The European Union is to hit Google with a record-breaking fine of 4.3 billion Euros ($5.1 billion) over anti-trust issues linked to Google’s handling of the Android ecosystem.
The expected fine is the largest ever, exceeding the previous record of 2.4 billion Euros leveraged against Google last year for its online shopping service. But even with that being the case, it’s expected that the fine will only amount to two weeks of revenue for the search engine giant, making it barely more than a slap on the wrist.
However — and far more importantly for Google — the EU has also given Google 90 days to quit the actions the EU has deemed as illegal, or it will face further fines from the European Commission.
Why is the EU fining Google?
We’ve covered this question in great detail over the months it’s taken for this story to develop, but in brief, questions are being raised of the requirements that Google holds third-parties to when licensing out the Google Play Store and Google’s other popular apps. In essence, Google’s current methods require Chrome and Google’s own search app to be pre-installed to a phone that wants access to the Google Play Store.
Brussels is accusing Google of using their position of power in the market to unfairly keep its own search engine in a position of power, as well as offering a cut of search profits to manufacturers who exclusively install Google’s search engine on their phones. Under EU rules, this sort of action is illegal.
While it’s not required to cede to Google’s requests to utilize the Android operating system — Amazon’s Fire tablets run a “forked” version of Android that does not have access to the Play Store by default — it’s heavily expected of that most Android devices will have access to the Play Store. With Google search commanding around 95 percent of the search engine market, and Android devices making up 80 percent of the smartphone market, it’s easy to see how Google could be accused of unfair practices in when using one to maintain a hegemony over another.
With Google having been fined twice over anti-trust issues — and with the EU also looking at Google’s AdSense as also being problematic — expect to see some serious changes being made to law in response to what lawmakers are seeing as some imbalances in technology markets.
This story is developing.
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Nick Mokey/Digital Trends
Virtual reality headsets of the future will soon only need a single cable to connect to a PC. Rather than requiring a multitude of cables for today’s PC-based VR experiences, an industry consortium led by Nvidia, Oculus, Valve, AMD, and Microsoft wants to simplify connecting VR headsets with PCs by using the new VirtualLink specification, which relies on a single USB-C connector on the headset. VirtualLink is based on the Alternate Mode of USB-C, and it allows future headsets to replace the HDMI, USB, and power cables with a single cable in the future.
“VirtualLink enables next-generation VR headsets to connect with a PC or other device using a single, high-bandwidth USB Type-C connector,” the consortium said in a statement. “That includes support for four lanes of HBR3 DisplayPort for high-resolution displays, USB3.1 Gen2 SuperSpeed for headset cameras and sensors, and up to 27 watts of power delivery.”
Similar to how USB-C can handle video, USB data, and power on today’s laptops and desktops, the VirtualLink standard’s single USB-C cable will simplify the VR experience and cut down on cable clutter. A single cable will be easier and quicker for consumers to set up, reducing any friction to VR adoption.
Described as a connectivity standard that was purpose-built for virtual reality, VirtualLink claims that the connector is optimized to reduce latency and handle VR’s bandwidth demands. The standard could also help PC-based virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality experiences compete against mobile-first devices, like Samsung’s Oculus-based Gear VR headset, which relies on a smartphone, rather than a PC.
Additionally, whereas today’s virtual reality experiences are limited to PCs that can handle multiple connectors, relying on a single cable will help VirtualLink bring virtual reality to more form factors, like thin and light notebooks and other small-form-factor devices.
While serious VR and AR experiences will still require more advanced processors and graphics chips, casual PC users won’t need to get HP’s Omen X backpack, for example, to get started with VR. Given Microsoft’s involvement, it may be just a matter of time before we see VirtualLink crop up on a future Windows Mixed Reality headset. “We have been involved on VirtualLink from the beginning and are supportive of industry-standard approaches for emerging Windows experiences including mixed reality,” Microsoft Mixed Reality general manager Scott Evans said.
Given that this is a new standard, only future headsets that support USB-C will be able to take advantage of single-cable benefit of VirtualLink.
