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Engadget
Oct 18, 2021

'Elden Ring' is delayed by five weeks
Just like pretty much every other major game over the last year or so, Elden Ring has been delayed. FromSoftware has postponed the release of its massively anticipated action RPG by five weeks, from January 22nd to February 25th, saying in a tweet that "the depth and strategic freedom of the game exceeded initial expectations." The studio apologized for the delay and added that "your patience and understanding mean a great deal to us."


Engadget
Oct 18, 2021

Samsung's Galaxy Z Flip 3 is only $850 at Amazon
Even more so than the Z Fold 3, Samsung's Galaxy Z Flip 3 5G is a foldable that could be your daily driver if you can deal with a few compromises. It's arguably the best and most practical version of a Samsung foldable yet, and now it's been discounted by $150 on Amazon as part of the deals-focused event dubbed Samsung Week. That brings the final price down to $850, which is a record low.

Buy Galaxy Z Flip 3 at Amazon - $850Shop Samsung Week dealsWe gave the Z Flip 3 a score of 82 in part because Samsung fixed a few things about its predecessor with this smartphone. First off, it seems to be more durable than the last — it doesn't scratch as easily and now is IPX8 water resistant. The main 6.7-inch AMOLED display runs at a 2,640 x 1,080 resolution and supports 120Hz refresh rates. Yes, you will notice its crease, but it doesn't hinder readability — you'll notice is more so because you're probably not used to a screen that folds in this way. When closed, you can use the 1.9-inch external screen to get small bits of information like the weather and calendar events, as well as quickly access features like Samsung Pay and media controls.

The new Flex Mode kicks in when you half-fold the device, and it'll split the screen in half when in certain apps. When watching a YouTube video, for example, the video player will be on the top half of the screen while the video's

Engadget
Oct 18, 2021

Amazon accused of lying about its business practices to Congress
Members of Congress have accused Amazon executives of misleading or lying to an antitrust committee about its business practices, following recent reports that the company uses third-party seller data to copy products and promotes those versions in search results. The representatives, all members of the House Judiciary Committee's antitrust subcommittee, are considering whether to ask the Department of Justice to undertake a criminal investigation.

In the letter to chief executive Andy Jassy, Reps. David Cicilline, Ken Buck, Pramila Jayapal, Jerrold Nadler and Matt Gaetz asked Amazon to provide "exculpatory evidence" to back up testimony from executives )(including former CEO Jeff Bezos) to the subcommittee in 2019 and 2020, according to The Wall Street Journal. Bezos told the committee last year that the company doesn't allow employees to use data from individual sellers to bolster its own product lines, though "couldn't guarantee" that the company hasn't misused such data. The company's associate general counsel, Nate Sutton, said in a 2019 testimony that Amazon doesn't "use individual seller data directly to compete" with third-party sellers.

An investigation published by Reuters last week suggested Amazon India "ran a systematic campaign" of copying other companies' products and manipulating search results to promote them.

Engadget
Oct 18, 2021

Amazon one-day sale knocks up to 43 percent off Sony TVs
If you're on the market for a new TV, it's not too early to check out the sales already available online ahead of Black Friday next month. We'll only see more pop up as the day gets closer, but those who want to jump on an opportunity now need look no further than Amazon's one-day Sony sale. The online retailer has discounted a bunch of Sony tech today — including some of our favorite headphones — and a couple of Sony 4K smart TVs are on sale, too. Key among them are the 65-inch Sony A9G Master Series Bravia OLED smart TV, which is 43 percent off and down to a record low of $1,700. Sony's X950H LED 4K smart TVs are also up to 25 percent off, so you can get one for as low as $950.

Buy 65-inch Sony A9G OLED at Amazon - $1,700Buy 55-inch Sony X950H LED at Amazon - $950Buy 65-inch Sony X950H LED at Amazon - $1,200While the Bravia set is from 2019, it remains a solid OLED TV with a lot of high-end perks. First and foremost, you're getting all of the benefits of OLED, which means better colors, great contrast and deep blacks. It plays 4K HDR content, supports Dolby Vision and it includes the company's Acoustic Surface Audio speak

Engadget
Oct 18, 2021

Roku's Streambar returns to record low of $100 ahead of the holidays
As November inches closer, we're starting to see even more early Black Friday deals on gadgets crop up across the web. Roku products are the latest to be discounted: the Roku Streambar is down to $100 at both Amazon and Best Buy, and both retailers also have the Roku Ultra for only $69. Those are all-time low prices that are worth jumping on if you have streaming devices on your gift list this year.

Buy Roku Streambar at Amazon - $100Buy Roku Streambar at Best Buy - $100Buy Roku Ultra at Amazon - $69Buy Roku Ultra at Best Buy - $69The Roku Streambar would make a great gift for anyone who wants to up their living-room sound game. The compact soundbar will blow most built-in TV speakers out of the water, and it supports Dolby Audio, too. It also doubles as a Bluetooth speaker, so you could use it to pump out tunes during your next gathering.

While you could just use the Streambar for its sound chops, it also includes the same streaming tech as the Rok

Engadget
Oct 18, 2021

IKEA is working on a Spotify-enabled speaker that doubles as a lamp
Ikea may soon release a new Bluetooth "Vappeby" speaker with a couple of interesting twists, according to an FCC filing spotted by The Verge. It also functions as a lamp, for one thing, with an integrated 2700K bulb. More interestingly, it could be the first Bluetooth speaker with a Spotify Tap button that lets you quickly resume your music from where you last left off. 

IkeaSpotify Tap launched last month and is available on Bluetooth headphones from "Samsung, Microsoft Surface, Bose, Skullcandy, and Jabra, with even more brands coming later this year and in 2022," Spotify said. However, it doesn't appear to have appeared in any Bluetooth speakers yet. 

Ikea already has a range of Vappeby Bluetooth speakers ranging from $25 to $90 (known as Eneby in the US), but they're box-shaped models and none double as lamps. With an IP65 dust, rain and low-pressure water rating, the new model looks to be designed for outdoor use at barbecues, parties, etc. There's no pricing as it's not yet official from Ikea, but an FCC clearance means it could hit stores soon. 



Engadget
Oct 18, 2021

AMD Radeon RX 6600 review: The opposite of future-proof
When AMD announced the Radeon RX 6600 XT a few months ago, it was positioned as the ideal 1080p gaming card, with the potential to offer decent 1,440p performance in certain games. Now there's the lower-tier RX 6600 and the story is pretty much the same — except, you know, worse. I suppose the existence of an "XT" card implies a more mainstream version eventually. But after testing out the RX 6600 for the past week, I'm still wondering who this card is for.

Of course, that's a tough question to answer when the GPU market is so volatile and card prices vary wildly. AMD says the RX 6600's suggested retail price is $329, compared to $379 for the 6600XT. But given the global chip shortage and resellers hungry for more GPUs, those prices are purely conceptual. In the real world, the 6600XT now sells for upwards of $600 (and in some cases close to $800!). The 6600 is also competing against the RTX 3060, which also has an MSRP of $329, but is now selling between $800 and $1,020. So much for budget GPUs.

AMD, a company with a reputation for creating budget-friendly cards that packed a decent punch, probably wanted to stay true to its roots. But unless it can guarantee a price close to MSRP, the RX 6600 just seems out of place in today's gaming landscape. As you'll see in our testing, it's a capable 1080p gaming card. But its ray tracing performance is terrible, and it can't take advantage of NVIDIA's DLSS technology, which uses AI to boost performance.

I'll be honest, I didn't really expect much from the RX 6600 from the start. Under the hood

Engadget
Oct 18, 2021

The Morning After: Apple's Mac and Google's Pixel events, previewed
Apple's second fall product event kicks off later today at 1 PM ET. We've laid out what to expect, but it's not the only big tech event week. Spare a thought for some of our staff, who will go straight from Apple reportage into Google.

Yep, Tuesday October 19th is Google's Pixel 6 event. While we know what the phone will look like — and some of its specifications — expect to see some software surprises. We've pulled together everything we know into an event preview story right here.

The biggest question remains: How much will the new Pixel 6 cost? Will it be a humbly priced (and specced) device, like the Pixel 5, or something to challenge iPhones and Galaxy devices?

— Mat Smith



Russian crew returns from shooting the first feature film on the ISSYou'll have to wait a while for the movie.Shooting for the first feature-length movie in space has wrapped. Russian actress Yulia Pereslid, producer Klim Shipenko and cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy have returned to Earth after the first two spent 12 days filming their movie The Challenge aboard the International Space Station.

NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and Russian cosmonaut Pyotr Dubrov were originally slated to return aboard the Soyuz capsule, but they've both had their stays extended by six months to accommodate the film producers. Vande Hei will set a record for the longest spaceflight by a US astronaut as a result, spending exactly one year in orbit. 

Continue reading.



Sponsored by CISCO



Engadget
Oct 18, 2021

Foxconn unveils three new EV prototypes
At its HHTD21 event, Foxconn unveiled three electric vehicle prototypes including two sedans and an electric bus, according to a Nikkei report and YouTube video. The company said it is "no longer the new kid in town" when it comes to EVs, and aims to develop a business worth up to $NT 1 trillion, or around $36 billion per year.

Foxconn developed the EV prototypes under the Foxtron brand in collaboration with Taiwan's Yulon Motor. The latter has its own brand (Luxgen) and manufactures Nissan and Mitsubishi vehicles for the local market. The prototypes include a luxury sedan, SUV and transit bus, labeled the Model E, Model C and Model T, respectively. 

The vehicles are based on Foxconn's open software and hardware platform, MIH Consortium. They're essentially designed as kits, serving as reference designs that EV brands can mass produce to their own specifications. 

The Model T bus could hit roads as early as next year (hopefully under a different name), with a projected range of 400 km and top speed of 120 km/h (75 MPH). It also includes technology like pedestrian warnings, advanced temperature management and high crashworthiness, according to Taiwan News. 

Foxtron's Model C is an electric SUV that will be available in Taiwan by 2023 with high efficiency and zippy 3.8 second 0-to-62 MPH speeds. It's expected to cost below $NT 1 million ($35,700),

Engadget
Oct 18, 2021

Sony's impressive WH-1000XM4s fall back to an all-time low of $248
Sony's WH-1000XM4 wireless headphones received one of Engadget's highest review scores ever thanks to the immersive sound quality, powerful ANC and other features. If the $350 price has given you pause, however, Amazon is now offering them for $248 ($102 off) in black, blue and silver — matching the best price we've seen yet on that model.  

Buy Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones at Amazon - $248The WH-1000XM4s deliver great sound quality with punchy bass, along with ANC that blocks out more noise than rivals across the entire frequency curve. They also offer multi-device connectivity and Speak-to-Chat, which automatically pauses audio when you talk. An update earlier this year brought support for Sony's 360 Reality Audio that offers a similar surround-sound experience to Dolby Atmos. You'll get around 30 hours on a charge and you can eke another five hours from a quick 10-minute charge.

If $248 is still a bit much, Amazon has an even better deal on Sony's budget WH-CH710N model. They're now available for $78 in black or blue (57 percent off the regular $180 price), again tying the best deal we've seen on Amazon. 

Buy Sony WH-CH710N headphones at Amazon - $78These models don't offer the same sound quality and level of noise cancellation as the WH-1000XM4s, of course. However, they made our

Engadget
Oct 18, 2021

'Squid Game' documents may show how Netflix rates the success of its content
Netflix has always closely guarded the exact streaming metrics that may reveal why programs are considered a success... or cancelled. That black box cracked open a bit with documents obtained by Bloomberg detailing the company's scores for "impact value" and "efficiency." An example of that is Squid Game, which generated $891.1 million in impact value on a budget of just $21.4 million for an efficiency of 41.7X, according to Bloomberg's latest report. 

The documents first came to light with Dave Chappelle's controversial special after the company fired an employee for supposedly leaking confidential information about the show's viewing data. (That employee reportedly spoke out against leaks to colleagues, according to The Verge.) Those metrics revealed that Chapelle's previous special, Sticks & Stones, generated slightly less impact value than it cost to make, according to Bloomberg.

Other figures showed that around 132 million people watched at least two minutes of Squid Game in the first 23 days, beating a record set by Bridgerton. Netflix occasionally releases similar information for certain shows, but it doesn't disclose how many people stuck with or finished shows — which can often inflate figures compared to typical TV ratings. 

Accordi

Engadget
Oct 17, 2021

Facebook will add 10,000 jobs in Europe to help build virtual worlds
If Facebook is going to become a "metaverse company," it's going to need talent — and more of that talent is on the horizon. The social network has unveiled plans to add 10,000 "high-skilled" jobs across the European Union over five years to build its virtual and augmented reality experiences. The recruiting drive will hire workers in countries including France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and Spain.

Facebook characterized the move as a "vote of confidence" in the European tech sector. It has a large customer base, of course, but the social media company also pointed to bleeding-edge teams in multiple fields as well as "first class" university education. Facebook even touted the EU's "leading" policies on issues like freedom of speech, privacy and transparency despite the firm's run-ins with regulators.

The tech giant already has a Reality Labs office in Cork, Ireland, and has opened an AI research lab in France. In 2019, Facebook partnered with the Technical University of Munich to create an AI ethics research center.

