Meet Nintendo’s new $150 2DS XL console, launching July 28

Gadgets - Posted On:2017-04-27 23:00:00 Source: techcrunch

 Nintendo has a new handheld video game system it released pretty much out of the blue on Thursday. The 2DS XL is basically a 3DS XL without the 3D, with a smaller physical footprint for more portability, but with the same size large, dual displays you’ll find on the 3DS XL. The new console hits store shelves July 28, so we’ll still have to wait a while to get our hands on one, but…

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A salute to Nintendo’s Genyo Takeda, retiring after 45 years of innovation in gaming

Gadgets - Posted On:2017-04-27 18:00:01 Source: techcrunch

 Few at Nintendo can say they saw the company’s start as a video game company, and fewer still have had as much influence as Genyo Takeda, co-creator of several of the company’s most memorable (and durable) innovations. He’s retiring today, and I just wanted to mark the occasion.

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Another iPhone 8 leak hints at wireless charging

Gadgets - Posted On:2017-04-27 16:00:01 Source: techcrunch

 Slowly but surely, we’re getting hints about the next iPhone from multiple leaks. Today’s new image from @OnLeaks shows that the next iPhone could feature wireless charging. In this iPhone schematic, it’s easy to spot a rounded surface at the back of the device, indicating that there should be a conductive surface to charge the device. I know what you’re thinking…

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Acer debuts see-through trackpad gaming laptop and a slew of affordable notebooks

Gear & Gadgets - Posted On:2017-04-27 16:00:00 Source: arstechnica

NEW YORK—Acer's big press conference last year brought new Chromebooks for work, a new Aspire laptop, and a tablet for the elderly. This year, the company focused on machines that appeal to every level of gamer as well as those of us who want a laptop that won't break the bank. Acer announced additions to the Swift and Switch laptop families, all of which are more budget-friendly than their predecessors. The company also unveiled a whole new line of gaming laptops geared toward casual gamers plus a few new devices for the hardcore gamer that requires portability as well as power.

A big theme of this year’s event was building: Acer debuted a few high-end notebooks last year including the Swift 7 ultrabook and the Aspire Switch 12. This year, the company built on those laptop families with more accessible models—the Swift 7 now has siblings with the Swift 1 and 3 notebooks. The Swift 1 models will likely be good options for the back to school season with their all-metal design, 14.95mm profile, and 13.3-inch FHD displays. Acer estimates the Swift 1 notebooks will get up to 10 hours of battery life, and considering they don’t have many bells and whistles (no high-end GPUs, no biometrics), the devices should last at least all day.

Unlike the Swift 1, the Switch 3 models support the latest Intel processors, Intel HD or Nvidia graphics, up to 512GB SSDs or 1TB HDDs, and up to 8GB of RAM. The Swift 3 is certainly the more versatile of the two affordable laptops, but both models keep a budget price tag. Both can be upgraded to include a Windows Hello-ready fingerprint sensor, and they both come with Skype for Business certifications and Acer's Blue Light Shield which helps prevent eye-strain during long periods of PC use.

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Where’s Apple’s Amazon Echo competitor?

Gadgets - Posted On:2017-04-27 15:15:02 Source: techcrunch

 Amazon is iterating quickly with the Amazon Echo as the company just announced the Amazon Echo Look, which is essentially an Echo with a camera. What is Apple’s answer? All we have is yet another rumor that Apple is working on a sort of connected speaker with a brain. This time, Sonny Dickson is back with a couple of tweets. He usually shares iPhone leaks, so this isn’t necessarily…

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The Google Assistant SDK will let you run the Assistant on anything

Gear & Gadgets - Posted On:2017-04-27 13:30:00 Source: arstechnica

Today Google is launching yet another Google Assistant feature: The Google Assistant SDK. This will allow developers to run the Google Assistant on their own hardware prototypes. While the SDK is only launching in "Developer Preview" mode today, this is presumably the beginning of a push for third parties to make their own consumer Google Assistant hardware.

Google says the SDK will allow any device to provide "the full Google Assistant experience." Together with the "Actions on Google" API that launched last year, developers can create their own voice commands and responses that can control the local device. Developers are also sent everything in text form so their software can see what's going on and react to it. To start listening, the SDK supports both the "OK Google" hotword and a button.

