AMD Ryzen finally makes octo-core processors affordable

After months of rumors , leaks and teasing from AMD itself , Ryzen has finally risen and it’s the company’s most impressive processor lineup yet.

AMD is on a mission to bring high performance CPUs to the market and challenge Intel, so it has introduced a trio Ryzen 7 chips, its highest-end lineup of CPUs. Starting with the flagship, the AMD Ryzen 7 1800X features 8-cores and 16-threads, as well as a 3.6GHz base speed and top speeds of up to 4GHz.

Based on AMD’s first ultra-small 14nm (nanometer) FinFET architecture, the flagship CPU achieves 52% more instructions per clock than AMD’s previous chips – so it’s both smaller and quicker. Performance-wise, AMD claims the Ryzen 7 1800X scored 1,601 points in the Cinebench R15 NT benchmark, beating the Intel Core i7-6900K’s 1,474 score.

The AMD Ryzen 7 1800X will be available for pre-orders for $499 (about £400, AU$650) – or about half as much as the $1,049 (about £999, AU$1,499) you would spend on the 6900K – starting today, and will arrive to shelves on March 2nd.

Triple threat

Just below the Ryzen 7 1800X, AMD also announced the 1700X at an introductory $399 (about £320, AU$520). This 95-Watt TDP processor comes with the same cores and threads as its bigger brother, while clocking in at 3.4GHz for its base speed and a boosted frequency of 3.8GHz.

With a Cinebench R15 nT score of 1,537 points it competes with the Core i7-6900K and Intel’s lower-end processors.

Last but not least, the Ryzen 7 1700 comes at an astounding value for $329 (about £260, AU$430). Not only do you get 8-cores and 16-threads as with all other Ryzen 7 chips, it runs pretty quick at a 3.0GHz base clock (3.7GHz boost clock), helping it to puts up a decent Cinebench R15 nT score of 1,410.

Comparatively, Intel’s competing Core i7-7700K processor posted 967 points in the same test and goes for $349 (£339, AU$479).

Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge: what we want to see

The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is for our money the best phone you can buy right now, coupling the sheer power of the Samsung Galaxy S7 with a bigger battery, a more eye-catching design and genuinely useful edge screen features.

But there’s no such thing as a perfect phone, so there are still improvements which we’d like to see and will hopefully get with the Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge, or, as it might be called, the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus.

With that in mind we’ve created a wish list for Samsung’s next curvy flagship, along with rumors and predictions of what it might include and when we might see it.

  • What we want to see from the Samsung Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy Note 6

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? Samsung’s next curvy flagship
  • When is it out? Early 2017
  • What will it cost? More than almost any other phone

Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge release date

Hottest leaks:

  • A late March or April launch
  • A video tease at the end of February

Early rumors suggested we’d see the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus at MWC 2017 (Mobile World Congress) at the the end of February, which would have made sense, as the S7 Edge was unveiled at MWC 2016 .

But this year it’s not to be, as Samsung itself has confirmed that the phone won’t be revealed at this year’s show – though we may get a brief teaser video.

For the full announcement, current rumors suggest we’ll be waiting until a March 29 launch event in New York, with the phone apparently set to hit shelves on April 21, though we’ve also heard talk of an April announcement .

Prior to that there had also been talk on more than one occasion that the phone had been delayed until April, and we’ve also heard rumors of an April 18 release date – following an announcement in late March or early April.

We’ll at least know when the launch date will be soon though, as Samsung has promised to reveal that much at MWC.

TechRadar’s take: A March or April launch date is looking all but guaranteed, but the exact date is still up in the air.

Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge news and rumors

You can look to the Samsung Galaxy S8 for an idea of what we’re likely to see with the S8 Edge, since other than the obligatory curves and possibly some differences in screen and battery sizes the two phones are likely to be more or less identical.

A number of rumors are emerging for both phones though, all of which you’ll find below, split into sections.

Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge screen

Hottest leaks:

  • A 6.1 or 6.2-inch curved screen
  • A QHD or 4K resolution
  • A built-in fingerprint scanner

The latest leaks suggest that the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus will have a big 6.1 or 6.2-inch screen, which is a  rumor we’ve heard more than once, and that the aspect ratio could be 18.5:9, rather than the more standard 16:9.

Of those two screen sizes 6.2 inches is looking the most likely, as an unnamed Samsung official has apparently said that’s what size it will be.

We’ve also heard leaked dimensions of 159 x 74 x 8mm, which would make the S8 Edge larger than the 150.9 x 72.6 x 7.7mm S7 Edge, but not by as much as you might expect with a screen of that size.

You can see a similar design in the leaked screen protector shot below, but this provides a clearer look at the whole front of the phone, including what’s likely to be an iris scanner above the screen.

Even if the home button is removed there are still likely to be buttons on the front, just they’ll probably be on-screen ones, like you can see in the image below, which supposedly shows either the S8 or S8 Plus and was found in a system dump for theSamsung Galaxy Tab S3 .

Removing the home button and placing the fingerprint scanner on the back would allow Samsung to keep the dimensions relatively manageable despite the larger screen, but growing the display does still seem an odd choice since it could impinge on the Note range.

So it’s always possible that the screen will stay at 5.5 inches, just like the S7 Edge. Samsung has shown off a 5.5-inch 4K display and if it wasn’t for the lack of curves this would seem an obvious fit for the Galaxy S8 Edge. 5.5 inches is how big the S7 Edge is and a 4K resolution is the next logical step after the QHD screens we’re seeing now.

S7 Edge

The display has a pixel density of 806 pixels per inch, so it’s incredibly sharp and while it hasn’t specifically been linked to either the S8 or the S8 Edge, Chinese sources speaking to WCCF Tech reckon a 4K display of some kind will hit Samsung’s next flagship.

That might sound like overkill, but it could be just what the next generation of smartphones need to really make the most of VR.

More recently we’ve heard rumors of a 5.5-inch curved panel, possibly with a 4K display , so that jump in resolution could well be happening, though a lot of rumors still point to a QHD panel.

Another possible change is having the fingerprint scanner built into the screen, as has been rumored on Weibo .

Similarly, we’ve now heard that Samsung is planning a 5.5-inch curved display with a virtual home button built in.

This rumor has gained ground, with a Samsung employee claiming that the company will launch a phone with a 90% screen-to-body ratio in 2017 – a feat which would basically require the removal of the home button, but it’s more likely Samsung will position the fingerprint scanner on the back than placing it under the screen.

Other rumors suggest that all the buttons will be going soft touch, and that they’ll have customizable functions, with the same source adding that the S8 could have a feature similar to the pressure-sensitive 3D Touch tech used by Apple.

TechRadar’s take: We’re sure to get a curved screen of at least 5.5 inches, and a jump to 4K resolution, while far from guaranteed, would help with VR. Don’t count on seeing the fingerprint scanner built in, but a move to the back is likely, as is a larger, possibly 6.2-inch screen.

Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge design

Hottest leaks:

  • A similar but further improved look
  • A “slick” design

So far, other than a claim from Samsung’s vice chairman that the standard S8 will have a “slick” design, the main S8 Edge design rumors stem from some leaked renders , based on factory CADs and showing the phone from all angles.

You can see that the design is similar to what’s come before, with a metal frame and a glass back. There are volume and power buttons on the left edge and another button – likely for launching the Bixby AI assistant – on the right edge.

The bottom meanwhile has a 3.5mm headphone jack, a speaker and a USB Type-C port.

You can also see a similar design in this leaked case image above. This is likely for the standard S8, but we’re not expecting any major differences in the appearance.

We’re also starting to get an idea of what colors to expect the Galaxy S8 Plus in. Leaks so far suggest we could get jet black, purple, blue coral, pink gold, gold, white, black and silver shades.

TechRadar’s take: While these renders could be wrong, there aren’t any obvious red flags and the design is believable.

Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge camera and battery

Hottest leaks:

  • A dual-lens camera
  • Could be up to 30MP
  • A 3,500mAh battery

Several different camera rumors are doing the rounds at the moment. According to Chinese sources speaking to WCCF Tech the Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge might have a dual-lens camera, though they don’t specify whether that second lens will be for wide-angle shots like on the LG G5 , monochrome like on the Huawei P9 or something else entirely.

S7 Edge

This rumor has popped up several times since, though more recent rumors suggest just a 12MP single lens camera, with optical image stabilization and an 8MP snapper around the front.

Another currently rumored possibility is that the S8 Plus will have a camera of between 18 and 24MP, with a wide f/1.4 aperture to let more light in. Samsung issupposedly building this sensor already .

While another source claims the rear camera will be 30MP, and the front one will be 9MP, so there are lots of possibilities.

Whatever the case, Samsung is likely to improve the camera over the already impressive snapper on the S7 Edge, and in fact the company’s vice chairman hasspecifically said to expect improvements.

