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28May/220

The best smart home and kitchen sales we found for Memorial Day

If you’ve been waiting to upgrade your home with the latest gear, this weekend might be the time to do so. From robot vacuums to Instant Pots, there are a number of great sales for connected appliances and kitchen gadgets for Memorial Day this year. As you can imagine, there are quite a lot of them, so we’ve collected some of the best ones below.

Anker Eufy RoboVac 11S

Anker’s Eufy RoboVac 11S is one of our favorite budget robot vacuums thanks to its slim profile, smart features and affordable price. Now it’s even cheaper at just $150. It doesn’t have WiFi, but it does have a remote control. It also has three different modes so you can pick just how powerful you want the suction to be.

Buy Eufy RoboVac 11S at Amazon - $150

Anker Eufy RoboVac 15C Max

If you want an upgrade, however, the Anker Eufy RoboVac 15C Max is also on sale for $250, or 11 percent off its normal price. It has features like WiFi, stronger suction and it charges itself when it’s low on power. Plus, the 15C Max is compatible with either Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant.

Buy Eufy RoboVac 15C Max at Amazon - $250

iRobot Roomba i3 EVO

Those with pets might want to consider the iRobot Roomba i3 EVO at just $280, which is 20 percent off its retail price of $350. It has dual multi-surface rubber brushes that can handle any floor type while staying tangle-free. The i3 EVO is also pretty smart. In addition to Alexa or Google integration, it can learn the layout of your home and create an “imprint smart map” so that you can easily tell it which room to clean and at what time. It will even learn your tidying habits over time and suggest extra cleaning if needed.

Buy Roomba i3 EVO at Amazon - $280

iRobot Roomba i3+ EVO

Want a version that empties itself? Then get the iRobot Roomba i3+ EVO for $450 (18 percent off $550), which comes with a Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal unit that can hold up to 60 days worth of dirt and debris so you only need to clean it every couple of months.

Buy Roomba i3+ EVO at Amazon - $450

Ninja Foodi Dual Zone Air Fryer

Sometimes you just want to air fry two different foods at once, and the Ninja Foodi Dual Zone Air Fryer (on sale for $155) lets you do that with ease. It was our pick for best dual-zone air fryer because of how quickly it heats up and its quiet operation. It was also smart enough to adjust cooking times so that the two baskets will finish cooking around the same time.

Buy Ninja Foodi Dual Zone at Amazon - $155

Instant Pot Duo

The Instant Pot, everyone’s favorite multicooker, is also on sale this weekend – it’s now $79, down from $100. The Duo is one we recommend for most people, as it’s easy to use and can perform multiple functions. This model can sauté, cook rice, slow cook, pressure cook, sterilize, keep food warm, and make yogurt. You can find out how to make the most of your Instant Pot with our guide.

Buy Instant Pot Duo at Amazon - $79

Google Nest Audio

You can now pick up Google's Nest Audio smart speaker for $65 from Adorama. Or, if you want two, you can grab a pair for just $120. That's an especially great deal if you're in need of a stereo setup. Google's Nest Audio has excellent audio quality too, and you can link it up to your choice of music streaming service. Of course, it's powered by Google Assistant, so you can ask it to play whatever you like, ask for the weather forecast, your day's appointments, the local sports scores and more.

Buy Nest Audio (2 pack) at Adorama - $120 Buy Nest Audio at Adorama - $65

Google Nest Hub

Google's Nest Hub smart display is down to just $65, and the Nest Hub Max is also on sale at Adorama for $179. The Hub Max is geared more for communal areas like the living room or the kitchen, while the smaller Hub is geared more for private spaces like the bedroom. That's also why the Hub doesn't have a camera, while the Hub Max does (you can use it to make video calls on Google Duo as well as Zoom). Google's smart displays are great not just for viewing Nest Cam footage but also watching YouTube clips, getting step-by-step cooking instructions or just controlling the rest of your smart home. 

