posted 10 days ago on engadget
You’ll soon have an easier time scrolling through search results on your phone. In the US, Google is rolling out a tweak that does away with the “See more” prompt you’ve had to tap on previously to load additional search results on mobile devices. Now, when you get to the bottom of a set of results, the company’s search engine will instead automatically load the next page for you, allowing you to continuously scroll until you find a website you want to visit.You should see the change on both your mobile web browser and the Google app for iOS and Android. Per TechCrunch, the company is staggering out the rollout of the feature, so you won’t be able to scroll through every set of results, at least not initially. The change follows a redesign of mobile search Google released at the start of 2021.While most usually find what they’re looking for quickly, Google notes some people view as many as four pages of search results before they click through to a website. The company suggests the move to continuous scrolling should be particularly helpful to those who tend to ask more open-ended questions of its search engine. It’s also a tweak that brings the platform more in line with modern feed-style apps like Instagram and TikTok.

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posted 10 days ago on engadget
Ahead of its November 5th release date, we’ve seen sneak peeks of Call of Duty’s Vanguard’s single and multiplayer components. On Thursday, publisher Activision shared a new trailer and blog posts that offer a first look at the game's upcoming Zombies mode.Developed by Treyarch, Vanguard’s Zombies mode ties into the Dark Aether storyline established in Black Ops Cold War. One year after suffering a decisive defeat at the Battle of Stalingrad, a Nazi officer named Oberführer Wolfram Von List finds a mysterious artifact that binds him to an entity called Kortifex, allowing him to summon an army of the undead. It’s up to you and as many as three other players to battle through the ruins of Stalingrad and stop him.As you play through a match and complete objectives, you’ll find items called Sacrificial Hearts. You can offer these at an Altar of Covenants to access randomized upgrades that will tweak your playstyle. One of those upgrades will reload your weapons while they’re holstered, while another will allow you to turn zombies into temporary allies.Any experience you earn while playing Zombies will count toward Vanguard’s Batte Pass, which also shares progression between multiplayer and Warzone. The mode will also support cross-platform play between different consoles. As mentioned above, Vanguard launches on November 5th. It will be available on PlayStation 4, PS5, PC, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S. 

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posted 10 days ago on engadget
Nanoleaf knows that its users sometimes crave something a bit more minimal than LED light panels that stretch across their wall. That’s why the company is launching Lines, a series of backlight LED light bars which offer the same features as previous products, albeit in a more elegant body. Each “Line” is 10.96-inches (27.85cm) long, and can join to its siblings at either end, or at a 60-degree angle. The company says that you can “paint your space with lines,” creating “grand geometric shapes” and “sleek linear layouts.”But beyond the new style of design, this is still the same Nanoleaf setup that you already know and love, letting you paint with light. Each Line has two color zones, and you can plug in dynamic lighting scenes, sync with your music and mirror the colors on your computer’s display. In addition, the hardware will act as a Thread Border Router to help connect smart gear nearby that can also harness the same protocol. It’s also future-proof, and will work with Matter, a new protocol due to roll out next year.NanoleafNanoleaf Lines are available to pre-order today, with the 9-line starter kit setting you back $200, while add-on packs with 3-lines a piece will cost $80. It’s expected that the products will start shipping to homes in the US at some point before the end of November.

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posted 11 days ago on engadget
Congress is once again hoping to limit Section 230 safeguards under certain circumstances. Rep. Frank Pallone and other House Democrats are introducing a bill, the Justice Against Malicious Algorithms Act (JAMA), that would make internet platforms liable when they "knowingly or recklessly" use algorithms to recommend content that leads to physical or "severe emotional" harm. They're concerned online giants like Facebook are knowingly amplifying harmful material, and that companies should be held responsible for this damage.The key sponsors, including Reps. Mike Doyle, Jan Schakowsky and Anna Eshoo, pointed to whistleblower Frances Haugen's Senate testimony as supposed evidence of Facebook's algorithm abuse. Her statements were proof Facebook was abusing the Communications Decency Act's Section 230 "well beyond congressional intent," according to Eshoo. Haugen alleged that Facebook knew its social networks were harmful to children and spread "divisive and extreme" content.The bill only applies to services with over 5 million monthly users, and won't cover basic online infrastructure (such as web hosting) or user-specified searches. JAMA will go before the House on October 15th.As with past proposed reforms, there are no guarantees JAMA will become law. Provided it passes the House, an equivalent measure still has to clear a Senate that has been hostile to some Democrat bills. The parties have historically disagreed on how to change Section 230 — Democrats believe it doesn't require enough moderation for hate and misinformation, while Republicans have claimed it enables censorship of conservative viewpoints. The bill's vaguer concepts, such as 'reckless' algorithm use and emotional damage, might raise fears of over-broad interpretations.The bill could still send a message even if it dies, though. Pallone and the other JAMA backers argue the "time for self-regulation is over" — they're no longer convinced social media heavyweights like Facebook can apologize, implement a few changes and carry on. This won't necessarily lead to a more strictly regulated social media space, but it could put more pressure on social networks to implement far-reaching policy changes.

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posted 11 days ago on engadget
LinkedIn will shut down the Chinese version of its service later this year. The company cited "a significantly more challenging operating environment and greater compliance requirements in China" as the reasons for closing the local edition of its social network for professionals."While we’ve found success in helping Chinese members find jobs and economic opportunity, we have not found that same level of success in the more social aspects of sharing and staying informed," LinkedIn said in a statement. As such, the company isn't abandoning China completely. It's working on a standalone job board app called InJobs, which won't have a social feed or any way to share posts or articles.LinkedIn agreed to adhere to state restrictions and block certain content when it launched in China in February 2014. However, some signs of trouble bubbled up this year. In March, the company prevented new Chinese users from signing up for a spell while it made sure it was abiding by the countries' laws. A couple of months later, China said 105 apps were violating data collection laws, including LinkedIn.The Microsoft-owned service was the last major US social network that was still officially operating in China. The country banned Signal and Clubhouse earlier this year. Facebook and Twitter have been blocked there since 2009, and China barred Instagram in 2014.

