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Updated: 2 hours 43 min ago

SyrupCast Podcast Ep. 154: CES 2018 – After the Flood

Sat, 01/20/2018 - 12:55

This week on the SyrupCast, Igor Bonifacic, Patrick O’RourkeTed Kritsonis, and Simon Cohen break the “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” rule and sit down to discuss this year’s CES.

This year’s CES kicked off the voice-activated assistant war, as well as exciting new developments in the infotainment side of the automotive industry. When the weather was behaving, CES attendees got to see Samsung show off a 146-inch modular TV, Google Assistant made the jump to vehicles, and a wide range of other devices were shown off.

Finally, the team talks also about LG recently discussing the possibility of rebranding G series of smartphones.

Tune in to hear the SyrupCast team’s thoughts.

Do you have questions, comments, thoughts, or anything you would like addressed on the podcast? Send us an email to If you’re feeling extra adventurous, send us a voice recording of your question or comment and you may end up featured in a future episode!

Subscribe on iTunesDirect download link

Total runtime: 37:30
CES: 2:00
Shoutouts: 32:45

Ted gives his shoutout to the Vegas Golden Knights. Patrick throws a shoutout to Nintendo for the Switch being named the fastest selling gaming console in Canada. Finally, this week Igor shouts out All The Money In The World.

The post SyrupCast Podcast Ep. 154: CES 2018 – After the Flood appeared first on MobileSyrup.

Categories: Science

FoldiMate is a robot that folds all your clothing [Sticky or Not]

Sat, 01/20/2018 - 09:05

Besides vacuuming, folding clothes is one of my least favourite household chores.

It’s tedious, time-consuming and comes after the already lengthy process of doing laundry.

Thankfully, just as robots have wheeled in take over vacuuming, there is now a robot for folding. The FoldiMate is expensive at $980 USD, but its functionality is extremely enticing.

All you have to do is feed in items at the top of thee washer-sized appliance and it folds the clothing, intelligently adjusting the method based on preferences, item type and size. Once an item is done, it deposits it in a stack at the bottom of the machine, which you can then pull out and put away.

According to FoldiMate, it can fold a full machine load in under four minutes and has unlimited capacity — as long as you continue to insert clothing, it’ll keep folding.

As for how large the items can be, FoldiMate says it takes any type of shirt, blouse, or pants from age 5 to adult size XXL and will also fold standard size towels and pillowcases.

The first shipment of the household gadget is set to go out in late 2019.

Verdict: Sticky — for large households.

To me, the appeal of the FoldiMate is not just that it folds stuff quickly — it’s that it has the potential to do it much better than me.

Right now, my laundry is in a big unfolded heap waiting to be folded, which is already disheartening, but my spirit grows even more weary when I consider the fact that when I fold it, it will be misshapen, loose and completely unimpressive.

FoldiMate is a robot; it can make things look professionally crisp. I could have an open concept closet where people see my sweaters all folded and colour-coded.

Essentially, what I’m saying is, this would change my life. But I don’t have change-my-life money, and I doubt many of my fellow millennials do, so it’s perhaps better recommended to a large household that can afford and get their money’s worth from such a machine.

In the meantime, though, I’ll continue to dream about that future self who has a robot clothing folder and colour codes her closet.

Note: This post is part of an ongoing series titled Sticky or Not in which Senior Reporter Rose Behar analyzes new and often bizarre gadgets, rating them sticky (good) or not (bad).

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Categories: Science

A look at Mophie’s Powerstation Plus and Powerstation Plus XL power banks

Sat, 01/20/2018 - 02:01

While smartphone technology has improved by leaps and bounds since Apple introduced the iPhone more than 10 years ago, the batteries that power our phones feel, relatively speaking, archaic.

Certainly, the phones that Canadian consumers can buy today feature higher capacity batteries than the smartphones that were available even just a couple of years ago, but most modern smartphones can still only manage about a day of uptime on a full charge, which is where power banks come into the picture.

Following a phone case, an external battery is probably the best accessory most people can buy to go alongside their smartphone. They’re not the most exciting product to review, but finding the right power bank can be a challenge. If you’re looking for a power bank to compliment your smartphone, then consider Mophie’s new Powerstation Plus and Powerstation Plus XL.

SpecsPowerstation Plus
  • Capacity: 6,000mAh
    Output via USB-C: 18W (3A/5V or 2A/9V)
    Dimensions: 70 x 143.5 x 13.6 mm
    Weight: 167g
Powerstation Plus XL
  • Capacity: 12.000mAh
    Output via USB-C: 18W (3A/5V or 2A/9V)
    Dimensions 80 x 164 x 16.8 mm
    Weight: 288g

I had my first experience with a Mophie product when I asked the company to send MobileSyrup its Powerstation USB-C XXL for our annual holiday gift guide.