We’ve also heard that the front-facing camera might get an autofocus, which seems a bit unnecessary, but could help it stand out.

The latest battery rumor , which supposedly comes from a Samsung official, states that the S8 Edge/S8 Plus will have a 3,500mAh juice pack.

That would be smaller than the 3,600mAh one in the S7 Edge, despite this probably being a bigger phone, but after the Note 7’s battery problems it’s believable that Samsung would opt for a smaller size.

It’s not confirmed though, and an earlier battery rumor points to a 3,750mAh juice pack.

TechRadar’s take: A dual-lens camera and a 3,500mAh battery are both likely, and we doubt Samsung will change the megapixel count too drastically, so expect a snapper in the region of 12MP.

Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge OS and power

Hottest leaks:

  • A top-end Snapdragon or Exynos processor
  • 6GB of RAM

Samsung could go one of two ways with the Galaxy S8 Plus. It might use one of its own Eynos chips ( rumored to be the 3GHz Exynos 8895), or it might use whatever the latest Snapdragon processor is (probably the 835), or, more likely, it might use both, depending on which region you’re in.

Whatever the case it’s sure to have a top tier processor, likely coupled with 6GB of RAM , especially now the OnePlus 3 has packed that much in. But Samsung might go even further, as the company has created an 8GB mobile RAM chip , though with 6GB still a rarity we doubt it would jump that high. In fact, it’s possible that we’ll get just 4GB.

The S8 Edge could also offer a high-performance “beast mode”, as Samsung hasapplied to trademark something with exactly that name. Such a mode could be a boon to VR – but probably at the expense of battery life.

TechRadar’s take: Expect to get the Snapdragon 835 in the US and the Exynos 8895 elsewhere, coupled with probably 6GB of RAM.

Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge other features

Hottest leaks:

  • An AI assistant
  • Stereo speakers
  • An iris scanner
  • A desktop mode

A recent rumor suggests the Galaxy S8 Edge won’t come with a 3.5mm headphone jack . Instead you’ll have to use Bluetooth headsets or a USB-C adapter for wired headsets, though leaked renders (above) show the headphone port intact, so don’t count on losing it.

But Samsung could also be adding some things, like the ability to plug the phone into a screen and use it with a mouse and keyboard, or optionally buy an S Pen stylus for it – both of which could boost productivity.

That desktop mode rumor is gaining ground, with another leak pointing to a DeX dock, which you would apparently be able to plug the Galaxy S8 Plus into and then from there plug it into a monitor using an HDMI cable.

An iris scanner is also looking like a likely inclusion at this point. Samsung has built one into the ill-fated Samsung Galaxy Note 7 , and the feature has specifically beenrumored for the Galaxy S8 too.

There’s also talk of a mini projector and an AI assistant known as Viv . This is made by some of the people behind Siri, and Samsung has already purchased the company . Plus, Samsung’s vice chairman has claimed the S8 will feature enhanced AI, so Viv’s inclusion is all but guaranteed.

More recently, Samsung has applied to trademark the names Bixby and Kestra, leading to speculation that these will be the final names for Viv and that it will have both male and female voices.

We could also see the Galaxy S8 Plus get a ‘Smart Glow’ feature, which Samsung introduced with the Samsung Galaxy J2. This is a ring of LEDs that circles the rear camera, lighting up to alert you of notifications when the phone is face down.

But it goes further, with customizable colors for different notifications and even the ability to have it light up when it detects your face – so you can take selfies with the rear snapper.

We may also see – or hear – dual stereo speakers, according to one rumor , which adds that they’ll probably use Harman technology. That’s a company that Samsungrecently bought , so it’s very possible.

The S8 Edge is also likely to include features from previous Samsung phones, like a USB-C port, a waterproof body and a fingerprint scanner. Plus, it could have up to 256GB of built-in storage, which would be a huge jump on the S7 Edge’s 64GB max capacity.

TechRadar’s take: We wouldn’t count on seeing Smart Glow, as it hasn’t been attached to the S8 Edge, while the talk of a mini projector seems a bit unlikely, but the AI assistant has been confirmed, while stereo speakers, a desktop mode and an iris scanner are all likely.

So far we don’t know a whole lot about the Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge, but we know what we want to see. From a competitive price tag to powerful speakers and more, here’s our wishlist for Samsung’s upcoming curvy flagship.

1. A lower price

As amazing as the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is it’s also amazingly expensive, retailing for around £640 (US$750, AU$1,249). That makes it one of the most expensive phones on the planet, outside the extravagance of the Vertu range.

It’s understandable that it costs so much. After all it’s big, powerful, feature packed and has a premium design. But given that you could get a reasonably powerful PC or a high-end TV for the same money it can seem a bit much. It’s always going to be a premium range, but hopefully for the Galaxy S8 Edge Samsung can rein in the price just a little.

2. A better fingerprint scanner

S7 Edge

Samsung has vastly improved its fingerprint scanners since the Galaxy S5 , but they’re still not perfect. With the Galaxy S7 Edge it’s not uncommon for the scanner to fail on your first attempt and it’s also limited in what it can do.

Yes, you can use it to secure your phone, but it would be nice if the Samsung Galaxy S8 let you lock individual apps too.

3. Game Launcher improvements

Samsung introduced its Game Launcher with the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge. It’s a handy tool which groups all your games together in a special folder and gives you extra options like allowing you to mute notifications while playing, lock the recent and back buttons and record footage.

But it needs a bit of polishing. For one thing the Game Tools icon which gives you access to these options is permanently displayed on the screen. So while you can use it to prevent accidental presses of the back button, you could end up accidentally pressing the Game Tools button just as often.

It’s also missing some features. For example, while you can record footage you can’t live stream it, which is a big thing in the world of eSports. So it’s good, but it could be better.

4. More storage space

S7 Edge

The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge has a respectable 32GB of built in storage. But while that’s a reasonable amount it can easily be filled up if you stick your music collection or a handful of big games on the phone.

There’s always a microSD card slot for more breathing room, but that requires both buying a card and relying on the typically slower speeds offered by them. So hopefully the Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge will have beefier built in storage, at least for those who want it.

5. Better battery life

The Galaxy S7 Edge actually has pretty good battery life and it’s a definite upgrade on the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge , but it’s still far from the best around. If you’re buying a phone like this you’re likely to use it heavily, so the longer it can last the better.

With that in mind we hope the Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge will offer a true two days of life at an absolute minimum. If it can stretch even further than that then all the better.

6. An improved always-on display

S7 Edge

Speaking of battery life, one of the big features of the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is its always-on display. Yet while it can potentially save battery by not firing up the CPU every time you want to check the time, it uses around 0.8% of the phone’s juice per hour in itself.

So we’d like to see it get more efficient for the Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge. While we’re on we’d also like it to be a bit more useful, as currently it doesn’t support notifications for all apps.

7. Powerful speakers

Galaxy S7 Edge

The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge has hi-res audio support, along with the ability to upscale lower res tracks and even tune the sounds based on your own hearing. But the one piece of the audio puzzle its missing are great built-in speakers.

Which isn’t to say they’re bad, as it can pump out a reasonable amount of sound. But the single speaker grille on the bottom of the phone can’t match the likes of theHTC One M9 for quality and the positioning means it’s also too easily obscured when holding the phone.

So hopefully the Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge will have more speakers with more power and a better, ideally front-firing position.

8. A refined design

Galaxy S7 Edge

The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is one of the best looking phones we’ve ever had the pleasure of using, but it’s not perfect.

For one thing the glass on the back is a fingerprint magnet, which can quickly make your shiny phone look dirty. We’d also like it if the glass felt more premium and less like plastic and if the camera didn’t protrude, though only if it can still be protected.

Samsung is sure to further refine the design for the Galaxy S8 Edge, so hopefully we’ll see some of these changes.

9. Full waterproofing

Galaxy S7 Edge

One of the best features of the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is its water resistance. It gives you peace of mind that you can use it in the rain or the bath and that if a drink gets spilled on it the phone will still work afterwards.

That’s all great, but with the Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge we’d like it to go a step further and offer true waterproofing. The S7 Edge already has a brilliant camera and being able to take it scuba diving to snap photos under the sea would be great. It’s a feature that might not get used much, but one which would further set it apart from the crowd.

10. A better front-facing camera

Speaking of the camera, while the rear snapper on the Galaxy S7 Edge is enormously impressive, the front-facing one is rather more average. It’s just 5MP and doesn’t have an LED flash (though the screen can be lit up as one).

Samsung definitely chose the right camera to focus on, but it would be nice to see the front-facing one catch up, especially as even mid-rangers offer similar specs.

Is this Sony’s PlayStation answer to the Nintendo Switch?

