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Another year, another batch of the same old New Year’s resolutions. Lose weight. Hit the gym. Sign up for a yoga class. Those are great goals, to be sure, but they’re all about your body. What about your brain? It needs nourishment too.

So this January, resolve to exercise your mind, not just your abs. You can do that by leveraging modern technology, which makes it easy to connect with friends, consume engaging media, and learn new things – all excellent ways to show your brain some love. Make it happen with these tech-powered resolutions.

Read for pleasure

A few years back, neuroscientists discovered that reading a novel can improve brain function in a variety of ways: empathy, creativity, stress management, even quality of sleep. Fortunately, it’s ridiculously easy to keep books on hand for everyday moments of down time, like in line at the post office or riding the train to work. Just install an e-book app like Kindle on your favorite device. Or subscribe to an audiobook service like Audible to absorb a book while you walk, jog, or drive. Resolve to read a book a week – or just one per month – and you’ll be surprised how quickly you form an enjoyable habit.

Watch classic movies on the go

Why bother with old movies? So you can win at bar trivia, of course. But also because they’re part of our shared heritage. Watch Chaplin’s Modern Times, for example, to understand the desperation brought on by the Great Depression (and enjoy some belly laughs). Watch Casablanca for lessons in patriotism, nobility, and love. You get the idea. And for a really versatile mobile movie theater, watch on something like the HP Envy x360, which touts a 15.6-inch display and up to 9 hours of battery life.

Practice meditation

Meditation offers so many benefits to the brain and body, you’d think doctors would write prescriptions for it. And if you’re thinking you need to go to an expensive studio and sit with some new-age guru, think again: Just grab a pair of noise-isolating headphones like Etymotic Research HF5, install a mindfulness-meditation app on your device (there are dozens of them, most priced under $10), and find a place where you can sit quietly for 5-10 minutes. And that’s it. Do this daily to reduce stress, improve concentration, and even increase your overall happiness.

Learn to play an instrument

Admit it: You’ve always wanted to learn guitar. Or piano. Or, heck, the ukulele always sounds so cheerful, doesn’t it? Guess what: You don’t have to learn to read music to learn a musical instrument, and you don’t need to spend a fortune on lessons. Instead, you can find an endless supply of online video courses at sites like Lessonface, Takelessons, and even YouTube; many of them free or very inexpensive. What’s more, sessions like these let you learn at your own pace, on your schedule.

For the best a-la-mode music experience, make sure you have a large enough display, one that makes it easy to see fingering and other important details. Likewise, a touchscreen makes it easier to start and stop videos and rewind to the parts you need to see again. As the hub of your new music studio, it would be hard to beat the Dell Inspiron 15 – an affordable 2-in-1 with a full HD 15-inch display.

Improve your sleep

If there’s one thing your brain definitely needs more of, it’s rest. But many adults have trouble falling asleep and/or staying asleep. Tech to the rescue! For starters, consider a white-noise app for your favorite device, one that helps you nod off to the sounds of rain or waves. Most of these apps cost only a few dollars, and might be just the thing you need to combat bedtime stress.

To really kick it up a notch, though, look to gadgets designed expressly for slumber assistance. The $129 Sense is a cute little white ball that sits on your nightstand, playing ambient sounds to help you fall asleep, monitoring your sleep to help determine the optimal time for you to wake up, then waking you with a smart alarm based on that data. It even looks at things like light, humidity, and room temperature, then offers suggestions to help you improve your quality of sleep.

Learn a new language

Not only is learning a new language impressive on a resume and useful for frequent travelers, it can also give you a whole new perspective on the world. And you don’t need four more years of high-school or expensive classes, just the right software. Start with Duolingo, a free smartphone app that teaches over a dozen different languages by turning lessons into mini-games. For more robust learning, look to Rosetta Stone’s PC software, which incorporates speech-recognition technology to evaluate your voice. Even if you just work at it for a few minutes at a time throughout the day – on the bus, on your break, before bed – you’ll make significant progress in a few weeks. That’ll be that much easier if you install it on a supremely portable device like the Lenovo Yoga 900; it measures just 15mm thick, weighs around 2.8 pounds, and powers up in moments.

