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In January 2013, NVIDIA unveiled its first end-to-end consumer product: NVIDIA Shield. In our review, I wrote, "NVIDIA Shield is a truly strange device" One year later, that statement stands -- only now it applies to NVIDIA's second consumer product as well: the Shield tablet. Okay, okay, Shield Tablet isn't quite as bizarre as the original Shield, but it's a close second.

Shield Tablet dumps the original Shield's 5-inch screen in favor of a bigger 8-inch, 1080p display, swaps the original Tegra 4 in favor of K1, and drops the controller bit entirely. Should you wish to pair a controller with Shield Tablet -- and NVIDIA thinks you should -- NVIDIA's making one (it's even got WiFi Direct for lower latency than Bluetooth), but it's totally optional and doesn't come packed in with the tablet. So, what is this thing? Who is it for? And is it any good? Let's find out.

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The OnePlus One's a handsome little devil as is, but there's always room to accessorize. Though you're probably still waiting on the actual handset to turn up, OnePlus has announced the phone's first "SwapStyle" cover will arrive at the end of August, and it's made from bamboo (the material's all the rage, you know). The standard white and black polycarbonate shells that come with different variants of the phone will also be available online soon for $29, €25 or around £20, while the flashier bamboo version will retail for $49, €39 or £32. Other SwapStyle covers should cost about the same, though we could be persuaded to pay a little more for the one that makes double-denim acceptable again. We wouldn't say a bamboo phone cover needs its own two-minute promo video, but who are we to kill OnePlus' buzz?

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Earns Comast

Even as cable giant Comcast tries to get bigger by absorbing Time Warner Cable, its own revenue grew in the last quarter to $16.8 billion, up 3.5 percent from last year, and net income hit $1.99 billion. The most important number for a subscription business though is how many customers it has, and through a traditionally slow quarter, it managed to slow the loss of total "customer relationships" to 25,000 from 66,000 for the same period last year -- although my friend Ryan Block recently found out how difficult ending that relationship can be. More of the customers that remain are picking up internet and phone services, as it has over 21 million high speed internet subscribers alone. You can check out the numbers yourself right here, I'll be tuning in for the earnings call in a few minutes to find out if it has any new response to the recent customer service controversy, net neutrality and its battle with Netflix, or an update on the $45 billion TWC acquisition.

[Image credit: Associated Press]

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Verizon logo above a store

Verizon's money machine continues to plow on, but much of its wireless growth this quarter came from tablets, not smartphones -- a trend that started last quarter. Big Red added some 1.4 million net retail connections, of whom a whopping 1.15 million used LTE-equipped slates. Most of those additions were likely Verizon customers already, who had taken advantage of the More Everything plan to add a tablet to their existing phone plan for $10. Though those folks technically count as new connections, Verizon only added 304,000 net phone customers, compared to 940,000 this time a year ago. That means that despite selling a million or so smartphone connections, the company dumped about 700,000 -- a considerable slowdown compared to T-Mobile. Still, Verizon saw 7.5 percent more wireless revenue ($21.5 billion) and a similar bump in operating profits.

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AIDS Prevention Drug

So far, HIV has eluded a cure because it installs its genome into human DNA so insidiously that it's impossible for our immune system to clear it out. While current treatments are effective, a lifetime of toxic drugs are required to prevent its recurrence. But researchers from Temple University may have figured out a way to permanently excise it using a highly-engineered HIV "editor." Here's how it works: the team analyzed a part of our immune system that fights infection and built a "guide RNA" strand consisting of 20 nucleotides (RNA building blocks). Those strands were then injected into cells typically infected with HIV, like T-cells. There, they targeted the end parts of the virus's gene and snipped out all 9,709 nucleotides that made up its genome. Since the guide RNA strand contained no human DNA sequences, it left the host cell intact -- but free from HIV.

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When dictionary makers use internet slang, we always feel the same as if our parents had gotten a Justin Bieber tattoo. Chambers Dictionary is the latest wordy tome to get an update for 2014, which now includes YOLO, Bitcoin and totes amazeballs as words and phrases it's acceptable to use in your homework. It's not just digital neologisms that have made the cut this time around, since the 13th edition also includes words such as schemie (someone who lives on a council estate), hipsters (self-hating members of the middle class) and f**kbuddy (a very, very good friend). Still no mention for Chumbumble, a word we invented purely to protest dictionaries trying to be cool, but there's always the 14th edition.

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The "one more thing" at the Xiaomi Mi 4 launch was the Mi Band, the Chinese company's first smart wearable, and it's obviously aggressively priced: Just CN¥79 or about $13! Like many of its competitors, the Mi Band tracks your movement (walking or running) plus sleeping pattern, and you can also use it as a smart vibrating alarm to wake up feeling better. Interestingly, a single charge on this waterproof device will last up to 30 days, which easily beats its competitors that tend to last for a week or less. Better yet, the band doubles as a security token that automatically unlocks your phone -- likely just Xiaomi's for now -- when within proximity. There's no word on availability just yet, but as always, Xiaomi should be debuting this in China where it'll instantly sell out.

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Having sold 26.11 million phones in the first half of this year, the beast from the East that is Xiaomi is back again with a new flagship Android phone: the Mi 4. For the first time ever, the company is adding a touch of metal -- SAE 304 stainless steel, to be exact -- to the phone's frame, which is sandwiched between a flat 5-inch 1080p screen and a swappable, slightly curved plastic back cover. The internal specs are as you'd expect: 2.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 SoC, 3GB of RAM, 16GB/64GB of internal storage, 13MP f/1.8 main camera, 8MP selfie camera, LTE radio (at last), 802.11ac WiFi plus a 3,080mAh battery. As a bonus, you also get an infrared transmitter to play with the TV (which Xiaomi also sells). As usual, the Mi 4 will be very affordable: Just CN¥1,999 or about $320 for the 16GB version, and CN¥2,499 or about $400 for the 64GB version (both off-contract, of course).

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A Grand Canyon Photo Sphere

Google's Photo Spheres can sometimes be a marvel to behold, but it's not always easy to let the photographer know about it; if you stumble across a picture in the Views portal, for instance, you may be stuck. Or rather, you were stuck. Google has just added commenting and +1s to Views, making it easy to praise someone's immersive landscape shot or offer some constructive criticism. The addition probably won't turn the image hub into a hotbed of activity. However, it might get you to revisit some of these 360-degree panoramas well after the novelty has worn off -- including your own.

[Image credit: Colby Brown]

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Twitch 3 for Android

If you regularly catch up on eSports or "let's play" sessions while on the move, today's your lucky day. Twitch has revamped its Android app with a fresh interface that lets you get to the biggest game streams as quickly as possible, with impossible-to-miss links to the hottest titles. It's also much better suited to tablets, and you can now check out both user profiles and offline channels; that's handy if you missed a big event or want to follow someone with similar tastes. It's much easier to sift through search results, too. The remake isn't well-timed -- it's arriving right as Valve's The International tournament is winding to a close -- but it's still a big deal if you like to spectate games as often as you play them.

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