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Engadget
Aug 01, 2021

The creator of streaming 'Star Trek' shows will stay with CBS through 2026
Paramount effectively revolves around Alex Kurtzman given its continued dependence on Star Trek, and it's clear CBS will do whatever it takes to keep the director and producer aboard. CBS Studios has signed a deal that will have Kurtzman and his Secret Hideout unit exclusvely producing shows for Paramount and other platforms through 2026. He'll continue to lead Star Trek efforts for the "next six years," CBS said.

CBS didn't say how much it paid, although Deadline sources understood the agreement was in the "$150 million range." Kurtzman had two years left on an existing deal, but that was worth far less at 'just' $25 million.

Kurtzman has no less than six Star Trek shows underway, including existing productions Discovery, Picard and Lower Decks as well as upcoming efforts like Strange New Worlds, Prodigy and the currently unnamed Section 31 spinoff. He's also responsible for Showtime offerings like the upcoming The Man Who Fell to Earth TV remake, and has Secret Hideout working on projects li

Engadget
Aug 01, 2021

Apple Watch titanium models are largely unavailable
We hope you weren't planning to festoon your wrist with a titanium Apple Watch Series 6. As Bloomberg's Mark Gurman and Mac Rumors note, the titanium Apple Watch is largely unavailable through the company's online stores in the US and other countries, whether you try for delivery or pick-up. This applies regardless of your case or strap choices.

Gurman speculated in his "Power On" newsletter that Apple underestimated demand. It likely made a small number of titanium Apple Watches and stopped production "months ago" in anticipation of switching focus to Series 7, according to Gurman, but ran out prematurely as sales remained relatively strong. While we wouldn't classify the titanium Series 6 as a runaway hit if that's true, Apple's luxury wristwear might have fared better than expected.

Whether or not Apple offers a titanium Series 7 is uncertain. The tech giant has frequently shaken up its Watch Edition strategy, ditching its solid gold originals in favor of more affordable ceramic and, eventually, titanium. It might decide that the costs of manufacturing upscale watches doesn't justify the comparatively meager sales. There's always the Hermès models if you want to splurge. At the same time, though, titanium versions don't cost that much more in practice — and they might serve as halo watches that attract conventional watch enthusiasts as well as the wealthy.



Engadget
Jul 31, 2021

Over 100 warship locations have been faked in one year
Abuses of location technology might just result in hot political disputes. According to Wired, SkyWatch and Global Fishing Watch have conducted studies showing that over 100 warship locations have been faked since August 2020, including the British aircraft carrier Queen Elizabeth and the US destroyer Roosevelt. In some cases, the false data showed the vessels entering disputed waters or nearing other countries' naval bases — movements that could spark international incidents.

The research team found the fakes by comparing uses of the automatic identification system (AIS, a GPS-based system to help prevent collisions) with verifiable position data by using an identifying pattern. All of the false info came from shore-based AIS receivers while satellites showed the real positions, for instance. Global Fishing Watch had been investigating fake AIS positions for years, but this was the first time it had seen falsified data for real ships.

It's not certain who's faking locations and why. However, analysts said the data was characteristic of a common perpetrator that might be Russia. Almost all of the affected warships were from European countries or NATO members, and the data included bogus incursions around Kaliningrad, the Black Sea, Crimea and other Russian interests. In theory, Russia could portray Europe and NATO as aggressors by falsely claiming those rivals sent warships into Russian seas.

Russia has historically denied hacking claims. It has a years-long history of using fake accounts and misinformati

Engadget
Jul 31, 2021

People first drove on the Moon 50 years ago today
NASA just celebrated another major moment in the history of Moon exploration. The New York Timesnoted that July 31st, 2021 marks the 50th anniversary of the Lunar Roving Vehicle's first outing — and the first time people drove on the Moon. Apollo 15 astronauts Dave Scott and Jim Irwin took the car on a stint to collect samples and explore the lunar surface more effectively than they could on foot.

Scott and Irwin would eventually drive the rover two more times (for a total of three hours) before returning to Earth. The Apollo 16 and 17 missions each had an LRV of their own. There was also a fourth rover, but it was used for spare parts after the cancellation of Apollo 18 and further missions. All three serving models remained on the Moon.

Early development was problematic, in no small part due to the lack of real-world testing conditions. They couldn't exactly conduct a real-world test drive, after all. The team eventually settled on a collapsible design with steel mesh wheels that could safely handle the Moon's low gravity, lack of atmosphere, extreme temperatures and soft soil.

The LRV was modest, with a 57-mile range, four 0.19kW motors and an official top speed of 8MPH. It was also expensive, with cost overruns bringing the price of four rovers to $38 million (about $249 million in 2021 dollars). It was key to improved scientific exploration during the later stages of the Apollo program, though, and it was also an early example of a practical electric vehicle — humans were using a battery-powered ride on the Moon decades before the technology became mainstream on Earth.

We wouldn't count on humans driving on the Moon any

Engadget
Jul 31, 2021

Rivian may build its first international EV factory in the UK
Rivian might not be focused solely on expanding its US production. Sky Newssources claim the EV designer is in talks with the British government to build a manufacturing plant near Bristol. The discussions aren't yet in late stages, but the focus is reportedly on production for the vehicles themselves rather than batteries, although there was room for an all-encompassing Tesla-style gigafactory.

Rival proposals have come from Germany and the Netherlands, Sky claimed. If the UK plant did go ahead, though, the government could supposedly invest "well over" £1 billion (about $1.39 billion). Rivian declined to comment.

There's certainly pressure to commit to international expansion. Rivian has just one factory, a former Mitsubishi plant in Illinois, and it only just unveiled plans for a second American facility that might also produce batteries. That output could limit potential sales, especially outside of North America, and might hamper Amazon's electric delivery van rollout.

This could help Rivian scale to counter rivals like Tesla and Volkswagen, both of which are rapidly growing their EV manufacturing bases. The UK intends to ban sales of combustion engine cars in 2035, and that means switchi

Engadget
Jul 31, 2021

Apple pulls anti-vax social app over misinformation
Mobile app shops are cracking down on one of the higher-profile communities spreading anti-vax misnformation. Bloombergreports that Apple has removed Unjected, a hybrid social and dating app for the unvaccinated, for "inappropriately" referencing the COVID-19 pandemic's concept and themes. While Unjected bills itself as a place to find others who support "medical autonomy and free speech," social posts on the site have included false claims that vaccines modify genes, connect to 5G and serve as "bioweapons."

The app founders are also embroiled in a fight over their Android app. Google told Unjected on July 16th that it had two weeks to remove the misleading posts from its app to avoid a Play Store ban. The developers responded by pulling the social feed. However, co-creator Shelby Thompson said Unjected planned to defy the request by restoring both the feed and the offending posts.

We've asked Apple and Google for comment. Unjected still has a presence on Instagram despite that social network's anti-misinformation stance, although that account mostly promotes its views on "freedom" and only occasionally mentions falsehoods, such as incorrect claims that mRNA vaccines alter DNA. We've asked Facebook for a response as well.

Unjected is small compared to mainstream social networks, with roughly 18,000 app downloads (according to Apptopia). However, the crackdown clearly serves as a warning — Apple and Google won't tolerate apps that knowingly accept and encourage the creation anti-vax content, even if they aren't directly producing that material.



Engadget
Jul 31, 2021

Apple pulls anti-vax social app over misinformation (updated)
Mobile app shops are cracking down on one of the higher-profile communities spreading anti-vax misnformation. Bloombergreports that Apple has removed Unjected, a hybrid social and dating app for the unvaccinated, for "inappropriately" referencing the COVID-19 pandemic's concept and themes. While Unjected bills itself as a place to find others who support "medical autonomy and free speech," social posts on the site have included false claims that vaccines modify genes, connect to 5G and serve as "bioweapons."

The app founders are also embroiled in a fight over their Android app. Google told Unjected on July 16th that it had two weeks to remove the misleading posts from its app to avoid a Play Store ban. The developers responded by pulling the social feed. However, co-creator Shelby Thompson said Unjected planned to defy the request by restoring both the feed and the offending posts.

We've asked Apple and Google for comment. Unjected still has a presence on Instagram despite that social network's anti-misinformation stance, although that account mostly promotes its views on "freedom" and only occasionally mentions falsehoods, such as incorrect claims that mRNA vaccines alter DNA. We've asked Facebook for a response as well.

Unjected is small compared to mainstream social networks, with roughly 18,000 app downloads (according to Apptopia). However, the crackdown clearly serves as a warning — Apple and Google won't tolerate apps that knowingly accept and encourage the creation anti-vax content, even if they aren't directly producing that material.

Update 7/31 6:18PM ET: Apple

Engadget
Jul 31, 2021

DOJ: Hackers behind SolarWinds attacks targeted federal prosecutors
The perpetrators of the SolarWinds hacks apparently targeted key parts of the American legal system. According to the AP, the Justice Department says hackers targeted federal prosecutors between May 2020 and December 2020. There were 27 US Attorney offices where the intruders compromised at least one email account, officials said.

The victims included some of the more prominent federal offices, including those in the Eastern and Souther Districts of New York as well as Miami, Los Angeles and Washington.

The DOJ said it had alerted all victims and was taking steps to blunt the risks resulting from the hack. The Department previously said there was no evidence the SolarWinds hackers broke into classified systems, but federal attorneys frequently exchange sensitive case details.

The Biden administration has officially blamed Russia's state-backed Cozy Bear group for the hacks, and retaliated by expelling diplomats and sanctioning 32 "entities and individuals." Russia has denied involvement.

It's not certain if the US will escalate its response. The damage has already been done, after all. This further illustrates the severity of the attacks, however, and hints at the focus — they were clearly interested in legal data in addition to source code and other valuable information.



Engadget
Jul 31, 2021

Hitting the Books: Buck Rogers flew so that NASA astronauts could spacewalk
You've all seen the iconic picture of the US astronaut riding gracefully upon his NASA-built MODOK chair. That astronaut was Bruce McCandless II, Houston's capsule communicator during the moon landing mission, Challenger crew member, and the driving force behind America's ability to conduct operations outside of the stuffy confines of space shuttles and international stations. Without McCandless, there's no guarantee the US would have EVA capabilities today. Wonders All Around, exhaustively researched and written by McCandless's son, Bruce III, explores McCandless the elder's trials and tribulations during NASA's formative years and his laser-focus on enabling astronauts to zip through space unencumbered by the mass of their ships.

Greenleaf Book GroupCopyright @ 20201 Bruce McCandless III. Published by Greenleaf Book Group Press. Distributed by Greenleaf Book Group. Design and composition by Greenleaf Book Group and Kimberly Lance. Cover design by Greenleaf Book Group, Shaun Venish, and Kimberly Lance. Cover image courtesy of NASA, photographed by Robert L. "Hoot" Gibson

In his long leaden days of waiting for a spaceflight, my dad found the route to redemption on the back of an aging cartoon character. From the afternoon in December 1966 that he first tried out the Manned Maneuvering Unit in a Martin Marietta simulator, he was hooked on a vision of a gas-propelled jetpack that would allow astronauts to operate outside their spacecraft. This vision had an obvious pop-culture antecedent. In the 1920s a comic-strip character named Buc

Engadget
Jul 31, 2021

Telegram's video calls can now accommodate up to 1,000 viewers
Telegram has expanded the group video calling feature it launched in June to be able to accommodate more participants — a lot more. The latest version of the messaging app now allows up to 1,000 people to join a group video call. While the number of participants that can broadcast video from their camera or their screen remains capped at 30, an additional 970 people can tune in and watch. 

As Telegram said when it first launched the feature, it was always planning on increasing the number of people that can join a group chat as it expands its voice and video calls to support live events. In its new announcement, the company said it'll keep on increasing the limit. In addition, Telegram has updated the video messaging feature so users can watch them at a higher resolution. Users can now also share their screen with sound during 1-on-1 video calls and set their messages to auto-delete after one month instead of within a day or a week like the older options allowed. 

Telegram's updated media editor makes the brush width smaller upon zooming in, allowing users to draw finer details on photos and videos. Other new features include more password reset options and animated emoji. For the Android app, the latest version also includes support for 0.5x, 1.5x and 2x playback speeds, as well as new sending animations. Meanwhile, iOS users will have access to a new in-app camera that can use all their device's zoom levels, as well as the ability to forward messages to multiple recipients. 

Telegram

Engadget
Jul 30, 2021

'Horizon Forbidden West' is reportedly delayed to 2022
PlayStation fans will have to wait until 2022 to play Horizon Forbidden West, according to Bloomberg. The outlet reports the company has delayed its next big PS5 and PS4 exclusive to next year, pushing it back from its current 2021 holiday season release timeframe.

Ahead of today's news, Sony hinted at a potential delay last month when the company published an interview with PlayStation Studios head Hermen Hulst. "For Horizon, we think we are on track to release this holiday season," Hulst said at the time. "But that isn't quite certain yet, and we're working as hard as we can to confirm that to you as soon as we can." At the moment, it's not clear what's behind the delay.

If Sony does in fact delay Forbidden West, it won't be the only first-party exclusive to miss its previously announced 2021 release date. Earlier in the year, the company delayed both Gran Turismo 7 and the next God of War entry to 2022. Just last week, Bethesda also delayed Ghostwire: Tokyo, its upcoming PlayStation 5 and PC horror game from Tango Gameworks, to early 2022.    



Engadget
Jul 30, 2021

Twitter launches bug bounty contest to detect algorithmic bias
Twitter has laid out plans for a bug bounty competition with a difference. This time around, instead of paying researchers who uncover security issues, Twitter will reward those who find as-yet undiscovered examples of bias in its image-cropping algorithm.

