Voice-Controlled Bixby, Samsung's Mobile AI, Is Now Available Globally

Ahead of launching its latest smartphone, the Galaxy Note 8, in New York City tomorrow, Samsung today announced that its voice-controlled digital assistant Bixby is now available in more than 200 countries around the world.

Originally set to roll out in the U.S. and South Korea in the spring with the arrival of the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus flagship phones, Bixby’s arrival was delayed until July. The delay appeared to be linked to numerous reviews that found the AI appeared to struggle with natural language voice commands.

Now supported in the U.K., Canada, Australia, South Africa, and many other countries in addition to the U.S. and South Korea, Bixby currently works only in Korean and U.S. English. Samsung said the AI, which supports native Android apps and a growing list of third-party apps, will learn to recognize users’ preferences and speech habits to continue improving over time.

Unique ‘Deep Integration’

In addition to offering quick commands, Bixby can also be personalized to support custom voice commands and shortcuts for multiple functions at once, according to Samsung. For example, users who want to combine turning on the do-not-disturb mode, setting a 6 a.m. alarm and activating their phones’ blue light filters can configure Bixby to do all of those things with a simple “good night.” The AI also responds to contextual, cross-application commands such as, “Send the photo just taken to Mom.”

Compared to competing AI applications, such as Google Assistant and Apple’s Siri, Bixby is deeply integrated into supporting Samsung devices, allowing it to manage any task that could also be carried out by touch or text, the company said.

“The expansion of Bixby’s voice capabilities is an initial step in the continued rollout of Bixby functionality,” Injong Rhee, an executive vice president at Samsung, said in a statement….
Source: Mobile Tech Today

Verizon Tweaks Prices, Video Quality on Unlimited Plans

Verizon is raising the price of its unlimited plan while introducing a slightly cheaper, more limited version as wireless carriers battle each other for customers.

All major carriers now offer unlimited plans after years of steering people toward paying extra for using more data. Verizon, like its rivals, will start charging more for higher-quality video while hoping to attract cost-conscious customers with a cheaper plan.

Verizon’s unlimited plan had cost $80 a month for one line for those who sign up for automatic payments with a checking account or debit card. Beginning Wednesday, it’ll cost $85 with high-definition video — capped at 720p for phones. Plans with DVD-quality streaming will cost $75. For a family of four, the higher-quality version costs $200 a month; the cheaper plan is $160.

Existing customers can keep their unlimited plans, but their video quality is now limited to 720p on phones as well. That rules out 4K-resolution video, but many people probably won’t notice a difference and there isn’t much 4K content yet.

Verizon will also slow the speeds of people on the cheaper unlimited plan when the network is congested. It will do that on the pricier plan only when a customer uses more than 22 gigabytes in a month. The cheaper unlimited plan won’t have data, texts or calls in Mexico and Canada included.

Verizon’s changes are meant to preserve the quality of its network after the return of unlimited plans in February, Jefferies analyst Mike McCormack said in a research note.

The popular plans have “undoubtedly placed a heavy burden on the network,” he said. Having unlimited data means customers can watch all the network-taxing high-resolution video they want.

Charging customers who want high-resolution video also lets Verizon make more money off the unlimited plans. The company has had to deal with less money coming in from fees…
Source: Mobile Tech Today

Google's Next Version of Android Dubbed 'Oreo'

An upcoming update to Google’s Android software finally has a delectable name. The next version will be known as Oreo, extending Google’s tradition of naming each version after a sweet treat.

Google anointed the software Monday after spending the past few months referring to it as “Android O.”

Oreo boasts several new features, including the ability to respond to notifications directly on a phone’s home screen and the ability to access apps without installing them on a device.

The free software is scheduled to be released this fall, most likely after making its debut on a new Pixel phone that Google is expected to begin selling in October.

The nicknames for earlier Android versions have included Nougat, Marshmallow, and Lollipop.

Google and Oreo’s maker, Mondelez, referred to their deal as a partnership, rather than a sponsorship, as no money was exchanged.

Google has named Android after a brand before: The 2013 version was known as Kit Kat. Financial terms weren’t disclosed for that.

Android is the world’s most widely used mobile operating system.

