Google may have adopted a new strategy to push its Android One program forward. Instead of waiting for OEMs to make devices specifically for Android One, it will instead repurpose existing models. Coincidentally, that’s the same strategy it already used in the old Google Play Edition smartphones with two distinct differences. For one, the Android One versions are mid-range devices. For another, Google and the OEM are selling them under a different name altogether.That was the case with the Xiaomi Mi A1, which was basically the Xiaomi Mi 5X but without all the software cruft. This similarity made it possible for the Mi A1’s Android One ROM to be used without modification fo Mi 5X devices. There was word that the Moto X4 would do likewise, but there’s more solid evidence for the HTC U11 Life.“Ocean Life”, as it was first known, is a mid-range version of the HTC U11, hence the latter moniker of HTC U11 Life. It will supposedly run on a Snapdragon 600 series processor, either a 635 or 660, with 3 or 4 GB of RAM. Presumably, because have not seen neither hair nor hide of this phone. And now we we might have a clue why.The HTC U11 Life might be destined to be an Android One phone from the get go, and Google chose to wait for Android O’s release before making this phone public. Until any HTC phone (save the Pixel), the U11 Life will barely have any trace of bloatware, including HTC’s customs apps.It will, however, still have the Sense 9 UX. This is most likely necessary to keep features like USonic, Zoe, HTC Camera, and Edge Sense.. And, yes, that latter bit means that the HTC U11 Life is likely to have squeezable sides.SOURCE: LlabTooFeR (1), (2) Android One has always been an odd program and, for a time, it seemed that Google would give up on it altogether. That seemed especially possible after it announced its Android Go program for “constrained devices”. But Google insisted that Android One is still a go and it has, in fact, launched the first new device in a long while, the Xiaomi Mi A1. Now it seems that there will indeed be new Android One phones, with the next one coming from HTC, based on the unreleased HTC U11 Life, a.k.a. the HTC Ocean Life.
Story TimelineGE unveils first dishwasher with Amazon Dash ReplenishmentGE ovens, Nest Protect work together to protect your nestGE bakes Alexa and the Google Assistant into your ceiling It’s a reaction, GE Appliances says, to the fact that though most microwaves have on average ten different power settings, may owners never actually change them from the default. Although cooking faster might seem like an obvious benefit from leaving the power set to its maximum, it doesn’t necessarily suit every food. Rather than demand that you read the instructions on the box, however, or – worse still – figure out exactly what your microwave can actually do, Scan-to-Cook does all that itself. It’s been programmed to recognize over 3,000 different meals, GE says, spanning microwave mainstays like frozen dinners, through refrigerated and shelf-stable foods. Over time there’ll be more meals added, the company promises. As for Alexa, the microwave doesn’t have Amazon’s assistant baked in – no pun intended – but can be paired with an Echo smart speaker. Once that’s done, you can set the cook time by voice, extend cooking via a spoken command, change the power level, and stop the whole thing if you spot your dinner bubbling over from across the room. Since the Echo and the microwave don’t have to be in the same room, you could also control it from elsewhere in the house. The microwave itself has a 0.9 cubic foot capacity, and is 900 watts. It’s finished in stainless steel, and there’s sensor reheating which can automatically adjust the settings for seven different items – beverage, dinner plate, pizza, popcorn, potato, reheat, and vegetable – using the front panel controls. Those controls mean that, even if you give up on the app and Alexa, you can still use the Smart Countertop Microwave as, well, just a regular microwave instead. This isn’t GE’s first foray into getting the kitchen online in the Internet of Things. Back at CES 2018 in January, the company revealed its new Alexa- and Google Assistant-enabled light fixtures and switches, which can be used to add hands-free voice control. Earlier appliances include connected ovens, along with a dishwasher that can automatically re-order detergent through Amazon Dash integration. Sales kick off from today, with the microwave priced at $139. From July 18, meanwhile, it’ll be bundled with an Echo Dot, and priced at $125. UPDATE: GE made an error with the pricing in the original press release and wished to make the following correction “The MSRP of the microwave is $139 and the bundle of the microwave and the dot is $154.98 beginning tomorrow for a limited time.” Kitchen appliances continue to get smarter, and now it’s the microwave promising easier cooking and Amazon Alexa integration. The GE Smart Countertop Microwave debuts the company’s Scan-to-Cook system, with a companion smartphone app that can identify packaged food and automatically beam the correct power and time instructions to the oven. SlashGear uses affiliate links, and sometimes if you buy something we’ll get a small commission from the sale
Sony has a new Bluetooth speaker, and the splashproof SRS-XB501G doesn’t just deliver lashings of bass indoors and out, it takes the Google Assistant with it too. Unveiled at IFA 2018 today, the new speaker slots into Sony’s EXTRA BASS range, and so as you might expect there’s a big emphasis on the low-end. That means a sizable woofer, and then two tweeters above it, the latter angled to spread sound around a room or garden area. You can stream over Bluetooth – there’s NFC too, for easier pairing of compatible smartphones like Sony’s own Xperia range – but Sony has also baked in WiFi. That’s when things get interesting. Once online, you get the Google Assistant baked into the XB501G. You can ask for music, throw the usual questions at Google’s AI, or control different smart home devices by voice. The WiFi is also used to connect multiple speakers, creating potentially huge groups that can all play the same tracks simultaneously. Sony tells us that there’s no theoretical limit to how many can be synchronized.Thankfully, Sony is relying on Google’s Assistant grouping technology to manage that pairing, rather than coming up with a system over its own. It means that you manage grouping through the Google Home app, and control the paired speakers via voice, but also that you can include other WiFi speakers – like a Google Home Max, for example – in those same wirelessly-connected sets. AdChoices广告As for ruggedness, the XB501G gets a sturdy plastic casing that’s IP65 rated. That means dust and splash-resistance: Sony tells us you could happily hose the speaker down, if you got it covered in sand at the beach. On the bottom, there’s a standard tripod screw for mounting it; on the back, you get a carry handle. The front has Sony’s LED light ring, which flashes in different colors in time with the music. There’s also a strobe bar mounted across the top of the tweeters. Happily for those wanting just their favorite album and not a Jean-Michel Jarre show, you can turn it all off. Battery life is up to 16 hours, and the XB501G can be charged up either via the included AC adapter or a USB-C port on the back. That port can also be used to charge up other devices, turning the speaker into a portable battery. The Sony XB501G will go on sale in October, priced at $299.99.