The PS Vita may not have been the runaway success that Sony had hoped for, but there may be life yet in the idea of a handheld follow up. Well, at least as far as this portable console patent suggests anyway.

NeoGAF user ponpo uncovered the below Sony patent, which was filed in 2015 and has recently been made public:

The patent, which describes a central screen unit with pronged controller grips either side, seems a halfway house between a smartphone or tablet and a handheld. In other words, it’s not unlike Nintendo’s soon-to-be-released Switch (though the 2015 date for the patent makes it more likely that Sony was taking “inspiration” from Razer’s short-lived Edge Pro Gaming Tablet) .

Vita vacuum

Could this mark a return to the handheld space for Sony? Don’t hold your breath.

A patent submission for starters is not a definite marker for a new device in development – it’s simply a way for Sony to protect its ideas. Elements of this design are more likely to turn up in the future piecemeal, rather than in whole.

It would also fly in the face of comments made by Shuhei Yoshida, Sony Interactive Entertainment Worldwide Studios boss, back in 2015, who stated that the rise of smartphone devices made dedicated handheld consoles a dangerous market to enter.

It’s worth noting that the PS Vita struggled compared to its predecessor, the PSP, with the two consoles faring dramatically different. The Vita managed just over 15 million sales, while the PSP enjoyed more than 80 million. Even the Vita’s direct rival, the Nintendo 3DS, has only managed close to 64 million sales, suggesting a decline for the category overall, and not just Sony’s handheld fortunes.

But there’s change in the air – Nintendo is banking on the continued popularity of handheld gaming with its innovative and flexible Switch console. If it proves suitably popular, it wouldn’t be long before Sony could start considering the space once again.

The best free audio editor 2017

The best free audio editor

When you want to edit an audio file – whether it’s to create a custom ringtone for your phone, make your own podcasts or record music – the prospect of choosing the right audio editor for the job can be a daunting one.

The complexity of some audio editors might be enough to scare you away, but it’s more likely to be the price tag attached to such software that sends you running. Never fear, though – there are free options packed with professional-quality features.

Whether you’re looking for a tool to help create a soundtrack for your home movies, or you need something to help you convert your old record and cassette collection into MP3 format while removing background static, there’s a free audio editor out there for you.

 

Download Audacity

Download Audacity
Audacity is a feature-packed audio editor with professional-quality tools

1. Audacity

Flexible and powerful, Audacity is the very best free audio editor available

Available for any desktop platform you care to mention, Audacity is our first choice free music editor. It has a huge following, and it’s one that is entirely justified. It’s a powerful tool that would put some paid-for product to shame, and although the interface might initially seem slightly intimidating, it’s actually surprisingly approachable even for beginners.

Audacity is equipped with an extensive suite of built-in tools, enabling you to edit pre-recorded files, capture sound through an attached microphone, or even stream music and podcasts. There’s support for a wide range of audio formats for both importing and exporting, and the range of built-in effect is impressive.

There’s also a great selection of third-party plug-ins to make it even more versatile (one of our favourites is autotune add-on Gsnap , for that T-Pain effect), and a comprehensive manual is available to help you to get to grips with the more complicated aspects of the program.

Its sheer power and incredible set of features make Audacity the best free audio editor you can download today.

 

Download Free Audio Editor

Download Free Audio Editor
Free Audio Editor puts all the essential sound-editing tools right at your fingertips

2. Free Audio Editor

An audio editor that’s ideal for recording and mastering your own songs and podcasts

Free Audio Editor ‘s name tells you everything you need to know here. You have to deselect a few checkboxes to avoid installing unwanted software, but the tool itself is worth the effort. It can be used to record audio via line-in, work with existing music files, or to rip CDs.

One thing that makes Free Audio Editor stand out from the competition is the way the interface has been designed. Rather than hiding option deep in confusing menus, everything you need to right at your fingertips. A neat effects sidebar makes it simple to get to the tools you need, and you can even bookmark those you use most to make your life even easier.

You can get as hands-on as you like, but many of the readymade filters such as breath reduction (particularly handy for podcasts) and background noise reduction mean that you’ll be able to perform many audio cleanup tasks in just a few clicks.

 

Download Free MP3 Cutter and Editor

Download Free MP3 Cutter and Editor
MP3 Cutter and Editor is a simple tool for trimming music files to size

3. Free MP3 Cutter and Editor

A well designed audio editor that’s well suited to simple tasks

Free MP3 Cutter and Editor is a simple audio editor designed with a very specific type of music editing in mind. Audacity would be a better choice if you want fine control of your tracks, but if you’re looking for nothing more than a quick and dirty editor for trimming the fat from your MP3s, this is perfect.

Open your MP3 file and you can cut out unwanted sections, add a fade-in or fade-out, adjust the volume, and convert between stereo and mono. That’s it.

It might sound limited, but this free audio editor extremely good at what it does (for example, if you have saved a live recording as one large MP3 and then want to divide it up into a number of individual tracks). It’s not the sort of task you would need a professional music editor for, and Free MP3 Cutter and Editor fits the bill nicely.

 

Download Wavepad Audio Editor Free

Download Wavepad Audio Editor Free
WavePad Audio Editor Free is available as a desktop app, and for mobile devices

4. WavePad Audio Editor Free

Easy audio editing for Windows, Android and iOS, with a consistent design for ease of use

The iPad has, over the years, become recognised as a value tool for music creation, but not so much for editing tracks. WavePad Audio Editor Free is an interesting app for a couple of reasons: not only is it a free music editing app, but it’s also available for iOS and Android as well as Windows.

The mobile apps (which you’ll find in the Apple and Google Play Stores respectively) are surprisingly powerful – helped, perhaps, by the fact that the iOS and Android versions are designed much like the desktop software.

There are a number of filters and audio editing options available such as trimming, a high pass filter, normalization and merging files, and you can add more tools via in-app purchases. There are some nice extra touches too, including voice-activated recording, and an auto-trim editing function.

 

Download oncenaudio

Download oncenaudio
ocenaudio is an excellent option for everyday music editing tasks

5. ocenaudio

A great audio editor for small jobs, though for serious tasks you’ll need something more powerful

Like Audacity, ocenaudio is available for multiple platforms (Windows, Linux and Mac). While not bursting with features, it’s a great tool for everyday audio editing. Real-time effect previewing should help to speed up your work as there’s no need to apply a change just to try it out, and a highly precise selection tool makes it easy to apply the same effect to multiple sections of a file.

You can work with locally stored files, or even open those hosted online. This audio editor’s somewhat sparse interface quickly becomes a joy to use, and if you spend a little time familiarizing yourself with the keyboard shortcuts, you should fly through common tasks in next to no time.

There’s a decent range of effects to choose from, and there’s even the option of exporting your creations as a ringtone for your iPhone.

 

Download mp3DirectCut

Download mp3DirectCut
Enjoy advanced audio editing features with mp3DirectCut

6. mp3DirectCut

Trim and normalize recordings with this free audio editor that’s great for podcasts and narration

Despite its name, mp3DirectCut does more than just slicing up MP3s (although it does that very well). You can record directly into the program or work with existing audio files, and although there are no fancy options, all of the basics are covered. As well as simple track splitting, this compact audio editor also contains tools for normalising audio, increasing volume, and fading.

Automatic pause detection is available to help make it easier to decided where to split a track, and if you have created cue files to automate file processing, there’s support for those in this audio editor.

mp3DirectCut also features a batching processing option that can be used to quickly apply the same settings and effects to entire folders full of files. This is handy for normalising a series of tracks, or increasing the volume of a set that were recorded at the same time.

 

Download Acoustica Basic Edition

Download Acoustica Basic Edition
Acoustica Basic Edition is the best choice for cleaning up old vinyl and cassette recordings

7. Acoustica Basic Edition

A more advanced audio editor, offering mastering with effect layering and plugin support

Acoustica Basic Edition is a superb music editor, and is particularly good at cleaning up old music recordings from vinyl or cassettes by removing unwanted noise.

Opting for the free version means missing out on options such as a multi-track editor and support for 7.1 surround sound, but you still get a lot to play with. It has a very professional look and feel, and the Effect Chain – an area where you can build up and play with a layered series of filters – is a particular highlight.

There’s support for DirectX and VST plug-ins, so you can easily expand the program’s repertoire. If you want to get a taste for music editing with the freedom to move beyond the basics when you feel ready, Acoustica Basic Edition is an excellent starting point.

 

Download Wavosaur

Download Wavosaur
Wavosaur is a great option for stripping vocals from songs to make your own karaoke tracks

8. Wavosaur

A portable audio editor for simple editing on the move. Just run the EXE file and get to work

Wavosaur differs from the rest of the audio editors we’re looking at because it’s a portable app. You can therefore save it to a USB stick, ready for use on any PC without installation.

