Twenty-year-old Kyell Bryan of Pennsylvania has pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft for a SIM swapping and cryptocurrency theft scheme, according to the United States Attorney’s Office of the District of Maryland. According to the initial indictment statement, in June 2019, Bryan, who was 19, conspired with Jordan K. Milleson, then 21, and others. The group engaged in phishing and vishing (voice phishing) to trick employees at an unnamed wireless operator into coughing up their login credentials. As Brian Krebs reported when Bryan and Milleson were indicted, they were active participants of the OGUsers trading forum, which has spawned similar phishing attacks against Twitter and others, usually with the intent of stealing and trading social media handles. Leaked messages from OGUsers reveal that in 2019, Bryan asked another member for help crafting a site that would look like T-Mobile’s employee login page. They used those credentials to conduct unauthorized SIM swaps, redirecting their target’s phone number to bypass the two-factor authentication process that is supposed to protect accounts. SIM swapping attacks are why AT&T faced a now-dismissed lawsuit alleging negligence for failing to stop them in 2018, and the method opened up a way to temporarily hijack Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s handle in 2019. According to the prosecutors, after performing the swap, Bryan instructed Milleson to transfer cryptocurrency valued at $16,847.47 out of the victim’s account. The scheming partnership turned into a mission to find Milleson’s true identity when Bryan and other accomplices suspected Milleson cheated them out of their share. After finding out his aliases and personal information from another co-conspirator, Bryan attempted to “swat” him at his home. Bryan called the Baltimore County Police claiming he was at Milleson’s home address with a handgun, saying he’d shot his father and threatening to shoot himself. In the call, he threatened to shoot if confronted by police, attempting to set up the kind of dangerous encounter that has already killed some swatting victims. BCPD didn’t find a gunman at the house, but officers spoke to Mi
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If you ever wanted to transform your self-balancing scooter into a mobile mini mech, now you can with Segway-Ninebot’s Mecha Kit add-on. The kit is compatible with the Ninebot S and Ninebot S Kids and puts you in the pilot seat of your scooter-turned-turret. Photo by Segway-Ninebot Once fitted onto your vehicle, you no longer have to stand up to drive. You can stay seated while you control your movement with dual joysticks and take aim at targets with beads of gel. And yes, it acts just like a mech — you’re able to shoot the semi-evaporating bullets while driving, spinning and drifting around. If that still doesn’t sound awesome enough, you can even customize the Mecha Kit’s RGB underglow lighting, as well as switch on some music via the built-in Bluetooth sound system. Segway claims that the bullets are environmentally friendly and evaporate into a powder that
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If you buy something from a Verge link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement. Many laptop manufacturers are making lofty statements about the sustainability of their products. But Acer’s claims around the Aspire Vero are at a level we haven’t seen before. It’s an entire laptop targeted to, in Acer’s words, “eco-minded users.” It’s being advertised primarily as an eco-friendly laptop made of recycled materials. Sure. Acer has devoted an entire product to a goal that’s very worthwhile and commendable. Unfortunately, that’s probably the best thing I can say about the Acer Aspire Vero. Outside of Acer’s eco-minded marketing material, it’s not a great laptop, and its price tag is too high. It’s not the top option I’d recommend for the eco-minded, and it’s definitely not the option I’d recommend for budget shoppers. Acer’s environmental claims are as follows: The chassis and bezels are 30 percent post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastic, the screen is “over 99 percent” recyclable, the keycaps are 50 percent PCR plastic, and the packaging is 100 percent recyclable (and can be turned into a reusable laptop stand). Acer claims that the Vero is saving “around 21 percent” in C02 emissions compared to a “regular” plastic laptop chassis of the same size. Before we move on, it’s worth noting that these proportions of recycled material aren’t especially unique among laptop chassis. HP’s Elite Dragonfly Max, which is not at all an eco-branded laptop, also has a 50 percent PCR keyboard with bezels that are 45 percent PCR, and some of the Dragonfly line have had chassis that are 90 percent recycled. Apple’s new MacBooks have incorporated high proportions of recycled material for a while, and the new Pros’ enclosures are 100 percent recycled aluminum. Recyclable, plastic-free packaging is also getting more common. Many companies put out lists of figures like this, and while the Vero’s is certainly nice to see, it’s not clearly leading the charge. Acer also notes that the Vero is held together with standard screws, which means you can use a Philips Head screwdriver to pry the thing apart and upgrade it (as opposed to some other types of screws, which require more specialized tools). Sure — that’s good and also true of plenty of other Acer laptops, including the Swift 3 and the Nitro 5. There’s an “Intel Core” logo on the right palm rest too. Of course, the somewhat non-unique nature of its lofty claims hasn’t stopped Acer from branding the Vero as an eco-minded laptop up and down. The whole thing has an earthy vibe. The lid and palm rests have a slightly coarse texture with a speckled grey color, reminiscent of handmade recycled paper. The “R” and “E” keys are backward and printed in yellow (to represent “review, rethink, recycle, and reduce”). The various logos you’d usually see on a laptop are engraved in the finish, rather than constructed from additional plastic: “Intel Core” on the left palm rest, “Post-Consumer Recycled” on the right palm rest, the Acer logo on the lid. (Don’t worry, Intel’s Core i7 and Iris Xe stickers are still here — flip the product over, and you’ll find them on the bottom.) The chassis is a bit...blocky. But these attributes, cute as they are, aren’t enough to make me recommend the Aspire Vero on the merit of its environmental impact. The reality is that the impact of people buying gadgets with recycled plastic in them is minuscule in comparison to the mounds of electronic waste that humans generate every year. It really doesn’t matter what colors the keys are on the laptops you’re buying — e-waste is the cardinal sin of the electronics industry. If you care a lot about the environmental impact of your laptop, you shouldn’t be adding up the recycled plastic inside of it. What you need to care about is how long it’s going to last and how soon you’ll need to buy a new one. This, unfortunately, is hard to judge from a week-long testing period. But I’m not hugely optimistic about the Vero’s durability. It’s noticeably plastic, and it’s got a bit of a flimsy feel compared to higher-end Acer products like the Swift 3 (which is just $100 more than my Vero unit for comparable specs). There’s noticeable flex in the keyboard and the display. I was actually worried about snapping the latter during torque testing, which isn’t often a concern on 15-inch models, especially at this weight and thickness. And there were other dings here and there — the lid on my unit was bent oddly in the middle such that it didn’t fully close all the way, I occasionally heard some internal rattle when I was typing, and leaning on the palm rests sometimes depressed the touchpad. None of these are horrifying to see on a budget laptop — but laptops that are built cheaply tend not to last as long as nicer ones, and a laptop you need to replace quickly is not environmentally friendly. You can find options close to this price (like HP’s Pavilion Aero 13 and Lenovo’s IdeaPad Slim 7) that don’t have these issues. Backlit keyboard, though it’s not super bright. Let’s run through the rest of the laptop’s chassis, where there are a few highlights. The speakers are decent, with clear vocals and decent volume, though bass and percussion were weak. The microphones support AI noise reduction and didn’t give me any trouble during video calls. But the useful port selection is a plus for this device: there’s one USB-C, two USB 3.2 Gen 1, one USB 2.0, an HDMI 2.0, a 3.5mm audio jack, and an Ethernet jack, in addition to a port for the AC adapter and a lock slot. I wish the Vero could charge with USB-C, though Acer’s provided charger is fairly portable. On the downside, the 15.6-inch FHD display is the weakest part of the chassis. It’s fairly dim, maxing out at just 227 nits, and it covers just 66 percent of the sRGB gamut. The touchpad is also a bit of a clunker — it’s accurate and did a fine job with palm rejection, but it takes some effort to press. The keyboard is okay, though a bit flat compared to those on higher-end devices. There’s a NumPad, which is handy, though the keys are quite small. (I probably wouldn’t have wanted to use it regularly, and my fingers are tiny.) Most annoyingly, the Vero comes loaded with some bloatware. It’s not as annoying as these programs sometimes are — I wasn’t bombarded with annoying Norton popups and Acer Jumpstart ads — but I did still have to uninstall a bunch of junk. This isn’t uncommon to see on Aspires, but the closer a laptop gets to the $1,000 mark, the unhappier I am to see crapware preloaded. Big, big bezels. Recycling aside, the big argument in the Vero’s favor is its processor. My test unit, which costs $899.99, comes with a quad-core Core i7-1195G7, which is technically the most powerful chip that Intel makes for thin and light laptops. It’s a chip you don’t often see in the wild — many of the big players of the portable laptop market, such as the Lenovo Yoga 9i, max out at a Core i7-1185G7, which is a step below. My unit pairs that chip with 16GB of memory and a 512GB SSD. Acer says a $699.99 base model with a Core i5-1155G7 (as well as 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage) is coming soon. Both models have Iris Xe integrated graphics and a 1920 x 1080 display and ship with Windows 11 Home. The performance I saw from the 1195G7 is definitely the Vero’s strongest feature. It’s undoubtedly one of the most powerful Intel systems you’ll be able to find at an $899 price point (although “Intel” is crucial there — it’s not going to win many battles against the Ryzen-powered HP Pa
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Extreme heat is a huge worry for doctors and public health experts around the world, and it’s steadily become a bigger problem over time, according to a sweeping new climate report published today in the leading medical journal, The Lancet. The analysis, from 43 academic institutions and United Nations agencies, focuses on the threats the climate crisis poses to human health. While the group has published similar reports over the past five years, this is the first time it includes warnings on the impact hotter days have on mental health and physical activity. It follows an increase in devastating heatwaves around the world. “I saw paramedics who had burns on their knees from kneeling down to care for patients with heatstroke. I saw far too many patients die in the ED as a result of their heat exposure this past year,” Jeremy Hess, a professor of environmental and occupational health sciences, global health and emergency medicine at the University of Washington, said during a press briefing this week. “These are preventable problems, and we need all hands on deck to respond and correct our course.” Extreme heat is already a leading weather-related killer, and climate change is making heatwaves more frequent and intense. Children and older adults especially are more vulnerable to heat-related illness and death than people of other ages. Babies under the age of one and adults over 65 experienced dramatically more days of heatwaves in 2020 compared to the baseline average from 1986 to 2005, according to the new report. The number of hours in a day in which it was too hot to safely work or exercise outside has also risen steadily over the past four decades, the report found. People in lower-income countries lost the most time, an average of 3.7 fewer hours in a day with safe temperatures. In 2020 alone, 295 billion hours of potential work were lost because of extreme heat. Governments are now trying to find ways to help their populations cope with the heat. The United States last month announced plans to craft new protections for workers faced with sweltering conditions. To get the public better prepared for dangerously high temperatures, officials in
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After numerous delays — and considerable vitriol from director Denis Villeneuve himself — Dune is finally about to stream on HBO Max. In fact, it’s arriving a day early: October 21st at 6PM ET / 3PM PT, a rep confirms to The Verge. Hope you’re hearing soon enough to schedule your watch party! Note that you’ll need to be paying for HBO Max’s $15-a-month ad-free plan, since the $10 plan doesn’t come with day-and-date Warner Bros. movie releases. We’ve had multiple Dune trailers at this point if you want to know what you’re in for, and you can find two of them embedded below.
