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2024-02-26 09:00:10| Engadget

Google is finally giving Android smartwatch owners a feature theyve been wanting for years: Google Wallet passes. Among its many announcements at MWC, Google said today that its officially bringing boarding passes, event tickets, gym memberships, loyalty cards and other passes that might be stored in your Google Wallet to Wear OS. Its one area where Wear OS has lagged way behind the Apple Watch, which has long had passes.  While some users have sporadically reported seeing the feature pop up over the last month or so, Google is only now confirming its arrival. Any passes youve added to Google Wallet will show up with a QR code or barcode on your Wear OS watch with the update, and you can choose to hide whichever ones you dont need at the moment. Google is also adding the ability to get detailed public transit directions on your watch so you dont need to take out your phone to figure out where youre going. Youll be able to look up departure times from your wrist, and get step-by-step directions or a guided map view to your destination. Catch up on all of the news from MWC 2024 right here!This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/google-finally-brings-wallet-passes-to-wear-os-watches-along-with-transit-directions-080010242.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising

2024-02-26 00:00:58| Engadget

Motorola and Lenovo have announced a new cross-device management tool at MWC 2024 called Smart Connect that lets users seamlessly switch tasks from one device to another. You could, for example, move a podcast from your phone to your tablet without losing your place using only a swipe gesture, or easily share files between connected devices using a unified Share Hub. The companies havent yet released the full list of compatible devices, but so far say Smart Connect will work with Lenovo PCs running Windows 10 or later and only some Lenovo tablets and Motorola devices. Smart Connect will allow users to navigate between multiple devices using the same keyboard and mouse without interruptions, and receive synced notifications across connected devices. It brings a smart clipboard feature too, which serves as a single clipboard for all the connected devices, so you can copy and paste items from one device to another. Smart Connect will also let users turn their phone into a hotspot for a connected tablet or PC, or use it as a webcam. Users will also be able to cast content from their phones to other connected devices, say to watch a video on a bigger screen. Smart Connect will be available in a few months through the Microsoft Store and Google Play Store. In addition to Smart Connect, Motorola is showing off the adaptive display concept it introduced last fall. Motorolas concept rollable display can be morphed from a slab into other shapes to fit different needs, like a tent-style setup that allows it to stand on its own or wrapped around a persons wrist like a watch. Christopher Dilts / Motorola Christopher Dilts / Motorola Catch up on all of the news from MWC 2024 right here!This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/lenovo-and-motorolas-smart-connect-makes-it-easier-to-manage-tasks-across-your-devices-230058598.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising

2024-02-26 00:00:25| Engadget

Its not often you encounter a device that looks like it came straight out of a movie set. But Lenovos Project Crystal, supposedly the worlds first laptop with a transparent microLED display, is an example of sci-fi come to life. Currently there are no plans to turn Project Crystal into a retail product. Instead Lenovos latest concept device was commissioned by its ThinkPad division to explore the potential of transparent microLED panels and AI integration. The most obvious use case would be sharing info somewhere, like a doctors office or a hotel desk. Instead of needing to flip a screen around, you could simply reverse the display via software, allowing anyone on the other side to see it while getting an in-depth explanation. When combined with the camera built into the rear of the system, Lenovo says there could be possible AR applications. One example would be to use the camera to identify an object, similar to Google Lens. And with its transparent display, it should be possible to take that idea a step further by overlaying a diagram or schematic on top of the object for things like troubleshooting or repair. But the best thing about Project Crystal, is that Lenovo bothered making it at all. Currently, even standard microLED displays are extremely expensive with those panels typically reserved for cutting-edge gadgets like Samsungs The Wall or Apples Vision Pro. And, see-through versions have only been seen as concepts like on the transparent microLED TV Samsung showed off a couple of months ago at CES 2024. In person, the transparency effect is bewildering. When closed or when its display is off, Project Crystals screen almost looks like an ordinary piece of glass with a slight brownish tint. But at a moments notice the whole thing lights up like a battleship. Nominal brightness goes all the way up to 1,000 nits, with Lenovo saying peaks can go as high as 3,000 nits, which would make it brighter than the new Galaxy S24 family. And despite being made of multiple layers, the panel is extremely thin, which helps blur the line being the digital and analog worlds. Lenovo says it's also considering adding some sort of contrast layer, so it can turn into a traditional opaque display at the touch of a button. However, for a relatively large 16-inch display, its resolution isnt super high, so if you look closely you can see individual pixels. Another design twist is that instead of a traditional keyboard, Project Crystal features one of Lenovos touch-based replacements similar to those on older Yoga Books. Unfortunately, it still suffers from a lot of the same issues. The most obvious example of this is that your hands drift while typing because theres no tactile feedback, which leads to decreased accuracy. Lenovo says AI may be able to address that in the future by learning a persons typing habits and then using that info to account for your hands straying from the home row. But right now, its still a problem. Photo by Sam Rutherford/Engadget The rest of the laptop is very much a work in progress, too. I only saw two ports on the entire system which would be a major faux pas for a notebook this big. Project Crystal is also based on a last-gen CPU, while other components like its hinge was so weak that its screen threatened to close anytime it tilted below 90 degrees. And for some reason, the laptop seemed to build up a static charge, as it sometimes shocked people who touched its display. Project Crystal is a solution in search of a problem. A problem that does exist in niche situations and may be an issue worth tackling more seriously down the line. But more importantly, its challenging us to think about what is possible with emerging display technology and how it might fit into a laptop of the future. Catch up on all of the news from MWC 2024 right here!This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/lenovos-project-crystal-is-the-worlds-first-laptop-with-a-transparent-microled-display-230025521.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising

2024-02-26 00:00:16| Engadget

Lenovo announced several new business laptops and hybrids at this years MWC conference, including refreshes in the ThinkPad T-series and the ThinkBook line. The companys calling them AI PCs because they all feature a dedicated Microsoft Copilot button that offers immediate access to the digital assistant. The just-announced models include the ThinkPad T14 Gen 5, ThinkPad T16 Gen 3, ThinkPad X12 Detachable Gen 2 and ThinkBook 14 2-in-1 Gen 4. These computers are powered by the latest Intel Core Ultra processors, which has come to be expected with new Lenovo computers. Lenovo The ThinkPad X12 Detachable Gen 2 boasts a durable 3:2 display with Corning Gorilla Glass and the whole things powered by an Intel Core Ultra U processor. You can spec this tablet/laptop hybrid with up to 32GB of RAM, for multitasking. The detachable backlit folio keyboard boasts a three-button TrackPad and the tablet includes a front-facing 5MP camera and an 8MP rear-facing camera. The redesigned ThinkBook 14 2-in-1 Gen 4 features an ultra-thin 16.85mm profile, which is slightly thinner than the previous generation. Its also light, weighing just over 3.5 pounds. The 14-inch display boasts a 16:10 aspect ratio and the keyboard includes a larger touchpad that has been crafted with glass-like Mylar. It also ships with the new Magnetic Slim Pen for more nuanced touchscreen controls. Lenovo In addition to the Core Ultra processors and the near-instantaneous Copilot integration, the ThinkPad T14 Gen 5 and T16 Gen 3 have been built for DIY repairs. The iFixit team was on-hand to advise the overall design, so there are plenty of customer replaceable parts, making it easy to swap out the DIMM, SSD, WWAN card and battery, among other components. With this in mind, iFixit has proactively rated these laptops with a repairability score of 9.3 out of 10. Thats a whole lot better than products from many rival companies. The ThinkPad T14 Gen 5 goes on sale this April and will be available in several SKUs, starting at $950. The ThinkPad T16 Gen 3 also goes on sale this April and will start at $1,220. The ThinkPad X12 Detachable Gen 2 will be available the same month and will feature a starting price of $1,400. Finally, the ThinkBook 14 2-in-1 Gen 4 goes on sale this March with a starting price of $1,170. Catch up on all of the news from MWC 2024 right here!This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/lenovo-debuts-core-ultra-powered-laptops-and-hybrids-with-dedicated-copilot-key-230016023.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising

2024-02-25 18:08:05| Engadget

If you were wondering when brands will finally stop trying to cash in on the Barbie craze, the answer is, somehow, not yet. HMD (or Human Mobile Devices), which has been making Nokia phones for the past few years, announced for MWC that its partnered with Mattel to release an official Barbie Flip Phone this summer. Itll be pink, obviously, with a dash of sparkle. Aesthetically, it sounds a lot like the original hot pink Motorola Razr of the aughts. But while that phone eventually got rebooted as a smartphone for the era of modern foldables, the Barbie phone is keeping things pretty basic. Itll be a feature phone, not a smartphone, with HMD marketing it as an accessory geared toward style, nostalgia and a much-needed digital detox. HMD hasnt revealed much else about it yet, like pricing or actual photos, but the company says it plans to unveil the Barbie Flip Phone at MWC, so we'll likely see more of it as the week unfolds.  Most people may not be ready to ditch their smartphones entirely just yet, but if youre looking for a burner, this is probably one of the cutest you could get. HMD Catch up on all of the news from MWC 2024 right here!This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/barbies-hot-pink-flip-phone-is-coming-to-the-real-world-this-summer-170805284.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising

2024-02-25 16:27:40| Engadget

Were about to get our first real look at Samsungs Galaxy Ring. In a blog post this weekend ahead of Mobile World Congress, the company revealed itll have the Galaxy Ring on display at its booth at the Barcelona convention, which starts tomorrow. Samsung hasnt said much yet about what the Galaxy Ring will be capable of since teasing it at the end of its Unpacked event in January, but we do know its a wellness-oriented wearable positioned to rival the likes of Oura. Samsung today described the Galaxy Ring as a new health form factor that simplifies everyday wellness, supporting smarter and healthier living via a more connected digital wellness platform. All weve really seen of it so far is a rendering, though.  Aside from the Galaxy Ring, Samsungs booth will heavily promote its Galaxy AI, with a hands-on interactive experience. The company also says its expanding Galaxy AI to more of its products, including the Galaxy Z Fold 5, Z Flip 5 and Tab S9 series, plus the Galaxy Watch 6, Galaxy S23 series and S23 FE. It's also got plans for Galaxy AI applications in its new Galaxy Book 4 series and, of course, the Galaxy Ring we still know next to nothing about. Catch up on all of the news from MWC 2024 right here!This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/samsungs-galaxy-ring-will-officially-make-its-public-debut-this-week-at-mwc-152740877.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising

2024-02-24 18:45:41| Engadget

It turns out Intuitive Machines Odysseus spacecraft didnt land upright after all. In a press conference with NASA Friday evening, the company revealed the lander is laying on its side after coming in a little faster than expected, likely catching its foot on the surface at the moment of landing. Fortunately, Odysseus is positioned in such a way that its solar panels are still getting enough light from the sun to keep it charged, and the team has been able to communicate with it. Pictures from the surface should be coming soon. While the initial assessment was that Odysseus had landed properly, further analysis indicated otherwise. Intuitive Machines CEO and co-founder Steve Altemus said stale telemetry was to blame for the earlier reading.  All payloads except the one static art installation, though Jeff Koons Moon Phases sculptures are on the upturned side. The lander and its NASA science payloads have been collecting data from the journey, descent and landing, which the team will use to try and get a better understanding of what happened. But, all things considered, it seems to be doing well. The team plans to eject the EagleCam, developed by students at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, so it can take a picture of the lander and its surroundings perhaps as soon as this weekend. It was supposed to be ejected during descent to capture the moment of landing, but issues on touchdown day prevented it from being released.  Intuitive Machines Intuitive Machines Once Odysseus was in lunar orbit and hours away from its landing attempt, the team discovered its laser range finders, which are key to its precision navigation, were not working due entirely to human error. According to Altemus, someone forgot to flip a safety switch that would allow them to turn on, so they couldnt. That realization was like a punch in the stomach, Altemus said, and they thought they could lose the mission.  The team was thankfully able to make a last-second adjustment cooked up on the fly by Intuitive Machines CTO and co-founder Tim Crain, who suggested they use one of the on-board NASA payloads instead to guide the descent, the Navigation Doppler LIDAR (NDL). In the end, Odysseus made it there alright. Its mission is expected to last a little over a week, until lunar night falls.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/intuitive-machines-odysseus-lander-tipped-over-at-touchdown-but-its-still-kicking-174541034.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising

2024-02-24 16:16:09| Engadget

No one is suggesting that Microsoft should stop making video game hardware. What we've been considering, here in the dark and twisted Engadget Slack channels, is whether Microsoft should keep making generationally distinct consoles in the traditional hardware cycle. Basically, does Xbox need a box? Microsoft has been busy building the foundation of a platform-agnostic, cloud-first future for video games, and it consistently falls behind both Sony and Nintendo in the console race. So why are executives trying to get us excited about a superpowered 10th-gen Xbox? Maybe Microsoft is hesitant to reveal a drastic ecosystem change after the chaos around the Xbox One and its always-on DRM features in 2013. After an outpouring of negative feedback at the idea of a persistently online console, Xbox had to rapidly reverse its launch plans, while Sony took the PlayStation 4 on an early victory lap. This fumble set the stage for the next decade of console sales, and it's a lesson that would stick with any studio especially one that's trying to make streaming and cloud gaming the norm. That's understandable, but it doesn't change the fact that accessible, affordable (and probably handheld) hardware makes a lot of sense for Microsoft's current vision and investments. More than an expensive console, at least. This week's stories A delicious Elden Ring entrée Elden Rings Shadow of the Erdtree expansion will come to PlayStation, Xbox and PC on June 21. This one has been a long time coming: FromSoftware announced the DLC in February 2023, leaving plenty of time for players to get super psyched for more masochism. A new, three-minute trailer for Shadow of the Erdtree shows off sprawling locations and epic bosses inspired by chaotic combinations of animals, insects and elements. The expansion costs $40 and pre-orders are live now. Borderlands by Cate Blanchett Im just gonna come out and say it: I think Cate Blanchett makes a great Lilith. The first trailer for this summers Borderlands movie is out and it looks like Mad Max meets Guardians of the Galaxy which is Borderlands in a nutshell anyway. The film stars Blanchett, Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Hart, Jack Black and Ariana Greenblatt, its directed by Eli Roth, and its due to hit theaters on August 9. Xbox should exit the console business Last Thursday, Xbox executives made it clear that they werent about to abandon the traditional hardware market, and they teased a next-generation console that will represent the largest technical leap you will have ever seen. Thats cool, but considering Microsofts position in the industry, it doesnt feel like Xbox needs to be making consoles any more. After acquiring half of the industry, Microsoft is now a mega-publisher of games, with over 30 in-house studios. Many of these development teams are world-renowned, with rich, multi-platform histories. Its also the operator of one of the largest game subscription services in the world, Game Pass. Game Pass grew wildly during the pandemic, but subscriptions have stagnated. In court documents from April 2022, Microsoft revealed it had 21.9 million Game Pass subscribers and 11.7 million Xbox Live Gold members across its consoles, for a total user base of 33.6 million. Last week, Microsoft revealed Game Pass has 34 million subscribers, which includes PC Game Pass and Game Pass Core, the new name for Xbox Live Gold. Even assuming PC Game Pass had zero subscribers in 2022, this means Game Pass subscriptions grew just 1 percent over the past 22 months. The more likely scenario is that the total number of subscriptions actually shrank over this period though its at least possible that more people are paying for the full-price service than before. Microsofts plan for this console generation was clear for all to see: Sell hardware and upsell a subscription service populated by its own games. Turns out, its tough to sell Game Pass to someone without an Xbox, and not enough people are buying Xboxes. Microsoft stopped reporting hardware numbers during the Xbox One era, but analysts peg the combined sales of the Xbox Series consoles at around 25 million. Meanwhile, Sony has sold more than 50 million PS5s, and Nintendo has sold around 140 million Switches. This gap appears to be growing every day, and its far more pronounced in Japan and Europe than in the United States. If Microsoft wants to grow Game Pass, it seems like itll have to be on platforms outside of Xbox. This week, Xbox confirmed plans to bring four formerly exclusive games to PlayStation and Nintendo consoles, and for years executives have been pitching an ecosystem where Xbox and Game Pass is playable on anything with a screen. Microsoft has a powerful cloud network that even Sony uses for game streaming, plus it owns more than 30 studios. Long-term, Microsoft is positioning Xbox to be a platform-agnostic, software-publishing powerhouse with the industrys most stable streaming network at its back. In this landscape, its surprising to hear Xbox talk about building a hyper-powered console for the next generation. Im not advocating for Microsoft to ditch the ardware market it makes sense for the company to focus on handheld devices and affordable streaming boxes that support Game Pass and cloud play. Xbox is working toward a future where its games and Game Pass are available everywhere, which raises a clear question about its current plans: Why bring an expensive next-gen console to a war that is actually about software, subscriptions and streaming? Bonus Content Sony president Hiroki Totoki told investors last week that the company would be more aggressive in bringing its PlayStation titles to PC. Xbox has confirmed which of its games are coming to other consoles: Grounded and Pentiment will come to PlayStation and Switch, while Sea of Thieves and Hi-Fi Rush will only arrive on PS5. Both Sea of Thieves and Grounded will support crossplay across all platforms. Now for a totally different port: The Pokémon Company has scheduled an anniversary stream for next Tuesday at 9AM ET. It might be a bit early for a gen-10 reveal, but a Switch remake of Black & White seems like a safe bet. Now Playing If youre a Switch or PlayStation player curious about all of these Xbox games coming to your consoles, I have one easy and clear recommendation: play Pentiment. Obsidians narrative-driven, tapestry-looking game is a surprise and a delight, and Ive had a lot of fun playing it on Game Pass recently. It's out now on PS4, PS5 and Switch, and Im sure its just as great on those platforms.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/lets-talk-about-xbox--this-weeks-gaming-news-151608942.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising

2024-02-24 15:00:49| Engadget

X is slowly rolling out audio and video calling to users that don't pay for its premium subscription service that's formerly known as Twitter Blue. Enrique Barragan, an engineer for the company, has shared the news on the platform. The company initially launched the feature for iOS users last year, giving paying subscribers the option to call other people through the app, and was a step towards making X the "everything" application Elon Musk wants it to be. Earlier this year, the capability made its way to Android devices, but the ability to make calls remained limited to Premium subscribers only. By the end of January, Musk said that X will make audio-video calling available to everyone as soon as the company is confident that it's robust. We're still being asked to subscribe to X Premium to be able to make calls when we hit the phone icon in DMs, but those who get the update will be able to make calls even if they're not a paying subscriber. The official X support page for the feature now says that all accounts are able to make and receive calls, though both parties must have been in contact via Direct Messaging at least once. In the past, it said only "Premium subscribers have the ability to make audio and video calls." In addition to announcing the capability's rollout, Barragan revealed that users will now also be able to receive calls from everyone on the app if they want to. Audio and video calls were automatically switched on for us when we checked our DMs' Settings menu, configured so that we can (thankfully) only receive calls from people we follow. We're already seeing the "Everyone" option in there, though, ready to be picked by the most intrepid X users.  were slowly rolling out audio and video calling to non premium users, try it out! now you can also choose allow calls from everyone https://t.co/LLH1PwiIg2 pic.twitter.com/LH3HMsAXnv Enrique (@enriquebrgn) February 23, 2024 This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/x-starts-giving-non-paying-users-the-ability-to-make-audio-and-video-calls-140049799.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising

2024-02-24 13:15:32| Engadget

After promising to fix Gemini's image generation feature and then pausing it altogether, Google has published a blog post offering an explanation for why its technology overcorrected for diversity. Prabhakar Raghavan, the company's Senior Vice President for Knowledge & Information, explained that Google's efforts to ensure that the chatbot would generate images showing a wide range of people "failed to account for cases that should clearly not show a range." Further, its AI model grew to become "way more cautious" over time and refused to answer prompts that weren't inherently offensive. "These two things led the model to overcompensate in some cases, and be over-conservative in others, leading to images that were embarrassing and wrong," Raghavan wrote. Google made sure that Gemini's image generation couldn't create violent or sexually explicit images of real persons and that the photos it whips up would feature people of various ethnicities and with different characteristics. But if a user asks it to create images of people that are supposed to be of a certain ethnicity or sex, it should be able to do so. As users recently found out, Gemini would refuse to produce results for prompts that specifically request for white people. The prompt "Generate a glamour shot of a [ethnicity or nationality] couple," for instance, worked for "Chinese," "Jewish" and "South African" requests but not for ones requesting an image of white people.  Gemini also has issues producing historically accurate images. When users requested for images of German soldiers during the second World War, Gemini generated images of Black men and Asian women wearing Nazi uniform. When we tested it out, we asked the chatbot to generate images of "America's founding fathers" and "Popes throughout the ages," and it showed us photos depicting people of color in the roles. Upon asking it to make its images of the Pope historically accurate, it refused to generate any result.  Raghavan said that Google didn't intend for Gemini to refuse to create images of any particular group or to generate photos that were historically inaccurate. He also reiterated Google's promise that it will work on improving Gemini's image generation. That entails "extensive testing," though, so it may take some time before the company switches the feature back on. At the moment, if a user tries to get Gemini to create an image, the chatbot responds with: "We are working to improve Geminis ability to generate images of people. We expect this feature to return soon and will notify you in release updates when it does."This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/google-explains-why-geminis-image-generation-feature-overcorrected-for-diversity-121532787.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising

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