Gadgets, Game & Mobile News

Store Everything With Up to 25% Off Select Storage at Home Depot - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-08-09 09:47
Need to stash your summer and garage gear away? Do it with discounted storage today.

South Korea to investigate Apple, Google over possible in-app payment violations

Engadget - Tue, 2022-08-09 09:43

Apple and Google are already facing scrutiny in the wake of a South Korean law requiring that they allow third-party payments. Reutersreports the Korea Communications Commission (KCC) will investigate Apple, Google and SK Group's One Store over potential violations of the in-app payment law. Regulators said they started inspecting the digital shops on May 17th, and found enough to be concerned all three might have broken the rules.

It's not certain just how the firms might have violated the law. MacRumorsnoted that a delay in communicating changes might have played a role in Apple's case. While the law (a revision of the Telecommunications Business Act) took effect in March, Apple didn't notify developers until late June. Google alerted Android developers in November of last year.

Both companies still take cuts from purchases made using alternative billing systems — they just take smaller portions. When Google announced its policy change, it maintained that it needed fees to "continue to invest" in Android and the Play Store. It's not clear if these policies play any role in the investigation, however.

We've asked Apple and Google for comment. In a statement to Reuters, Google said it would continue cooperating with the KCC and that it had "worked closely" with both the government and developers to comply with the law.

The law allows for fines as high as two percent of the average yearly revenue for related business. Officials didn't set expectations for possible fines, but the stores are major money generators. Apple, for example, paid developers $60 billion worldwide in 2021 and made a tidy profit for itself through fees on those sales. Even if South Korea only considered revenue earned within its borders to be actionable for fines, this could still lead to steep penalties if the KCC finds any violations.

Pokemon Go Fest: Finale Event Adds New Ultra Beasts, Shiny Pokemon and More - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-08-09 09:00
The final Pokemon Go Fest event of 2022 is set for Aug. 27.

T-Mobile Makes Its Home Internet Open to Everyone, but With Data Limit Catch - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-08-09 09:00
Home Internet Lite will work anywhere T-Mobile has service -- but if you go over your data cap, prepare to be severely slowed down.

Lucid Air Wears Its Stealth Look Well - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-08-09 09:00
The Stealth Look package is a $6,000 option.

Today's Mortgage Rates for Aug. 9, 2022: Rates Go Up - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-08-09 09:00
Today a handful of major mortgage rates ticked up. If you're shopping for a mortgage, see how your payments might be affected by inflation.

Here Are Today's Refinance Rates, Aug. 9, 2022: Rates Rise - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-08-09 09:00
Several important refinance rates climbed today. See how the Fed's interest rate hikes could affect refinancing your home this year.

Clean Everywhere With This $300 Shark Vertex Cordless Stick Vacuum (Save $180) - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-08-09 08:15
At 38% off, this versatile vacuum can clean your floors and all sorts of hard to reach areas of your home.

Nest Thermostat vs. Ecobee3 Lite: Which Entry-Level Smart Thermostat Is Best? - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-08-09 08:00
Find out if one of these smart thermostats is right for you.

Best Laptop for High School Students in 2022 - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-08-09 07:22
Whether you need Windows, Chrome or MacOS, there are budget-friendly laptops here to help you through the upcoming school year.

The Morning After: Hardly anyone is playing Netflix’s games

Engadget - Tue, 2022-08-09 07:15

Netflix’s entry into the gaming market has been quiet. According to analysis by Apptopia, Netflix games have been downloaded 23.3 million times and have an average 1.7 million daily users. Framed against the 221 million customers paying for the streaming service, it’s not a great number — just one percent of them. The company indicated it didn’t expect its gaming division to be profitable immediately. “We’re going to be experimental and try a bunch of things,” Netflix COO Greg Peters told investors during the company’s fourth-quarter earnings calls last year.

But given that Netflix is not afraid to cut well-regarded shows after a few seasons, how long will it be willing to run a gaming arm before it’s successful? And what does success look like for Netflix? Earlier this year, the company paid $72 million to acquire Next Games, the studio behind Stranger Things: Puzzle Tales. More recently, it secured exclusive mobile rights to beloved indie titles like Spiritfarer and Into The Breach.

For what it’s worth, Poinpy is a pretty wonderful game worthy of your smartphone gaming time.

— Mat Smith

The biggest stories you might have missed

US imposes sanctions on cryptocurrency mixer that may have laundered over $7 billionTornado Cash helped North Korea, according to the Treasury.

The Treasury Department has imposed sanctions on Tornado Cash, a mixer that allegedly helped launder more than $7 billion in stolen crypto funds since its inception in 2019. Like a previous sanctions target, Blender, Tornado Cash is accused of "indiscriminately" helping thieves by hiding transaction details while failing to institute meaningful anti-laundering safeguards. Tornado Cash runs on the Ethereum blockchain. North Korea's state-sponsored Lazarus Group hackers are believed to have funneled $455 million through the mixer so far.

