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Marketing and Advertising

2022-09-30 22:20:15| Engadget

Tesla is holding another AI Day, and it'll be particularly easy to tune in. The automaker is streaming its 2022 event tonight at 9:15PM Eastern on YouTube (below) as well as its website. Elon Musk has warned the presentation will be "highly technical" and could last six hours, but you may have multiple reasons to watch even if you're not fond of diagrams and in-depth explanations.Notably, Musk said in June that Tesla pushed AI Day to September 30th in hopes of having a functional Optimus humanoid robot. It would just be a prototype, but it would show that the company's vision of an autonomous helper exists beyond pretty 3D renders. The machine is meant to handle dangerous or monotonous tasks without requiring step-by-step instructions.You could also see improvements to Tesla's vehicle technology. The company's Full Self-Driving feature is still rough, and Tesla might explain how it plans to refine the system. You could also see upgrades to Autopilot driver assistance. Behind the scenes, the company may expand the capabilities of the Dojo supercomputer it uses to train vision-based AI systems.

Category: Marketing and Advertising

2022-09-30 21:22:00| Engadget

Bruce Willis may have retired from acting following a diagnosis of aphasia, but a version of him will live on in future projects. Last year, the actor's "digital twin" appeared in an ad for a Russian telecom created by a company called Deepcake. Now, it's being reported that he sold his rights for future film, advertising and other projects to Deepcake, according to the company's website and The Telegraph. Engineers created the digital double drawing from content in Die Hard and Fifth Element, when Willis was 32 and 42, respectively. With his likeness now on the company's AI platform, it can graft his likeness onto another actor's face in a relatively short amount of time. However, Willis's estate has final approval on any projects. In the ad for Megafon, Willis's face was swapped onto actor Konstantin Solovyov. "I liked the precision of my character. It's a great opportunity for me to go back in time," Willis said in a statement on Deepcake. "With the advent of the modern technology, I could communicate, work and participate in filming, even being on another continent. It's a brand new and interesting experience for me, and I grateful to our team."In March, Willis's family announced that he was retiring from acting to due a diagnosis of aphasia, which impairs communication and comprehension. In the last few years, the 67-year-old has appeared in a series of projects amid concern about his cognitive state.Actors have already appeared as digital versions of themselves, notably in The Book of Boba Fett with a young Mark Hamill. Digital versions of Carrie Fisher and Peter Cushing also appeared in Star Wars: Rogue One, despite the fact that both are deceased. James Earl Jones recently sold Disney the right to recreate his voice using AI, so he could retire. The practice has stoked controversy. Deepfakes vary widely in quality, but many approach the "uncanny valley" where characters don't look quite right because of stiff movements, dead eyes and other issues. There's also the question of rights, as deceased actors can't turn down posthumous film roles, even if the family or estate approves. 

Category: Marketing and Advertising

2022-09-30 20:41:26| Engadget

Stadia, Google's ill-fated attempt at a cloud gaming service, will shut down in January. Players will be refunded for all their hardware and software purchases, except for Stadia Pro subscriptions. As it turns out, some folks will be able to keep playing certain games elsewhere. Ubisoft will help people who bought its titles on Stadia to transfer their purchases to PC.While Stadia will shut down on January 18th, 2023, were happy to share that were currently working to bring the games you own on Stadia to PC through Ubisoft Connect, Ubisoft senior corporate communications manager Jessica Roache told The Verge. Well have more to share regarding specific details as well as the impact for Ubisoft+ subscribers at a later date. Google has already shut down the Stadia store, so if you were thinking of buying an Ubisoft game, getting a refund, then gaining access to the PC version for free, you're out of luck.Ubisoft hasn't revealed when it will offer Stadia players access to their games on Ubisoft Connect. It also hasn't confirmed whether Stadians will be able to transfer their save data over to PC. That said, the Ubisoft+ subscription service includes a cloud save feature, so hopefully the company can figure out a way to maintain players' progress if they switch to a PC version.While this is a nice gesture from Ubisoft, it might come as a small comfort to some of those who've been enjoying the likes of Assassin's Creed Valhalla, Far Cry 6 and Rainbow Six Siege on Stadia. One of the big advantages of many cloud gaming services, including Stadia, is that they work on almost any computer, phone or tablet as long as you have a good internet connection. However, folks who don't have a capable gaming PC might not be able to take advantage of this offer.Ubisoft hasn't been put off the idea of cloud gaming after the collapse of Stadia. Its Ubisoft+ channel is available on Amazon Luna, for one thing. We believe in the power of streaming and cloud gaming and will continue to push the boundaries on bringing amazing experiences to our players, wherever they are, Roache said. While Google has abandoned Stadia, it will still license the solid game-streaming tech to other companies through an initiative called Immersive Stream for Games. AT&T and Capcom have utilized the white-label version of the tech. Perhaps Ubisoft, whose Assassin's Creed Odyssey was used in the first public test of what would become Stadia, will be interested in taking Google up on the offer too.