How does Google Camera’s Night Sight feature work?Night Sight is almost like – and might be considered – an extension of what Google introduced in the year 2014 with the first Google Pixel smartphone. That device brought on Google’s HDR+, a system with which dynamic range is improved to a great degree by capturing a “burst of frames.” Capturing several photos happens with every HDR system, but with Google’s HDR+, some machine learning magic takes place, frames are aligned, and computational photography makes the end product look very, very good in most cases.Google Product Manager for Computational Photography, Alexander Schiffhauer, provided some insight this morning on all the information Night Sight takes in as the Pixel’s camera captures a photo.“Before you press the shutter button, Night Sight measures your natural hand shake, as well as how much motion is in the scene. If Pixel is stable and the scene is still, Night Sight will spend more time capturing light to minimize noise,” said Schiffhauer. “If Pixel is moving or there’s significant scene motion, Night Sight will use shorter exposures, capturing less light to minimize motion blur.”Google suggested this week that Night Sight is made to capture scenes with which even HDR+ doesn’t do well. In a feature from Marc Levoy, Distinguished Engineer and Yael Pritch, Staff Software Engineer on the Google AI blog, the exact wording is as follows: “With Night Sight, our goal was to improve picture-taking in the regime between 3 lux and 0.3 lux, using a smartphone, a single shutter press, and no LED flash.”AdChoices广告Above you’ll see a chart provided by Google which identifies a range of lux. Lux is the amount of light hitting a surface, light per unit area, lux. Lux is measured in lumens per meter squared. According to Google, Night Sight is for light amounts where you either wouldn’t walk through the house without a flashlight or you’d be unable to find your keys on the floor – that’s dark! Today we’re taking a peek with Google at their Night Sight feature for the Google Camera app on Pixel phones. The basic concept begins with keeping the Pixel’s camera’s shutter open longer than normal – allowing more light in on the camera’s image sensor. With more light comes more information with which the camera can create a less dark image. That’s where Google started – they then brought in the Machine Learning to do some magic. When you press the shutter button in the Google Camera app in a Pixel, it captures the most recent 9 or 15 frames to send to its HDR+ (or Super Res Zoom, but that’s not important right now) software. Per Google, “As soon as you open the camera app, it begins capturing image frames and storing them in a circular buffer that constantly erases old frames to make room for new ones.” Incidentally, this is a great way to make your Pixel’s battery drain faster than in almost any other on-screen situation. Just keep the camera open!Google suggests that with this system, they provide “zero-shutter-lag.” With the Night Sight feature, you do not use the most recent frames, you only start to capture a scene when the shutter button is pressed. With Night Sight, you’re using what Google calls positive-shutter-lag (PSL). Here’s what Night Sight does:1. Captures 6 to 15 frames1b. Captures 15 frames if device detects it’s handheld, 1/15 of a second (or less) each1c. Captures 6 frames if sitting perfectly still, at 1 second each“Or anything in between” Dependent on the detected situation.2. Aligns multiple frames3. Merges multiple framesDoes both of these things with HDR+’s merging algorithm on Pixel 1 and 2 or using Super Res Zoom’s merging algorithm on the Pixel 3.*4. Uses Fast Fourier Color Constancy algorithm to determine most accurate colors5. Determine ideal light-to-dark tone mapping to make sure the photo doesn’t look like it was captured with full-on daytime lights6. Present final photo with per-frame exposure time attached* Because of the Google Pixel 3’s faster processor, it’s able to produce better results with Night Sight. This happens because it uses Super Res Zoom’s algorithm instead of HDR+’s algorithm. Super Res Zoom requires the faster processor of the Google Pixel 3 – at the moment. How do I get Google Night Sight?This feature is thus far relegated to Pixel smartphones, but might (unofficially) spread to others in the future. If you own a Google Pixel smartphone, of any of the first three generations, you can head over to Google Play and check if you need an update to the Google Camera app. If you don’t need an update, either the update isn’t ready yet, or you already have it. If you already have the update, Google Night Sight will be available in your Google Camera app – your standard camera app on your Google Pixel smartphone. If you’ve never used Night Sight before, just open a dark closet and point your Pixel’s camera lens inside the darkness. Night Sight should appear as a button just above your other camera modes. Otherwise you’ll find it by sliding on your camera modes to the left. If you do not have a Pixel: First, be aware there is no official Google Night Sight feature for non-Pixel smartphones. Then, head over to our early Night Sight download info article to learn of a place or two were some unofficial builds may be found. And be sure to do so of your own free will – all downloads are your own responsibility! Story TimelinePixel 3, Pixel 3 XL now rooted with MagiskPixel 3, 3 XL 10W wireless charging only available with Pixel StandPixel 3 camera glitch fix is comingThis Pixel 3 XL notch glitch is annoyingly funnyPixel 3 might have a dangerous charging problem
