The next Echo introduces a new way to interact with Alexa.

Update: We now have more details on Amazon’s touchscreen-enabled Echo, courtesy of AFTVNews. The device will be called the Echo Show, and will retail for $229 on June 28. Pre-orders kick off from tomorrow, May 9, in the U.S.

Original story follows:

People have been saying that the new Amazon Echo will have a touchscreen and let you make video calls since early 2017. We’ve also seen some very official-looking renders of what is being touted as the next Echo, complete with a big screen, a video camera, and a speaker chamber. Today the Wall Street Journal jumps in and says everything we’ve heard is true. And we might see it as early as Tuesday (May 9).

This is probably going to happen. And soon.

More importantly, what does this mean for Amazon customers and Alexa? A touchscreen brings a whole new way to interact with Amazon’s assistant, and that might make things complicated or make them awesome. And Amazon has no infrastructure in place to make video calling a thing, so are they building that out or will they partner with someone like Microsoft or Kik?

Enquiring minds want to know. But for now, all we can do is wait.




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Qualcomm is going to make budget phone buyers very happy.

Qualcomm is back with two new 600-series chips to power the next generation of mid-range phones. The company has announced the Snapdragon 630, a successor to the wildly popular Snapdragon 625 (and little-used 626), along with the Snapdragon 660, a completely revamped and more-efficient sequel to the Snapdragon 650 (and 653).

Let’s start with the basics.

Snapdragon 630

The Snapdragon 630 is the more minor of the updates, keeping much about what made the popular Snapdragon 625, which quickly became a battery darling in phones like the Moto Z Play and Huawei Nova Plus (and the upcoming BlackBerry KEYone). It maintains the eight-core Cortex-A53 breakdown of four high-speed cores and four lower-clocked cores, though they are up to 30% faster across the board. And while the graphics chip has also been updated from the Adreno 506 in the Snapdragon 625 to a faster Adreno 508, the fundamental architecture hasn’t changed — both are still built on a 14nm process — and improved performance isn’t the priority.

Instead, the Snapdragon 630 brings the platform into 2017, with support for LTE speeds up to 600Mhz with 3x carrier aggregation; Bluetooth 5.0, Quick Charge 4.0, and USB 3.1 with USB-C; and a better camera experience with the new Spectra 160 image signal processor.

The Snapdragon 630 will be powering mid-range devices starting in Q3 of this year, and it’s definitely going to help devices in the $300 to $400 range reach their potential — aside from the older CPU architecture and anemic GPU, most of the improvements in the platform come directly from the Snapdragon 820 and 835 line.

Snapdragon 660

The Snapdragon 660 is the biggest announcement of the day, making massive improvements over the current Snapdragon 650, 652 and 653. The most important takeaway is the additional battery savings from the switch to a 14nm manufacturing process from the aging and inefficient 28nm process that reached maturity in 2013. That, coupled with the move to Qualcomm’s Kryo cluster, based on the custom CPU design that debuted with the Qualcomm 820 last year, means that the Snapdragon 660 should be one of the most-coveted upper-midrange chips on the market.

Coming to devices as early as June — expect the first announcement within the next few weeks — the Snapdragon 660 has eight Kryo cores, four performance cores at 2.2GHz and four at 1.8GHz, and promises a 30% improvement in speeds over the Snapdragon 653. There’s also a new Adreno 512 GPU, which is a nice bump over the 510 in the previous generation, and support for Qualcomm’s 2016-era X12 baseband, which includes 3x carrier aggregation for speeds up to 600Mbps. Quick Charge 4.0, Bluetooth 5 and USB 3.1 are also included, too.

Aside from the new features, Qualcomm is making perhaps the biggest noise about the improved camera experience inside the Snapdragon 660. While it has the same Spectra 160 ISP as the Snapdragon 630, better support for 4K capture and the same electronic image stabilization that was popularized in high-end phones from 2016 has filtered down to this mid-range line.

Finally, the battery savings that people saw in the Snapdragon 625 are also included in the 660, which is promising; Qualcomm says that users will see an average of two additional hours when moving to a Snapdragon 660 from a 653 using the same hardware (which obviously won’t happen, but they’re looking for an apples-to-apples comparison).

The takeaway

These chips are going to be very interesting, especially given the success of the Snapdragon 625 and the relative failure of the 650 lineup. For the 630, this is very much an evolution, sticking with what works while shoring up on auxiliary features like cellular speed and camera performance.

The Snapdragon 660 is revelatory, largely because it will bring most of the Snapdragon 835′s best features to the $400 to $500 range, and will allow manufacturers to get away with offering a mid-range chip for their flagships.

What do you think of these new chips? Will you be holding out for one or the other? Let us know in the comments!




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Our friends at Thrifter are back again, this time with an even more affordable way to get an Echo in your home!

If you’ve been considering picking up an Amazon Echo, now is the time. Currently, you can grab one for just $149.99, which is a savings of $30. It isn’t often that we see discounts on these, so when you see one you should act on it. The Echo allows you to use your voice to do tons of different tasks that you would normally need to pick up your phone or even computer to accomplish.

You can use the Echo to control various smart home accessories, check on the local news, and even order pizza if you wanted to. Amazon has been adding new features to Alexa just about every week so it continues to become smarter and smarter. If you’ve been interested in checking one of these out and have been looking for a discount, this is the perfect way to see what all the hype is about.

Want to save even more? Amazon is selling a certified refurbished version of the smart speaker for just $134.99. You can also save $20 when buying three Echo Dots with code DOT3PACK.

See at Amazon

For more great deals be sure to check out our friends at Thrifter now!




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It’s contest time again, boys and girls! Up for grabs this time is one is one of the hottest gaming gadgets of the past year — the Nintendo Classic!

No need to mince words here; Nintendo in its infinite wisdom has decided to cease production of the throwback Nintendo Classic — a diminutive (and updated) version of the original NES. It was tough enough to buy in the first place, having been sold out for months.

I’ve enjoyed the hell out of it. But now it’s time to find it a good home. And I’m throwing in a wireless controller just because. This contest is open to anyone, anywhere, so long as it’s legal where you live and you promise to appreciate the awesomeness that is video games from the 1980s.

So let’s get to it! This one’s open for a week. Use the widget below to enter or hit up moderndad.com/contest for more.

Win a Nintendo Classic from Modern Dad!




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