I then fell in love with the Powerstation USB-C XXL when I took it on my recent trip to Japan. The power bank powered my Nintendo Switch through the entirety of the 14-hour flight from Toronto to Tokyo, making a plane ride that was plagued with malfunctioning toilets, bland food and a poor selection of in-flight movies at least somewhat bearable.

Without depleting all of its 19,500mAh battery, the XXL managed to also recharge my Pixel 2 and 2016 MacBook Pro so that I was ready for whatever adventure was awaiting me upon landing in Tokyo. Since all my electronics used USB-C, I only had to bring one cable, the one that came with my MacBook Pro. For once, USB-C had simplified my life, instead of making it more complicated.

After MobileSyrup published its holiday gift guide, Mophie offered to send its Powerstation Plus and Powerstation Plus XL power banks. After my colleague Patrick O’Rourke and I used the two power banks for a couple of weeks, I’m happy to report both are great alternatives to the more expensive Powerstation USB-C XXL.

Priced at $129.99 CAD and $99.99 CAD, the Plus XL and Plus are part of Mophie’s Integrated series of power banks.

Power banks in the company’s Integrated series feature built-in cables. In the case of the Plus and Plus XL, the two power banks have built-in USB-C cables, making them compatible with almost every modern smartphone on the market. The cables remain hidden while not in use thanks to a groove that runs along two sides of each power bank. It’s a design that makes the Plus and Plus XL easy to store and transport, but it also means that the length of the cord is limited — more so on the Plus than on the Plus XL.

Unlike some of the company’s other Integrated series power banks, the Plus and Plus XL don’t ship with a small Lightning adapter to facilitate recharging an iPhone. Instead, Plus and Plus XL users will need to plug their Lightning cable, whether it features a USB-C or USB-A connector at the other end, into the corresponding port on the Plus and Plus XL.

Both power banks include support for Priority+ pass-through charging, which means you can recharge the Plus and Plus XL and whatever other electronic is connected to them at the same time. Another nice touch is an LED indicator that provides, at a glance, a rough estimate of how much reserve power is remaining.

In the case of the Plus’ 6,000mAh battery, on a full charge Mophie says it can provide a large tablet with 8 hours of additional battery uptime, and a smartphone between 21 and 22 hours of extra battery.

Meanwhile, the Plus XL is rated to provide 45 hours of additional uptime to a device like the Samsung Galaxy S8. According to Mophie, both power banks are rated to supply 500 full cycle recharges before they start to see their charge capacity diminish. Each comes with a two-year manufacturer’s warranty.

Compared to the Powerstation USB-C XXL, which features an attractive salt-and-pepper fabric wrap, the Plus and Plus XL feel less premium. No doubt, they’re still well-made, but the XXL feels like it’s built to survive the worst possible punishment. On the other hand, the smaller size and lack of sharp edges of the Plus and Plus XL make them more comfortable to hold.

One issue MobileSyrup senior editor Patrick O’Rourke found when he reviewed Aukey’s massive 30,000mAh power bank was that it wasn’t able to replenish his Nintendo Switch’s battery at the same time he was playing it. By comparison, all three of the Mophie Powerstation units mentioned in this story are capable of charging the Switch while the user is playing it.

Mophie doesn’t advertise this fact, but both the Powerstation Plus and Plus XL can charge a laptop. That said, with their smaller capacity batteries compared to the USB-C XXL, they’re better suited to supporting smaller devices.

If you’re undecided on which of the two Powerstations suits your needs, the smaller Plus is better for day-to-day use, while the Plus XL is perfect for flights and trips. If you need to charge a laptop, in addition to your smartphone, then consider the USB-C XXL.

To address the elephant in the room. At $100 and $130, respectively, the two Mophie Powerstations are more expensive than their nearest Aukey counterparts. That said, Aukey doesn’t currently offer a power bank with an integrated cable, at least not on the USB-C side. I’ve also found Aukey’s products are not quite as well built as Mophie’s offerings. That said, if price is your only concern, then you can’t really go wrong with an Aukey power bank.

The Powerstation Plus and Powerstation Plus XL are available via

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Categories: Science

Apple says iOS 11 is now installed on more than 65 percent of iPhones and iPads

Fri, 01/19/2018 - 18:01

Apple has released statistics related to iOS 11 adoption and they may be surprising to some.

According to figures, iOS 11 has an adoption rate of 65 percent, with its user base being more than twice that of iOS 10. Additionally, fewer than 8 percent of users are still running iOS 9 or lower.

This is only slightly behind the record-setting adoption rate of 76 percent that iOS 10 achieved this time last year. The number is expected to climb even further after Apple allows users to turn off its much-maligned performance-throttling handicap feature as well.

Even if this rate isn’t quite as impressive as last year’s, it’s still leaps and bounds ahead of its Android equivalent. Google released Android Oreo in August of 2017, yet it currently has an adoption rate of less than 0.7 percent.

