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Week 38 in review: Samsung, Xiaomi and Meizu bring new smartphones

A few interesting announcements took place in week 38 and three of those came courtesy of Samsung – the first mid-ranger with a triple camera Galaxy A7 (2018) and a couple of entry-level devices in Galaxy J4+ and Galaxy J6+.

Meanwhile Xiaomi gave us two more members of the Mi 8 family – the Mi 8 Lite and Mi 8 Pro, while Meizu gave us four new handsets – the 16X, the X8 and the V8 duo.

Meanwhile OnePlus was a prominent feature in our rumor mill with its 6T flagship, along with Xiaomi and its upcoimng Redmi Note 6 Pro mid-ranger. .

We are also still feeling the aftermath of the iPhone XS and XS Max launch – the duo went on sale and we got to learn more about their hardware through reviews and teardowns.

Check out the full list of popular stories to make sure you haven’t missed anything.

The sale begins tomorrow at 12 noon in India at Amazon and Xiaomi’s stores.


It’s the company’s first triple camera smartphone.


An AliExpress retailer offers the 3/32 GB for

AI Detects More Mysterious Cosmic Radio Bursts

Is artificial intelligence the key to communicating with aliens?

Researchers used machine learning to discover 72 new fast radio bursts from a mysterious source 3 billion light years from Earth.

In radio astronomy, fast radio bursts are high-energy astrophysical phenomenon of unknown origin; the bright pulses of radio emission last mere milliseconds and are thought to originate from distant galaxies.

Their source, however, remains unclear.

But Breakthrough Listen, a SETI (search for extraterrestrial intelligence) project led by the University of California, Berkeley, hopes AI can help clarify.

“This work is exciting not just because it helps us understand the dynamic behavior of fast radio bursts in more detail, but also because of the promise it shows for using machine learning to detect signals missed by classical algorithms,” according to Andrew Siemion, director of the Berkeley SETI Research Center and principal investigator of Breakthrough Listen.

In the 12 years since Duncan Lorimer discovered the first fast radio burst in 2006, many more have been found, including the repeating FRB 121102—the focus of this investigation.

The team focused on radio signals from 400 terabytes of data, recorded by West Virginia’s Green Bank Telescope over a five-hour period in August 2017.

A previous

New Research Supports Pluto as a Planet

Yasss! My favorite planet-cum-dwarf planet got the thumbs up from the University of Central Florida to be reinstated as a full-fledged member of our Solar System.

New research from UCF suggests Pluto’s declassification as a planet was not valid. (Damn straight!)

The International Astronomical Union in 2006 formally defined a planet as having “cleared the neighborhood” around its orbit (i.e. be the largest gravitational force in its path).

Because Neptune’s gravity influences its smaller neighbor, which shares its space with objects in the Kuiper belt, Pluto sadly lost its title as the ninth planet from the Sun.

Enter Philip Metzger—UCF planetary scientist with the Florida Space Institute, and my new hero.

In a study published online in the journal Icarus, Metzger reported that this standard for classifying planets is not supported by 200 years scientific literature.

Only one publication from 1802 used the clearing-orbit requirement, based on reasoning which has since been disproven.

“The IAU definition would say that the fundamental object of planetary science, the planet, is supposed to be defined on the basis of a concept that nobody uses in their research,” lead author Metzger said in a statement. “And it would leave out the second-most complex, interesting

Blend-Off: Vitamix vs. Blendtec

By Lesley Stockton

This post was done in partnership with Wirecutter. When readers choose to buy Wirecutter’s independently chosen editorial picks, Wirecutter and Engadget may earn affiliate commission. Read the full Vitamix vs. Blendtec guide here.

Vitamix and Blendtec are the two biggest names in high-powered home blenders. In our testing, we’ve always preferred Vitamix. We still get asked about Blendtec, though, maybe thanks to its popular “Will It Blend?” campaign, which features a Blendtec pulverizing iPhones and other objects that would taste bad in smoothies. The image of a phone turned to dust is a compelling demonstration of raw power, but pulverizing a phone and making a good smoothie are two very different tasks.

To prove it, we pitted the Blendtec Designer 675 against the Vitamix 5200 (our top-pick blender) in a series of tests, and the Vitamix won every time. The Vitamix was much better at smoothies, soups, nut butters—the things you’d need a kitchen blender for, in other words.

We chose to compare those two models because they offered roughly similar features and control schemes. The 5200 is Vitamix’s original variable-speed model, and it offers the power and performance Vitamix blenders are known

HP Spectre x360 (2018) Review: A Portable, Versatile Laptop

For those digging the convertible notebook concept, solid choices abound. HP’s Spectre x360 has been at the top of the heap for a while, neck and neck with the Microsoft Surface Book. As it goes with these things, HP has updated the x360 to keep with the times and the competition. While it hasn’t reinvented the converti-wheel with this 2018 release, it has re-solidified its position at the top of the pack.

If you’re familiar with recent vintages of the x360, this version will look awfully familiar. It carries the same 360-degree convertible hinge to allow for use as a laptop, a slate tablet, and everything in between, plus a similar, all-business color scheme of slate gray and coppery metallics. (That’s “dark ash silver” for those in the know; two other colors are also available.) While the design has been lightly tweaked here and there, it’s a very close sibling to the 2017 model.

While specs have been updated for 2018 components, my review unit was on the lower end of HP’s configuration spectrum. That means a relatively slow 1.6GHz Core i5 processor. Also onboard were 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, and screen with the resolution capped at

New Report Calls on NASA to Enhance Exoplanet Search

Is our Solar System a cosmic rarity or a galactic commonplace? How do Earth-like planets form, and what determines if they are habitable? Is there life on other worlds?

To answer such significant questions, NASA needs to step up its game, according to a new congressionally mandated report.

Authored by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, the document calls on the U.S. space program to develop an advanced telescope to better study exoplanets.

Researchers have already detected more than 100 potential exoplanets—globes that circle a star other than the Sun—including one orbiting the fourth-closest star to our Solar System (about 8.1 light years away from Earth).

But that’s not enough for NASEM, the collective scientific national academy of the United States.

“Our current knowledge of the range of characteristics of planets outside the Solar System is substantially incomplete,” the committee said in a news release outlining two “overarching” goals:

To understand the formation and evolution of planetary systems as products of star formation and characterize the diversity of their architectures, composition, and environments To learn enough about exoplanets to identify potentially habitable environments and search for scientific evidence of life on worlds orbiting other stars

“A

Promoting Pixel 2 photography from an iPhone is the ultimate Android humiliation

We’ve seen it happen a thousand times: Android device makers hire stars to promote their latest devices, and those influencers tweet their endorsements from the device they actually use, which is Apple’s iPhone. But when it happens to Google’s latest Pixel, and when it involves photography, which is one of the best things about the Pixel, it’s the ultimate humiliation for Android as a whole.

In a matter of weeks, Google will unveil the Pixel 3 series and the phones’ photography skills will be put on display. Both the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL will feature dual-lens selfie cams, and single-lens main cameras, which already has us puzzled. Google will surely explain its camera decisions, and will probably tell us how the new Pixels will deliver a camera experience that’s unparalleled.

In the meantime, Google is still promoting the Pixel 2 XL around the world, with Bollywood star Anushka Sharma having inked a Pixel advertising contract for India. She posted the following images on Twitter making sure the message that those pictures were taken with the Pixel is clear. Just check out all the Google and Pixel hashtags. Little did she know that well-known tech reviewer Marquess Brownlee will