Buy Google Nest Hub at Adorama - $65 Buy Google Nest Hub Max at Adorama - $179

Amazon Echo Show 8

Not to be left out, Amazon's Echo Show 8 and Show 5 are discounted today too: the larger model is now $100 while the 5-inch smart display is $50. The Echo Show 8 is our personal favorite of the two, as it's not as large as the Show 10, but not quite as small as the 5. It's great for watching videos, viewing photos, looking up recipes and more. The Show 8 is especially wonderful for video calls as it has excellent camera quality plus an auto-framing feature that will focus on you and follow your movements as you chat. 

If you prefer a smaller display, however, the Show 5 is fantastic too. It works much better as a smart alarm clock as it's sized to fit perfectly on a nightstand. Like all Echo Shows, you can tap the Show 5 to snooze and it has a sunrise alarm that will gradually brighten the display to wake you up. 

Buy Echo Show 8 at Amazon - $100 Buy Echo Show 5 at Amazon - $50

Follow @EngadgetDeals on Twitter for the latest tech deals and buying advice.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/best-smart-home-and-kitchen-sales-memorial-day-2022-180056983.html?src=rss

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28May/220

Analogue Pocket’s first major update arrives in July

The Analogue Pocket is finally getting some of the important feature updates promised at launch. As The Verge notes, Analogue has promised a Pocket OS 1.1 beta in July that will add the expected Library, Memories and FPGA development features. You can expect advancements to arrive "regularly" after that, according to the company.

Library will amount to an encyclopedia for classic games. Insert a cartridge and you'll ideally learn everything about your specific copy of a game, including play guides and publisher details. Memories, meanwhile, lets you create save states and screenshots. Although Analogue hasn't fully explained the development expansion, this will likely let programmers use the Pocket's second FPGA. They'll have access to the OS, hardware and features like Memories.

There's no mention of why 1.1 is taking so long. However, the delay was substantial. Analogue said in December that Library and Memories would be ready in January, but they're now appearing several months later in a rough form. Not that the wait will matter if you aren't already an owner. New pre-orders won't get their Pockets until 2023, so this is is more a kindness to early adopters than anything else.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/analogue-pocket-beta-update-release-date-184554802.html?src=rss

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28May/220

Apple Store workers in Georgia call off union vote over intimidation claims

Less than a week before its scheduled date, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) have decided to withdraw a formal vote on unionization for Apple Store employees at Atlanta's Cumberland Mall location. As first reported by Bloomberg, the union — which has recently invested heavily in organizing tech workers — opted to hold back as a result of what it called "Apple’s repeated violations of the National Labor Relations Act." 

The withdrawal follows weeks of escalating tensions between Apple and its retail staff. Shortly after Cumberland had gone public with its intentions it was reported Apple had retained Littler Mendelson, the same law firm Starbucks — which is undergoing a wave of store unionizations — has engaged. The firm's website states: "we excel in union avoidance." Shortly after, Apple corporate began circulating anti-union talking points to managers and Atlanta workers claim they were being force into so-called "captive audience meetings," a hallmark of union-busting campaigns. Earlier this week, audio leaked of an Apple VP, Deirdre O’Brien, expressing why she believed a union was a poor fit for the company. That message was reportedly sent to all 65,000 of Apple's retail staffers.

In a statement today, CWA stated that Apple's actions "have made a free and fair election impossible.” The group also expressed concern that COVID cases among the store's staff might further jeopardize their ability to vote in person. 

One of the most significant reasons behind Cumberland staffers' decision to organize has been simple economics. In talking with Engadget, one of the store's workers, Elli Daniels, described stagnant wages that had failed to keep pace with either national inflation or local increases to cost of living. Notably, Apple has been one of the few companies to thrive under pandemic conditions, posting several consecutive record-breaking quarters. 

Perhaps in an effort to stave off unrest among retail staff (Cumberland is only one of the stores currently exploring unionization) Apple has stated it will increase pay to a starting wage of $22 per hour. “We are pleased to offer very strong compensation and benefits for full-time and part-time employees, including health care, tuition reimbursement, new parental leave, paid family leave, annual stock grants and many other benefits,” Apple told press today in a statement. (The pay increase, incidentally, was reported several hours after the aforementioned union-avoidance audio leaked to press.)

