Get your wallets ready.

Amazon is kicking off 2018 with another instalment of the Great Indian Sale. The retailer is offering exciting discounts on phones, accessories, fashion and lifestyle products, and digital content. One of the highlights of the sale is a ₹3,000 discount on the LG Q6, which brings the price of the phone down to ₹11,990. If you’re interested in a physical keyboard, the KEYone is available for ₹34,999.

Amazon has been increasing focus on its own brands — including Solimo, Symbol and Myx but the most interesting of the lot is AmazonBasics. If you haven’t come across the brand yet, AmazonBasics has everything from cables to audio gear, mobile accessories, bags, and even luggage. Having bought a variety of HDMI and Ethernet cables, I can attest to their quality. And the prices are unbelievably low.

Over the last month, Amazon has been adding bedding sets and kitchen essentials to AmazonBasics, and considering the deep discounts, it’s worth checking out what’s on offer.


Everything else

What are you guys picking up this time around?

See at Amazon India

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The successor to the Mi Robot vacuum is here, and it brings a host of upgrades.

Xiaomi’s primarily known for its phones, but the Chinese manufacturer is increasingly looking to the lifestyle segment to drive future growth. Xiaomi collaborates with hundreds of Chinese manufacturers for its Mi Ecosystem label, through which it sells everything from rice cookers to scooters, luggage, screwdriver sets, and more. One of the earliest products to come out of the Mi Ecosystem line was the Mi Robot vacuum, a $250 robotic vacuum cleaner with LIDAR and automated cleaning routes.

I bought Xiaomi’s Mi Robot vacuum on a whim back in 2016, and it turned out to be one of my best purchases. The vacuum has a powerful 1800Pa motor, 5200mAh battery, a total of 12 sensors that allow it to navigate the inner confines of your house, and an intelligent routing algorithm through which it can determine the most efficient cleaning routes.

The one downside of the Mi Robot vacuum was that it doesn’t have a wet clean option, but that’s changing with the second-gen variant. The new model comes with a mopping pad at the front, allowing it to sweep and mop in one go.

Although Xiaomi sells the vacuum from its retail stores, it is manufactured by Roborock, just like the first-gen model. However, the main difference this time is that it comes with Roborock branding.

As far as initial impressions go, there’s plenty to like. The process of setting up the vacuum has been vastly simplified by the fact that it has an English language pack installed out of the box. And there’s even a manual in English that gives you an overview of all the vacuum’s functions.

Like its predecessor, you’ll be able to view the Mi Robot vacuum’s charge level and cleaning time through the Mi Home app. You can set automated routines, get a real-time view of the robot as it cleans your house, and see the remaining battery.

The Mi Robot has the same design aesthetic as the first-gen variant, but it has a bulkier body to accommodate the water tank that’s required for the wet clean option. Because there’s a mop up front, you get a pad that can be hooked up to the charging base that prevents the robot from leaving stains across wooden surfaces whenever it’s charging. And yes, it still looks like a cylon.

One of the main features that made the first-gen Mi Robot stand out was its affordability. Sold for just shy of $300, the robot punched significantly above its weight, offering the same performance as $900 vacuums. However, the second-gen model retails for $499 because of the added functionality.

I started using the second-gen Mi Robot a few days ago, and will share my findings on the vacuum’s performance in a few weeks’ time and see if it’s worth the asking price. In the meantime, the first-gen model continues to be brilliant, and is available for $276 with coupon code XIAOMIVAC.

See at GearBest

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So … foldable phones, huh?

The Galaxy S9 and S9+ haven’t even been announced yet, and we know so much about them. So that means it’s time to start looking at the next thing, right? If that’s your thought process, you’ve no doubt been keeping up with the Galaxy X rumors — the “foldable” phone supposedly coming from Samsung this year. Samsung isn’t the only company working on this sort of thing, but if any company is setup to take advantage of branding and marketing to sell an altogether new form factor and technology, it’s the one.

If the rumorsphere is to be believed, the Galaxy X will effectively have a “standard” phone form factor, with the same width (or so) as a Galaxy S9, but with extra screen height to it. That extra height gives you more phone to look at without making the phone super wide, but makes it awkward to use. The solution? Let the thing bend in half on itself — at least, that’s what the current thinking is.

Not knowing much else about how Samsung would position the Galaxy X, it seems like more than just a novel idea and a technology demo. Sure it looks a little funny now, but so did all-screen phones in the early 2000′s. It looks like the premise is simple: you get a big screen when you’re actively using it, but then it can be folded over into a more compact package when you’re not. This obviously involves some pretty large technological hurdles to have a screen that can be reliably folded back and forth thousands of times without quality degradation, but let’s assume Samsung has that figured out.