Back in April, Twitter said it would study potential "unintentional harms" created by its algorithms, beginning with its image-cropping one. It started using the algorithm in 2018 in an attempt to focus on the most interesting parts of images in previews. Some users criticized how Twitter handled automated cropping, claiming that the algorithm tends to focus on lighter-skinned people in photos.

"In May, we shared our approach to identifying bias in our saliency algorithm (also known as our image cropping algorithm), and we made our code available for others to reproduce our work," Twitter wrote in a blog post. "We want to take this work a step further by inviting and incentivizing the community to help identify potential harms of this algorithm beyond what we identified ourselves."

Twitter says this is the "industry's first al

Engadget
Jul 30, 2021

US watchdog rejects Blue Origin's protest of NASA lunar lander contract
The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) has dismissed protests from Blue Origin and defense contractor Dynetics over NASA's decision to hand out a single $2.9 billion contract to SpaceX as part of its Human Landing System program. On Friday, the watchdog said NASA's "evaluation of all three proposals was reasonable and consistent with applicable procurement law, regulation, and the announcement's terms."

When Blue Origin first challenged the lunar lander contract in April, the company claimed the selection process was "fundamentally unfair" because it didn't get a chance to revise its bid. To that point, NASA could afford to give SpaceX the contract because the company agreed to modify its payment schedule. Blue Origin also took issue with the fact that the space agency selected a single contractor for the project when the initial announcement had called for two manufacturers to be involved.

In reviewing NASA's decision, the GAO says the space agency "did not violate procurement law or regulation when it decided to make only one award." It notes NASA gave itself the flexibility to hand out a single contract, multiple awards or none at all when it first announced the Human Landing System program. 

What's more, the GAO concluded there "was no requirement for NASA to engage in discussions, amend, or cancel the announcement" due to the amount of funding it had available for the project. Notably, the GAO also points in its press release that its role is not to judge the relative merits of a contract

Engadget
Jul 30, 2021

This toe tickling navigation system will help the visually impaired walk tall
Following the death of a sight-impaired relative, Wataru Chino had no choice but to take action. In response to the tragedy, the Honda EV engineer developed an in-shoe navigation system, dubbed Ashirase (both the name of the product and the name of the company) that allows low-sighted people to use their feet to navigate, rather than cell phones or other visual aids. The tactile navigation system has earned the financial backing of Honda's Ignition startup incubator program and continues to gain traction.

The Ashirase system is two-part, consisting of the dedicated Ashirase navigation app running on the user's smartphone and a silicone shoe insert cradling a combination motion sensor-electronic compass. Once the user programs their walking destination into the app, the shoe inserts will vibrate in various patterns and tempos — "walk forward" causes vibrations under the balls of the feet, "turn left" rubs the appropriate side of both feet and the speed at which the inserts vibrate indicate proximity to the turn or obstacle.

The idea behind the system is to allow users to remain more aware of their surroundings while they walk, using their feet to navigate rather than repeatedly stopping to consult their smartphones or passersby for directions.

AshiraseCurrently the insert prototypes can only be used in low top sneakers and dress shoes but Chino already has plans to expand the footwear selection. "We are thinking about [new footwear styles], and the idea is twofold at this moment," Chino told Engadget through an interpreter. "One is to try to change, modifying the [electronic] device so that the shape can be fitted to other types of shoes."



Engadget
Jul 30, 2021

Spotify's Noteable Releases playlist showcases the songwriters behind popular music
For the better part of its recent history, Spotify's Discover Weekly and Release Radar playlists have been the company's go-to way to help people discover new music. In the span of a week, it has added two additional discovery tools. The first, What's New, is a panel that highlights new releases from your favorite artists and podcasts. The second, which the company detailed today, is a curated playlist, but one that's aimed at those who want to know more about the music industry.

Dubbed "Noteable Releases," the weekly playlist collects new tracks from the world's leading producers and songwriters. Expect to see contributions from people like frequent Billie Eilish collaborator Finneas O'Connell and Ester Dean, who helped write Katy Perry's 2010 hit "Firework." The result is an eclectic playlist that doesn't stick to any one genre, though pop music is represented strongly for obvious reasons.

The introduction of Noteable Releases follows last year's rollout of songwriter pages and is another example of the company trying to cater to the broader music industry. You'll notice at the top of the playlist that Spotify encourages digging into a song's credits to find out more about the people who worked on it. You can do that by tapping the three dots icon and then "show credits."



Engadget
Jul 30, 2021

Why Tesla is delaying the Semi EV until 2022
Following its Q2 earnings call this week, Tesla representatives confirmed previous reports that its commercial EV project, Semi, will be delayed until 2022. The company cites both the ongoing global processor shortage and its own currently-limited battery production capability for the new 4680 style cells as contributing to its decision. 

On the plus side, Tesla executives also confirmed that development of the highly-anticipated Cyber Truck continues apace. What's more,they explained that once production fully ramps up for the Model Y in the new Berlin and Texas plants, Tesla intends to launch production lines to begin the Semi line. For the full story, watch the video above, and for continuing coverage of all things Tesla, stay tuned to Engadget!





Engadget
Jul 30, 2021

Samsung's 'history of electronics' animated videos seem like great sleep aids
Samsung wants to teach you about the history of electronics, as long as you can stay awake long enough to sit through the dull lessons. Through its Innovation Museum, the company is releasing five animated videos about inventions that shaped society. If the first episode is anything to go by, they might as well be classified as sleep aids.

The series premiere delves into the history of telecommunications, starting with Morse code and how it paved the way for more recent innovations such as smartphones, 3G, 4G and (would you believe it?) 5G. The tone and narration is Atacama Desert dry, though. Even the name of the series is melatonin-inducing: "The History of the Electronics Industry That Changed the World."

There's no denying the importance of Morse code, including how it's helped save the lives of many who were able to send an SOS message when they were in peril. But Samsung could have presented the story in a much more interesting way. For what it's worth, the episode is educational. But, if you're going to create a video in which "some aspects have been fictionalized," at least make it fun. 

Upcoming installments will cover John Logie Baird's TV, telepho

Engadget
Jul 30, 2021

This week's best deals: $150 off Apple's MacBook Air M1 and more
As July comes to a close, a number of laptops, earbuds, games and more have gone on sale across the web. Students planning their back-to-school shopping list have a few ways to save on Apple products — the latest MacBook Air M1 is $150 off at Amazon (that's better than Apple's own education discount) and the iPad Air remains $100 off as well. All capacities of Samsung's T7 portable SSD have been discounted, so you can grab one for as low as $70, while Microsoft's Xbox Ultimate Game Sale knocks up to 80 percent off console and PC titles. Here are the best tech deals from this week that you can still get today.

MacBook Air M1The latest MacBook Air M1 is down to $850 at Amazon, or $150 off its regular price. The 512GB model has the same discount, so you can grab it for $1,099. It's one of the best laptops for most people, and it's a great option for students going back to school. The Air M1 earned a

Engadget
Jul 30, 2021

Apple TV 's 'Watch the Sound' is an invitation to start making music
If Gary Numan had heard a different sound the first time he encountered a synthesizer, we might not have had "Cars," "Are 'Friends' Electric?" or even Gary Numan (he was born Gary Webb before adopting his stage name). The New Wave movement might have been little more than a ripple, Synth Pop may have never happened and, in a roundabout way, Calvin Harris might never have known what we came for.

But Numan did hear that all-important sound, the one that lit up his brain and switched him on to technology as a music-making tool, paving the way for electronic music to go mainstream. That's just one of many accidentally influential moments to be found in Watch the Sound with Mark Ronson — a documentary jaunt through the cornerstones of music technology that's streaming now on Apple TV .

Ronson is, perhaps, best known for his work with Amy Winehouse — a decidedly analog, brassy affair. But his love of technology is abundantly clear as Watch the Sound serves up easily digestible bites of musical history around key technological themes: Sampling, drum machines, synths and beyond. Along the way, Ronson casually drops in on such luminaries as Paul McCartney, Quest Love and the aforementioned Numan, along with contemporary artists such as Charlie XCX and King Princess. If the series doesn't inspire you to google around for a MIDI controller by the end of it then nothing ever will.

Apple TV Unlike Netflix's fast-paced This is Pop, Watch the Sound

Engadget
Jul 30, 2021

NYC extends limits on food delivery app fees to February 2022
New York City capped food delivery app fees to help restaurants survive the COVID-19 pandemic, and it's keeping those limits in place as the recovery begins. Gothamistreports the City Council has passed a bill that extends caps on delivery app fees until February 17th, 2022. The limits were due to expire in August and kept fees no higher than 15 percent for deliveries, plus 5 percent for other services. Apps could have charged up to 35 percent without the fee ceiling.

Queens Council Member Francisco Moya claimed a return to higher fees would "completely" hobble businesses just starting to recover from the pandemic.

Other bills passed at the same time require apps to get written approval before listing businesses and to share customer data with restaurants. Delivery services have faced criticism, lawsuits and legislation after listing restaurants in their apps without permission.

The app creators have opposed New York City's new measures. GrubHub claimed the caps were "arbitrary price controls" that would allegedly damage businesses and the economy. DoorDash, meanwhile, suggested that data sharing with restaurants should be opt-in rather than enabled by default. The

Engadget
Jul 30, 2021

Amazon handed record $888 million fine from EU data privacy watchdog
Amazon has been handed its largest ever privacy fine in the EU by Luxembourg's data watchdog. The CNPD fined the company €746 million ($888 million) on July 16th for violating the bloc's strict data privacy laws, known as GDPR. Amazon disclosed the ruling in an SEC filing on Friday in which it slammed the decision as baseless, adding that it intended to defend itself "vigorously in this matter." 

"There has been no data breach, and no customer data has been exposed to any third party," Amazon told Bloomberg. "These facts are undisputed. We strongly disagree with the CNPD's ruling." It added that it plans to appeal the decision. Amazon has its EU headquarters in Luxembourg, tasking the local data regulator with overseeing its compliance.

The penalty is the result of a 2018 complaint by French privacy rights group La Quadrature du Net, which filed numerous lawsuits against Big Tech companies on the behalf of 12,000 people shortly after the GDPR was established that year. 

Among those was a case involving Google's Android operating system that led to France's CNIL regulator slapping the search giant with a $57 million fine in January, 2019 — the biggest GDPR fine to date. The watchdog ruled that the company had violated the GDPR due to its failure to obtain legal consent for data collection related to its ad targeting practices.

The record penalty comes amid heightened scrutiny of Amazon's business in Europe. Its use of data is also at the heart of the EU's

Engadget
Jul 30, 2021

Engadget Podcast: Activision's walkout and toxicity in gaming
This week, Cherlynn and Devindra dive into the toxic mess at Activision Blizzard with Senior Editor Jessica Conditt. California is suing the company over its frat boy culture, something we've seen at many gaming companies over the years. What's actually going on, and what does it mean for the gaming industry as a whole? Tune in for our thoughts! Also, we chat about Facebook's metaverse ambitions, some new chip plans for Intel and… Xbox Krispy Kreme donuts.

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 · Activision's walkout and toxicity in gaming
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Engadget
Jul 30, 2021

Two red objects between Mars and Jupiter may explain how the solar system formed
A group of scientists has discovered two unusually red objects in the asteroid belt between Jupiter and Mars, and they may have originated from farther in the solar system. These objects — called 203 Pompeja and 269 Justitia — are redder than the reddest known objects in the asteroid belt and may have migrated to the area from beyond Neptune. If that's true, then they could provide insight into the chaos of the early solar system and into how the solar system as we know it today came to be.

The team led by JAXA's Sunao Hasegawa identified the objects through observations collected at the Infra-red Telescope Facility and Seoul National University Astronomical Observatory, according to the paper they published. As The New York Times points out, most objects in the inner solar system tend to reflect blue light, because they're devoid of or have very little organic materials. Objects from the outer solar system such as the Kuiper belt, however, tend to be redder. That's because they have a lot of organics like carbon and methane, which may have been the building blocks of our planet. As you may know, the Kuiper belt is the region extending from the orbit of Neptune where you can find remnants of our solar system's formation.

If Pompeja and Justitia truly were transplants from beyond Nepture, then they'd serve as evidence for the hypothesis that a fraction of the asteroids between Jupiter and Mars came from the Kuiper belt. They'd also support the set of theories, called the Nice Model, on how our gas giants settled into their orbits. The Nice model says our giant planets formed closer to the Sun until an instability forced Neptune, Uranus an

Engadget
Jul 30, 2021

'Doctor Who' needs to evolve to survive
The BBC has announced that Chris Chibnall (pictured, center), Doctor Who's executive producer, and its star, Jodie Whittaker (pictured, right), will leave the series in 2022. A trio of specials through next year would herald the pair's departure from the long-running series. This, then, seems like an ideal time for Doctor Who to undergo the radical shakeup it so desperately needs. I don't agree with The Guardian's recent piece saying that the series needs to be off the air for a while, but it is very clearly time for the show to evolve again.

This is in part because Doctor Who under Chibnall has been such a waste: the showrunner's work before taking the job, while popular and award-winning, had always left me cold. My initial apprehension was calmed, somewhat, by the news emerging from the production of the revived series' 11th run. Chibnall also deserves credit for hiring the first two writers of color in the show's nearly sixty year history. The fact that many of the episodes had an explicit focus on material social history suggested a bright new direction for the series. The Woman Who Fell To Earth, too, was a blisteringly confident debut and all seemed well.

And then, yeesh. As good as Chibnall is at birthing some truly inspired ideas, the quality of his execution is terrible. He struggled to flesh out the quartet of lead characters and failed to offer them real stakes to deal with. And for all of the era's emphasis on diversity, the content of each episode seemed to be far more backward-looking. I've written

Engadget
Jul 30, 2021

The Morning After: You can now upgrade your PS5's SSD, if you meet all the criteria
Yes, you can finally upgrade your SSD storage on the PS5 — a console that already demands pretty huge game file sizes. It's a whole lot more complicated than plugging in a USB drive, however. First up, you have to be a PS5 beta user in the US, Canada and parts of Europe. Then, you need a PCIe Gen4 SSD for read speeds of 5,500MB/s or higher — there are options from Samsung, Western Digital and Seagate.

