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2024-07-10 15:00:30| Engadget

Have you heard the song that goes anything you can do I can do better, I can do anything better than you? Well, it seems like the folks at Samsung have been listening to that on repeat. At its Galaxy Unpacked event today, the company unveiled a slew of products, including a few wearables that look remarkably familiar. The Galaxy Ring, which was teased in January, appears to be inspired by the Oura Ring. Meanwhile, the new Galaxy Watch Ultra seems to have borrowed many traits from a competing product at Apple, right down to its name. The resemblance doesnt end there, but there are a few key differences between Samsung and Apples high-end smartwatches. From my recent hands-on experience, though, Samsungs latest wearables dont seem to bring many new things to its familiar-looking products. The Korean company has a long history of aping Apple, and has even had to pay the iPhone maker millions of dollars as part of a multi-year patent infringement case. With everything from its name to appearance to features being so obviously similar to the Apple Watch Ultra, I dont think its too far for me to outright say that Samsung is copying the iPhone maker, and pretty brazenly so. In fact, even with the Galaxy Watch 7, Samsung seems to be bringing features that already launched elsewhere. Whats new on the Galaxy Watch 7 Most of the changes on the Watch 7 arent immediately visible. There is a new 3nm Exynos processor under the hood, which Samsung says is three times faster than its predecessor. Its also supposed to deliver 30% improved power efficiency, which should translate to better battery life. The Watch 7 also has a dual-frequency GPS system for more accurate location tracking. Apple brought dual-frequency GPS to its watches in 2022 with the original Watch Ultra. The similarities dont end there. Samsung is also offering new watchbands, including one in a very familiar-looking ripple style. The Galaxy Watch 7 and Ultra will also support a new double pinch gesture that will let you do things like trigger the camera or dismiss an alert by bringing your thumb and forefinger together twice. Apple formally launched Double Tap on the Series 9 and Watch Ultra 2 last year, though the bones of the gesture-based navigation has existed as an accessibility feature for longer. I wasnt able to test double pinch at the hands-on event for myself, though Samsung reps onsite showed me how it would work. To be fair, it also took Apple weeks before it actually rolled out Double Tap to the public. Sam Rutherford for Engadget The Galaxy Watch 7 also comes with the usual set of new watch faces, and has a second-gen bioactive sensor that allows for faster and more-accurate readings. Theres also new software features like an AI algorithm for sleep analysis and a De Novo FDA-authorized Sleep Apnea feature that checks for potential signs of moderate to severe sleep apnea. The Galaxy Watch 7 (and Ultra) is also one of the first to run Wear OS 5, which was first teased at Google I/O back in May. Im recuperating from a recent injury and did not take a nap at the hands-on event, so I wasnt able to check out the new sleep features or really even jump about to see how long my heart rate changes might take to register. I can only say that on the outside the Galaxy Watch 7 looks a lot like the Galaxy Watch 6. Samsung Galaxy Watch Ultra vs the Apple Watch Ultra I spent more time checking out the Galaxy Watch Ultra, which is, to give Samsung at least a little credit, the most different looking smartwatch its made in years. When rumors were rife that both Samsung and Apple were readying Pro models of their watches to launch in 2022, I was seriously underwhelmed when I finally saw the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro. It was nothing like the Apple Watch Ultra, and seemed to be just a slightly more durable and souped-up version of the classic Galaxy Watch. With the Galaxy Watch Ultra, Samsung has managed to successfully change up the look of its long-standing series of smartwatches. This things appearance definitely makes a statement, and its not just Watch Ultra for Android! One thing Samsung did differently from Apple is that it kept the circle display, but framed it in a rounded square case, resulting in what the company described as a cushion design. Supposedly this enhances protection and visual completeness, but