Amazon’s Matter-enabled Echo devices will soon work with iOS

Amazon has confirmed that its first phase of the Matter rollout is complete, adding that the second phase will start soon and will add support for Echo devices on iPhone and iPad.

The initial rollout was designed to ensure that Echo devices work with all common devices, including support for Android compatibility, Amazon said.

The result is that millions of consumers can now connect their Echo devices to their home mater systems

Last month, we announced our plan to deliver a high-quality Matter customer experience by the end of this year. Today, we’re excited to share that we’ve completed the first phase of our Matter rollout. Millions of Alexa customers around the world now have more ways to connect their devices with Matter’s availability through WiFi, including 17 different Echo devices, plugs, switches, and bulb-wide WiFi setups for Android.

The second phase will bring support for more devices, including the Thread protocol as well as compatibility with iPhones and iPads. Phase 2 doesn’t have a date yet, but Amazon says it will be confirmed during CES 2023, which starts on January 5.

Adding Matter support means smart home accessories can work together, whether they’re built for HomeKit, Google Assistant or Alexa, and should ensure that accessories talk to existing systems easily.

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Here is the OnePlus 11 in official form

We saw high-quality renders of a device called the OnePlus 11 a week ago – the device’s launch is just around the corner. Well, we’re still about two months away, but OnePlus has made the OnePlus 11 official and has shown off a teaser image of the phone’s camera housing.

In a brief statement to the press, OnePlus asked us to mark February 7, 2023 on our calendars. On that date in New Delhi, India, OnePlus will showcase the OnePlus 11 as part of a global launch. In addition to the 11, they will announce the OnePlus Buds Pro 2, a pair of buds that will follow in the footsteps of the excellent original Pro Buds we loved quite a while back in 2021.

The event is titled “OnePlus Cloud 11 Launch Event” and the theme is “Cloud 11”, some sort of presentation of the “upgraded technology and performance delivered by the brand’s latest product”. It’s fun, I guess.

Watch the launch teaser here:

OnePlus 11 Launch

As I mentioned above, the teaser showcases the OnePlus 11 and a unique, rounded camera housing. I’d say it’s a surprising turn of styling, but we actually saw renders of this device earlier in the month. What’s notable – at least to me – is the fact that OnePlus is calling it the OnePlus 11 and not the OnePlus 11 Pro, yet we still have a warning slider and Hasselblad branding. After last year’s confusing series of releases, we were under the impression that OnePlus was moving forward with only including these two items in the Pro line.

Whatever the case may be, we should find out soon enough if OnePlus does the usual trickle-out of their feature announcements. And we can at least wonder when we’ll see a OnePlus 11 Pro or the OnePlus 11 and 11 Pro going back to launching together, only now referring to them as “OnePlus 11”.

OnePlus 11 camera

Are you ready for 2023 and some new phones? I’m sure.

Leak reveals Motorola’s Lenovo-branded ThinkPhone

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(Credit: Tech Outlook)
Lenovo has dabbled in phones for years, but most of its mobile efforts are concentrated at its Motorola subsidiary. A new leak from The Tech Outlook claims that Motorola is preparing to launch a Lenovo-branded smartphone called the ThinkPhone. The physical style is similar to the ThinkPad laptop, and it looks like it will have some high-end specs.

If you’re tired of most phones being behind glass, the ThinkPhone might be a refreshing change for you. It has an aramid fiber body similar to Lenovo’s ThinkPad laptop. There’s an extra button on the left edge, perhaps a configurable shortcut key, adding a pop of color like the TrackPoint knob on a ThinkPad laptop.

The source claims that the device measures 158.7 by 74.4 by 8.3 mm, which is similar in size to the Samsung Galaxy S22+. The device is said to have a 144Hz 6.6-inch poOLED display at an unusual 1,800 x 2,400 resolution, and the bezels around the screen are small and symmetrical – at least in the render. Not only are the renders often somewhat generous, but these are leaks that may not reflect the final product The leak also claims that the ThinkPhone’s display will have a brightness of 1,200 nits, making it one of the brightest smartphone screens on the market.

