Alphabet’s years-long involvement with energy-making kites is no more. The Google parent is ending its work on Makani’s wind power technology, with X’s Moonshot lead Astro Teller warning that the path to a viable business was “much longer and riskier” than expected. Alphabet liked Makani’s environmental focus, but felt that it was important to pour effort into those areas where it believed it could “have the greatest impact.”
As Makani’s Fort Felker said, this doesn’t necessarily mean that Makani is shutting down. Its recent investor Shell is “exploring options” to continue work on wind kite technology, although Felker didn’t elaborate on what that meant. The team did make some progress while under Alphabet’s wing, launching a 20kW demo project, and growing it to a kite capable of 600kW.
As TechCrunchexplained, this may be as much about Alphabet’s shift to a more conservative strategy as anything else. When Google bought Makani in 2013, it was a company willing to take risks with many
There are lots and lots of space rocks hanging out in our solar system. Most of them will never pose a threat to our planet, but a very tiny percentage will indeed come close. Inevitably, Earth will be on a collision course with a dangerous asteroid at some point in the future, and identifying the objects that pose threats is a very big deal.
Modern telescopes and other observational tools can give astronomers a good idea of which rocks are headed our way, but relying on humans to scour for these possibly dangerous asteroids means that some may be overlooked and missed entirely. To see just how many possibly dangerous asteroids we’ve been missing, researchers from the Netherlands built an AI network to analyze the data and see what it could find.
As the researchers explain in a new paper published in Astronomy & Astrophysics, the computer brain was tasked with spotting objects that were likely to come within approximately 4.7 million miles of Earth. That distance might seem like a nice cushion, but it’s close enough that scientists would like to be able to track such asteroids over the long term to ensure they don’t cause a problem down the road.
The objects also had to meet a size criteria and measure over 100 meters in diameter in order to register with the AI as a threat. Objects of that size have the potential to cause serious damage if they were to directly impact our planet.
After running the simulation and looking as far as 10,000 years into the future, the AI returned some rather surprising results. Not only were there additional potentially dangerous objects that hadn’t been detected, but there were quite a few of them. A total of 11 asteroids that were not on NASA’s list of potentially hazardous objects were cited as being of potential concern.
Going forward, the researchers hope to hone their technique to be able to predict dangerous flybys with even greater accuracy. “We now know that our method works, but we would certainly like to delve deeper in the research with a better neural network and with more input,” Portegies Zwart, a member of the research team, explains. “The tricky part is that small disruptions in the orbit calculations can lead to major changes in the conclusions.”
Image Source: Hubble Space Telescope / ESA Mike Wehner has reported on technology and video games for the past decade, covering breaking news and trends in VR, wearables, smartphones, and future tech. Most recently, Mike served as Tech Editor at The Daily Dot, and has been featured in USA Today, Time.com, and countless other web and print outlets. His love of reporting is second only to his gaming addiction.
While we’re waiting for Oppo to make the Reno3 Pro version for India official on March 2, the company has started teasing the device, by basically showing us some promo images. Here they are for your viewing pleasure.
Oppo Reno3 Pro promo images
Unsurprisingly the focus (excuse the pun) is on the dual selfie camera, with a 44 MP main shooter, aided by what’s rumored to be a 2 MP depth sensor for better portrait mode snaps. Can you tell that this is likely to be the main feature in this phone’s marketing in the subcontinent?
Anyway, aside from that the Reno3 Pro is also expected to come with a 64 MP main rear camera, 20x hybrid/digital zoom, support for 30W fast charging, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage. This Reno3 Pro will differ from the Chinese model on the front, basically, where it swaps out the curved panel with a single punch-hole selfie cam for a flat display with a pill-shaped dual punch-hole.
Blue Apron has been struggling in recent years, and that’s leading the company to consider some extreme options. The online meal kit service has revealed that it’s looking at “strategic alternatives” that include a merger, raising funds, offloading assets or selling the company outright. It warned that there was no guarantee anything would happen, but this is the kind of language companies frequently use when they’re running out of options.