Category: Marketing and Advertising

2022-09-30 20:00:41| Engadget

Magic Leap's second take on augmented reality eyewear is available. The company has started selling Magic Leap 2 in 19 countries, including the US, UK and EU nations. The glasses are still aimed at developers and pros, but they include a number of design upgrades that make them considerably more practical and point to where AR might be headed.The design is 50 percent smaller and 20 percent lighter than the original. It should be more comfortable to wear over long periods, then. Magic Leap also promises better visibility for AR in bright light (think a well-lit office) thanks to "dynamic dimming" that makes virtual content appear more solid. Lens optics supposedly deliver higher quality imagery with easier-to-read text, and the company touts a wider field of view (70 degrees diagonal) than comparable wearables.You can expect decent power that includes a quad-core AMD Zen 2-based processor in the "compute pack," a 12.6MP camera (plus a host of cameras for depth, eye tracking and field-of-view) and 60FPS hand tracking for gestures. You'll only get 3.5 hours of non-stop use, but the 256GB of storage (the most in any dedicated AR device, Magic Leap claims) provides room for more sophisticated apps.As you might guess, this won't be a casual purchase. The Magic Leap 2 Base model costs $3,299, while developers who want extra tools, enterprise features and early access for internal use will want to pay $4,099 for the Developer Pro edition. Corporate buyers will want to buy a $4,999 Enterprise model that includes regular, managed updates and two years of business features.You won't buy this for personal use as a result. This is more for healthcare, industry, retail and other spaces where the price could easily be offset by profits. However, it joins projects from Qualcomm, Google and others in showing where AR technology is going. Where early tech tended to be bulky and only ideal for a narrow set of circumstances, hardware like Magic Leap 2 appears to be considerably more usable in the real world.

Category: Marketing and Advertising

2022-09-30 19:27:12| Engadget

YouTube TV is now offering users the option to subscribe to standalone add-on channels without signing up for the platform's base plan. You can choose from 20 channels, including HBO Max, Showtime and NBA League Pass. Epix and Starz, which will soon be rebranded in certain territories, are among the options as well. YouTube TV is following the likes of Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, Roku and Sling TV in adding standalone channel subscriptions.The cable-style YouTube TV base plan costs $65 and includes more than 85 channels (the full line up will vary slightly, depending on your location). But you'll no longer need that to access MLB.TV, Cinemax et al through the service. Users who opt out of the base plan can still take advantage of YouTube TV features such as unlimited DVR space, up to six profiles per household and three simultaneous streams.To some, it might seem unnecessary to sign up for standalone channels through services like YouTube TV when they have their own apps. There are some benefits though, especially if you subscribe to more than one. You'll be able to access the services from a single app that might be available on more platforms than standalone apps for Shudder, Acorn and so on. Managing your subscriptions with a single bill may be useful too.

Category: Marketing and Advertising

2022-09-30 18:32:34| Engadget

Anker's Soundcore audio brand has revealed yet more products. Among them are the Liberty 4 earbuds, which can track your heart rate. The heart rate sensor is in the right earbud, so you'll need to wear that one to use the feature. When it's measuring your blood oxygen levels, the earbud will emit a red light. Soundcore hasn't disclosed the waterproof rating, which is odd given that heart-rate tracking functions are closely linked to workouts.Soundcore says an algorithm can tune the spatial audio function depending on whether you're watching a movie or listening to music. The earbuds offer dynamic head tracking too. Soundcore is using a gyroscope to ensure sound always surrounds you. In addition, Liberty 4 offers adaptive noise canceling (which automatically adjusts noise cancellation levels based on environmental audio) and personalized sound.You'll get up to nine hours of use on a single charge, Soundcore claims, and 28 hours in total before you need to top up the charging case's battery. These figures drop to five and 15 hours with spatial audio on, and seven and 24 hours when ANC is enabled. That said, Soundcore says you'll get up to three hours of use after charging for 15 minutes.In addition, there's multipoint connectivity, so you can pair Liberty 4 to your computer and phone at the same time over Bluetooth. The $150 earbuds come in white or black colorways. You can buy Liberty 4 direct from Soundcore now and other retailers in October.SoundcoreSoundcore has also unveiled new sleep earbuds. It says the Sleep A10 buds can block out up to 35dB of noise thanks to a four-point noise masking system.Unlike Bose Sleepbuds 2, which only allow you to listen to sleep sounds from a certain app, you can play any audio through Sleep A10 via Bluetooth. Soundcore says its earbuds have dynamic drivers designed to deliver low-frequency sound that induces sleep. Crucially, the earbuds are seemingly comfortable for folks who sleep on their side. They have ear wings and twin seal ear tips to help keep them snug in your ears during the night.Other features include sleep monitoring and a personal alarm clock. Anker claims the buds have a battery life of up to 10 hours, so they should be able to help wake you up in addition to lulling you to sleep. The Sleep A10 buds, which cost $69 less than Bose's Sleepbuds 2, are available from Soundcore's website for $180.Soundcore