(Credit: Tech Outlook)

The leak doesn’t include any price estimates, but it doesn’t look like a budget phone and it’s missing some of the features you’d expect from a $1,000+ flagship. The ThinkPhone will reportedly run on the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chip, which is yesterday’s news now that the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 has been announced. It has a 50MP primary camera with a 13MP ultrawide and a low-resolution 2MP depth sensor. Flagship phones usually have a telephoto lens. A punch-hole display cutout on the front is said to house a 32MP selfie camera.

Some Motorola devices, especially those outside of its traditional product family, are only released in Lenovo’s home country of China. However, leaked renders of the ThinkPhone show Google apps like Chrome and Duo on the home screen. These apps are not available in China, so there will be some international availability. The leak speculates that the phone could launch in 2023. It should probably run Android 13 with some special integrations for Lenovo laptops.

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Give the gift of Beats Solo3 Wireless this Christmas for just $99

If you want to get your hands on a pair of Beats Solo3 Wireless Headphones and save big while doing it, Amazon is the place to be. Two colors are available right now for just $99, a huge savings over the original asking price.

Amazon would normally charge around $200 for a pair of Beats Solo 3 wireless headphones, but the rose gold and black versions can be had for just $99 right now. That’s a $100 plus 50% savings and if you use the fastest delivery option you can get delivery in time for Christmas.

This deal doesn’t require you to enter a discount code or clip an on-screen coupon, so just order as you would any other product and it’ll be with you in no time.

Buy: Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones – Apple W1 Headphone Chip from Amazon: $99 | Original price: $200

High-performance wireless Bluetooth headphones in satin silver
Features Apple W1 chip and Class 1 wireless Bluetooth connectivity
With up to 40 hours of battery life, the Beats Solo3 Wireless are your perfect everyday headphones

At the time of writing, the Beats Solo3 Wireless Headphones have over 56,780 reviews on Amazon with a combined rating of 4.7 stars out of a possible five. That’s a great score and these headphones promise a lot, including 40 hours of listening on a single charge.

The built-in Apple W1 chip means instant pairing and switching devices, and the soft cushioned ear cups are great for all-day listening.

We don’t know when this deal will end so be sure to order your headphones now before it’s too late.

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Google says Android and Nest device support matters, which you’ll love

The word “matter” may still be unfamiliar to you today, but if you’re interested in the smart home space, it won’t be for long. Matter is here as the universal standard for smart home gadgets across the industry, and Google wants you to know that your Android phone and Google Nest devices already support it.

Ever heard of Matter before? Excellent. Let’s talk about it briefly, the smart home friend.

Matter is an industry-level standard for smart home gadgets that makes it easy for you to set them up and connect them to each other. Google and hundreds of industry partners worked together for 3 years to standardize Matter because everyone recognized that setting up smart home products was a huge pain.

With everything from Google to Samsung to Apple and Amazon, as well as all the smart lights and thermostats and other devices you use, managing and connecting and setting up your smart home is accepted by everyone. Just work. And that’s really what you need to take away from the subject.

Google Matters

As part of an announcement today, Google confirmed that its Google Home and Nest Hub devices are ready for Matter Even the original Google Home and Google Home Mini support matter. Of course, so does the new Nest Hub and Audio. The full list of Matter-ready Google devices can be seen below:

  • The original Google Home speaker
  • Google Home Mini
  • Nest Mini
  • Nest Audio
  • Nest Hub (1st & 2nd Generation)
  • Nest Hub Max
  • Nest Wifi Pro

It’s important that Google has added Matter support to these, because to take advantage of Matter, you’ll need a hub, such as one of these. And since many of you probably own one, you’re good!

