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LanceList - Issue #181

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Smarter Google Assistant; Google Pixel 3A Review; Amazon Go in NYC; Tesla Repairs
 

LanceList

May 8 · Issue #181 · View online
Tech stories that matter, Gadget Quests, nerd pursuits, and other things you ought to know.

Smarter Google Assistant; Google Pixel 3A Review; Amazon Go in NYC; Tesla Repairs

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Getting smarter. The dream for all voice assistant technology is , basically, a continuous conversation between human and machine. No pauses for context to repeat “Hey Siri,” “Alexa” or “ Hey Google,” just a chatting with your friendly, neighborhood AI. Yesterday, that’s pretty much what we got from Google and its updated Assistant. The next generation voice assistant is 10x faster than the current one and in a live demo we saw during the Google I/O keynote, they only said “Hey Google” once. Google even found a way to squeeze down the intelligence necessary to power the AI, so it fits locally on Google’s next generation of Pixel phones (coming this fall).
Google Assistant is 10x faster and knows where your mom lives - CNET
The right price. Smartphone sales have slowed down, and some believe it’s because the best handsets cost at least $1,000. Google may have an antidote. It just introduced a $399 Google Pixel 3A. The phone’s screen is OLED, but not edge-to-edge, the performance is okay and there’s no wireless charging or water protection, but it does have a really good camera. In other words, it excels where it counts. This review does a nice job of summing up the lows and highs.
Google Pixel 3A review: a $399 phone with a great camera - The Verge
Game control. If you ever wonder what kind of control China has over technology and content in its country, you need only look at what just happened with the wildly popular Players Unknown Battlegrounds (it’s also my current favorite game). Chinese developer had tried to work with authorities to tone down the violence and make the game, well, more patriotic. Now they’ve given up and introduced a new game called Game for Peace, which looks a lot like PUBG but with no violence and lots of pro Chinese air force rhetoric.
Tencent pulls blockbuster game PUBG in China, launches patriotic alternative - Reuters
Too soon. Perhaps my favorite moment of yesterday’s Google I/O keynote was when they said Android Q, the next version of the mobile operating system, was built to support all the foldable phones they expect to see this year. The news came, unfortunately, on the same day Samsung admitted that its beleaguered Samsung Galaxy Fold no longer has a ship date and they weren’t sure when it would.
Don’t expect a foldable Pixel 4 this year, although Google is prototyping the new screen tech – BGR
Grab and Go. Amazon opened its first automated, cashier-free Amazon Go grocery story in New York City this week. These are the stores where you walk in, grab what you need, and walk out. A smart system tracks your movements, what you grab, and automatically charges you as you leave. There is one difference between this Amazon Go and the other nearly dozen locations: this one accepts cash, which means, yes, you can find a human to help you check out.
Amazon Go opens in New York City, with a twist | Fox Business
Smart car. If you’re wondering just how different an all-electric Tesla is from your current car, consider this. In the latest software update, Tesla’s can self-diagnose problems and even pre-order parts, The car is already capable of self-summoning a tow truck (which you can cancel, of course).
Tesla vehicles can now diagnose themselves and even pre-order parts for service - Electrek
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