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One of the appeals of Twitch is watching things unfold live, but I can’t count the number of times I’ve wished I could scrub back to see something again or a moment I might have missed. Soon, though, Twitch may have a solution to that problem, as it’s currently testing a new Rewind the Stream button with some users. When you hit the button, you’ll be rewinded two minutes back in the stream, Twitch tells The Verge. From there, you can scrub through what’s been streamed so far and even watch what you missed at different speeds, like you would with any other Twitch VOD (video on dema
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Elon Musk’s Boring Company just won approval from local officials to move forward with building a network of vehicle tunnels underneath Las Vegas. Dubbed the “Vegas Loop,” the system will allow passengers to hitch rides in Teslas to and from places like the hotel casinos on the Las Vegas Strip, the city’s new football stadium, the Las Vegas Convention Center, and McCarran International Airport. The Boring Company already operates a small version of this “Teslas in Tunnels” system underneath the Las Vegas Convention Center, which opened earlier this year and involves two 0.8-mile tunnels. But Musk’s startup proposed a massive city-wide expansion in December 2020 that largely lines up with what Clark County officials approved Wednesday. The system that was approved involves 29 miles of tunnels and 51 stations. Clark County says as many as 57,000 passengers will be able to travel through it per hour and that no taxpayer money will be spent to build it. The Boring Company previously said that it would foot the bill for building the main tunnels but planned to ask hotel casinos or other businesses that want a station to pay for those construction costs. Each one of those stops has to go through its own permitting process, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The Boring Company has been working to build out a system of tunnels underneath Las Vegas for a few years now. Over that time, Musk’s ambitions for what a tunnel-based transportation system would look like has changed. He once imagined using sleds to shuttle cars from the surface to the tunnels and back, as well as pods that would give preference to cyclists and pedestrians. Some of the company’s efforts to dig in other places have fizzled, like in Chicago, Los Angeles, and the Northeast corridor. But the final version that was built under the Las Vegas Convention Center is really just “Teslas in Tunnels” — a phrase The Boring Company even uses on its own website. The Boring Company has said the plan is to ultimately use Teslas that can drive themselves, but Musk’s other company has not yet finished creating software capable of performing that feat. So, currently, the Teslas that run under the Convention Center have human drivers. An expansion beyond the Convention Center loop didn’t initially seem likely, as the Las Vegas Monorail had exclusive rights to provide transp
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The Food and Drug Administration authorized booster doses for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines, following its authorization of a third Pfizer / BioNTech shot in September. The agency also said today that it will allow “mix-and-match” boosters — eligible people who are already fully vaccinated can get a booster dose of any of the three vaccines, regardless of which they started with. As with the Pfizer / BioNTech booster, the FDA cleared third Moderna shots for vulnerable groups, including people 65 years of age and older, those who are at high risk of severe disease, and people at high risk of exposure to COVID-19 at work. The booster for the Moderna vaccine, though, will be a half-dose. Both vaccines are mRNA vaccines that contain tiny snippets of the coronavirus’ genetic material. But the Moderna vaccine has a larger dose: it’s 100 micrograms, compared with the 30 micrograms in the Pfizer / BioNTech shot. The company says a third, 50 microgram half-dose of the Moderna vaccine could have fewer side effects while still giving strong protection. Research shows that the Moderna shots have more durable protection against infection from COVID-19 than the Pfizer / BioNTech shots — they stay more effective months after the initial two-shot series, while the efficacy for the Pfizer / BioNTech shots appears to drop off. Both maintain strong protection against hospitalization and death. The FDA is opening up second, booster doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to everyone who got that shot. Boosters for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine can start two months after the first dose, unlike the six-month wait for the Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna boosters. The Johnson & Johnson shot was originally authorized as a one-shot vaccine, which experts hoped would make it logistically easier to deliver to low-resource areas and to give to people who may not want to come back for a second shot. Still, only around 15 million people in the United States have been immunized with this vaccine. Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine works by inserting a section of the coronavirus gene into a harmless virus, called an adenovirus, which then delivers the gene to the body’s cells. Initial clinical trials showed that it worked well enough to leave experts confident it would be protective, although its results weren’t as strong as the Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna shots. But a recent real-world study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that a single shot of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine was only 71 percent effective against hospitalization — lower than the protection against hospitalization from the mRNA vaccines. Data also appears to show that people who got that vaccine were also more likely to have breakthrough infections than people who received the gene-based shots. Johnson & Johnson says that a second booster dose bumps the vaccine’s efficacy against symptomatic cases of COVID-19 to 94 percent, in line with the initial clinical trial results for the gene-based shots. The FDA cleared the additional shot even though the agency was critical of the quality of data provided by Johnson & Johnson in its initial eva
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Microsoft has released the first preview version of its Android apps support in Windows 11. It’s available to testers in the Beta Channel version of Windows 11, which means you’ll need to opt into the Windows Insider program to get access. I’ve installed the preview version on two systems — a gaming rig with a Core i9 11900K and Microsoft’s Surface Pro X — to get a feel for exactly how well Android apps run on Windows 11. The experience of installing apps is very simple. Microsoft has partnered with Amazon, so the Microsoft Store will list apps but send you over to Amazon’s Appstore app to get them installed or updated. This also installs a Windows Subsystem for Android in the background, which is the core technology that powers Android apps running on Windows 11. The Windows Subsystem for Android powers the entire experience. Apps effectively run in a virtual machine, contained within their own world but able to sit side by side with other Windows apps. You can pin Android apps to the Start menu or taskbar and use all of the windowing and multitasking features of Windows 11 just like a regular desktop app. While there are only 50 apps officially available in this preview, I was able to install Amazon’s Kindle app, the BBC Sounds app, and a bunch of games to test just how well Windows 11 handles mobile games. On both the Surface Pro X (an Arm-powered device) and my Intel-powered gaming rig, apps ran surprisingly well. I was able to run them alongside Word, Chrome, and other desktop apps, as if they were just regular Windows apps. Android apps and games running side by side. Apps show up in search results as if they were regular Windows ones, and the integration into the Start menu and taskbar makes them feel just like any other app. It’s surprisingly seamless and a well-integrated solution. The preview isn’t perfect, though. I noticed 100 percent CPU utilization when I attempted to get four Android games running side by side using Windows 11’s Snap Layouts feature on my gaming PC. Everything suddenly felt laggy, until seconds later it sprung back to life and the CPU usage went back to normal. Likewise, games didn’t seem to run very well on the Surface Pro X with low frame rates and stuttering. This is a preview though, so I’d hope to see performance improve before this ships to all Windows 11 users. Amazon’s Appstore is the only official way to get Android apps on Windows 11 outside of sideloading. I also noticed in Final Fantasy XV that the game reloads when you attempt to resize it, and some apps and games don’t resize particularly well. It all depends on how developers have built their apps, but expect most to run best in phone-like dimensions. The question is whether you actually want or need Android apps. I personally only need a handful, like the Kindle app or some smart
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After Activision Blizzard requested a stay in the discrimination case brought against it by the state of California, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) has filed its response. Activision Blizzard’s request for a stay asserts that lawyers with the DFEH engaged in misconduct arising from a conflict of interest. According to the filing, some of the lawyers working on the case had previously worked on a separate case against the company when they were employed by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (or EEOC). Such an arrangement, Activision Blizzard argues, is in violation of a California state bar conflict of interest rule. As a result, the disc
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The Food and Drug Administration approved a virtual reality-based treatment for children with the visual disorder amblyopia, or lazy eye, the company behind the therapy announced today. Patients wa
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Amazon announced today that it’s doubling the number of local stations it supports through its news app on Fire TV, meaning more users will be able to easily find local news coverage for free. The company said in a blog post that this week’s coverage expansion will make local news available in 158 total US cities. That’s up from coverage in 88 cities following a previous expansion in March. As of today, the number of local stations available through the news app has hiked from 126 to 259. An Amazon spokesperson clarified that some metro areas offer more than one local station in the Amazon news app on Fire TV. The company said that more than 50 metro areas now offer more than one l
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Hyper has announced a pair of over-the-top USB-C accessories: HyperJuice 245W USB-C Battery Pack and the HyperJuice 245W USB-C GaN Charger, each of which offers four USB-C ports for charging up all
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Tesla’s record third quarter brought its biggest three-month windfall ever, as the company announced Wednesday that it turned a $1.6 billion profit. That’s despite a global semiconductor shortage and delays in the rollout of the refreshed Model S sedan and Model X SUV. Tesla turned that profit on just over $13.7 billion in revenue, and did it while its average sales price continued to drop due to the increasing popularity of the more affordable Model 3 sedan and Model Y SUV. Tesla has also continued to increase the profitability of those vehicles — the company said Wednesday that the gross margin on its cars is up to nearly 30 percent. Tesla’s success in the quarter stands in stark relief from the trouble other automakers have faced thanks to the chip shortage and larger global supply chain crunches. General Motors’ sales in the US dropped 33 percent compared to the same period last year, while Ford’s dropped about 27 percent. Tesla, meanwhile, increased its global deliveries to more than 241,000 in the quarter, continuing the automaker’s steady growth. By sourcing different chips and rewriting software on the fly to make them work, Tesla was able to avoid the same kinds of major headaches caused by the shortage. But its success in 2021 is also thanks to increased popularity of the Model Y SUV — which it just started selling in Europe and the UK — as well as a growing global presence. The company’s factory in China has been pumping out vehicles for more than a year now, and it has two more scheduled to come online in the near future in Texas and Germany. In fact, Tesla said Wednesday that it is already making some pre-production vehicles at the Austin, Texas factory. “A variety of challenges, including semiconductor shortages, congestion at ports and rolling blackouts, have been impacting our ability to keep factories running at full speed. We believe our supply chain, engineering and production teams have been dealing with these global challenges with ingenuity, agility and flexibility that is unparalleled in the automotive industry,” the company wrote. It wasn’t just a financially good quarter for Tesla, it was also a very busy on
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It can be hard to block off focus time during the workday. To help make scheduling dedicated work blocks a bit easier, Google is adding new dedicated focus time entries to Calendar. The focus time entries have a small headphones icon on your calendar and can be given a different color to help separate them from other things on your schedule. If you want, you can set focus time entries to automatically decline meetings that get scheduled during that block, which could help ensure that your focus time stays open and free from pesky meetings. Focus time entries will also appear in your “Time insights” panel so you can see how much of your time you’re spending in meetings and on focused work. Here’s what making a focus time entry looks like. Image: Google Focus time entries begin rolling out Wednesday to users on the Rapid Release track, but they won’t be available to every Calendar user; Google says they’re coming to Google Workspace Business Standard, Business Plus, Enterprise Standard, Enterprise Plus, Education Fundamentals, Education Teaching & Learning Upgrade, Education Standard, Education Plus, and Nonprofits customers.
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Facebook settled with the US Department of Justice following claims that it discriminated against US workers (via CNBC). The DOJ filed charges against Facebook in December 2020, alleging that Facebook reserved specific positions for temporary visa holders and discouraged US citizens from applying. A report from the DOJ revealed that it’s fining Facebook $4.75 million in civil penalties and is requiring Facebook to pay up to $9.5 million to any victims of Facebook’s alleged discriminatory practices. Facebook also reached a separate agreement with the US Department of Labor. During an audit of Facebook’s PERM applications — the program that lets visa holders permanently work in the US — the DOL found potential recruitment violations that it’s going to investigate further. In addition to paying two fines, Facebook will also have to train employees on the anti-discrimination policies of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as well as widely advertise its PERM positions. It’ll also have to start accepting resumes and applications electronically. It was previously urging applicants to apply by mail for visa-eligible positions. Accepting applications by mail and failing to make visa-eligible positions more visible were just a couple of ways that Facebook allegedly made it harder for US workers to apply. “Facebook is not above the law, and must comply with our nation’s federal civil rights laws, which prohibit discriminatory recruitment and hiring practices,” Kristen Clarke, the assistant attorney general of the DOJ’s civil rights division, said in a statement. “Companies cannot set aside certain positions for temporary visa holders because of their citizenship or immigration status.” Facebook didn’t reply to a request for comment from The Verge, but a Facebook spokesperson told CNBC: “While we strongly believe we met the federal government’s standards in our permanent labor certification (PERM) practices, we’ve reached agreements to end the ongoing litigation and move forward with our PERM program, which is an important part of our overall immigration program.” Facebook is going to have a fairly large bill this month (although it
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A top Democrat is demanding Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg or Instagram chief Adam Mosseri testify before the Senate to explain how the company plans to protect kids in light of new reports that platforms like Instagram can encourage harmful behavior in teens. In Wednesday’s letter, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), chair of the Senate Commerce Committee’s subcommittee on consumer protection, called on the Facebook executives to testify in light of recent reporting from the Wall Street Journal on how the photo-sharing platform harms young users. “Parents across America are deeply disturbed by ongoing reports that Facebook knows that Instagram can cause destructive and lasting harms to many teens and children, especially to their mental health and wellbeing,” Blumenthal wrote. “Those parents, and the twenty million teens that use your app, have a right to know the truth about the safety of Instagram.” Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Verge. Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen revealed herself as the source behind the Journal’s reports earlier this month in an interview with 60 Minutes. Later, Haugen appeared before Blumenthal’s committee to explain the internal reports and surveys she obtained while employed on Facebook’s Civic Integrity group to lawmakers. The hearing focused on documents suggesting that Facebook knew Instagram was “toxic” for teenage users and the platform’s algorithms could lead them to content that encouraged self-harm. During the hearing, Blumenthal called on Zuckerberg to testify regarding the Instagram revelations. “Rather than taking responsibility and showing leadership, Mr. Zuckerberg is going sailing,” Blumenthal said at the hearing earlier this month. The company has yet to confirm whether it plans to offer up Zuckerberg for testimony, but the subcommittee could force him to testify through a subpoena if he refuses. So far, Blumenthal has downplayed the possibility of a subpoena, telling CNBC, “He has a public responsibility to answer these questions.” Over the last few weeks, Facebook has faced a new wave of criticism from lawmakers and consumer advocates. In li