Though nothing new, It’s also worth noting that iOS 11 adoption rates still radically outpace the latest version of Google’s mobile operating system, with just 0.7 percent of Android devices running Oreo. 26.3 percent of Android smartphones feature Nougat, which was first released in 2016, and 28.6 percent are still running 2015’s Marshmallow.

Update 01/19/18: This story has been updated for additional clarity.

Source: Apple

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Categories: Science

Apple’s redesigned desktop App Store takes a page from iOS 11

Fri, 01/19/2018 - 16:45

Apple has launched a new redesign of the App Store’s desktop interface.

Taking a page from its iOS 11 counterpart, the App Store on desktop now features a more modern design in-align with Apple’s other platforms.

Each App Store page now features a “This app is only available on the App Store for iOS devices” disclaimer, followed by screenshots of the app (across whatever number of Apple devices it’s available on), a short description, update information, customer reviews and a section that includes more general information.

In addition, some developers have started to display screenshots of their apps in action taken with the iPhone X.

As 9to5Mac notes, the redesign comes following Apple’s decision to remove the App Store from the iTunes desktop app.

What do you think of the new interface? Let us know in the comment section.

Via: 9to5Mac

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Categories: Science

Sony may release a 4K OLED Xperia phone in 2018

Fri, 01/19/2018 - 16:20

With Sony’s mobile division struggling for quite some time now, the company might be looking to take unprecedented strides in 2018.

Earlier this week, reports surfaced that a Sony phone known as the ‘Xperia XZ Pro‘ would be packing, among other features, a 4K OLED screen.

Sony previously introduced a 4K IPS LCD display for the Xperia Z5 Premium in 2015, and later a 4K HDR panel for the Xperia XZ Premium, but a 4K OLED screen would be a first for any smartphone, Xperia-branded or otherwise.

Recent job listings also show that the Japanese tech giant is specifically looking for a display engineer with OLED experience.

In addition to the rumours, a recent interview with a Sony executive may have also hinted at a 4K OLED Xperia phone.

“All I can say is that we are investing money in OLED displays. And very soon you will see 4K-OLED-matrices in mobile devices, which until now did not exist. The next step is 4K OLED, and you will not be disappointed,” said Hitoshi Osawa, Sony Mobile’s head of UX product planning in Europe, in an in an interview translated by the Xperia Blog.

While by no means a confirmation, Osawa’s comments add greater fuel to the fire started by the already existing rumour mill.

In any case, Sony’s larger 2018 smartphone plans should become clearer at Mobile World Congress, which will run from February 26th to March 1st.

It’s worth noting that Sony announced the Xperia XA2, XA2 Ultra and L2 smartphones earlier this month at the Consumer Electronics Show. The phones are set to come to Canada, although specific information on pricing and availability is currently unavailable.

Via: Xperia Blog

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Categories: Science

Samsung Galaxy S9 rumoured to feature 5.7-inch display and f/1.5 variable aperture

Fri, 01/19/2018 - 15:41

Samsung has confirmed it will unveil the Galaxy S9 next month at Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2018 in Barcelona, Spain.

With this in mind, it’s only natural details about the device will continue to leak leading up to the official reveal, whether they’re fake or not. It’s worth noting that this new rumour, which comes from Korean publication ETNews (via Android Authority), isn’t backed by an official source. However, ETNews has been the source of past reliable leaks related to Samsung and its supply chain, so there could be some truth to it.

ETNews says that the S9 features a 12-megapixel rear camera sensor with a f/1.5  variable aperture lens, allowing the aperture to change and morph into a f/2.4 aperture lens. This would make the camera more versatile under less than ideal lighting conditions. The Galaxy S9 +, on the other hand, is tipped to feature a dual camera setup with two 12-megapixel lenses featuring an f/1.5 sensor and an f/2.4 aperture. The rumour also claims that both cameras support slow-motion video up to 1,000fps.

The S9 reportedly features an 8-megapixel front-facing camera with autofocus and the same iris scanning technology seen in the Samsung Galaxy S8. The  S9+ on the other hand, includes a front-facing shooter and a separate discreet iris scanner.

The report also states the Galaxy S9 features a 5.7-inch display, while the larger variant features a 6.22-inch screen, both with a rear fingerprint sensor.

Additionally, ETNews claims Samsung saved space inside of the device by utilizing a printed circuit board. This circuit board is “thinner and narrower” when compared to the technology featured in previous Samsung Exynos chip models.

Furthermore, the two devices reportedly use Y-OCTA display technology that’s similar to what is present in the Samsung Galaxy S8, according to Android Authority. The display technology adds another touch layer on top of the encapsulation layer of the OLED display.

We’ll find out the accuracy of these rumours when Samsung unveils both devices at MWC 2018.