That answer is, of course, relative. Joswiak simply points out that the iPhone XR is doing better than what reports seem to imply. In fact, it’s even doing better than Apple’s own 2018 flagship models. That’s not exactly surprising considering how the $749 iPhone XR undercuts the $999 iPhone XS and the $1,099 iPhone XS Max without sacrificing too much in terms of features.That, however, doesn’t really negate the possibility of iPhone XR sales being less than what Apple had anticipated. And if it’s actually doing better than the iPhone XS in that case, then that implies the iPhone XS and XS Max are doing even worse.Industry reports claim that Apple has already cut down production of the iPhone XS and XS Max due to the lower than expected demand. The company also reportedly slashed iPhone XR production by up to a third for the same reason. Joswiak refused to take the bait when asked and simply reiterated that the iPhone XR has been its most popular and best-selling iPhone since it hit shelves.Of course, it’s business as usual for Apple and don’t expect it to reveal any related numbers anymore. Its next big splash will be its usual World AIDS Day next week. Joswiak, however, makes no mention of other special RED iPhones for that occasion. Rumors of its underperformance are greatly exaggerated. Or at least that seems to be the idea that Apple vice president of product marketing Greg Joswiak wants to impress on everyone regarding the iPhone XR reported sales numbers or lack thereof. Without confirming or denying production cut reports, the exec just wants everyone to know that the iPhone XR has been outselling the iPhone XS and the iPhone XS Max ever since it launched, even if that launch was a few weeks later. Story TimelineiPhone XR sales reportedly kill production boost planiPhone XR review: Compelling compromiseiPhone XR, iPhone XS are already in trouble
Back in September, among a flurry of Alexa-enabled device reveals, Amazon announced the Echo Auto. The Echo Auto was definitely one of the more exciting reveals of the day, but for the last few months, those who pre-ordered the device have been waiting on Amazon to start sending them out. The wait, it seems, may finally be over, as Amazon has confirmed that it’s started shipping out those pre-orders. Of course, you still can’t easily order an Echo Auto. The device, which connects to your car’s sound system through Bluetooth or your vehicle’s auxiliary input, is still an invite-only item. Though you can request an invite to purchase one, it’s ultimately up to Amazon when it comes to who get to buy and who doesn’t.Still, despite that invite-only system, Amazon vice president of Alexa Steve Rabuchin tells TechCrunch that it’s managed to pull in “over a million [pre-order] requests.” Rabuchin said that Amazon is just now beginning those ship those initial orders, so if you’ve managed to order an Echo Auto between September and now, it sounds like your device will soon be on the way (hopefully).Indeed, Amazon gives no indication of when it plans to have all of these one-million-plus pre-orders filled, so even though Echo Auto devices are beginning to ship out, it still might be a while before all of the initial units are sent to buyers. Rabuchin also didn’t say when Amazon plans to send the Echo Auto into general availability, so the requirement of an invitation might be around for a while longer.Rabuchin said that some Echo Auto buyers got their devices ahead of Christmas, so the company has been shipping out Echo Auto orders for a few weeks now. Hopefully Amazon opens the floodgates for the Echo Auto soon, because there’s clearly a demand for it. In the meantime, you could always pick up an Alexa Wall Clock to satiate your hunger for more IoT devices. Story TimelineAmazon Echo Auto gives your car an Alexa copilot
No one has come up with the ideal foldable phone design yet. With Samsung’s design, the larger screen folds in and requires a second screen on the other side to make the phone usable even when folded. Others fold the screen outward to also address the problem of requiring some curvature in the fold of the screen.But with either design comes the problem of ending up with a phone or a screen that is drastically narrower and taller than the phone screens we’re used to these days. Either that or unfolded screen ends up being more square than the tablet’s we’re used to as well.Xiaomi may have come upon a better compromise, but one that is probably harder to pull off as well. In a video posted on Weibo, company president Lin Bin shows off a prototype that looks more like a regular rectangular tablet but then folds in two places down to a more familiar phone screen size. Admittedly, it’s a bit more square too, but at least closer to our familiar phablets. 2019 is not only the year of punch hole camera cutouts, it could also be the year of the foldable phones. Of course, not all OEMs will be able to jump on that trend, unlike with cutouts, but those that do will be racing for the best possible foldable design. Samsung’s way is, of course, just one and it seems that Xiaomi already has its own version in the works. And if it manages to pull it off, it could very well steal the spotlight. Especially if it comes with the company’s usual pricing strategy. It’s just a prototype, of course, but Bin seems to hint that they have all but addressed engineering, hardware, and even software concerns. How close they are to the final product is still unknown but, as for now, they don’t even have a name for it yet. Bin has Xiaomi Dual Flex and Xiaomi MIX Flex in mind but is also crowdsourcing possible names.