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Watch your favorite shows and movies from a virtual reality living room
Oculus TV has launched for the Oculus Go. This brings a fun and immersive way to watch your favorite shows and movies right from a living room setup in virtual reality (VR). The app was originally announced at F8 2018 and is now available to the public. On top of this epic release, Reddit user Colonel_Izzi has discovered that you can use this app to side load standard Android apps to your Oculus Go through it. If you’re interested in that, click the link below to see how. Otherwise, continue and we’ll show you how to use Oculus TV!
How to sideload Android Apps to Oculus TV on your Oculus Go
How to get started
The first thing you want to do is get the Oculus TV app installed to your device. To do this, you want to head over to the Oculus Store page and download it. You can make this process even easier by saying, “Hey Oculus, show me Oculus TV” and your device will load up the page for you! After you have the app installed to your Oculus Go, open it up and get the show started.
Using the app
To use Oculus TV, it will require you to download most of the apps you want to use within it. Some of the apps, listed below, will close you out of Oculus TV and launch you into the main apps. Whether this is on purpose or a glitch, we’re not sure, but we’ll keep you posted on updates.
Open Oculus TV.
Select the service you would like to watch.
When the selection opens press “Download.”
After it is finished installing, select “Watch.”
Most of the selections in the “Whats on now” section won’t require a download. These are the live TV options they have available for you. Anything from your Facebook videos to Red Bull TV can just be loaded up from your device where you can start watching all of the content they have to show.
Apps that take you out of Oculus TV
These following apps will take you out of Oculus TV and load you into their own app for your viewing pleasures. If you download an app that isn’t listed below and it takes you out of Oculus TV, don’t worry. It just means it wants you to sign into your account. After signing in on the main app, you can close it out, re-load Oculus TV and launch the content where it will then play from the same screen within the Oculus TV room.
- Showtime Anytime
When it comes to live TV, some of the apps that are available in the United States aren’t always available in the UK, and vice versa. But, this app is compatible with users in the UK who want to view from the Oculus TV room! All of the same content works in the UK just as it does with other customers. All of the information listed above will still be able to help you out.
The only thing that isn’t compatible with the UK version of this app is Hulu. The Hulu app itself won’t even show up on the UK version of Oculus TV. If you download the Hulu app itself and try to load it, you’ll be faced with an error message saying that you won’t be able to use it because you are international.
Are you using Oculus TV?
What are your thoughts on Oculus TV? Let us know in the comment section below. On that note, what are your favorite shows?
Oculus Go: Finally, VR for Everyone
Your headset will break eventually. Be prepared.
We’ve all been there before: you turn your PlayStation 4 on, plug your headset in, and you can’t hear anything. That or people can’t hear you when you’re trying to voice chat. Either way, something’s broken and you really don’t want to have to shell out a ton of money to fix it.
If that sounds like you and you want to be prepared for the next time you have headset issues, listen up. We’ll show you a few things you should do when you notice your PS4 headset isn’t working.
If it’s a wired headset
Wired headsets are more susceptible to breaking. That’s just an unfortunate downside to having a physical cable that can get tangled and pulled on. Here’s what to do if you’re in that boat.
Make sure everything is plugged in correctly
This may seem obvious, but one of the most common causes of a headset malfunctioning is it simply not being plugged in right. Sometimes that 3.5mm headphone jack gets loose just enough to cause you some headaches.
Make sure everything is fully plugged in with a snug and secure fit. Then unplug them and plug them back in. Turn the controller off and back on, and then do it again. If it’s a wireless headset, turn it off and turn it back on. Finally, reset your PS4, resync the headset, and do it again.
Yes, that’s a lot of meandering, but it’ll take you just a few minutes and it’s worth confirming that you actually have a problem before you take drastic measures to solve it.
Test it with other controllers
If you find things are still a bit wonky, try the headset with another controller. There’s a chance that the problem lies within the controller itself and not the headset.
If your headset works fine with another controller, then you’ll want to replace the one it’s not working with. Otherwise, it’s time to figure out how you’re going to get your headset fixed.
Make sure you have the latest updates
Check for updates to your PlayStation 4 if you aren’t sure whether you have the latest one. There’s a chance the issue could be resolved after the update, especially if the issue might be caused by some sort of change to the firmware inside the DualShock 4.
