Amazon is facing a lot of flak on social media after its voice assistant Alexa suggested a potentially life-threatening “challenge” to a 10-year-old girl. The girl had asked Alexa to suggest a challenge to her to do and the smart speaker asked her to touch the live prongs of a half-inserted plug. Alexa instructed the young girl to plug in a phone charger halfway into a power outlet and then place a coin on the exposed prongs. The incident has triggered distress and alarm on social media after the girl’s mother, Kristin Livdahl, shared what happened on Twitter.
The dangerous activity Alexa via an Echo smart speaker suggested to the girl is known as the “penny challenge” or the “outlet challenge” and it began circulating on social media platforms, including TikTok, about a year ago. Coins are made up of metals that are good conductors of electricity. Inserting them into a live socket can cause electric shocks, fires, and damage to people and property. Amazon said it has fixed the “error” after the company came to know about the incident.
Another user questioned the necessity of such a “surveillance tool” in the house.
Perhaps it’s a good time to rethink Why you let this surveillance Tool in your house in the first place ????. No blame shifting, Amazon is responsible above all. But i really dont get Why people want to put these Devices in their homes.
Livdahl, the mother, said her daughter wanted to try some physical challenges that they previously learned on YouTube but the weather was bad outside and the girl wanted another one to do inside their home. Alexa then suggested the challenge it had “found on the Web’, the mother added.
Following the episode, Amazon told BBC in a statement that it had updated Alexa to stop the voice assistant from recommending such activity in the future, saying “customer trust is at the centre of everything we do”. “As soon as we became aware of this error, we took swift action to fix it,” Amazon said in the statement.
The girl’s mother, too, tweeted yesterday saying that the challenge was no longer working.
It isn’t working for us now, either. Maybe they fixed it.
In another tweet, Livdahl said that this incident made her “go through Internet safety and not trusting things you read without research and verification again”.
It was a good moment to go through internet safety and not trusting things you read without research and verification again. We thought the cesspool of YouTube was what we needed to worry about at this age—with limited internet and social media access—but not the only thing.
LG Display has announced its next-generation OLED technology — dubbed OLED EX — which, according to the company, will increase brightness by up to 30 percent, boost picture accuracy and allow for smaller bezels in finished products.
As per an announcement from the company, these improvements are due to two key changes. The first is the use of an element known as deuterium in the chemical make-up of LG’s OLED panels, and the second is the incorporation of algorithmic image processing.
LG said that the latter will predict the usage of each individual light-emitting diode in TV based on personal viewing habits to “precisely (control) the display’s energy input to more accurately express the details and colours of the video content being played.”
LG claims that reduced bezel sizes with OLED EX are a little more concrete. The company says that based on calculations involving a 65-inch OLED display, it will be able to reduce bezel thickness from 6mm to 4mm. It’s not a huge change on paper, but given how optimised this technology already is, every little improvement has to be fought for.
LG plans to start incorporating OLED EX technology into all its OLED panels starting in the second quarter of 2022, though it’s not clear how much longer it might then take for this technology to reach consumers.
As well as improving its OLED tech, LG has also been playing with some wilder concepts at this year’s CES conference, showing off new transparent displays as well as reclining, curved OLED thrones.
Samsung Electronics and Micron Technology, two of the world’s largest memory chip makers, warned that a COVID-19 lockdown in the Chinese city of Xian could affect their chip manufacturing bases in the area.
Micron said on Wednesday the lockdown could lead to delays in the supply of its DRAM memory chips, which are widely used in data centres.
It said the stringent restrictions, which went into effect earlier this month, may be increasingly difficult to mitigate and had resulted in thinner staffing levels at its manufacturing site.
Samsung Electronics also said on Wednesday that it will temporarily adjust operations at its Xian manufacturing facilities for NAND flash memory chips, used for data storage in data centres, smartphones and other tech gadgets.
Chinese officials have imposed tough curbs on travel within and leaving Xian from December 23, in line with Beijing’s drive to immediately contain outbreaks as they appear.
“We are tapping our global supply chain, including our subcontractor partners, to help service our customers for these DRAM products,” Micron said in a blog post.
