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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."

Minecraft Gets Cross-Play Update on PS4

Players of Minecraft on PlayStation 4 rejoice! Minecraft is now getting an update on the PS4 platform that enables all PlayStation users to gain access to cross-play features, so they are now able to play with millions of other players on Xbox, PC, Switch, iOS, Android, and even Samsung Gear VR platform. In the so-called "Bedrock Edition" update that arrives today, Microsoft will push new features to Minecraft and connect millions of players.

In the words of Microsoft's game studio boss Helen Chiang: "One of Minecraft's core missions is to connect players across devices and provide the best experience regardless of platform. We continue to fulfill that mission here today by welcoming PS4 players to Minecraft on Bedrock and growing our cross-platform multiplayer community".

Sharkoon Launches Mobile DAC and Mobile DAC PD

Sharkoon Technologies is an international supplier of PC components and peripherals, offering performance at a reasonable price. Sharkoon now introduces the Mobile DAC and the Mobile DAC PD. These are two audio converters that are compatible with the most popular Android-based mobile devices. Both devices deliver a high-resolution audio amplification of sound output for headsets and headphones which have a TRRS connection, and, in addition, they provide quality voice transmission thanks to an integrated microphone input. Therefore, podcasters and streamers will also benefit from the Mobile DACs.

Terra Master Unveils the Cost-effective F2-210 2-bay NAS

TerraMaster, a professional brand that specializes in providing innovative storage products, including network attached storage and direct attached storage, is thrilled to share with everyone its undisputed budget offering for the NAS market. The TerraMaster F2-210 is built with quality in mind but offers a comprehensive feature set for the unbeatable price of $149.99. The TerraMaster F2-210 is perfect for new NAS users or SOHO usage that need a centralized storage solution but don't want to break the bank. With the F2-210, experience a full NAS experience at less cost so you can focus on what you need to do. The TerraMaster F2-210 has an MSRP of $149.99

TerraMaster builds the F2-210 around the ARM v8 quad-core processor. This CPU is used by many competing product but only TerraMaster is offering it at this price range. With speeds up to 1.40 GHz, users can enjoy performance of up to 114 MB/s for both read and write, perfect for file sharing amongst multiple devices or backing up your important data and memories. Use the TerraMaster as a media entertainment server for your 4K video files and enjoy real-time transcoding so you can enjoy your files with any devices. The F2-210 will handle most functions with no problem and easily repay itself in a year with savings in multi-device cloud backup account or live-streaming service accounts.

NVIDIA Launches the New Shield TV

NVIDIA today raised the bar higher still for streaming media players — unveiling the next generation of SHIELD TV, which delivers unmatched levels of home entertainment, gaming and AI capabilities right into the living room, starting at $149.

The two new SHIELD models — SHIELD TV and SHIELD TV Pro — provide exceptional visual and sound experiences. Their new Tegra X1+ processor, delivering up to 25 percent more performance than its predecessor, helps bring to life Dolby Vision for ultra-vivid imagery and Dolby Atmos for extraordinary audio. Its computational prowess dramatically improves picture quality by using AI to upscale HD video streams into 4K resolution.

TerraMaster Announces the F2-210 2-Bay NAS Priced Under $150

TerraMaster, a professional brand that specializes in providing innovative storage products, including network attached storage and direct attached storage, recently released an affordable storage solution for home and SOHO users that offers great value and performance especially for those looking at a sub-$200 product.

If you're a first-time NAS user or a power user looking for an affordable solution for file-sharing for the home, the TerraMaster F2-210 offers everything you expect from a entry-level NAS for less whether it's for simple file storage to cloud sharing to media and entertainment. TerraMaster has you covered. The F2-210 2-bay NAS storage is optimized for affordable yet optimal use for file sharing and multimedia and entertainment use. Its price position makes it one of the most powerful 2-bay NAS solution at its price bracket. The TerraMaster F2-210 has an MSRP of $149.99.

SteelSeries Launches First Four-In-One Wireless Headset for Nintendo Switch, PS4, PC and Mobile

SteelSeries, the makers of the most award-winning headset line in history, today announces the newest member of the Arctis family, the Arctis 1 Wireless. The Arctis 1 Wireless features the new slimmed down body of the Arctis 1, but connects via a small USB-C dongle for a true lossless and low latency connection across Nintendo Switch, PS4, PC and mobile.

The Arctis 1 Wireless is the ultimate 4-in-1 wireless headset. Through a small USB-C dongle, it features SteelSeries' lossless 2.4 GHz wireless technology for ultra-low latency wireless on Nintendo Switch, PC, PS4 and Android. This allows users to easily take the same console or PC experience on-the-go on Nintendo Switch or Android devices.

ARM Revokes Huawei's Chip IP Licence

As the trade war between the US and China continues to unfold, we are seeing major US companies ban or stop providing service to China's technology giant Huawei. Now, it looks like the trade war has crossed the ocean and reached the UK. This time, UK based ARM Holdings, the provider of mobile chip IP for nearly all smartphones and tablets, has revoked the license it has given Huawei.

According to the BBC, ARM Holdings employees were instructed to suspend all interactions with Huawei, and to send a note informing Huawei that "due to an unfortunate situation, they were not allowed to provide support, deliver technology (whether software, code, or other updates), engage in technical discussions, or otherwise discuss technical matters with Huawei, HiSilicon or any of the other named entities." The news came from an internal ARM document the BBC has obtained.

U.S. Tech Industry, Including Google, Microsoft, Intel, and Qualcomm, Ban Huawei

The United States tech industry has overnight dealt a potentially fatal blow to Chinese electronics giant Huawei, by boycotting the company. The companies are establishing compliance with a recent Executive Order passed by President Donald Trump designed to "stop the import, sale, and use of equipment and services by foreign companies based in countries that are potential adversaries to U.S. interests," particularly information technology security. Google has announced that it will no longer allow Huawei to license Android, and will stop updates and Google Play access to Huawei smartphones. Huawei can still equip its phones with open-source Android, but it cannot use Google's proprietary software, including Google Play Store, Chrome, and all the other Google apps. Intel decided to no longer supply processors and other hardware to Huawei, for use in its laptops and server products. Sales of AMD processors will stop, too. Qualcomm-Broadcom have decided to stop supply of mobile SoCs and network PHYs, respectively. Microsoft decided to stop licensing Huawei to use Windows and Office products.

The ban is a consequence of the U.S. Government placing Huawei on a list of banned entities, forcing all U.S. companies to abandon all trade with it, without prior approval from the Department of Commerce. Trade cuts both ways, and not only are U.S. firms banned from buying from Huawei, they're also banned from selling to it. Huawei "buys from" over 30 U.S. companies, (for example, Windows licenses from Microsoft). CNN reports that U.S. firms could lose up to $11 billion in revenues.
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