As with many jobs announcements, this is as much a public relations move as it is a practical investment. It may 'remind' the EU of Facebook's economic contribution and influence relevant policies. Nonetheless, the move hints at the long-term scale of the metaverse transition — Facebook is changing its overall direction, not just shuffling a few resources.



Engadget
Oct 17, 2021

UK schools will use facial recognition to speed up lunch payments
Facial recognition may soon play a role in your child's lunch. The Financial Timesreports that nine schools in the UK's North Ayrshire will start taking payments for canteen (aka cafeteria) lunches by scanning students' faces. The technology should help minimize touch during the pandemic, but is mainly meant to speed up transaction times. That could be important when you may have roughly 25 minutes to serve an entire school of hungry kids.

Both the schools and system installer CRB Cunningham argued the systems would address privacy and security concerns. CRB Cunningham noted its hardware wasn't using live facial recognition (actively scanning crowds), and was checking against encrypted faceprint templates. Schools were already using fingerprint readers, too, so this was more of a shift in biometric technology than a brand new layer of security. There were also concerns about fraud using conventional PINs — facial recognition is theoretically safer. North Ayrshire's council added that 97 percent of children or parents had offered consent.

That won't satisfy some critics, though. Big Brother Watch and England's Biometrics Commissioner both maintained that facial recognition was arbitrary. There was a concern that school rollouts might normalize face scanning and numb students to privacy concerns. If you grow up with this technology, you might not object when it crops up at airports or music festivals.

You might not see this spread to the US and other countries given

Engadget
Oct 17, 2021

Tesla starts delivering refreshed Model X to customers
Tesla delivered its redesigned Tesla Model S interior in early 2021, and now Model X buyers are finally getting their turn. Electrek and TMC forum member Sunnyvaletree report that Tesla has started delivering the revised Model X to customers, holding at least one event to mark the occasion. As you might guess, this effectively drags the electric crossover into the modern era with a landscape touchscreen display up front, a smaller display in the back and overall interior quality improvements that are more befitting a nearly $94,000 vehicle.

The EVs at the event were six-seaters, although it's not clear if that's the only configuration shipping first. There appear to be Model X Plaid units driving near Tesla's Fremont factory.

The deliveries are good news for buyers who've wanted the space and luxury of the Model X over the 'frugal' Model Y. However, they also underscore the effect of chip shortages on Tesla's production. On top of the late arrivals for early adopters, new shoppers will face very lengthy delays. Order a Model X Plaid as of this writing and you'll have to wait until July 2022; spring for the lower-cost Long Range variant and you'll wait until September 2022. It could be a long, long while before you can simply buy the current Model X design and expect to receive it in a timely fashion.


Engadget
Oct 17, 2021

Facebook claims hate speech visibility dropped 50 percent in nine months
Facebook is responding to whistleblower Frances Haugen's testimony by attempting to shift the narrative on hate speech. Integrity VP Guy Rosen has posted a defense of the social network's anti-hate measures where he argued the declining visibility of hate speech mattered more than the mere existence of that content. The "prevalence" (aka visibility) of hate on Facebook has dropped nearly 50 percent in the past three quarters to 0.05 percent of content viewed, Rosen said, or about five views out of every 10,000.

The executive contended it was "wrong" to focus on content removals as the only metric. There were other ways to counter hate, Rosen said, and Facebook had to be "confident" before it removed any material. That meant erring on the side of caution to avoid mistakenly removing content, and limiting the reach of people, groups and pages that will probably violate policies.

There is a degree of truth here. Facebook has occasionally run into trouble for mistakenly flagging content as hate speech, and an aggressive removal system might lead to further accidents. Likewise, hate will only have limited impact if few people ever see a given post.

However, there's little doubt Facebook is engaged in some spin. Haugen in her testimony asserted that Facebook can only catch a "very tiny minority" of offending material — that's still an issue if true, even if only a small fraction of users ever see the material. Rosen's response also doesn't touch on Haugen's allegations that Facebook

Engadget
Oct 17, 2021

Jabra's wireless earbuds are up to 40 percent off at Amazon for today only
Want some wireless earbuds to help you study or get in some cool-weather exercise? Here's your chance to get some at a good price. Jabra's earbuds are steeply discounted as part of a one-day Amazon sale, with some models up to 40 percent off. The best values are among the most recent buds, however — the Elite 75t is at an all-time low of $100 ($50 off), while the newer Elite 85t is on sale for $180 (also $50 off). This applies across multiple colors, charging case options and Active variants.

Buy Elite 75t on Amazon - $100Buy Elite 85t on Amazon - $180The Elite 75t and 85t share a common recipe for success: they're comfortable, offer solid (though not always stellar) sound quality and last a long while on battery. These may be your picks for lengthy studying sessions and arduous hikes. The 75t is a relatively no-frills design, while the 85t adds perks like active noise cancellation and optional wireless charging.

They have their catches. The Elite 75t is relatively plain at a time when many $100 earbuds offer ANC, and their on-bud controls take practice. The Elite 85t is feature-packed, but it sounds merely average for the money. Don't over

Engadget
Oct 17, 2021

Apple's new MacBook Pro chips may be called the M1 Pro and M1 Max
Leaks are still pouring in just a day before Apple's "Unleashed" event kicks off. According to MacRumors, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman understands the chips for the widely expected 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro models have surfaced in developer app logs under the names "M1 Pro" and "M1 Max." It's not certain Apple will use these names for its high-end silicon, but they suggest Apple won't go with M1X or otherwise echo the naming scheme used for souped-up A-series chips. 

Earlier rumors have hinted at two processors destined for the new MacBook Pros. Both would include 10 cores (eight high-performance, two high-efficiency). An 'entry' version would include a 16-core GPU, while the higher-end model would pack a 32-core GPU. This roughly lines up with the M1 Pro and M1 Max naming schemes. Other rumors have pointed to a direct sequel to the base M1, the M2, arriving sometime in early 2022 alongside a new MacBook Air.

Gurman also reiterated the changes he and others expect from the MacBook Pro redesign. Both laptops would include mini-LED displays with higher resolutions. They may bring back welcome connectors like a MagSafe power port, HDMI and an SD card slot. You might also see support for up to 64GB of RAM and the death of the Touch Bar.

It wouldn't be shocking if Apple brought its Pro and Max naming schemes to computer CPUs. If Apple is going to replace all Intel chips with in-h

Engadget
Oct 17, 2021

Russian crew returns from shooting the first feature film on the ISS
Shooting for the first feature-length movie in space has wrapped. Space.comreports Russian actress Yulia Pereslid, producer Klim Shipenko and cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy have returned to Earth after the first two spent 12 days filming their movie The Challenge aboard the International Space Station. The three left the ISS in a Soyuz spacecraft at 9:14PM Eastern on October 16th and landed in Kazakhstan just a few hours later, at 12:35AM.

Pereslid and Shipenko arrived on October 5th through an agreement between the Russian space agency Roscosmos, the TV network Channel One and the production studio Yellow, Black and White. Novitskiy had been there since April 9th as part of his regular duties, although he also played a key role — the movie has Pereslid play a surgeon who makes an emergency visit to the ISS to operate on the cosmonaut.

The filming required significant sacrifices for some of the ISS crew. NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and Russian cosmonaut Pyotr Dubrov were originally slated to return aboard the Soyuz capsule, but both have had their stays extended by six months to accommodate the film producers. Vande Hei will set a record for the longest spaceflight by a US astronaut as a result, spending exactly one year in orbit. Pereslid also broke ground as the first professional actor to visit space, beating William Shatner by roughly a week.

It will be a while before The Challenge is ready to watch, and it's safe to say the production is aimed primarily at a Russian audience. It's a major mileston

Engadget
Oct 16, 2021

'Suicide Squad' game trailer shows why you'll take down the Justice League
It's been over a year since Rocksteady and Warner Bros. revealed their Suicide Squad game, but now they're finally ready to offer another peek — if not necessarily the one you were expecting. They've released a story trailer for Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League that shows the formation of Task Force X and explains why your band of supervillains (Harley Quinn, Captain Boomerang, Deadshot and King Shark) has to destroy some of Earth's greatest heroes.

As it turns out, Brainiac has possessed the Justice League and is using heroes to wreak havoc. The Task Force is the first unit to make it into Metropolis alive, as X organizer Amanda Waller explains. It's also clear that Harley and crew aren't exactly eager volunteers, as their heads are "ticking." Superman, Green Lantern and The Flash also get some attention in the trailer, and even The Penguin makes an unusual cameo appearance.

There's unfortunately no gameplay in this trailer, and the developers haven't committed to a more specific release date than "2022" for the PC, PS5 and Xbox Series X/S versions. Even so, this gives you a better idea of what to expect: plenty of witty banter, a world turned on its head and an almost casual approach to violence. The main question is simply whether Rocksteady can build on the reputation from its Batman games and deliver action on par with this teaser footage.



Engadget
Oct 16, 2021

FIFA isn't thrilled with EA's dominance of soccer games
Do you lament EA's dominance of soccer (aka football) games due to its licensing advantages? So does FIFA, apparently. Eurogamernotes that FIFA has issued a statement insisting that soccer gaming and eSports should have more than one party "controlling and exploiting all rights" — a not-so-subtle reference to EA. Accordingly, FIFA is talking to developers, investors and other groups to "widen" its gaming and eSports options.

The organization added this would help "maximize all future opportunities." It also reiterated its commitment to running eSports tournaments under its FIFAe brand.

The statement comes at a crucial moment for both EA and FIFA. EA's current licensing deal expires after the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, and New York Timessources claim talks have stalled between the two sides. FIFA reportedly wants more than double its current cut from EA (more than $1 billion over four years) while also limiting EA's rights to keep it to video games. EA, meanwhile, is considering new names for its soccer games while supposedly exploring new concepts like arena-based tournaments, NFTs a

Engadget
Oct 16, 2021

The future of ‘Minecraft' includes swamps, scary monsters and a Game Pass bundle
On Saturday, Mojang held its annual Minecraft Live fan convention. As in years past, the event saw the studio detail the future of its immensely popular sandbox game. And if you're a fan of Minecraft, the livestream did not disappoint.   

The studio kicked off the event with the announcement of The Wild Update. Set to come out sometime in 2022, Mojang promises this latest DLC will change how players explore and interact with the game's overworld. The update will introduce an entirely new swamp biome that includes mangroves players can pick fruit from and replant to nurture new plants.

The Deep Dark, which was previously planned for 2021, will now launch instead in 2022 alongside The Wild Update. First announced at Minecraft Live 2020, the DLC adds the Warden, a new enemy character that is one of the game's scariest yet. Players who brave the DLC will find special new items only available in the deep dark.

In the meantime, fans can look forward to part two of the Caves and Cliffs update coming out later this year. In the first half of 2021, Mojang made the decision to split the update into two parts due to the complexity of the included features. At Minecraft Live, the studio said that was the right decision, in part because it allowed the team to take into consideration community feedback. As previously announced, the update will include expanded caves and biomes. It will also increase the height and depth limit of worlds.

Mojang hasn't forgotten about Minecraft Dungeons. In December, the studio will introduce a new feature called Seasonal Adventures. Each week, you and your friends will have to chance to take on weekly challenges. As you complete them, you'll earn progress towards a seasonal progression track that unlocks re

Engadget
Oct 16, 2021

There's now an official 'Minecraft' gaming chair
Themed gaming chairs aren't completely new, but this example is rather unusual. According to Windows Central, Microsoft and Mojang have collaborated with Secretlab on a Minecraft chair. The Minecraft Edition Titan Evo 2022 includes the obligatory game logos, but it's also made to look like you're sitting on one of the game's infamous Creepers. That sounds more than a little... creepy, but it might be just what you're looking for if you livestream Minecraft or otherwise want to advertise your fondness for the classic creative title.

And unlike the in-game Creepers, this chair shouldn't explode. This is Secretlab's first special-run chair to use the company's SoftWeave Plus fabric, which promises to blend durability with comfort. You might not have to worry quite so much about spills or tears ruining your gaming throne.

You can pre-order the Minecraft gaming chair today starting at $549 for small and regular versions, and $599 for XL. That's a lot to spend on any chair, especially a special edition — you might want to be sure your love of the game is more than just a short-term fling. If it is, though, the expense might be worthwhile to improve your comfort (and hopefully posture) for those lengthy world-building sessions.



Engadget
Oct 16, 2021

McDonald's will trial its plant-based burger in the US on November 3rd
You may soon be able to give McDonald's plant-based burgers a try. The fast-food chain will offer the McPlant at eight restaurants across the US starting on November 3rd and until supplies last. It's a limited-time trial run for the burger, and it's supposed to help the company figure out how having the item in its menu will impact its kitchen operations. 

The burger's patty is made with Beyond Meat plant-based meat. It's supposed to be different from the company's patties offered by Carl's Jr., Del Taco and other fast-food chains, though, because Beyond Meat co-developed it with McDonald's itself. Back when the McPlant was first announced, the fast-food giant said it "delivers [its] iconic taste in a sink-your-teeth-in (and wipe-your-mouth) kind of sandwich. It's made with a juicy, plant-based patty and served on a warm, sesame seed bun with all the classic toppings."

