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Jaguar plans a production EV racing series for 2018

To date, watching a full-fledged EV racing series has meant watching custom-built Formula E race cars. They’re great to watch, but not exactly reflective of what you can drive on the road. Jaguar aims to fix that. It’s launching the first production-based electric vehicle race series, the I-Pace eTrophy, as a support series for Formula E in late 2018. It’ll run on the same tracks as Formula E, but it’ll rely on (what else?) a track-optimized version of the upcoming I-Pace SUV. Up to 20 drivers will take part in each race in an “arrive and drive” package — they’ll need an international racing license, but Jaguar and the FIA will take care of vehicles and support.

It’s safe to say that the eTrophy is a promotional tool. It doesn’t have the manufacturer variety of GT-class racing, not to mention the sports cars and performance sedans that you tend to see in most conventional production-based races. Each race is just 30 minutes long, too, so you’re not going to see epic-length battles. Still, it’s a start. This not only widens the possibilities for electric motorsports, but might draw attention to the performance capabilities of road-going EVs. If you knew that many production EVs could smoke many gas-powered cars, you might be more likely to pick one up — if just for the bragging rights.

Source: Jaguar


Sony’s crazy expensive RX10 IV superzoom gets a speed boost

Sony’s camera theme over the last year has been “speed,” especially with the arrival of its ultra-fast RX100 V compact. That notion continues today with the launch of the RX10 Mark IV, a 24-600mm f/2.4-f/4 superzoom, which gets a big shooting speed bump from 14 fps to a top-notch 24 fps. All that extra speed is thanks to the BionZ X image procesor mated to the RX-100 V’s 1-inch, 20.1-megapixel Exmor RS CMOS stacked image sensor, which has a built in DRAM chip to buffer all those frames.

Sony says that it uses high-density tracking autofocus borrowed from its high-end mirrorless models, a first for a CyberShot camera. The superzoom can focus at 0.03 seconds with full AF and exposure tracking and buffer up to 249 images. That’s enough to shoot a 10-second, 20-megapixel 24fps video clip, by the way. Sony also offers a new electronic, anti-distortion shutter that reduces “rolling shutter,” and it can fire photos completely silently in all modes, including at continuous high speeds.

Other features, including full sensor readout 4K video, and 960 fps super slow mo (at 912×308 resolution) for up to 4 seconds), remain as before. The model also keeps the superb, f/2.4-4, 24-600mm equivalent Zeiss zoom lens with optical stabilization. ISO range is limited to 100-12,800, expandable to 25,600.

Now let me break the bad news to you. The Sony RX10 IV costs a mind-blowing $1,700 (£1,800 in the UK), which is even more expensive than the $1,500 RX10 III, and we thought the pricing on that was ridiculous. As we pointed out then, for the same sum, you can get a pretty decent mirrorless camera and several cheap zoom lenses. What you’re effectively spending the money on with the RX10 IV is the portability and, it has to be admitted, a pretty damned fast 600mm f/4 zoom. It arrives in the US and UK in October.


Switch version of ‘Wonder Boy’ outsold all the others combined

Earlier this year, indie game developer Lizardcube released Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap, a remake of the game Wonder Boy III that was released for Sega in 1989. It was available on Xbox One, PS4, PC and the Nintendo Switch. But now Lizardcube has revealed to Gamasutra that the Nintendo Switch version of the game has outsold those for all other platforms — combined.

This is surprising news. Everyone expected classic Nintendo games, such as Mario and Zelda, to do well on the Switch. But this makes it clear that the Nintendo Switch could be a great platform for indie developers as well. MixedBag, the developer behind Forma.8 has also seen success on the Switch, according to Gamasutra. Though the iOS release did better in terms of numbers, the Switch brought them their highest revenue.

