Sunday, May 31, 2020

Realme Buds Q will launch in India at less than Rs 2,000

Realme Buds Q, the latest pair of TWS from Realme which was launched in China recently will make its way to India soon. This news was confirmed by Realme India’s CMO himself on Twitter. 

Francis Wang tweeted about the newly launched Air Buds Neo in which he mentioned the Realme Buds Q will be coming to India. Further, he also went ahead and confirmed that the TWS will be priced under Rs 2,000. The Realme Buds Q TWS was unveiled in China a week ago along with Realme X50 Pro Player Edition and six other products. 

Unlike the Realme Buds Air and Buds Air Neo, the Realme Buds Q comes with an in-ear design. In China, the Buds Q is designed by Jose Levy, who is a popular designer. The Buds Q are completely True Wireless earbuds as it lacks a stem design. You also get eartips just like regular earphones. The Buds Q comes in White, Black, and Yellow color options. 

The Buds Q harnesses Bluetooth 5.0 and has a range of about 10 meters. The earbuds come with 119ms low latency. The latency is also similar to the Realme Buds Air TWS. So, gaming with this pair of TWS shouldn’t be an issue. It comes with 10mm drivers. For controls, there is support for touch gestures that can play, pause, and skip tracks.

On a single charge, the Realme Buds Q will last up to 20 hours along with the battery included in the case. With one charge the buds will last up to 4 hours. The case is packed with a 400mAh battery. It weighs around 3.6 grams and the along with the case weighs 35.3 grams. Also, the TWS is IPX4 rated for water and dust resistance. 

The Realme Buds Q is priced at CNY 149 (~Rs 1,600).  Although the TWS is available for CNY 129 (~Rs 1,400) at a special price at the moment in China. Once launched the Realme Buds Q will take on Redmi Airdots S which is also priced under Rs 2,000.

Google's Sodar to help maintain social distancing - is it needed though?

As lockdowns are being replaced by unlock across India, the importance of social distancing as a means to curb contact spread of Covid-19 assumes greater importance. Google has now stepped in with an augmented reality based app that could help maintain safe distance. 

The SODAR is currently available on Android phones. Users can simply open the Chrome browser and go to the webpage to get started. At present users do not need to download anything though it doesn't work on iOS or even on older Android devices. 

The phone starts using the augmented reality of the map around your location and then does a superimposition of a two meter radius circle on the camera's view. So, once you are logged on, you are constantly monitoring the camera on your phone. 

While testing it out, I found the accuracy to be in the acceptable range though one did feel at times that it wasn't exactly two meters that the screen seemed to suggest. Of course, the choice to move away from a person is completely yours as SODAR doesn't give instructions or even blink warning signals in case of violations. 

Does it work better than the social distancing app called 1point5 (get it on Play Store) that the United Nations came up with to achieve the same outcomes? Most definitely as this app requires all users to be connected to Bluetooth, the same as India's own Aarogya Setu app. 

Google's SODAR doesn't require users to install anything nor people around them to carry their smartphones with Bluetooth switched on. The augmented reality uses WebXR to visualise a two-meter radius on the map and sets up a virtual ring on the screen using the camera. Will it consume battery life? Only as much as a camera does.

Does it all make sense?

How useful is this tool likely to be during the next phase of Covid-19 unlocking? Not very, I'm afraid as any person who is concerned about maintaining a safe distance would definitely not need their phone to tell them about the safety zone. That's why eyes are there for, isn't it? 

While the technology used is far better than what existing apps have come up with in the form of Bluetooth beacons, the fact remains that running the camera all the time through a crowded lane isn't exactly going to help users avoid contact. What's more it could prove a recipe for contact with others as the human body isn't exactly geared with equipment that auto-steers us out of harm's way. 

So, this one looks like an intellectual exercise undertaken by "Experiments with Google" that has created interesting and often eye-popping stuff using Chrome though not many of them have passed muster at usability level. 

Facebook takes on Twitter with 'Venue', an app for live events

Facebook, which seems to be on an app launching spree, has rolled out 'Venue', a new iOS and Android app through which it hopes to "bring passionate fans and expert commentators together to experience live events in a new interactive way."

Facebook's Venue will look to capitalize on the emphasis around live streams that has been spurred by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Venue is aimed to provide an interactive second-screen experience for live events like Twitter does naturally.

The new app was understandably rolled out for NASCAR races earlier today. NASCAR is among the first major sports to return to events in the US despite lacking that ability to host a live audience. 

Screenshots of Facebook Venue

Launched by Facebook's New Product Experimentation Team, the app isn’t meant to live stream the events it features but instead will serve as a platform where users can openly talk about them as they happen. 

It allows users to engage with content from expert commentators like journalists, analysts, or ex-athletes during an event as updates funnel into the app in real-time in the form of notifications called 'Moments.

Fans are notified whenever a new 'Moment' is created so that they can hop in and out of Venue if they want to. With Venue, fans can stop scrolling or searching to find the exact moment everyone is reacting to, Facebook said.

Live broadcasts still offer the rare opportunity for millions of people to consume content simultaneously. Despite drawing large concurrent viewership, live broadcasts are still a mostly solo viewing experience, Facebook added.

On Twitter, everyone chips in during a live event. On Facebook, the commentators and experts chosen for a given event hosted in Venue will chime in with their takes.

For instance, today's NASCAR's races, social media personality, @nascarcasm, hosted Venue.

Second-screening has become very pivotal for live events, especially sports. A research study from Facebook a few years back said that  about 94% of viewers keep a smartphone on hand while watching live TV. 

With Venue, fans can then split their attention between the ongoing event and their phones. 

Most of the social interaction platforms have been trying to figure out the best case for this, but as of now Twitter seems  to be ahead. 

An early opinion on Venue by a Twitter user was not all that flattering.

Venue is the third app launched by Facebook in under a week. This is after a collaborative music video creation app was launched to take on TikTok as well as another for voice-only group calls.

  • Facebook's new enterprise virtual reality platform is here

Australia's first 1000Mbps consumer NBN plan is here – and it's just AU$149 a month

Internet service provider Aussie Broadband has just launched access the NBN’s latest and fastest consumer NBN speed tier, a 1Gbps service offering unlimited downloads at speeds of up to 1000Mbps, and selling for a surprisingly affordable AU$149 a month.

With a download speed of 1Gbps, this brand new 1000/50 tier is set to be four times faster than what was previously available to consumers, with top speeds formerly maxing out at 250Mbps.

Given Aussie Broadband is the first in the market to offer NBN 1000, the ISP has warned it's as yet unable to provide definitive numbers on peak evening speeds, with managing director Phillip Britt saying it is a “best effort service”.

“We think that the plan should achieve off-peak speeds of up to 80-90%, depending on the technology type,” says Britt.

“For the moment, we will be advising customers our peak evening speeds for our 250Mbps plans as a baseline until we have collated enough data from our own network testing.”

With the peak evening speeds for Aussie Broadband's NBN250 plans currently listed as 215Mbps, that means you'll be getting these speeds at the very least – but it'll likely be a lot faster.

Even if the peak evening speed is just 215Mbps, this NBN 1000 plan will far outpace Aussie Broadband’s NBN 100 deal, which promises a typical evening speed of 86Mbps.

Can you get it?

Before rushing to sign up though, there are a couple of caveats you should be aware of. Namely, the plan is only available on two types of NBN connection – fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) and hybrid fibre coaxial (HFC). And while all FTTP connections can sign up for 1000Mbps, that speed will only work with a select subset of HFC installations – estimated to be roughly 7% of the total.

To see what’s available in your area, check your address on Aussie Broadband's website – note that you may need to select 'Build your own' to see the higher-speed 250Mbps and 1000Mbps plans.

