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    [FUSE]chicken Titan + in black
    [FUSE]chicken Titan + in black

    Touted as the last cables you will ever buy, the indestructible [FUSE]chicken charging cables now comes with more options and colours.

    If your phone charging cables are prone to tearing, especially near the connector, you can rest assured that the [FUSE]chicken cables are unlikely to have the same issues. These cables are housed in double wrapped steel and woven stainless steel and engineered to fuse with the connector housings, eliminating one of the top reasons for replacing your cables.

    The new options to the [FUSE]chicken cable collection are Titan cables in black, gold and rose gold, Rivet Collection and Armour cables in limited-edition red.

    Titan +

    The Titan + collection that can stop a chainsaw in its tracks is now available in 1.5 metre and comes in colours like black, gold, and rose gold. The Titan Series is compatible with Apple and Android products and prices range from $35 for Titan Loop M to $79 for the latest Titan +.

    [FUSE]chicken Titan + is available in gold, rose gold and black
    Titan + is available in gold, rose gold and black

    Rivet Collection

    Making use of magnetic ‘rivets’, the new Rivet collection from[FUSE]chicken is designed to make its cable tangle-free. You can coil the cables into a loop to shorten or lengthen depending on your use and snap together the magnetic rivets to secure the position. This feature is very useful if you are charging your devices on the go with a battery pack. Rivet Charge (1m) and Rivet Loop (0.3m) in the Rivet series is only available for Apple products at the moment and retails at $65 and $55 respectively.

    [FUSE]chicken Rivet Loop
    Rivet Loop

    Armour

    The Armour series premium quality cables are made from 100% stainless steel strands. Its detailed aluminium housings and stainless steel cabling gives Armour the strength and durability to withstand wear and tear. [FUSE]chicken is adding a limited-edition model in red is that is compatible with USB Type-C devices. However, it is currently only available to Apple users at $65.

    Limited edition Armour cables in red
    Limited edition Armour cables in red
    Armour C for USB Type-C devices goes up to 1 metre in length
    Armour C for USB Type-C devices goes up to 1 metre in length

     

    [FUSE]chicken cables are now available at all Anté and Cumulus stores.

    Anté and Cumulus stores

    Anté @Tangs Plaza –  Lvl 3, 310 Orchard Road, Singapore 238864

    Anté @Takashimaya – Lvl 3, 391 Orchard Road, Singapore 238873

    Anté @Suntec City Mall – #01-457A, Tower 1, 3 Temasek Blvd, Singapore 038983

    Anté @Vivo City – #02-K5 1 Harbourfront Walk, Singapore 098585

    Cumulus – 501 Orchard Road,  #02-14 Wheelock Place,  Singapore 238880,  Tel : 67333486

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      LG Watch Sport and LG Watch Style

      The ‘world’s first smartwatches with Android Wear 2.0 operating system’ title goes to LG Electronics and Google. LG Watch Sport and LG Watch Style will be available for sale in the U.S. starting 10 February 2017 while the rest of the world, including Asia will have to wait a little longer till the end of the month to snag one at select retail stores.

      They are the first watches in the world with Android Wear 2.0

      So, what’s the big fuss about a new watch operating system? First off, the Android Wear 2.0 smartwatch OS is the biggest update by Google so far, and comes with its own app store. What it means is that in 2.0, there is a standalone Play Store that you can access and download apps directly onto your watch minus the smartphone. Sending messages with the watch has also been improved with options to chose from a list of quick replies that Google calls ‘smart reply’ to handwriting characters on the surface of the watch.

      “Android Wear 2.0 focuses on making smartwatch experiences better and faster – including watch faces that bring glanceable data, fast and fluid messaging, and a new fitness experience that helps you track workouts and stay motivated with music,” said David Singleton, VP of Android Engineering, Google.

      It comes with ‘complications’

      As the first smartwatches to come preloaded with the 2.0 operating system, LG Watch Sport and LG Watch Style will come with the Google Assistant built-in and receive its processing power from the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor.

