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Google Pixel Slate first impressions: Can this take on the iPad Pro and Surface Pro?

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Google does not want to be left behind in the race of 2-in-1s, so it is making the Pixel Slate. Launched at Google’s annual hardware refresh event in New York, the Pixel Slate targets the same market as Apple’s iPad Pro and Microsoft’s Surface Pro 6.
The Pixel Slate is essentially a Chrome OS device, but it is unlike a laptop or a regular tablet. The idea is to offer a “completely new experience”, with a mobile-driven operating system taking a central role. It’s a productivity machine at the end of the day, featuring a desktop-grade chipset inside. This new type of device supports a keyboard as an add-on option that turns the Pixel Slate into a more traditional computer.
But you have to pay a hefty price to own the Pixel Slate as it doesn’t come cheap, with the base model costing upwards of $599. Mind you: the cost of accessories (keyboard and stylus) will make the Pixel Slate as expensive as a high-end laptop.
The question remains, will you spend $900 on the Pixel Slate? I spent a few minutes with the Pixel Slate to see where it stands in the crowded 2-in-1 market. Here’s everything you need to know more the Google Pixel Slate.
Google Pixel Slate first impressions: Design, keyboard
The Pixel Slate looks like the Galaxy Tab S4 from the design point view. It is 7mm thick and weighs 1.6 pounds, making it is a bit heavier than the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. The edges are slightly curved — though I actually enjoyed holding the Pixel Slate. The anodised aluminium chassis gives a premium feel to the tablet, something I expect given this machine costs a lot of money.
The display is not edge-to-edge, and that’s okay. On its front, you’ll notice twin dual-speakers that the company claims “are custom tuned to deliver industry leading audio”. However, I did not get a chance to try out the speakers during my limited time spent with the Pixel Slate.
Taking cues from the Pixel 3, the Pixel Slate has a wide-angle front-facing camera. It’s called the Duo Cam, which Google says is designed to make a video calls even in low light. The device charges via USB Type-C, and has a fingerprint sensor built into the power button in the top left-hand corner of the tablet.
Perhaps the highlight of the Pixel Slate is the keyboard. Yes, the keyboard comes with circular backlit keys, featuring a dedicated Assistant and control panel keys in the top row. The keyboard magnetically connects to the tablet through a docking mechanism, and it draws power from the tablet’s internal battery. Is it any good? Pretty neat, if you ask me. It feels great to type on.
Google Pixel Slate first impressions: Display
The Pixel Slate uses a 12.3-inch LCD panel with a resolution of 3000 by 2000. Google claims it has the highest pixel density of any device in this category; even though I haven’t extensively used the tablet for a longer period of time, it does appears to be bright and sharp.
Google Pixel Slate first impressions: Performance, battery
Google has cut no corners in making the Pixel Slate a powerful alternative to the iPad Pro and Surface Pro 6. It’s shipping with four different SKUs, and the base version is running a lower-end Intel Celeron chipset. It starts at $599 and has 4GB RAM and 32GB of internal storage. That $599 price doesn’t include the $199 Pixel Slate keyboard and $99 Pixelbook Pen.
The top-end model is priced at $1599, and it features Intel’s 8th generation Core i7 processor, 16GB RAM and 256GB SSD storage. Battery on the Pixel Slate will last 12 hours on a single charge, claims Google.
Google Pixel Slate first impressions: Software
The tablet runs Chrome OS which we all are familiar with, but, Google says it has tweaked the operating system to suit a device like the Pixel Slate. Speaking of the user interface, it is completely redesigned for the Pixel Slate. Instead of showing used icons to the lower-left corner of the screen, Chrome OS now displays them in the bottom of the screen. It’s reminiscent of the iOS dock. Also, the Pixel Slate switches between tablet mode and “laptop” mode depending on how you want to use the device.
Google Pixel Slate first impressions: Early outlook
Pixel Slate is undeniably a cool device and there is no doubt about it. With the Pixel Slate, Google once again puts focus on Chrome OS as the go-to operating system for work and productivity. Will Google succeed in its ambitions this time around? Only time will tell.


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Nike Adapt Self-Lacing Smart Sneaker Will Require Regular Charging

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Nike has found a new way to capture more information about its customers: through their sneakers.

At an event called the “Future of Footwear,” Nike unveiled a new shoe concept, called Nike Adapt, that tracks performance in real time, allowing the company to give weekend warriors athletic tips and also sell them more products.

“It’s the start of a new day,” said Michael Donaghu, Nike’s director of global footwear innovation. “It’s like we’re moving from footwear to firmwear.”

 

The shoes, with their data-tracking capability, present customers with a choice about privacy — if they opt not to share their data, they’ll miss out on a lot of the product’s capabilities. The company is starting with basketball shoes, which will sell for $350 (roughly Rs. 25,000).

