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A Pixel Watch Is Really Happening, and Fitbit Loyalists Might Really Like It – CNET

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Google announced its long-awaited Pixel Watch on Wednesday, furthering the tech giant’s expansion into hardware. The company teased its first smartwatch during its Google I/O conference but plans to reveal more details closer to the device’s fall launch. 

The watch has a domed circular design, runs on Google’s Wear OS smartwatch software and includes some Fitbit health-tracking features. Google didn’t announce a price but said it will be sold as a premium product. 

The Pixel Watch represents Google’s first major step into the smartwatch market, which saw shipments grow by 24% in 2021, according to Counterpoint Research. Google is a newcomer to this market. Rivals like Apple and Samsung lead the market and have been selling smartwatches for years. The company sees its new smartwatch as crucial to building its Pixel brand into a full ecosystem of products similar to those offered by Apple and Samsung, spanning phones, tablets, wireless earbuds and smartwatches. 


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“You have your Pixel phone, you have your Pixel Buds, you have YouTube Music,” said Ramon Llamas, a research director for International Data Corporation, a market research firm. “And now all of a sudden, you see this more than we have in previous years, a much clearer head-on competitor to Apple.”

The announcement comes more than a year after Google’s acquisition of Fitbit closed in January 2021. While the Fitbit team is driving the development of the Pixel Watch, Google isn’t planning to merge the two product lines, according to Rick Osterloh, Google’s senior vice president of devices and services.

The Pixel Watch and Fitbit’s lineup of devices will instead complement one another, says James Park, Fitbit’s founder who now leads Google’s wearables division. Those who care about having more traditional smartwatch features like LTE support in addition to health tracking would likely opt for the Pixel Watch, while the Fitbit Charge would be ideal for consumers who care more about fitness and battery life. 

“The great thing about combining Pixel and Fitbit is that we’re able to collectively offer these different devices,” Park said in an exclusive interview with CNET’s Scott Stein ahead of Google I/O. “People can pick and choose what’s best for them.”

Familiar Fitbit features like Active Zone Minutes, which measures the amount of time spent in certain heart rate ranges during exercise, will be available on the Pixel Watch. Like many of today’s smartwatches, the Pixel Watch will also track sleep and heart rate. 

The company expects to add more Fitbit functionality in the future. “Over time, the Pixel Watch will have the most advanced health sensors,” Park said. “And we’ll be selective on how all those features come across the entire portfolio.”

Unlike the Pixel Watch, which will be Android-only, Fitbit’s products are compatible with iPhones too. Park said the company doesn’t have any plans to discontinue support for iOS users on Fitbit products. “It’s really important for the Fitbit lineup,” he said.

Someone on a bike checking their watchSomeone on a bike checking their watch

The Google Pixel Watch on a person’s wrist


Google

Popular Google apps like Maps, Wallet and Google Assistant will be part of the Pixel Watch, along with refreshed software that should feel “fluid” and “easy to navigate,” according to the company. The watch also has customizable bands and a tactile crown similar to the one found on the Apple Watch.

For Google, launching a new hardware product like the Pixel Watch isn’t necessarily about selling the most units, according to Tuong Nguyen, a senior principal analyst at market research firm Gartner. It’s about keeping people using Google’s apps and services, giving them a more prominent role in our lives. It’s a strategy that’s worked well for Apple. 

“The hardware is like a delivery mechanism,” said Nguyen. “And we should, at least maybe in the short to medium term, focus more on what it can do.”

The company didn’t announce pricing, availability, feature details, battery life or other hardware specifics like the watch’s processor, health sensors or display type. These questions will likely be answered in the fall closer to the watch’s release. 

Google already holds some influence over the smartwatch market thanks to its ownership of Fitbit and to its Wear OS software platform, which powers watches from Fossil and Samsung, among others. Google will be both a partner and competitor to these smartwatch makers once the Pixel Watch debuts. By launching its first smartwatch, Google will also have an opportunity to showcase what the ideal Android watch experience should be like, just as its Pixel phones do for Android smartphones.  

The company is best known for its ubiquitous search engine and digital services, but it’s made a bigger push into hardware in recent years. The Pixel Watch will join Google’s current lineup of phones, smart home gadgets like thermostats and connected speakers, the Pixelbook Go laptop and Chromecast streaming devices. It’s also just one of several new hardware products in Google’s pipeline. The company announced on Wednesday the Pixel 6A and Pixel Buds Pro, both of which will be launching in July. It also previewed the Pixel 7, which will arrive in the fall, and a new Pixel tablet coming in 2023. 