Source: ETNewsAndroid authority 

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Categories: Science

Spotify’s new Spotlight feature adds text, video and photos to audio content

Fri, 01/19/2018 - 15:32

Spotify has announced the launch of Spotlight, a new storytelling visual format that adds text, video and photos to some of the podcasts, audiobooks and news that populate the company’s popular streaming platform.

Launching exclusively in the U.S. to start, with help from organizations like Buzzfeed News, Gimlet Media, Genius and Refinery29, Spotify says Spotlight-enhanced series will cover a wide gamut of content categories, including sports, politics, culture and, of course, music.

Moreover, additional series will launch throughout the month of February.

“We are excited to launch Spotlight, a new format that merges great storytelling, news, information and opinion with visual elements all delivered in playlist form across a number of content categories,” said Spotify’s Courtney William Holt in a January 18th press release. “Playlists play an important role in the daily lives of our users bringing them closer to the creators they love.”

No word yet on when Spotify plans to launch Spotlight in Canada, with the company stating the feature will make its way to additional markets in the “near future.”

Source: Spotify

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Categories: Science

Calgary responds to Amazon shortlist, says city would still fight a bear for second HQ

Fri, 01/19/2018 - 15:28

Say what you will about Calgary’s unique approach to courting Amazon, but the city is a gracious loser.

In a January 18th, 2017 tweet, Calgary Economic Development — the organization responsible for encouraging economic interest in Alberta’s largest city — formally acknowledged not placing on Amazon’s top 20 list for the e-commerce giant’s second North American Headquarters (HQ2).

We’re disappointed that Calgary was not included on Amazon’s #HQ2 short list, but we’re proud of Calgary’s bold campaign and our community for rallying around it. The global attention received will help attract other companies to come to #yyc. But in the meantime, go, Toronto go!

— Calgary Economic Dev (@calgaryeconomic) January 18, 2018

The tweet also continued Calgary’s unique approach to courting the the global e-commerce giant, ending by stating that the city would “still fight a bear for [Amazon].”

This isn’t the first time that Calgary has made such an assertion.

While cities across the country submitted bids to compete for Amazon’s second North American headquarters, Calgary’s approach could only be described as eccentric.

In the run up to the formal proposal deadline, Calgary Economic Development released a series of ads espousing the benefits of opening up Amazon’s HQ2 in the city.

Among those ads was a tagline stating “We’d fight a bear for you.”

For what it’s worth, we here at MobileSyrup are still not fully sure we understand the joke — nor are we convinced that everyone in Calgary would want to fight a bear for Amazon.

Still, Calgary’s campaign is nothing if not interesting.

Amazon formally announced the 20 cities most likely to be awarded the company’s second North American headquarters, on January 18th. Toronto was the only Canadian city to make the list.

Source: Twitter

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Categories: Science

This DIY accessory makes it harder to lose the Nintendo Switch’s tiny cartridges

Fri, 01/19/2018 - 15:05

The Nintendo Switch’s cartridges are ridiculously tiny, and also taste bad.

This means that it’s easy to lose them. I’ve been extra vigilant about keeping track of my various Switch carts and usually opt to keep them either in a carrying case I purchased for the console, or in their original packaging. Let’s face it — no one really wants to lose a cartridge that’s almost $100 at this point.

YouTuber Bob Clagett, who runs the channel ‘I like To Make Stuff,’ has come up with an inventive solution to this problem. In the latest video posted to his channel, Clagett shows viewers how to create their own controller connector that can also be used as a storage box for Switch game cartridges.

Creating your own cartridge holder controller will likely be difficult for most given that the process requires a 3D Printer, laser cutter and other woodworking equipment. All of the design files required to build the inventive piece of Switch hardware are available online, though. The most difficult part of the creation process seems to be related to manufacturing the rails necessary for attaching the game enclosure to the Joy-cons.

Clagett used a laser cutter to slice out certain parts of the box, but says that it’s also possible to build his creation with normal woodworking tools. He then glued the pieces together and cut out slots from a few sheets of foam to create game slots.

Check out the above video to see exactly how Clagett put together his home-made controller game holder accessory.

Via: The Verge 

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Categories: Science

Up to 40,000 OnePlus customers affected by recent credit card breach, says company

Fri, 01/19/2018 - 14:16

Following an investigation into a credit card breach that affected its e-commerce website, OnePlus has announced that as many as 40,000 customers have had their credit card information stolen.

According to an official post on the OnePlus community forums, a malicious script was inserted into one of the company’s credit card processing systems. Working “intermittently,” the script was able to scrape full credit information, including card numbers, expiry dates and security codes. Its investigation has led OnePlus to believe the script was active between mid-November, 2017 and January 11th, 2018.

