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Microsoft Extends Xbox Cloud Gaming to PCs and Apple Devices - Powered by Xbox Series X

Microsoft has opened the floodgates, and allowed the huge PC and Apple devices market to enter the Xbox ecosystem via Cloud Gaming. Now you don't need to have a gaming PC or Xbox console. Now, you can be a part of Microsoft's ecosystem with whatever device you use - Xbox will always be there with you. This is the vision Microsoft is aiming at with the extension of Cloud Gaming to (almost) anything - with a simple browser, via its (currently Beta) xCloud for PC. Provided you subscribe to the Games Pass Ultimate subscription tier, of course. Which Microsoft is offering at $1 a month, with two extra free months, and then $12.99 a month.

However, there's a catch: if you want to be on the receiving end of Microsoft's franchises via Cloud Gaming, you have to possess a supported controller - Xbox offerings are the surest bets; however, PS4's controller is also supported). This happens because the stream is being originated in custom Xbox Series X consoles on the cloud - Microsoft's best performant hardware to date. However, it seems a way to adapt the stream from Xbox Series X's controller inputs and adapt them to the PC's native mouse and keyboard controller wasn't found. Streams will also be constrained by a less than optimal (but still very respectable) 1080p and 60 FPS limitations. Other than those caveats, if you don't have a gaming-capable PC or Microsoft's latest family of consoles, this is the way to enjoy gaming within Microsoft's franchises and all other partners through the ecosystem. Microsoft had already launched an xCloud app for Android smartphones, thus capturing most of the market in one fell swoop. The press release follows.

The Best Just Got Better: Lypertek Announces the PurePlay Z3 2.0

KS Distribution is pleased to announce the release of the new Lypertek PurePlay Z3 2.0 true wireless earphones. This update to the multi award-winning PurePlay Z3 adds features such as the new Qualcomm QCC3040 chipset, Bluetooth 5.2, wireless charging, Hear Through mode and the new PureControl app compatibility - all this and more while keeping the price at £99/$99/€99.

Successor to the multi award-winning PurePlay Z3 (TEVI), the PurePlay Z3 2.0 takes the performance of Lypertek's first true wireless earphones to a whole new level. Utilising Qualcomm's latest QC3040 chipset allows for Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity and superior connection quality thanks to its TrueWireless Mirroring technology. Added features including wireless charging, Hear Through mode and compatibility with the new Lypertek PureControl app guarantees to offer an outstanding and customisable audio experience.

Panasonic Introduces TOUGHBOOK S1 - the Ultimate Rugged Android Tablet

Panasonic today introduced the TOUGHBOOK S1 tablet - the ultimate rugged Android tablet for the truly mobile worker. This 7 inch screen device is easy to use in one hand, adaptable for a variety of tasks yet powerful and tough enough to cope with the busiest shift. It's at its best when in the hands of security and police forces patrolling the streets, technicians monitoring production lines, field services engineers carrying out inspections and maintenance or construction workers on site.

"The modern mobile worker deserves a mobile computing device designed for their everyday needs - not just another consumer tablet in a hardcase with all the potential problems they bring," said Baris Koc, European Product Manager for rugged mobile IT at Panasonic. "The TOUGHBOOK S1 is that professional mobile workforce device. It's built without compromise to meet the very specific and practical everyday needs of both the users and the IT administrators deploying and maintaining them."

Denuvo Joins Exclusive PlayStation 5 Tools and Middleware Program to Offer Anti-Cheat Technology to Game Developers

As security and innovation collide, Denuvo by Irdeto today announces it has joined the exclusive PlayStation 5 Tools and Middleware program. Denuvo, the leader in video games protection, offers its Anti-Cheat solution through this program to publishers and developers whose games are available on PlayStation 5.