Yes this form factor will only actually appeal to a small piece of Samsung’s typical audience, the core technology enthusiasts, but that’s kind of the point. The Galaxy S9 and S9+ will still be out and available. We may even have the Galaxy Note 9 by the time the Galaxy X is unveiled. This foldable phone will be an extra piece for Samsung to show what it can do and try to push the industry forward. To get people to expand their thoughts about what a phone can be. And, of course, it lets Samsung experiment a little bit.

In 2014 everyone thought the Galaxy Note Edge was ridiculous with its asymmetrical curved display … but that development was merely a stepping stone for Samsung to make it to what we see today in the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8: phones with smaller bezels, narrower profiles and bigger screens in smaller packages. The Note Edge wasn’t practical in any way, but today’s phones using the same general technology most certainly are.

We’ve seen this strategy play out before, and last time it worked out really well for Samsung. I’m not inclined to bet against it this time around, even if the Galaxy X seems way more “out there” than the Note Edge. I am absolutely excited for it.

Let’s close this thing out with a few other random thoughts form the week:

  • I switched from my Pixel 2 to a 2 XL prior to CES because I needed the extra screen and battery for the show. Now that I’ve been back for over a week … I’m still using it. Somehow I’ve normalized the size, even though I don’t “need” the extra battery anymore.
  • There are still plenty of times that it’s just awkward to hold and annoying to reach the top of the screen, but they apparently haven’t been annoying enough to get me back on my Pixel 2.
  • You may have noticed this week’s editorial about Google Now and Google Assistant. Apparently I’m not alone — most people think Google has handled this transition from Now to Assistant poorly, and there’s work to be done.
  • In further editorializing, great piece from Daniel Bader this week on where LG’s headed in the U.S. It has an outsized brand awareness as a company overall, but it just can’t get a foothold in the U.S. market. The future isn’t looking great.
  • I leave for Barcelona to cover MWC 2018 in exactly one month. Dang that came up quickly. But I’m excited to see how the show shapes up with Samsung’s announcement that it’ll unveil the Galaxy S9 there rather than a separate event.

Have a great week, everyone!


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 | Posted by | Categories: Android |

April 15 is right around the corner.

The TurboTax Deluxe edition tax software is down to $35.87 on Amazon.

Amazon had a Gold Box deal back in December that shared new pricing for TurboTax’s tax filing software. Back then the Deluxe dropped from $50 to $40 and has stuck to that price. This is its first time dropping as low as $36, and no other retailer has matched it.

As part of TurboTax’s exclusive with Amazon, you’ll also get a one year subscription Quicken Starter Edition 2018 with this purchase. If money is an issue for you, it might help to get a little more organized throughout the year and not just on tax day.

The Premier edition includes five free federal e-files and one state product. It comes with free customer support and coaches to help you maximize your deductions.

This is a physical disc that works with both PC and Mac.

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Foldable smartphones have been talked about for years, ever since the first foldable OLED prototypes were shown off at trade shows. But it’s only recently that they’ve started to become a reality.

One big name that everyone’s expecting to see in this space is Samsung, with its rumored Galaxy X. A name like “Galaxy X” really plays into the old narrative of Samsung as the iPhone copycat. But the rumored name actually predates the iPhone X by more than a year, with the first serious reports bubbling up in early 2016. And even years before that, there was plenty of rumor fuel around the idea of a Samsung phone with a flexible, foldable screen — a device that could fit in your pocket like a phone, and also fold out to provide a more expansive viewing area.

Check out our video feature above to find out what we know so far about what could be a revolutionary new flagship smartphone.

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Spotlight adds the visual component to Spotify you never knew you wanted.

Like a lot of you reading this, Spotify is my go-to app for listening to music. However, do a little bit of digging and you’ll see that it has a lot more to offer than just your favorite tunes. Spotify is also home to a wide range of podcasts covering just about every topic you could imagine, and these will soon become even better with a new feature called “Spotlight.”

With Spotlight, podcasts will now feature visual components such as text, images, and videos to give you more context about what it is you’re listening to.

Podcasts using Spotlight will be featured in their own special playlists, and Spotify is first partnering with BuzzFeed News, Cheddar, Crooked Media, Lenny Letter, Gimlet Media, Genius, The Minefield Girl, Refinery29, and Uninterrupted as the brands that’ll help launch it.

Spotlight is launching first in the United States, and “additional markets” will follow in the future.