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Sony finally unveils first batch of all-new PlayStation Plus games, including PS1 classics – MobileSyrup

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PlayStation has finally offered an official list of some of the games that will be offered through the upcoming expansion of its PlayStation Plus service.

As previously confirmed, the current PS Plus benefits — online multiplayer, a few free monthly games and cloud saves — will remain the same through the ‘PS Plus Essential’ tier. This will still be priced at $69.99 CAD/year.

However, read on for a first look at “some” of the titles that are being offered through the two higher PS Plus tiers.

PlayStation Plus Extra

  • 1 month — $17.99
  • 3 months — $49.99
  • 12 months — $114.99

PS Plus Extra subscribers get a catalogue of “up to 400” first- and third-party PS4 and PS5 games — here are the ones PlayStation has just confirmed. It should be noted that all of the Ubisoft games listed below are part of a new ‘Ubisoft+ Classics’ perk that will be available through PlayStation Plus Extra.

First-party:

  • Alienation | Housemarque, PS4
  • Bloodborne | FromSoftware, PS4
  • Concrete Genie | Pixelopus, PS4
  • Days Gone | Bend Studio, PS4
  • Dead Nation Apocalypse Edition | Housemarque, PS4
  • Death Stranding and Death Stranding Director’s Cut | Kojima Productions, PS4/PS5
  • Demon’s Souls | Bluepoint Games, PS5
  • Destruction AllStars | Lucid Games, PS5
  • Everybody’s Golf | Japan Studio, PS4
  • Ghost Of Tsushima Director’s Cut | Sucker Punch, PS4/ PS5
  • God of War | Santa Monica Studio, PS4
  • Gravity Rush 2 | Japan Studio, PS4
  • Gravity Rush Remastered | Japan Studio, PS4
  • Horizon Zero Dawn | Guerrilla, PS4
  • Infamous First Light | Sucker Punch, PS4
  • Infamous Second Son | Sucker Punch, PS4
  • Knack | Japan Studio, PS4
  • LittleBigPlanet 3 | Sumo Digital, PS4
  • LocoRoco Remastered | Japan Studio, PS4
  • LocoRoco 2 Remastered | Japan Studio, PS4
  • Marvel’s Spider-Man | Insomniac Games, PS4
  • Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales | Insomniac Games, PS4/PS5
  • Matterfall |Housemarque, PS4
  • MediEvil | Other Ocean, PS4
  • Patapon Remastered | Japan Studio, PS4
  • Patapon 2 Remastered | Japan Studio, PS4
  • Resogun | Housemarque, PS4
  • Returnal | Housemarque, PS5
  • Shadow of the Colossus | Japan Studio, PS4
  • Tearaway Unfolded |Media Molecule, PS4
  • The Last Guardian | Japan Studio, PS4
  • The Last of Us Remastered | Naughty Dog, PS4
  • The Last of Us: Left Behind | Naughty Dog, PS4
  • Until Dawn | Supermassive Games, PS4
  • Uncharted The Nathan Drake Collection |Naughty Dog, PS4
  • Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End | Naughty Dog, PS4
  • Uncharted: The Lost Legacy | Naughty Dog, PS4
  • WipEout Omega Collection | Clever Beans & Creative Vault Studios, PS4

Third-party:

  • Ashen | Annapurna Interactive, PS4
  • Assassin’s Creed Valhalla | Ubisoft, PS4/PS5
  • Batman: Arkham Knight | WB Games, PS4
  • Celeste | Maddy Makes Games, PS4
  • Cities: Skylines | Paradox Interactive, PS4
  • Control: Ultimate Edition | 505 Games, PS4/PS5
  • Dead Cells| Motion Twin, PS4
  • Far Cry 3 Remaster | Ubisoft, PS4
  • Far Cry 4 | Ubisoft, PS4
  • Final Fantasy XV Royal Edition | Square Enix Co. LTD, PS4
  • For Honor | Ubisoft, PS4
  • Hollow Knight | Team Cherry, PS4
  • Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy | Square Enix Co. LTD., PS4/PS5
  • Mortal Kombat 11 | WB Games, PS4/PS5
  • Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 | Bandai Namco Entertainment Inc., PS4
  • NBA 2K22 | 2K Games, PS4/PS5
  • Outer Wilds | Annapurna Interactive, PS4
  • Red Dead Redemption 2 | Rockstar Games, PS4
  • Resident Evil | Capcom Co., Ltd, PS4Soulcalibur VI | Bandai Namco Entertainment Inc., PS4
  • South Park: The Fractured but Whole | Ubisoft, PS4
  • The Artful Escape | Annapurna Interactive, PS4/PS5
  • The Crew 2 | Ubisoft, PS4
  • Tom Clancy’s The Division | Ubisoft, PS4