Denuvo is at the forefront of games security with over 2 billion unique game installs protected across all platforms, and over 1,000 games secured. Joining the PlayStation 5 Tools and Middleware program therefore fosters Denuvo's continued commitment to excellence and innovation in game security. It also supports Denuvo's goal of protecting the developers' investment, where approximately 70% of their revenue is earned in the first two weeks after the launch of a game.

NVIDIA Expands GeForce NOW Game Streaming Service to Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Australia

NVIDIA has today announced the expansion of its GeForce NOW game streaming service to Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Australia. The company has worked closely with telecommunication providers to ensure that the streaming service is working well and now they can deliver even more gamers a chance to play their favorite games in the cloud. NVIDIA stated that: "It also offers an opportunity for the world's leading telecommunications firms to deliver high-quality, low-latency PC gaming to nearly any device from the cloud. These partners form the GeForce NOW Alliance, a partnership of operators using RTX Servers and NVIDIA cloud-gaming software to expand and improve cloud gaming globally."

As a reminder, the GeForce NOW is a game streaming service that "brings real-time raytracing to today's biggest blockbusters to underpowered PCs, Macs, Chromebooks, Android and iOS devices." You can access a wide range of games from almost any device and play as much as you like.

V-MODA Unveils M-200 ANC, Its First Bluetooth Active Noise Cancelling Headphone

V-MODA, the award-winning manufacturer of the world's finest high-fidelity audio devices, announces the availability of the M-200 ANC, its first Bluetooth active noise cancelling headphones, featuring award-winning V-MODA sound coupled with hybrid active noise cancellation. The M-200 ANC takes V-MODA customization one step further by working in tandem with the new V-MODA app, allowing listeners to adjust their noise cancellation level and personalize their sound with EQ presets to fit their lifestyle.

"With this new release, we are propelling ourselves into a new generation of headphones that are unlike anything we've ever done before and into the V-MODA of the future," says Luca Bolognesi, VP of Marketing Technology of V-MODA. "We're thrilled to be introducing our customers to a brand-new kind of ANC headphone where they can fully customize their listening experience, as well as the physical build and design of the headphones they're wearing."

Genesis Announces Rhod 250 Gaming Keyboard

Genesis Rhod 250 is a practical and durable gaming keyboard. The manufacturer included laser engraved symbols, resistance to splashes, as well as 19-key antighosting. All of this is available for a shockingly low price. The black and red design of the Rhod 250 is based on membranes with high durability. Its antighosting mechanism efficiently handles combinations of up to 19 keys pressed, enabling playing in duos on the same keyboard. The keys have laser engraved symbols, so that they do not vanish after long-term, intensive use.

The Genesis Rhod 250 allows for the swapping of arrows and W, A, S, D keys. The device also includes multimedia control keys, and some of the keys are enriched with symbols of video game equipment. The whole set is resistant to splashes, which enhances the practical value of the device. There are also standard features such as Windows block key or anti-slip, foldable feet.

SoundID Cutting-Edge Sound Personalization Technology Now Available on Gateway tablets

Sonarworks, the company behind precision audio software used by Grammy-Award-winning engineers to record top artists like Lady Gaga, Madonna, Rihanna, Adele, Coldplay and Kanye West, announces its partnership with Gateway, the beloved cow-spotted PC brand, integrating its SoundID sound personalization technology into Gateway's new tablets. With SoundID enabled The Gateway 8" and Gateway 10" tablets, users can enhance their listening experience - at home or on-the-go - on some of the most popular music streaming services including Spotify, YouTube Music, Apple Music, and more.

"We're proud to partner with an iconic brand like Gateway to deliver a seamless experience of SoundID to its Gateway tablet customers," said Martins Popelis, Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer at Sonarworks. "SoundID enabled Gateway tablets deliver premium sound tailored for each individual with no extra costs. We at Sonarworks believe sound can be enjoyed to the max irrespective of how, when or where you listen. And we're excited Gateway has joined us on this mission."