“We project that these efforts will allow us to meet most of our customer demand, however there may be some near-term delays as we activate our network,” the company said.
Micron added that it was working to minimize the risk of virus transmission and had employed measures including physical distancing and on-site testing and was encouraging vaccination.
Samsung has two production lines in Xian making advanced NAND Flash products, which account for 42.5 percent of its total NAND flash memory production capacity and 15.3 percent of the overall global output capacity, according to analysis provider TrendForce.
Seoul-based analysts said chips made in Samsung’s Xian NAND plant would mainly go to the China market with limited shipments to overseas destinations, and some of the biggest demand for the kind of chips made in the plant would come from Chinese server companies.
Samsung said in a late October earnings call that it had entered the July-September quarter with low inventory of NAND chips, and intended to normalise inventory level during that quarter. It is expected to announce October-December earnings results in January.
iPhone 13 series was launched in September with a list of updates over the existing models. But one major feature that could be useful in some situations is missing on the new iPhone family since its launch. It’s the dedicated noise cancellation option that iPhone 13 users have been waiting for and demanding months. Apple has, however, not yet addressed the consumer demand. The latest iOS version didn’t bring the noise cancellation option on the iPhone 13 series. It is there on the older models, though.
As brought into notice by 9to5Mac, a user on Reddit raised a complaint about the lack of the noise cancellation option on the iPhone 13 a few days back. Several other users agreed to the complaint and wondered why the new iPhone series doesn’t have that support. Some users also mentioned that the lack isn’t due to a hardware constraint as the iPhone 13 series does have a sufficient number of microphones to support noise cancellation.
In October, a user posted about the lack of the noise cancellation option on the iPhone 13 Pro Max on Apple Community forums. An Apple Community Specialist responded to the user issue with a link to an article on how to adjust the audio settings on the iPhone.
The given link does mention the existence of Phone Noise Cancellation that users on the older iPhone models can enable by going to Settings > Accessibility > Audio/ Visual. The particular option is not available in the iPhone 13, though.
Another user responded to the Apple Community forum post and said that Apple is aware of the issue.
iPhone 13 (left) is lacking the dedicated noise cancellation option that is available on older iPhone models (right)
The iPhone maker has notably brought a few iOS updates since the lack of the noise cancellation option was reported on the Apple Community forums, but the issue hasn’t yet been addressed.
Earlier this month, Apple brought iOS 15.2 as the latest iOS update, which has not included the noise cancellation option to the iPhone 13 models. The feature has also not been available in iOS 15.3 beta.
Due to the absence of the noise cancellation option, iPhone 13 users do not have the ability to manually control whether ambient noise during phone calls can be reduced when they are holding the phone to their ear. Users can, however, activate the Voice Isolation feature from the Control Centre that works similar to noise cancellation and helps you block ambient noises using machine learning.
Gadgets 360 has reached out to Apple for clarity on the lack of the noise cancellation option and will update this space when the company responds.
Amazon Winter Shopping Store sale has been announced. Winter-ready appliances such as geysers, room heaters, and electric kettles will be available with up to 60 percent discount. The sale, which will run till January 11, will allow customers to purchase blankets, quilts, recliners, comforters, beds, cookware, and dinnerware at discounted prices. Amazon is also offering a 10 percent instant discount on OneCard credit card (issued by FPL Technologies Private Limited and its Partner Banks) transactions. Here are a few offers on water heaters, smart plugs as well as appliances like casserole and flasks.
Amazon Winter Shopping Store sale offers water heaters from various brands with alluring discounts, including Bajaj and Crompton. Customers can purchase Bajaj New Shakti Neo 15L water heater at a price of Rs. 5,899 (original price: Rs. 10,450). Crompton Amica 15L water heater is priced at Rs. 6,599 (original price: Rs. 11,500) during the sale. There are deals on room heaters as well. Morphy Richards OFR 09 2000-Watt Oil Filled Radiator is available at a price of Rs. 7,330 after a discount of Rs. 4,469. You can also purchase heaters from Bajaj, Orpat, and Havells.
