Google kills YouTube Originals, its original video content group

Google kills YouTube Originals, its original video content group

Enlarge (credit: YouTube)

Variety reports that Google’s original video content group, YouTube Originals, is dead. The YouTube division was founded six years ago to make exclusive, original content for the pay-per-month YouTube Premium service. Now, the group is being shuttered, and YouTube’s global head of original content, Susanne Daniels, is leaving the company in March.

Just after the news broke, YouTube Chief Business Officer Robert Kyncl posted a statement on Twitter:

YouTube is the web’s de facto video site, but Google still tends to chase any hot new web video trend that appears. YouTube Shorts is a clone of TikTok. YouTube Gaming is a clone of Twitch. YouTube Stories was meant to be an answer to Snapchat. YouTube Originals was a swipe at Netflix, which, in 2016, was turning heads with award-winning shows like House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black. Back then, the $12-per-month YouTube Premium started life as “YouTube Red,” and its offerings were called YouTube Red Originals.

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#tech, #youtube, #youtube-originals

Some Roku smart TVs are now showing banner ads over live TV

A Roku streaming box. It seems these ads aren't appearing on Roku's own hardware like this device; instead, they're appearing on TVs that license Roku's software platform.

Enlarge / A Roku streaming box. It seems these ads aren’t appearing on Roku’s own hardware like this device; instead, they’re appearing on TVs that license Roku’s software platform.

Some Roku smart TV owners are seeing banner ads appear over live content, according to a thread on the r/cordcutters subreddit.

A user named p3t3or posted the following message:

Welp, this is the last time I purchase or recommend a Roku. After a Sleep Number commercial, I just got a Roku ad sidebar while watching live TV. Really loved the Roku experience up until now, but this is a deal breaker.

The message was accompanied by the following photo:

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#advertising, #reddit, #roku, #roku-os, #sharp, #smart-tv, #tech, #tv

Microsoft fixes Patch Tuesday bug that broke VPN in Windows 10 and 11

Microsoft fixes Patch Tuesday bug that broke VPN in Windows 10 and 11

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson)

Microsoft’s monthly Patch Tuesday updates for Windows are generally meant to fix problems, but that isn’t how it always goes. January’s updates, released last week, caused a handful of problems for businesses in particular. The most serious, especially for people still dealing with pandemic-driven remote-work setups, was a bug that broke certain kinds of VPN connections. Microsoft has provided fixes for this and other issues as of today, a few days after acknowledging the problem on its Known Issues page.

According to Microsoft’s documentation and reporting from Bleeping Computer, the VPN connection issues affected “IPSEC connections which contain a Vendor ID,” as well as L2TP and IPSEC IKE VPN connections in Windows 10, Windows 11, and Windows Server versions 2022, 20H2, 2019, and 2016. Windows’ built-in VPN client seems to be the most commonly affected, but third-party VPN clients using these kinds of connections could also run into the error.

The latest round of Patch Tuesday updates also caused some problems for Windows Server, including unexpected reboots for domain controllers and failed boots for Hyper-V virtual machines. These problems have all been resolved by other out-of-band patches, though not before causing problems for beleaguered IT admins.

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#biz-it, #microsoft, #patch-tuesday, #tech

Samsung announces Exynos 2200 with AMD “Xclipse” GPU

The Exynos 2200. There's an AMD GPU in there.

Enlarge / The Exynos 2200. There’s an AMD GPU in there. (credit: Samsung)

The bizarre story of the Exynos 2200 continues. Samsung LSI’s flagship smartphone chip was supposed to be announced a week ago at a widely publicized event, but the day came and went with no announcement. Samsung made the unprecedented move of no-showing its own launch event, fueling rumors of troubled chip development and behind-the-scenes dysfunction at Samsung.

The day after the chip was supposed to launch, Samsung said, “We are planning to unveil the new application processor at the time of launching a new Samsung smartphone,” which most watchers assumed was the Galaxy S22 launch in February. It turns out that wasn’t the right timing for the unveiling, either, and the chip was surprise-announced last night.

Now, the Exynos 2200 is finally official. The headline feature is a new “Samsung Xclipse 920 GPU” that was co-developed by AMD. Samsung says the GPU uses AMD’s RDNA 2 architecture, the same as AMD’s Radeon desktop GPUs, and will bring “hardware-accelerated ray tracing” to mobile devices.

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Report: Apple’s first AR/VR headset faces delays

The "Sword of Damocles" head-mounted display, the original augmented reality headset, circa 1968.

Enlarge / The “Sword of Damocles” head-mounted display, the original augmented reality headset, circa 1968. (credit: Ivan Sutherland)

Apple may delay the launch of its first mixed reality headset, according to Bloomberg.

Multiple sources had previously claimed that the device was likely to launch in 2022, and Apple seemed poised to introduce its new mixed reality platform to developers at the company’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) this June.

But according to “people familiar with the situation” with whom Bloomberg reporters Mark Gurman, Takashi Mochizuki, and Debby Wu spoke, the announcement of the new headset could fall to “the end of 2022 or later, with the product hitting shelves by 2023.”

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#apple, #apple-vision, #ar, #augmented-reality, #bloomberg, #mark-gurman, #mixed-reality, #tech, #virtual-reality, #vr, #xr

The PinePhone Pro brings upgraded hardware to the Linux phone

Promotional image of cutting-edge smartphone.

Enlarge / The PinePhone Pro is “the fastest mainline Linux smartphone on the market (credit: Pine64)

Pine64 is launching a major hardware upgrade in its quest to build a mainline Linux smartphone. After the launch of the original PinePhone in 2019, the organization is now taking preorders for the PinePhone Pro, a new smartphone it’s calling “the fastest mainline Linux smartphone on the market.” The phone was announced in October, and you can now secure a unit. The MSRP is $599, but it’s up for preorder now at an introductory price of $399.

Since Pine64 wants to make an open source Linux smartphone, its choice of hardware components is limited. Most big chip companies like Qualcomm or Samsung don’t want to share open drivers or schematics, and you saw that with the original PinePhone, which was based around a 40 nm Cortex A53 SoC made by Allwinner. The PinePhone Pro is upgrading things with a Rockchip RK3399 SoC. This sports two Cortex A72 CPUs and four Cortex A53 CPUs, and Pine64 says it worked with Rockchip to get the chip “binned and voltage locked for optimal performance with sustainable power and thermal limits.” Pine64 doesn’t list a process node, but other companies list the RK3399 at 28 nm. If that’s true and you’re looking for something roughly comparable in Qualcomm’s lineup, the Snapdragon 618/650 (a mid-range chip from 2016) would seem to fit the bill.

The phone has a 6-inch, 1440×720 LCD, 4GB of RAM, 128GB of eMMC storage, and a 3,000 mAh battery. There’s a USB-C port with 15 W charging, a headphone jack, a 13MP main camera, and a 8MP front camera. The back cover pops off, and inside the phone you’ll find a removable battery (whoa!), MicroSD slot, pogo pins, and a series of privacy dip switches that let you kill the modem, Wi-Fi/Bluetooth, microphone, rear camera, front camera, and headphones.

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#linux, #pinephone, #tech

Google wants to make it easier for you to send yourself files

Google wants to make it easier for you to send yourself files

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images)

Google recently released a feature that allows users to quickly send data, like photos or documents, to a nearby person with a Chromebook or Android device. Now, it appears developers are working on updating that feature so users can easily send data across their own devices.

Nearby Share came to Chrome OS devices in June and competes with similar technologies like Apple’s AirDrop. On Sunday, Chrome Story, a Chrome and Chrome OS-focused blog, spotted an “add feature flag” in the Chromium Gerrit referencing an addition to Nearby Share called Self Share. The feature “enables seamless sharing between a user’s own devices,” the flag reads.