Huawei’s MateBook 13 distilled some of the charm of the MateBook X Pro into a more affordable model last year, and now Huawei aims to do the same with the MateBook 14. Making its debut at Mobile World Congress 2019, the 14-inch notebook slots in-between Huawei’s X and D series, with a handsome – if, ahem, MacBook reminiscent – sandblast-finish metal body with diamond-cut chamfers. Lift the lid and you’ll find Huawei’s 14-inch 2K Full View display, a 2,160 x 1,440 LCD with a 90-percent screen to body ratio. It’s a 3:2 aspect display – Huawei says that’s more useful for office applications – with 300 nits brightness, a 1,000:1 contrast ratio, and 100-percent sRGB color gamut. It’s also a touchscreen, protected with a sheet of Gorilla Glass. There’s an eye-comfort mode that filters out blue light, and Huawei has put the 1-megapixel webcam in a pop-up housing on the keyboard so as to keep the bezels clean and add an extra sense of privacy. Huawei MateBook 14 performanceInside, there’s a choice of an 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8565U processor or a Core i5-8265U processor. Either way, you can have up to 16GB of memory and up to 512GB of SSD storage. The Core i7 model comes with NVIDIA GeForce MX 250 (25W) graphics with its own 2GB of GDDR5 memory. The WiFi has been upgraded, now supporting up to 1,733 Mbps, and there’s Bluetooth 5.0 as well. Ports include USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 on the right side of the notebook, and USB Type-C along with a full-sized HDMI port and a combo audio jack on the left side. The power button doubles as a fingerprint sensor, working with an independent security chip. You can store up to ten fingerprints. As for audio, there are dual speakers, but plug in compatible headphones and you get Dolby Atmos. Battery and DimensionsLike the MateBook X Pro (2019), Huawei has used a 57.4 Wh battery in the MateBook 14. That’s rated for up to 15 hours of video or 14 hour of office apps, or indeed 10.5 hours of web browsing. When it comes to charging, the 65W USB-C is super-compact. It can add up to 3 hours of use from 15 minutes plugged in; alternatively, it can deliver up to 9V, 2A for smartphone quick-charging. Non-PD devices get 5V, 2A. The MateBook 14 measures in at 307.5 mm x 223.8 mm x 15.9 mm, and tips the scales at approximately 1.49 kg. It’ll be offered in Space Gray, Mystic Silver, and Pink Gold. Software and availabilityHuawei isn’t saving its new synchronization software just for the new MateBook X Pro. The MateBook 14 will also get the Huawei Share 3.0 app, allowing for your Huawei phone to quickly sync photos, videos, and documents simply by tapping it against the notebook’s palm rest. OneHop file transfers and screen recordings are also supported, and the three-finger screenshot shortcut is included. The MateBook 14 should go on sale in the US in late May or early June, Huawei says. Pricing is yet to be decided, though the fact that the MateBook 13 starts out at $999 should give some idea of the ballpark this newer, slightly larger model will likely fall into.
Qualcomm is looking to distill some of the magic of the cloud and its Snapdragon processors into an AI processor, and Microsoft and Facebook are already onboard with the new Cloud AI 100. A custom-made chip designed to bring cloud-style AI processing to the data center, the new accelerator promises applications from mixed reality, to gaming, to personalization. While we’ve seen AI accelerators based on mobile chips before, the Qualcomm Cloud AI 100 doesn’t tap into existing Snapdragon mobile chipsets. Instead it’s an entirely new, purpose-built chip, Qualcomm says. The result is peak AI performance in excess of 50x what you’d get from a Snapdragon 820. It’s built on 7nm processes, and should be capable of more than 10x the performance, Qualcomm claims, over other AI inference solutions currently on the market, based on CPUs, GPUs, or FPGAs. Form-factor is decided by the client themselves, with different cards designed for different data centers. The Cloud AI 100 supports the Glow, ONNX, and XLA runtimes, along with frameworks like PyTorch, Caffe2, Keras, and TensorFlow. It’ll come with a whole suite of compilers, debaters, profilers, and more, making getting up to speed more straightforward. And, while it may not use Snapdragon chips explicitly, Qualcomm says it has dipped heavily into the power consumption, scale, and signal processing developers it has relied on for mobile chipsets to make the Cloud AI 100 more efficient. Why is all that important? Mainly because the requirements we’ll be making of artificial intelligence over the coming years will put serious pressure on the cloud-based systems currently prevalent. Numerous companies – all the big chip-makers among them – are looking to so-called edge computing to help address that. Edge computing offsets some of the workload of the cloud, by doing at least some of the processing locally first. The obvious advantage is that the cloud then has less heavy-lifting to do. However, there are also big potential advantages in latency and bandwidth. Because you’re not transferring huge quantities of raw data, throughput can be improved and networks left less stressed. IDC is predicting that, by 2025, the collective sum of the world’s data will reach 175 zettabytes, and a sizable portion of that will be relying on the cloud. The latency involved in transferring data to the cloud, having it processed there, and then receiving something meaningful in return can also be considerable. Doing it at the edge instead can cut that latency significantly. That could pay dividends when it comes to things like developing personal assistants that can do natural language processing and translation, as well as advanced image searching. It’ll also be able to better scale with personalized content and recommendations, Qualcomm promises. Other edge computing applications commonly discussed included things like autonomous car processing, with lower-latency systems used to deliver faster image recognition and more. However it won’t just be as extreme as cars that drive themselves: Qualcomm is talking about how edge AI will help power driver awareness monitoring, along with features like personalized driver settings that learn from individual user preferences.For consumers, obviously the Cloud AI 100 isn’t something they’ll be looking to put inside their next PC or phone. However the benefits reaped from it could be notable, depending on the services they use and subscribe to. We’ll know more when Qualcomm begins sampling the new chip to consumers, which is expected to take place in the second half of 2019.
