Android OS icon Andy Rubin debuts ‘Essential’ smartphone, home hub

Thank the maker

If you’ve been looking for a new smartphone and are hoping for an alternative to something from Apple, Samsung or LG, then Andy Rubin, a co-creator of the Android OS, may have just the thing with his latest project, called the Essential Phone, or the PH-1. It looks pretty capable, too, with a Snapdragon 835 heartbeat, 4 gigs of RAM, a big battery, 13megapixel rear camera and 128 gigs of storage for a buck under $700. Not bad.

But one feature we felt stood out the most was the front display, which goes all the way to the top of the phone while still making room for the 8-megapixel, 4K video selfie cam. The display stops just short of the bottom of the phone, and guess what: no headphone jack. Also, the Essential Phone is partially modular: there’s a slick little 4K 360-camera module that snaps right on and supposedly more trick add-on bits are on the way.

The phone is part of a burgeoning “Essential” ecosystem by Rubin that includes a home hub speaker similar to an Amazon Echo that will work with  SmartThings, HomeKit, and Nest. So far, there’s no specific release date for the Essential Phone except to say it’s “coming soon,” so if you want one, we suggest getting your deposit in now. Hit this link for more information.

This chip goes up to 16

Gamers are feeling the love these days as competition between Intel and AMD heats up, and following the recent high-profile rollout of AMD’s Ryzen CPUs, Intel has hit back with their new X-Series chipsets, which includes the new Core i9 units. The biggest hitter, the Core i9 Extreme, features 18 computing cores and 36 threads for what should be some serious gaming horsepower. Not cheap though: expect to shell out 2 grand for that one.

There are many other new options from Intel, however, so hit this link for all the details and prices.

Taking soccer to new heights

Think the personal mobility drone is still years away? After seeing videos like Casey Neistat getting a lift from one, or this guy breaking distance records on this jet-powered rig, or this brave mofo parachuting from a big drone, we’re thinking a personal flight drone could be on the shelves at Walmart by the holidays.

OK, maybe not THAT soon, but here’s yet another brave guy flying around on a drone, this time to deliver the game ball to a ref at a soccer match – in the rain. OK, he looks a bit wobbly, but hey, he’s got the surfing moves to make it work, and gets the ball to the ref on time. There were no immediate details on who built or flew the 8-rotor machine, but it looks like a pretty tight setup, so maybe we’ll see it on amazon.com sooner than later. We can only hope.

We’ve got more news on our Facebook page and YouTube channel, and be sure to tune in to this week’s DT podcasts: Close to the Metal (computers and such) on Tuesday, Trends with Benefits (general tech shenanigans)  on Thursdays, and Between the Streams (movie and TV topics) every Friday.

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