Subscribe to Engadget feed
Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics
Updated: 40 min 46 sec ago

The Morning After: Drones that can charge on power lines

Wed, 2024-04-10 07:15

Battery life always limits a drone’s ability to perform tasks and get anywhere. So why not let it slurp from nearby power lines? (Well, there are reasons.) 

Researchers at the University of Southern Denmark attached a gripper system to a Tarot 650 Sport drone, which they customized with an electric quadcopter propulsion system and an autopilot module. An inductive charger pulls current from the power line, enabling it to recharge five times over two hours during tests. The benefit here is that power lines already exist (duh), but there is the real concern that a drone could damage a line and knock out electricity for thousands.

— Mat Smith

The biggest stories you might have missed

DJI’s RS4 gimbals make it easier to balance heavy cameras and accessories

Apple Vision Pro, two months later

Kobo’s new ereaders include its first with color displays

​​You can get these reports delivered daily direct to your inbox. Subscribe right here!

The owner of WordPress has bought Beeper, that brazen messaging app It challenged Apple and lost almost immediately.

WordPress and Tumblr owner Automattic has bought Beeper, the maker of the Beeper Mini app, which challenged Apple with iMessage tricks on Android phones, late last year. Although it ultimately lost its only USP when Apple blocked the exploit — mere days later — the incident gave the DOJ more ammunition in its antitrust suit against Apple. Bloomberg reported on Tuesday that Automattic paid $125 million. It’s a lot of money, especially when Automattic already owns a messaging app, Texts. No, I hadn’t heard of it either.

Continue reading.

Starlink terminals are reportedly being used by Russian forces in Ukraine There’s a thriving black market for satellite-based internet providers. TMAReuters

According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, Russian forces in Ukraine are using Starlink satellite internet terminals to coordinate attacks in eastern Ukraine and Crimea as well as to control drones and other forms of military tech. The Starlink hardware is reaching Russian forces via a complex network of black-market sellers. After reports in February that Russian forces were using Starlink, US House Democrats demanded Musk act, noting Russian military use of the tech is “potentially in violation of US sanctions and export controls.” Starlink can disable individual terminals.

Continue reading.

Congress looks into blocking piracy sites in the US The Motion Picture Association will work with politicians.

The Motion Picture Association chair and CEO Charles Rivkin has revealed a plan to make “sailing the digital seas,” so streaming or downloading pirated content, harder. Rivkin said the association is going to work with Congress to establish and enforce site-blocking legislation in the United States. He added that almost 60 countries use site-blocking as a tool against piracy.

Continue reading.

You can now lie down while using a Meta Quest 3 headset Finally.

Shh, relax… And strap two screens to your face.


This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/the-morning-after-drones-that-can-charge-on-power-lines-111517677.html?src=rss

ISPs roll out mandatory broadband 'nutrition' labels that show speeds, fees and data allowances

Wed, 2024-04-10 06:38

You can now ensure that you're not going to be hit by hidden fees and taxes before you sign up with an internet service provider (ISP). Starting today, big ISPs with more than 100,000 subscribers will be required to display "nutrition labels" both in store and online under a new FCC rule. Those labels have to show the companies' plans, fees and any additional costs, such as activation fees and upfront or rental fees for modems and other equipment. 

They also have to show whether a particular amount that's being advertised is an introductory or a discounted rate and how long you can enjoy that lower rate. Plus, the labels have to indicate each particular plan's download and upload speeds, as well as any early termination fee associated with it. ISPs can't hide these labels behind multiple clicks or camouflage them with other elements that make them hard to see. They have to be accessible from your customer account portal, and ISPs should give you a copy if you ask. 

The FCC first floated the idea of nutrition labels for ISPs back in 2016, but it wasn't until 2022 that it formally introduced rules requiring them to be displayed at the companies' points of sale. As you can see in the image below, it resembles the nutrition labels for food and will (theoretically and hopefully) account for every dollar you pay for a wired or wireless plan. Back when the rule was announced, FCC Chairperson Jessica Rosenworcel explained that the agency chose to approve and implement it as part of its efforts to "end the kind of unexpected fees and junk costs that can get buried in long and mind-numbingly confusing statements of terms and conditions."

Based on the FCC's website, providers with less than 100,000 subscribers will be given a bit more time to comply and have until October 10. And in case you come across any ISP that isn't displaying any label even when they should or is showing inaccurate information, you can file a complaint with the commission through its official portal

A table entitled FCC

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/isps-roll-out-mandatory-broadband-nutrition-labels-that-show-speeds-fees-and-data-allowances-103832369.html?src=rss

The Motion Picture Association will work with Congress to start blocking piracy sites in the US

Wed, 2024-04-10 02:21

At CinemaCon this year, the Motion Picture Association Chairman and CEO Charles Rivkin has revealed a plan that would make "sailing the digital seas" under the Jolly Roger banner just a bit harder. Rivkin said the association is going to work with Congress to establish and enforce a site-blocking legislation in the United States. He added that almost 60 countries use site-blocking as a tool against piracy, "including leading democracies and many of America's closest allies." The only reason why the US isn't one of them, he continued, is the "lack of political will, paired with outdated understandings of what site-blocking actually is, how it functions, and who it affects."

With the rule in place, "film and television, music and book publishers, sports leagues and broadcasters" can ask the court to order ISPs to block websites that share stolen content. Rivkin, arguing in favor of site-blocking, explained that the practice doesn't impact legitimate businesses. He said legislation around the practice would require detailed evidence to prove that a certain entity is engaged in illegal activities and that alleged perpetrators can appear in court to defend themselves. 

Rivkin cited FMovies, an illegal film streamer, as an example of how site-blocking in the US would minimize traffic to piracy websites. Apparently, FMovies gets 160 million visits per month, a third of which comes from the US. If the rule also exists in the country, then the website's traffic would, theoretically, drop pretty drastically. The MPA's chairman also talked about previous efforts to enforce site-blocking in the US, which critics previously said would "break the internet" and could potentially stifle free speech. While he insisted that other countries' experiences since then had proven those predictions wrong, he promised that the organization takes those concerns seriously.

He ended his speech by asking for the support of theater owners in the country. "The MPA is leading this charge in Washington," he said. "And we need the voices of theater owners — your voices — right by our side. Because this action will be good for all of us: Content creators. Theaters. Our workforce. Our country."