Acura has a big contingent of vehicles that will be racing up Pikes Peak in the annual Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. Four of the rides will be driven and crewed by full-time Acura R&D engineers. Acura notes that this is the largest collection of competitive entries in the brand’s history and the cars will fly up to the mountain on June 30. The Acura vehicles are all hand-built, homegrown cars according to Acura. Four production-based Acura models will participate in multiple race classes with the drivers of all four vehicles being engineers who work at Acura product development in Ohio. Along with the four amateur drivers in their homegrown rides, Acura also has a pro driver in the RealTime Racing Acura TLX GT all-wheel-drive race car; the pro driver is Peter Cunningham.The entries include an Acura MDX Sport Hybrid that was built just for the hill climb. It uses the standard 3.5L V6 engine that has been bored out to 3.7L and makes 400hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. That isn’t the engine used in the street MDX Hybrid, but it does use the three motor electric hybrid system.A 2019 RDX A-spec using a 350hp and 330 lb-ft 2.0L turbo four engine and 10-speed automatic is taking on the mountain. The car has a larger turbo, short-path intercooler, and electric supercharger fed by a 48V micro-hybrid system. The “Time Attack” NSX has a larger rear wing and more aggressive front splitter for downforce and has a modified engine with larger turbos to reach 625hp.AdChoices广告A production spec NSX is making the run-up the hill using the factory twin-turbo V6 and three motor Sport Hybrid system for a combined 573hp and 476 lb-ft of torque. The last of the cars is the Realtime Racing TLX GT using a J35 V6 with twin-turbos; its power is a mystery.
Previous DJI DJI DJI Editors’ Recommendations DJI’s popular Ronin-S gimbal has lost some weight. On Wednesday, July 17, DJI launched the Ronin-S Compact (SC), a three-axis gimbal designed to stabilize mirrorless cameras with one hand. But the gimbal is going mobile in more ways than one, integrating new smartphone-powered tools including subject tracking and remote control of the camera’s movement.Weighing 2.4 pounds, the DJI Ronin-SC is 41% lighter than the original. As the heavier hitter, the Ronin-S remains geared for heavier cameras, while the SC supports camera-lens combos up to 4.4 pounds, including most major mirrorless cameras from brands like Sony, Nikon, Canon, Panasonic, and Fujifilm.Despite the weight loss, the Ronin-SC is constructed with magnesium, steel, aluminum, and composite plastic and offers motorized three-axis stabilization. Designed with a single handle, DJI says the smaller form factor both makes the gimbal more portable and makes the system easier to use for long stretches. The gimbal itself will last for up to 11 hours with the built-in battery.Along with the more mobile form factor, the Ronin-SC integrates a handful of new shooting options. Force Mobile adjusts the position of the gimbal remotely by synchronizing a smartphone’s movements to the gimbal — move the smartphone, and the gimbal will follow the same motion. The Bluetooth connection powers the feature from up to 82 feet away.Arriving in the Ronin series for the first time, ActiveTrack 3.0 borrows the tracking technology from the Osmo series and some DJI drones. Without a connection to the camera to see the action, the ActiveTrack 3.0 instead uses the view from a smartphone camera to track the action. A mobile phone mount, used on the mirrorless hotshoe, is included with the Ronin-SC for the tracking feature.The gimbal’s app also powers features like a virtual joystick, time-lapse and motion-lapses, motion control, and panoramas.Like the heavier Ronin-S, the Ronin-SC also uses a joystick and mode buttons to control the gimbal’s movement and settings, including a sports mode for responding to faster camera movements. But unlike the earlier gimbal, the Ronin-SC includes locks for all three axes to help balance the camera or keep the gimbal in place while tucked in a bag. A new position lock system allows for faster remounts once the gimbal is balanced.The lower capacity of the Ronin-SC also pushes the price point down compared to the Ronin-S. The Ronin-SC will be available for $439 in a standard kit, or for $539 with a Remote Start Stop Splitter and a new lightweight external focus motor. DJI Care Refresh is available for $49, a form of one-year gimbal coverage that will replace up to two damaged Ronin-SCs. Take to the skies with DJI’s best drone deals, including $120 off Mavic Air DJI Osmo Action hands-on review Moment Air brings an anamorphic lens to DJI’s drones for cinematic flair Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S review The best drones of 2019 1 of 4 DJI Next
Calif. Officials Push Campaigns Informing Public Of Health Law’s New Provisions Officials in California seek to inform the public of what the health care law does for insurance coverage and health care with a series of public campaigns.Los Angeles Times: Alameda County Launches Nearly Nude Campaign For Health CareTo help implement President Obama’s health care overhaul in California, officials around the state are rushing to raise awareness and enroll hundreds of thousands of Californians in Medi-Cal, the state’s public insurance program. For its part, Alameda County has settled on a decidedly stripped-down message, launching an ad campaign this week that features scantily clad families holding strategically placed signs that read: “Cover Your Family” (Mishak, 1/17).HealthyCal: Using The Affordable Care Act To Close The Health GapYoung people may be less likely to suffer from severe health problems, but Tamika Butler wants them — and the lawmakers who draft policies affecting them — to remember they are not immune to illness and disease. Butler is just one of many advocates worried about how youth of all incomes levels and ethnicities are going to fare once the Affordable Care Act is implemented. She directs the California branch of the Young Invincibles, an organization dedicated to informing and advancing health care options for young adults aged 18 to 34. In California, 3.1 million people in that age group do not have insurance — a pool that accounts for 42 percent of the entire uninsured population in the state (Bartos, 1/18). In the meantime, Kansas business leaders talked to lawmakers about what negative consequences the law could have for them –Kansas Health Institute: Business Groups Testify On Consequences Of ObamacareSpokesmen for three business groups testified today before the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee about what state legislators might do — as one put it — to “mitigate the negative impact” of the federal health reform law on the Kansas economy. The short answer: Not much (Cauthon, 1/17). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