Right now, the Google Assistant is only available on some Android form factors (phones and watches) and products directly from Google, like the Google Home. The SDK should let it run on just about anything, though. Google suggests "adding smarts to a toy robot" or just getting up and running quickly on a Raspberry Pi.

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The Google Assistant opens up to third-party hardware, launches SDK

Gear & Gadgets - Posted On:2017-04-27 13:15:01 Source: arstechnica

Today Google is launching yet another Google Assistant feature: The Google Assistant SDK. This will allow developers to run the Google Assistant on their own hardware prototypes. While the SDK is only launching in "Developer Preview" mode today, this is presumably the beginning of a push for third parties to make their own consumer Google Assistant hardware.

Google says the SDK will allow any device to provide "the full Google Assistant experience." Together with the "Actions on Google" API that launched last year, developers can create their own voice commands and responses that can control the local device. Developers are also sent everything in text form so their software can see what's going on and react to it. To start listening, the SDK supports both the "OK Google" hotword and a button.

Right now, the Google Assistant is only available on some Android form factors (phones and watches) and products directly from Google, like the Google Home. The SDK should let it run on just about anything, though. Google suggests "adding smarts to a toy robot" or just getting up and running quickly on a Raspberry Pi.

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BlackBerry’s last internally designed phone comes out at the end of May

Gear & Gadgets - Posted On:2017-04-27 12:30:00 Source: arstechnica

It's the end of another era for BlackBerry. Its last internally designed phone, the BlackBerry KeyOne, will be available for preorder in Canada on May 18 and released in Canada and the US on May 31. Unlike 2015's keyboard-equipped BlackBerry Priv, the KeyOne isn't a slider—its keyboard is always exposed, and as a result, it has a shorter and more squarish display than most modern smartphones. Like the Priv, though, the KeyOne runs a lightly customized version of Android (version 7.1.1, in this case) with some of BlackBerry's apps and services preinstalled.

The US version will only be available for the full unlocked price of $549 at first, but the Canadian version will be available for $199 with a two-year contract from Bell, Bell MTS, SaskTel, and Telus Business. The UK version is also available now from Selfridges for £499, with a Carphone Warehouse launch following on May 5.

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Nintendo has sold 2.74M Switches, expects to sell around 10M next year

Gadgets - Posted On:2017-04-27 07:59:58 Source: techcrunch

 Nintendo has sold 2.74 million Switches to date, the first official number released by the company by way of its FY 2016 earnings report, released on Thursday. The total hardware units sold have also led to decent game sales – 5.46 million total across the library, but Zelda: Breath of the Wild looks to be the only real breakout hit for the console with 2.76 million Switch units sold,…

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A vigilante is putting a huge amount of work into infecting IoT devices

Gear & Gadgets - Posted On:2017-04-26 19:14:59 Source: arstechnica

Last week, Ars introduced readers to Hajime, the vigilante botnet that infects IoT devices before blackhats can hijack them. A technical analysis published Wednesday reveals for the first time just how much technical acumen went into designing and building the renegade network, which just may be the Internet's most advanced IoT botnet.

As previously reported, Hajime uses the same list of user name and password combinations used by Mirai, the IoT botnet that spawned several, record-setting denial-of-service attacks last year. Once Hajime infects an Internet-connected camera, DVR, and other Internet-of-things device, the malware blocks access to four ports known to be the most widely used vectors for infecting IoT devices. It also displays a cryptographically signed message on infected device terminals that describes its creator as "just a white hat, securing some systems."

But unlike the bare-bones functionality found in Mirai, Hajime is a full-featured package that gives the botnet reliability, stealth, and reliance that's largely unparalleled in the IoT landscape. Wednesday's technical analysis, which was written by Pascal Geenens, a researcher at security firm Radware, makes clear that the unknown person or people behind Hajime invested plenty of time and talent.

