The $399 Sonos Move Is the Company’s First Portable Speaker


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Sonos pioneered multi-room audio long before Chromecast, AirPlay, and the other newer systems arrived on the scene. With all the Sonos speakers over the years, none of them have been portable until now. The aptly named Sonos Move is the first speaker from the company that you can haul around outside the house, but it’ll also work with your existing in-home Sonos system. 

The Sonos MoveSEEAMAZON_ET_135 See Amazon ET commerce is not to be confused with the recently released Sonos One. that smaller speaker supports voice control via Alexa and Google Assistant, and it’s “portable” in that it’s small and light. You can move the One around your house, but it needs an external power source. The Sonos Move is a big, powerful speaker with its own internal battery and Bluetooth support for easy streaming away from Wi-Fi. The Sonos Move also supports Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa when it’s connected to Wi-Fi. 

The Move is almost 10-inches tall, and it weighs more than six pounds (about 3 kilograms). So, it’s not exactly convenient to carry around like a smaller Bluetooth speaker, but you don’t have to take the whole thing with you. The Sonos Move has a handle in the molded plastic shell, and it disconnects from the charging base when you pick it up.

The base has two pogo pins that charge the speaker whenever it’s plugged in, ensuring you’ve got a full battery when you take the speaker on the go. There’s also a USB Type-C port on the back to juice the speaker up when away from the dock. Sonos made the battery replaceable, so you can get a new one if you wear the original out. Although, that’ll take a while; Sonos promises up to 900 charge cycles. 

Sonos has always stressed audio quality in its speakers, which is why the Move is so weighty. It has two class-D amplifiers powering the tweeter and midrange woofer. Sonos claims the system is powerful enough to overcome audio falloff common when using speakers in outdoor spaces. The Move also has an integrated TruePlay tuning, which automatically adjusts the speaker’s output to the space. Previous Sonos speakers required you to set up TrueTone by walking around the room with a phone, but the Move can use its microphones to do that for you. 

The Sonos Move is available for pre-order today at $399, and it will ship at the end of the month.

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Sonos gets portable – gpgmail


This is the Sonos that many have no doubt been waiting for. With the Move, the premium audio company is finally getting into the portable bluetooth speaker market — but is doing so in a way that is decidedly Sonos.

There are, of course, already plenty of Bluetooth speakers to choose from. Many are cheaper, smaller and lighter weight. But none are, well, as Sonos as the Move. I got a glimpse of the speaker at a recent event in New York City, and was honestly a surprised by the size of the device at first. I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting from the various rumors that have have been floating around over the last few months, but the new speaker is definitely bigger than that.

At six pounds, this isn’t a toss it in your backpack and head down to the beach speaker. Nor is it a shove it in your suitcase so you have something to listen to at the hotel during your work trip speaker. Instead, the speaker is best positioned as augmenting a home setup. It’s a compelling device for barbecuing in the backyard, or taking out to the garage.

Honestly, it was probably a savvy move on Sonos’s part. Again, there are billion cheaper, more portable bluetooth speakers on the market. Sonos clearly knows exactly where its audience is with this one. That means, among other things, not sacrificing sound quality. And, indeed, it sounds excellent.

Sonos really wanted to share the specific engineering decisions behind the design choices here, but I’ll spare you the specifics and instead note that the Move has two class-d amplifiers, a downward fitting tweeter, a midwoofer and four far-field mics for noise cancellation and use with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

Sonos Move 6

The most impressive bit of engineering onboard, however, is the inclusion of Trueplay, which uses microphones to determine the acoustic proper tuning for the speaker. The company demoed a fairly extreme scenario wherein the speaker was essentiality stuffed into a bookcase and surrounded on five sides by wood. It adjusted and performed admirably. The feature impressively also works outdoors.

On that note, the Move is rated IP56 water resistant, which means a little outdoor moisture won’t hurt it. It can also take a pretty hearty drop — which isn’t something too many premium speakers can say. Also worth noting is the battery, which should get up to 10 hours on a charge. Flipping the speaker into Suspend mode, meanwhile, keeps the battery alive up to five days.

The Move arrives in stores September 24, priced at $399.


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Zhiyun’s Smooth-Q2 aims to be the most portable quality smartphone gimbal available – gpgmail


Zhiyun has been steadily rolling out new gimbals for smartphones and dedicated cameras for a few years now, and the company’s quality and feature set has improved dramatically over time. Now, it’s launching the Zhiyun Smooth-Q2 smartphone gimbal on Kickstarter, with the aim of delivering a “truly pocket-size” gimbal that has all the bells and whistles you could ever want or need.

The Smooth-Q2 is indeed a portable powerhouse – the company sent me a pre-production unit to test, and though it’s not the final shipping hardware, it already works and feels like a polished, quality device. The first thing you’ll notice right away about the Smooth-Q2 is its size – it can indeed slip inside a coat or pant pocket, though you’ll need a fairly deep one to make that work. Even if you don’t necessarily have a compatible pocket, it’s hard to beat the Smooth-Q2 for sheer portability, and that’s bound to save you some packing space when you’re getting ready for your next trip.

There’s another recently released small-size smartphone gimbal on the market – the DJI Osmo Mobile 3. That has a clever method of folding down for easier packing, but the Smooth-Q2’s design, while similar in overall footprint, means it’s much easier to put in your actual pocket (or pack in a bag’s side pocket) than is the DJI version. And while both are incredibly easy to balance even if you’re a gimbal novice, I found the Zhiyun was actually the simpler of the two.