While an immediate setback, the withdrawal does not preclude CWA from attempting another union election — though it will have to wait at least six months to refile.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/apple-union-cumberland-georgia-cwa-intimidtion-235511083.html?src=rss

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27May/220

Microsoft’s free Top Gun ‘Flight Simulator’ expansion is finally here

Now that Top Gun: Maverick is finally reaching theaters, the matching Microsoft Flight Simulator expansion is launching as well. Microsoft and Asobo Studio have released the free add-on to both hype up the Tom Cruise movie and give you a taste of the US Navy's real-world flight training. You'll get a "Maverick Edition" livery for the F/A-18E Super Hornet fighter jet, but you'll also learn how to land on an aircraft carrier, perform combat maneuvers and navigate challenging terrain at low altitude.

There's also a more fantastical element. You'll fly a fictional hypersonic aircraft from the movie, the Darkstar, that can push Mach 10 and climb above 150,000 feet — for context, even the SR-71 Blackbird didn't manage sustained flight beyond 85,000 feet. This might be the closest you'll get to seeing Earth from the stratosphere, not to mention traveling at speeds that make cross-continent flights seem trivial.

Both the movie and game add-on have taken a long time to arrive. Top Gun: Maverick was originally slated to debut in July 2019, but the combination of action sequence filming and the COVID-19 pandemic pushed it back multiple times until Paramount settled on its May 27th premiere. As the Flight Simulator expansion was closely tied to the film, Microsoft and Asobo delayed the game content from November 2021 to this month. It's safe to say both will feel overdue if you've ever wanted to venture well beyond the limits of Flight Sim's usual civilian aircraft.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/microsoft-flight-simulator-top-gun-expansion-release-date-141229442.html?src=rss

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27May/220

The best smart lights you can buy

One of the best places to start when building a smart home ecosystem is smart lights. Not only are they relatively affordable compared to other IoT gadgets, often costing between $10 and $50 a bulb, but they can also completely change the feel of your home. You can go from boring and analogue to colorful and automated within minutes, and there are endless possibilities when it comes to creating funky-colored light scenes, setting schedules and more.

But like the rest of the smart home space over the last few years, there are now more players in smart lighting than ever before. We tested out some of the most popular smart lights on the market and found that most of them are quite good, but there are differences in compatibility, color quality and mobile app usability that are worth considering before deciding which system will be right for your home.

What to look for in smart light bulbs

Connectivity (to hub or not to hub)

One of the biggest appeals of smart lights is being able to control them from your phone. Most of them are able to do so by connecting to it via WiFi or Bluetooth, or via an external hub, which handles the connection for them. Bluetooth connectivity limits the range in which you’ll be able to control the light, so it’s only best for a limited number of bulbs and ones you don’t expect to control when you’re away.

WiFi smart lights are easy to set up and can be cheaper overall since they don’t require a hub to connect them. However, having something like a central Zigbee hub can make your whole system more reliable since its connection is separate from your home’s WiFi network. For that reason, hub-based bulbs tend to be more expandable, so we mainly recommend those if you want to eventually have dozens of smart lights around your home.

White or color?

Most smart bulbs you’ll find today are “white and color” bulbs, meaning they can glow in vibrant blues, pinks, greens and everything in between, as well as shine with different temperatures of white. But there are some white-only bulbs out there, and they are often a bit more affordable than their color counterparts. While we recommend springing for the white-and-color devices, if you’d prefer white only, make sure you’re getting a bulb that can span the temperature spectrum (typically from about 2000 to 5000 Kelvin), offering you various levels of warm and cool white light.

App features

One of the perks of smart lights is the amount of control you have over them thanks to their various app-connected capabilities. Most companion apps let you do things like set lighting schedules, group individual lights into room designations and create your own custom light “scenes” with different colors. But we have seen other features that aren’t as ubiquitous like vacation mode for automatically turning lights on and off to give the illusion that someone is home, and sync with media, which changes the colors of lights depending on the music you’re listening to or the game you’re currently live-streaming.

