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APPLE’S REDESIGNED MACBOOK PRO KEYBOARD USES NEW METHOD FOR REPELLING DUST, REPORTS IFIXIT

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Apple’s new MacBook Pro keyboards are slightly quieter than the ones found in the previous iteration of the laptop. But the company’s silence on the mechanism’s widespread mechanical issues, which Apple first acknowledged with a repair program last month, has left many scratching their heads and wondering if the new laptop’s largely unchanged keyboard is susceptible to dust and crumb contamination under the hood.

Now, iFixit says it’s uncovered something that indicates that the new MacBook Pro keyboards use a silicone membrane underneath each individual key to keep dirt and other unsavory particles from finding their way under the keyboard and locking it up. The repair organization dismantled a new 15-inch MacBook Pro keyboard to discover the new mechanism.

It bears a remarkable resemblance to an Apple patent that went public back in March. It described various methods for keyboard design that would prevent crumbs and dust from getting underneath the keys and causing mechanical issues. The methods describe using a “guard structure extending from the key cap” that would “funnel” contaminants away from the sensitive portions of the keyboard. That guard structure could be separated from the base when in an undepressed position and that it would not make contact with the base even when depressed due to a gasket sitting in between.

The patent application goes on to say that the gasket could comprise of a layer of silicone that would act as a membrane. iFixit now says that’s exactly what the new MacBook Pro keyboard contains, and that the sound of the keyboard is quieter as a side effect of the silicone membrane.

 

We won’t know for sure if this method is a successful solution to the MacBook keyboard gripes we’ve been hearing about for years now, since the company moved over to its new butterfly switch mechanism that debuted with the 2015 MacBook. But it does seem to illustrate that Apple is taking the issue seriously enough to implement a solution, even if it would rather not publicize the change and admit it had a bigger problem on its hands.

 

 

Source: The verge

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Desktops

SAMSUNG’S TAB S4 IS BOTH AN ANDROID TABLET AND A DESKTOP COMPUTER

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Today, Samsung is unveiling the successor to its well-rounded yet expensive Galaxy Tab S3 from last year. The new Galaxy Tab S4 improves upon last year’s slab in nearly every way, and it should be more versatile for users thanks to included Samsung Dex software. Confined to accessories until now, Samsung Dex software lets users connect a Samsung mobile device to a monitor and then use the device as a pseudo-desktop.

The first Dex dock came out over a year ago and was designed to be used with Samsung smartphones. Users could plug their device into the dock, connect it to a monitor, pair a keyboard and a mouse, and use the setup as they would a full desktop PC. The system ran a version of Android that Samsung modified to better suit a desktop UI, which included a lock screen and a task bar area with app icons. Dex on the Galaxy Tab S4 works just like this, with a couple of extra features that leverage the power of a tablet.

When connected to a monitor, both the big screen and the tablet’s screen can be used simultaneously. In a short demo, Samsung showed how the device supports up to 20 open windows at once and how features like split screen and drag-and-drop can be used just as they would on a desktop PC. Users can launch Dex when not connected to a monitor as well, and that produces the same modified Android UI on the tablet’s 10.5-inch, 2560×1600 Super AMOLED display.

Samsung claims users can launch any Android app while using Dex, but it’s unclear how many are truly Dex-optimized to fit a larger screen and make use of keyboard shortcuts. Big players, including Google, Adobe, and Microsoft, signed up to support Dex back when the software was still new, and more developers have been optimizing their Android apps for Chrome OS devices as Google’s browser-based operating system has gained popularity. Undoubtedly, more Android apps can be used comfortably on desktop-sized screens than when Dex originally launched.

In addition to Dex, the Tab S4 supports signature Samsung features like Air Command, translate, off-screen memos, and live message. Originally confined to Galaxy Note devices, live message lets users create gifs of themselves and decorate them with pen drawings before sending them in a message to friends and family. Samsung redesigned the S Pen that accompanies the Tab S4 to be easier to hold in your hand and more like a traditional pencil, but even with those changes it still doesn’t require charging. We’ll have to test it further to determine how much better it is than the previous stylus.

The Tab S4 is slightly bigger than the Tab S3 with its 10.5-inch display, and it runs on a Snapdragon 835 processor, 4GB of memory, and up to 64GB of internal storage with space for up to 400GB with the use of a microSD card. It has a 13MP rear camera and an 8MP front-facing camera while supporting 4K video recording at 30fps, and inside are four speakers tuned by AKG.