Explore informative podcasts

Welcome to the golden age of podcasting, where you can venture beyond well-known storytelling shows like This American Life and Serial into podcasts designed to teach while they entertain.

Each episode of RadioLab, for example, explores a different area of science, philosophy, or the human experience. Then there’s Science Vs., which tackles topics like fracking, organic food, and hypnosis, impartially sharing all the current science to determine what’s fact and what’s fiction. You can find more brain food in shows like Good Job Brain, Challenge of the Week, Stuff You Should Know, 99% Invisible, and public radio staple Science Friday.

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7 Technology Resolutions For A Better 2023

It’s 2023 and there’s a feeling of hope and renewal in the air. That can mean only one thing: It’s time for some New Year’s resolutions. What did you vow to change this year? Are you going to learn a new skill? Pay off your credit card debt? Lose 40 pounds?

Get personal with your tech

If you haven’t done so already, give one of the many digital personal assistants hiding in your devices a try. If you’re on an iPhone there’s Siri, for Android users there’s Google Now, and for Windows 10 PCs and phones there’s Cortana. It may feel strange talking to your device, but there’s really no better way to set a reminder, alarm, or calendar appointment, or just get a quick update on the weather.

Mike Homnick

Offload some of your busy work to the friendly digital assitant in your phone.

If you’re already familiar with the personal assistants, a good resolution might be to consolidate with a single choice. Windows 10 PC users, for example, might want to stick with the newly released, stable Cortana for Android and iOS for total cross-platform integration.

Regardless of which one you choose, we’ve got some great tips on how to make the most of Google Now, Cortana, and Siri.

Play a game

Flavio Ensiki

Make 2023 the year you get your game on in a serious way.

Smarten up that house

It’s time to enter the age of the smart home. You don’t have to overhaul your whole house with fancy door locks, thermostats, and smart lighting designs. Start small with a wireless nanny cam, a coffeemaker you can program from your phone, a USB charging port that you add to your wall outlet, or one of these 5 awesome gift ideas. Once you’re ready to take your smart-home improvements to the next level keep up to date with the latest news and reviews over at TechHive.


We’ve entered the smart-home era. Is your house keeping up?

Try Windows 10

Get your PC’s house in order for 2023 and make the move to Windows 10.

Cut the cord

You still have cable? Well, there’s never been a better time to cut that cord. You can get a limited but growing selection of live broadcast television on your PC and mobile devices with Sling TV. Then add services like CBS All Access, HBO Now, Netflix, Showtime streaming, or sports subscriptions such as chúng tôi NHL GameCenter Live, and UFC Fight Pass. Subscribing to even several of those services will still come in under your $100-plus cable bill, and you can view all of your content across multiple devices.

C’mon, just cut that cord. You’ll save money and gain greater flexibility and choice. 

Get fit with fit tech

Every year millions of people make a New Year’s vow to get in shape, but never really stick to it. Tech can’t do that 6 AM run for you, but a fitness tracker, smartwatch, or set of carefully chosen smartphone apps can help you once you’re out the door. If you got a new wearable over the holidays, then you’ve got the tools you need. Smartphone users can also get in on the action without a band attached to their wrists. If you have an Android phone, Google Fit can track your activity; iOS users can use the built-in Health app and the selection of apps that plug into Apple’s HealthKit. For food tracking, try My Fitness Pal or Lose It!


With an activity tracker, such as the Fitbit, you can easily set goals and measure your progress. Fun, right?

 Get secure

Finally, it wouldnt be a proper tech-resolutions rundown if we didn’t have our annual talk about security. Start using a password manager so you don’t have to remember all those long passwords of random letters and numbers, and don’t forget about two-factor authentication. Once that’s done, what’s your back-up situation like? At a minimum you should have three copies of your stuff: one on your PC, one on a physical backup at home, and a third offsite (cloud backups are a good choice for this one). With three copies of your data you should have more than enough redundancy to protect against hardware crashes, home invasions, and fires.

