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Amazon reportedly working on a custom chip to make Alexa faster

The smart speaker wars are in full swing, with Amazon and Google dominating most of the market. Amazon's Alexa assistant was first on the scene, but Google Assistant is making progress, particularly with the Home Mini and third-party speakers. According to a report from The Information, Amazon is working on its own AI chip designed to make Alexa-powered devices respond quicker.

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Facebook testing a downvote button, claims it is not a dislike button

Sometimes, the best thing you can do is stay positive. As mothers everywhere are fond of saying, "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." That's a good philosophy, but most of us probably forget to practice it, and Facebook is rolling out a new tool to allow people to hide that sort of content from its site. According to a report published by TechCrunch, Facebook is experimenting with a new "downvote" button, but it's actually just a "report" button. 

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Latest OpenSignal State of the Mobile Networks report shows T-Mobile still on top, Verizon and AT&T recovering

OpenSignal's bi-yearly carrier report for the US was just released, and T-Mobile's rampage from last year seems to be continuing. Although both Verizon and AT&T are seeing some recovery in network speed after the reintroduction of their unlimited plans last year, T-Mobile has again topped nearly every category in OpenSignal's testing. Sprint, though still in 4th overall, is also making great strides in both speed and availability.

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Tablet sales decline 3.4% year-over-year in spite of increases from Amazon, Apple, and Huawei

It's no secret that the tablet market has been shrinking for several years now. The IDC has been tracking data like this for quite some time now, and is reporting that this trend hasn't changed for quarter 2 of 2017. That being said, sales increases from companies such as Amazon, Apple, and Huawei have slowed this decline to 3.4%, or 37.9 million worldwide shipments. That's noticeably better than the 8.5% decline we saw for 1Q17.

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Worldwide tablet shipments have declined 8.5% over the past year, Q1 is the tenth straight quarter in decline

Remember when everyone thought tablets would replace PCs, at least for average consumers? Yeah, that didn't happen. In fact, the opposite is happening. In a report from the International Data Corporation (IDC), worldwide tablet shipments in Q1 2017 have dropped 8.5% compared to Q1 2016, with just 36.2 million devices shipped.

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LG's G6 and Samsung's Galaxy S8 will reportedly be released on March 10th and April 21st, respectively

As the release dates for arguably the two most prominent Android flagships approach, more and more details about them are spilling out as well. For our latest leak, South Korea-based ETNews has revealed that the G6 will be making its consumer debut on March 10th, and the Galaxy S8 a few weeks later on April 21st.

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WSJ report: Google and Amazon are hoping to make Home and Alexa into home phones

Quite a lot of us have done away with the landline telephones that used to be a staple of homes in the developed world. A 2013 survey concluded that over 40% of US households had ditched their standard landlines phones, driven by younger users relying exclusively on their cell phones. But according to a report in the Wall Street Journal, both Google and Amazon are looking to revive the landline (well, VOIP line anyway) as a bonus feature in their voice-controlled Wi-Fi speakers, the Google Home and Amazon Echo/Tap/Echo Dot.

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Reuters: Note7 fires were caused by defective batteries, not a design flaw or firmware issue

The saga of the Galaxy Note7 was one of the most surprising and disastrous events in the tech industry last year. The Note7 received very positive initial reviews, but soon after, several reports of the device catching fire were made public. After acknowledging that the problem was with the Note7, Samsung began recalling all units.

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Amazon is reportedly developing a premium Alexa speaker with a 7-inch touchscreen

Amazon first introduced its Alexa voice assistant alongside the Echo speaker around two years ago. Though the Echo line of products has proved to be exceedingly popular, the audio that even the flagship model produces still leaves something to be desired. If you like the idea of Alexa but have been holding off on buying an Echo because of the lackluster sound quality, Amazon has something in the works that may appeal to you - a touchscreen-equipped Alexa device with premium sound.

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Waze's Driver Satisfaction Index shows where the world's most unhappy drivers are

Pretty much any adult has probably had this conversation at some point: "The drivers in [my city] are so much worse than the drivers in [your city]." The truth is that you can find shitty drivers everywhere, but empirically, some places are definitely worse than others. Waze, the Google-owned software company behind everyone's favorite Google Maps Navigation alternative, has decided to quantify that data. The results are posted to the Driver Satisfaction Index, and they're as slick as they are disappointing.

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