But that's not the end of things. Sony notes in its guide to SSD upgrades that you also need to factor in the PS5's cooling mechanism. This means you might have to add a heatsink to your SSD or choose a compatible SSD with the cooling structure built-in.

Aaron Souppouris/EngadgetOh, it has to be the right-sized heatsink, too. And Sony suggests doing the whole installation in a well lit room, flashlight "optional." It literally says that.

Did you buy a next-gen console so you didn't have to think too much about these kinds of things? Well, sorry. It's time to measure a heatsink. The feature will roll out to non-beta PS5 users later this year.

(TLDR: The Western Digital Black SN850 heatsink model should work if you want to upgrade your PS5 storage.)

— Mat Smith



Intel NUC 11 PC Extreme reviewA tiny gaming deskt

Engadget
Jul 30, 2021

A Tesla Megapack caught fire at the Victorian Big Battery facility in Australia
A 13-tonne Tesla Megapack caught fire on Friday morning at a battery storage facility in south-east Australia. The blaze occurred during testing at 10 -10.15am local time, according to Victorian Big Battery. The regional fire service said a specialist fire crew had been dispatched to the site in Geelong, Victoria. Firefighters were using a hazmat appliance designed for hazardous chemical spills and specialist drones to conduct atmospheric monitoring, according to Fire Rescue Victoria.


Engadget
Jul 30, 2021

NASA and Boeing delay Starliner ISS launch
The Boeing Starliner's trip to the International Space Station has hit another hurdle. The craft was scheduled for a second uncrewed test flight to the ISS today, July 30th, after its first attempt went awry back in late 2019. But, it will have to wait a bit longer for take off. NASA and Boeing have decided to push back the launch to the tentative date of Tuesday, August 3rd. 

The delay comes after the thrusters on the ISS' new Russian module Nauka accidentally activated causing the station to move out of orientation. Though ground teams managed to regain control and motion of the ISS, NASA is proceeding with caution.

"The International Space Station team will use the time to continue working checkouts of the newly arrived Roscosmos Nauka multipurpose laboratory module and to ensure the station will be ready for Starliner's arrival," the agency said in a statement.

The completion of the second test flight is a critical part of the Starliner's development phase that will be followed by the first of six crew rotation missions. NASA added that launch preparations would resume pending a final decision from the ISS and Commercial Crew Program teams. 

In the meantime, staff are assessing whether to move the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket — atop which the Starliner is placed — from the launch pad at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station back to the Vehicle Integration Facility. While both are mission-ready, the move is seen as a mitigation measure to protect them from weather damage.

The delay is the latest in a series of setbacks that have thus far prevented the Starliner from reaching the ISS. In December 2019, the Boeing craft suffered an automation issue during its first test flight that caused it to miss its planned orbit. Whi

Engadget
Jul 30, 2021

Tesla will pay $1.5 million to settle Model S battery throttling complaints
Back in 2019, Tesla pushed an over-the-air update to its Model S sedans following an incident wherein the vehicle caught fire in a Hong Kong parking lot. As CNBC notes, it said at the time that the update will revise "charge and thermal management settings" on Model S and Model X vehicles to "help further protect the battery and improve battery longevity." Some Model S owners claimed, however, that the update reduced their maximum battery voltage, prompting them to take Tesla to court. Now, the automaker has agreed to pay $1.5 million to settle the class action lawsuit filed against it.

According to Reuters, the court documents show that the software update affected 1,743 Model S sedans in the US. The voltage limitation was temporary, but the plaintiffs experienced a 10 percent battery reduction for three months and a seven percent reduction lasting for another seven months, the plaintiffs' lawyers said. Tesla rolled out the final update that fully corrected the issue in March 2020. Among the affected vehicles, 1,552 had their max battery voltage restored, while 57 vehicles had battery replacements. The settlement documents said that any vehicle still experiencing battery throttling problems would have their maximum voltage restored over time.

While the company has agreed to pay $1.5 billion, a huge chunk of that would be used to cover lawyers' fees: Owners are expected to get only $625 each from the settlement. Affected owners in Norway could get a much bigger payday after a court in the country ordered the compa

Engadget
Jul 30, 2021

HBO returns to Dish's lineup after a protracted absence
Dish Network is finally offering HBO, Cinemax and HBO Max to its subscribers after kicking HBO off its network nearly three years ago. It's the first time Dish subscribers will be able to watch HBO shows like Mare of Easttown and Euphoria since the carriage dispute began on October 31st, 2018. However, the new agreement doesn't cover Dish subsidiary Sling TV's distribution of HBO or HBO Max. 

When Dish removed HBO and Cinemax channels, it accused then-parent AT&T of using HBO as an "economic weapon." At that time, HBO was only a straight cable station, but AT&T launched HBO Max as a Netflix-like streaming service in July of 2019. With the situation now resolved, Dish becomes the last major pay TV distributor to add HBO Max to its lineup. 

The resolution follows a major shakeup with HBO's parent, WarnerMedia. In May 2021, AT&T announced that it was spinning off that division and merging it with Discovery in a $43 billion deal. That effectively removed a conflict of interest as AT&T is a direct competitor to Dish in the satellite video service provider space. The parties haven't disclosed the terms of the new agreement. 

With an accord now in pace, Dish customers get a free 10-day free of HBO and Cinemax from Aug. 6-15. Dish users can subscribe to the HBO Max ad-free plan for $12 rather than the regular price of $15 per month for up to 12 months if they act before Oct. 27, 2021. They'll get HBO Max access on supported devices like iOS, Android, Roku, Apple TV and Fire TV, along with live channels including HBO, HBO Family and HBO Signature. Dish TV customers can also get Cinemax for $10 per month.





Engadget
Jul 30, 2021

Amazon's first-gen Echo Show 5 is back to its lowest price on Best Buy
Amazon's first-gen Echo Show 5 dropped down to $45 from its original price of $80 ahead of Prime Day back in June. If you missed the chance to get the Alexa-powered smart display at a discount, though, now's your chance to get one: It's available for $45 again on Best Buy. That's the lowest price we've seen for the device, even on Amazon, where it's been selling for around $50 these past months. It's also $40 cheaper than the second-gen Echo Show 5, which isn't that much different from the first-generation device anyway.

Buy Amazon first-gen Echo Show 5 at Best Buy - $45

As we mentioned in our review for the newer smart display, the changes are pretty minor. The second-gen Echo Show 5 has a 2-megapixel camera instead of a one-megapixel, and it comes in a light blue color in addition to black and white. However, it still has a much lower resolution than the Echo Show 8, and it doesn't support a lot of the bigger smart display's capabilities. 

If you're not bothered with the one-megapixel camera difference and the lack of an extra color option, you can just get the first-gen Echo Show 5. Its 5.5-inch screen has the same 960 x 480 resolution as its newer counterpart, it has a fabric-wrapped speaker and it has several clock faces to choose from. The device supports Amazon Prime, NBC and Hulu, so you can use it to watch shows, as well as to display images and videos. 

If you find its screen too small for serious bingeing, though, you can also use it as an alarm clock with several clock faces to choose from. It even comes with a sunrise fea

Engadget
Jul 29, 2021

AMD's Radeon RX 6600XT is its next flagship 1080p GPU
After making a return to the mid-range with its RX 6700 XT GPU, AMD has launched its 1080p flagship, the RX 6600 XT. A successor to the excellent and popular RX 5600 XT card, the new model has considerably more power on tap with 9.6 teraflops of RDNA 2 performance, compared to 7.19 teraflops for the last model. Not only that, but it offers 8GB of GDDR6 RAM, compared to 6GB for its predecessor. 

In fact, the RX 6600 XT seems to deliver about the same amount of performance as the RX 5700 XT (9.75 teraflops) and just slightly less than the GPU in the PS5, at least on paper. Since the RX 5700 XT was offered as a 1440p-capable card (and the PS5 can handle 4K), it doesn't seem a stretch to say that the new model will at least be decent at 1440p gaming. 

However, AMD is marketing this card as a "new standard for 1080p," saying that it has up to a 1.7 times uplift over the last generation for games like Doom Eternal for 1080p gaming. AMD noted that around two-third of monitors shipped are still 1080p, so that's still the norm for PC gaming. 

AMDOther specs include 32 compute units (compared to 40 on the RX 6700 XT), a 2359 MHz game clock and 160W power consumption with a single 8 pin power connector. AMD also touts custom features like Radeon Boost for higher frame rates and Radeon Anti-Lag for improved latency.

The main new feature wit

Engadget
Jul 29, 2021

IBM's AI can predict how Parkinson's disease may progress in individuals
In the past, we've seen doctors use AI software to detect brain tumors, kidney illness and various cancers. Now, researchers from IBM and Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF) say they've developed a program that can predict how the symptoms of a Parkinson's disease patient will progress in terms of both timing and severity. In The Lancet Digital Health journal, they claim the software could transform how doctors help patients manage their symptoms by allowing them to better predict how the disease will progress.

"Our aim is to use AI to help with patient management and clinical trial design. These goals are important because, despite Parkinson's prevalence, patients experience a unique variety of motor and non-motor symptoms," IBM said.

The breakthrough wouldn't have been possible without the Parkinson's Progression Markers Initiative, a study the Michael J. Fox Foundation sponsored. IBM describes the dataset, which includes information on more than 1,400 individuals, as the "largest and most robust volume of longitudinal Parkinson's patient data to date" and says it allowed its AI model to map out complex symptom and progression patterns.

It's estimated Parkinson's disease affects more than 6 million people globally, and there's currently no known cure for it. IBM Research and MJFF plan to continue work on the AI model. In the future, they hope to make it better at providing more granular characterizations of the various stages of the disease.



Engadget
Jul 29, 2021

Amazon's Fire TV Cube works with Zoom, if you have a webcam
Starting today, you can use a second-generation Fire TV Cube to take part in two-way Zoom calls. For the best experience, Amazon recommends a webcam with a 60- to 90-degree field of view that can capture video at 1080p. The company also suggests mounting the device on the top of your TV set, and that you sit about six to 10 feet away. At the very least, you'll want a 720p camera that supports USB Video Class (UVC). You'll also need a Micro USB-to-USB adapter since the second-generation Fire TV Cube doesn't have a full-sized USB-A port. One thing to note is Amazon recommends against using a 4K-capable camera. Outside of those requirements, you'll need to download the latest Fire TV Cube update and the Zoom app from the Fire TV Appstore.

Once you have everything ready to go, you can tell Alexa to join a video call for you, at which point the voice assistant will ask you to provide a meeting ID and passcode. It's also possible to link your calendar to Alexa, which will allow you to more seamlessly join any Zoom meetings you have on your schedule.

Amazon isn't the first company to allow you to use your TV for video calls. Since last August, you've been able to stream Google Meet calls to Chromecast and other Cast-enabled devices. Over that same time frame, Amazon has offered two-way video calling between Fire TV Cube and camera-enabled Alexa devices. It might seem like a late offering, but with the

Engadget
Jul 29, 2021

Behance adds Patreon-like subscriptions to support creators
In one of the most significant changes to come to the platform since it was acquired by Adobe in 2012, Behance is introducing Patreon-like subscriptions. Starting today with a small group of about two dozen artists, Adobe is allowing creators to offer access to premium projects, live streams and source files in exchange for a monthly fee. The company says creators can set their own subscription price, and it's up to them to decide what people get in return for their financial support. You'll see prompts to support creators throughout the platform, including when you watch live streams.

For Adobe, obviously this is another way for the company to monetize one of its products beyond its Creative Cloud subscriptions and standalone software offerings. However, just as important here is the fact the company is giving creators, many of whom depend on Behance to showcase their work, a way to make money.



Engadget
Jul 29, 2021

Twitter Spaces updates makes it easier to share and discover live audio
Twitter's Spaces is getting another update that makes the audio feature easier to share and discover. Now, users will be able to compose a new tweet directly from the Space, which will link to the audio chat and any accompanying hashtags. While it was previously possible to compose new tweets while listening to a Space, having the composer directly in the space will allow participants to more easily tweet about the conversation as it's happening.

On iOS, Twitter is also adding new "guest management" controls, that allows hosts to more easily view who is in a Space and who has requested to speak. Finally, the company is adding a new search feature to the Spaces tab it started testing in June. Now, instead of just a curated list of active Spaces, users with access to the tab will also be able to search for Spaces by title or the name or handle of a host. (No update on when more people will have access to the Spaces section of the app, though.)


Engadget
Jul 29, 2021

‘Stanley Parable' and ‘Gone Home' devs team up to form Ivy Road studio
Along with showing off a bunch of upcoming games during its showcase on Thursday, Annapurna Interactive announced some developer partnerships. One of them is with a new studio called Ivy Road from powerhouse indie developers Davey Wreden and Karla Zimonja.


Engadget
Jul 29, 2021

‘Sound Shapes' creator Jessica Mak is making a game with Annapurna Interactive
The last time Jessica Mak released a game was in 2012 when they worked with Sony's Santa Monica Studio to create Sound Shapes. The game went on to become one of the PlayStation Vita's standout gems, in part thanks to an unforgettable soundtrack that featured contributions from Shaw-Han Liem of I Am Robot and Proud fame, Indie Game: The Movie composer Jim Guthrie and Beck.


Engadget
Jul 29, 2021

'Outer Wilds: Echoes of the Eye' is an expansion of a modern classic
How do you create DLC for a game whose very purpose is to offer a confined, looping world? Honestly, after watching the trailer for Outer Wilds: Echoes of the Eye, I still have no idea. Outer Wilds was one of our favorite games of 2019, building an enthralling mystery into a non-linear exploration game that effectively restarts every 22 minutes.