Smart home compatibility

If you use a virtual assistant like Amazon’s Alexa or the Google Assistant regularly, make sure the smart lights you get work with your favorite. All of the bulbs we tested supported both Amazon’s and Google’s virtual assistants, allowing you to use voice commands to turn lights on and off, dim them and more. The wildcard here is Siri and Apple’s HomeKit; while numerous smart bulbs have added HomeKit to their list of compatible connections, not all lights support Apple’s smart home framework.

Expandability

We alluded to this above, but you’ll want to consider how many smart lights you eventually want in your home. Some brands and systems are easier to expand than others, and we generally recommend going for hub-based bulbs if you plan on putting smart lights in every room in your home. If you’re only looking to deck out your home office or living room with some fancy lights, WiFi options should serve you well. Thankfully, these are some of the most affordable smart home devices you can get, so even if you don’t have a clear answer to this question now, you can reconsider your options down the line if you do decide to outfit your home with dozens of bulbs.

Engadget picks

Best overall: Philips Hue White + Color Ambiance

If you’ve done any research into smart lights, you’ve probably come across Philips Hue bulbs. The range is popular for a variety of reasons, and we agree they’re the best smart lights you can get thanks to their wide compatibility, easy to use mobile app and their expandability. Particularly, if you know you want to outfit more than one room in your home with these IoT devices, Philips Hue is the way to go.

The first thing that’s important to know about Hue bulbs is that they are now Bluetooth enabled. That means you can buy a few to try out first, then easily expand your system with a hub when you want to add more lights to your home. Previously, the hub was required for any and all lights, but now it’s much easier to dip your toe into the range before fully taking the plunge.

Like all of the other smart lights we tested, you only need to screw in a Hue bulb, turn on your light, and follow the instructions in the Philips Hue mobile app to start using it. Even if you only have the lights in one room to start, we still recommend grouping them into their own “room” in the Hue app so you can easily control the entire space’s environment at once.

Hue’s White + Color bulbs provide a range of warm to cool whites and millions of colors to experiment with. Colors are rich and vibrant, and Philips’ pre-programmed scenes, such as Energize, Bright and Relax, let you quickly emulate your old “dumb” lights with different warmth levels of white light. You can pick from a number of color scenes in the app, too, but it’s also easy to create your own. So if you’ve always wanted to flood your office with a rainbow of colors while you’re live-streaming on Twitch, you can find the precise presets you want, save them and then turn them on with just a few taps in the app.

The Hue app is pretty easy to use, and the bulbs support voice commands from Amazon’s Alexa and the Google Assistant. That means you don’t even have to open the app to control your lights; you can simply say “Alexa, turn off the bedroom lights” and only the lights in that designated room will extinguish. You’ll be able to add up to 10 bulbs to your system using Bluetooth alone – at which point you’ll have to add a hub into the mix to support up to 50 lights. The hub also enables things like HomeKit connectivity, light schedules and automations, home and away modes and syncing with movies and music.

Arguably the most useful of those features is automations, which lets you set on/off schedules for your lights, including automatically turning the lights off when you leave the house. It’s understandable why Philips would make these few features exclusive to those with Hue hubs – adding a hub into the mix makes the system more reliable, allowing you to do more with increasing numbers of connected lights, plus it will encourage many to invest in a hub and more Hue bulbs over time. We like Hue’s hub not only for its reliability, but also because it allows finer and more flexible control over your devices. So if you’re on vacation and want to turn on your living room lights to see what’s going on, you can do that.

Expandability goes beyond the number of lights you have in your home: It also includes lights you can install outside, too. The Hue range has a ton of indoor and outdoor bulbs to choose from, including recessed lights, outdoor pedestal and flood lights, light strips and more. It’s one of the few ranges available today that gives you a ton of options to make every bulb in and out of your home smart, which is important to consider if you know you want to go all in on the smart light front.

But that brings us to the biggest downside of Philips Hue, which is the price. Hue bulbs are on the expensive side, with a two-pack of White + Color Ambiance bulbs costing $80. If you’re looking for cheap bulbs to test out smart lighting, some of our other picks below will be better choices since most of them have lower prices per bulb. However, if smart lighting is something you want to invest in going forward, we recommend going with one of Philips’ Hue starter kits: the White + Color Ambiance starter kit, including three bulbs, a hub and a smart button, comes in at $180, which is cheaper than if you were to buy all of those components separately.