The shoe self-tightens to an athlete’s preference – there are no laces – and is adjustable via an app. The products carry sensors, accelerometers and gyroscopes that can give Nike a full, personalized snapshot of its owner’s performance. They’ll need recharging every two weeks.

“It’s like having two smartphones strapped to your two feet,” said Michael Martin, Nike’s global head of digital products.

CEO Mark Parker discussed the new shoes in vague terms in December, calling it a “major step” in taking Nike’s new digital emphasis and embedding it into actual product.

Nike stores are also going digital. The company calls new flagship locations unveiled two months ago in New York and Shanghai “Houses of Innovation.” They blend online shopping with the in-person experience. To get the full experience, you essentially have to download the Nike app.

Nike is in the midst of a digital transformation. A large part of that is trying to get more of its customers to become members of the NikePlus loyalty program. The company has found members spend three times more than nonmembers when they shop at Nike.com.

Though Nike has seen rapid growth in apparel sales, shoes still accounted for 61 percent of the company’s $36.4 billion in revenue last fiscal year.

Nike auto-lacing shoes have been around since 2017, when the company sold a limited number of low-top sneakers for $720, the most expensive shoes it ever released.

These shoes will be available through Nike’s direct channels, and through retailers, and will debut in the NBA on the feet of Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum later this week.

The shoe’s technology is can be updated through the app, meaning its capabilities can change after it’s purchased. The Beaverton, Oregon-based company plans to release more products with the Adapt technology, including running shoes, sportswear and lifestyle items.

“The advantages we’re looking to provide the athlete are so substantial that you’ll see a mass of people wanting to make use of those benefits,” Martin said.

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Microsoft Says Will Set Up 10 AI Labs, Train 5 Lakh Youth in India

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Microsoft India to set up Artificial Intelligence (AI) labs in 10 universities and train five lakh youth across the country in disrupting technologies.

The company also said it will upskill over 10,000 developers over the next three years.

“We believe AI will enable Indian businesses and more for India’s progress, especially in education, skilling, healthcare and agriculture,” said Anant Maheshwari, President, Microsoft India.

 

Microsoft AI today is fuelling digital transformation for over 700 customers and 60 per cent customers are large manufacturing and financial services enterprises.

Over 700 partners have geared up to support the AI ecosystem, said the company.

Microsoft in December announced a three-year “Intelligent Cloud Hub” collaborative programme in India, for empowering institutes to skill students in AI and Cloud technologies.

India is one of the first countries to have such a programme in which Microsoft will support selected institutes that have the best-in-class infrastructure, curriculum and content, onsite training for faculty and students, access for participating students to Cloud and AI services, developmental tools and developer support.

In April 2018, the company announced the Microsoft Professional Programme (MPP) for the public.

This programme is helping in providing job-ready skills along with real-world experience to engineers as well as others who plan on improving their skills in AI and data science, using a series of online courses.

“Microsoft also believes that it is imperative to build higher awareness and capabilities on security, privacy, trust and accountability,” said Maheshwari.

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TP-Link Launches New Wi-Fi 6 Routers at CES 2019 With Something at Every Price Point

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TP-Link has announced five new next-generation wireless products at CES 2019. All these routers are based on Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) with prices ranges from the affordable entry-level routers to expensive wireless routers meant for gaming. In December last year, TP-Link had introduced its first two Wi-Fi 6 routers based on Broadcom platforms. With its latest announcement at CES 2019, the company seems keen on bringing more Wi-Fi 6 products for everyone.

The new TP Link Deco X10 is a mesh networking-based wireless router. It comes in a pack of two (one main unit and a satellite), priced at $349.99 (roughly Rs. 24,340). It offers a wireless bandwidth of up to 300Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and up to 1,200Mbps on the 5GHz band.

The company has also announced a new Archer AX11000 gaming wireless router. It is a tri-band wireless router capable of a maximum wireless throughput of up to 4,804Mbps on the 5GHz bands and up to 1,148Mbps on the 2.4GHz band. TP-Link had added USB Type-C and USB Type-A ports to enable storage sharing across the network. The router will sell at $449.99 (roughly Rs. 31,300) and will be available later this month.

 

TP-Link’s new Archer AX6000 is a dual-band wireless router that offers features similar to the Archer AX11000 and is shipping right away. It includes a 2.5Gbps WAN port so in case you have a high-speed broadband connection, but you don’t play games, this might be the right router for you as it costs $100 (roughly Rs. 6,954) less than the Archer AX11000.

The basic TP-Link Archer AX1800 brings Wi-Fi 6 at an affordable price point. The Archer AX1800 is a dual-band wireless router which comes with a Gigabit WAN port and a USB 2.0 port to share data across the network. The router is priced at $129.99 (roughly Rs. 9,040). It will be available later this year.

TP-Link has also announced a new wireless range extender at CES 2019. The RE705X Wi-Fi range extender is a dual-band repeater which is priced at $99.99 (roughly Rs. 6,953). It will ship in the third quarter of 2019.

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