Going forward, when you walk into Best Buy or shop for smart home goodies online, you’ll want to pay attention and look for products with the Matter logo (above). If it has, you’ll be able to set them up in seconds in some cases. If you use your Android phone to do this, Fast Pair can take and Literally Do the job with a few taps.

Since you’re likely using Samsung SmartThings or another smart home platform, understand that Matter will make it easy for your various setups to talk to each other. Samsung and Google are already working on this, plus the Google Home app will soon let you know if there are Matter devices setup via SmartThings so you can easily onboard them into the Home if you want.

So there you have it – a brief chat about the matter and what it means for the future of smart home gadgets. If all goes well, you may not need to learn about Matter much longer, as hopefully everyone will adopt it and the days of old smart home setup problems will be behind us.

Microsoft defends the Activision deal by saying that Sony has almost 5 times more exclusives

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(Credit: Ramon Costa/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Microsoft’s storied bid to absorb Activision Blizzard continues to heat up, and it looks like the company is switching to a familiar tack by insisting its potential acquisition doesn’t have so many niche games to begin with. At a shareholder meeting on Tuesday, Microsoft President Brad Smith reportedly made a few comments about Activision’s title monopoly—or lack thereof—compared to its biggest controversies, Sony.

Since it first expressed interest in buying Activision earlier this year, Microsoft has had to fend off (justifiably) concerns about any impending ability to fend off competition. The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the UK Competition and Markets Authority, and other government watchdogs have all launched investigations into the bid out of concern that Microsoft – which would become the world’s third-largest gaming company – could present a monopoly risk. The issue escalated last week with the FTC’s announcement that it would sue to block Microsoft’s purchase.

Now Smith is running damage control, insisting to regulators that the acquisition won’t pile up Microsoft’s big franchise. At the company’s most recent shareholder meeting, Smith argued that Sony has a stronger hold on popular franchises than Microsoft. According to Bloomberg, Smith said that Sony’s PlayStation has 286 exclusive games while Microsoft’s Xbox has just 59, and that a judge would have to decide that going from 59 to 60 is so dangerous to competition that he should stop it. [acquisition] from moving forward.”

How exactly Smith came up with these numbers is a mystery, but he gets his point across nonetheless. Recalling Microsoft’s statement this summer about Activision not having any “must-have” titles, Smith argues that Sony shouldn’t sweat the acquisition—because Activision never did anything to sweat about in the first place.

To sweeten the deal, Smith proposed a legally binding consent decree that would keep Call of Duty—Active’s biggest franchise—on PlayStation for a decade after the acquisition. The decree has been in place since November and tracks with Microsoft’s other ten-year offerings, as it did at Nintendo last week.

Despite the vote to sue, the FTC has maintained an air of mystery surrounding the acquisition: In response to Microsoft’s PlayStation consent decree, the FTC said only that it is “always willing to consider remedial proposals.” But if the FTC still isn’t satisfied, it’s hard to imagine what else Microsoft could do to appeal to Sony and antitrust watchdogs — short of scrapping the deal entirely.

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Tesla brings native Steam gaming to the new Model S and X

Tesla’s new holiday update adds several new features that people have been clamoring for. But there’s one that some may not have seen coming — Tesla drivers can now play Steam games in their cars.

Steam integration means Model S and Model X drivers can now play thousands of games, including Cyberpunk 2077 and Elden Ring, on their car’s big screen.

Tesla is already working on running games on its cars’ powerful computers, and Steam integration is the latest addition.

Teller CEO Elon Musk previously said he would release a demo of Steam integration in August but that never happened, leaving one wondering if there were some issues and things weren’t quite ready to go. However, it now looks like Mask is only going into Twitter mode as the feature is now available.

However, it should be noted that Steam integration is currently listed as a beta feature which means it probably isn’t. quite still ready Hopefully there will be glitches here and there, but a video shared by Tesla clearly shows the games working and connected to a PS5 DualSense controller.

Tesla’s built-in computer compares well with modern gaming consoles to ensure a solid gaming experience, and in some cases it even outperforms some gaming PCs.