Category: Marketing and Advertising

2022-09-30 17:30:05| Engadget

The week may be almost over, but there are still plenty of offers to be found. Apple's 512GB MacBook Air M2 has hit a new low price, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 is down to just $250, you can pick up an Xbox controller from $45 and Lenovo's Smart Clock Essential with Alexa is at an all-time low of just $35. Here are the best tech deals from this week that you can still get today.MacBook Air M2Devindra Hardawar/EngadgetThe MacBook Air M2 with 512GB of storage is $150 off and down to $1,150 right now, a new low. We gave the updated laptop a score of 96 for its excellent performance, gorgeous display and ultra-thin design. If you don't need all that storage, the 256GB model is also on sale at $1,050.Buy MacBook Air M2 at Amazon - $1,350Samsung Galaxy Watch 5EngadgetIf you have your eye on Samsung's new Galaxy Watch 5 but were waiting for a deal, one has already arrived. Amazon's Woot portal is selling the 40mm model in several colors (Grey, Pink Gold and Silver) for $250, a savings of $30 or 11 percent off the regular price. We gave the Galaxy Watch 5 a score of 85 in our review, praising its design, build and comprehensive tracking features, with the biggest downside being battery life.Buy Galaxy Watch 5 at Woot - $250Xbox Core Wireless ControllerAaron Souppouris / EngadgetAmazon is selling the Xbox Core Wireless Controller for up to 26 percent off. The white model is the most affordable of the bunch at $45 (normally $60), but you'll also find significant savings for the blue, red and Electric Volt (read: neon green) variants. If you own an Xbox Series X or Series S, you know what to expect. The Core Wireless Controller largely offers Microsoft's years-old layout, just with an Elite-style circular directional pad, a share button and better grip. Buy Xbox Core Wireless Controller at Amazon - $45Lenovo Smart Clock Essential with AlexaEngadgetIf youre looking to add some digital smarts to your bedroom without buying a device that features a camera, smart clocks are the way to go. One of the better options out there is the Lenovo Smart Clock Essential with Alexa, and its currently on sale. Amazon has discounted the device by 50 percent, making it $35 at the moment. Weve seen the Smart Clock Essential go on sale frequently in the past. However, $35 matches an all-time low for the device.Buy Smart Clock Essential at Amazon - $35Samsung T7 ShieldThe 1TB model of the Samsung T7 Shield SSD is still on sale for $100, which is just about the best we've ever seen. This rugged drive has a tough exterior that can withstand drops from nearly 10 feet, plus an IP65 rating for dust- and water-resistance. It also has the same read/write speeds of the other T7 models and works with a bunch of devices including PC, Mac, Android and even some game consoles.Buy T7 Shield (1TB) at Amazon - $100Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4Cherlynn Low / EngadgetAnother holdover from last week, Samsung's Z Flip 4 has a discount of $100, so you can pick it up for as low as $900. This foldable came out just a few weeks ago and we gave it a score of 86 in our review, mostly for its still-innovative formfactor, improved battery life and useful hands-free functionality.Buy Galaxy Z Flip 4 at Amazon - $900HBO MaxHBO Max has discounted its annual plan, so you can save 30 percent if you sign up and pay for one year upfront. If you can deal with ads, the service will cost $70 for 12 months, down from the usual $100. To get an ad-free experience, you'll pay $105, which is $45 off the usual rate.Subscribe to HBO MaxFollow @EngadgetDeals on Twitter and subscribe to the Engadget Deals newsletter for the latest tech deals and buying advice.