Outer Wilds: Echoes of the Eye, the game's first and final DLC, will build on the game with new narrative threads and locales. Not much is known beyond that, but based on the strength of the original, I'm down to play an expanded version. Hopefully, the expansion will persuade more people to try out this gem of a game, which, as Devindra Hardawar wrote in our "Favorite games of 2019" article, "demands patience and an adventurous spirit," but "promises adventure like nothing else." Echoes of the Eye will be available September 28th for PS4, Xbox One and PC via Steam and Epic Games Store for $14.99





Engadget
Jul 29, 2021

Cat simulator 'Stray' heads to PlayStation and PC in early 2022
The last time we saw Stray was in the form of a cinematic trailer Sony shared in 2020 that highlighted the game's futuristic neon-soaked setting and adorable feline protagonist. At the time, we didn't get to see the game in action, a fact that Annapurna Interactive has now remedied. The publisher shared a slice of gameplay footage from the title during its recent showcase and said it would release Stray sometime in early 2022.

In the opening moments of Stray, our feline protagonist finds himself injured and separated from his family. Gameplay involves using his physical abilities as a cat to navigate the environment and solve puzzles. In the time-honored tradition of duos like Ratchet and Clank, partway through the adventure, you'll meet a drone named B-12. They will allow you to converse with the city's other robotic inhabitants and interact with certain objects in the environment. The cat has a playful side to his personality, and you can do things like scratch furniture, interact with vending machines and rub up against the legs of the robots you meet. Good stuff.


Engadget
Jul 29, 2021

'What Remains of Edith Finch' will hit iOS on August 16th
Annapurna Interactive is making lots of announcements today about its future, but the publisher hasn't forgotten its roots either. What Remains Of Edith Finch, the very first game AI released, is coming to iOS on August 16th.

The first-person mystery, which was developed by Giant Sparrow, debuted on PC and PS4 in April 2017. AI brought it to Xbox One and Nintendo Switch later. It's a well-reviewed game that encapsulates much of AI's ethos of releasing "personal, emotional and original" games. Perhaps the iOS release will help it find a whole new audience.



Engadget
Jul 29, 2021

'Skin Deep' is a stinky sci-fi shooter from indie icon Brendon Chung
Brendon Chung knows what people expect out of a first-person shooter. Guns? Check. Strafing? Yep. Ammo drops in strategic yet predictable locations? You betcha.

A sneezing system? Uh, sure. Noxious green clouds that follow you when you're smelly, giving away your location? Um. Actually, yes.

Skin Deep is the latest project out of Chung's studio, Blendo Games, and it's his first-ever FPS title. He's known for developing clever first-person action and puzzle games including Gravity Bone, Thirty Flights of Loving and Quadrilateral Cowboy, and visually, Skin Deep fits perfectly into his repertoire. The only difference is the gun.

"I'd never done one where you just have a gun and you straight-up shoot people," Chung said. "I thought, you know what? This is something that I love. This is a game genre that has been so important to me for a long time... This is kind of my attempt at making a bunch of little things that I like in first-person shooter games, and putting them into a game that I think will be funny."

Annapurna InteractiveChung started coding back in elementary school, when he would spend hours between classes customizing levels in FPS classics Doom and Quake, and he continued modding as titles like Half-Life, Quake 2 and Doom 3 hit the scene. He got a job at a mainstream studio in Los Angeles, but continued working on his own projects and eventually went fully independent,

Engadget
Jul 29, 2021

'Solar Ash' brings surreal 3D platforming to PC, PS4 and PS5 on October 26th
As a kid, Alx Preston spent a significant amount of time as a member of the audience, watching his brother sing in choir and opera groups. One night, he found himself sitting in a pew at the heart of a large, elegant church, letting the sounds of yet another performance wash over him. He was tired. He also happened to be playing a lot of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time at home.

"I kind of fell into a dream state," Preston said. "I was playing a lot of Ocarina of Time at the time, and so the vocals of that mixed with this kind of fantastical vision of going through a forest. I think for me that Ocarina of Time was one of those formative games that really allowed me to see what was possible within the medium."

Preston was the creative energy behind Hyper Light Drifter, a pixelated 2D title that helped define a generation of neon-coated indie hits in the mid-2010s, and he's the founder of LA-based studio Heart Machine. He and a growing team of developers have been working on their sophomore release, Solar Ash, since late 2016. It's a third-person, 3D game set in a dreamlike sci-fi space called the Ultravoid.

Annapurna InteractiveTo put it in terms of Zelda titles, Hyper Light Drifter is A Link to the Past, and Solar Ash is Ocarina of Time.

"[Ocarina of Time] was really the game that felt so much bigger and limitless in its scope and scale and adventures," Preston said.

Engadget
Jul 29, 2021

Jason Schwartzman plays a floating brain in musical adventure 'The Artful Escape'
The Artful Escape is an idealized vision of everything the music industry could be, straight out of the brain of Australian rockstar Johnny Galvatron. In five years of development (at least), The Artful Escape has transformed into a psychedelic adventure game with a living soundtrack of original folk and rock music, a cast of ridiculous characters, otherworldly environments, and a roster A-list voice actors, including Jason Schwartzman, Lena Headey, Michael Johnston, Carl Weathers and Mark Strong.

The Artful Escape is set to hit Xbox One, Xbox Series X and S, and PC on September 9th, priced at $20. It'll hit Game Pass at the same time, and it's being published by indie hit-maker Annapurna Interactive.

Galvatron is the frontman of The Galvatrons, a high-energy Australian rock group that toured the continent and opened for bands like Def Leppard and Cheap Trick in the late 2000s. However, for the past few years, Galvatron has been a game developer first and foremost. In the 2010s, he used YouTube videos to teach himself how to create a game in Unreal, building off the 3D animation and coding courses he took back in college, right before Warner Music signed him. He then founded a studio, rented some office space, secured a deal with Annapurna, and somewhere along the way, he ended up in a recording booth with Jason Schwartzman.

"We just hung out and spoke about David Bowie and Bob Dylan and video games and stuff," Galvatron said. "And it was just like, it was a moment for me. He

Engadget
Jul 29, 2021

'Black Widow' star Scarlett Johansson sues Disney over streaming strategy
Black Widow star Scarlett Johansson is suing Disney over the company's decision to release the movie in theaters and on Disney simultaneously. Johansson claims that the move constituted a breach of contract, as The Wall Street Journal reports.

In the suit, Johansson says Black Widow was supposed to be released exclusively in theaters, per her deal with Marvel. As is often the case for movie stars, a large portion of Johansson's salary was tied to its box office success.

To watch Black Widow on Disney , viewers need to fork over $30 for a Premier Access pass. Disney initially estimated that the film generated $60 million in revenue on Disney from its opening weekend earlier this month, along with $80 million in domestic and $78 million international theatrical revenue.

The move may have impacted Black Widow's performance in theaters (though it's worth bearing in mind that many cinemas around the globe are still closed amid the pandemic). The total worldwide box office tally is currently $319 million. As Variety points out, that puts it on track to become one of the lowest-grossing Marvel movies to date. Only one of the six other Marvel movies released since early 2018 has made less than $1 billion in theaters.

Johansson's representatives tried to re-negotiate her deal after news emerged about the new Black Widow release strategy, the suit says, but

Engadget
Jul 29, 2021

'Marvel's Avengers' Black Panther expansion arrives August 17th
We knew it was coming, but the War for Wakanda expansion for Marvel's Avengers now has a street date. Square Enix will release the free DLC on August 17th, the publisher announced today. Billed as the largest content update to Marvel's Avengers since the game came out last September, fans can look forward to playing as Black Panther, with God of War actor Christopher Judge there to lend his voice to the character. 

Additionally, the expansion will add two new villains and a host of enemies for players to challenge, as well as a brand-new environment to explore. When you add the expansion, the game includes about 25 hours of single-player story content.

Crystal Dynamics will share more details about War for Wakanda during a Twitch stream the developer has planned for August 16th. In the meantime, if you've been on the fence about Marvel's Avengers, now is a good time to try the game. Until August 1st, you can download and play it for free on PlayStation 4, PS5, Stadia and PC via Steam. And if you decide you want to continue playing it past this weekend's trial period, it's currently 40 percent off.



Engadget
Jul 29, 2021

Robinhood CEO's plan for the future sounds a lot like a bank
Newly public Robinhood has ambitions to be much more than just a stock-trading app, according to its CEO. In an interview with the AP, CEO Vlad Tenev said that, eventually, he wants to turn Robinhood into "the single money app" his users need.

Though Tenev didn't use the word "bank," his description certainly sounds more like a bank than the current iteration of Robinhood.



Tenev didn't elaborate on exactly how these plans could take shape. And though it's not necessarily surprising the company would want to expand the types of services it offers, the CEO's comments will likely raise more than a few eyebrows.

The app, which became popular for its simple interface and commission-free trading, has also drawn criticism for many of its practices. The SEC fined the company $65 million last year, for misleading users about how it executes trades. It was also hit with a class action lawsuit earlier this year after it restricted trading on GameStop and other "meme stocks." The company has also been accused of making the

Engadget
Jul 29, 2021

GarageBand can teach you how to remix songs from Dua Lipa and Lady Gaga
GarageBand creators have a bunch more tools at their disposal as of today, including sound packs from Dua Lipa and Lady Gaga. You can learn how to remix Dua Lipa's "Break My Heart" and Lady Gaga's "Free Woman" in the app.

Along with videos of the artists telling the stories behind those songs, the Remix Sessions include step-by-step tutorials, which you can play picture-in-picture. An Apple Retail Creative Pro will give some pointers on how to remix the tunes using a GarageBand Live Loops version of each song. You can play around with isolated vocals, instrumental tracks and beats to create completely different versions of the hits.

Apple says these Remix Sessions build on the Today at Apple workshops that take place at its stores (and online over the past year or so). Big names like Alicia Keys, Billie Eilish and Taylor Swift have previously been featured at in-store Music Labs.

There are also seven new GarageBand producer packs created by Boys Noize, Mark Lettieri, Oak Felder, Soulection, Take A Daytrip, Tom Misch and Trakgirl. Each contains royalty-free loops, samples, instruments, drum kits and more that aim to encapsulate the feel of each producer's work. The packs also include videos from the producers, in which they provide words of encouragement and info about their creative process.

Oak Felder said he hopes his pack can help even the playing field and make it easier for newcomers to start p

Engadget
Jul 29, 2021

Airbnb adds built-in speed test to help hosts include WiFi info in listings
While Airbnb has for a long time allowed hosts to list how fast the WiFi connection is at their rentals, it's not something you see detailed with every home, condo and apartment on the service. As the company continues to try to attract remote workers, it's introducing a speed test tool hosts can access within the Airbnb app.

The tool itself is fairly simple. Provided you've switched to a host account, you'll find it under the "Amenities" section of a listing, and it will only estimate your download speeds. When you complete a speed test, the app will share that information with Airbnb and M-Lab, the organization that provided Airbnb the open-source software the company used to build the tool.

According to a support document from the company, M-Lab will include your test results in a publicly available database it provides for internet researchers. More importantly, those who want to stay at your home or accommodation will see if your WiFi connection is suited to their needs. It should also help ensure listings have accurate estimates.

Airbnb considers anything above a consistent 7 Mbps as a "snappy" connection. "Guests can hang with family and friends on a video call or gather together to stream a rom-com," the company says on its website. Airbnb has started rolling out the WiFi tool to hosts in the US, with global availability to follow in the coming weeks.



Engadget
Jul 29, 2021

Nikola founder Trevor Milton indicted on fraud charges
Trevor Milton, the founder and former executive chairman of electric vehicle company Nikola, has been charged with two counts of securities fraud and one count of wire fraud by a federal grand jury. Milton has been accused of lying about "nearly all aspects of the business" to boost Nikola's stock.

The indictment claims Milton made it seem Nikola was much further along than it actually was in terms of having fully functional EVs. It asserts he had a hand in creating a video that made it seem a Nikola One prototype was able to move by itself when it was actually rolling down a slope.

Milton falsely claimed the company had "billions and billions and billions and billions" of dollars worth of preorder reservations and that the company was producing its own hydrogen at four times less than market rates, according to the indictment. He's also accused of falsely claiming that Nikola had developed "game-changing" battery technology, that it was developing and making several key components for its EVs in-house and that "the total cost of ownership of Nikola's trucks was 20-30 percent below that of diesel vehicles."

Prosecutors claim Milton, who resigned in September in the face of a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) probe, targeted and misled amateur investors (or "retail investors"). According to the indictment, some of those investors lost hundreds of thous

Engadget
Jul 29, 2021

'Hawkeye' debuts on Disney on November 24th
Hawkeye, the next live-action Marvel Cinematic Universe series, will debut on Disney on November 24th, with new episodes to follow every Wednesday thereafter. Disney shared the news in an interview Entertainment Weekly published with series star Jeremy Renner. The article also includes a first-look screencap (below) showing Renner opposite co-star Hailee Steinfeld, who plays Hawkeye's protégé Kate Bishop in the series.

Marvel Studios / DisneyWith Hawkeye, Disney looks to continue the recent success it's had with Marvel content. In June, Loki had Disney 's most-watched premiere, beating out an already impressive debut showing from The Falcon and the Winter Soldier earlier in the year. At the start of July, Black Widow brought in more than $60 million in revenue solely from people willing to pay $30 each to watch the film from the comfort of their homes.