      Both LG Watch Sport and LG Watch Style watches come with round displays with a rotating side button for reading messages, scrolling through menus and browsing notifications. The round watch faces are also customisable, allowing you to add up to eight ‘complications’ (fancy name for widgets) for you to access important information at a glance.

      Main differences between the 2 smartwatches

      LG Watch Sport

      The word ‘sport’ is already a give away. The LG Watch Sport is designed for those who are loves exercise and active. Other than being the first Android Wear smartwatch to use Snapdragon Wear 2100, it is also 4G LTE capable, making it virtually independent of the phone.

      The 1.38-inch full circle P-OLED display with Gorilla Glass 3 is housed inside a stainless steel frame with a dust and water resistance rating of IP68. The LG Watch Sport features a photoplethsmogram (PPG) sensor that can track your heart rate more accurately both during rest and exercise as well as a built-in GPS. Other features include NFC support for Android Pay.

      LG Watch Sport

       

      LG Watch Style

      Running the same processor as the Sports version, the LG Watch Style is a sleeker, smaller and slimmer smartwatch. 3.41mm slimmer to be exact. While LG Watch Sport is available in titanum and dark blue, the LG Watch Style is available in flashier colours like silver, titanium and rose gold and watch bands that are easy to swap in and out of. LG Watch Style has a IP67 rating that protects the watch from dust and surviving a drop into a fish tank no deeper than one metre for up to 30 mins.

      LG Watch Style

      “LG and our partners at Google managed to include a tremendous number of innovative technologies into the LG Watch Sport and the LG Watch Style,” said Juno Cho, president and CEO of LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company. “This dynamic duo of devices offers cutting-edge functions in terms of personalisation and empowerment, freedom and convenience to meet diverse consumer tastes.”

       

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        If you feel that smartwatches are more suitable for runners, even though Apple Watch 2 expanded that segment to include swimmers, you may not be wrong. Not going to go against the grain, New Balance has launched its Android Wear 1.0 smartwatch called New Balance RunIQ targeted at serious runners.

        The round-faced RunIQ is designed to help different types of runners focus on their performance. Its Intel Atom processor together with 512MB of RAM and 4GB of onboard storage will power the watch to feed information like real-time heart rate, run time and intervals and pace to the runner. According to New Balance, the watch can last up to 24 hours even if you are training for super long distance marathons.

        If you have a Strava account, a social network for millions of runners, cyclists and triathletes, you can track your activities through the smartwatch and pit them against family and friends.

        “New Balance has a 110-year heritage of product development and innovation in the running category, and RunIQ represents our commitment to helping athletes achieve unparalleled fitness experiences,” said Rob DeMartini, President and CEO of New Balance. “A smartwatch for runners made by runners, RunIQ combines our expertise in running with the best engineering advances through breakthrough collaborations with some of the biggest players in the technological industry.”

        New Balance RunIQ smartwatch

        Using the MyNB app on your phone to connect to Google Play Music to download playlists into the watch will allow you to go ‘phone-free’, liberating you from the need to carry your smartphone around when running. If you have a set of Bluetooth headsets laying around, good for you. If not, New Balance and Jabra has collaborated to offer you a lightweight wireless sports headphones to go with the water resistant watch. Called PaceIQ, it is also available now at a price of US$109.99.

        RunIQ is now listed for sale on New Balance for US$299.99.

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          Goxip website screenshot

          We once had a great idea. The idea was to create a platform that will allow you to shop immediately what a celebrity, models and fashion evangelist is wearing or at least tells you where you can get them. So when we found out that Goxip, a mobile-first shopping and discovery app had launch the service, we were excited and green with envy that the team at Goxip managed to make good that idea.

          Here’s how Goxip works

          The idea behind it is pretty straightforward. Browse through the app’s Instagram-esque curated celebrity style feeds and “snaps” uploaded by other users to select something you want. The app will then match and recommends similar products from over 2 million items using their image recognition technology. Take for example you are looking through Jun Ji-hyun’s feed and you are all over her #ootd. You can now purchase the look using the app who has already over 15,000 designer brands including NET-A-PORTER, Topshop, Nordstrom and Shopbop. The platform also allows you to share your #ootd and outfits on their platform with other “Goxip-ers”.