Also be sure to check for updates to your headset. Even some wired headsets can receive permanent software updates, so head to the manufacturer’s website to see if yours is in that boat.
Replace the cable or microphone
If you have a modular headset that lets you disconnect the cable or the microphone, check to see if you can get those two components replaced instead of having to get an entirely new headset. Most headset issues arise due to electric shorts in the cables, so there’s a high chance this will solve your issue.
You may request a replacement from your manufacturer (if it’s still under warranty) or buy one from websites like Amazon. Popular headsets like the Astro A40 have cables readily available, and you can even get third-party alternatives if you find the official replacements to be a bit too expensive for your budget. This is also the preferred route if you need the headset fixed fast, because the warranty process can be a bit lengthy depending on the manufacturer.
If it’s a wireless headset
While wireless headsets are less likely to have mechanical issues, there’s still an entirely different set of problems they can have. Try these tips if yours isn’t working right.
Make sure the battery is still functional
Akin to the obvious “is it plugged in” approach, making sure your headset’s battery is fully charged is the first step. Wireless electronics just don’t work right when they don’t have enough juice to carry out their duties.
If your headset has an indicator light, plug it in until that light tells you it has a full charge. Once it does, try the headset out and see if it performs better. If you’ve found that the battery is actually dying right away, you may need to replace it.
Some headsets make it easy to replace the battery, while others may require some work from your manufacturer. Check the troubleshooting and support documents on your manufacturer’s website to see which route you should take.
Resync it with your PlayStation 4
Have you ever been connected to WiFi or had a Bluetooth headset connected to your phone, and everything works perfectly until one day it suddenly doesn’t? You didn’t change anything — it just stopped working. That’s just what wireless electronics do, and it’s annoying.
In these cases, a simple resync can solve your issues. Go through the pairing process to resync the headset with your PlayStation 4 before you go any further.
Check for updates
Issues with wireless connectivity can potentially be fixed with updates to either the headset or the PlayStation 4. You’ll want to make sure you’re on the latest version for either of those things.
To check for updates on your PlayStation 4:
Head to the Settings menu on your PlayStation 4.
Select System Software Update.
If an update is available, it will download the file, after which it will install the file.
You will need to restart your PlayStation 4 to finish updating.
For updating your headset, refer to the support documents at your manufacturer’s website. Most headset updates require the use of a USB cable connected to a Windows PC. If you don’t have one of your own, see if you can use a friend’s.
Redeem your warranty
Sometimes, the problem just can’t be fixed by your own hands. In those cases, you’ll want to contact your manufacturer to go over your options for repairs or replacements.
You’ll likely need to be under warranty for the manufacturer to be able to help you in any capacity, but there’s a chance they’ll help you out even if you aren’t. Give them a call or send in a support ticket to get going on figuring it out.
Consider buying a new headset
If you hit a dead end with your warranty, your only option is to buy a new headset. There are many great options out there to fit any budget.
If you’re going wired, try and choose a headset that lets you replace the cable and/or microphone easily, and make sure those replacements are readily available. This will be helpful in the future if you happen to suffer the same fate.
If wireless is your preference, check out reviews to ensure there are no damning bugs, and see if the manufacturer has a good track record for updating it in case any bugs do arise. You should also look to see whether the battery is user replaceable.
Need a good starting place on your search for a new headset? Be sure to check out our list of the best PlayStation 4 headsets.
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It’s the one true differentiator of the Note line, and there’s room for improvement.
Samsung’s Galaxy S and Galaxy Note lines have converged over the past three generations, to the point where very little differentiates the two lines. The one true standout feature of the Note line is the S Pen, which really has no competition in the market — but even still, it hasn’t fundamentally changed since the Galaxy Note 5, leaving even Note fans clamoring for the next big advancement.
The latest rumors for the Galaxy Note 9 launch point to a new style of S Pen that keeps its home inside the phone but now connects over Bluetooth to offer new features. We don’t have much of a hint of what those improvements could be, but I have a few ideas — some practical, some far-flung enough that they’d have to be implemented in future versions of the Note. Let’s go through a thought experiment.
Better awareness of where the pen is
Never leave your S Pen behind, and keep using it away from the phone.