Despite its tiny size, Wavosaur packs a punch. It’s designed with MP3 editing in mind, but supports other key formats as well. It also boasts features like pitch shifting and vocal removal (ideal for making DIY karaoke tracks, and as with Audacity, its feature set can be expanded with VST plug-ins .

The basic program hasn’t been updated in quite some time, but don’t let that put you off – it’s an absolute gem of a music editor.

Best Linux distros for small businesses in 2017

Running a small business is no easy task. The last thing you need is extra complexity in your IT infrastructure – so why turn to Linux? Well, it could (if you’re lucky) actually turn out to be a less complex choice for many tasks, depending on the distribution you select. And, critically, Linux is free; at least if you don’t figure in support costs. That’s an overhead ticked off the list.

So what’s the best choice for your small business? We’ve approached this selection with a few criteria in mind. Stability is first and foremost, because if you’re putting a distro to work, uptime is critical, and solid support provision comes a close second.

We’ve also considered practical capabilities, which is why you’ll find a couple of non-desktop distributions on our list: Linux is perhaps better suited to managing your behind-the-scenes hardware than it is being put in front of users who may be unfamiliar with Gnome or KDE.

  • 10 of the best Linux distros for privacy fiends and security buffs
  • 10 best Linux distros: which one is right for you?
  • What’s the best Linux distro for beginners?
  • How to choose the best Linux distro for laptops
  • 10 of the most popular lightweight Linux distros
  • Linux Format is the number one magazine to boost your knowledge on Linux, open source developments, distro releases and much more. Subscribe to the print or digital version of Linux Format here .

Built on the solid foundation of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) – and, indeed, officially funded by Red Hat as of 2014 – CentOS is undoubtedly a distro with strong credentials. Its default Gnome desktop is pleasant and reasonably familiar to most computer users, the RPM package management system is widely supported, and it’s equally at home on workstations and servers.

CentOS harnesses the open source components of its parent OS, which actually make up the majority of RHEL – only Red Hat’s trademarks and a few proprietary components are omitted. Thanks to this unique partnership, updates tend to flow to CentOS only a day or two after they hit its parent – this is enterprise-class Linux that anyone can use.

CentOS is now one of the world’s most popular server distros, and is perfect if you want to build serious hardware appliances without paying for a Red Hat subscription. The downside of going free is support. While the CentOS community is brilliant, professional support is the key reason for using RHEL – but with server prices starting at $349 (around £270, AU$465) per year, it could be prohibitively expensive for small business use.

  • You can download CentOS here

ClearOS and CentOS are pretty close cousins. Both run many of the same packages inherited from RHEL, and can benefit from the swift Red Hat release cycle. But while CentOS is a functional desktop OS, ClearOS isn’t. Instead, it’s intended primarily as a server platform administered entirely from a web interface. Once it’s installed, you won’t need a keyboard, mouse, or even a monitor connected to its home machine.

Because of its tight focus, ClearOS is actually easier to use than most server operating systems. That web interface makes installing this operating system’s various components a breeze, so you’ll be able to quickly get your business protected with a firewall, manage an email server, install a file server or more – all safe in the knowledge that each of these components will (most likely) work perfectly together.

There’s support available if you’re somehow overwhelmed – it’s not the cheapest, but it’s there – and a specific paid-for Business edition which includes only highly-tested software packages and patches. You might also be interested in ClearVM, the team’s virtualisation solution; the free version allows you to finely manage the precise performance of two virtual machines and eight CPU cores.

  • You can download ClearOS 7 here

While CentOS is an open source OS based on a paid-for release, this goes the other way – community-developed OpenSUSE provides the basis of commercially-supported SUSE Linux Enterprise. SUSE actually borrows a lot from Red Hat, including its RPM package management system, but don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s a clone.

OpenSUSE is one of the few distros to default to the graphically-heavy KDE window manager, though it comes with Mate, LXDE and others, so it’ll be comfortable on whatever hardware you’re using. In fact, if you’re looking to run small web appliances, the latest version heralds the release of a 64-bit Raspberry Pi edition, and it also includes 17% more packages than 42.1 – a huge upgrade.

Each Leap release receives critical updates for 18 months, after which you’ll need to upgrade to stay on top of the latest developments – bear this in mind if security, stability and low IT costs are a concern. Try the Tumbleweed release if you’re looking for rolling updates.

  • You can download OpenSUSE 42.2 here

If you’re running a small business, the security of your network should be as important a concern as the behaviour of your employees. IPFire ticks both these boxes at once. It’s an all-in-one Linux appliance: install it on a machine which sits between your internet connection and your network switch and it’ll do everything from managing IP addresses to protecting you with a firewall, and controlling what sites your workers are allowed to visit and when.

It does require a certain level of knowledge to get IPFire installed, and its unique nature – it’s constructed from scratch, not forked from any specific version of Linux – means it won’t be quite as easy to extend as other distros may be. Thankfully there are regular ‘Core’ updates, which incrementally keep IPFire up to date with the latest security and app updates.

Also bear in mind that this will require at least a machine with two network connections, and it’s all controlled from a web interface – this is definitely not a desktop OS. There’s paid support available if it all goes pear-shaped.

  • You can download IPFire 2.19 here

It’s the most popular Linux flavour out there, but Ubuntu’s reputation might lead you to think that it’s best suited to home users. Not so – Ubuntu’s stability and compatibility are very solid, there’s a free-to-use Ubuntu Server version to handle your backend tasks, and its use of Debian packages and the Apt package management system means you’ll be able to get the software you need quickly and easily.

Perhaps Ubuntu’s strongest feature is its support. The vast user base means there’s a raft of technical documentation available, and its generous community has answered just about every question you might have. This is precisely the reason we’ve suggested version 16.04 over the more recent 16.10 release – the April releases are tagged LTS for ‘long term support’, and will be maintained and cared for beyond the October ones. With 16.04, you’re covered until 2021, which could be a great advantage if downtime costs you money.

For those times when you need a little more help, the Ubuntu Advantage program offers a reasonably priced support program for desktops and servers.

  • You can download Ubuntu 16.04 here

Manjaro is built on top of Arch Linux, traditionally one of the more complex and obtuse Linux distros out there. This OS does away with that complexity, while sharing Arch’s streamlined, fast environment, its fearlessness regarding access to the very latest software, and its rolling release schedule.

Basically this means you should never have to install a later version of the software – you’ll get the updates as they’re released, and your Manjaro machines will upgrade over time rather than being taken out of service.

Manjaro’s default desktop, a spin of Xfce, is very Windows-like, so your users will likely feel comfortable immediately, and its other improvements over Arch – a better installer, improved hardware detection, repositories full of stable software – make it a solid choice for end-user systems. That’s its strong point, mind you. With some work you could probably build a server from Manjaro’s Minimal Net edition, a stripped-down version you can construct from the ground-up, but other distros handle that aspect a lot better.

You could also find a prebuilt version amongst Manjaro’s community editions which may suit your needs perfectly; check them out here .

  • You can download Manjaro 16.10.3 here

We’re entering the realm of more difficult distros here, and we’re doing it without the safety net of a dedicated paid support structure, but give Slackware a chance if you’re looking to build bespoke Linux systems.

It’s the oldest consistently maintained Linux distro, having first emerged in 1993, and as such it doesn’t make any assumptions about the way you’re going to use it, giving you more control than most other distros.

You’re going to need control, though: its package manager doesn’t resolve software dependencies, there’s no fixed release schedule (Slackware tends to come out when a new stable version is ready, and the most recent release gap was around three years), and there are no graphical configuration tools.

But knuckle down, edit a bunch of plain text files, and you’ll be able to create exactly the package you need for your business, all on top of a lightweight and bloat-free distro.

OnePlus 3T 128GB Variant to Be Available to Amazon India Prime Members Tomorrow

OnePlus’ latest offering OnePlus 3T is available exclusively on Amazon India, and while the smartphone originally launched in two storage variants – 64GB and 128GB – only the 64GB variant has been available via the e-commerce site for a while now. In what will be good news for prospective buyers, OnePlus has finally decided to replenish the stock of the 128GB variant and make it available to Indian users. The company has announced a one-day sale of the OnePlus 3T Gunmetal (128GB variant) on February 17 exclusively for Amazon Prime members, followed by an open sale from February 25 onwards

OnePlus 3T 128GB Variant to Be Available to Amazon India Prime Members Tomorrow

The OnePlus 3T 128GB Gunmetal variant can be picked up for Rs. 34,999 from Amazon India exclusively. OnePlus is hosting a one-day Amazon Prime-only member sale starting at 10.00am IST on Friday. The event will end at 10.00pm IST tomorrow, after which the device will be available in open sale next week. From February 25 onwards, the OnePlus 3T Gunmetal 128GB variant will be sold to all Amazon India customers.