Category: Marketing and Advertising

2022-09-30 17:05:54| Engadget

The group that oversees USB wants to make it easier for you to understand what various cables and ports can actually do. It's trying to ditch branding like SuperSpeed and USB4 in an attempt to simplify matters, but manufacturers may not necessarily adopt the changes.The steps are part of a broader drive by the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) to rebrand USB standards. The group brought in new logos for cables, ports and packaging last year. The updated branding is about helping people understand what the standards are capable of in terms of data transfer speeds and performance, as well as charging speeds, USB-IF president and chief operating officer Jeff Ravencraft told The Verge.SuperSpeed (also known as USB 3) has been around over a decade. You may have seen it on USB cable boxes. Going forward, USB-IF wants cable makers to use USB 10Gbps instead of SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps and USB 20Gbps instead of USB4 20Gbps." Meanwhile, USB-C cables certified by the USB-IF will need to list both data transfer speeds and charging wattage.The changes recently came into effect, and the updated branding could start appearing on labels and packaging by the end of the year. The branding guidelines apply to products with any type of USB port except for USB 1.0, which you won't see much these days anyway, and USB 2.0 (aka USB Hi-Speed). The USB-IF reckons that, in the latter case, using "USB 480Mbps" may create confusion for those who might see that on packaging and believe it to be faster than USB 5Gbps, simply because of the larger number.The rebranding requirements only apply to devices and cables certified by the USB-IF. But, because USB is an open standard (unlike, say, Thunderbolt 4), there's nothing really to stop manufacturers from using SuperSpeed and USB4 branding if they really want to, as The Verge notes. As such, it remains to be seen how much these measures will actually clear things up for people who just need a cable for their device.Knowing which cable you need is already complicated enough. Thunderbolt 3 and Thunderbolt 4 connectors and ports look exactly the same as USB-C ones, for instance. The updated guidelines won't do much to help you understand if a cable supports DisplayPort or a certain fast-charging standard either.On the surface, at least, these seem like positive moves to reduce confusion and get rid of unnecessary verbiage. Still, it's unclear whether abandoning the SuperSpeed moniker, which was arguably less commonly used than USB 3 in any case, will actually help clarify things for most users. It may not matter much anyway given the increasingly widespread adoption of USB-C as a more universal standard which is the whole point of USB in the first place.

Category: Marketing and Advertising

2022-09-30 16:45:34| Engadget

Amazon might face some political opposition in its bid to acquire iRobot. Democrats including Senator Elizabeth Warren and House Representatives Jesus Garcia, Pramila Jayapal, Mondaire Jones, Katie Porter and Mark Pocan have asked the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to oppose the purchase of the Roomba creator. iRobot is a "powerful" incumbent in robot vacuums, according to the politicians' letter, and Amazon would allegedly reduce competition with the resources it could pour into the market.The members of Congress pointed to Amazon's history of technology buyouts to support their case, arguing that the company snaps up competitors to eliminate them. Amazon killed sales of Kiva Systems' robots after the 2012 acquisition and used them exclusively in its warehouses, for instance. The 2017 and 2018 acquisitions of Blink and Ring reportedly helped Amazon dominate US video doorbell sales, while the internet retailer has also faced multiple accusations of abusing third-party seller data to launch rival products and promote them above others.We've asked Amazon for comment. The online shopping giant frequently denies anti-competitive practices, and has even called for the recusal of FTC chair Lina Khan in Amazon-related cases over claims she's biased against the company.The Commission hasn't said if it will take action against the iRobot deal. Reports circulated that the FTC reviewed Amazon's purchase of MGM, but didn't challenge it. Khan didn't have a party majority at the time, however, and movie studios aren't the same as robot vacuum makers. iRobot is estimated to have 75 percent of the American robovac market by revenue, according to Statista. It's already difficult for challenges like Shark and Eufy to thrive, and it wouldn't get easier with Amazon involved.

Category: Marketing and Advertising

2022-09-30 15:45:04| Engadget

Oil and gas companies regularly use flaring (that is, burning unwanted methane) to limit the amount of natural gas escaping into the atmosphere, but the practice might not be as kind to the planet as previously thought. Scientists at the University of Michigan, Stanford and elsewhere have discovered that flaring is much less effective than the industry assumes, and puts out five times more methane (a strong greenhouse gas) than predicted.Companies and governments act on the belief flares are always lit and burn off 98 percent of methane. However, aerial surveys of three US basins (where 80 percent of American flaring takes place) have revealed that the flares aren't lit up to 5 percent of the time, and operate inefficiently when they're active. In practice, the flaring efficiency is just 91 percent. That may not sound like a big dip, but it signifies that there's a large volume of unaccounted-for methane contributing to climate change.There is an upside to the findings. Flaring's problems are "quite addressable" with better management, lead researcher Genevieve Plant said, and a solution would offer an equivalent emissions reduction to removing 3 million cars. To put it another way, this could be one of the easiest ways to keep methane in check and limit global warming. The challenge is to have companies and governments work in harmony that's not guaranteed, even if the fix is relatively straightforward.

Category: Marketing and Advertising

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