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posted 11 days ago on engadget
Spotify is expanding US availability of its Car Thing, an $80 music and podcast player for vehicles. The company debuted the gizmo back in the spring on an invite-only basis and only charged users for shipping during a test phase.Those who signed up for the Car Thing waitlist before now will get first dibs on the company's first hardware device, though it's still in limited release for now. In addition, both free and Premium Spotify members in the country can now sign up for the waitlist, though the Car Thing requires a Premium subscription and a smartphone for connectivity. Everyone who signs up for the waitlist will eventually be offered a Car Thing.Spotify worked on Car Thing for several years before it started shipping the device a few months ago. The idea is to bring infotainment features to almost any car, particularly older ones without newfangled touchscreens. Once you hook up Car Thing to your vehicle with the help of one of the included mounts, you can use it to play music and podcasts with either physical controls or "Hey Spotify" voice commands.

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posted 11 days ago on engadget
The fitness tracker isn’t dead, and if you’re reading this, you’re probably one of the people keeping these little devices alive. Smartwatches have all but taken over the mainstream wearable space, but the humble fitness tracker remains an option for those who want a gadget to do one thing right all the time. Despite the headwinds, there are still a bunch of fitness bands out there to choose from. Engadget has tested many of them and picked out the best for most people.What do fitness trackers do best?The answer seems simple: Fitness trackers are best at monitoring exercise, be it a 10-minute walk around the block or that half marathon you’ve been diligently training for. Obviously, smartwatches can do that too, but there are some areas where fitness bands have the upper hand: focus, design, battery life and price.When I say “focus,” I’m alluding to the fact that fitness trackers are made to track activity well; anything else is extra. They often don’t have the bells and whistles that smartwatches do, which could distract from their activity-tracking abilities. They also tend to have fewer sensors and internal components, which keeps them smaller and lighter. Fitness trackers are also a better option for those who just want a less conspicuous device on their wrists all day.Battery life tends to be better on fitness trackers, too. While most smartwatches last one to two days on a single charge, fitness bands will last five days to one week — and that’s with all-day and all-night use.When it comes to price, there’s no competition. Most worthwhile smartwatches start at $175 to $200, but you can get a solid fitness tracker starting at $70. Yes, more expensive bands exist (and we recommend a few here), but you’ll find more options under $150 in the fitness tracker space than in the smartwatch space.When to get a smartwatch insteadIf you need a bit more from your wearable, you’ll likely want a smartwatch instead. There are things like on-watch apps, alerts and even more robust fitness features that smartwatches have and fitness trackers don’t. You can use one to control smart home appliances, set timers and reminders, check weather reports and more. Some smartwatches let you choose which apps you want to receive alerts from, and the options go beyond just call and text notifications.But the extra fitness features are arguably the most important thing to think about when deciding between a fitness tracker and a smartwatch. The latter devices tend to be larger, giving them more space for things like GPS, barometers, onboard music storage and more. While you can find built-in GPS on select fitness trackers, it’s not common.Engadget picksBest overall: Fitbit Charge 5Valentina Palladino / EngadgetFitbit's Charge 5 has everything most people would want in a fitness tracker. First and foremost, it's not a smartwatch. That means it has a slightly lower profile on the wrist and lasts days on a single charge while tracking activity and sleep. It also has a full-color AMOLED display — a big improvement from the smaller, grayscale screen on last year's Charge 4. That display, along with a thinner design, make Charge 5 feel more premium than its predecessor.But it also costs $180 — $30 more than the Charge 4 — and that's due in part to the design upgrades but also some additional features. The Charge 5 has EDA sensors for stress tracking and it will eventually support ECG measurements and Daily Readiness Scores (the latter is for only for Premium subscribers). Those are on top of existing features that were carried over from the Charge 4 — most notably, Fitbit Pay support and built-in GPS. The former lets you pay for coffee or groceries with a swipe of your wrist, while the latter helps map outdoor runs, bike rides and other activities. Built-in GPS remains the star of the show here — it's fast and accurate, making the Charge 5 the best option if you want a do-it-all wearable that’s focused on fitness.Buy Charge 5 at Amazon - $180Alternative: Garmin Vivosmart 4EngadgetA more subtle-looking alternative is the $100 Garmin Vivosmart 4. It’s thinner than the Charge 5 and fits in a bit better with bracelets and other jewelry you might wear regularly. But its attractive design is only part of its appeal — Garmin knows how to track fitness, and the Vivosmart 4 is proof that you don’t need to drop hundreds on one of the company’s fitness watches to get a capable device.Like the Charge 5, the Vivosmart 4 tracks all-day activity and sleep and has a pulse ox sensor for blood oxygen saturation measurements. It has only connected GPS capabilities, and it has universal music controls that can control the playback of most anything. The band is also waterproof and can track basic swim workouts, plus it also has a battery life of up to seven days. While it’s similar to the Charge 5 in that the Vivosmart 4 works with both Android and iOS devices, it’s a bit more flexible as it syncs with Apple Health (the Charge 5 and other Fitbit devices do not).Buy Vivosmart 4 at Amazon - $130Best budget: Fitbit Inspire 2Fitbit / TileIf you only have $100 to spare, the Fitbit Inspire 2 is the best option. It strips out all the luxury features from the Charge 5 and keeps only the essentials. You won’t get built-in GPS, Fitbit Pay or Spotify control but you do get excellent activity tracking, automatic workout detection, smartphone alerts and plenty more. As the updated version of the Inspire HR, the Inspire 2 includes a heart rate monitor, which the device uses to keep track of all-day heart rate, active zone minutes, sleep stages and more.The Inspire HR is thinner than the Charge 5 but it also has interchangeable bands, so you can switch up its style whenever you feel like it. Its design is also swimproof, and it should last up to 10 days on a single charge. Fitbit also recently added Tile-tracking to the Inspire 2, allowing you to find your misplaced band using the Bluetooth locator feature and the Tile mobile app. All of these features make it the best value fitness tracker you can get.Buy Inspire 2 at Fitbit - $100Alternative: Samsung Galaxy Fit 2SamsungThe $60 Samsung Galaxy Fit 2 band is almost like a more affordable Garmin Vivosmart 4. The two trackers share the same skeletal design but the Galaxy Fit looks a bit more utilitarian — you can swap out its bands, though — something you can’t do on Garmin’s device.We haven’t given the Fit 2 the full review treatment, but Engadget’s Cherlynn Low was impressed with the original Galaxy Fit: the Tizen-based interface is colorful and easy to use, and plenty of people will appreciate its durable, no-nonsense design. It tracks a bunch of workouts as well and even has auto-exercise recognition. That’s on top of its daily activity tracking and sleep monitor, all of which uses the built-in heart rate monitor to collect pulse data throughout the day.The kicker for the Galaxy Fit 2 is battery life — the tiny tracker can last for up to 15 days on a single charge, and you can even extend it to 21 days if you change some settings. That’s much longer than most competing bands, so even if Samsung isn’t as comprehensive as Garmin or Fitbit is when it comes to fitness data collection and analysis, the Galaxy Fit 2 is a good option for those who want a basic tracker that they can safely forget to charge each night.Buy Galaxy Fit 2 at Amazon - $60Most fashionable: Withings MoveEngadgetAll of the previously mentioned fitness trackers are attractive in their own way (bonus points to those that have interchangeable bands), but they share a similar look. There aren’t many alternative designs for these devices anymore. The $70 Withings Move watch is an exception, and one of the most traditionally fashionable fitness trackers you can get. It’s an analog watch with a couple of health monitoring features including step, calorie, distance and sleep tracking, connected GPS, auto-recognition for more than 30 workouts and a water-resistant design. But we really love it for its button-cell battery, which can last up to 18 months before needing a replacement.Buy Withings Move at Amazon - $70