New Year’s resolutions can always be broken, but these vows to use tech to improve your life are much easier to keep than promising to never fall asleep during afternoon staff meetings.

#Sejsummit Speaker Glenn Gabe On This Year’s Google Changes

Your SEJ Summit presentation is titled: What the Doctor Ordered: Your Yearly Google Algorithm Update Checkup (2023 Edition). In your opinion, what was the biggest update SEOs should be paying attention to this year?

Based on its frequency and level of impact, I believe Google’s quality updates (AKA Phantom) are incredibly important to pay attention to. And we’ve seen several quality updates in 2023.

As a quick reminder, the first quality update rolled out in May of 2023 and impacted many sites globally. Google finally confirmed that they did roll out an update and explained that it was a change to its core ranking algorithm with how it assessed “quality”. And with Google always trying to surface the highest quality and most relevant content for users, that’s an incredibly important statement.

Since May of 2023, we’ve seen six significant quality updates (and three in 2023 so far). The updates are global and industry-agnostic (I’ve seen many different types of sites impacted by Phantom). And websites seeing impact during a quality update can absolutely see the impact by subsequent updates (either reversing course, surging more, or declining further). That’s why I believe SEOs and business owners should be keenly aware of Phantom, and its history. Here are my posts about the November and June quality updates. Both were significant.

For example, here are two sites surging and dropping during the November 2023 update, and both saw impact during Phantom 2 as well (in May of 2023):

Let’s talk about Phantom. Part of what makes this update so elusive is that Google plays the ‘neither confirm nor deny’ game. What do SEOs most need to know about this update? Should we be worried?

You’re right; Google will typically not confirm changes to its core ranking algorithm. That said, they did confirm the first quality update, and then confirmed “core ranking algorithm changes” during certain subsequent updates.

But when major algorithm updates roll out, you can start to see a connection with previous updates. For example, sites impacted by a new update that also saw impact during previous quality updates. That’s when you can start to understand if the update was indeed Phantom.

Here is an excellent example of a site seeing impact across several quality updates. You can clearly see the connection between them:

But to make matters even tougher for SEOs, Google can absolutely retire Phantom at any point. They can also push it to real-time at some point. And if they do either, then we’ll have no idea that happened and may never see another immediate drop or spike like in the past (with Phantom anyway).

On that note, Panda is now part of Google’s core ranking algorithm. It’s not real-time yet, but continually rolls out slowly across the web. Therefore, we’ll never see another old-school Panda update (with significant movement all on one day). And I believe Google likes it that way. No drama, no media attention, no subsequent analysis, etc.

Moz is reporting an “unnamed update” in just the last week or two. (September 2023). What are your thoughts on their report?

Yes, there was another big update starting on August 31, 2023. But I don’t believe we saw just one update. I believe we saw three (two roll out and one being tested).

The first was spotted by Joy Hawkins and it was a local algorithm update. That rolled out about the same time as a core ranking algorithm update (which I believe was another quality update). Many of the sites impacted by the core ranking algo change (that rolled out after the local update) had been previously impacted by other quality updates. And then about a week later I saw sites that had previous link problems (and Penguin problems) spike. Others saw that too, like Marie Haynes.

So Google could have been testing Penguin 4 (or another link-based algorithm). And now that we know Penguin 4.0 rolled out, which Google announced on September 23, that third movement we saw very well could have been Penguin 4 being tested in the wild.

Needless to say, it’s always tricky when Google rolls out multiple algorithm updates at one time, or across a short period. And yes, Google can and will roll out multiple updates simultaneously. My favorite example was the algorithm sandwich in April of 2012. That’s when Google rolled out Panda, then Penguin 1.0, and then Panda again all within a ten-day period. It was crazy.

What strategies do you recommend for long-term Google algo update protection? I hear a lot of “just write good content, and you will always be safe!” That isn’t particularly actionable. Is there anything else brands can or should be doing?