PlayStation Plus Premium

  • 1 month — $21.99
  • 3 months — $59.99
  • 12 months — $139.99

Premium includes all of the benefits of Essential and Extra, as well as “up to 340” additional games from the PS1, PS2, PSP and PS3 eras. Some games will have “improved frame rates and higher-quality resolution” over their original versions, PlayStation has teased.

For select original PlayStation and PSP classic games, PlayStation says subscribers will have access to a new user interface that allows you to save any time or rewind the game. Additionally, those who have purchased select PS1 or PSP games will be able to redownload them for free, no PS Plus membership required, while other titles will also be available for purchase individually outside of a subscription.

Classic games — Original PlayStation and PSP

First-party

  • Ape Escape | Japan Studio, Original PlayStation
  • Hot Shots Golf | Japan Studio, Original PlayStation
  • I.Q. Intelligent Qube | Japan Studio, Original PlayStation
  • Jumping Flash! | Japan Studio, Original PlayStation
  • Syphon Filter | Bend Studio, Original PlayStation
  • Super Stardust Portable | Housemarque, PSP

Third-party

  • Mr. Driller | Bandai Namco Entertainment Inc., Original PlayStation
  • Tekken 2 | Bandai Namco Entertainment Inc., Original PlayStation
  • Worms World Party | Team 17, Original PlayStation
  • Worms Armageddon | Team17, Original PlayStation

Classic games — Remasters

First-party

  • Ape Escape 2 | Japan Studio, PS4
  • Arc The Lad: Twilight of the Spirits | Japan Studio, PS4
  • Dark Cloud | Japan Studio, PS4
  • Dark Cloud 2 | Japan Studio, PS4
  • FantaVision | SIE, PS4
  • Hot Shots Tennis | Japan Studio, PS4
  • Jak II | Naughty Dog, PS4
  • Jak 3| Naughty Dog, PS4
  • Jak X: Combat Racing | Naughty Dog, PS4
  • Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy | Naughty Dog, PS4
  • Rogue Galaxy | Japan Studio, PS4
  • Siren | Japan Studio, PS4
  • Wild Arms 3 | SIE, PS4

Third-party

  • BioShock Remastered | 2K Games, PS4
  • Borderlands The Handsome Collection | 2K Games, PS4
  • Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition | Gearbox Publishing, PS4
  • Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning | THQ Nordic, PS4
  • LEGO Harry Potter Collection | WB Games, PS4

PlayStation 3 games (original versions, available via streaming)

  • Crash Commando | Creative Vault Studios, PS3
  • Demon’s Souls | From Software, PS3
  • echochrome | Japan Studio, PS3
  • Hot Shots Golf: Out of Bounds | Japan Studio, PS3
  • Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational | Japan Studio, PS3
  • Ico | Japan Studio, PS3
  • Infamous | Sucker Punch, PS3
  • Infamous 2 | Sucker Punch, PS3
  • Infamous: Festival of Blood | Sucker Punch, PS3
  • LocoRoco Cocoreccho! | Japan Studio, PS3
  • MotorStorm Apocalypse | Evolution Studios, PS3
  • MotorStorm RC | Evolution Studios, PS3
  • Puppeteer | Japan Studio, PS3
  • rain | Japan Studio, PS3
  • Ratchet & Clank: Quest For Booty | Insomniac Games, PS3
  • Ratchet & Clank: A Crack in Time |Insomniac Games, PS3
  • Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus | Insomniac Games, PS3
  • Resistance 3 | Insomniac Games, PS3
  • Super Stardust HD | Housemarque, PS3
  • Tokyo Jungle | Japan Studio, PS3
  • When Vikings Attack | Clever Beans, PS3

Third-party 

  • Asura’s Wrath | Capcom Co., Ltd., PS3
  • Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 | Konami, PS3
  • Devil May Cry HD Collection | Capcom Co., Ltd., PS3
  • Enslaved: Odyssey to the West | Bandai Namco Entertainment America Inc., PS3
  • F.E.A.R. | WB Games, PS3
  • Lost Planet 2 | Capcom Co., Ltd., PS3
  • Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 | Koei Tecmo, PS3
  • Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare |Rockstar Games, PS3

Game trials

Finally, here are some of the titles that will offer free, downloadable full-game trials. PlayStation says most of these will only be available for two hours, although the counter only runs when you are actually in the game. Further, any progress, including earned trophies, will carry over into the full game should you decide to purchase it.