Buy White + Color Ambience kit (2 pack) at Amazon - $80 Buy White + Color Ambience starter kit at Amazon - $180

Runner up: LIFX Color E26

Overall, LIFX’s color smart lights are similar to Hue’s White + Ambiance bulbs in that they’re easy to set up, they offer striking, saturated colors and work with three major platforms: Alexa, Google Assistant and HomeKit. But the main difference is the LIFX bulbs are WiFi only, so you can’t connect them to a hub even if you wanted to, and some are slightly more expensive than Hue devices. The Color E26 bulb, which supports 1100 lumens, normally costs $50, but there’s an 800-lumen equivalent that’s a bit cheaper, coming in at $35 per bulb.

LIFX’s mobile app is also undoubtedly the slickest we tested. While that may not mean much to you, it’s worth mentioning because mobile apps are the way most people interact with their smart lights on a daily basis. The homepage features all of the room groups in your household, along with the names of the lights in each room. You can easily turn a whole room, or a specific light, on with just a tap, and do the same for all of the lights in your home.

LIFX lights support scheduling, so you can program lights to work for you so you rarely (if ever) have to control them manually, plus there are a plethora of scenes and effects to choose from. While all of the color lights we tried had pre-made scenes or presets ready to go in the app, Philips Hue and LIFX clearly had the most out of them all. Personally, I found LIFX’s scenes and additional effects to be a bit more fun and engaging than Hue’s. You can pick from scenes like “spooky” or “pastel” and use effects like “strobe” if you want to make your living room feel a bit more like a nightclub. While most people probably won’t use these niche scenes and effects on a regular basis, they’re great perks to have when you’re entertaining or just want to set the right vibe for your next movie night or game-streaming session.

LIFX has a number of products in its ecosystem, from standard A19 bulbs to lightstrips to candles. It has switches, too, so you can physically control your smart lights if you wish. But Philips Hue has all of those options too and more, including not just switches, but standalone floor lamps, outdoor spotlights, downlights, light bars and motion sensors. You’ll have more options with Hue if you want to convert all of your home’s lights to smart ones, and have multiple ways to control them, too.

Buy LIFX Color E26 at Amazon - $50

Best budget: TP-Link Kasa Smart WiFi Light Bulb

TP-Link’s Kasa brand is known for its solid yet affordable smart home devices and its smart lights are no different. We tested out the WiFi-only multicolor smart light bulbs and found them easy to install and use, and they provide a bunch of features at an affordable price; a four-pack of multicolor bulbs will only set you back $40.

Besides having a simple installation process, Kasa’s multicolor smart lights stayed reliably connected the whole time we tested them and the companion mobile app is simple and clean. All of the main functions for each light live in that bulb’s dedicated page in the app, allowing you to change brightness, white levels, color, schedules and more without navigating through a bunch of different menus. Changing colors is nearly instantaneous, and the light changes as you drag your finger across the color wheel in the app. Editing the four presets you’re able to save takes only a few taps, as does grouping multiple bulbs into rooms and creating lighting schedules. For the latter, if you do set on/off schedules, the app will show you the next step in that schedule (i.e., off at 8:35pm) next to each individual light.

There’s also a handy “usage” section in each light’s page that shows you the bulb’s energy use over time, plus an estimate of how much energy you’re saving by using a smart light instead of a regular one. This is something that would be fun to observe over many weeks and months of using these bulbs, especially if conserving energy is one of the main reasons you invested in smart lights in the first place.

TP-Link claims you can connect “unlimited” smart devices to its mobile app, which technically means you can have as many Kasa smart lights in your home as you’d like. We only tested a few together, so we can’t say for sure how dozens of connected devices would affect app speed and light response time. These are WiFi-only bulbs, which means connecting them to a Zigbee hub isn’t an option, so keep that in mind before deciding to invest in a house-full of these gadgets. It’s also worth noting that these lights aren’t compatible with Apple’s HomeKit, although you can control them using Alexa and Google Assistant commands.

