This week’s top stories: Project Fi ‘Travel Trolley’, Google Home, ZTE Max XL, S8 issues, Larry Page-backed Kitty Hawk flying EV, & more

In this week’s top stories: Project Fi’s ‘Travel Trolley’ vending machines, Google Home updates and recommendations, ZTE Max XL arrives, Larry Page-backed Kitty Hawk demos its flying EV, and much more.  more…

LG Watch Style & Watch Sport review roundup: evolutionary software, standard hardware

Google and LG announced the LG Watch Style and Watch Sport this morning, and there are plenty of reviews for the new smartwatches already pouring in. We’ve yet to get our hands on units (our reviews are on the way!), but so far it looks like the consensus is about what I expected: There’s lots of new useful features in the latest — albeit delayed — version of Android Wear, but in a variety of ways, these watches don’t show it off as well as they could… more…

MediaTek announces new processor designed specifically for smartwatches

Taiwanese processor manufacturer, MediaTek has announced that it will soon begin producing a brand new compact processor built specifically for smartwatches. The company claims that it’s the first system-in-package chip to offer GPS, dual-mode Bluetooth LE and a MIPI-supported high resolution display all in one unit.

Although exact power and specifications aren’t mentioned, MediaTek claims that its chip is 41 percent smaller than solution from its competitors and can also enable much longer battery life. The press release states that devices with the MediaTek MT2523 chip can last more than a week on a single charge. If true, this could be a game-changer. Manufacturers will be able to make smaller, slimmer watches that last more than just the standard two days on a full charge.

“The MT2523, with its combination low power and rich features, marks a significant step forward for the smart watch and wristband industries, said  JC Hsu, MediaTek’s corporate vice president and general manager of IoT business unit. “Power combined with efficiency has always been the hallmark of MediaTek technology solutions and we are leading the charge in bringing this know-how to IoT products.”

MediaTek’s MT2523 product family is based around a highly integrated system in package (SiP) that contains a micro controller unit (MCU), dual-mode Bluetooth, GPS and a power management unit (PMU). The MCU enables wearable devices with lower power consumption and smaller form factors than Android Wear. The display component supports MIPI-DSI and serial interfaces, resulting in a high-resolution mobile screen. It includes 2D capabilities of true color, per pixel alpha channel and anti-aliasing fonts, plus 1-bit index color to save memory and computing power.MT2523’s low power comes from its ARM® Cortex®-M4 processor, which combines high-efficiency signal processing functionality with low power, low cost and ease-of-use benefits.

The new SiP will be available to manufacturers at some point during the first half of this year.

SwiftKey adds neural network word predictions to its flagship keyboard app [Video]

SwiftKey launched its Neural Alpha keyboard in October of last year, and today — almost a year later — the company is introducing neural network-powered word predictions to its namesake main app. This means better word predictions and autocorrect, since the app now better understands the context of what you’re trying to say…


9to5Toys Lunch Break: Acer Chromebook 15 $229, BlackBerry PRIV (unlocked) $300, more

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Acer’s huge Chromebook 15, 1080p display, 9 hour battery life – just 9 ( off)


Unlocked AT&T BlackBerry PRIV down to 0 shipped (Reg. 9) | eBay


Pebble Steel Smartwatch for iOS and Android shipped, Apple Watches up to 0 off, more


Amazon Gold Box saves tons upgrading your Mac/PC/Network setup: Dell 24″ display: 5, more

LG’s 27-inch 4K FreeSync Monitor brings massive work space to your battlestation: 0 shipped (Reg. 0)


Daily Deals: Blue Yeti USB Microphone in Silver 0, Logitech G302 Daedalus Prime Optical Mouse , more


Apple’s latest 13-inch MacBook Air 1.6GHz/8GB/128GB drops to 0 shipped (Reg. 9)


How-to: Put a USB Charging port just about anywhere, without AC power for as little as (Solar+Battery) 

Giotto’s Rocket Air Blaster is the best way to keep your Mac clean for the money

Review: At just , this Leather Loop Band for Apple Watch looks great and won’t break the bank [Gallery]



Smartphone Accessories: OLALA 6000mAh Power Bank with Built-in Lightning Cable Prime shipped (Reg. ), more



This flash drive adds another 32GB to your iPhone or iPad thanks to Lightning + USB 3.0 connectivity: (Reg. )

Ditch that ugly plastic flash drive for an all-metal USB 3.0 Samsung from Prime shipped (up to 60% off)


Facebook bolstering Android Notifications tab with sports scores, birthdays, more

If you’re a Facebook user, you’re definitely familiar with the Notifications tab in the company’s Android app. Although it has barely evolved from being a simple stream of your notifications since its introduction many years ago, Facebook has today come out to outline some changes on the way to make it more useful and personalized. more…

Snapseed 2.14 finally allows for exporting to SD cards, Google Photos adds enhanced grid view

Google’s photo apps are getting a number of updates just before the holiday season. Advanced editor Snapseed makes a number of tweaks to existing tools and adds the option to export to SD cards. Meanwhile, Google Photos is adding an enhanced grid view to make your best photos more prominent.


Samsung is offering Dominos to get people to install Android updates in India

report earlier this week detailed how Google is pressuring OEMs and carriers to speed up Android updates, but it goes without saying that people generally aren’t very hesitant to update their phones (unless some new emoji are involved). To address this, Samsung is offering incentives — like Dominos — to install OS updates.


Hands-on with Lenovo’s super-thin flagship Moto Z w/ backplate modules [Video]

Lenovo announced the first line of Moto phones since its acquisition of Motorola today, and there was not a single mention of the company from which the new devices got their namesake. The Moto X is gone replaced by the Moto Z and the Moto Z Force — the former being the true flagship with a super-thin build and the latter being a more rugged version with a better camera, a little more thickness, and a shatterproof screen.

Let’s take a look at the regular Moto Z, which in my opinion is the nicest phone Lenovo announced today…