Hey, good morning! You look fabulous.
Welcome to the weekend. In the US it’s a holiday weekend, which we hope you’ll take advantage of and have plenty of time to read back through all the big news from Gamescom and IFA. Plus, the Engadget Podcast is back from its summer break.
Not worth the squeeze.Juicero is shutting down
Surprise, a $700 WiFi connected juicer and DRM-restricted packs of pulpy fruit aren’t the future of fluid delivery. Juicero owners (are you out there?) have 90 days to contact the company for a refund.
It’s official.Windows 10 Fall Creators Update lands October 17th
The next big Windows 10 update has a release date, plus more details about what it will contain. Microsoft exec Terry Myerson confirmed it would mark the debut of Windows Mixed Reality, along with several compatible VR headsets; however, it will not include the anticipated Timeline features.
Already?Sharp is ready to sell 8K TVs
Scratch that 4K upgrade (not really) since Sharp is planning to roll out the first 8K displays fit for consumers. So far, launches have been announced for Japan, China, Taiwan and Europe, with no word about the US. Of course, there are no 8K broadcasts for you to watch yet, either, so maybe relax a bit.
Google, Apple, Microsoft, and then Google and Apple again.Engadget Podcast Ep 40: This Is Your Night
After a summer-long hiatus, The Engadget Podcast is back, starting with a five-episode run through the month of September. This week Dana Wollman and Chris Velazco chat about Google’s augmented reality push on Android with ARCore and the big news out of IFA.
Step into a world.Classic board game ‘Catan’ is coming to virtual reality
VR developer Experiment 7 is collaborating with the Catan Company to create a version of its board game for Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear. You can expect its arrival this holiday season, complete with multiplayer and cross-play support. Creator Klaus Teuber says “I never imagined actually stepping into the world of Catan when we first started making cut-outs and dreaming about exploring new lands.”
But wait, there’s more…
- Google’s iOS app now shows trending searches
- Cummins unveils its electric big rig weeks before Tesla
- LG V30 hands-on: The phone the G6 should’ve been
- India shut off the internet in an attempt to maintain order
- The hits and misses of Gamescom 2017
- Roku’s IPO filing reveals plans to raise $100 million
- Dell’s XPS 13 gets the very latest Intel quad-core CPUs
The Morning After is a new daily newsletter from Engadget designed to help you fight off FOMO. Who knows what you’ll miss if you don’t subscribe.
A big part of Huawei’s multi-year push to improve its image has been improving the hardware it builds to go inside them, and its latest processor is more than up to the challenge. Unveiled today at IFA 2017, the Kirin 970 chipset goes beyond the initial machine learning implementation of previous designs and is ready to be an AI processing powerhouse. Earlier this year Huawei introduced “the intelligent phone” with its Mate 9 (pictured above), but the new hardware could help fix some annoying AI-related drawbacks of the device.
While AI work done in the cloud is one thing, on-device AI computation will continue to grow, with the need for sensors to operate without waiting to send any information back and forth over wireless connections. Native AI processing will enable faster image and voice recognition, as well as “intelligent photography.” A few people first spotted some specifications at the company’s IFA booth, showing that it’s sticking to last generation’s octa-core setup with four 2.4Ghz Cortex-A73 processors and four 1.8GHz Cortex-A53 cores, but produced using an improved 10nm process instead of the old 12nm.
According to WinFuture, this chip has significantly more transistors onboard (5.5 billion) than the Snapdragon (3.1 billion). It includes a dedicated “Neural Processing Unit” that appears to consist of purpose-built silicon (as Apple is rumored to have in the works), which differs from Qualcomm’s approach on the current Snapdragon 835 (which is inside the latest Galaxy S8 / Note 8 phones as well as LG’s V30). There, a “Hexagon” DSP built for other types of number crunching works with the rest of the chip to improve AI performance.
Meanwhile, ARM’s updated Core-A75 platform (that Qualcomm and Huawei, among others, rely on) should start rolling out next year and bring with it another boost in AI power.
