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Windows 11 will be available on October 5th

After months of hype, Windows 11 has a release date. Microsoft has announced that Windows 11 will be available on October 5th, both as a free upgrade for qualifying Windows 10 systems as well as new PCs shipping with the OS pre-installed.

Don't assume you'll get the upgrade on day one, though. This is a gradual rollout that will prioritize newer hardware and use "intelligence models" to determine who gets the upgrade first, including reliability and device age. All supporting machines will get the update by mid-2022, but this suggests you may be toward the back of the queue if you're using relatively old hardware. At least some shipping Windows 10 PCs will be on the fast track for Windows 11 updates, including models from Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Samsung and (of course) Microsoft.

Notably, though, Android app support won't be available on launch. Microsoft now only expects to introduce the feature in a Windows Insider preview build sometime in the "coming months." That's not completely shocking given the challenges of translating mobile apps to a mouse-and-keyboard experience, but this still means one of Windows 11's tentpole features won't be available for a long while.

The new platform centers on a refreshed interface with a new Start interface, Snap Layouts, widgets and Teams integration. You'll also find a redesigned Microsoft Store that even lets third-party stores operate within its walls. Technology like DirectX 12, DirectStorage and Auto HDR also promise to help gamers.

This might not be Microsoft's smoothest launch, however. On top of the delayed Android feature, Microsoft sparked some confusion with relatively steep hardware requirements that have evolved over time and include demands for security features like TPM 2.0. Microsoft will technically let you install Windows 11 on unsupported hardware, but you might be denied updates unless you're willing to install new OS images on a frequent basis. Unlike Windows 10, then, you can't just assume your years-old computer will run this software without a hitch — there's a chance you'll have to upgrade your hardware first, even if it's still fast enough for your needs.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/windows-11-release-date-132605467.html?src=rss

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Hyundai’s next robotaxi is an upgraded Ioniq 5 EV

Motional, the autonomy-focused joint venture from Hyundai and Aptiv, has chosen its next robotaxi — and it's entirely what you'd expect. The company has revealed that its first commercial robotaxi will be based on the Ioniq 5, adding self-driving hardware (cameras, LiDAR and radar) to the brand new EV. It'll also include in-cabin interfaces to give passengers some options during their ride, such as asking for an extra stop.

The crossover includes "safety redundancies" to keep critical systems running. Motional can also take remote control if the robotaxi doesn't know how to handle a given situation — likely necessary when this is a Level 4 self-driving car that can't quite operate autonomously under all conditions.

The driverless Ioniq 5 will enter service in 2023 through Motional's partnership with Lyft. While it isn't surprising that Motional would pick a Hyundai car over previous examples (such as the BMWs Aptiv used), this might be an ideal fit — it's a roomy, zero-emissions car with a 300-mile range. That might also give Motional a slight edge over other manufacturer-linked robotaxi services, such as GM's Cruise (which currently relies on the smaller, shorter-ranged Bolt EV).

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/hyundai-motional-ioniq-5-robotaxi-140055037.html?src=rss

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Google Calendar can show how much of your time is taken up by meetings

Most of us have had meetings that simply could have been an email. Google Calendar will soon provide insights on how you spend your work day, including how long you spend in meetings, so you can find out just how much time you could be saving if your bosses sent memos instead.

This idea behind Time Insights is for you to gain a better understanding of how your time is taken up, so perhaps you can make adjustments if you're spending too much time in Zoom calls or conference rooms. For instance, maybe you can consolidate meetings if you spend many of them with the same people.

The feature can highlight the days and times where you tend to be in meetings the most. You'll also see a time breakdown (including the average time spent in meetings each day) and details about the people with whom you're in meetings most often. When you hover over a person, Google Calendar will highlight all the meetings they're included in.

Time Insights will only be visible on computers, not mobile devices. The insights will typically only be visible to you, but if you manage other people's calendars and they've enabled the “manage sharing access” permission, you'll be able to see their Time Insights too.

Workspace admins will be able to turn the feature off, but other users won't have that option. You can, however, hide Time Insights by closing the bar on the right of the screen.

Time Insights is coming to certain Google Workspace accounts (i.e. Business Standard, Business Plus, Enterprise Standard, Enterprise Plus, Education Plus and Nonprofits users). It won't be available to those on other plans, including G Suite Basic and Business users. Workspace admins should see it within the next couple of weeks. Google will roll out Time Insights to Rapid Release domains and Scheduled Release domains on September 6th and 20th, respectively. The rollout will take up to 15 days on each type of domain.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/google-calendar-time-insights-meetings-workspace-144136600.html?src=rss

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Strava makes its location sharing safety feature free

Social fitness network Strava has made one of its most useful safety features available to all users. Starting today, anyone — not just those with a subscription — can use the app’s Beacon feature to share their location with friends and family members.