Aussie is also recommending eligible customers get themselves a Wi-Fi router that will be able to cope with the super-fast speeds, going so far as to suggest the Google Nest Wifi, as standard modems may not be able to handle distribution of that higher download bandwidth around the home.

If you're connected via HFC but have found you can't access that 1000Mbps tier, there is some slightly consoling news: Aussie Broadband has dropped the prices on its 250Mbps plans to make them more competitive with this new 1Gbps offering.

The ISP has announced its mainstream NBN 250/25 unlimited plan will fall from AU$169 to AU$129 each month, while the NBN 250/100 unlimited plan (for users who need extra upload bandwidth) has been reduced from AU$219 to AU$209.

This is the cheapest 17-inch touchscreen laptop around - and it's surprisingly well kitted out

Touchscreens are probably better suited to large laptops than small when it comes to collaborative working, so we went in search of the best available option.

The HP Laptop-17Z is the most affordable 17-inch touchscreen laptop on the market, available at the time of writing for only $569.99 (roughly £465/AU$855).

Aimed primarily at SMBs, the laptop comes with an AMD A9-9425 dual-core processor with Radeon R5 graphics, 8GB of RAM and a 17.3-inch SVA touchscreen display with a resolution of 1600 x 900 pixels.

It also features a 1TB SATA hard disk drive, 41Whr battery, dedicated numeric keypad, DVD writer (remember these), an HP TrueVision HD camera with digital microphone and 802.11ac Wi-Fi.

However, an even better HP Laptop-17Z deal can be had for $598.99 (roughly £485/AU$900). It features an AMD Athlon Silver 3050U with Radeon graphics, a processor that’s more than twice as fast as the A9-9425, 8GB of RAM, a 2TB hard disk drive - plus a more business-oriented Jet Black color scheme.

An Athlon-based laptop opens a few additional doors beyond simple web surfing and content streaming. Despite its business focus, the laptop can also be used for gaming at HD+ resolutions for much longer periods; HP claims the device can last for up to eight hours.

Other features include a Gigabit Ethernet LAN, card reader, three USB ports and an HDMI connector. For an additional $96, you can also upgrade to a 3-year warranty that includes accidental damage, which will also net you a full rebate if it can't be repaired.

Bear in mind

  • If this product isn't available in your region, you may have to use a specialist parcel forwarding service if you want to take advantage of the deal.
  • If you've managed to get hold of a cheaper product with equivalent specifications, in stock and brand new, let us know and we'll tip our hat to you.

How to watch Rick and Morty season 4, episode 10 - stream the finale online from anywhere

Anyone waiting for new Rick and Morty episodes after season 4 went on hiatus just before Christmas could be forgiven for getting a bit antsy in 2020. After all, it was radio silence for much of the year. Fortunately, we were all finally rewarded with new episodes of the madcap cartoon series this May - just when we need them now. Now, though, the good times are coming to an end again. Read on as we explain how to watch the Rick and Morty season 4 finale online and stream episode 10 wherever you are this week.

Yes, the bizarre show has helped us get through some equally bizarre times. The part 2 trailer promised us all the unpredictability and madcap adventures we've come to expect, including manga-style superhero outfits, electrocutions, and light sabres. Perhaps the latter should have come as no surprise given that the first new episode of Rick and Morty season 4 - episode 6 'Never Ricking Morty' - was first released on May 3, just 24 hours before Star Wars Day 2020, in the United States.

Now, things appear to be coming full circle and we're only waiting on the Rick and Morty season 4 finale - episode 10, 'Star Mort Rickturn of the Jerri'.

Created by Dan Harmon (of Community fame) and Justin Roiland, the show originated from a short parody of Back to the Future and first aired back in 2013. Since then, it graduated from its original cult status and grown to a show that counts the likes of Taika Waititi, Elon Musk and Liam Cunningham as some of its guest stars.

Not bad going for a permanently sozzled mad scientist and his naive 14-year-old grandson, really? For anyone totally new to the show, those are the titular characters of Rick and Morty, respectively. 

Will the wait have been worth it? We reckon so - read on and discover how to watch Rick and Morty season 4 and stream every new part 2 episode including tonight's finale no matter where you are  in the world right now.

How to watch Rick and Morty from outside your country

Below we'll take yo through your Rick and Morty streaming options for various regions around the world, where you can see it for free in the likes of the US and UK. Those who already have a streaming service they use to watch Rick and Morty online may find themselves unable to access it when abroad, due to pesky geo-blocking restrictions. We know, we know - most people aren't going anywhere anytime soon right now. But global travel will one day resume and, god forbid, you may even be stuck abroad.

Fortunately, there's an easy solution to geo-blocking. Downloading a VPN will allow you to watch Rick and Morty no matter where you are. This simple bit of software changes your IP address so that you can access episodes on demand.

Watch Rick and Morty season 4, episode 10 in the US with Sling TV

We'll cut right to the chase because, like us, you've been waiting for part 2 of Rick and Morty season 4 for a while now. Your patience has paid off, however, as you can watch new episodes for less than ever courtesy of Sling TV and, more specifically, its Sling Orange package. This includes the Cartoon Network (and therefore Adult Swim in the evenings), costs just $20 a month for the first month.

Alternatively, read on and we'll explain all the other ways you can watch Rick and Morty season 4 in the US and beyond.

Where else to watch Rick and Morty season 4 in the US 

How to watch Rick and Morty season 4 FREE in the UK

How to watch Rick and Morty in Canada

How to watch Rick and Morty in Australia

Is Rick and Morty on Netflix?

In many countries, yes! For instance, Rick and Morty is one of the best Netflix UK shows around and - as we've just said - it's also available on Netflix Australia

But Rick and Morty season 4 hasn't yet dropped on the servicea nywhere - and we don't really expect it to until part 2 has finished airing on Adult Swim.

eBay's AU$99 Apple AirPods deal is back, headlining a huge 'Plus Month' June sale

[UPDATE: Monday, June 1 @ 10:20am] 

The 10am allotment of Apple AirPods has (as expected) sold out in a flash, but there will be another 100 units on offer at 2pm, so if you missed out you can try your luck again this afternoon. Our original story continues below:

For the entire month of June, eBay is giving its Plus members access to exclusive daily deals on highly sought-after products, with savings of up to 80% on offer. 

The online marketplace's 'Plus Month' event starts on Monday and runs through to the end of the month, with a new Plus-exclusive deal launching at 10am each day. 

To kick it off, up for grabs from 10am next Monday (June 1) are the always-popular second-generation Apple AirPods, now going for just AU$99 – that’s a hefty 60% price cut from the RRP of AU$249.

Later this month, subscribers can also expect to see price drops on the AirPods Pro, the Nintendo Switch with Animal Crossing bundled in, and a half-price pre-order deal on The Last of Us 2 for PS4.

There will also be Plus-only deals from brands such as Xiaomi and Ecovacs, but there will be only one item carrying that jaw-dropping 80% discount – a SodaStream machine for the incredibly low price of just AU$19.

Snap it up

A word of warning: you'll likely have to be quick on the mouse to score these flash discounts, as demand has always been high in similar eBay sales previously. 

However, even if you aren't interested in competing for those daily deals, Plus members will still able to access a variety of other discounts, including a flat 20% off a wide range of items on eBay starting Monday, June 15 – we’ll be listing all the juiciest tech bargains from this sale on our dedicated eBay deals page.

As mentioned, this is an eBay Plus-member exclusive sale, so you will need to be a subscriber to take advantage of these savings. If you haven’t signed up yet, new subscribers can get a free 30-day trial of the service

If you decide to stick around, it will cost you AU$49 a year to carry on the membership, the perks of which include access to free returns on Plus items and, for this sale, free express metro delivery on millions of selected items.