Engadget
Jul 29, 2021

Uber will offer free Rosetta Stone language courses to drivers
Uber wants to overcome the language barriers you'll sometimes encounter when hailing a ride. The Vergesays Uber has partnered with Rosetta Stone to offer free language lessons through its Driver app. Both Uber and Uber Eats drivers can use the feature to learn any of Rosetta Stone's 24 languages. They'll even get material tailored to common ridesharing scenarios.

Drivers will need to have reached Gold, Platinum or Diamond status through the Uber Pro program in a qualifying country (including large parts of the Americas, the UK, India and Spain).

The courses arrive alongside another career initiative. Drivers in some countries (including many of those from the Rosetta program) can request an achievements letter that will help them with job applications.

Uber wasn't shy about the official rationale for both moves. Many of its drivers are either immigrants (and less likely to be familiar with local languages) or see languages and rideshare work as key to expanding their opportunities. Uber is aware that driving for the company might just be a "temporary stop" on a career path — this gives workers a better chance to move upward.

There are practical incentives for Uber. The more languages its drivers speak, the more likely those drivers are to get favorable ratings and encourage repeat business. The career incentives could also encourage more drivers to sign up for Uber in the first place, even if they ultimately spend less time in the role.



Engadget
Jul 29, 2021

Huawei's P50 lineup is powered by HarmonyOS 2 but lacks 5G
Huawei has revealed the P50 and P50 Pro, its first flagship phones that use HarmonyOS 2 from the outset. The company started rolling out the operating system to its existing devices in early June.

The switch to HarmonyOS was made in part due to US sanctions that have hit Huawei. Along with slowing down manufacturing and hobbling the company's ability to source components with American technology, the restrictions led to Google shutting off Huawei from official Android updates. Huawei switched to an open-source version. It was also prevented from using Google apps and services on its most recent phones. There have been suggestions that HarmonyOS is actually a fork of open-source Android.

The sanctions also seem to have impacted Huawei's choice of processor in the latest handsets, too. The P50 and one of the P50 Pro variant

Engadget
Jul 29, 2021

Apple's MacBook Air M1 is on sale for $850 right now at Amazon
Those looking for a new daily-driver should seriously consider the MacBook Air M1. Thanks to Apple's new processor, it's powerful enough to serve most people well and its new fanless design is a big improvement. The laptop normally starts at $1,000, but now you can get it for $850 on Amazon. That's a new all-time low and it's $50 cheaper than the price the laptop has been hovering at for the past few weeks.

Buy MacBook Air M1 (256GB) at Amazon - $850Buy MacBook Air M1 (512GB) at Amazon - $1,099

The base model comes with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, but you can also grab the 512GB model for less now, too — $1,099 to be exact, or $150 off its normal price. The extra-storage models ship relatively quickly, but you'll have to wait until the end of August to get the base laptop in your hands. If you're willing to wait, this is the best sale we've seen on the MacBook Air M1 in months.

We consider the MacBook Air M1 to be the best Apple laptop for most people right now. The performance boost that the M1 chipset provides is impressive — sites load almost instantly, scrolling feels effortless and native apps run like clockwork. There's no fan inside the Air M1, so you'll get a quieter experience overall — no annoying whirring when you're pushing the machine to its limits. And th

Engadget
Jul 29, 2021

YouTubers have been rickrolled over a billion times
One of the internet's best-known videos just marked an important (and arguably overdue) historic moment. KIRO7notes that Rick Astley's video for "Never Gonna Give You Up" crossed 1 billion YouTube views on July 28th, putting the original Rickroll in the same rare company as clips from the latest pop stars.

Not surprisingly, Astley approves. He told Twitter followers the figure was "mind-blowing" and that he was "very lucky." He wasn't originally thrilled with the concept when it first took off, but his daughter eventually won him over by noting that it kept him well-known long after the song peaked in 1988.

This has been a long time in coming. Rickrolling started in earnest in 2007, when 4chan users started pranking people looking for one video by playing Astley's, and it quickly blew up to the point where Astley was performing at the 2008 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. It's almost surprising this didn't happen sooner. Psy's "Gangnam Style" hit the billion-view mark in 2012, and it didn't have the benefit of a years-old meme.

Astley won't top the YouTube charts any time soon. Many videos are now in the billion-view club, and the leader ("Baby Shark," of course) has over 9 billion plays. It's still a rare feat, though, and it's how Astley got to 1 billion that helps him stand out — he's as much a part of internet culture as "

Engadget
Jul 29, 2021

Samsung's 500GB T7 portable drive drops to $70 at Amazon
Samsung's T-series of portable SSDs has been a favorite of ours for a while thanks to its compact design, speedy performance and general versatility. Not only are they good options for photographers and content creators who work with large files regularly, but they're also good for students who want a reliable drive that can serve them for the entirety of their time at school. Now you can get the latest Samsung T7 drive in 500GB for $30 less than usual as Amazon has it for only $70. Other capacities are on sale, too: the 1TB model is down to $150, while the 2TB version will set you back $300.

Buy Samsung T7 (500GB) at Amazon - $70Buy Samsung T7 (1TB) at Amazon - $150Buy Samsung T7 (2TB) at Amazon - $300

The T7 is the latest in this lineup, along with the T7 Touch, which is essentially the same drive but with a built-in fingerprint sensor for an extra layer of security. Both drives have sleek aluminum unibodies that are roughly the size of a credit card, and they're protected against drops and shocks. The T7 also

Engadget
Jul 29, 2021

PlayStation 5 SSD upgrades are finally enabled for beta testers
As expected, Sony is gradually opening up access to the PS5's empty M.2 expansion slot. Starting today, a new system software update gives beta users in the US, Canada and parts of Europe the ability to boost local storage with select SSD drives. But, the process isn't as straightforward as previous reports suggested. 

We already knew the required read speeds would be 5,500MB/s or higher, which limits you to PCIe Gen4 SSDs. Of course, there are plenty of drives that can manage that: The Samsung 980 Pro, Western Digital SN850, Corsair Force MP600, Seagate Firecuda 530, Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus, to name a few. 

To make things more complicated, Sony says that you'll also need to take into account the PS5's cooling mechanism. That means you can either attach a heatsink to your SSD, either in a single- or double-sided format, or purchase a compatible SSD with the cooling structure built-in. But, even then, it needs to be the right-sized heatsink that matches the required dimensions. The total size including the cooling structure needs to be smaller than 110mm (L) x 25mm (W) x 11.25mm (H) or, in inches, smaller than 4.33in (L) x 0.984 in (W) x 0.442in (H).

Basically, you can forget just popping the cover and slotting in just any Gen 4 SSD. For instance, the Corsair Force MP600 has a heatsink which is too high to fit (though you can purchase it without one and use your own thermal solution). Whereas the WD Black SN850 heatsink should be fine.

Beyond the M.2 SSD support, the PS5 beta software also includes additional software and improvements. Among them is 3D audio support for built-in TV speakers that can boost sound by measuring the acoustics of a room using the DualSense controller. You can switch it on or o

Engadget
Jul 29, 2021

Intel NUC 11 Extreme review: A tiny gaming desktop you may actually want
Who is a powerful miniature desktop for? That was the question running through my mind when I reviewed Intel's NUC 9 Extreme last year. It was the company's most powerful compact PC kit (NUC stands for "next unit of computing") at the time. But it was so wildly expensive — especially since you need to add your own RAM, storage, GPU and OS — it didn't make sense for anyone but mini-PC obsessives. The new NUC 11 Extreme, AKA "Beast Canyon," is pretty much the same story. But it's at least a bit cheaper and more flexible, thanks to its faster 11th-gen Intel CPU and support for full-sized GPUs.

I'll get this out of the way up front: Yes, this NUC is dramatically larger than any previous units we've seen. The 5-liter NUC 9 Extreme already seemed to be pushing the limits of a compact PC, but at 8 liters, the NUC 11 Extreme is what you'd call a Big Boy. Sure, it beats making space for a mid-tower PC on your desk, but it's still pretty substantial. You can't blame Intel too much: Gamers wanted full-sized GPUs in a NUC, this is just the most efficient way to make that happen. The big issue now is that Intel is directly competing with increasingly popular Mini-ITX PC cases, which are cheaper but typically more complex builds.

The NUC 11 Extreme screams "gamer" before you even turn it on. Its black metal case sports mesh air vents along the sides, giving you a peek at the GPU within and three large case fans up top. For a small box, it's clearly meant to push a lot of air. Hit the power button and it springs to life with an LED skull along the front panel, as well as underside LED lighting. I'm not one for too much gamer bling, but Intel's lighting comes is relatively subtle compared to many other PC makers.



Engadget
Jul 29, 2021

Nothing's Ear 1 wireless earbuds are an ambitious start
How do you stand out as a new tech company when the dominant players have huge budgets, thousands of employees and decades of product R&D? That is Nothing's challenge, and its first product, a pair of true wireless earbuds, makes a pitch for a simplified kind of tech, designed to stand out from the likes of Apple AirPods, Samsung Galaxy Buds and their myriad clones.

Design appears to be very important to Nothing, which has already published several blog posts dedicated to its philosophy and direction — and that's before the company even launched anything. This is the result. The $100 Ear 1 buds feature active noise cancellation, touch controls, a wireless charging case and a particularly eye-catching see-through design, coming to the US mid-August.

This transparency — a design choice that I love — seemingly resonates with Nothing's mission to make technology less obvious and more seamless. It makes a statement.

Engadget, Mat SmithThis styling extends to the charging case, which reminds me a lot of Apple's old wired headphones that used to come packaged with iPhones. They also came in a half-transparent case. Nothing's Ear 1 case is predictably more complex. The see-through shell has three indented bubbles that keep the buds in place. There's a red dot both on the right headphone and its socket inside the charger.

Like most wireless earbuds, tiny magnets pull the buds into place, but this time they're visible. Nothing apparently

Engadget
Jul 29, 2021

Tesla update adds Disney streaming and a Car Wash mode
Tesla is adding another popular streaming service to its in-car infotainment system. As part of its latest software update, you can now watch Disney when you have some downtime during charging. Tesla's Theater Mode already offers Netflix, Disney-owned Hulu, YouTube and Twitch. All it's missing is HBO Max, Peacock and Paramount before it can call itself a true video hub. A Tesla owner shared screenshots of the "2021.24" update, which includes several additional features, in a Reddit post.

Another highlight is the new "Car Wash Mode" that secures the vehicle for a scrub down. Once activated, it can close or disable everything from the windows to wipers to sentry mode and the parking sensor chimes. For car washes with conveyor belts, the mode can switch the free roll option to neutral to prevent the car from auto-braking if you leave.

There's also a new dashcam auto-save that automatically stores clips whenever the vehicle detects a safety event (like a collision or airbag deployment). To stave off any more damagingprivacy concerns, Tesla has chosen to make the feature opt-in. Clips will also be stored locally and never shared with the automaker.

Rounding out the new additions are auto-dimming for mirrors, more battery info, remain connected to WiFi in drive, along with language support for Russian, Romanian and Hungarian. As usual, the quality of life improvements are designed to keep Tesla owners satisfied long after they've shelled out thousands on an EV.



Engadget
Jul 29, 2021

The Morning After: An official Xbox doughnut is coming
As part of new restrictions on sexual content, Google is banning what it calls "compensated sexual relationships (i.e. sugar dating)," from its Android app store, starting September 1st, 2021. Google's wording on its inappropriate content policy isn't live yet, but on Google Play, even now, there are plenty of sugar-daddy-style apps that fit this description, including Elite Millionaire Singles, SeekingArrangement and Spoil. (Many of these apps are already unavailable on iOS.)

This is unlikely to stop the existence of these apps and networks, however, but as is often the case with removed games and apps in the past, devout sugar daddies, mommies and their fans will be able to either sideload the app (without secure Google-approved updates) or use web apps on Chrome or their web browser of choice.

— Mat Smith



Krispy Kreme has created official Xbox-branded doughnutsBuying a box could win you a month of Game Pass and an Xbox Series S.Krispy KremeKrispy Kreme has come up with the Nexus Level donut as part of a new Xbox cross-promotion in the UK and Ireland. With a giant green X and a dusting of sugar, there's no word on whether there are lime flavors at play or perhaps even — shudder — Mountain Dew. For now, it's just "Coming Soon." Contin

Engadget
Jul 29, 2021

Louis Vuitton is making a mobile game with embedded NFTs
The worlds of fashion and gaming are cozying up to one another. From Gucci selling digital items in Roblox to Vogue's virtual fashion spread starring Gigi Hadid, the two industries are increasingly overlapping to capture a young, tech-savvy audience. Now, Louis Vuitton is jumping on the bandwagon by releasing a mobile video game to celebrate its founder's 200th birthday. Louis: The Game stars the fashion house's mascot Vivienne, a wooden doll embellished with the company's flower insignia, on a journey through the brand's history, reports Austrian newspaper Kurier.

The iOS and Android game reportedly tasks players with exploring a colorful world by completing various quests — all pretty generic so far. Whether it turns out to be more than just an unashamed bit of promotional fluff remains to be seen. The game drops on August 4th. If LV goes all-out psychedelic like it did with its recent UFO-style speaker, then it could be worth a look.

According to WWD, the game will also feature "embedded NFTs." Though, that hardly sounds promising. The one-of-a-kind digital collectibles have gone from mu

Engadget
Jul 29, 2021

Rocket Lab launches US Space Force satellite after its failed mission in May
Rocket Lab has successfully launched a US military satellite in its first mission since its 20th Electron launch ended up in failure back in May. The company's Electron rocket made its way to space from its New Zealand launch site, carrying a small demonstration satellite from the US Space Force called the Monolith. Peter Beck, Rocket Lab founder and CEO, tweeted shortly after the event that the payload was deployed and praised the team for a "flawless" launch.