While McDonald's didn't mention the exact locations of the stores that will sell the McPlant, it said that they can be found in Irving and Carrollton, Texas, Cedar Falls, Iowa, Jennings and Lake Charles, Louisiana and El Segundo and Manhattan Beach, California. McDonald's is also trialing the burger in other countries, including Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Austria and the UK. While the McPlant is simply a burger for now, McDonald's previously said that it could represent a whole line of plant-based menu items in the future, including chicken substitutes and breakfast sandwiches. 



Engadget
Oct 16, 2021

Analogue Pocket's OS is meant as the 'definitive' platform for retro games
Analogue's Pocket handheld won't arrive until late this year, but the company is betting that its software will be worth the wait. TechCrunchnotes the company has detailed AnalogueOS, the platform the Pocket and future Analogue devices will run — and it's pitched as nothing less than the "definitive" OS for retro games, a way to showcase classics that haven't always received the kindest treatment.

Rather than simply play cartridge games, the Pocket and future hardware will tap into a library that provides all the useful data surrounding a game, ranging from box art and publisher data to guides. Pop in a cartridge and you'll learn about that particular version of a game. You might know if you scored a Nintendo World Championship cart or a bootleg, for instance. That database, in turn, will help you browse your library and even create "playlists" to share with fellow nostalgic gamers (who can buy the same cartridges, that is).

AnalogueOS will also track your play time and let you remap controls or enable Bluetooth gamepads. The Pocket will enable save states for cartridge games, which can be helpful if you're trying to recreate a thandheld's original experience.

This approach is meant for a particular variety of retro gamer focused on physical copies and authenticity. It's not as convenient as the digital downloads of, say, the Switch Online Expansion Pack. If it succeeds, though, it could shake up the category. Muc

Engadget
Oct 16, 2021

ICYMI: The Apple Watch Series 7 makes the most of its bigger screen
This week, we've got our regular gadget reviews plus our thoughts on a forthcoming video game. Cherlynn Low strapped on the Apple Watch Series 7 to see how it compares to the previous version and to find out how much of a difference the larger screen makes. Igor Bonifacic tested the 2021 Motorola Edge smartphone and found it offers a lot of high-end features — including a 144Hz display — at a budget-friendly price. Terrence O'Brien played with the effects and inputs on the Roland SP-404MKII and reported that it makes chopping samples more fun. Finally, Jess Conditt sat in the virtual driver's seat to play Forza Horizon 5, a game she declares a perfect getaway in a time of travel restrictions.

The Apple Watch Series 7 is bigger and betterCherlynn Low / EngadgetCherlynn Low acknowledges that the main difference between the Apple Watch Series 7 and the previous model is the larger screen, but she's adamant that even this small change makes a big impact. The Series 7's display is 20 percent larger than that of the Series 6, and has significantly smaller bezels. It's also the first Apple Watch to be IP6X certified for dust resistance, making it more durable. Cherlynn said the larger display made things easier to read and navigate, and the extra screen space made it easier to enter in the right keys and see more of messages.

Apple also debuted some additional watch faces and a full QWERTY keyboard on the Series 7. Cherlynn says the new

Engadget
Oct 16, 2021

Hitting the Books: How Amazon's aggressive R&D push made it an e-commerce behemoth
Amazon is the Standard Oil of the 21st century. Its business operations and global reach dwarf those of virtually every other company on the planet — and exceed the GDP of more than a few countries — illustrating the vital importance innovation has on the modern economy. In his latest book, The Exponential Age: How Accelerating Technology is Transforming Business, Politics and Society, author Azeem Azhar examines how the ever-increasing pace of technological progress is impacting, influencing — and often rebuilding — our social, political and economic mores from the ground up.

Diversion BooksExcerpted from The Exponential Age: How Accelerating Technology is Transforming Business, Politics and Society by Azeem Azhar. Copyright © 2021 Azeem Azhar. Printed with permission of the publisher, Diversion Books. All rights reserved.

In 2020, Amazon turned twenty-six years old. Over the previous quarter of a century, the company had transformed shopping. With retail revenues in excess of $213 billion, it was larger than Germany's Schwarz Gruppe, America's Costco, and every British retailer. Only America's Walmart, with more than half a trillion dollars of sales, was bigger. But Amazon was, by this time, far and away the world's largest online retailer. Its online business was about eight times larger than Walmart's. Amazon was more than just an online shop, however. Its huge operations in areas such as cloud computing, logistics, media, and hardware added a further $172 billion in sales.

At the heart of Amazon's success is an annual research

Engadget
Oct 16, 2021

Dbrand stops selling PS5 faceplates after Sony issues legal threats
It's not just small companies facing Sony's wrath over aftermarket PlayStation 5 faceplates. Dbrand told The Verge it stopped selling its PS5 "Darkplates" after Sony issued a cease-and-desist letter earlier in the year threatening legal action over alleged design and trademark violations. Visit Dbrand's product page now and you'll only see links to news stories and testimonials.

Dbrand isn't going down quietly. In a Reddit thread, the company claimed it was submitting to the "terrorists' demands... for now." It believed customers had the right to modify hardware with third-party components, and speculated that Sony might be clamping down so that it can either sell its own covers or charge licensing fees. The company didn't definitively say it planned to resume sales, but did say it would "talk soon."

Whatever Dbrand's intentions, this takes away a major option (though not your only option) for customizing the PS5. The question is whether or not Sony can completely halt third-party faceplate sales. After all, the faceplates are designed to be easily removable and aren't much more than plastic sheets. Dbrand likened this to replacing a broken F-150 truck bumper with an aftermarket part — you have the right to choose the parts you use for fixes or cosmetic upgrades, and Ford can't sue simply because you're using an unofficial bumper. It won't b

Engadget
Oct 16, 2021

NASA launches mission to explore Solar System 'fossils'
One of the more important missions to study the early Solar System is now underway. NASA has launched Lucy, a robotic spacecraft that will be the agency's first to explore the Trojan asteroids trapped near Jupiter's Lagrange points. They're considered "fossils" of planetary formation that will help understand the Solar System's evolution, much as Lucy the australopithecus helped humans understand their ancestors.

The spacecraft detached from a ULA Atlas V rocket about an hour after liftoff, successfully deploying its two 24-foot solar arrays. The vehicle is currently charging its batteries as it begins the first leg of its journey, an orbit around the Sun as it prepares for its first gravity assist around Earth in October 2022.

To call this a long mission would be an understatement. Lucy will return to Earth for another gravity assist in 2024, and won't see any asteroids until it swings by the Donaldjohanson asteroid (near the main asteroid belt) in 2025. The probe first visits its first swarm of Trojan asteroids, ahead of Jupiter, in 2027. It will then make four flybys before visiting Earth for a third gravity assist in 2031. It will finally visit the second swarm of asteroids in 2033.

You won't have to be quite so patient for every asteroid mission, at least. NASA will launch another explorer, Psyche, in 2022. The vehicle will arrive at the metallic asteroid (16) Psyche in 2026 and spend 21 months determining whether it represents the exposed core of an early planet or 'just' unmelted material. Lucy is the more ambitious of the two projects, though, and it may pay extra dividends if it sheds light on how the Solar System came to be.



Engadget
Oct 16, 2021

Surprise Soyuz thruster firing tilted and turned the ISS
The astronauts and cosmonauts aboard the International Space Station had to initiate emergency protocols after the spacecraft tilted and turned by 57 degrees on Friday. All is well now, but the Roscosmos and NASA ground teams had to spring to action and alert their personnel in space after noticing the change in orientation. According to The New York Times, the incident happened while cosmonaut Oleg Novitsky was testing the engines aboard the Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft that's currently docked with the station. 

NASA spokesperson Leah Cheshier told the publication that "the thruster firing unexpectedly continued" when the engine testing was scheduled to end. By 5:13 AM Eastern time, the ISS lost control of its orbital positioning. Russian controllers in Moscow immediately told Novitsky that the station turned 57 degrees, while NASA's mission control in Houston told its astronauts to begin emergency procedures. Flight controllers were able to regain control of the station around 30 minutes later. The Soyuz spacecraft that caused the incident is expected to fly a Russian fillm crew — that same one that flew to the ISS to shoot the first feature film there earlier this month — back to Earth.

"During the Soyuz MS-18 engines testing, the station's orientation was impacted. As a result, the International Space Station orientation was temporarily changed. The station's orientation was swiftly recovered due to the actions of the ISS Russian Segment Chief Operating Control Group specialists. The station and the crew are in no danger," Roscosmos said in its announcement.

As T

Engadget
Oct 16, 2021

Moscow metro launches facial recognition payment system despite privacy concerns
More than 240 metro stations across Moscow now allow passengers to pay for a ride by looking at a camera. The Moscow metro has launched what authorities say is the first mass-scale deployment of a facial recognition payment system. According to The Guardian, passengers can access the payment option called FacePay by linking their photo, bank card and metro card to the system via the Mosmetro app. "Now all passengers will be able to pay for travel without taking out their phone, Troika or bank card," Moscow mayor Sergey Sobyanin tweeted.


Engadget
Oct 15, 2021

Jack Dorsey says Square is ‘considering' building a Bitcoin mining system
Jack Dorsey says that Square is "considering" building its own Bitcoin mining system using custom silicon and open source software. "Square is considering building a Bitcoin mining system based on custom silicon and open source for individuals and businesses worldwide," Dorsey wrote in a Twitter thread Friday.

He added that such a project would follow a similar approach as the bitcoin hardware wallet Square began working on earlier this summer. But building a mining system would be considerably more complicated for the payments company than simply building a wallet. Creating custom chips is, as Dorsey points out, "very expensive," and would be new territory for the payments company, which has been a major supporter of Bitcoin.

"Mining needs to be more efficient," Dorsey wrote. "Driving towards clean and efficient energy use is great for Bitcoin's economics, impact, and scalability. Energy is a system-level problem that requires innovation in silicon, software, and integration."


Engadget
Oct 15, 2021

Judge bars county clerk after voting machine passwords leaked to QAnon
In August, QAnon conspiracy theorist Ron Watkins shared a video he claimed showed ballot machines from Dominion Voting Systems could be remotely accessed to tamper with the results of a vote. At the time, he said the information came to him from a "whistleblower."

This week, a Colorado judge barred Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters from overseeing the county's upcoming November election in relation to a leak of voting machine BIOS passwords. Peters, who tweeted in support of former President Donald Trump's election conspiracy theories, invited a man named Gerald Wood to a meeting involving a "trusted build" software update that was meant to ensure the security of the county's voting machines. Peters claimed Wood was an "administrative assistant" transitioning to her office, but then later described him as a "consultant" she hired to copy information from the computers.

Ahead of the meeting, Belinda Knisley, Peters' deputy, sent an email to staff asking that they turn off the security cameras in the Election Department and not turn them back on until after August 1st. Knisley didn't explain the reason for her request, but it was carried out either way. On the day of the meeting, Wood photographed a spreadsheet that contained the passwords to the machines and copied over their hard drives. Following the meeting, the passwords were publicly posted to an "online social media site."

"Peters directed the creation of the images of the hard drive, which was not authorized by law and which directly led to the decomm

Engadget
Oct 15, 2021

Netflix fires employee for leaking data about controversial Dave Chappelle special
Netflix has fired an employee, alleging they shared confidential, commercially sensitive information about Dave Chappelle's new standup special, The Closer, with media outlets, Variety reported. 

The employee is accused of leaking data that appeared in Bloomberg about how much Netflix paid for a handful of shows and standup specials, including The Closer and previous Chappelle contracts. According to Bloomberg, Netflix spent $24.1 million on The Closer, compared with $23.6 million for his 2019 show, and just $3.9 million for Bo Burnham's Emmy-winning special Inside. Squid Game, the biggest series debut in Netflix history, cost the company $21.4 million, the report said.

"We understand this employee may have been motivated by disappointment and hurt with Netflix, but maintaining a culture of trust and transparency is core to our company," the company said in a statement to Variety.

Netflix employees and external equality groups — including GLADD and the National Black Justice Coalition — have called for The Closer to be removed from the streaming service, arguing it contains hateful transphobic and homophobic rhetoric.

Engadget
Oct 15, 2021

Tesla opens Model Y pre-orders in the UK for early 2022 delivery
Tesla will soon bring the Model Y to the UK. The company has opened pre-orders for the EV in the country, with deliveries expected to start in early 2022, according to an email to customers spotted by Elektrek.

The original plan was to start Model Y deliveries in Europe after Tesla started making them at its Berlin Gigafactory. However, Tesla has brought Model Y EVs from its Shanghai production facility to some European markets.

Most countries in Europe drive on the right, but the UK and Ireland stick to the left, so the steering wheel is generally on the right there. Gigafactory Berlin is supposed to start making Model Ys as soon as next month. Still, it's unclear whether Tesla will make Model Ys for the UK there or ship them from China.

The Model Y starts at £54,990 for the Long Range All-Wheel-Drive model and £64,990 for a Performance one, according to Tesla's configurator. Enhanced Autopilot costs £3,400 and the Full Self-Driving Capability add-on is £6,800, but that feature is in beta.