Here's a preview of what to expect from some of those special daily deals:

Day Product eBay RRP eBay Plus deal Total discount
Mon, June 1 Apple AirPods (2019) AU$249 AU$99 60%
Tue, June 2 Finish Powerball tablets (45 pack) AU$88.90 AU$49 44%
Wed, June 3 Apple AirPods Pro AU$399 AU$249 38%
Thu, June 4 Healthy Choice 12L Digital Air Fryer AU$199 AU$99 50%
Fri, June 5 Ugg boots AU$69 AU$50 28%
Tue, June 9 Xiaomi Mi Air Purifier 3H AU$259.95 AU$179 31%
Sat, June 13 Bluey kids showbag AU$39.95 AU$15 62%
Mon, June 15 Pre-order: The Last of Us 2 (PS4) AU$99.95 AU$49 51%
Mon, June 15 Pre-order: Assetto Corsa Competizione (PS4) AU$69.95 AU$41 41%
Tue, June 16 Ecovacs Deebot N79T AU$279 AU$149 47%
Thu, June 18 Nintendo Switch w/ Animal Crossing AU$549.90 AU$449 18%
Thu, June 25 SodaStream AU$99 AU$19 80%

It all cracks off on Monday, June 1 at 10am.

How to watch the Killing Eve season 3 finale online from anywhere tonight

Eve and Villanelle's spy games finally seem set to come to a head, in what looks like being a chaotic finale for the hit Phoebe Waller-Bridge show. Read on to find out to watch the Killing Eve season 3 finale no matter where you are in the world - including for free where possible.


With a host of loose ends to tie up, Eve and Villanelle have a lot of ground to cover in episode 8. Read on for full details of your viewing options for the Killing Eve season 3 finale - but please be aware that potential spoilers lie ahead.

The tagline for episode 8 is “Are You Leading Or Am I?”, and its corresponding teaser trailer offers a few telling insights as to how events are set to play out. Not least, that the show's two main protagonists look to have finally been brought back together.

Meanwhile, the official synopsis for the finale piles on the intrigue as to what the nature of their reunion will be like: "Konstantin makes a break for it. Carolyn might have finally found what she’s looking for. Eve and Villanelle try to work out what the future may hold for them…together or apart".

While it's fair to say the new series hasn't been quite the big hit that its predecessors were with critics, we're still hoping Waller-Bridge has pulled it out of the bag for the season finale. Whichever way the story pans out, you can probably expect a cliffhanger - as season 4 of the show has already been green lit.

Follow our guide as we explain all the easiest ways to watch the Killing Eve season 3 finale and stream the last episode of the show online from anywhere in the world.

How to watch Killing Eve online from outside your country

The coronavirus may have put old paradigms like holidays and work trips to bed temporarily, but the fact is international travel will one day resume in full - and you may even be stuck outside your country of origin, for whatever reason. If and when that's the case, you could be forgiven for wanting a taste of home comforts, especially now. 

If that means streaming the services you normally would, geo-blocking can prove to be a major obstacle - but fortunately there's an easy solution. Using a little handy trick, you can get around these pesky digital borders using a VPN. This will allow you to gain access to Killing Eve as it happens by changing your IP to your nation of residence. But which VPN is best for you? 

watch killing eve season 3 finale online free

How to watch Killing Eve for free online: stream the season 3 finale in the UK for FREE

How to watch Killing Eve online

How to watch the Killing Eve season 3 finale online in the US

How to watch Killing Eve online in Australia

How to watch Killing Eve online: stream seasons 1 and 2 for free

If you're new to Killing Eve, then there are worse things to do during a global pandemic than watch the first two seasons of the hit show.

Anyone in the UK or the US has it good, as the BBC show is available on a number of convenient streaming services.

In the US, the best option for binging Killing Eve right now is Sling TV, whose affordable $30 a month Orange bundle gets you the full back catalogue for on-demand streaming plus all the new season 3 episodes.

Another option is Hulu, which offers a FREE trial and seasons 1 and 2 of Killing Eve on-demand, but note that you'll need its higher-end Hulu + Live TV package, which normally costs $54.99 a month.

Although BBC America does also offer its own option for a free season 2 Killing Eve stream - as does AMC to the best of our knowledge.

In the UK, it's all gratis provided you hold a valid TV license in the country - in which case just tune into BBC iPlayer and watch Killing Eve seasons 1 and 2 for free online.

If you're in Australia, you can watch Killing Eve season 1 on Stan - but beyond that you're looking at paying to buy the show via a platform like iTunes.

How to watch Celebrity Family Feud and stream the new season online from anywhere

Will a makeover be in store for host Steve Harvey? Celebrity Family Feud returns with a showdown between two generations of Queer Eye cast members - read on to find out how to watch Celebrity Family Feud online and stream the show no matter where you are in the world.


The new season kicks off by pitting the original Queer Eye crew, led by Carson Kressley, against the latest cast members from Netflix's version of the show, captained by Bobby Berk. Needless to say, we're in for a hilarious one-hour episode! 

Joining Bobby in his team will be Jonathan Van Ness, Antoni Porowski, Tan France and Wesley Hamilton. Facing them will be Carson's Queer Eye OG team, featuring Ted Allen, Kyan Douglas, Thom Filicia and Jai Rodriguez.

As ever, the show sees celebrities, along with their families and friends, go head-to-head in a contest to name the most popular responses to survey-type questions posed to 100 people to win money for a charity of their choice.

Alongside the Queer Eye special, the new season also promises a battle of the East Coast Reality Stars from “Jersey Shore” versus the West Coast Reality Stars from “The Hills.”

Future episodes are also set to see appearances from 2Chainz, Cedric The Entertainer, Big Boi, Kevin Nealon, Drew Carey and Drag Race star RuPaul. Read on to find out how to watch Celebrity Family Feud and stream every episode live no matter where you are in the world.

How to watch Celebrity Family Feud online in the US for free

  • AT&T Now: Has numerous plans, the cheapest being $65 p/m for over 40 channels, which includes ABC as well as HBO. As ABC is only available in select markets you should check to ensure you have access to the channel's live stream.
  • YouTube TV: $44.99 for over 70 channels. Episodes of Celebrity Family Feud can be watched On Demand and live, though double check ABC is available to stream in your area by entering your zip code.

How to watch Celebrity Family Feud from abroad

While anyone in the UK will find it easy to watch Celebrity Family Feud via ABC, folks elsewhere in the world may struggle to tune in to the new gameshow because of geo-blocking.

If this is the case, anyone from the US who's currently abroad could consider using a VPN. This nifty bit of software changes your IP address so that you can access all the content and services you already pay for back home - just from anywhere in the world.

You're overpaying for phone data during the outbreak

 

We’re certainly using our phones a bit differently while we shelter-in-place to ride out the outbreak – binging more media, chatting over video, and taking breaks from social media. But it took us a couple months to realize something else: since we’ve spent most of our time in our apartments and homes, we’re rarely out of Wi-Fi range, and our LTE data consumption has plummeted.

Which has led us to a new suggestion: perhaps it’s time to dial down your data cap and save some money on your monthly plan, at least for the foreseeable future. 

This advice isn’t for everyone: there are still plenty of you who are still leaving home often enough to keep your data plan right where it is, and are benefiting from US carriers relaxing late fees, UK carriers giving 10GB of extra data per month, or other such relief amid the outbreak.   