Recent subscriber data explains just why Blue Apron is exploring mergers and sales. The company’s customers dropped from about 557,000 at the end of 2018 to 351,000 a year later — that’s a drop of nearly 37 percent in the space of a year. Orders dropped by nearly a third, too. And while Blue Apron has been targeting “high affinity” (read: particularly loyal) customers, its average income per customer only climbed slightly. Blue Apron is losing its audience, and those people who are left aren’t big enough fans to make up
It’s still only been a matter of days since Samsung unveiled its new Galaxy S20 phone series, at an event during which the company also showed off its new Galaxy Z Flip phones, but already anticipation is building for Samsung’s next big product announcement that looks to be coming this summer. According to one leaker, the successor device to last year’s Galaxy Fold will “likely” launch around July, close to the same time as the forthcoming Galaxy Note 20.
These are both interesting devices to watch, for reasons that include speculation from industry watchers as reported by The Korea Herald that … well, that the new Fold might eventually replace the Note. Meanwhile, a new leak reveals that Samsung may at least be planning something pretty cool for the Note 20, which is expected to be announced in a matter of months. A new patent filing (via PatentlyMobile) reveals that Samsung is working on an all-new curved display that could wrap around the phone’s edges. Physical buttons like the volume button are also incorporated into this proposed curved screen.
From the patent documentation, we’re able to see Samsung’s plan for cut-outs that buttons can fit through:
Image Source: PatentlyMobile
A display that wraps around the curves of Samsung’s Note phablets would be a nice addition to a device that already has expansive screen real estate as well as S Pen support which allows users to take full advantage of the big, gorgeous display. Couple this with the prediction from noted leaker Ice Universe that the Note 20 will have a stellar refresh rate (a “more fine-tuned 120Hz refresh rate,” to be more specific), and it hints at the makings of a truly awesome screen that will be able to compete with the iPhone 12 quite nicely.
The patent documentation goes on to suggest a wave of new sensors could show up in the phone depicted therein, including a gesture sensor, atmospheric pressure sensor, magnetic sensor, a grip sensor, an ultraviolet sensor, and a temperature/humidity sensor, to name just a few. Of course, it’s always worth adding the proviso that patents aren’t tantamount to guarantees that the technology they depict will definitely be developed and commercialized. PatentlyMobile, for example, also points out that it remains to be seen whether Samsung will choose to go the route above or follow the direction spelled out in an even earlier patent from a few weeks ago that depicts a Galaxy phone with “side-bent glass having touch controls.” Regardless, this is another reminder that we have still more major releases from Samsung just around the corner that are definitely worth getting excited about.
Image Source: Lee Jin-Man/AP/Shutterstock Andy is a reporter in Memphis who also contributes to outlets like Fast Company and The Guardian. When he’s not writing about technology, he can be found hunched protectively over his burgeoning collection of vinyl, as well as nursing his Whovianism and bingeing on a variety of TV shows you probably don’t like.
Soon after Spider-Man: Far From Home premiered, fans of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe learned the bad news. Disney and Sony were not able to secure a new deal for Spider-Man’s prolonged use in the MCU, so they were going to part ways. Sony, reports said, would build its own cinematic universe, eager to prove that it doesn’t need Marvel’s other heroes to make billion-dollar films, and Marvel would just move forward with its own Phase 4 plans, which don’t need to include Spider-Man. The two giants ultimately made peace and the new contract reportedly allows Marvel to use Tom Holland’s Peter Parker for two more films, including Spider-Man 3, which launches next year, and a secret crossover film that might as well be an Avengers sequel.