The Zhiyun Smooth-Q2 also feels more solidly constructed, though its simpler controls (it doesn’t have a trigger around or a zoom lever) may leave some creators wanting. There are some other advantages here, too, however – a quick release spring-loaded clip means you can detach your smartphone quickly for other uses without unbalancing the gimbal, and go right back to shooting when you’re done. Plus, you can connect via Bluetooth and control your smartphone’s native camera app directly, instead of relying on their ZP Play app – which you can still use for features like object tracking.

The Smooth-Q2 offers 16-hours of battery life, so you should easily make it through a day without requiring power, and it can do time lapses, with or without programmed motion, a vortex mode for capturing crazy rotational footage, and an aluminum body that should be able to withstand less-than careful stowage in your bag.

In terms of quality, the Smooth-Q2 really delivers in early testing with my iPhone XS Max, and I’ve included two quick sample clips so you can see for yourself. These are shot in the gimbal’s basic PF mode, in which the camera pans as you turn the gimbal side to side.

Zhiyun’s crowdfunding these but the company’s history and reputation mean that you can count on them to deliver. The entry-level price is set at $109 U.S. for backers, which is a $30 discount off the planned retail cost, and they should ship to backers in October according to the company.

Smooth Q2 2


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The ClockworkPi GameShell is a super fun DIY spin on portable gaming – gpgmail


Portable consoles are hardly new, and thanks to the Switch, they’re basically the most popular gaming devices in the world. But ClockworkPi’s GameShell is something totally unique, and entirely refreshing when it comes to gaming on the go. This clever DIY console kit provides everything you need to assemble your own pocket gaming machine at home, running Linux-based open-source software and using an open-source hardware design that welcomes future customization.

The GameShell is the result of a successfully Kickstarter campaign, which began shipping to its backers last year and is now available to buy either direct from the company, or from Amazon. The $159.99 ($139.99 as of this writing on sale) includes everything you need to build the console, like the Clockwork Pi quad-core Cortex A7 motherboard with integrated Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 1GB of DDR3 RAM, but it comes unassembled.

You won’t have to get out the soldering iron – the circuit boards come with all components attached. But you will be assembling screen, keypad, CPU, battery and speaker modules, connecting them with included cables, and then installing them in the slick, GameBoy-esque plastic shell. This might seem like an intimidating task, depending on your level of technical expertise: I know I found myself a bit apprehensive when I opened the various boxes and laid out all the parts in front of me.

But the included instructions, which are just illustrations, like those provided by Lego or Ikea, are super easy to follow and break down the task into very manageable tasks for people of all skill levels. All told, I had mine put together in under an hour, and even though I did get in there with my teeth at one point (to remove a bit of plastic nubbin when assembling the optional Lightkey component, which adds extra function keys to the console), I never once felt overwhelmed or defeated. The time-lapse below chronicles my enter assembly process, start to finish.

What you get when you’re done is a fully functional portable gaming device, which runs Clockwork OS, a Linux-based open-source OS developed by the company. It includes Cave Storyone of the most celebrated indie games of the past couple of decades, and a number of built-in emulators (use of emulators is ethically and legally questionable, but it does provide an easy way to play some of those NES and SNES games you already own with more portability).

There’s a very active community around the GameShell that includes a number of indie games to play on the console, and tips and tricks for modifications and optimal use. It’s also designed to be a STEM educational resource, providing a great way for kids to see what’s actually happening behind the faceplate of the electronics they use everyday, and even getting started coding themselves to build software to run on the console. Loading software is easy, thanks to an included microSD storage card and the ability to easily connect via WiFi to move over software from Windows and Mac computers.

Everything about the GameShell is programable, and it features micro HDMI out, a built-in music player and Bluetooth support for headphone connection. It’s at once instantly accessible for people with very limited tech chops, and infinitely expandable and hackable for those who do want to go deeper and dig around with what else it has to offer.

Swappable face and backplates, plus open 3D models of each hardware component, mean that community-developed hardware add-ons and modifications are totally possible, too. The modular nature of the device means it can probably get even more powerful in future too, with higher capacity battery modules and improved development boards.

I’ve definitely seen and used devices like the GameShell before, but few manage to be as accessible, powerful and customizable all at once. The GameShell is also fast, has great sound and an excellent display, and it seems to be very durable with decent battery life of around three hours or slightly ore of continuous use depending on things like whether you’re using WiFi and screen brightness.


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Google’s Titan security keys come to Japan, Canada, France and the UK – gpgmail


Google today announced that its Titan Security Key kits are now available in Canada, France, Japan and the UK. Until now, these keys, which come in a kit with a Bluetooth key and a standard USB-A dongle, were only available in the U.S.

The keys provide an extra layer of security on top of your regular login credentials. They provide a second authentication factor to keep your account safe and replace more low-tech two-factor authentication systems like authentication apps or SMS messages. When you use those methods, you still have to type the code into a form, after all. That’s all good and well until you end up on a well-designed phishing page. Then, somebody could easily intercept your code and quickly reuse it to breach your account — and getting a second factor over SMS isn’t exactly a great idea to begin with, but that’s a different story.

Authentication keys use a number of cryptographic techniques to ensure that you are on a legitimate site and aren’t being phished. All of this, of course, only works on sites that support hardware security keys, though that number continues to grow.

The launch of Google’s Titan keys came as a bit of a surprise, given that Google had long had a good relationship with Yubico and previously provided all of its employees with that company’s keys. The original batch of keys also featured a security bug in the Bluetooth key. That bug was hard to exploit, but nonetheless, Google offered free replacements to all Titan Key owners.

In the U.S., the Titan Key kit sells for $50. In Canada, it’ll go for $65 CAD. In France, it’ll be €55, while in the UK it’ll retail for £50 and in Japan for ¥6,000. Free delivery is included.

 


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