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/the-motion-picture-association-will-work-with-congress-to-start-blocking-piracy-sites-in-the-us-062111261.html?src=rss

Kobo’s new ereaders include its first with color displays

Wed, 2024-04-10 00:01

Rakuten has a trio of new Kobo ereaders, including the company’s first two with color displays. On Wednesday, the company revealed the $220 Kobo Libra Colour and $150 Clara Colour alongside the monochrome $130 Clara BW. You can preorder them today, ahead of their April 30 launch.

The Kobo Libra Colour has a seven-inch E Ink Kaleido 3 display, which should have a noticeable improvement with 16 levels of grayscale, 4,096 colors and 30 percent better color saturation than E Ink’s last-gen tech. The Libra Colour is the only one of Kobo’s new ereaders with stylus support for ebook annotations and highlighting. But you’ll need to add the $70 Kobo Stylus 2 (also compatible with the Elipsa 2E) to enjoy that.

The device has a curved, “ergonomic” design with page-turn buttons. It supports portrait and landscape reading and has 32GB of storage (good for around 24,000 ebooks or 150 audiobooks). Rakuten says its battery can last up to 40 days on a single charge, but that’s for reading for 30 minutes daily with the front light at 30 percent brightness and the wireless turned off. (Expect less if you read more than that or turn the brightness higher with wireless radios on.)

Product lifestyle photo of the Kobo Clara Colour ereader. The device sits propped up on a small, round, wooden table in front of vases with plants.Rakuten Kobo

Meanwhile, the six-inch Kobo Clara Colour and Clara BW forgo the Libra Colour’s page-turn buttons and stylus support in favor of more accessible pricing. The Clara BW differs from the last-gen Clara 2 (Engadget’s pick for the best ereader) with a faster processor, more storage (16GB) and the latest E Ink Carta 1300 display tech.

Rakuten says the Clara Colour and Clara BW can last up to 53 days on a charge, but that’s with half an hour of reading per day, the brightness set at a mere 10 percent and WiFi / Bluetooth off.

All three devices have ComfortLightPro for automatic blue-light adjustment. They have an IPX8 water resistance rating, making them suitable for poolside or bathtime reading. The ereaders use recycled and ocean-bound plastics in their build materials, and Rakuten has partnered with iFixit for self-repairs.

You can buy separate covers (made from recycled materials) with built-in stands for all three new devices. The Libra Colour has a standard $30 SleepCover and a $40 NoteBook SleepCover with a magnetic stylus slot. The Clara Colour and Clara BW have $30 SleepCovers and a cheaper $20 Basic SleepCover.

You can preorder the new ereaders from Rakuten Kobo starting today. The Kobo Libra Colour costs $220, the Clara Colour is priced at $150 and the monochrome Clara BW runs $130. All three devices arrive on April 30.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/kobos-new-ereaders-include-its-first-with-color-displays-040153210.html?src=rss

The bootleg Nintendo Network replacement no longer requires jailbreaking

Tue, 2024-04-09 15:27

The Pretendo Network, an open-source Nintendo Network alternative, no longer requires a hacked Wii U console. With Nintendo’s servers for the obsolete console shutting down on Monday, the Pretendo Network shared a new workaround that provides (limited) access to its homebrew servers without jailbreaking your dusty old console.

An SSL (secure sockets layer) is a protocol that encrypts the connection between a device and its servers. The Wii U’s SSL exploit (branded as “SSSL”), discovered by the Pretendo Network’s shutterbug, lets you connect to the network with only a simple DNS change, which you can do on the stock firmware. “We’ve been holding on to this exploit for this day for quite some time, in case Nintendo decided to issue patches for it,” the network’s creators wrote in a blog post announcing the new workaround.

Not everything will work, though. The Pretendo Network team says third-party titles that use their own SSL libraries aren’t compatible. That includes Watch Dogs, the YouTube app and anything running an embedded browser (like TVii, the eShop and the Miiverse applet). However, the network creators stress that in-game Miiverse functionality still works.

The workaround requires a Wii U running at least firmware version 5.5.5. If yours has software lower than that, you should still be able to go online and install the latest update. Nintendo last pushed a Wii U firmware update in August 2022, when the current version (5.5.6) arrived.

Shutting down the Wii U and 3DS online servers doesn’t prevent Nintendo from providing new firmware updates to the consoles. Given Nintendo’s aversion to hacking its devices, the Mario maker could, at least in theory, update the 12-year-old Wii U to patch the DNS workaround.

To take SSSL for a spin in the meantime, you can follow the Pretendo Network’s instructions.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/the-bootleg-nintendo-network-replacement-no-longer-requires-jailbreaking-192749406.html?src=rss

Arturia stuffed almost all of its software emulations into this new keyboard

Tue, 2024-04-09 15:05

Arturia just released a new standalone synthesizer called the AstroLab. This 61-key stage keyboard is basically the company’s Analog Lab software in hardware form, which makes it perfect for live performances. The synth boasts ten dedicated sound engines and access to 35 virtual instruments, including the vast majority of the emulations found with the iconic V Collection. It also costs $2,000.

You could recreate this on the cheap by just buying some software instruments and a MIDI controller, but this is a stage keyboard. In other words, it has been designed with live performance in mind. The casing is durable and built to withstand the rigors of touring and there’s plenty of nifty sound design tools that should come in handy when gigging.

There are 12 insert FX options, with four control knobs, and the ability to loop any sound by up to 32 bars. The instrument even captures the MIDI, so people can easily swap out to another instrument and play the same part. The multitimbral feature allows players to set a split point along the keyboard, to make it easy to pull up two instruments at the same time. This is a big deal when playing live, as you never know how long a keyboard will take to load a preset.

If you want to get people dancing to the sound of a robot voice singing “around the world” over and over until 5 AM, AstroLab keyboards ship with a vocoder and a port to plug in a microphone. Of course, the synthesizer features the usual accouterments like mod wheels, an arpeggiator and various chord scale options. Finally, there’s an affiliated mobile app, AstroLab Connect, that lets users organize their presets and download new sounds from the store. The keyboard is available now through Arturia and various retailers.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/arturia-stuffed-almost-all-of-its-software-emulations-into-this-new-keyboard-190542557.html?src=rss

Apple Vision Pro two months later: A telepresence dream

Tue, 2024-04-09 14:15

Two months after I started using the Apple Vision Pro, it hasn't transformed the way I live. It hasn't replaced my TV, and it doesn't make me want to give up my powerful desktop or slim laptops. It's just another tool in my gadget arsenal — one I can don to catch up on X-Men '97 in bed, or to help me dive deep into research while I'm away from my office. The Vision Pro becomes normal so quickly, it's almost easy to forget how groundbreaking it actually is. Its screens are still absolutely stunning, and the combination of eye tracking and Apple's gesture controls makes for the most intuitive AR/VR interface I've seen yet.

