Comment: Google Play Movies needs a way to upgrade purchased movies to better formats

As DVD and Blu-ray sales continue to drop, more people are turning to online, digital subscription platforms like Netflix and Hulu to consume content. But if you want to own this content, you have to purchase it through services such as Google Play Movies and iTunes.

Now that 4K is becoming more popular, consumers might want to upgrade their movies to the best quality available, but with Play Movies, this isn’t possible…

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Moto X Style/Pure, 3 months later: Even better with Marshmallow

With any smartphone, it’s easy to get caught up in the hype. And with every phone purchase, there’s almost always a ‘honeymoon’ period for the first few weeks, where you feel excited about what the device has to offer. Tech reviewers aren’t immune to these effects either and, often, we only ever get that honeymoon period. Review units get sent back, and we don’t experience what it’s like to use the phone on a day-to-day basis for months at a time.

As much as we can test individual features for quality, and get a general overall feel for the device, nothing quite beats living with and using a device for an extended period.

I’ve been using the Moto X Style (2015 Pure Edition) for a few months now, and I love it more now than when I first unboxed it…

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Google Calendar gets updated for better handling of large events

Google Calendar is an awesome tool for organizing your various meetings, appointments, etc., but up until now, it hasn’t been the best for managing large events. Today, Google is updating its Calendar service to be more functional than ever when trying to organize and handle events that are considerably big and demanding.

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Streaming unsupported video services via Chromecast is about to get a lot better

One of a few fallbacks of using a Chromecast as your primary method of consuming television is that not all video services are supported. Most of the mainstream options, like Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, and others work fine, but there are definitely exceptions to the rule. If you’re trying to stream Amazon Prime Video for example, you have to cast the entire tab from the desktop Chrome browser on a Mac or PC, which until now has resulted in poor performance in most cases.

Well, that’s changing. A new feature recently added to the Dev Channel of the Google Chrome browser basically sends the video stream for these unsupported streams directly to your Chromecast… more…

Huawei’s Honor 5X is a peek at the future of budget phones, hopefully with better software

I’ve been using my Honor 5X on and off for about a week now, and my thoughts on the phone pretty much align with what everyone else is saying: The phone’s significance is not that it’s an amazingly great phone, but that it’s yet another inch toward driving down the price of good phones in general.

In the future, a “budget” phone (you know, the 0 Moto Gs of the world) will offer everything that today’s flagships tout. They will be made of metal, they will have fingerprint sensors, they will have more than capable processors, they will have great cameras, and they will have good software.

To me, the Honor 5X is our first peek at such a future. But it’s definitely not without its flaws…

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Chrome 48 released to stable channel, better performance coming in future updates

Chrome on Mac, Window, and Linux is being updated this week to version 48. The latest update contains the usual bug fixes and improvements for the desktop browser, but mobile devices will see the bulk of the improvements. Future updates to Chrome, we’ve learned, will bring a new compression algorithm that will help the browser load faster pages and use less power on all platforms.

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Opinion: The iPhone SE should pave the way for smaller, better designed Android phones

Yesterday morning, at a relatively low key event without much fanfare and following the almost ritual avalanche of leaked schematics and what have you, Apple officially announced the iPhone SE. With a chassis virtually identical to that of the iPhone 5s – and 5 before it, for that matter – the smaller-sized iPhone came back in all of its four-inch glory, and not without raising eyebrows.

According to the company’s claims, however, about thirty million people bought a 4-inch iPhone last year, amounting to almost 8% of all Apple phones sold. Considering the massive marketing push made to advertise the four bigger-screened iPhones introduced in the past couple of years, that certainly is no small feat, indicating that there indeed still is interest for smaller devices, a market the Cupertino giant would be naive to ignore.

Sure, the much more variegated Android landscape has offered a few notable options in years past, but those were either afterthoughts, less powerful ‘mini’ versions of established flagships, or devices explicitly designed to be sub-par when compared to their siblings. The iPhone SE may lack 3D Touch and newer-generation Touch ID, but the rest of the package is clearly inspired by the iPhone 6s’ spec-sheet, and nothing says that this smaller sibling isn’t here to stay.

And that begs the question of how this is going to impact the Android landscape. Are Android manufacturers going to follow suit the coming years, or instead pray for the SE to be a one hit wonder (or a complete dud) – and thus something less to worry about?

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Google Deep Learning system diagnoses cancer better than a pathologist with unlimited time

It’s hard to think of a job more important that determining whether or not a patient has cancer. Yet the magnitude of the task facing pathologists is so vast that agreement between different clinicians studying the same slides can be as low as 48%.

There can be many slides per patient, each of which is 10+ gigapixels when digitized at 40X magnification. Imagine having to go through a thousand 10 megapixel (MP) photos, and having to be responsible for every pixel. Needless to say, this is a lot of data to cover, and often time is limited.

Which is why Google is working on automating the task with a Deep Learning AI project – with incredibly exciting results …

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