In a statement to The Verge, OnePlus said it has been able to determine with the assistance of an outside firm the point of entry an attacker used to plant the malicious script. However, the company has yet to discern whether the attack was conducted remotely, or if someone had local access to the relevant server.

To the best of the company’s knowledge, customers who used PayPal or a stored credit card to make a purchase on during the almost three-month period where the script was active have not had their credit card information compromised.

OnePlus has emailed the customers it believes were affected by the breach. A spokesperson for OnePlus told The Verge’s Dan Seifert that the approximate 40,000 customers affected by the breach represent “a small subset” of its total customer base.

As recompense, the company is offering a year of credit monitoring service for free to affected customers.

“We cannot apologize enough for letting something like this happen. We are eternally grateful to have such a vigilant and informed community, and it pains us to let you down,” said a OnePlus spokesperson on the company’s forums.

For the time being, credit card transactions on will remain suspended until the company completes its investigation. Customers can continue to buy products from using PayPal.

Source: OnePlus Via: The Verge

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Categories: Science

Tile lays off 30 staff following disappointing holiday sales season

Fri, 01/19/2018 - 13:30

Tile, a device that’s become synonymous with Bluetooth tracking accessories, isn’t doing great, according to a new report.

TechCrunch says that Tile has laid off 30 employees and halted the potential hiring of an additional 10 staffers. These layoffs come a year after the tracking device manufacturer raised $25 million in Series B funding last May. TechCrunch’s report states that the layoffs are due to disappointing holiday sales for Tile.

The company reworked its product line last summer, adding two new high-end devices to its lineup: a sport-focused iteration designed for active people and a white-and-gold ‘Style’ version.

Tile sent TechCrunch the following statement regarding the layoffs:

As part of our 2018 planning process, the Tile leadership team determined that a recalibration of our priorities was necessary so that the company can focus on the development of our Tile Platform business and core hardware products. Unfortunately, this means that we had to say goodbye to roughly 30 Tile colleagues. Tile remains the leader in smart location, and we will continue creating a world where everyone can find everything that matters.

To some extent, it looks like these cuts are a cost-saving measure on the part of Tile. Furthermore, TechCrunch also says that the hiring freeze was not publicly announced.

I’ve been using both a Tile Style and Sport for the last few minutes and have found them to be durable, and, more importantly, reliable tracking devices, especially when compared to the company’s competition in the crowded Bluetooth tracking device market.

Despite the various improvements the company added to the latest generation of its tracking devices, particularly in the build quality department, it looks like its possible those interested in purchasing a tracking device skipped the new Tile, as they may have already owned an early version of one of the company’s products, leading to the slump in sales.

Back in August when I spoke to Simon Fleming-Wood, Tile’s Toronto-born Canadian chief marketing officer, he said that moving forward the company’s goal is to separate itself from competitors.

“We think of product design as sort of a core capability of the company. We see ourselves more of a mini Apple than a knock-off little hardware company. I think there’s a very intentional effort to make these [Tile Pro] really high quality and not in just performance, but look and feel as well,” said Fleming-Wood, during the interview.

Source: TechCrunch

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Categories: Science

Razer Phone 2 is coming in September 2018, says report

Fri, 01/19/2018 - 12:08

A new rumour indicates there will be a Razer Phone sequel.

The report from French smartphone site FrAndroid says that the next Razer Phone will improve on its predecessor’s camera and battery issues. The mystery Razer may be unveiled near or at IFA, and definitely in September, says the report. According to FrAndroid the information comes from a “well-informed internal source.”

If Razer unveils its new smartphone in September, the company would be pushing up its release schedule by two months given the first Razer Phone was unveiled in November.

FrAndroid’s internal source also says that the Razer Phone 2 will possibly release alongside Project Linda. Project Linda is Razer’s Android mobile/laptop hybrid concept that the company unveiled at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show.

Project Linda would run on the Razer Phone 2’s processor, likely the Snapdragon 845. According to the report, the company will decide soon if it intends to commercialize the product.

Razer, the laptop gaming making company, released its first smartphone in 2017.

The device reportedly suffered from camera and battery related issues, but also featured the first ever 120Hz smartphone display, as well as 8GB of RAM.

For those who don’t want to wait for the Razer Phone 2, the company’s smartphone is available directly through, or the company’s retail site for $899.99 CAD.

Source: FrAndroid Via: Android Authority

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Categories: Science

Break into the Cryptocurrency Game with this Training—Now half-off

Fri, 01/19/2018 - 12:00

You’ve likely heard of Bitcoin and the booming success it has had now that its value has surged past the $10,000 mark. While many of us missed out on investing in Bitcoin while it was still cheap, there exist other opportunities for making a profit in the cryptocurrency game.

Boasting a $50 billion market cap, Ethereum is expected to be the next Bitcoin, and its value is increasing regularly. The Complete Ethereum (Cryptocurrency) Guide can walk you through turning a profit with it, and it’s on sale for only $12 CAD [$10 USD].

