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31Mar/160

Dyson’s latest air purifier measures your air quality

To make the Dyson Link app more worthwhile, the company teamed up with air quality data analytics company, BreezoMeter, in order to let you compare your home's air quality, temperature and humidity with live outdoor data. It'll also warn you about high pollen count as well, in case your nose isn't so keen on that kind of stuff.

Leaving the air quality monitoring, the app and the slightly modified remote controller aside, the Pure Cool Link is otherwise virtually identical to its predecessor. It features the same cylindrical glass HEPA filter with a layer of activated carbon granules, which claims to filter out "99.97 percent of pollutants and allergens as small as 0.3 microns from the air;" or change that to 99.95 percent for as tiny as 0.1 micron. This means particles like pollen, bacteria, mold, Asbestos, odors, tobacco smoke and even carbon dust are easily trapped.

Following Japan's retail launch yesterday, the Pure Cool Link's tower variant is immediately available on Dyson's US website today for $499.99, which is actually what the earlier Pure Cool originally cost. If you want to check out the device in person, it'll be in select major stores from April 11th onwards. UK (£450) and Western Europe will also be selling the Pure Cool Link as of March 31st, followed by Canada, China and South East Asia in April.

Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2016/03/30/dyson-pure-cool-link/

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31Mar/160

Elon Musk says this is ‘part 1’ of the Tesla Model 3 reveal

If you're ready for Tesla's $35,000 electric vehicle and have $1,000 ready to put down, then your day has dawned -- at least in Australia. Elon Musk tweeted a pic of the Model 3 pre-order line down under where it's already March 31st, while the rest of us get ready for the company's LA event tomorrow night at 11:30PM ET. Of course we'll be on hand for what he says is just "part 1 of the Model 3 unveil," with a part 2 scheduled for closer to its production in late 2017. In yet another tweet, Musk promised a follower we will "see the car very clearly, but some important elements will be added and some will evolve."

Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2016/03/30/elon-musk-says-this-is-part-1-of-the-tesla-model-3-reveal/

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31Mar/160

Microsoft hopes Cortana will lead an army of chatbots to victory

WeChat's business-bots

WeChat is a Chinese chat app with more than 650 million active users. Years ago, local businesses began taking advantage of its popularity, creating accounts not just to field customer service inquiries but also to process purchases and reservations. This started with human representatives manually handling requests, but companies began to automate the process using chatbots.

Microsoft is very familiar with WeChat: It's run numerous tests on the service, with varying success -- it once deployed 100,000 bots on the platform, only to have them pulled down within days. The company's now-famous -- or perhaps infamous -- Twitter bot Tay is actually a sibling to Xiaoice, a bot that's lived peacefully on WeChat, as well as Weibo and Line, for years. It should come as no surprise, then, that Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella called out WeChat on stage today, noting how easy it's made interacting with businesses in China. Qi Lu, Microsoft's senior vice president in charge of Bing, Skype and Office, made the inspiration clearer: He told Bloomberg Businessweek that the power of chatbots "was somewhat accidentally invented by WeChat," adding that Microsoft now "has a leadership role to play" in the field.

Modern interpretations

Despite dabbling with WeChat for the past few years, Microsoft is a little late to the functional chatbot party. Ostensibly, the Amazon Echo is an intelligent wireless speaker. In reality, it's all about "Alexa," Amazon's voice-based functional chatbot. Alexa is always listening and can answer basic queries – the sort you'd give to present-day Siri or Cortana – but it also lets you order stuff from Amazon or pay off your Capital One credit card bill. The retail giant has been rapidly iterating on the platform, and the recent spate of new hardware shows its dedication to the cause.

Facebook, too, has been experimenting with the idea of chatbots. Its "M" assistant, currently in a limited test, can handle all sorts of inquiries. It uses both Facebook's pool data on you and conversational AI to let you buy or book almost anything (BuzzFeed pushed this to the Nth degree to rent an army of parrots). M is in an extremely early phase right now and relies heavily on human workers, but this isn't the long-term plan. The employees are apparently training the AI on how to deal with requests, which it's hoped will let Facebook deploy a less human-dependent bot in the future.

Google's also supposedly working on an AI-powered chat assistant, according to a December report from The Wall Street Journal. It'll apparently mirror M in many ways, but until we hear more about it — perhaps at Google I/O in June — it's difficult to say how it'll differentiate itself. The one thing we can say for sure is Amazon, Facebook and Google are all powerhouses that would love to be the conduit by which you live your life online. Sure, Amazon might be more focused on selling you things, from its store, and Google might want more data for advertisers, but when it comes to personal assistants, the goal is similar.

Microsoft's approach

Microsoft is coming at this from a slightly different angle, though. Facebook may know a lot about you, but it doesn't have your private data, it doesn't have access to your files and it can't track what you do outside of your web browser. Cortana is already a cornerstone of Windows, and at BUILD today Microsoft showed the personal assistant keeping track of various presenters' lives, from daily interactions with colleagues to recalling which toy store someone had visited a year ago. It's also available on iOS and Android, albeit in a less-powerful form.