Engadget
Oct 15, 2021

Smartphone shipments fell due to ongoing component shortages
From NVIDIA and AMD to automakers like GM, the global chip shortage has affected nearly every industry that depends on computer components, and now it's even hurting smartphone manufacturers. According to Canalys, phone shipments dropped by six percent year-over-year in the third quarter of 2021. The firm says much of that is due to component shortages that made it impossible for those companies to meet consumer demand.

According to a preliminary estimate, Samsung shipped the most devices in Q3 2021, claiming a 23 percent share of the market. For the South Korean company, the good news is that it's no worse off now than it was a year ago. Reclaiming the second spot, Apple managed to increase its share of the market by 3 percentage points year-over-year.


Engadget
Oct 15, 2021

Twitch says no passwords were leaked in security breach
No Twitch passwords were exposed in the livestreaming service's recent major security breach, according to the company. In an update on the incident, Twitch said it's confident systems that store hashed login credentials weren't accessed, nor were ACH/banking details. Twitch previously noted it doesn't store full credit card numbers.

After reviewing information in the exposed files, Twitch says the breach "only affected a small fraction of users and the customer impact is minimal." The leaked information mostly contained source code repository documents and a subset of payout details for streamers.

Twitch previously disclosed that someone was able to gain access to its servers due to a configuration change error. It fixed the issue and took measures to shore up its systems. "We take our responsibility to protect your data very seriously," Twitch wrote. "We have taken steps to further secure our service, and we apologize to our community."



Engadget
Oct 15, 2021

MIT researchers create fabric that can sense and react to its wearer's movement
Textile production may be one of the oldest technologies known to humans, but it hasn't proven easy to adapt the advances of the information age to our garments. Sure, we've seen efforts like Google's Project Jacquard try to bring clothes into the modern era, but those haven't been particularly successful.

Not that that's stopping a team of researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Sweden. They've created a smart fiber that can sense and respond to the movement of its wearer. Dubbed OmniFiber, the soft robotic fabric features a hollow center channel that allows a fluidic medium to travel through it. With the help of compressed air, the fibers can bend, stretch, curl and pulse on demand. That's something that allows them to provide tactile feedback in real-time, making them akin to an artificial muscle.

Artificial muscle fibers aren't a new idea; other research teams at MIT have approached the technology in their own way. However, what makes OmniFiber notable is that it doesn't need heat to change its shape. Immediately that makes it more practical since overheating the skin is not an issue. It has other advantages too. It's possible to make the fabric with relatively inexpensive materials, and the fibers don't require a delicate weaving process.



Engadget
Oct 15, 2021

Steam bans games that allow cryptocurrency and NFT trading
Steam will no longer allow games that enable NFT (non-fungible token) and cryptocurrency trading through the blockchain. Steam's onboarding page for Steamworks users and partners now states that they shouldn't publish "applications built on blockchain technology that issue or allow exchange of cryptocurrencies or NFTs" on Steam. The rule was added at some point after October 6th, according to a version of the page cached by Google.

Some developers have spoken out about the rule. SpacePirate Games, the studio behind a sci-fi action-adventure title called Age of Rust, said Valve was booting blockchain games off of Steam "because NFTs have value." Some puzzles in Age of Rust, which is in development, will reward players with NFTs as achievements. "Steam's point of view is that items have value and they don't allow items that can have real-world value on their platform," SpacePirate said. The developer plans to publish the game elsewhere.


Engadget
Oct 15, 2021

Apple hires a new HomePod software lead amid speaker market struggles
Amid struggles to make headway in the smart speaker market, Apple has hired a new HomePod software head, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. The company has reportedly brought onboard Afrooz Family, who co-founded the high-end audio startup Syng with former Apple designer Christopher Stringer.

Apple's $349 HomePod arrived in 2018 to very mixed reviews, and was discontinued early this year. The company has noticeably failed to compete with smart speaker rivals, particularly Amazon's Alexa-powered Echo devices and Google's Assistant speaker family. 

Family worked for Apple between 2012 and 2016 and was on the original HomePod team before starting Syng. That company aimed to develop a "revolutionary" speaker to produce immersive audio, but eventually developed a rather niche, $1,800 speaker. The previous HomePod software head, Jason Harrison, left Apple for Airbnb last year. 

Apple's latest speaker product is the $99 HomePod mini, which we described in our Engadget review as an "acceptable Echo alternative." That device has reportedly helped sales a bit, but hasn't put much of a dent in a market dominated by Amazon and Google, according to Bloomberg.

The biggest problem with Apple's smart speakers may be Siri and HomeKit, which aren't as widely supported as Alexa and Google Assistant. The original HomePod was also pretty expensive at launch. To make inroads, Apple may need to change its approach and continue to improve integration — as it recently did with a

Engadget
Oct 15, 2021

Weight loss app Noom gets into mental health coaching
Since 2011, Noom has made a name for itself as a weight loss app. This week, with the introduction of a new feature called Noom Mood, it's expanding into mental wellness. If you've already tried the aforementioned weight loss program, you'll have a good idea of what to expect from Noom Mood.

As you embark on the four-month program, each day the app will provide you with articles and activities centered on teaching you skills you can use to manage and regulate the stress and emotions in your life. Along the way, you'll be asked to log your mood, and if you ever need additional help, the program includes access to a personal coach.

It's not surprising to see Noom expand beyond weight loss. It always had a mindfulness streak, and it must be said there's a lot of money to be made in the health and wellness space. Over the course of the pandemic, a company like Headspace went from a relatively obscure startup to one that now has a $3 billion valuation and partnerships with companies like Ne

Engadget
Oct 15, 2021

The Apple TV 4K drops to $160, plus the rest of the week's best tech deals
Yes, we know it's October, but the holiday shopping season (apparently) knows no bounds. We're already starting to see early Black Friday deals pop up across the web, so it's not too early to start crossing things off your gift list. The Apple TV 4K remains on sale for $160 while the AirPods Pro and a couple of MacBooks are also discounted. A pair of our favorite Bose earbuds are down to a record low while the Echo Show 8 is still on sale for $100. Here are the best tech deals from this week that you can still get today.

Apple TV 4KDevindra Hardawar/EngadgetThe latest Apple TV 4K is down to $160 on Amazon, which is close to an all-time-low price. It's the best high-end streaming device you can get and we gave it a score of 90 for its speedy performance, Dolby Vision and Atmos support and much improved Siri remote.

Buy Apple TV 4K at Amazon - $160AirPods ProBilly Steele / EngadgetThe

Engadget
Oct 15, 2021

An NFT from Signal's founder will look like a poop emoji when someone owns it
Moxie Marlinspike, the founder of Signal, has created an NFT (non-fungible token) that mocks the entire concept of NFTs. "At my whim, #1," as the piece is titled, renders differently depending on where you see it. It has a contrasting appearance on NFT marketplaces OpenSea and Rarible, but the real fun will start if and when someone buys it. As noted by The Verge, Marlinspike says it will look like a big ol' poop emoji in the owner's wallet.


Engadget
Oct 15, 2021

You can preorder the Xbox Series X Mini Fridge on October 19th
As promised, Microsoft will start shipping its Xbox Series X Mini Fridge in time for the holidays. The company said the fridge costs $100 and pre-orders start on October 19th. It will ship in December.

The mini fridge has its roots in an image Xbox tweeted to show the scale of the Xbox Series X versus a full-sized fridge. Microsoft actually made a six-foot fridge last year to promote the launch of the console. Now, after a Twitter battle of the brands victory, a mini version of the fridge is something you'll actually be able to buy.


Engadget
Oct 15, 2021

Nintendo's Switch Online 'Expansion Pack' costs $50 a year, launches October 25th
Nintendo held a Direct video presentation this morning, announcing two major updates for Animal Crossing: New Horizons. One is a free bit of DLC, and the other is a paid, $25 expansion called Happy Home Paradise. Unexpectedly, Nintendo used this announcement to reveal the price of the upcoming Switch Online "expansion pack." The service, which adds classic N64 and Sega Genesis games to the existing Switch Online offerings, will cost $50 per year or $80 for a family plan. This expansion will include access to the $25 Happy Home Paradise DLC — so if you're an Animal Crossing: New Horizons player, it's like getting the rest of the Expansion Pack benefits for $5.

Shortly after this story was published, Nintendo released more details about the expansion pack, including its October 25th launch date. If you already have a Switch Online subscription, you'll be able to upgrade at a pro-rated cost depending on how much time was left on your original plan.There are more details about the expansion pack in the video above as well as on Nintendo's site.

Finally, you can now pre-order the N64 and Sega Genesis controllers that are compatible with the Switch. A single controller will cost $50, and there doesn't appear to be any discount for pairs. Given how good Nintendo's previous classic controllers have been, we expect these should feel like authenti

Engadget
Oct 15, 2021

Nintendo's Switch Online 'Expansion Pack' will cost $50 per year
Nintendo held a Direct video presentation this morning, announcing two major updates for Animal Crossing: New Horizons. One is a free bit of DLC, and the other is a paid, $25 expansion called Happy Home Paradise. Unexpectedly, Nintendo used this announcement to reveal the price of the upcoming Switch Online "expansion pack." The service, which adds classic N64 and Sega Genesis games to the existing Switch Online offerings, will cost $50 per year or $80 for a family plan. This expansion will include access to the $25 Happy Home Paradise DLC — so if you're an Animal Crossing: New Horizons player, it's like getting the rest of the Expansion Pack benefits for $5.

Nintendo didn't say when the Expansion Pack would go live. But, both Happy Home Paradise and the free update for New Horizons are set to arrive on November 5th, so it's safe to say that the new online service should be available then too. The company had previously said it would launch in October, but we haven't heard any details since. There are more details about the expansion pack up on Nintendo's site, but it still just says that it is "coming soon."


Engadget
Oct 15, 2021

What to expect at Google's Pixel 6 launch event
Google has shared quite a few details of the Pixel 6 series, but it hasn't revealed everything ahead of its October 19th event. Just how powerful will these phones be? Will they represent a good value? And does Google have any surprises up its sleeve? Here's what you can expect from the presentation, including a few last-minute leaks.

The specs: A return to flagship phonesUnlike with past phone launches, Google has been happy to share basic details of the Pixel 6 family months in advance. Both the base Pixel 6 and the larger, brawnier Pixel 6 Pro will mark Google's return to high-end phones after the Pixel 5 'break,' with premium glass designs. They'll offer upgraded cameras with improved low-light performance (150 percent more light than in the past), and they should tout "all day" battery life despite support for battery-hungry 5G.

The centerpiece, however, will be the Tensor chip inside both Pixel 6 models. Google hasn't officially divulged full specs for Tensor as of this writing, but it's the company's first custom system-on-chip. The design uses its namesake AI processing to achieve things that were "previously impossible" on typical SoCs, such as juggling multiple AI tasks or processing live video.

GoogleHowever,

Engadget
Oct 15, 2021

Amazon slashes up to 26 percent off monitors from Dell and LG
Amazon's deal of the day includes a bunch of monitors and Chromebooks on sale for up to 26 percent lower than their usual price. Dell's 27-inch QHD curved gaming monitor, for instance, will set you back $270, which is an all-time low for the product on the website. That's a $60 discount from its usual price of $330. The 27-inch monitor has a 2560 x 1440 resolution and a 165Hz refresh rate that enables fast-moving visuals and faster reaction times. 

Buy 27-inch Dell Curved Monitor at Amazon - $270LG's 27-inch QHD (2560 x 1440) 27GL83A-B IPS display is also on sale for $300, down $80 from its usual price and only $3 more than its all-time low. It's NVIDIA G-SYNC compatible and has an adjustable stand. Likewise, the 27-inch Acer Predator XB273U IPS gaming monitor is now available for $398, or $152 less than its usual price of $550. It's a widescreen 2560 x 1440-pixel resolution display that's also NVIDIA G-SYNC compatible and has a refresh rate of 170Hz. IPS displays have wide viewing angles, exhibiting minimal image distortion when viewed from different positions. They also have great color reproduction and visibility in sunlight. 



Engadget
Oct 15, 2021

Most 11-inch iPad Pro models are $100 off at Amazon right now
Those looking for a powerful laptop alternative need look no further than this year's iPad Pros. Outfitted with Apple's M1 chipset, they're the most powerful tablets the company has ever made. Now you can get an 11-inch iPad Pro for less at Amazon thanks to a $100 discount that's dropped the prices of most available models. The base 128GB version is sold out right now, but the 256GB WiFi model is down to $800, which is a record low. The sale also includes the 512GB, 1TB and 2TB iPad Pros, which are on sale for $1,000, $1,400 and $1,799, respectively.

