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May 11, 2018

Google may be working on three Wear OS watches, not just one

How many designs will Google’s next reported watches come in? Scott Stein/CNET

Google and Qualcomm are working on the next generation of smartwatches that should be arriving this fall. Additional details continue to arrive during this year’s Google developer conference. Google is expected to finally make its own watch (or watches) through its internal hardware division, according to the latest report from German tech site Winfuture.de.

The three watches, code-named Ling, Triton and Sardine, could be differently sized, like Apple’s 38mm and 42mm watches. One of the watches could have cellular, while the others don’t, much like the Apple Watch Series 3. [...]

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May 5, 2018

Lenovo Mirage Solo VR Headset review

Virtual reality has two places to go right now: go cheap, or push the boundaries. The Oculus Go was the former, getting in the door at $199 all-in. Lenovo’s Google-powered Mirage Solo is the latter.

The Mirage Solo, like the Oculus Go, is also a standalone VR headset, no phone or PC required. But it’s a little different. Its tech pushes more for where the future of VR will eventually be. But at $399, it also costs twice the price. And the Mirage Solo isn’t a full step to the future: it’s a half one. I’ll explain.

The Mirage Solo is now available, a year after it was announced at Google’s 2017 developer conference. After wearing it [...]

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April 28, 2018

Google matches 100 percent of its power consumption with renewables

When you look at the number of datacenters the hyperscale companies are developing worldwide, it can be a little frightening from an energy usage standpoint, but Google announced today that it acquired enough renewable energy to match 100 percent of its power consumption in 2017. That’s good news, but it’s not as good as using 100 percent renewable energy.

The distinction is important. Think of this kind of purchase like a carbon offset. For every bit of polluting energy, they buy a corresponding bit of renewables. It’s not ideal, but it’s a step in the right direction.

Urz Hölzle, Google’s senior vice president for technical infrastructure announced the [...]

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April 27, 2018

Spotify’s missing money-maker is artist-to-fan messaging

Streaming royalties are too expensive for Spotify to thrive as a public company just playing us songs. Spotify’s shares closed down 10 percent today during its NYSE trading debut. Luckily it controls much of the relationship between musicians and their fans on its app, poising it to build a powerful revenue and artist loyalty generator by connecting the two through native advertising and messaging that doesn’t stop the music.

Spotify already has a wide range of ad experiences built for traditional brands, from audio ads to display units to sponsored sessions where users get ad-free playback in exchange for watching a commercial. But none of these ad units are designed to [...]

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