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Samsung’s entry Galaxy S22 Ultra may come with less memory than last year’s model

With Samsung scheduled to announce its next Galaxy S flagships in February, a new leak suggests the company may have a pricing change planned for its high-end phone lineup. Per a tweet spotted by Android Police from WinFuture’s Roland Quandt, European pricing for the Galaxy S22 series will start at €849 (roughly $1,018), with the base models of the Galaxy S22 Plus and Ultra slated to cost €1,049 ($1,188) and €1,249 ($1,414), respectively. Effectively, this means in 2022 Samsung’s Galaxy S lineup will cost just as much as it did in 2021. What’s more, Quandt’s tweet suggests the company will continue its practice of charging a €50 premium for a storage bump on the standard and Plus models.

What may change is that Samsung could tweak the base model Ultra variant to offer less value than its predecessor. In Europe at least, the €1249 Galaxy S22 Ultra will ship with 8GB of RAM, according to Quandt, and cost the same amount as money as the entry-level Galaxy S21 Ultra, which features 12GB of RAM. Consumers in Europe will reportedly need to pay a €100 premium to get the S22 Ultra with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage. It’s not clear if Samsung will implement the same pricing strategy in the US. As Android Police points out, a separate leak earlier this month suggested the company could charge an extra $100 stateside for every model in the Galaxy S22 lineup. As always, we’ll have to wait until the company shares official pricing information before we know just how much it will cost to own the latest Galaxy S phones.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/samsung-galaxy-s22-ultra-base-model-pricing-leak-224247167.html?src=rss

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Plaid must pay $58 million to users of Venmo, Robinhood and other apps

Even if you've never heard of a company called Plaid, they may owe you part of a multi-million dollar lawsuit settlement, Fast Company has reported. Plaid, which connects consumer bank accounts to services like Venmo, Robinhood, Coinbase and other apps, was accused of collecting excessive financial data from consumers. While denying any wrongdoing, it agreed to pay $58 million to all consumers with a linked bank account to any of its approximately 5,000 client apps.

The lawsuit accused Plaid of collecting "more financial data than was needed from users." It also claimed that the company obtained users' bank login information via its own "Plaid Link" interface, "which had the look and feel of the user’s own bank account login screen," according to the settlement website. On top of the $58 million payout, the company was forced to change some of its business practices. 

Millions of people use apps linked to Plaid, so any payout might be pretty slim. Still, if you're a US resident who had a bank account connected to the app between January 1st, 2013 and November 19th, 2021, you may qualify to receive a claim. For more, see the settlement site's FAQ

You may have already received an email about the lawsuit, or you can check the settlement's search section to see if you've used an app that qualifies. In any case, you have until April 28th, 2022 to submit your claim.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/plaid-must-pay-58-million-to-users-of-venmo-robinhood-and-other-apps-085908511.html?src=rss

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Sony’s WH-XB910N ANC headphones are 49 percent off in Amazon’s one-day sale

For anyone looking for ANC wireless over-ear headphones at a decent price, Sony's WH-XB910N should be front of mind. If you've been checking them out, now is the time to buy as they're on sale at Amazon for just $128, a full 49 percent off the regular $250 price. 

Buy Sony WH-XB910N headphones at Amazon - $128

The WH-XB910N headphones aren't quite up to the standard of Sony's $350 flagship WH-1000XM4 headphones, but they still deliver excellent sound quality while looking great. You get clear mids and highs, powerful bass and Sony's 360 Reality Audio surround sound, available on select songs with Deezer, Tidal, Amazon Music HD and other streaming services. The active noise cancellation (ANC) works well though, again, it's not quite up to the standard of the WH-1000XM4 model (which is nearly triple the price).  

The WH-XB910N headphones are great for working at home, thanks to the "Precise Voice Pickup" that amplifies your voice on calls. It also offers on-board controls and an ambient sound mode so you can be better aware of your environment. It'll last over a day thanks to the 30-hour battery life, and you can get an additional 4.5 hours with a 10-minute quick charge.

The $128 price is one of the best we've seen, topping the $138 deal available over the holidays last year. There aren't many other models that can rival it at that price, so act soon before they're gone. 

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/sony-wh-xb910n-anc-headphones-49-percent-off-one-day-sale-100048215.html?src=rss

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‘Dark Souls 3’ security hole lets attackers hijack your PC

You might not want to play a Dark Souls game online for a while — not that you necessarily can. As Dexerto and The Verge report, attackers have discovered a security exploit in Dark Souls 3 (and potentially Elden Ring) for Windows that lets attackers remotely execute control and effectively hijack your PC. Streamers like The_Grim_Sleeper have learned about the potential damage first-hand — in his case, the intruder launched Microsoft PowerShell and ran a text-to-speech script blasting him for his gameplay.

The exploiter might not have malicious intent. A post on the SpeedSouls Discord claimed the hacker was trying to warn developer FromSoftware about the Dark Souls 3 vulnerability, but turned to compromising streamers to highlight the problem. Few people beyond the perpetrator are aware of how to use it, but there's already a patch for the unofficial Blue Sentinel anti-cheat tool.