Netgear Updates Orbi Pro Lineup with Wi-Fi 6 AX6000 Tri-Band Model

NETGEAR, Inc., the leading provider of networking products that power businesses both large and small, today announces the addition of WiFi 6 to the Orbi Pro portfolio. The Orbi Pro WiFi 6 (SXK80) Tri-band Mesh System is an industry leading tri-band WiFi 6 (802.11ax) multi-node mesh system designed to grow with small businesses and home offices as the need to expand their area of network coverage increases. It is comprised of a single router and a single satellite, and can expand to support up to 6 satellites (wireless nodes).

The Orbi Pro WiFi 6 Tri-band Mesh System provides the latest generation of WiFi technology to deliver increased capacity, advanced security and enhanced speed for employees, customers and guests of small businesses and small office environments. In an era where business is widely being conducted remotely while other members of the household are also dependent on connectivity, this new addition to the Orbi Pro family can also address the demand for separate and secure WiFi networks when working from home. Featuring the latest WiFi data security standard, WPA3, along with 4 SSIDs and VLAN support, the Orbi Pro WiFi 6 Mesh System provides a secure network while also isolating connections for separate activities, making it the ideal solution for today's work from home paradigm.

Fortnite Gets Kicked Out From Google and Apple App Stores, Epic Games Files a Lawsuit

Today, Epic Games has decided to file a lawsuit against both Apple and Google after both companies removed Fortnite form their platform app stores (Google Play and Apple App Store). Firstly, Apple has decided to remove the Fortnite app to form its App Store because the game violated the company's policy that all in-game payments must go through the Apple App Store system, instead of them being processed directly. That means that Apple can also apply its 30% cut on all the payments made in-game. After Apple has revoked the Fortnite app, Epic Games has decided to file a lawsuit that aims to fight the company's monopoly and make the iOS platform more developer-friendly. Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney said that Epic will not seek or accept any special deal that Apple may offer, but rather wants to fight for all developers.

Just hours after Apple decided to pull the Fortnite game from its App Store, Google has also removed the game from its Google Play Store. Google's Play Store policy about in-app payments says that all games must use Google Play in-app billing if they want to process payments, so Fortnite was pulled from it as well. In light of that move, Epic Games has also filed a lawsuit against Google on the same terms. The company wants to fight both Apple and Google in court and make them be more developer-friendly, especially Apple. We have to wait and see how the case progresses. Being that Apple is almost a $2 trillion company, it can surely afford lots of good lawyers, just as Google will. We want to express our support for Epic Games for going in the right direction, as we do need more open ecosystems.

Sid Meier's Civilization VI Officially Ported to Android Devices

Sid Meier's Civilization VI is the latest turn-based strategy in the series launching back in 2016, the game has made its way onto various platforms including Windows, macOS, Linux, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, iOS, and now Android. The game is available through the Google Play store as shareware with a 20 USD fee to play past turn 60, "Rise and Fall" and "Gathering Storm" expansions are also available for 30 USD and 40 USD respectively. There are a variety of scenario packs also available for 5-9 USD, this pricing is consistent across mobile versions.

The game has received mixed to positive reviews mainly due to compatibility issues, the game requires a modern device to run smoothly especially in the late game. The animations have been simplified or removed along with the addition of a 30fps frame rate cap to help improve performance which given the genre is fine.

Samsung Aims to Become Number One Android AP Vendor by Joining Forces with AMD and Arm

Samsung Electronics has reportedly laid out a plan to become the number one Android application processor (AP) vendor in the industry with its plan to join forces with AMD and Arm. The report of Business Korea indicates that Samsung wants to use both company's knowledge and IP to produce the best possible silicon. In early November of last year, Samsung has decided to shut down its division responsible for making custom CPU designs, and to start licensing IP from Arm. Also last year, Samsung has announced a strategic partnership with AMD to use its RDNA graphics processors in smartphones.

