Moto G5 release date, news and rumors

Update: The Moto G5 Plus has appeared again, this time at the FCC with a 5.5-inch display and 3000mAh leaked in the filing.

The Moto G4, Moto G4 Plus and Moto G4 Play were some of the best budget phones of 2016, and we expect Motorola may have some big improvements in store for the next generation.

Word of the Moto G5 and Moto G5 Plus has already begun leaking out and we may see Motorola’s new budget phones sooner rather than later.

If you’re after a low-cost, relatively high-spec phone upgrade soon, you should keep an eye on the Moto G5, Moto G5 Plus and Moto G5 Play.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? The next value-focused phone lineup from Motorola
  • When is it out? We expect May 2017, maybe earlier
  • What will it cost? Low price – expect around $199 (£169, AU$330)

Moto G5 release date

Motorola announced the Moto G4, Moto G4 Plus and Moto G4 Play in May 2016 and released the first two phones by June, with the G4 Play following in August.

We’d expect a similar release schedule for the Moto G5. Considering how Motorola has usually announced the G line in the past, we’d expect it to launch at its own event in May.

Moto G5 price 

Price will come down to what model of the phone you opt for, of course. The Moto G4 cost $199 (£169, around AU$330) and we’d expect a similar price point, if not a little higher for the Moto G5.

The Moto G4 Plus launched at the slightly higher price of $249 (£199, around AU$325) so we’d expect the Moto G5 Plus will be a similar price. However, the G4 Plus notably dropped in price quite quickly to make it only slightly more expensive than the Moto G4, so fingers crossed the Moto G5 Plus will do the same too.

The Moto G5 Play will likely be the cheapest phone in the range, as the G4 Play cost $149 (£129, AU$249).

Moto G5 design

Initially, we didn’t expect a major design change for the Moto G5 – the Moto G3 to the Moto G4 was a big change already – but recent leaks suggest the G5 range may be getting a very different look.

Leaked photos of what a source is calling the Moto G5 Plus suggests Motorola may be ready to graduate to using metal build materials on the cheaper Motorola range.

Studying the leaked image above, the size of the phone looks similar to the Moto G4, but it has a metal unibody design rather than plastic. There’s a large camera bump on the back of the phone and the Motorola logo is emblazoned just below it.

There’s a slot for your microSD and SIM cards, a volume rocker and power button on the right hand edge and a headphone jack at the bottom alongside the micro USB charging port.

Whether this leak is real is up in the air right now. It’s from a Romanian seller who advertised the phone as an early sample of the Moto G5 Plus on a marketplace site called OLX.

The source claims it will be announced officially in March this year, but it’s unclear where the photographed phone is from.

A press shot of the Moto G5 Plus has also leaked on Chinese social networking site Weibo, and it looks remarkably like the phone we’ve seen in the hands on shots.

If these aren’t real leaks, we’d expect it to be a similar design to previous Motorola phones, like the Moto G4. That said, any work Motorola can do to further blur the line between its budget and flagship lines will serve it well.

Moto G5 display 

A Brazilian outlet put up a listing for the Moto G5 and Moto G5 Plus showing us what we’d originally expected. The Moto G5 should come with a 5-inch Full HD screen while the Moto G5 Plus will be 5.5-inch and also 1080p. 

The 5.5-inch display for the Moto G5 Plus has also appeared in an FCC filing in the US – adding more weight to the rumor.

There are no rumors for the Moto G5 Play yet, but we’d expect it to sport a 720p 5-inch display.

Moto G5 specs and features 

Both the standard Moto G5 and G5 Plus appear to have been submitted to the FCC (Federal Communications Commission – a US regulatory agency), as spotted by motog3.com, and both are listed as having a 3000mAh battery (the same size as the Moto G4’s), while the G5 filing also reveals NFC and a digital TV tuner of some kind.

The same specs were listed on a Brazilian site as well that revealed a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor, 4GB of RAM and 32GB of onboard storage in both the Moto G5 and Moto G5 Plus.