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posted 11 days ago on engadget
HTC is today launching a lightweight headset designed to split the difference between a standalone VR headset and a personal cinema. The HTC Vive Flow is a pair of glasses weighing just 189 grams (6.6 pounces) which pair with a smartphone to let you play some VR content or simply watch TV. It’s marketed as both a piece of tech to keep you entertained and a device to help you improve your mental wellbeing.Naturally, the company doesn’t want to talk too much about the technology inside Flow, preferring to focus on what it can do. What we do know, however, is that it has two “1.6K” displays running at a 75Hz refresh rate and offering a 100-degree field of vision. There’s no battery per-se, except for a tiny cell designed to make sure that it’ll shut down safely if Flow is severed from whatever power source you've connected its USB-C cable to. HTCIt’s in this regard that it’s set up more like a personal cinema than it is your standard VR headset, especially with the fairly narrow body. HTC spent a lot of time and effort shrinking the distance between the display and your eyes, and Flow uses a pair of diopter lenses up front. It means that short-sighted folks won’t need to wear their glasses when using Flow, since they can set the lenses up to suit their comfort level.To ensure that Flow really is portable, HTC set a power budget of 7.5 watts, the upper limit for USB 3’s charging spec. It means you can run this thing off any compatible battery pack (or your phone, in a pinch) as well as a standard socket over a USB-C cable. Some of that juice goes to powering a small active fan in front of the nose, which pulls cold air over your face and pushes warm air out of the Flow’s top vents.HTCHTC also spent plenty of time talking about how the dual-hinge system will ensure that the Flow’s glasses-like frame will sit comfortably on anyone’s head. A pair of speakers embedded into the arms offer what we’re told is surprisingly high quality spatial audio, and beefy given their relative size. And since they sit on your head like regular glasses, you can wear them laying down should the need arise.You can pair Flow with your smartphone over Bluetooth or Miracast (for watching protected content) and use the phone as a pointer inside VR content. That limits the number of experiences you’ll be able to enjoy with the gear, but you were hardly going to be able to play Half Life: Alyx on this thing anyway. A pair of camera lenses facing forward will, when the feature is ready, enable the Flow to track your hands for more immersive VR, too.It's worth saying that this is not, and as I understand it, can never become an AR headset in its current form. Those lenses don't apparently offer much passthrough (beyond what's necessary for motion tracking) and this isn't designed for it anyway. HTC says that the focus of Flow’s content on “wellbeing, brain training, productivity” and “light gaming,” with apps like Color Connect VR, Space Slurpies and VR meditation app Tripp. The headset will be able to access a special version of Viveport Infinity, offering a wide library of Flow-compatible content for a monthly fee of $5.99. The company added that if users wanted to meditate within the Flow towards the end of the day, a blue light filter will kick in to help ensure that you can get more restful sleep.HTCIf you’re looking to get hold of an HTC Vive Flow, then pre-orders are opening from today, with shipping expected to begin in November. The price is $499, and for that you get the glasses and a soft carrying case thrown-in, but I’d strongly advise you to pre-order if you want one. Doing so entitles you to receive the flask-like hard carrying case, as well as seven pieces of additional VR content thrown in gratis.Naturally, Flow has become something of a worst-kept secret in technology after many of these details were leaked ahead of time. One of the obvious sticking points is the higher price compared to the Quest 2, although HTC was clear to dispel the notion that the products were equals. Flow, after all, is a not a standalone headset, and HTC believes that the lighter, more elegant hardware will win it fans in the health and fitness market. 