Galaxy Notes have always had a system to alert you if you have stopped using the S Pen and didn’t place it back inside the phone. With a full Bluetooth connection, this can go a step further — the phone would always know precisely whether the S Pen is within range of it. Alerts for leaving your S Pen behind somewhere would be far more reliable, and there would no longer be false positives so long as Bluetooth is turned on.
Going a step further, this new awareness of proximity opens up even more possibilities. Currently, the phone only knows that the S Pen is there when it’s extremely close to the display — move it about an inch away, and it no longer does anything because it’s a passive instrument. But with Bluetooth (and therefore a battery), the S Pen will always have a connection to the phone — the button(s) will still be able to perform functions and there are other possibilities for interaction other than only putting the tip of the S Pen on the screen.
Presentation and media controls
Let’s take that idea a bit further — what can you do with an S Pen if the phone can recognize its interactions even when it’s not in the immediate proximity of the display? The simplest feature would be using the S Pen’s button for media controls or as a presentation tool. With 30+ feet of range, you could easily see someone using the S Pen as a simple tool to play/pause video playing on the phone connected to an external display, or move through a presentation with the small S Pen rather than holding the big Note 9.
This would be extra useful if the S Pen added another button, rather than relying on the single button it’s historically had. This could be as simple as turning the clicky end piece into an actual button — currently, it’s just a retractable tab that helps you pull the S Pen out of the phone (and satiate your fidgeting habit).
Recording off-display writing
With the right developers on board, the possibilities are endless.
If the S Pen can send information to the phone over Bluetooth at a distance, why would you necessarily need to write on the display? I’d love to see Samsung implement some sort of way to record writing that you do off the display but within Bluetooth range of the phone. Much like dedicated “smart” pens have done in the past, perhaps you could do some scribbling on a flat surface with the S Pen and see it relayed in virtual space on the Note’s display. Whether that’s to give you a larger canvas to work on or just an extra option for expansion, it’d be a neat trick.
Even if this was only available as a secondary accessory for the S Pen that offered an ink-filled pen attachment, it’d be an amazing extension of the Note’s ability to be a productivity and artistic device.
Perhaps some gaming tie-in
Samsung’s CEO, DJ Koh, recently hinted that the S Pen may have some sort of tie-in with gaming. Being connected over Bluetooth and offering extra functions with its button(s) lends itself to this kind of advanced interaction, but it’s hard to imagine this going very deep considering its size. You’d have to imagine that any sort of “game” the S Pen is used for would have to be specially designed for it, and will most likely be some sort of casual game.
Leaning on the above idea of drawing off of the screen, you could easily see some sort of party game coming together where you would draw something on the table that nobody could see aside from the one with the phone, and others guess it. Not exactly something that’s going to sell a ton of Note 9s, but it could be something Samsung develops in-house just to show what the new phone and new stylus are capable of.
Use as a headset
Samsung’s done it before, and it can do it again.
As crazy as it sounds to have the S Pen work as a headset, Samsung actually has some standing in this area. It made an S Pen that doubled as a Bluetooth headset for the Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet, but it was obviously far too big to be considered as a phone accessory. Perhaps now it could get the technology down to a size small enough to fit inside a Galaxy Note phone.
Sure, we don’t make as many phone calls as we used to, but those who use a Note are the type who want to be able to multitask and may want to use a Bluetooth headset — with this, they could continue to use their phone while talking through the S Pen. It wouldn’t be as useful as a dedicated headset or headphones with a microphone, but in a pinch, it’d be far more helpful than talking on speakerphone.
What do you want?
We’re quickly approaching the launch of the Note 9, and we’re all interested in speculating about what Samsung could do with the S Pen to make the Note line stand out. Whether it’s for this release or the future, what do you want to see from the S Pen? Let us know in the comments!
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As part of its digital health initiative in iOS 12, Apple has introduced some improvements to the way app notifications can be managed, enabling users to more easily reduce the number of daily distractions their iPhone or iPad throws their way.
One of these new features is called Instant Tuning, which allows you to quickly adjust the future behavior of app notifications whenever they appear in the Lock Screen or the Notifications Center. Here’s how to make the most of it.