Nintendo Switch owners appear to be hungry for new games, especially platformers like Wonder Boy, even if they don’t star an overweight plumber (sorry, I mean an ex-plumber) or one of the other popular Nintendo characters. We can’t extrapolate too much from this news, but time will tell how indie games continue to fare on the Switch as more traditional games are released.

Source: Gamasutra


AT&T offers free HBO with its cheaper unlimited plan

AT&T’s initial offer of free HBO access to wireless subscribers was tempting, but there was a catch: you had to spring for an Unlimited Plus plan, which at $90 or more per month isn’t a trivial expense. Now, however, you don’t have to be such a big spender. The carrier is extending bonus HBO access to Unlimited Choice customers on September 15th, giving you the same streaming TV if you pay as little as $60 per month for cellphone service. This is one of the few perks of giant mergers, it seems. There are some catches to getting a freebie like this on a low-cost tier, of courser. The Choice plan caps your cellular data at 3Mbps and limits you to a maximum resolution of 480p for video streaming, so you might want to stay on WiFi for that Game of Thrones re-watch.

Naturally, there’s an upsell involved. AT&T is giving customers the option of tacking on DirecTV Now’s 60-channel “Live a Little” package for another $10 per month. Also, you still get a $25 monthly credit toward AT&T video services, and this time you can use it with DirecTV and U-verse TV in addition to DirecTV Now (Plus customers can only apply it to DirecTV Now). In other words, this is partly about enticing customers who wouldn’t otherwise spend more money on AT&T services.

It’s easy to see what else would prompt the sudden kindness. T-Mobile just gave free Netflix access to family plan customers, and Verizon is using its go90 video service as a lure. If AT&T didn’t give some kind of video perk to a wider range of customers, it risked losing people to T-Mobile and other providers that could offer video extras on lower-cost plans. Now, it’s less a question of whether or not you’ll get video as the choice of video — do you go for a narrowly focused but premium option like HBO, or the smorgasbord that is Netflix?

Source: AT&T


Facebook’s Instant Articles will no longer appear in Messenger

Shortly after Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook is working on a paid-content model with partner publishers, the company has made further tweaks to the way users can view external articles. According to TechCrunch, Instant Articles will no longer appear in Messenger. The faster-loading article format, hosted by Facebook itself, arrived in Messenger last July and was denoted by a lightning bolt icon on the top right corner of some links shared within the platform. This content would load up to 10 times faster than a standard mobile web article.

As TechCrunch reports, a Facebook spokesperson said, “As we continue to refine and improve Instant Articles — and in order to have the greatest impact on people and publishers — we’re focusing our investment in Instant Articles in the Facebook core app and are no longer offering Instant Articles in Messenger.” The spokesperson added that Messenger remains “an exciting channel for new and interesting news consumption experiences”, and hinted at the “opportunity” to build on these experiences.

Instant Articles will remain a major feature for Facebook, even if they’re no longer presented in Messenger. A report by WSJ earlier this year outlined a potential model for Facebook’s paid-content plan, and it looks like Instant Articles will play a central role in creating what’s hoped to be a slicker, more immersive content experience.

Via: TechCrunch


A first look at Sony’s super-fast RX10 IV zoom camera

Sony just announced its latest flagship point-and-shoot at an event in New York City, the RX10 IV. The new camera, a successor to last year’s RX10 III, again comes with a 24-600mm (35mm equivalent) f/2.4-4 Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lens and a 1-inch, 20.1-megapixel stacked CMOS sensor. In terms of design, the RX10 IV is basically identical to its predecessor, featuring mode and exposure dials, a 3-inch LCD screen and an OLED viewfinder. Here’s where it really shines, though: Sony says this zoom shooter sports the “world’s fastest” autofocus speed of 0.03 seconds, complemented by 24fps continuous shooting (with full AF/AE tracking) and 4K (3,840 x 2,160) movie recording at 24 or 30fps.