          Having a service that will let you know who is wearing what and where to get the item is definitely more effective and saves you a great amount of time when compared to searching randomly online. Usually, when you see someone wearing something you like, you start by searching the internet using sentences like “black skirt with red and blue flora prints” or “blue denim jacket Korean celebrity” and then combing through a barrage of results. We believe the Goxip concept is going to change that and make life easier for fashion shoppers. We have yet to try out just how seamless this experience is but we will update you on this article when we do. 

          Goxip mobile app screenshot
          Goxip is currently on Android only

          Goxip website screenshot showing celebrity Nana

          Goxip website screenshot showing celebrity Jun Ji-hyun

          Juliette Gimenez, co-founder and CEO of Goxip says that current ecommerce models like Zalora and other aggregators are “search centric” are not ideal for shopping fashion. “If I’m scrolling through Instagram and want to purchase a shirt on an obscure Thai celebrity, I would have no clue how to find it. The journey from fashion inspiration to check-out is incredibly common but no one has offered a viable solution”.

          Download Goxip for Android

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            Happi mobile app on smartphone

            Happi, a mobile community social enterprise launched a new web and mobile app that lets users donate to a cause they care about in just 30 seconds per day, all without having to fork out a single cent.

            Founder and Chief Happiness Officer, Greg Lipper, says that people in Singapore are so busy that they find it challenging to support the causes and groups they care about. “Happi now gives people a fast, easy, free, and rewarding way to give support to the group they care about. This is a great example of how social enterprises can create huge social benefit while also being sustainable without individual financial support, and at a very grassroots level.”

            Happi Singapore mobile app screenshots

            How it works

            After signing up as a member on Happi, users accumulate “Smile” credits by taking five-question surveys on categories like travel, health and dining. Think of it like a group buying and discount coupon concept where you use “Smile” instead of “Likes” to select the promotion or deal you want to buy, download onto your phone or win. The main difference here is that Happi comes with a survey that will take you roughly 30 seconds to complete in order for you to earn “Smile” credits. And for every “Smile” credit used, Happi will then contribute 10 cents to a charity or cause that you choose. If you hit 10 deals within a month, you will receive an additional chance to win each item you selected.

            Currently 45 teams, clubs, charities, student groups and community groups are selected to benefit from this effort. Some of these include Habitat for Humanity, Breast Cancer Foundation, Association for Persons with Special Needs and Causes for Animals Singapore. Happi estimates that for every 1,000 actively engaged users with each completing a survey a day, Happi will be able to donate $144,000 annually to each partner organisation.

            The app is free for both iOS and Android users. To find out more, visit www.Happi.sg

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              whatsapp desktop

              Hallelujah! Web has finally arrived for iOS users — eight long months after making its debut for users of all other platforms.

              Still only available on the Chrome browser, WhatsApp Web’s iOS compatibility now makes the service available on all major mobile platforms, which includes , Windows and Blackberry. When the service first launched, WhatsApp said that it could not include iOS in its web client due to “ platform limitations”.

              Whatever that may have been, it has taken eight months to solve — and iOS users will surely be jumping in their seats. Now all your friends can chat on WhatsApp all day long at work. Ssssshhh!

              To access WhatsApp Web, just head on down to web.whatsapp.com and scan the QR code via the option under the “Settings” tab in your WhatsApp application. And voilà, your account will be paired immediately and you can start flooding your friends with messages while at work without looking like you’re on the phone so often.

              WhatsApp Web welcome screen

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              Here are the best music streaming services for Asia music

              is an important genre of entertainment to many of us. I plug in when I am on the way to work, burning calories in the gym or when I am chopping spring onions. The right kind of music at the right moment can set the mood and lift your spirits.

              Thanks to the hordes of apps, you can now listen to millions of tracks for free or at an affordable fee without having to pile up CDs at home. Most of the apps also come with suggested playlists, mood lists and a peer-to-peer playlists to help you discover music and groove to the rhythm instantly with a few simple clicks.