Check out all of Kaiser Health News’ e-mail options including First Edition and Breaking News alerts on our Subscriptions page. This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Today’s headlines include reports that, according to the Obama administration, insurance sign-ups under the health law have hit 4 million. Kaiser Health News: Could Medicaid Expansion Debate Turn Into An Immigration Issue?Kaiser Health News staff writer Julie Appleby and the Miami Herald’s Patricia Borns report: “Florida lawmakers backing expansion of the state’s Medicaid program plan to mount a new argument this legislative session: That voting against extending the program would deprive low-income U.S. citizens of access to insurance that’s available to some legal immigrants” (Appleby and Borns, 2/26). Read the story.Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Poll: For Right Price, Consumers Will Accept Limited Choice Of Doctors, Hospitals; Tenet Expects 15% Of Its Uninsured To Get Obamacare CoverageNow on Kaiser Health News blog, Jordan Rau Reports on new poll findings: “People buying health insurance through the health law’s new online marketplaces are more willing than the public at large to accept a limited roster of doctors and hospitals in return for lower premiums, a poll released Wednesday finds. But that enthusiasm nosedives if they are told their regular doctor isn’t included in the plan” (Rau, 2/25). Also on Capsules, Phil Galewitz reports on Tenet’s call with analysts: “Tenet Healthcare Corp., the nation’s third largest for-profit hospital operator, said Tuesday it expects 15 percent of its uninsured patients to get covered this year as a result of the Affordable Care Act. But the company isn’t counting yet on any higher profits from the shift, Tenet officials said after a conference call with Wall Street analysts to discuss its fourth quarter earnings and outlook for 2014” (Galewitz, 2/25). Check out what else is on the blog.Los Angeles Times: Obamacare Enrollment Hits 4 MillionEnrollment in health plans sold on marketplaces created by President Obama’s healthcare law has hit 4 million, the administration announced Tuesday, marking another milestone in the law’s implementation. The number suggests sign-ups have continued at a brisk pace in February, with about 700,000 people selecting an insurance plan so far this month (Levey, 2/25).The Associated Press/Washington Post: Obama: Health Insurance Enrollment At 4 MillionPressing for a final rush of health care enrollees, President Barack Obama said Tuesday that about 4 million people have signed up for health insurance through federal or state marketplaces set up under his health care law. But with a key deadline approaching fast, he urged some of his most steadfast backers to help sign up millions more by then (2/25).Politico: Obamacare Enrollment Hits 4 MillionIn a blog post, Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Marilyn Tavenner released the new number of signups through the state and federal exchanges. But she provided few details and no demographic breakdown, such as the number of young adults who have signed up or the percentage who have paid their premiums. Tavenner said health officials continue to see “strong demand nationwide” and that more than 12 million calls have come into the federal call center since the fall (Levine, 2/25).The Associated Press/Washington Post: AP Exclusive: Health Law Cybersecurity ChallengesAs the Obama administration raced to meet its self-imposed deadline for online health insurance markets, security experts working for the government worried that state computer systems could become a back door for hackers. Documents provided to The Associated Press show that more than two-thirds of state systems that were supposed to tap into federal computers to verify sensitive personal information for coverage were initially rated as “high risk” for security problems (2/25).The Washington Post’s The Fact Checker: Is Obamacare A ‘Job Killer’?We have delved into this issue before and find the certainty with which both sides hold their positions to be dismaying. Each side can point to data to make their case, even though the law has only begun to be implemented (Kessler, 2/26).USA Today/FactCheck.Org: Fact Check: Old Medicare Claims In Arkansas RaceDemocratic Sen. Mark Pryor taps his party’s playbook in attacking Republican challenger Tom Cotton for his support of Rep. Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan. Two ads from Pryor make misleading claims about seniors’ costs rising or benefits being cut — the likes of which we’ve seen before. The Ryan Medicare plan has been a hot topic for Democratic attacks for several years running (Robertson, 2/25).The Washington Post: Maryland Sticks By Its Overall Goal For Health Insurance EnrollmentsMaryland health officials received some convenient news last week: The enrollment goal they had set for the state’s health exchange was based on incorrect research, and a more realistic projection was one they had already met. But the state is sticking with its original too-high goal, a member of Gov. Martin O’Malley’s Cabinet told lawmakers on Monday. “If you know the governor, he’s not someone who is inclined to lower goals once he sets them,” said Joshua Sharfstein, Maryland’s secretary of health and mental hygiene. “We’re going to keep doing our best” (Johnson, 2/25).The Washington Post: Maryland’s Four Major Options For Fixing Its Dysfunctional Health ExchangeMaryland’s new online health insurance marketplace is so structurally flawed and dysfunctional that state officials say they will have to make major changes as soon as the first open enrollment period ends on March 31. They are still trying to figure out what those changes will be (Johnson, 2/25).Los Angeles Times: Hawaii Health Marketplace Off To An Especially Rough StartHawaii already had one of the highest insured rates in the nation as the result of a 40-year-old state law requiring employers to provide coverage. The state received more than $205 million in federal money to build a health insurance exchange to serve those still uninsured. Yet four months after enrollments began, the Hawaii Health Connector has allocated $120 million while signing up only about 4,300 people for health plans — fewer than any other state. Despite officials’ initial hopes of