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posted 11 days ago on engadget
On October 18th, Apple will hold its second event of the fall and likely last event of the year. The invite the company sent out this time doesn’t provide any hints on what announcements we should expect, but thanks to a variety of leaks and reports, we have some good ideas about what it will show off.MacBook ProDevindra Hardawar/EngadgetAll signs point to new 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro models headlining the event. Apple will reportedly turn back the clock on its flagship laptop, undoing many of the design features that have defined the line since late 2016. MagSafe may be back on the table, as well as an HDMI port and SD card slot. Oh, and the Touch Bar will apparently get the axe, with a standard set of function keys set to replace the OLED strip.Beyond those changes, the new MacBook Pro is expected to feature thinner bezels. According to display analyst Ross Young, it could even come with a mini-LED panel capable of refreshing its screen at 120Hz. Ross suggests that’s a feature both models could include, but knowing Apple, it may be something that’s only available on the top-tier 16-inch model or an add-on that costs extra. Additionally, there have been reports of the 14- and 16-inch models supporting maximum resolutions of 3,024 x 1,964 and 3,456 x 2,224, which would be a major upgrade over the current 13- and 16-inch MacBook Pros.Yes, new 14" and 16" MacBook Pro's will have miniLEDs and we believe they will also be 120Hz refresh.— Ross Young (@DSCCRoss) October 12, 2021Internally, the MacBook Pro will reportedly include Apple’s latest system-on-a-chip, possibly called the M1X. According to a recent report from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, there will be two variants of the M1X, with the main difference between the two coming down to the number of graphics cores they have at their disposal. In addition to delivering faster performance than the M1, the new chip could come with support for up to 32GB of RAM, making it a much better fit for work like coding and video editing.Speaking of the M1X, it could tie into the other announcements Apple has planned for October 18th. In August, Gurman said Apple was working on a redesigned Mac mini that will include the new processor and add additional ports. At the time, he noted the desktop would launch sometime within the “next several months.” Recent reports suggest that a new Mac mini isn’t a guarantee for next week, but Apple could still surprise us. We know from Gurman and analyst Ming-Chi Kuo that Apple is also working on a redesigned MacBook Air, but the company reportedly won’t announce that device until sometime next year.macOS MontereyAppleGiven the timing of the event and the likely focus on Mac hardware, Apple will almost certainly announce a release date for macOS Monterey. The company previewed the next version of its desktop operating system at WWDC 2021, showing how features like SharePlay and Universal Control will build on the enhancements it introduced with Big Sur in 2020. We got a chance to preview the update this past summer and found it was a mostly subtle upgrade to Apple’s desktop OS. Still, we wager Mac fans will be excited to find out when they can download the software.Everything elseWe could also see the company announce a new set of AirPods to replace the current second-generation model. Apple hasn’t updated its original wireless earbuds since 2019 when it released a minor update that added support for inductive charging. Taking a page from the AirPods Pro, the new model is expected to feature an updated design with shorter stems, but they won’t include more premium features like ANC. In the lead-up to next week’s event, we’ve seen leaked images of the third-generation AirPods with both silicone ear tips and without. So it’s not clear just how heavily Apple plans to lean into the AirPods Pro design.We’ll note here AirPods haven’t been a frequent feature of Apple’s hardware events. Outside of when it unveiled the earbuds back in 2016, Apple has announced all subsequent models, including the AirPods Pro and AirPods Max, through press releases. We can see the company doing the same here with the new “basic” model. One last thing the company could mention at the event is that Apple Music is coming to the PlayStation 4 and PS5. Given that you can already access Apple TV from Sony’s consoles, it’s not a jump for the streaming service to become available there as well.So there you have it, that’s everything we see Apple potentially sharing on October 18th. As always, the company could surprise us, so you’ll want to visit Engadget on the day of the event. We’ll have comprehensive coverage of the company’s latest announcements.

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posted 11 days ago on engadget
Four years after Monument Valley 2 hit iOS and Android, Ustwo Games has added a new chapter. The developer released “The Lost Forest” as its contribution to Playing for the Planet’s Green Game Jam, which promotes tree conservation.The chapter includes “four intimate scenes” and Ustwo hopes that by playing through them, people will be inspired to sign a Play4Forests petition to show their interest in protecting forests. Play4Forests is an initiative run by the United Nations’ climate and forest partnership and the Playing for the Planet Alliance. The goal is to work with major names in gaming to highlight the “importance of conserving and restoring forests.”Our brand new chapter for Monument Valley 2 is OUT NOW! The Lost Forest is a special chapter we have created to help protect trees, as our contribution to the Playing For The Planet Green Game Jam!#monumentvalley2#PlayingForThePlanet#GreenGameJampic.twitter.com/CjqYvrZqUT— ustwo games (@ustwogames) October 14, 2021“Our forests, one of our best allies in fighting the climate emergency, are facing mounting threats,” the Play4Forests website reads. “Your voice can help secure a better future for forests and humans.”It might initially seem unusual to bring extra content to a game like Monument Valley 2 four years later, but there’s an admirable reason in this particular case. Tiny Wings, a popular iOS title from a decade ago, was updated with more levels in 2016, so such a long gap between a mobile game’s release and more content isn’t exactly unheard of.As for the future of the series, Ustwo announced in 2019 it was working on Monument Valley 3, but there's no word of a release date as yet.

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posted 11 days ago on engadget
Don't be surprised if your Twitter feed is cluttered with more advertising than usual. The Vergereports that Twitter is testing a format that displays ads in the replies to a given tweet. As Revenue Product Lead Bruce Falk explains, those involved in the test will see ads under the first, third or eighth reply to a tweet. The experiment is worldwide and applies to both Android and iOS users.Falck said the ad format produces value and "aligns incentives for creators and advertisers." However, he also acknowledged that it wasn't a surefire concept. Twitter would spend the "coming months" testing the frequency, layouts and other aspects of the ads to see how well they perform and affect the community. This could be helpful for advertisers, of course, but it might also lead to more compensation for Twitter users.This probably isn't the sort of Twitter test you'd want to see, but it's not surprising. Twitter has been eager to find new sources of revenue for both itself and its most prolific users, ranging from Blue subscriptions to Tip Jar donations. Ads in replies could not only improve Twitter's bottom line, but attract creators used to making money from sponsored Instagram and TikTok posts.Starting today, we’re trying something different and testing a new ad format in Tweet conversations. If you’re a part of this test (which is global; on iOS & Android only), you’ll see ads after the first, third or eighth reply under a Tweet. 🗣️ pic.twitter.com/kvIGeYt2vp— bruce.falck() 🦗 (@boo) October 13, 2021

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posted 11 days ago on engadget
It's smart to try to get some of your holiday shopping done early this year and Amazon's making it a bit easier to do so for those looking for solid headphones and earbuds to gift. The online retailer has a big Bose sale going on right now that knocks up to 29 percent off a bunch of the company's audio devices. Key among them are the Bose QuietComfort earbuds, which are down to a record low of $199.Shop Bose sale at AmazonBuy QuietComfort earbuds at Amazon - $199The QuietComfort earbuds give our favorite Sony pairs a run for their money, and we consider them to be the best option if you want to truly block out all surrounding noises. These buds shine in the ANC department with 11 levels of noise cancellation that you can choose from in its companion app, three of which you can assign to onboard controls for easy access. They block out the world better than all other true wireless earbuds we've tested — only Sony's WF-1000XM3 (and the newer XM4) even come close. Sound quality is also great and battery life is good at roughly seven hours. Our biggest complaints about the QuietComfort earbuds are that they are quite large (but not too heavy) and they have limited customizations and touch control options.A couple of other Bose buds are on sale, too, including the Sport Open earbuds for $179. In many ways, these are the opposite of the QuietComfort earbuds. They have an open, over-ear design that's supposed to let in outside noise so you can be more aware of what's going on around you. They're also comfortable since they don't stick directly inside your ear canal. Since they're quite niche, you probably know already if you, or someone you love, is the type of person who would love these earbuds.Buy Sport Open earbuds at Amazon - $179Buy QuietComfort 35 II at Amazon - $250Buy QuietComfort 35 II gaming headset at Amazon - $279Unfortunately the new Bose QuietComfort 45 headphones are not included in this sale, but the QC 35 II and their gaming-headset equivalent are. The QC 35 II are down to $250, which isn't a record low but still a decent $50 discount. They're Bose's hallmark headphones for noise cancellation that came out in 2017 and they have excellent ANC and sound quality along with a comfortable design. Last year, the company turned the QC 35 II into a gaming headset by essentially giving you a detachable boom mic and PC controller to use with the cans. That one is down to a record low of $279 in this sale.Follow @EngadgetDeals on Twitter for the latest tech deals and buying advice.