The OnePlus 3T is also available in Soft Gold colour variant, but unfortunately the 128GB variant will only be available in Gunmental colour option. The 64GB OnePlus 3T retails at Rs. 29,999. As for the specifications, the OnePlus 3T sports a 5.5-inch full-HD (1080×1920 pixels) Optic AMOLED display with Corning Gorilla Glass 4 protection. The device sports Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 SoC (two cores clocked at 1.6GHz and two cores clocked at 2.35GHz) coupled with 6GB of LPDDR4 RAM.

On the camera front, OnePlus 3T has 16-megapixel front and rear cameras. The handset is fitted with a 3400mAh battery that supports Dash Charge (5V 4A) fast charging technology. Connectivity options on the OnePlus 3T include 4G LTE (with support for India’s LTE bands), Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.2, NFC, and GPS/ A-GPS. The OnePlus 3T measures at 152.7×74.7×7.35mm, and weighs 158 grams.

Swipe Konnect Star With 4G VoLTE Support Launched at Rs. 3,799

After launching the Swipe Konnect Grand and Swipe Elite Power last month, Swipe Telecom on Thursday launched a new dual-SIM smartphone – Swipe Konnect Star – in India at Rs. 3,799. The 4G VoLTE-enabled budget phone runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow and is available exclusively via ShopClues in silver, gold, and grey colour options.

Swipe Konnect Star With 4G VoLTE Support Launched at Rs. 3,799

The Swipe Konnect Star features a 4-inch FWVGA (480×854 pixels) display. The smartphone is powered by a 1.0GHz quad-core processor coupled with 1GB of RAM. The devices packs 16GB of internal storage, which is expandable up to 32GB via microSD card.

In terms of optics, the device comes with a 5-megapixel rear camera with flash and a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera. Connectivity options on the Swipe Konnect Star include 3G, 4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth, GPS, Micro-USB, and a 3.5mm audio jack. The Konnect Star also features accelerometer and proximity sensors. A 1800mAh battery is fitted in the device that’s rated to deliver up to 10 hours of talk time, and up to 180 hours of standby time. The Swipe Konnect Grand is said to weigh 130 grams.

At the launch, Nitin Sharma, Sr. Director – Categories, said, “After the huge success of the Swipe Konnect Neo 4G smartphone and the Swipe Konnect Grand, and the traction that the brand has been generating on ShopClues for their extensive range of product offerings, we are sure that Swipe Konnect Star will be a massive hit on the platform. The ultra-modern Swipe smartphone with dual-sim 4G VoLTE captures all fascinations of the customer with its unbeatable specifications and highly affordable price point, thereby meeting ShopClues’ overarching goals of offering enhanced products alongside seamless services to its discerning customers.

Microsoft Hardens Latest Windows Version Against Hackers

Microsoft has fortified the latest version of Windows to make it more secure than previous editions, but the strongest protections will be available only to those willing to pay a steep price for them.

Windows 10 Anniversary Update has introduced many mitigation techniques in core Windows components and the Microsoft Edge browser, helping protect customers from entire classes of exploits for very recent and even undisclosed vulnerabilities, Matt Oh and Elia Florio of Microsoft’s Windows Defender ATP Research Team wrote in an online post last week.

Countering unidentified vulnerabilities — also known as “zero day” vulnerabilities — is particularly important because they are a powerful tool used to penetrate systems and steal data by attackers, especially those working for nation-states.

Rather than focus on a single vulnerability, Microsoft is focusing on mitigation techniques that counter classes of exploits, Oh and Florio explained.

“As a result, these mitigation techniques are significantly reducing attack surfaces that would have been available to future Zero-Day exploits,” they wrote.

 windows-10-security

Paying for Protection

For the most effective post-breach protection, customers should sign up for Windows Defender ATP, Oh and Florio suggested, a service that is available only to users of Windows Enterprise E5.

That appears to be a departure from how Windows security was treated in the past, observed Michael Cherry, an analyst with Directions on Microsoft.

When Microsoft launched its Trustworthy Computing initiative in 2002, there was a commitment to making all versions of Windows equally secure, he recalled.

“Now, what Microsoft is saying in a subtle way,” Cherry told TechNewsWorld, is that “to be the most secure on Windows, you should be using Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection — but we’re saving that for our best customers, our customers willing to pay for the enterprise edition. That’s a big change that’s happening in Windows security.”

What Users Get

Nevertheless, the security improvements in the new Windows 10 Anniversary Update are worthwhile for consumers.

“This is great news for users,” said Jerome Segura, a senior security researcher for Malwarebytes.

“Microsoft is addressing zero days and exploits in general by sandboxing a lot of the components in the operating system,” he told TechNewsWorld.

Sandboxing is a technique used to isolate activity in a space where it can be observed without affecting its surroundings. If it behaves badly in the sandbox, then it won’t be allowed to play with the other parts of a system.

Sandbox techniques were used in Windows 10 to neutralize an exploit that used corrupt fonts to gain escalated privileges on a system, Microsoft’s Oh and Florio explained. Escalated privileges allow an intruder greater freedom to roam and access data on a network.

Room for Improvement

While Microsoft is making good progress in hardening the Windows kernel, it could improve the operating system’s security in other areas, too. One of those areas is third-party applications and components.

“While it’s trying to ensure that its operating system is secure, it still depends on Flash, Java and other pieces of software. At the end of the day, the security of the system is going to depend on all the pieces, not just what Microsoft ships,” Malwarebytes’ Segura observed.

“You can have an OS that’s safe, but if you have an outdated Flash plug-in, you can still get infected,” he pointed out.

Hackers also are exploiting Microsoft Office documents.

“Microsoft needs to tighten up legacy code like macros — either disable it or sandbox it,” Segura said.

Threat to Security Vendors?

As Windows security improves, will it threaten the security ecosystem that has grown up around the OS?

“Ultimately, Microsoft’s new anti-exploit features in Windows calls into question the value of legacy antivirus protections,” said Simon Crosby, CTO of Bromium.

“However, it is important to note that relatively few enterprises use Windows 10 yet, so any Microsoft mitigation in Windows 10 that fails to address the legacy Windows installed base cannot address threats targeting [the security ecosystem],” he told TechNewsWorld.

Windows users still need to use antivirus programs, added Jack E. Gold, founder and principal analyst with J.Gold Associates. “Microsoft is pushing its antivirus program,” he told TechNewsWorld, “so it’s not saying you don’t need antivirus anymore.”

Google Gives Google+ Some Nips and Tucks

Google on Tuesday announced three new updates to Google+ in an effort to revive interest in the faltering product.

The added features will be rolled out next week, when the old Google+ layout will vanish.

First, lower quality comments will be hidden, although Google didn’t explain how comments will be judged or who will make those calls.

Google has tweaked the Google+ user interface to display more posts and less white space.

Further, a zoom functionality has been added to photos on Google+.

Google+ Paris photo

Google is also bringing back the Events feature so users can create and join events on Google+ as they used to. However, Events will not be available to G Suite users.

The company will continue working on Google+ and is soliciting user feedback.

The Red-Headed Stepchild of Social Media

Google+ has not fared well in the social media space, and Google last year recharacterized it as a content curation site rather than a social network.

It redesigned the Google+ site, offering tools for moderating communities, as well as adding images and linking to comments.

There’s a dearth of statistics and information about Google+ online to support either side of debate over the validity of its existence.

Although some have compared it to the walking dead, Google+ has an estimated 120 million unique monthly users, according to eBizMBA, which ranked it sixth on its top 15 list of most popular social networking sites in January. Its eBizMBA rank — which is a continually updated average of each website’s global Alexa rank and U.S. Compete and Quantcast ranks — is 34.

Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest were the five most popular social networking sites in January. and Tumblr, Instagram, Reddit, Flickr and Vine are among the sites trailing after Google+ in the top 15.

“Google+ has had a hard time getting traction,” noted Michael Jude, a program manager at Stratecast/Frost & Sullivan.

That’s because it was late to the game, he told TechNewsWorld. “Most people have accounts on other social sites, and adding yet another is too much overhead for most.”

The Tweaks’ Impact

The latest changes to Google+ “should make the device more efficient,” said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group.

However, while positive, they are more “along the lines of a hotel saying they’re going to repaint the bathrooms and get rid of the smell,” he told TechNewsWorld. “They may lead fewer people to leave the service, but aren’t compelling enough to bring people back.”

Any improvement is good, Jude noted, but Google+ “is not a dominant player in social, so unless [the changes make it] remarkably better, it will still be an also-ran.”

Strengths, Weaknesses, Potential

The principal attraction of Google+ is the way it integrates with the Google solution set, Frost’s Jude remarked. “It’s possible to do everything in Google, rather than use several service providers.”

However, it’s one more application to manage, he said.

Another weakness is that Google “has not been exactly trustworthy with personal information,” Jude pointed out. “Many people distrust putting all of their personal lives under Google’s scrutiny.”

