The 'radically different' Essential Phone 2 is on its way, but why? - PCWorld

The 'radically different' Essential Phone 2 is on its way, but why? - PCWorld


The 'radically different' Essential Phone 2 is on its way, but why? - PCWorld

Posted: 09 Oct 2019 05:56 AM PDT

It's been more than two years, several price cuts, and one mass layoff since Andy Rubin's Essential burst into the scene with a new kind of phone. Hailed by critics and instantly declared the next big thing, it was the first Android phone with a notch, no headphone jack, a modular magnetic system, and an overinflated sense of purpose.

In no uncertain terms, Essential Phone was a beautiful disaster. Initial figures put sales south of 100,000, the promised charging and audio mods arrived late or not at all, and the AI-powered home hub turned out to be pure vaporware.

But now Rubin expects us to forget all that—along with a series of sexual misconduct allegations that reportedly forced him out of Google back in 2014—and trust in his new smartphone vision. In a thinly veiled tease of the next Essential Phone, Rubin tweeted out a series of pics of what he calls a "new UI for a radically different formfactor (sic)." A few hours later, his company confirmed the images as showing "a new device to reframe your perspective," claiming that "it's now in early testing with our team outside the lab."

And radical it is. The phone looks to have a a glossy "Colorshift" back with a single bulbous camera, a hole-punch selfie cam, uniform bezels, and an extra-tall screen that puts the Note 10+'s 19.5:9 aspect ratio to shame. In all honesty, it looks more like a new Apple TV remote than a phone, and it raises for more question than answers.

Let's start with the most obvious one: what operating system is it running? Rubin touted the unique UI of the new device, but the two screenshots don't look like any version of Android I've ever seen. So it's safe to say that it's a proprietary OS designed for the screen's a ridiculous ratio. Rubin may have the Android pedigree to stand one, but the last thing we need is a new smartphone OS in 2019.

essential 2 tweets Andy Rubin/Essential

Andy Rubin is teasing a new Essential Phone but I have lots of questions.

Also, what about our perspective needs reframing? The first Essential Phone may have been a monument to Rubin's self indulgence, what with its lack of a logo, "real passion and craftsmanship," and desire to "change how successful technology companies are built forever," but at least it stuck to a basic smartphone formula. The pictures of Essential Phone 2 show screens with numerous tiles for time, music, photos, and apps all showing at once, but how is that a benefit? To do anything with the phone we're going to need to launch an app anyway, which leads to the rest of my questions:

  • How do you type on it?
  • How do you watch a video on it?
  • Does it run Google apps?
  • Can you do anything other than use Essential's stock apps?
  • How do you play games other than Tetris?
  • How do you hold it?
  • How do you use it?
  • How secure is it?

And if I wasn't clear earlier: what's the point? As far as I can tell, Essential Phone 2's design is little more than Rubin's desire to be different while once again admonishing the rest of the industry for not seeing it sooner.

The only thing Essential Phone was truly better at doing than other Android phones was delivering timely and regular updates, often as fast as Google's own Pixel phones, even to this day. But assuming Essential Phone 2 runs an in-house OS, what guarantees will we have that it's safe, secure, and private? After Essential Phone crashed and burned and failed to deliver on its biggest promises, now we're supposed to believe that Rubin has created a ground-up reimagining of the smartphone experience that is mature enough to challenge Android and iOS? Color me skeptical.

PG&E power outages: Here’s what you need to know - San Francisco Chronicle

Posted: 09 Oct 2019 03:32 PM PDT

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. began to preemptively cut power Wednesday to more than 800,000 customers across 34 counties in Northern California and central and coastal areas in an effort to prevent power lines from sparking wildfires during dry and windy weather.

Here's what you need to know about PG&E's power shut-off:

What counties were to be affected?

Portions of Alameda, Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, Contra Costa, El Dorado, Glenn, Humboldt, Kern, Lake, Marin, Mariposa, Mendocino, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, San Joaquin, San Mateo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Sierra, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Tehama, Trinity, Tuolumne, Yolo and Yuba counties are losing electricity, PG&E said.

How long could a power shut-off last?

PG&E cautioned that its workers may need up to five days, after the dangerous weather passes, to inspect lines for damage and restore all power. With winds expected to slow on Thursday, that means the current outages could last as long as until next Tuesday.

Why did PG&E start doing preemptive power shut-offs?

PG&E instituted the precautionary outages to prevent its equipment from starting wildfires in October 2018, a year after some of its power lines were blamed for in the devastating Wine Country wildfires.