More interestingly, reports said that the new deal would allow both studios to use Parker and his rogue’s gallery without worrying about what would happen in the other universe. Therefore, Sony would be able to make references to MCU events, while Marvel could use content from the in-development Spider-Verse. A few weeks ago, we got the first trailer for Morbius, Sony’s next film in the Spider-Verse, and it turns out Sony is including plenty of MCU references in the movie, references that will probably help attract an audience. Soon after the trailers aired, a leaker posted the full plot for the movie, which includes all the subtle and not-so-subtle ways the film will reference the MCU and Spider-Man. If you hate spoilers, now’s the time to avoid the huge leak below.
Before we proceed, I’ll remind you that we’re looking at a leak that can’t be confirmed at this time. It could be real, but it could be fake. After all, any comic book fan who has seen the trailer would be able to connect the dots by drawing inspiration from the Morbius stories and making up a plot that sounds genuinely possible, but it’s also peppered with plenty of MCU goodies that would give Sony’s Spider-Verse a better foundation.
The Redditor who posted the leak said they can’t reveal how they know the plot before proceeding to explain everything in great detail. We won’t go over the Morbius origin story, as you can read the entire thing below, but we will show you all the purported connections to the MCU and the Spider-Verse from the leak:
The J. Jonah Jameson connection
Michael wakes up back in New York and not sure what happened. Michael crawls into a bar and tells the bartender to call an ambulance. During this scene, Michael watches the TV, and it’s none other than J Jonah Jameson (J.K Simmons) talking about dead bodies mysteriously found on a cargo ship. Michael then gets flashbacks.
The Endgame connection
The film takes place in 2023 after Hulk’s brought back everyone to life. And Homecoming villain Adrien Toomes (Michel Keaton) is the one who reveals it — Sony placed a cheeky Toomes cameo in the trailer already.
Samsung made much ado over fiber layers in the Galaxy Z Flip’s hinge that are supposed to keep dust and debris from ruining your day, but how effective are they, really? They might not be as effective as you’d like. iFixit has tested the hinge’s dust resistance in the early stages of its teardown, and… it’s not promising. While it’s not surprising that dust would infiltrate other parts of the phone (Samsung explicitly warns the phone isn’t dust-resistant), the hinge area was still coated in particles — enough that they produced a disconcerting crunch when iFixit unfolded the device.
We’ve asked Samsung for comment. iFixit is planning to publish a full teardown in the early hours of February 19th that might shed more light. The Z Flip does have water-resistant circuitboards, at least, so it’s less likely to die if you’re unfortunate enough to spill water on your $1,380 pride and joy.
This isn’t a real-world test — not unless you’re checking Instagram
Animal Crossing: New Horizons will bring Nintendo’s franchise to the Switch in March, and one month ahead of the game’s release date it will unveil more details about the new entry. A 25-minute livestream on February 20th at 9 AM ET will give us a look at the “Nook Inc.’s Deserted Island Getaway Package!” that makes up the backbone of the new game.
Players have been waiting for years to see a new console entry in the series, and it’s almost here. Just wait a few more hours to get a better look at it, and the good news is that it’s not delayed again.
Tune in on February 20 at 6 a.m. PT / 9 a.m ET for a roughly 25-minute livestreamed #AnimalCrossing: New Horizons Direct, featuring an in-depth look at Nook Inc.’s Deserted Island Getaway Package! pic.twitter.com/3j4EaUw8Pl
Gaming fans all over the world are anxiously awaiting any word at all from Sony or Microsoft about their respective next-gen consoles, but Nintendo fans don’t care about new hardware. Rather, Switch owners want to know what they will be playing in the weeks and months to come, which is why they have been slowly losing their minds over the lack of news from Nintendo. Thankfully, the wait is over, as a new Nintendo Direct is on the way.
On Tuesday, Nintendo announced that it will livestream a Direct focused entirely on Animal Crossing: New Horizons for Switch on February 20th at 6 AM PT / 9 AM ET. This is Nintendo’s second livestream of the year, as the company revealed expansions for Pokemon Swordand Shield back in January.
