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The Morning After: Amazon reveals its periscope-equipped Alexa robot – Engadget

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Amazon’s annual barrage of new Echo hardware didn’t disappoint, ranging from role-playing games to nutrition tracking, drones and videocall devices for kids. I think the new 15-inch Echo Show, a smart screen to mount on your wall, was the most intriguing reveal.

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Amazon has redesigned its home screen to make the most of all that extra display space, and you can customize it so part of the screen scrolls through ambient content, like headlines and weather updates. Aimed at families, the Echo Show 15 also has a new visual ID feature that can recognize your face and show you personalized information, like calendar appointments, reminders and notes.

Amazon and Google dominate the smart displays space, and I might be the rare exception of having not a single Alexa-powered device in my home. So far, Amazon’s devices haven’t offered anything particularly compelling for me. I have a Google smart display, which smoothly integrates with Google Calendar, Google Maps and the rest. It’s hard for me to generate much enthusiasm for the Echo range.

Now, having said that, let me contradict myself entirely.

If you like your Alexa devices on wheels and with precarious extendable, periscope cameras, then perhaps Amazon’s Astro robot might get you excited. (Or worried.) Amazon plans to sell its first robot in limited quantities later this year. It will eventually cost $1,450, but as part of its Day 1 Editions program, the company will sell the robot at an introductory price of $1,000.

— Mat Smith

All the big Amazon news

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Amazon’s Alexa-enabled Smart Thermostat only costs $60

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Everything Amazon announced at its September hardware event

Amazon Glow is a kid-focused video call device with interactive activities

Starting from $169, depending on the shade.

The Morning After

IKEA

IKEA and Sonos’ new, more customizable version of their Symfonisk speaker lamp arrives on October 12th. The furniture giant will sell the new model’s lamp base and shade separately, so you can mix and match parts to ensure the final product fits the vibe of your home.

IKEA’s Stjepan Begic said they decided to make the base smaller after finding out a lot of people use the Symfonisk lamp on their nightstand. You’ll be able to choose between two types of shades: textile or glass, while the lamps themselves come in black or white. The new model also supports a wider range of bulbs, thanks to a different E26/E27 socket.

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The invitation-only program will help refine the technology.

Ring says its Always Home Cam, its first home security drone, will soon arrive in select households. Users will be able to sign up to join an invite-only testing program to help refine the hardware before it hits shelves. In the US, at least, Ring owners can sign up to help develop what its makers are calling a “very ambitious device.”

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I doubt any of us are surprised.

This time last year, ByteDance was trying to save its TikTok app in the US and elsewhere after Donald Trump’s administration threatened to ban it. One potential savior was Microsoft.

It was a mess. It all started when Trump threatened to force Chinese company ByteDance to sell TikTok to a US owner, citing privacy and security concerns. Microsoft stepped in as a potential buyer, though the company, in the end, struck a deal with Oracle and Walmart, which President Joe Biden’s administration scrapped in February 2021.

Microsoft was in the middle of negotiations with ByteDance when Trump told reporters he’d rather ban the app than allow it to be sold to a US company. That “threw into disarray the careful negotiations we had pursued with ByteDance” to buy TikTok’s business in the US and the three other countries, CEO Satya Nadella wrote. Trump only relented and allowed a deal to happen after Nadella called him personally.

After Oracle’s winning bid, ByteDance said Trump had “ghosted” the site, effectively going silent after ordering the company to divest its US TikTok assets.

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It’s very, very important for Amazon Game Studios.

After four delays spanning nearly a year and a half of missed release dates, New World is finally here, available to Steam and Amazon’s own marketplace, starting at $40. The MMORPG will be crucial to Amazon Game Studios’ future. After the very public failure of Crucible, which it terminated not too long after its launch, the company needs to prove it can deliver compelling games — and keep them going. Hopefully, all those delays have ensured New World arrives with its best foot forward.

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The biggest news stories you might have missed

BloodyStealer trojan targets Steam, GOG and Epic accounts

Apple says the iPad mini’s ‘jelly scrolling’ problem is normal

Logitech’s MX Keys Mini is a compact keyboard for minimalists

1Password can now randomly generate email addresses for logins

Facebook’s 2Africa to become the longest subsea cable in the world

Xbox Series X/S consoles now support Dolby Vision for gaming

Apple beefs up Keynote, Pages and Numbers with new features

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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Enter the Zuckerverse? Social media churns with new names for Facebook

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Zuckerverse. Timesuck. Faceplant.

They’re just a few of the suggestions being bandied around online following reports that Facebook plans to rebrand itself with a new group name. The company refused to comment on rumor or speculation, of course, but the Twitterati had no problem.

The debate careered from sensible to screwball to strange.

“Meta” was one of the more sober trending suggestions, referring to Facebook’s reported desire to assume a name that focuses on the metaverse, a virtual environment where users can hang out.

Bookface, Facegram, Facetagram, FreeFace, FreeTalk, World Changer.

On the wilder side, Twitter user Dave Pell drew a comparison with musician Kanye West who recently changed his name to “Ye”.

“It would be awesome if Facebook changes its name to  Ye,” he said.

Several humorous suggestions reflected online speculation that the alleged rebrand was driven by founder Mark Zuckerberg’s yearning to make Facebook “cool” once more.

The platform has been deserted by many younger users who have moved to apps like Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok, and has become increasingly populated by older people.

“Teenage Wasteland”, one wit suggested.

“The Old People’s App because that’s what us younger people call it,” college student Vittoria Esteves told Reuters in Rome.