Data use (in GB) by month: March, April, and May

But we, working from home, found our cellular data use plummeting: one of our editors, who regularly used more than 14GB per month, saw their LTE data consumption drop down to just over 1GB. To be clear, everyone’s still downloading more data as they watch and video chat more – they’re just accessing it over their Wi-Fi instead of tapping into their data plan.

First up: check your data

Before you consider jumping ship on your reliable data plan, it's probably wise to check how much data you’ve used. Now that we’re a couple months into a new stay-at-home reality, you should have some idea how that’s changed your data consumption habits.

Most carriers or networks will have their own tools that help you visualize how much data you’ve used in the last pay period, which is typically broken up into monthly chunks. Log in to your carrier’s website or dedicated app and head to your account page, where a ‘usage’ section should outline what you’ve used thus far. 

Compare that to your previous period’s data usage by navigating to the appropriate section – for the US carrier Verizon, for instance, you can find this on the ‘My Usage’ page > ‘View previous usage’ > My Bill section, or you can find it in the My Verizon app by going to Data Hub > History > selecting which billing cycle you’d like to see. 

If your data use hasn’t changed much, that’s fine – but if it’s dropped while you’ve been relying on WiFi at home, read on for how to change your plan.

Switching your plan: easier than it sounds

For most carriers, switching data plans isn’t too difficult, and it’s broadly similar between providers: sign in to your account either online or in your carrier’s dedicated app, navigate to your account settings, and look for a way to manage your plan (with Verizon, it’s changed by going to My Verizon > clicking Manage plan; with T-Mobile, it’s changed by going to Account > choosing your plan > clicking ‘Manage my plan’). 

It’s possible that differences between carriers will make it more difficult to shift plans, though providers should let you swap to a new one without too much delay. If you’re still in contract, you may not be able to do so.

If it’ll save you money, and you’ll be sticking around Wi-Fi for the foreseeable future, it might be worth the effort to switch over. And if you don’t end up using much data at all, perhaps consider switching to a prepaid or metered plan, if that works for you. 

By the time things open back up and you transition away from home, it should be just as easy to ramp up your data cap, too. And by saving a little money in the meantime, maybe you can afford some of the weird tech stuff we’ve picked up to make our shelter-at-home lives just a little more comfortable.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 sales offer $110 price cuts at Best Buy

If you're after a powerful tablet for flexible work, streaming, or gaming, you'll want to check out the latest Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 deals at Best Buy. While an iPad Pro will set you back closer to $900 right now, you'll find these cheap tablets up for just $549 at the cheapest end

That's the price of a 128GB Tab S6, but if you can stretch just a little further you can double your storage for just $619 this weekend. That's a $110 discount on the larger model, and a fantastic price cut on one of Samsung's most recent releases. 

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 combines a lightweight, slimline design with powerful octa-core processing and the flexibility of a more laptop-based design once a keyboard is attached. If you do opt for the cheaper model this weekend, you'll also be glad to know that you can always upgrade your capacity thanks to the microSD slot. 

We're rounding up these Samsung Galaxy Tab deals below, but you can also find more Samsung tablet prices and sales from around the web. Not in the US? You'll find the best Tab S6 prices in the UK and Australia further down the page. 

This week's Samsung Galaxy Tab deals at Best Buy

We're rounding up all the latest iPad and iPad Pro deals right here on TechRadar, in case you're thinking of switching it up with some Apple. Or, shop the best cheap Android tablet sales

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds: release date, cast and what we know

Exploring strange new worlds, seeking new life and new civilisations, and boldly going where no one has gone before has been hardwired into Star Trek’s DNA since day one. Star Trek: Discovery and Star Trek: Picard may have taken a more cynical – and serialized – view of the future, but recently announced spin-off Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is set to get back to basics…

When (spoiler warning!) the crew of the USS Discovery warped into the distant future in the season 2 finale, Captain Christopher Pike, Science Officer Spock and first officer Number One stayed behind in the 23rd century.

The trio were such a hit with fans, however, that they’re getting their own show, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, a new series set on the USS Enterprise a decade before James T Kirk took control.

“When we said we heard the fans’ outpouring of love for Pike, Number One and Spock when they boarded Star Trek: Discovery last season, we meant it,” executive producer and franchise overlord Alex Kurtzman told StarTrek.com. “These iconic characters have a deep history in Star Trek’ canon, yet so much of their stories have yet to be told. The Enterprise, its crew and its fans are in for an extraordinary journey to new frontiers in the Star Trek universe.”

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds promises to be an exciting departure for Trek TV, so before the Enterprise fires up the dilithium crystals once more, we've set coordinates for the 23rd century to reveal what’s in store for Starfleet’s finest. Hit it!

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds release date: what do we know?

The USS Enterprise has faced numerous foes in its distinguished lifetime, but few have been as problematic as the coronavirus. With lockdown restrictions bringing much of Hollywood to a halt, executive producer Akiva Goldsman admitted to Variety that he has “no idea” when Star Trek: Strange New Worlds will go into production. And seeing as a shows as VFX-heavy as the Treks tend to require lengthy post-production, we’d be surprised if we see Strange New Worlds before the second half of 2021 – and that’s being optimistic.

Luckily, we have season 3 of Star Trek: Discovery and animated series Lower Decks lined up for this year, season 2 of Star Trek: Picard due to start shooting when Covid-19 restrictions lift, and a couple more shows in development. They include a Michelle Yeoh-starring Section 31 spin-off, plus a CG kids’ show for Nickelodeon. “The intention is to have something Star Trek on the air all the time, but not necessarily on top of each other,” Kurtzman told the Hollywood Reporter back in April 2019. In other words, it’s the best time to be a Trek fan since The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine ruled the galaxy in the 1990s.

Anson Mount as Christopher Pike, alongside Sonequa Martin-Green as Michael Burnham in Star Trek: Discovery.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? A Star Trek: Discovery spin-off featuring the adventures of Captain Christopher Pike, Science Officer Spock and first officer Number One on the USS Enterprise, a decade before James T Kirk takes command.
  • Where can I see it? Like its Trek stablemates, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds will air on CBS All Access in the US. International distribution is TBC – with Discovery streaming on Netflix outside the US and Picard on Amazon Prime Video, where it ultimately lands is anyone’s guess.
  • When can I watch it? Hopefully it won’t be too long, but the optimistic estimate is second half of 2021 at the earliest.

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds cast

Having owned the bridge when seconded to Star Trek: Discovery’s second season, Anson Mount is back in the captain’s chair as Captain Christopher Pike. Meanwhile, after proving himself worthy of donning the pointy ears that once belonged to Leonard Nimoy, Ethan Peck returns as Spock. And Rebecca Romijn, who made a few guest appearances in Discovery, reprises her role as first officer/helmsperson Number One.

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds trailer: watch the announcement video

It’s still early days, so there’s no trailer – though stars Anson Mount, Ethan Peck and Rebecca Romijn have beamed in an announcement video:

The party line is very much that the show exists because of fan demand. “Without you this wouldn’t be happening,” says Peck, while Mount explains a bit about the tone of the series. “[It’s] a classic Star Trek show that deals with optimism and the future.”

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds story: what we know about this part of Trek history

Pike, Spock and Number One have been part of the Star Trek story even longer than James T Kirk – they were on board the Enterprise in original Star Trek pilot “The Cage”, unaired in the ’60s and set more than a decade before Kirk’s famous five-year mission. Jeffrey Hunter, Leonard Nimoy and Majel Barrett originated the three roles.

While we know that the trio have been together at least three years by the time Star Trek: Strange New Worlds kicks off and that a tragic fate awaits Pike – more on that later – most of their voyages remain undocumented. That means it’s prime storytelling territory.