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Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen testified in front of Congress two weeks ago about the ways the company’s products can bring harm to users, after leaking documents supporting her claims to The Wall Street Journal. Now Politico reports that the campaign to support Haugen’s advocacy against her former employer has been aided by eBay billionaire Pierre Omidyar. Omidyar is no stranger to the media, providing financial backing to The Intercept, for example. According to Politico, when asked to comment, his advocacy group Omidyar Network pointed to an unbylined blog post that went up today titled “In Support of Tech Whistleblowers Who are Holding Tech to Account.” If you’re looking for a “why” behind the impactful rollout of Haugen’s testimony and the Facebook Files repo
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Amazon has announced a tool that will give sellers access to information about what shoppers are currently looking for and help make it easier to choose which products to create next. Amazon calls it the Product Opportunity Explorer and says that it’ll give sellers access to data and trends that will help them “identify opportunities to launch new, high-potential products to serve unmet customer demand.” With Amazon’s track record of copying popular products and selling them under its Amazon Basics brand, an obvious concern with this tool is where the data is coming from and how granular it is. While Amazon quotes a seller saying that they’re excited to get “recommendations specifically relevant” to their business, it’s easy to imagine other sellers being nervous that Am
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Google never stops issuing updates to its Android OS (well, unless your phone is old enough to have outlived its update period), and it has recently introduced its latest upgrade: Android 12. As always, the new OS is coming to Google’s Pixel phones first, and when it does come to Samsung and other Android devices, it will probably be tweaked somewhat by the manufacturer. But whether you have uploaded Android 12 into your Pixel or are still using Android 11 on another phone, we’ve assembled a guide that will help you make the most of your mobile life. The Verge guide to Android is a comprehensive resource that will help you learn how to use your Android phone’s best features and further educate you about this popular and flexible mobile operating system. We’ve separated out some of the new features found in Android 12, but you can also check out Android 101 and Hardware Help for tips that will apply to the majority of Android phones. We have advice and step-by-step instructions for beginners and experts. Our how-tos can teach you everything you need to know about some of your phone’s more advanced features. Take a look around and learn how to use Google Pay,
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Google’s Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro are the company’s most interesting devices in years. They might actually succeed at the Pixel’s ultimate goal of being the shining example of what Android phones can and should be capable of. It’s high time that Google followed that example with a Pixel Watch that does the same thing for Wear OS. It’s pretty likely that Google is already working on something along those lines: When we asked, Rick Osterloh told The Verge’s Dieter Bohn that its own Wear OS wearable is just a matter of time. He noted that Google’s acquisition of Fitbit is still “pretty early in the integration” since the purchase only went through a few months ago — it takes time to develop a product, after all, especially one with a new operating system that Fitbit has never used before. But Osterloh did tease that “you’ll see them [the Fitbit team] build wearables on Wear OS in the future,” with the team already “hard at work at that.” It’s no secret that Wear OS is in desperate need of some flagship hardware (or any hardware, really). If you buy a shiny new Pixel 6 this week and are looking for a smartwatch running the latest and greatest Wear OS 3.0 software, your only option is Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 4. Every other Wear OS device is out of date. Now, the Watch 4 is not a bad smartwatch by any means, but despite the new, shared Tizen / Wear OS collaboration, it’s still a distinctly Samsung device. That means that everything from the basic UI to payments to fitness tracking to the virtual assistant is Samsung-flavored experiences, not Google ones. Google Assistant isn’t even available on Samsung’s watch, and most of the basic ap
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Major retailers, including Amazon and Ikea, are beginning to clean up their shipping pollution. A group of companies pledged yesterday that by 2040, they’ll only contract ships using zero-carbon fuels to move their goods. Both Ikea and Amazon were among the 15 companies responsible for the most maritime import pollution in 2019, according to one recent analysis. Joining Amazon and Ikea in the commitment are Unilever, Michelin, and clothing retailer Inditex, which owns Zara and other brands. German retailer Tchibo, Patagonia, sports gear company Brooks Running, and FrogBikes are part of the deal, too. The aim is to leave behind heavy fuel oil in favor of alternatives that don’t release planet-heating carbon dioxide emissions. But there will still be plenty of hurdles ahead to rein in shipping pollution. “This will be a catalyzing force and a game-changer for the industry to really push for the decarbonization of the sector,” says Kendra Ulrich, shipping campaigns director at the environmental nonprofit Stand.earth, which was one of the authors of the 2019 import pollution report. Before arriving at our doorsteps or on store shelves, nearly all the goods we buy are moved by ship around the world. As a result, the maritime shipping industry is responsible for about 3 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. The sector also produces between 10 to 15 percent of sulfur oxide and nitrous oxide emissions, pollutants linked to respiratory problems and other health risk
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Epic Games launched its battle royale hit Fortnite on Android devices in 2018 with a big catch: it was exclusive to Samsung-made phones for a few days as a way to help market the then-new Samsung Galaxy Note 9. At the time, would-be players had to deal with a waiting list and / or a restrictive list of qualified Android phones. These days, it’s a lot easier — but you still need to download it directly from Epic. (Epic CEO Tim Sweeney said this is basically to avoid paying Google’s 30 percent cut on in-app purchases.) Epic is using its own website and a Fortnite Installer program to d
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District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine is adding Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to a lawsuit over the Cambridge Analytica data-mining scandal. Racine announced the addition on Twitter this morning, saying his investigation had revealed that Zuckerberg was “personally involved in decisions related to Cambridge Analytica and Facebook’s failure to protect user data.” The 2018 lawsuit accuses Facebook (and now Zuckerberg) of misrepresenting its policies around third-party data access and compromising user privacy with lax protections. The attorney general’s office alleges that
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Microsoft and Adidas revealed a slick-looking pair of limited-edition Xbox sneakers earlier this month to celebrate Xbox’s 20th anniversary, and now, we know what you need to do to actually try to win a pair for yourself. From October 21st at 12PM ET through October 23rd at 11:59AM ET, you can donate $10 on StockX, an online collectibles marketplace, to be entered to win one of 20 pairs. Donations will benefit Gamers Outreach, a charity that helps children in hospitals by bringing them video games.
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Facebook will start demoting all Groups content from people who have violated its policies elsewhere across the platform. The move is supposed to limit rulebreakers from reaching other people in a community, and it builds on existing policies that prevent them from posting, commenting, or inviting others. In a blog post, Facebook says it will also add a new “Flagged by Facebook” feature that shows group administrators content that’s been flagged for removal. The admins can choose to remove the content or to ask for a review if they believe it’s appropriate, with the goal of getting administrators involved before Facebook steps in and issues a strike that could affect the group itself. Facebook has paid increasing attention to groups since the 2020 US presidential election, where
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Microsoft is now allowing Windows 11 testers to try out Android apps. A preview version of the Windows Subsystem for Android will be available to beta testers of Windows 11 today, providing access to apps from the Amazon Appstore. Testers with Intel, AMD, and Qualcomm processors will all be able to try out Android apps on Windows 11. Apps can be loaded through the Microsoft Store, which will list a variety of apps that then point toward the Amazon Appstore to load and install. Android apps can run side by side with other Windows apps, and they’re also integrated into Alt + Tab and Task view, and you can pin them to the Start menu or the taskbar. Android apps are available in the Microsoft Store on
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In September, CD Projekt Red said it was targeting late 2021 release dates for Cyberpunk 2077 and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt’s next-gen upgrades, but on Wednesday, the company announced those won’t be hitting this year. Now, the plan is for the next-gen version of Cyberpunk 2077 to release in the first quarter of 2022, while the next-gen version of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is scheduled for a release in the second quarter of 2022. With the delays, it seems like CD Projekt Red is taking steps to ensure it doesn’t repeat the botched launch of Cyberpunk 2077, which was riddled with bugs and issues when it was first released in December of 2020. The studio has spent the months since releasing numerous patches and hotfixes in an attempt to address some of the problems. I haven’t spent
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One of Sony’s best PlayStation games, God of War, is headed to PC. The game will be available on January 14th, 2022, and you can preorder it now on Steam and the Epic Games Store for $49.99. If you opt to pick up the game on PC, you’ll be able to play it at 4K and unlocked frame rates, as well as in a 21:9 ultra widescreen aspect ratio (assuming you have the right hardware to support those features). The game will also support Nvidia’s DLSS (Deep Learning Super Sampling) and its Reflex low-latency technology for “a more responsive experience.” A screenshot from God of War. Image: Sony Sony promises that the game will have “robust controller suppo
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When Sina Bahram shifted into weightlessness for the first time on Sunday, he could feel the air brushing past his skin as his body began to float into the air. As someone who’d longed to be an astronaut since he was four years old, he’d been waiting many years to have this exact feeling. “I knew it would be a joyous experience just because I looked forward to it for many decades of my life, but the visceral nature of that joy wasn’t brought home until you actually experience it,” Bahram, a computer scientist who runs Prime Access Consulting, tells The Verge. “It is truly indescribable.” Bahram got to perceive free fall for the first time onboard a specially outfitted plane operated by the Zero-G Corporation, a company that provides parabolic flights that mimic the feelin
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For the first time, surgeons successfully attached a kidney from a genetically modified pig to a human patient — a major scientific breakthrough, and one that could open up a new way to provide organs to sick people. Scientists got the kidney from a pig genetically engineered so that it wouldn’t produce a sugar called alpha-gal, which the human immune system attacks and would trigger the body to reject the organ. Surgeons at NYU attached the organ to a brain-dead patient on a ventilator whose family agreed to the experimental procedure. It was connected outside of her body to blood vessels on her leg, and observed over a period of 54 hours. The recipient’s body didn’t immediately reject the kidney, and the kidney functioned normally for the hours it was attached. “There didn
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A UK watchdog has fined Facebook £50 million ($70 million USD) for purposely concealing information about its Giphy acquisition (via TechCrunch). Facebook began its $400 million acquisition of Giphy in 2020, and even members of Congress thought it was a bad idea. The company’s dealings with the massive GIF-making hub were called out by UK regulators in August, leading the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to launch an antitrust probe. As part of the investigation, the CMA issued an initial enforcement order (IEO) that prohibits any further integration between Facebook and Giphy, which is supposed to allow the companies to continue competing as if there was no acquisition at all. But according to a press release from the CMA, Facebook failed to provide the required updates abou
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Drone-maker DJI has announced a cinema camera that comes with a built-in gimbal, can shoot at up to 8K resolution, and uses a LIDAR rangefinder that promises a “sharper, faster, and more reliable focusing experience,” even in low light. It’s called the Ronin 4D, and while it’s aimed squarely at professionals, it’s loaded with interesting features and shows that DJI is continuing to develop its camera tech outside of drones. The Ronin 4D’s camera is called the Zenmuse X9, and it’s full-frame, has interchangeable lens mounts for DJI’s DL and Leica’s M systems, and includes nine (nine!) built-in ND filters for controlling your exposure in the sun. The 6K model can do 6K at 60fps and 4K120, and the 8K model can do 75fps at its max resolution. The X9 can shoot in RAW or 422
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Got a moral quandary you don’t know how to solve? Fancy making it worse? Why not turn to the wisdom of artificial intelligence, aka Ask Delphi: an intriguing research project from the Allen Institute for AI that offers answers to ethical dilemmas while demonstrating in wonderfully clear terms why we shouldn’t trust software with questions of morality. Ask Delphi was launched on October 14th, along with a research paper describing how it was made. From a user’s point of view, though, the system is beguilingly simple to use. Just head to the website, outline pretty much any situation you can think of, and Delphi will come up with a moral judgement. “It’s bad,” or “it’s acceptable,” or “it’s good,” and so on. Since Ask Delphi launched, its nuggets of wisdom have g
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Samsung is bringing some new features to its Galaxy Watch 4 smartwatches in a new update, the company announced Wednesday. Perhaps the most significant change is four new watchfaces, which include a basic dashboard and a weather-focused one. You can see them in the GIF below from Samsung. New faces aren’t the only updates headed to the new watches; you’ll also be able to use a “knock-knock” motion in the air to launch a preset app or feature. Fall detection has also been improved so that if you’re standing still and you fall, the watch will still detect it. The update adding the new features will roll out starting Wednesday for Bluetooth versions of the Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch 4 Classic, while the LTE version
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Samsung released the Galaxy Z Flip 3 in August, but if none of the colorways were exactly what you wanted, the company will let you make your own design with the new Z Flip 3 Bespoke Edition. The new phone was announced at the company’s Unpacked Part 2 event on Wednesday. You won’t be able to customize the Bespoke Edition with any color you want, but Samsung is offering a lot of options. You’ll be able to choose a black or silver phone frame and front and back colors (aka the top and bottom, if the phone is open) of blue, yellow, pink, white, or black. If you get tired of your color combination, you’ll be able to make a slight change down the line by swapping out the colors on the back glass panel of the phone for a fee with the Bespoke Upgrade Care service. Samsung says the pan
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Drones will soon be buzzing overhead in Dallas-Fort Worth, bearing small containers filled with Tylenol and Band-Aids. Wing, a subsidiary of Google parent company Alphabet, is bringing its drone delivery service to the Texas city, its first densely populated market. Wing is starting small, making deliveries from just one Walgreens to the city of Frisco and town of Little Elm. The company says it will be utilizing its new operational model, in which small shipping containers parked next to the store act as tiny hangers from which Wing’s drones will be deployed. Walgreens employees, rather than Wing technicians, will be trained in how to attach the packages to the company’s drones. Drone deliveries were supposed to revolutionize the movement of goods around cities, with companies l
