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AI

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This is how Super Res Zoom on the Google Pixel 3 works

Google's latest flagships are here, and as with the previous two generations, the headline feature is the camera. Yet more computational magic has made its way into the camera on the Pixel 3 and 3 XL, including something called Super Res Zoom. It's practically the 'enhance' feature we've all been waiting for, but how does it work?

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Essential is reportedly working on an AI phone that operates through voice commands

While Essential's first device has a cult following among those who prioritize quick Android updates, it became clear in May that it would never see a follow-up. A report from Bloomberg revealed that the company had canceled a second Essential Phone and put itself up for sale. However, over the past several months, the company has quietly chugged along, continuing to push out lightning-fast security patches. Now, a new report from Bloomberg states that the company is indeed working on a second device — but it's not at all like its first product. According to the publication's tipsters, the handset is an anti-smartphone with a small screen that relies primarily on voice commands.

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Google Duplex rolls out starting in November on Pixel phones

One of the most impressive (and unsettling) I/O moments happened earlier this year when Google showed off Duplex, an AI chatbot that can place calls for you like a robotic personal assistant. Google wouldn't confirm its plans for Duplex at the time, but it's almost ready for the general public. Duplex is hitting Pixel phones starting next month, but it won't be available everywhere.

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U.S. households embrace smart speakers with 24% owning at least one, Nielsen study finds

Smart speakers are quickly becoming standard across U.S. households. My grandmother recently floored me when she demonstrated how she uses her JBL Link to play 60s music with Google Assistant. I was impressed because she was still learning how to Google, but here she was jamming out while making breakfast. That’s the moment I knew smart speakers were here to stay. Research from Nielsen now confirms the sudden rise of this market category.

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[Update: LG support details] Google Assistant for TV learns more languages

AI is not limited to simply phones and speakers anymore as TV manufacturers continue to add extra capabilities to their flatscreens. Smart TVs are essentially mini computers running operating systems such as Tizen, webOS, and of course Android TV. Google has made it possible for manufacturers to integrate Google Assistant into their products even if they don’t use Android TV, something LG has been doing this year. Until recently, the AI was limited to English, but this is beginning to change.

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Huawei's latest update for the P20 Pro disables the camera's Master AI feature by default

Huawei is proud of the fact that the P20 Pro sits atop the DxOMark Mobile rankings. The company attributes that feat in large part to its Master AI feature, which basically detects scenes via the viewfinder in real time and adjusts camera settings accordingly. In theory, it's a nifty innovation; in reality, the results are mixed. Huawei has apparently received enough unfavorable feedback about Master AI to compel the company to disable the feature by default in its latest update for its flagship smartphone.

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AI email client Astro is shutting down after being acquired by Slack

With Inbox by Gmail saying goodnight in March 2019, some of us will be looking for a new experimental email client. Sadly, one potential replacement will no longer be an option: Astro is being acquired by Slack and will cease to operate as a standalone app on October 10.

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Google Drive is getting an AI-powered 'Priority' page, currently available in beta

Google rolled out Quick Access in Drive back in 2016 as a way to surface the files you're most likely to need. After debuting on Android, the feature later launched on the web. The latest Drive addition is an evolution of Quick Actions—it's called Priority. It's live in beta for select G Suite customers, but it will eventually come to everyone.

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Huawei introduces the 7nm Kirin 980 SoC, promising big boosts to performance and AI

At IFA, Huawei announced its new flagship system-on-chip, the Kirin 980. Following in the footsteps of its fantastic predecessor, the 980 is the first commerical 7nm SoC, meaning that Huawei beat Qualcomm to the punch. It uses a combination of modified Cortex-A76 and A55 cores, a new Mali-G76 GPU, and a dual Neural Processing Unit (NPU).

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