Another leak also suggests there will be a 13MP rear camera and 5MP front-facing shooter on the Moto G5 Plus. Whether any of this will turn out to be true is currently unclear and we’ll have to wait a while to find out directly from Motorola.

Windows 10 gets Braille support and better caters for night owls

It’s preview build season, for sure, and Microsoft has pushed out another version of Windows 10 to testers, with the OS getting Braille support added along with improvements to ‘night light’ settings. Oh, and an absolute barrage of bug fixes.

Build 15025 has hit the Fast Ring and improves the accessibility armory of Windows 10 by introducing Braille support in Narrator (although note that this is still a beta feature).

Fire Narrator up and head to Settings > Ease of Access, then under Narrator settings, you’ll find the Download Braille button – click that to install support for the function, and then click the Enable Braille button (also in Ease of Access). You will, of course, need to possess and add a Braille display.

The Ease of Access section also got another tweak, with an option for mono audio to allow visually impaired users who are using a screen reader program to listen with just one earbud in and still hear every sound through that single speaker (in case they want to leave the other ear free to listen to the environment and conversations around them).

To sleep, perchance to dream…

Microsoft has also improved the night light settings which can be turned on when you’re working (or playing) on your PC late at night – it cuts down the levels of blue light, using warmer colors which are less likely to affect your sleep quality when you do hit the sack. The color temperature slider now works fully across its entire range, meaning it can be turned down to ‘very red’ (1200 K).

Preview build 15025 also witnessed an absolute raft of bug fixes, including solving an issue with games whereby after being minimized, the game was unable to be restored, plus extensions for the Edge browser should now all work correctly again.

For the full list of fixes, and also a number of issues to be aware of, check out Microsoft’s blog post here.

Pokemon GO broke the $1 billion mark

Pokemon GO was the biggest success in the mobile games industry for 2016, and it continues to rack up millions of dollars on daily basis. While it doesn’t generate the $18 million a day that it used to, it still manages to cash in with $1.5 to $2.5 million each day, seven months after its release in the US.

According to the app analytics company Sensor Tower, Pokemon GO managed to break the $1 billion mark in terms of revenue across all platforms. This makes it the fastest app to reach this milestone in mobile history, and it doesn’t show signs of stopping.

For comparison, Clash Royale, one of the most successful mobile games ever, was released exactly 11 months ago and it has yet to break the $1 billion mark. Additionally, in its first seven months it grossed half of what Pokemon GO did, or approximately $550 million.

The continued success of Pokemon GO, even during the cold months of the year, is thanks to the regular events, such as the Halloween Bash, among other things. And with major content updates rumored to be coming soon, it’s highly likely that the growth will continue.

source: SensorTower via TechCrunch

This neat Apple iPhone 8 concept has it all: smaller bezels, dual camera, and even a Touch Bar

Ah, concepts for future iPhone device, who doesn’t love these? 

We certainly do, which is precisely the reason why we got so excited about a particular YouTube video that has been making the rounds since February 1 and shows us what that rumored super-premium iPhone 8 could theoretically end up looking like. 

In particular, this latest concept takes a bunch of the more exciting rumors we’ve heard close to heart, most notably the oft-repeated one which claims that the iPhone 8 (and possibly the 7s and 7s Plus) will have minimum bezels at the front. The concept doesn’t feature a wrap-around, edge-to-edge display, but it does away with the top and bottom bezels of the iPhone’s front and fills them with display. 

Surprisingly, we see a home button here – render artists often go wild and ditch these, but it’s nice to see that this one has taken a more down-to-earth approach. This doesn’t seem to be your regular iPhone home button, though: the button itself and the surrounding portion of the display are envisioned as functioning similarly to the cool TouchBar on the new MacBook Pro. Different app-specific buttons and toolbars seemingly appear at the bottom of the iPhone’s display. We can’t lie, this seems pretty neat, though we are certain it will remain merely wishful thinking.
You can check out the full conceptual video of the iPhone 8 down below. After you’re done with it, make sure to get back to Mother Earth and check out our full rumor review for the iPhone 7s, 7s Plus, and the iPhone 8.