Spotify is testing a sleeker and less cluttered UI for its Android app

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April 15 is right around the corner.

Amazon had a Gold Box deal back in December that shared new pricing for TurboTax’s tax filing software. Back then the Premiere dropped from $70 to $55 and has stuck to that price. This is its first time dropping below $50, and no other retailer has matched it.

As part of TurboTax’s exclusive with Amazon, you’ll also get a one year subscription Quicken Starter Edition 2018 with this purchase. If money is an issue for you, it might help to get a little more organized throughout the year and not just on tax day.

The Premier edition includes five free federal e-files and one state product. It can also help with investments, stocks, and things like that.

This is a physical disc that works with both PC and Mac.

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Starting January 25, 2018.

If you want to get an unlimited plan through Verizon Wireless, you have two main choices – Go Unlimited and Beyond Unlimited. Both plans come with unlimited talk, text, and data, but Beyond Unlimited has a few extra perks such as higher-quality streaming, faster hotspot speeds, etc.

Starting on January 25, Go Unlimited customers will get unlimited talk, text, and data in Mexico and Canada – something that ws previously limited to Unlimited Beyond subscribers.

Just like Unlimited Beyond, coverage in Mexico and Canda for Go Unlimited customers limits 4G LTE data speeds to 500 MB each day. Speeds are reduced to 2G following this but are then reset at midnight EST. Additionally, Go Unlimited plans will now come with unlimited calling from the United States to Mexico and Canada.

Go Unlimited typically costs $10-$20 less than Beyond Unlimited depending on how many lines you have, so it’s nice to see one of these perks come to Verizon’s more affordable unlimited option.

Verizon’s TV streaming service will consist of multiple standalone apps

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If your TV’s USB port doesn’t put out enough power for your Fire TV, this battery box will take care of things.

Here’s a quick look at a little accessory that could make your Amazon Fire TV experience a little bit better. One hangup for folks when it comes to HDMI dongles is that they often still require an external power source. So you’ve got this little magic wonder box tucked behind your TV, out of sight, but there’s still a cord running down the back of the thing. It’s the home theater equivalent of having your fly open, basically.

If you’re lucky, the USB port on your TV puts out enough consistent juice to power said dongle. That’s the case with every one of my TVs. But if your sets a little older, you might be out of luck. And that’s where the $20 Mission Cables USB Power Cable for Fire TV (or anything else that takes Micro-USB) comes in.

It’s a simple little thing — basically just a battery in a box. Your TV trickle charges the 2,000 mAh battery that’s inside, and the box then gives your Fire TV dongle consistent power.

And, uh, that’s it. There’s nothing else to it. No lights. No switches. Just plug it into your TV, and the other end goes into your Amazon Fire TV dongle. It’s about the same overall size as the Fire TV itself, and I’d recommend also getting something with which you can stick all of this to the back of your TV — you don’t want to put any stress on the cables or ports themselves.

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We’ve got a month of 2018 under our belts, and Amazon’s got a new month of sweet offerings on Prime Video. Here’s what’s coming up in February 2018!

Well, we made it. The first month of 2018 is nearly behind us. And so we’ll be leaving behind 31 long days. Or short days, because it’s still winter in half the world. Whatever. Amazon Prime Video has a bunch of new movies and Originals coming to all of your screens in February. Your TV. Your Fire TV. Your phone. Your Fire Tablet. Your Fire Phone. (OK, maybe I’m the only person who had one of those.)

If you’re a fan of open-wheel racing, GRAND PRIX Driver goes inside the secretive world of Formula 1 automobile racing. Which presumably is less secretive now that we’re all going inside of it. And Season 4 of Mozart In the Jungle promises to bring us “new melodies that arise as Rodrigo and Hailey take their relationship public.” So there’s that. And the second half of the first season of the return of The Tick bites us!

In any event, this is going to be a lot of fun.

Amazon Prime Video has is one of the go-to destinations for on-demand content, thanks in no small part to devices like the $50 Amazon Fire Stick, the all-new $70 Amazon Fire TV, and even the $229 Amazon Echo Show.

But hardware is the easy part. Buy it once, and then use the heck out of it. What’s not quite so easy is keeping up with everything that’s new on Amazon Prime Video — because new shows are always coming and going.

So here’s what’s new in February 2018!

Don’t have Amazon Prime Video yet? Get a free 30-day trial!