First-party

  • Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection | Naughty Dog, PS5
  • Horizon Forbidden West | Guerrilla, PS4/PS5

Third-party

  • Cyberpunk 2077 | CD Projekt, PS5
  • Farming Simulator 22 | Giants Software GmBH, PS4/PS5
  • Tiny Tina’s Wonderland | 2K Games, PS4/PS5
  • WWE 2K22 | 2K Games, PS4/PS5

Going forward, PlayStation says new PS Plus Essential titles (PS4 and PS5) will be added on the first Tuesday of every month — the same as usual. On top of that, new games will be added to the Extra and Premium plans “in the middle of each month.” The exact number of titles will vary per month.

The all-new PlayStation Plus will launch in Canada and the U.S. on June 13th.

Image credit: PlayStation 

Source: PlayStation

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iOS 15.5—Apple Issues Massive iPhone Security Update For Millions Of Users – Forbes

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Almost exactly two months ago, Apple released iOS 15.4 which addressed a hefty 39 security issues for millions of iPhone users. Now there’s another massive security update in the shape of iOS 15.5 which really needs to be installed as soon as possible.

What should be, saving any emergency security updates, the final iOS 15 iteration before iOS 16 is released, has now landed. The functionality enhancements for Apple Cash, Apple Podcasts, and Apple Messages are explained in this article by David Phelan. However, my beat is security, and as that was the reason why I switched from an Android device to an iPhone a couple of years back, here’s what 15.5 brings to the smartphone security party and why you should update now.

The massive iOS 15.5 security update in detail

This crucial iOS update comes with fixes for some 34 vulnerabilities, covering the full gamut of exploit opportunities from executing arbitrary code with kernel or system privileges, to sandbox restriction bypass, denial of service, and privilege elevation.

Like Google with Chrome updates, Apple doesn’t disclose security issues in full technical detail until an update has been made available and a majority users have had a chance to install this. However, some of the impacts should a vulnerability be exploited by a threat actor, as confirmed by Apple include:

  • Arbitrary code execution by processing a maliciously crafted image
  • Processing of a ‘large input’ could lead to denial of service
  • The tracking of users in Safari’s private browsing mode by a malicious website
  • Access to photos from the lock screen (requires physical access)
  • Code execution by way of malicious web content processing

The full list of Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) references is as follows:

  1. CVE-2015-4142
  2. CVE-2022-22673
  3. CVE-2022-22677
  4. CVE-2022-23308
  5. CVE-2022-26700
  6. CVE-2022-26701
  7. CVE-2022-26702
  8. CVE-2022-26703
  9. CVE-2022-26706
  10. CVE-2022-26709
  11. CVE-2022-26710
  12. CVE-2022-26711
  13. CVE-2022-26714
  14. CVE-2022-26716
  15. CVE-2022-26717
  16. CVE-2022-26719
  17. CVE-2022-26731
  18. CVE-2022-26736
  19. CVE-2022-26737
  20. CVE-2022-26738
  21. CVE-2022-26739
  22. CVE-2022-26740
  23. CVE-2022-26744
  24. CVE-2022-26745
  25. CVE-2022-26751
  26. CVE-2022-26757
  27. CVE-2022-26760
  28. CVE-2022-26762
  29. CVE-2022-26763
  30. CVE-2022-26764
  31. CVE-2022-26765
  32. CVE-2022-26766
  33. CVE-2022-26768
  34. CVE-2022-26771

Don’t delay, update to iOS 15.5 today

Although none of the security vulnerabilities patched by the iOS 15.5 update are of the zero-day variety, and none are known to have been exploited by threat actors at this point, that is no excuse for complacency. Now that the fixes are out, it’s a race against time as those who would do you harm look for ways to exploit those vulnerabilities. Most of the security issues have serious enough consequences that updating your iPhone really should be a no-brainer. As Kate O’Flaherty from the Forbes Straight Talking Cyber (STC) team says in the video at the top of this article, the benefits of securing your smartphone outweigh the risks of a functionality bug, more often than not. Of course, your particular use case may mean that holding off on an update is the preferred option but, for the vast majority of users, the ‘don’t delay, update today’ advice stands firm. Ensuring your device is backed up to iCloud or your own computer is recommended before you start any update, of course.