While the Vision Pro still isn't something most people should consider buying, Apple has thrown out a few bones to early adopters. There are more games popping up on the App Store and Arcade every week, and there are also a handful of 3D films being offered to Apple TV+ subscribers. The addition of Spatial Personas also goes a long way towards making the Vision Pro more of a telepresence machine (more on that below). But we're still waiting for the company to make good on the promise of 180-degree Immersive Video, as well as to let users create higher quality Spatial Videos on iPhones.

Using the Apple Vision Pro with a MacBook AirPhoto by Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

How I use the Apple Vision Pro

Once the pressure of reviewing every aspect of the Vision Pro was over, I started incorporating it into my life like a typical user. (Full disclosure: I returned the unit I originally bought, but Apple sent along a sample for further testing.) Mostly, that means not forcing myself to use the headset for large chunks of the day. Instead, my Vision Pro time is more purpose-driven: I slip it on in the morning and project my MacBook's screen to clear out emails and catch up on Slack conversations, all while a YouTube video is virtually projected on my wall.

In the middle of a work session, or sometimes right before diving into a busy workday, I run through a five- or ten-minute meditation session with the Mindfulness app. I can easily meditate without any headgear, but I've found the app's calm narration and the immersive environment it creates (since it completely blocks out the real world) to be incredibly helpful. It's like having your own yoga teacher on staff, ready to help calm your brain whenever you have a free moment.

I've also learned to appreciate the Vision Pro as a way to expand where I can get work done. As someone who's been primarily working from home since 2009, I learned early on that changing locations was an easy way to keep myself engaged. I try not to write in the same place where I've been checking email in the morning, for example. I normally hop between a PC desktop and large monitor (currently it's Alienware's 32-inch 4K OLED) in my office, and a MacBook Air or Pro for writing around the house. Sometimes I'll go to a nearby park or cafe when I need to zone into a writing assignment for several hours.

Using the Apple Vision ProPhoto by Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

With the Vision Pro, I can actually handle some serious multitasking from my deck or kitchen without being tied to a desktop computer. I've found that useful for covering events to avoid getting stuck inside my basement office (I can have a video streaming on a virtual window, as well as Slack and web browsers open via a projected MacBook). I've juggled conference calls while being sick in bed with the Vision Pro, because it felt more comfortable than staring down at a tiny laptop display.

I still haven’t traveled much with the headset, but I can foresee it being useful the next time I take a weekend trip with my family. Tested's Norman Chan told me he's used the Vision Pro during long flights, where it makes the hours just disappear. I'm still working myself up to that — I'd much rather use a small laptop and headphones on planes, but I can imagine the beauty of watching big-screen movies on the Vision Pro while everyone else is staring at tablets or cramped seat-back displays.

The Vision Pro remains a fantastic way to watch movies or TV shows at home, as well. When I'm too tired to head downstairs after putting my kids to sleep, I sometimes just veg in bed while projecting YouTube videos or anime on the ceiling. That's where I experienced a trippy temporal shift while watching X-Men '97: As soon as its remastered theme song spun up, I was immediately transported back to watching the original show on a 13-inch TV in my childhood bedroom. If I could somehow jump back into the past, Bishop-style, it would be impossible to convince my 10-year-old self that I'd eventually be watching a sequel series in a futuristic headset, projected in a 200-inch window. How far we've come.

Apple Vision Pro Spatial Persona collaboration with Norm Chan from Tested.Photo by Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

Spatial Personas are a telepresence dream

When Apple first announced the Vision Pro last year, I couldn't help but be creeped out by its Persona avatars. They looked cold and inhuman, the exact sort of thing you'd imagine from soulless digital clones. The visionOS 1.1 update made them a bit less disturbing, but I didn't truly like the avatars until Apple unveiled Spatial Personas last week. Instead of being confined to a window, Spatial Personas hover in your virtual space, allowing you to collaborate with friends as if they were right beside you.

The concept isn't entirely new: I tested Microsoft Mesh a few years ago with a HoloLens 2 headset, which also brought digital avatars right into my home office. But they looked more like basic Miis from the Nintendo Wii than anything realistic. Meta's Horizon Workrooms did something similar in completely virtual spaces, but that's not nearly as impressive as collaborating digitally atop a view of the real world.

Apple's Spatial Personas are far more compelling than Microsoft’s and Meta's efforts because they're seamless to set up — you just have to flip on Spatial mode during a FaceTime chat — and they feel effortlessly organic. During a Spatial Persona call with Norm from Tested, we were conversing as if he was sitting right in front of me in my home theater. We were able to draw and write together in the Freeform app easily — when I stood up and reached out to the drawing board, it was almost as if we were standing beside each other at a real white board.

Apple Vision Pro Spatial Persona collaborationPhoto by Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

SharePlay with Spatial Personas

We were also able to customize our viewing experiences while watching a bit of Star Trek Beyond together using SharePlay in the Vision Pro. Norm chose to watch it in 2D, I watched in 3D, and our progress was synchronized. The experience felt more engrossing than a typical SharePlay experience, since I could just lean over and chat with him instead of typing out a message or saying something over a FaceTime call. I also couldn't help but imagine how easy it would be to record movie commentaries for podcasts using Spatial Personas. (We'd have to use separate microphones and computers, in addition to Vision Pros, but it would make for a more comfortable recording session than following movies on a monitor or TV.)

Our attempts to play games together failed, unfortunately, because we were running slightly different versions of Game Room. We also didn’t have enough time during our session to sync our apps up. I eventually was able to try out Chess and Battleship with other Vision Pro-equipped friends and, once again, it felt like they were actually playing right beside me. (Norm and CNET's Scott Stein also looked like they were having a ball with virtual chess.)

The main stumbling block for Spatial Personas, of course, is that they require a $3,500 headset. Apple is laying the groundwork for truly great telepresence experiences, but it won't matter for most people until they can actually afford a Vision Pro or a cheaper Apple headset down the line.

With Horizon Workrooms, Meta allowed non-VR users to join virtual meetings using Messenger on phones and computers, so that they weren’t left out. Standard FaceTime users can also join Vision Pro chats alongside spatial personas, but they'll be stuck in a window. And unlike Meta's offering, regular users won't be able to see any virtual environments (though you could still collaborate on specific apps like FreeForm). Meta's big advantage over Apple was with capacity: Horizon Workrooms supports up to 16 people in VR, as well as 34 more calling in from other devices. Spatial Persona chats, on the other hand, are limited to five participants.