Self Share would allow you to send data to yourself without the use of email or third-party cloud drives. Using Bluetooth, WebRTS, or peer-to-peer Wi-Fi, data should transfer to a nearby Chrome OS or Android device in seconds.

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#chrome-os, #chromebooks, #google, #laptops, #tech

The Pixel 6 gets its first stable update since November

The Pixel 6 Pro.

Enlarge / The Pixel 6 Pro. (credit: Ron Amadeo)

Google is getting back on the update horse for the Pixel 6. After numerous delays and a recalled update, the company finally got caught up on patches for its flagship smartphone this past weekend. Assuming everything goes well, this will be the first Pixel 6 update that has stuck since November.

Software updates are supposed to be a major selling point of the Pixel line, but Google hasn’t been doing so well delivering them. The phone shipped with the “November” Android security patch, and in the middle of November, Google patched the fingerprint reader. Early December should have brought the December security patch to the Pixel 6, but Google delayed that update to the middle of the month, saying that a mile-long list of bug fixes would be included with it. The December Pixel 6 update launched in the middle of the month, but Google didn’t push the update to most users. The company ended up pulling the update due to connectivity issues and some broken features. January rolled around with more security patches and a fix for Android’s emergency call issues, but the Pixel 6 didn’t get that patch on time, either, with Google saying that the update would be out in “late January.”

Well, the time has finally come. This past weekend, Google started releasing the January security patch out to Pixel 6 users. For most users, this will be the first patch since November. The update includes everything in the November and December Android security bulletins, plus these two sets of Pixel 6-specific bug fixes. The list goes on forever. The update is rolling out now, and I was able to pull it down on demand by hitting the “check for updates” button.

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Logitech Signature M650: A quiet wireless mouse for big, small, or left hands

Logitech Signature M650 in the rose colorway.

Enlarge / Logitech Signature M650 in the rose colorway. (credit: Scharon Harding)

Specs at a glance: Logitech Signature M650
Sensor Optical (model not disclosed)
Connectivity options Bluetooth Low Energy or 2.4 GHz dongle
Programmable buttons 3
Onboard profiles 0
Lighting None
Size Standard: 4.22×2.43×1.49 inches
(107.19×61.80×37.8 mm)
Large: 4.65×2.58×1.63 inches
(118.19×65.65×41.52 mm)
Weight Medium: 3.57 ounces (101.2 g)
Large: 3.92 ounces (111.2 g)
Warranty 1 year
Price (MSRP) $40
Other perks AA battery included
(Ars Technica may earn compensation for sales from links on this post through affiliate programs.)

Many mice offer very basic functionality—left-click, right-click, scroll wheel, and not much more. Others boast a range of programmable buttons, premium sensor specs, USB-C charging, and other features for power users. But what if you don’t need that extreme level of functionality but don’t want something cheap and bare-bones, either?

Released this past week, the Logitech Signature M650 wireless mouse is a middle-ground device that supports Windows, macOS, Linux, Chrome OS, iPadOS, and Android. It doesn’t have the most advanced features, but it isn’t basic, either. And by skipping some add-ons, like multiple Bluetooth profiles, the mouse is able to maintain an affordable $40 price point.

Logitech’s latest cord-free mouse also comes in three different versions: a standard size, a large size, and a large left-handed version, providing something for everyone—unless you have a smaller left hand, that is.

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#ars-shopping, #features, #gadgetology, #logitech, #logitech-m650, #mice, #tech, #wireless-mice

Harken back to the late 1990s with this re-creation of the dialup Internet experience

A demonstration of the late 1990s dialup experience using nearly period-accurate hardware, connecting to modern websites using outdated browsers over a 31.2kbit/s dialup connection. Be forewarned: page loads are in real time.

We all found our coping strategies for riding out the pandemic in 2020. Biomedical engineer Gough Liu likes to tinker with tech—particularly vintage tech—and decided he’d try to recreate what it was like to connect to the Internet via dialup back in the late 1990s. He recorded the entire process in agonizing real time, dotted with occasional commentary.

Those of a certain age (ahem) well remember what it used to be like: even just booting up the computer required patience, particularly in the earlier part of the decade, when one could shower and make coffee in the time it took to boot up one’s computer from a floppy disk. One needed a dedicated phone line for the Internet connection, because otherwise an incoming call could disrupt the connection, forcing one to repeat the whole dialup process all over again. Browsing the web was equally time-consuming back in the salad days of Netscape and Microsoft Explorer.

So much has changed since then, as the Internet has gone from a curiosity to a necessity, reshaping our culture in the process. As Liu noted on his blog:

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#archaic-technologies, #computers, #dial-up, #gaming-culture, #internet, #tech, #technology

EFF praises Android’s new 2G kill switch, wants Apple to follow suit

Stock photo of skull and crossbones on a smartphone screen.

Enlarge / This phone is receiving a 2G signal. (credit: Getty Images)

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is celebrating Google’s addition of a 2G kill switch to Android 12. The digital rights group has been campaigning against the dated, insecure 2G cellular standard since 2020, and Android is the first mobile OS to take the group’s advice and let users completely disable 2G.

In the US, carriers shut down 2G years ago, and the 3G shutdown is already underway. Phones have not really gotten the message, though, and modems still try to connect to any nearby 2G signals automatically. The problem is that 2G is very old, and it’s a lot like connecting to a WEP-secured Wi-Fi hotspot—the security is obsolete, so it’s easy to crack. If you’re in a country where legitimate uses of 2G are long dead, the standard only serves as an attack vector via fake cell phone towers, so why not just shut it off?

The EFF explains the issues:

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Microsoft Teams turns your phone into a walkie-talkie

Microsoft Teams turns your phone into a walkie-talkie

Enlarge (credit: Getty)

One of the hallmarks of Boost Mobile prepaid phones in the early 2000s was their push-to-talk (PTT), or walkie-talkie, feature, which allowed you to play your voice through another Boost Mobile user’s phone speaker with the push of a button. Microsoft is now bringing a similar feature to iOS and Android devices via its Teams app. However, Microsoft isn’t using rappers and athletes to try to make PTT seem “cool,” as Boost Mobile did. Instead, the company is positioning the feature as a way to use technology to aid frontline workers.

In a blog post on Wednesday, Emma Williams, corporate VP of modern work transformation at Microsoft, announced that the walkie-talkie ability in Teams is now available “on all iOS mobile devices, such as iPhones and iPads, in addition to Android mobile devices.”

Williams also said the feature will come to some Zebra Technologies devices, such as rugged phones or scanning devices. Such products may even have a button you can press to connect instantly, just like real walkie-talkies and Boost Mobile’s old PTT phones.

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#boost-mobile, #microsoft, #microsoft-teams, #tech

Android 13 leaks: More Material You options, opt-in to app notifications

Android 13 leaks: More Material You options, opt-in to app notifications

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images)

The very first Android 13 developer previews won’t be out until at least March, but that isn’t stopping Android 13 leaks from popping up already. Of course, more features will be revealed in the coming months, but Android 13 is already shaping up to be a solid release.

More Material You color options

The headline feature of Android 12 was “Material You,” a top-to-bottom redesign and dynamic theming system that automatically changed the UI colors depending on your wallpaper. Set a primarily yellow background and Material You will apply various yellow hues to your app backgrounds, notifications, buttons, icons, and more. I think it looks great, but it might not be for everyone.

Android 13 looks to be expanding on the color system and giving users more options. Android Police’s Ryne Hager has screenshots from a prerelease build that show four different theming algorithms to pick from. There is “Tonal Spot,” which just seems to be the current Android 12 color system, and then three new color systems called “Vibrant,” “Expressive” and “Spritz.”