Also, technical problems could cause quality problems as well. For example, canonicalization problems, chúng tôi issues, mobile problems, render problems, etc. can all impact SEO. If you are on top of the situation, then you can quickly rectify any issues that pop up. But if you’re not aware of them, then the problems will keep building until you get blindsided. And I’ve received many calls from business owners who have been blindsided by algorithm updates in the past.

So, auditing content that gets published, educating writers, editors, and others that are in control of publishing content, crawling and auditing a site over time, reviewing links on a regular basis to ensure something funny isn’t going on, and then nipping any problems in the bud to ensure they don’t become bigger and scarier problems. That’s how you can protect your site from getting dinged during future algorithm updates.

Looking forward, what is the #1 thing SEOs need to be thinking about as we move toward 2023?

With so many changes and new things going on in SEO, it’s really hard to pick the number one area to focus on. That said, I’ll quickly cover two areas that webmasters need to be aware of.

First, if Google keeps rolling out quality updates (Phantom), then webmasters should be keenly aware of those updates and the quality of their own sites. I covered this earlier, and it’s extremely important. We’ve seen quality updates roll out every few months, and the last was early September. So we will probably see another at the beginning of 2023 (just like last year). So keep your eye on Phantom. It’s certainly keeping its eye on you. 🙂

Next, and to state the obvious, mobile is booming. I have some clients with 80%+ mobile traffic. So staring at the beautiful desktop experience you are providing may not mean very much. I would make sure your mobile experience is as strong as possible. Google has a mobile-friendly algorithm, and it plans to incorporate mobile speed into the equation at some point. So I would start taking a hard look at how mobile users experience your website, how fast those pages load, if there are obstacles, etc.

Also, accelerated mobile pages (AMP) started rolling out to the core mobile SERPs on 9/20. I think AMP should be an area that business owners take a hard look at, since amplified pages load near-instantaneously for mobile users and Google is pushing AMP hard. I’m not saying every site should jump on the AMP bandwagon, but business owners should evaluate its performance, how it works for users, how it impacts conversion, revenue, etc.

And then there’s the mobile popup algorithm that’s rolling out in January of 2023. Many sites will be impacted by that, and some probably have no idea it’s coming. If a site is presenting popups or interstitials on the first page from the search results, then those pages could be demoted in the mobile search results. And popups and interstitials are used so heavily now by publishers that the algorithm will definitely impact many pages across the web.

Therefore, I highly recommend that sites evaluate their use of popups and interstitials, make the necessary changes well ahead of January 1, 2023, and then be ready for the algo to roll out. One thing is for sure, it should be interesting.

Don’t forget; you can still buy tickets and come learn more from speakers like Glenn  in NYC Nov. 2nd at the TimesCenter in Manhattan.

Image Credits

Screenshots taken by Glenn Gabe Sept 2023

Craft An Impressive Cutting Board In Eight Easy Steps

The warmth and natural qualities of a handmade charcuterie board make it the perfect way to welcome a guest. This is a simple project that can be completed with a basic set of tools—without electricity, even. You’ll find plenty of uses for this piece as you chop veggies on it, serve food to friends and family, and display it in your kitchen.

Warning: DIY projects can be dangerous, even for the most experienced makers. Before proceeding with this or any other project on our site, ensure you have all necessary safety gear and know how to use it properly. At minimum, that may include safety glasses, a face mask, and/or ear protection. If you’re using power tools, you must know how to use them safely and correctly. If you do not, or are otherwise uncomfortable with anything described here, don’t attempt this project.


Time: 4 hours

Material cost: $10 (wood only)

Difficulty: easy


One piece of hardwood (mine was an 8-by-16-inch piece of live edge cherry)

Paper (for a template)

Osmo TopOil

Tools Build it

1. Trace a shape onto a piece of wood. I’ve always been attracted to serving boards that embrace the natural qualities of wood. Live edge boards do this well, as each slab features the natural exterior of the tree it came from. I’d recently picked up a piece of live edge cherry that seemed perfect for this project, I let the natural edge of the piece define the shape of the board. Additionally, because I enjoy inviting the wood to make design decisions, I shaped the handle on my charcuterie board to follow the cathedral grain pattern in the wood. I recommend using a hard wood for your project, as it will resist the wear and tear of chopping.