FromSoftware and its publisher Bandai Namco have since responded to the exploit. They've temporarily shut down the player-versus-player servers for Dark Souls 3 and its predecessors while the security team investigates the flaws. It's not certain when the servers will go back online, but From and Bandai clearly won't restore service until they're reasonably confident players are safe. More sinister attackers could use the flaw to steal sensitive information, ruin gamers' systems and otherwise do serious damage.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/dark-souls-3-security-exploit-hack-152505550.html?src=rss

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Workers at Activision Blizzard’s Raven Software end strike action following union push

Having announced plans recently to form the first labor union within a North American AAA game developer, workers at Raven Software are ending their weeks-long strike action against publisher Activision Blizzard. "Pending the recognition of our union, the Raven QA strike has ended,” Activision Blizzard worker advocacy group ABetterABK said on Saturday in a tweet spotted by Eurogamer. “Unused strike funds are being stored for future organizing [and] strike efforts.”

The strike began in December when 60 employees and contractors with Raven Software’s quality assurance department walked off the job to protest the studio’s decision to lay off 12 of their co-workers. Raven is one of the developers that supports Activision’s Call of Duty franchise, and its QA team is specifically responsible for bugs and other technical issues in Warzone. When the action began, it had no planned end date, a first for the walkouts at Activision Blizzard. The publisher had reportedly declined to meet with the striking workers, despite mounting pressure from Warzone’s community over the game’s current state.

On Friday, the 34 workers who said they plan to unionize with the Communication Workers of America (CWA) asked Activision Blizzard to recognize their group, the Game Workers Alliance, voluntarily. The company has until January 25th to respond to the workers. "Activision Blizzard is carefully reviewing the request for voluntary recognition from the CWA, which seeks to organize around three dozen of the company’s nearly 10,000 employees," the company said on Friday.

If the company fails to respond to the group, it will file for a union election through the National Relations Broad. Since the collective has a supermajority of votes, with 78 percent of the 34-person unit supporting the action, they can form a union without voluntary recognition from Activision Blizzard.

News of the union drive at Raven comes in the same week that Microsoft announced its intent to buy Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion. Pending regulatory approval, the company expects the deal, which could have far-reaching ramifications for the gaming industry, to close in June 2023.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/raven-software-end-strike-action-161117591.html?src=rss

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WhatsApp is nearly ready to migrate Android chats to iPhone

WhatsApp may soon release two highly-requested features. The first is one iPhone users have been waiting for since the company made it possible for Samsung Galaxy owners and later those with Pixel phones to migrate their chat history from an iOS device. Per a post spotted by The Verge, WABetaInfo found evidence in the latest WhatsApp iOS beta release of a feature that lets you migrate your chat history from Android to iOS. The discovery builds on an earlier one the outlet made in September.

Screenshots shared by WABetaInfo suggest the app will ask for your permission before it starts migrating your chat history. We also know from the earlier leak you’ll need to use Apple’s Move to iOS app as part of the transfer process. On Android, that same process can be convoluted, as you need a Lightning to USB-C cable and phone that’s either brand new or has been recently factory reset.

In a separate article WABetaInfo published over the weekend, the website found that WhatsApp is also working on a two-step verification feature for its desktop and web clients. Should the company move forward with a release, the tool will allow you to add a personal pin to your account. In that way, anytime you want to access WhatsApp either through your computer or online, you’ll need to input that passcode, as well as the six-digit pin WhatsApp sends to your phone, to do so. That’s something that will help protect you from SIM swap attacks.

It’s unclear when the company plans to release either feature. A month before the migration one launched on Samsung devices, WhatsApp head Will Cathcart said it would arrive on iOS phones “soon.”

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/whatsapp-ios-migration-feature-wabetainfo-174005658.html?src=rss

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‘Billions’ is the latest TV show to create a PR problem for Peloton

This post contains spoilers for the sixth season of 'Billions.'

Peloton can't quite escape the publicity headaches from TV shows featuring its products. According to The New York Times and The Verge, the premiere episode of Billions season six includes a scene that, like the Sex and the City follow-up And Just Like That, paints Peloton's Bike in a less-than-flattering light — if not quite as dire as before.

The scene depicts Mike "Wags" Wagner (played by David Costabile) having a heart attack while riding his Peloton spin bike. Unlike the And Just Like That scene, however, Wagner survives — he even references the AJLT scene, telling staff that he's "not going out" like that character. Billions' executive producers told The Times the moment was filmed in spring 2021, months before AJLT's debut, and that the team overdubbed the reference to the other show in postproduction to reflect "what Wags would say."

Peloton stressed in a statement that it hadn't provided the Bike or otherwise greenlit the use of its brand for Billions. It even celebrated parts of the episode, noting that the show highlighted the "strong benefits" of a cardio workout. When the AJLT scene caused a panic, Peloton faulted the character's lifestyle and suggested the bike at least delayed the inevitable. It went on to create a promo to defend its products in response, although it pulled that ad soon after when the focus of the promo, actor Chris Noth, faced accusations of sexual assault.