Microsoft's plan to transform Cortana from a helpful personal assistant into a fully fledged chatbot is simple: Make companies build their bots that play nice with its own. To that end, it released the Microsoft Bot Framework, a tool to create AIs that can be deployed across a wide variety of services. On stage the presentation demonstrated a simple Domino's bot that could process pizza orders on its own. Although the demonstrations were largely shown in the Skype app, the bots are platform independent. The company confirmed compatibility with third-party services like Slack and Telegram, and even SMS. It's clear from this broad compatibility that Microsoft wants its bots to be everywhere.

The Domino's bot had the safety net of a human operator when things went awry. Even when the fleshbag takes over, though, the bot is still suggesting dialog and making sure orders are processed using the correct syntax. That's vital when you consider Microsoft's endgame here: It wants Cortana to be able to talk to Domino's on your behalf. By creating a free, open-source framework for companies to build upon, it's essentially ensuring that Cortana will be able to talk to a vast network of business without issue. Companies, for their part, get a functional chatbot that works with or without Microsoft's assistant.

The move echoes Microsoft's strategy at large. Under Nadella, the company has accepted that it can't be everything to everyone but wants to make sure it's relevant in as many markets as possible. And if everyone uses Microsoft's framework, the cross-platform Cortana will be an enviable position versus Amazon's Alexa and Facebook's M.

Competing platforms

It's worth noting, though, that Facebook has made moves to open up its Messenger platform. The social media giant has apparently gone so far as to secretly release a chatbot SDK of its own to select developers. The SDK reportedly lets developers build apps for Messenger that facilitate purchasing goods, making reservations – basically everything Microsoft's does. Whether Facebook will release this SDK publicly isn't clear, but the chances of it playing nice with services outside of Facebook's purview seem slim. Google, too, if the rumors are to be believed, is building its own platform, and encouraging developers to build bots for it, building on its efforts to integrate third-party services into Google Now.

Microsoft, on the other hand, is being remarkably open in its efforts to attract developers. Its framework is available on Github, rather than a company developer portal. It has clear guidelines, and can be coded in either C# (one of Microsoft's languages) or the open-source node.js environment. Stefan Rimola, a front-end web developer at Engadget, says the documentation and language choices make it "easy to pick up" for a "broad spectrum" of devs.

But herein lies the problem. As sound as Microsoft's strategy seems, it can't go it alone. The company has had big problems attracting developers since the modern Windows era began. It's made steps towards rectifying that, like buying Xamarin to encourage the use of Windows as a cross-platform development tool, or surprising the world by integrating the Linux command line into Windows. Its cross-platform, open approach with the chatbot echoes this attitude.

There's no way of telling if companies will embrace Microsoft. Chances are Facebook, Amazon, Google and Apple are all shooting for the same thing. We could end up with multiple competing bot platforms (just as with chat apps themselves), each with access only to certain third-party services. If Microsoft can get developers on board and establish a lead, maybe it can persuade Facebook, Amazon, Google and Apple to play nice with its framework. But that's a big if.

Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2016/03/30/microsoft-build-cortana-chatbot-ai/

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31Mar/160

Soccer legend Pele suing Samsung over doppelganger

As Reuters reports, the lawsuit documents, filed by the firm which owns his trademark and publicity rights worldwide, called Pelé IP Ownership LLC, also point to Samsung's use of a photo portraying a "modified bicycle or scissors-kick, perfected and famously used by Pelé" in its advertisement. (Here's a picture, in case you've never seen Pelé's trademark move before.)

The ad in question. [Image credit: Webber Represents]

We reached out to Samsung and a spokesperson said the company had no comment on the lawsuit.

Much like Pelé, other celebrities are keen to keep control of their image for marketing purposes. Lindsay Lohan (Freaky Friday, Mean Girls), for instance, is currently involved in a legal situation with Rockstar Games: She sued the developer over the likeness of a character in Grand Theft Auto V. Even though these two cases are different, this shows that these personalities aren't afraid to go to court when need be.

Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2016/03/30/pele-samsung-lawsuit/

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31Mar/160

AOL chief wants to turn the company into an ad empire

To hit that goal Armstrong will use a few different tactics, starting with a bid for Yahoo according to WSJ's sources. If it goes through, current chief Marissa Mayer could be without a job, but AOL would gain the firm's billion monthly users -- not far to go to hit two billion after that. The other bit in this empire business will involve advertising based on AOL's internal data sets.

Apparently Armstrong was taking meetings during CES with a plethora of ad companies, describing a hypothetical situation where a hotel chain would grant Verizon access to a database of its frequent visitors. Basically this would be a homegrown version of a direct marketing database, leveraging AOL's customer profiles. That sort of thing won't be feasible until later this year, from the sounds of it, but a pilot group of advertisers currently have access.