Apple doesn’t use names for its iOS system for iPhones, though the software for Mac computers is named after big cats and geographic locations in California.
Source: Mobile Tech Today

Verizon Makes Unlimited Plans Pricier, More Complicated

Verizon today revealed revamped unlimited plans that aren’t nearly as attractive as last month’s plans. The standard Unlimited plan now costs $85/month instead of $80/month, and has been renamed “Beyond Unlimited”. It offers unlimited calls, texts, and full-speed 4G LTE data up to 22 GB, after which data speed may be limited on busy towers. The plan includes HD video, but HD video on phones is now limited to 720p resolution, even for customers with older plans that did not previously limit video. (Tablets and laptops are allowed video at 1080p.) The plan also includes 15 GB of mobile hotspot data, up from 10 GB, and that change is retroactive to customers with the old plan. The company also unveiled a cheaper “Go Unlimited” plan for $75/month, which technically offers 4G LTE data, but may throttle data speeds at any time the network is busy, not just after 22 GB as with the more expensive plan. The cheaper plan also limits video to SD resolution and throttles mobile hotspot data to just 600 kbps. All of these new prices require paperless billing and auto-pay, or an extra $5/month fee applies.

Source: Phone Scoop – Latest News

A London meeting, without breaking the bank

A London meeting, without breaking the bank
This job can be pretty interesting at times. Today I’m on a train back from London after a meeting. If all goes well, the results of this particular meeting should bear fruit on Coolsmartphone in the next couple of weeks.

The people I met down there were surprised that Coolsmartphone isn’t a London-based operation. Today I’ve traveled down from Birmingham International Airport. Get the right train and you can get to London Euston in 1 hour, 19 minutes.

Over the years I’ve got used to having meetings in some fairly non-standard places. I’ve had a chat with the CEO of EE on a couple of stools, I’ve had a discussion with the head of software house in a car park. Today, it was in a hotel room.

Now, before your mind sinks into the gutter, this is all very business-like. It’s also something you’ve probably seen on TV. Interviews with movie stars, TV personalities – they’re sometimes filmed in hotel rooms. You don’t always need that room for sleeping in. Sometimes you just need a room for a chat. It keeps costs down too, so instead of booking an entire meeting room (which could cost quite a bit), you just book a room instead. In my particular case there was no bed and it was just two chairs in the centre of the room, so you can – if you wish – use these rooms as a short-term office space.

A London meeting, without breaking the bank

Yes, I know this is a little tenuous, but I’m not based in London. I do, therefore, have to travel down often and I can’t always get work done whilst sat at the train station or hanging around a crowded coffee shop. So instead, it might be worth looking at solutions like Daybreakhotels.com. You can use sites like this to get into 3 to 5 star hotels as a “day use” customer without paying a full 24-hour rate. If you want somewhere to freshen up, or somewhere to prepare for an interview, or a bit of peace and quiet to write articles like this, it lets you pick time slots between 10:00 AM and 11:00 PM.

I’ll certainly be giving it a try the next time I’m down in London, and I’ve already found one that has a conference room from 1PM until 8PM with WiFi, lunch and coffee for just £30, so add that to the cheapy train tickets I tend to grab from the Virgin Fare Finder and I can have a London meeting without breaking the bank.

The post A London meeting, without breaking the bank is original content from Coolsmartphone. If you see it on another news website, please let us know.

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    Source: CoolSmartPhone.com News

  • Somfy Security Camera – Review

    Somfy Security Camera   Review

    I have been recently sent through the Somfy indoor security camera for review.

    Good Points:

    • Design.
    • Ease of Setup.
    • Picture Quality.
    • Ability to digital pan and zoom
    • Built-in in alarm. (Very loud alarm)
    • Motion alerts.
    • Ability to talk back to the camera.
    • Key fob arm/disarm.
    • Door and window entry monitoring.
    • Attractive, well designed.

    Bad Points:

    • Price
    • App can be a little flaky.

     

    Setup:

    Let me say this is possibly got to be one of the easiest internet connected devices I have ever set up and pair to my home Wi-Fi. Firstly install the Somfy Protect app to either your iOS or Android device, once done create an account with Somfy once that’s done you enter your Wi-Fi password which in turn generates a QR code, displayed on your mobile device’s screen, place this in front of the camera which it reads, and 20 seconds later your camera is online connected and streaming live video to the Somfy app it is as easy as that. That done I placed the camera in several different locations in my home so that see how this camera performs.

    Design:

    Somfy Security Camera   Review
    Somfy Security Camera   Review

     

    The Somfy One camera is a short round shiny black, and beautifully designed security bot, a discreet little gadget that could sit hidden away in a room’s corner, easily mistaken for a surround sound speaker meaning any would-be burglar can be snapped by you before even noticing that the Somfy One is watching and listening.