During the sale, Amazon is also offering discounts on devices such as smart plugs. Wipro 16A Wi-Fi Smart Plug with Energy Monitoring can be purchased at a price Rs. 999 during the Amazon Winter Shopping Store sale.
Furthermore, Amazon Winter Shopping Store also has items like Careview Anti-Pollution N95 Reusable face masks, Solimo microfibre reversible comforter, Milton Thermosteel flip lid flask, and a string of items to add in your home gym. You can also purchase fog lights for your cars, air purifiers, and microfiber cloths to clean your vehicles.
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Sourabh Kulesh is a Chief Sub Editor at Gadgets 360. He has worked in a national daily newspaper, a news agency, a magazine and now writing technology news online. He has knowledge on a wide gamut of topics related to cybersecurity, enterprise and consumer technology. Write to email@example.com or get in touch on Twitter through his handle @KuleshSourabh. More
The DJI Osmo Action was the company’s debut attempt at taking on GoPro in the action camera space, and now it is reimagining GoPro’s long gone but not forgotten Hero Session camera. The DJI Action 2 is about half the size of a GoPro Hero 10 Black and still manages to offer nearly the same amount of features, but what truly sets it apart is its magnetic locking system which opens up a lot more innovative avenues for mounting onto objects. On paper, the DJI Action 2 seems like a worthy opponent to the Hero 10 Black, but is it really? Time to find out.
DJI Action 2 design
The DJI Action 2 is comprised of two units — the camera itself and a charging unit. The base variant, also known as the Power Combo, includes the two units along with accessories such as a lanyard mount, dual-prong mount (to attach to GoPro accessories), and a USB Type-C cable. The bundled mounts attach magnetically to the Action 2. The second variant, called the Dual-Screen Combo (which is what DJI sent me for this review) includes an additional display on the charging unit and an extra ball-joint sticky mount in the box.
The DJI Action 2 is tiny and built extremely well
The DJI Action 2 camera unit is a tiny and cube-shaped, weighing just 56g. It has an aluminium alloy housing, which gives it a premium look and feel. It’s dust proof and water proof up to 10m, and that can be extended up to 60m with an optional casing. Along the sides, you’ll find the single microphone, power/shutter button, and contact pins for magnetically attaching to the charging unit. The front is dominated by the camera lens along with a single status LED in one corner.
The back of the DJI Action 2 has a 1.76-inch OLED touchscreen, which is responsive and is quite visible outdoors. The charging unit is roughly the same size as the camera module and has three additional microphones, a USB Type-C port, a microSD card slot, a power/shutter button, a status LED, and in the Dual-Screen variant, an additional 1.76-inch OLED screen. This module isn’t dust- or waterproof, which means you’ll need to be careful about how and where you use it. The USB port and microSD slot are left exposed without any sort of protection, which I’m not a big fan of.
You get a high-quality set of accessories with the DJI Action 2
The screen on the charging unit faces the opposite direction of the camera’s display when attached, so you can use it as a viewfinder when vlogging. You can choose to use only one of the screens at a time to save battery power. The magnetic force between modules is very strong, and firmly holds both the units together. For added security, clamps on either side of the charging unit help lock the camera in position. Similar clamps can be found on the bundled accessories. You can attach the camera unit to the mounts on its own or along with the charging unit, if needed.
In terms of design, the DJI Action 2 is very innovative as it packs a lot of tech into a very tiny footprint. The magnetic mounting system reminds me a lot of Insta360’s Go 2 action camera. The build quality of the Action 2 and the bundled accessories is top-notch.
DJI Action 2 features
The DJI Action 2 features a 1/1.7-inch fixed-focus 12-megapixel CMOS sensor. The ultra-wide-angle lens has a 155-degree field of view and a f/2.8 aperture. One of the highlight features of this action camera is 4K video recording at 120fps, albeit for only five minutes per clip under ideal temperatures. Other combinations include 2.7K at up to 120fps and 1080p at up to 240fps. Unlike GoPro cameras, the DJI Action 2 has 32GB of fixed storage and you can expand this if needed using a microSD card in the charging unit.