Google+ “could be a far better way to do social networking, but like the kid in school with great potential, if [Google isn’t] willing to put in the effort, that potential will never be reached,” Enderle observed.

The service “could be a useful way to manage internal company communications and teams,” Jude suggested.

As for why Google is continuing to work on Google+, given the service’s relatively weak showing and its failure to compete with Facebook, it may be that company officials “just haven’t got around to shutting it down yet,” Enderle said. “Unless their interest changes, I expect that decision is still coming.”

Google Surpasses Apple to Become the Most Valuable Brand in the World: Report

Breaking Apple’s five-year record, Google has taken the top spot as the most valuable brand in the world. In the latest Brand Finance Global 500 report, Apple comes in second, followed by Amazon, AT&T, Microsoft, Samsung, Verizon, Walmart, Facebook, and ICBC.

Google Surpasses Apple to Become the Most Valuable Brand in the World: Report

Brand Finance’s analysts feel that Apple has “over-exploited the goodwill of its customers” and has “repeatedly disillusioned its advocates with tweaks when material changes were expected.” Here the report is talking about the minimal changes introduced on iPhone devices year after year. Furthermore, the report says that “the snaking queues of early adopters have shrunk almost to the point of invisibility,” and that “Apple’s loss has been Google’s gain.” Google has been given a brand value of $109.47 billion (roughly Rs. Rs. 7,36,016 crores), compared to Apple’s $107.141 billion (roughly Rs. 7,20,294 crores)

“Put simply, Apple has over-exploited the goodwill of its customers, it has failed to generate significant revenues from newer products such as the Apple Watch and cannot demonstrate that genuinely innovative technologies desired by consumers are in the pipeline. Its brand has lost its lustre and must now compete on an increasingly level playing field not just with traditional rival Samsung, but a slew of Chinese brands such as Huawei and OnePlus in the smartphone market, Apple’s key source of
profitability,” the report reads.

Google held the world’s most valuable brand title in 2011, and has now regained it back. Most of the credit is gone to its Search business, which largely remains unchallenged, and is the mainstay of its advertising income. The report states that the “ad revenues were up 20 percent in 2016, despite a fall in cost per click, as ad budgets are increasingly directed online. Desktop advertising remains far more lucrative than mobile, despite its prematurely diagnosed decline.” Furthermore, 2016 marks Google’s foray into the mainstream smartphone market as well – with the launch of the Google Pixel and Pixel XL, which according to the report have received great sales figures.

Right after Apple, Amazon took the third spot with 53 percent brand value growth. The analysts feel that the “firm is growing strongly as it continues to both reshape the retail market and to capture an ever larger share of it.” In its latest earnings report, Amazon has stated it will create 100,000 jobs in the US over the next 18 months. With this growth confidence, the analysts feel that Amazon could well be on the top spot next year. Even social giant Facebook found a spot in the top 10, and secured the 9th position with an 82 percent brand value growth.

PS4 System Software Update 4.50 to Add External Hard Drive Support

One of the biggest differentiators between the Xbox One and PS4 was the ability to use external storage. Plugging an external hard drive to an Xbox One allowed you to download and run games of it. The PS4 had no such option, restricting the use of USB storage to play music and video, or back up an entire PS4. This will change with the PS4 system software update 4.50 codenamed Sasuke.

PS4 System Software Update 4.50 to Add External Hard Drive Support

“With this update, you have the option to store content to an external HDD. Just plug a USB 3.0 HDD into your PS4, and voilà, you now have more space on the console,” writes John Koller, Vice President, PlayStation Brand Marketing, Sony Interactive Entertainment, America. “This is compatible with HDDs up to 8TB in size. You can download and install applications directly to your extra storage, and the saved contents are easily manageable through the settings menu.

ps4 HDD ps4_hdd

“Also, all the applications saved in the external HDD will appear in the Content Launcher of the Home Screen so it’s easy to keep track of what apps you launched recently.”

Other additions with the 4.50 update include adding the ability to view Blu-ray movies in stereoscopic 3D directly on the PS VR headset. Further come the ability to post directly into the Activity Feed on PSN, a simplified notification list, and a revamped Quick Menu that takes less of the gameplay screen.

Along with these additions, you can finally use your own screenshots and pictures as a wallpaper. The PS4 system software update 4.50 is currently in beta. Judging by past betas, we should see this hit the general public by the end of the month at the very latest.

LG UltraFine 5K Display to Get Extra Shielding to Ensure It Can Work Around Routers

LG has redesigned its UltraFine 5K Display in order to fix the issue that was causing the display to flicker, black out, and even freeze the connected computer when a Wi-Fi router is kept too close to it. Even though the display worked fine with the router kept at a distance of 2 metres or more, it started causing the aforementioned issues when kept closer.

LG UltraFine 5K Display to Get Extra Shielding to Ensure It Can Work Around Routers

“LG apologises for this inconvenience and is committed to delivering the best quality products possible so all LG UltraFine 27-inch 5K displays manufactured after February 2017 will be fitted with enhanced shielding,” the company said in an email to Recode.

As for owners of the monitor, LG says existing UltraFine 5K Displays can be retrofit with the enhanced shielding.

Apple first showcased LG’s UltraFine 5K Display monitor when the company launched its new range of MacBooks last year in October and claimed that the display worked great in sync with its new laptop lineup. Even though the user manual for the monitor does warn the users that display should be installed “where no Electromagnetic Interference occurs,” it did not specify anything about routers.

A reviewer previously said that the amount of flickering on the monitor depends on the amount of Wi-Fi traffic going through the WAP. An LG customer care executive also confirmed that the issue was limited to the LG 5K monitors and does not show up on other displays in its portfolio.

The 27-inch LG UltraFine 5K Display, as the name suggests, comes with a screen resolution of 2880×5120 pixels, sports an IPS panel, and has been priced by the company at $1,300 (roughly Rs. 87,500).

Apart from the impressive screen resolution, the LG UltraFine 5K Display comes with one Thunderbolt 3 port and three regular USB Type-C ports. The Thunderbolt 3 cable, which comes with the display, is capable of not just displaying the content from MacBook Pro to the screen, but also charging the laptop simultaneously with 85W of charging power. The display comes with inbuilt stereo speakers, camera, and microphone to provide extra utility options to the user.

LG UltraFine 5K Display to Get Extra Shielding to Ensure It Can Work Around Routers

LG has redesigned its UltraFine 5K Display in order to fix the issue that was causing the display to flicker, black out, and even freeze the connected computer when a Wi-Fi router is kept too close to it. Even though the display worked fine with the router kept at a distance of 2 metres or more, it started causing the aforementioned issues when kept closer.

LG UltraFine 5K Display to Get Extra Shielding to Ensure It Can Work Around Routers

“LG apologises for this inconvenience and is committed to delivering the best quality products possible so all LG UltraFine 27-inch 5K displays manufactured after February 2017 will be fitted with enhanced shielding,” the company said in an email to Recode.

As for owners of the monitor, LG says existing UltraFine 5K Displays can be retrofit with the enhanced shielding.

Apple first showcased LG’s UltraFine 5K Display monitor when the company launched its new range of MacBooks last year in October and claimed that the display worked great in sync with its new laptop lineup. Even though the user manual for the monitor does warn the users that display should be installed “where no Electromagnetic Interference occurs,” it did not specify anything about routers.

A reviewer previously said that the amount of flickering on the monitor depends on the amount of Wi-Fi traffic going through the WAP. An LG customer care executive also confirmed that the issue was limited to the LG 5K monitors and does not show up on other displays in its portfolio.

The 27-inch LG UltraFine 5K Display, as the name suggests, comes with a screen resolution of 2880×5120 pixels, sports an IPS panel, and has been priced by the company at $1,300 (roughly Rs. 87,500).

Apart from the impressive screen resolution, the LG UltraFine 5K Display comes with one Thunderbolt 3 port and three regular USB Type-C ports. The Thunderbolt 3 cable, which comes with the display, is capable of not just displaying the content from MacBook Pro to the screen, but also charging the laptop simultaneously with 85W of charging power. The display comes with inbuilt stereo speakers, camera, and microphone to provide extra utility options to the user.

PS4 Pro Boost Mode Discovered in PS4 System Software Update 4.50; Promises Better Frame-Rates

While Sony announced that the PS4 system software update 4.50 (codename Sasuke) would bring some needed additions such as external storage support for games and the ability to view Blu-ray movies in stereoscopic 3D directly on the PS VR headset, there seems to be one surprise the company was holding back on.

PS4 Pro Boost Mode Discovered in PS4 System Software Update 4.50; Promises Better Frame-Rates

According to several gamers who are testing the software update, which is currently in beta, the PS4 Pro gets Boost Mode. This allows smoother performance, particularly better frame-rates for games that have not decided to add enhancements for the PS4 Pro.

