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Huawei at the MWC 2015: surprise from the Chinese company

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Even though Huawei might not be the headliner at the MWC 2015, the company is quickly rising to the top of the mobile technology market with affordable, stylish smartphones and other devices. Huawei has announced that it would be bringing a few neat surprises to the MWC 2015 show today and we have the full scoop on what this rising Chinese company prepped for 2015. Huawei, a few weeks ago teased some new phones they would be launching at the MWC show today, but also managed to send out the scoop about a new smart watch/wearable they would be unveiling. Even though the wearable has sparked a lot of curiosity, most people were curious to see if Huawei would announced the Mate 8, P8 or a smaller version of the Mate 7.

There wasn’t as much interest towards the Huawei event, as there is for the HT One M9 event which is starting soon or the Samsung Galaxy S6 Unpacked event, which is starting a bit later in the evening. Still, there was a lot of excitement in the air ahead of the show and with good reason. The show itself wasn’t too special, but here’s what Huawei decided to bring to the MWC 2015 to try and compete with the massive launches from other companies. The turnout for the Huawei event was pretty big today, which we didn’t expect. Still, there’s tons of rumors about a new Android Wear watch going around among attendees.

Once the show started, we could read Huawei’s headline: “Make it possible”, referring to nothing is impossible. We didn’t like the fonts they used, but hey, that’s not what matters at a show. Huawei discussed a bit about how they want to make it big on international markets, which we were expecting as the Chinese company is quickly rising to the top. Naturally, the company emphasized how much and how hard they worked towards getting to where they are now. Amy Lou, the global brand director at Huawei took the stage and talked about how the company wants to cater to both high-end and low-end markets. The focus of the introductory speech was to emphasize how much Huawei has grown, getting to 65 % global brand awareness thanks to their newly launched Honor branch. The company managed to get onto the top 100 brands list, which is quite the achievement from a company from mainland China. They are in 94th place, but it’s still progress.

And we have a wearable! The Huawei Watch was announced as the first Android Wear watch from the Chinese company and it’s stylish, to say the least. The watch resembles a hybrid between the LG Watch Urbane and the Moto 360, and it looks really stylish. It comes with a 1.4 inch display which has a 400*400 resolution and it’s a full circle. It’s got a stainless steel body which looks amazingly well-crafted, not to mention an AMOLED display which has a sapphire crystal lens cover on top so that you won’t be scratching it anytime soon. The Huawei Watch includes a 6 axis sensor, barometer, heart rate monitor, motion sensor and more. The Huawei Watch will be available in three colors, gold, silver and black.

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Huawei Watch

But that wasn’t all! We were quite taken aback to see that the company is also launching a fitness tracker, called the Huawei TalkBand (which reminds us of the Sony SmartBand Talk a lot) which is the culmination of Huawei’s efforts to get into the wearable fitness tracking business. The TalkBand B2 is the successor of last year’s B1 and it actually comes with its own Bluetooth headset. The design is quite neat, as the aluminium bracket is surrounded by either leather or TPU bands, which look rather nice. It also gets a 6 axis sensor, like the Huawei Watch, and has sleep monitoring and fitness tracking abilities, like any other fitness tracker on the market. The neat thing about it is that Huawei says it will last for 5 days on a single charge and it is actually compatible with both Android and iOS devices. Besides the TalkBand B2, Huawei also launched the TalkBand N1 which stands out with Hi-Fi Stereo, yet another Bluetooth headset and 4 GB itnernal storage. It’s also IP54 waterproof certified. The TalkBand B2 price is around $223 for the gold version and around $190 for the standard version. The TalkBand N1 will cost $133, which is pretty neat.

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$223 Huawei TalkBand B2

But Huawei didn’t just show off wearables at the MWC 2015 event today, as it decided to introduce yet another massive tablet, the Huawei MediaPad X2. The MediaPad X2 is a tablet and a phablet in one, as it is cellular enabled. Still, it’s a massive device with a 7 inch phone, so only few out there would feel comfortable using it as a phone. Nonetheless, the opportunity is there, so there might be crowds who would take advantage of that. Moreover, Huawei has included an earpiece in the package with the MediaPad X2, which means it won’t be so obtrusive when you’re using it as a phone. That’s a neat thought. Design-wise, if you didn’t know better, you would confuse the new device with a Huawei Mate 7, as it looks nearly identical, save for being larger. It’s got very thin bezels, which look appealing on such a large device and make for great screen to body ratio.

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Huawei MediaPad X2

Speaking of the display, it’s a 7 inch panel with a 1920*1200 resolution, which is ok for such a big device. It’s not the best we’ve seen, but it’s definitely bright enough for the average smartphone/tablet user. The new Huawei tablet gets a 2.0 GHz Kirin 930 octa-core chipset under the hood, with LTE Cat 6 built-in, a 5000 mAh battery unit, a 13 MP camera on the rear, a 5 MP camera on the front and of course, Android 5.0 Lollipop, making this the first Huawei device to make use of the new operating system. That HiSilicon Kirin CPU is backed by 3 GB RAM and 32 GB internal storage or 2 GB RAM with 16 GB internal storage.