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#android, #android-13, #google, #tech

Microwave hack replaces flat keypad with mechanical keyboard switches

Ever have a microwave with buttons that don’t work properly? If you hit the keys at the right angle, maybe the microwave will respond. Or perhaps, no matter how you push them, the microwave stays silent. What if you could fix the issue without calling a repair company—and simultaneously make pressing the microwave’s keypad more enjoyable?

Kailh, which makes mechanical keyboard switches, shared a tweet on Tuesday highlighting a use for its switches that the company had never seen before. A Reddit user employed some Kailh Box Blacks to make his microwave usable again.

The Reddit user, who goes by gregschlom, wrote that his 9-year-old microwave started malfunctioning, and instead of settling for cold leftovers and unpopped popcorn kernels until repairs could be done, he hardwired the device to Box Black switches. Based on the shared image, the new switches can be used to add 30 seconds, add a minute, cancel the operation, and access the settings menu.

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#di, #keyboards, #mechanical-keyboards, #tech

Decade-old volume indicator gets a new look in latest Windows 11 preview

The humble volume indicator, reimagined for Windows 11.

Enlarge / The humble volume indicator, reimagined for Windows 11. (credit: Andrew Cunningham)

Improving Windows 11’s visual and functional consistency is shaping up to be a major priority for Microsoft this year, as evinced by the continued updates to core apps like Notepad, Paint, and Media Player, as well as the ongoing effort to move advanced settings out of the old Windows 7-era Control Panels and into the modern Settings app. Restoring some flexibility to redesigned areas of the OS like the Start menu and Taskbar has also been a focus.

The latest Windows 11 Insider build released to Dev channel users continues this work, updating the overlays for volume, brightness, and other settings to match Windows 11’s more rounded look. The new indicators pop up in the bottom center of your screen rather than the top left, will match your light or dark mode setting, and, like the Start menu and taskbar, they use Mica styling to match the color of your desktop wallpaper.

The other changes in this preview build are pretty small; “Apps and Features” in the Windows + X shortcut menu has been relabeled as “Installed apps,” the Voice Access accessibility feature can be pinned to the Taskbar and Start menu, and the Clock app can be uninstalled. Exciting times!

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#tech, #windows-11

Dropbox starts testing native Apple M1 support

The front of a closed, silver-colored laptop on a table

Enlarge / The 2021 MacBook Pro needs an emulator to run Dropbox’s app. (credit: Samuel Axon)

A recently released beta version of Dropbox’s app for macOS supports Apple Silicon in the current MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, 24-inch iMac, and Mac Mini. The move makes good on the company’s promise to offer native support for M1-based Macs.

Apple debuted its M1 silicon in 2020. Until now, Dropbox did not offer a native version of its file-hosting service for computers using Apple’s chips, frustrating some professional users who rely on and pay for the program for work.

Without the beta, M1 users are required to use Rosetta 2, software that translates apps with x86_64 instructions for Apple’s Arm-based silicon, in order to use the Dropbox app. Running Rosetta 2, however, can generally have an effect on battery life, memory, and performance. For most users, Rosetta 2 is a sufficient solution for running Intel-based applications. And it’s possible that some lesser-known apps will never get transitioned to M1 systems at all.

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#apple, #apple-m1, #dropbox, #tech

TSMC invests in new capacity despite forecasts chip demand will ease

Fabrication plant

Enlarge / TSMC Fab 16. (credit: TSMC)

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company plans to raise its capital expenditure by almost a third this year as the world’s largest contract chipmaker defies analyst warnings of softening demand for technology gadgets.

TSMC expects capital expenditure to reach $44 billion this year, a 32 percent increase from the $30 billion spent in 2021 and triple the amount in 2019, the company said on Thursday.

The push underscores the outsized role semiconductors are coming to play in goods far beyond classical electronics products, from cars to factory equipment. It also reflects TSMC’s dominance of global chip manufacturing.

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#chips, #supply-chain, #taiwan, #tech, #tsmc

Sony brings a compact, flagship smartphone to the US

Promotional image of cutting-edge smartphone.

Enlarge / The Sony Xperia 5 III, in green. (credit: Sony)

Sony is bringing a $1,000 flagship smartphone, the Xperia 5 III, to the US market. Calling the device “new,” however, is a bit of a stretch, as the phone was announced nine months ago.

As you’d expect from the price, the Xperia 5 III is a high-end flagship. It has a Snapdragon 888 SoC, 8GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, a 4500 mAh battery, and a 6.1-inch, 120 Hz, 2520×1080 OLED display. There are three rear cameras—a 12 MP main camera, a 12 MP ultrawide, and a 12 MP 3x telephoto. At just 68 mm wide, the Xperia 5 III is one of the most compact Android phones on the market. It has a very tall 21:9 display, but in terms of width, it’s only 4 mm bigger than an iPhone 13 Mini. Although it ships with Android 11, an Android 12 update is due sometime soon.

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#sony, #sony-xperia, #tech

PCI Express 6.0 spec is finalized, doubling bandwidth for SSDs, GPUs, and more

The PCIe 6.0 standard's ability to interoperate with all older versions of the standard is a point of pride for the PCI-SIG.

Enlarge / The PCIe 6.0 standard’s ability to interoperate with all older versions of the standard is a point of pride for the PCI-SIG. (credit: PCI-SIG)

The PCI Special Interest Group (PCI-SIG) has finalized version 6.0 of the PCI Express standard, the communication bus that lets all the stuff inside your computer communicate. The new version of the spec comes roughly three years after the PCI Express 5.0 spec was finalized, and version 6.0 once again doubles the bandwidth of a PCIe lane from 32GT/s (8GB/s in total, or 4GB/s in each direction) to 64GT/s (16GB/s, or 8GB/s in each direction). For a full 16-lane PCIe 6.0 connection, that’s as much as 256GB/s of total bandwidth, compared to the 32GB/s or 64GB/s of now-common PCIe 3.0 and 4.0 connections.

Like past PCIe versions, PCIe 6.0 will “interoperate and maintain backwards compatibility” with all existing PCIe versions, so your PCIe 4.0 GPU or SSD will continue to work in a PCIe 6.0 slot and vice-versa. The PCI-SIG bragged about the specification’s longevity in a blog post by PCI-SIG board member Debendra Das Sharma: “An interconnect technology is considered successful if it can sustain three generations of bandwidth improvement spanning a decade. PCIe architecture has far exceeded that mark.”

To boost its speeds, PCIe 6.0 uses a new kind of signaling called “Pulse Amplitude Modulation 4” (PAM4), which allows for faster data transfers than the previous Non-Return-To-Zero (NRZ) signaling at the expense of a higher error rate. To compensate, PCIe 6.0 includes technologies like Forward Error Correction (FEC) to correct errors and Cyclic Redundancy Checking (CRC) to ask for packets to be retransmitted when errors can’t be corrected. The PCI-SIG says that this combination of technologies should catch all errors without adding latency to the connection.

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#pci-express, #tech

Scammers put fake QR codes on parking meters to intercept parkers’ payments

Illustration of a parking meter and a warning not to scan any QR codes on meters.

Enlarge / Image from the City of Austin’s warning to ignore QR code stickers on parking meters. (credit: City of Austin)

Scammers in a few big Texas cities have been putting fake QR codes on parking meters to trick people into paying the fraudsters. Parking enforcement officers recently found stickers with fraudulent QR codes on pay stations in Austin, Houston, and San Antonio.

