colors), so the market has room for a more capable competitor. Of course, how and when Bixby will mix with third-party products and services remains an open question. "Philosophically, what we are looking at is revolutionizing phone interfaces," Rhee says. "We understand our applications better than anybody else out there — that's why we started with our own technology, but going forward we have plans to work with our partners." Eventually, Rhee says a Bixby app might come to non-Samsung Android phones and even iOS, possibly partnering with Google Assistant for search-related queries (though he cautions Google and Samsung haven't "gotten to the specifics" on how that would work). At the same time, Bixby control could extend to all kinds of smart products, not just Samsung ones. That would probably take a level of cooperation with competitors that Samsung hasn't really shown before, but if Bixby becomes ubiquitous in the long term, whatever OS this or that device is running will become less relevant. That's a future Samsung is clearly hoping for, since software has traditionally been its weakness. Samsung may be a chief Android partner, but it's struggled to differentiate its many services from Google's, and the company lacks an OS of its own (Tizen notwithstanding). Samsung's browser, Samsung Pay, S Health — they're all duplicates of Google products, and are widely regarded as inferior. That's why Bixby may be the best thing to happen to Samsung software in a long time. If customers respond, Bixby could, in the long term, finally get Samsung users to think of its phones as Samsung phones rather than just the best-performing Android phones on the market. All Android vendors try to differentiate to some extent, but Bixby's app-simplifying skills and potential IoT capabilities are a compelling sell. Bixby represents an important step for Samsung when it comes to services: finally a good answer to "Why should I use your software?" Effortless voice control of everything — not just your phone — is a tantalizing promise, and if Samsung can pull it off in the long term, its "bright sidekick" might end up being the only assistant we actually want to talk to. WATCH: Samsung's wireless earbuds double as a fitness-tracker

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posted 3 days ago on yahoo! technology news
Fashion brand Guess has announced the Guess Connect smartwatch range, new models powered by Android Wear 2.0 and Qualcomm's Snapdragon Wear platform. The watches will come in styles suitable for men and women.

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posted 4 days ago on yahoo! technology news
A top secret division within Facebook called Building 8 is working on at least four unannounced...

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posted 6 days ago on yahoo! technology news
Tag Heuer is well-known for making a solid Swiss timepiece at an accessible price point. What is...

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posted 6 days ago on yahoo! technology news
Last week, a child in Dallas died after his babysitter's repeated calls to 911 went unanswered. Local authorities have not confirmed that the tragedy was related to an ongoing 911 ghost call problem.

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posted 6 days ago on yahoo! technology news
A report from the Wall Street Journal claimed that high early sales have led Nintendo to double production of the Switch. The console passed 1.5 million units sold in just over a week.

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posted 6 days ago on yahoo! technology news
The Amazon Echo is getting to be crazy popular. It’s like Siri for your home.

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posted 6 days ago on yahoo! technology news
Apple’s next iPhone needs to be more than your average update. Apple’s (AAPL) next iPhone is always an absurdly important product for the tech giant. No matter how well the company’s services arms — Apple Music, iCloud, etc. — perform, the iPhone is Apple’s make-or-break product.

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posted 7 days ago on yahoo! technology news
For one big week in March every year, Austin, Texas is overrun by culture and tech. Yes, I’m talking about the South by Southwest Conference & Festivals. It's not cheap to attend, so Yahoo Finance's David Pogue has a two-minute tour for you.

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