Best free Android games 2017

Take an early 1990s FPS, smash it into an auto-runner, add a dash of Pac-Man, and you’d end up with Hammer Bomb. You’re dumped in dank mazes and dungeons full of hideous beasts and must stomp along, finding keys, loot, weapons and the way out.

Levels are randomised, adding a Roguelike quality to proceedings, and the entire game’s underpinned by a levelling up system. This means XP being awarded for killing loads of monsters, rapidly finding the exit, or performing other tasks, such as completing quests (which, in a nod to Ms. Pac-Man, involves hunting down roaming foodstuff).

Every few levels, you face off against a massive screen-high boss, darting towards it with whatever weapon you have to hand, before fleeing like a coward. Survive long enough and you can swap coins for upgrades.

Top tip: as soon as you’ve 150 coins and level 3 status, grab the radar, because Hammer Bomb is much friendlier when you can spot monsters on the top-down map.

LG Watch Sport could have more features than the Apple Watch, but cost you less

Rumor has it LG is about to announce two new Android Wear 2.0 watches – the LG Watch Style and LG Watch Sport – but one will cost quite a bit more and boast LTE and Android Pay onboard.

Android Police is reporting from a trusted source the LG Watch Sport will cost $349 (about £275, AU$450), which is expected to be about $100 more than the LG Watch Style.

Previous leaks have suggested the Watch Sport is set to come with far more features than the Style though. It should have LTE built-in to allow you to use the watch without your phone, GPS, a heart rate monitor and NFC for Android Pay.

NFC may also feature here for the long rumored launch of LG Pay, which is expected to work in a similar way to Android Pay. 

Much like an Apple Watch

When it comes to the price of the Watch Sport, if this rumor is true the LG Watch Sport will in fact be cheaper than LG’s Watch Urbane 2nd Edition, the last Android Wear device from the company, which launched at $359.99 (about £285, AU$470).

Credit: TechnoBuffalo

Both the Watch Sport and Watch Style are also expected to use a “digital crown” button on the side of the phone to navigate, in a similar way to how the Apple Watch 2 works.

We hope to see the announcement coming in the next few weeks and current rumors suggest both watches will come with Google Assistant built-in and Android Wear 2.0 right out of the box.

Best Android games 2017: our top picks

There’s a great sense of freedom from the second you immerse yourself in the strange and futuristic world of Power Hover. The robot protagonist has been charged with pursuing a thief who’s stolen batteries that power the city.

The droid therefore grabs a hoverboard and scythes across gorgeous minimal landscapes, such as deserts filled with colossal marching automatons, glittering blue oceans, and a dead grey human city.

In lesser hands, Power Hover could have been utterly forgettable. After all, you’re basically tapping left and right to change the direction of a hoverboard, in order to collect batteries and avoid obstacles. But the production values here are stunning.

Power Hover is a visual treat, boasts a fantastic soundtrack, and gives mere hints of a story, enabling your imagination to run wild. Best of all, the floaty controls are perfect; you might fight them at first, but once they click, Power Hover becomes a hugely rewarding experience.

(On Android, Power Hover is a free download; to play beyond the first eight levels requires a single £2.29/$2.99 IAP.)

The best free video converter 2017

Free video converters

There are many reasons why you might want a video converter. You might want to play a particular video on a device that has limited storage and there need to reduce the size of the file. You might want to keep your entire video collection in the same format, but have a few rogue entries messing up your system. Or you might want to change a video recorded in a strange format on your phone into something that is more easily shared with others.

Converting video is nowhere near as complex a task as video editing, but many people will be put off doing it because of the mistaken belief that a complicated and expensive video editor is needed. In reality, you can do it for free; here is the best software you can use.

With Freemake Video Converter, changing file formats is a piece of cake. The interface is extremely simple to navigate, and you can convert files from your PC or ones downloaded from YouTube

1. Freemake Video Converter


Quick, flexible and easy to use; simply the best free video converter you can download today
Freemake has built up something of a name for itself for producing powerful yet easy to use software, and making it available free of charge. Freemake Video Converter is no exception, continuing the company’s enviable track record.