So Samsung plans to license IPs from both companies and just put them in SoC that will be up to the task to deliver the best performance, as the company predicts. The CPU is reportedly going to be based on Arm's Cortex-X custom design that should deliver high-performance Samsung wants. In the past, the company had some problems with the heat-management of its CPUs as they were designed a bit inefficiently. To cover everything, Samsung also plans to increase the number of employees working on a neural processing unit (NPU) and make a good performing NPUs as well, to combine with the rest of IPs.

Qualcomm Could Deliver Chips to Huawei

In the ave of the news that Trump administration has forbidden TSMC to have Huawei as its customer, Huawei seems to be exploring new options for sourcing the best performing mobile processors. As the company has turned to the Chinese SMIC semiconductor factory, it still needs a backup plan in the case of Chinese semiconductor manufacturing flops. So to combat US sanctions, Huawei will use already made chips form the US company - Qualcomm. By sourcing the processors from Qualcomm, Huawei is losing some benefits of customs design like better system integration, however, it will gain quite powerful mobile processors. As Qualcomm is known for providing the fastest processors for Android smartphones, Huawei has ensured that it remains competitive. Qualcomm is reportedly now negotiating with the US government about delivering the chips to Huawei, and if it is allowed, Qualcomm will gain a big customer.

Vulnerabilities in Qualcomm Snapdragon's DSP May Render 1 Billion Android Phones Vulnerable to Hacking

Vulnerabilities in Qualcomm's DSP (Digital Signal Processor) present in the company's Snapdragon SoCs may render more than a billion Android phones susceptible to hacking. According to research reported this week by security firm Check Point, they've found more than 400 vulnerabilities in Snapdragon's DSP, which may allow attackers to monitor locations, listen to nearby audio in real time, and exfiltrate locally-stored photos and videos - besides being able to render the phone completely unresponsive.

The vulnerabilities (CVE-2020-11201, CVE-2020-11202, CVE-2020-11206, CVE-2020-11207, CVE-2020-11208 and CVE-2020-11209) can be exploited simply via a video download or any other content that's rendered by the chip that passes through its DSP. Targets can also be attacked by installing malicious apps that require no permissions at all. Qualcomm has already tackled the issue by stating they have worked to validate the issue, and have already issued mitigations to OEMs, which should be made available via software updates in the future. In the meantime, the company has said they have no evidence any of these flaws is being currently exploited, and advise all Snapdragon platform users to only install apps via trusted locations such as the Play Store.

Sony Announces WH-1000XM4 Industry-leading Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Sony today announced the WH-1000XM4, the 4th generation over-ear wireless noise cancelling headphones in Sony's award-winning 1000X family. The latest headphones offer all the much-loved technology from the hugely popular WH-1000XM3, with additional intelligent features that allow you to personalise and control your music, improve noise cancellation and adjust ambient sound automatically based on your preferences for a superior sound experience.

Whether you're flying long haul or relaxing in a café, the WH-1000XM4 headphones deliver Sony's best ever noise cancelling performance, reducing high and mid frequency sounds. With two microphones on each earcup, being used for noise cancelling, our Dual Noise Sensor technology captures ambient noise and passes the data to the trusted HD Noise Cancelling Processor QN1. Then a new BLUETOOTH Audio SoC (System on Chip) senses and adjusts to music and noise at over 700 times per second. Using a new algorithm, the HD Noise Cancelling Processor QN1 applies noise cancelling processing in real time. This allows the user to focus more on the music they love and blur out the chaos of the outside world.

Apple Says Cloud Gaming Services Like Google Stadia and Microsoft xCloud Violate App Store Guidelines

Cloud gaming is the next step in mobile gaming, with services like Microsoft project xCloud aiming to bring AAA titles right to your mobile phone. Microsoft has already been testing its xCloud application on Android and iOS devices for some time, and the application was supposed to launch sometime in September. However, it seems like Microsoft is only going to serve the customers on Android, as Apple says that these types of applications violate App Store guidelines. This doesn't only apply to xCloud, but also Google's Stadia gaming platform. When developer uploads application to App Store for iOS, the application goes through a review by Apple, for security reason and for Apple to check if it meets its guidelines.

