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Alphabet saw its revenue dip due to the pandemic

Though advertising money pretty much disappeared everywhere, Google still made money from its Cloud products. “Customers are choosing Google Cloud to either lower their costs by improving operating efficiency, or to drive innovation through digital transformation,” Pichai said. The shift to working from home also led to a growth in use of Google’s cloud services. The company saw a number of large customers come on to cloud, he said, pointing to “big telco deals and banking deals” and Deutsche Bank as a few examples.

Beyond advertising and Cloud revenue, Pichai said the company saw “good traction in areas such as YouTube subscriptions, Google Play and YouTube premium music and TV subscriptions performed well during the quarter.” App and game downloads are up 35 percent year over year, Pichai added. Clearly, people are continuing to use their phones and going to YouTube for entertainment as they remain at home.

Pichai also gave a shoutout to the hardware team, saying he was excited for new devices coming this fall. It’s been more than a year since Google launched its midrange Pixel 3a phone, and we’ve been waiting for the much-anticipated Pixel 4a for months. Today, the company teased that a device was coming soon by plastering its own social media channels with playful images.

Alphabet also saw money come in through its Other Bets division. That segment made $148 million this quarter, “primarily generated by Fiber and Verily,” according to Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat.

Looking forward, Porat said revenue had gradually improved during the quarter, but that “it’s premature to gauge the durability of recent trends.” Based on her estimates, though, Porat said there were modest improvements in July. “We remain optimistic about the underlying strength of our business,” she added.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/google-alphabet-q1-2020-earnings-210401873.html

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Apple achieves a quarterly record amid iPhone launch uncertainty

It seems like Apple's steady cadence of product releases in the midst of a pandemic has seriously paid off. The company released its Q3 2020 earnings this afternoon, in which it reported $59.7 billion in quarterly revenue and $11.25 billion in net income -- that's up significantly compared to Apple's performance in the year-ago quarter. According to CEO Tim Cook, healthy growth across Apple's product and services divisions and notable sales gains around the world over the past three months have been enough to make this a record-setting quarter. 

“The record business results drove our active installed base of devices to an all-time high in all of our geographic segments and all major product categories," said Apple CFO Luca Maestri in a statement. "We grew EPS by 18 percent and generated operating cash flow of $16.3 billion during the quarter, a June quarter record for both metrics.”

Let's take a closer look at the numbers: iPhone sales grew from $25.9 billion this time last year to just over $26.4 billion, thanks in part to the release of the iPhone SE and the lifting of some shelter-in-place orders, Cook said. iPads sales surged to $6.6 billion from just about $5 billion, and the company sold $7.1 billion worth of Macs — that’s an increase of around 20 percent. Apple's computers are usually the products least prone to unusual sales spikes, and some believe this lift in revenue may be thanks to a shift to working away from traditional offices. (Or, maybe they just wanted those improved keyboards.) Wearables, meanwhile, hit $6.45 billion in revenue in this June quarter, a record for a non-holiday stretch.

While it's easy to look at this quarter as a feather in Apple's cap, investors and analysts are especially curious to see if the company offers any guidance about its performance next quarter. During Qualcomm's post-earnings conference call the other day, the chipmaker noted that it expects much lower 5G devices sales in its September quarter because an unnamed customer was forced to delay a “global 5G handset launch.” Samsung is gearing up to launch a slew of new devices seemingly on schedule, and  Huawei -- now the world's biggest smartphone vendor -- uses its own homemade Kirin chipsets. Apple seems to be the most likely party. 

Update: Apple CFO Luca Maestri confirmed during the company’s post-earnings conference call that its new iPhones will indeed be delayed by ‘a few weeks.’

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/apple-q3-2020-earnings-new-record-210924555.html

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The recent ad boycott hasn’t slowed down Facebook

During a call with analysts, Mark Zuckerberg said that hate speech and misinformation are only a “small part” of the content on Facebook. “We do not profit from misinformation or hate,” he said.

It’s not necessarily a surprise that Facebook would continue to flourish in the face of an advertiser backlash. While large corporations made headlines for pausing their spending, most of Facebook’s ad dollars comes from thousands of smaller businesses that aren’t able to abandon the platform as easily. Still, the results underscore just dominant Facebook is.

Facebook also continued to see a surge in user growth, a trend the company has attributed to coronavirus-induced lockdowns, which have driven more users to Facebook-owned services. Facebook grew its daily active users to 1.79 billion, up 12 percent from 2019, while DAUs for its “family of apps” grew to nearly 2.5 billon.

The company did caution that user growth would slow next quarter as things “normalize” and more people are able to resume their everyday activities.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/facebook-22-2020-ad-revenue-212354888.html

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2K’s upcoming NFL games will feature real pro players

2K's forthcoming football games will feature real NFL pros thanks to a new deal the publisher signed with the NFL Players Association. The agreement allows the company to use the names, numbers, images and likenesses of more than 2,000 current professional NFL players.

“We’re thrilled to be working with the NFLPA and OneTeam to bring the biggest and best stars in football to the games we’re working on,” said 2K President David Ismailer. “We want to give fans experiences that are authentic, memorable and fun, and having a roster of real-life sports heroes through the Players Association and OneTeam is a huge part of delivering on that promise.”