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Start thinking about your POTY vote

We’re coming to the end of the year, and with that, we’ll be announcing our picks for Phone of the Year (POTY). We usually also like to engage readers by doing a poll with the most popular phones of the year He said, which phone will get your vote this year?

On a related sad note, it seems that at least here in the US, we don’t have that many options to choose from. We have flagship devices from Samsung, Google, OnePlus, and…? Is there anyone else eligible to vote? Does Motorola have a sleeper this year? Maybe Sony and its high-priced Xperia lineup?

If we’re being realistic, this vote will come down to the top devices from Samsung and Google, with the Galaxy S22 lineup, the latest Galaxy Z foldable and Pixel 7 devices likely to win the top spot. It’s not that this is a bad thing, given they’re all great devices, but things aren’t what they used to be.

I tasked you all with racking those brains, thinking long and hard about which phone deserves the top spot. Remember, you don’t have to own a phone to vote on this. If you think the Z Fold 4 was the best device, even though many of us can’t afford it, that’s okay! If you’re a Pixel fanboy but want to give credit to Samsung’s Galaxy S22 Ultra this year, then by all means, do what you think is right. Vote with your heart.

Hopefully the POTY poll will be up soon!

DeepMind creates AI that code alongside the average human programmer

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(Credit: Google)
Google’s DeepMind AI division has already built machines that can destroy you in StarCraft II and predict millions of protein structures, but now it’s doing something even harder: writing coherent code. In an apparent effort to put themselves out of a job, DeepMind researchers have created an AI that can write code and performs surprisingly well in programming challenges. It’s neither the best nor the worst when compared to humans participating in the same challenge, but the StarCraft AI was initially only a mediocre player.

Although machine learning has advanced in leaps and bounds, it is difficult to create an AI that is good at multiple things. Thus, a machine can be trained with data to handle one class of programming challenges, but will fail if given a different problem to tackle. Hence, the team decided to skip all training on algorithms and code structures instead of treating it more as a translation problem.

A programming challenge usually includes a description of the task, and the code submitted by a human participant is technically an expression of the description. AI works in two stages: it takes the description and converts it into an internal representation. Then, it uses that representation to generate working code based on the data shown in training. And there was a lot of information.

DeepMind feeds AI 700GB of code on GitHub, complete with comments that explain the code As Ars Technica points out, that’s a huge amount of text data. With the essence of internal programming, DeepMind sets up its own programming competition and feeds the results to AI to fine-tune the model’s performance. The team says this is an order of magnitude more training data than coding machines of the past, and that made all the difference.

The researchers found that AlphaCode was able to generate a large number of possible answers to a coding problem, but about 40 percent of them would run through all available system memory or fail to reach the answer in a reasonable amount of time. The data needs to be filtered to find the one percent solution that is actually good code. DeepMind found that clusters of similar codes indicated better answers, whereas mistakes were randomly distributed. By focusing on these answers, AlphaCode was able to correctly answer about one-third of the coding challenges. It turns out that many human programmers are a bit better, so Alphacode is placed in the top 54 percent. It’s not supposed to take jobs from DeepMind engineers, but give it time.

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Get a lifetime Windows 10 license for just $14, Office for $26, Windows 11 for $26

Who doesn’t like to save money wherever possible? We all do, but it’s not always easy, especially when you have to get your hands on a copy of Microsoft’s biggest software release. But the folks at SCDKey have the answer.

If you read on, you’ll find deals on a range of Microsoft releases, starting at $14.20 for Windows 10 Home and $46.70 for Office 2019 Pro Plus. There are even combo deals that include Windows and Office!

With that being said, all you have to do is choose the deal that’s right for you and then don’t forget to enter our discount code when checking out. Do that, and you’ll save money over fist!

Let’s dive into it!

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Just remember – you must be sure to enter that discount code at checkout to ensure you get the best price available.

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