• Android Pay arrives in Japan with Rakuten Edy
  • New MacBook Pro with Touch Bar suffers from serious battery issues
  • 2017's five best virtual reality headsets

Google's Pixel phones might have a serious audio problem.

Google's Pixels have an audio issue that's causing distortion at high volumes.!

Dull design aside, the Google Pixel and Pixel XL are two of the best premium Android phones (if not the best) you can buy right now. But there might be an issue with their speakers, especially at high volumes.

Reddit user Mark "badmark" Buckman brought to attention the problem after posting a video of his Pixel and Pixel XL exhibiting audio distortion when the volume is turned to their highest levels.

With the volumed cranked all the way up, the Perfect Piano app is virtually unusable. As you drag your fingers along the keys, the keys sound more like static with lots of audio popping.

The issue also only rears itself when the volume set to its loudest with the Perfect Piano app and the audio is played through the speaker; headphones seem to work fine.

Mashable was able to replicate the same audio problem on a Pixel and two separate Pixel XLs. The issue remained even when we updated the phones from Android 7.1 to 7.1.1. The same tests on a OnePlus 3T running Android 6.1 Marshmallow, and an iPhone 7 running iOS 10.2, however, had no such audio distortions.

Pixel owners have been reporting on audio popping and clicking issues since late October.

A post from a Pixel XL owner, Ryan Lestage, on Google's official Pixel user community forum, from back on Oct. 24, suggests the audio issues extend to all audio including "talk radio or music played in Chrome, Facebook, TuneIn Radio, YouTube, etc."

Mashable wasn't able to reproduce the issues in other commonly used music apps such as YouTube, Chrome, Spotify or Pandora.

Given the different user reports, it's unclear exactly what's causing the speaker problems.

Mashable has reached to Google for comment regarding the audio problems some users are reporting. It's possible a software update could fix it.

Pixel XL have audio issues.!

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Windows 10 is coming to Qualcomm's ARM processors in 2017

Next year sees Microsoft bring a natively compiled version of Windows 10, complete with an x86 emulation layer, to Qualcomm's ARM processors. Can this reinvigorate the PC industry?

Windows 10 on Qualcomm' is Microsoft's attempt to drag the PC into the 21st century. And this means interesting times ahead for Microsoft, the OEMs, and consumers.

From the information we have so far we can start to get a picture of what Microsoft has in mind. From Microsoft's blog post announcing the move, there are three phrases stand out.

Power-efficient PCs": This is a double-edged phrase. Not only does it mean systems that sip rather than gulp down power, but it also sets out user expectation. We're talking portable systems here, not desktops, and we're talking about the lower-end of the performance spectrum, not top-end stuff. In Intel-speak, we're talking Atom levels of performance, not upper-end Core i7 (more on this later). Or maybe a better comparison is to look at this as a Surface 3 replacement, as opposed to Surface Pro 4.

Cellular networks": This phrase appears a few times in the announcement, and it's significant. Wi-Fi and Ethernet are currently the primary ways that Windows systems connect to the internet, but this is pretty old-school -- and not to mention restrictive -- compared to the freedoms that smartphone and tablet users get by connecting to cellular networks. Microsoft wants to change this.

eSIM technology": Forget about SIMs and SIM slots, Microsoft is focused on eSIM. Not only does this mean greater flexibility for consumers to pick and choose networks that suit their needs, but is also simplifies things for OEMs.

Right here we see Microsoft innovating, and changing what a PC is, but just as with the Surface Studio, doing it in small steps so as not to scare or confuse the market. This is far more innovative than Touch Bars and the "thinner and lighter" mantra that Apple is pushing.

We're looking at a true 21st century PC.

Additionally, according to my ZDNet colleague Mary Jo Foley, Microsoft will "offer Windows 10 on Qualcomm to OEMs across a variety of categories, including 6-, 10-, and 14-inch categories." This again gives us an idea of the types of systems this is being aimed at. Normally that 14-inch screen size is the cut-off between mixed-use and high-end laptops, so this again fits in with the "power-efficient PCs" theme.