Being that xCloud and Stadia are types of applications which offer a way to access many more applications (games in this case), this is against Apple's policy as they can't control the applications these services offer.

Mozilla Starts Offering VPN Service called Firefox Private Network

Mozilla, the maker of popular web-browser Firefox, has announced that it is now offering virtual private network (VPN) services. Available for right now as a beta product, the company is promising that it will soon release the software as a fully-fledged application. Firefox Private Network's Mozilla VPN is designed to help users gain more control and safety over their internet traffic while offering protection for a whole device. if you wish to try it out, you would need to join a waitlist. There you can get the VPN app while it is still in beta for iOS, Android, Windows, and Chromebook devices. Support for macOS and Linux is coming soon. The service costs $4.99 a month, while if you own a Firefox browser, you can get it free of charge as an extension.

Google Stadia Support Expands To All Android Phones

Google Stadia has recently expanded its list of supported Android devices to include OnePlus smartphones, in addition to this they have now enabled experimental support for all Android phones. To access the feature on untested phones you must visit the Stadia app, navigate to the Experiments tab in your Settings menu, and choose "Play on this device."

To coincide with this launch, Google is introducing another experimental feature, mobile touch controls. With mobile touch controls, players can play any Stadia game with a virtual gamepad overlay, to enable the feature select "Try touch gamepad" after launching a game without a controller connected. Finally, Google is also bringing per device resolution options which can be accessed under Options > Performance.

Get the app here.

Sonarworks Releases SoundID Listen: Personalized Sound on your Computer

Sonarworks had caught our eye back at CES 2019, when they showed off their then-still-in-progress mobile app for personalized sound signatures called True-Fi. The Latvia-based company has credentials to back all their claims, and the in-suite demo was impressive to say the least. Getting it out in the real world meant that the company had to build up their database of compatible headphones to first normalize the sound signature, and then work on the best option for recuperating R&D costs without breaking any wallets. As it turns out, the company had more insight on this at CES 2020 but are only now ready to show their retail plans in the form of SoundID.

SoundID, as both a mobile app (iOS, Android) and the new desktop SoundID Listen experience, takes over from where True-Fi started. The interface is more colorful and user-friendly to the masses, and the mobile app in the current beta form is being marketed more for profile-creation than usage, although it has the option to plug into your Spotify library. The older A/B tests are retained here, and at CES 2020 the app only had the "Core" experience. As of May, the app has new features to coincide with the desktop client's release, and read past the break for more on both.

Lenovo Announces Chromebook Duet in North America

The wait is over. The Lenovo Chromebook Duet, one of the thinnest, lightest and most hotly anticipated Chromebooks in the world, hits the North America market today. Designed for mobile productivity, the 2-in-1 detachable Lenovo Chromebook Duet has a 10.1-inch screen and comes with an ultrathin, detachable laptop-grade keyboard to help you get work done from the kitchen, to the home office or couch. The Lenovo Chromebook Duet runs Chrome OS - the powerfully simple operating system that boots up fast, and stays secure with seamless automatic updates for up to eight years.

Epic Games Abandons Android Strategy & Publishes Fortnite on the Google Play Store

Epic Games launched Fortnite for Android in 2018 players had to sidestep the Google Play Store and download the game directly from Epic as an APK. The reason Epic Games chose to go this route was the 30% fee Google Play takes on all in-app purchases, this move was understandable at the time. Over the last 18 months Google has vastly increased Android security measures with features such as Google Play Protect and "security pop-ups" in an attempt to increase control over Android. Epic Games wanted Google to revise their policies and take a smaller cut however Google has won out and Epic has announced that Fortnite will be available via the Google Play Store going forward in addition to the direct download from the Epic Games site.