Monolith's target location is in low-Earth orbit around 370 miles above our planet. The satellite will demonstrate the use of a deployable sensor, "where the sensor's mass is a substantial fraction of the total mass of the spacecraft, changing the spacecraft's dynamic properties and testing ability to maintain spacecraft attitude control," Rocket Lab explained in the official mission webpage. The results from the demonstration will help companies build more affordable satellites within shorter timeframes.

Rocket Lab's 20th mission failed in May when it suffered an "anomaly" after the second stage ignition. The company lost both its Electron rocket and BlackSky's Earth

Engadget
Jul 29, 2021

Facebook's next product will be its long-awaited Ray-Ban smart glasses
Facebook's booming business is dominated by digital ads, but it also has hardware ambitions beyond VR. During the company's latest earnings call, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said its next product release would be a pair of smart glasses from Ray-Ban. 

"The glasses have their iconic form factor, and they let you do some pretty neat things," the Facebook co-founder said. "So I'm excited to get those into people's hands and to continue to make progress on the journey toward full augmented reality glasses in the future." 

Facebook's sunglasses have been the subject of rumors since 2019. Back then, sources told CNBC that Facebook was working with Ray-Ban owner EssilorLuxottica on AR eyewear nicknamed "Orion." The glasses were billed as a full-fledged phone replacement on which you could take calls, see information and even broadcast livestreams. That inevitably drew comparisons to Google Glass (another Luxottica collab) instead of the phone-tethered Spectacles from Snap. Last year, Hugo Barra, then VP VR at Facebook Reality Labs, confirmed that the glasses would land in 2021. But, we haven't heard much since.

For Facebook, the glasses hold the key to its future. Alongside virtual reality, augmented reality (AR) is integral to building the "metaverse," Zuckerberg said. In the future, Facebook will morph into a shared, liveable platform that lets you "teleport" between different social experiences using VR and AR, Zuckerberg explained. 

The term metaverse is the latest buzzword seized upon by Silico

Engadget
Jul 29, 2021

Old Amazon Kindle devices will soon lose 3G access
If you have an older Amazon Kindle with 3G internet, take note that you may not be able to wirelessly access and download new content anymore starting in December. As The Verge reports, Amazon has sent out emails to owners with old Kindles, telling them that previous-generation devices will lose internet access after mobile operators transition from 2G and 3G networks to 4G and 5G.

The e-commerce giant listed the particular devices that will be affected by the switch in its FAQ page. It noted that the first- and second-generation Kindles, as well as the Kindle DX, won't be able to connect to the internet at all since they don't have WiFi connectivity to fall back on. The other devices in the list are the Kindle Keyboard (3rd Generation), Kindle Touch (4th Generation), Kindle Paperwhite (5th, 6th and 7th Generation), Kindle Voyage (7th Generation) and Kindle Oasis (8th Generation), all of which have WiFi connection.

You'll still be able to access your books on an older device and can do wired transfers if you want, though. And if you have a newer 4G or WiFi-only Kindle, you won't be affected at all. In its email, Amazon included a code customers can use to get $50 off a new Kindle Paperwhite or Oasis, along with $15 in eBook credits. You may want to check your inbox to see if you got the company's notice in case you've been looking to upgrade anyway.



Engadget
Jul 29, 2021

Google is banning 'sugar daddy' apps as part of new sexual content restrictions
The term "sugar daddy" entered the lexicon in force back in 2015 when a massive data breach exposed a list of clients on the dating app Ashley Madison. Now, we're hearing about it again via Google's latest Play store policy update, as Android Police has reported. As part of new restrictions on sexual content, it's banning what it calls "compensated sexual relationships (i.e. sugar dating)," effective September 1st, 2021.

If you weren't aware, a "sugar daddy" is someone (a wealthy, older man, usually) who is willing to spend money in exchange for sexual favors. A quick scan shows that there are plenty of sugar daddy style apps on Play, including a number that are literally called "Sugar Daddy." Others have names like Elite Millionaire Singles, SeekingArrangement and Spoil.

Spoil spells it out pretty clearly, as PhoneArena notes. "Here you can find other wealthy sugar daddies who are looking for a discreet arrangement, and you can also meet other attractive girls who are looking for generous men," the description reads. Presumably, this app and all the others will be removed by September 1st, though as with any other Android app, they would still be available via sideloading. 



Engadget
Jul 29, 2021

Bang & Olufsen's Beoplay EQ are its first true wireless earbuds with ANC
Bang & Olufsen is no stranger to the true wireless game. The company has a number of wire-free models under its belt at this point, but there has been on glaring omission over the years: active noise cancellation (ANC). Today, B&O remedied the issue with its new Beoplay EQ earbuds. The pricey audio accessory not only offers the ability to reduce ambient ruckus, but earbuds also feature solid battery life, wireless charging and more. The only potential deal breaker is the price: $399 (£349/€399). 

Similar to flagship earbuds from the likes of Sony and others, Bang & Olufsen's "Adaptive Active Noise Cancellation" setup on the Beoplay EQ is powered by a dedicated ANC chip. This means the Bluetooth chip isn't pulling double duty. That component combines with a set of four microphones to continuously monitor your surroundings and automatically adjust ANC levels as needed. That's the "adaptive" bit. Two additional microphones are equipped with "retune noise reduction technology" that B&O says results in "crystal clear" calls. Mileage varies greatly on claims of voice quality when it comes to true wireless earbuds, so that description is definitely something that will need proper testing. When it comes to sound, the company's app offers a feature called Beosonic that allows you to fine-tune things as you see it. 

Bang & OlufsenIn terms of battery life, Bang & Olufsen says you can expect 6.5 hours on the earbuds themselves with two additional charges in the case. That case supports wireless charging and in true B&O fashion, it's made out of aluminum. The company included a quick-charge feature that gives you two hours of listening time in

Engadget
Jul 29, 2021

Samsung vows to make foldable smartphones 'mainstream'
In its latest earnings release, Samsung confirmed that it will release new foldable smartphones soon and attempt to make the category "mainstream." It also showed that it doesn't need mobile to make money, as it boosted earnings by 20 percent to 63.67 trillion won ($55.56 billion) and saw an operating profit of 12.57 trillion won ($11 billion). That's despite the fact that its mobile division saw revenue fall over the previous quarter due to component shortages and COVID-related factory issues. 

As you might expect given the current shortage, Samsung's chip business dominated its earnings this quarter, accounting for more than a third of total revenue and over half its profits. That was helped by price increases in categories like memory and display panels. The company's consumer electronics division also saw growth thanks to premium TV sales and appliances. 

While the mobile division fell off due to weaker seasonal demand, a component shortage and COVID-related closures at its Vietnam factories, the company did make some interesting comments about the business. It said it would "solidify its leadership in the premium [mobile] statement by mainstreaming the foldable category" — meaning we might see cheaper foldable phones in the near future. 

Samsung revealed that it's working on new under-screen camera technology, as well. It also confirmed that it would introduce new foldable products soon, likely referring to its August 11th event in which its expected to announce follow-ups to

Engadget
Jul 29, 2021

Spotify's CEO doesn't believe the platform has editorial responsibility over podcasts
Joe Rogan's podcast has become one of the most listened-to shows on Spotify since the platform added it to its lineup last year. It's also become one of the most controversial due to Rogan's choice of guests and his own views. Spotify doesn't have any plans to do anything about it, though, because the company's CEO doesn't believe the platform should have any say on podcasters' content. When Axios asked Spotify CEO Daniel Ek in an interview whether the company should have editorial responsibility over podcasts like Rogan's, Ek responded that Rogan is just one of its many content creators.

Axios pointed out that Rogan may be just one of them, but he's also one of the most well-paid. Ek responded, however, that rappers earns tens of millions of dollars from the platform, but Spotify doesn't dictate what they can put in their songs either. Rogan signed a $100 million deal with the audio streaming service in May 2020 to make The Joe Rogan Experience available to Spotify listeners. Before the year ended, the podcast became a Spotify exclusive.

According to a Wall Street Journal report from last year, Spotify employees expressed concerns over the materials in his podcast that they felt was anti-transgender. Rogan has guested several polarizing figures on the show since its debut on the platform. They include Abigail Shrier, author of Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters, and InfoWars owner Alex Jones who spread coronavirus misinfor

Engadget
Jul 28, 2021

Facebook will require its US office workforce to be vaccinated
Facebook will require that its workers get immunized against the coronavirus before they can return to its Menlo Park headquarters and other offices across the US. "As our offices reopen, we will be requiring anyone coming to work at any of our US campuses to be vaccinated," Lori Goler, Facebook vice president of people, said on Wednesday. "We continue to work with experts to ensure our return to office plans prioritize everyone's health and safety."  


Engadget
Jul 28, 2021

Mark Zuckerberg says video accounts for almost half the time spent on Facebook
Facebook users are spending a lot more time watching video, and short-form video like Instagram Reels is growing fast. Speaking during the company's second-quarter earnings call, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that "video now accounts for almost half of all time spent on Facebook." And on Instagram, TikTok competitor Reels is the "largest contributor to engagement growth."

Though he stopped short of sharing more specific stats, the new details suggest Instagram's Reels may be gaining more traction as the company vies for creator talent. Zuckerberg also noted that the company's focus on creators and shopping would also help it reach its longer term goal of becoming a "metaverse company."

Facebook revealed earlier this week that it was tapping an Instagram exec to start a new team focused on creating a metaverse. "You can kind of think about this as an embodied internet that you're inside of rather than just looking at," Zuckerberg said. "You're basically gonna be able to do everything that you can on the internet today, as well as some things that don't make sense on the internet today like dancing."

Zuckerberg's comments come as the company reported some of its strongest growth in years, with revenue of more than $29 billion, an increase of 56 percent from last year. The company also reported more than 3.5 billion "monthly active people," though user growth in the US once again remained flat.

Despite the strong numbers this quarter, the company warned that the rest of 2021 could look very different. Facebook expects revenue and growth to "decelerate significantly" in the second half of the year, said CFO Dave Wehner. He also noted that Apple's iOS 14.5 update, which allows users to opt out of the social network's ad tracking, would have a "greater impact" next quarter.



Engadget
Jul 28, 2021

This robot made a 100,000-domino 'Super Mario Bros.' mural in 24 hours
A new robot known as the Dominator has set a Guinness World Record for placing 100,000 dominos in just over 24 hours. Created by YouTuber and former NASA engineer Mark Rober, the Dominator is the result of more than five years of work. Rober had help from two freshmen from Stanford University and a Bay Area software engineer in creating the googly-eyed robot. The group programmed more than 14,000 lines of code, and outfitted it with components like omnidirectional wheels and 3D-printed funnels to create what Rober says is a "friendly robot that's super good at only one thing: setting up a butt-ton of dominos really, really fast."

Up against professional domino artist Lily Hevesh, the Dominator used its ability to lay down 300 tiles all at once to work about 10 times faster than a human. It took the robot about two hours to put down over 9,000 dominos.

While the Dominator is the face of the project, a lot of its efficiency comes from a separate sorting mechanism that consists of a Kuka robotic arm and almost three miles of Hot Wheels tracks. A series of conveyor belts ferry the dominions by color before the Kuka arm deposits them in the appropriate chute. When the Dominator visits the station for a refill, the lower platform slides away, instantly loading its 3D-printed funnels with all the dominos it needs to lay down 300 at once. In this way, downtime is kept at a minimum.

T

Engadget
Jul 28, 2021

The NBA is working with iHeartMedia to produce over 20 basketball podcasts
The National Basketball Association is teaming up with iHeartMedia for a significant new push into the podcast market. In all, the two organizations plan to co-produce more than 20 shows together as part of a new multi-year partnership, with the first one to debut sometime this fall. 

In addition to content devoted to the latest news from the league, analysis and player commentary, it sounds like iHeart and the NBA want to replicate the success of projects like The Last Dance. They say they'll use material from the NBA archives to retell stories of "some of the greatest moments in sports history." What exactly they have planned on that front, we don't know yet, though iHeart and the NBA promised to share more information soon.

"The partnership provides the NBA and its teams access to iHeartMedia's massive reach across multiple audio platforms including podcasts, streaming and broadcast radio, as well as the opportunity to develop a new slate of groundbreaking shows each year," iHeart said.

Podcasts, in particular ones related to sports, have become big business in recent months. At the end of April, DraftKings spent $50 million to secure distribution rights to The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz.



Engadget
Jul 28, 2021

FDA clears Synchron's brain-computer interface device for human trials
A company that makes an implantable brain-computer interface (BCI) has been given the go-ahead by the Food and Drug Administration to run a clinical trial with human patients. Synchron plans to start an early feasibility study of its Stentrode implant later this year at Mount Sinai Hospital, New York with six subjects. The company said it will assess the device's "safety and efficacy in patients with severe paralysis."

Synchron received the FDA's green light ahead of competitors like Elon Musk's Neuralink. Before such companies can sell BCIs commercially in the US, they need to prove that the devices work and are safe. The FDA will provide guidance for trials of BCI devices for patients with paralysis or amputation during a webinar on Thursday.

Another clinical trial of Stentrode is underway in Australia. Four patients have received the implant, which is being used "for data transfer from motor cortex to control digital devices," Synchron said. According to data published in the Journal of NeuroInterventional Surgery, two of the patients were able to control their computer with their thoughts. They completed work-related tasks, sent text messages and ema

Engadget
Jul 28, 2021

Google will require coronavirus vaccines for returning office employees
Google will require its employees to get vaccinated against the coronavirus before they're allowed to return to the company's offices. "Anyone coming to work on our campuses will need to be vaccinated," CEO Sundar Pichai said in an internal email the company shared on Wednesday. "Getting vaccinated is one of the most important ways to keep ourselves and our communities healthy in the months ahead."