San Antonio police warned the public of the scam on December 20, saying that “people attempting to pay for parking using those QR codes may have been directed to a fraudulent website and submitted payment to a fraudulent vendor.” Similar scams were then found in Austin and Houston.

The Austin Transportation Department started examining their own meters after being “notified of a QR code scam by the City of San Antonio in late December—when more than 100 pay stations were stickered with fraudulent codes,” Fox 7 Austin reported last week. Austin officials checked the city’s 900 or so parking pay stations and found fraudulent QR codes on 29 of them, according to a KXAN article.

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#policy, #qr-codes, #tech

Samsung no-showed on its major Exynos 2200 launch and won’t say why

Photoshopped question marks surround a smart device that displays the words Samsung Exynos.

Enlarge (credit: Samsung / Ron Amadeo)

So here’s a crazy story. Samsung was supposed to have a big SoC launch today, but that launch did not happen. Samsung didn’t cancel or delay the event. The January 11 date was announced, and we even wrote about it, but when the time for the event came, nothing happened! Samsung pulled a no-call no-show for a major product launch. It’s the end of the day now, and the company has yet to respond to what must be hundreds of press inquiries that are no-doubt flooding its email inbox, including ours! Samsung stood up the entire tech industry, and now it won’t say why. Nobody knows what is going on.

Samsung's promotional tweet.

Samsung’s promotional tweet. (credit: Samsung)

The Exynos 2200 was (?) shaping up to be a major launch for Samsung. It is, after all, the first Samsung SoC with the headline-grabbing feature of having an AMD GPU. The two companies announced this deal a year ago, and we’ve been giddy about it ever since. The Exynos 2200 is (or was) going to debut in the Galaxy S22. That launch event is currently scheduled for February 8, assuming Samsung doesn’t ghost everyone again.

Samsung announced the Exynos 2200 event just 12 days ago, saying, “Stay tuned for the next Exynos with the new GPU born from RDNA 2. January 11, 2022.” (RDNA 2 is an AMD GPU architecture). In addition to a tweet from the official, verified, @SamsungExynos account, the company also cut a promo video ending with the January 11 2022 date. You can still watch it at The closest thing Samsung has done to communicate about the status of the Exynos 2200 is to delete its tweets promoting the show.

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#exynos, #samsung, #tech

Volvo shows off the Polestar 3’s sweet new Android Automotive interface

The full Polestar 3 design isn't revealed yet, but Volvo released this camouflaged photo.

Enlarge / The full Polestar 3 design isn’t revealed yet, but Volvo released this camouflaged photo. (credit: Volvo)

Volvo, Qualcomm, Google are teaming up to make car infotainment even more smartphone-like than ever. If Wintel (Windows plus Intel) is the default software+hardware combo of the PC era, then the smartphone equivalent has got to be Android and Qualcomm (Andcom? Qualdroid?). Volvo is bringing this combo to the upcoming Polestar 3 electric SUV, which is due sometime in 2022. We also got a sneak peek at what the new interface would look like.

Volvo’s Polestar 2 was the first to ship Google’s Android Automotive OS in a car. Unlike Android Auto or Apple’s CarPlay, which run on your smartphone, Android Automotive OS has a custom version of Android preinstalled on the car, as the main car infotainment OS. Even if you have an iPhone, your car still runs Android. The Polestar 2 used an x86 chip (an Intel Atom A3900), but now Volvo is pairing a Qualcomm smartphone chip with its Google smartphone OS. The Polestar 3 will ship with Qualcomm’s “Snapdragon Cockpit Platform Gen 3,” and while that sounds unique, it is really just a repackaged smartphone chip with a few extra features.

The integration of cars with computer technology is always tough. Car development takes around five years, which can seem almost incompatible with the development pace of smartphones and computers. That’s still true of the 2022 Polestar 3. Qualcomm’s Gen 3 automotive platform was actually announced back in 2019, but design wins for the platform are just now being announced at CES 2022. Qualcomm says the Gen 3 automotive platform is based on the Snapdragon 820 SoC, an ARM flagship smartphone chip from 2016. You may remember this chip from phones such as the Samsung Galaxy S7 and the Google Pixel 1. The Polestar 2’s Intel Atom was also from 2016.

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#android, #cars, #polestar, #qualcomm, #tech, #volvo

Apple may be done with Intel Macs, but Hackintoshes can still use the newest CPUs

Hackintoshes are PCs that run macOS, which means you can do whatever you want with the design.

Enlarge / Hackintoshes are PCs that run macOS, which means you can do whatever you want with the design. (credit: Dan Counsell)

Apple hasn’t stopped selling Intel Macs just yet, but it’s safe to say that we’ll never see a Mac with one of Intel’s 12th-generation Core processors in it. But that minor detail isn’t stopping the Hackintosh community from supporting new Intel and AMD processors and platforms. The developers behind OpenCore, the most powerful and actively maintained bootloader for loading macOS on standard PC hardware, improved its Alder Lake support in this month’s release, version 0.7.7. In a blog post over the weekend, the developers also detailed their efforts to update OpenCore and its associated software to work with Intel’s Z690 chipset.

The key to building a functional Hackintosh is normally to build a PC that’s as close as possible to actual Intel Mac hardware—most crucially, the CPU, GPU, and chipset. OpenCore’s job is to bridge whatever gap is left between your PC and real Mac hardware so that macOS boots and works properly. It adds support for reading and booting macOS filesystems, loads kernel extensions to support additional hardware, tells macOS how to handle your system’s audio outputs and USB ports, and spoofs hardware to take advantage of macOS’s built-in support (if, for example, your PC has a GPU that is similar to but not quite identical to a GPU included in a real Intel Mac).

As OpenCore has developed and matured, it has gotten better at bridging larger and larger gaps between PC hardware and “real” Macs. It can get old versions of macOS like Tiger (10.4) and Snow Leopard (10.6) up and running on old hardware, and it can even be used to run newer macOS versions on real Macs that Apple has dropped from the official support list. It can even run macOS on AMD processors, albeit with some caveats for software that relies on Intel-specific functionality. The still-active Hackintosh Reddit community is full of people running macOS on all kinds of different hardware.

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#hackintosh, #tech

You can no longer call an Uber with your Apple Watch

Apple Watch Series 7.

Enlarge / Apple Watch Series 7. (credit: Apple)

Uber has gone the way of Lyft, canceling support for its app on Apple Watches. As spotted by MacRumors Monday, the Uber Apple Watch app is still available but won’t let you hail a ride if installed.

We checked on an Apple Watch Series 7 and got a message reading, “Please switch to the Uber mobile app. We no longer support the Apple Watch app. Sorry for the inconvenience,” followed by a crying-face emoji.

Like Uber’s app for iPhones and iPads, the Apple Watch app let you call a ride from your device, but some features, like Uber Pool, fare splitting, and the ability to contact your driver or share your estimated time of arrival with contacts, were disabled.

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#apple, #apple-watch, #tech, #uber

After ruining Android messaging, Google says iMessage is too powerful

After ruining Android messaging, Google says iMessage is too powerful


Google took to Twitter this weekend to complain that iMessage is just too darn influential with today’s kids. The company was responding to a Wall Street Journal report detailing the lock-in and social pressure Apple’s walled garden is creating among US teens. iMessage brands texts from iPhone users with a blue background and gives them additional features, while texts from Android phones are branded green and only have the base SMS feature set. According to the article, “Teens and college students said they dread the ostracism that comes with a green text. The social pressure is palpable, with some reporting being ostracized or singled out after switching away from iPhones.” Google apparently feels this is a problem.