“We’re going to try to harken back to some classical Trek values, to be optimistic, and to be more episodic,” executive producer Akiva Goldsman told Variety. “Obviously, we will take advantage of the serialized nature of character and story building. But I think our plots will be more closed-ended than you’ve seen in either Discovery or Picard.”

He also said that, “I think what we would want to do is keep the characters having moved through and recognizing the experiences they’ve had in previous episodes, but to be able to tell contained, episodic stories.”

This suggests that, while Strange New Worlds will feature an overall story arc, the show will get back to the story-of-the-week structure that defined the Original Series and much of the Next Generation era – a radical departure from the heavily serialized Discovery and Picard. Indeed, the ability to visit a huge galaxy of, well, strange new worlds, should allow the show to feel different from week to week – a versatile formula that’s a big reason for the franchise’s longevity.

Going on Mount’s performance in Discovery, Pike is the ideal captain for an optimistic mission of exploration. We can also expect to see a Spock more prone to displays of emotion than his Original Series counterpart – in “The Cage” Number One was the more buttoned-up, logical member of the crew, with her personality traits passing to the Vulcan when Star Trek went to series. And maybe we’ll finally get to find out if Number One has a surname – Discovery confirmed her first name is Una, but that’s all we know.

At this point in the Star Trek timeline, Kirk and other members of the original crew must be out there somewhere in the universe, so the smart money would be on a few headline-grabbing (recast) guest appearances – as the older members of the Original Series line-up, McCoy and Scotty would seem prime candidates. We’d also be very surprised if James Frain doesn’t reprise his Discovery role as Spock’s dad, Sarek.

And then there’s Pike’s tragic story…

When we meet him in Original Series two-parter “The Menagerie”, it’s revealed that he’s been left severely disabled by a radiation leak. In Discovery, he’s forced to endure a vision of that future. It’ll be intriguing to see how that knowledge preys on his mind, and how much it plays into the drama of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.

Google Stadia could soon be available on a lot more phones

Right now Google Stadia only works on a limited number of smartphones, including newer Pixel models, but that could be about to change. Code spotted in the latest Stadia app for Android suggests support for devices that haven't been "certified" is coming.

As discovered by 9to5Google, the change would mean you could at least give Stadia a go on any Android phone you like, even if it hasn't been specifically approved by Google. The new feature would likely be marked as experimental.

While Stadia also works on TVs and the Chromecast Ultra, as well as in Google Chrome on computers, letting more phones into the fold would undoubtedly add to the game streaming service's appeal – and probably get more subscribers on board.

Google Stadia remains a work in progress to some extent, with new features and new games rolling out regularly. A few weeks ago, for example, we saw support for wireless controllers added to Stadia on computers.

Coming soon... maybe

A more relaxed approach to which mobile devices can play Stadia isn't the only change spotted by 9to5Google, though it's worth bearing in mind that there's no guarantee that these hidden features will ever become official.

The latest app teardown reveals more hints of a "touch gamepad" so you can play on a phone without a separate controller – which would certainly make it easier to switch to your phone for a quick gaming session without any extra hardware.

There are also signs that Stadia's voice chat function is finally going to show up on Android, a potential upgrade that has been coming for quite some time now. Of course adding chat is a little more complicated on smaller devices.

Finally, the code mentions numerous promotions and sales events, so it looks as though Google is going to spend plenty of time advertising the platform in the coming months. One possible future feature is being able to play a game for free over a weekend.

Xiaomi starts teasing the Mi Notebook in India

Update (May 29): A new report suggests that it will be an entirely new model to launch in India.

Update (May 31): The Mi Notebook "1C" will launch in India on June 11, according to Ishan Agarwal.

At the start of 2020, Xiaomi had confirmed its plan to launch laptops in India. After months of silence, the company (and its officials) have finally started teasing the launch of its first laptop in India.

Xiaomi’s Manu Kumar Jain just uploaded a teaser video on Twitter which shows him shut a laptop, followed by exclaiming “It’s time!”. He was quickly joined by other key people from the Mi team in sharing similar teasers. All of them used the same iconic matte grey laptop, clearly hinting at the long-due launch of Xiaomi laptops in India.

This certainly looks like a laptop from the house of Xiaomi. All the tweets also included #WhatsnextfromMi, which indicated that the laptops might come with Mi branding instead of Redmi. Further, to strengthen our point, the official Mi handle replied to a tweet saying “The hashtag says 'Mi'”, when a fan asked if it was the RedmiBook.  

In China, there are several Mi branded laptops such as Mi Notebook, Mi Notebook Pro, Mi Gaming Laptop, and  Mi Laptop Air. They come in a variety of sizes starting from a 12.5-inch Mi Laptop Air to a 15.6-inch Mi Notebook Pro. 

It is still unclear which series or laptop Xiaomi will bring to the Indian market. All the Mi NoteBook series and Air series laptops are powered by Intel core processors. If we were to guess, this will be the Mi Notebook 2019 with a 15.6-inch display in the Deep Grey finish. However, it could be a new variant of any of its other laptops too. 

However, Windows Central suggests that it will be an entirely new model that will launch in India, with powerful specifications. It is unlikely to be a budget laptop, with specs such as an i5 processor, a minimum of 8GB of RAM and 256GB of SSD storage, and capable graphics. 

As of now, Xiaomi hasn’t mentioned any date for the launch of its first laptop in India. We should hear more about the laptops in the coming days, as the launch shouldn’t be far now. It’s unclear as of now if the pricing will be as impressive as it was in China.

Justice League Snyder Cut: release date, Darkseid, trailer and everything we know

The Justice League Snyder Cut is real, and it's coming to HBO Max in 2021. The film is a new version of 2017's pretty bad Justice League movie, finished by its original director Zack Snyder, who left the project during production at the time for personal reasons. Expect a vastly different and far longer film this time, possibly split into episodes. 

Originally intended as the DC Comics equivalent to Marvel's enormously successful Avengers films, Justice League was a follow-up to Man of Steel and Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice that didn't feel like it was part of the same series of films. The Snyder Cut should correct this, but whether it'll be a great film or not is yet to be seen. Expect a fascinating finished result, though.

Here's what we know about the Justice League Snyder Cut so far, including its release date, budget, trailer and Darkseid's appearance in the movie. 

What is the the Snyder Cut of Justice League?

The Snyder Cut is a new version of 2017's Justice League movie, which is coming to the new streaming service HBO Max in 2021. It's the movie as envisioned by original director Zack Snyder, who left production halfway through to deal with a personal tragedy along with his wife and producing partner, Deborah Snyder.

Avengers director Joss Whedon stepped in to help finish the film, which was ultimately a critical and commercial flop. Justice League was mocked extensively for its reshot scenes featuring Henry Cavill's CG'd upper lip, the result of him being forced to retain a mustache during reshoots to finish filming Mission Impossible: Fallout. 

Following Justice League's release, fans started petitioning to release the Snyder cut of the film, with actors Gal Gadot and Ben Affleck joining in on an extensive hashtag campaign. In December 2019, Snyder confirmed the cut was real in a post on social media network Vero. 

In early February 2020, a group of Warner executives went to Snyder's house to watch a cut of the movie, and to figure how much finishing it will cost, according to a THR interview with the director. Warner greenlit the project and announced it for HBO Max in May 2020, and the Snyders have begun the process of finishing the movie, which involves rehiring their original post-production crew. As well as being edited and scored differently, it's possible actors will return to record more dialogue. Extensive effects work will be required to finish the Snyder Cut, too. 

The Justice League Snyder Cut could be released on HBO Max as a nearly four hour-long movie, or as a series of episodes, based on that same report. Snyder believes that maybe a quarter of his work ended up in the final cut. Expect an entirely new movie at the end of it. 