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posted 11 days ago on engadget
This post contains spoilers for season two, episode 10 of 'Star Trek: Lower Decks.'Last week I posited that seasons one and two of Lower Decks together would make up one story arc of the show. Given this week’s finale, it looks like we’ll be dealing with the consequences of the Pakled threat for just a bit longer. But when an episode is this good, I’m perfectly fine with being wrong.Especially when this installment just encompasses so many of my favorite things about Star Trek. It’s not just the delightful appearance by Captain Sonya Gomez — you might remember her as the ensign who spilled hot chocolate on Captain Picard way back in season two of The Next Generation. And it’s not because of the first on-screen appearance of cetacean ops, a concept hinted at in various blueprints but never actually mentioned with any real seriousness.CBSIt’s the general plot of the episode, where the entire crew must work together to save the day. I’m a real sucker for teamwork scenes, like the final battle in The Undiscovered Country or, more recently, when the crew of the USS Discovery had to disguise themselves as their mirror universe counterpart. Star Trek has been described as “competence porn” by many online, in how it depicts people who are insanely good at their jobs and work together well.The first two seasons haven’t always showcased the crew at their finest. We’ve seen Boimler and Mariner lose the Klingon diplomat they were supposed to be escorting, Freeman get into a pissing match with the captain of another Starfleet vessel, and the crew fail its (rigged) assessment test spectacularly. At times the show is very much like The Office, more interested in the personal lives and antics of its employees than the actual business at hand.CBSHowever, even The Office would occasionally remind you that the staff of Dunder Mifflin were good at their jobs, particularly Michael Scott. Michael was a terrible manager, but one hell of a salesman. And this episode of Lower Decks put the spotlight on Carol Freeman, whose fine work over the past two years is being rewarded with a promotion to a better ship. The USS Cerritos is a California-class ship, a real workhorse of a vessel that doesn’t get a lot of respect. That the Cerritos even became important at all is completely due to circumstance in encountering and surviving the newly empowered Pakleds. But it’s given Freeman a lot of time in the spotlight, with her tasked a few episodes ago with negotiating a cease-fire with the Pakled government. (It was a ruse, but that’s not her fault.)Last week I thought this episode would wrap up that storyline, given that we now know the Pakleds were getting help from a Klingon captain, one who is no longer alive thanks to the actions of a lower-decker. Instead, this episode focuses on Freeman’s possible promotion, her senior staff’s reaction to it, and the futures of our lower decks ensigns.CBSThis is all happening against the backdrop of a first contact mission. The USS Cerritos mostly specializes in second contact missions — we’re told this in the very first episode. That means they come in and handle all the annoying administrative stuff after flagships like the Enterprise come in and establish initial relations. Now, the Cerritos gets to take part in the more important first impression, but only as backup to the USS Archimedes.Sitting on the bench ends up serving the Cerritos well when a solar flare plus an unstable planetoid ends up disabling the Archimedes and putting it on a crash course with the planet below. Freeman is ready to sacrifice herself in order to save the other ship, but Rutherford and company have a better plan, one that can prevent fatalities on both vessels. But they’ve only got 20 hours, so the whole crew has to chip in. That means Ransom piloting, Billups supervising the hull removal, and Tendi giving Mariner a much-needed pep talk. The latter might not be necessary to the functioning of the ship, but it is important to the show because it pushes the two women toward the emotional resolution they need.CBSWe also get to meet the crew of cetacean ops, two beluga whale lieutenants named Kimolu and Matt. But it’s Boimler who has to save the day, because the clamp they need to release isn’t made to be turned by flippers. (I really appreciate the accessibility joke here, because Starfleet has often been cited over the decades as an OSHA nightmare.) Needless to say, the crew succeeds (this isn’t a movie, after all, so we’re not losing the ship). After the bravery shown by the entire crew of the Cerritos, particularly Boimler and Rutherford, it’s hard to imagine that season three won’t start off with a few promotions.But first, there’s the matter of Freeman’s transfer, which she has decided to decline in favor of staying with a crew that has proven itself capable of being truly excellent. Unfortunately, that Pakled storyline comes to bite us all one more time, leading us into the show’s very first cliffhanger, and the very first season-ending cliffhanger in the new Kurtzman-era of Trek programs.CBSStar Trek: Lower Decks had a lot to prove when it debuted last year: It was the first animated show since the ‘70s, and the franchise’s first attempt at a primarily comedic series. It also had to overcome the initial impressions of it as being akin to Rick and Morty or Family Guy. The quality of the first season started a bit rough but improved as time went on, ending on the fantastic action-packed episode, “No Small Parts.” Season two’s “First First Contact” ups the game in several ways, not just in its element of danger but also in how the show is willing to use big storylines to push the characters forward as the seasons progress.

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posted 11 days ago on engadget
One of the obvious goals of almost every computer vision project is to enable a machine to see, and perceive, the world as a human does. Today, Facebook has started talkingabout Ego4D, its own effort in this space, for which it has created a vast new data set to train future models. In a statement, the company said that it had recruited 13 universities across nine countries, who had collected 2,200 hours of footage from 700 participants. This footage was taken from the perspective of the user, which can be used to train these future AI models. Kristen Grauman, Facebook’s lead research scientist, says that this is the largest collection of data explicitly created for this focus.The footage was centered on a number of common experiences in human life, including social interaction, hand and object manipulation and predicting what’s going to happen. It’s, as far as the social network is concerned, a big step toward better computing experiences which, until now, have always focused on sourcing data from the bystander’s perspective. Facebook has said that the data sets will be released in November, “for researchers who sign Ego4D’s data use agreement.” And, next year, researchers from beyond this community will be challenged to better train machines to understand what exactly humans are doing in their lives.Naturally, there is the angle that Facebook, which now has a camera glasses partnership with Ray Ban, is looking to improve its own capabilities in future. You probably already know about the perils of what this potential surveillance could entail, and why anyone might feel a little leery about the announcement.