Apple Immersive VideoApple

No momentum for Immersive Video

Apple's 180-degree Immersive Video format was one of the most impressive aspects of the Vision Pro when I previewed it last year, and the handful of experiences at launch were pretty compelling. But the Immersive Video well has been dry since launch — the only new experience was a five-minute short showing off the 2023 MLS Playoffs, which was mostly disappointing.

While that short had such great resolution and depth that it felt like I was actually on the pitch, the MLS experience is disorienting because it cuts far too often, and with no sense of rhythm. Once you get settled into a scene, perhaps watching someone gear up for a well-placed goal, the camera view changes and you have no idea where you are. It's almost like a five-minute lesson in what not to do with Immersive Video. Hopefully, the MLS has a longer experience in the works.

I'm not expecting a tsunami of Immersive Video content, since the Vision Pro is still an obscenely expensive device meant for developers and professionals, but it would be nice to see more of a push from Apple. The company is teasing another six-minute episode of Prehistoric Planet for later this month, but again that isn't really much. Where are the creators pushing Immersive Video to new heights? While the content is likely hard to work with since it's shot in 3D and 8K, the format could be a perfect way for Apple to extol the virtues of its new chips.

In lieu of more Immersive Videos, I’ve been spending more time re-watching Spatial Videos captured with my iPhone 15 Pro. They still look more realistic than 2D clips, but I’ve grown to dislike the 1080p/30fps limitation. It’s just hard to accept that resolution when I know my phone can also produce crisp 4K and 60fps footage. The $3 app Spatialify helps somewhat by unlocking 1080p/60fps and 4k/30fps spatial video capture, but its footage is also more shaky and buggy than the iPhone’s built-in camera. At this point, I’ll consider using Spatialify if my phone is on a tripod or gimbal, but otherwise I’ll stick with the native camera app.

Using the Apple Vision Pro with a MacBook Air outsidePhoto by Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

What’s next for the Apple Vision Pro

We’ll likely have to wait until Apple’s WWDC 24 event in June before we hear about any more major upgrades for Vision Pro or visionOS. That would be appropriate, since last year’s WWDC was the headset’s big debut (and a hellish day for us trying to cover all the news). Now that the hardware is in the wild, Apple has to convince developers that it’s worth building Vision Pro apps alongside their usual iOS, iPadOS and macOS wares. It’s not just some mythical spatial computing platform anymore, after all.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/apple-vision-pro-two-months-later-a-telepresence-dream-181550906.html?src=rss

Formula E kills its latest junior series just days before the first scheduled race

Tue, 2024-04-09 14:00

Just four days before the first race of its latest all-electric junior racing series was set to take place, Formula E said the NXT Gen Cup will not be part of the World Championship calendar this season. The cancellation is "due to unexpected constraints faced by the support series,” a Formula E spokesperson said in a statement.

The NXT Gen Cup was scheduled to be part of the four European events in Formula E's Season 10, including this weekend's Misano E-Prix double-header. However, according to The Race, there were last-minute hitches in a deal between Formula E and the support series' organizer, Fredrik Lestrup and the Lestrup Racing Team.

As a result, the electric Mini Cooper SE-based NXT Gen Cup (which debuted at a few events last year) is off the calendar for the time being. Formula E previously ran the Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy support series between 2018 and 2020, but that didn't prove successful.

The NXT Gen Cup decision has left Formula E scrambling to pad out the slate of activities available for fans at Italian circuit Misano. Organizers have added pit-lane autograph sessions, additional pit walks and expanded other promotional activities.

There's arguably more concern for the drivers, engineers and other team members who were set to take part in the NXT Gen Cup. Races were planned to include male and female drivers, many of whom were under 17. The circuit would have given them valuable experience as Formula E and motorsport as a whole attempts to blood the next generation of competitors. However, a spokesperson said that “Formula E remains committed to nurturing the next generation of talent through FIA Girls on Track and other impactful initiatives for young people.”

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/formula-e-kills-its-latest-junior-series-just-days-before-the-first-scheduled-race-180029941.html?src=rss

The owner of WordPress has bought Beeper, the app that flipped the bird to Apple’s iMessage supremacy

Tue, 2024-04-09 13:00

WordPress and Tumblr owner Automattic has bought Beeper, the maker of the Beeper Mini app that challenged Apple’s iMessage dominion late last year. Although it ultimately lost that battle (after, oh, about three days), the incident gave the DOJ more ammunition in its antitrust suit against the iPhone maker. Bloomberg reported on Tuesday that Automattic paid $125 million, a surprisingly hefty price for the startup.

Automattic already has an app called Texts that taps into the APIs of various chat services for a universal messaging experience. Beeper has essentially the same mission and branding, and the two competitors will now merge their teams under Beeper CEO Eric Migicovsky, who will join Automattic.

You may also remember Migicovsky as the creator of the Pebble smartwatch, the charmingly simple pre-Apple Watch device that helped kickstart mainstream interest in wearable tech in the early 2010s. On Tuesday, he told The New York Times that Beeper and Texts will launch a combined service later this year. The two teams will reportedly begin work in two weeks during a meeting in Portugal.

On Tuesday, Migicovsky wrote in a blog post that the two companies go way back. “Matt [Mullenweg], Automattic’s CEO, and I have known each other for years,” he wrote. “He was an early user, supporter and investor in Beeper. We’re very well aligned on our goal (build the best chat app on earth), approach (open source where possible), and independence (Beeper will operate independently as part of Automattic’s Other Bets division).”

Automattic’s buying price is a bit of a head-scratcher, considering Beeper Mini’s claim to fame — iMessage integration on Android — was squashed after only a few days in the spotlight. Beeper framed the brief showdown as a fight for open, secure messaging standards. (It also helped the startup make more of a name for itself.) Apple saw it as a threat to one of its walled garden’s main attractions: the iPhone-to-iPhone chats’ blue bubbles with features like reactions and higher-resolution image and video-sharing.

Another reason to question Automattic’s acquisition price is Apple’s plan to bring RCS (rich communication services) support to iPhones later this year. Although the bubbles will remain green between iPhone and Android users, RCS chats replicate much of the iMessage appeal with a similar feature set, including end-to-end encryption.

