The phones of 2017 will be all about VR

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If you’ve tried virtual reality, whether or not it blew your mind probably depends on how you experienced it: whether it was with a high-end headset like the Oculus Rift or one that used a smartphone like the Samsung Gear VR.

While today’s flagship phones can provide a decent VR experience, they have shortcomings. Latency is an issue since the immersive nature of VR taxes the processor. Mobile VR also doesn’t support much interactivity — meaning you can’t touch or pick things up in the virtual environment, which is crucial for games. And even though manufacturers are squeezing more resolution into displays than ever before, when the screen is just an inch from your face, you can see the pixels. Read more…

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Tinder for insurance lets you insure your electronics by swiping right

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An American startup is hoping to overhaul the stuffy insurance industry with a couple of swipes. 

On Monday, Trov launched its latest product in Australia: On-demand insurance for single items through its mobile app. Founded in 2012, the company’s free iOS and Android app previously allowed people to create a digital inventory of their possessions, but it’s now adding an extra level of service. The insurance offering is currently iOS-only.

To insure an item, users simply load the details into the app, select it and swipe right to turn on protection. A toggle allows them to change the time period it is insured for and how much excess they’re willing to accept.  Read more…

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Will PlayStation and Xbox follow mobile's lead with regular upgrade plans?

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It’s 2019 and the Xbox Three has just been released. 

You excitedly pack up your beloved Xbox Two and take it to your favorite local electronics store. Two hours later — after a hard drive transfer and a signed payment plan — you get home and fire up Halo 6 to see just how sharp it looks on the newly beefed up Three.

This scenario is obviously fiction, but getting a new gaming console for your home could look very similar in just a few years from now. That’s our takeaway from the recent rumors coming out of Microsoft and Sony. Read more…

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7 can't-miss apps: MuseCam, Summit, Yammo and more

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With fresh rumors swirling about the iPhone 7 and new reports that Apple is working on an Amazon Echo competitor, you may have missed this week’s best new apps.

Each weekend, we round up a few of our favorite new and updated apps. This week’s list includes an app to help you find podcasts, a photo editing app and a new puzzle game.

Check out the gallery below to see our top picks. If you’re looking for more, take a look at our last roundup of can’t-miss apps.

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments. Read more…

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Robot jumping roach will chase you into your Terminator nightmares

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Robots that can do amazing things are creepy enough, but when roboticists start creating insectoid robots, things get really uncomfortable. Nevertheless, mimicking the behaviors of insects can often be the perfect way to give robots additional abilities. Along those lines, a research group has created what they call the JumpRoACH

Created by South Korea’s SNU Biorobotics Lab in collaboration with UC Berkeley’s Biomimetic Millisystems Lab, the tiny robot weighs just 59.4 grams and can jump to a height of just over five feet, according to a research paper published by the team.

And like an insect, the robot can make its jumps even while running, and if it falls over it has the ability to stand itself back up on its legs. Yes, it looks just as unnerving as it sounds.  Read more…

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Now you can try Amazon Echo and Alexa in your web browser

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If you’ve heard about the Amazon Echo and have been wondering what it’s like to use it before committing to buying one, there’s now an online tool that lets you test it out as much as you want, right in your browser.

It’s called Echosim, and all you need to use it is an Amazon account to log in.

Once you’ve logged in, you can use your mouse to click and hold the onscreen button while asking Alexa a question. You don’t need to use the name Alexa, you can just ask it any question and, in most cases, get a great answer back

The voice and response times are identical to what you’d experience using the Amazon Echo, making this is perfect gateway drug for the real thing. That tech taste test is even more likely to lead to buying a real Amazon Echo once you remember that with Amazon Echo you don’t need to be near your computer and there’s no need to press a button, you just call out requests across the room to the device. Read more…

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