Buy Kasa Smart WiFi Light Bulb (4 pack) at Amazon - $40

Best all white: LIFX White E26

Maybe you don’t want to bother with colored lights. If that’s the case, LIFX’s White E26 is your best bet. You get all of the non-color features in the mobile app that we explained above, including schedules and virtual assistant controls, but in a more basic light bulb that only costs $10.

My biggest gripe is that it doesn’t span the cool-to-warm temperature range than other bulbs do. Rather, you’re stuck with just one shade of white: 2700K, which is on the warmer side. This makes it better for intimate settings like a bedroom or a living room, but since it’s not overly warm, it could work in a home office, too. It’s also dimmable, so you can control its brightness.

If you have a specific use case in mind for your smart lights that doesn’t involve a rainbow of colors, these bulbs will more than suffice. They would work well in a child’s room, for instance, allowing you to set wake-up and sleep schedules that gradually turn on and off the lights, or in a home office where you just want a bit more control over your lights without extra frills.

Buy LIFX White E26 at Amazon - $10

Honorable mention: Sengled Smart Light Bulbs

Sengled’s Smart Light Bulbs deserve a shout because they’re essentially more affordable versions of the best bulbs mentioned here, just with a few compromises. Key among those is that their colors are less nuanced than most others we tested and the mobile app is less polished.

That said, you’re still getting millions of colors out of Sengled’s smart lights and the app is easy to use. It also provides all of the features you’d want from a smart light bulb, including grouping, schedules and automations. The fact that the Sengled mobile app isn’t as slick as Hue’s or LIFX’s may actually work in its favor with newbies – the basic controls and labels will be very easy for smart home novices to understand.

The bulbs we tested were WiFi-based, so they do not require a hub. However, Sengled has a bunch of other smart lights that work via WiFi, Bluetooth or hub connectivity. A pack of four WiFi color bulbs will set you back $30, while a set of six Zigbee hub-based lights costs only $100. Overall, Sengled’s devices are much more affordable than Hue’s, making them a good budget option regardless of whether you want to stick to WiFi or invest in a smart home hub like Sengled’s own or a device like Amazon’s Echo with a built-in hub.

Buy Sengled Smart Light Bulbs (4 pack) at Amazon - $30

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/best-smart-led-light-bulbs-143022856.html?src=rss

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27May/220

Sony is bringing ‘Horizon’ and ‘God of War’ TV shows to Netflix and Prime Video

Sony had a lot to discuss during its annual investor briefing, including plans to boost PlayStation 5 production and get the console into the hands of more people who want one. One of the more intriguing nuggets of news came during the QA, when the company confirmed it's adapting three more of its gaming properties into TV shows.

It said a show based on the Horizon games is on the way to Netflix and a God of War series is coming to Prime Video, IGN reports. PlayStation Productions also has a Gran Turismo TV show in development, but it hasn't been revealed where you'll be able to watch that. 

Details on the three projects are scant for now. It remains to be seen who will be cast as Aloy, Kratos, Atreus and other characters (I have my fingers crossed for Alan Cumming as Mimir) and just how the heck Sony plans to make a TV show out of Gran Turismo.

Turning some of its biggest games into TV shows and movies has been a major focus for Sony in recent years. After over a decade of trying to make an Uncharted movie, Sony Pictures finally released one this year. A Ghost of Tsushima film is in development too. On the TV front, a Twisted Metal series is on the way to Peacock, while filming on the first season of HBO's highly anticipated The Last of Us show is expected to wrap in the next few weeks.

Netflix and Amazon have been drawing from the rich well of video game IP too as of late. Netflix has animated shows based on League of Legends, Castlevania and Cuphead, while a live-action Resident Evil series will debut in July. Amazon, on the other hand, has a Fallout show in the pipeline and, if reports are to be believed, a Mass Effect show in the works.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/sony-horizon-god-of-war-gran-turismo-tv-shows-netflix-amazon-playstation-144132163.html?src=rss

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27May/220

PayPal has been laying off workers to reduce costs

PayPal has laid off workers in risk management and operations this week, according to Bloomberg. It's the latest in a series of layoffs within the company — and it also won't be the last. The publication says the payment processor also recently reduced its employee numbers in Chicago, Omaha, Nebraska and Chandler, Arizona. Further, it previously revealed that it was going to permanently lay off 80 people working in its headquarters in San Jose, California.