              ‘s latest music streaming service and app, Apple Music, joins more established players like Spotify, Rdio, Rhapsody, Pandora, SoundCloud and Tidal in the race for music streaming supremacy. But whether their song catalogue is 20 million or 30 million tracks, these services do not currently offer a comprehensive list of Asian songs.

              Sure, you probably can find the some of latest tracks from popular Asian artistes and groups like Jay Chou, Jacky Cheung, Big Bang, AKB48 and Girls Generation, but it’s much harder to find songs from local and indie artistes in Asia.

              Here’s our pick of 6 great music streaming apps from Asia you should check out. You can download from both Google Play and Apple App Store and you will never have to buy CDs again. Not physically anyway, unless you really want to of course.

              1. KKBOX

              Taiwan-based KKBOX is definitely one of the most popular music streaming services in Asia. Started by a group of Taiwanese software programmers with a shared passion for technology and music, the service now has support from more than 500 international major and local independent music labels, featuring 20 million tracks and the most comprehensive Asia-Pop music library. The service is now available in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, and members can gain access to exclusive videos, artist interviews, live concert reports and entertainment news through its Let’s music! KKBOX monthly magazine.

              Download: Apple App Store, Google Play 

              KKBOX

              2. AMPed

              Available on iOS, , and Windows Phone, AMPed is a free-to-stream music service in Singapore owned by Singtel. AMPed strikes a good balance in providing a decent catalogue of songs from International, Asia and local artistes. If you are a Singtel subscriber and an AMPed premium account user (S$9.98 per month), you can literally stream music to your heart’s content as the telco will absorb all data charges for music streaming and downloads.

              An additional perk of being an AMPed user in Singapore is that you get to attend music events and meet-and-greet sessions with your favourite artists like Lady Gaga and Echosmith, as well as local artistes like Stefanie Sun and Tanya Chua.

              Download: Apple App Store, Google Play

              AMPed

              3. QQ Music

              QQ Music is a music streaming app developed by Tencent, the same company that brought you the popular instant messaging service WeChat. Free to download and use on , tablets and desktop devices, the app unfortunately is available only in Mandarin. So if you don’t read the language, it may be a major bummer. Other than being able to follow your favourite artistes and DJs, QQMusic also has an intelligent recommendation algorithm based on your listening history and recommends the next track from their vast library of popular tracks from China, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea and U.S. They have also recently included tracks from the massively successful singing competition in China, The Voice of China.

              Download: Apple App Store, Google Play 

              QQ Music

              4. Soliton

              Soliton is Hong Kong’s multi-functional music streaming platform that has a library of over 1.7 million songs from Hong Kong, Japan, Korea and international artistes. Other than having a comprehensive cantopop library of songs, Soliton also has a voice recognition function that allows users to read out lyrics, song titles or artistes’ names when searching for songs.

              Download: Apple App Store, Google Play

              Soliton

              5. Raku

              Raku (Radio Ku) is Malaysia’s very own music and online radio streaming service which provides access to millions of international and local songs, podcasts, as well as localised content such as comedy, news, sports and traffic updates from all around the world. The app allows its users to stream songs, videos and listen to more than 20 radio stations in Malaysia. The app is similar to Last.fm , focusing on online radio services.

              Download: Apple App Store, Google Play

              Raku

              6. JOOX

              Launched earlier this month in Hong Kong, JOOX is already going after the Southeast Asia markets with a vengeance. JOOX not only sets itself apart by offering tracks from local top music charts, they also work closely with a local team of music curators. JOOX, like QQMusic is also owned by Tencent, but the newly launched music streaming app has loftier plans of using it as a platform to highlight local artistes as well as allow users to discover local talents. Malaysia is chosen as the second market after Hong Kong due to the high smartphone penetration and social activities but ultimately move to offer the app to the rest of the region. Moving forward, JOOX also has plans to offer video streaming and integration with parent company TenCent’s messaging app, WeChat.

              Download: Apple App Store, Google Play

              JOOX

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                Looking for an inexpensive PC for simple tasks like reading documents, word processing, surfing the web, and checking your email? The Remix Mini may be your answer. With its super low price point and minimalist form factor, this  project is taking the tech world by storm.