Coming February 1

  • American Idiots (2013)
  • Black Spurs (1965)
  • The Cutting Edge (1992)
  • The Cutting Edge: Going for the Gold (2006)
  • Daybreakers (2009)
  • A Fish Called Wanda (1988)
  • Gang Related (1997)
  • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1967)
  • The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard (2009)
  • Harsh Times (2006)
  • The Haunting (1999)
  • He Said, She Said (1991)
  • Hoodlum (1997)
  • Intersection (1994)
  • Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector (2006)
  • Lulu on the Bridge (1998)
  • Manhattan (1979)
  • Manhunter (1986)
  • Mermaids (1990)
  • Mystic Pizza (1988)
  • An Officer and a Gentleman (1982)
  • Red Dawn (1984)
  • Rollerball (2002)
  • Rollerball (1975)
  • Running Scared (1986)
  • Rustlers’ Rhapsody (1985)
  • Sabrina (1995)
  • Slow Burn (2000)
  • Swimming with Sharks (1995)
  • Terms of Endearment (1983)
  • The Thaw (2009)
  • Things You Can Tell Just by Looking at Her (1999)
  • The Warriors (1979)

Coming February 2

  • Absentia (Prime Original, 2017)

Coming February 4

  • My Dead Boyfriend (2016)

Coming February 6

  • Danica (2017)

Coming February 7

  • The Expanse (Season 2)

Coming February 8

  • Mother’s Day (2016)

Coming February 9

  • GRAND PRIX Driver (Prime Original, Season 1)

Coming February 10

  • Breathe (2017)
  • No Stone Unturned (2017)

Coming February 11

  • Good Time (2017)
  • Run the Tide (2016)

Coming February 13

  • Stinky & Dirty Valentine’s Day Special (Prime Original)
  • The Ballad of Lefty Brown (2017)

Coming February 14

  • National Lampoon Presents Cattle Call (2008)
  • Star Trek (2009)

Coming February 16

  • Mozart in the Jungle (Prime Original, Season 4)
  • Human Flow (Amazon Original, 2017)
  • Logan Lucky (2017)

Coming February 18

  • Pocket Listing (2015)
  • Thanks for Sharing (2013)

Coming February 23

  • Thunderbirds are Go! (Prime Original, Season 4)

Previously, on Amazon video …

Here’s what was (or still is, depending on when you’re reading this) new on Amazon Video in December:

Coming January 1

  • All is Lost (2013)
  • American Ninja (1985)
  • Assassination (1987)
  • Avenging Force (1986)
  • Babel (2006)
  • Baby Mama’s Club (2010)
  • Black Rain (1989)
  • Brothers (2009)
  • Burning Blue (2014)
  • But I’m a Cheerleader (1999)
  • Capote (2005)
  • Coming Soon (1999)
  • Cool World (1992)
  • Cross Bronx (2004)
  • Dangerous Curves (1989)
  • Doctor Who (Season 10)
  • Drop Dead Sexy (2006)
  • Evolution (2001)
  • Flawless (1999)
  • Freedom Writers (2007)
  • Hamlet (1990)
  • Highway (2012)
  • Horsemen (2009)
  • Hustle & Flow (2005)
  • Invaders from Mars (1986)
  • Love and Death (1975)
  • Love Story (1970)
  • Murphy’s Law (1986)
  • Platoon Leader (1988)
  • Pretty Bird (2008)
  • Primitive (2011)
  • Requiem for a Dream (2000)
  • Reservoir Dogs (1992)
  • Revenge of the Ninja (1983)
  • Revolutionary Road (2008)
  • Richard the Lionheart (2013)
  • Show of Force (1990)
  • Six Degrees of Separation (1993)
  • Step Into Liquid (2003)
  • Street Smart (1987)
  • The 2018 Rose Parade Hosted by Cord & Tish (Amazon Original)
  • The Perfect Weapon (1991)
  • The Presidio (1988)
  • The Wraith (1987)
  • Thelma & Louise (1991)
  • Uncommon Valor (1983)
  • Words and Pictures (2013)
  • Zodiac (2007)

Coming January 5

  • The Devil’s Double (2011)

Coming January 6

  • Grimm (Season 6)

Coming January 7

  • A Ghost Story (2017)

Coming January 9

  • Prime Suspect: Tennison (Season 1)

Coming January 12

  • Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams (Amazon Original)

Coming January 16

  • My Mother & Other Strangers

Coming January 17

  • The Midwife (2017)

Coming January 19

  • Just Add Magic (Amazon Original, Season 2)
  • Wonderstruck (Amazon original, 2017)

Coming January 30

  • Grantchester (Season 3)
  • Remember Me

Coming January 31

  • xXx: The Return of Xander Cage (2016)

Updated Jan. 18, 2018: February’s listings are here!!!

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