How to Use Instant Tuning in iOS 12
Next time an alert appears in your device’s Notifications Center or on the Lock Screen, swipe left on it, then tap Manage. Alternatively, if your device supports 3D Touch, hard press on the alert and then tap the three dots in the upper right corner of the expanded notification.
A Manage Notifications pop-up will appear on the screen featuring two blue button options. Deliver Quietly ensures future alerts from this app only appear in the Notification Center (accessed by swiping down from the top of your device’s screen).
Note that selecting this option means alerts will no longer show in the Lock Screen and you won’t see any banner notifications on any other screens. Deliver Quietly also turns off any sound or vibration alerts set for the associated app.
If you tap Deliver Quietly and then decide you’d rather not stick with the setting, open the Manage Notifications pop-up again in the same way and tap the Deliver Prominently button to reinstate the previous settings.
The second option, Turn Off…, completely disables all notifications for the related app. Tap this button and you will be prompted to confirm it’s what you want.
Below the two large blue buttons is a less prominent Settings button that takes you to the individual app’s various notification options, usually accessed via the main Settings app.
From here you can adjust where alerts should appear (if at all), enable or disable sounds and badges, select alert preview options (Always, When Unlocked, Never) and choose how notifications should be grouped (Automatic, By App, Off).
Related Roundup: iOS 12
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A few months ago, in an internal document obtained by MacRumors, Apple indicated the Mid 2012 model 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display would be classified as vintage or obsolete as of June 30, 2018, marking the end of hardware service from Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers.
In a notice distributed to Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers this week, however, Apple says it “incorrectly classified” the notebook as vintage or obsolete on June 30, and revised the date to December 31, 2018.
The full-length internal document, obtained from multiple sources:
In a Service News article published in May 2018, the MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2012) was incorrectly classified as vintage in the state of California (U.S.) and country of Turkey and obsolete worldwide (except for California and Turkey) on June 30, 2018.
Please note that the MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2012) will not become vintage in California (U.S.) and Turkey and obsolete in all other countries until the end of December 2018.
Apple apologizes for any inconvenience this may have caused.
Apple has yet to remove the notebook from its public-facing vintage and obsolete products list, as shown below.
Apple considers a product to be vintage or obsolete, depending on the region, when at least five years have passed since the product was last manufactured. When this happens, Apple and Apple Authorized Service Providers stop offering hardware service, like repairs, except in California and Turkey by law.
All in all, if you’re still using this particular MacBook Pro, it turns out you still have a little under six months of hardware support remaining from the Genius Bar and certified repair shops. So, if you’ve been looking to get that battery replaced, or otherwise, it would be best to do so sooner rather than later.
Beyond that date, you’re on your own. Fortunately, the repair experts at iFixit offer many do-it-yourself guides and replacement parts.
Related Roundup: MacBook ProTag: vintage and obsoleteBuyer’s Guide: MacBook Pro (Buy Now)
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Apple’s Chinese iCloud operator has agreed a deal with state-owned China Telecom to transfer local customer data to the company’s Tianyi cloud storage business, according to TechCrunch.
China Telecom reportedly announced the agreement in a WeChat post, saying that local Apple partner Guizhou-Cloud Big Data (GCBD) had migrated all Chinese iCloud customer data to Tianyi servers. Apple separately confirmed the change to TechCrunch.
Back in January, Apple controversially announced that its iCloud services in mainland China would be overseen by GCBD, which was already known to have ties to the Chinese government. GCBD was brought on board to manage Apple’s new $1 billion data center, which opened in the region last year.
Customer data stored on iCloud includes emails, text messages, and the encryption keys that protect it. Customers who did not want to use iCloud operated by GCBD were given the option to terminate their account or select a country other than China for their iCloud account.
Apple made the transfer to comply with the latest laws enacted in China regarding regulations on cloud services, requiring foreign firms to store data within the country. The move means Chinese government can use its own legal system to ask Apple for its users’ iCloud data, whereas before the government had to go through the U.S. legal system.
Today’s development is unlikely to quell the concerns of human rights and privacy advocates, who criticized Apple’s original decision to rely on GCBD and questioned whether it will be able to maintain and protect its customers’ privacy under the new Chinese laws.