                At the time of writing, the Remix Mini has raised over US$500,000 — 10 times more than its target of US$50,000, with 40 days remaining before the project is funded.

                At the core of the Remix Mini is a custom engineered version of Lollipop – Remix OS. Combining the productivity features in its OS with over 1.5 million Android apps, Remix OS aims to provide a PC that’s both functional and easy to use. Jide Tech, the folks behind this, claims that it’s the world’s first true Android PC, which takes full advantage of intuitive PC features such as a taskbar, multiple window multi-tasking, and mouse and keyboard support.

                Let’s take a look at some of the features that stood out for us.

                Notable features

                Size matters

                Remix Mini - the world's first true Android PC

                In this case, the smaller the better. Measuring just 124.27mm by 88.20mm, with a thickness of only 26.00mm, the Remix Mini is even smaller than an Apple TV console.

                Capacitive touch power button

                No more fiddling with awkward on/off switches behind the device
                No more fiddling with awkward on/off switches behind the device

                The touch power button lies right on top of the device, which makes it super easy to activate.

                Stay connected

                Despite its small size, the Remix Mini does not compromise, or limit (e.g. the new Apple Macbook) the number of connection ports it offers. In fact, users can find a host of standard connections good enough to help you stay connected and get things done — ethernet, wifi, Bluetooth and USB.

                Stay connected with a host of standard options

                Energy efficient

                Leveraging on existing power efficiencies found in mobile CPU architectures, Remix Mini is able to save users a lot more power than in normal PCs — without sacrificing its performance. Here is a comparison provided by Jibe Tech.

                Remix Mini is energy efficient

                Final thoughts

                This device definitely offers the greatest bang for your buck — although we’re obviously not sure of its real world performance. Still, at a price point this low, there’s really no harm in giving it a try.

                Scroll down for more details on the Remix Mini’s technical specifications.

                Tech specs for the Remix Mini

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                  Olympus Air - smartphone attached
                  Image source: Olympus

                  For a lot of people, the smartphone has become their primary device for taking pictures. From holiday snaps to selfies, the quality of pictures taken with the phone is definitely getting better with the constant improvements made to camera optics and technologies. At GrateNews, we are constantly looking at creative ways to improve everyday shots with our smartphones (check out our Sri Lanka photo series). In fact, we are so close to getting the Moment lens to improve our wide-angle shots that we have already placed it in our shopping cart. But we pulled the brakes after we heard about the new mirrorless camera from Olympus called Olympus Air A01.

                  Although the Moment lens and the Olympus Air are not of the same product class, the Air is an option to consider before hitting the ‘buy’ button.

                  Olympus Air - Body Olympus Air with 14-42mm lens

                  Olympus Air is a handheld interchangeable lens camera that can be attached to and controlled with smartphones. Olympus basically flattened the mirrorless camera to about the size of a 50mm portrait lens that has its own sensor, storage, battery and other camera functions.

                  The device weighs only 147g and can be clipped onto your smartphone with an attached smartphone holder. The smartphone then acts as a camera control centre and a viewing screen after pairing over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. This combination allows you to capture 16-megapixels images at 1/16,000-second maximum shutter speed, and shoot 1080p HD videos. The Air also boasts a burst shooting speed at 10 fps (frames per second), an ISO range of up to 12,800 and a 81-point autofocus system. A full charge on the built-in battery can last approximately 320 shots according to Olympus. And since it is not directly attached to any port on your smartphone, you can detach the Air for selfies and use it for odd spaces and challenging positions that might not fit a DSLR camera.

                  While smartphone attachments offering DSLR-like features are not new – in the market, there are Sony QX100, Kodak Smart Lens and DxO One – Olympus Air turns your smartphone into an interchangeable lens camera allowing you access to a range of Micro Four Thirds lenses.

