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21Aug/190

Dell’s XPS 13 now comes with the latest Intel 10th-gen processors

The new XPS 13 also packs the Killer AX1650 2x2 Intel WiFi 6 chipset, boosting WiFi speeds by up to three times. Certain high-end models also pack Dell CinemaColor and Dolby vision with an optional 4K Ultra HD InfinityEdge display. Battery life can hit an impressive 19 hours, though that drops to 11 hours if you opt for the aforementioned 4K display. The XPS 13 arrives on August 27th for $900, but count on paying more for options like 4K.

The XPS 13 isn't Dell's only machine getting the 10th-gen Intel treatment. Dell also reminded us of the XPS 13 2-in-1 (above) which does have 10-nanometer Intel chips and went on sale earlier this week.

It's also updating much of the entire Inspiron ultraportable lineup with Intel 10th-generation Core processors, including the Insiprion 13, 15, 17 7000 2-in-1, 14, 15 5000 2-in-1 and 13 5000, with prices and arrival times varying widely across regions.

10th-gen Intel versions of the Inspiron 24 5000 and 27 77000 all-in-one desktops will arrive in the US on August 23rd starting at $680 and $1,000. On the business side, Dell's updated 10th-gen Intel Vostra 13, 14 and 15 models will roll out in the US today starting at $850.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/08/21/dell-xps-13-intel-10th-gen-core-cpu/

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21Aug/190

Researchers discover climate-friendly way of extracting hydrogen from oil

The Canadian researchers say that their method of extracting hydrogen directly from oil sands and oil fields leaves gases such as carbon dioxide and methane in the ground. Furthermore, the process is considerably more economical than existing methods. According to the team, which unveiled its research at the Goldschmidt Geochemistry Conference in Barcelona, the method could produce hydrogen at between $0.10-0.50 per kilo, compared with the current production cost of around $2 per kilo.

"Low-cost hydrogen from oil fields with no emissions can power the whole world using mostly existing infrastructure," Grant Stem, CEO of Proton Technologies, which is commercialising the extraction method, told AFP. "This is the silver bullet for clean energy and clean climate." Steam added that the technology has the potential to supply Canada's entire electricity requirement for the next 330 years.

The development could have a significant impact on the role hydrogen plays in the fight against climate change, although some experts remain guarded. Professor Brian Horsfield from the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences to AFP that extensive field testing would be needed to see how the system works on an industrial scale. However, he nevertheless called the project "highly innovative and exciting."

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/08/21/researchers-discover-climate-friendly-way-of-extracting-hydrogen/

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21Aug/190

Tencent’s own battle royale game has hackable zombies

Unlike popular battle royale games such as Fortnite or PUBG, there's no shrinking map in Synced, and players start each round at designated spawn points, rather than dropping in at their whim. Meanwhile, the Haven adds a layer of social interaction, strategy and customization to the game -- it's a pre-match area where folks can hang out, organize their teams, and purchase accessories. This section of the game is being developed by English studio Gobo.

"We're not going to do pay-to-win."

Synced will have microtransactions, though developers haven't decided whether to offer the game for free or charge a fee upfront. Any monetization decisions will largely come down to player feedback, Yang said. The studio is planning to host a closed beta and early access period next year, and Synced is set to hit PC afterward. The particular storefront -- Steam or the Epic Games Store -- is still undecided, even though Next's parent company, Tencent, owns 40 percent of Epic Games.

"We're not going to do pay-to-win for sure," he said. "I hate those pay-to-win games. As long as it's fair for everyone, I think that's fine."

Synced has a rich pedigree. There are roughly 50 developers working on the game, and Yang himself is a veteran AAA level designer whose credits include Batman: Arkham Origins and Far Cry 5. Meanwhile, Synced's publisher, Tencent, is one of the richest companies in the world. Visually, the game reflects its roots -- it has smooth animations and sharp graphics, complete with ray-tracing.

Tencent is best known for releasing mobile titles with microtransactions, such as Honor of Kings, though it also owns League of Legends studio Riot Games, and it has a minority stake in Epic Games, Activision Blizzard, Ubisoft and other AAA companies. Synced represents a different kind of game for Tencent's development team at Next. It's a polished competitive and cooperative shooter built to compete with the top PC games of the day.

Yang takes it a step further, calling Synced a new type of game entirely.

