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Amazon is killing its Alexa-connected Cloud Cam, will replace customers’ dead devices with a Blink Mini – TechCrunch

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Amazon is shutting down its smart home camera, the Cloud Cam, and its companion apps, the company informed customers via a recent email. Launched in 2017, the nearly five-year-old Cloud Cam was one of Amazon’s first entries into the area of Alexa-connected home security devices, arriving just ahead of the retailer’s acquisition of connected camera and doorbell maker, Blink, and, soon thereafter, smart doorbell maker Ring. Now, Amazon says it’s focusing its efforts on Ring and Blink, which is why it no longer intends to support Cloud Cam.

“With your help over the last five years, Cloud Cam has served as a reliable indoor security camera and a hub for Amazon Key-compatible smart locks that work with Alexa,” the email to existing customers states. “As the number of Alexa smart home devices continues to grow, we are focusing efforts on Ring, Blink, and other technologies that make your home smarter and simplify your everyday routines.”

The email goes on to inform customers that, starting on December 2, 2022, they’ll no longer be able to use Cloud Cam or its associated apps. Until then, users will still be able to download their video recordings. But as of the shutdown date, all video history will be deleted and the service will no longer function.

Fortunately for impacted customers, they won’t just be left with a useless device as a result of the shutdown, after having paid more than $100 to purchase their Cloud Cam smart camera. Instead, Amazon is doing the right thing in this case by offering a replacement device for free. The company says it will provide Cloud Cam users with a complimentary Blink Mini and one-year Blink Subscription Plus Plan. The Blink Mini is an indoor security camera with 1080p HD video, 2.4 GHz Wifi connectivity, night vision, motion detection, two-way audio and, like Cloud Cam, it works with Alexa devices.

These specs are similar to Cloud Cam, which had also offered 1080p HD video, night vision and two-way audio. However, Cloud Cam’s subscription plan differs from Blink’s. Today, Cloud Cam users can choose from three priced tiers of $6.99, $9.99 or $19.99 per month, based on how many cameras they have (three, five or 10) and how long they want to store video clips — either a week, two weeks or a month, respectively. Blink’s subscriptions, meanwhile, include a free tier without video history, or a $3/mo or $10/mo paid plan — Basic or Plus — each of which offers a 60-day unlimited video history. But only the Plus subscription allows for more than one camera.

Amazon said it will send out a separate email ahead of Cloud Cam’s shutdown to inform customers how to claim their complimentary replacement device.

In the meantime, Cloud Cam users can back up their videos from the “Recorded Clips” section in the app’s top-right menu. They’ll need to click on each video and then click the Download icon to save the video. They can also delete recordings from here or from Amazon’s “Manage Your Content and Devices” online hub.

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vivo iQOO 10 series to be the first with a Dimensity 9000+ smartphone – GSMArena.com news – GSMArena.com

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The iQOO 10 is already in the rumor mill, and we expect to learn more as early as next month. Latest information coming from trustworthy sources claimed the series will be the first with a phone, powered by a Dimensity 9000+ chipset.


iQOO 9 Pro

iQOO 9 Pro

The Mediatek platform was announced just last week as a minor improvement over the Dimensity 9000. It has a slight CPU and GPU boost, as well as updates of the signal processing and 5G modem. The high-performance Cortex-X2 core goes from 3.05 GHz to 3.2 GHz, and the Taiwanese chip maker promised devices with the platform as early as Q3.

It is safe to assume the hype and teasers will begin next week which is also the beginning of the new quarter. We have no information if the iQOO 10 or the iQOO 10 Pro smartphone will run on the Dimensity 9000+ but it could be either of them – we have to see whether vivo is also going to use the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1.

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Apple's entry-level MacBook Pro M2 has slower SSD speeds than its M1 counterpart – The Verge

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Apple’s new 13-inch MacBook Pro M2 base model appears to have slower SSD speeds than its M1 predecessor. MacRumors reports that YouTubers Max Tech and Created Tech have both tested the 256GB base M2 model and discovered the SSD’s read speeds are around 50 precent slower than the M1 MacBook Pro with 256GB of storage. Write speeds are reportedly around 30 percent slower.

Testing was completed using Blackmagic’s Disk Speed Test app, and Max Tech even disassembled the 13-inch M2 MacBook Pro and found that Apple is only using a single NAND flash storage chip. The M1 MacBook Pro uses two 128GB NAND chips, and multiple chips can enable faster SSD speeds in parallel.

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Other 13-inch M2 MacBook Pro models with larger SSD storage don’t appear to suffer from slower SSD speeds. Another YouTuber with a 512GB M2 model ran tests and found similar speeds to the M1 version, and most reviewers were seeded with fast 1TB models and didn’t find any speed issues.

If SSD speeds are an issue for you on the base 13-inch MacBook Pro, you’ll need to stump up an extra $200 for the faster 512GB model. But if you’re willing to do that, you might want to wait and see what’s inside the new MacBook Air. The base model will be priced slightly less at $1,199, but if it has slower SSD speeds then there’s an identically-priced $1,499 512GB model that will presumably have the two NAND chips. Unlike the M2 MacBook Pro, the M2 MacBook Air also gets a big redesign — including new colors, a larger display, a 1080p webcam, and MagSafe charging.

We’ve reached out to Apple to comment on the SSD changes in the MacBook Pro, and we’ll update you accordingly if we hear back.

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Amazon's Alexa could soon mimic voice of dead relatives – Prince Rupert Northern View – The Northern View

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Amazon’s Alexa might soon replicate the voice of family members – even if they’re dead.

The capability, unveiled at Amazon’s Re:Mars conference in Las Vegas, is in development and would allow the virtual assistant to mimic the voice of a specific person based on a less than a minute of provided recording.

Rohit Prasad, senior vice president and head scientist for Alexa, said at the event Wednesday that the desire behind the feature was to build greater trust in the interactions users have with Alexa by putting more “human attributes of empathy and affect.”

“These attributes have become even more important during the ongoing pandemic when so many of us have lost ones that we love,” Prasad said. “While AI can’t eliminate that pain of loss, it can definitely make their memories last.”

READ MORE: Amazon hikes prices for Prime membership

In a video played by Amazon at the event, a young child asks “Alexa, can Grandma finish reading me the Wizard of Oz?” Alexa then acknowledges the request, and switches to another voice mimicking the child’s grandmother. The voice assistant then continues to read the book in that same voice.

To create the feature, Prasad said the company had to learn how to make a “high-quality voice” with a shorter recording, opposed to hours of recording in a studio. Amazon did not provide further details about the feature, which is bound to spark more privacy concerns and ethical questions about consent.

Amazon’s push comes as competitor Microsoft earlier this week said it was scaling back its synthetic voice offerings and setting stricter guidelines to “ensure the active participation of the speaker” whose voice is recreated. Microsoft said Tuesday it is limiting which customers get to use the service — while also continuing to highlight acceptable uses such as an interactive Bugs Bunny character at AT&T stores.

“This technology has exciting potential in education, accessibility, and entertainment, and yet it is also easy to imagine how it could be used to inappropriately impersonate speakers and deceive listeners,” said a blog post from Natasha Crampton, who heads Microsoft’s AI ethics division.

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