The Dual-Screen charging unit helps power the camera as well as expand storage
You can control the camera remotely using the DJI Mimo smartphone app. It’s functional and lets you do things such as update the camera’s firmware, remotely check the frame, switch shooting modes, and offload footage from the built-in storage. It even has a basic editor for trimming clips and adding text and other effects to your videos before you share them. It’s not as polished as GoPro’s Quick app, but it gets the job done.
DJI Action 2 (Dual-Screen) performance
The DJI Action 2 is an absolute joy to use mainly because of its size and how easy it is to mount onto things. The magnetic base of the camera and charging unit allow you to stick them to any metal surface, which can be handy at times when you don’t have the right mount with you. The supplied mounts make it very easy to quickly attach and detach the camera when needed.
Using the Action 2 without the charging module has its advantages, since it has a smaller footprint and it doesn’t heat up as much. However, even when you’re using the camera itself for activities such as swimming, you’ll want to have the charging unit nearby to top up the battery. Other than that, the charging unit is also very useful for offloading content from the camera to a microSD card, in case you don’t have your phone or a laptop with you.
The DJI Mimo app is not great but gets the job done
The user interface of the DJI Action 2 is snappy and the touch response of both displays is very good. The aspect ratio of the video automatically switches based on how you hold or mount the camera. You can swipe left or right on the viewfinder to switch between shooting modes. All the basic ones are present, such as timelapse, slow-motion, photo, and video. Quick Clip mode lets you shoot 10s, 15s or 30s video clips.
While basic functionality such as digital zoom is supported, and it’s easy to change the field of view, frame rates, and stabilisation settings, there are a couple of features that I found missing. For instance, the Photo mode doesn’t let you take burst shots and there isn’t any kind of Night mode. For video, the HorizonSteady feature can only be used at 1080p or 2.7K at 30fps, but not at higher resolutions.
The DJI Action 2 captures good photos and videos during the day. Still shots have a decent amount of detail and the Standard (Dewarp) field of view option corrects most of the ultra-wide lens’s inherent barrel distortion. Videos are stabilised well and pack in good detail and colours. Low-light performance is a bit weak – there’s visible noise and detail and colours aren’t the best. In comparison, the GoPro Hero 10 manages to deliver slightly better results.
Shooting at higher framerates requires cooler ambient temperatures, else the Action 2 will overheat
There are a couple of things that I noticed while testing the DJI Action 2. If you need good audio from your recordings, then you should use the camera with the charging unit to take advantage of its additional microphones. My unit also kept showing a ‘slow memory card’ warning with my Lexar 32GB UHS-II Speed class 3 card, which I found odd since I’ve previously used the same one in GoPros to record 5K footage with no problem. DJI has published a list of recommended cards on its website, so it’s probably best to stick to those to avoid compatibility issues.
Perhaps my biggest concern with the DJI Action 2 camera was heat. If you’re shooting at 2.7K or above and at a frame rate higher than 60fps, you’ll need to ensure that the ambient temperature is cool enough, or the camera will overheat and stop recording. The menu system even mentions a 25 degree recommended temperature when you select a framerate higher than 60fps. I didn’t have such luck unfortunately, being based in Mumbai, India, which meant that even in the relatively mild winter, the Action 2 would overheat very easily and randomly stop recording. I had this problem even after changing the high-temperature auto-shut off threshold setting from Standard to High. It’s not just me either; you’ll find many such complaints on the Internet.
DJI Action 2 camera sample (tap to see full size)
DJI Action 2 camera sample (tap to see full size)
In theory, 4K 120fps clips should be limited to four minutes, but the camera would overheat after around two minutes and stop recording. You can keep shooting stills but not video, till the body cools down a bit. When tested next to a GoPro Hero 10 Black indoors under a fan, with both recording at 4K 60fps, the DJI Action 2 stopped recording in under five minutes, whereas the GoPro went on to record for nearly 30 minutes before it finally overheated and stopped. If you’re going to be using the Action 2 in a static position, you need to ensure that your surroundings are cold enough, or you’ll have to record at a lower resolution.