Buy 11-inch iPad Pro (256GB) at Amazon - $800These iPad Pros don't look very different from their predecessors because Apple focused most of the updates on the internals. Inside is the company's M1 processor, which makes the tablets run similarly to the MacBook Air M1 — which is to say, remarkably fast and smooth. When we reviewed the larger of the two Pros, we were impressed by its ability to play laborious games and piece together 4K video without breaking a sweat. The latest iPad Pros also support 5G connectivity, along with a USB-C port for charging and a new ultra-wide camera that enable

Engadget
Oct 15, 2021

Engadget Podcast: Diving into the Apple Watch Series 7 and Twitch's big hack
This week, Cherlynn and Devindra chat about what to expect from Apple's upcoming event (new MacBooks, baby!), as well as all of the other launch shindigs from Google, Samsung and Sony. Cherlynn also tells all about her Apple Watch Series 7 review, and why she hates testing sleep tracking gadgets. And to catch up on some big news from last week, Manda Farough from the Virtual Economy Podcast joins to dive into the massive Twitch hack.

Listen below, or subscribe on your podcast app of choice. If you've got suggestions or topics you'd like covered on the show, be sure to email us or drop a note in the comments! And be sure to check out our other podcasts, the Morning After and Engadget News!

Engadget · Apple Watch Series 7 review New MacBook Event Twitch Hack


Engadget
Oct 15, 2021

Rode's Wireless Go II can now be controlled via Android and iOS apps
Rode has unveiled the Central Mobile app for the $299 Wireless Go II lavalier-type microphone, allowing users to unlock advanced features, control settings and more. It also announced that the Wireless Go II is now compatible with its Rode Connect software designed for multi-host podcasting and streaming on a single PC. 

Rode Central initially arrived as a desktop app, but a mobile version will be a lot more convenient for location and field work. As with the PC version, it'll let users switch between "merged" and "split" recording modes when interviewing two subjects, adjust the gain settings, unlock fine gain control, activate safety channels and more. Users will also be able to update the Wireless Go II with the latest firmware updates. 

Rode originally launched the Connect PC app to simplify recording of multi-host podcasts, but it only supported desktop-style USB microphones to start with. Now, you can connect the Wireless Go II system as well, marking one of the first times "that a compact wireless microphone system has been fully integrated with podcasting or streaming software," Rode said. 

Rode Central for mobile is now available to download for free, and you can find

Engadget
Oct 15, 2021

The Morning After: The best fitness trackers
Happy Friday! In yesterday's newsletter, I explained how Apple was thriving in the world of wearables, but not everyone wants so many notification pings and a watch that needs charging daily. There is still very much a place for simpler wearables, and as we're approaching holiday season, most of them are also less pricey than the high-end options from Apple, Samsung and Garmin.

Fortunately, we have Valentina Palladino on staff. She's written about wearables for years, even before joining the Engadget team. She's now laid out what fitness trackers are capable of in 2021 and whether you should go for one or shop around smartwatches instead. Spoiler alert: Our top pick is a Fitbit.

— Mat Smith



Nanoleaf Lines are customizable smart light barsCreate line drawings or pretty patterns along your wall.Nanoleaf LinesNanoleaf's stylish light-up tiles adorn plenty of modern homes (and YouTuber backdrops), but the company has added an even more customizable shape: lines. The Nanoleaf Line is a backlight LED light bar roughly 11 inches long. It can join to its siblings at either end or at a 60-degree angle. Nanoleaf Lines are available to pre-order today, with the nine-line starter kit setting you back $200, while three-line add-on packs will cost $80.

Continue re

Engadget
Oct 15, 2021

Tesla debuts new car insurance that uses Texans' real-time driving behavior
Tesla now offers car insurance in Texas, its new home state, a couple of years after launching the product in California. According to Electrek, though, the insurance available to Texans is quite different than the one owners can get in The Golden State: It calculates for a customer's insurance premium using their real-time driving behavior. Their credit, age and gender that are typically used by other insurance providers apparently don't matter to Tesla. The automaker says it won't even look at customers' claim history and driving records.

Instead, Tesla will look at their "safety scores," which is a feature it introduced with the Full Self-Driving Beta version released in September. That could make things quite tricky, since the premium that needs to be paid can change every month based on the conditions the driver encounters on the road. Every forced collision warning and forced Autopilot disengagement will affect their score. Following other vehicles from an unsafe distance, braking too hard and turning corners aggressively could lower their score, as well. Safety score is still a beta feature at this point, and Tesla said it should improve over time.

Owners can now apply for a quote, wherein which the automaker will assume a 90 safety score to start their policy. The price will depend on the client's performance after that, and it could be higher or lower than what a traditional provider charges. During Tesla's shareholder meeting, where its new home state was also revealed, Elon Musk

Engadget
Oct 15, 2021

'Genshin Impact' now supports 120 fps on the iPhone 13 Pro and iPad Pro
The popular iOS game Genshin Impact is taking advantage of the iPhone 13 Pro's higher-refresh ProMotion display with a new 120fps mode, 9to5Mac has reported. On top of the higher framerates, developer miHoYo introduced new areas, events, missions, character banners and more. 

Apple previously wrote that all iOS developers must release updates to their apps or games to "unlock" the 120Hz mode by adding .plist file key. As with Android devices, use of the mode will drain your battery quicker, but allow for smoother gaming. 2nd-gen or higher iPad Pros don't necessarily need an update to support 120Hz refresh rates, but any game would likely require one anyway.

At the WWDC 2021 Apple Design Awards, Genshin Impact won the best game in the visual category, thanks to graphics and artwork that "push the frontier for mobile gaming," Apple wrote. While the game is also available on Android, PC and Playstation 5, iOS appears to be the first platform to support the higher framerates, according to the Brazilian site Technoblog. 



Engadget
Oct 15, 2021

Clubhouse has a new high-quality audio option for musicians
Clubhouse has proven to be a big hit with musicians, helping them try out material on an audience and even create viral hits. Now, the site is becoming more useful to bands and singers with a new feature called music mode, the company announced in a blog post. 

The new mode appears in the three-dot menu under "audio quality," with a new selection called "music." Clubhouse didn't reveal any of the audio specs, but said it lets users broadcast with high quality in stereo. "You'll also be able to use professional audio equipment for your performance, like external USB microphones or mixing boards," it wrote. Users will also be able to add the mode to pre-recorded Clips, "so any snippets you share from performers using music mode will also sound great," according to Clubhouse.

The new feature is the second boost to sound quality over the last couple of months. Late in August, Clubhouse added spatial audio to create more immersive audio chats, making speakers' voices come from different parts of the room.  

Along with the music mode, Clubhouse rolled out a couple of new tweaks, moving the search bar to the top of the feed and allowing users to wave at each other through the search bar, on iOS to start with. The new features will roll out to iOS first, "with Android as a fast follow," the company wrote. 



Engadget
Oct 15, 2021

Roblox will offer layered clothing and facial gestures for more realistic avatars
Roblox wants to make its avatars look less blocky and more realistic, and it has announced a couple of visual updates meant to achieve that goal during its annual developers conference. One of those changes is layered clothing, which it's been working on since at least 2020. It allows any type of character model to be outfitted with layered clothing items. TechCrunch explains that the feature ensures clothing items will fit avatars and will drape around them naturally, whether they're human- or dinosaur-shaped. At the moment, players can only access the feature in the beta version of Roblox Studio's avatar editor, and it's unclear when it'll be more widely available.


Engadget
Oct 15, 2021

Former Boeing chief technical pilot involved in 737 Max testing charged with fraud
Mark A. Forkner, Boeing's former chief technical pilot involved in the company's 737 Max testing, was indicted for fraud by a grand jury in Texas. Due to his position with the company, he was in charge of coordinating with the Federal Aviation Administration to determine the kind of training a pilot needs to fly a particular plane. The indictment accuses him of deceiving the agency's Aircraft Evaluation Group (FAA AEG) when it evaluated and certified the 737 Max model. If you'll recall, two 737 Max planes crashed within months of each other in 2018 and 2019, killing 346 people.

Forkner allegedly provided the FAA with "materially false, inaccurate, and incomplete information about a new part of the flight controls for the Boeing 737 MAX called the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS)." In both crashes, the AEG determined after an investigation that MCAS, a system designed to push the plane's nose down in certain situations, activated during the flight. The planes that crashed — Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 — nosedived almost as soon as they took off.

According to the Department of Justice, Forkner discovered an important change to MCAS in November 2016, but he allegedly withheld that information from the AEG. As a result, the FAA removed all reference to MCAS in the pilot training materials for the 737 Max. Acting US Attorney Chad E. Meacham for the Northern District of Texas said in a statement that the former chief pilot's actions were financially motivated:


Engadget
Oct 15, 2021

Alienware celebrates its 25th birthday with a redesigned flagship gaming desktop
Alienware began operations 25 years ago in a garage near Miami, and the Dell-owned brand is celebrating the milestone anniversary with a stylish gaming PC. The latest Aurora system has a redesigned chassis that has extra internal space and more efficient airflow, and it should run more quietly.

The open-air Legend 2.0 chassis increases the internal volume by 50 percent compared with Aurora R12 or R10 without major changes to the overall size of the machine, Alienware says. You won't need any tools to open up the shell, so you'll have easier access to the components. There's an optional transparent side panel, so you can look inside and see a motherboard lit up with up to eight zones of AlienFX lighting. In addition, Alienware is also offering an optional magnetic cable cover to keep the back of the system in order.

AlienwareAs part of the redesign, Alienware focused on improving the airflow. Every system has two 120mm fans, an intake and an exhaust. Depending on the configuration, Alienware may include one or two more fans: first, a second intake and then, if needed, a top exhaust. Since this is an Aurora system, there are of course liquid cooling options too.

Along with keeping your system cool while you're running games at max settings, Alienware says the fans can make the PC quieter. Compared with the previous generation system, the brand claims the new Aurora is up to 16 percent quie

Engadget
Oct 14, 2021

Virgin Galactic delays the start of its paid spaceflights to the end of 2022
Virgin Galactic has suffered yet another setback. On Thursday, the company told CNBC it has delayed the start of its commercial space tourism service to the fourth quarter of 2022. It had previously hoped to begin offering paid spaceflights sometime in the third quarter of next year.

With the delay, the company will begin refurbishing both its carrier airplane and spacecraft this month. Virgin Galactic says it expects the entire process should take between eight to 10 months. As a result of the move, Unity 23, the company's next flight, won't take off until mid-2022 at the earliest.

"The re-sequencing of our enhancement period and the Unity 23 flight underscores our safety-first procedures, provides the most efficient path to commercial service, and is the right approach for our business and our customers," Virgin Galactic CEO Michael Colglazier said in a statement.

The delay is not connected to the recent investigation the FAA conducted into Unity 22, the flight that took Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson to the edge of space. The federal agency cleared

Engadget
Oct 14, 2021

Senate bill would prevent tech companies from favoring their products over rivals
You're not the only one frustrated with tech companies that appear to favor their own products. The Washington Postreports that Senators Amy Klobuchar and Chuck Grassley will introduce a bill, the American Innovation and Choice Online Act (AICO), to bar tech firms from prioritizing their products and services on their own platforms. Amazon couldn't misuse seller data to compete against those sellers, for example, while Apple wouldn't be allowed to unfairly rank its apps above others in the App Store. 

The senators characterized AICO as a modernization of antitrust law. It tackles the "exclusionary conduct" you see in leading platforms, Klobuchar said. Penalties would be steep, including fines of up to 15 percent of a company's revenue during the period when it broke the law.

The necessary House equivalent to the bill recently cleared that wing's Judiciary Committee and is waiting for a vote. Both bills stand a better-than-usual chance of passing thanks to both bipartisan support and a Biden administration focused on improving competition in technology. The Senators have kept Biden's camp "informed" about work on the bill, Klobuchar added.

Industry lobbying groups like the Chamber of Progress (which counts tech firms like Amazon and Google in its ranks) have unsurprisingly balked at the bill. They contend the measure wouldn't be effective

Engadget
Oct 14, 2021

YouTube's misinformation policies led to fewer misleading videos on Facebook and Twitter
New research has found that policies put in place by YouTube to curb election misinformation had a significant impact on the number of false and misleading videos on Facebook and Twitter. The findings come from a report a team of researchers from theCenter for Social Media and Politics at New York University shared withThe New York Times. In the immediate aftermath of the US election on November 3rd, the researchers recorded a dramatic increase in the number of YouTube election fraud videos shared on Twitter. That month, those clips represented approximately one-third of all election-related videos shared on the platform.

After December 8th, the day YouTube said it would remove videos that claimed widespread errors and fraud changed the outcome of the contest, there was a dramatic drop in misleading election claims on Twitter. In that time period, the ratio of election fraud videos shared on Twitter from YouTube dropped to below 20 percent. That ratio fell again following the US Capitol riot when YouTube said it would hand out strikes to any channel spreading misinformation about the results of the election. By the time President Biden swore the Oath of Office on January 20th, only around five percent of all election fraud videos on Twitter were coming from YouTube.

The researchers saw that same trend play out on Facebook. Before YouTube's December 8th policy decision, about 18 percent of all videos shared on the platform were related to election fraud theories. By Inauguration Day, that number fell to four percent. To compile their findings, the team at

Engadget
Oct 14, 2021

US Army delays Microsoft's $22 billion HoloLens deal
American soldiers won't be training with HoloLens headsets for a while. Reuters and Windows Central report the US Army has delayed the deployment of the HoloLens-based Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) by a year, to September 2022. Janesunderstood the delay was prompted by the need to bump operational testing from July this year to May 2022 to "further mature" the mixed reality technology.