“iMessage should not benefit from bullying,” the official Android Twitter account wrote. “Texting should bring us together, and the solution exists. Let’s fix this as one industry.” Google SVP Hiroshi Lockheimer chimed in too, saying “Apple’s iMessage lock-in is a documented strategy. Using peer pressure and bullying as a way to sell products is disingenuous for a company that has humanity and equity as a core part of its marketing. The standards exist today to fix this.”

The “solution” Google is pushing here is RCS, or Rich Communication Services, a GSMA standard from 2008 that has slowly gained traction as an upgrade to SMS. RCS adds typing indicators, user presence, and better image sharing to carrier messaging. It is a 14-year-old carrier standard though, so it lacks many things you would want from a modern messaging service, like end-to-end encryption and support for nonphone devices. Google tries to band-aid over the aging standard with its “Google Messaging” client, but the result is a lot of clunky solutions which aren’t as good as a modern messaging service.

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#google, #imessage, #tech

Microsoft posts its own teardown and repair video for the Surface Laptop SE

Microsoft engineer Branden Cole disassembles the Surface Laptop SE step-by-step.

Enlarge / Microsoft engineer Branden Cole disassembles the Surface Laptop SE step-by-step. (credit: Microsoft/YouTube)

Usually, when you want to see a step-by-step teardown video for a Surface device, you need to go to a third-party outfit like iFixit. But today, Microsoft’s Surface YouTube channel posted its own teardown video for the cheap, education-focused Surface Laptop SE. In the video, a Microsoft engineer completely disassembles the laptop (with iFixit tools, no less) while describing each step as he goes.

Microsoft’s Surface lineup was infamously difficult to repair for years, thanks to the extensive use of glued- and soldered-down components. This has started to shift in recent years, as Microsoft has added user-replaceable SSDs and made other tweaks to make its machines easier to take apart and put back together. Repairability is a selling point for the Surface Laptop SE in particular because the laptop is being marketed to schools, where laptops can be dropped, spilled on, or otherwise abused by kids who may or may not know better.

In response to shareholder pressure, Microsoft has promised to ramp up its repairability efforts in the future, including expanding the availability of parts and documentation and making it easier for third-party service providers to do repairs. This video presumably falls under the umbrella of “documentation,” and hopefully we’ll see the same treatment given to other Surface devices in the future.

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#surface-laptop-se, #tech

3D printing could make OLED laptops, phones cheaper

This 64-pixel OLED panel was 3D printed.

Enlarge / This 64-pixel OLED panel was 3D printed.

Laptops and phones with OLED displays boast rich colors at high contrasts—but they come at a premium price. Researchers from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities (UMN) say they’ve found a potential solution to that price barrier by using a 3D printer that could eventually lead to people making their own OLED screens at home.

In a study published in Science Advances on Fridaythe researchers used a custom-built printer that fits on a table and “costs about the same as a Tesla Model S,” Michael McAlpine, a University of Minnesota professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and senior author of the study, said in a statement accompanying UMN’s announcement.

While OLED panels are typically made in large microfabrication facilities by big companies like LG Display, the research could eventually result in hobbyists being able to make cheap OLED panels in their own workshops, according to the university.

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#3d-printing, #oled, #science, #tech

The 7 most exciting PC monitors from CES 2022

LG DualUp Monitor

Enlarge /  LG DualUp Monitor (28MQ780). (credit: LG)

Every year, the Consumer Electronics Show previews a massive amount of products planned for release during the year. 2022’s show revealed the latest in PC monitors targeting better image quality, faster refresh rates, and features that help facilitate increasingly virtual workplaces.

There was a lot to see, so we’ve broken down seven of the most interesting monitors announced at CES 2022 below. We’ve included no concepts, no gag releases, and no gimmicks (OK, maybe a few gimmicks). Regardless, none of these products should end up as vaporware.

Here’s a look at some of the most unique monitors expected to come out over the next 12 months.

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#ces-2022, #features, #monitors, #tech

Radeon RX 6500 XT is bad at cryptocurrency mining on purpose, AMD says

AMD's RX 6500 XT.

Enlarge / AMD’s RX 6500 XT. (credit: AMD)

AMD will begin selling its latest budget GPU, the Radeon RX 6500 XT, on January 19th. Its retail price is $199. But the ongoing GPU shortage, caused in part by cryptocurrency miners and scalpers who are snapping up every card they can get, has made it mostly impossible to get any graphics card at its list price over the past year. 

Whether the 6500 XT will be any different depends partly on supply, but AMD has also apparently designed the card to make it deliberately less appealing to miners while retaining its usefulness as an entry-level graphics card. Speaking to journalists in a press roundtable earlier this week, AMD Radeon VP Laura Smith talked about how the 6500 XT had been “optimized” for games (a transcript from a now-apparently-deleted PCWorld article is preserved here).

“We have really optimized this one to be gaming-first at that target market,” Smith said. “And you can see that with the way that we configured the part. Even with the four gigs of frame buffer. That’s a really nice frame buffer size for the majority of AAA games, but it’s not particularly attractive if you’re doing blockchain-type activities or mining activities.”

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#gaming-culture, #tech

Verizon’s 5G upgrade imposes new hotspot data limits on older phone plans

A Verizon 5G sign.

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | Bloomberg)

Verizon says the January 19 launch of 5G on its C-Band spectrum will bring fast wireless speeds to 100 million people in the US—far outstripping the limited geographic reach of its millimeter-wave spectrum that provides even faster 5G speeds. But there is a drawback for people who currently have unlimited 5G hotspot data on the millimeter-wave network: a monthly data cap on hotspot usage.

For the “Beyond Unlimited” Verizon smartphone plan that has existed for a few years, customers currently have 15GB of hotspot data at 4G LTE speeds and unlimited “5G Ultra Wideband” hotspot data. Going forward, the C-Band and millimeter-wave spectrum will both be included in what Verizon calls Ultra Wideband, and Verizon will no longer provide unlimited Ultra Wideband hotspot data to those who currently have it. Beyond Unlimited plan subscribers will instead get a total of 15GB of high-speed hotspot data regardless of which network slice they’re using and will face hotspot data slowdowns after using that up.

Practically speaking, this may not be a big change for many people because Verizon’s millimeter-wave 5G spectrum has such limited geographic availability to begin with, and the unlimited hotspot data only applies to the use of that spectrum. But it’s always good to be aware of changes, given how convoluted Verizon’s service plans tend to be, and it might make sense for some people to switch to newer plans with hotspot limits of either 25GB or 50GB.

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#5g, #c-band, #tech, #verizon

Google loses Sonos patent case, starts stripping functionality from speakers

Promotional image of smart speaker.

Enlarge / The new Nest Audio. (credit: Google)

Following a preliminary ruling in August, the US International Trade Commission has issued a final decision saying that Google infringed five Sonos smart speaker patents. It would be possible for this ruling to result in some products like the Nest Audio, Chromecast, and Pixel line being banned in the US, but Google has prepared ITC-approved software downgrades, which remove the infringing features from users’ products.

Sonos essentially invented the connected speaker category for streaming music, but the advent of voice assistants has led to Big Tech stomping all over Sonos’ territory. Sonos says that while it was pitching Google for support of Google Play Music, Google got a behind-the-scenes look at Sonos’ operations in 2013. Sonos says Google used that access to “blatantly and knowingly” copy Sonos’ features for the Google Home speaker, which launched in 2016. Sonos sued Google in early 2020.

Eddie Lazarus, the chief legal officer at Sonos, told The New York Times, “We appreciate that the ITC has definitively validated the five Sonos patents at issue in this case and ruled unequivocally that Google infringes all five. That is an across-the-board win that is surpassingly rare in patent cases.”