Microsoft does have a video of Windows 10 running on a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chip running at 1.59GHz, and things do seem to be running pretty smoothly. And there are some interesting tidbits in the video worth noting.

First, here are the system specs:

This shows the system connecting to a domain controller, a key enterprise feature:

Here we get a look at system performance under the load of running Microsoft Edge:

Here's the system running Photoshop CC:

Despite being a mixed-use system, the Qualcomm 820 silicon seems to have enough power to handle basic tasks in Photoshop (be aware that opening a single-layer file consisting of only a PNG and applying a filter isn't all that demanding a Photoshop task).

Three things will play a pivotal part in whether Windows 10 on Qualcomm will be a success:

1- After the Windows RT debacle, and then numerous stop-starts and refreshes that went nowhere with Windows Mobile, can Microsoft convince OEMs to take this seriously?
2-Can Microsoft and the OEMs successfully communicate to buyers the strengths and weaknesses of Windows 10 on Qualcomm systems? (I already feel that Microsoft boasting about running Photoshop on the system is the wrong message to push -- these systems need to stand on their own, not just be another type of PC).
3-Do consumers care enough to look up from their existing smartphones and tablets?
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Docker is making new Docker betas available for Microsoft's Azure

Docker is rolling out new public betas of its Docker app for Windows 10 and Mac, as well as private betas of Docker 1.12 for Azure and AWS.

Docker is making new Docker betas available for Microsoft's Azure, Amazon's AWS, Windows 10 and the Mac available today, June 20.

The two sets of betas (cloud and clients) seem related in that they share the same goals of enabling developers to move apps from laptops to Docker staging and production environments seamlessly and across a variety of hardware and operating systems.

Docker for AWS and Azure are to ops what Docker for Mac and Windows are to developers: The best way to deploy, operate and upgrade secure and optimized Docker IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) installations," said Docker officials in a blog post published on the first day of the DockerCon 2016 confab in Seattle.

Docker is an open source engine that automates application deployment. Docker uses containers, in lieu of virtual machines, to enable multiple applications to be run at once on the same server.

From Docker's blog post about the availability of the Azure and AWS beta:

Docker for AWS and Azure both start a fleet of Docker 1.12 Engines with swarm mode enabled out of the box. Swarm mode means that the individual Docker engines form into a self-organizing, self-healing swarm, distributed across availability zones for durability. Docker 1.12 also introduces powerful new concepts for running complex multi-container apps including: Service deployment API with health checks and rolling updates, built-in container-aware load balancing, and node communication secured with TLS Transport Layer Security out of the box.

The swarm can be scaled seamlessly with new worker nodes joining or leaving as required."

The Docker for AWS and Azure betas are private. Today's new Docker betas for Windows 10 and Mac are public. Docker launched the "limited" Windows 10 and Mac Docker previews in March.

Since June 2014, Microsoft has made it possible for users to run Docker apps on Linux on Azure. More recently, Microsoft has partnered with Docker to bring Docker support to Windows Server.

Microsoft's Azure Container Service (ACS), which Microsoft made generally available in April, allows developers to orchestrate applications using Apache Mesos or Docker Swarm. Under the hood, ACS allows users to create, configure and manage a cluster of virtual machines that are preconfigured to run containerized applications.
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Do you need 32GB of RAM!

Apple's decision to not offer a MacBook Pro with 32 gigabytes of RAM has ignited a debate about how much RAM is too much RAM.

Do you need 32 gigabytes of RAM,?

Apple's decision to make 16 gigabytes the upper ceiling on its new MacBook Pro laptops has kicked off a debate about how much RAM is enough RAM, and how much is too much.

So, do you need 32 gigabytes of RAM,?

Probably not,.