Across 9 lectures, this collection will teach you the essentials behind trading Ethereum. You’ll discover how to make an Ethereum wallet, earn Ethereum via Fosethub, and more. Plus, you’ll have access to your training 24/7, so you can always refer back to it once you’re trading.

Now, you can get the Complete Ethereum (Cryptocurrency) Guide on sale for $12 CAD [$10 USD], saving half-off the usual price.

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Categories: Science

Uber Canada’s new general manager wants to put more people into fewer cars

Fri, 01/19/2018 - 11:38

Make no mistake, Uber had a rough 2017.

Between continued allegations about drivers committing sexual assault, sexual harassment allegations brought forward by both women executives and employees and the company’s founder and CEO Travis Kalanick stepping down, 2017 wasn’t kind to the U.S.-based ride-sharing giant.

In Canada, addendums to Quebec’s ride-sharing legislation in September 2017 meant that Uber flip-flopped on whether it would continue operating in the province. Ultimately, Uber and Quebec’s provincial government were able to work out a compromise that resulted in the company staying in the province, while simultaneously sitting back down at the negotiating table.

And that was all before news got out that hackers in 2016 had been able to access 57 million user accounts in the U.S. and 815,000 user accounts in Canada — a cybersecurity incident that Kalanick allegedly attempted to hide by paying approximately $100,000, but that eventually came to light in 2017.

Now, Rob Khazzam — Uber Canada’s newest general manager — says he sees a key opportunity for the ride-sharing giant to be a more constructive partner to cities, to its riders and drivers, and improve its strained public relationship.

The young executive, a company man and not-so-ancient history

Relaxed, refined and eloquent, Khazzam’s presence resonates and clearly puts people at ease.

Before sitting down for an interview, for example, he checks his schedule on his phone and matter-of-factly states that he doesn’t want to be the kind of boss who shows up late to meetings with employees.

At 31-years-old, Khazzam’s also quite young — though, he’s not without experience.

As the former general manager of Uber in Central Europe and Eastern Europe, as well as the international launcher of Uber’s operations in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, Khazzam’s been with the company since 2014 — three years before some of Uber’s worst press coverage.

“…that was something we all know we could do better.”

Impressively, Khazzam is quick to acknowledge some of his company’s worst shortcomings — including the perception that the company wasn’t willing to compromise with regulators.

“I think Uber…were perceived as a bit confrontational and aggressive and not really great at explaining ourselves,” says Khazzam, to a pool of reporters gathered at Uber Canada’s King Street offices. “We were building so quickly, we didn’t stop to explain to press, the ministry of transport…what is the opportunity.”

“In hindsight, that was something we all know we could do better.”

Khazzam also doesn’t shy away from the allegations of workplace harassment levied against Uber, stating that the company has since implemented mandatory sexual harassment training.

“That was not a Canada topic, that was a global topic,” says Khazzam.

He reiterates that the company has published “strict guidelines and policies” aimed at improving Uber’s allegedly toxic workplace environment.

“We’ve rolled out manager training across the company, not just on the topic of workplace harassment, but generally on what it means to be a manager — what it means to recognize issues that are reported and make sure that they’re actioned,” says Khazzam.

“We invested the largest investment in manager training across the world.”

According to Khazzam, Uber discovered that 60 percent of its executives were first-time managers. Uber hired Liane Hornsey — a Google acquisition — as its head of human resources to attempt to fix the problem.

“We invested the largest investment in manager training across the world,” says Khazzam. “Every single manager in Uber has gone through at least one round — if they’re like me, probably three or four rounds — of training to make sure they understand what does it mean to be a good coach, what does it mean to deal with issues that are escalated to you?”

In a private interview with MobileSyrup, Khazzam later goes into more detail regarding Uber’s most recent setbacks — the 2016 cybersecurity incident, as well as the January 2018 revelation that the company had used a secret tool to prevent authorities from accessing corporate data.

“For us, the security and privacy of user information is of the utmost importance and that’s a very very clear goal which has been laid out by our new CEO Dara [Khosrowshahi],” says Khazzam, during the MobileSyrup interview. “We’re working in every local jurisdiction with relevant privacy authorities here in Canada, we’re working with the [Office of the Privacy Commissioner] to engage on this issue within the Canadian context and make sure they have the information they [need]…”

“…I would just reiterate that we will always be working constructively with cities…”

Khazzam also doesn’t deny the existence of the ‘Ripley’ security tool, instead outlining why Uber might need something like it.

“…Tools like that exist specifically to protect people’s data, meaning that if we have an employee that leaves a laptop at an airport or at a Starbucks, and someone goes onto their laptop, we have the ability to remotely turn off access to that,” says Khazzam. “So that’s really the use for that type of technology and I think, ultimately, I would just reiterate that we will always be working constructively with cities…and regulators to make sure that we’re responding to those requests.”