enrolling tens of thousands of Hawaiians, only 400 employers have applied for plans for their employees (Reston, 2/25).Los Angeles Times: Report: 125,000 Immigrants Given Deferred Action Eligible For Medi-CalA new report shows that as many as 125,000 young California immigrants may qualify for an expansion of Medi-Cal, the state’s Medicaid program. The Affordable Care Act bars insurance subsidies and enrollment in the Medicaid expansion for undocumented immigrants, but a wrinkle in California rules does offer coverage for those with “deferred action status” (Karlamangla, 2/25).The New York Times: Ex-President Ventures Where Some Might NotThe peril posed by what conservatives call Obamacare underscores the limitations of just what Mr. Clinton, popular as he may now be, can do for Democratic candidates running in conservative-leaning states this year. Kentucky, for example, is a national model for the law; 244,000 residents of the state now have health care because of the Affordable Care Act. Just in the last month, Mr. Beshear was a guest in the first lady’s box at Mr. Obama’s State of the Union address and at a White House state dinner, both invitations widely seen as a way of thanking the governor. Yet despite what Democrats see as the success of the law here, it is Republicans who are focused on the topic (Martin, 2/26).The Wall Street Journal: Obama Trims To-Do List For Core SupportersPresident Barack Obama offered an abbreviated to-do list Tuesday as he asked Organizing for Action volunteers to help him raise the minimum wage and ensure that more people sign up for health coverage through the Affordable Care Act (Nelson, 2/25).Politico: Obama: OFA Volunteers Doing ‘God’s Work’The president urged OFA members to recruit Republican friends and relatives to enroll in Obamacare — telling them to tell people not to believe what they might hear on “the wrong newscast.” He cited “a combination of an implacable opposition that has spent hundreds of millions of dollars, if not billions of dollars, to spread misinformation” and the faulty HealthCare.gov as the reason “a lot of people who really could use this coverage are unsure. We’ve got to make sure that they know that this will pay off for them” (Epstein, 2/25).The New York Times: White House Meeting Turns Into A Lightning Round For Obama And BoehnerAt the same time, Mr. Boehner has done little to suggest his House would advance any of the president’s agenda in the months leading up to the midterm elections, telling his members this month that he would not pursue the immigration legislation that Mr. Obama supports, but that angered conservative Republicans. Republicans have vowed to continue their push to roll back or change the Affordable Care Act, and in a message posted on Twitter, even as the speaker was arriving at the White House, Mr. Boehner took a political jab at the president’s top domestic policy (Shear, 2/25).The New York Times: Study Finds Limited Benefit To Some ‘Medical Homes’You may have heard the term “medical home” to describe a way of organizing doctors’ practices to provide more comprehensive, less costly, patient-friendly treatment. Insurance companies often offer more money to practices that become recognized as medical homes, which use a team approach to coordinate care. States are even looking to medical homes to help save money in their Medicaid programs (Carrns, 2/25). The Wall Street Journal: Study Questions Benefits Of ‘Medical Home’ Programs For Chronically IllHealth-policy experts often talk up the notion of a “patient-center medical home”—in which a medical practice actively manages patients’ chronic conditions to improve their health and avoid hospitalizations—as the ideal model for transforming the U.S. health-care system (Beck, 2/25). The New York Times: Obesity Rate For Young Children Plummets 43% In A DecadeFederal health authorities on Tuesday reported a 43 percent drop in the obesity rate among 2- to 5-year-old children over the past decade, the first broad decline in an epidemic that often leads to lifelong struggles with weight and higher risks for cancer, heart disease and stroke (Tavernise, 2/26). The Washington Post: New CDC Data Shows 43 Percent Drop In Obesity Rates Among Children 2 To 5The finding comes from a government study considered a gold standard to measure public-health trends. Researchers found that just over 8 percent of children 2 to 5 were obese in 2011-2012, down from nearly 14 percent in 2003-2004. Although the drop was significant, federal health officials noted that obesity rates for the broader population remain unchanged, and for women older than 60, obesity rates rose about 21 percent during that period (Sun, 2/26). First Edition: February 26, 2014
Veterans Say New ‘Choice Card’ System Is Confusing The ‘choice card’ was meant to give those facing long waits for health care the option to see a private doctor, but some say it isn’t working. Meanwhile, the head of the embattled agency says he has fired 900 people as part of a process of restoring accountability. Veterans and some VA doctors say that the new “choice card” program, meant to reduce long patient wait times, is confusing and causing more stress. The choice card issued by the embattled Department of Veterans Affairs was meant to end long wait times for veterans after last summer’s scandal revealed that those who fought for their country were dying while waiting for care. The card gives veterans who have been waiting more than 30 days for appointments or who live more than 40 miles from a VA facility the chance to see a private doctor. (Wax-Thibodeaux, 2/16) The Washington Post: Months After Scandal, VA Secretary Vows Department Is Making Progress Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Robert McDonald said Sunday that he is holding employees of his agency more responsible for their treatment of veterans after a scandal that engulfed the department last year. “Nine-hundred people have been fired since I became secretary…so we’re holding people accountable,” McDonald said during an interview on NBC’s “Meet The Press.” (Laing, 2/15) The Washington Post: It Was Meant To Reduce Wait Times, But Veterans Say New Choice Cards Are Causing More Problems This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. The Hill: VA Chief: Employees Being Held ‘Accountable’ Seven months after taking the helm of the embattled Department of Veterans Affairs, Robert McDonald insisted during his first Sunday show interview that he has already brought new accountability measures to a scandalized department. “We’re making fundamental changes in the department…900 hundred people have been fired since I became secretary,” McDonald told Meet the Press’s Chuck Todd on Sunday morning. “We’ve got 60 people who we’ve fired who have manipulated wait times, we’ve got about 100 senior leaders who are under investigation now…so we’re holding people accountable.” (Lowery, 2/15)