However it works, the Kirin 970’s 8-core CPU and 12-core GPU claims “up to 25x the performance with 50x greater efficiency” than a quad-core Cortex-A73 processor alone. Thanks to its new design, the chip can chew through data faster while using less battery power — something we can all appreciate. There’s no word about the phone or other mobile devices we’ll see this inside, but the Mate 10 seems like a sure bet, and there are rumors that device (or one like it) could show up in the US on AT&T early next year.
Follow all the latest news from IFA 2017 here!
First look at the new, extremely limited edition color in the flesh.
While the Huawei-built Honor 9 is on show at IFA 2017 in Berlin, one thing you won’t find on the show floor is the new “robin egg blue” color — unless you know where to look. We’ve tracked down the exclusive new color variant, which Honor tells us will be produced in “extremely limited” quantities for the UK market, and sold with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage (up from the 4GB/64GB of the standard UK Honor 9.)
The performance and overall physical feel of the Honor 9 hasn’t changed, of course, but now we’re now looking at a phone with a white front bezel, and a unique teal back panel and frame. And while the glass back is constructed using the same 15-layer process as the existing Honor 9 models, the new color gives a slightly glossier appearance, with a subtle color shift as the teal-green panel tilts through the light.
Take a closer look at the new color below. It’ll go on sale in the UK in mid-September, priced £459.99.
You can’t buy it in Europe (yet), but Huawei’s mid-priced Nova 2 phones look better than ever.
A year on from the launch of the Huawei Nova series, the company has yet to announce any plans to bring the Nova 2 to Europe. Nevertheless, the phones were on display at its booth at IFA 2017 in Berlin, giving us our first look at the company’s mid-tier flagships for 2017.
Unlike last year’s Nova phones, which used radically different designs, the look and feel of the Nova 2 is uniform across both sizes. The regular Nova 2 packs a 5-inch display, while the Nova 2 Plus bumps up to 5.5 inches, and both look a little bit like a collision between a Huawei P10 and an iPhone 7. On the front, there’s little going on besides a fairly standard bezel ratio and some Huawei branding.
Around the back, twin 12-megapixel RGB cameras are sandwiched between iPhone-like antenna bands, with a central rear-facing fingerprint scanner. In a market dominated by interchangeable aluminum frames, it’s not the most eye-catching design out there — particularly compared to the Nexus 6P homage of the original, smaller Nova — but it works. It’s also a good deal softer in the hand than last year’s Novas, with no overt chamfers to be seen except for around the power and volume keys.
A more uniform design for Huawei’s second-gen Nova phones.
While it is a pretty generic design overall, the wide variety of color options is welcome, including a snazzy green model similar to the heavily-promoted “greenery” P10.
The move towards dual cameras also brings Huawei’s mid-tier brand in line with the rest of its product range — although unlike the P and Mate series, there’s no Leica branding (or, presumably, Leica processing) going on here.
Both displays are 1080p LCD panels — on paper, the same as the original Nova phones, but more vibrant colors can be noticed in this year’s models, particularly on the larger Nova 2. As we’ve seen from many previous Huawei phones, colors tend towards being a little cooler than we’d like, though that’s easily fixed by tweaking the white balance in the display menu.
Spec-wise, Huawei’s homegrown Kirin 659 provides ample performance, thanks to eight Cortex-A53 cores and a Mali-T830 MP2 GPU, paired with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. We’ve already seen Android 7.0 Nougat and EMUI 5.1 running well on mid-tier chips, and responsiveness in everyday apps isn’t noticeably different from Huawei’s high-end phones, as we’d expect. And while we can’t judge battery life from just a brief time using a phone on the show floor, the Nova 2 and Nova 2 Pro’s battery capacities of 2950mAh and 3340mAh respectively suggests getting that a full day per charge won’t be a problem.
Aside from a few changes to the default skin, EMUI is a very familiar experience on the Nova 2, bringing the cleanest, most pared-back Huawei software we’ve seen to date, alongside some genuinely useful features, and the company’s claim of software-based AI capabilities to maintain performance over time.