You can freehand a unique shape that you won’t find in a store, but feel free to use a compass if you want any precise curves. Courtney Starr

2. Create a template. Cutting a template out of paper can help you get a feel for whether or not you like the shape you’ve drawn. You can hold it in your hand, see if the size feels good, and easily manipulate the shape by slicing off slivers of paper to get the design just right. Additionally, you’ll have the benefit of being able to reproduce the project in the future if you’d like. If you need help making nice curves, consider using a French curve, or even tracing the shape of an existing item in your house that you find attractive.

3. Prepare the wood. You’ll want a nice, flat board, so it doesn’t wobble around on your countertop. I started by removing the bark from my piece with a drawknife, then proceeded to use a hand plane to make both sides of the board perfectly flat.

Note: You can use a power jointer and planer for this step if you have access to them.

Tip: To flatten a board with a hand plane, place the wood on a flat surface and press on each corner to find the high spots on the wood. Then flip the board over and plane them down, checking your work often.

Remove any bark. It doesn’t taste very good. Courtney Starr

4. Transfer the template to your board. When your wood is flat and ready to go, trace the final shape onto it.

5. Bore a hole in the handle. If you’re going to make a handmade charcuterie board, you might as well display it. I like when I can hang kitchen accessories, so I recommend boring a hole in the handle of your board around a ¾-inch in diameter. Be sure to leave at least a ½-inch of wood between the hole and the outside edge of the handle.

6. Cut out your board. A simple coping saw will do the job, as its thin blade makes it especially good at cutting along the tight curves of the handle. Don’t fret too much about cutting a perfectly smooth line, as you can correct any mistakes at the next step.

Note: If you have a bandsaw, you can use that for this step.

Use a saw with a thin blade, like a coping saw, to unique designs. Courtney Starr

7. Shape the wood. I prefer to use a drawknife to get the final shape on a charcuterie board. With this basic tool, you can quickly go from heavy stock removal to finessing the smallest details, without missing a beat. I also love the faceted look that drawknives give to the wood since each of the small surfaces left by the blade catch the light in a different way. I figure if I’m making something by hand, you might as well be able to tell! To shape tight corners like the one on the handle, use a round rasp, also called a rat tail rasp.

Tip: If you’re not confident with a rasp or drawknife, try them out on a scrap piece of wood. They’re fairly simple to use with a bit of practice.

You’ll want to round the hole in the handle of your board so it’s easier to hang. Courtney Starr

8. Sand the wood. There’s no need to employ a power sander on such a small project, so sanding by hand will do the trick. I recommend sanding up to 220 grit in order to get a nice, smooth surface that will be easy to clean.

9. Finish the board. Applying finish to a charcuterie board is important, as it will encounter harsh treatment from chopping, serving moist foods, and getting washed after use. I chose Osmo’s TopOil to finish my board because it’s food safe and gives the wood a beautiful look and feel.

Note: It’s imperative to choose a finish that is food safe. Make sure to read the production description carefully to determine whether or not your finish of choice is rated for direct contact with food.

Apply a finish that is food safe and easy to refinish after extended use. Courtney Starr

Machine Learning Set To Dominate This Year’s Healthcare Trends

The winds of healthcare tech are changing — at least when it comes to trends. It’s clear from the recent HIMSS Annual Conference & Exhibition that mHealth is becoming the norm, while machine learning and AI is creeping its way in as a dominant trend in the industry.

It’s not just at conferences though; pay attention to news and press releases, and you’ll see talk of machine learning and how it’s being used to do everything from predicting illness to using healthcare analytics to reduce hospital readmissions. One of the most recent developments comes from a company that’s set out to make artificial intelligence “routine, pervasive and actionable” for the entire spectrum of healthcare organizations.