Automattic’s interim chief executive, Toni Schneider, told The NYT that he sees the regulatory tradewinds blowing in a more open direction that will favor cross-platform, universal messaging apps like Beeper. Still, from my understanding, tapping into other services’ APIs is something the right coders could easily duplicate (including the Texts team Automattic already owned). Perhaps the real main attraction was the brand Beeper built for itself in taking on Apple.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/the-owner-of-wordpress-has-bought-beeper-the-app-that-flipped-the-bird-to-apples-imessage-supremacy-170033314.html?src=rss

You can now lie down while using a Meta Quest 3 headset

Tue, 2024-04-09 12:45

Meta is rolling out the latest update for Meta Quest and, as always, there are some handy features. From now on, whenever you're livestreaming to the Meta Quest app, the broadcast will continue when you take the headset off. That should help avoid interruptions. There are some Quest 3-specific upgrades too, including the ability to use an external mic via the USB-C port, along with resolution and image quality improvements for the passthrough mixed reality feature.

That's not all, though. Quest 3 users will be able to take advantage of an experimental feature that allows them to make use of the headset while supine. If you enable the Use Apps While Lying Down option from the Experimental section of the Settings, you'll simply need to hold the menu button to reset your view when you lie down.

As such, you should be able to kick back and relax into immersive media and gaming experiences without having to keep your head upright. Turning your head to see what's going on elsewhere in the environment might be a bit more of a chore though.

Elsewhere, it'll now be easier to meet up with friends in Horizon Worlds, if any of your friends actually use that app. Whenever a buddy is in a public world with their location turned on, you can join them from the People app in the universal menu.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/you-can-now-lie-down-while-using-a-meta-quest-3-headset-164556039.html?src=rss

Star Wars Outlaws gets a new trailer and a release date of August 30

Tue, 2024-04-09 12:21

Ubisoft just dropped another trailer for Star Wars Outlaws, this time focusing on the story. The new trailer spotlights the various smugglers and thieves you’ll be working alongside in a galaxy far, far away. The game also continues to look absolutely gorgeous, thanks to developer Massive Entertainment’s proprietary Snowdrop engine.

It also looks really fun. You play as a scoundrel named Kay Vess as she attempts to win her freedom by completing various jobs for denizens of the underworld. The trailer features Jabba the Hutt, Han Solo frozen in carbonite and all kinds of other "blink and you'll miss it" easter eggs. 

Even better than a new trailer? There’s an actual release date of August 30, which is in a few short months. This release date was originally leaked via a Japanese version of the trailer and was spotted by Insider Gaming, but has now been officially confirmed. 

Star Wars Outlaws will be available on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, Amazon Luna and PC, with preorders available right now. The base version of the game costs $70, though there are special versions that cost extra. These premium packs include cosmetic DLC, art packs and an exclusive mission.

The August release date means fans will be able to play it directly after finishing the upcoming Star Wars: The Acolyte series on Disney+. Let’s hear it for shared universes!

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/star-wars-outlaws-gets-a-new-trailer-and-a-release-date-of-august-30-162109976.html?src=rss

Acer launches two all-new 14-inch gaming laptops alongside updated 16-inch models

Tue, 2024-04-09 12:00

Acer’s midrange gaming laptop line has four new arrivals today following the company’s refresh of its flagship models at CES 2024. On Tuesday, the company unveiled a pair of new 14-inch entries alongside two refreshes of existing 16-inch models. The Intel-powered Predator Helios Neo 14 and Nitro 16 will join the AMD-fueled Nitro 14 and Nitro 16, launching globally later this spring.

As is often the case with pre-launch laptop announcements, Acer only reveals the devices’ minimum pricing rather than a full specs-to-cost breakdown (Acer says they aren’t yet finalized), making it impossible to gauge their overall value. You can expect that info closer to their respective launches in May and June.

Product marketing image for the Acer Predator Helios Neo 14 gaming laptop. An open version sits on th left, with a partially closed view from behind on the right. Grayish-blue background.Acer

The Acer Predator Helios Neo 14, one of the two all-new models, is the first sub-16-inch variant in the high-performance line. (At $1,800 and up, it’s also the most expensive of the new batch.) That price gets you up to an Intel Core Ultra 9 processor 185H (with dedicated AI acceleration) paired with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 Laptop GPU. The lower-cost models will downgrade those to Intel Core Ultra 7 155H or Intel Core Ultra 5 125H and RTX 4060 or 4050 graphics.

The top-of-the-line variant has a 14.5-inch WQXGA (3072x1920) display with a 165Hz refresh rate, 100 percent coverage of the sRGB color spectrum and NVIDIA G-Sync support. Its cheaper variants will drop the resolution to 2560 x 1600 or 1920 x 1200 with a 120Hz refresh rate.

The Windows 11 laptop has a 76Wh battery and offers up to 32GB of LPDDR5X SDRAM and 1TB of storage. It weighs 4.19 lbs, has a built-in 1080p webcam, and supports Intel Killer Wireless Wi-Fi 6E. It includes a USB-C/ThunderBolt 4 port with a microSD reader. On the cooling front, it uses a 5th Gen AeroBlade 3D fan and Vortex Flow tech.

The Predator Helios Neo 14 arrives in North America in May, starting at $1,800.

 one facing forward with its screen and keyboard visible, the other (behind it) showing a back view. Grayish-blue background.Acer

The Nitro 14 is the first 14-inch variant in the company’s midrange Nitro line. It should offer solid performance with up to AMD Ryzen 7 8845HS processor and RTX 4060 graphics. Cheaper variants drop that down to a Ryzen 5 8645HS processor and RTX 4050 or 3050 graphics.

Its maxed-out model gives you a 14.5-inch 2560 x 1500 display with a 120Hz refresh rate, 9ms response time and sRGB 100 percent gamut support. The entry-level model drops that down to 1080p at 120Hz.

The laptop has USB 4 and USB 3.2 Type C ports, a pair of USB-A ports (including one with offline charging support), HDMI 2.1 and a microSD slot.

The Acer Nitro 14 arrives in North America in May. It starts at $1,300.

A gamer sits in a posh, modern-lit gaming room with an Acer gaming laptop. A second TV shows a different part of a game behind them.Acer

The company’s updated Nitro 16 is launching in separate Intel and AMD variants with different model numbers (AN16-73 for Intel and AN16-43 for AMD). The former has up to an Intel Core i7-14700HX processor, while the AMD version has up to a Ryzen 9 8945HS (the same as the maxed-out Nitro 14). Otherwise, the two models are only separated by extremely minor weight differences (5.37 lbs for the AMD, 5.4 lbs for Intel) and Wi-Fi (Intel’s branded Killer Wireless Wi-Fi 6E vs. a nondescript Wi-Fi 6E for AMD).

As for the many specs the Intel and AMD variants of the Nitro 16 share, they both have Nvidia graphics, maxing out at RTX 4060 with 8GB of dedicated GDDR6 RAM. Cheaper models swap that for either an RTX 4050 or 3050.