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Garmin Vivosmart 3 review: Shots fired at Fitbit, but some don’t hit

Gear & Gadgets - Posted On:2017-04-26 16:00:00 Source: arstechnica

Video shot/edited by Jennifer Hahn. (video link)

The thinner-and-lighter trend isn't just dominating smartphones and laptops—fitness tech companies are constantly trying to make "the next big thing" as thin and light as they possibly can. Fitbit recently slimmed down its $150 Alta HR fitness tracker, and now Garmin is countering with its new $139 Vivosmart 3 wristband.

The newest device in the accessible Vivo line takes last year's Vivosmart HR to the next level with new rep counting and stress-evaluating features, as well as a slimmer design. Garmin just manages to undercut Fitbit on price here, but just because it's cheaper and has the Garmin name doesn't mean it's the better choice.

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Garmin Vivosmart 3 review: Beefing up the Vivo line with new and borrowed features

Gear & Gadgets - Posted On:2017-04-26 15:45:00 Source: arstechnica

Video shot/edited by Jennifer Hahn. (video link)

The thinner-and-lighter trend isn't just dominating smartphones and laptops—fitness tech companies are constantly trying to make "the next big thing" as thin and light as they possibly can. Fitbit recently slimmed down its $150 Alta HR fitness tracker, and now Garmin is countering with its new $139 Vivosmart 3 wristband.

The newest device in the accessible Vivo line takes last year's Vivosmart HR to the next level with new rep counting and stress-evaluating features, as well as a slimmer design. Garmin just manages to undercut Fitbit on price here, but just because it's cheaper and has the Garmin name doesn't mean it's the better choice.

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Tech demo shows Scorpio’s superior graphics at both 4K and 1080p

Gear & Gadgets - Posted On:2017-04-26 14:00:00 Source: arstechnica

While Microsoft's initial reveal of Project Scorpio placed heavy emphasis on 4K gaming, the huge GPU upgrade relative to the Xbox One is going to bring a big visual upgrade for the majority of us still using 1080p, too.

Windows Central has some exclusive screenshots showing Scorpio both at 4K and 1080p. The pictures aren't of real games, but rather tech demos constructed to demonstrate just what the console can handle. They were shown at a private Microsoft event.

The first demo shows a steampunk scientist in her lab and is intended to show what developers can do with minimal effort; the shaders, textures, and models are the same on both Xbox One and Project Scorpio, with only the rendering resolution improved.

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Amazon’s Echo Look takes outfit photos and suggests the best styles for you

Gear & Gadgets - Posted On:2017-04-26 13:30:00 Source: arstechnica

It was a simpler time, back in early 2015, when Amazon's Echo first came out as a speaker with a voice assistant inside. Now, the evolution of the Echo family and Alexa have brings us a device designed specifically to make you look good. The new $199 Echo Look is the first iteration of Echo that has a camera, and the device uses it to evaluate your outfits, take outfit-of-the-day photos for you to share, and suggest which styles look best on you.

Echo Look deviates from the cylindrical design of other Echo devices: it's a long, pill-like camera with a base so you can stand it up on a shelf or stick it to a wall. Inside is a depth-sensing, 5-megapixel camera and an LED light that you control by saying "Alexa, take a photo" or "Alexa, take a video." An Amazon representative told Ars there's also one physical button on the side of the Echo Look that electronically disconnects the camera and mics. The camera isn't always on, and like the original Echo, it will only come on when awakened by an "Alexa" command. The photos and videos you take with Echo Look are instantly uploaded to the new Echo Look app (and stored in Amazon's Cloud) where you can share them on social media and build a wardrobe photo-book of different outfits over time. The depth sensor in the camera even lets you blur the background behind you, making your outfit pop amidst your surroundings.

In addition to holding all your outfit photos, the app has a "Style Check" feature that combines Amazon's machine learning algorithms and advice from stylists. Beauty help apps and devices don't have a great track record when it comes to relying on bots, so Amazon's hybrid approach and explicit business intentions will hopefully help the Echo Look avoid the same pitfalls that tripped up Map My Beauty (less than transparent back-end) and Beauty.AI (cultural-specific beauty standards since its bots lacked a large and diverse sample size).