So far, that’s nothing we haven’t already seen in countless Huawei phones over the past year.
Dual RGB cameras, 12-megapixel resolution and f/1.8 lenses make for a promising mid-range camera array.
The new camera setup is the main differentiator here. Huawei hasn’t simply repurposed an earlier dual-camera setup — the Nova 2 features a new camera array, made up of 12-megapixel main sensor with 1.25-micron pixels, behind a f/1.8 lens, along with an 8-megapixel secondary sensor. Both are RGB sensors this time, in contrast to Huawei’s other models, which use a secondary monochrome sensor for capturing fine detail. The results, as far as we’ve been able to gauge under bright show lighting, are promising — though it’s unclear how low light performance will measure up given the lack of optical stabilization in either camera.
In any case, the Nova 2 and Nova 2 Plus have made a positive first impression, and we’ll look forward to spending more time with them if a European release materializes.
The Huawei Nova 2 and Nova 2 Plus are currently available in China, priced Nova 2 will cost 2,500 yuan ($360) and 2,900 yuan ($425) respectively. Huawei hasn’t yet announced any plans to bring either model to the West.
YoYo games launched GameMaker Studio 2 on macOS this week, bringing the popular multiplatform 2D game development engine to the Mac for the first time. To date, the GameMaker Studio family of products has been downloaded more than 10 million times since 2012 and currently has 200,000 monthly active users, according to the developers.
The Scotland-based outfit originally launched GameMaker Studio 2 on the PC in March and has since been working hard to bring the game creation suite to a wider subset of developers, ensuring every major upgrade and feature addition is preserved in the macOS version.
“We worked tirelessly to ensure GameMaker Studio 2’s Mac debut would coincide with the needs of game developers that prefer to use platforms outside of Windows and home consoles,” said James Cox, general manager, YoYo Games. “After months carefully considering the feedback we received from beta testing and direct community outreach, we’re confident that developers who prefer Mac can now feasibly create games on the often-ignored platform. We’re always looking for ways to expand game creation to as many developers as possible, and we know Mac users will make some stand-out games with these resources.”
The new, fully customizable Mac Integrated Development Environment (IDE) includes an object editor for structuring workflow, a tabbed script editor, drag and drop features to enable game creation without going near code, an extensive library of events and actions, and code preview tools for those who want to take their games to the next level using the GameMaker programming language (based on C).
The suite also features a room editor where layers and tile brushes are on hand to control objects and sprites, and a new brush-based image editor with animation support for creating new assets for games.
Elsewhere, there’s built-in support for the industry recognized Box2D physics engine or Google’s LiquidFun particle physics engine, support for Esoteric Software’s 2D animation software that bring games to life through integrated animation, and integrated cross-platform shader support.
Timed with the macOS launch, GameMaker Studio 2 is also receiving a comprehensive update with new features and quality-of-life improvements. The 2.1 version update introduces code-folding features that allow users to hide and expand sections of code for easier editing, a new integrated debugger, customizable workspace layouts, and multi-touch support for coding on the go on Mac laptops.
While GameMaker 2 has a very high skill ceiling, Cox claimed the product is for all levels of developer, being used in schools and purchased by children as young as eight who use the drag and drop features to turn their ideas into playable games.
GameMaker Studio is a 2D game design platform, but what makes it different is its breadth of application. The drag and drop design features provide beginners with a way into game design without having to become coders first, so the passion that got them into game design isn’t extinguished under a mountain of programming learning; that can come later. The drag and drop approach, creates real code that gives granular control, in our C based GameMaker Language (GML), to more experienced developers. For more established Indies and Studios, our workflow is what sets up apart. It’s really quick to get results with GameMaker, as we remove the repetition, and they can turn their games into amazing audio-visual experiences with our advanced graphic design and sound-mixing functionality.
GameMaker Studio 2 can be purchased for Windows, Mac, and Ubuntu for $100 on the YoYo Games website.