Updating your iPhone: step-by-step

First and foremost, STC recommends that you set your iPhone to update automatically. You can do this by heading to Settings|General|Software Update|Automatic Updates and your iPhone should then update overnight as long as it is charging and connected to Wi-Fi.

Regardless of your automatic update status, unless you have got a notification informing you that your iPhone has already updated to 15.5, it is recommended that you go check and force the issue.

Head to Settings|General|Software Update and start the process.

You will see a progress bar with the download status followed by the preparing update one. Be warned, this can take some time so don’t panic, just wait it out.

Your iPhone will restart, eventually. On my iPhone 13 Pro connected to gigabit broadband, it took around 15 minutes to complete the iOS 15.5 update. Once your device has restarted you will see the above confirmation on your lock screen which means that your device is up to date with security fixes.

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Apple Podcasts gets storage cleaning tools and annual subscriptions with iOS 15.5 – PhoneArena

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Although Apple Podcasts is battling quite the severe competition in the faces of Spotify and others, Cupertino seems to not want to give up on its own podcast service. TechCrunch now reports that Apple is introducing a few new features to Apple Podcasts, and they will benefit both users and podcast makers.

Apple Podcast gains storage clean up tools, support for annual subscriptions

The new features for Apple Podcasts on iPhone, iPad, and Mac, are arriving alongside the latest software updates that Apple is now distributing to supporting devices. The main features included in this update are options for managing podcast storage across devices and tools to enable annual podcast subscriptions. For podcast makers, Apple announced Delegated Delivery system, but more on that later. For now, let’s focus on what podcast listeners will be getting with Apple Podcasts.

First off, you probably know that Apple Podcasts download shows to your device, and this might cause the app to consume a lot of device storage. This might be an issue, especially if you have a 64GB iPhone, or an iPad with less storage, as it can cause you to be unable to take new photos or install new apps and games.

And on top of that, Apple Podcast users might have found themselves even more annoyed when iOS 14.5 included a bug to the app causing unwanted, older episodes of shows to be downloaded. Yes, to the point where instead of saying ‘Hungry as a wolf’ we might say ‘Hungry as Apple Podcasts for storage’… no? Okay. Moving on!

Apple knew Apple Podcasts became very storage-hungry, so with the launch of iOS 15.5 and iPad 15.5, Cupertino addressed the issue by including new tools for Apple Podcasts’ diet, we mean tools that will allow you to easily remove a show’s accumulated downloads, potentially freeing up gigs of storage (if only losing real weight was so easy…)

Back to the topic, when you go to the Settings app on iPhone and iPad, you will be able to tap on “Automatically Downloaded” from the Podcasts sections and choose how many episodes you want to download and save. The following options you have are: download a certain number of recent episodes (like the latest three, five, or ten), or choose to download all episodes published recently (like in the last sever, 14, or 30 days). You might even want to not download anything by choosing the “Off” option and making Apple Podcasts more of a streaming service.

By default, brand-new Apple Podcasts users have the last five episodes kept for all episodic shows, and all episodes kept for serial shows, according to Apple. Yes, we advise you to go and configure what is convenient for you to avoid unpleasant surprises (especially if you’re sporting a 64GB iPhone)

Once you select your preference, the app will prompt you to remove the auto-downloaded episodes that no longer meet the newly selected criteria from the app. Pretty much, this works as a bulk clean-up tool for removing a lot of episodes. Before the update, it was a manual and quite a pain-staking process.

Now, you can configure those preferences at the show level as well, for more customization.

The new option will also show up on your iPhone recommendations related to cleaning up device storage. You can access it from Settings > General > iPhone Storage.

Options for podcast creators

Apple Podcasts has also gained some useful options for podcast creators.

Apple is now introducing the option for podcast creators to have annual subscription plans for premium podcasts alongside the monthly options. Keep in mind that the annual subscription will now be selected as the default, so when you’re subscribing to a podcast, make sure to check your payment option.

Delegated Delivery, on the other hand, is a feature that is not rolling out now with iOS 15.5 and iPadOS 15.5. This feature will arrive later this fall on supported podcast hosting providers. Delegated Delivery allows podcasters to easily distribute their podcasts directly to Apple Podcasts from third-party hosting providers. The first hosting providers that will be able to do that include Acast, ART19, Blubrry, Buzzsprout, Libsyn, Omny Studio, and RSS.com, and more services will be added over time.

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