As part of the editorial team here at Geekreply, John spends a lot of his time making sure each article is up to snuff. That said, he also occasionally pens articles on the latest in Geek culture. From Gaming to Science, expect the latest news fast from John and team.

Gadgets

Spotify is providing refunds for Car Thing as it confronts a lawsuit regarding the malfunctioning of the streaming device

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Spotify is receiving ongoing criticism for its choice to terminate support for Car Thing, its in-car streaming device, which was announced in May. According to the company, the device will become inoperable after December 9, 2024. Gen Z users on TikTok are sharing videos to express their dissatisfaction with Spotify’s decision and its suggested measures, such as transitioning to Android Auto or CarPlay. The users point out that they often lacked access to integrated infotainment systems in their cars, which makes them a prime target market for a specialized player like Car Thing.

The streaming service’s in-car device hadn’t been on the market long enough to become outdated. The product was introduced in February 2022 but was subsequently discontinued within the same year. However, the company assured customers who had already purchased units that it would continue to provide support and maintenance. Prior to its release, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek indicated that there was a significant consumer interest in this product. During an earnings call with investors, Ek reported that over 2 million users had registered on the Car Thing waitlist in anticipation of its launch.

While Spotify did not disclose official figures, it is probable that Car Thing did not meet expectations or did not justify further investment in the current challenging economic climate. Spotify, on the other hand, terminated approximately 1,500 employees towards the end of last year. This followed previous rounds of layoffs earlier in the year that impacted hundreds of employees.

Car Thing users, on the other hand, are not concerned with the company’s financial issues; their primary concern is the functionality of the device or, at the very least, receiving a refund for the $90 cost.

As a result, some individuals have attempted to lodge their complaints directly with Spotify by sending direct messages on the X platform using the handle @SpotifyCares or by utilizing different email addresses associated with Spotify that have been shared on Reddit. As a result, certain users have reported that Spotify provided them with multiple months of a premium subscription as compensation for their inconvenience, whereas others have stated that they inquired with customer service and were informed that no reimbursements were being offered.

According to Spotify, they have recently implemented a refund procedure for Car Thing. However, the user must present evidence of purchase in order to be eligible for the refund.

Car Thing users were officially informed about the availability of customer support through a second email sent on Friday of last week, in response to the increasing criticism and dissatisfaction caused by the discontinuation of Car Thing. Within the message, Spotify provides users with the appropriate customer support link to contact the company. The email does not guarantee any reimbursements but states that users can contact us for inquiries.

Although a refund might appease a certain segment of the user population who are dissatisfied with Car Thing, numerous individuals are earnestly imploring the company through TikTok videos and comments on Spotify’s TikTok posts to refrain from rendering their device inoperable. (Indeed, grievances regarding the Car Thing have become so prevalent on Spotify’s videos that the algorithmically generated search recommendation on certain videos is “what is the spotify car thing.”)

“Spotify, I kindly request that you refrain from subjecting me to any further distress.” “I have a strong affection for my automobile,” expressed Carla, a TikTok user known as @carlititica on the platform.

“Depressed,” expressed another user, @nikkilovestech. “They seem to encourage people to use their phone, which is a source of distraction,” she stated in the video description while demonstrating a Car Thing mounted on her dashboard. In her video, she also addressed the issue of electronic waste resulting from the discontinuation of a fully functional product.

Spotify is still facing challenges regarding the discontinuation of Car Thing, despite the introduction of a refund process that has not been widely publicized. According to Billboard, Spotify is currently dealing with a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The lawsuit alleges that Spotify deceived customers by selling them a product that would soon become outdated, and then failing to provide refunds. The lawsuit was initiated on May 28th.

While Spotify is unable to provide a comment regarding the lawsuit, a representative did share the following statement regarding Car Thing:

The objective of our Car Thing investigation in the United States was to gain further insights into individuals’ auditory habits while driving. In July 2022, we made a public statement declaring our decision to cease any future manufacturing activities, and now we must bid farewell to the devices altogether. The deactivation of all Car Thing devices will occur on December 9, 2024, giving users until that date to continue using them. To gain further knowledge about the various methods available for listening to Spotify in your car, please refer to the For The Record section. Car Thing users can contact Customer Support for any inquiries by visiting: https://support.spotify.com/us/contact-spotify-support/

While the issues surrounding Car Thing may not impact all of Spotify’s user base, this development coincides with a period when users are already dissatisfied with being required to pay additional fees for features they consider essential to a music service, such as access to lyrics, a feature that Spotify recently made available only to paying subscribers. Furthermore, users are expressing dissatisfaction with Car Thing and are issuing ultimatums to discontinue their subscription to Spotify due to the introduction of paid access to lyrics.