                  Olympus Air with with Zuiko Digital ED 300mm F2.8 lens
                  A little creativity goes a long way. A custom rig with Zuiko Digital ED 300mm F2.8 lens (Image source: http://dc.watch.impress.co.jp/)

                  Although we may still end up getting the Moment lens for our phones, the Olympus Air is a great high-quality, lightweight option that we will definitely consider when we work on our future travel features. Unfortunately in Asia, the Olympus Air A01 is only sold on the Olympus’s Japan online store. But with the Yen  hitting new lows, that may not be such a bad thing. The Air is priced at S$400 for the body and S$590 when bundled with a 14-42-mm M.Zuiko Digital ED lens.

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                    LG G4
                    Ceramic-plastic backs - metallic grey, ceramic white and gold

                    For high-end smartphones, having an attractive design, great processing power and a high-resolution camera is not even something the manufacturers can shout about anymore. LG’s latest flagship smartphone, G4, is the Korean company’s attempt to excel in every feature its competitors offer and more. Decide for yourself whether these 5 areas of are enough to make you switch to the Android camp or upgrade your smartphone.

                    Taking the best design features from previous LG phones

                    In terms of design, the LG G4 took design cues from its curved screen G Flex 2 and last year’s G3 and refined it further. Designing a 5.5-inch display phone is by no means an easy task but LG did a great job by making it easier to hold and only marginally bigger than the previous G3. LG’s use of slim bezels with an ergonomically curved back definitely helped make the G4 easier to hold and have a better grip. According to LG, the very slight curvature of the G4 screen also makes the screen less likely to shatter when dropped.

                    The IPS Quantum Display

                    Bringing its television display technology to its phones, starting with the G4, LG’s new IPS Quantum Display (2560 x 1440 resolution with pixel density of 538 ppi if you are interested) is a cut above the rest. Unlike the over-saturated look of the Samsung Super AMOLED screens, the new panel displays crispier whites and deeper blacks while striking a good balance between punchy colours and image contrast. However, even with this ‘quantum’ leap in display technology, improving its colour gamut and brightness, we still prefer Apple’s colour calibration of its Retina HD panels. Just seems that much more natural in our opinion.

                    LG G4
                    IPS Quantum Display with slight curved screen

                    A superb camera, both on the rear and the front

                    The camera on the LG G4 is certainly the killer feature. Based on specs alone, G4’s camera triumphs all the phone cameras available in the market now with its f/1.8 (the lower the number the better) aperture camera, rare even for DSLR lenses. The iPhone 6 in comparison has an f/2.2 lens. This means that the LG G4 can shoot great images in the day as well as in low light conditions. Professional mobile photographers (if there’s such a term) will be glad to know that its high-resolution 16-megapixel rear camera can record images in RAW format for post-processing later on.

                    The front-facing camera is also one of the best in the market. Its 8-megapixel monster is sure to please selfie lovers with its higher resolution and increased image details. Just remember to turn the ‘make-up’ effect off. Like the ASUS ZenPhone2, these automatic ‘make me beautiful’ filters from recent phones can be quite irritating, as their tendency to over edit sharpness and skin tones make images look unnatural.

                    Available in plastic and leather

                    The LG G4 comes with the option of a plastic or leather back. The plastic back range is available in 3 colours, metallic grey, ceramic white and gold and has a diamond-patterned design. The leather back range on the other hand, comes in 6 colours: brown, black, red, sky blue, beige, and yellow. Our preference is the leather covers. The plastic back options just make the phone look cheap.

                    LG G4
                    6 colour options for the leather version

                    Removable battery

                    While major competitors like Samsung are moving to fixed internal batteries, the LG G4 differentiates itself with a high capacity 3000mAH removable battery. Some power-hungry users will relish the fact that they now have the option of carrying spare batteries, much like the old days. But before you jump for joy, you need to be warned that the LG G4 does not come with any fast-charging technologies like the Qualcomm Quick Charge that has the ability to boost battery life rapidly. For us, we are not too concern with fixed or removable batteries. We can always keep a power bank in our bag.

                    The LG G4 is a great phone is many aspects. Its unique design, fantastic camera and all-roundedness makes it serious competition for the likes of iPhone 6 Plus and popular Samsung phablets. If you are looking for an upgrade from last year’s G3, the G4 will certainly not disappoint. The LG G4 is going for S$928 for the ceramic-plastic versions and S$998 for the leather versions.