At the time, Apple said, “While we advocated against iCloud being subject to these laws, we were ultimately unsuccessful.” Nevertheless, Apple assured customers that no backdoors had been created into any of its systems, and that it retained control of the encryption keys. Whether the new GCBD-Telecom arrangement impinges on Apple’s original assurances remains to be seen.
Tags: China, China Telecom, iCloud, privacy
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Take advantage of these inexpensive deals while they last.
We’re almost at the close of Prime Day 2018, and if you’re anything like me, you’re praying that you won’t see any more great offers to make you pull out your wallet once again. If your Prime Day funds are running low, there are still some great deals you can grab for $10 or less. Of course, as with most of the deals popping up during Prime Day, a majority of these offers are exclusively available for Prime members. If you’re not a member, you can still get in on these deals by starting a free 30-day trial.
Avid reader? You’ve probably already heard of Kindle Unlimited which offers unlimited access to over 1 million books for a monthly fee, but did you know you can try out the service for three months at just $0.99 total? Its books can be read either on a Kindle device or via the free Kindle app. If you don’t have much time for books, consider Audible instead and have someone else read to you. Right now, you can grab three months for $5 each as opposed to the regular $15 monthly price.
If you’re one of those people with headphones always on, like me, you also won’t want to miss Amazon’s offer for four months of Amazon Music Unlimited for $1. The service gives you access to your favorite music and new releases so you can listen whenever on your iOS or Android device, or computer.
There are even some money-making opportunities during Prime Day. For example, if you buy some of these $1 Dash Buttons, you’ll receive a free $5 credit upon pressing them for the first time, and you can get a credit for each one you buy.
Some of the other great deals under $10 today include:
- Groot Planter Pot for $6.86
- Plinrise Animal Desk Phone Stand for $7.99
- Panasonic Wired Earphones for $6.79
- 14oz Aquaphor Healing Ointment for $7.40
- Jenga for $10.27
Prime Day 2018 has just a few hours left, so you might want to take a last look at the remaining Prime deals while they’re available.
Treat Yo Self.
I think more-often-than-not deals are about saving on the essentials. After all, if we have to buy it, we might as well save some money on it. If you’re going to buy new silverware or charging cables, you should get them at a discount. If you’re going to start your smart home, you should go with a bundle that gets you what you need without breaking the bank. If you’ve got a baby on the way or one already gurgling in his crib, you’re going to need every dime that can be spared. But days like Prime Day afford us a little extra wiggle room with deals. There are so many devices and tools and groceries on sale that it becomes the perfect time to do something you probably don’t do as often as you should – splurge a little.
There are still some great Amazon devices on sale. Not just devices at good prices but devices we know are really worth the investment. The Echo Dot is still just $30, which is the same as its Black Friday pricing. You could even get two for $50, which is a bargain given the Dot costs $50 by itself on a non-giant-sales-day. You get a smart home hub, access to Alexa’s voice control, and a Bluetooth speaker all in one tiny device. But that’s a boring choice and a decision you’ve probably already made.
Instead, you should go with the Fire TV Cube. It’s new, it’s not nearly as tested as the Echo Dot, and it’s a little more splurgy. But it’s not too bad because right now the Cube is down to $89.99, which is the same price Amazon offered to Prime members willing to pre-order it back in June. You might not have been willing to take the risk when you didn’t know what it was, but that’s a mystery solved thanks to this thorough CordCutters review.
The Fire TV Cube takes the best of what the Echo Dot has to offer, combines it with the Fire TV, and gives you one device you can use to control your entire living room… with your voice. When you buy it for yourself, it comes connected to your Amazon account out of the box. After the initial setup, you’ll be ready to stream from Amazon Prime Video in no time. You can control your cable and satellite boxes, your speakers, and all your favorite media. With Alexa’s Smart Home Skills, you’ll be able to access your video doorbell, lights, and other devices as well. It’s not perfect, and some of those skills need to ironed out, but it’s trying to do more in one device than any of the rest of Amazon’s lineup.
You might not have jumped at the opportunity to get Fire TV Cube before, but you’ll miss out on its best-ever savings by failing to take the leap right now. If you’re going to buy one Amazon device on Prime Day, make it the Fire TV Cube.
See at Amazon