Health Catalyst’s Big News

In mid-February, healthcare data and analytics company Health Catalyst announced its plans to embed the benefits of next-generation healthcare analytics throughout the healthcare experience. It intends to do this by way of chúng tôi an open-source repository of tools and expertise that will help facilitate the deployment of machine learning in any interested healthcare environment.

On a practical level, this means that the entire Health Catalyst product line will be embedded with machine learning as a core capability. This initiative is known as chúng tôi and organizations using Health Catalyst products will be able to access that technology to answer challenges such as identifying patients who are at risk for infection, finding high-risk financial cases and proactively catching canceled appointments.

With all the potential that the technology holds for healthcare, Health Catalyst leadership highlights the classic healthcare lag as a challenge, stating that healthcare is several years behind other industries. This is particularly an issue of cost, but also largely due to the inherent complexity of healthcare data.

Perfecting Leukemia Prediction

The algorithm uses bone marrow and medical history data from patients, along with the addition of information from healthy individuals to make its predictions — something that was previously performed by human experts. Computers, though, are frequently better at deriving knowledge from complex data than humans.

Revolutionizing the Patient Experience

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Innovative hospitals are using digital technology to keep patients happy and healthy. Download Now

Similar healthcare analytics technology is being used for predictive analytics and diagnostics in multiple disease categories including mental healthcare, heart disease, vision care, sepsis and trauma care.

IBM’s Imaging Analytics

Another healthcare challenge that machine learning is being used to take on is that of unstructured data. IBM’s Watson Health division is turning its attention to value-based care to deliver actionable insights and clinical decision support to providers.

The idea of cognitive healthcare (learning systems) was addressed by IBM CEO Ginni Rometty in her keynote address at HIMSS17, stressing the fact that information technology “can change almost everything about healthcare.”

This move comes on the heels of the company’s announcement of a significant expansion of its imaging analytics collaborative. IBM has recently debuted its Imaging Clinical Review offering, a tool that currently helps providers identify aortic stenosis (AS), but in the future will be expanded to address conditions including deep vein thrombosis, cardiomyopathy and myocardial infarction.

Mobile Medical Diagnosis

In that vein, to develop an understanding of healthcare technology as it evolves, it will be crucial for all stakeholders to step away from siloed thinking around healthcare innovation. For example, healthcare analytics holds amazing potential in the revenue cycle space, where the impact of financial interactions on the entire patient experience is just beginning to be understood. Since that space provides a relatively less complex environment for the application of AI, expect to see especially speedy innovations there and in other non-clinical areas of the industry.

Explore cutting-edge healthcare technology in more depth by checking out our full line of healthcare solutions.

Android At Ces 2023: Eight Intriguing Announcements You Might Have Missed

As CES comes to a close, two things are certain: We won’t be able to afford one of LG’s jaw-dropping roll-up OLED TVs and Android is poised for another big year.

Google Assistant


Google didn’t bring its heavily rumored Pixel 3 Lite to CES, but it did bring a bunch of new Google Assistant tricks. Along with a new Interpreter Mode on Google Homes and Smart Displays that offers real-time translation of conversations in dozens of languages, you’ll be able to check your flight info and get your boarding pass using Assistant on your Android phone. But the most useful new Assistant feature for Android phones is on the lock screen. On Pixel phones, “Hey Google” works even when your phone is locked and now Google is bringing that functionality to all Android phones. So you won’t need to unlock your phone anymore just to set an alarm.

Why it matters: This could mean that Google is beginning to loosen the reigns on Pixel-exclusive features.

Nubia Red Magic Mars phone


There weren’t a ton of phones unveiled at CES this year—they’re all being prepped up for MWC—but there was one that caught our eye, if for no other reason than the name: Red Magic Mars. Made by Nubia, it features a Snapdragon 845, a 6-inch LCD screen, up to 10GB of RAM, a liquid cooling system, and a 3,800mAh battery, but what’s most interesting about the Red Magic Mats isn’t what’s on the inside. It’s two unique features on the case. Near the top you’ll find a pair of customizable touch-sensitive “shoulder” buttons that add extra controls for gamers, and a rear-facing LED strip with 16.8 million color options. And the really cool part? It’s coming to the U.S. and it starts at $399.