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posted 11 days ago on engadget
If you missed the chance to grab the new Echo Show 8 during Amazon's Prime Day event in July, you may want to check the smart display's listing on Amazon. It's currently on sale for $100, $30 less than its original retail price of $130. That's only $5 more than what it was listed for during Prime Day, and it's certainly not a bad deal for a relatively new device that was only released in June. Buy All-new Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen, 2021) at Amazon - $100We gave the Echo Show 8 a score of 87 in our review. Between this device and its smaller 5-inch sibling, it received more upgrades from the previous generation, including a faster octa-core processor. It also has a 13-megapixel wide-angle camera that's a huge improvement over the previous version's one-megapixel sensor. The smart display uses digital panning and zooming to follow you around during calls, and it worked well enough when we tested it out. It even works with every video calling platform the device supports, including Skype and Zoom.Aside from its faster processor and better camera, we praised the Echo Show 8 for its minimalist design and its 1,280 x 800-pixel resolution display. It lacks the 3.5 mm jack of its predecessor that will let you connect it to a speaker, but it already has a powerful bass and impressive volume. The device's overall sound quality is also better than its smaller sibling's, since it has two speakers instead of one. We found the Echo Show 8 a great digital photo frame that's capable of displaying current time and weather conditions during our tests. In addition, we found it helpful in the kitchen, thanks to its large library of recipes with step-by-step instructions from sources that include the Food Network and Allrecipes. And in case you want to use the smart display to watch videos, you can do so, as well, since it supports video streaming from Amazon Prime, Netflix and Hulu.Follow @EngadgetDeals on Twitter for the latest tech deals and buying advice.

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posted 11 days ago on engadget
Apple still dominates the world of wearables. Over the last year, research company Canalys noted that smartwatch sales have actually overtaken basic bands and now account for 62 percent of all wearable shipments. And Apple’s versions lays claim to just under a third of all smartwatches sold.EngadgetThat’s interesting because you need an iOS device to setup and use an Apple Watch, so the company has discounted all the Android phone users that might be interested in an Apple smartwatch. I’ve played with Fitbits, Samsung Galaxy Watches and the occasional Garmin, even, but nothing quite offers the capabilities and premium build-quality of an Apple Watch. (And this comes from someone who was averse to — and still bought — the first Apple smartwatch.)So here we are for round 7. Apple’s Watch Series 7 goes on sale this Friday, and there seems to be a lot of interest in the bigger-screened watch, with pre-order screens soon showing early November delivery dates when Apple opened up orders. If you’ve already pre-ordered, well you probably don’t care about reviews! For the rest of us, Reviews Editor Cherlynn Low has put the wearable through its paces for the last week. We’ll take a closer look at her review below.— Mat SmithWilliam Shatner becomes the oldest person to reach spaceThe Star Trek legend's Blue Origin flight went smoothly.William Shatner has become the oldest person to fly to space. The 90-year-old Star Trek icon was one of four crew members aboard Blue Origin's NS-18 mission as it flew to an altitude of 66 miles. The sci-fi actor and random Engadget nemesis (there was a whole Twitter beef) edged out 82-year-old aviation pioneer Wally Funk, who set the previous age record just a few months ago.It's also some good publicity for Blue Origin. Jeff Bezos' private spaceflight outfit is currently grappling with accusations of a toxic work environment, not to mention the fallout of its legal tussle with SpaceX over NASA's Moon mission contract.Continue reading.Sponsored by CISCO 2021 Security Outcomes Study for Small BusinessesApple Watch Series 7 reviewIt’s all about the screenAccording to Cherlynn Low, just a little bit more screen makes a huge difference on a device this small. Though it’s otherwise not a huge upgrade over its predecessor, the Apple Watch Series 7’s bigger screen makes it more user-friendly than ever. It’s a solid choice for anyone new to smartwatches or who's upgrading from a much older device. If you’re a Series 6 owner, however, you could probably wait until the next update. And if you’re looking for substantial sleep tracking, the Apple Watch still won’t be the right wearable for you.Continue reading.Apple may be exploring ways to use AirPods as health devicesThey could potentially take your temperature and even check your posture.Oh, the other wearable. Wall Street Journal sources claim Apple is exploring multiple ways it can use AirPods as health devices. It might use the buds as hearing aids, but it could also use the motion sensors to correct your posture. A prototype would even include a thermometer to check your core body temperature.Continue reading.HTC Vive Flow headset images leak days before reported launchThe device will set you back $499, according to the leaked images.EvleaksHTC is expected to launch a new VR headset within the week, but some leaked images have spoiled the party. A collection of Vive Flow images made its way online, courtesy of Evleaks over on Twitter, before the launch event. Looking like a lightweight steampunk VR fantasy, the goggles appear to be more for media viewing and light gaming than more substantial (or business-centric) capabilities. The images suggest the Vive Flow will be available for pre-order starting on October 15th, with shipments going out in early November.Continue reading.Facebook’s latest effort to curtail leaks immediately leakedThe social network is trying to lock down access to sensitive info.Facebook is ramping up its fight against leakers following the disclosures of whistleblower Frances Haugen. According to a report from The New York Times, Facebook is limiting access to some internal groups that deal with “sensitive” issues like safety and elections. The change, which was made to prevent further leaks, immediately leaked. Which is hilarious.Continue reading.Bowers & Wilkins' new Zeppelin speaker was built for streamingIt'll come with built-in Alexa and cost $799.Bowers & Wilkins has launched a new version of its iconic Zeppelin speaker, and the company says it was reimagined for the streaming age. It describes the new Zeppelin as "smarter and more flexible" than its predecessors, with built-in support for Amazon's Alexa.B&W plans to give it multi-room capability in early 2022 through a software update. Once that arrives, users will be able to link several Zeppelins together or link a Zeppelin with other B&W speakers in a multi-room environment. A chain of Zeppelin speakers isn’t a cheap endeavor, however. Each new speaker will cost $799.Continue reading.Fujifilm launches its first wide-format Instax Link smartphone printerPrint Polaroid-like snapshots from your smartphone.FujifilmFujifilm has revealed a new Instax printer that supports its wider, more Polaroid-like film. The Instax Link Wide Smartphone printer connects to your smartphone and prints out camera roll photos twice as wide as the credit-card-sized images from the original Instax mini Link printer. You can also directly transfer and print images from Fujifilm's X-S10 mirrorless camera.Continue reading.The biggest news stories you might have missedSony's new zoom lens has features designed for video creatorsAnker's audio glasses pair swappable frames with 'surround' sound for $200Bose's new rugged Bluetooth speaker floats in waterRiot Games disables all chat in 'League of Legends''Call of Duty: Warzone' and 'Vanguard' anti-cheat updates include a kernel-level driverRoland SP-404MKII sampler hands-on: Dragging an iconic sampler into the modern ageAMD's Radeon RX 6600 is a $329 GPU for 1080p gaming