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Virtual desktops aren’t new to Windows. In Windows 10, it was a simple matter to create a separate desktop so that, for example, you could have one desktop for one project and a second for another, or one for your work and a second for your personal apps. However, in Windows 11, there has been an upgrade. Now, you can also have a different wallpaper for each desktop, making it easier to distinguish one from another (and offering you a different mood, depending on what you’re using it for). And there are a number of other features that make the use of virtual desktops easy and efficient. Note that some of these were actually introduced in Windows 10, but together with the new features of Windows 11, they make a handy toolbox. Create a virtual desktop To create a new virtual desktop: Hover over or click on the “Task view” icon in your taskbar (it’s the one that looks like one square superimposed on another). Click on the “New desktop” thumbnail. After clicking the “Task view” icon, you can create a new desktop. You can also use key combination Win+Ctrl+D; in that case, you’ll immediately find yourself in your new desktop. You can now place different apps in your separate desktops. Move from one desktop to the other by clicking the “Task view” icon. (You can also move around by using the familiar Alt-Tab key combination, which will take you to all the apps in one desktop and then to the apps in the next.) To remove a desktop: Hover over or click the “Task view”icon. Hover over the virtual desktop you want to remove and click th
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If you can’t wait to get your hands on Apple’s new MacBook Pros, check out this great iPad Pro deal, which will certainly keep you distracted in the meantime. Today at Amazon, you can save $200 on this upgraded 12.9-inch model that has 256GB of storage. Typically $1,199, the retailer is offering the Wi-Fi-only version in space gray for $999 instead, which is an appealing price since it’s the current cost of the 128GB version. In our review, we praised the iPad Pro’s beautiful Mini LED screen, the fast M1 processor, and the Center Stage camera, which follows faces while you make video calls. The iPad also offers good dual rear cameras that are paired with lidar, excellent microphones, support for the second-gen Apple Pencil, and more. Read our review. Android phone owners feeling left out while the tech world goes nuts over the latest AirPods 3, fear not: we’ve got something for you. Samsung’s entry-level wireless Galaxy Buds 2 are the company’s smallest and lightest true wireless earbuds yet. Typically $150, right now Amazon is selling them for $130, the lowest price it’s offered on the well-reviewed earbuds yet. The discount applies to all styles, ranging from white and graphite to olive green. You can also add a Galaxy SmartTag, paying $155 in total instead of the $180 that it usually costs to buy both. We loved that it offers features like active noise cancellation, wireless charging, and a small, low-profile design with good audio quality and performance. It’s so good and affordable that, in our review, we predicted it would become the default pick for many Android users — especially when the sales start to hit, which it seems they are. Read ou
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I didn’t have stellar hopes going into Resident Evil 4’s virtual reality adaptation. VR versions of non-VR games are often at best superfluous and at worst painful — sometimes literally if you’re prone to motion sickness. Resident Evil 7 supported VR to questionable effect in 2017. And Resident Evil 4 in VR, an Oculus Quest 2 version of Capcom’s 2005 GameCube game, makes a lot of tradeoffs that sound compromising on paper. But the weirdest part by far? It mostly works. Resident Evil 4’s VR version retools a horror classic with VR combat satisfying enough to make up for its myriad rough edges, producing something surprisingly fun. Unlike Capcom’s recent Resident Evil 2 and 3 console remakes, which were heavily reimagined versions of their source material, RE4VR (technically simply named Resident Evil 4) is a nearly beat-for-beat copy of the original’s narrative, enemy encounters, and level layout. It’s got crisper textures and spatial audio upgrades, but if you’ve seen the game’s high-definition rerelease or the even more HD fan-made remaster, it’s not an extraordinary graphical overhaul. Instead, port developer Armature Studio has focused on translating a third-person console shooter into a first-person headset-based game. More accurately, Armature is translating part of the game. The bulk of RE4VR’s gameplay turns your over-the-shoulder view of protagonist Leon Kennedy into a first-person experience with a pair of disembodied hands — wearing Leon’s trademark fingerless gloves, of course. The game’s heads-up display is a wristwatch with details like your health and ammo count, and the inventory menu is lightly revamped with a more 3D look. If you’ve played a single-player VR shooter like Half-Life: Alyx or Arizona Sunshine, you’ll probably find this mode familiar. But Resident Evil 4 hasn’t been totally VR-ified. During cutscenes, the game throws you — virtual hands and all — into a black void to watch the action on a flat screen. (You know those dreams where you’re watching a person from the outside, but you also are that person? It’s sort of like that.) Many of these scenes originally had quicktime events that
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If you’re looking at buying the $1,999 base model MacBook Pro 14-inch, there’s one upgrade that you may really want to make — the $20 one that gets you the 96W power adapter instead of the 67W included power adapter. That’s because, according to some wording on Apple’s MacBook Pro configuration page (spotted by MacRumors), you’ll need the more powerful charger if you want to take advantage of the computer’s fast charging feature, which can charge the laptop up to 50 percent in half an hour. Is it ridiculous that Apple is basically taxing the people who want to buy its least expensive (but still very pricey!) new MacBook Pro? Yes, absolutely — but you should still probably pay it if you want to charge your laptop up quickly. The exception is if you already have a charging brick capable of 100W USB-PD power delivery: Apple tells The Verge that you can fast charge via Thunderbolt as long as your power brick provides enough power. If you already have a beefy power brick, you can skip the upsell. This may be the best $20 you can spend on an accessory for your new MacBook Pro. I know it probably doesn’t feel great to encourage Apple’s nickel-and-dimin
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Brave, the privacy-focused browser that blocks third-party ads and trackers by default, is switching to using its own search engine by default, the company has announced. The change will be applied for new users, and will affect which search engine is used via the browser’s address bar. Brave Search will replace Google in the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada, Qwant in France, and DuckDuckGo in Germany. More countries will be switched over in the coming months. It’s a significant step for Brave’s fledgling search engine, which launched in public beta earlier this year, since most people just take what they’re given. The search engine set as the browser default is a valuable promotion tactic, and so important that the practice has become a significant focus of antitrust scrutiny. In Europe, Google now offers a choice of search engines for Android users after it was fined $5 billion by EU regulators for, among other things, illegally tying Google search to Android. Over the years, Google has also paid companies like Apple and Firefox to be the default search engine in their browsers. “As we know from experience in many browsers, the default setting is crucial for adoption, and Brave Search has reached the quality and critical mass needed to become our default search option, and to offer our users a seamless privacy-by-default online experience,” Brave’s co-founder and CEO Brendan Eich said in a statement. He added that its search engine now handles “nearly 80 million queries per month.” Although the switch will boost Brave Search’s prominence with Brave users, the browser’s marketshare is so small that it doesn’t even register against established competitors like Chrome, Safari, Edge, and Opera, according to data from StatCounter. Nevertheless, as of September 2021, Brave claims that its browser had almost 40 million monthly active users. As well as boosting the prominence of Brave’s search engine, the move is a sign of its confidence in the new privacy-focused service. Brave Search is notable for being built on Brave’s own independent index of the web, whereas many competitors rely on a mix of results from larger indexes l
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Today, let’s talk about a fault line that’s beginning to open up in the gaming world, one I suspect will soon be coming to most platforms and app stores. It’s a divide that begins with a simple question: will your platform allow NFTs? Crypto payments? You know … blockchain stuff? Like it or not, the rise of non-fungible tokens as an engine for fun and profit has been one of the tech world’s big stories in 2021. Using the blockchain to create unique digital objects with verifiable, transferrable ownership has opened up new possibilities in art, digital trading cards, and gaming. At least for the moment, it seems likely that other forms of media will follow. Recently I’ve written about ways in which NFTs are challenging the current generation’s assumptions about gaming: building a game from the bottom up rather than the top down, as the Loot project is doing; or enabling players to make money directly from their gameplay, as Axie Infinity is. Aleksander Larsen, chief operating officer of Axie’s parent company, told me that he hopes the game will come to mobile app stores, including Apple’s, within the next few months. But on Friday, it became clear that such games won’t be welcome everywhere. Here’s Mitchell Clark here at The Verge: Games that use blockchain technology or let users exchange NFTs or cryptocurrencies won’t be allowed on Steam, according to a rule added to Valve’s “What you shouldn’t publish on Steam” list. The change was pointed out by SpacePirate, a developer working on an NFT-based game, who said that the change was because the company doesn’t allow game items that could have real-world value. Steam, if you’re not familiar, is the largest distributor of PC gaming software in the world. With more than 120 million monthly users, it’s the default place for most PC gamers to buy digital downloads. And last week, as some blockchain-based games had begun to appear on the platform, Steam pulled out the rug from underneath them. Parent company Valve has yet to make a comment beyond its update to the Steam rules. The developer of Age of Rust, a forthcoming adventure game that will award NFTs to players who solve puz
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No Man’s Sky is getting its fourth seasonal update with a new expedition called Emergence. Just in time for spooky season (and, coincidentally, the theatrical release of Dune) Emergence focuses on discovering, taming, and battling giant sandworms. The trailer for Emergence features some of the wormy updates coming to No Man’s Sky. Existing sandworms will come in more varieties, players can obtain a grotesque Sarlacc pit-looking helmet, and, perhaps most importantly, players will be able to tame and ride giant flying sandworms. Since expeditions launched in March of this year, Hello Ga
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Mere hours before a planned walkout from Netflix’s trans and allied workers over comments made by Dave Chappelle in a recent special, co-CEO Ted Sarandos has said he “screwed up” over his response to employers over outrage from within the company. Chappelle’s special The Closer debuted on the streaming service earlier this month and immediately came under fire from members and allies of the LGBTQ+ community as well as Netflix employees who criticized the special as being transphobic. Sarandos, for his part, has stood by the special, telling employees that Netflix doesn’t allow tit
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Streaming services may pay up to 30 percent more to production workers as part of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees’ (IATSE) deal with major Hollywood studios to avert a strike. The union tweeted a document that specifically outlined the new streaming terms of the tentative Basic Agreement. According to the one-sheet, the new agreement would secure higher wages for episodic streaming productions, including longform miniseries with runtimes longer than 66 minutes. Payouts on some miniseries could increase up to 30 percent, which will depend on how the project is classified. Longform productions that cost between $20 and $32 million, meanwhile, will no longer get a discount on account of the production heading to a streaming service. This type of production, too, will see a rate increase of up to 30 percent in some cases, the union said. NEW: We are releasing our first three one page documents explaining how the new tentative Basic Agreement addresses the priorities members identified early in the bargaining process.This is a non-exhaustive set of member priorities, more soon.1. STREAMING IMPROVEMENTS pic.twitter.com/ACLP5cbLiv— IATSE // #IASolidarity (@IATSE) October 20, 2021 Production crew represented by IATSE who are working on low-budget productions of 20 minutes or longer will get better wages, terms, and conditions, but the details are vague. The document specified only that this category of productions was tentatively to be “set at no less than the mid-budget wages, terms and conditions.” The union also tweeted fact sheets related to wages and workplace conditions — both points of contention as the union worked to negotiate with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) for better labor protections for its members. Much is left unclear by the one-sheets, however, particularly where it relates to streaming. “We intend to provide as much information [as] possible, and as soon as possible,” the union said in a tweet. “That way, each of us will have a chance to get the full picture and make an informed decision regarding our shared future.” As negotiations between the IATSE and AMPTP stalled prior to last week, the union’s members voted nearly unanimously to strike — an event that was planned for this week should contract negotiations continue to be held up. The strike was narrowly
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Netflix will change the public-facing metrics it uses to rank the most popular titles on its streaming service, the company announced Tuesday. In the past, the company has ranked titles based on the completion of at least the first two minutes of a film or TV show in its first 28 days on the service. More recently, however, the company has released rankings based on the total number of hours a movie or series is viewed — a metric it will shift to moving forward beginning later this year, the company said in a letter to shareholders. “There is some difference in rankings [...] but we think engagement as measured by hours viewed is a slightly better indicator of the overall success of our titles and member satisfaction,” the company said. “It also matches how outside services measure TV viewing and gives proper credit to rewatching.” The change will not only shift one of its key public ranking systems from viewers to hours viewed but should, in theory, make its rankings a little easier to understand. While the company does track things like completion of its titles internally, the 2-minute metric was confusing and had the potential to misrepresent the true success of a series or film (for example, if an account holder watched only the first two minutes but then bailed). Additionally, the company said, “we will start to release title metrics more regularly outside of our earnings report so our members and the industry can better measure success in the streaming world.” Transparency around streaming figures — and the accuracy with which services track their titles — has been called for by industry figures who say that streaming services aren’t forthr
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Oppo is developing its own high-end chips for flagship mobile phones, according to a report in Nikkei. Two people who spoke to the newspaper said that the plan was to release custom SoCs in 2023 or 2024 “depending on the speed of development.” Oppo reportedly wants to use TSMC’s advanced 3nm process technology for the chips. If plans come to pass, Oppo would be the latest major smartphone manufacturer to take control of its own SoC design. Yesterday Google launched the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, its first phones with a custom SoC called Tensor. Apple and Samsung also design their own smartphone chips, as did Huawei before US sanctions decimated its mobile business. Oppo currently uses chips from Qualcomm and MediaTek, like all other Chinese smartphone vendors since the crackdown on Huawei. Xiaomi designed and released a low-end SoC called the Surge S1 for its budget Mi 5C phone in 2017, but since then its chip design efforts have been limited to secondary components like image signal processors. As Qualcomm laid bare in a salty Google subtweet last week, it would stand to lose out if major companies like Oppo were to take on SoC design themselves. Oppo is the fourth largest smartphone maker in the world by shipments, according to IDC, and given it shares a supply chain and ownership with Vivo, Realme and OnePlus, Oppo-developed chips could quickly find their way into phones from multiple brands.