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A Fitbit Flex 2 “exploded” on woman’s wrist, leaving second-degree burns [Update]

Gear & Gadgets - Posted On:2017-04-26 13:30:00 Source: arstechnica

Samsung isn't the only company that has had deal with exploding products. A Wisconsin woman told ABC News that her new Fitbit Flex 2 activity tracker "exploded" on her wrist while she read a book earlier this week. Dina Mitchell was treated at an area emergency care provider the next day and was left with second-degree burns on her wrist.

After the device combusted, Mitchell quickly removed it from her wrist. Doctors allegedly had to remove small pieces of rubber and plastic from her arm left by the melting device. Mitchell received the Flex 2 as a birthday gift and only had it for about two weeks before the incident.

Fitbit knows about the incident and offered Mitchell a free replacement device. Fitbit provided Ars its full statement:

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Two new Loog guitars let your toddler shout at the devil

Gadgets - Posted On:2017-04-26 13:15:02 Source: techcrunch

 Loog is a New York-based guitar company run by a music teacher named Rafael Atijas. These three-string guitars are designed for kids as young as 3 years old and they make guitar easy and fun – at least according to my kids who played with them when they were much younger. The new models are called the Mini for ages 3 and older and the Pro for ages 8 and older. The Mini is a smaller…

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Amazon latest Echo product is a hands-free fashion camera and virtual stylist

Gear & Gadgets - Posted On:2017-04-26 13:15:00 Source: arstechnica

It was a simpler time, back in early 2015, when Amazon's Echo first came out as a speaker with a voice assistant inside. Now, the evolution of the Echo family and Alexa have brings us a device designed specifically to make you look good. The new $199 Echo Look is the first iteration of Echo that has a camera, and the device uses it to evaluate your outfits, take outfit-of-the-day photos for you to share, and suggest which styles look best on you.

Echo Look deviates from the cylindrical design of other Echo devices: it's a long, pill-like camera with a base so you can stand it up on a shelf or stick it to a wall. Inside is a depth-sensing, 5-megapixel camera and an LED light that you control by saying "Alexa, take a photo" or "Alexa, take a video." An Amazon representative told Ars there's also one physical button on the side of the Echo Look that electronically disconnects the camera and mics. The camera isn't always on, and like the original Echo, it will only come on when awakened by an "Alexa" command. The photos and videos you take with Echo Look are instantly uploaded to the new Echo Look app (and stored in Amazon's Cloud) where you can share them on social media and build a wardrobe photo-book of different outfits over time. The depth sensor in the camera even lets you blur the background behind you, making your outfit pop amidst your surroundings.

In addition to holding all your outfit photos, the app has a "Style Check" feature that combines Amazon's machine learning algorithms and advice from stylists. Beauty help apps and devices don't have a great track record when it comes to relying on bots, so Amazon's hybrid approach and explicit business intentions will hopefully help the Echo Look avoid the same pitfalls that tripped up Map My Beauty (less than transparent back-end) and Beauty.AI (cultural-specific beauty standards since its bots lacked a large and diverse sample size).

Read More

Two new Loog guitars lets your toddler shout at the devil

Gadgets - Posted On:2017-04-26 13:00:02 Source: techcrunch

 Loog is a New York-based guitar company run by a music teacher named Rafael Atijas. These three-string guitars are designed for kids as young as 3 years old and they make guitar easy and fun – at least according to my kids who played with them when they were much younger. The new models are called the Mini for ages 3 and older and the Pro for ages 8 and older. The Mini is a smaller…

Read More

DJI could reveal a tiny drone at New York event in May

Gadgets - Posted On:2017-04-26 12:30:02 Source: techcrunch

 DJI just emailed invitations to the media for a launch event in May. It’s likely this is the event where the drone company will launch the little Spark. Smaller than the DJI Mavic Pro, the Spark looks to take DJI to a lower price point. Leaks and early looks revealed the small drone has fixed prop arms, a two axle gimbal yet still packs collision detection and similar brushless motors as…

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Cooking with Google Home just got easier

Gadgets - Posted On:2017-04-26 12:00:03 Source: techcrunch

 The Google Home and Amazon Echo are pretty useful devices to have in the kitchen, where clean hands are often at a premium. Until now, though, when you asked Google Home for a recipe, it would happily tell you all about it — but unless you are the president of the U.S. and have the world’s greatest memory, you probably forgot more than half of the ingredients by the time it…

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