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posted 11 days ago on engadget
Google's Pocket Gallery came along in 2018, allowing users with AR-enabled smartphones to see artworks by the likes of Vermeer and Klimt, even pieces normally not accessible to the public. Now, Google is opening up the exhibitions to everyone on the web, letting you explore them on desktop or mobile devices with or without AR capabilities, it announced in a Keyword post. Up until today, Pocket Gallery was essentially an (overly complicated) AR experience inside Google's Arts & Culture app, placing an art gallery on your desktop or another flat surface and allowing you to explore different art pieces. Now, you just need to load up the Arts & Culture website, find the Pocket Gallery section, choose a relevant exhibition in your browser and use your mouse or finger to scroll around, zoom in, etc. Otherwise, it works much the same, allowing you to view, pan and zoom right in, down to brushstrokes and flecks of paint on certain pieces. It also provides a written description along with audio narratives for key pieces (complete with a museum-like echo), describing an artwork's history, meaning and more. It's a welcome and much overdue change, opening up the educational possibilities of Pocket Gallery to far more people.Google Arts & Culture has other virtual experiences, including 360-degree videos and more. Along with the update, Google also unveiled a new exhibition in the collection done in collaboration with Réunion des musées nationaux - Grand Palais in France. It features 40 marine masterpieces from the Palace of Versailles, the Louvre and elsewhere. 

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posted 11 days ago on engadget
Scientists have spotted a Jupiter-like exoplanet orbiting a dead star that was once like our Sun, The New York Times has reported. According to a paper in the journal Nature, the white dwarf star and planet around 6,500 light years away provides a preview of what will happen to our own solar system in approximately 5 billion years. When a yellow dwarf star like our sun exhausts its helium supply, it expands into a red giant and incinerates its inner planets (bye-bye, Earth, Mars, Venus and Mercury). It then contracts from its own gravity into a white dwarf, a dim Earth-sized star with about half its original mass. Though the fate of inner planets is sealed, scientists aren't exactly sure what happens to planets farther away, like Jupiter and Uranus.Using the Keck II telescope at the W. M. Keck observatory in Hawai'i, a team of researchers spotted a planet around 1.4 times the size of Jupiter orbiting a dim white dwarf star (about 60 percent the size of the Sun) in a Jupiter-like orbit. They discovered it using a technique called gravitational microlensing (thanks, Einstein), possible when a target and a nearer star align with Earth. The nearer star bends the light from the subject, allowing scientists to observe it with a telescope.The team tried to find the planet's associated star, but eventually concluded that it must be a white dwarf too faint to directly observe. Scientists previously discovered a different Jupiter-like planet around a white dwarf, but its orbit was much closer — so it wasn't a great analog to our own solar system. The finding indicates that planets with wide orbits are probably more common than inner planets. It also shows that some of our solar system's worlds may survive the Sun's death. "Earth’s future may not be so rosy because it is much closer to the Sun,” co-author David Bennett said in a statement. "If humankind wanted to move to a moon of Jupiter or Saturn before the Sun fried the Earth during its red supergiant phase, we’d still remain in orbit around the Sun, although we would not be able to rely on heat from the Sun as a white dwarf for very long."

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posted 11 days ago on engadget
Last year, Apple launched a repair/replacement program for AirPods Pro units experiencing sound issues, such as crackling or static. It was only supposed to last for two years after the buds were first sold in October 30th, 2019, which means the program was going to come to a close in a couple of weeks. As first noticed by someone on Reddit, though, the tech giant has quietly updated its program's information page to extend its availability. "The program covers affected AirPods Pro for 3 years after the first retail sale of the unit," the updated page reads, giving people the chance to exchange their faulty buds within the next year.Apple previously said that a "small percentage" of units manufactured before October 2020 may be affected by the issue. The program covers buds exhibiting cracking or static sounds in loud environments, or while the user is exercising or talking on the phone. It also covers units with faulty Active Noise Cancellation that show irregularities, such as the loss of bass or an increase in background sounds. According to a few commenters on the Reddit post, however, even their buds that were manufactured later than October 2020 were exhibiting sound issues. While those models are technically not covered by the program anymore, the users were still able to get them replaced by getting in touch with Apple.

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posted 11 days ago on engadget
A few months ago, Volvo teamed up with Swedish steel producer SSAB to develop a type of steel it can use for its vehicles that doesn't use fossil fuels. Now, the automaker has revealed what it says is the world's first vehicle made of fossil-free steel: A four wheeled fully electric load carrier made for quarrying and mining. In addition to having no greenhouse gas emission, it's also autonomous and can follow a pre-programmed route to transport materials at a job site.SSAB produces fossil-free steel by replacing the coal used during the manufacturing process with hydrogen from electrolysis. As Forbes notes, though, the whole vehicle isn't exactly fossil-free, since the steel used for its components provided by third-party suppliers, such as its electric motor, were made using traditional means. Still, Volvo Group CTO Lars Stenqvist told the publication that "majority of the steel" in the vehicle is fossil free. He said three tons of the carrier's 8.2-ton weight is made of green steel from SSAB, and those eight tons include other heavy components like the vehicle's tires.Volvo plans to start a small-scale production for the vehicle next year and to scale up production, depending on the availability of steel from SSAB. The Swedish manufacturer is hoping to start mass-producing its fossil-free steel in 2026, so we may see more Volvo vehicles made using the material by that time.Martin Lundstedt, President and CEO Volvo Group, said in a statement:"This initiative with SSAB sets the benchmark for a fossil-free future. Just as the nations of the world come together at COP26 to address climate change, so too must organizations and industries work in collaboration to develop innovative new solutions for a greenhouse gas emission free future. Volvo Group is committed to pioneering partnerships such as this with SSAB to develop attractive, safe and efficient new vehicles and machines that pave the way for a more sustainable transport and infrastructure system adopted for the future."