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Facebook is planning to change its company name next week to reflect its focus on building the metaverse, according to a source with direct knowledge of the matter. The coming name change, which CEO Mark Zuckerberg plans to talk about at the company’s annual Connect conference on October 28th, but could unveil sooner, is meant to signal the tech giant’s ambition to be known for more than social media and all the ills that entail. The rebrand would likely position the blue Facebook app as one of many products under a parent company overseeing groups like Instagram, WhatsApp, Oculus, and more. A spokesperson for Facebook declined to comment for this story. Facebook already has more than 10,000 employees building consumer hardware like AR glasses that Zuckerberg believes will eventually be as ubiquitous as smartphones. In July, he told The Verge that, over the next several years, “we will effectively transition from people seeing us as primarily being a social media company to being a metaverse company.” A rebrand could also serve to further separate the futuristic work Zuckerberg is focused on from the intense scrutiny Facebook is currently under for the way its social platform operates today. A former employee turned whistleblower, Frances Haugen, recently leaked a trove of damning internal documents to The Wall Street Journal and testified about them before Congress. Antitrust regulators in the US and elsewhere are trying to break the company up, and public trust in how Facebook does business is falling. Facebook isn’t the first well-known tech company to change its company name as its ambitions expand. In 2015, Google reorganized entirely under a holding company called Alphabet, partly to signal that it was no longer just a search engine, but a sprawling conglomerate with companies making driverless cars and health tech. And Snapchat rebranded to Snap Inc. in 2016, the same year it started calling itself a “camera company” and debuted its first pair of Spectacles camera glasses. I’m told that the new Facebook company name is a closely-guarded secret within its walls and not known widely, even among its full senior leadership. A possible name could have something to do with Horizon, the name of the still-unreleased VR version of Facebook-meets-Roblox that the company has been developing for the past few years. The name of that app was recently tweaked to Horizon Worlds shortly after Facebook demoed a version for workplace collaboration called Horizon Workrooms. Aside from Zuckerberg’s comments, Facebook has been steadily laying the groundwork for a greater focus on the next generation of technology. This past summer it set up a dedicated metaverse team. More recently, it announced that the head of AR and VR, Andrew Bosworth, will be promoted to chief technology officer. And just a couple of days ago Facebook announced plans to hire 10,000 more employees to work on the metaverse in Europe. The metaverse is “going to be a big focus, and I think that this is just going to be a big part of the next chapter for the way that the internet evolves after the mobile internet,” Zuckerberg told The Verge’s Casey Newton this
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Activision Blizzard, facing a discrimination lawsuit from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (or DFEH), has filed an application to stay that lawsuit so it can investigate claims that DFEH lawyers engaged in ethical misconduct. The application claims that the DFEH is represented in the case by lawyers who previously worked for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (or EEOC) — a federal agency that investigates claims of workplace abuse. The application additionally claims such an arrangement is in violation of a California State Bar conflict of interest rule that says, “a lawyer who has formerly served as a public official or employee of the government [...] shall not otherwise represent a client in connection with a matter in which the lawyer participated personally and substantially as a public official or employee.” The application basically alleges that DFEH lawyers should be disqualified from participating in this case against Activision Blizzard since those lawyers previously worked on a similar, prior case against the company when they were employed by the EEOC. Activision Blizzard recently settled another discrimination lawsuit brought forth by the EEOC for $18 million. The DFEH is trying to block that settlement, and it’s actually the EEOC that raised ethical concerns against DFEH lawyers (perhaps to maintain its win). “The EEOC claims that two of the DFEH attorneys who have appeared in this case (and who currently ‘play leadership roles within the [DFEH]’) ‘previously served as EEOC [REDACTED],’ during which time they ‘helped to direct the EEOC’s investigation’ against Activision Blizzard,” the application states. If the court upholds the stay and decides that DFEH lawyers did violate conflict of interest rules, Activision Blizzard claims the case could be in serious trouble. According to the company’s filing, “Violation of these rules could lead to the disqualification not only of the two attorneys at issue, but of the entire group of DFEH attorneys with whom they have worked. It also calls into question the integrity of the underlying investigation itself.” This move comes just as Blizzard announced 20 employees “exited” the company in the wake of harassment investigations and reprimanded some 20 more. In the months since these lawsuits were made public, some Blizzard employees have continued to agitate for a more equitable workplace, making demands of the company to end forced arbitration and provide greater pay transparency. The EEOC and the DFEH didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment, and neither the DFEH nor the EEOC have had a chance to formally challenge Activision Blizzard’s claims: neither have filed responses to this application in the courts. A Blizzard spokesperson says of the filings, “We look forward to resolving the case with the DFEH fairly in an appropriate court. We share the EEOC and DFEH’s goal of a safe, inclusive workplace that rewards employees equitably and remain committed to the elimination of harassment and discrimination in our workplace.” A hearing on the application will take place October 20th.
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For the first time ever, Google’s new phones are powered by a Google-designed chip, giving the company an Apple-like level of control over the inner workings of the new Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. But if you were hoping that meant they’d also get an Apple-like level of new OS updates, the company is throwing a bit of cold water on that. Google’s support page shows it’s only promising to offer Android updates through October 2024 (via Android Police), a total of three years after release. “Users will still get at least 3 years of OS updates, after which we’re committing to ensure that Pixels will stay up-to-date and secure,” Google tells The Verge. “The frequency and categorie
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Boeing says it is narrowing down the source of the issue that delayed the launch of its new Starliner spacecraft this summer, blaming the problem on excess water and humidity causing the vehicle’
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Facebook is delivering an update to Portal devices that will make it possible to turn off the Watch Together feature during calls in Household Mode. The update comes shortly after a BuzzFeed News article criticized Facebook’s blatant oversight of not including an “off” switch for the feature. Watch Together lets you watch shows, music videos, or funny clips with distant friends or family members. Choose a video from Facebook’s selection, and it’ll be simultaneously presented to you on your Portal and on your friend’s device, whether that may be a phone, tablet, or Portal. Watch Together may sound like a great idea, but it obviously isn’t ideal for parents who want to keep t
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There’s plenty to be excited about when it comes to Apple’s new 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pros. As well as souped-up Pro and Max versions of the already capable M1 chip that Apple debuted last ye
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In addition to new MacBooks on October 18th, Apple finally also introduced its third-generation AirPods, which are set to ship on October 26th for $179 and are available for preorder now. Apple also lowered the cost of the now-entry-level AirPods 2 from $159 to $129 and will now only sell the version that comes with a wired charging case. As a result, the AirPods lineup now consists of four models of AirPods: the $129 AirPods 2, the $179 AirPods 3, the $249 AirPods Pro, and the $549 AirPods Max. With such a wide range of AirPods available at various price points, it can be overwhelming to try to figure out which one you should purchase. That’s why we’ve put together this guide comparing the models to each other — so you can find the right fit for you. Note that while we have reviewed most of the AirPods in the lineup, we’ve not yet tested the AirPods 3, but we will soon. AirPods Lineup Comparison Specification AirPods (second-gen) AirPods (third-gen) AirPods Pro AirPods Max Specification AirPods (second-gen) AirPods (third-gen) AirPods Pro AirPods Max Active noise canceling / reduction No No Yes Yes Transparency mode No No Yes Yes Connectivity Bluetooth 5.0 Bluetooth 5.0 Bluetooth 5.0 Bluetooth 5.0 Earbud size (mm) 40.5 x 16.5 x 18.0 30.8 x 18.3 x 19.2 30.9 x 21.8 x 24 187.3 x 168.6 x 83.4 Case size (mm) 53.5 x 44.3 x 21.3 46.4 x 54.4 x 21.4 45.2 x 60.6 x 21.7 134.5 Earbud weight (g) 4 4.28 5.4 384.8 Case weight (g) 38.2 37.91 45.6 134.5 Battery (earbud) Up to 5 hours Up to 6 hours Up to 4.5 hours Up to 20 hours Battery (case) More than 30 hours Up to 30 hours More tha
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Activision Blizzard says more than 20 employees have “exited” the company, and more than 20 other employees have been reprimanded following complaints about misconduct. The Financial Times reported that the company sent a letter to staff on Tuesday with the details, and chief compliance officer Frances Townsend told the outlet that the list included game developers and “a few” supervisors but no members of the board. Activision Blizzard later posted the letter online. The letter outlines a company attempt to “earn our team’s confidence that, when they speak up, they will be hear
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At its fall event on Tuesday, Google announced the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, which feature its custom Tensor processor and the first big camera upgrade for Google’s phones since the Pixel 3. Since the Pixel 6s are available to preorder now, let’s take a look at how Google’s new phones compare on paper to their Android and iPhone competition. At this point, how Google’s Tensor custom chip will perform is the biggest question mark — Google says it’s comparable to the Snapdragon 888, but that’s not even Qualcomm’s most powerful chip today, and Qualcomm is holding an event in No
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Google just wrapped up its Pixel 6 Fall Launch event, where it announced two new phones as well as a wealth of features that are supported by its new Tensor processor. Here are the biggest things Google announced during its live stream. Image: Google Google finally shows off the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro After months of leaks, we got the full details on Google’s Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro phones — the Pixel 6 will sell for $599 and the Pixel 6 Pro for $899. Both will feature Google’s Tensor processor and a 50-megapixel camera (which bins images down to 12.5-megapixels during processing). The phones also feature an ultra-wide camera, and the Pro adds a telephoto camera and gives the selfie camera an upgrade with a wider lens and higher-resolution sensor. The Pro model is also physically larger, but it’s not a massive difference. Google’s new phones are powered by its Tensor processor Much of Google’s event focused on the Google-designed Tensor processor that powers the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. Google showed off how the machine learning prowess of its chip would be able to help with tasks like voice recognition, making photos less blurry (and even automatically erasing unwanted people from the background), and real-time captions and translation. Outside of ML, Google says that it should be competitive with Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon processors when it comes to overall CPU and GPU performance. Google also emphasized how the Tensor could help its phones be more personalized to you but didn’t go into much detail on how exactly that would work. Thankfully, we have our hands on the new phones, so we’ll be able to poke around at them. Speaking of those phones... Google showed off the results of its camera inclusivity work with Real Tone At Google I/O 2021, Google announced it was working on making its cameras and photo processing better for people with darker skin, and today, we got to see some of those results. Google’s Real Tone tech, which will work both in its camera app and third-party ones, will try to accurately depict people’s skin tones instead of doing weird things with exposure and contrast like old phones used to do. Google’s before-and-after presentation was impressive, but we’ll have to see how it actually performs in the real world. “The fastest phone to make a Snap” Image: Google Snapchat gets a special place on the Pixel You’ll be able to quickly access Snapchat’s camera by tapping the back of the Pixel, even from the lock screen. Of course, you’ll have to log into the phone to actually send the Snap to your friends, but it’s quite possibly the quickest way to send a Snap that we’ve seen yet. Google’s trying to make phone trees suck less Google announced a new Pixel phone feature, which aims to make calls to customer service lines less awful by trying to estimate how long you’ll have
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There’s a lot that we already knew about the Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro ahead of their debut at Google’s October 2021 event. Some of the key specs, including the Tensor processor and the camera details, were made publicly available by Google itself. But of course, we know a lot more now than we did before. Check out my colleague Dan Seifert’s big hands-on with both phones right here. It dives into the design, features, and he talks about how this is a big moment both for Google to prove that its Tensor processor is as good as it claims to be and that it knows how to make flagship phones that people want. If all that you’re curious about is raw specs, we’ve got that below. Given that the design differences between the Pixel 6 Pro and Pixel 6 are minor, we’re focused instead on what’s inside of them. There are just a couple of differences internally, but you deserve to know what they are. To be exhaustive, we’ve also compared them to other Pixel phones that you can easily buy these days, including the Pixel 5A and the Pixel 4A. We’ll add more specs to this table should they become available. Google Pixel 6 Pro and 6 specs compred Category Google Pixel 6 Pro Google Pixel 6 Google Pixel 5A Google Pixel 4A Category Google Pixel 6 Pro Google Pixel 6 Google Pixel 5A Google Pixel 4A Starting price $899 $599 $449 $349 Latest OS supported Android 12 Android 12 Android 12 Android 12 Display 6.7 inches (1440p, 120Hz refresh rate) OLED 6.4 inches (1080p, 90Hz refresh rate) OLED 6.34 inches (1080p) OLED 5.8 inches (1080p) OLED Gorilla Glass version Victus Victus Gorilla Glass 3 Gorilla Glass 3 Processor Google Tensor custom chipset Google Tensor custom chipset Snapdragon 765G Snapdragon 730G RAM 12GB 8GB 6GB 6GB Storage 128, 256, 512GB 128, 256GB 128GB 128GB Connectivity
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Sundar Pichai (left) and Rick Osterloh (right). Photo by Dieter Bohn / The Verge ‘We acknowledge we’re a challenger’ By Oct 19, 2021, 1:55pm EDT When did Google decide it would need to make its own custom processor for phones? “I think I started April 16th and it was around the 17th, in 2016,” says Rick Osterloh, Google’s head of hardware. He says he sat down with Google CEO Sundar Pichai and the two agreed that custom silicon was in their future, but its exact form wasn’t yet clear. This year, as Google prepared to launch the latest Pixel that uses Google’s custom silicon, the Tensor SoC, I sat down with Osterloh and Pichai to talk about the phone, the chip, and the Android ecosystem. Osterloh is five years in to his tenure as the head of Google’s hardware division. In those years, Google has acquired both HTC and Fitbit, pushed the idea of computational photography to new heights, and almost completely failed to pick up meaningful smartphone market share. Although the Pixel has been influential, the top-tier Pixels haven’t sold in big numbers — and the less expensive versions have fared only a little better. “Part of the reason that I think the team has been more modest in their approach with Pixel over the past 18 months or so is because they’ve been waiting for Tensor,” Pichai says. Google has gone all out this year with a marketing blitz that began well ahead of today’s launch and continues with an NBA deal. So now, with the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, Osterloh hopes that the culmination of that chip decision paired with what his team has called Google’s “first real flagship” will make this year’s Pixel something different from all the phones that came before: something that will sell. To get there, Google will need more than just a marketing blitz — it will need to have made a great phone. Answering that question will have to wait for our review, but there’s no question that Google’s ambition is to make a phone that can stand toe-to-toe with the best from Apple and Samsung. For this week’s Vergecast, Pichai, Osterloh, and I got into all that as well as some of the antitrust issues facing Android. Listen in to hear, and stick around after the interview for some first-hand impressions of the phone from myself and Nilay Patel. This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity. Sundar Pichai, Rick Osterloh, thanks for coming on The Vergecast. I have asked both of you a version of this question at least a half a dozen times. Because the Pixel 6 is now announced and out, and you have your own chip, I’m going to ask it one more time. I’ll start with you, Sundar; why is it important that Google is in the hardware business? Sundar Pichai: It’s a good question. I have answered it before, but I t
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Microsoft is testing a feature that automatically mutes your speakers when you plug in headphones, fixing one of my biggest pet peeves with playing games on Xbox. The feature is rolling out to Xbox Insiders on the Alpha Skip-Ahead ring, which means it will very likely be available more broadly in the coming months. Right now, when you plug in headphones to your controller on Xbox, your speakers stay on, too, which means if you want to have the audio just play in your headphones, you have to separately turn down the volume on your speakers. The PS5, on the other hand, handily mutes speaker audio when you plug in headphones, and I’m glad Microsoft is following suit by working on a similar
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The typical sell for a video doorbell is: “You need to see what’s going on at your front door from your phone so no one steals your Amazon packages.” Smart home company Wyze has gone a step f
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Epic Games is once again proving that no brand is safe from Fortnite by adding two playable characters from Dune to its hit battle royale shooter. Starting Tuesday at 8PM ET, you’ll be able to buy virtual Fortnite avatars of Paul Atreides and Chani modeled after Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya, the actors who play them in the upcoming movie. There are a handful of other Dune-themed items you can pick up as well, including an ornithopter glider and a Sand Walk emote that mimics how the characters walk to avoid detection by gigantic sandworms. The tie-up arrives just a few days before Dune’s premiere in theaters and on HBO Max on Friday. While it doesn’t seem as if sandworms will actu
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Pre-orders for Google’s new line of phones started at the same time as their launch event, but for most of us, trying to buy a Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro has meant seeing nothing but error screens. S