The Defense Department's Inspector General launched an audit earlier in October to determine whether or not Microsoft's system would meet requirements. It's not clear if the audit is linked to the delay.

This didn't mean the military-oriented HoloLens was in trouble. The Army maintained it was "fully committed" to the nearly $22 billion IVAS contract, and had conducted tests as recently as September. The branch planned to "regularly" conduct tests through its fiscal 2022, which ends September of next year.

IVAS is meant to serve as both a combat assistant and training tool. Infantry will see squad positions and other vital data in the field, complete with night vision — they'll ideally have the kind of situational awareness previously reserved for video games. In training,

Engadget
Oct 14, 2021

Chrome OS adds more natural voices for 'Select-to-speak' accessibility feature
Dyslexia affects as much as 20 percent of the population and is one of the most common learning disabilities. It's for that reason accessibility features like the "Select-to-speak" tool in Chrome OS are vitally important. If you're not familiar, it allows you to select a section of text and have it read out loud by the operating system. Following an update earlier in the year that added playback controls, Google is now introducing more human-sounding voices. With today's update, the feature is available in 25 languages and various accents, with more to come.

Google worked with both people who live with dyslexia and educators to develop the new voices. The company says it should help with reading comprehension, particularly in classroom settings. You can enable Select-to-speak through your Chromebook's settings menu. Once the feature is turned on, highlight a section of text and press either the Everything Button or the Launcher Key and S for Chrome OS to dictate your selection.



Engadget
Oct 14, 2021

Battlefield 2042's Hazard Zone mode is about collecting intel with your team
As is the way of things when it comes to revealing a major game's features these days, EA has been drip-feeding info about Battlefield 2042 over the last several months. To wit, it has only just pulled back the curtain on Hazard Zone, one of the game's three main modes, a month before the November 19th release date.

Hazard Zone is about getting into the arena, retrieving data drives and escaping via an extraction point before a storm overwhelms you or enemies take you out. Only two teams can make it out, as only a couple of extraction windows will pop up at random locations (though only one player needs to get out for their team to win). Matches run for up to 20 minutes and will take place across all seven of Battlefield 2042's maps.

Survival is key here. You only have one life, but one of your three teammates can resurrect you if you're killed. Once your entire team is wiped out, it's game over. Still, if you're sneaky enough, you can win a match without firing a shot. Some satellites will already be on the ground at the start of a game, and more will drop in as the round progresses, so you'll need to adjust your strategy as you go.

Before the start of a round, you and your teammates can kit yourselves out with gadgets. Players can use money earned in previous matches

Engadget
Oct 14, 2021

Tinder thinks you should bring a stranger as a date to your next wedding
Tinder wants to help you find a date for the next wedding you plan to attend. The dating app now includes a "Plus One" feature that allows you to indicate whether you're looking for a wedding date or open to be that person for someone else. You'll find the experience inside the Explore tab. That's the same section of the app where you can pay for a Lyft ride for your date.

In a way, the introduction of Plus One is a response to something Tinder users already come to the app to find. Since the start of 2021, the company says profile mentions of "plus one" have increased by 45 percent. Still, it must be said it takes a certain amount of audacity to show up at a wedding with a total stranger — just imagine the drama that could unfold. And not every host may be cool with the idea. Use at your own risk.



Engadget
Oct 14, 2021

Missouri governor threatens to prosecute journalist for sharing web security flaw
Missouri Governor Mike Parson might want to read up on the differences between disclosing and exploiting security flaws. According to The Missouri Independent, Parson accused a St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter of being a "hacker" for having the audacity to... report security holes. The journalist disclosed a Department of Elementary and Secondary Education web app flaw that let anyone see over 100,000 teachers' Social Security numbers in site source code, and Parson interpreted this as a "political game" meant to "embarrass the state" — that is, a malicious hack.

The governor has already referred the case to the Cole County Prosecutor, and even has the Missouri Highway State Patrol investigating. An attorney for The Post-Dispatch maintained that the reporter "did the responsible thing" by sharing the flaw with the government to get it fixed. The lawyer also helpfully refreshed Parson on his internet lingo. A hacker is someone who "subverts" security with sinister intent, not a reporter trying to bolster security by sharing publicly available information.

This flaw wasn't recent, either. University of Missouri-St. Louis professor Shaji Khan told The Post-Dispatch that this kind of vulnerability had been known for "at least" 10 years, and that it was "mind boggling" the Department would let these problems linger. Audits in 2015 and 2016 had highlighted data collection issues a

Engadget
Oct 14, 2021

WhatsApp begins rolling out end-to-end encryption for chat backups
The wait is over. It's now possible to encrypt your WhatsApp chat history on both Android and iOS, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced on Thursday. The company plans to roll out the feature slowly to ensure it can deliver a consistent and reliable experience to all users.

However, once you can access the feature, it will allow you to secure your backups before they hit iCloud or Google Drive. At that point, neither WhatsApp nor your cloud service provider will be able to access the files. It's also worth mentioning you won't be able to recover your backups if you ever lose the 64-digit encryption key that secures your chat logs. That said, it's also possible to secure your backups behind a password, in which case you can recover that if you ever lose it.

While WhatsApp has allowed users to securely message each other since 2016, it only started testing encrypted backups earlier this year. With today's announcement, the company said it has taken the final step toward providing a full end-to-end encrypted messaging experience. 

It's worth pointing out that end-to-end encryption doesn't guarantee your privacy will be fully protected. According to a report The Information published in August, Facebook was looking into an AI that could analyze encrypted data without having to decrypt it so that it could serve ads based on that information. The head of WhatsApp

Engadget
Oct 14, 2021

Ghost Robotics strapped a gun to its robot dog
Boston Dynamics, the company most commonly associated with robot dogs, prohibits the weaponization of its Spot devices. That's not the case for all robot dog manufacturers, however. One of them, Ghost Robotics, showed off a version of its Q-UGV device that many will have been dreading. It's a robot dog with a gun attached to it.

Ghost Robotics has made robot dogs for the military, and it displayed this deadly model at the Association of the United States Army's 2021 annual conference in Washington DC this week. A company called Sword International built the "special purpose unmanned rifle" (or SPUR) module. According to The Verge, it has a thermal camera for nighttime operation, an effective range of 1.2km (just under three quarters of a mile) and a 30x optical zoom.


Engadget
Oct 14, 2021

Google mobile search results get ‘continuous scrolling' treatment
You'll soon have an easier time scrolling through search results on your phone. In the US, Google is rolling out a tweak that does away with the "See more" prompt you've had to tap on previously to load additional search results on mobile devices. Now, when you get to the bottom of a set of results, the company's search engine will instead automatically load the next page for you, allowing you to continuously scroll until you find a website you want to visit.

You should see the change on both your mobile web browser and the Google app for iOS and Android. Per TechCrunch, the company is staggering out the rollout of the feature, so you won't be able to scroll through every set of results, at least not initially. The change follows a redesign of mobile search Google released at the start of 2021.

While most usually find what they're looking for quickly, Google notes some people view as many as four pages of search results before they click through to a website. The company suggests the move to continuous scrolling should be particularly helpful to those who tend to ask more open-ended questions of its search engine. It's also a tweak that brings the platform more in line with modern feed-style apps like Instagram and TikTok.



Engadget
Oct 14, 2021

'Call of Duty: Vanguard' Zombies takes players to an undead-infested Stalingrad
Ahead of its November 5th release date, we've seen sneak peeks of Call of Duty's Vanguard's single and multiplayer components. On Thursday, publisher Activision shared a new trailer and blog posts that offer a first look at the game's upcoming Zombies mode.

Developed by Treyarch, Vanguard's Zombies mode ties into the Dark Aether storyline established in Black Ops Cold War. One year after suffering a decisive defeat at the Battle of Stalingrad, a Nazi officer named Oberführer Wolfram Von List finds a mysterious artifact that binds him to an entity called Kortifex, allowing him to summon an army of the undead. It's up to you and as many as three other players to battle through the ruins of Stalingrad and stop him.

As you play through a match and complete objectives, you'll find items called Sacrificial Hearts. You can offer these at an Altar of Covenants to access randomized upgrades that will tweak your playstyle. One of those upgrades will reload your weapons while they're holstered, while another will allow you to turn zombies into temporary allies.

Any experience you earn while playing Zombies will count toward Vanguard's Batte Pass, which also shares progression between multiplayer and Warzone. The mode will also support cross-platform play between different conso

Engadget
Oct 14, 2021

Nanoleaf Lines are customizable smart light bars
Nanoleaf knows that its users sometimes crave something a bit more minimal than LED light panels that stretch across their wall. That's why the company is launching Lines, a series of backlight LED light bars which offer the same features as previous products, albeit in a more elegant body. Each "Line" is 10.96-inches (27.85cm) long, and can join to its siblings at either end, or at a 60-degree angle. The company says that you can "paint your space with lines," creating "grand geometric shapes" and "sleek linear layouts."

But beyond the new style of design, this is still the same Nanoleaf setup that you already know and love, letting you paint with light. Each Line has two color zones, and you can plug in dynamic lighting scenes, sync with your music and mirror the colors on your computer's display. In addition, the hardware will act as a Thread Border Router to help connect smart gear nearby that can also harness the same protocol. It's also future-proof, and will work with Matter, a new protocol due to roll out next year.

NanoleafNanoleaf Lines are available to pre-order today, with the 9-line starter kit set

Engadget
Oct 14, 2021

House bill would limit Section 230 protections for 'malicious' algorithms
Congress is once again hoping to limit Section 230 safeguards under certain circumstances. Rep. Frank Pallone and other House Democrats are introducing a bill, the Justice Against Malicious Algorithms Act (JAMA), that would make internet platforms liable when they "knowingly or recklessly" use algorithms to recommend content that leads to physical or "severe emotional" harm. They're concerned online giants like Facebook are knowingly amplifying harmful material, and that companies should be held responsible for this damage.

The key sponsors, including Reps. Mike Doyle, Jan Schakowsky and Anna Eshoo, pointed to whistleblower Frances Haugen's Senate testimony as supposed evidence of Facebook's algorithm abuse. Her statements were proof Facebook was abusing the Communications Decency Act's Section 230 "well beyond congressional intent," according to Eshoo. Haugen alleged that Facebook knew its social networks were harmful to children and spread "divisive and extreme" content.

The bill only applies to services with over 5 million monthly users, and won't cover basic online infrastructure (such as web hosting) or user-specified searches. JAMA will go before the House on October 15th.

As with past proposed reforms, there are no guarantees JAMA will become law. Provided it passes the House, an equivalent measure still has to clear a Senate that has been hostile to some Democrat bills. The parties have

Engadget
Oct 14, 2021

Microsoft to shut down LinkedIn in China over 'challenging operating environment'
LinkedIn will shut down the Chinese version of its service later this year. The company cited "a significantly more challenging operating environment and greater compliance requirements in China" as the reasons for closing the local edition of its social network for professionals.

"While we've found success in helping Chinese members find jobs and economic opportunity, we have not found that same level of success in the more social aspects of sharing and staying informed," LinkedIn said in a statement. As such, the company isn't abandoning China completely. It's working on a standalone job board app called InJobs, which won't have a social feed or any way to share posts or articles.

LinkedIn agreed to adhere to state restrictions and block certain content when it launched in China in February 2014. However, some signs of trouble bubbled up this year. In March, the company prevented new Chinese users from signing up for a spell while it made sure it was abiding by the countries' laws. A couple of months later, China said 105 apps were violating data collection laws, including LinkedIn.

The Microsoft-owned service was the last major US social network that was still officially operating in China. The country banned Signal and Clubhouse earlier this year. Facebook and Twitter have been blocked there

Engadget
Oct 14, 2021

Spotify opens its Car Thing waitlist to all US users
Spotify is expanding US availability of its Car Thing, an $80 music and podcast player for vehicles. The company debuted the gizmo back in the spring on an invite-only basis and only charged users for shipping during a test phase.

Those who signed up for the Car Thing waitlist before now will get first dibs on the company's first hardware device. In addition, both free and Premium Spotify members in the country can now sign up for the waitlist, though the Car Thing requires a Premium subscription and a smartphone for connectivity. Everyone who signs up for the waitlist will eventually be offered a Car Thing.

Spotify worked on Car Thing for several years before it started shipping the device a few months ago. The idea is to bring infotainment features to almost any car, particularly older ones without newfangled touchscreens. Once you hook up Car Thing to your vehicle with the help of one of the included mounts, you can use it to play music and podcasts with either physical controls or "Hey Spotify" voice commands.



Engadget
Oct 14, 2021

The best fitness trackers you can buy
The fitness tracker isn't dead, and if you're reading this, you're probably one of the people keeping these little devices alive. Smartwatches have all but taken over the mainstream wearable space, but the humble fitness tracker remains an option for those who want a gadget to do one thing right all the time. Despite the headwinds, there are still a bunch of fitness bands out there to choose from. Engadget has tested many of them and picked out the best for most people.