With the supercookie effectively crumbled, now we have another potentially invasive tracing technique to deal with. Well, that and Go90.

Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2016/03/30/aol-bid-for-yahoo/

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31Mar/160

Watch the live ‘Final Fantasy XV’ event right here

Square Enix is calling today's big event in Los Angeles Uncovered: Final Fantasy XV, so prepare for some serious revelations. The game has been in development for a decade, and it hasn't been a particularly smooth ride. It was originally called Final Fantasy Versus XIII and it was under the direction of longtime Final Fantasy contributor Tetsuya Nomura, but more than half-way through development it changed names and directors. Final Fantasy XV as we know it is directed by Hajime Tabata, the director of Final Fantasy Type-0, Agito and Type-0 HD.

Final Fantasy XV has been a long time coming and today we might figure out exactly (and officially) when, how and why it will finally arrive. Watch the Uncovered event live with us, right here at 7PM PT (10PM ET).

Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2016/03/30/final-fantasy-xv-uncovered-livestream/

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31Mar/160

Facebook Messenger launches its first airline bot

Facebook Messenger has a new bot, and this one can deliver all your flight info to one thread. The Messenger team has announced that its first airline partner's, the KLM Royal Dutch Airlines', bot is up and running in some locations and will be more widely available in the coming days. You have to choose to receive info via Messenger when you book tickets through the airline's website to be able to take advantage of its new feature. Once you do, the bot can send you your itinerary, boarding pass, check-in confirmation and even delay notifications through the app. It also gives you the choice to talk to a human staff member in case you have questions way above the bot's pay grade.

Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2016/03/30/facebook-messenger-first-airline-bot/

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31Mar/160

‘Final Fantasy XV’ is getting a movie and an anime series

Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV is a 3D-animated movie (remember Advent Children?), focusing on King Regis (the protagonist's pop) once your characters leave the city.. Kingsglaive will be released digitally in 2016. Voice talent will include Aaron Paul, Lena Headey and Sean Bean -- the latter's character will probably die, because, you know, Sean Bean.

The anime being headed up by the same studio that worked on Sword Art Online, and you can expect story exposition, character development, diners and bromance. The entire series will launch ahead of the game, with a total of five ten-minute episodes streaming on YouTube -- and it will be completely free. The first episode is available now.

Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2016/03/30/final-fantasy-xv-movie-anime/

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31Mar/160

‘Final Fantasy XV’ lands September 30th

"Unfortunately we weren't able to do simultaneous development on a PC and console version for XV," he said. "We had to focus on the console version and our goal was to maximize, optimize everything for the HD consoles. Once that's done, then we will definitely take a good, hard look at PC and what we need to do, and consider all our options. But right now we aren't decided, we're still considering a lot of things." For Xbox One and PS4 players, there is a Deluxe Edition and Ultimate Collector's Edition available to purchase on the official Square Enix online store.

FFXV stars Prince Noctis and his friends as they take one final, epic road trip together before Noctis is married to a neighboring princess. Players will control Noctis only throughout the entire game, though his friends are independent AI helpers and he can give commands to them.

The main characters in FFXV have rich backstories and personalities, and these will be on full display in two supplemental pieces of media set to launch before the game itself. Brotherhood: Final Fantasy XV is a five-episode animated series from A-1 Pictures, the studio behind Sword Art Online and Black Butler. Its story focuses on the strong emotional bonds connecting Noctis and his best buds, and explains how they became friends. The first episode is available now for free on YouTube.

Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV is a full-length, 3D-animated feature film a la Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, directed by veteran Final Fantasy director and animator Takeshi Nozue. It takes place during the events of FFXV, but it focuses on King Regis (Noctis' dad) and the Crown City once the bro trip leaves the kingdom. Game of Thrones stars Lena Headey and Sean Bean provide their voice-acting talents to the film, as does Breaking Bad actor Aaron Paul. Kingsglaive will be released digitally in 2016, and the studio is still figuring out if it will pursue other formats as well.

FFXV has traveled a long and rocky path toward release: Square Enix announced it in 2006 under the name Final Fantasy Versus XIII, but over the years, it changed titles and directors. Final Fantasy XV is led by Type-0 director Tabata, who took over from long-time Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts mastermind Tetsuya Nomura.

Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2016/03/30/final-fantasy-xv-release-date-anime-movie-pc/

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31Mar/160

Google makes it easier to bring VR to your apps and the web

It's a seemingly simple effort, but it could mean a lot for VR adoption. If it's trivial to add VR to apps and the web, you're more likely to see it used on a regular basis -- not just for the occasional experiment. You'll still need VR gear to make this more than a click-and-drag experience, of course, but it's still an important piece of the puzzle.

Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2016/03/30/google-vr-view/

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