I'm sitting in front of a MacBook Pro kitted out with 16 gigabytes of RAM, and I've been firing up and switching between a wide variety of applications for the past ten minutes -- Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom, Microsoft Word and Excel, VMware Workstation, VLC Player, iTunes, Apple Safari with a dozen tabs open, Mozilla Firefox with a couple of dozen tabs open, Twitter, and a few more random apps -- and I'm nowhere near hitting 16 gigabytes.

How much effort - and how many running applications - would it take to consume all the free RAM? Security researcher Jonathan Zdziarski had more patience that I did and actually did manage to push a system to its limits by running a whole raft of different applications in a way that really isn't representative of "normal" usage.

But ... ( there's always a "but").

Notice how Google Chrome isn't on my list.

That's because Chrome is a massive RAM hog.

Firing up the beast with a dozen tabs open adds gigabytes to the amount of memory used, anywhere up to five gigabytes in testing I've been carrying out). That's a lot of RAM usage. But 16 gigabytes is still more than enough to cope with this, especially given how well modern operating systems manage memory (yes, everything I've written so far applies equally to both macOS and Windows).

Also, are you really going to pay top dollar for 32 gigabytes of RAM to run Google Chrome? Seriously, just bookmark the sites and close some tabs.

So, there you have it. You don't need 32 gigabytes of RAM for a desktop or notebook system.

But ... (you weren't expecting that, were you).

Here's the thing; if you feel that you need 32 gigabytes of RAM, then for whatever reason, you think that you need 32 gigabytes of RAM. Maybe you run a lot of buggy, memory leaky software, or maybe you do run three different virtual machines while simultaneously working on three different Photoshop compositions.

Or maybe you just want the bragging rights of having 32 gigabytes.

In which case, go buy yourself a system that offers you truly want. It's your money and if you've really convinced yourself that you need 32 gigabytes of RAM, you won't be happy until you have it (I speak as someone who consistently overspends on technology).

So, the bottom line is that you probably don't need 32 gigabytes of RAM, but if you really feel strongly about the matter, go get yourself a system with 32 gigabytes of RAM | or a super-fast SSD, or the latest and greatest CPU or graphics card | and enjoy it.,,
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Google Daydream View VR headset available Price $79

Google showed its VR future for the masses during a hardware event in San Francisco, Calif. on Tuesday. Available in November, View will ship free with the Pixel while supplies last

Google announced at an event in San Francisco, Calif., on Tuesday the Daydream View, its first virtual-reality headset for the Daydream VR platform. It'll begin shipping in November for $79.

Google announced Daydream VR in May at Google I/O, and Tuesday's announcement marks the first hardware for the platform. Google is joining a race of hardware makers, including Samsung and Facebook, trying to make virtual reality mainstream.,

Daydream View, which pairs with the phone through NFC to beam content, uses a fabric cover for looks and comfort - a deviation from the plastic finishes we've seen from Google's competitors.,

Of course there's always a caveat. Google said Daydream View will currently only work with its new Pixel smartphone lineup also announced at the event. Google will ship a free Daydream View with a Pixel purchase while supplies last.,

Google didn't provide any details on expanded support outside of the new lineup.

Google claims Daydream View is 30-percent lighter than most VR headsets on the market and boasts being hand washable. Daydream View even fits over eyeglasses.

The Daydream View will come in Slate, Snow and Crimson colors. Pre-orders start this month.