Why it matters: After the Razer Phone 2 and Asus ROG phone landed in 2023, gaming phones are becoming a thing. So it’s good to see someone make one that doesn’t cost as much as an iPhone.

5G connectivity


As expected, 5G was one of the big buzz words at CES this year, even if we’re still months away from actually being able to buy a 5G phone (AT&T’s naming shenanigans aside). But rest assured they’re coming. At CES, Qualcomm announced that more than 30 5G handsets will arrive in 2023, a significant jump from the previous estimate of 20. Many of them won’t reach the U.S., but we do know of one phone that will: Sprint announced at CES it will be carrying a 5G phone from Samsung, so now all of the major carriers are confirmed to be selling one. Get ready because 5G will be here before you know it.

Wireless Android Auto


Android Auto has slowly become one of the best infotainment systems, with solid app support, Google Assistant integration, and fantastic hands-free navigation. At CES, several stereo makers unveiled new head units that support Android Auto, including the first wireless option in the JVC KW-M855BW. That means you don’t have to bring a USB-C cable along to beam Android Auto to your car’s screen. And if your phone is equipped with Miracast, you’ll even be able to play video to the 6.8-inch display (though you’ll need the parked with the emergency brake engaged to do so). It also allows for dual phone pairing and high-resolution audio playback, feature we’d love to see come standard in 2023 cars.

Bixby 2.0

Christopher Hebert/ IDG

Bixby has been the brunt of too many punchlines to count, but nevertheless Samsung persists, with Bixby 2.0 landing on phones late last summer. The only problem was it broke some functionality with third-party software, namely Maps, Gmail, Play, and the rest of Google’s apps. During its CES keynote this year, Samsung slipped in some good news: support is coming back. It’s not clear exactly how deep the integration will go, but previously you could use the assistant to do things like get directions, download apps, and show messages from a specific sender. Now if only Samsung would let us remap the Bixby button on the Galaxy S10.

Tablets as Alexa speakers


Android tablets aren’t generally a thing we get one excited about, but Lenovo is trying to change that by turning them into smart speakers. They don’t run Google Assistant, however—they run Alexa. While Lenovo’s new Android Oreo tablets are nothing too special on their own, with 10-inch screens and Snapdragon 450 processors, they become something more when charging. Pop them into the bundled Smart Dock and they’ll transform into a veritable Echo Show, with a pair of 3W speakers and three far-field microphones.

Why it matters: Visually, it’s is a huge improvement over last year’s model and way cheaper to boot.

Android TVs


Every time we think Android TV is ready to go off the air, something comes along to give it new life. At I/O, Google promised a “renewed focus” on the platform and we met the JBL Link Bar, a Google Assistant-powered soundbar with Android TV baked inside that’s finally releasing this spring. And now to kick off 2023, we have lots of Android TVs on the way: Sony, Hisense, Philips, TCL, Xiaomi, JVC, Toshiba, and others all announced new sets at CES with Android TV and Google Assistant built in. And it’s no coincidence that developers this week also started to receive their ADT-2 Android TV development kit and dongle for Android 9 Pie integration. So stay tuned.

Scallop 2 Wear OS watch


Fossil has been the quiet flag bearer for Android Wear/Wear OS, and CES has traditionally been its launch pad for new models. Fossil didn’t bring the slate of watches that it usually brings, but there is one notable model: The Kate Spade Scallop 2, named for its etched bezel design. New this year is NFC for Google Pay, a heart-rate sensor, GPS, and 3ATM water resistance so you don’t have to take it off when you go swimming. The only thing that hasn’t changed is the price: It still starts at $295, which is way more palatable with these features. Our only complaint is that it still uses the older Snapdragon 2100 chip rather than newer 3100 one, but it’s still an impressive update.

Why it matters: Wear OS is still looking for a leader, but it’s still a good sign that that women’s watches will finally be getting the same features as men’s.

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