Google Home just caught up to Amazon Echo in a major way

It’s been a big week for Google Home owners. Firstly, the company began rolling out support for hands-free voice calling, and now it has opened up wider support for the world’s favourite music streaming service.

As promised back at Google I/O in June, Spotify Free users can now play music via the smart home speaker, as well as paying Premium customers.

Thanks to the update, those unwilling to fork out for their monthly streaming will be able to request hits, simply by adding “on Spotify” to their voice commands.

The rollout also allows Spotify Free users to Cast music to other speakers around the home, so long as they’re linked to the Home speaker.

If you wish to add your Spotify Free account, you can head to the Google Home app and browse to the music section (via Android Police).

 

Provided you have the app installed on your smartphone, you’ll be able to login in with your ad-supported Spotify Free account and away you go.

You’ll have to put up with lower quality audio, as is the case when you don’t pay for your music, but it’s a small price to pay.

How about Apple Music?

Full Spotify support comes following Deezer integration this month.

As far as music is concerned, Google Home is beginning to catch up with the Amazon Echo, which has long supported a wider range of options.

Both are still missing Apple Music. It’s hardly a surprise when Apple is going to be pushing its subscribers (possibily with extreme force) towards the HomePod.

Xbox One X release date, specs, price, games, pre-orders and everything we know

Xbox One X release date, specs, price, games and everything we know
Xbox One X, previously known as Project Scorpio, is Microsoft’s 4K UHD console coming later this year. We’ve compiled everything you need to know about the new system including its specs, release date, price and more.

Microsoft has fully spilled the beans on the Xbox One X, and it looks like it has been worth the wait.

For starters, the Xbox One X will be fully backwards-compatible with Xbox One games – and offer improved performance on these titles to boot.

On the technical side, there was some new information about the specs. The processor is cooled using a liquid vapour chamber, a technique that’s becoming more common on more compact devices. There’s also a brand-new power-management system for the most efficient delivery of electricity seen on an Xbox console.

And finally, Microsoft revealed the Xbox One X’s price and release date. Read on for full details of everything we now know about the Xbox One X.

Xbox One X pre-orders: when can I buy one?
You can now pre-order the Xbox One X ahead of its November release. Microsoft confirmed specific details during its recent Gamescom presentation, which is also saw the reveal of the Xbox One X: Project Scorpio Edition.

This hugely limited hardware is now available to pre-order, although many retailers have already ran out of stock. At the time of writing, it can still be pre-ordered directly from the Microsoft Store and GAME. It maintains the £449.99 price of the standard console, meaning this is something hardcore Xbox fans will want to have in their collection.

Xbox One X Specs: How powerful is the Xbox One X?
Here’s a quick breakdown of all the key Xbox One X specs:

CPU: Eight-core 2.3GHz processor
GPU: 40 compute units at 1172MHz
RAM: 12GB GDDR5 (shared between system and GPU)
Bandwidth: 326GB/s
Storage: 1TB hard disk
Disc: UHD Blu-ray player
Video: 4K output, HDR 10 support
Audio: DTS 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1 and Atmos, PCM 2.0, 5.1, 7.1
Wireless: Bluetooth, dual-band Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct, IR blaster
Connectors: 2x HDMI (2.0b out, 1.4b in), 3x USB 3.0 ports, IR out, S/PDIF, Ethernet
First, let’s look at the headline Xbox One X specs before moving onto how this will affect gaming resolution and performance.

The One X uses an eight-core processor, likely from AMD although not officially stated, running at 2.3GHz. Seasoned PC gamers might not think this sounds like a lot and, indeed, it isn’t. But keep in mind console processors are packed into an incredibly tight space, and more GHz means more heat. This is still a substantial boost over the Xbox One, whose eight cores ran at 1.75GHz.

iPhone 8’s face-scanning feature may work even when phone lays flat

The iPhone 8 is fast-becoming the most leaked phone in history, with the mountain of rumours and reports growing ever-higher.

At the end of July we had a leak from none other than Apple itself, which accidentally pushed firmware for its upcoming HomePod smart speaker and inadvertently released details of forthcoming products.

That included the iPhone 8, which showed up in crude design outlines hidden within the code itself.

And now, it seems the code is still providing us with info about the upcoming handset, this time connected to the oft-rumoured facial recognition tech.

The HomePod’s firmware itself showed that the iPhone will come with infra-red face unlock in BiometricKit – a developer tool for biometric sensor tech.

But it seems the facial recognition, internally referred to as “Pearl”, will be more capable than existing versions of the feature, if the latest revelations from the code are accurate.

Instead of having to pick the phone up for the feature to work, code suggests it will be able to scan a user’s face and unlock a device while the phone is laying flat on a surface (via).

As iHelp BR found, code strings found in the firmware make reference to “AXRestingPearlUnlock” and “com.apple.accessibility.resting.pearl.unlock”.

Apple is expected to introduce the facial recognition feature, perhaps in place of the Touch ID fingerprint scanner, which will likely be affected by the new, almost full-face screen design.

Whether Apple will be able to integrate the fingerprint scanner into the display remains to be seen, but at this point there’s nothing to confirm that will be the case.

These code strings include “APPS_USING_PEARL” and “PEARL_AUTOLOCK”, suggesting the feature could be used to unlock specific apps and prevent particular people from using the phone.

At this point, it’s all still a bit unclear, but Apple is expected to unveil the phone in September so stay tuned.