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Nintendo has partnered with Western Digital on a line of officially official SanDisk microSDXC cards for its Switch console. What makes them so different? Well, Mario and Link are on the packaging and the 64-and-128 gigabyte cards have Nintendo branding printed on them. Nope, no 400GB cards featuring Wario just yet. And that’s the extent of it. The cards will be available starting next month at “select retail outlets.” If anything, this will make it easier for parents and family members to grab the right storage card when buying gifts come the holiday season.
When you’re looking for a smart home speaker, you might think you’re stuck with those made by Amazon, Apple or Google in order to use the specific intelligent assistants from the respective companies. Now, however, you can pick up a speaker that works with Alexa or Google Assistant, in addition to the one that already supports Microsoft’s Cortana. The Samsung-owned Harman International just announced three new JBL Link speakers at IFA, each a voice activated speaker with Google Assistant built in. The company also revealed the Harman Kardon Allure, an Alexa-enabled smart speaker with 360-degree sound.
The Link speakers come in two portable sizes as well as a larger design, can be linked together for multi-room listening and also have Chromecast built in. The Allure will retail for $250, starting in winter of 2017, while the Link speakers will debut in the UK this fall at €170, €200 and €300, respectively.
Both Google and Amazon have been putting their respective assistants on more devices, lately. Google has plans to bring Assistant to upcoming Anker and Panasonic speakers and LG washing machines while Amazon has already linked up with Ultimate Ears’ line of Bluetooth speakers as well.
Follow all the latest news from IFA 2017 here!
Source: Harman Kardon, Harman Kardon
News that someone exploited an Instagram security hole to steal info from some of its most popular accounts got worse when they began selling it. The Verge reports this dark web service is no longer available, but The Daily Beast chatted with operators of the “Doxagram” database who provided a sample of the info that included addresses and numbers for about 1,000 accounts. The info did not appear to be from previous leaks, and some owners confirmed their entries were valid.
In another statement, Instagram again confirmed the bug, saying that while no passwords were revealed, the bug did allow access to phone numbers and email addresses even if they weren’t public. The hackers were selling access to the database at a price of $10 for each query, and told Ars Technica today that they had made at least $500 already. According to them, an automated process could steal info from up to one million accounts per hour, and Instagram didn’t close the hole until 12 hours after their attack started and he had accessed 6 million accounts.
Initially, Instagram’s alert said that “high-profile” users may have had information revealed, but even with 700 million or so active users, there may be more people who need to know their information is out there.
Source: The Daily Beast, Instagram
If you’ve ever thrilled to a hot game of Catan on your table before, you’ll love that you’ll be able to experience the classic territory-building board game in virtual reality. Created by VR developer Experiment 7, with the collaboration of the Catan company and publisher Asmodee Digital, Catan VR is set to release on Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear this holiday season.
This new virtual reality version of Catan will play just like the original, only in your VR goggles. It sounds like there will be online multiplayer and cross-play functionality. Experiment 7 has VR experience as the developer of both Magic Table Chess and Dungeon Chess, where you play the classic strategy game with D&D monsters. “The first time I saw Catan on the Magic Table, I was fascinated by what VR has to offer,” said Catan creator Klaus Teuber in a statement. “The game I made in our living room with my family 25 years ago in Virtual Reality? It’s incredible. I never imagined actually stepping into the world of Catan when we first started making cut-outs and dreaming about exploring new lands.”
Source: Experiment 7
DualShock controllers for PlayStation 3 and 4 have both had a translucent option as far back as 2013. The top case of the “crystal” controller lets you see through to the inner workings of the wireless gaming device, which for some reason is pretty darn cool. Sony is making a play for that nostalgia with three new crystal colors — red, blue and clear — for its DualShock 4 wireless controllers.
The new colors will show up in stores and online later this month, but only at specific retailers. If you want a Crystal DualShock 4, you’ll need to head to GameStop. If Blue Crystal is your jam, head to Walmart, and you’ll have to go to Best Buy to grab the Red Crystal style. You’ll pay a little more for the style, though; the Crystal controller at GameStop retails for $65, while the traditional black one is still $60. The new colors are ready for pre-order right now at the three outlets.
Source: PlayStation Blog