According to the tweet that Nintendo of America sent out, the stream will last for about 25 minutes and will feature “an in-depth look at Nook Inc.’s Deserted Island Getaway Package.” If you haven’t read up on New Horizons, the conceit of the game is that you travel to a deserted island where you can build a home, decorate the landscape, and invite friends to come visit as you make a life for yourself away from the hustle and bustle:
Nintendo first announced that a new entry in the Animal Crossing series was in development in late 2018 and was set to release the next year, but when the official title was announced on June 11th, 2019, the company also said that the game was going to be delayed to 2020. Now the game is slated to hit the Switch on March 20th, 2020, and although we know a decent amount about it already, all the secrets should be revealed on Thursday.
Image Source: Nintendo Jacob started covering video games and technology in college as a hobby, but it quickly became clear to him that this was what he wanted to do for a living. He currently resides in New York writing for BGR. His previously published work can be found on TechHive, VentureBeat and Game Rant.
While SpaceX has been working hard to deliver a safe, reliable method of transporting astronauts into space for NASA, there’s always been the question of how long it would take before any company, including SpaceX, embraced space tourism. There’s not a whole lot going on in the space tourism market at the moment, aside from big promises for the future, but SpaceX just confirmed that it won’t be left on the sideline when it comes to sending paying customers into the sky.
The company says that it has agreed to fly four private individuals around the Earth in one of its Crew Dragon capsules. Those spacecraft are the same ones that will be used by NASA to send astronauts to the International Space Station.
The deal was reportedly struck through a company called Space Adventures, which acts as the middleman between spaceflight companies and customers with deep pockets. “This historic mission will forge a path to making spaceflight possible for all people who dream of it, and we are pleased to work with the Space Adventures’ team on the mission,” Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX president, said in a statement.
SpaceX still has a couple of months before it’s ready to put anyone inside one of its Crew Dragon capsules. The company got the thumbs up from NASA to send astronauts to the International Space Station on a mission currently expected to begin in May. If that date holds, it will be the first manned launch in NASA’s Commercial Crew program, and we’ll have a clear winner between SpaceX and Boeing in the race to send humans to space.
It’s not immediately clear what the cost of an orbital flight will set back each of the four tourists, or if SpaceX has even set the final price or merely taken deposits for the future trip. In any case, it’ll be interesting to see if space tourism proves to be a big moneymaker for SpaceX or any of the other private companies vying for a slice of that pie.
Image Source: SpaceX Mike Wehner has reported on technology and video games for the past decade, covering breaking news and trends in VR, wearables, smartphones, and future tech. Most recently, Mike served as Tech Editor at The Daily Dot, and has been featured in USA Today, Time.com, and countless other web and print outlets. His love of reporting is second only to his gaming addiction.
In a blog post that has attracted a pretty sizable amount of attention today, Tumblr software engineer Steve Streza called out Apple pretty harshly for what he sees as the iPhone maker shoving way too many ads in its users’ faces. Those ads generally market new Apple services and subscriptions like Apple TV+ and Apple News+, and because the company’s services business that encompasses those offerings is such a focus for Apple right now, Streza’s argument is that Apple is going way overboard in advertising those products.
Taken as a whole, Streza writes, Apple’s services business raked in $12.7 billion in Q1 2020, almost a sixth of Apple’s overall revenue for the quarter. “All that money comes from the wallets of 480 million subscribers, and their goal is to grow that number to 600 million this year,” Streza’s post reads. “But to do that, Apple has resorted to insidious tactics to get those people: Ads. Lots and lots of ads, on devices that you pay for.” Here are examples of the kind of thing he’s talking about.
If you open the Apple News app for the first time, you may be greeted with a full-screen display that looks like this before you ever dive into the aggregated news content this app serves up:
Image Source: Apple
The app has a free tier, as well as a $9.99/month subscription offering. That’s what Apple hits you up to pay for straight away, and with little reminders here and there as you go about using the free tier.