Their screens have up to 2560 x 1600 resolution with 500 nits brightness, 165Hz refresh rates and a 3ms response time. The laptops each offer up to 32GB of DDR5 SDRAM and 2TB storage. They have 76Wh batteries with measly 720p webcams.

Both versions of the Nitro 16 will launch in North America in May. They start at $1,400. If you’re considering the new models, you can expect a more detailed configuration-pricing breakdown at or around launch time, so stay tuned.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/acer-launches-two-all-new-14-inch-gaming-laptops-alongside-updated-16-inch-models-160047740.html?src=rss

Starlink terminals are reportedly being used by Russian forces in Ukraine

Tue, 2024-04-09 11:48

Starlink satellite internet terminals are being widely used by Russian forces in Ukraine, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal. The publication indicates that the terminals, which were developed by Elon Musk’s SpaceX, are being used to coordinate attacks in eastern Ukraine and Crimea. Additionally, Starlink terminals can be used on the battlefield to control drones and other forms of military tech.

The terminals are reaching Russian forces via a complex network of black market sellers. This is despite the fact that Starlink devices are banned in the country. WSJ followed some of these sellers as they smuggled the terminals into Russia and even made sure deliveries got to the front lines. Reporting also indicates that some of the terminals were originally purchased on eBay.

This black market for Starlink terminals allegedly stretches beyond occupied Ukraine and into Sudan. Many of these Sudanese dealers are reselling units to the Rapid Support Forces, a paramilitary group that’s been accused of committing atrocities like ethnically motivated killings, targeted abuse of human rights activists, sexual violence and the burning of entire communities. WSJ notes that hundreds of terminals have found their way to members of the Rapid Support Forces.

Back in February, Elon Musk addressed earlier reports that Starlink terminals were being used by Russian soldiers in the war against Ukraine. “To the best of our knowledge, no Starlinks have been sold directly or indirectly to Russia,” he wrote on X. The Kremlin also denied the reports, according to Reuters. Despite these proclamations, WSJ says that “thousands of the white pizza-box-sized devices” have landed with “some American adversaries and accused war criminals.”

After those February reports, House Democrats have demanded that Musk take action, according to Business Insider, noting that Russian military use of the tech is “potentially in violation of US sanctions and export controls.” Starlink actually has the ability to disable individual terminals and each item includes geofencing technology that is supposed to prevent use in unauthorized countries, though it's unclear if black market sellers can get around these hurdles.

AHouse Democrats have demanded that Musk take action, ar. He took steps to limit Ukraine’s use of the technology on the grounds that the terminals were never intended for use in military conflicts. According to his biography, Musk also blocked Ukraine’s use of Starlink near Crimea early in the conflict, ending the country’s plans for an attack on Russia’s naval fleet. Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, wrote on X that “civilians, children are being killed” as a result of Musk’s decision. He further dinged the billionaire by writing “this is the price of a cocktail of ignorance and a big ego.”

However, Musk fired back and said that Starlink was never active in the area near Crimea, so there was nothing to disable. He also said that the policy in question was decided upon before Ukraine’s planned attack on the naval fleet. Ukraine did lose access to more than 1,300 Starlink terminals in the early days of the conflict due to a payment issue. SpaceX reportedly charged Ukraine $2,500 per month to keep each unit operational, which ballooned to $3.25 million per month. This pricing aligns with the company’s high cost premium plan. It’s worth noting that SpaceX has donated more than 3,600 terminals to Ukraine.

SpaceX has yet to comment on the WSJ report regarding the blackmarket proliferation of Starlink terminals. We’ll update this post when it does.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/starlink-terminals-are-reportedly-being-used-by-russian-forces-in-ukraine-154832503.html?src=rss

The Razer Stream Controller is down to its all-time low price

Tue, 2024-04-09 10:37

Streaming can be an art form in its own right and made all the more enjoyable with the proper tools — though they don't always come cheap. That's why the 26 percent discount currently running on the Razer Stream Controller is so exciting. The sale brings the all-in-one keypad down from $270 to $200 — a return to its record-low price. 

Razor launched its Stream Controller back in 2022 as a competitor to Elgato's Stream Deck — albeit at a much higher price point. To be fair, the device offers quite a lot for the cost, including 12 haptic switchblade keys, six tactile analog dials and eight programmable buttons. The haptic switchblade keys have customizable icons and, of course, have adjustable haptic feedback. The tactile analog dials control audio levels and the programmable buttons can make regular actions all the more accessible — and speedy.

The Razor Stream Controller works with Mac or PC and has integrated support for platforms like Discord, Twitch and Spotify. It's also good for any artists looking for a new creative device, as it works with Photoshop, Premiere Pro, Illustrator and more. 

Follow @EngadgetDeals on Twitter and subscribe to the Engadget Deals newsletter for the latest tech deals and buying advice.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/the-razer-stream-controller-is-down-to-its-all-time-low-price-143755384.html?src=rss

Shure's MV7+ USB/XLR mic has a customizable LED panel and built-in audio tools

Tue, 2024-04-09 10:30

Shure's MV7 microphone has been a solid option for podcasters and streamers since its introduction in 2020. With it, the company introduced the first mic with both USB and XLR connectivity. This hybrid setup offers the ability to connect easily to a computer or more robust recording setups as needed. It's also $150 cheaper than Shure's workhorse SM7B that you've likely seen in professional podcast videos. Now the company is back with a new version of the MV7, dubbed the MV7+, with a "sleeker design" and a host of software features aimed at improving audio before you fire up any editing workflows. 

The most noticeable change is the new multi-color LED touch panel. Shure says this component is fully customizable with over 16.8 million colors for a visual indicator of your sound levels. You can also opt for "an ambient pulse effect." What's more, a tap on the LED panel mutes the MV7+ when you need to cough, sneeze or clear your throat. 

In what Shure calls a "Real-time Denoiser," the MV7+ employs digital signal processing (DSP) to eliminate background distractions. The company says this works alongside the mic's voice isolation to produce excellent sound in noisy scenarios. The MV7+ also features a Digital Popper Stopper to combat the dreaded plosives, but this microphone does so virtually without an unsightly filter making an appearance on your livestream. 

Shure says it improved the Auto Level Mode on the MV7+, a feature that makes gain adjustments based on distance, volume and room characteristics to automatically balance the sound profile. There's also onboard reverb, offering three settings (Plate, Hall and Studio) before you start tweaking things in your to-go DAW. And just like the MV7, the MV7+ still has hybrid XLR and USB outputs to connect to mobile devices and laptops in addition to a more capable audio mixer. Where the previous model had a micro-USB port for both USB-A and USB-C cables, this new model is all USB-C. 