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Senate Democrats called on Facebook to end its digital wallet and cryptocurrency project in a letter to chief executive Mark Zuckerberg Tuesday, saying that the company “cannot be trusted to manage cryptocurrency.” The letter comes hours after Facebook launched Novi, a new digital wallet, as part of a “small” pilot program in the US and Guatemala. Facebook first announced its plans to enter the cryptocurrency industry over two years ago, but the digital currency project, called Libra, was halted after heavy criticism from lawmakers and regulators. The Libra currency was later rebranded as “Diem,” which has yet to be released alongside the new wallet product. In their letter, Sens. Brian Schatz (D-HI), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and others wrote, “Facebook is once again pursuing digital currency plans on an aggressive timeline and has already launched a pilot for a payments infrastructure network, even though these plans are incompatible with the actual financial regulatory landscape — not only for Diem specifically, but also for stablecoins in general.” Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Verge. Without its own currency, Facebook’s Novi wallet will allow users to send and receive money using the Paxos stablecoin in a partnership with Coinbase. Coinbase serves as the custody partner, holding the actual funds involved with the pilot program. In a statement issued Tuesday, Facebook’s David Marcus, head of F2 (Facebook Financial), said that the company still plans to launch Novi with Diem “once it receives regulatory approval and goes live.” In 2019, the House and Senate hauled Zuckerberg in to provide testimony on the Libra project after weeks of back and forth with lawmakers who were largely skeptical of Facebook’s project. The hearing came only a year after Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal, and lawmakers questioned the company’s credibility in light of it. In Tuesday’s letter, the senators invoked these same concerns. “Facebook cannot be trusted to manage a payment system or digital currency when its existing ability to manage risks and keep consumers safe has pro
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Google’s Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro are officially here, and with them, the debut of Google’s new Tensor chip. Google has finally revealed more information on what the new SoC can actually do, for the fastest Pixel phones ever. The initial reveal of the Pixel 6 and the Tensor chip was largely centered on its AI-focused TPU (Tensor processing unit) and how the custom hardware would help Google differentiate itself from competitors. That’s still the big focus of Google’s announcement today: the company calls Tensor a “milestone for machine learning” that was co-designed alongside Google Research to allow it to easily translate AI and machine learning advances into actual consumer products. For example, Google says that the Tensor chip will have “the most accurate Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR)” that it’s offered, for both quick Google Assistant queries and longer audio tasks like live captions or the Recorder app. Tensor also enables new Pixel 6 features like Motion Mode, more accurate face detection, and live translations that can convert text to a different language as quickly as you can type it. Google also says that the Tensor chip will handle dedicated machine learning tasks with far more power efficiency than previous Pixel phones. But there’s a lo
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Sinclair, the broadcast group that runs some of the most popular local channels across the US, experienced a nationwide outage during a ransomware attack on October 16th (via The Record). Viewers initially were informed technical difficulties caused the disruption, but the US Securities and Exchange Commission published a filing from Sinclair two days later, identifying ransomware as the source of the outage. “Certain servers and workstations in its environment were encrypted with ransomware, and that certain office and operational networks were disrupted,” the report reads. “Data also was taken from the Company’s network. The Company is working to determine what information the data contained and will take other actions as appropriate based on its review.” A person close to the situation tells The Verge that as of yesterday, employees still had problems accessing email or signing into systems, but today, those things are restored. Sinclair’s report also notes the company still isn’t up and running at 100 percent. While it’s trying to resolve the issue, there may still be “disruption to parts of the Company’s business, including certain aspects of its provision of local advertisements by its local broadcast stations on behalf of its customers.” Sinclair operates a massive number of local TV stations, causing the attack to prevent the company from broadcasting local news shows, sports games, and other scheduled content. According to The Record, the attack could’ve been much worse, as the bad actors weren’t able to compromise something called the “master control.” Having access to this tool let Sinclair replace some scheduled shows with a national feed — that way, not all of its channels were completely down. And as The Record notes, the ransomware attack was preceded by a call for a password reset across all of Sinclair following the discovery of a “potentially serious network security issue.” It’s unclear whether that security issue has anything to do with the attack that just transpired. There still isn’t an official count of how many stations were shut down, as well as who exactly was responsible for the attack. Rans
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Hydrogen trucking startup Nikola is being allowed to continue its three-year-old $2 billion patent lawsuit against Tesla. A federal judge shelved the suit earlier this month after the two companies stopped responding to the court’s orders. The case against Tesla will still remain “administratively closed” but won’t be dismissed, Judge James Donato said in a new order on Tuesday. He assigned Nikola two new January deadlines: one to walk the court through the technologies in question and one for a hearing about the scope of the patents Nikola claims were infringed. Donato closed the case on October 1st after neither Nikola nor Tesla responded to orders in July and September to prep and schedule these meetings. He gave Nikola an October 6th deadline to argue why the case should be continued, which the startup met — though not totally convincingly, apparently. “Nikola’s ostensible reasons for not responding to the Court’s orders are not particularly compelling,” the judge said in Tuesday’s order. “The case will not be dismissed at this time for failure to prosecute, but that may change if Nikola does not move this case forward to resolution in an efficient and timely manner.” Nikola first filed the lawsuit in 2018. The startup alleges that Tesla’s own semi-truck infringes on a number of Nikola’s design patents. Nikola said in its original complaint that Tesla stealing its designs would rob the startup of $2 billion in market share. Tesla has said since the start that there is “no merit” to the claims. The Silicon Valley automaker lost a bid with the US Patent and Trademark Office to invalidate some of the patents in question in April 2020, though, prompting Nikola founder and former CEO Trevor Milton to tweet: “Two billion dollar lawsuit moving forward. We will defend our company’s IP no matter who it is.” But Nikola has run into a lot of trouble in the time since it filed the lawsuit. After going public — and just as the startup was about to secure an investment from General Motors — Milton was accused of lying to investors. He eventually stepped down from running the company and, this year, was arrested and indicted
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At today’s Pixel event, Google dove into the details about the Pixel 6 series devices and outlined a brand new feature that will make sending Snaps even faster. The new feature, called Quick Tap to Snap, adds a camera-only version of Snapchat directly to the lock screen of the Pixel. To access it, all you have to do is tap the back of your phone twice, and the Snapchat camera will open. From there, you can snap a picture all without unlocking your device — you’ll only have to authenticate your identity when you go to send the Snap. In addition to Quick Tap to Snap, Google is also working on exclusive augmented reality Lenses, as well as incorporating live translation into Snapchat. This means that users will be able to have their conversations translated in real-time while using
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Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is delighted to announce the long-awaited nuptials between Mr. Doom Slayer Ripandtearington III and Ms. Isabelle née Shizue. The wedding ceremony took place during Smash Ultimate’s final content update. Mr. Doom Slayer and Ms. Isabelle are a match made in Final Destination. The two met back in March 2020 when their respective games Doom Eternal and Animal Crossing: New Horizons launched on the same day. With the vast differences between their two lines of work, the pairing was regarded as little more than an accidental meeting of polar opposites. But what started as a joke quickly became serious as memes of the two spread throughout the internet, sparking rumors that there was more to this unlikely couple — rumors the couple themselves were more than happ
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Google revealed a new second-generation Pixel Stand wireless charger on Tuesday. The new charger offers charging speeds of up to 23W with “compatible Pixel phones” and up to 15W with other Qi-certified devices. To keep the stand cool while it’s charging at those higher speeds, the new Pixel Stand has a “nearly silent built-in fan,” which could be similar to the fans inside recent OnePlus chargers. We haven’t used the stand ourselves, though, so we’ll have to wait and see if the fan is as quiet as Google claims it will be. Like Google’s first Pixel Stand, the second-generation version is designed to let your phone sit in portrait mode. That could make it easier to keep up with texts and notifications as they come in. The new Pixel Stand will cost $79, though the charger’s Google Store page doesn’t give a specific release date. You can’t order it yet, though Google says it’s “coming soon.” Developing… we’re adding more to this post, but you can follow along with our Pixel 6 event live blog to get the news even faster. Related:
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The final version of Android 12 has been available to developers and eager fans for a few weeks on AOSP, but today, it officially launched for people who want to easily pick up the update over the air. It’s available to install right now on Pixel 3 and up, including the Pixel 3A, Pixel 4, Pixel 4A, Pixel 4A 5G, the Pixel 5, and the Pixel 5A. It’ll launch on the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, as well. Android 12 will be coming later this year to Samsung Galaxy, OnePlus, Oppo, Realme, Tecno, Vivo, and Xiaomi devices. The most noticeable feature in Android 12 is the new Material You design, which lets you go a little deeper to tweak the look of the homescreen to your liking. It’s more expressive than previous versions of Android, with tools to let you coordinate colors that can extend across app icons, pull-down menus, widgets, and more. Speaking of widgets, many of those have been updated to match the new look, and Google shared today that by the end of October, it plans to have over a dozen new or refreshed widgets available for its first-party apps. A look at some of the new widgets made for Android 12. Image: Google There are plenty of other features in Android 12, and you can read more about them in my review of the software. Google also published a blog that goes deep on the features you’ll be able to experience. But if you’re mainly interested in Material You, you should know that Google says it’s a “Pixel-first” feature, though it will be coming to “more device makers and phones soon.” It’s likely that Pixel phones will r
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Today at its Pixel Fall Launch event, after many pre-announcements and leaks, Google finally announced all the details of the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. Some of the biggest changes to these new flagship phones from Google are updated camera modules. Pixel phones were long the champions of smartphone photography, but Google has been resting on its laurels for a while, using the same 12.2-megapixel Sony IMX363 sensor from Pixel 3 through Pixels 5 and 5A. Now, the main cameras of the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro house a 50-megapixel sensor that is larger than its predecessors and bins the images down to a 12.5-megapixel output. Google claims it can capture 150 percent more light than the Pixel 5. Following the iPhone playbook, both Pixels feature ultrawide lenses with 12-megapixel sensors while the 6 Pro adds a third, telephoto lens with 4x optical zoom coupled to 48 megapixels of resolution. On the front, the Pixel 6’s selfie cam is 8 megapixels with an 84-degree field of view, while the 6 Pro is 11.1 megapixels and 94 degrees for easier group selfies. The rear camera setup is quite the departure from prior Pixels, where the commodity hardware of Pixel cameras allowed Google to focus squarely on software optimization. Some Pixel iterations added or removed an extra lens or two, but each relied mostly on computational features. Those software developments have brought new features to the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro as well. Google claims its reengineered Portrait Mode can better render different
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Google Pixel Pass is a new subscription bundle designed to let US customers pay for a Pixel phone in monthly installments while also getting access to Google’s premium subscription services like 200GB of Google One cloud storage, YouTube Premium, YouTube Music Premium, and Google Play Pass. Prices start at $45 a month for Pixel 6 or $55 for a Pixel 6 Pro, and Google says they’re available unlocked and should work with all major carriers. Pixel Pass subscribers are eligible for an upgrade after two years, Google says, and the subscription also includes an extra year of warranty coverage
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Google’s new Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro are freshly announced, and they’re already up for preorder. The new Pixels promise to offer the latest from Google, including new designs, new cameras, a new and uniquely designed Google Tensor CPU, and more. This year’s Pixel phones come in two flavors: the standard Pixel 6 and the larger, triple-camera equipped Pixel 6 Pro. The base Pixel 6 with 128GB of storage starts at a price of $599, while the Pixel 6 Pro runs $899 and up if you prefer to go above the base 128GB. Google has already kicked off its preorders on its own store, and other retai
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The biggest Pixel in years — literally By Oct 19, 2021, 12:40pm EDT Image: Google After leaks and pre-annoucements, ads and ye
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Smart home company Wyze has revealed its latest category-breaking device, and this time, it’s going straight for Ring’s lunch with an impressive-sounding video doorbell that checks pretty much all the right boxes. Except maybe the “cool style and nice design” one. Available for preorders on October 19th and shipping in December, the Wyze Video Doorbell Pro costs $65 (plus shipping), can be installed fully wired or wire-free, has up to six months of battery life, and a 1:1 aspect ratio that can take in your entire front porch. It records and streams video in 1440 x 1440 HD and offers 12-second clip playback for motion and sound events for free. The recordings are stored in Wyze’s cloud; there is no local storage option. The doorbell comes with a Wyze wireless Chime, which offer
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Apple’s new MacBook Pros are here, and they may actually live up to the “Pro” moniker. But there’s one big question that comes with the new sizes and processors: how’s the battery life? To hear Apple tell it, it’s going to be great — the company even said onstage that the 16-inch had the best battery life ever, besting last year’s M1 Macs (which it also boasted would have the longest-lived batteries). But the metric Apple used to back up that claim is a bit suspect, and its other numbers tell a very different story. In its keynote and press release, Apple says the 14-inch MacBook Pro will provide 17 hours of video playback and estimates that the 16-inch model can last for an unprecedented-for-Macs 21 hours. But using video playback as a measure of battery life is really
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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge The Facebook outage shut down an entire economy of informal work By Oct 19, 2021, 12:15pm EDT The day before a job, Luiza Ferreira always messages her client on WhatsApp to confirm they need her services. Ferreira is a cleaner in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and she cleans different households every day. If the job is confirmed, she knows she won’t be wasting money on
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You may soon be able to watch your local teams’ home games without cable TV, as the MLB is considering launching a web-based streaming service that will do exactly that (via New York Post). Shrinking viewership rates may be the main factor behind the potential streaming service. As the New York Post points out, the MLB viewership has dropped 12 percent this year in comparison to 2019. The MLB already offers MLB.TV, a streaming service for out-for-market games. Unlike MLB.TV, the planned streaming service will only focus on local games that you can currently only view via regional cable. MLB.TV would still be available if and when the new streaming service launches. Having both MLB.TV and the new service would, in theory, let you view both local and out-of-market games without paying
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For the next 48 hours, NZXT is giving 10 percent off all of its pre-built BLD systems. This includes its pre-fab configurations, as well as any custom-tailored builds. With PC parts at something of a premium right now, a sale like this is fantastic for anyone that’s been biding their time on investing in a new PC. Pre-builts are the easiest way to currently get your hands on a new GPU without having to spend an absolute mint, and with NZXT’s BLD service, you also get the added benefit of a two-year warranty on parts and labor, as well as guaranteed performance right out of the box. While NZXT has been in the pre-built PC game for a while now, a new service it’s offering is the NZXT BLD kit. This is the first time a major PC manufacturer has offered a service like this and sounds
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The new Apple Music Voice plan that Apple announced at its “Unleashed” event on Monday is causing some confusion. I’m here to help you understand this new, cheaper option, which capitalizes on the power of Apple’s smart voice assistant, Siri (don’t laugh). Put simply, the Apple Music Voice plan is a voice control-only access to the service’s catalog of 90 million songs. It arrives later this year, and with it, you can play everything — full albums, individual songs, Apple’s playlists; it’s all-you-can-eat Apple Music. The caveat is you have to use your voice to control it, and you have to play it through a Siri-enabled device, such as a HomePod Mini (now in some spiffy new colors), AirPods, or an iPhone. What it is not is a fee to use Siri to play your own music. If yo
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Instagram is kicking off a week of product reveals with the announcement of “Collabs,” a new feature that lets two users jointly share ownership of a single feed post or Reel. Tomorrow, it’s following this up by testing a new way to add a nonprofit fundraiser to a post, and finally on Thursday it’s rolling out the ability to create photo and video posts on desktop, as well as launching new music-focused effects for Reels. The new Collabs feature effectively allows two accounts to co-author a post or Reel. The post or Reel will appear jointly to each user’s followers and will share the same comment thread, as well as view and like counts. Collabs are enabled from the tagging screen, after which the second account will have to accept the invite.