Khazzam (and Uber) want more Canadians in fewer cars

To Khazzam, his company’s competitors aren’t other ride-sharing services like Lyft or InstaRyde — he doesn’t even view public transit as competition.

“Uber’s primary competitor is personal automobiles,” says Khazzam, to the pool of reporters. “We truly love the 30-plus million cars here in Canada as our number one opportunity to make a true societal impact for congestion and mobility.”

Khazzam looks to the UberPOOL service as an example of how to innovate. UberPOOL collects two or more passengers going to different destinations along a similar path and minimizes the cost of the trip by splitting it across multiple people.

In a way, UberPOOL might be the company’s most literal interpretation of ride-sharing.

“For me, I think of that as a real win-win opportunity,” says Khazzam. “Riders get a cheaper price, drivers get more of fee-paying passengers in the backseat, and for the city and for people who live here, we’re really hopefully getting more people in fewer cars.”

Of course, Khazzam doesn’t hide the fact that he also wants more Canadian cities covered by Uber.

“Today, 80 percent of our business sits in Ontario and we’re really excited about what that means for Ontario and how much it’s grown and there’s a lot of opportunity ahead,” says Khazzam. “It’s not lost on us that we’ve got a number of…provinces and a huge chunk of the population that still wants access to Uber and Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia are provinces that are having active discussions about regulating ride-sharing at different stages and we’re doing our part.”

What this means is that Uber is actively involved in talks with provincial regulators to convince the provincial governments that ride-sharing won’t eat away from existing transportation industries.

“We only operate in markets where Uber is regulated, we’re not the regulator, that’s not our place,” says Khazzam. “Our job is to make sure we’re a constructive partner at the table and my hope is that in 2018, we’ll see progress in those provinces and that one day people of Winnipeg, people of Vancouver and these various cities — these great cities of Canada — are all gonna have access to Uber as well.”

“…We’re doing our part”

It’s a lofty goal — a seemingly Herculean challenge, especially in the face of the company’s potential appearance to the public.

Suffice it to say, it’s a challenge that the company is more than positioned to accept, and one that Khazzam seems well-equipped to handle.

However, time will only tell if Uber is able to recover from an exceptionally turbulent 2017.

The post Uber Canada’s new general manager wants to put more people into fewer cars appeared first on MobileSyrup.

Categories: Science

LG patent shows off two foldable phone concepts

Fri, 01/19/2018 - 11:27

LG has filed a patent to the World Intellectual Property Organization for a foldable phone/tablet hybrid. The patent, spotted by GSMinfo, describes the device as a “mobile phone with flexible display which can be folded in half.” The South Korean phone manufacturer initially filed the patent in July 2017 and it was published on January 12th, 2018.

The patent showcases two concept variants.

The first, looks more like a foldable tablet featuring a camera component on its back panel. It’s unclear what the second circle is on the rear of the device, but it might be another camera.

On the front side of the phone/tablet hybrid is one large display. When the device is folded it can display information like time on the display.

The second design is similar, however, when the device is folded its rear cover doesn’t completely cover the display. This leaves a little sidebar section of screen visible to show information like time and notifications, for example. The rear of this device also has a camera.

The patent states that the solid lines in the illustrations are the device’s claimed features. The broken lines,  — like where it shows the time and the flash below the camera — on the other hand, depict portions of the mobile phone that are not patented.

It’s important to note there is currently no indication when LG will release a phone like this. However, to stay competitive it makes sense that LG would also be looking into the foldable market, as the top phone manufacturer globally, Samsung, is also looking into foldable smartphones.

In other LG news, reports indicate that LG is killing its current designs for the LG G7 and that the company is going to rebrand the G-series.Source: World Intellectual Property Organization

The post LG patent shows off two foldable phone concepts appeared first on MobileSyrup.

Categories: Science

Best Buy Canada offers $100 off Nanoleaf smart LED panel 15-pack

Fri, 01/19/2018 - 10:50

Each week, Best Buy puts out a new flyer advertising its current deals.

This week — January 19th to 25th — the major electronics shop is focusing on super high-end TV offers ahead of the Superbowl, but also has a number of worthwhile deals on games, headphones, wearables, 2-in-1s and Nanoleaf smart lights.

Check out a cherry-picked list of interesting deals below.