I suspect it has more to do with a round screen being easier for Samsungs manufacturing. The cushion style goes a long way in making the Galaxy Watch Ultra look different from other Samsung watches, but it still comes off like a slightly wider version of the Apple one. Both wearables have titanium cases and screens that can go up to 3,000 nits of brightness. They also offer water-resistance of up to 100 meters. Sam Rutherford for Engadget Apple does have a depth gauge and can be used for recreational diving at up to 40 meters, though, while Samsung doesnt have similar software. There are other small differences in dust- and water-resistance between the two Watch Ultras, with Samsungs rated at IP68 and Apples at IP6X dust-resistant. Though it looks bulkier, the Galaxy Watch Ultra actually has a smaller 47mm case compared to Apples, which is 49mm. The latter is also a hair hevier, weighing 61.4 grams (2.16 ounces) compared to Samsungs 60.5 grams. On my relatively small wrist, the Galaxy Watch Ultra looked a bit overwhelming, just like the Apple version did. If you have bigger bones and thought the Apple Watch Ultra was an alright size, you wont have an issue with Samsungs version. I will say that in my brief time with the Galaxy Watch Ultra, it never felt too heavy, and I almost forgot I was wearing it. I already described how Samsung is bringing double pinch to the Galaxy Watch series this year, which is basically Apples double tap but less sophisticated. In my brief experience, Apples implementation is more thorough and works in more parts of the interface (like for jumping through individual widgets in its smart stack, for example). Samsungs approach is fairly limited, since it appears to only be able to do one or two things. The Galaxy Watch Ultra does have one notable difference from the Apple Watch Ultra buttons. It has three on its right edge: the Home button on top and the back button at the bottom, just like previous models offered. But a new Quick Button sits in the middle and can be customized to launch an app or workout with a press. You can also determine what it does when you click it twice, but by default holding it down for five seconds will trigger the emergency siren, which is another feature that Apple also launched with the original Watch Ultra. A lot of Samsungs interface also looks similar to Apples here, though its alarm sounds more monotonous and shrill than the iPhone makers. Sam Rutherford for Engadget One thing about the Galaxy Watch Ultra annoyed me more than anything else. Although its a dial that can turn, rotating the Quick Button doesnt scroll through the interface. Theres also no physical spinning bezel here, so the only way you have to scroll through Samsungs software is by dragging your finger across the screen. For a smartwatch company thats best known for its rotating bezel that allows for easy scrolling, this seems like a glaring omission and a missed opportunity. Oh and just like the Apple Watch Ultras Action button, the Quick button is easy to accidentally press into when you bend your wrist backwards while doing pushups, for example. Theres a lot more of the Galaxy Watch Ultra Id like to test properly, like whether its 3nm processor truly translates to speedier performance and longer battery life. Samsung claims the Galaxy Watch Ultra can last up to 60 hours of typical use, 100 hours in Power Saving and 48 hours in Exercise Power Saving. Im also curious to see how Samsungs double pinch feature compares to Apples version, even though I dont find myself using the latter much in the real world anyway. Has Samsung really done anything better than Apple with the Galaxy Watch Ultra? Though Im skeptical at the moment, its a little too early to tell. Its definitely a good thing that Samsung has priced its Watch Ultra at $650, which is $150 less than the Apple Watch Ultra and certainly more palatable. But I can only wait till after Ive put the device to the test in the real world to know if its worth spending any money on. If youre already intrigued, you can pre-order the Galaxy Watch Ultra and Watch 7 starting today on Samsung.com and theyll be available on July 24. Catch up on all the news from Samsung's Galaxy Unpacked 2024 here!This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/samsung-galaxy-watch-ultra-hands-on-didnt-fall-far-from-the-apple-tree-130030349.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising

2024-07-10 15:00:27| Engadget

Ever since the original Galaxy Fold came out in 2019, Samsung has enjoyed a commanding lead over the market for flexible screen phones. But with the introduction of challengers like the OnePlus Open, the Pixel Fold and the 2024 Moto Razrs, the gap between Samsung and its biggest competitors has been shrinking quickly. So while the new Galaxy Z Fold 6 and Z Flip 6 are lighter, faster and more durable than before, Im not sure if thats enough to keep Samsungs latest generation of bendy handouts at the top of the growing mountain of foldable rivals. The biggest changes for 2024 Improvements to the Z Fold 6 and Z Flip can largely be broken down into two main categories: The expansion of Samsungs Galaxy AI features which first launched on the S24 series earlier this year with some tweaks to take advantage of the phones convertible form factor and an assortment of upgraded components including new camera sensors and faster silicon. However, those looking for major design changes will need to keep waiting, as these devices feel more like refined versions of last years models than a full rework. Both phones are powered by Qualcomms Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chip and come with 12GB of RAM, a major boost for the Z Flip 6 which topped out at just 8GB on the previous model. The Flip 6 also packs a 4,000mAh battery, which is the largest ever on any Z Flip, so it should see a noticeable boost in longevity as well. But perhaps the biggest change on the Z Flip is its two new camera sensors that are the same as those on the standard S24: a 50MP main shooter and a 12MP option for the ultra-wide lens.  Unfortunately, despite a higher price tag and a larger body with seemingly more room for fancy camera hardware, the Z Fold 6 is only getting a new 12MP ultra-wide sensor while retaining the same 50MP main cam 3x telephoto used on the Z Fold 5. Samsung has also boosted the peak brightness of the Z Fold 6s interior and exterior displays to 2,600 nits, just like on the S24. Sadly, only the Z Flip 6's main screen is getting that same boost to max luminance.  Elsewhere, the frames of both models are made from Enhanced Armor Aluminum, which the company says is 10 percent stronger than before. Samsung claims it has also refined the folding edge of its flexible screens to better withstand pressure and contact from sharp objects. But the most valuable upgrade for long-term usability may be the companys new Z Assurance program, which will provide owners of the Z Fold 6 and Z Flip 6 with a free one-time replacement of Samsungs factory-installed screen protector.  As someone who has suffered from bubbling screen protectors across several generations of past Z Folds, I believe this should bring some extra peace of mind to those concerned about committing to a phone with a more delicate flexible screen. Furthermore, Samsung is also offering a one-time discount on screen replacements, with the goal of making repairs cost about the same as fixing the display on a standard S24. Z Flip 6 impressions: A more photo-friendly compact foldable One subtle but stylish design change on the Z Flip 6 is color-matched lens housings on the phone's cameras. Photo by Sam Rutherford/Engadget Unlike most years where the Flip takes a backseat to its bigger sibling, this year it feels like Samsung's smaller foldable has gotten the most significant changes. The two new cameras cant be understated, especially on a phone that caters towards more fashion-conscious and social-friendly buyers. I really love that by using the same sensors used in the S24, Samsung is bringing more parity between its traditional candy bar-style handsets and its most compact foldable.  On top of that, theres a new auto-framing mode that allows you to prop the phone up on a flat surface and it can zoom in and out depending on how many people are in view or how far you move away. However, during our demo, I did notice that it took a second or two for the viewfinder to adjust, so you will need a bit of patience. Meanwhile, on the Z Flip's outside screen, Samsung has increased the number of widgets you can see on a single page to four while also adding support for a wider range of widget sizes and functions. This makes it even easier to check apps or launch timers without needing to open the phone, which is great for general usability. There are also new interactive wallpapers that you can use as fun timewasters. When it comes to AI, in addition to existing features like browsing assist, dictation and Circle to Search, theres a new on-device texting feature that will read up to seven previous messages to provide you with more useful and contextual smart replies. The idea is that if youre on the go, you can more accurately respond to friends and family without needing to type things out