Early reports from popular gaming forum NeoGAF claim the likes of Yakuza 0, Just Cause 3, Rainbow Six Siege, Bloodborne, and Until Dawn have seen marked improvements on the PS4 Pro.

For its part, Sony does make it clear in its description of Boost Mode that enabling it could introduce “unexpected behaviour during gameplay” possibly alluding to graphical artefacts and anomalies.

The discovery of Boost Mode and Sony’s silence about it in its official PS4 system update post leads us to believe that company may need to test it further before it is safe to unleash onto a larger audience. Perhaps the performance increases being touted at the moment, may be scaled down to improve stability.

2017 has started with a bang for Sony. It absolutely dominated January with the likes of Yakuza 0, Gravity Rush 2, Tales of Berseria, and Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue being exclusive to the PS4 and PS4 Pro. February sees Nioh and Horizon Zero Dawn also exclusive for its consoles. The addition of a Boost Mode for the PS4 Pro could simply add more value for existing owners and potential customers considering the likes of GTA V and Bloodborne — popular games with no PS4 Pro support — could benefit immensely from this move.

Canon Launches 10 New Printers in Professional Printing Domain

Extending its offerings in the professional printing domain to offer vibrant image quality with increased versatility for print service providers, digital imaging company Canon India on Saturday launched 10 new printers.

Canon Launches 10 New Printers in Professional Printing Domain

The Canon imagePROGRAF PRO series includes 12-colour Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-520 and Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-540, eight-colour Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-540S and Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-560S.

Also launched is the five-colour Canon imagePROGRAF 671E, offering a right mix of affordability features to the small and medium business segment.

“As we embark on the landmark journey of our third decade of existence in the country, we have further amplified our commitment, across both B2B and B2C segments,” said Kazutada Kobayashi, President and CEO, Canon India, in a statement.

Another large format printer announced is “Oce ColorWave 700”, designed for wide range of graphic arts applications like wall papers, in shop brandings, signage etc.

Consisting of the Canon imagePRESS C850, Canon imagePRESS C750, Canon imagePRESS C650 digital colour production presses, the new series incorporates a variety of updated features and technology to help meet the requirements of its target markets, including commercial printers, in-plant operations, and other print service providers, the company said.

Canon also launched “imagePRESS C8000VP” based on the successful legacy product C10000VP offering offset-like vibrant, stable output quality and supports specialty media including vellum, film and synthetics.

ZTE Blade A2 Plus With 4GB RAM, 5000mAh Battery Goes on Sale in India

Following its launch on Friday, the ZTE Blade A2 Plus has gone on sale in India on Monday. The smartphone is exclusively available via Flipkart, priced at Rs. 11,999. The smartphone is only available in its 4GB RAM variant in the country. The highlight of the smartphone is its 5000mAh battery, and it will be available in Gold and Grey colour variants.

ZTE Blade A2 Plus With 4GB RAM, 5000mAh Battery Goes on Sale in India

The ZTE Blade A2 Plus sports a metal unibody, with a square shaped camera, flash and fingerprint scanner, sitting one below the other vertically at the back. The volume and navigation buttons are housed on the right edge, while the capacitive navigation buttons are situated at the bottom chin in the front. The big highlight of the ZTE device is its massive 5000mAh battery that supports fast charging. ZTE claims that the smartphone can last up to 22 hours of talk time.

As for specifications, the ZTE Blade A2 Plus features a 5.5-inch (1080×1920) pixels full-HD display. It is powered by a 64-bit MediaTek MT6750T octa-core SoC (four Cortex-A53 cores at 1.5GHz and four at 1GHz) paired with 4GB of RAM and Mali T860 GPU. The inbuilt storage is at 32GB with the option to expand further via the microSD card (up to 128GB).

The hybrid dual-SIM ZTE smartphone runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow-based Mifavor 3.5 OS. As for optics, the ZTE Blade A2 Plus sports a 13-megapixel rear camera with PDAF, dual-LED flash and 1080p video support. At the front, there is an 8-megapixel sensor with screenflash. Connectivity options include Bluetooth v4.0, GPS, 4G LTE, and Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n. Lastly, the ZTE Blade A2 Plus measures at 155×76.2×9.8mm, and weighs 189 grams.

Sachin Batra, CMO, ZTE India Terminal commented on the launch to say, “With a young, tech-savvy audience, about 69 million consumers purchased their products online and it is expected to cross 100 million by 2017. Our Blade-series smartphone, ZTE Blade A2 Plus comes with 4G LTE, VoLTE support and host of other features at an effective price. Through this phone, we take the first step to reach millions of Indians who are going digital. By eliminating multiple external factors, we want to bring the best phones that industry has to offer and at an effective price.”

Android Creator Andy Rubin Said to Be Near Comeback With ‘Essential’ Phone

Just over two years after leaving Google, Andy Rubin is preparing to take on the smartphone industry he helped create.

Android Creator Andy Rubin Said to Be Near Comeback With 'Essential' PhoneRubin, creator of the Android operating system, is planning to marry his background in software with artificial intelligence in a risky business: consumer hardware. Armed with about a 40-person team, filled with recruits from Apple and Google, Rubin is preparing to announce a new company called Essential and serve as its Chief Executive Officer, according to people familiar with the matter.

A platform company designed to tie multiple devices together, Essential is working on a suite of consumer hardware products, including ones for the mobile and smart home markets, one of the people said.

The centerpiece of the system is a high-end smartphone with a large edge-to-edge screen that lacks a surrounding bezel. At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in early January, Rubin discussed the smartphone with mobile carrier executives, including some from Sprint Corp., people familiar with the talks said.

Rubin registered Essential Products Inc. with California regulators in November 2015. In late 2016, the company registered “Essential” with the US Patent and Trademark Office, listing smartphones, tablets, accessories and “computer operating software for mobile phones” among its goods and services. It’s unclear if the devices will run on software based on Android.

While still in the prototyping stage, Rubin’s phone is aimed at the top of the market where Apple’s iPhone and Alphabet Inc.’s new Pixel reside. It’s expected to include high-end materials and the ability to gain new hardware features over time, the people said. Representatives for Rubin and Sprint declined to comment.

Rubin sold Android to Google in 2005. He spent eight years at its helm at Google, turning the operating system from a tiny project into the globe’s most dominant software for running mobile devices. In 2013, he stepped down from Android to form Google’s robotics unit before leaving altogether in 2014. Rubin’s next venture was a startup incubator called Playground Global, which backs artificial intelligence, robotics, and augmented reality projects.

Rubin is convinced AI is the next big change to ripple through the technology industry. “New computing platforms happen every 10 to 12 years,” he said at the Bloomberg Technology Conference in June. “What’s the next platform?… It’s about data and people training AI systems to learn.”

Playground Global, which occupies a sprawling warehouse in Silicon Valley, has raised at least $300 million from big investors including Hewlett-Packard, Google, and Apple supplier Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. The latter, known as Foxconn, is in talks to manufacture Rubin’s new smartphone, according to people familiar with the matter.

At least one prototype of Rubin’s phone boasts a screen larger than the iPhone 7 Plus’s (5.5-inches) but has a smaller overall footprint because of the lack of bezels, one of the people said. The startup is experimenting with enabling the phone’s screen to sense different levels of pressure, similar to an iPhone, the person said. Rubin’s team is testing an industrial design with metal edges and a back made of ceramic, which is more difficult to manufacture than typical smartphone materials, two of the people said.

Essential’s engineers are developing a proprietary connector that serves double duty for charging the battery and expanding the phone’s functionality over time, one person familiar with the planning said. The magnetic connector would allow Essential or even third parties to create hardware accessories that add features to the smartphone. For instance, Rubin’s engineers are working on a sphere-shaped camera add-on that shoots high-resolution 360 degree photographs, the person said.

Rubin is aiming to put the phone on sale around the middle of this year for a price close to that of an iPhone 7 ($649), a person familiar with the matter said, adding that all of the plans are still in flux. Technology news website The Information earlier reported Rubin was working on a phone.

Helping run the project are former Google colleagues and Apple managers, including Rebecca Zavin, Joe Tate, Linda Jiang, and Jason Keats. Zavin, a former senior Google software manager, is running software for Rubin. Keats and Tate are helping run hardware engineering, and Jiang is a key designer for Essential, according to a person familiar with the startup. Kelly Liang, a former business executive with the Google X lab, is managing business development and Brian Wallace, a former Samsung and Magic Leap executive, is leading marketing.

Samsung Galaxy J2 Ace With 4G VoLTE Support Launched at Rs. 8,490

Samsung on Friday officially launched two new entry-level smartphones in India. The Galaxy J2 Ace and Galaxy J1 4G were announced by the company priced at Rs. 8,490 and Rs. 6,890, respectively. While the Galaxy J1 4G was already listed on the company’s website last week, the Galaxy J2 Ace is the newest entry-level in the company’s J series lineup. The handset will be offered in Black, Gold, and Silver colour options and will be available via online and offline retailers from January 16.