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Although the Wear OS watch market has been dominated by the likes of Fossil for many years now, Casio has quietly carved out a niche for itself as a purveyor of more rugged devices. The Japanese company first released its Smart Outdoor Watch all the way back in 2016 and has continued to iterate on the idea with Pro Trek-branded models. All this time, though, there was one obvious question. Why hasn’t Casio made a G-Shock smartwatch? G-Shock is one of the most iconic watch brands in the world and has long had a strong association with streetwear culture. Unlike, say, Tag Heuer, whose Swiss luxury always seemed like an odd fit for smartwatches, many G-Shock models are both status symbols and relatively accessible digital pieces at the same time. It doesn’t make much sense for most pe
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Facebook is finally starting to roll out a “small pilot” of its Novi digital wallet today in the US and Guatemala, more than two years after it was first announced. The pilot program will let users send and receive money “instantly, securely, and with no fees” using the Paxos stablecoin, in partnership with Coinbase (which will be serving as the custody partner that holds the actual funds for the pilot). According to Facebook’s David Marcus, the head of F2 (Facebook Financial), the pilot is meant to “test core feature functions, and operational capabilities in customer care and compliance,” in addition to trying to demonstrate a viable use of stablecoins for payments. Remittances are a critical way to achieve financial inclusion. Today, we’re rolling out a small pilo
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A missed opportunity By Oct 19, 2021, 10:30am EDT Latin America isn’t a common destination in video games. In the few instances where digital landscapes have taken place in the region, results have been mixed. Characters often fall into the trope of saying random Spanish words during conversations to remind us of their nationality. Local socio-political issues are rarely handled with the proper nuance, while cultural portrayals can be hit or m
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Facebook moderators are protesting low wages at contracting agency Accenture in the form of a mobile billboard and an internal letter, according to a tip received by The Verge. Most of all, moderators say they just want to be treated as humans. The content moderators, who are contracted by Accenture, will run a mobile billboard today targeting Accenture CEO Julie Sweet. The billboard features a picture of Sweet, along with a prominent statement that reads: “Julie Sweet stop exploiting your workers. Pay up. Clean it up. Fix it.” Sweet made a total of $17 million in 2020 alone, a sum that shot up drastically from 2019. The mobile billboard will start its journey in Bethesda, Maryland, the very place that Sweet resides, and come to a stop in Washington, DC.
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If you buy something from a Verge link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement. The Facebook Portal Go is a portable smart display designed to make video calling in your home easier. The irony of a product that purports to bring people together being made by a company whose algorithms often drive people apart is not lost on anyone. Personally, I have friends I will not be enjoying Messenger video calls on the Portal Go with because I unfriended them on Facebook so I wouldn’t need to in real life. But for the rest of my Friends list, the Portal Go has been a surprisingly fun device to use to stay in touch. That time my 76-year-old mother and I competed at eating virtual donuts in an augmented reality Messenger Room — opening our mouths as wide as possible as we bore
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Microsoft Flight Simulator: Game of the Year Edition is arriving on November 18th with DirectX 12 support. The free update will include five new aircraft, eight new airports, and new discovery flights and tutorials. The big addition will be DirectX 12 support for PC players. Asobo, the developers of Microsoft Flight Simulator, already shipped an update earlier this year that included huge PC performance improvements. This new DirectX 12 update should improve things even further for certain PCs, as DirectX 12 includes better CPU utilization. The move to DirectX 12 will also open the door to ray tracing in Microsoft Flight Simulator in the future. Effects should include better water, improved shadows, and the usual reflections we expect to see in ray-traced games. Asobo is also introducing an updated weather system and a dev mode replay system in this upcoming update. Microsoft Flight Simulator: Game of the Year Edition also includes access to a separate Reno Air Races mode that lets players race against their friends and other online pilots in a competitive multiplayer mode. The Reno Air Races expansion pack is the first major expansion for Microsoft Flight Simulator and is modeled on the famous STIHL National Championship Air Races. It’s a busy period for Xbox Game Studios. Image: Microsoft Microsoft Flight Simulator: Game of the Year Edition will launch on November 18th, just after Forza Horizon 5’s debut on November 9th and ahead of the Halo: Infinite release on December 8th. It’s part of a series of Xbox Game Studios launches this f
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Google’s virtual event is set for 1PM ET / 10AM PT on October 19th Contributors: Verge Staff Google may have already announced the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, but it looks like the company may still have a few more surprises in store for us — or at least a few more details. Despite announcing the new phones earlier this year, the tech giant will hold a virtual Pixel event on October 19th at 1PM ET / 10AM PT. During the “Pixel Fall Launch” event, we anticipate we’ll learn more about the new phones and their respective specs. The company may also announce a new subscription bundle called “Pixel Pass,” which would add an extended warranty and premium subscriptions to Google services like YouTube to the new Pixel phones. We expect Google will explore the Pixel 6’s new Tensor SoC chipset in more detail, too, much of which still remains a mystery. Reports indicate that Google’s first in-house chip consists of a combination of new cores and weaker old ones — an unusual design choice we may finally understand. Other event highlights are less certain. Could we get a glimpse of Google’s first folding Pixel phone, the Pixel Fold? Possibly. After a mid-2020 leak suggested the company may release it in late 2021, a more recent report indicates Samsung will start producing folding OLED panels this month for the new device. Earlier this month, Google also said Android 12 will roll out to Pixel devices in the “next few
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This week I’m talking to Jeep CEO Christian Meunier — and there’s a lot to talk about. Jeep just announced its second hybrid electric vehicle in the US, the Grand Cherokee 4xe. It also announced a plan for its first electric car in 2023 and to have EVs across the line by 2025, which is very soon. And it’s now part of a huge global car company called Stellantis. So I wanted to know: why start with hybrids, instead of jumping straight to EVs? What does it mean to be the CEO of a brand like Jeep inside of a huge international company like Stellantis? How does the Jeep team make decisions about features and technology, and how much do they have to defer to a larger parent company? And what does it mean for Jeep, one of the most iconic American car brands, to be part of a huge global company now? Christian and I talked about all of that, as well as how the chip shortage is affecting Jeep, what cars will look like in 2040, and Jeep’s use of the name “Cherokee” in 2021. Yeah, this interview goes places. This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity. Christian Meunier, you’re the global CEO of Jeep and you are on the Stellantis executive board. Welcome to Decoder. Thank you for the invitation. It’s an honor and a pleasure for me to talk about the brand I’m leading. I’m very excited to have this opportunity to share everything and the technology in the pipeline for Jeep. You’ve just announced a new plug-in hybrid Grand Cherokee and you announced you will offer hybrid options across the lineup by 2025. You also said there are some prototypes of full electric vehicles. So there’s quite a bit to talk about. But I want to start with some very basic questions — I think of them as the Decoder questions. Jeep was part of Chrysler, which was then merged into Fiat Chrysler, which was then merged with Peugeot to create Stellantis. Stellantis is a huge company. Tell me how Stellantis is structured — how does it work? Because it seems like a gigantic company with some very famous brands, and I always wonder how it works with a structure like that. What kind of decisions do you get to make and what ki
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All the buzz of yesterday’s Apple Mac event and today’s Google Pixel launch might fall a little bit flat if you’re a Samsung fan. While there is an Unpacked 2 event set for Wednesday, we’re not expecting any major new announcements aside from some fun color customization options. In the meantime, a big highlight of today is Best Buy’s deal on the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3, knocking $150 off an unlocked model of your choice. The Galaxy Z Flip 3 is the latest model of Samsung’s normal-phone-that-folds-into-an-extra-small-phone form factor. Upon its release just two months ago, the Z Flip 3 immediately became the foldable phone to get, with a much more aggressive price compared to its Fold 3 brethren: $1,000. Now you can get it unlocked from Best Buy in phantom black, green, lavender, or cream colorways for just $850. Amazon is matching the price as well. Read our review. Note that the Best Buy deals in this roundup are price-protected through November 26th (the yellow banner that says Black Friday Price Guarantee is what to look for), so if the price drops even more, the retailer will credit you the difference between now and then. If you’re not in the Samsung camp of Android phones, there might be another deal worth your while. The OnePlus 9 Pro 5G is $270 off tod
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Happy Tuesday, y’all. Welcome to the week. As I mentioned in my Thursday Hot Pod Insider, I saw Dune on Friday — loved it. I didn’t know this movie was only part one of two, though! Unfair! Anyway, the podcast news is trickling out this week, and by trickle, I truly mean a drop or two for us to savor, so today’s a fairly short one. Insiders will get more on Thursday and Friday. Reminder that if you want to keep up with all the audio news fit for a newsletter, you can subscribe here. I’m sure your boss will be happy to expense it. On we go! Public radio + print newspapers = love ?? Our Insiders got an early peek at this on Friday, but for the rest of you, Aria Bracci, my fellow Hot Pod writer, wrote about how public radio stations are throwing print newspapers a lifeline. Newspapers have something public media wants: time-worn reporters with a knack for sniffing out local stories, particularly in the true crime vein. While public media has something newspapers want: a way to raise money — memberships — and nonprofit status. The synergy between the two is most recently playing out with my hometown public media company Chicago Public Media, owner of WBEZ, and the Chicago Sun-Times (I grew up in a Tribune household, for what it’s worth). The two media entities are currently in talks to merge, and to quote the story, here are the stakes: “Since 2004, US newspapers have shut down at a rate of 100 per year, a pace that’s only accelerated since the start of the pandemic. To stay afloat, some smaller newsrooms have given up independence, being bought by news conglomerates or becoming joint entities with other local outlets — and public radio and TV stations have increasingly offered themselves up as partners. New York Public Radio acquiring the website Gothamist was one of nine similar deals in recent years, triggering researchers to document the trend by creating the Public Media Mergers Project. Public radio has been a particularly strong force, holding its ground amid digitization and the podcasting craze (partially because it’s participated in it), and it might be strong enough to help print do the same thing.” Podcasting to the rescue! C
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Amazon has announced that, beginning today, Amazon Music Unlimited subscribers will be able to listen to spatial audio music tracks with their favorite headphones with the Amazon Music app for Android and iOS. The company is supporting two formats of spatial audio: Dolby Atmos (which is also offered by Apple Music) and Sony’s 360 Reality Audio. The Atmos mixes are provided by record labels, so the “immersive, multidimensional audio experience” should be largely similar between Amazon and Apple’s services — with the exception of head tracking, which Amazon doesn’t support. Apple’s new third-gen AirPods, AirPods Pro, and AirPods Max all have the option for dynamic head tracking, which provides a unique sound experience as you move your head in various directions. Amazon has offered spatial audio since 2019, but it was limited to a short list of devices including the Echo Studio and Sony’s SRS-RA5000. Now it’ll work with whatever pair of headphones you’ve got. You’ll see an Atmos or 360 badge in the Amazon Music app when playing spatial audio tracks. Like Apple, Tidal, and others that have gone in on the experience, Amazon claims spatial audio delivers a “multidimensional audio experience, adding space, clarity, and depth that is not achievable with traditional stereo music.” But as I found when sampling Apple Music’s initial batch of spatial audio tracks, quality can vary wildly and producers / artists need to put some work into Atmos mixes for them to sound their best. Also starting today, Amazon Music subscribers will get access to lossless HD and hi-res Ultra HD audio tracks without having to upgrade their account to do so. Amazon dropped the extra premium it had been charging for lossless on the same day that Apple began streaming the high-quality files, but you still technically had to add the feature to your account. Now it’ll just be a regular part of the service for all Amazon Music Unlimited subscribers. Amazon says it has over 75 million songs available in the CD-quality HD tier and “millions” in Ultra HD. Amazon Music Unlimited is priced at $9.99 per month (or $7.99 for Prime subscribers). The cheaper single devi
