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LG dresses up a mid-range smartphone in an all-metal suit

LG has announced that it'll begin selling the LG Zero, its first smartphone to come with an all metal body, to customers in Taiwan from this week. Shortly afterward, the Korean conglomerate will begin hawking the mid-range device to users in Asia, Europe and Latin America. Unless, of course, you live in Germany, Korea, Russia or Singapore, where the phone will be known as the LG Class for reasons. Aside from the body, there's not much that distinguishes this phone from many of the others that'll occupy that chunk of the shelf in your local retailer.

Chrome for Android slims down the internet when speeds are slow

If you've ever been stuck with slow mobile internet and just wanted to read an article, Google has some mighty good news. It's about to release a new feature to its Chrome for Android Data Saver mode that will only display text when it senses a slow network. Once a page loads, you can then show all images (above) or specific ones by tapping on them. Google says that the new trick will use up to 70 percent less mobile data on Android devices.

Must Reads

  • DARPA wants to protect critical infrastructures from cyber attacks

    Hackers have been breaking through a lot of government agency's defenses these past years, and DARPA thinks it's high time to do something about it. Pentagon's mad science division has launched a new program called Rapid Attack Detection, Isolation and Characterization (RADICS), which aims to develop...

  • FCC hires a privacy guru to help lead its telecom investigations

    If you want proof that the Federal Communications Commission is getting serious about privacy, you only need to look at its latest recruit. The agency has hired Jonathan Mayer, one of the masterminds behind Do Not Track browsing, as the chief technologist for its Enforcement Bureau. He'll help lead investigations...

Sit in the orchestra pit with Google's 360-degree video

To get a good view of an orchestra in New York's Carnegie Hall, you would normally have to buy an expensive front row seat. With a little help from Google, however, you can now sit on the stage for free. The company is launching a "virtual exhibition" today called Performing Arts which includes four performances recorded with multiple 360-degree camera rigs. Alongside Carnegie Hall, you can experience the Berliner Philharmoniker, London's Royal Shakespeare Company and the Theatro Municipal in São Paulo.

Future PS4 games will have more power to play with

It seems the PlayStation 4 is now just a little more powerful than before. At least for game developers, anyway. None of the console's components have changed -- instead it's being reported that a seventh core has been "unlocked" in the CPU. Until now, six of the PlayStation 4's eight-core CPU have been dedicated to games, while the remaining two handle the operating system. In all likelihood, this was a conservative setup to ensure consoles ran smoothly at launch. It also gave Sony some wiggle-room if they needed to make any system changes or optimizations. Now, however, it seems the company is happy with the console's performance and willing to give developers a tad extra power.

Google Hangouts finally supports Apple watch

The latest update for Hangouts on iOS won't tell you this, but Google's instant messaging app will play nicely with your Apple Watch now. What the change log does say, however, is that you can now reply to notifications in-line -- but that means following up via Apple's wearable is an option. You can pick from a handful of pre-written responses, but those don't include canned messages for telling your coworker to bring funky-flavored KitKat bars from Japan to CES. No, that's where using voice dictation comes in, silly. If your iOS gizmo hasn't updated yet, we've got you covered at the source link below.

Omate Rise is a circular Android 3G smartwatch for just $200

Omate probably isn't the first brand that comes to mind when you think of smartwatches, but the truth is it was one of the first to launch a 3G-enabled smartwatch. It's been over two years since then but such devices have yet to fully take off, not to mention that LG has recently canned its latest LTE watch. But that's good news for Omate who is launching the Rise, a $200 fully circular smartwatch, via Indiegogo on December 7th. Much like its predecessor, the Rise runs on full Android 5.1 (customized with Omate's new OUI 4.0) instead of Android Wear, meaning you can side load any regular Android app -- including all the missing Google Play services -- onto it. But of course, you'll have to get used to poking around on that 1.3-inch, 360 x 360 round LCD. Additionally, the Rise also works as a notification watch with phones running on either iOS 9 or Android 4.4 and above.

Samsung replaces its smartphone chief

Samsung Mobile's top execs held on for a while during the company's troubled time with smartphones, but it's apparently been long enough. JK Shin, in addition to another co-CEO, (Samsung's exec lineup is a... multi-layered one), will withdraw from daily operations, replaced by DJ Koh, a mobile exec who previously oversaw Samsung's barely-nascent Tizen mobile OS and Samsung Pay -- neither of which are international success stories (yet?). At the same time, Samsung's head of TVs and home appliances, BK Yoon, is being moved on to focus on "long-term strategy".

Massive 'GTA V' mod adds way more than 4K textures

Grand Theft Auto V got a pretty major overhaul when it made the jump from last-gen hardware to PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One last year, but that leap's got nothing on a new user mod that takes the stick-up simulator into ultra high-definition. "The Pinnacle of V" adds UHD textures for clouds, water, rain and blood, but its biggest changes go well beyond the superficial level. The designers boast that "literally every aspect of the game has been tweaked, adjusted and fine tuned" including bullet speeds, on-foot and in-car police patrols, population density for more realistic rush-hour traffic and now you can shoot through certain materials like wood and plastic too. Oh, and vehicle handling has apparently been completely redone as well -- something on full display in the video below.

Adobe Photoshop update brings custom toolbars and artboards

Before the sun sets on 2015, Adobe has another round of updates for its Creative Cloud software. The new features span a number of apps, but we'll focus on Photoshop CC. To boost overall productivity, and to save you time and a few headaches, Adobe is giving the photo-editing software custom toolbars. This means that you'll be able to add, delete and rearrange what appears in that set of tools on the left side of the interface. The new feature allows to you customize the layout of your workspace so that only the items you use are taking up valuable space. In theory, you'll spend less time hunting for the tool you're after, too.

