Samsung S9 smartphone to come in three — maybe four — versions?

So THAT’S what they were saying…

We’ve been waiting to give Google’s new Pixel Buds a go since they were announced a while ago. The $159 wireless earbuds – which are connected to each other by a single wire but connect to your phone wirelessly, just to be clear – include a clever feature we think we’re going to see much more of in the future: the ability to translate a language in near real time. Oh, and yeah, you can also listen to music and make call with them.

So how do they stack up against their most apparent competitor, Apple’s slightly more wireless and losable AirPods? DT audio critic Ryan Wanianta says that while the translation feature is definitely cool, the Pixel Buds fall a little short in other areas, at least for this initial generation. Check out his full review, especially if you’re a Google Pixel phone user.

(Screen) size matters

It’s practically raining amazing smartphones these days, and it looks like Samsung is pressing forward with the Galaxy S9 after the successful but also slightly troubled launch of the S8. With the apparent success of Apple’s new iPhone X, it looks like Samsung will try to launch three and maybe even four S9 models starting early next year. BGR is reporting that the S9 line will include the typical standard and “plus” phablet options, along with a sturdier “active” model.

However, BGR adds that sources say Samsung may also be planning to re-introduce a small or “mini” version of the phone in the 5-inch screen size range. Apple has had unexpected success with their legacy-sized iPhone SE, which is essentially an old-school 4-inch iPhone 4 with an iPhone 6S stuffed inside. Apparently, not everyone wants a phablet. Can’t say we disagree with the small-but-powerful idea. Just don’t wander into Zoolander territory.

City of Ideas

Here’s an interesting question: If you literally had all the money in the world, unlimited access to incredible technology and grand ambitions, what would you do? How about… build a smart city. That’s the plan that seems to be taking shape in Arizona, where billionaire and tech icon Bill Gates has purchased over 24,000 acres of scrubby desertBill Gates is building his own city, and he’s loading it with smart tech outside of Phoenix. So what’s the plan?

Gates and his partners in the Cascade Investment firm say they want to build the city of the future literally from the ground up, and this won’t be some Microsoft company town, either. The city, which seems to have the tentative name of Belmont, would be a hive of data centers, autonomous vehicles, scaled-up 3D printed construction, cutting-edge schools, gigabit connectivity, and pretty much every tech advance smart people like Gates can dream up.

Gates has done this before, albeit on a much smaller scale; with his gigantic home hear Seattle. The 66,000 square-foot residence is teched out to the extreme, and it’s now 20 years old, so suffice to say he has some experience with these ideas. Gates and friends haven’t turned a robotic shovel in the dirt yet, so we’ll be keeping close tabs on this unique project as it moves forward. Be sure to tell us what tech you’d like to see piut to use in Gates’ smart city project.

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

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