    On the front of the unit is a powered shutter that opens and closes to reveal the camera lens, which is a nice touch if you want to be reassured the camera is definitely off when set it to privacy mode. This feels solid, with a quick snap shut and pop open action – a bit like a compact camera lens cover, but bigger.

    Somfy Security Camera   Review
    Somfy Security Camera   Review

     

    The micro USB charging port is housed on the back, although is quite deep set so you may struggle to fit any type of cable in here. Thankfully the included one is equally as black and unobtrusive as the Somfy One itself, while it’s also a flat cable which can be easily mounted out of the way. The rear of the unit features a single speaker as well as a reset button. We say button, although it’s one of those proper reset jobs that require a pin to press. Thankfully Somfy has thrown one of those in with the kit – especially useful if you’ve lost your one to get your phone’s SIM card out.

    Somfy Security Camera   Review

    In Use:

    Once I was set up it was down to using the camera,  which is all done through the mobile app, I did find the app to be a little flaky at times, with it needing a couple of resets and cache clears in the period I was using the camera, no doubt these will be ironed out with app updates.

    That said the app is really easy to use and well laid out, making navigation to saved clips the ability to record live video and take snapshots a breeze. One feature I found worked really well was the app notifications, whenever the camera detected motion, or a loss of internet connection, my phone would instantly receive a notification.

    Somfy Security Camera   Review
    Somfy Security Camera   Review
    Somfy Security Camera   Review
    Somfy Security Camera   Review

     

    The quality this camera produces was truly outstanding, with quality levels ranging from SD, HD and Full HD 1080p resolution gives a nice clear picture, although this can be set to lower levels if you want to save data when streaming on your smartphone, even at Full HD there was no lag when I had a decent mobile signal, the camera also has full night vision functionality.

    Users have the ability pan and zoom, by using pinch to zoom and swiping when viewing the live footage from the camera, another nice touch is the app lets you snap a photo or take a snippet of video which is then stored on your phone. That means you don’t need to worry about cloud storage which is a paid option that is offered by Somfy, at differing levels, ranging from free, to £3.99 per month depending on what level of storage you required

    Somfy Security Camera   Review
    Somfy Security Camera   Review

    Some example images

    Somfy Security Camera   Review
    Somfy Security Camera   Review
    Somfy Security Camera   Review
    Somfy Security Camera   Review
    Somfy Security Camera   Review
    Somfy Security Camera   Review

     

    The Somfy One is able to pick up audio from where it’s placed and it is picked up clearly by the built-in mic and you can speak into your phone to get your voice projected through the Somfy One’s speaker, with only a little lag. Which is a brilliant feature if you want to scare random family members ( which I did on my little boy while he was watching TV, not good that he ran off screaming and I had to explain to my wife ) or unwitting burglars.

    One feature of the Somfy One I really like was its motion sensor, which means the camera can sit in low usage mode and will only notify you if a movement is detected, and record and save the associated video clip for review, date and time stamped through the app.

    Example below.

    Somfy Security Camera   Review

     

    This motion detection function can be paired to the Somfy One’s in-built alarm, once set any motion detected by the camera begins a countdown, app notification and if not cancelled a very, very loud alarm sounds ( I know we set it off by mistake and it nearly gave me a heart attack) and associated footage retained.

    All of these functions can be activated from Somfy Key Fob Badge meaning that controls can be carried out right from your keys

    Somfy Security Camera   Review
    Somfy Security Camera   Review

     

    Conclusion:

    The Somfy One is attractively designed home camera, that doesn’t stand out in any room, this camera offers a lot more features than some of the competitors currently on the market, with a simple and easy set up process, and outstanding picture quality, that said this camera is a little on the expensive side, it’s currently on sale for £229 from Amazon but it is still worth some serious consideration for your home security needs. That build in siren is certainly going to scare the willy’s out of anyone that sets it off and the addition of the shutter on the front of the camera will appeal to those who have any privacy concerns.

     

     

    The post Somfy Security Camera – Review is original content from Coolsmartphone. If you see it on another news website, please let us know.

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    Source: CoolSmartPhone.com News

  • How To Convert Detractors into Promoters

    Today’s consumers have a huge role in either growing your business exponentially through word of mouth and loving your company or becoming a viral scrutiny for your brand with a ton of criticism, creating negative word of mouth.

    The fundamentals of scaling customer satisfaction that helps all businesses to grow is to understand the basics regarding how to convert detractors into promoters.

    First and foremost let’s define what they are:

    Detractors – someone who is unhappy with your product, service or company at that moment in time
    Promoters – raging fans that will refer your business to their friends or colleagues.

    Those 2 basic terms along with “Passives” are often referred in the concept of Net Promoter Score.

