The Morning After: Friday, August 11th 2017
We made it, people. This morning we're covering the baby monitor trying to be a doula, the silent 10-minute song rocketing up the iTunes chart and LG's latest effort to make the best smartphone camera.
Through surveys conducted on over 90,000 tablets and laptops that Consumer Reports subscribers purchased between 2014 and early 2017, the company estimates that 25 percent of Microsoft laptop and tablet owners will experience problems like freezing, unexpected shutdowns and unresponsive touch screens by the end of the second year of ownership. In response, Microsoft specified that its stats for return rates of the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book are "well below" 25 percent and claims "there has never been a better time to buy a Surface."
Samsung has announced that the new version of its Android browser, Samsung Internet, can be used on any relatively new Android phone, which is good news if you're bored of existing mobile browsers that already do the job perfectly well.
Earlier this week, Google fired the engineer behind a memo decrying its supposed "echo chamber," and yesterday it was supposed to follow up with a company-wide meeting on the issue. Information about employees who criticized the memo has been posted by certain alt-right websites and figures, leading to CEO Sundar Pichai's decision to cancel the meeting for safety reasons. Instead, he says that "in the coming days, we will find several forums to gather and engage with Googlers, where people can feel comfortable to speak freely."
Sometimes, silence is golden. And ingenious.
Nanit's artificially intelligent baby monitor is designed to outsource much of the brainwork necessary for getting your baby to sleep, by monitoring him or her. It's a $349 night-vision camera that hangs over a cot and uses computer vision and deep learning to monitor your little one's sleep. It's not perfect -- and it's pricey -- but there may not be a better baby monitor for helping the whole family sleep better.
Fashion loves augmented reality. From Gap to Nike, brands are trying to find different ways to integrate the technology into their retail experience. Now fashion media is getting in on the action. W Magazine, one of the most prominent fashion publications, has published an AR-powered issue. Its September 2017 Collector's Issue features an interactive, computer-generated image of Katy Perry on the cover. At first glance, it seems like a traditional magazine, but that changes when parts of it come to life when viewed through the lens of a smartphone or tablet. For W Magazine, it's about using tech to keep itself modern.
We already knew a lot about AMD's monstrous $1000 16-core 1950X Threadripper CPU (and slightly cheaper 1920X $800 12-core version), but the company released a few more details as the processors went on sale. AMD is adding a third to the lineup: The 1900X is an 8-core, 16-thread version for $550 that'll be out on August 31st for anyone who wants a powerful-budget CPU with a base clock speed of 3.8 GHz and boost of 4GHz.