While the company approved plans to strategically reduce its workforce in 2020, these recent layoffs come after PayPal's growth showed signs of slowing down. In the first quarter of the year, spending on the platform increased by 15 percent to $323 billion, which is the smallest growth it has seen in five years. The lack of availability of certain products due to the global supply chain crisis may have contributed to that, as well as the fact that people returned to in-store shopping after pandemic restrictions had eased. 

PayPal spent $100 million in severance pays and other expenses related to the job cuts, and it expects to spend even more. In the long run, though, the restructuring will save the company $260 million a year. The payment processor is just one of the many tech companies that's reducing headcount or implementing freezing hires due to the economic slowdown. Microsoft, Meta and NVIDIA will limit their hiring due to tumbling stock prices and slowing sales and revenue growth. Uber and Lyft are also cutting back on hiring as part of their cost-cutting measures. More recently, Instacart announced that it's doing the same thing in order to focus on profitability ahead of its planned IPO.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/paypal-layoffs-053738188.html?src=rss

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27May/220

Microsoft confirms it’s taking a ‘new approach’ with its game streaming device

Earlier this month, a rumor suggested that Microsoft might be nearly ready to launch a Chromecast-like game streaming stick for its Xbox Cloud Gaming service. The company has now confirmed that such a device (codenamed Keystone) does exist, but it may not be coming any time soon after all, according to a report from Windows Central

"As announced last year, we’ve been working on a game-streaming device, codename Keystone, that could be connected to any TV or monitor without the need for a console," a Microsoft spokesperson told Windows Central. "We have made the decision to pivot away from the current iteration of the Keystone device. We will take our learnings and refocus our efforts on a new approach that will allow us to deliver Xbox Cloud Gaming to more players around the world in the future."

Last year, Microsoft confirmed that it was making Xbox video game streaming sticks and baking the technology into Smart TVs. "We're... developing standalone streaming devices that you can plug into a TV or monitor, so if you have a strong internet connection, you can stream your Xbox experience," the company said at the time. 

Since Stadia didn't light up the market as much as Google likely hoped, Microsoft may be taking stock of its own project. "As part of any technical journey, we are constantly evaluating our efforts, reviewing our learnings, and ensuring we are bringing value to our customers," the spokesperson said. 

Xbox Cloud Gaming (née xCloud) has rolled out to PCs, mobile devices and Xbox consoles as part of the $15/month Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription — though it's still technically in beta almost a year after launching widely. However, Stadia can run on Google's relatively inexpensive Chromecast devices, plus NVIDIA Shield TV and numerous Smart TVs. Microsoft is obviously being careful about its own streaming device, so it doesn't look like a launch is in the near future after all. 

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/microsoft-confirms-its-taking-a-new-approach-to-its-game-streaming-device-090144247.html?src=rss

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27May/220

Google Nest Audio bundle offers two smart speakers for just $120

If you're looking to get a few smart speakers for your connected home, this may be your chance to grab a handful at a discount. You can get a pair of Google Nest Audio smart speakers right now from Adorama for $120. If you just want the one, you can also grab a singular speaker for $65, saving $35 in the process.

The Google Nest Audio has always offered a robust music experience without a hefty price tag to go with it, but now it's even more affordable at $80 or 40 percent off the bundle's regular price. While we didn't find the Nest Audio to be quite on par with bigger music-focused speakers when it comes to audio quality when we tested it out, it still sounds a lot better than the Nest Mini.

Buy Google Nest Audio Smart Speaker 2-Pack at Adorama - $120
Buy Google Nest Audio Speaker at Adorama - $65

It's loud enough for small- and medium-sized rooms, and pairing two of them can deliver stereo sound. Since it's a Google smart speaker, it supports Assistant voice commands, and you can tell it to play what you want after linking it to your account and your music streaming services. Like other Nest speakers, it's covered in cloth for a clean, minimalist aesthetic that will complement most home decor. And at 7 inches tall and only 3 inches thick, it will fit in most places you decide to put it. 