How does PG&E decide whether to issue a shut-off?

Before doing a shut-off, PG&E considers whether red-flag fire danger warnings have been issued by the National Weather Service. Low humidity levels must generally be below 20% and high winds need to be above 25 mph with gusts in excess of 45 mph. Officials also consider the amount of dry fuel, like fallen branches on the ground, the moisture content of vegetation, and observations from PG&E field crews and meteorologists.

How should I prepare for a power outage?

Public safety and PG&E officials advise residents to prepare for life without electricity by:

Keeping phones and other electronics charged while also having backup charging methods available. External batteries, solar chargers, hand-cranked chargers and car chargers are among the options.

Building or replenishing emergency kits that include flashlights or other illumination devices, spare batteries, a first-aid kit, emergency food and water, and cash.

Learning how to manually open your garage door.

Unplugging electrical appliances to avoid overloading circuits and preventing fire hazards when power is restored.

• Storing drinking water — two gallons per day per person and more for pets, as water delivery services could be affected by a shut-down.

Can solar panels spare me from a power shut-off?

Customers with solar systems are still connected to the PG&E power grid, so if PG&E cuts off the power for safety, their power gets shut off automatically. People who have a home battery paired with their solar system might have power saved up and be spared from the outage.

Should I buy a generator?

Generators can be a helpful but expensive solution to a temporary problem. They can run anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to as much as $14,000. Many residential generators are the portable kind powered by natural gas, so they pollute the air with carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and particulate matter, further worsening air quality and injecting more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The main thing experts agree upon: Don't try to install your own generator if you aren't an expert. The do-it-yourself dangers outweigh the benefit of saving a buck.

Why doesn't PG&E underground power lines?

Putting power lines underground is very expensive — $3 million per mile, according to a 2017 estimate from PG&E, versus up to $800,000 for overhead lines. That's just for smaller, lower-voltage distribution lines; long-distance transmission lines would be even costlier. Underground lines would also be harder to fix in an earthquake. But PG&E has undergrounded some line; in May, the utility said it would underground lines in Paradise, the Butte County city destroyed by the 2018 Camp Fire.

It's not windy in my area. Why is my power still cut?

A long-distance power line that delivers electricity to you may pass through a location where it's very windy, according to PG&E, which is turning off some of these high-voltage lines, known as transmission lines.

Will my cell phone still work?

Cell phone carriers said service should still work during PG&E power shut-offs. Most of California's cell phone towers have backup generators. AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular told the federal government last month they were prepared to maintain service. For sites without generators, companies also have fleets of mobile sites ready to roll. However, if a fire breaks out, companies said they can't guarantee they'll be able to access cell towers to recharge backup generators or deploy mobile cell sites, according to federal filings.

What should I do with food in my refrigerator?

Meat, poultry, fish and eggs should always be stored in temperatures 40 degrees Fahrenheit or colder, and frozen goods should be 0 degrees or colder, according to the Department of Agriculture. Officials advise people to keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible during outages. Refrigerators can safely store food — and keep items cold — for about four hours. Freezers can keep their temperature for about two days if unopened. Dry ice or blocks of regular ice can help store food.

How can I get updates if I'm not a PG&E account holder?

PG&E has an alert system that notifies non-account holders of power outages in a specific area. Company officials said they will try to alert people 48 hours, 24 hours and just before power outages. To sign up, visit pge.com/pspszipcodealerts.

Michael Cabanatuan, Alejandro Serrano and J.D. Morris are San Francisco Chronicle staff writers. Email: mcabanatuan@sfchronicle.com, alejandro.serrano@sfchronicle.com, jd.morris@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @ctuan @serrano_alej @thejdmorris

Now Is The Time To Load Up On 5G Stocks - Forbes

Posted: 07 Oct 2019 07:08 AM PDT

An unusual race recently took place at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.

Former NFL star Keyshawn Johnson lined up at the 40 yard line...

While an average guy named Ricky stood in the end zone.

Keyshawn's challenge was to run 40 yards faster than Ricky could download an episode of HBO's Hard Knocks to his smartphone.

Ricky won. He downloaded the hour-long show in 3.6 seconds.

Keyshawn never had a chance. Because Ricky was using Verizon's blazing, blistering, jaw-droppingly fast new cell network called 5G.

5G Will Come Faster Than We Thought

If you feel like you've been waiting forever for 5G to make its debut, you're not alone...