Google will implement the policy in the US in the "coming weeks," with other regions to follow in the months to come. The requirement won't apply in an area until vaccines are widely accessible there, and the company says there will be an exception process in place for employees who can't get immunized for medical or "other protected reasons." Google hasn't said what percentage of its employees are already vaccinated, but Pichai notes in the letter it's been "encouraging to see very high vaccination rates for our Google community in areas where vaccines are widely available."

In the same email, Pichai also announced Google is pushing back its return-to-office date. The company now hopes to have employees on a hybrid workweek by October 18th instead of September as previously planned. The announcement follows a similar decision from Apple in light of increasing COVID-19 caseloads in the US and many other parts of the world due to the spread of the more contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus. "This extension will allow us time to ramp back into work while providing flexibility for those who need it," Pichai said. "W

Engadget
Jul 28, 2021

State attorneys general will appeal dismissal of Facebook antitrust suit
The antitrust lawsuit brought by 48 attorneys general against Facebook isn't dead yet. A federal judge dismissed the suit last month, but the AGs have filed a notice of plan to appeal.

"We filed this notice of appeal because we disagree with the court's decision and must hold Facebook accountable for stifling competition, reducing innovation, and cutting privacy protections," New York's attorney general Letitia James said, according to The New York Times. "We can no longer allow Facebook to profit off of exploiting consumer data."

The suit, which was filed in December, alleged that Facebook created a monopoly and illegally stifled competition through its acquisitions of Instagram in 2012 and WhatsApp in 2014. Judge James E. Boasberg of the US District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that too much time had gone by since the mergers were approved for the case to proceed.

On the same day he dismissed the AGs' suit, Boasberg tossed a similar case from the Federal Trade Commission. The agency is expected to file an amended suit next month.

The FTC lawsuit was initially filed in December while Trump administration appointee Joseph Simons led the agency. Big Tech critic Lina Khan was appointed FTC chair last month. Face

Engadget
Jul 28, 2021

Activision Blizzard CEO says response to harassment lawsuit was 'tone deaf'
Following nearly a week of internal unrest, Activision Blizzard has published a letter from CEO Bobby Kotick addressing the company's original response to the sexual harassment lawsuit brought against it by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) on July 20th. "Our initial responses to the issues we face together, and to your concerns, were, quite frankly, tone deaf," Kotick says in the letter addressed to Activision Blizzard employees. "It is imperative that we acknowledge all perspectives and experiences and respect the feelings of those who have been mistreated in any way. I am sorry that we did not provide the right empathy and understanding."

Kotick claims Blizzard Activision is taking "swift action" to ensure a safe, respectful and inclusive working environment for women and other minority groups. The company has hired law firm WilmerHale to review its policies, and Kotick says Activision Blizzard will implement changes to its hiring practices. It also plans to make personnel tweaks and remove content from its games employees and players have said is "inappropriate" in light of the allegations against the company. On Tuesday, the World of Warcraft development team said it would remove specific references from the MMO. While the team didn't elaborate, those references may involve items and non-playable characters named after Alex Afrasiabi, one of the former Blizzard employees singled out in the DFEH lawsuit for repeated inappropriate behavior.

Notably, the letter doesn't make mention of

Engadget
Jul 28, 2021

James Bond's iconic Aston Martin is coming to 'Rocket League'
Yet another iconic car is coming to Rocket League, and it's one that'll be nigh-on impossible to drive without humming a certain theme tune. James Bond's Aston Martin DB5 will arrive in the Item Shop on July 29th. 

Until August 4th, you'll be able to snag the 1963 model of the car, along with a DB5 paint finish (which is designed to look like Aston Martin's signature Silver Birch color), engine audio, wheels and decal. Given the Bond movies' focus on gadgetry, something about firing up the rocket boosters to score a goal with the DB5 seems just right. 

This won't be a one-and-done deal for James Bond in Rocket League, either. More content related to the legendary superspy is in the pipeline. Developer Psyonix struck a multi-year deal with MGM and Aston Martin.

PsyonixThis is the latest in a long line of crossovers between Rocket League and pop culture tentpoles. The DeLorean from Back to the Future and Ecto-1 from Ghostbusters have made their way to the arena. More recently, three vehicles from the Fast and Furious franchise rolled into the game.

Meanwhile, the latest Bond movie, No Time to Die, is scheduled to finally hit theaters on Septe

Engadget
Jul 28, 2021

How to watch Rocket Lab's US Space Force satellite launch
The US Space Force is gearing up to launch a research and development satellite on Thursday with the help of Rocket Lab. The company's Electron rocket is scheduled to launch from a site in New Zealand sometime between 2AM and 4AM ET (6PM-8PM local time) to take the Monolith satellite into low Earth orbit.

The aim of the mission, which is called "It's a Little Chile Up Here" (a reference to the green chile from the Space Test Program's New Mexico home), is to test small satellites for the Department of Defense. Monolith will help determine whether it's large deployable sensors are feasible. Such sensors account for a significant proportion of a spacecraft's total mass. Since the sensor may alter the spacecraft's dynamic properties, the mission will examine whether it's possible to maintain altitude control after the sensor has been deployed.

"Analysis from the use of a deployable sensor aims to enable the use of smaller satellite buses when building future deployable sensors such as weather satellites, thereby reducing the cost, complexity, and development timelines," Rocket Lab wrote in a statement. "The satellite will also provide a platform to test future space protection capabilities."

You can watch the launch as it happens on the Rocket Lab website. A stream may also be available on Rocket Lab's YouTube channel.



Engadget
Jul 28, 2021

Google begins showing what its new Play Store safety listings will look like
There's still half a year to go before you start seeing Google Play's new safety section, which will show you an Android app's privacy information, in listings within the store. Google announced the upcoming feature that's similar to the Apple App Store's nutrition labels back in May. In a new post on the Android Developer blog, though, Google has given us a glimpse of what that section may look like. 

Within a listing, you will see a summary from the developer on what kind of data an app collects, so you can make a decision whether to install it or not. You'll also see safety details the developer chooses to highlight, such as whether an app encrypts your data, whether it's suitable for children and families and whether it's been independently validated against a global security standard.

GoogleFurther, you can tap the summary to see more details about the type of data an app collects and how it's used. It can show you whether an app collects location and contact data, personal information such as name and email address, as well as financial information. The section can also tell you whether the app uses your data for its features, for personalization or for other purposes. In addition, it can let you know whether you can opt out of getting your data collected or if giving an app access to your information really is necessary to be able to use it.

Google says the details might still change before the feature goes live, but all developers are required to provide a privacy polic

Engadget
Jul 28, 2021

Twitter tests new shopping features for businesses
Twitter is the latest social media platform to experiment with new shopping features. The company is allowing a handful of brands to place a "Shop Module" at the top of their profiles that links to products their followers can buy.

While it's not the first time Twitter has tried out shopping features, it's the first time the company has incorporated shopping directly into the profile. With the change, businesses can highlight a handful of products in a carousel in between the main profile info and their timeline. The feature is limited to only a few brands, including GameStop and bag-maker Arden Cove, in the US for now.

While up until now Twitter hasn't pursued shopping as aggressively as some other platforms, the company has recently signaled that could soon change. A "shop" button for tweets has also been spotted, and the company recently introduced new "business profiles." Shopping features could also have interesting implications for creators, a demographic Twitter has also made a recent push to pursue with new money-making features. Allowing creators to showcase their existing merch shop from their profile could provide an additional boost, and help the company compete with Facebook's creator shops.



Engadget
Jul 28, 2021

Sony has sold 10 million PS5 consoles
The PlayStation 5 just crossed a significant milestone. Sony has revealed that it has sold 10 million PS5 consoles as of July 18th, eight months after the system's November 12th debut. The company considered that no mean feat between the pandemic and ongoing chip shortages that reportedly held sales back. It's now Sony's fastest-selling console to date, outpacing the PS4 by nearly a month.

Sales have slowed down since launch. Sony racked up 4.5 million PS5 sales in 2020, but sold 3.3 million in the first quarter of 2021 — it took another four months to add 2.2 million to the tally. That's not surprising between supply constraints and the usual mid-year slump, but you might not see sales climb until the holidays.

PlayStation chief Jim Ryan told GamesIndustry.biz in an interview that it was "too early to tell" which markets were the hottest given widespread demand, but pointed out that China was a pleasant surprise. The company sold out its PS5 launch stock "very, very quickly" despite a local market focused on mobile games and the free-to-play model.

The PS5 doesn't have an easy road ahead. Even if Sony could quickly overcome hardware shortages, it still has a dearth of

Engadget
Jul 28, 2021

Tesla will reportedly move stores out of high-end malls and use remote fleets
The days of seeing Tesla stores in fancy malls and retail centers may be over, according to a report from Electrek. Sources tell the site that Tesla will instead focus on finding cheaper spaces, like parking lots and warehouses, that will house a remote fleet of cars. The company also won't be firing its retail staff (it's actually in the middle of a hiring spree). Instead of being tied to individual stores, those workers will help to manage Tesla testing and purchases from those remote locations.

If this news sounds familiar, it's because Tesla previously said it was going to close most of its stores in 2019 before quickly reversing course. This new strategy, if it ends up being implemented, seems to be a smarter implementation of that plan. Most Tesla customers already buy their cars online, so there's less of a need to have pricey mall stores around. The cheaper locations will also be better for holding more vehicles, which should help to satisfy increased demand for purchases and test drives. 

 



Engadget
Jul 28, 2021

Uber is moving into flower deliveries
The next time you open Uber Eats, you might see a new delivery option: a way to have flowers dropped off at your door swiftly with just a few taps. Uber has teamed up with flower industry stalwart FTD for its first nationwide florist partnership as part of its latest on-demand delivery venture.

Folks in New York City, Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas, Miami and some other locations can now order flower arrangements from FTD's ProFlowers locations. Uber expects to roll out the option nationwide by early 2022, so it should be available almost everywhere by Mother's Day next May. You can see the available options by tapping the flower icons in the Uber Eats app and selecting a ProFlowers location. Uber Pass and Eats Pass subscribers will get discounts and no-free deliveries on eligible orders of at least $15.

Deliveries have become an increasingly important part of Uber's business over the last couple of years. One key reason is that far fewer people took rides amid COVID-19 restrictions. The company recently doubled its grocery delivery markets to more than 400 US towns and cities, and it just started delivering Costco orders in Texas.



Engadget
Jul 28, 2021

Hulu will livestream Lollapalooza 2021 this weekend
Lollapalooza is once again an in-person festival after a switch to a streaming-only gig in 2020, but that's not the only big change for fans. Hulu has become the exclusive streaming partner for Lollapalooza 2021, and will stream the Chicago event to on-demand subscribers between July 29th and August 1st starting at 2PM Eastern (1PM Central). Yes, that means what you think it does — Lollapalooza won't be streaming on YouTube like it has in recent years.

There's no extra charge, and you can watch if you sign up for a free trial. The Lollapalooza 2021 lineup includes plenty of big names, including Illenium (July 29th), Tyler, the Creator (July 30th), Post Malone (July 31st) and Foo Fighters (August 1st).

Hulu has streamed concerts before, including a Black History Month show in February and a Summer of Soul tribute on Juneteenth. However, this is the service's first exclusive live event. It's a big bet that livestreams like this can translate to more customers, not to mention draw attention away from free services like YouTube.

Whether or not music fans follow is another matter. YouTube is still a go-to destination for live festivals like Coachella, and that may be what virtual concertgoers are expecting. There's a real possibility that many would-be viewers will just skip Lollapalooza altogether rather than sign up for Hulu, no matter how easily they can cancel service

Engadget
Jul 28, 2021

Snapchat's map now helps you keep track of where you've been
Snapchat is updating its in-app map to help users keep track of places they've visited, and where they may want to go next. An update rolling out today adds a new "Places" section to the map, with educated sections for recommendations, locations you've visited and "favorites" to remember.

The idea is similar to Foursquare (the original check-in based iteration), except "checking in" in this case consists of tagging a specific location in a Snap. Places you've tagged are automatically saved in your "visited" tab, but you can also manually add establishments to your "favorites" list. Interestingly, Snap is also using the new feature to generate recommendations. The "popular" section of the map will surface a list of personalized suggestions based on places you've been and what's popular in your area.

Though the Snap Map has been around for years the company has been working to make it more useful — and more visible — within the app. The company gave the feature more prominent placement in a redesign last year, and plans to add Map Layers, a feature that allows third-parties like Ticketmaster to incorporate events and other content directly into the map.



Engadget
Jul 28, 2021

Nura's latest wireless earbuds sound truly unique
Nura might be a relatively new name in headphones, but the personalized-audio specialist is already revealing its third model: the Nuratrue. As the name suggests, the latest member of the family is a true wireless set (and the company's first model without a wired option). As you might expect, Nura's flagship automatic hearing test (for sound tailored to your hearing) is here, along with many other features the company has already made synonymous with its brand. But with a smaller form factor, are compromises inevitable?

The Nuratrue ($199/£199) is a simplified version of the Nuraphone over-ears and the Nuraloop wireless (but tethered) sports buds. As mentioned, the audio customization feature is present, as is the "ambient" mode — which Nura calls "social mode." There's even Active Noise Cancelling and "immersion" mode, which simulates the feeling of being at a live event. The last two are a little simplified compared to their bigger siblings, though.

The original Nuraphone's immersion mode delivers tactile bass with transducers creating a sensation of volume and presence similar to being in front of a large speaker. On the Nuratrue, it feels more like a bass "boost" feature you might find on an equalizer. Active Noise Cancellation on the Nuratrue works pretty well, but is tied to the social mode feature which means they are activated as a pair. This makes no real functional difference, but something to bear in mind. Battery life is estimated at six hours here and seems accurate, which can be extended to around 24 hours via the charging case.



Engadget
Jul 28, 2021

Archived WhatsApp chats will no longer come back to haunt you
Your archived WhatsApp chats will no longer resurrect themselves — unless you let them. The messaging giant is rolling out a settings change that will keep those conversation threads tucked away in the Archived Chats folder by default, even if someone sends a new message. You'll have to remove a thread from the archives if you want to make it active again.