The Billions scene isn't the biggest PR crisis Peloton has faced lately. The company's stock price plunged after a (since-denied) claim it halted production due to slowing sales. However, it does illustrate Peloton's odd position. While its fitness gear is still considered iconic, the company is no longer quite so revered by shoppers or the entertainment business.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/billions-peloton-scene-171753484.html?src=rss

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Google claims court ruling would force it to ‘censor’ the internet

Google has asked the High Court of Australia to overturn a 2020 ruling it warns could have a “devastating” effect on the wider internet. In a filing the search giant made on Friday, Google claims it will be forced to “act as censor” if the country’s highest court doesn’t overturn a decision that awarded a lawyer $40,000 in defamation damages for an article the company had linked to through its search engine, reports The Guardian.

In 2016, George Defteros, a Victoria state lawyer whose past client list included individuals implicated in Melbourne's notorious gangland killings, contacted Google to ask the company to remove a 2004 article from The Age. The piece featured reporting on murder charges prosecutors filed against Defteros related to the death of three men. Those charges were later dropped in 2005. The company refused to remove the article from its search results as it viewed the publication as a reputable source.

The matter eventually went to court with Defteros successfully arguing the article and Google’s search results had defamed him. The judge who oversaw the case ruled The Age’s reporting had implied Defteros had been cozy with Melbourne’s criminal underground. The Victorian Court of Appeals subsequently rejected a bid by Google to overturn the ruling.

From Google’s perspective, at issue here is one of the fundamental building blocks of the internet. “A hyperlink is not, in and of itself, the communication of that to which it links,” the company contends in its submission to the High Court. If the 2020 judgment is left to stand, Google claims it will make it “liable as the publisher of any matter published on the web to which its search results provide a hyperlink,” including news stories that come from reputable sources. In its defense, the company points to a 2011 ruling from the Supreme Court of Canada that held a hyperlink by itself is never a publication of defamatory material.

We’ve reached out to Google for comment.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/google-australia-high-court-appeal-194529237.html?src=rss

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PlatinumGames’ long-awaited shoot ’em up ‘Sol Cresta’ arrives February 22nd

PlatinumGames will release Sol Cresta on February 22nd, the studio announced this weekend. The developer had hoped to have the shmup ready by the end of 2021, but made the last-minute decision to delay it to give its development team more time for polish. With a new release date locked in, Platinum says fans will have the chance to pick up Sol Cresta on PC, Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 for $40.

The Cresta series has been around since the 1980s. You can play Moon Cresta and Terra Cresta, two of the franchise’s more recent entries, through the Arcade Archives collection on PS4. What makes Sol Cresta interesting is that it started life as an April Fools’ gag. After playing such a cruel joke on fans in 2020, Platinum came back exactly one year later to announce it was actively developing the game.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/sol-cresta-february-22-2022-205014127.html?src=rss

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US labor board says Amazon illegally fired union organizer in New York

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has determined that Amazon illegally fired former worker Daequan Smith for trying to unionize its warehouses in Staten Island, New York. Smith, who was one of the organizers for the Amazon Labor Union (ALU), was fired in October 2021. The group filed an unfair labor practices complaint with the NLRB after his dismissal, accusing the company of illegal retaliatory firing over Smith's outspoken support for unionization. Now, according to Bloomberg, the board has found merit in the group's allegations and plans to issue a formal complaint against the e-commerce giant if the case doesn't settle. 

The Amazon Labor Union is made of up of former and current company workers and is an independent group not connected with major national unions. While the group failed to unionize Amazon's fulfillment centers in Staten Island last year, it refiled an application with the NLRB in December — a hearing is scheduled for that request next month. 

Smith wasn't the only ALU organizer that Amazon had fired. ALU president Chris Smalls also lost his job after he held a walkout at Amazon's JFK8 facility over the e-commerce giant's handling of COVID-19 safety at the warehouse in 2020. Amazon explained back then that Smalls "received multiple warnings for violating social distancing guidelines."

The company has been adamantly anti-union and had once told Engadget in a statement that it doesn't "think unions are the best answer for [its] employees." It added: "Every day we empower people to find ways to improve their jobs, and when they do that we want to make those changes — quickly. That type of continuous improvement is harder to do quickly and nimbly with unions in the middle." After reaching a deal with the NLRB in December, though, Amazon agreed to informs workers that they have the legal right to join, form or assist with a union through notices posted in workplaces, as well as on its mobile app and internal website.

As Bloomberg explains, NLRB brings complaints to agency judges if it finds merit in claims made by workers. The board's top prosecutor, Jennifer Abruzzo, one said she will "aggressively" seek court injunctions to get illegally fired employees back to work. ALU vice president Derrick Palmer, whom Amazon had disciplined for joining Smalls' COVID-19 protest, said Smith being reinstated would be a huge support for the group: "It would be monumental for him to go back to the same building that he was terminated from and speak his truth and let workers know that it’s OK to speak out."

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/nlrb-amazon-illegally-fired-union-organizer-new-york-101549596.html?src=rss

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