Explore the surfaces of planets in 'Elite: Dangerous' beta

The expansion pack for Elite: Dangerous, the one that lets you go planetside and explore the surface of places like Europa, is out now. Sort of. The Horizons Planetary Landings beta, teased in a video released last week, does exactly what it says assuming you've pre-ordered Horizons itself. Everyone else needs to wait for the official release sometime before year's end. Driving the all-new Surface Recon Vehicle, players can discover signals, crashed ships and mineral deposits, vastly expanding the range of gameplay. Creator David Braben recently showed off the expansion in a demo (below), and said that certain features, like textures and frame rates, might still have issues.

WhatsApp reportedly blocks links to its chat rival Telegram

Not long ago, social networkers accused Facebook of blocking mentions of potential rival Well, Facebook's supposedly at it again... and this time, you're more likely to notice. Telegram and its users claim that WhatsApp is blocking any links to the privacy-oriented messaging service. You can see the addresses, but you can't tap or copy them. While only some people are seeing this behavior, there's no mistaking it when it turns up.

Nokia's next move is VR with this $60,000 OZO camera

Nokia announced its new hardware a few months ago, and tonight at an event in Los Angeles revealed it's opening preorders for the OZO virtual reality camera. A professional-level device capable of recording its surroundings in 360-degree spherical video, it will require a mere $60,000 -- with $5k down payment up front -- to secure one when shipments start in Q1 2016. The full specs are also out now, revealing it uses eight synchronized 2K x 2K camera sensors, which record to a 500GB solid state drive that can hold up to 45 minutes of footage. Pros like Jaunt are apparently using the new camera for their VR capturing, and now you can too. You can see the full list, along with accessories like its $1,500 docking station on the OZO website, while you ponder what amazing life experiences justify that pricetag.

Amazon's tablet web browser is getting easier to use

Amazon's Silk may not be the darling of the web browser world, but you should know it's still getting plenty of affection. The internet giant is recapping recent updates that promise an easier-to-use tablet surfing experience. You'll now see your most visited sites as easy-to-read tiles when you visit Silk's home screen, putting your go-to page a quick tap away. Bookmarking a page has been simplified to a single tap, and there's a reading list section on the home screen that offers quick access to your saved articles. Oh, and this is your dream upgrade if you can't help but open sites in new tabs -- you can keep an unlimited number of tabs open instead of the previous 10. All good things to know, especially since it's been nearly a year since we heard any updates on the supercomputer-powered browser project.

Use Snapchat Tuesday and the Gates Foundation will donate to AIDS prevention

Tomorrow is World AIDS Day, and as such the non-profit (RED) organization has plenty of activities planned to raise both money and awareness for its fight against the disease. If you're a Snapchat user, you can do your part just by adding a filter to your snaps: according to the LA Times, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will donate $3 to (RED) every time a Snap is posted that uses one of three custom "World AIDS Day" filters up to a grand total of $3 million.

Sending private Twitch messages on iOS gets a lot easier today

It looks like Twitch gathered enough feedback from its Android test run of mobile private messaging, "Whispers," because the feature has made its way to iOS. A post on the live-streaming juggernaut's blog says that all you need to do to access Whispers on your Cupertino-branded device is update the app. Oh, and similar to the current beta for Google's mobile OS, the company would really like it if you submit your feedback. Pretty simple! Free stuff on Cyber Monday? That's a trend I can get behind.

Now you can bookmark Google image searches for later reference

Normally, image searches on Google are ephemeral things and gone the moment you close the browser tab. However, a new feature on the search giant's mobile version makes saving the images you find as easy as bookmarking a webpage. In fact, it's the identical process: simply search for whatever phrase you want, pick the images you like and tap the star icon to save them. You can also organize these saved images into folders, thereby eliminating the need to run the search again later. The new feature is already available to mobile users in the US running both Android and iOS.

Vintage Electric's latest e-bike gives you more retro power

Vintage Electric drew a lot of attention when it unveiled its retro e-bikes a couple of years ago: it managed to fuse the classic look of early 20th century board track racers with a decidedly modern electric motor. Well, it's back for another year... and it's clear that the company has learned a lot in a short space of time. Its newly launched 2016 Tracker ups both the performance and the nostalgia quotient. It's 15 percent more efficient than last year's Tracker, but produces 20 percent more torque and carries a larger 70 watt-hour battery good for 35 miles of real-world travel. At the same time, you'll find clever new touches like stainless steel accents and pewter badging.

Latest batch of Clinton emails may contain classified intel

The State Department announced on Monday that it will release an email from former-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's private email server that, according to members of the intelligence community, may contain classified information. The email is part of a nearly 8,000-page document dump scheduled for Monday. The State Department has already unveiled around 30,000 pages (of an estimated 54,000) since the scandal erupted in March.

Google hires the lead for Tesla's semi-autonomous driving tech

Apple and Tesla aren't the only two tech companies grabbing each other's staff to fulfill their automotive dreams -- Google has quietly hired Robert Rose, the lead for Tesla's semi-autonomous Autopilot program. It's not clear what he's working on besides software at Google Robotics, but it won't be surprising if he's working on self-driving cars. He's unlikely to be working for Boston Dynamics, whose staff are relatively independent from the Google mothership. One thing's for sure: Tesla will notice his absence. Rose was the lead engineer for some of SpaceX's earlier rocketry and reported directly to Elon Musk while at Tesla, so this clearly wasn't a trivial move.

[Image credit: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images]