The finished film should feel like a more suitable follow-up to Man of Steel and Batman Vs Superman. "This movie was the culmination of a hero’s journey that all these characters went on," producer Deborah Snyder told THR. "And the idea was always to build them up to be the heroes people expected them to be." Hopefully, it'll make for a more satisfying viewing experience generally. 

The finished result of 2017's Justice League is likely a more complicated matter than being a single person's fault, though. In this interview with Holt McCallany, who briefly appears in Justice League as a criminal chased by Batman across Gotham's rooftops, he mentions his scene was re-edited at the behest of the studio and not director Joss Whedon. 

Justice League Snyder Cut release date: 2021 on HBO Max

The Justice League Snyder Cut release date is set for 2021 on HBO Max. There are no more specifics right now on that front. 

Justice League Snyder Cut: Darkseid first look revealed by Zack Snyder

The DC Comics villain Darkseid has been confirmed for the Snyder Cut of the film. Zack Snyder tweeted out a slightly blurry first look at the character above. 

Justice League Snyder Cut trailer: does one exist?

Not for this particular cut, no. The above trailer, though, which was released at San Diego Comic Con 2016 while Snyder was still filming Justice League, probably gives the best look at what the director and producing partner Deborah Snyder had in mind before they left the project. 

It's not as tonally wonky as the finished product, but it's still a lot lighter than Batman vs Superman was. The Barry Allen introduction scene above is one of the best parts of the original film. 

What is the Justice League Snyder Cut budget?

The Snyder Cut budget hasn't been confirmed, but it's upwards of $30 million. WarnerMedia's chairman Bob Greenblatt spoke to Vox's Recode Media podcast on the matter. "I'll just say I wish it was just $30 million, and stop there!"

Will the Justice League Snyder Cut be any good, though?

Zack Snyder's DC Comics movies have proved enormously divisive, but they're singular creations that stand apart from the Marvel movies. We're not convinced an amazing movie is waiting for us, here, but it can't be worse than the version of Justice League we have now. Besides, Snyder deserves his shot at finishing this film, given the circumstances that led to his original exit. 

Intel Xe DG1 graphics card 3DMark leak again suggests AMD and Nvidia won’t be troubled

Intel’s Xe DG1 graphics card has been spotted in a 3DMark benchmark, or at least the rumor mill believes that result is for Intel’s first crack at a discrete GPU.

As ever, we shouldn’t read too much into this given that it is just speculation that this is DG1, although the source is a reliable one, the ever-present TUM_APISAK. But even if the leak is on the money, remember that this is an early sample GPU, and won’t reflect the exact performance Intel may achieve with the final product.

At any rate, the purported DG1 graphics cards scored 5,538 in 3DMark’s Fire Strike test (paired with an Intel Core i9-9900K processor) and hit a graphics score of 5,960.

That’s not a massively impressive result, but as we’ve already mentioned, it must be treated with caution. It’s in the ballpark of a graphics card as old as the GeForce GTX 750 Ti, albeit a bit faster than that veteran GPU (which scored 5,402 for graphics in a 3DMark result highlighted on Twitter).

As Wccftech, which spotted this, observes, it’s a fair way behind the GTX 1050 to pick out another example from Nvidia’s line-up – that previous-gen budget card is around 500 points to 800 points better than the DG1 depending on which 3DMark result you look at.

No cause for concern?

Anyhow, you get the idea – and as with a previous Geekbench result, which showed that the DG1 wasn’t much better than Nvidia’s low-end MX250, the overall vibe thus far is that Intel’s initial product is not going to be causing either AMD or Nvidia any sleepless nights.

That said, at least this new 3DMark leak shows the Intel GPU comfortably outdoing the likes of the MX350, by around a third in terms of that graphics score in fact.

Further remember that Intel’s first GPU is likely to be a testing the waters affair, and as we’ve previously heard via the rumor mill, it’s going to be a mobile part – in other words, a graphics card for laptops, not a GPU for a desktop PC. With further development, perhaps it could start to worry Intel’s rivals at least in the notebook arena – particularly when combined with the potential of Xe integrated graphics with Intel’s Tiger Lake mobile processors.

Amazon is discontinuing its Echo Look fashion advice gadget

Here's another reminder that the gadgets you buy aren't necessarily going to be supported forever: Amazon has decided to discontinue its Echo Look smart speaker/camera device, and existing Looks will stop working on July 24.

As reported by Voicebot.ai, people who've bought an Echo Look should already have been notified about the move, and a lot of the functionality first offered by the device has since made its way into other Amazon apps and hardware.

If you've never heard of the Echo Look before, the smart camera worked together with your phone and some computer learning magic to give you an assessment of how good your outfits looked.

The device and its companion app could also help you keep track of what you wore when, and of course tapped into Amazon's various shopping services to help you pick out new outfits to suit you as and when needed.

Don't Look now

"When we introduced Echo Look three years ago, our goal was to train Alexa to become a style assistant as a novel way to apply AI and machine learning to fashion," Amazon said in an email to customers.

"Customers will still be able to enjoy style advice from Alexa through the Amazon Shopping app and other Alexa-enabled devices. We look forward to continuing to support our customers and their style needs with Alexa."

According to Android Central, at least some Echo Look owners are being given discount codes to get an Echo Show 5 for free, though that hasn't been confirmed by Amazon. The Echo Show devices can to some extent duplicate the functionality of the Echo Look.

While the Echo Look was hardly one of Amazon's biggest sellers, it's interesting to see the company abandoning an Alexa-enabled product even as it continues to get the smart assistant pushed into as many new devices as possible.

Via Engadget

Need a live football fix? Watch live matches ahead of the Premier League's return

For football fans the past three months have been a strange, quiet time. What should have been another dramatic climax to an action-packed and VAR-influenced season was cut down in its prime back in early March.

While the English Premier League doesn't return until June 17, there's good news if you can't wait for Premier League football to restart.

You can treat your sporting soul to live games from around the world. Some of the top leagues are back playing right now, and you can even watch some of them live from the comfort of your home.

Germany – Bundesliga

Germany's top-flight league, The Bundesliga, is one of the best leagues in the world, with giants such as Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund on the fixture list and a host of world-class players. 

The German Bundesliga restarted on May 16, 2020 and its bumper fixture list has games running through to the new season end date of June 27, 2020.

What's more, it's possible to watch live Bundesliga games. In the UK, BT has the rights to German football, allowing you to watch every game that's left of this season live on TV if you subscribe to the BT Sport channels.

You don't need a TV to watch BT Sport – if you're a subscriber you can also use the BT Sport app to watch the action, and it can be cast to a compatible display.

South Korea – K-League 1

South Korea’s top-tier of football, K-League 1, was the first to kick-off post-pandemic, with its initial return match between Jeonbuk Motors and Suwon Bluewings being played on May 8, 2020 – and it was live streamed on Twitter and YouTube for the world to see.

The game gave us our first glimpse of top-flight football behind closed doors, with empty stands and the handful of coaches, officials and TV crews on the sidelines all wearing face masks.

Being able to catch more live K-League 1 games outside of Korea isn't quite so easy, but YouTube Channel Copa90 is handpicking a game each week to stream live.

Spain – La Liga

Spain's La Liga – featuring greats such as Barcelona and Real Madrid – is set to kick off a few days ahead of the English Premier League, which means you'll be able to warm yourself up with some Spanish football.

The competition has been given the green light by the Spanish government to resume from June 8, and the good news for Sky subscribers in the UK is it looks like you'll be able to watch the rest of the La Liga season for free.

According to reports, Sky TV customers will be able to to activate the Premier Sports channel for free throughout June. However, there is a catch. You'll want to remember to cancel the channel once the month is up, as from July, you'll be charged a monthly fee of £5.99 to keep the channel as part of your package.