I noticed that even a 4K 30fps continuous run can be challenging for the Action 2 when it was in a static position. However, I was able to shoot for much longer at the same settings while riding a bike, with air flowing non-stop over the camera body, which helped dissipate some heat – that is, until I had to stop at a traffic signal. The charging unit tends to amplify this issue, as it charges the camera while recording is in progress, which makes the temperature rise even quicker. The Action 2 can even get very uncomfortable to even hold after a few minutes of shooting with the base attached.
Considering its size, the battery life of the DJI Action 2 is not too bad. The internal storage of the camera will let you record about 25 minutes of 4K 60fps footage, and you’ll probably run out of storage space before the battery dies. You can get more continuous runtime if you record straight to a large and fast enough microSD card (up to 256GB is supported). Longer recordings are split into multiple files of varying sizes, although it’s unclear why DJI does this. The charging unit is fairly quick at topping up the camera’s battery and is good for a full top-up, and then some.
The DJI Action 2 is a hot little action camera, in every sense of the word
The DJI Action 2 is available in India priced starting at Rs. 31,490 for the Power Combo and at Rs. 39,990 for the Dual-Screen Combo. It’s a bit more affordable than a GoPro Hero 10 Black, but is still a bit pricey for what it offers. The biggest strengths of the Action 2 are its size and versatility. The magnetic attachments make it very easy to mount and dismount this camera without a fuss. Other positives include responsive displays, in-built storage, and good video quality as well as stabilisation during the day.
A couple of areas in which the Action 2 can do better are the low-light stills and video, which aren’t the best. However, the biggest concern is the overheating issue, which sadly, makes this quite an unreliable action camera. Shooting at lower resolutions and framerates helps mitigate this, but then that defeats the purpose of paying such a premium, and will leave many buyers unsatisfied.
If climate and weather conditions are favourable where you plan to use it, the DJI Action 2 might serve you well. For everyone else, the GoPro Hero 10 Black is simply the more reliable choice.
Despite component shortages, smart speaker and smart display global shipments registered a 10 percent year-over-year (YoY) growth — a record for a third calendar quarter — in Q3 2021, as per a report by a market research firm. It added that a total of 39.3 million units were shipped during the time period. Amazon retains its top spot, however, it hasn’t seen YoY growth in the latest quarter. Thanks to growth in Google’s Nest Hub shipments, the company takes the second spot followed by Baidu, Alibaba, Apple, and Xiaomi.
As per the latest research from Strategy Analytics’ Smart Speakers and Screens service, the effects of the global component shortage have started to impact the smart speaker supply chain, and Chinese vendors were the most hit due to component shortages. Despite these constraints, the total smart speaker and smart display shipments registered a growth on YoY basis. However, the growth is essentially flat on a quarterly basis from Q2 2021 in which 39 million units (compared to 39.3 million units in Q3 2021) were shipped worldwide.
“China alone typically accounts for 30 percent to 40 percent of the global market each quarter, so challenges experienced by Alibaba, Baidu, and Xiaomi will be indicators for how well – or not – China is managing its supply chain issues,” said David Watkins, Director, Intelligent Home at Strategy Analytics.
The market research firm said that sales of smart speakers increased about 7 percent on a YoY basis. Amazon stayed at the top spot in the overall smart speaker and smart display market leaderboard. It was followed by Google, Baidu, Alibaba, Apple, and Xiaomi, respectively. Driven by its HomePod Mini speaker, Apple registered the maximum growth of 92 percent on YoY basis. It was followed by Google (18 percent), and Baidu (15 percent). Amazon virtually did not see any growth as compared to last Q3 2020.
As far as smart displays are concerned, sales reportedly surged by almost 19 percent to 11.2 million units in Q3 2021. Strategy Analytics says that 18 of the top 50 models sold in the quarter were smart displays. Google’s Nest Hub was the bestselling smart display in Q3 2021 with 1.5 million units shipped. It was followed by the second generation of Amazon’s Echo Show 5 and Baidu’s Xiaodu Zaijia 1c.
A Japanese professor has developed a prototype lickable TV screen that can imitate food flavours, another step towards creating a multi-sensory viewing experience.