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Samsung shows off foldable laptop, tablet, and smartphone concepts at CES

Samsung has been leading the charge toward foldable smartphones for almost three years now, but the future of the company’s foldable ambitions have always been on display at trade shows, going all the way back to 2008. With three versions of the Galaxy Z Fold (and two smaller Z Flips) under the conglomerate’s belt, Samsung’s Display division has shown up to CES with a plethora of prototypes detailing what it thinks the future of foldables will look like. For whatever reason, Samsung produced official hands-on videos of these devices but isn’t hosting them anywhere, but there are some mirrors on YouTube from Abhijeet Mishra (1, 2, 3, 4).

These aren’t from the “Galaxy” division (that would be Samsung Mobile), and they aren’t fully featured devices. But Samsung Display’s technology has been a driving enabler behind the Galaxy Fold line of devices. Now, the display division wants to tackle even bigger and more complicated form factors.

The tri-fold “Flex S” and “Flex G” concepts

If one fold works on the Galaxy Z Fold, then surely two folds will be even better. The first concept, the “Flex S,” folds up in an “S” shape (It’s more like a “Z” but “S” has way better Samsung branding synergy). This gives you a visible front display when the device is closed and a wide aspect ratio when open. The Flex S comes in phone and tablet versions. The commercial Galaxy Fold needs a totally separate screen to have a front display, while the Flex S only needs a single screen. The Huawei Mate X tried a single-screen design with only one fold, but that meant the entire device was a display when closed, and there was no “safe” side to place on the table. The Flex S works around that problem with the second fold.

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#ces-2022, #galaxy-fold, #samsung, #tech

Apple loses a key Mac silicon executive to Intel amidst M1 transition

Enormous, circular complex surrounded by suburban sprawl.

Enlarge / The Apple Park campus stands in this aerial photograph taken above Cupertino in October 2019. (credit: Sam Hall/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Jeff Wilcox, Apple’s director of Mac system architecture who oversaw much of the Apple Silicon transition, has left Apple to join Intel. He will head up Intel’s efforts to develop its own system-on-a-chip.

Wilcox makes this move after eight years as a key player in Apple’s desktop and laptop product development. Before those eight years, he was actually at Intel, so the move to Intel is a return for him, not an entirely new frontier.

He announced the change on LinkedIn over the past few weeks. In his initial LinkedIn post, he wrote:

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#apple-m1, #apple-silicon, #cpu, #intel, #jeff-wilcox, #silicon, #tech

Lenovo announces an ultrawide laptop with an extra screen

Promotional image of new notebook computer.

Enlarge / Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 3. (credit: Lenovo)

While the majority of laptops still use the 16:9 aspect ratio, we’ve seen many companies increasingly embrace taller aspect ratios over the last couple years. Lenovo, while also playing around with the likes of 16:10 laptop screens in other upcoming machines, is taking a wider approach. At CES this week, it announced a laptop with an ultrawide display. Oh, and it has a second screen next to the keyboard, too.

Lenovo says the ThinkBook Plus Gen 3 is the first machine to use a 17.3-inch 21:10 screen. We’ve seen ultrawide laptops before, but laptops with a screen that’s wider than 16:9 are incredibly rare today.

Toshiba tried to make it a thing in 2012. The company’s 21:9 Toshiba U845W laptop promised a superior experience for watching movies (at least ones made in the same aspect ratio) and multitasking. More recently, Acer’s 2017 Predator 21 X used the 21:9 aspect ratio and a unique curve to claim supreme gaming immersion (again, with supported titles).

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#ces-2022, #laptops, #lenovo, #tech

Asus takes a page from Lenovo with new foldable PC

Asus Zenbook 17 Fold OLED in four different setups

Enlarge / The Asus Zenbook 17 Fold OLED can take many forms. (credit: Asus/YouTube)

When Intel unveiled its 12th-gen mobile CPUs on Tuesday, the company pointed to the chips’ suitability for use in foldable PC designs by showing unidentified concept images. It didn’t take long to figure out what Intel was talking about. On Wednesday, Asus announced a foldable PC—think of it as a 17.3-inch OLED tablet that can fold in half.

In addition to a 12th-gen i7 CPU, the Asus Zenbook 17 Fold OLED comes with 16GB of RAM and a 1TB PCIe 4.0 SSD. The components live in a device measuring 14.9 x 11.32 x 0.34–0.46 inches when open and housing an OLED touchscreen with a 2560 x 1920 resolution and a 0.2 ms GTG response time.

The display has a 4:3 aspect ratio, making it tall when fully open. If you fold it down the middle, the screen will act as two 12.5-inch displays with 1920 x 1290 resolutions and 3:2 aspect ratios. When you’re done, you can fold the device shut so that it’s “smaller than a sheet of photocopier paper,” measuring 11.69 x 8.27 inches, according to Asus’ announcement. And if you’re worried about how many times you can fold the device, Asus claims the hinge lasts for at least 30,000 cycles.

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#asus, #ces-2022, #laptops, #oled, #tech

Lenovo’s 2022 laptop lineup is ready for the year’s web calls

Promotional image of cutting-edge laptop computer.

Enlarge / Lenovo ThinkPad Z13 in “vegan leather” with a bronze colored “Communications Bar” up top. (credit: Lenovo)

It’s a new year, which means it’s time for laptop refreshes. If 2022 is anything like 2021, many premium and business users will find themselves juggling work and home life, potentially both in an office and at home. Lenovo’s next pile of laptops aimed at these power users comes with a slew of features that it claims will help you show your best side when you’re collaborating, even if it requires a chunkier notch for your display’s top bezel.

The new ThinkPads’ Communications Bar

All of Lenovo’s new ThinkPads have what Lenovo is calling a Communications Bar, which is really just a chunky notch on the screen’s top border. In the three upcoming ThinkPad X1 laptops announced today, the notch allows for four microphones, plus a powerful webcam packing a larger-than-average camera sensor for a laptop at 1.4 µm. In the case of the two ThinkPad Z-series laptops announced Tuesday, there are only two microphones.

The new ThinkPad X1s can go up to a 1080p IR MIPI camera with a physical shutter and computer vision, which uses a neural processing unit to tell if you’re sitting in front of the PC. That way, the laptop knows if it should wake up or go dim when you look away, which saves battery and protects privacy. Lenovo even claims you can wear a face mask and use the feature.

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#ces-2022, #laptops, #lenovo, #tech

Report: Meta pulls the plug on its AR/VR operating system ambitions

The Oculus Quest 2, Meta's most popular VR headset today.

Enlarge / The Oculus Quest 2, Meta’s most popular VR headset today. (credit: Sam Machkovech)

Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, has pulled the plug on its current efforts to develop an operating system for AR and VR devices, The Information reported today.

Citing “two people familiar with the decision,” the article claims that Meta will return to the status quo of running Oculus devices—and perhaps future mixed reality devices—on a modified version of Google’s Android operating system for mobile phones.

The project, which was internally called XROS, had reportedly been underway for years and “involved hundreds of employees.” Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg was talking up its potential only a few short months ago. The reasons for Meta’s decision to pull the plug are not publicly known at this time.

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#apple, #ar, #facebook, #mark-zuckerberg, #meta, #mixed-reality, #tech, #virtual-reality, #vr, #xr

Google fixes nightmare Android bug that stopped user from calling 911

Rotating lights flash on an ambulance.

Enlarge (credit: Eric Lagace / Flickr)

Android’s January security patch is out, and it’s addressing one of the nastiest Android bugs to come up in some time: certain apps can stop you from contacting 911 or other worldwide emergency services numbers.