To enable the feature, tap the “You” tab at the bottom of the main interface and then the cog icon that appears near the top right corner. Once you’re in the settings menu, scroll down until you see the relevant section and toggle the feature on. With Beacon, you can share your location with up to three people. When you add a list of safety contacts to the app, Strava will automatically notify those individuals when you start recording an activity. Another option is to manually text a Beacon link to a friend or family if you don’t want to flood them with notifications each time you go out for a spin.

As a free user, you won’t be able to use the Beacon functionality through a connected device like a Wahoo bike computer or Apple Watch. Strava says that’s something that you will still need a subscription to access “due to the added complexity of supporting those integrations.” One other thing to keep in mind is the software will only share your location as long as you’re recording an activity. Either way, making a safety tool like Beacon free in most contexts is a good move for Strava, particularly after the company moved some previously free features behind a subscription.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/strava-beacon-feature-available-free-users-160045955.html?src=rss

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Chrome beta’s experimental cards help you resume recent tasks

Google might just save you from hitting your browser's "back" button (or sifting through your history) more than you'd like. The company is rolling out a Chrome beta feature that adds New Tab Page cards (pictured below) for resuming recent tasks. You can quickly jump back to your shopping cart, a recipe or a Google Doc you were working on. You'll have to switch this on by enabling the #ntp-modules flag, but it could be helpful if you'd rather not backtrack through your page visits just to pick up where you left off.

Another addition will help you avoid a back-and-forth when digging through your search results. An experimental feature adds a row below Chrome's address bar on Android to display the rest of your search results. If one link wasn't what you were looking for, you won't have to tap "back" to check out the rest. You can try the row by enabling the #continuous-search flag.

The Android beta will help you share pithy sayings, too. Enable the #webnotes-stylize flag and Chrome will create stylized images from quotes. You just have to share highlighted text and tap "create card" to choose a template.

It's not certain if or when these features will be active by default in Chrome. Don't be surprised if Google changes or even cuts them based on feedback. With that said, they appear to be helpful enough that it might just be a matter of time before they reach more users. 

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/chrome-beta-task-cards-search-row-160050399.html?src=rss

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‘NBA 2K22’ enhancements include tweaks to dribbling, blocking and shooting

With NBA 2K22’s September 10th release date fast approaching, 2K has shared a first look at the game’s PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S version. The publisher calls this a gameplay reveal, but it's mostly a showcase of what developer Visual Concepts managed to do with the new hardware from Sony and Microsoft. Thankfully, the studio also published a new Courtside Report that details some of the gameplay enhancements players can look forward to when they pick the game up next month.

To start, Visual Concepts says it completely rebuilt the shot contest and blocking systems, as well as made a significant update to how the game handles defensive rotations. When it comes to moving a player up the court, the studio promises tighter controls that will allow you to put together new combos in creative ways.

But some of the most significant changes look like they’re coming to how the game handles shooting. NBA 2K22 will feature a new shot meter that will dynamically change depending on the abilities of the player you’re controlling and whether their shot is contested. According to Visual Concepts, NBA 2K22 will put a greater emphasis on Shot IQ. You’ll be more successful if you take the time to find an open teammate and take a smart shot. For players who like to drive to the basket, there’s a new dunk style creator that will allow you to customize their dunk repertoire.

Outside of those improvements, fans of women's basketball can look forward to much-improved WNBA mode. All told, it looks like NBA 2K's second PS5 and Xbox Series X outing should be a good one. 

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/nba-2k22-gameplay-trailer-playstation-5-xbox-series-x-161855428.html?src=rss

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Facebook will reduce political content in the News Feed starting today

Facebook is planning to reduce political content in the News Feed starting today, it confirmed to Engadget. The move, which was first reported by Axios, follows tests in the US, Canada, Brazil and Indonesia earlier this year, where Facebook limited political content. The company plans to expand the tests to Costa Rica, Sweden, Spain and Ireland.

"These changes are in response to common feedback from our community," a Facebook spokesperson told Engadget. "We conduct ongoing research with people to hear what parts of Facebook are working well for them, and to gather feedback about what we could be doing better. One of the themes we’ve heard is that some people feel that there’s too much political content in their News Feeds. We hope these changes address this feedback and preserve the ability for people to find and interact with political content on Facebook, while respecting their appetite for it at the top of their News Feed."