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With the number of leaks and pre-announcements for the Google Pixel 6, it may seem like the phones should already be here by now. Thanks to Google, we already know the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro exist, what they will look like, and that they will use a Google-designed CPU. We also have an idea what the camera specs will be, what the new wireless charging stand probably looks like, and even what’s inside, courtesy of a teardown video that has since been removed. The only thing left is for Google to fill out the remaining details we don’t know and launch the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro. Google has one of t
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Microsoft now has more than 100 games on Xbox Game Pass that support Xbox touch controls. The software giant is adding 13 titles to the list of touch-enabled games today, bringing the total to beyond 100 — a new milestone for Xbox Game Pass. Touch-enabled games allow Xbox Game Pass members to stream games on Windows PCs, iOS devices, and Android phones and tablets without a controller. Developers have created custom on-screen controls, added gyro aim controls, and lots more to improve the experience of just using a touchscreen to play games. Touch controls first started rolling out alongs
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Apple’s new 140W charging brick, which works with a new MagSafe charging cable to power the new 16-inch MacBook Pro, uses the USB-C Power Delivery 3.1 standard, Apple has confirmed to The Verge. As well as being included with the new 16-inch MacBook Pro, the brick is available separately for $99 (not including the USB-C-to-MagSafe cable, which costs an extra $49). Meanwhile, the new 14-inch MacBook Pros come with 67W and 96W chargers, depending on the exact model. Using the USB-C PD 3.1 standard means Apple’s new charging brick will be cross compatible with other devices that use the same power delivery standard, which was announced earlier this year alongside the USB Type-C Release 2.1 specification. It also means that MacBook owners have the flexibility of using compatible third-party charging bricks with the new MacBooks. The 140W charger has a single USB-C port. Image: Apple That hasn’t been the case with some USB-C laptop fast chargers in the past, which have had to go off-spec to offer charging speeds over 100W (the previous cap on the USB-C Power Delivery spec). My colleague Sean Hollister, for example, has a Dell dock that outputs 130W, but it won’t work with other laptops because there previously wasn’t an open standard to support it. As well as its use of the USB-C PD 3.1 standard, Apple also confirmed that the brick is its first gallium nitride (GaN) charger, which means it’s using the material that allows companies to build higher-powered chargers that are smaller in size than their traditional counterparts. As well as the specs of the charging brick, Apple also confirmed that any of the new MacBooks’ Thunderbolt 4 ports can be used to charge the laptops. On the 14-inch MacBook Pro, these ports can be used for fast charging; but fast charging the 16-inch MacBook Pro requires using MagSafe 3 and the 140W adapter because the Thunderbolt 4 predates the USB-C PD 3.1 standard and tops out at 100W. Lower wattage chargers will be able to provide power to the MacBooks, but Apple says charging may be slower or could even result in power drain if the laptop is using more power than it’s being provided. Additionally, Apple says that the magnets used in the MagSafe 3 connector are stronger than the previous gene
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Raspberry Pi is releasing an add-on that will let you use many of its tiny, inexpensive computers to control certain Lego robot motors and sensors. The add-on is called the Build HAT (HAT stands for Hardware Attached on Top), and slotting it onto a Raspberry Pi’s GPIO pins will give you four ports that you can use to control Lego Education’s SPIKE components, which the HAT and its software are specially designed for. It’ll also connect to most other parts that use an LPF2 connector, including the components from the Lego Mindstorms robot inventor kit. There’s also a Python library (basically a set of commands you can use to control the robot) available to go alongside the HAT, which will let you write software to control the robot parts you’ve got hooked up. Programing Lego’s SPIKE components with Python isn’t a unique selling feature from Raspberry Pi — the SPIKE kit comes with a hub that supports connecting six devices (compared to the Build HAT’s four) that can also store and run Python programs. However, you’re going to get more flexibility with a Raspberry Pi. You have to program Lego’s hub using a separate computer or iPad, whereas the Build HAT will be attached to its own computer that you can likely plug a keyboard, mouse, and monitor into, depending on which Raspberry Pi you’re using. The SPIKE Hub also only has LPF2 ports (though it has six, compared to the Build HAT’s four), whereas the Pi has GPIO pins that you can use to connect other devices, electronics, and sensors. That gives you a ton of flexibility in what you can add to your robots. The Build HAT also will let you control your motors and sensors at a lower level if that s
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Fortnite’s big Halloween event, Fortnitemares, is making its return. But this year’s edition comes with a fun twist: one-time Fortnite performer Ariana Grande is now officially part of the game’s lore, with a questline that turns her into “the galaxy’s greatest monster hunter.” The event runs from today until November 2nd, and — in keeping with this season’s theme — it’s centered on the ever-present cubes that now dominate Fortnite’s island. The story event is called “The Wrath of the Cube Queen,” and developer Epic describes it like this: Since Fortnitemares began (and even before), the cubes have been mobilizing. Their migration towards the island’s center wasn’t just to spread corruption — they’re now at the center forming the Convergence. What is the purpose of this mysterious structure? You’ve come across the cubes and fought back the cube monsters, but a new force has joined their ranks: Caretakers are the Cube Queen’s strongest warriors yet. Tall, foreboding, shadowy apparitions, their spectral tendrils pull you directly into the sideways for a showdown on their home turf. Survive a Caretaker’s assault and you’ll walk away all the richer. Things don’t end there. The Cube Queen’s wrath has given rise to a new sideways weapon — the sinister sideways scythe — as well as returning items like witch brooms and the pumpkin rocket launcher. Use the scythe and these wicked supplies to hold your own in battle. The event wil
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The Chicago Sun-Times needs help. After being bought and sold several times over the last decade, the 73-year-old paper is looking for a more stable home to continue its award-winning reporting — and it may have finally found it in an unexpected place: a radio station. Chicago Public Media, which owns the radio station WBEZ, is currently in talks with the Sun-Times to merge. A final deal would combine their newsrooms and audiences in hopes of creating a financially stable enterprise for both teams. Similar mergers and acquisitions have become a common way to bolster the struggling print industry, but if radio were to take on a major newspaper, that would be a first. “Audio is a growth business,” says Jim Friedlich, chief executive of The Lenfest Institute for Journalism, who advised CPM on the potential merger. “Now Chicago Public Media and other media with audio roots have both the wherewithal and the self-confidence to take a bold step like this.” Since 2004, US newspapers have shut down at a rate of 100 per year, a pace that’s only accelerated since the start of the pandemic. To stay afloat, some smaller newsrooms have given up independence, being bought by news conglomerates or becoming joint entities with other local outlets — and public radio and TV stations have increasingly offered themselves up as partners. New York Public Radio acquiring the website Gothamist was one of nine similar deals in recent years, triggering researchers to document the trend by creating the Public Media Mergers Project. Public radio has been a particularly strong force, holding its ground amid digitization and the podcasting craze (partially because it’s participated in it), and it might be strong enough to help print do the same thing. WBEZ may be particularly well suited to supporting the Sun-Times. The station is a big name, pulling in 550,000 weekly broadcast listeners, according to CEO Matt Moog, while also being the audio house that brought us Wait Wait... Don’t Tell Me! and This American Life. Moog tells me the organization has been “breakeven or better for the past seven years, even through the pandemic.” Part of the financial health of public media stations in general involves the financial perks of being a nonprofit. Listeners and viewers are incentivized to donate since contributions are tax-deductible, and the organizations are exempt from corporate income taxes (as well as sales and property taxes, in some cases). They can apply for grants reserved for nonprofits while reserving the right to pull at heartstrings — and wallets — by saying their programming is funded by “viewers like you.” In addition to more than a dozen or so public-media mergers in the past decade, there have also been cases of newspapers converting to or becoming affiliated with a nonprofit without the support of NPR or PBS affiliates in order to access these exact benefits. Newspaper closures, on the other hand, have been attributed to fewer paid subscriptions, as consumers flock to free sites and social media, and the resulting disinterest of advertisers. Between 2008 and 2018, it’s estimated that advertising revenue for newspapers dropp
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At 1PM ET, Google will try its best to convince millions of people to buy a Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro instead of Apple’s iPhone 13 or a Samsung Galaxy. Will it work? That depends on whether Google does something it’s never managed to do with a phone launch: fire on every cylinder. The Google Pixel has never been the it phone, the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink phone, the phone early adopters crave. Samsung originally cornered the Android side of that market with the Galaxy Note, and it was 2017 when Apple crossed the $1,000 mark with the iPhone X and followed it up with the pricey Pro and Pro Max. Google has arguably never had a truly flagship phone to call its own: while the search giant’s incredible camera software has made the Pixel punch above its weight for years, the company’s otherwise been competing in the budget flagship tier. The Pixel, Pixel 2, Pixel 3, and Pixel 5 were all priced to take on an entry-level iPhone, instead of shooting for the moon — which makes some sense, considering how little in the way of marketing, carrier partnerships and raw hardware prowess Google could muster for each. While Google has arguably had a hand in every flagship Android phone release going back to the T-Mobile G1 / HTC Dream in 2008 and the Nexus program from 2010 to 2015, it was never in charge of its destiny to the degree an Apple or even Samsung is today. Until 2019’s Pixel 3a, every Google phone relied on a revolving door of third-party smartphone manufacturers for its hardware stack, including Motorola, HTC, LG, and Huawei. The budget Pixel 3A was the first device to find a sales niche by bringing Google’s excellent camera to a $399 phone (briefly winning an estimated 0.4 percent marketshare). It was also the first phone that was fully developed by a Google team including former HTC designers and engineers. (The company acqui-hired them for $1.1 billion in 2018.) After the failure of the Pixel 4, that Pixel 3A’s balance of simplistic design, capable camera and mid-range features has informed every subsequent Google phone launch — until now. Google has been signaling for months that the Pixel 6 is a turning point. The Google phone is premium again. We haven’t seen Google-branded hardware this comparatively ambitious since the priciest Nexus phones, and we likely haven’t seen a marketing budget this big since the very first Pixel, if ever. Google hardware boss Rick Osterloh told us in August that the company is “ready to invest a lot in marketing” in order to grow the brand, and the budget was apparently significant enough for CFO Ruth Porat to namedrop it on an earnings call. The Pixel 6 design. GIF: Google The Pixel 6 and 6 Pro also have a design like no other phones, placing their multiple cameras into a huge camera bar reminiscent of a Star Wars droid, with a distinctive pop of color up top. The reported presence of a new 50-megapixel camera that pulls in 150 percent more light shows that Google’s finally moving forward, alongside a wide-angle sensor and a 4x periscope zoom on the Pro — whi
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It’s still not a full trailer, but Netflix showed off the best look yet at its upcoming live-action Cowboy Bebop adaptation in a new teaser to celebrate the one-month countdown to the show’s debut on November 19th. Like the previous teasers for the show (which so far have included stills and the opening credits), the latest video, titled “Cowboy Bebop: The Lost Session,” isn’t actually made up of footage from the show but does show off the key trio of Spike Spiegel (John Cho), Jet Black (Mustafa Shakir), and Faye Valentine (Daniella Pineda) in action as they hunt down a bounty, get some noodles, and fight through an army of thugs. That said, it's a very fun teaser, shot with k
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Dbrand has revealed a brand-new design for its PS5 Darkplates just days after yanking the originals from sale. If you weren’t familiar with the original Darkplates, they looked exactly like the
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Apple has updated the iMovie app for Macs to let users edit and adjust the focus in videos recorded using the iPhone 13’s new “cinematic mode” — though you’ll need to wait until you can update to the latest macOS Monterey on October 25th to take advantage. Introduced in September with the latest clutch of iPhones, cinematic mode uses machine learning to automatically pull focus to the key part of a frame (usually whatever face is biggest and turned towards the camera). It also lets people tap their phone screen to adjust the focal point while recording, and during playback after the video has been shot. Now, iMovie users who have the latest macOS Monterey will be able to make t
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As the Steam Deck’s December 2021 launch approaches, Valve is taking time to make sure gamers know which titles will work on its portable machine. While its site still promises “Your Steam Libr
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