What do fitness trackers do best?The answer seems simple: Fitness trackers are best at monitoring exercise, be it a 10-minute walk around the block or that half marathon you've been diligently training for. Obviously, smartwatches can do that too, but there are some areas where fitness bands have the upper hand: focus, design, battery life and price.

When I say "focus," I'm alluding to the fact that fitness trackers are made to track activity well; anything else is extra. They often don't have the bells and whistles that smartwatches do, which could distract from their activity-tracking abilities. They also tend to have fewer sensors and internal components, which keeps them smaller and lighter. Fitness trackers are also a better option for those who just want a less conspicuous device on their wrists all day.

Battery life tends to be better on fitness trackers, too. While most smartwatches last one to two days on a single charge, fitness bands will last five days to one week — and that's with all-day and all-night use.

When it comes to price, there's no competition. Most worthwhile smartwatches start at $175 to $200, but you can get a solid fitness tracker starting at $70. Yes, more expensive bands exist (and we recommend a few here), but you'll find more options under $150 in the fitness tracker space than in the smartwatch space.

When to get a smartwatch insteadIf you need a bit more from your wearable, you'll

Engadget
Oct 14, 2021

HTC's Vive Flow is a $499 lightweight VR headset built for entertainment and wellness
HTC is today launching a lightweight headset designed to split the difference between a standalone VR headset and a personal cinema. The HTC Vive Flow is a pair of glasses weighing just 189 grams (6.6 pounces) which pair with a smartphone to let you play some VR content or simply watch TV. It's marketed as both a piece of tech to keep you entertained and a device to help you improve your mental wellbeing.

Naturally, the company doesn't want to talk too much about the technology inside Flow, preferring to focus on what it can do. What we do know, however, is that it has two "1.6K" displays running at a 75Hz refresh rate and offering a 100-degree field of vision. There's no battery per-se, except for a tiny cell designed to make sure that it'll shut down safely if Flow is severed from whatever power source you've connected its USB-C cable to. 

HTCIt's in this regard that it's set up more like a personal cinema than it is your standard VR headset, especially with the fairly narrow body. HTC spent a lot of time and effort shrinking the distance between the display and your eyes, and Flow uses a pair of diopter lenses up front. It means that short-sighted folks won't need to wear their glasses when using Flow, since they can set the lenses up to suit their comfort level.

To ensure that Flow really is portable, HTC set a power budget of 7.5 watts, the upper limit for USB 3's charging spec. It means you can run this thing off any compatible battery pack (or your phone, in a pinch) as well as a standard socket over a USB-C cable. Some of that juice goes to po

Engadget
Oct 14, 2021

What to expect from Apple's October 18th ‘Unleashed' event
On October 18th, Apple will hold its second event of the fall and likely last event of the year. The invite the company sent out this time doesn't provide any hints on what announcements we should expect, but thanks to a variety of leaks and reports, we have some good ideas about what it will show off.

MacBook ProDevindra Hardawar/EngadgetAll signs point to new 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro models headlining the event. Apple will reportedly turn back the clock on its flagship laptop, undoing many of the design features that have defined the line since late 2016. MagSafe may be back on the table, as well as an HDMI port and SD card slot. Oh, and the Touch Bar will apparently get the axe, with a standard set of function keys set to replace the OLED strip.

Beyond those changes, the new MacBook Pro is expected to feature thinner bezels. According to display analyst Ross Young, it could even come with a mini-LED panel capable of refreshing its screen at 120Hz. Ross suggests that's a feature both models could include, but knowing Apple, it may be something that's only available on the top-tier 16-inch model or an add-on that costs extra. Additionally, there have been reports of the 14- and 16-inch models supporting maximum resolutions of 3,024 x 1,964 and 3,456 x 2,224, which would be a major upgrade over the current 13- and 16-inch MacBook Pros.



Engadget
Oct 14, 2021

‘Monument Valley 2' gets a new chapter four years after its debut
Four years after Monument Valley 2 hit iOS and Android, Ustwo Games has added a new chapter. The developer released "The Lost Forest" as its contribution to Playing for the Planet's Green Game Jam, which promotes tree conservation.

The chapter includes "four intimate scenes" and Ustwo hopes that by playing through them, people will be inspired to sign a Play4Forests petition to show their interest in protecting forests. Play4Forests is an initiative run by the United Nations' climate and forest partnership and the Playing for the Planet Alliance. The goal is to work with major names in gaming to highlight the "importance of conserving and restoring forests."


Engadget
Oct 14, 2021

Twitter tests ads in the replies to tweets
Don't be surprised if your Twitter feed is cluttered with more advertising than usual. The Vergereports that Twitter is testing a format that displays ads in the replies to a given tweet. As Revenue Product Lead Bruce Falk explains, those involved in the test will see ads under the first, third or eighth reply to a tweet. The experiment is worldwide and applies to both Android and iOS users.

Falck said the ad format produces value and "aligns incentives for creators and advertisers." However, he also acknowledged that it wasn't a surefire concept. Twitter would spend the "coming months" testing the frequency, layouts and other aspects of the ads to see how well they perform and affect the community. This could be helpful for advertisers, of course, but it might also lead to more compensation for Twitter users.

This probably isn't the sort of Twitter test you'd want to see, but it's not surprising. Twitter has been eager to find new sources of revenue for both itself and its most prolific users, ranging from Blue subscriptions to Tip Jar donations. Ads in replies could not only improve Twitter's bottom line, but attract creators used to making money from sponsored Instagram and TikTok posts.


Engadget
Oct 14, 2021

A bunch of Bose headphones and earbuds are on sale at Amazon right now
It's smart to try to get some of your holiday shopping done early this year and Amazon's making it a bit easier to do so for those looking for solid headphones and earbuds to gift. The online retailer has a big Bose sale going on right now that knocks up to 29 percent off a bunch of the company's audio devices. Key among them are the Bose QuietComfort earbuds, which are down to a record low of $199.

Shop Bose sale at AmazonBuy QuietComfort earbuds at Amazon - $199The QuietComfort earbuds give our favorite Sony pairs a run for their money, and we consider them to be the best option if you want to truly block out all surrounding noises. These buds shine in the ANC department with 11 levels of noise cancellation that you can choose from in its companion app, three of which you can assign to onboard controls for easy access. They block out the world better than all other true wireless earbuds we've tested — only Sony's WF-1000XM3 (and the newer XM4) even come close. Sound quality is also great and battery life is good at rough

Engadget
Oct 14, 2021

The 'Lower Decks' season two finale is Star Trek at its best
This post contains spoilers for season two, episode 10 of 'Star Trek: Lower Decks.'

Last week I posited that seasons one and two of Lower Decks together would make up one story arc of the show. Given this week's finale, it looks like we'll be dealing with the consequences of the Pakled threat for just a bit longer. But when an episode is this good, I'm perfectly fine with being wrong.

Especially when this installment just encompasses so many of my favorite things about Star Trek. It's not just the delightful appearance by Captain Sonya Gomez — you might remember her as the ensign who spilled hot chocolate on Captain Picard way back in season two of The Next Generation. And it's not because of the first on-screen appearance of cetacean ops, a concept hinted at in various blueprints but never actually mentioned with any real seriousness.

CBSIt's the general plot of the episode, where the entire crew must work together to save the day. I'm a real sucker for teamwork scenes, like the final battle in The Undiscovered Country or, more recently, when the crew of the

Engadget
Oct 14, 2021

Facebook is using first-person videos to train future AIs
One of the obvious goals of almost every computer vision project is to enable a machine to see, and perceive, the world as a human does. Today, Facebook has started talkingabout Ego4D, its own effort in this space, for which it has created a vast new data set to train future models. In a statement, the company said that it had recruited 13 universities across nine countries, who had collected 2,200 hours of footage from 700 participants. This footage was taken from the perspective of the user, which can be used to train these future AI models. Kristen Grauman, Facebook's lead research scientist, says that this is the largest collection of data explicitly created for this focus.

The footage was centered on a number of common experiences in human life, including social interaction, hand and object manipulation and predicting what's going to happen. It's, as far as the social network is concerned, a big step toward better computing experiences which, until now, have always focused on sourcing data from the bystander's perspective. Facebook has said that the data sets will be released in November, "for researchers who sign Ego4D's data use agreement." And, next year, researchers from beyond this community will be challenged to better train machines to understand what exactly humans are doing in their lives.

Naturally, there is the angle that Facebook, which now has a camera glasses partnership with Ray Ban, is looking to improve its own capabilities in future. You probably already know about the perils of what this potential surv

Engadget
Oct 14, 2021

Amazon's second-gen Echo Show 8 falls back to $100
If you missed the chance to grab the new Echo Show 8 during Amazon's Prime Day event in July, you may want to check the smart display's listing on Amazon. It's currently on sale for $100, $30 less than its original retail price of $130. That's only $5 more than what it was listed for during Prime Day, and it's certainly not a bad deal for a relatively new device that was only released in June. 

Buy All-new Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen, 2021) at Amazon - $100We gave the Echo Show 8 a score of 87 in our review. Between this device and its smaller 5-inch sibling, it received more upgrades from the previous generation, including a faster octa-core processor. It also has a 13-megapixel wide-angle camera that's a huge improvement over the previous version's one-megapixel sensor. The smart display uses digital panning and zooming to follow you around during calls, and it worked well enough when we tested it out. It even works with every video calling platform the device supports, including Skype and Zoom.

Aside from its faster processor and better camera, we praised the Echo Show 8 for its minimalist design and its 1,280 x 800-pixel resolution display. It lacks the 3.5 mm jack of its predecessor that will let you connect it to a speaker, but it already has a powerful bass and impressive volume. The device's overall sound quality is also better than its smaller sibling's, since it has two speakers instead of one. 

We fo

Engadget
Oct 14, 2021

The Morning After: Apple Watch Series 7, reviewed
Apple still dominates the world of wearables. Over the last year, research company Canalys noted that smartwatch sales have actually overtaken basic bands and now account for 62 percent of all wearable shipments. And Apple's versions lays claim to just under a third of all smartwatches sold.

EngadgetThat's interesting because you need an iOS device to setup and use an Apple Watch, so the company has discounted all the Android phone users that might be interested in an Apple smartwatch. I've played with Fitbits, Samsung Galaxy Watches and the occasional Garmin, even, but nothing quite offers the capabilities and premium build-quality of an Apple Watch. (And this comes from someone who was averse to — and still bought — the first Apple smartwatch.)

So here we are for round 7. Apple's Watch Series 7 goes on sale this Friday, and there seems to be a lot of interest in the bigger-screened watch, with pre-order screens soon showing early November delivery dates when Apple opened up orders. If you've already pre-ordered, well you probably don't care about reviews! For the rest of us, Reviews Editor Cherlynn Low has put the wearable through its paces for the last week. We'll take a closer look at her review below.

— Mat Smith



William Shatner

Engadget
Oct 14, 2021

Google's Pocket Gallery art museum experiences come to the web
Google's Pocket Gallery came along in 2018, allowing users with AR-enabled smartphones to see artworks by the likes of Vermeer and Klimt, even pieces normally not accessible to the public. Now, Google is opening up the exhibitions to everyone on the web, letting you explore them on desktop or mobile devices with or without AR capabilities, it announced in a Keyword post. 

Up until today, Pocket Gallery was essentially an (overly complicated) AR experience inside Google's Arts & Culture app, placing an art gallery on your desktop or another flat surface and allowing you to explore different art pieces. Now, you just need to load up the Arts & Culture website, find the Pocket Gallery section, choose a relevant exhibition in your browser and use your mouse or finger to scroll around, zoom in, etc. 

Otherwise, it works much the same, allowing you to view, pan and zoom right in, down to brushstrokes and flecks of paint on certain pieces. It also provides a written description along with audio narratives for key pieces (complete with a museum-like echo), describing an artwork's history, meaning and more. It's a welcome and much overdue change, opening up the educational possibilities of Pocket Gallery to far more people.

Google Arts & Culture has other virtual experiences, including 360-degree videos and more. Along with the update, Google also unveiled a new exhibition in the collection done in collaboration with Réunion des musées nationaux - Grand Palais

Engadget
Oct 14, 2021

Planet orbiting a dead star previews our own solar system's fate
Scientists have spotted a Jupiter-like exoplanet orbiting a dead star that was once like our Sun, The New York Times has reported. According to a paper in the journal Nature, the white dwarf star and planet around 6,500 light years away provides a preview of what will happen to our own solar system in approximately 5 billion years. 

When a yellow dwarf star like our sun exhausts its helium supply, it expands into a red giant and incinerates its inner planets (bye-bye, Earth, Mars, Venus and Mercury). It then contracts from its own gravity into a white dwarf, a dim Earth-sized star with about half its original mass. Though the fate of inner planets is sealed, scientists aren't exactly sure what happens to planets farther away, like Jupiter and Uranus.

Using the Keck II telescope at the W. M. Keck observatory in Hawai'i, a team of researchers spotted a planet around 1.4 times the size of Jupiter orbiting a dim white dwarf star (about 60 percent the size of the Sun) in a Jupiter-like orbit. They discovered it using a technique called gravitational microlensing (thanks, Einstein), possible when a target and a nearer star align with Earth. The nearer star bends the light from the subject, allowing scientists to observe it with a telescope.