The device, called Taste the TV (TTTV), uses a carousel of 10 flavour canisters that spray in combination to create the taste of a particular food. The flavour sample then rolls on hygienic film over a flat TV screen for the viewer to try.
In the COVID-19 era, this kind of technology can enhance the way people connect and interact with the outside world, said Meiji University professor Homei Miyashita.
“The goal is to make it possible for people to have the experience of something like eating at a restaurant on the other side of the world, even while staying at home,” he said.
Miyashita works with a team of about 30 students that has produced a variety of flavour-related devices, including a fork that makes food taste richer. He said he built the TTTV prototype himself over the past year and that a commercial version would cost about JPY 100,000 (roughly Rs. 65,810) to make.
Potential applications include distance learning for sommeliers and cooks, and tasting games and quizzes, he said.
Miyashita has also been in talks with companies about using his spray technology for applications like a device that can apply a pizza or chocolate taste to a slice of toasted bread.
Meiji student Yuki Hou, 22, demonstrated TTTV for reporters, telling the screen she wanted to taste sweet chocolate. After a few tries, an automated voice repeated the order and flavour jets spritzed a sample onto a plastic sheet.
“It’s kind of like milk chocolate,” she said. “It’s sweet like a chocolate sauce.”
Steam Winter Sale is here and gamers can get their hands on several popular PC games, with discounts on titles including Disco Elysium – The Final Cut, F1 2021, It Takes Two, Mass Effect Legendary Edition, and Titanfall 2. While these games are now at their lowest-ever prices, other titles like Half-Life: Alyx, Sea of Thieves, Forza Horizon 4, Red Dead Redemption 2, Doom Eternal, FIFA 22, Deathloop, and Cyberpunk 2077 have also got big discounts. Along with the Steam Winter Sale, Valve is also allowing gamers to vote for their favourite games for The Steam Awards. Readers might recall that voting began in November alongside the Steam Autumn Sale. The Steam Winter Sale began on Wednesday, December 22 and will run until Wednesday, January 5 at 11:30pm IST/ 10am PT.
The Steam Winter Sale has listed several PC titles that are currently discounted on Steam, here’s are some of the best deals on PC gamers that you should not miss during the holiday season.
Redmi Note 11 4G global variant is said to have received certifications from the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and Thailand’s National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC). The smartphone has also separately appeared on the listing of camera app Camera FV-5. This suggests some camera specifications of the Redmi phone ahead of its official launch. The Redmi Note 11 4G global variant is expected to come with a Snapdragon SoC — unlike the original Redmi Note 11 4G that debuted in China last month with a MediaTek chipset.
MySmartPrice reports that the Redmi Note 11 4G global variant has appeared on the BIS website with a model number 2201117TI, while the NBTC website is showing the phone with the model number 2201117TG.
The reported listing on the BIS site particularly suggests that Xiaomi may be planning to launch the Redmi Note 11 4G in India sometime in the coming future.
Alongside the BIS and NBTC certifications, the Redmi Note 11 4G with the model number 2201117TG has appeared on the Camera FV-5 site. This suggests that the new Redmi phone will include a 50-megapixel primary camera sensor, with an f/2.0 lens and electronic image stabilisation (EIS) support. The Chinese model of the Redmi Note 11 4G also came with a 50-megapixel primary camera, alongside an 8-megapixel ultra-wide shooter and a 2-megapixel macro shooter.
Xiaomi has not yet provided any official details about the global variant of the Redmi Note 11 4G. However, the smartphone reportedly surfaced on Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and the Eurasian Economic Commission sites earlier this week.
The global model is rumoured to have a Snapdragon 680 SoC and carry a starting price of $199 (roughly Rs. 15,000). In contrast, the original Redmi Note 11 4G was launched in China with a MediaTek Helio G88 SoC and was priced at CNY 999 (roughly Rs. 11,800).
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Jagmeet Singh writes about consumer technology for Gadgets 360, out of New Delhi. Jagmeet is a senior reporter for Gadgets 360, and has frequently written about apps, computer security, Internet services, and telecom developments. Jagmeet is available on Twitter at @JagmeetS13 or Email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please send in your leads and tips. More