The free video converter can not only convert files from your hard drive to almost any format, it can also be used to download and convert online videos from the likes of YouTube.

With simple editing tools to trim unwanted footage, the ability to add subtitles, and convert to and from DVD, Freemake Video Converter has all of your everyday conversion needs covered – and more.

One word of warning: the installer sneakily tries to add a malware blocker, browser search bar and, ironically, an ad remover. Pay close attention and be sure to use the custom installation option to avoid unwanted extras.

That aside, Freemake Video Converter is the best free video converter around.

Download here: Freemake Video Converter

2. Any Video Converter Free


Free and fast conversion for videos – whether stored on your PC or published online
When it comes to the number of supported file formats, Any Video Converter Free certainly doesn’t disappoint. Like Freemake Video Convertor, the program handles online as well as offline files, meaning that if you like the look of some videos on YouTube, you can quickly and easily convert them into a format suitable for offline viewing on your mobile without worrying about your data allowance. Incidentally, the same warning about unwanted software installations also applies.

More than just YouTube, you can also download and convert videos from Facebook, Vimeo, Metacafe and more, and Any Video Converter Free also features the option to rip audio from CDS and DVDs.

You’ll find support for all of the video formats you can shake a stick at, including ready made profiles for different devices, and editing options such as trimming, cropping and rotating allow for basic cleanup tasks. If you want to get creative, you can experiment with video effects to achieve a completely unique look as well.

Download here: Any Video Converter Free

3. Free HD Video Converter Factory


Quick file conversion and simple editing rolled into one extremely convenient free package
Free HD Video Converter Factory prides itself on being so easy to use that its website features a 10-second guide to getting started. This might seem like an exaggeration, but it’s actually true. You can drag and drop a video onto the program interface, or use the selection menu, select the format or destination device and hit the Run button. That really is all there is to it.

You’ll be pleased to know that the software’s convenience doesn’t come at the expense of features. While you can start the conversion process in a matter of seconds, you may wish to spend a little more time customizing the output. Cutting, cropping and impressive special effects are all on hand to give your videos the look you want, and the way destination formats are presented is highly intuitive.

Beginners can select the make of device they want to play video on to ensure that the correct format is automatically selected, while more advanced users can make a manual selection and customise things further.

Download here: Free HD Video Converter Factory

4. Handbrake


An extremely powerful video and audio converter that’s made the leap from Mac to PC
Handbrake is a free video converter that’s well known to Mac users, but less famous in the world of Windows. It is worth noting that this is still something of an experimental program and it hasn’t even reached version 1.0 in its Windows incarnation, but that doesn’t mean it should be overlooked.

Available for Mac, Windows and Linux, Handbrake is a great choice for anyone who works on multiple platforms, but is also great for anyone who is dedicated to Windows.

A slight word of warning: the other programs featured in this roundup have very approachable interfaces, but the same cannot really be said of Handbrake. The program is powerful, but utilitarian.

There are a lot of features that allow for fine-grained control of video conversion – including very precise cropping, advanced filtering, frame rate adjustment – but there are also presets for those who just want quick results. Handbrake may take a while to get used to, but the output is worth it.

Download here: Handbrake

5. MediaCoder


Whatever the video format, MediaCoder can help – and it’s one of the fastest converters around
As we’ve seen, there are lots of great free video converters available to download, but MediaCoder stands out from the crowd thanks to its sheer speed and the number of audio and video formats it supports. No matter how old and obscure the format of that video you have lurking on an ancient hard drive, MediaCoder should be able to bring it bang up to date in next to no time.

The language used by the program (‘transcoding’ rather than ‘converting’, for instance) might be a little off-putting at first, but it’s worth persevering. 

Like HandBrake, MediaCoder’s interface is slightly intimidating, but the payoff includes a load of extra features such as video joining, sound syncing, aspect ratio adjustment, and much more.

It would be easy to become overwhelmed by what’s on offer here, but MediaCoder should be approached as a learning experience. Start off using the wizards to guide you, but as your confidence grows, you can make use of more of the tools on offer to take greater control of each process.