"People can compare us with The Division or World War Z, and to us, actually it's something we're happy with," Yang said. "Because our bar is at that level. For the gameplay, people go, 'Oh, the UI looks like Division and the zombies like World War Z.' Fine, fair enough. But when we see this mechanic of controlling zombies, when we see that we have other players to fight with each other, the gameplay is actually hiding some big stuff. We don't see any of those mechanics in any other games."

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/08/21/tencent-battle-royale-synced-off-planet-first-look/

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21Aug/190

The Switch needs more Saturn games like ‘Panzer Dragoon’

That's why I was delighted to hear that the original Panzer Dragoon, released in 1995, is getting the remake treatment on Nintendo Switch. At Gamescom, I was able to zip through the opening chapter and experience what publisher Forever Entertainment has described as "improved graphics and controls." It's a wonderful conversion, though I wasn't blown away by the visual enhancements. I'm sure there are differences -- sharper models, perhaps, and updated textures -- but in handheld mode the Switch remake merely matched my rose-tinted memories of the original.

And that's perfectly fine. Panzer Dragoon's imaginative world, kickass soundtrack and simple control scheme all hold up in 2019. Within the first 30 seconds I had tuned out the roar of the convention center floor and the Nintendo representative hovering over my shoulder. I was totally engrossed in the level and making sure my long-press lock-on attacks covered every enemy onscreen. It's a simple game, for sure -- the type that requires quick fingers and little thought -- but one that feels at home on the Switch's portable hardware. For me, it's the perfect side game while I slowly churn through larger titles like Fire Emblem: Three Houses.

Panzer Dragoon: Remake is a brilliant ambassador for the Saturn's eclectic and rarely talked about library. I'm praying to the Sega gods that the game is commercially successful and encourages other companies to consider similar ports. I just really, really need Burning Rangers on my Switch. Oh, and Radiant Silvergun. Maybe Nights into Dreams, too. Okay Sega, can you just make a Saturn Mini already, or a software bundle similar to the Sega Genesis Classics collection? I know at least one person that would pay serious money for it.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/08/21/panzer-dragoon-remake-switch-gamescom/

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21Aug/190

Waymo shares some of its self-driving car data to help researchers

Self-driving car data is intensely valuable, and it's frequently considered one of Waymo's advantages -- it has more experience than virtually anyone. Now, however, the company is sharing some of that knowledge with the rest of the world. It's launching a Waymo Open Dataset that gives researchers free access to synced camera and LiDAR data from the company's autonomous vehicles across a variety of driving conditions and locales. It only covers 1,000 driving segments of 20 seconds each, but that's 200,000 frames per sensor, 12 million 3D object labels and 1.2 million 2D labels -- that could be a lot to work with.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/08/21/waymo-shares-self-driving-car-data/

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21Aug/190

DoorDash eyes autonomous food delivery with latest acquisition

Scotty Labs CEO Tobenna Arodiogbu announced the deal on Medium yesterday. He said the three-year-old startup has been working to "transform the logistics industry for the better" and has former NASA, Google, Apple and Cruise Automation staff in its ranks. It's unclear, though, exactly how DoorDash will use Scotty Labs' tech.

DoorDash has been criticized recently for using employees' tips to pay their wages. Some see this acquisition as a way for DoorDash to eliminate the need for human drivers in the near future. Though, most delivery companies are exploring autonomous systems that would eliminate the need for human drivers. Dominos uses self-driving vehicles to deliver pizza in Houston. Uber Elevate is experimenting with drone deliveries, and Starship Technologies has logged more than 50,000 delivery miles, some of which included food deliveries.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/08/21/doordash-autonomous-deliveries-acquires-scotty-labs/

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21Aug/190

Wandering the VR halls of ‘Westworld Awakening’

Then suddenly, I'm back outside the farmhouse my life has been rewinded and once again, I'm looking for a relative and, like a trained dog eager to please my master, I follow my route into the house, again. It's been predetermined that I'll return to this lab and the scene of my death over and over again. Except this time, I veer from my set path. I hide.

I'm playing Westworld Awakening from HBO and Survivos a VR experience that's available now for $30 on Steam, Oculus and Viveport.

For fans of the HBO series Westworld, the scenario is familiar. An android host of the fictional amusement park (Westworld) is slowly becoming sentient. I experience this in a downtown San Francisco office building. The VR mechanic requires me to swing my arms back and forth to walk. I'm sure it looks awkward (as with all VR movements) to the outside world, but I'm immersed in a story I've seen played out on premium cable and it's, dare I say it, fun?

