Weekly Rewind: AI for firefighters, bathrooms of the future, and more

top tech stories 08 21 2016 wr 8 head
USAF photo/Tech. Sgt. Rey Ramon
In the tech world, a lot happens in a week. So much news goes on that it’s almost impossible for mere mortals with real lives to keep track of everything. That’s why we’ve compiled a quick and dirty list of the top 10 tech stories from this week. Everything from a hands-on demo of Google Duo to AI for firefighters, it’s all here.

Is a Sprint and T-Mobile merger still possible? Softbank’s CEO thinks and hopes so

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Remember when Sprint and T-Mobile were in talks to merge? That could still happen, if Softbank Group Corp.’s CEO has his way. CEO Masayoshi Son has a 300-year plan to build a sprawling business empire that would “endure through the centuries,” according to anonymous sources who spoke to Bloomberg. Softbank, which purchased Sprint in 2012, attempted to merge Sprint and T-Mobile in 2014, but the FCC and the U.S. Department of Justice voiced their opposition to the deal. The Japanese company recently purchased British chipmaker ARM.

Read the full story here.

T-Mobile is giving unlimited data to every customer, but there’s a catch

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T-Mobile, the self-styled Un-carrier of the cellular industry, announced a blockbuster of a promotion this morning: the elimination of data caps. That’s no joke. T-Mobile introduced the One plan on Thursday, a radical revamp of its offerings that does away with data buckets in favor of a single price and unlimited data. “The era of the data plan is over,” said Legere. “After Un-carrier 12, the wireless industry will never be the same again.” Sprint also unleashed an unlimited data plan to compete with the Un-Carrier.

Read the full story here.

Homes featured on HGTV’s ‘Fixer Upper’ drawing crazy interest on Airbnb

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The Gaines, of the popular home repair show Fixer Upper, are tired of people putting the properties they have helped restore on rental sites like VRBO and Airbnb. They’re already talking about reworking their contract for next season, presumably, so this can’t happen. Many Fixer Upper homes can be found on Airbnb and VRBO, and attract guest from all over.

Read the full story here.

Hands On: Google Duo

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It seems like ages ago that Google took the wraps off Duo, a video chat app for Android that eschews bells and whistles for a bare-bones, FaceTime-like focus on person-to-person video. Months after an unveiling at the company’s I/O Developer Conference in June, you can now download Duo on the Play Store for Android and the App Store on iOS. But was it worth the wait?

Read the full story here.

Time for a bathroom redo? Houzz unveils latest tech for toilets, tubs, and showers

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How much actual business gets done in bathroom “offices”? That’s a fair question given the percentage (58) of people who use mobile devices in their home bathrooms, says the 2016 U.S. Houzz Bathroom Trends Studyas reported on Silicon Beat. High-tech kitchen appliances, such as refrigerators and stoves, are understandable luxuries. Smart home systems connect devices in your home to your car, your wrist, the cloud, and beyond. But why do people want new tech in their bathrooms, and what are they looking for?

Read the full story here.

Product Review

The 2019 Porsche Macan S is a luxurious and quick SUV, but it's no road tripper

The roster of models challenging the Porsche Macan grows annually. The German firm updated its smallest, most affordable SUV with a new engine, more tech features, and subtle design tweaks to keep it looking fresh.
Deals

REI clearance sale extends discounts on Garmin, Fitbit, and GoPro devices

Beyond the things you typically expect to find at REI — like tents, skis, and jackets — there are tons of great deals on quality tech foryour outdoor adventures. From smartwatches to action cameras, here are the best tech deals.
Smart Home

How to talk to Santa on Alexa and Google Assistant

Nothing say "holiday" like talking to Santa. Here's how to talk to Santa on Alexa and Google Assistant, whether he's helping you create a playlist or checking to see if you've been naughty or nice this week.
Emerging Tech

The 20 best tech toys for kids will make you wish you were 10 again

Looking for the perfect toy or gadget for your child? Thankfully, we've rounded up some of our personal favorite tech toys, including microscopes, computer kits, and a spherical droid from a galaxy far, far away.
Mobile

The Galaxy S10 may be announced before MWC, sell for up to $1,750

While we still may be months away from an announcement, there's no doubt about it: Samsung is working hard on its successor to the Galaxy S9. Here's everything we know about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10.
Deals

Amazon slashes price of 2018 iPad to under $250 in time for Christmas

Whether you love Apple or prefer Android, this 2018 iPad 32GB tablet deal is rather tempting. If you're still on the hunt for gifts, then this deep discount from Amazon makes now an excellent time to pick one up.
Mobile

Midrange phones can’t do A.I., but MediaTek’s P90 chip aims to change that

MediaTek has announced the Helio P90 mobile processor, which it says will bring the best A.I. features we see on high-end smartphones, to the mid-range. We spoke to the company about the chip.
Wearables

How to use the ECG app, set up irregular rhythm notifications on the Apple Watch

The Apple Watch Series 4 is the best smartwatch iPhone owners can own, and it just got even better with the addition of the ECG app and ability to identify irregular heart rhythms. Here's how to set it all up.
Home Theater

Common AirPods problems, and how to fix them

Apple’s AirPods are among the best fully wireless earbuds we’ve seen, but they’re not perfect. If you’re having trouble, take a look at our guide to the most common problems and what you can do to fix them.
Mobile

The LG V40 ThinQ, G7 ThinQ, and Watch W7 are discounted for the holidays

LG announced a series of deals for the holiday season where you can buy the company's two flagship phones, the V40 ThinQ and G7 ThinQ, as well as its latest smartwatch, for between $150 and $200 off, depending on the device.
Mobile

5G’s arrival is transforming tech. Here’s everything you need to know to keep up

It has been years in the making, but 5G is finally becoming a reality. While 5G coverage is still extremely limited, expect to see it expand in 2019. Not sure what 5G even is? Here's everything you need to know.
Mobile

Want to watch Netflix in bed or browse the web? We have a tablet for everyone

There’s so much choice when shopping for a new tablet that it can be hard to pick the right one. From iPads to Android, these are our picks for the best tablets you can buy right now whatever your budget.
Mobile

McLaren puts the pedal to the metal in special-edition OnePlus 6T

The OnePlus 6T is yet another flagship killer smartphone, bringing powerful specifications to a much lower price than the competition. Now, OnePlus has teamed up with McLaren for the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition.
Mobile

G’day, Google: U.S. users can now give Assistant a British or Australian accent

U.S. Google Assistant users can give their Assistant a different voice. Google has updated Assistant with the ability for users to give it either a British or Australian accent, which could make it a little more personal for some.
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