The team tried to find the p

Engadget
Oct 14, 2021

Apple extends repair program for crackling AirPods Pro buds for one more year
Last year, Apple launched a repair/replacement program for AirPods Pro units experiencing sound issues, such as crackling or static. It was only supposed to last for two years after the buds were first sold in October 30th, 2019, which means the program was going to come to a close in a couple of weeks. As first noticed by someone on Reddit, though, the tech giant has quietly updated its program's information page to extend its availability. "The program covers affected AirPods Pro for 3 years after the first retail sale of the unit," the updated page reads, giving people the chance to exchange their faulty buds within the next year.

Apple previously said that a "small percentage" of units manufactured before October 2020 may be affected by the issue. The program covers buds exhibiting cracking or static sounds in loud environments, or while the user is exercising or talking on the phone. It also covers units with faulty Active Noise Cancellation that show irregularities, such as the loss of bass or an increase in background sounds. According to a few commenters on the Reddit post, however, even their buds that were manufactured later than October 2020 were exhibiting sound issues. While those models are technically not covered by the program anymore, the users were still able to get them replaced by getting in touch with Apple.



Engadget
Oct 14, 2021

Volvo reveals its first vehicle made of fossil-free steel
A few months ago, Volvo teamed up with Swedish steel producer SSAB to develop a type of steel it can use for its vehicles that doesn't use fossil fuels. Now, the automaker has revealed what it says is the world's first vehicle made of fossil-free steel: A four wheeled fully electric load carrier made for quarrying and mining. In addition to having no greenhouse gas emission, it's also autonomous and can follow a pre-programmed route to transport materials at a job site.

SSAB produces fossil-free steel by replacing the coal used during the manufacturing process with hydrogen from electrolysis. As Forbes notes, though, the whole vehicle isn't exactly fossil-free, since the steel used for its components provided by third-party suppliers, such as its electric motor, were made using traditional means. Still, Volvo Group CTO Lars Stenqvist told the publication that "majority of the steel" in the vehicle is fossil free. He said three tons of the carrier's 8.2-ton weight is made of green steel from SSAB, and those eight tons include other heavy components like the vehicle's tires.

Volvo plans to start a small-scale production for the vehicle next year and to scale up production, depending on the availability of steel from SSAB. The Swedish manufacturer is hop

Engadget
Oct 13, 2021

Facebook's latest effort to curtail leaks immediately leaked
Facebook is ramping up its fight against leakers following the disclosures of whistleblower Frances Haugen. According to The New York Times, Facebook is limiting access to some internal groups that deal with "sensitive" issues like safety and elections. That the change, which was made to prevent further leaks, immediately leaked is both highly amusing and emblematic of some of the bigger issues the company is currently facing.

Ever since Haugen revealed herself as the whistleblower, one of the more noteworthy aspects of her story is that the documents she provided to Congress and the Securities and Exchange Commission were widely accessible to employees. The documents included slides detailing the company's research into teen mental health, as well as numerous memos about how the company has handled rules for VIPs, misinformation and other thorny issues.

As The Times points out, the reason these documents were so readily available is because Facebook has long had an open culture that promotes sharing. And employees themselves often take to its internal communication platform, Workplace, to discuss controversial issues facing the company.

But now the social network is moving away from that openness. The company is making some internal groups private, and will remove employees

Engadget
Oct 13, 2021

Apple TV will now have two series about unethical shrinks
On November 12th, The Shrink Next Door will debut on Apple TV . Oddly enough, the Will Ferrell and Paul Rudd vehicle is one of two upcoming shows centered on unethical psychiatrists coming to the streaming service. This week, Apple announced a 10-episode order for Shrinking, a new series that will star Jason Segel as a therapist who tells his patients exactly what he thinks. Ted Lasso co-creator Bill Lawrence and star Brett Goldstein, who plays Roy Kent in the popular comedy series, will write and produce the new show alongside Segel.

It's an interesting move for a company that, despite some recent successes, is one of the newer players in the streaming space and still building out its lineup while seeing what works. As ever, the company's approach seems to be to give established talent the runway to create what they think people will want to watch.



Engadget
Oct 13, 2021

Facebook is testing its 'less political' News Feed in 75 new countries
Facebook is slowly expanding its effort to weed out political content from News Feed. The company is now testing its "less political" feed in 75 new countries, Facebook said in an update.

The company has already introduced a version of the revamped News Feed in the United States, as well as Costa Rica, Sweden, Spain, Ireland, Canada, Brazil, and Indonesia. But the latest update marks a significant expansion of the effort, and brings the total number of countries involved to more than 80. Facebook didn't identify the latest countries to join the test, but a spokesperson confirmed the company is showing the News Feed changes to "a small percentage of people" in each country. The spokesperson added that countries with upcoming elections and those "at higher risk of conflict" are not included in the tests.

Mark Zuckerberg first announced plans to make News Feed less political in January, just weeks after the insurrection. "People don't want politics and fighting to take over their experience," he said at the time.

Rolling out the changes to more countries could help Facebook learn more about how to lower the temperature on its platform, which could be particularly useful as the company is accused of making its service angrier to boost engagement. At the same time, the company has acknowledged the changes could hurt publishers. "As we get more insights from these tests, we'll share updates on what we're learning and will continue to make changes accordingly," Facebook wrote in an updated

Engadget
Oct 13, 2021

EA Sports is deleting ex-Raiders coach Jon Gruden from 'Madden NFL 22'
Former Raiders coach Jon Gruden will be removed from Madden NFL 22 and replaced with a generic character, EA Sports confirmed today on Twitter. The change will occur within the next few weeks and will roll out automatically in a title update. 

Gruden resigned from his position as Raiders head coach on October 11th amid reports that he routinely and for years sent racist, misogynistic and homophobic emails to colleagues.


Engadget
Oct 13, 2021

OLED Switch teardown reveals smaller cooler assembly
It turns out there's much more to Nintendo's recently released OLED Switch than a new display panel from Samsung. Conducting a teardown of the console, the DIY heroes at iFixit found the company made a variety of internal tweaks that make for a device that's significantly different from its predecessor.

Like Sony's latest PlayStation 5 revision, the OLED Switch features a smaller cooling assembly than previous models. iFixit suspects Nintendo this tweak to either save on space or dial back the launch model's "cooling overcompensation." All we can say is we hope the change doesn't lead to claims the new model is "worse" than its predecessor. In another space-saving measure, Nintendo has consolidated some components onto a single board. The console's SD card reader, headphone jack and cartridge reader are now all found on a single PCB.

iFixitNotably, the only controller-related change the OLED variant features is a set of new console-sid

Engadget
Oct 13, 2021

Twitter's Spaces Spark Program will pay creators to broadcast live audio
Twitter has launched a new three-month accelerator program to help up-and-coming Spaces creators. Dubbed the Twitter Spaces Spark Program, the company says the initiative will provide audio hosts with financial, technical and marketing support. Those who get into the program can look forward to a $2,500 monthly stipend, monthly ad credits, early access to upcoming Twitter products and features, as well as support from the company's social media channels.


Engadget
Oct 13, 2021

David Fincher's next Netflix project is VOIR, visual essays about cinema
Sadly, we're note getting Mindhunter season 3. After a short tease yesterday, Netflix just revealed its next project from renowned filmmaker David Fincher: VOIR, a collection of visual essays about the love of cinema. The short teaser doesn't tell us much, sadly. But according to writer and film critic Drew McWeeny, who's working on one episode of the series, VOIR will feature standalone explorations about different aspects of movies. 


Engadget
Oct 13, 2021

Dreamlike platformer 'Solar Ash' is delayed until December 2nd
Solar Ash, Heart Machine's follow-up to the influential Hyper Light Drifter, will arrive a little later than previously planned. The studio and powerhouse indie publisher Annapurna Interactive are delaying the action platformer from October 26th until December 2nd. The team needs a little more time to polish Solar Ash and fix some bugs. As such the extra few weeks will allow the game to debut "in its best form."


Engadget
Oct 13, 2021

Instagram's 'Practice Mode' lets users check if they're ready to go live
Instagram is adding two new enhancements to its livestreaming toolset. Starting today, creators can schedule their Live broadcasts up to 90 days in advance, and share the fact they're doing so in both posts and Stories. Viewers can use those to set a reminder for themselves not to miss the broadcast.


Engadget
Oct 13, 2021

TikTok gives livestreamers more ways to mute annoying people
As promised in July, TikTok is rolling out more ways for livestreams to wrangle their unruly audiences. Now, streamers and their trusted helper will be able to temporarily mute people for minutes, hours or the length of an entire livestream. According to Eric Han, head of Tiktok's US Safety team, muting a person will remove their entire comment history from the stream. And of course, you could also just turn off comments entirely or filter out specific keywords. Together with Tiktok's last batch of "kindness" updates for livestreamers, the platform is aiming to create a safer environment for creators.

Han says the prompts TikTok added in July — which pop up to make you think twice about posting an "unkind or harmful" comment — have led almost 40 percent of people editing or withdrawing their comment entirely. That's not too surprising, as Twitter found a similar feature also led to reduced bullying.

Given Tiktok's meteoric rise as a relatively young social network, it's apparently learned quite a bit from the struggles of older outfits like Facebook and Twitter. Based on its Q2 Community Guidelines Enforcement Report, the company says it's also getting better at weeding out improper videos. Han says 73.3 percent of harassment videos were removed before there were any user reports, whereas that figure was 66.2 percent in the previous quarter. Similarly, 72.9 percent of videos showing hateful behavior were removed in the second quarter, comp

Engadget
Oct 13, 2021

A live-action 'System Shock' TV series is on the way
Nightdive Studios' immersive sim franchise System Shock franchise is being turned into a live-action TV show. You'll be able to watch it on the upcoming streaming service Binge, which is also working on a show based on Ubisoft's Driver.

More details about the System Shock TV show will be revealed in due course. It will tell "a harrowing story of Citadel Station and its rogue AI that subjects the crew to unimaginable horror," Binge said. The service, which is set to launch next year, didn't reveal when the series will premiere.

Meanwhile, Nightdive is working on a System Shock remake. The game was supposed to arrive this past summer, but it's now scheduled to debut by the end of 2021.

System Shock joins a long list of shows and movies based on games that are in the pipeline. Among them are Twisted Metal, Firewatch, Disco Elysium and a ton of Netflix projects, like League of Legends series Arcane. Rumors are also floating around that Epic Games might be making a Fortnite movie.

E

Engadget
Oct 13, 2021

Amazon India allegedly copied products and promoted its own versions in searches
Amazon allegedly "ran a systematic campaign" of copying other companies' products in India and gamed search results to promote its own versions. Reuters obtained thousands of pages of internal documents including emails and business plans that detail the practices.

A private brands team in India (which works on the company's own products) used data from Amazon's marketplace in the country to find and target goods and create knockoff versions, the agency reported. The goal was to find "reference" or "benchmark" wares and copy them. A document from 2016 detailed a plan for an Amazon brand called Solimo, which is tailored toward the Indian market. The aim was to "use information from Amazon.in to develop products and then leverage the Amazon.in platform to market these products to our customers."

The document indicated that the private brands group aimed to form partnerships with the manufacturers of the benchmark items, because those companies use "unique processes which impact the end quality of the product." The team sought to gain insights from the manufacturers and use the so-called "Tribal Knowledge" in its own versions to "fully match quality with our reference product."

After it made the knockoffs, the company manipulated search results with a method called "search seeding" so that AmazonBasics and Solimo items would pop up near the top of the page, according to the document. The company also "aggressively" used a technique called "search sparkles on PC, Mobile and App to specifically promote Solimo products on relevant customer searches from ‘All Product Search' and Category search," per the document. Sparkles are the banners pla

Engadget
Oct 13, 2021

Facebook introduces new policies to protect public figures from targeted harassment
Facebook is introducing new policies to safeguard users from online bullying and harassment. In a post attributed to Head of Safety Antigone Davis, the company said it will take down mass coordinated harassment campaigns targeted at individuals at heightened risk of offline harm. It will do so even if the content people post wouldn't normally violate its safety guidelines. Additionally, Facebook says it will remove objectionable content in whatever form it takes, be that direct messages, comments or posts. As part of the same policy, the company will remove state-linked networks that work together to silence and harass people.

Had the above policy been in place in the past, one situation where Facebook may have enforced it was when Taylor Swift's Instagram account was bombarded with snake emoji following a dramatic breakup with electronic producer Calvin Harris. Speaking of celebrities, the company has also put in place new protections to safeguard public figures from sexual harassment and appearance shaming. To that end, it plans to remove profiles, pages and groups dedicated to sexualizing those individuals. It will also target "severe sexualizing content," including photoshopped images and drawings.

"We made these changes because attacks like these can weaponize a public figure's appearance, which is unnecessary and often not related to the work these public figures represent," the company said. Facebook will also provide additional protections for individuals who become famous involuntarily. Those may include individuals like journalists and human rights activists. 

Facebook has repeatedly faced pressure to do more to prevent bullying and harassment across all of its apps, but particularly on

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