In early December, a harrowing tale popped up in the GooglePixel subreddit from a user whose Pixel 3 crashed when they needed it most: while dialing 911 for their grandmother who “appeared to be having a stroke.” The whole phone subsystem seemed to immediately crash upon calling emergency services, with user “KitchenPicture5849” saying they couldn’t get the call to connect or hang up to try the call again. Luckily, a nearby landline was available after their Android phone let them down, and emergency services was able to be contacted.

After the crisis was over, the user gave calling 911 from their smartphone another shot, and Android crashed again, indicating it wasn’t a one-off bug. A check of their phone bill also revealed that KitchenPicture5849 never actually connected to 911. They say they also got a few other DMs from users reporting that they were experiencing the same bug.

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#android, #google-pixel, #tech

Explaining QD-OLED, Samsung’s display tech that is wowing CES

Promotional image of cutting-edge flatscreen TV.

Samsung’s 65-inch QD-OLED TV should be available this year. (credit: Samsung/CES)

The Consumer Electronics Show, the country’s largest tech exhibition, is always filled with exciting new products and concepts. But one of my favorite things about the show is the spotlight it puts on the emerging technologies driving these product launches. One piece of next-generation tech generating buzz at this year’s CES is QD-OLED. A variation of OLED from Samsung Display, it has made a splash through big TV and PC monitor reveals.

But what exactly is QD-OLED, how different is it from regular OLED, and do we really need another acronym?

What is QD-OLED?

QD-OLED stands for “quantum dot organic light-emitting diode.” The technology comes from Samsung Display, which started teasing it in 2019 and is rumored to have started mass production in November. You may also see Samsung refer to QD-OLED as “QD-Display.”

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#alienware, #ces-2022, #lg, #monitors, #oled, #samsung, #tech, #tvs

Dell’s new UltraSharp 4K monitor has a monstrous 4K webcam built in

Dell’s UltraSharp monitors have a long-standing reputation for being strong picks for office professionals and creatives, and the USB-C variants have proven to be some of the most popular Mac monitors. Dell’s latest 32-inch UltraSharp was announced during the Consumer Electronics Show this week, and it doubles down on that legacy.

The monitor hits the standard bullet points: it has a USB-C port and a 3840 x 2160 screen resolution. It can act as a USB hub with its five 10Gbps USB-A ports. But what really sets the monitor apart is its 4K webcam.

As noted, these monitors are made to appeal to professionals like designers, marketing folks, and so on, so a color-accurate 4K screen is important. But these days, those workers will be spending a fair amount of time on video calls, so it seems Dell is trying to make the product a more comprehensive package for remote-working pros.

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#4k, #dell, #dell-ultrasharp, #ips, #lcd, #led, #monitor, #tech, #usb-c

The OnePlus 10 Pro is official, sports 80 W charging

The OnePlus 10 Pro.

Enlarge / The OnePlus 10 Pro. (credit: OnePlus)

Official product news about the upcoming OnePlus 10 Pro has begun to trickle out. For now, we have an incomplete overview with some pictures and specs, while things like a price, release date, and the finer details will have to wait for later.

First up: specs. OnePlus 10 Pro officially has the brand-new Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 SoC. This is Qualcomm’s new flagship SoC for 2022, and it features a single ARM Cortex X2 core, three medium Cortex A710 CPUs, and four small Cortex A510 CPUs, all built on a 4 nm process. OnePlus isn’t saying how much RAM and storage the 10 Pro has, but the 9 Pro came with 8GB or 12GB of RAM and 128GB or 256GB of storage. The company confirmed the display is 120 Hz but didn’t give a size, though rumors say it’s 6.7-inch, the same as the OnePlus 9 Pro. That fits the now-official dimensions, which are 163 × 73.9 × 8.55 mm.

The battery is officially 5000 mAh, an upgrade over the 9 Pro’s 4500 mAh battery. Considering the similar dimensions between the two phones, this is a welcome upgrade in battery density. OnePlus is also up to a whopping 80 W “SuperVOOC” quick charging now—an improvement over last year’s 65 W “Warp Charge.” OnePlus doesn’t give any indication of what kind of charge time we can expect, but 65 W could charge the 9 Pro’s 4500 mAh battery from 0-100 in a half-hour. Charging speed is still outpacing battery growth, so the 10 Pro should charge in under a half-hour. Just like last year, wireless charging is 50 W.

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LG’s new 2022 OLED TVs add new sizes and better peak brightness

An LG TV in a marketing lifestyle image.

Enlarge / An LG TV in a marketing lifestyle image. (credit: LG)

LG’s OLED TVs have dominated the conversation among high-end TV enthusiasts for a few years now, but the past couple have finally brought at least some OLED TVs to prices that middle-class households could afford.

And like clockwork each year, LG attends the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) to announce a new lineup of OLEDs that include some improvement or another: cheaper, bigger, smaller, whatever. This year, the big news is that some of LG’s TVs are brighter.

LG maintains a few different lines of OLEDs currently: the entry-level A series, the slightly more feature-rich B series, the flagship C series, the high-end G series, and the 8K Z series.

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#4k, #8k, #ces, #ces-2022, #lg, #lg-a2, #lg-b2, #lg-c2, #lg-g2, #lg-z2, #oled, #oled-ex, #tech, #webos

AMD launches Ryzen 6000 laptop APUs with updated RDNA2 graphics

A smartly dressed woman gives a presentation in front of vast video displays.

Enlarge / AMD’s Lisa Su introduces the Ryzen 6000 APU lineup. (credit: AMD)

AMD made small additions to its dedicated GPU and its processor lineups at its CES press conference this morning, but the biggest announcement was the introduction of new Ryzen 6000-series laptop APUs. These chips use a new Zen 3+ CPU architecture and manufacturing process, but most significantly, their integrated graphics processors trade the years-old Vega architecture for the modern RDNA2 architecture used in Radeon 6000-series graphics cards, the newest Xbox and PlayStation consoles, and the upcoming Steam Deck.

AMD says that the new chips will begin showing up in February 2022, with more laptops released “throughout the year.”

The H-, HS-, and HX-series Ryzen chips are all 35 W and 45 W processors destined for gaming laptops and workstations, with higher CPU and GPU clock speeds than the U-series chips. The Ryzen 5 6600U and Ryzen 7 6800U have TDPs of between 15 and 28 W, which can be adjusted by laptop manufacturers based on how much cooling they can provide—the higher the TDP, the longer the CPUs will be able to run at their top speeds. All of the Ryzen 9 and Ryzen 7 models include Radeon 680M GPUs with 12 GPU cores, while the Ryzen 5 models use weaker Radeon 660M GPUs with 6 GPU cores.

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#amd, #tech

Asus’ mechanical keyboard uses 312 mini LEDs to display animations


Enlarge /

Asus announced an animated mechanical keyboard, the Asus ROG Strix Flare II Animate, at CES this week. It has many of the trendiest specs found in modern premium gaming keyboards, including an ultra-high polling rate. But it’s the programmable LEDs that really make it stand out—and no, I’m not talking about RGB keys.

The ROG Strix Flare II Animate is a full-sized keyboard with media keys. Most keyboards’ media keys are placed on the right side, above the numpad. The Asus keyboard’s programmable metal volume roller and hot keys are on the left side. The space above the numpad is instead reserved for the keyboard’s so-called “AniMe Matrix LED display.”

The AniMe Matrix is composed of 312 mini LEDs that you can program via software to display your own images or animations. You can also set the mini LEDs to react to sounds coming from your game or provide indicators for battery life, keyboard brightness, or the keyboard’s current RGB lighting mode.

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#asus, #ces-2022, #mechanical-keyboards, #tech

AMD announces one last Ryzen 5000 CPU while teasing all-new Ryzen 7000 series

AMD's Lisa Su holds up an early sample of a Zen 4 CPU.