“Boomerville”, suggested Marco, referring to so-called baby boomers born in the years following World War II.

‘STREISAND EFFECT’

The online naming feast was sparked by a report on the Verge tech site that a newly named group would act as a parent for all the company’s brands, including Facebook itself, Instagram and WhatsApp, and reflect a focus on virtual and augmented reality.

An announcement is expected next week, according to the report.

Many suggestions however reflected the public’s concern about how the company handles user safety and hate speech. Internal documents leaked by a whistleblower formed the basis for a U.S. Senate hearing last week.

“Fakebook”, for example. Tracebook.

Other people were sceptical whether a name change would be enough to detract from the growing legal and regulatory scrutiny that has tarnished the company’s reputation.

“It’s going to be the Barbra Streisand effect thing going on,” said 20-year old Glasgow student Thomas van der Hoven, referring to the phenomenon where seeking to suppress something inadvertently turbo-charges popular interest in it.

“So they’re going to try and change it, and then that’s just going to put the spotlight on the fact that they’re changing it. Why are they changing this?” he added. “So it’s probably going to spit back in their face at some point.”

 

(Reporting by Nivedita Balu and Antonio Denti; Additional reporting by Reuters newsrooms; Writing by Josephine Mason; Editing by Pravin Char)

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Tesla says new factories will need time to ramp up, posts record revenue

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Tesla Inc said on Wednesday its upcoming factories and supply-chain headwinds would put pressure on its margins after it beat Wall Street expectations for third-quarter revenue on the back of record deliveries.

The world’s most valuable automaker has weathered the pandemic and the global supply-chain crisis better than rivals, posting record revenue for the fifth consecutive quarter in the July-to-September period, fueled by a production build-up at its Chinese factory.

But the company led by billionaire Elon Musk faces challenges growing earnings in coming quarters due to supply chain disruptions and the time required to ramp up production at new factories in Berlin and Texas.

“There’s quite an execution journey ahead of us,” Chief Financial Officer Zachary Kirkhorn said, referring to the new factories.

Price fluctuations of raw materials such as nickel and aluminum had created an “uncertain environment with respect to cost structure”, he added.

Even so, he said Tesla was “quite a bit ahead” of its plan to increase deliveries by 50% this year.

“Q4 production will depend heavily on availability of parts, but we are driving for continued growth,” he said.

Tesla shares, up about 23% this year, were down about 0.6% in extended trade late on Wednesday.

Musk himself was not present on the quarterly earnings call for the first time, a development that may have disappointed those investors keen to hear the celebrity CEO’s latest thoughts.

Third-quarter revenue rose to $13.76 billion from $8.77 billion a year earlier, slightly beating analyst expectations according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Tesla’s automotive gross margin, excluding environmental credits, rose to 28.8%, from 25.8% the previous quarter.

Tesla’s overall average price fell as it sold more lower-priced Model 3 and Model Y cars, but it raised prices in the United States.

The company posted robust sales in China, where its low-cost Shanghai factory has surpassed the Tesla factory in Fremont, California, in terms of production.

Tesla also said it intended to use lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery chemistry, which is cheaper than traditional batteries but offers lower range, in entry-level models sold outside China. Analysts said this would help keep costs down and address shortages.

It expected the first vehicles equipped with its own 4680, bigger battery cells to be delivered early next year, although it did not say which model would be fitted with them. Musk said in September last year that using its own cells would let Tesla offer a $25,000 car in three years.

In the third quarter, Tesla posted $279 million in revenue from sales of environmental credits, the lowest level in nearly two years. The company sells its excess environmental credits to other automakers that are trying to comply with regulations in California and elsewhere.

 

(Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin in San Francisco and Subrat Patnaik in Bengaluru; Editing by Matthew Lewis and Stephen Coates)

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Samsungs Galaxy Z Flip 3 Bespoke Edition lets users customize their phone – MobileSyrup

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Samsung is letting customers customize their handsets with a new ‘Bespoke Edition’ of the foldable Galaxy Z Flip 3.

The Bespoke Edition lets users configure the foldable smartphone with one or two frame colours (black or silver) and five-panel colours, including ‘Black,’ ‘White,’ ‘Yellow,’ ‘Pink’ and ‘Blue.’

The Bespoke Edition will be available starting October 20th for $1,399.99 CAD.

Samsung says altogether this gives users 49 different colour combinations.

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Additionally, the South Korean company will let users change their device’s colours after purchasing the smartphones with ‘Bespoke Upgrade Care.’

There will also be the Galaxy Watch 4 Bespoke Studio wearables that let users customize their smartwatch before purchasing. It seems like the Z Fold 3 isn’t getting a Bespoke Edition, which is odd considering it was possible to change the frame of the Z Fold 2.

The Bespoke Studio starts at $329.99 for the 40mm variant and the $459.99 for the 42mm version.

Samsung also announced a collaboration with the designer brand Maison Kitsuné that includes special brand editions of the Galaxy Buds 2 and Galaxy Watch 4. The special edition designs include cute fox branding on both the watch and buds.

The Maison Kitsuné 40mm Galaxy Watch costs $529.99. And the Maison Kitsuné Edition Galaxy Buds 2 costs $349.99.

The South Korean tech giant is also releasing a Galaxy Watch 4 update that lets users customize their watch faces and the mix and match complications. This update brings gesture controls and the ability to activate an app with a knock-knock motion on your wrist.

To learn more about the Galaxy Z Flip 3, check out my review of the foldable smartphone.

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