That's because HBO and its partner Survivos focused more on story than on tech. Sure the technology is there -- the world was immersive, the mechanics were smooth, and I encountered very little if any latency. In other words, it didn't make me sick and everything looked great. But who cares, if the story is lacking.

"We wanted to make something that was longer, deeper, more visceral," said Adam Foshco HBO director of story and narrative design. "We began to think of ways to put together a story that will explore some of the mysteries of Westworld, and in a unique way."

The result is a five-act story about Kate's awakening set during the second season of the HBO show. I was able to play portions of act one and two. I eventually, woke up in the lab after things have gone sideways for the humans running the facility. While the story is guided (it's not an open world like Grand Theft Auto) I am able to wander around a bit while moving along with the story.

The story is familiar which helps pique my interest in seeing where I eventually end up. But time is up and I have to give up my face computer. I wonder what happens to Kate. I'm sure she escapes either literally or figuratively. What keeps me coming back to Westworld are the ethical dilemmas encountered by the hosts and the humans. Does manufactured life and experience have the same value as one that's earned during a lifetime? Westworld Awakening might not answer that question, but it should create a bit more empathy for the robots in our lives. Or at least be a reason to put a computer on your face for a few hours.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/08/21/westworld-awakening-hands-on/

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21Aug/190

Amazon opens its largest campus to date in India

About a third of Amazon's 62,000 employees in India are based in the city, and it has already moved more than 4,500 of them to the campus. The biggest buildings in Amazon's Seattle home base house around 5,000 employees.

"It is also the largest technology base outside Seattle," Amazon India senior VP and country manager Amit Agarwal told the Times of India. "The [Hyderabad] employees include software development engineers, machine learning scientists, product managers, finance and many other functions."

It's the only Amazon-owned campus outside the US, and it speaks to the company's ambition to keep growing in India amid competition with Flipkart, which is owned by Walmart. Amazon has earmarked $5.5 billion to fund its expansion in the nation and there's plenty of scope for it to do so, as e-commerce accounts for just three percent or so of all retail there. It's reportedly trying to buy 10 percent of Future Retail, one of India's biggest brick and mortar retailers.

It set up shop in India in 2004, but didn't start its retail service there until 2013. It's opened up Amazon Prime Video and grocery delivery to consumers in India, and Prime membership has doubled in the country over the last 18 months. Amazon is developing a restaurant delivery service there too, according to Reuters.

The opening of the campus follows the collapse of its proposed HQ2 in New York City earlier this year. It's still forging ahead with its HQ2 plans in Arlington, Virginia. It aims to employ 25,000 people there, the same number that was earmarked for the NYC base.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/08/21/amazon-campus-india/

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21Aug/190

Garmin adds Amazon Music to its fitness watches

Whichever of the above Garmin model you own, you can download the Amazon Music app today from the Connect IQ store and start saving your favorite songs and playlists over WiFi. If you have access to Amazon Music Unlimited, which is separate from the music service Amazon offers to Prime subscribers, you'll be able to choose from more than 50 million songs.

For Garmin, the partnership gives it another leg up on one of its biggest competitors. Fitbit has yet to partner with Amazon, let alone Spotify. Ionic and Versa users who want to add music to their Fitbit wearable must either download songs through Deezer or sideload them from their desktop computer. Based on their respective userbases, it's more likely the average Fitbit owner subscribes to Spotify or Amazon Music than Deezer. And even if the Fitbit app made transferring songs from your computer seamless, the process feels archaic in 2019.

For Amazon, on the other hand, the partnership helps get its music service on more devices. Amazon will need to continue to expand the reach of Amazon Music if it hopes to match the growth of Spotify and Apple Music. Of course, if you're a Garmin owner, all you care about is that you have another option for listening to tunes on your next run.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/08/21/garmin-adds-amazon-music-fitness-watches/

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21Aug/190

Waze adds easy access to YouTube Music while you drive

You'd think Google would have raced to make YouTube Music controls available inside Waze, but not so -- numerous third-party services got there first. At last, though, there's some harmony. Waze has added YouTube Music integration that brings playback controls to your navigation screen on both Android and iOS. As with other apps, you can quickly skip a track or give it a thumbs-up without having to switch apps -- important when you're eager to put on a favorite tune before the traffic light turns green.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/08/21/waze-youtube-music-integration/

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