Enlarge / AMD’s Lisa Su holds up an early sample of a Zen 4 CPU. (credit: AMD)

AMD didn’t offer much news on its desktop processors at its CES press conference this morning, but it did offer a brief preview of its next-generation Ryzen 7000 processors and its Zen 4 architecture. These chips will be released in the second half of 2022 and will require an all-new motherboard with a new AM5 processor socket.

We know few details about the Ryzen 7000 CPUs, except that they’ll be built on a 5nm TSMC manufacturing process and that the sample AMD demonstrated onstage was running at 5 GHz (the current 5950X tops out at 4.9 GHz). We also didn’t hear anything about the AM5 socket that we didn’t already know—just that it will be a Land Grid Array (LGA) socket that puts the pins on the motherboard rather than on the bottom of the processor, the same as Intel’s desktop chips. We also know that CPU coolers made for AM4 motherboards should continue to work on AM5 boards.

AMD has been using the physical AM4 socket since 2016, but it still has a little life left in it—the new Ryzen 7 5800X3D CPU is an 8-core, 16-thread chip that uses the AM4 socket and improves speeds by stacking L3 cache on top of the processor die, something that AMD calls “3D V-Cache technology.” This both increases the cache’s bandwidth and the amount of cache; the standard 5800X includes just 32 MB of cache, compared to the 5800X3D’s 96 MB.

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#amd, #tech

New solar roof emulates asphalt shingles, right down to the nails

Installers nail GAF Energy's new solar shingles to a demonstration house.

Enlarge / Installers nail GAF Energy’s new solar shingles to a demonstration house. (credit: GAF Energy)

A new solar technology introduced yesterday at CES could bring power-producing roofs mainstream by relying on an old building material—nails.

For years, homeowners who wanted solar power have stripped their old roofs of shingles, added new ones, and then slapped large solar panels on top using sturdy frames. It’s a model that works well, but it also creates a two-step process that engineers have been striving to simplify.

Plenty of companies have offered their own take on solar roofs, but so far, they’ve remained niche products. GAF Energy is hoping to change that with the Timberline Solar Energy Shingle that looks strikingly like typical asphalt shingles. But their key feature isn’t so much that they emulate the look of asphalt shingles, but that they’re installed in nearly the same way. Roofers can slap the flexible sheets down and nail the top strip to the roof, just like they do for traditional roofs.

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#residential-solar, #solar-power, #solar-roof, #tech

12th-gen Intel Core laptop CPUs bring up to 14 cores to high-end portables

Intel's 12th-generation Core chips are coming to laptops soon.

Enlarge / Intel’s 12th-generation Core chips are coming to laptops soon. (credit: Intel)

In addition to announcing new desktop chips, Intel is also expanding its Alder Lake architecture to laptops. Intel has announced 12th-generation Core chips for everything from high-end gaming laptops to thin-and-light ultrabooks, with low-end Pentiums and Celerons thrown in for good measure.

These laptop chips use Intel’s new hybrid processor architecture, which combines larger, faster performance cores with smaller, more efficient cores (P-cores and E-cores, respectively). How many P-cores and E-cores you get depends on the processor you’re buying, and you’ll need an operating system that supports Intel’s “Thread Director” technology to get the most performance out of the chips. Windows 11 supports it now, Linux support is in the works, and Windows 10 doesn’t have it and won’t be getting it.

High-performance: H- and P-series CPUs

Intel’s H-series processors are its top-performing laptop GPUs, and 12th-generation H-series chips will begin shipping in laptops starting in February. We’ve provided the tables with all of the core counts and clock speeds above, but to quickly summarize the differences between the eight different H-series CPUs:

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#intel, #tech

Intel’s desktop CPU lineup gets a comprehensive overhaul with new 12th-gen chips

Intel is giving its desktop processors their first top-to-bottom overhaul in years.

Enlarge / Intel is giving its desktop processors their first top-to-bottom overhaul in years. (credit: Intel)

Intel released its first 12th-generation Core desktop processors a little over two months ago, and we were pretty impressed with the results; the chips still consume a lot of power, but they generally come with the performance to back it up. Today, Intel is announcing the rest of the lineup, including non-overclockable versions of its Core i9, i7, and i5 processors; new Core i3, Pentium, and Celeron chips that bring the Alder Lake architecture to lower-end PCs; and low-power versions of the processors suitable for mini PCs and other systems where space and cooling capacity are at a premium.

New processors, from Core i9 to Celeron

Intel is announcing a total of 22 new CPUs today, and they replace most of the company’s currently available 11th- and 10th-generation desktop CPUs. Like the overclockable K- and KF-series processors that are already available, these chips will require a new motherboard with an LGA 1700 socket and can support either DDR4 or DDR5, depending on the motherboard you buy (more on those in a bit).

All of these processors are built on the “Intel 7” process, formerly known as “10nm Enhanced Super Fin.” Intel justifies the name change by saying that the Intel 7 transistor density is similar to 7 nm-branded manufacturing processes from competitors like TSMC and Samsung. The 12th-generation Core lineup is the first time in about six and a half years that Intel has moved beyond some version of its 14 nm process for desktop processors.

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#alder-lake, #intel, #tech

Dell’s XPS 13 Plus brings a MacBook Touch Bar-like experience

Dell XPS 13 Plus in its platinum color.

Enlarge / Dell XPS 13 Plus in its platinum color. (credit: Scharon Harding)

Dell today unveiled the latest in its long line of XPS laptops. Previous updates have ranged from minor CPU refreshes to moderate redesigns with larger screen-to-body ratios, smaller dimensions, and critical changes, like the removal of the up-the-nose webcam. But the latest XPS 13 is one of the most unusual-looking in years. And with a design built to host a more power-hungry CPU, Dell is calling it the XPS 13 Plus.

Announced to coincide with CES 2022 this week, the XPS 13 Plus (9320) will be available globally this spring with Windows 11 or Ubuntu 20.04 (XPS 13 Plus Developer Edition). Dell hasn’t settled on a starting price yet but told the press it’s “targeting” $1,199.99 in the US. That’s a notable bump from the current non-Plus XPS, which starts at $850 (that configuration was out of stock on Dell’s website as of writing. The next cheapest available SKU starts at $950). Dell said it will confirm the XPS 13 Plus’ price closer to the shipping date.

One look at the XPS 13 Plus and you can tell that it offers a different experience than the prior XPS 13. The machine’s keyboard stretches across the entire deck with no space between individual keys. The touchpad isn’t outlined with a border or completed with left- and right-click keys. Instead, the entire deck is the touchpad, which responds with haptic feedback. And rather than topping the keyboard with a row of function keys, the XPS 13 Plus has an Apple Touch Bar-like capacitive touch strip that you can toggle to show function-row inputs or media functions.

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#ces-2022, #dell, #dell-xps, #dell-xps-13, #laptops, #tech

Apple becomes first $3 trillion company after boost from pandemic demand

Apple becomes first $3 trillion company after boost from pandemic demand

Enlarge (credit: Anadolu Agency | Financial Times)

Apple has become the first company to hit a market capitalization of $3 trillion, after its value rose by $1 trillion in less than 16 months as the coronavirus pandemic turbocharged Big Tech.

The iPhone maker became a $1 trillion company in August 2018 and two years later became the first company to be valued at $2 trillion. On Monday, shares in the company rose by 3 percent to $182.86, taking it past the latest milestone, before easing back to trade at $182.

Apple briefly lost its title as the world’s most valuable company to Microsoft at the end of October. However, a strong rally in November restored its crown. It then surged higher into the end of 2021 and has added half a trillion dollars to its market value since November 15.

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#apple, #earnings, #market-cap, #tech