Sprint's Magic Box Boosts Cellular Signals in Homes, Offices

Today’s topics include Sprint launching a free Magic Box to boost cell signals inside buildings; Angie's List online contractor directory merging with HomeAdvisor; the latest Windows 10 build adding a new PDF file feature; and Google updating its Cloud Natural Language API.

Sprint has unveiled a free Magic Box device that boosts the 4G LTE cellular signals customers receive inside homes, offices and other buildings where they receive their Sprint cellular services.

The Magic Box, which is a shoebox-sized, self-configuring small cell that can be placed inside a building near a window, is a way for users to boost their indoor cellular signals for improved performance for video streaming as well as internet and apps usage.

Adrienne Norton, a Sprint spokeswoman, told eWEEK that the company will provide the Magic Box free to qualified Sprint customers and that distribution of the first 5,000 boxes has already begun.

Two popular consumer cloud services, Angie's List and HomeAdvisor, are merging to form a new publicly traded company, ANGI Homeservices Inc., but users of both services won't know the difference.

The combined business, which will maintain both Angie's List and HomeAdvisor brands, plans to scale up big time to match more homeowners with service professionals in the $400 billion domestic home services market.

The transaction, announced May 2, has been approved by the boards of directors of both companies and is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2017. The merger gives both companies a much larger set of resources to promote growth.

Microsoft has followed up the return of the My People contact feature in Windows 10 with new ways of working with PDF files in the Edge browser and a security feature that blocks zero-day threats. The software giant last week released build 16188 of Windows 10 for the PC to participants of the Windows Insider early-access and feedback program.

However, this time around, not everyone who is enrolled will have access to the latest preview build, alerted Dona Sarkar, head of the Windows Insider program, as a handful of languages in the Windows 10 Enterprise Insider edition are not available.

New to build 16188 is a feature that enables users to fill out fields in PDF forms viewed in Edge, along with the ability to save and print them. Build 16188 also includes a security-enhancing feature in Windows 10 Enterprise called Windows Defender Application Guard. Application Guard isolates threats when users venture into untrusted sites using the Edge browser, essentially cutting off malicious content from the rest of the operating system.

Google has updated its Cloud Natural Language API with new features that help the technology better understand the meaning and context of written words. The company has also added new language support for the API.

Google's Cloud Natural Language API is a fully managed service that is designed to give companies an automated way to extract meaning and context from written text. Organizations, for instance, can use the service to analyze customer feedback and customer sentiment. It also helps them extract metadata, action items and other key information from emails, web content and other unstructured content.

The latest updates improve on the Cloud Natural Language API's ability to parse sentiment at a more granular level than previously possible.