With the MV7+, Shure is also announcing the MOTIV Mix app. In addition to tweaking the colors of that LED panel, the software provides a five-track mixer alongside the ability to adjust settings like sound signature, gain and more. There's also a Soundcheck tool to assist with the optimal gain setting and a monitor mix slider provides individual adjustments for mic output and system audio playback. The company explains that this new Mix app will be available for older mics like the MV7 and MVX2U, but for now it's only available in beta to use with the MV7+

The MV7+ is available now in black and there's a white version on the way "in the upcoming weeks." Both are $279, $30 more than the MV7 was at launch. Shure is also selling a "podcast kit" that bundles the MV7+ with a basic Gator desktop mic stand for $299. If you'd prefer the more versatile boom stand, that package is $339. A three-meter USB-C to USB-C cable is included in the box whether you purchase the standalone microphone or either of the kits. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/shures-mv7-usbxlr-mic-has-a-customizable-led-panel-and-built-in-audio-tools-142940237.html?src=rss

The Fallout TV series is coming to Prime Video one day earlier than expected

Tue, 2024-04-09 10:09

Fallout, a TV adaptation of Bethesda's eponymous series of post-apocalyptic RPG games, will hit Prime Video earlier than expected. All eight episodes will hit the streaming service at 9PM ET on April 10.

This is actually the second time Amazon has brought forward the release date. The series was originally supposed to debut on April 12, but it moved one day earlier when a trailer dropped last month.

If you catch the first episode as soon as it hits Prime Video, you'll be able to take part in a live global fan premiere. You can pick your faction and interact with other viewers in a live chat.

Fallout was created by Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, the same duo who were behind Westworld. Nolan (Christopher Nolan's brother) directed the first three episodes. The most recent trailer nailed the look and darkly comic tone of the games. Here's hoping the show itself sticks the landing by having a solid story and performances. Having a strong cast that includes Walton Goggins should definitely help on the latter front.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/the-fallout-tv-series-is-coming-to-prime-video-one-day-earlier-than-expected-140928124.html?src=rss

Apple's M2 MacBook Air drops to $849 at Amazon

Tue, 2024-04-09 09:42

If you're anything like me, then you put off buying a new MacBook until absolutely necessary or there's a big sale to avoid a large bill. Right now, the latter is making a purchase more tempting, with Apple's 2022 MacBook Air with M2 chip on sale for $849 from $999. The 15 percent sale brings the 13.6-inch 256GB device down to a record-low price. 

We gave the 2022 MacBook Air a 96 in our review when Apple first released it, dubbing the device "near-perfect." The MacBook is thinner than its predecessor, but the screen is a noticeable one-third of an inch larger — with a liquid retina display and up to 500 nits of brightness. Other perks include a 1080p FaceTime camera and a 60Hz refresh rate. We were also big fans of the 2022 MacBook Air's high-quality quad-speaker array and solid three-mic system. It also has a 3.5mm headphone jack, 2 USB-C thunderbolt ports and a MagSafe connector. 

Our pick for 2024's best budget MacBook is currently $200 cheaper than the latest M3 chip MacBook Air but has similar stats. Both laptops offer an 8-core CPU, up to 10-core GPU and up to 18 hours of battery life. Plus, both devices have up to 24GB of unified memory and can handle up to 2TB of storage. 

Follow @EngadgetDeals on Twitter and subscribe to the Engadget Deals newsletter for the latest tech deals and buying advice.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/apples-m2-macbook-air-drops-to-849-at-amazon-134240095.html?src=rss

DJI's RS4 gimbals make it easier to balance heavy cameras and accessories

Tue, 2024-04-09 09:00

DJI occasionally knocks us sideways with cutting-edge innovation à la the Ronin 4D, but it's usually just refining existing products to stay ahead of rivals. That applies to the new RS4 and RS4 Pro gimbals, which boast multiple improvements over the previous RS3 models, particularly in the size and capacity of cameras they can support, but no new standout features. 

However, the company also unveiled the Focus Pro, a new version of its LiDAR focus system that works either standalone or with the RS4 Pro. This product is more on the cutting-edge side, adding a host of new capabilities to the company's gimbal and camera systems. 


The mainstream RS4 gimbal is largely the same as the last model, with a carrying capacity of 6.6 pounds (3kg) that accommodates most mirrorless cameras and a good load of accessories. However, the tilt axis has been extended 8.5mm compared to the RS 3, giving you more balancing space for longer lenses or front-heavy add-ons like ND filters. It also uses DJI's latest 4th-gen stabilization algorithm for improved smoothness and control.

DJI's RS4 gimbals make it easier to balance heavy cameras and accessoriesDJI

The RS4 can pair with the new Focus Pro Motor (more about that in a sec), allowing smooth focus and lens zoom adjustments at a speed 30 percent faster compared to the original DJI Focus Motor. As before, it uses dual-mode Bluetooth tech so you can pair with and control multiple cameras. 

Another new feature is improved stability in vertical shooting, steadying jolts for the influencer crowd even when walking or running. The redesigned gimbal horizontal plates allows for "seamless transitions to vertical shooting," the company said, allowing for more efficiency in video creation (to let you quickly get out an Insta Story while filming, for example). 

DJI's RS4 gimbals make it easier to balance heavy cameras and accessoriesDJI

As before, it comes with automatic gimbal locking and unlocking for ease of use, along with Teflon coatings on all three axes for smooth operation. A new joystick mode switch lets you change from zoom to gimbal control and the customizable trigger can quickly turn on the FPV mode.

The RS4 supports multiple accessories via the RSA communication port, including DJI's RS Tethered Control Handle and third-party options (DJI has an SDK protocol for the RS family). IT also supports the new BG70 High-Capacity Battery Grip that extends runtime to 29.5 hours with a 2.5 hour charge time (compared to , while supporting power delivery to camera and USB-C accessories.

Finally, the RS4 supports DJI's Ronin Image Transmitter, delivering live-action high-definition feeds to other crew members and allowing for remote-control (focus, etc.) capabilities. 

DJI RS4 Pro DJI's RS4 gimbals make it easier to balance heavy cameras and accessoriesDJI

The RS4 Pro ups the carrying capacity to 10 pounds (4.5kg) as before, while adding side handles and extra mounting points for accessories. It adds a 20 percent motor torque boost to all axes (compared to the RS 3 Pro) to allow for more responsive tracking even with heavy cameras and accessories. 