yourself. And even though the Z Flip 6 has a much smaller exterior display than the Z Fold 6, Samsung also included the ability to do multi-screen real-time translation. This allows you to face the cover display towards someone else, so they can see messages translated in their language while you see their responses in yours. Then, when you factor in significantly more base RAM, a larger 4,000mAh battery, a brighter main display and the new Z Assurance program, it really feels like Samsung is eliminating a lot of the shortcomings of the Z Flip when compared to the standard S24. That means people who want a truly compact device dont need to make any compromise, potentially opening up the Z Flip to a much larger audience. The Z Flip 6 is also getting a vapor chamber for the first time to help provide better sustained performance. And if thats not enough, Samsung has a huge array of accessories including new cases with built-in LED lighting, you know, in caseyour foldable phone wasnt drawing enough attention. Z Fold 6 impressions: Sharper and sleeker Photo by Sam Rutherford/Engadget With an extra generation under its belt, you could argue that the Z Fold 6 didnt need as many upgrades as the Flip and Samsung seemingly agrees. Theres not much change in terms of memory, storage capacity or general design. That said, the switch to a new dual-rail hinge and the use of Samsungs enhanced Armor Aluminum means that the Z Fold 6 now only weighs 239 grams (8.43 ounces). Thats 14 grams lighter than last years model and only a few grams heavier than the S24 Ultra. That might not sound like a lot, but its something you notice immediately as soon as you pick it up. Furthermore, while the Z Fold 6s main screen is staying pat at 7.6 inches across, it's actually around 3mm wider and 1mm shorter to deliver a better viewing experience when watching movies. And its a similar story for the exterior display, which is about 1mm wider. This change provides more room for the phones onscreen keyboard and makes typing easier. Meanwhile, to better support gamers who often gravitate towards the Z Folds roomy internal display, Samsung increased the size of its vapor chamber by 60 percent to ensure graphics remain smooth even during longer sessions. As for AI, Samsung is expanding the Z Fold 6s toolkit with a few new features including dual-screen translation and translation overlay, the latter of which can change words in place instead of spitting things out into a big blob of unformatted text. On the more fun (but frivolous) side of things, the new Portrait Studio feature allows you to generate a stylized image (comic, watercolor, 3D cartoon, etc.) from an existing shoot. Alternatively, the Sketch to Image tool allows you to doodle a rough drawing of an object on top of a photo (like a crown or sunglasses) before generating a more realistic replacement using on-device processing. The results were surprisingly lifelike, though Im not sure how useful it is aside from possibly pranking your friends. My concern with the Z Fold 6 is that while it still feels very much like a flagship foldable thanks to brighter screens (2,600 nit peaks for both), a lighter design and an upgraded processor, there are a handful of long-awaited features we still didnt get. This includes things like a built-in stylus and S-Pen slot and better main and telephoto cameras. With the Pixel Fold, Google proved that big flexible phones dont need to be saddled with downgraded photography. Samsung also hasn't made any changes to the under-display camera beneath the Fold's main screen. But my biggest gripe is that both Z Fold and Z Flip 6 cost $100 more than last years phones. Price has long been the biggest barrier to entry for people curious about foldables, which goes double for premium models like the Fold that go for just shy of $2,000. And after five generations, I was really hoping to see Samsung leverage its scale to deliver a more affordable big-screen option. An example of Samsung's new AI-powered Portrait Studio feature. Photo by Sam Rutherford/Engadget The Galaxy Z Fold 6 and Z Flip 6 will be available for pre-order today starting at $1,900 and $1,100 respectively, with official sales beginning on July 24. The Z Fold 6 will be available in three main colors: Silver Shadow, pink and navy, with two additional colors (Crafted black and white) available exclusively from Samsung. The Z Flip 6 will be available in four main colors: Silver Shadow, yellow, blue and mint with Crafted Black, white and peach variants only available on Samsung.com. Catch up on all the news from Samsung's Galaxy Unpacked 2024 here!This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/samsung-galaxy-z-fold-6-and-z-flip-6-brighter-lighter-and-faster-but-is-that-enough-130027947.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising

2024-07-10 15:00:19| Engadget

Samsung's new Galaxy Buds lineup is hardly a surprise thanks to a recent leak, but the company still had to officially debut its latest audio accessory at its Samsung Galaxy Unpacked event. Alongside new folding phones, watches and even a smart ring, Samsung revealed the Galaxy Buds 3 series. The new models have a more AirPods-like look thanks to their stickbud or "blade" design, and Samsung is playing catch-up with new features like an Interpreter tool, Adaptive EQ and others.  Until now, Samsung has opted for the more common, rounded earbud design most companies favor for their products. The stick-based look has become increasingly popular though, and much of Apple's competition have debuted their own takes on the style. Now we can count Samsung among the fold. The company says its new "blade" design is based on "a variety of collected statistical data" and offers "a more intuitive physical experience" thanks to pinch and swipe controls another aspect of the AirPods Pro. The key difference is the "regular" Galaxy Buds 3 are an open fit like the "regular" AirPods while the Galaxy Buds 3 Pro have a tip that completely seals off your ear canal. Despite that variance, both offer active noise cancellation (ANC), but only the Pro model has ambient sound/transparency mode.  Another big difference between the two models is the two-way speakers on the Galaxy Buds 3 Pro. Samsung has paired a 10.5mm dynamic driver with dual amplifiers and a 6.1mm planar tweeter that offers "precise high range sound production." Both Galaxy Buds 3 models support ultra high quality (UHQ) sound up to 24bit/96kHz and 360 Audio when paired with a compatible Samsung device. The two models vary on battery life as well. The Galaxy Buds 3 will last up to five hours with ANC on (24 hours total with the case), but you'll get an hour more of noise-canceling performance on the Galaxy Buds 3 Pro (26 hours total with the case).  As you might expect, Samsung is sprinkling AI on its new earbuds. Both models offer an Interpreter feature that works with Listening mode on the Galaxy Z Fold 6 or Flip 6, a tool that relies on artificial intelligence to do its translating. It's similar to what Google has been doing on its Pixel Buds for a while now and all of the work is done by the connected device rather than the earbuds.  The company says microphones on the Galaxy Buds 3 series monitor external noise in real time and apply tweaks with both an Adaptive EQ and Adaptive ANC. On the Galaxy Buds 3 Pro, the noise cancellation setup can also detect sirens and your voice, and when it picks up the latter, it automatically reduces the volume and activates transparency mode. That feature, known as Voice Detect, was available on the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, but it's nice to see the feature return.  Samsung has also added hands-free controls for music and other content with what it calls Voice Command. To improve overall voice quality, the company added a Super-Wideband calls tool that allows Galaxy Buds 3 to transmit voice up to 16kHz. Samsung says previous earbuds only utilize up to the 8kHz band. Of course, the company also employs machine-learning models to battle background noise when you're speaking. The Galaxy Buds 3 and Galaxy Buds 3 Pro are available for pre-order now for $180 and $250 respectively. Both models come in silver and white color options, and if you buy them from the company's website before July 23, Samsung will throw in a free protective "clip case."  Catch up on all the news from Samsung's Galaxy Unpacked 2024 here!This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/samsungs-galaxy-buds-3-have-an-airpods-esque-design-and-a-dash-of-ai-130019399.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising

2024-07-10 15:00:18| Engadget

Samsung just announced the Galaxy Z Flip 6 smartphone at its most recent Unpacked event and it's a doozy of an update that squeezes some of the S24s best features into a compact foldable. Theres a new design, an updated camera system and the biggest battery in a Z Flip to date. The camera system features an updated design with a color-matched lens housing. Theres a new 50MP main camera and a 12MP ultra-wide sensor, which is the same as the base Galaxy S24. This system includes auto-zoom framing and an AI algorithm for better portraits. The 4,000mAh battery is the biggest ever in this product category. Once again, this is the same size of battery as found with the Galaxy S24. Samsung also touts its quick-charging capabilities, saying that the phone can reach a 50 percent charge in just 30 minutes. Thats a pretty decent metric. Engadget The base RAM has gotten an upgrade, 12GB up from 8GB, and the 6.7-inch AMOLED main screen boasts a 120Hz refresh rate and a peak brightness of 2,600 nits. The cover screen is a 3.4-inch Super AMOLED 60Hz display. Software wise, there are some new interactive and generative wallpapers and a photo ambient mode that changes color based on the time and weather. The phone can access a bunch of new widgets, with all new size combinations that allow for multiple widgets on a single cover screen. Theres a new texting feature that analyzes the past seven messages to help come up with suggested replies. As for the design, there are some new colors, like silver, yellow and blue. Samsung is also selling some exclusive colors, such as white and peach. Preorders are available right now and theres a bonus for early adopters. Ordering now will automatically bump you up to the next storage size. The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 6 starts at $1,100. Catch up on all the news from Samsung's Galaxy Unpacked 2024 here!This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/samsung-just-revealed-the-galaxy-z-flip-6-putting-the-s24s-best-specs-in-a-compact-foldable-130018981.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising

2024-07-10 14:30:58| Engadget

Amazon Prime Day will officially be here on July 16, but we're already starting to see discounts pop up, particularly on Amazon's own devices. The Amazon Echo Buds are half off in this early Prime Day deal. The wireless earphones, already one of Engadgets top picks for budget on-the-go buds at $50, are only $25 today. Thats a record low for the latest model, which arrived last year. This latest iteration of the Echo Buds doesnt plunge into your ear canals. Instead, the buds have a semi-open fit with a stem, similar to Apples standard AirPods. The Echo Buds include removable silicone ear covers (not tips) to help with grip and comfort without stuffing something inside your ear, which can be uncomfortable for some folks. That means they lack noise cancelation, so dont expect them to tune or block out the outside world (apart from your music drowning things out if its loud enough). This style works better for those who want to maintain awareness of their surroundings while avoiding the feeling of full ear canals. The third-gen Echo Buds can last up to five hours per charge (up to six with Alexas wake-word detection disabled). However, their charging case adds another 15 hours, and you can add a quick two hours to the buds with a quick 15-minute charge. Sound quality will be noticeably lower than that of competitors in the $200-ish range, but Amazon wouldve been performing miracles if it matched that. Instead, you get a perfectly solid sound profile (lacking a bit of bass) that performs beyond what youd expect for $50 earbuds. At $25 today, its hard to imagine anything else coming close in that price range. Your Prime Day Shopping Guide: See all of our Prime Day coverage. Shop the best Prime Day deals on Yahoo Life. Follow Engadget for Prime Day tech deals. Hear from Autoblogs experts on the best Amazon Prime Day deals for your car, garage, and home, and find Prime Day sales to shop on AOL, handpicked just for you.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/amazon-discounts-the-echo-buds-to-only-25-ahead-of-prime-day-123058567.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising

2024-07-10 14:00:22| Engadget

Microsoft has withdrawn from OpenAI's board of directors a couple of weeks after the European Commission revealed that it's taking another look at the terms of their partnership, according to the Financial Times. The company has reportedly sent OpenAI a letter, announcing that it was giving up its seat "effective immediately." Microsoft took on an observer, non-voting role within OpenAI's board following an internal upheaval that led to the firing (and eventual reinstatement) of the latter's CEO, Sam Altman.  According to previous reports, Apple was also supposed to get an observer seat at the board following its announcement that it will integrate ChatGPT into its devices. The Times says that will no longer be the case. Instead, OpenAI will take on a new approach and hold regular meetings with key partners, including the two Big Tech companies. In the letter, Microsoft reportedly told OpenAI that it's confident in the direction the company is taking, so its seat on the board is no longer necessary.  The company also wrote that its seat "provided insights into the board's activities without compromising its independence," but the European Commission wants to take a closer look at their relationship before deciding if it agrees. "Were grateful to Microsoft for voicing confidence in the board and the direction of the company, and we look forward to continuing our successful partnership," an OpenAI spokesperson told The Times. Microsoft initially invested $1 billion into OpenAI in 2019. Since then, the company has poured more money into the AI company until it has reached $13 billion in investments. The European Commission started investigating their partnership to figure out if it breaks the bloc's merger rules last year, but it ultimately concluded that Microsoft didn't gain control of OpenAI. It didn't drop the probe altogether, however Margrethe Vestager, the commission's executive vice-president for competition policy, revealed in June that European authorities asked Microsoft for additional information regarding their agreement "to understand whether certain exclusivity clauses could have a negative effect on competitors." The commission is looking into the Microsoft-OpenAI agreement as part of a bigger antitrust investigation. It also sent information requests to other big players in the industry that are also working on artificial intelligence technologies, including Meta, Google and TikTok. The commission intends to ensure fairness in consumer choices and to examine acqui-hires to "make sure these practices dont slip through [its] merger control rules if they basically lead to a concentration."This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/microsoft-and-apple-give-up-their-openai-board-seats-120022867.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising

2024-07-10 13:16:59| Engadget

US officials and their allies have identified and taken down an artificial intelligence-powered Russian bot farm comprising almost 1,000 accounts. These accounts were able to spread disinformation and pro-Russian sentiments across X, formerly Twitter. The Justice Department has revealed the scheme was made possible by software created by a digital media department in RT, a Russian state-controlled media outlet. According to a cybersecurity advisory from the FBI, intelligence officers from the Netherlands, and cybersecurity authorities from Canada, it centered on a tool called Meliorator, which can create authentic appearing social media personas en masse, generate text messages as well as images and mirror disinformation from other bot personas. For example, one account with the name Ricardo Abbott, which claimed to be from Minneapolis, posted a video of Russian President Vladimir Putin justifying Russias actions in Ukraine. The Justice Department is still tracing and trying to find all 968 accounts used by the Russian actors to disseminate false information. X has shared information with authorities on all the identified accounts and has already suspended them. Mat Smith The biggest stories you might have missed Logitech G launches a new $80 wireless recharging mouse Apple TVs new Time Bandits show just got a glorious trailer and a July release date Engadgets guide to the best smart plugs You can get these reports delivered daily direct to your inbox. Subscribe right here! Were liveblogging Samsung Unpacked 2024 And what to expect. Samsungs next big event kicks off in a few hours. Well be covering all the announcements (and testing out devices), so tune into our liveblog. We expect to see the Galaxy Fold 6 and Galaxy Z Flip 6, but their updates could be minor, as well as Samsungs newest wearable, the Galaxy Ring. If you want some insight into what to expect, you can read up on that right here. Bookmark our liveblog. Apple blog TUAW returns as an AI content farm With not-so-new content from writers who havent worked there in more than a decade. The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW) has returned online nearly a decade after shutting down. But the new owners of the once venerable source of Apple news appear to have transformed it into an AI-generated content farm. The site, which ceased operations in 2015, began publishing new articles, many of which appear nearly identical to content published by MacRumors and other publications over the past week. Adding to the grossness, the site also has an author page featuring former writers names and photos that appear to be AI-generated. Continue reading. A British boarding school will make students use old Nokia dumbphones First-year students will only be able to make calls and texts. Eton College, the elite historic British boarding school with famous alumni Princes William and Harry, Ian Fleming and Tom Hiddleston has instituted a new mobile phone policy for its first-year students starting in September. Those students will have to leave their smartphones at home and bring their SIM card to school to put in an old-school Nokia cell phone with a simple number pad, which can only make phone calls and send text messages. Continue reading.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/the-morning-after-us-officials-help-take-down-ai-powered-russian-bot-farm-with-nearly-1000-fake-x-accounts-111659112.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising

2024-07-10 12:00:34| Engadget

Google is adding passkey support to its Advanced Protection Program. APP is the company's highest-level security option. It's intended for targets who could be at high risk of hacks or other scams, such as elected officials or human rights workers, and it previously required a physical security key to use. In Google's announcement today, it acknowledged that the physical component made APP less feasible for some of the people who need the service most. Now, people who enroll in APP can opt for a passkey or for a physical key. Google was one of many tech companies to start offering passkeys for security, rolling out the option to Android and Chrome in 2022 and offering them to all Google accounts in 2023. Earlier this year, Google said that more than 400 million accounts have used passkeys more than 1 billion times. And that's a big number, but on the whole, uptake of this technology has still been gradual. In addition to adding passkey support, Google also shared that it is partnering with media nonprofit Internews to provide cybersecurity support for its network of journalists and human rights advocates. The arrangement will cover ten countries, including Brazil, Mexico and Poland.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/google-brings-passkeys-to-its-advanced-protection-program-100034040.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising

2024-07-10 07:40:34| Engadget

US officials and their allies have identified and taken down an artificial intelligence-powered Russian bot farm comprised of almost 1,000 accounts, which spread disinformation and pro-Russian sentiments on X. The Justice Department has revealed the the scheme that was made possible by software was created by a digital media department within RT, a Russian state-controlled media outlet. Its development was apparently led by RT's deputy editor-in-chief back in 2022 and was approved and funded by an officer at Russia's Federal Security Service, the main successor of the KGB.  In a cybersecurity advisory issued by the FBI, intelligence officers from the Netherlands and cybersecurity authorities from Canada, they specifically mentioned a tool called "Meliorator," which can create "authentic appearing social media personas en masse," generate text messages as well as images and mirror disinformation from other bot personas. Authorities have seized two domains that the operation used to create email addresses that were necessary to sign up for accounts on X, formerly known as Twitter, which served as home to the bots.  The Justice Department, however, is still in the midst of finding all 968 accounts used by the Russian actors to disseminate false information. X has shared information with authorities on all the identified accounts so far and has already suspended them. As The Washington Post has noted, the bots slipped through X's safeguards, because they can copy-paste OTPs from their email accounts to log in. The operations' use of US-based domain names violates the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, the Justice Department said. Meanwhile, paying for them violates federal money laundering laws in the US. A lot of profiles created by the tool impersonated Americans by using American-sounding names and setting their locations on X to various places in the US. The examples presented by the Justice Department used headshots against gray backgrounds as their profile photos, which are a pretty good indicator that they were created using AI. One account with the name Ricardo Abbott, which claimed to be from Minneapolis, posted a video of Russian president Vladimir Putin justifying Russia's actions in Ukraine. Another account with the name Sue Williamson posted a video of Putin saying that the war in Ukraine isn't about territorial conflict and is a matter of "principles on which the New World Order will be based. These posts were then liked and reposted by other bots in the network.  It's worth noting that while this particular bot farm was confined to X, the people behind it had plans to expand to other platforms, based on the authorities' analysis of the Meliorator software. Foreign actors that spread political disinformation have been using social media to disseminate false news for years. But now they've added AI to their arsenal. Back in May, OpenAI reported that it dismantled five covert influence operations originating from Russia, China, Israel and Iran that were using its models to influence political outcomes. "Russia intended to use this bot farm to disseminate AI-generated foreign disinformation, scaling their work with the assistance of AI to undermine our partners in Ukraine and influence geopolitical narratives favorable to the Russian government," FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a statement. "The FBI is committed to working with our partners and deploying joint, sequenced operations to strategically disrupt our most dangerous adversaries and their use of cutting-edge technology for nefarious purposes." As for RT, the media organization told Bloomberg: "Farming is a beloved pastime for millions of Russians." This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/us-officials-announce-the-takedown-of-an-ai-powered-russian-bot-farm-054034912.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising

2024-07-10 03:00:29| Engadget

Insta360 has launched the Flow Pro smartphone gimbal with a feature we've never seen on any rival product: Apple DockKit support. That allows it to track you around automatically while you present, perform or do other activities, much like DJI's popular Osmo Pocket 3 gimbal.  DockKit support effectively gives you a robotic cameraman. Just set the Flow Pro up on its built-in tripod that extends from the handle and pair it with your iPhone. Then, attach your iPhone to the gimbal using the magnetic phone clamp or MagSafe-compatible magnetic phone mount and you're ready to shoot. From there, it'll use your iPhone's front or rear camera and the native camera app to track and focus on your or your subject. That gives you the freedom to move around, knowing it'll keep you in frame and in focus. It also works with over 200 third-party iOS apps including FaceTime, Zoom and TikTok. Insta360 The only other DockKit product we've seen to date is Belkin's Stand Pro iPhone dock, but that has no gimbal functionality. The Flow Pro, however, is a more powerful version of Insta360's original Flow gimbal (and is cheaper than Belkin's product to boot). To that end, it offers three-axis mechanical shake reduction that's far superior to your phone's electronic stabilization.  It also comes with the company's AI-powered subject tracking with features like tracking recovery (re-acquiring a subject after losing it), person re-identification and slo-mo tracking. Insta360 also introduced Deep track 3.0 that adds 360-degree infinite pan tracking, meaning it can rotate 360 degrees horizontally while tracking subjects. It also supports animal tracking (dogs, cats and horses) and adds an LED tracking ring so you can see if it's following your subject at a quick glance. Insta360 Flow Pro also offers a selfie stick that extends to 215mm (8.5 inches), a built-in cold shoe to add a mic or other accessories and a 2,900mAh power bank to charge your iPhone. Other features include "one-step rapid deploy" to unfold the gimbal in one motion, 10-hour battery life, a SmartWheel for quick access to shooting controls, and four gimbal modes (auto, follow, pan follow and FPV). The Insta360 is now available in the US and worldwide for $149 at select retailers. It includes a magnetic phone clamp, charge cable, grip cover and protective pouch, with other accessories like a spotlight, magnetic phone mount and decorative inserts sold separately. This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/insta360s-flow-pro-smartphone-gimbal-uses-apples-dockkit-to-track-you-010029542.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising

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