Samsung Galaxy J2 Ace With 4G VoLTE Support Launched at Rs. 8,490The Galaxy J2 Ace is a more stripped down version of the Galaxy J2 (2016) that was launched in July 2016 at Rs. 9,750. The Galaxy J2 Ace is part of the company’s ‘Make for India’ project and includes the Ultra Data Saving (UDS) Mode which provides up to 50 percent mobile data savings with data compression. The S bike mode with rider optimisations is also present.

The Galaxy J2 Ace runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow and features a 5-inch qHD display with Samsung’s proprietary Turbo Speed Technology (TST) that optimises the device’s RAM to open apps faster. The smartphone is powered by a a 1.4GHz quad-core processor coupled with 1.5GB of RAM.
The Galaxy J2 Ace sports an 8-megapixel rear camera and a 5-megapixel front. Both the back and front cameras feature f/2.2 aperture and LED flash. The handset comes with 8GB of inbuilt storage which is expandable via microSD card (up to 256GB).

Connectivity options on the Galaxy J2 Ace include 4G LTE with VoLTE support, 3G, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS, and USB 2.0. The handset is fitted with a 2600mAh battery pack.

Sony Entertainment CEO Exiting to Become Snap Chairman

Sony Entertainment Chief Executive Michael Lynton will step down to become chairman of the board of messaging app owner Snap Inc, a move that puts an experienced Hollywood executive in a prominent role as the technology company prepares for an initial public offering.

Sony Entertainment CEO Exiting to Become Snap ChairmanLynton will give up his current position at Sony’s movie and television unit on February 2 but remain as co-CEO for six months to help find a successor, Japanese conglomerate Sony Corp said in a statement on Friday.

Snap, the owner of the popular Snapchat app, is expected to go public early this year, vying for a $25 billion valuation. Lynton was an early investor in the company co-founded by 26-year-old CEO Evan Spiegel, and has served on its board for nearly four years.

The Venice, California-based company has made a push into news and entertainment content, a strategy that heightened competition with social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. In 2015, it began sharing video and articles from TV networks such as CNN and ESPN on a feature called Snapchat Discover.

It also signed deals in 2016 with media companies such as Walt Disney Co and Comcast Corp’s NBCUniversal to have them produce original shows for Snapchat.

Lynton, in a 13-year career at Sony, oversaw hit movies including the “The Social Network” and James Bond film “Skyfall,” but the studio has lagged behind competitors in box office share and big hits over the past year.

The TV studio under Lynton also produced successful shows such as “Breaking Bad” and “The Blacklist.”

Lynton’s tenure at Sony Entertainment was also marked by a devastating computer hack in 2014 that exposed a trove of embarrassing e-mails and employee data. The cyber-attack, which the United States blamed on North Korea, crippled the studio for months and prompted an executive shuffle.

Sony Chief Executive Kazuo Hirai will take on a larger role at the entertainment division, adding the position of co-CEO and chairman of the unit, the company said. The Tokyo-based Hirai will add a second office in Culver City, California, where the film studio is based.

“As we look ahead, we see our entertainment businesses as essential parts of Sony,” Hirai said.

In November, Sony Chief Financial Officer Kenichiro Yoshida said a turnaround of the movie division was “progressing, but it takes time for the benefit to be realized.”

Samsung Galaxy S8 to Sport AMOLED Display, Bezel-Less Design, Promo Videos Suggest

The Internet is indeed full of spoilers. Weeks ahead of the official unveiling of Samsung’s next flagship, likely named Galaxy S8, almost everything from the design right down to the hardware have been speculated online. On Friday, two separate reports emerged – one regarding the size variants and the other regarding 3D renders. Now, Samsung may have just revealed all with two promo videos of brand new displays – likely to be used in the upcoming flagship – posted by the company’s subsidiary Samsung Display.

Samsung Galaxy S8 to Sport AMOLED Display, Bezel-Less Design, Promo Videos SuggestOne of the videos spotted by Slashleaks shows a large AMOLED display being placed on what could be the Galaxy S8. The video has since been taken down. However, the video, if true, confirms two widely speculated details about the upcoming flagship – that the device will sport an AMOLED display and will likely come with very thin top and bottom bezels and no Home Button.

The second video, however, is yet to be taken down and further confirms some of the details that we have come to gather so far. The video and Friday’s renders seem to point strongly towards a near bezel-less design. With a big screen-to-body ratio and lack of any capactitive buttons, we could be looking at a Galaxy S8 with an optical fingerprint sensor that was earlier rumoured.

Furthermore, the video also hints at a flat Galaxy 8 design, which could mean that apart from an Edge design, Samsung may continue to offer a flat design as well. The Korean promo mostly shows off the AMOLED display with sharper colours and lower battery consumption, according to the YouTube description.

Some of the most recent rumours suggest that the Galaxy S8 will in fact feature the 3.5mm headphone jack along with two top and bottom speakers. The flagship will reportedly come in two display sizes – 5.7-inch and 6.2-inch – with the larger being called the Galaxy S8 Plus. Separately, 5-inch and 6-inch models were also tipped.

With no official word from Samsung yet, all rumours and videos must be taken with a pinch of salt. With one of the videos already taken down, the second one may soon disappear as well.

Nintendo Switch Up for Pre-Order on GameStop

The Nintendo Switch price or release date may not have been officially revealed by Nintendo but that hasn’t stopped retailers from listing it for pre-order.

Nintendo Switch Up for Pre-Order on GameStopGameStop Italy has put up a pre-order page for the Nintendo Switch. It states a price of 399.98 Euros (approximately Rs. 28,500), which is around 100 Euros more than what was leaked prior. Quite possibly a placeholder price.

Though nothing has been said of its raw performance numbers, developer kits allegedly sport the following specifications:

Four ARM Cortex-A57 cores, max 2GHz
Nvidia second-generation Maxwell architecture
256 CUDA cores, max 1GHz, 1024 FLOPS/cycle
4GB RAM (25.6 GB/s, VRAM shared)
32 GB storage (Max transfer 400 MB/s)
USB 2.0 and 3.0
1280 x 720 6.2-inch IPS LCD
1080p at 60 fps or 4k at 30 fps max video output
Capacitance method, 10-point multi-touch
It will be interesting to see how close the retail unit is to its developer kit. Earlier, we reported that the Nintendo Switch would be priced from $249 (around Rs. 17,000) onwards. It appears that this will be the case. UK-based retailer Gameseek has the console listed for £198.50. This puts it in line with the anticipated pricing outed by LetsPlayVideoGames’ Laura Kate Dale.

“UK specialist gaming retail chain GAME has been informed of the Nintendo Switch’s wholesale price to retailers, and is planning on selling their basic SKU (stock keeping unit) of the system in stores for £199.99,” a post on LetsPlayVideoGames read at the time. “We have also learned that a separate SKU featuring more internal storage and a packed in game is planned to sell at £249.99.” This will, if Nintendo’s plans bear fruition, result in a dollar pricing of $249.99 (approximately Rs. 17,000) and $299.99 (around Rs. 20,250) respectively.

Fiat Chrysler, Google Partner on Android-Based Car Infotainment System

While Google is already making its presence in cars with Android Auto, it remains an overlay (like an app) on top of a car’s infotainment system. Modern cars that have a touchscreen-based interface in the centre console are still based on in-house proprietary platforms. Ahead of CES 2017, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) – the world’s seventh-largest auto maker – has announced a new version of its UConnect infotainment system. Thanks to recent partnership with Google where FCA is making autonomous cars for Google’s new Waymo platform, the new iteration of UConnect will now be based on Android 7.0 Nougat.

Fiat Chrysler, Google Partner on Android-Based Car Infotainment SystemFCA cars will still retain the look-and-feel of older UConnect interface, similar to how Android phone makers like Samsung or even Xiaomi customise Android to create a unique experience for their phones. But, since it’s based on Android, it is said to get access to useful Google apps like Assistant, Maps and other Android apps like Spotify, Pandora, etc. This interface will also allow users to control basic features of the car like air conditioning. And if you wish to connect your phone to the car, the system will also support Android Auto as well as Apple CarPlay.
For car makers, having control over the infotainment interface is important because it is part of their brand identity, as The Verge points out. Which is why the open-source nature of Android is conducive to mould it to their liking. Plus, since app developers already make apps for Android, it avoids the hassle for car makers to get them separately coded for their proprietary platform. FCA’s new UConnect platform will compete with BlackBerry QNX and Microsoft’s car platform that Ford has used in the past. Even Apple is said to be working on a car operating system.