Microsoft Opens Xbox One X Preorders

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The pre-Gamescom 2017 Microsoft press conference has the company open preorders for the upcoming Xbox One X with a special edition of the console-- the Project Scorpio Edition.

Xbox One X ScorpioNamed after the machine's original code name, the Project Scorpio Edition has a custom gradient design on the exterior, together with the Project Scorpio branding stamped on the controller and console. Meanwhile the retail packaging features a giant X reminiscent of the original Xbox.

However one has to keep in mind the Scorpio Edition is identical to the regular Xbox One X-- it is simply something special for the fans and early adopters.

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Monster Headphones Get Voice Control

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Monster joins forces with Speak Music to presents its first voice-powered headphones-- versions of the Elements, Clarity HD and iSport Freedom V2 Bluetooth headphones making part of the MonsterTalk sub-brand.

Monstertalk headphonesThe headphones allow users to tell their headphones what music to play and ask for a particular song, genre, artist or playlist, providing a "truly hands-free listening and control experience." One can also use voice to access streaming services such as iHeartRadio, Spotify and Tidal, as well as NPR news briefs and iTunes local music.

Providing such functionality is Melody, a companion app promising a seamless listening and control experience across multiple music platform. The Melody service does need a wifi connection, instead using cellular data. To get started, users need to download the free Melody app, follow the on-screen tutorial and pair the Monster headphones with the app via Bluetooth.

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Maplin Rolls Out "Smart Life" Rebranding

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Maplin announces the rollout of its "store of the future" rebranding initiative, following "significant" improvements in both sales and footfall at refurbished outlets.

Maplin futureDesigned by 20.20, the "store of the future" format made its debut on November 2016 in The Beehive Centre, Cambridge. Since then it was adapted and refined at 6 other stores in Staines, Sittingbourne, Crewe, Salford, Oxford and Chesterfield. Maplin says these stores have seen an average Y-o-Y sales increase of 15%, as well as an 18% increase in footfall.

The store format features interactive digital displays developed by SignStix. Maplin says the Cambridge Beehive outlet saw over 20000 digital interactions with the smart home kit on display, with customers interacting with the technology and getting advice from store staff.

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Rapid Growth for DAB Radios

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According to GfK, H1 2017 sees "rapid" growth in DAB+ receiver sales across Europe, in good part driven by the Norwegian switchover from FM to DAB+, as well as the development of digital radio markets across the continent.

DAB radioThe research covers Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, The Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland. It shows sales ae up by 30% Y-o-Y for H2 2017, reaching 1.1 million audio home systems, tuners, receivers, clock radios, portable radios, radio recorders and aftermarket car radios.

As mentioned earlier, Norway was a key sales drivers-- the country sees H1 2017 sales grow by 192% Y-o-Y. Digital Radio Norway says overall sales total 4.1m, and 78% of Norwegian households own one or more DAB+ sets.

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The Next Version of Android: Oreo

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Google announces the sweet-themed name, as well as further details, of the next version of the Android operating system-- Oreo, out now in developer preview/public beta form.

Android OreoAlso known as Android O, the update consists mainly of consumer-facing tweaks. These include picture-in-picture multitasking, notification "dots" on frequently used apps, improved battery management, instant app support, an autofill tool for quick and secure password and personal information entry, and, perhaps most importantly, 60 redesigns of the blob-faced emoji.

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