  • $50 Gift Card with $0 down Samsung Galaxy S7 on select plans through Rogers
  • $30 off Yoga Tab 3 — $199.99
  • $150 off 32-inch WQHD IPS 5ms Eyecare Monitor — $299.99
  • $130 off Google Pixelbook 8GB/128GB — $1299.98
  • $30 off Forza Motorsport 7 (Xbox One) — $49.99
  • $30 off NBA 2K18 (Xbox One) — $49.99
  • $20 off Halo 5: Guardians (Xbox One) — $19.99
  • $20 off Gears of War 4 (Xbox One) — $29.99
  • $50 off Skullcandy Crusher Over-Ear Bluetooth Headphones — $149.95
  • $120 off Bose QuietComfort 25 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones — $189.99
  • $50 off Bose SoundTrue Ultra In-Ear Headphones — $79.99
  • $30 off Skullcandy Method In-Ear Bluetooth Headphones — $59.99
  • $100 off Nanoleaf Aurora Rhythm Smart LED Panels 15-pack — $199.99
  • $50 off Samsung Gear Sport Smartwatch — $299.99
  • $560 off 65-inch 4K HDR LED LG Super UHD TV — $2299.99
  • $1000 off 75-inch 4K HDR Sony UHD TV — $3499.99

The full flyer is available online via Red Flag Deals.

The post Best Buy Canada offers $100 off Nanoleaf smart LED panel 15-pack appeared first on MobileSyrup.

Categories: Science

Apple offers major discount on GoPro Hero 5 Handler bundle

Fri, 01/19/2018 - 10:22

Apple is currently offering a very compelling deal on the GoPro Hero 5 action camera.

The company is selling the Hero 5 Handler bundle, in-store and online, for $349.95 CAD.

In contrast, most Canadian retailers are selling the GoPro Hero 5, by itself, for $400 CAD. The Handler bundle includes Go Pro’s Handler grip and Casey case, as well as a 32GB Lexar microSD card and card reader.

To put the value of this bundle in perspective, on GoPro’s website the Handler is listed at $29.99 USD, while the Casey is priced at $49.99 USD. Meanwhile, a 32GB microSD card and card reader can be found for about $50 CAD total on Amazon. All told, that’s about $150 CAD worth of accessories.

In short, if you have any interest at all in a GoPro, this is a great deal.

Source: Apple Via: Red Flag Deals


The post Apple offers major discount on GoPro Hero 5 Handler bundle appeared first on MobileSyrup.

Categories: Science

Essential Phone touchscreen latency fix to land alongside Android 8.1, says company

Fri, 01/19/2018 - 09:23

When I wrote MobileSyrup‘s Essential Phone re-visit back in December, one of the ongoing issues I noted with the phone was touchscreen latency. With the Essential Phone, there’s a noticeable delay between when you tap the screen and the phone registers the input. It’s particularly jarring if you’ve used the Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL, which have no such issues. You can see the touch latency in action in the tweet below from Android Police‘s David Ruddock.

did anyone reviewing the Essential Phone talk about the absolutely garbage touch latency because wowwwwwwwwwwwwww

— David Ruddock (@RDR0b11) December 19, 2017

Across multiple instances of its monthly Reddit AMAs, Essential has promised to fix this issue for several months now. During its most recent AMA, however, the company said its aim is to deliver a fix when it pushes Android 8.1 to the device.

“I know we’ve been saying this for weeks but we have pulled aside resources that specifically committed to improving touch and latency,” said a spokesperson for the company. “There are trade offs we are testing internally and our goal is to provide something in the 8.1 release we just need to make sure by fixing the jitter issue that we are not creating another problem. Sorry this is taking so long, we just want to get it right given how vocal our audience is.”

With the Essential Phone currently on its third Android Oreo beta, it’s likely users will still have to wait a fair bit before they see the problem resolved. That said, it’s good to see that Essential has made addressing the issue a priority.

Source: Essential (Reddit) Via: 9to5Google

The post Essential Phone touchscreen latency fix to land alongside Android 8.1, says company appeared first on MobileSyrup.

Categories: Science

Best Buy Canada to sell SNES Classic in-store today

Fri, 01/19/2018 - 08:35

If you’ve been looking to buy the Nintendo SNES Classic in-store, so as to avoid those pesky bots that always seem to snap up any online stock in mere seconds, today is your day.

Best Buy announced on Thursday that its Bay and Dundas location in Toronto and Robson and Granville location in Vancouver will have limited in-store stock of the SNES Classic.

Our Bay & Dundas and Robson & Granville stores will have Ltd Qtys of Super NES Classic Edition available Friday Jan 19. Min 100 per store. No rainchecks. Check our store locator for directions and store hours.

— RZ Gamers Club (@BBYC_GamersClub) January 19, 2018

According to the company’s RZ Gamers Club Twitter account, each store will have about 100 units to sell. As usual, the retailer isn’t taking rainchecks.

Note that the Toronto location opens at 9:30 am ET, while the store in Vancouver opens its doors at 9am PT. In either case, your best bet is to get to your local store as early as possible.

Good luck to everyone making the trek.

Source: Best Buy

The post Best Buy Canada to sell SNES Classic in-store today appeared first on MobileSyrup.

Categories: Science