A Pennsylvania man whose son’s medicine isn’t covered by their family’s health insurance plan says he has been traveling to Canada multiple times per year to purchase medicine. Jon Yeagley told CBS News on Wednesday that because the drug used to treat his son’s illness is not covered by his health insurance plan, he has chosen to travel to Canada four times per year to purchase it for a substantially lower price than he can find in the U.S. (Bowden, 2/6) About 30% of emergency department visits among patients with common chronic conditions are potentially unnecessary, leading to $8.3 billion in additional costs for the industry, according to a new analysis. The report, released Thursday by Premier, found that six common chronic conditions accounted for 60% of 24 million ED visits in 2017; out of that 60%, about a third of those visits—or 4.3 million—were likely preventable and could be treated in a less expensive outpatient setting. The frequency of unnecessary ED visits from the chronically ill is unsurprising given the fee-for-service payment environment the majority of providers remain in, said Joe Damore, senior vice president of population health consulting at Premier. (Castellucci, 2/7) This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Bloomberg: Senators Borrow From Baseball To Fix Surprise Medical Bills Modern Healthcare: Unnecessary ED Visits From Chronically Ill Patients Cost $8.3 Billion Could A So-Called Baseball-Style Of Arbitration Work As A Solution To Settling Surprise Medical Bills? One possible way to solve the debate over how to end surprise medical billing disputes is make it a loser pays system with a neutral arbitrator. Each side would submit a price, and the arbiter chooses one. Both sides are bound by the decision, while patients’ charges for out-of-network care are limited to what they would owe to in-network providers. By forcing an arbiter to pick an offer, rather than forging a compromise, both parties are, in theory, encouraged to moderate their bids. In other health care cost news — In most markets, when a buyer and a seller can’t settle on a price, they walk away. Medicine is different. Doctors and insurance companies often sort out who owes what only after a patient has been treated, especially in emergencies. When they disagree, patients can end up with unexpected bills they can’t pay.Efforts to keep patients from getting stuck in the middle are gaining steam in Washington. Six senators sent a letter to health plans and providers this week seeking data on surprise medical billing. President Donald Trump pledged in January to stop unexpected medical bills. (Tozzi, 2/7) The Hill: Father Says He Traveled To Canada For Son’s Medicine That Would Cost $53K In US
Lucid selects Electrify America for ultra-fast chargingABB fast chargers at Electrify America stationLucid Motors, after securing financing for further developments and market launch of Air in 2020, turns to another topic, which is fast charging for long-distance travel.The company announced that it entered a preliminary agreement with Electrify America to provide Lucid customers with a nationwide electric vehicle charging plan.As we know, Electrify America (part of Volkswagen Group) is investing $2 billion over ten years in zero emission vehicle (ZEV) infrastructure, education, and awareness initiatives to help drive ZEV adoption. By the end of June, the company promises to install or have under construction over 2,000 DC ultra-fast chargers at nearly 500 sites in metro and highway locations across 40 states and 17 major cities.See Also Electrify America Installs First 10 Ultra-Fast Charging Stations Source: Electric Vehicle News Watch Lucid Air Set Laguna Lap Record “Lucid was also attracted by Electrify America’s premium charging experience, providing EV drivers with safe and convenient charging locations that offer amenities like shopping, food, and restrooms.”Peter Rawlinson, Chief Technology Officer of Lucid said:“We are excited to be working with Electrify America given its extensive charging network and aggressive growth plans. The groundbreaking battery technology we developed for the Lucid Air allows class leading EPA range and ultra-fast charging with minimal cell degradation. Combining our technology with Electrify America’s network provides our customers with a comprehensive charging solution for their everyday lives,”Giovanni Palazzo, President and CEO, Electrify America said:“Electrify America is proud to provide Lucid and its customers with our ultra-fast charging. Our high-powered, nationwide network of chargers is a great match with the EV technology offered by Lucid and a further opportunity to expand electric vehicle adoption in the U.S.” Saudi Arabia’s Sovereign Wealth Fund To Invest $1 Billion In Lucid Motors? Lucid says in its press release that it selected Electrify America after an extensive evaluation for two reasons, promised by Electrify America:DC power levels of up to 350 kW (which doesn’t yet mean that Lucid Air will be able to take full power)network coverage Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on September 25, 2018Categories Electric Vehicle News
Elon Musk announced that his Boring Company is “almost done” with its first test tunnel under Los Angeles and they plan to open the project to the public around December 10. more…The post Elon Musk’s Boring Company announces completion and launch of first tunnel by December appeared first on Electrek. Source: Charge Forward
Electric propulsion is taking over almost every segment of transportation and now it’s even getting into heavy machinery.Cummins and Hyundai partnered up to make a new small all-electric excavator. They unveiled the prototype this week. more…The post Cummins and Hyundai made an all-electric excavator as heavy machinery goes electric appeared first on Electrek. Source: Charge Forward
The Orca Mark I by Singapore-based Voro Motors will go down as one of the weirder little electric vehicles I’ve reviewed. But it’s a good weird, and I was surprised by how much fun this thing is.With its triple suspension system and 48V motor, the Orca Mark I is a powerful and comfortable little electric crotch rocket. more…The post Review: Orca Mark I is a powerful little folding crotch rocket electric scooter/bike appeared first on Electrek. Source: Charge Forward