Speaking of video, the RX10 IV can also shoot 240, 480 and 960fps in lower resolutions than UHD, in case you want to capture some super-slow motion clips. Of course, as has been the case with all previous models, Sony says the new one is geared toward videographers and photographers alike, particularly those who are into shooting fast-moving sports and wild life. Thing is, you’ll have to spend a pretty penny if you want the RX10 IV, as it’ll be priced at $1,700 when it hits stores in October.

Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get any sample images from the camera at the launch presentation, but we’ll try to get those for you as soon as possible. In the meantime, enjoy a quick sample of the RX10 IV’s ridiculous 24-fps continuous shooting speed in action.

The insane 24fps continuous shooting on Sony’s new RX10 IV

— Edgar Alvarez (@abcdedgar) September 12, 2017


Samsung says Note 8 presales are the best in series history

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is on fire. No, not in the the literal way that the Note 7 was. I should say its sales are on fire because those actual fires don’t seem to have curtailed the demand for the Note 8. During the five days after presales for the phone began, the phone racked up 650,000 orders across 40 countries. According to Samsung, which announced the sales stats at a press conference today in South Korea, those preorder numbers are around 2.5 times higher than the Note 7 over the same time period.

The company hasn’t released US-only sales numbers, but it did say that US sales of the new phone have topped those of any other Note model. And there were plenty of incentives for customers to upgrade to the Note 8. Samsung offered up to $425 off of the Note 8 if customers traded in their Note 7s and those buying the new phone between August 24th and September 24th are able to get either a Samsung Gear 360 camera or a bundle that includes a 128GB microSD card and wireless charging stand for free. Though the phone comes with a pretty steep $930 price tag, it apparently isn’t having much of an impact on demand.

The Galaxy Note 8 hits stores on Friday.

Via: The Verge

Source: Reuters, Samsung


Live from Apple’s iPhone X event!

Yep, it’s that time of year again: It’s the first week after Labor Day, which means Apple is about to unveil the latest iPhone. In this case, though, there might well be a twist: Reports suggest that Apple is prepping a high-end model, called the iPhone X, with facial recognition (and no home button!). Rumor also has it that Apple will introduce two other phones (the 8 and 8 Plus, presumably), which presumably bring more modest updates. If the rumor mill is correct, we might also see an LTE-enabled Apple Watch. We wouldn’t be surprised either if we learned more about the HomePod speaker ahead of its winter release. And, of course, we expect news on the software and services powering each of these devices.

Engadget senior editor and smartphone reviewer extraordinaire Chris Velazco is attending the keynote today at the Steve Jobs Auditorium on Apple’s newly christened “spaceship campus” — the first time an event has been held at the company’s new headquarters. Chris will be feeding up-close photos into this here liveblog, and then soon after he’ll be getting hands-on with the new devices. Stay tuned for all of it, starting with the keynote presentation. That begins today at 10AM PT / 1PM ET.


Our first look at Apple’s new ‘spaceship’ campus

Today’s going to be a busy day at Engadget: we’re expecting to see new iPhones, an Apple Watch and a 4K Apple TV. But we’d be remiss if we attended the first keynote held at Apple Park, the company’s new spacecraft-inspired headquarters, and didn’t make an attempt to document the experience. In particular, we spent some time at the newly christened Steve Jobs Theater, perched on top of a hill at the southeastern end of the 175-acre property. Despite its hilltop location, the 1,000-seat presenting space itself is mostly underground, with stadium seating, two glass elevators, a hidden demo area and seats that reportedly cost up to $14,000 apiece. Here’s what we’ve seen so far, in photos, and we’ll be uploading more throughout the day, so stay tuned.

Follow all the latest news from Apple’s iPhone event here!


Watch Apple’s iPhone X event right here!

You should probably read along on our liveblog (that’s here), but if you like your Apple events in live video form — and trapped in the same company’s Safari browser — you should probably mosey along to here, where Apple will be piping out all that molten iPhone news. You know what to expect, right? It all kicks off at 10am PDT. Mere minutes from now!

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