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Lucid Air will soon have a Stealth Look trim optionThe $6,000 theme gives the EV a 'darker and overtly sporting personality.'TMALucid

Lucid is adding a new trim option to its Air electric vehicle. The idea behind Stealth Look is to give the car a "darker and overtly sporting personality," according to the automaker. Lucid is swapping out 35 exterior components that have a platinum finish for versions with a darker appearance, with black gloss and satin graphite accents. Lucid plans to introduce the $6,000 option early next year, though whether you'll actually be able to get your hands on an Air at all anytime soon is another matter. Earlier this month, Lucid once again revised its production target for 2022, this time from 20,000 to between 6,000 and 7,000 units.

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A live-action Pac-Man movie is the video-game adaptation no-one asked forNo Adam Sandler though.

Bandai Namco is developing a live-action Pac-Man film, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The Japanese gaming giant has reportedly tapped Wayfarer Studios, best known for its work on 2019’s Five Feet Apart, to produce the project. The film was reportedly pitched by Sonic the Hedgehog producer Chuck Williams. In 2020, Sonic the Hedgehogbroke the record for a US video game movie debut. So it’s all Sonic’s fault.

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HBO Max finishes rolling out its much-needed app redesignJust in time for Discovery to make it obsolete.TMAHBO

Warner Bros. Discovery has finished rolling out its redesigned app on desktop, Android and iOS, delivering a more intuitive interface, a performance boost and some overdue features. You'll also find a dedicated video download page, split-screen support and SharePlay — at least for Apple devices in the US. The timing isn’t great. Warner Bros. recently confirmed it's merging HBO Max and Discovery+ into one service next summer. The app you see today won't last long.

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Nintendo will dedicate a 30-minute Direct stream to 'Splatoon 3'The event happens on August 10 at 9 AM ET.

Splatoon 3 will arrive on September 9th, and Nintendo is setting the table with a dedicated Direct showcase. The stream will get underway at 9 AM ET on August 10th and have around 30 minutes of updates. Expect a deep dive into one of Nintendo's tentpole Switch releases of the year, encompassing multiplayer changes and in-game mechanics.

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Samsung QN90B QLED vs. LG C2 OLED: Which TV is best for you? - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-08-09 07:00
Short answer: Get the OLED. Longer answer: It depends on room lighting, size preferences, gaming and budget.

WhatsApp's latest privacy features include the ability to hide your online status

Engadget - Tue, 2022-08-09 06:05

WhatsApp just introduced several important privacy features including the online status blocking option it recently showed in beta, TechCrunch has reported. The aim is to eventually make WhatsApp "as private and secure as face-to-face conversations," Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post

The new "online presence control" feature allows you to send messages while appearing to be offline. That offers another level of privacy over the ability to hide your "last seen" status from specific contacts, a feature introduced earlier this year. 

You can control the feature in a granular way, deciding which contacts can view your online status and which can't. There are no limits, and you can swap people in and out at any time. The feature will roll out to all users across desktop and mobile, later this month. 

WhatsApp is also testing screenshot blocking for view once messages that disappear after a single view. When those messages were introduced last year, Meta said that you should still take caution as you wouldn't know if someone screenshotted them. A new feature that lets you block such screenshots is now in testing, but the company hopes to get it to all users "soon." 

With the final change, you can leave leave groups privately without sending out a mass notification to everyone else that you're gone — though group admins will still be notified. That should save some awkwardness when it rolls out to the desktop and mobile apps, also later this month. 

Google and Sonos are now fighting over voice assistant patents

Engadget - Tue, 2022-08-09 05:10

Google has sued Sonos, alleging that its new voice assistant violates seven patents related to its own Google Assistant technology, CNET has reported. It's the latest salvo in a long-running smart speaker battle between the companies, with each suing and countersuing the other following a period when they worked together. 

"[Sonos has] started an aggressive and misleading campaign against our products, at the expense of our shared customers," a Google spokesperson said in a statement. 

Sonos' Voice Control assistant arrived in June, letting users give commands with the phrase "Hey Sonos," much like Amazon's Alexa or Google Assistant. In the complaint, Google said it "worked for years with Sonos engineers on the implementation of voice recognition and voice-activated devices control in Sonos products... even providing its Google Assistant software to Sonos for many years." 

The fight erupted in early 2020 when Sonos sued Google for alleged patent infringement after the companies had collaborated for several years. Sonos claimed that Google gained knowledge of its technology when they worked together and used that information to develop its own smart speaker line. The company filed another suit in September 2020, claiming that Google infringed on five more patents. 

Google countersued, alleging that Sonos was using Google’s search, software, networking, audio processing and other technology without paying a license fee and made "false claims" about their work together

In 2021, the US International Trade Commission ruled that Google infringed on five Sonos patents. That forced Google to change the way its speakers were set up to avoid an import ban. Most of those were related to the way speaker groups are controlled — for instance, users can no longer change the volume of a group of speakers and must adjust them individually instead. 

"Google previously sued us all over the world and Sonos has prevailed in every decided case," Sonos' chief legal officer Eddie Lazarus told CNET. "[The latest lawsuits] are an intimidation tactic designed to retaliate against Sonos for speaking out against Google's monopolistic practices." 