Here’s another example. Apple’s TV app is where you go to watch episodes of TV shows you’ve rented or bought, as well as movies. It’s also your entry point into Apple’s still relatively new subscription TV offering, Apple TV+. When I open the app, click “Watch Now” and then scroll down a bit, same thing — I’m hit up by Apple to subscribe to its paid TV product. After I scroll down a little, this is the marketing message I see:
Image Source: Apple
I don’t know about you, but I don’t mind Apple advertising me a paid tier of a product whose app I’ve just opened up. I believe I may also have seen a bit of cross-pollination, such as Apple TV+ ads as I scroll through Apple News+, but “believe” is the operative word. It certainly wasn’t to a level that annoyed me and that I made a point of remembering. This, though, is at the heart of Streza’s beef: “If you don’t subscribe to these services,” he writes, “you’ll be forced to look at these ads constantly, either in the apps you use or the push notifications they have turned on by default.”
Again, I can’t sympathize with the latter half of that sentence, because I adjust the default push notifications for each app on my
Following up on news from earlier this month that they have developed HAMR HDD platters, Showa Denko K.K. (SDK) has announced that it has started shipments microwave assisted recording (MAMR) HDD platters. The announcement confirms that MAMR media is in production and that Toshiba is on track to introduce HDDs using the tech in the coming quarters.
SDK’s media is set to be used for Toshiba’s nine-platter 18 TB MAMR hard drive for nearline applications. The platters feature a 2 TB capacity, with Toshiba taking advantage of the fact that the platters are thinner than those used in modern eight-platter designs. Showa Denko has never revealed which magnetic alloy or substrate it’s using for its 2 TB media, though aluminum substrate is quite likely given the company’s focus on this material.
Showa Denko confirmed that it’s shipping MAMR media to Toshiba in its 2019 Consolidated Financial Results presentation for investors and analysts. Shipments to Toshiba may indicate that the latter has begun sampling its 18 TB nearline hard drive. Though it is unknown how many drives Toshiba has shipped to its customers and whether they were engineering or qualification samples.
Unfortunately, SDK’s announcement does not give us any hints regarding availability timeframe of Toshiba’s 18 TB MAMR HDDs, but it does at least confirm that the HDD industry is one step closer to actually shipping commercial MAMR HDDs.
The statement by Showa Denko reads as follows:
“In 2019, SDK began shipment of newly developed 3.5-inch HD media which have storage capacity of 2 terabyte per disk based on the Microwave Assisted Magnetic Recording (MAMR) technology for next-generation hard disk drives (HDDs). This product, which SDK developed with its new technology, has been adopted by Toshiba Electronic Devices & Storage Corporation for use in MAMR-technology-based 18 terabyte near-line HDD, which represents the largest storage capacity in the industry.”
Samsung took a calculated risk when it jumped from the Galaxy S10 in 2019 to the Galaxy S20 this year. Samsung certainly isn’t the only Android smartphone vendor to play fast and loose with its numbering scheme in recent years, but while it can be a clever marketing tactic, it can also backfire if the phone itself doesn’t also feel like a significant upgrade over its predecessor. And in the case of the Galaxy S20, it really doesn’t.
In a recent report, TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (via cnBeta) predicted that Samsung would ship 30-32 million Galaxy S20, Galaxy S20+, and Galaxy S20 Ultra phones this year. That might sound like a lot, and it’s nothing to sneeze at, but in 2019, Samsung sold an estimated 36-38 million Galaxy S10 series devices. Even if his projection is low, that’s still a huge dropoff for the biggest phone maker on the planet.
As Kuo notes, while the hardware upgrades present in the S20 series are respectable, the user experience is virtually the same. You aren’t going to notice any major differences using the Galaxy S20 compared to last year’s Galaxy S10, and with prices starting at $999, that’s going to scare some consumers off.
This isn’t the first time we’ve discussed this, but Samsung appears to have made a dire mistake when pricing its new flagship lineup. Apple made the retrospectively brilliant decision to name its entry-level flagship model “iPhone 11” and charge $699 for it. Unsurprisingly, it was the best-selling iPhone of the year. Meanwhile, Samsung opted not to launch a follow-up to the Galaxy S10e. Instead, Samsung’s cheapest 2020 flagship retails for $999, and the series tops out at a ludicrous $1,599 for the 512GB Galaxy S10 Ultra 5G. Kuo might be on to something.