To connect to Daydream View, your phone drops in, auto aligns, and auto connects. The Daydream View does not have to be plugged in to anything, operating independently.
The Daydream View controller features gyros sensitive enough for drawing, Google claims. The controller can fit inside the View for storage when a phone is not dropped in.
Google announced new Daydream apps including: a Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them tie-in wand game; Star Chart, an educational astronomy app; a first-person space shooter game; movies in VR from the major streaming sites, and more.
Google Play Movies, Google Photos, Street View, Maps and YouTube will have Daydream support.
Google says 50 apps will be available by the end of year.
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New MacBook Pro with Touch Bar suffers from serious battery issues

All-day battery life? Only if your workday is about three hours long, claim some owners of Apple's new MacBook Pro.,

Owners of Apple's new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar are complaining that they're not getting anywhere near the stated battery life.,

Apple's own support community, along with sites such as Reddit, are ablaze with complaints that the battery is not delivering the promised 10 hours.,

A user posting to Apple's support forum claimed their battery ran down in three hours.

I just received my new 15" MacBook Pro with touch bar. The battery life is horrible!!! I have Safari open with 6 tabs and with 95% battery, I am told that I have under 3 hours of battery life left! I thought these things were supposed to get 10 hours? I ran the battery down in 3 hours last night only browsing the web. I wasn't watching videos, just browsing. Is there something wrong with my laptop.?

It is currently unclear what might be at the root of this problem, but an issue with the discrete Radeon graphics chip is suspected ( although far from confirmed ).,

So far, beyond keeping usage to a minimum or keeping the MacBook Pro connected to a power outlet, there are no fixes. It is likely that users will have to wait for a patch from Apple ( or return the MacBook Pro for an exchange or refund ).,
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Here's how to get back the MacBook battery feature Apple doesn't want you to have

Rather than fix the time remaining estimate in its Battery menu bar widget, Apple removed it in the macOS 10.12.2 update. Here's how to get it back.,

Following complaints from owners of the new MacBook Pro that they weren't getting the battery life they expected, Apple decided that the problem wasn't with the hardware but with the code in macOS that calculated how long the battery would last.

But rather than fix the code, Apple decided to remove it. If you relied on that feature - no matter how inaccurate it was - then tough.,

Well, perhaps not. If you still want an estimate of how long your battery might last, then you have to turn to third-party apps for the answer. Here are two apps that will bring this feature back.

The first - and a firm favorite of mine - is iStat Menus 5., Along with showing you an estimate of how long your battery will last, iStat Menus 5 allows you to nerd out on a ton of data relating to your Mac, from real-time CPU, GPU and network usage, to temperature monitoring and the health of your storage drives.,

A single license costs $18, but there's a free trial for you to see what it's all about.

iStat Menus 5
The second app is Battery Health 2. This is a free app (with in-app purchasing to unlock more advanced features) that tells you pretty much all there is to know about your Mac's battery.

Battery Health 2

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Western Digital's revamped Raspberry Pi hard drives lineup

It's never been easier to equip your Raspberry Pi with a hard drive."

Western Digital's third-generation WD PiDrive Foundation Edition makes it a snap to kit out your Raspberry Pi with a hard drive storage solution.

The WD PiDrive Foundation Edition drives come with a microSD card preloaded with custom software based on the Raspberry Pi Foundation's Raspbian OS and NOOBS OS installer that allows quick and simple installation of Raspbian PIXEL and Raspbian Lite onto the drive.

"It is similar to about 30 years ago when hard disk drives went mainstream in PC's - no more swapping floppy disks in and out to load the OS, applications, and data," said Dave Chew, chief engineer, WDLabs. "This third-generation WD PiDrive solution uses a USB HDD or USB Flash drive to run the OS and host multiple Raspberry Pi projects instead of having to do this on a collection of microSD cards. We have combined our technologies to work as a team."

"Because a hard drive has greater storage capacity than a microSD card, this allows for an exclusive feature called Project Spaces, which enables installation of multiple instances of the core operating system (up to five), creating independent spaces for project creation or support for multiple users with isolated work spaces."

The WD PiDrive Foundation Edition is offered in three capacity versions: a 375GB disk drive, a 250GB disk drive, and a 64GB flash drive. The 375GB and 250GB drives include a WD PiDrive cable that ensures optimal powering of the hard drive and Raspberry Pi.
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