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posted 11 days ago on engadget
Facebook is ramping up its fight against leakers following the disclosures of whistleblower Frances Haugen. According to The New York Times, Facebook is limiting access to some internal groups that deal with “sensitive” issues like safety and elections. That the change, which was made to prevent further leaks, immediately leaked is both highly amusing and emblematic of some of the bigger issues the company is currently facing.Ever since Haugen revealed herself as the whistleblower, one of the more noteworthy aspects of her story is that the documents she provided to Congress and the Securities and Exchange Commission were widely accessible to employees. The documents included slides detailing the company’s research into teen mental health, as well as numerous memos about how the company has handled rules for VIPs, misinformation and other thorny issues.As The Times points out, the reason these documents were so readily available is because Facebook has long had an open culture that promotes sharing. And employees themselves often take to its internal communication platform, Workplace, to discuss controversial issues facing the company.But now the social network is moving away from that openness. The company is making some internal groups private, and will remove employees “whose work isn’t related to safety and security,” according to the report. “Sensitive Integrity discussions will happen in closed, curated forums in the future,” the company told employees in a memo.On one hand, the fact that news of the change immediately leaked would seem to back up that the company is in fact more leaky than it has been in years past. But it could also signal increasing unrest among employees, some of whom are reportedly concerned that walling off teams that work on important issues could ultimately do more harm than good.It also underscores just how much Facebook is still reeling from Haugen’s disclosures. In addition to the Senate hearing last week, Haugen is expected to brief the select committee investigating the Jan. 6th insurrection, as well as European lawmakers investigating the company. The SEC also appears to be investigating her claims.

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posted 11 days ago on engadget
On November 12th, The Shrink Next Door will debut on Apple TV+. Oddly enough, the Will Ferrell and Paul Rudd vehicle is one of two upcoming shows centered on unethical psychiatrists coming to the streaming service. This week, Apple announced a 10-episode order for Shrinking, a new series that will star Jason Segel as a therapist who tells his patients exactly what he thinks. Ted Lasso co-creator Bill Lawrence and star Brett Goldstein, who plays Roy Kent in the popular comedy series, will write and produce the new show alongside Segel.It’s an interesting move for a company that, despite some recent successes, is one of the newer players in the streaming space and still building out its lineup while seeing what works. As ever, the company’s approach seems to be to give established talent the runway to create what they think people will want to watch.

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posted 11 days ago on engadget
Facebook is slowly expanding its effort to weed out political content from News Feed. The company is now testing its “less political” feed in 75 new countries, Facebook said in an update.The company has already introduced a version of the revamped News Feed in the United States, as well as Costa Rica, Sweden, Spain, Ireland, Canada, Brazil, and Indonesia. But the latest update marks a significant expansion of the effort, and brings the total number of countries involved to more than 80. Facebook didn’t identify the latest countries to join the test, but a spokesperson confirmed the company is showing the News Feed changes to “a small percentage of people” in each country. The spokesperson added that countries with upcoming elections and those “at higher risk of conflict” are not included in the tests.Mark Zuckerberg first announced plans to make News Feed less political in January, just weeks after the insurrection. “People don’t want politics and fighting to take over their experience,” he said at the time.Rolling out the changes to more countries could help Facebook learn more about how to lower the temperature on its platform, which could be particularly useful as the company is accused of making its service angrier to boost engagement. At the same time, the company has acknowledged the changes could hurt publishers. “As we get more insights from these tests, we’ll share updates on what we’re learning and will continue to make changes accordingly,” Facebook wrote in an updated blog post.

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posted 11 days ago on engadget
Former Raiders coach Jon Gruden will be removed from Madden NFL 22 and replaced with a generic character, EA Sports confirmed today on Twitter. The change will occur within the next few weeks and will roll out automatically in a title update. Gruden resigned from his position as Raiders head coach on October 11th amid reports that he routinely and for years sent racist, misogynistic and homophobic emails to colleagues.pic.twitter.com/KSKsJ1iVXU— Madden NFL 22 (@EAMaddenNFL) October 13, 2021Regarding the removal, EA Sports said, "Due to the circumstances of Jon Gruden's resignation, we are taking steps to remove him from Madden NFL 22. We will replace him with a generic likeness via a title update in the coming weeks."Madden NFL 22 is the latest iteration of the legendary American football series, and it came out on August 20th for PC, PlayStation 4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and Stadia.

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posted 11 days ago on engadget
It turns out there’s much more to Nintendo’s recently released OLED Switch than a new display panel from Samsung. Conducting a teardown of the console, the DIY heroes at iFixit found the company made a variety of internal tweaks that make for a device that’s significantly different from its predecessor.Like Sony’s latest PlayStation 5 revision, the OLED Switch features a smaller cooling assembly than previous models. iFixit suspects Nintendo this tweak to either save on space or dial back the launch model’s “cooling overcompensation.” All we can say is we hope the change doesn’t lead to claims the new model is “worse” than its predecessor. In another space-saving measure, Nintendo has consolidated some components onto a single board. The console’s SD card reader, headphone jack and cartridge reader are now all found on a single PCB.iFixitNotably, the only controller-related change the OLED variant features is a set of new console-side rails that hold their respective Joy-Cons more securely. Another change sees the console’s interconnect cables taped to the top of a metal shield. While that's something that will make fixing the OLED Switch on your own more difficult, iFixit suspects it could help with WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity issues.Speaking of repairability, iFixit gave the OLED model a score of seven out of 10. That’s one less than the company awarded the original model. The OLED Switch features a non-modular storage module that’s soldered to its motherboard, making easy repairs and upgrades on that front something you can’t do.

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