England – Premier League

This is the league you're likely waiting for, and the good news is the wait is almost over. The English Premier League will restart on June 17, 2020 with two games taking place; Manchester City vs Arsenal and Aston Villa vs Sheffield United.

Of the 92 remaining Premier League fixtures for the 2019/2020 season, Sky has confirmed that it will show 64 of the games live, with 25 of those being made available on Sky Pick – a free-to-air channel available on Freeview. That means you won’t need a Sky Sports subscription to watch those 25 games – but you will need one if you want to catch all 64 live games it will be showing.

A further 20 games will be shown live by BT, but there's no word on whether any will be made free-to-air. That means you'll likely need a BT Sport subscription to watch these 20 games.

Another four games will be shown live on Amazon Prime Video, while the BBC has snapped up the final four fixtures, which will be available free-to-air, without any subscription required.

SpaceX launch: live stream video, liftoff replay and docking time with ISS

The SpaceX launch live stream video concludes with the capsule docking with the ISS (International Space Station) Sunday, almost exactly 19 hours after Saturday's liftoff.

Docking takes place today, May 31 at 10:29am EDT, according to SpaceX, with the two NASA astronauts, Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, preparing for a stay of up to three months. It's going to make for some exciting video to watch.

What time is the SpaceX capsule docking with ISS in your region of the world? How can you watch yesterday's SpaceX launch video if you missed the liftoff live stream? We have a full list of otherworldly videos below, as well as the global docking times.

SpaceX docking time with ISS

The SpaceX Dragon capsule will dock with the International Space Station at 10:29am EDT (local liftoff timezone). Around the continental US, that's 9:29am CDT / 8:29am MDT, 7:29am PDT (local time zone for SpaceX's home in Hawthorne, California).

In the UK, the docking time will be 3:29pm BST, and in Australia it'll be just beyond midnight on Monday, 12:29am AEST.

We suggests tuning into the docking live stream early before it approaches ISS.

Best SpaceX video replays

All of the important SpaceX video replays are below. 

Both SpaceX and NASA are providing a bunch of footage – both live video and video replays – to capture this space mission. Here are the best videos to check out.

1. SpaceX live stream

The interior cameras were off for several hours while Doug and Bob slept, but you should now be able to see them communicate with the SpaceX command center and tell you what they're eating in space for breakfast before they dock with ISS.

The live stream commentary is brilliant, insightful and inspiring regarding the future of commercial space travel.

2. SpaceX launch video replay – see the liftoff again

Liftoff happened at 3:22pm EDT Saturday, and it was spectacular, especially after a nine-year hiatus for NASA launches on US soil. You can rewatch the launch again.

3. SpaceX Falcon 9 booster returns to Earth

Just beyond the T-0 countdown, we saw the SpaceX Falcon 9 booster return to Earth – and land successfully. Having a reusable rocket is a huge milestone for the future of space travel when it comes to cost.

Commentators on the SpaceX live stream compared the Space Shuttle era rockets falling into the ocean (and being scrapped) as throwing away an airplane engine every time a plane pulled into an airport gate. It's a great analogy to explain why what SpaceX pulled off on Saturday was a huge deal for space exploration.

4. Falcon 9 second stage separates from Dragon capsule

Here's some great footage of the Falcon 9 second stage rocket separating from the Dragon Capsule and falling back to Earth.

5. NASA astronauts' first video transmission

Right now, NASA astronauts are above Earth in the SpaceX-made Dragon capsule as you read this (they'll be up there for 19 hours), and they're wearing SpaceX-designed spacesuits. The US government's Space Shuttle program ended nine years ago and the private SpaceX has picked up where NASA left off. It's a giant step for space exploration.

The first hours of Saturday's SpaceX livestream felt like deja vu if you watched the SpaceX live stream Wednesday. But unlike that first launch attempt, Saturday's launch countdown didn't stop at T-minus 17 minutes. Instead, history was made.

SpaceX launch video

It wasn't always clear that Saturday's launch would happen, even minutes before the launch window. "We are predicting a 50/50 shot of going this time," said NASA administrator NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine at the top of the SpaceX live stream. "But given the fact that we are in late May – in Florida – we have to take every shot that we can get." They're glad that they did, despite the gloomy forecast.

Saturday's SpaceX Demo-2 mission was a delayed and a second attempt, but it was always going to be historic, as it's happening at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. It's the first such launch on US soil in nearly a decade – since NASA retired the Space Shuttle nine years ago. It's also the first time that a SpaceX reusable spacecraft has sent NASA astronauts into space. It's the birth of commercially-backed human space travel.

It's the birth of commercially-backed human space travel.

The destination of this SpaceX launch is the International Space Station (ISS) for a one- to four-month duration for NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, according to our friends over at Space.com.

SpaceX launch how to watch live stream

SpaceX launch – as it happened on Saturday, May 30

The official Demo-2 SpaceX launch time, Saturday, May 30 at 3:22pm EDT, so the times across the continental US were 2:22pm CDT / 1:22pm MDT / 12:22pm PDT.

The UK SpaceX launch time was 20:22 BST. In addition to tuning into the video live stream, you were able to go outside soon afterward and maybe catch a glimpse of the SpaceX-built spacecraft in the night sky at around 20:40 BST.

In Australia, it was already Sunday morning, with the new launch time occurring at 5:22am AEST.

SpaceX launch how to watch live stream

SpaceX launch weather concerns subsided

Up until the last few minutes of Saturday's SpaceX launch, weather was a concern. It wouldn't have been time, as we saw this play out on Wednesday: "The weather got us," admitted NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine in a somber 30-second Twitter video on Wednesday. "I know there was a lot of disappointment today."

Bridenstine went on to explain the reasoning behind what we all saw: the SpaceX launch was scrubbed just 17 minutes inside the launch window, with NASA hanging on until the last minutes in an effort to save its efforts. The weather didn't cooperate.

NASA has strict weather rules for clearing spacecraft launches and noted that three weather violations existed, including the chance of the craft triggering 'natural lightning'. If they would have been able to wait ten minutes beyond the countdown, they could have cleared those three violations, according to SpaceX and NASA officials.

Waiting even ten minutes wasn't an option, though. Both Saturday's successful launch and Wednesday's scrubbed launch had what's known as an 'instantaneous launch window', meaning due orbital mechanics a delay wasn't possible if the crew wanted to get to the International Space Station (ISS) on time and lock in accurately. Blame Newtown's law of universal gravity, if you'd like.

The good news is that everything technical with the SpaceX craft and NASA crew was 'go for liftoff' on both days when the hatch door successfully closed. Weather was the only concern, according to NASA during the live streams.

Even with all of the exceptional planning ahead of this SpaceX launch, NASA and SpaceX can't control the weather (not yet anyway). Florida, while normally sunny, does have frequent quick-moving thunderstorms (anyone who has ever visited nearby Disney World knows that), and that's what the crew faced Wednesday and most of Saturday until the final half-hour.

Another weather variable is the fact that the weather conditions need to be good everywhere this spacecraft might be. For example, if the crew had to abort anywhere along their ascent and come down, recovery crews would need to access the capsule, so it's more than just the immediate Florida launchpad that needs ideal weather.

What happened before the SpaceX launch

The live stream saw SpaceX founder Elon Musk visit suited-up astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken and exchange a few words before liftoff time. Sadly, there was no audio during this portion of the live stream on Wednesday.

Musk then greeted US Vice President Mike Pence, who is there to watch the launch, while President Donald Trump joined soon after. Hurley and Behnken traveled to the launch site in a Tesla Model X (Tesla being another company Musk founded). Both the President and Vice President returned to see the launch Saturday. 