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2k-nfl-players-association-agreement-212819952.html

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Apple confirms its new iPhones will be delayed by a ‘few weeks’

While this will likely be the first time all of Apple’s new iPhones will miss a September release, some individual models announced beside a pair of stablemates have shipped afterwards. The original iPhone X was revealed alongside the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus in September 2017, but wasn’t released until November that year. Then, the following year, the iPhone XR was released a month after the iPhone XS and XS Max hit store shelves.

Rumors of delayed iPhone launch have been making the rounds for months now, and the idea of delay got a significant boost the other day after Qualcomm released its own quarterly earnings. The chipmaker said it expected 5G devices sales in its September quarter because an unnamed customer was forced to delay a “global 5G handset launch.” Considering the general regularity of Apple’s launch schedule, the fact that Qualcomm committed to help Apple launch its first 5G iPhone, and the imminent launches of rival devices like the Galaxy Note 20, and today’s announcement feels a lot like a foregone conclusion.

Even with this additional clarity, Apple’s iPhone launch window still feels unusually nebulous — prognosticators estimating that Apple wouldn’t release its newest smartphones until November or December. While that may still be true — who knows what “a few” means in this case — Maestri’s language was clearly meant to suggest a milder delay. It’s also unclear whether Apple will choose to hold its launch event (virtual or otherwise) in September as always, before launching all of the new models at once. In the meantime, however, Maestri was quick to note that Apple expected strong sales from all of its other, non-iPhone products.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/apple-confirms-iphone-12-delay-a-few-weeks-213946584.html

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Epic Games Store adds support for community-made mods

Last year, Epic shared a publicly available roadmap detailing all the features it's working on adding to its digital games marketplace. One of those, mod support, is now available — albeit in beta form.    

The company announced on Twitter that MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries is the first title on the Epic Games Store to include support for community-made modifications. "This is an early iteration of the feature, but you can expect to see more times supported in the future," said Epic. The tool will allow you to browse both player- and developer-made mods. It will also handle automatically installing them. The company has been working on mod support since last summer. At the time, Epic said, "This is a huge feature which will take a long time to build."

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/epic-games-store-mod-support-222705227.html

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Twitter pins its July 15th breach on a phone spear phishing attack

Two weeks after a massive breach saw hackers take over some of the most prominent accounts on Twitter — including Barack Obama, Elon Musk, Joe Biden and Bill Gates — the company has published more details about how it happened. While a number of people from the “OGUsers” gray market forum provided details about a “Kirk” who was the source of access to internal tools, it was unclear how they came by that access in the first place.

According to Twitter, the answer is a phone spear phishing attack that targeted a “small number” of employees who did not all have access to management tools. However, attackers then “used their credentials to access our internal systems and gain information about our processes.” Twitter didn’t confirm a report that the access came from finding logins for the admin tool in a Slack channel, but it didn’t quite rule that out either, nor did it provide any clarity about who may have been behind the initial attack.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/twitter-bitcoin-scam-hack-013715592.html

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After Starship test fire Elon Musk expects 150m hop ‘soon’

Elon Musk’s hopes for Starship to reach orbit before this spring didn’t quite pan out, but a recent test firing has the SpaceX CEO expecting to see the company’s new vehicle take flight shortly. On Thursday he tweeted that its new SN5 build completed a full duration static fire, and said a 150m test hop will happen “soon.” Of course, ten days ago he said there would be a flight attempt within a week, but they are making progress.

Last August we saw SpaceX’s Starhopper test vehicle complete a 150m Raptor-powered “bounce” and sooner or later the actual Starship will make a similar test flight. The company has continued to iterate on its design and pressure test prototypes — we remember SN4’s end — as it moves closer to actual flight. If there’s any information on a webcast of the event, we’ll let you know. Even with the Crew Dragon scheduled for a return this weekend, SpaceX’s priority is the Starship project.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/spacex-starship-test-g-050603573.html

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Amazon gets FCC approval for its Project Kuiper broadband satellites

The FCC has unanimously approved Amazon’s Project Kuiper, giving the tech giant the go-ahead to deploy and operate a constellation of 3,236 satellites. Amazon asked the FCC for permission to launch thousands of Low Earth Orbit satellites in July 2019, just a few months months after announcing the project. Similar to SpaceX’s Starlink constellation, Kuiper’s purpose is to provide satellite-based broadband services. Amazon is hoping to help expand internet access to households and businesses in remote areas across the United States and around the world.

The company plans to invest over $10 billion on the project, which will be deployed in five phases. According to the FCC, Amazon must be done deploying half of Kuiper’s satellites by 2026, and the whole constellation must be in place by July 30th, 2029.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/amazon-fcc-approval-project-kuiper-065621687.html

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Google tightens Chrome’s autofill security with biometric checks

Google has rolled out a couple of security tools to protect the financial info and passwords you saved with Chrome’s autofill feature. One of them will allow you to verify your identity using biometric information, such as your fingerprint, whenever you want to use your credit card online.

Currently, autofill requires you to type in your card’s CVC every time you use it. But if you choose to switch on biometric authentication — it’s completely optional and can be found in Chrome’s Settings page — you only have to type in your CVC the first time you use a card. This could help prevent card loss or theft, since you don’t need to take out your CC anymore in case you’re in public. You can already rely on the feature to retrieve your card details on Chrome for Windows and Mac, and it’s coming to Android in the next few weeks.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/google-chrome-autofill-security-081503671.html

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