Download here: MediaCoder

Microsoft has a new plan to make PCs cool again

It’s no secret that the PC market has been in a sustained slump for what seems like forever now, but Microsoft has a plan to try and kick things up a gear in 2017, urging computer manufacturers to focus on not just better performance (which is a given), but also ‘cool designs’ and pushing Windows 10’s unique features.

The company’s suggested strategy for OEMs (device makers) was laid out at the WinHEC 2016 conference over in China, back in December, with presentation slides only just coming to light courtesy of ZDNet.

‘What makes a modern PC?’ That’s the question posed at the top of one of the key slides, and Microsoft’s first answer is ‘cool designs’ which make the product stand out. Traditionally, of course, Microsoft has hardly been regarded as ‘cool’ itself, but all that changed, at least in hardware terms, with the development of the Surface range. 

At any rate, Microsoft’s suggestions to OEMs include a focus on 2-in-1s and ultra-slim models, unsurprisingly, as these are generally the slick-looking PCs, and of course convertibles are expected to be a massive growth area.

Microsoft also highlights the use of its Precision Touchpad and OEM innovation in terms of elements such as borderless displays (i.e. vanishingly slim bezels) and fancy hinge designs – premium-looking machines, in other words.

Essentially, this is a call to PC vendors to focus on more compelling and innovative hardware, which will also be sold, Microsoft further urges, on the software front as well by the use of at least two ‘hero features’ drawn from Windows 10.

Here, we are talking about Cortana (including far-field voice commands, i.e. from across the room), Windows Hello (secure biometric logins) and Windows Ink (touchscreen and stylus scrawling).

Dialing things up

We can also expect some funky new peripherals which are tied in with the above three hero features – think along the lines of the Surface Dial, along with wearables, headsets and so forth.

As well as innovative 2-in-1 devices with pens, Microsoft also envisions PCs which will power ‘mixed reality’ experiences coming to the market this year – not just traditional computers, but notebooks and ‘backpack’ PCs which can drive Windows Holographic headsets (the offerings that’ll be much cheaper than the current crop of VR headsets).

And the company also wants PCs for gamers to be brought to the fore, with powerful graphics cards (naturally) and Xbox-compatible peripherals. Of course, Microsoft is already trying to tie its console and PCs closer together with initiatives like Play Anywhere, and we can doubtless expect more of this going forward.

It seems like this was a pretty major pep-talk for PC makers, and let’s hope it does bear fruit in terms of firing up some innovation, and the appearance of devices which make better use of Windows 10’s unique features.

Image Credit: ZDNet

Blueprints for a large-scale quantum computer have arrived

An international team of researchers has published industrial blueprints for the construction of a large-scale ion-trapping quantum computing system. 

Quantum computing is a technology that gets people very excited, because it can solve problems far beyond the reach of traditional computers. Until now, most work on them has been done at a small scale in the laboratory.

But now there’s a construction plan for building a large-scale, modular quantum computer that would be able to tackle significant tasks. The architects of the plan say that it solves technical obstacles that had previously prevented a scale-up to a larger machine.

To Millions and Beyond

There are several approaches towards building quantum computers, and the ion-trapping method that features in this plan is just one of them. But it is one of the more promising, Jonas Helsen, a quantum computing researcher at Delft University of Technology who wasn’t involved in the research, told TechRadar.

“They figured out a solution to some major obstacles for scalability on this platform,” he says. “They’re aiming to kickstart Moore’s law for quantum computing. It’ll soon be possible to make thousands of these, which sets us on the path to millions and beyond.”

Real World Applications

The team’s next step is to build a prototype quantum computer based on this design at the University of Sussex, at a cost of about £1 to 2 million. A practical device for real-world applications would cost ten times more than that, at least.

But those real world applications could include advanced encryption, simulating molecules for medical breakthroughs, new machine learning techniques for artificial intelligence and many more things that we haven’t thought of yet. 

“Nobody was imagining the creation of Amazon.com when the first computers were being built in the 1950s,” says Helsen.

The full details of the system were published in the journal Science Advances.