If you'd rather get a smart display, the second-generation Google Nest Hub is also down to $65, which is $35 off the usual price and one of the best deals we've seen it dropped to an all-time low of $55 in March. Its bigger sibling, the Google Nest Hub Max is also on sale at Adorama for $179, or $50 off its retail price. With its 10-inch touchscreen, the Nest Hub Max is the biggest Google smart display available and also has the best sound quality. We gave it a score of 86 in our review, praising it not just for having a great display and sound quality, but also for its ability to double as a Nest Cam and to play and pause media with gestures.

Buy Google Nest Hub (2nd Gen) at Adorama - $65
Buy Google Nest Hub Max at Adorama - $179

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27May/220

The Morning After: Sony reveals plans for ‘Horizon’ and ‘God of War’ TV shows

Yes, Sony’s boosting PS5 production. It needs to. But during its investor briefing yesterday, the company also revealed it’s expanding its efforts to bring major PlayStation IPs to TVs in a non-interactive form. While a The Last of Us series is already on its way to HBO, Sony revealed planning is underway for a show based on the Horizon games, coming to Netflix.

Spreading the goodness around, Sony’s planning a God of War series for Amazon Prime Video, too. Less interesting, at least as a concept, there will also be a Gran Turismo show in the works.

— Mat Smith

 

The biggest stories you might have missed

Broadcom is buying VMware in a $61 billion mega-deal

It would be one of the largest tech acquisitions to date.

Broadcom isn't done attempting major acquisitions. The chip giant is buying cloud- and virtualization-focused software developer VMware for the equivalent of $61 billion in cash and stock. The move would fold Broadcom's software division into VMware and could create a cloud service powerhouse that helps companies run apps in all sorts of environments. It’s a lot of money, but Microsoft’s still-pending buyout of Activision Blizzard rings in at more: $68.7 billion.

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Oura made an 18-carat gold smart ring with Gucci

It comes with a lifetime subscription to its services.

Oura teamed up with fashion house Gucci to launch the limited-edition Gucci x Oura Ring. It’s made of black synthetic corundum and is adorned with the famous interlocking "G" and a braided torchon pattern, both in 18-carat yellow gold. You'll obviously pay a premium for this thing, now available at select stores around the world for $950. The good news is Oura's Lifetime Membership subscription is included in the price. This offers useful recovery insights and other metrics based on your activity, sleep and everything else.

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The best smart lights you can buy

Ditch the “dumb” bulbs.

Start with smart lights. Not only are they relatively affordable compared to other smart home gadgets, often as cheap as $10 a bulb, but they can also completely change the feel of your home. There are now more players in smart lighting than ever before, so we’ve tested out some of the best options.

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Sony says PSVR 2 will have at least 20 games at launch

Fingers crossed 'Half-Life: Alyx' is one of them.

PlayStation VR2 (PSVR 2) may not have a release date yet, but Sony clearly has big plans for it. At an investor briefing, the company revealed there’ll be at least 20 "major" PSVR 2 games available at the start. Crucially, these will include both first- and third-party titles.

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Microsoft's free ‘Top Gun Flight Simulator' expansion is finally here

Eagle one, fox three.

With Top Gun: Maverick finally in theaters, the matching Microsoft Flight Simulator expansion is launching as well. The free add-on offers a taste of the US Navy's real-world flight training. You'll get a Maverick Edition livery for the F/A-18E Super Hornet fighter jet, learn to land on an aircraft carrier and perform combat maneuvers.

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What we bought: A $200 pepper mill

His new favorite kitchen gadget.

If you’re going to upgrade your kitchen tools, go hard. That’s what Sam Rutherford did with his pepper mill, upgrading from pre-filled disposable mills to the $200 Pepper Cannon. What. A. Name.

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Article source: https://www.engadget.com/the-morning-after-sony-reveals-plans-for-horizon-and-god-of-war-tv-shows-111615041.html?src=rss

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