Google Pulls the Plug on I/O 2020 Amidst COVID-19 Concerns

Google announced cancellation of the 2020 edition of Google I/O, the company's largest annual expo and trade-show. The announcement comes in light of the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) outbreak that is now quantitatively affecting all regions of the world. Google I/O was originally scheduled for May 12-14, held on Google's home turf of Mountain View, California. Google I/O is an annual gathering of software- and web developers, and consumer electronics manufacturers from within Google's various ecosystems, such as Android. Paying attendees will be given the option to get a full refund, or an option to buy a ticket to the 2021 edition of Google I/O.

Quick Look: Philips PH805 Active Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones

zAnother day, another audio product quick look. This time, the folks over at Philips get some love with the US launch of their PH805 active noise cancelling (ANC) headphones, the news of which we covered before. The company has gone through big changes over the years, and one of the effects has been regional business units operating independently enough to have separate launch windows for products. Take this very product, for example, which had been out for purchase for a couple of months already last year in Europe and parts of Asia, and Philips USA only just got it in 2020. Somehow, we had no coverage on this to date, but that changes now.

The PH805, also referred to as the PH805BK or TAPH805BK, follows a trend of product names that make little sense, but all you need to know is that this is from the same company and team that brought out the excellent Fidelio series that offered great value for money to those wanting an open-back, over-ear headphones with a neutral signature without any real shortcomings across the frequency range. They are readying the new Fidelio x3 for launch soon, but the PH805 aims to interest a different segment entirely. In particular, the frequent traveler or mobile user that wants a lightweight set of cans with ANC and wireless connectivity. It ships in a retail packaging that is well designed, with the company and product name on the front along with a large render and marketing features throughout, with a clear note on Google Assistant compatibility. Sorry, iOS users! Read past the break for more on the Philips PH805BK, including an unboxing, user experience, and what it costs to get you one of these in the USA.

Quick Look: Creative Outlier Gold True Wireless Earphones

Following up on our coverage of CES goodies that are more than just swag, we continue exploring the wacky world of true wireless (TWS) earphones. The first set in this quick look series examined the Altec Lansing Nano Pods that clocked in at just $30, and today we up the ante into the oh-so-barely-under-$100 with the Creative Outlier Gold at $99.99. The company has impressed yours truly for three CES showings in a row with their Super X-Fi headphone holography tech, which we examined in the first retail iteration via their SXFI amp. This technology aims to replicate a surround speaker speaker audio experience into earphones/headphones, and requires their SXFI DSP to make the most of it. So when Creative said they have TWS earphones with SXFI, I was intrigued and simply had to test them for myself.

As it turns out, the Outlier Gold does support SXFI, but only with a software experience from their mobile app. This makes sense considering these are meant to be quite small and, well, wireless, and yet Creative claim a whopping 14 hours of battery life per charge. In addition, this set is an upgrade to their previous Outlier Air TWS earphones, which were quite popular for offering good value for money, and we see signs of it already with the packaging going with a two-piece unboxing experience with renders, marketing features, and product specs all over the box. Read past the break for more on these, especially if you are looking for a good balance of audio performance, battery life, and price point.

Elevate the Google Experience with Samsung's First-Ever Galaxy Chromebook

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. today introduced Galaxy Chromebook, a premium 2-in-1 device that sets a higher standard in mobile computing. This new entrant to the Galaxy Computing portfolio redefines what a Chromebook can be. As the thinnest Samsung Chromebook ever released, it combines the best of Samsung technical innovation - such as an AMOLED display and built-in-pen support, offering users new ways to take advantage of Chrome OS experience that is simple, fast, and seamless.

"The notion that we do everything stationary at a desk is a thing of the past, and people need premium devices built for our new reality," said Alanna Cotton, Senior Vice President and General Manager at Samsung Electronics America. "By offering a seamless, premium user experience, Galaxy Chromebook helps you effortlessly switch between streaming, creative projects, word processing, and more."
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