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.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: A.I. selfie drones, ‘invisible’ wireless chargers

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Gaming

Your PlayStation 4 game library isn't complete without these games

Looking for the best PS4 games out there? Out of the massive crop of titles available, we selected the best you should buy. No matter what your genre of choice may be, there's something here for you.
Computing

If the speed of AMD’s Radeon RX 590 doesn’t entice you, the game bundle will

AMD's Radeon RX 590 is a new video card that targets 1080p gaming at maximum detail. Starting at $280, it fills a gap between the Radeon RX 580 and the more expensive Radeon RX Vega. AMD says the new RX 590 can beat Nvidia's GTX 1060 Ti.
Product Review

The MacBook Air plays the oldies we love, but the band is getting old

We’ve waited for a long time for an update to the MacBook Air, and Apple finally delivered one. With a lot of features ported over from the MacBook Pro, is this new laptop what Apple fans have always wanted?
Digital Trends Live

DT Daily: Global internet, quantum computing prove the future is now

Global internet, quantum computing, and fire-resistant exoskeletons may seem like the stuff of science fiction, but as we learned on today's episode of DT Daily, all these things may soon be reality.