OtterBox now offers $150 toward iPhone screen replacements

Engadget - Tue, 2022-08-09 04:20

OtterBox is trying to differentiate itself from its rivals by offering up to $150 toward the repair of your iPhone screen if it breaks while using the Amplify or Alpha OtterBox screen protectors, the company said in a press release spotted by 9to5Mac. It's available with the updated OtterBox Protection Program that also covers the case and screen protector, for a price bump of around $5 over the same product with Antimicrobial protection only. 

"Our robust limited lifetime warranty program already covers your case and screen protector, and the OtterBox Protection Program extends that protection to your device screen as well," said OtterBox CEO Jim Parke. 

The extra protection is valid up to 12 months after purchase, and Otterbox promises that you can "easily activate and track coverage, and file a claim through the OtterProtect app." The eligible Amplify and Alpha screen protectors with the coverage range from $40 to $55 — just choose the "Antimicrobial + OtterBox Protection Program" when checking out. 

The insurance won't cover the full cost of an iPhone screen replacement, but it'll certainly make it less painful if you don't have AppleCare. As far as I can see, there aren't many other (if any), screen protectors with similar coverage, other than a few niche offerings. The execution will also be key, but we should see soon enough if filing a claim and receiving payment is as easy as OtterBox says. 

WhatsApp's New Privacy Features Will Let You Quietly Leave Group Chats - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-08-09 03:00
Getting out of a group chat should be a little less dramatic.

Intel introduces Arc Pro GPUs for workstations

Engadget - Tue, 2022-08-09 02:54

When Intel introduced the Arc branding last year for its high-performance consumer graphics products, it demonstrated what the line's GPUs can do using video games. The company's latest Arc GPUs, however, aren't for gaming at all: They were designed for desktop and mobile workstations running apps like Adobe Premiere Pro, Handbrake and DaVinci Resolve Studio. Intel has launched its Arc Pro lineup with three models, starting with the Arc Pro A40 that has a "tiny, single-slot form factor." The Arc Pro A50 is a step up and has a larger dual-slot form, while the A30M was made specifically for laptops. 

All three models offer built-in ray tracing and machine learning capabilities, but their key specs differ a bit from each other. The A40 and the A30M, for instance, have 3.50 teraflops of graphical power, while the A50 has 4.80 teraflops. Both desktop models come with 6GB of memory, wheres the one for laptops comes with 4GB. Plus, all models support AV1 hardware encoding acceleration in what Intel says is an industry first. The new GPUs also have four mini-display ports for multiple screen setups and can support two 8K displays with a refresh rate of 60Hz, one 5K 240Hz display, two 5K 120 Hz displays or four 60 Hz 4K displays.

Intel has yet to reveal how much these new discrete GPUs for workstations will cost, but it said they will be available starting later this year "from leading mobile and desktop ecosystem partners."

Google Goes Down Around the World, Chaos Ensues - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-08-09 00:42
The outage, which lasted for around an hour, came hours after a fire in an Iowa-based Google data center. Google says the incidents are unrelated.

Snapchat Family Center shows parents their children's friends list

Engadget - Tue, 2022-08-09 00:01

Snapchat has launched a parental control portal that allows parents to keep an eye on who their young teenagers have been chatting with. The new in-app feature called Family Center shows parents their kids' friends list, as well as who they've messaged in the last seven days. Take note that parents can only see who their teens have been talking to, but they won't be able to read their chat history. Snap says the center was designed to "reflect the way... parents engage with their teens in the real world" in that they know (for the most part) who their kids have been hanging out with but don't listen in on their conversations.

In addition, parents can confidentially report accounts they think might be violating Snap's rules straight from the Family Center. Back in January, Snapchat changed its friend recommendation feature following calls for increased safety on the app by making it harder for adults to connect with teen users: In particular, it stopped showing accounts owned by 13-to-17-year-old users in Quick Add. Teens also can't have public profiles and have to be mutual friends to be able to communicate with each other. Plus, their accounts will only show up in search results under certain circumstances, such as if the one searching has a mutual friend with them.

Snap promised to launch new parental controls and other features designed to protect underage users on its service last year. The company revealed its plans in a hearing wherein lawmakers put the pressure on social networks and apps that cater to teens, such as Snapchat and TikTok, to do more to protect children on their platforms. 

Family Center is completely voluntary, and teens can always leave the portal if they want — they'll even be given the choice to accept or ignore a parent's invitation to join. And since the feature was made for underage teens, users who turn 18 will automatically be removed from the tool.

The company plans to roll out more features for the Family Center on top of what it already has. It will allow parents to easily see the newest friends their teens have added in the coming weeks. And over the next months, Snap will add content controls for parents, as well as the ability for teens to notify their parents whenever they report an account or a piece of content.

Playing PC Games on Mac Should Get Better With Parallels 18 - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-08-09 00:01
The virtual machine software's latest update improves its game controller support and preps for MacOS Ventura.