Samsung added a lot of heft to the Tab S4’s battery—the company claims the 7,300mAh battery can support up to 16 hours of video playback. On paper, it’s a solid improvement from the Tab S3’s 6,000mAh battery, so we’re interested in putting it through our battery tests to see if Samsung’s estimates hold up.

The Galaxy name is synonymous with Android, but the decision to make yet another Android tablet is a curious one. Android tablets are being left in the dust as Chrome OS infiltrates the tablet scene. It’s possible that Samsung will consider making a Chrome OS tablet in the future—but the Galaxy Tab S4 supports Android and Android only, unlike the company’s Galaxy Book of yesteryear that came in Android and Windows varieties.

The Galaxy Tab S4 will be available August 10 starting at $649 for the Wi-Fi version. Samsung will also sell an LTE version of the tablet through Verizon, but starting price for that model hasn’t been disclosed yet. The Book Cover Keyboard for the Tab S4 costs $149.

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Mobile Platforms

END OF ANDROID? FEARS GOOGLE MAY BE SCRAPING HUGELY POPULAR MOBILE OS

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ANDROID fans have been put on alert about shock claims that Google are planning on scraping the hugely popular smartphone and tablet OS.

Android could be replaced with a new mobile operating system that Google are working on right now, according to shock new claims.

Android is one of the most used pieces of software in the world.

At the Google I/O developer conference in 2017 it was revealed that more than two billion devices use Android each and every month.

But despite the huge number of people that use Android worldwide, sources are claiming that Google are busy working on a successor already.

And one insider has claimed that it’s hoped the in-development mobile OS, known as Fuchsia, will replace Android within the next five years.

For more than two years a group of engineers at Google have been working on the software they hope will succeed Android.

More than 100 engineers are currently working on the project which is intended to be used across all in-house Google gadgets, Bloomberg reported.

The OS is reportedly intended to work on Pixel phones and smart speakers as well as third party-devices that use Android and Chrome OS.

Fuchsia will reportedly be designed to better accommodate voice interactions and frequent security updates across a range of devices.

The latter will be music to Android users’ ears.

 

Android

Android is used on over two billion devices each and every month (Image: GETTY)

The news comes after the European Commission (EC) earlier this week handed Google a whopping fine over Android.

The Brussels regulator insisted the tech giant had used Android illegally to “cement its dominant position” in user searches.

It was argued that Google requiring Android phone manufacturers to pre-install its Chrome browser and Search app had allowed it to gain an unfair advantage over potential rivals.

As a result Brussels issued Google with a record €4.34billion (£3.9billion) fine.

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Mobile Phones

GOOGLE FINED £3.8BN BY EU OVER ANDROID ANTITRUST VIOLATIONS

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Company made its search engine the default on most phones using operating system

Google has been hit with a record €4.34bn (£3.8bn) fine by the European Union for abusing its market dominance in mobile phone operating systems.

The EU imposed the multibillion-euro penalty after finding that the US tech firm required smartphone manufacturers to pre-instal Google’s search and browser apps devices using its Android operating system, otherwise they would not be allowed to use its Google Play online store and streaming service.

Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s competition commissioner, said Google has used its Android mobile phone operating system “to cement its dominance as a search engine”, preventing rivals from innovating and competing “and this is illegal under EU antitrust rules”.

Vestager added: “The vast majority of users simply take what comes with their device and don’t download competing apps.

“Or to slightly paraphrase what [US free market economist] Milton Friedman has said ‘there ain’t no such thing as a free search.’”

 

Wednesday’s verdict ends a 39-month investigation by the European commission’s competition authorities into Google’s Android operating system. Laying out the statement of objections in April 2016, the commission accused the company of abusing its market dominance on three counts. First, by installing Google search as the default search engine on Android devices; second, preventing smartphone manufacturers from running competing systems; third, denying consumer choice, by giving financial incentives to manufacturers and mobile phone operators to pre-install Google Search.

In response, Google had said users were free to delete its apps. The company had mounted a strong defence of its open-source Android operating system, saying it “keeps manufacturers’ costs low and their flexibility high, while giving consumers unprecedented control of their mobile devices”.

The decision could raise tensions with the US government before a visit to the White House by the European commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, next week. Juncker will meet the US president, Donald Trump, on 25 July for talks on the economy, counter-terrorism, energy security, foreign policy and security.

According to Reuters, the competition authorities delayed the Google announcement by one week to avoid a clash with the Nato summit, where Trump lambasted the US’s European allies.

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