Facebook says some engagement signals are better than others at indicating which posts people deem interesting or valuable. As a result, the company is expanding some tests related to engagement signals. The tests put less importance on how likely a user is to share or comment on political content. "At the same time, we’re putting more emphasis on new signals such as how likely people are to provide us with negative feedback on posts about political topics and current events when we rank those types of posts in their News Feed," Facebook wrote in an updated blog post.

The changes could reduce the level of misinformation on Facebook, if the algorithms are able to effectively detect and de-emphasize all political content. Political campaigns might have to rethink their strategies of how to reach voters too. On the flip side, the move could come as a blow to news organizations, especially those focused on politics, given the volume of traffic Facebook can drive to websites.

The switch could also make Facebook a less hostile place for users. Political discussions can quickly get heated, which might put off those who use the service largely for keeping in touch with their loved ones and sharing pictures of their kids. For what it's worth, Facebook claimed in November political content makes up just six percent of what users see.

"We’ve learned that these changes will affect public affairs content more broadly and that publishers may see an impact on their traffic," Facebook said. "Knowing this, we are planning a gradual and methodical rollout for these tests, but remain encouraged, and expect to announce further expansions in the coming months."

The reported changes follow other moves that Facebook has made to make political content less visible. It stopped recommending civic and political groups to users earlier this year after temporarily pausing those recommendations ahead of the 2020 US election.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/facebook-political-content-down-rank-news-feed-162401398.html?src=rss

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Amazon may jump into live audio with a focus on music

Amazon may be the next to hop on the live audio bandwagon, although its take might not be what you'd expect. Axios sources claim Amazon is developing a live audio offering that would focus on music, including concerts and other events — more like Spotify than Clubhouse. The company is reportedly considering podcasts and talk radio as extensions, but Amazon Music would lead the project.

The internet giant also hopes to build live audio into Twitch. The sources didn't say how or when this might arrive.

We've asked Amazon for comment on the rumors. It wouldn't be surprising if Amazon leapt into the live audio space, at least. Amazon recently integrated Twitch streams into the Music app, and the firm's acquisition of podcast subscription business Wondery in 2020 signalled an intent to dive further into audio. There's also the simple matter of competition. Spotify, Twitter Spaces and Facebook's audio rooms could all pose a threat, even if Clubhouse doesn't. This would at least give Amazon a foothold before others dominate the category.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/amazon-clubhouse-clone-leaked-163829793.html?src=rss

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You can now shop for e-bikes and electric scooters at Best Buy

Best Buy is jumping on the e-bike bandwagon. Starting today, you can visit the retailer’s website to purchase powered bicycles, as well as electric scooters and mopeds from brands like Unagi, Bird, Segway and SWFT. In October, Best Buy will begin stocking those same EVs in select stores across the US, including Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco. The company’s Geek Squad contingent will also offer a $100 service where it will come to your house to adjust the brakes, seat height and handlebars on your new whip.

It’s not surprising to see Best Buy embrace e-bikes. Nearly all forms of electric transportation have done well during the pandemic, but e-bikes, in particular, have had a moment. Last summer, sales of powered bicycles outpaced all others by a significant margin. In most cases, you’re probably best off visiting your local bike shop to see what they have on offer, but with how difficult it's been to buy a new bicycle during the pandemic, it never hurts to have another place to shop for your next ride.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/best-buy-starts-selling-e-bikes-electric-scooters-171330423.html?src=rss

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EA dips back into college football with Campus Legends event in Madden NFL 22

Electronic Arts is dipping back into college football with a limited-time mode in Madden NFL 22. The Campus Legends mode features ten school teams, including rosters filled with college football icons, as well as current and former NFL stars who are alumni of those squads.

The event is available through the Superstar KO multiplayer mode. The college teams are Clemson University, University of Miami, Louisiana State University, University of Florida, University of Oklahoma, University of Texas, University of Southern California (USC), University of Oregon, University of Nebraska and Michigan State University.

EA notes Madden 22 is now the first game since 2013 to include a college football experience. The publisher announced earlier this year that it's bringing back the College Football series. The next game in the no-longer-dormant franchise is likely years away though, so college football modes in Madden might have to do the trick for now.

To mark the release of the mode, former college and NFL stars Vince Young and Reggie Bush will play against each other as their respective alma maters (University of Texas and USC). The pair faced off in the Rose Bowl in 2006, and they'll return to the Rose Bowl Stadium to repeat the matchup in Madden 22. You can watch the showdown tonight starting at 7PM ET on the NFL YouTube or Madden NFL Twitch channels.

You have a few weeks to check out Campus Legends. The mode will be available until September 27th.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/ea-madden-nfl-22-event-college-football-campus-legends-172525556.html?src=rss

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