    For the sake of this specific article, we are going to focus purely on the framework of turning detractors into promoters.

    1. Detractors Identification

    Top 2 ways of identifying detractors are these metrics:

    Customer Satisfaction Surveys – CSAT (Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) is measured by asking “how customers rate the recent business experience on the scale of 1-5?”)

    Net Promoter Score – NPS (Net Promoter Score is measured by asking “On the scale of 0-10, how likely are you to recommend [company] to a friend or colleague?”)

    A lower score on the CSAT in the short term can mean that a customer is more likely to be a detractor. While in the NPS framework, the detractors are classified from the scores of 0 to 6.

    2. How To Turn Detractors into Promoters

    Close the Feedback Loop – With detractors, the key to closing the feedback loop is using any channels or systems possible with speed to develop customized solutions for their problems. Acting on the feedback in this fashion…
    Source: Mobile Tech Today

    Dodocool Mini Bluetooth Speaker – Review

    Bluetooth speakers. We get a lot of them here and it can be tricky to stand out from the crowd. This Dodocool mini speaker decides to do it by being small. Really small. It’s 45 grams and is 42.1 mm by 36.7 mm.

    Straight from the word go, you’re not going to get an earth-shattering bass-heavy sound from this. The physics just don’t add up, and to be honest if you’re expecting your windows to rattle then you’re a bit bonkers.

    Dodocool Mini Bluetooth Speaker   Review

    That said, the output really isn’t that bad considering the size. It’s Bluetooth only – no 3.5mm audio port – but as usual it’s easy enough to connect and there’s only one button to worry about. Press and hold it to turn on – a small LED at the base tells you what’s going on and you might be able to notice the microphone hole on the opposite side. Likewise, if you want to power it off, you press and hold again. If you don’t put any music through the speaker for a certain length of time, the speaker will shut down itself.

    Dodocool Mini Bluetooth Speaker   Review

    Here’s the video overview if you’re short on time…

    There’s a microUSB port on the side which you’ll use to charge the thing – there’s a supplied cable (which isn’t too long) to do this.

    The speaker also has an extra little feature – it’ll act as a remote shutter for your phone camera. To make this work, you pair it up and check that the volume key is set to be the shutter. Then just a simple tap on that multifunction button on your mini speaker to take a photo. Don’t forget that, with the aid of that microphone, you can answer calls and have a hands-free conversation.

    Dodocool Mini Bluetooth Speaker   Review

    A small lanyard comes in the package so you can attach this to your keys, your bag or your clothes. Put it on your bike or hang it somewhere in your car if you want.

    Inside is a 300mAh battery which charges in 3 hours but I found that it would take much less time than this. It runs for around 4 hours depending on how loud you have it.

    The 3W output is clear and has quite a deep response with no discernible distortion that I could find. For the size, it’s really quite impressive. Not tinny, not weak, but more of a lower, hollower sound which travels well.

    Dodocool Mini Bluetooth Speaker   Review

    The only thing I would mark it down on is the fact that the instruction booklet, which comes in the tiny packaging, is so small that you can’t actually read the thing. However, you won’t really need it so don’t worry too much 🙂

    As I speak this is just £10.99 on Amazon.

    The post Dodocool Mini Bluetooth Speaker – Review is original content from Coolsmartphone. If you see it on another news website, please let us know.

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    Source: CoolSmartPhone.com News

  • Google Details Final Release of Android 8.0 Oreo

    Google today announced the final release of Android 8.0, and also named this version “Oreo”. Members of the Android Beta program will receive an update to the final version today. Nexus and Pixel users will receive the update “rolling out in phases over the next several weeks”. Google has been working with all of its partners to enable updates for other phones. In the coming weeks and months, other manufacturers will roll out the update to many recent phones. By the end of the year, phones from Essential, Huawei, HTC, Kyocera, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung, Sharp and Sony will have Android 8.0 Oreo. The update includes some minor new features, such as picture-in-picture and improved auto-fill, plus many important improvements for developers and overall performance.

    Source: Phone Scoop – Latest News

    Android 8.0 Will be Named "Oreo"

    Google today announced that “Oreo” will be the full name of Android version 8. Google has made a tradition of giving each major version of the OS an official nickname, in alphabetical order. The previous three versions were named Lollipop, Marshmallow, and Nougat. Before that was KitKat, the last time a trademarked brand name was used. Android 8.0 “Oreo” was announced earlier this year and has been available in beta since May. It’s expected to be available to the public soon.

    Source: Phone Scoop – Latest News