None of this is to say that the Galaxy S20 isn’t a great phone, because it’s almost sure to be one of the best Android flagships releases in 2020, but Samsung’s decision to stick with the status quo in terms of design and price the series so high above the iPhone 11 might end up backfiring in a very serious way in the coming months.
Jacob started covering video games and technology in college as a hobby, but it quickly became clear to him that this was what he wanted to do for a living. He currently resides in New York writing for BGR. His previously published work can be found on TechHive, VentureBeat and Game Rant.
In all of its smartphone-making history, Google hasn’t been able to keep any of its Nexus or Pixel devices secret. We’ve known everything there was to know about the company’s smartphones months ahead of their launches each year. Complete Pixel 3 reviews were out well before the phone was even unveiled, and some stores in Asia even had overpriced Pixel 3 units on sale ahead of the device’s release. The Pixel 4 was an even bigger disaster when it comes to rumors, as Google tried to stay ahead of leaks last year by announcing some of the new features coming to the phone, but Google only helped confirm every single rumor that followed. The Pixel 5 is next, and things aren’t looking good for the handset either. Just a few days ago, we saw the first Pixel 5 render. Now, it turns out that Google has already confirmed the next-generation Pixel phone in public.
It’s common for any smartphone vendor to test prototypes of their upcoming smartphones several months ahead of launch, but those tests are usually shrouded in secrecy. That’s not the case for the Pixel 5, as a Googler just used the phone’s name in a thread over on the Android Open Source Project (AOSP).
The tester made this comment (via 9to5Google) that clearly identifies the Pixel 5 by its commercial name:
Bounds sanitizer in arch/arm64/kernel/cpufeature.c makes image unbootable for Pixel 4 at 4.14 kernel. I didn’t have a chance to test it on Pixel 5 with 4.19, and preemptively disabling UBSan there now to ensure bootability.
The new Pixel 5 name-drop in AOSP comes about two months earlier than it did last year, which shows that Google is still struggling to keep leaks in check. The AOSP is a highly-scrutinized site, as plenty of people check it out regularly, hunting for details about Google’s upcoming products. In this instance, little information is of note beyond the Pixel 5 references. The comment does say that the underlying Linux kernel version for Android on the Pixel 5 will be 4.19.
Google’s next official Pixel announcement should come at I/O 2020 a few months from now, where Google is expected to unveil the Pixel 4a series, a phone that will feature Google’s most exciting smartphone design to date, according to a few recent leaks. The Pixel 5 line isn’t expected to hit stores until October, which is usually the month when Google’s hardware events take place each year.
Image Source: Zach Epstein, BGR Chris Smith started writing about gadgets as a hobby, and before he knew it he was sharing his views on tech stuff with readers around the world. Whenever he’s not writing about gadgets he miserably fails to stay away from them, although he desperately tries. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
There were plenty of big sales out there for Presidents’ Day on Monday, but most of the big ones are now over. There are a few sales in particular that are lingering though, and you should definitely take advantage of these deep discounts while you still can.
Amazon ended most of its big Presidents’ Day sales, so we don’t know if the ones that are left are intentional or just a big mistake. Either way, the savings are huge in these awesome sales on furniture, memory foam mattresses, hybrid mattresses, home decor products, and more. The first set of deals is a big Amazon sale on more than 600 different mattresses, beds, and box springs from a few popular brands. You’ll find killer prices on everything you need to sleep better at night.
Follow @BGRDeals on Twitter to keep up with the latest and greatest deals we find around the web. Prices subject to change without notice and any coupons mentioned above may be available in limited supply. BGR may receive a commission on orders placed through this article, and the retailer may receive certain auditable data for accounting purposes..