NASA continued to monitor the weather via data sensors around the launch site in an effort to get everything into 'the green position' on their maps. At the time, NASA said, "the weather is trending in the right direction," but as the countdown got to T-minus 17 minutes, favorability went the other direction.

This meant that the crew was seated in the capsule after crossing the crew access arm, and the crew arm had already retracted. Steam started to come off of the rocket before the launch was called off. It was that close to liftoff.

SpaceX launch time live stream

SpaceX spacecraft, SpaceX suits and NASA astronauts

NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken are inside the SpaceX Dragon capsule, which sat atop the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket for liftoff. It was situated on a launch pad at legendary Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida’s Cape Canaveral. 

LC-39A was originally built for the Apollo missions and remodeled for the Space Shuttle program. Now it's home to the first space flight to send astronauts into space using a private aerospace company.

Hurley (the spacecraft commander) and Behnken (the joint operations commander) are NASA astronauts, engineers and both former members of US military (Hurley is a former marine, while Behnken was in the US Air Force).

The two-man NASA crew are not only be flying in a SpaceX-built spacecraft, but also outfitted in SpaceX pressurized suits, first shown off in 2017.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

The TCL 10 Pro isn't the best phone of 2020, but it's exciting nevertheless

The TCL 10 Pro isn’t the best smartphone in the world - and in fact, it didn’t even break into our main list of the top 15 phones you can buy right now - but nevertheless, I'm excited to see it on virtual shop shelves.

The TCL 10 Pro received three stars out of five from TechRadar, and we called it “not a bad phone” with a further (and more damning) clarification that “you can get so much more for the money, whether you’re minded towards Android or iOS.”

For clarity, I didn’t review the TCL 10 Pro for TechRadar so I haven’t used the handset extensively, but I’m excited because this phone shows there’s still space for new entrants in the mobile market.

Welcome to a new contender

That quote from our review is quite damning, right? But that doesn't mean we want TCL to give up. In fact, I want TCL to see that criticism (and it’s not just us, a lot of our rival tech publications seem to agree with our review of the phone) and run further with a sequel.

TCL entering the phone game with its own branding is an exciting move. Previously, the company has produced handsets through its sub brands of Alcatel and BlackBerry, both of which catered to a very different niche than TCL is trying to target with the 10 Pro.

BlackBerry handsets under TCL haven't thrived, but they've consistently offered a business-focused experience that you can't really get anywhere else. Alcatel on the other hand has been consistently producing some of the best affordable phones on the market.

With the TCL brand becoming more and more recognized in the TV market, it makes sense for the company to apply the name - and the methodology associated with it - to smartphones too.

That methodology involves offering a quality product, but making some necessary cuts to ensure it comes in at an affordable price, which is what it has tried to do with the TCL 10 Pro.

TCL 10 Pro

The rear cameras on the TCL 10 Pro

The TCL 10 Pro isn't looking to compete with the very top-end handsets for a lower price. This isn’t going to be the phone you consider instead of a Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra or iPhone 11 Pro Max, but it may be an alternative to a Samsung Galaxy A90 5G or even something like the OnePlus 8.

And while the TCL 10 Pro isn't entirely successful, with the experience of making that phone behind it, whatever comes next from TCL may be a true contender for the very best mid-range phone that money can buy.

No matter what, we now have another major manufacturer with a lot of money behind it - along with experience in the consumer tech market - going full throttle and developing 5G handsets for the mid-range mobile phone space. 

That's exciting, and while I won't be recommending the TCL 10 Pro itself to people, I'm excited to see what the company is capable of doing next.

Samsung aims to kill server CPUs with this special new SSD

At this week's OCP Global Summit, Samsung disclosed more information about a new type of solid state drive (SSD) it's working on - one that only makes sense in a data center context, for now.

When it comes to flash memory, the most common configuration in data centers worldwide is JBOF (or just a bunch of flash), which uses NVMe SSD storage attached to PCIe switches, processors and NICs (network interface cards). There are two rather significant issues with this system, to do with the lack of scalability of the storage controller and limited bandwidth; a classic case of too many middlemen. 

EBOF - or Ethernet SSD Bunch of Flash, as Samsung puts it - aims to solve this issue by putting the Ethernet ports (two of them for redundancy) on the SSDs themselves.

These are not your usual Ethernet ports, however, as each supports a staggering 25Gbps - about 25x what most Gigabit interfaces can achieve. Unsurprisingly, that's only available in a standard SSD (i.e. 2.5-inch), rather than the smaller M2 form factors.

Samsung claims the E-SSD drive will achieve PCIe Gen4x4 performance, or about 1500K IOPS at 4K random read. What’s even more spectacular, though, is that the performance of the drive scales in an almost linear fashion.

Based on the chart provided by the company, 24 NVMe drives will be about 7.5x faster than a single NVMe drive, whereas the same number of NVMe-oF SSDs will be about 23x faster than a single drive. 

Removing the CPU, networking and other bottlenecks means lower latency, higher bandwidth, lower cost, better performance and potentially big TCO savings. Great news for data center operators, but not so great for everyone else in hardware procurement.

India blocks File transfer service WeTransfer - here's what we know

Popular file transfer service WeTransfer went off the radar for many across India today with reports coming in later in the evening that it has been blocked by the federal government. Responding to user complaints on social media, the company confirmed the block. 

Early reports suggested that the Department of Telecommunications issued an order blocking the Netherland-based company's file transfer service that is used to send large files (of up to 2GB for the free version) across the world using the cloud-based service. 

A partial blockage

As we write this, while some internet providers such as Reliance Jio and Idea-Vodafone have blocked access to WeTransfer, others such as ACT Fibernet continue to allow sharing of files across two email IDs, a fact that was checked by us before writing this piece. 

The reason proffered by the federal government for taking this decision appears vague as the media reports merely say that it was done in the public interest and national security. It is unclear what specifically led to this decision at this precise moment. 

Social media outrage

Earlier today, users took to social media asking what had happened to the service with some tweeting that the service was not working for them in specific areas. While we tried accessing the service via Ideas-Vodafone, we got the message "You are not authorised to access this webpage as per DoT compliance." 

On its part WeTransfer responded claiming that their service had been blocked in India and that the team was currently investigating the issue. "We hope to have more details soon. In the meantime, the best workaround is to use a VPN service to access our site," it said. 

Ban only for two webpages?

A report in the Mumbai Mirror claimed that the DoT order was passed close to two weeks ago where two specific webpages of WeTransfer was to be banned. The reasons related to a precondition in the unified license that applies to all internet service providers. Though, now how the entire service got banned today is still something that's not clear. 

In fact, the timing of the move appears to be intriguing as with several companies getting their staff to work from home, file transferring and sharing had assumed added importance during the lockdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. In fact, even the federal government has been actively using WeTransfer for sharing press statements with the media.  

While there is concern related to how an entire service got blocked without clarity over the reasons behind it, enterprises may not be overly worried about transferring files as there's Google Drive and DropBox that can easily do the same task. 

Not the first time though

WeTransfer is not the only file transfer service to have been banned by the government of India. In 2011, the now defunct service MegaUpload too faced the ire of the administration after it was found that miscreants were uploading latest movies onto their server at the height of the cinema piracy episode in the country. 

In 2014, a court in Delhi ordered the closure of several file sharing services including Google Docs, Rapidshare and Sendspace following complaints filed by Sony network, the official broadcaster of the FIFA World Cup over illegal uploads of matches by similar miscreants. 

It appears as though a similar fate has befallen WeTransfer due to some isolated misdemeanours of a few of its users. 

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