If you prefer the old behavior, you can restore it through the relevant settings in the Chats tab.

This could prove frustrating if someone wants to bring back a discussion you wouldn't mind revisiting, such as a classmate chat or a party planning session. However, it could easily be worthwhile if it prevents someone from dredging up bad memories or otherwise hijacking control of archives you'd rather keep hidden.


Engadget
Jul 28, 2021

Krispy Kreme has created official Xbox-branded doughnuts
Gaming promos are getting zanier all the time. The days of grabbing a Mountain Dew or a pack of Doritos for a chance to win an Xbox One are long gone. In our attention-zapped world, it has to be new or else it's DOA. With that in mind, Krispy Kreme has come up with the "Nexus Level" doughnut as part of a new Xbox cross promotion in the UK and Ireland. That's it above in all its icing-covered glory.


Engadget
Jul 28, 2021

The Morning After: iPhone sales are up 50 percent year over year
The curse of buying new tech at the wrong time will get us all. In the last year, I've seen fellow Engadget employees buy a Nintendo Switch just before the OLED model broke cover, take the plunge with the iPhone SE just before the iPhone 12 mini was unveiled and make several more shopping missteps. Now, I might have done the same.

I picked up Sony's vlogging camera, the ZV-1, earlier this month. I was looking for an agile video setup for the occasional time I have to record footage at Engadget without a skilled member of our video team. It's very easy to make it work, with great face tracking capabilities and even a product showcase mode that helps me really show off whatever gadget I'm handling and I was happy with it. 

For a couple of weeks.

SonyThen I heard the rumors that Sony was about to expand its vlogging camera family, and my heart sank. Here it is, then. The ZV E-10, a new vlogging camera that fuses the tiny frame of the ZV-1 with interchangeable lenses. 

The two major improvements seem to be a larger 24-megapixel sensor and an interchangeable mirrorless mount. The latter means you can use one of the 60-plus E-mount lenses, while that larger sensor should offer improved light sensitivity and a shallower depth of field. The ZV-E10 will launch by the end of August and will cost $700 for the body or $800 in a bundle with one of Sony's power zoom lens. The price is roughly level with how much I paid for the ZV-1 earlier this month. It's probably too late to ask for a refund, right? 

— Mat Smith



Engadget
Jul 28, 2021

The first 'Halo Infinite' multiplayer beta will open on July 29th
After a series of setbacks, a small batch of beta testers will be among the first to play Halo Infinite. From tomorrow, July 29th, until August 1st, a bunch of Halo Insiders will get to try the sequel's multiplayer preview. The invite-only test will see players sample gameplay including bot slaying in four-player teams across three maps, with the action growing fraught as players wipe out more enemies. 

Bots aren't the only first in the new Halo. Beta testers will also sample the new Academy experience at a firing range, where they'll try out a dozen weapons on strafing bots. As a taster of the customization on offer, players will be get a set amount of in-game credits to spend on items. This is so they can get accustomed with the Battle Passes, check their Challenges, use the Store, and apply their changes in the Armor Hall. However, these items won't carry over into the full game. 


Engadget
Jul 28, 2021

Spotify added more paying customers than free ones last quarter
Three months ago, Spotify predicted that user growth would start falling, because COVID-19 had prompted so many people to sign up than expected. Today, the audio giant was proved right, as new signups fell to nine million new users in the most recent quarter, but slower growth isn't always a bad thing. Of that nine million figure, seven million users signed up for Premium, versus just two million who went ad-supported. It means that Spotify was also able to announce a second successive quarter of profitability after a long period of losses.

The total number of Spotify users now stands at 365 million, of which 165 million are paying for Premium, while the remaining 210 are ad-supported. Converting more of Spotify's vast ad-supported user base into Premium users is one way to ensure the company remains profitable. Another, of course, is to boost its growing advertising business, which has been bolstered by Spotify's numerous podcast offerings. The company said that it saw "triple digit" year-on-year gain in ad-sales for the company's owned podcast outlets, including The Ringer, Parcast and Gimlet.

The last three months has seen Spotify intensify work to push users toward cheaper forms of audio content than music. It says that Joe Rogan's podcast has performed "above expectations," while shows out of The Ringer saw big bumps in listenership as the NBA headed into the playoff season. No mention this month of how many people are tuning in to listen to former President Barack Obama and Bruce Spri

Engadget
Jul 28, 2021

Watch Cassie the bipedal robot run a 5K
Cassie, a bipedal robot that's all legs, has successfully ran five kilometers without having a tether and on a single charge. The machine serves as the basis for Agility Robotics' delivery robot Digit, as TechCrunch notes, though you may also remember it for "blindly" navigating a set of stairs. Oregon State University engineers were able to train Cassie in a simulator to give it the capability to go up and down a flight of stairs without the use of cameras or LIDAR. Now, engineers from the same team were able to train Cassie to run using a deep reinforcement learning algorithm.

According to the team, Cassie teaching itself using the technique gave it the capability to stay upright without a tether by shifting its balance while running. The robot had to learn to make infinite subtle adjustments to be able to accomplish the feat. Yesh Godse, an undergrad from the OSU Dynamic Robotics Laboratory, explained: "Deep reinforcement learning is a powerful method in AI that opens up skills like running, skipping and walking up and down stairs."

The team first tested Cassie's capability by having it run on turn for five kilometers, which it finished with a time of 43 minutes and 49 seconds. Cassie finished its run across the OSU campus in 53 minutes, 3 seconds — it took a bit longer,

Engadget
Jul 28, 2021

LG will reportedly sell iPhones in its South Korean stores
Rumors swirled last week that LG would start selling iPhones in some of its South Korean stores, since it has stopped producing its own smartphones,. Now, LG has confirmed that it will start selling iPhones and other Apple products next month, ZDNet has reported. 

LG and Samsung agreed in 2018 to only sell their own smartphones at their respective stores so they wouldn't compete with smaller phone distributors. As such, when LG started to consider selling iPhones, it reportedly faced resistance from a smartphone reseller trade organization. Now that it has stopped making its own phones, however, that group has reportedly signed a new contract that allows LG to sell phones from other manufacturers. 

On top of selling iPhones starting next month, LG will reportedly sell the Watch and other Apple products. The company has 400 stores in South Korea, so the move could provide a significant boost to Apple. It could be to the detriment of Apple's arch-rival Samsung, though, which has essentially had the local smartphone market to itself since LG dropped out. 

Apple supposedly started negotiating with LG to sell phones in its retail spaces after the Korean company announced it would end production of its own devices. Both Samsung and Apple have been offering to pay LG smartphone owners up to 150,000 won ($135) to trade in their phones. 





Engadget
Jul 28, 2021

Vivaldi's Accordion tab stacks expand when you need them and hide when you don't
At the start of June, Vivaldi released its 4.0 update, which added features like a translation tool to the privacy-focused browser. Its new 4.1 update is a smaller release but still adds a handful of handy features, including a new way to organize tabs.

Like Chrome, Vivaldi allows you to group multiple tabs to restore some semblance of order to your tab bar. In Vivaldi, those groups are called stacks. Before 4.1, you had two ways of using them. You could opt for either the compact view or the two-level one. In the latter case, the browser adds a bar that displays the tabs you have in that stack. The compact view, by contrast, only hints at the number of websites you have pinned to the same group.

VivaldiThe new "Accordion" stacks Vivaldi is introducing today give you a third option that is something of a compromise between its two siblings. The icon that represents the group will automatically expand when you click on it. Instead of on a second bar, you'll see all the included tabs to the right of that icon. In that way, you can get context about your tabs without them taking up an entire extra element of the interface.

The other major feature the company is adding with 4.1 is called command chains. In Vivaldi, you can press "F2" (or "Command E" on Mac) to bring up a command-line interface, allowing you to quickly access most features without digging through the menu for the relevant option. Command chains allow you to group multiple actions and

Engadget
Jul 28, 2021

Rivian reportedly plans to invest $5 billion in its second US assembly plant
Last week, news leaked out that Rivian was planning to build a second US manufacturing plant for its electric vehicles and batteries, and now more details have leaked out. The company plans to invest $5 billion initially in the second plant, dubbed Project Tera, with construction slated to start in the fall of 2021, according to Reuters. The aim is to begin production by the second quarter of 2023. 

The second plant will reportedly include a 50 gigawatt-hour (GWh) battery cell production operation and a product and technology center. There's no word on where it'll be built, but the company is reportedly looking at land east of Mesa, Arizona, near Gold Canyon, according to Reuters' sources. Rivian Chief Executive R.J. Scaringe has reportedly spoken with Arizona Governor Doug Ducey about the project.

Rivian previously acknowledged that it's looking to expand. "The company has recognized that future production and product plans will not be fully met by the current capacity at Rivian's Normal, Illinois facility," it said in the document seen by Reuters. 

The plant would supposedly support around 10,000 jobs, though many of those could come indirectly. For a startup that has so far not produced a single vehicle, however, the investment and job figures would be impressive. Rivian is backed by Ford, Amazon and other companies and could reportedly soar to a $50 billion value in a possible public listing later this year, according to Reuters' previous story. 



Engadget
Jul 28, 2021

Nintendo is shutting down 'Dr. Mario World' for mobile on November 1st
Nintendo transformed its Mario Kart and Pokemon franchises into successful mobile spinoffs, but it looks like another title didn't fare as well. The company has announced that it's ending service of Dr. Mario World, a mobile version of its highly successful Dr. Mario NES game, on November 1st. It will also end sales of "diamonds" used to buy buy more time, pills and power-ups starting tomorrow, July 29th. 


Engadget
Jul 27, 2021

WoW will remove 'inappropriate references' following California lawsuit
The official World of Warcraft Twitter account has announced that it will take immediate action to "remove references that are not appropriate for [its] world." While it didn't elaborate on what those references are, they may pertain to in-game elements connected to its senior creative director Alex Afrasiabi, as Kotaku has noted. Afrasiabi was singled out in the lawsuit filed by California authorities accusing Activision Blizzard of fostering a "frat boy" culture that's become a "breeding ground for harassment and discrimination against women."


Engadget
Jul 27, 2021

Twitter tests notification banner for suspended and locked accounts
Twitter is testing a new way to inform individuals who may have broken its rules that their account has been suspended or locked. With the start of this latest test, a small group of users will see a banner appear at the top of their timeline informing them that they can't tweet, retweet or like content due to their previous behavior on the platform. In the instance of a locked account, the notice currently says most users regain access within a week. Meanwhile, with permanent suspensions, the banner points the individual to the company's appeal process.


Engadget
Jul 27, 2021

Apple posts another record-breaking quarter thanks to the iPhone
Despite the pandemic, Apple has spent most of the last two years relentlessly upgrading its product lineup, and its moves are definitely paying off. The company just announced financial results for its fiscal year third quarter (for normal humans, the months of April through June), and the company made a shocking amount of money. All of its product segments (the iPhone, Mac, iPad, services, and wearables/home/accessories) increased in revenue year-over-year, leading to total revenue of $81.4 billion. As has often been the case, iPhone revenue of $39.6 billion made up almost half of that figure. 

Quarterly revenue was up 36 percent year-over-year, and as such profit grew in a big way, too — in fact, it nearly doubled. Apple reported $21.7 billion in net income, up 93 percent compared to a year ago.

As already mentioned, all of Apple's product categories grew last quarter, but the biggest winner was the iPhone. Revenue grew 50 percent year-over-year, making it pretty clear the iPhone 12 lineup is a major success for the company. Apple's services division continues to explode; $17.5 billion in revenue represented 33 percent growth, and the category makes more than double the money of any other division in Apple, with the obvious exception of the iPhone.

The company's "wearables, home and accessories" group lumps the Apple Watch in with devices like the HomePod mini and the new AirTags. It grew 36 percent and made $8.8 billion in revenue. The Mac and iPad had more modest gains, with Mac revenue increasing 16 percent year over year to $8.2 billion and iPad revenue climbing 12 percent to $7.4 billion. While the Mac number isn't an eye-popper like services, it's worth nothing that just a few years ago, Mac revenue was pretty flat, sitting in the $4 billion range for a while — but it seems like the M1 Mac move has helped spur some big increases.

As usual, Apple CEO Tim Cook is holding a call with investors — w

Engadget
Jul 27, 2021

Microsoft's profits skyrocketed by 47 percent in Q4
Microsoft's business continues to thrive thanks to its leadership in cloud computing and productivity apps. In its Q4 earnings report today, the company reported a 21 percent increase in revenues compared to last year, reaching $46.2 billion. But even more impressive, its profits jumped by 47 percent to reach $16.5 billion. Microsoft's success is practically a broken record by this point — last quarter it saw a 44 percent increase in profit, and before that it grew by 33 percent — but it's still managing to beat the expectations of Wall Street analysts.

The key to Microsoft's growth is the same as it has been for the past several years. Its Intelligent Cloud business is seemingly unstoppable, growing by 30 percent compared to last year. And it's still seeing plenty of growth with Office, Linkedin and its other business apps, which together have increased revenues by 25 percent. Even its More Personal Computing group, which includes Windows and Xbox, saw its business improve by 9 percent. (Thatcategory saw a few dips in the quarter though: Surface business fell by 20 percent, and Xbox content and services saw a 4 percent drop.)

Microsoft's Q4 earnings aren't really telling us anything new, as the company's entire 2021 fiscal year has been strong. The company reported an overall revenue increase of 18 percent for 2021 ($168.1 billion), as well as a 38 percent jump in profit for the year ($61.3 billion). Microsoft's previous earnings report proved that it made out well during the pandemic, but now it seems like those gains aren't stopping anytime soon. 



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