5G is the most disruptive trend of this decade. Many readers have asked me: What's taking so long?

Progress may feel slow because 5G phones aren't mainstream yet.

But 5G is actually coming online much faster than analysts predicted just two years ago. The next year or so will be a very, very exciting time to own the right 5G stocks.

In a minute, I'll give you a few of my top 5G stock picks.

First, let me get you up to speed on all the exciting things happening in 5G.

NFL Stadiums Have Turned into 5G Testing Grounds

Verizon has launched its new 5G network in 13 NFL stadiums.

AT&T brought its new 5G network to AT&T Stadium, where the Dallas Cowboys play.

The point is to make games more fun for fans.

At AT&T Stadium, for example, fans can participate in augmented reality (AR) experiences that were impossible before 5G.

AR, if you're not familiar, overlays digital imagery on real life.

If you have a Samsung Galaxy S10 5G smartphone, for example, point the camera towards Cowboy stadium as you walk in. You'll see 36-foot tall digital versions of Dallas Cowboy players yelling chants to hype you up.

Once you're in the stadium, you can do a touchdown dance, and digital Dallas Cowboys will dance with you.

You can even dodge AR defensive robots on the field as you try to score a touchdown in a new mobile game.

These AR experiences require massive amounts of data to move extremely fast.

None of it is possible without 5G.

Chicago Has Turned into a 5G Testing Ground, Too

Verizon launched its 5G network in parts of the city back in April. It was the first commercial launch of 5G in the world.

A man named Danny Winget travelled around the city testing the network.

The download speeds he reported were incredible… 10X faster than the fastest 4G connections.

When fully deployed, the networks should reach peak speeds of 100X faster than 4G.

5G Is Not Just About Download Speeds

Patrick Holland, editor at CNET, recently tested AT&T's 5G network at the Shape conference in Los Angeles.

Holland downloaded seven one-hour episodes of Blue Planet in under 17 seconds.

It took me the same amount of time to download just the first episode. And I was logged into my home high-speed broadband internet connection!

But 5G isn't just about virtually instant download speeds.

Soon it will let you:

  • Attend a meeting in New York as a hologram from the comfort of your home;
  • Get around safely in a self-driving car—even if you drank a little too much wine on date night;
  • For you surgeons reading this, you'll be able to operate on patients hundreds of miles away over a wireless network using robots.

This Future Is Not Far Off

In fact, the early stages of the 5G "awakening" are happening right now.

The average guy doesn't know it yet, because you don't see 5G phones on the street yet. But look at all the quiet progress that's been made in the last few months...

All of the big four wireless carriers in the US—Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint—have launched 5G in certain parts of the country.

Verizon has rolled out 5G to parts of 11 US cities. T-Mobile's in six cities, Sprint's in nine, and AT&T is in parts of 21 cities.

Many more rollouts are planned for next year.

Meanwhile, the first 5G phones have hit the US market. There's the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, the LG V50 ThinQ 5G, and the Motorola Moto Z4 and Z3 5G.

Plus, Apple recently paid $1 billion to acquire "the majority" of Intel's smartphone modem business.

The acquisition means Apple is well on its way to producing its own 5G smartphone modems.

Industry insiders expect the company to launch its first 5G iPhone next year.

5G is coming online outside the US, too.

Deutsche Telecom and Vodafone are deploying 5G in parts of Europe. And China's state-owned carriers expect to have 5G up and running in 50 cities by the end of this year.

What Does All This Mean for You?

Well, it means faster phone speeds and a lot of exciting new technologies that will make your life easier.

But it also means this is an incredible time to invest.

To make money in 5G, look into:

  • Wireless service providers like Verizon (VZ) and AT&T (T)
  • Smartphone and tablet makers like Apple (AAPL) and Samsung (SSNLF)
  • Network gear makers like Ericsson (ERIC) and Nokia (NOK)
  • Chipmakers like Qualcomm (QCOM) and Skyworks Solutions (SWKS)

Or, if you're comfortable taking a bit more risk for potentially massive profits, look at smaller disruptive companies that are making 5G possible.

My favorite "subsector" is companies that manufacture tiny components needed for all 5G phones called "RF filters."

We're going to need hundreds of billions more RF filters as 5G rolls out. And the small companies that have the best technology on the market stand to make a killing.

Get my report "The Great Disruptors: 3 Breakthrough Stocks Set to Double Your Money". These stocks will hand you 100% gains as they disrupt whole industries. Get your free copy here.

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