Furthermore, Spotify raised its subscription fees last year, and Bloomberg has reported that another price hike is imminent in 2024.

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Mobile Devices

3 Video Games About Women’s Health

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Video games have transcended entertainment to become powerful tools for promoting health and wellness. One notable genre in this realm is fitness gaming, exemplified by titles like Hatsune Miku Fit Boxing, which motivates players to engage in physical activity to enhance their fitness levels. Building on this foundation, developers have ventured into women’s health with games designed to raise awareness and empower players to take control of their well-being. Here are 3 video games on women’s health that provide valuable health information and foster a sense of agency to uplift women around the world.

Tampon Run – Menstrual health

Created by Girls Who Code alumnae Andrea Gonzales and Sophie Houser in 2014, Tampon Run is an old-school 8-bit online game where the main character, Luna, lobs tampons to destroy enemies, who will confiscate the tampons if she lets them pass by. Interestingly, the concept of weaponized tampons is based on a real incident that occurred in 2013, where Texas state troopers confiscated tampons as potential projectiles, but not guns, from visitors observing a vote on abortion restrictions at the Texas State Capitol. The goal of Tampon Run is to destigmatize periods and menstrual products, which, up until recently, have not been properly studied to measure their absorbency, which underscores the need to address menstrual health so that women can get better care.

In between tossing tampons, Luna shares empowering messages about how periods are a natural part of women’s lives and should not be a source of shame or embarrassment. The game is available to play on the Tampon Run website and can be downloaded from the Apple App Store for iOS users.

PCOS Vitality – PCOS

Polycystic ovary syndrome is a complex hormonal condition and the leading cause of female infertility that affects approximately 5 to 6 million women in the US, according to the Endocrine Society. Common features of the condition include having irregular menstrual periods, hyperandrogenism, and polycystic ovaries. Additionally, some studies estimate that up to 88% of women with PCOS are overweight or obese. While there are weight loss programs helping women tackle PCOS, focusing on aspects like lifestyle, symptom management, diet, and other tips for how to lose weight with PCOS, the condition itself remains grossly under-researched. For some women, it may take years to confirm that they have PCOS, as there are other disorders that mimic PCOS signs and symptoms that must be excluded.

The lack of research has extended to a lack of awareness among the general population and is what clinicians from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland are trying to address with the 2023 game PCOS Vitality. Essentially a learning tool, the game takes users through a simple obstacle course. As you click toward the finish line, you are asked simple trivia questions about PCOS. The game is free to play on Focus Games’ website.

Bound by Blood – Period poverty

Period poverty refers to the lack of regular access to period products, painkillers, or underwear during a menstrual cycle. In the US, where 16.9 million menstruating women live in poverty, two-thirds cannot afford basic menstrual products. Period poverty has also been associated with mental health issues and urinary tract infections.

Available to play on the itch.io website, Bound by Blood was created by Jessica Gates in 2017 and aims to educate players about the reality of period poverty. Users take the character of Beth, a homeless woman who wakes up in her car and realizes that she’s started her period. Players then make a series of choices to try to stay as hygienic as possible in spite of lacking resources such as menstrual products and clean restrooms. There isn’t really a way to “win” the game, and it is instead a peek into the reality of life where period products are inaccessible and how this affects women’s quality of life.

Through these games, players not only gain valuable insights into various aspects of women’s health but also find themselves actively engaged in their own well-being. As developers continue to explore this emerging field, the potential for video games to serve as educational tools and catalysts for change in healthcare remains promising

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Consoles

Despite popular belief, PS4 sales in the UK skyrocketed last year

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PS4 sales in the UK climbed by a shocking 633 percent year-over-year in 2023, so apparently the old system isn’t dead yet. The previous year’s very limited supply of the system is likely a major factor in this figure, since the console’s lifespan was drastically reduced because of chip shortages caused by the pandemic. Still, it’s proof that PlayStation’s original platform has unmet demand.

With the very low prices of PS4 software (both in-store and online at the PS Store), this strategy makes a lot of sense. Plus, it’s future-proof, so there’s no harm in stocking up on PS4s while new-gen pricing is still high, since if you decide to switch to a PS5 in the future, you can transfer all of your purchases across. Not to mention that the majority of new releases still come out on the PS4, with several offering free PS5 upgrades.

While the percentage rise may seem huge, real PS4 sales will probably be much lower. It’s a sign that the gadget, which is now a decade old, isn’t completely dead yet, and we expect it to keep receiving maintenance for a while longer. Of course, this is great news for Sony, because the company would rather have PS4 players playing on its last-gen gadget than none at all, even if it would love to have them upgrade to PS5.

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