DJI also introduced a car mount mode, optimizing the stabilizer for vehicle shoots, while updating vertical shooting capability and improving axis locks. Like the RS4, it has DJI's latest 4th-gen stabilization algorithm that's particularly helpful for fast-moving scenes when carrying a heavy camera.

DJI's RS4 gimbals make it easier to balance heavy cameras and accessoriesDJI

The primary new capability is functionality with the Focus Pro LiDAR and Focus Pro Motor system, giving cinematographers autofocus capability even with manual focus lenses. It also supports remote control and image transmission, "allowing for remote gimbal operation and intelligent focus assistance," according to the company.

"In collaborative team shooting, the gimbal operator can control the RS 4 Pro gimbal through devices such as the DJI Master Wheels, DJI Ronin 4D Hand Grips, and DJI High-Bright Remote Monitor. Meanwhile, the focus puller can enable LiDAR Waveform on the High-Bright Remote Monitor for intelligent focus assistance, precisely controlling focus using the Focus Pro Hand Unit," DJI says. 

DJI Focus Pro

DJI's RS4 gimbals make it easier to balance heavy cameras and accessoriesDJI

For creators and cinematographers, the Focus Pro is the most intriguing product in this release. It's a LiDAR focus system consisting of the Focus Pro LiDAR unit, Focus Pro Grip, Focus Pro Motor and FIZ Hand Unit. It gives the operator autofocus capability even with manual lenses, or lets them focus manually via a real-time view from the LiDAR's perspective.

The grip has a full-color touchscreen, 2.5-hour power supply, intuitive visual operation, auto-calibration and data storage for 15 lenses, along with Bluetooth capability for easy start/stop recording. The LiDAR, meanwhile, supports focus at up to 20 meters (three times more than before), and has an ultra-wide 70-degree view for focus. IT has 76,800 ranging points and a 30Hz refresh rate to minimize focus hunting and ensure reliable focus. 

DJI's RS4 gimbals make it easier to balance heavy cameras and accessoriesDJI

Autofocus includes AF subject recognition and tracking, adjustable focus speed and selectable focus area modes, much like a regular mirrorless AF system. The AMF (auto-manual focus) mode, meanwhile, allows for instant switching between manual and autofocus for tricky shooting scenarios. It also helps camera or focus operators by showing the LiDAR waveform. I tried something similar with the Ronin 4D, and while it takes a while to get used to, it's very effective.

The FIZ Hand Unit allows full remote control over focus, iris and zoom for focus pullers. It uses stepless real-time damping for smooth control, while letting the focus puller be up to 160 meters away. Other features including faster motor speeds, 10ms latency and intuitive dial operation. 

Price and availability

The DJI RS 4 is now available for purchase starting at $549 and includes one Gimbal, BG21 Battery Grip, USB-C Charging Cable, Lens-Fastening Support, Extended Grip/Tripod (Plastic), Quick-Release Plate, Multi-Camera Control Cable, and Screw Kit. You can also pick it up for $719 in a combo with a Briefcase Handle, Focus Pro Motor, Focus Pro Motor Rod Mount Kit, Focus Gear Strip, a second Multi-Camera Control Cable, and one Carrying Case. The RS 4 Pro, meanwhile, starts at $869 or $1,099 with the high-capacity battery grip, with the same range of accessories for each.  

The Focus Pro creator combo (DJI Focus Pro LiDAR, DJI Focus Pro Grip, DJI Focus Pro Motor and DJI Focus Pro Carrying Case) is $999, or you can buy the All-in-One combo (with the FIZ Hand Unit as well) for $1,899. The RS BG70 high-capacity battery grip is sold for $149 by itself. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/djis-rs4-gimbals-make-it-easier-to-balance-heavy-cameras-and-accessories-130058134.html?src=rss

Indie Lovecraftian fishing game Dredge is gonna be a movie

Tue, 2024-04-09 09:00

In a year packed with rad fishing sims, Dredge was arguably the best. It came out in March 2023 and filled the wet, eldritch-horror-shaped hole in the year's gaming catalogue — and now, it's going to be a movie. Developer Black Salt Games and media company Story Kitchen are partnering to turn Dredge into a live-action feature film. The project's logline is, "Think The Sixth Sense on the water. A grounded atmospheric cosmic horror blend of HP Lovecraft and Ernest Hemingway." That's not not a description of Dredge as a video game, so it looks like we're off to a fine start.

As a film, Dredge will probably focus less on inventory management, boat upgrades and incessant seafloor dragging, and more on the game's Lovecraftian water monsters and moody, foggy atmosphere. Story Kitchen is the production company behind a number of in-progress video game adaptations, including the Sifu live-action movie and Vampire Survivors animated TV series. There's no word on a timeframe for the Dredge film, but it'll likely appear when we least expect it, rising suddenly from the metaphorical depths.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/indie-lovecraftian-fishing-game-dredge-is-gonna-be-a-movie-130029799.html?src=rss

It's the last day to get up to 42 percent off annual Max subscriptions

Tue, 2024-04-09 09:00

This is your last day to snag a decent deal on a subscription to Max, the streaming service that has nothing to do with Cinemax and everything to do with HBO. Annual subscriptions are up to 42 percent off, depending on the tier. The discount is available to both new and returning subscribers, just in time for the second season of House of the Dragon.

The best deal knocks $100 off the Ultimate plan, which offers an ad-free 4K viewing experience. The grand total here will be $140 per year, instead of $240. The next step down is a mid-level plan that also drops the ads, but there’s no option for 4K streaming. This plan costs $150 per year, instead of $192. Finally, there’s the ad-supported plan, which costs $70 per year as part of this deal. Sure, it might seem weird to watch Curb Your Enthusiasm (RIP) with commercials, but it gets the job done.

The deals apply no matter how you sign up for the Max, including directly from the website, through the Apple App Store or Google Play. There’s one major caveat, as only new subscribers via Fire TV are eligible. All of this is tied to March Madness, as Max is streaming all 2024 Division I NCAA men's basketball championship games, along with other live sports.

For those too busy to memorize the comings and goings of multinational streaming platforms, Max is a service that combines HBO’s programming with content from Discovery+. So you can watch all five seasons of the critically-acclaimed crime series The Wire and chase it down with 47 seasons of Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, as nature intended. Max is a weird streamer to pin down, but there’s certainly a glut of content to choose from. There's a reason we named it one of the best streaming services out there.

Follow @EngadgetDeals on Twitter and subscribe to the Engadget Deals newsletter for the latest tech deals and buying advice.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/its-the-last-day-to-get-up-to-42-percent-off-annual-max-subscriptions-130009276.html?src=rss