We've got an incredible roundup of daily deals for you to check out on Wednesday. And today's roundup is even more special because of an extra surprise. If you scroll all the way to the end, you'll find 10 extra deals that are exclusively available to Amazon Prime subscribers. Examples include a massive $50 discount on a huge 12.7-quart air fryer oven, insanely luxurious 1,000 thread-count bed sheets with a $50 discount, and $120 off a 1080p home theater projector!
Wednesday's sale roundup
Here are some highlights from today's big roundup:
🚨HIDDEN DEAL: Amazon's Fire TV Stick 4K is just $29.99 right now with the coupon code ADDFTV (lowest price since Prime Day!)
We've seen listeria-based food recalls in the past, and now we have another one involving bagged packages of Kale from Kroger. The national supermarket chain announced a voluntary recall a few days ago with respect to its 16-ounce bags of Kale. During regular testing, listeria monocytogenes were found in some bags.
There are some product categories out there that are so popular, new offerings pop up practically every week. And because these categories are so hot, companies always want BGR Deals to test their latest offerings. Robot vacuums are one example, and we get new models to test all the time. Another good example is air fryers, which are by far the hottest kitchen gadgets out there these days. Amazon air fryer deals are pretty much a dime a dozen these days. Of course, some are much better than others.
It's great to be able to test all these products so we can tell our readers about the very best ones. On the flip side of the coin, however, it can definitely be exhausting sometimes. Testing so many similar products means they can all blend together at times. But then, when we do get something new and unique to test, it makes the product even more special. Such is the case with the Proscenic T21 Smart Air Fryer. Proscenic released this nifty model recently and it has more than 4,600 5-star reviews on Amazon. And right now, it's under $100 for the first time this month.
The Proscenic T21 Smart Air Fryer is an awesome air fryer we've been using for months. And you'll be happy to know that this sleek new model offers much more than just gimmicky smart features.
Proscenic is a well-known air fryer brand that has a best-selling model to its credit. And now, the company has added smart features to everything else that made its earlier model so popular. You can control the T21 with your smartphone. There are also tons of recipes in the free smartphone app, and one-touch programs make it easy to cook nearly anything. You can use the touch control panel on the front to start cooking or the smartphone app. Scheduled cooks are supported as well, plus you can receive notifications when the air fryer is done. How cool is that?!
You can even control this air fryer with voice commands. That's right, it supports Amazon Alexa!
Perhaps the most impressive thing about the Proscenic T21 Smart Air Fryer is the price. It has a terrific, sleek design and ample 5.8-quart capacity. It also has a nonstick nano-ceramic coated basket that is dishwasher safe. You get all that plus Proscenic's terrific smart features... and yet the retail price is just $129. That's what you would pay for a comparable model without any great smart features!
If you grab one right now, however, you won't even pay $129. That's because an Amazon coupon slashes the price to just $89 for a limited time! That's an incredible price for this model, so you really don't want to miss this deal.
The top deals on Amazon are typically available to anyone who wants to get in on the action. Just visit Amazon's Gold Box deals page and you'll find so thousands of great bargains on best-selling products. But there are certain deals on Amazon that are only available to an exclusive group of people. As we're sure you've guessed by now, we're talking about top Amazon Prime deals that are only for Prime members.
Free shipping is the first thing people think of when they think of Prime. Additionally, there are other great features that most people are aware of, like free movies and TV shows you can stream. But there's one terrific Prime perk that almost no one seems to consider. What exactly are we talking about, you ask? Well, you can score awesome deals that are available exclusively to Prime members! We're not talking about Amazon's big Prime Day sale. But Prime Day itself is a fantastic motivator that might convince you to get on board. We're talking about something else, however. There are so many Prime-only deals that are available all year long, and new ones pop up every single day.
Here, we'll show you how to find all the hottest Amazon Prime deals that are exclusively available to Prime subscribers.
Amazon sales for everyone
Check out the deals section on Amazon's site and you can find so many best-sellers on sale. And the good news is that anyone and everyone can get in on the action.
A perfect example is Amazon's sale that slashes top-rated Alexa smart plugs to just $3.74 each. They work with a free app on your smartphone or with voice assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant. That matches Amazon's lowest price ever! Or how about a huge discount that slashes the best-selling Proscenic T21 smart air fryer with Alexa from $129 to $89? That's a great Amazon deal, and it's not just for people with Prime!
Those Amazon deals are so good, it's hard to believe today isn't Black Friday. But Prime members have access to even more exclusive sales. Aside from all those fantastic deals that are available to anyone and everyone, there are also some exclusive sales that only certain shoppers can take advantage of.
Top Amazon deals for Prime members only
It's safe to assume that most people reading this are Amazon Prime subscribers. After all, Prime has become insanely popular in recent years. If you are indeed a Prime member, you need to be aware that you get more than just free express shipping and access to Amazon Prime Video's ever-expanding library of streaming movies and TV shows. Anyone who pays for Prime definitely needs to check out this somewhat secret department on Amazon. So many people are completely unaware that it even exists! It's a little-known page called Just for Prime and it's packed with exclusive deals that only Prime members are eligible for. And the best part is that Amazon updates it all the time with new bargains and special discounts.
Prime subscribers can always find dozens of excellent bargains that are also exclusive in this somewhat secret Amazon department. Here, we're going to showcase the 10 top Amazon Prime deals that are available only to Prime members. Also of note, these deals are some of the best bargains on Amazon's entire site!
Why would you plug in your phone when you could use a wireless CarPlay adapter? So many automakers out there should be beyond embarrassed at this point. Why? It's because their infotainment systems are atrocious. I have Apple CarPlay in my car and to be perfectly frank, it makes every built-in car infotainment system I've ever tried seemed ancient. And I've tried them all... even the newer ones like systems from Mercedes and Tesla. If I stop to think about it, there's really only one problem I have with CarPlay in my car. It's the simple fact that my vehicle doesn't support Apple's newer wireless CarPlay feature. That means I have to plug in my iPhone with a physical cable to use CarPlay. At least, that was the case until I found the CarlinKit 2.0 Wireless CarPlay Adapter on Amazon. Now compatible with iOS 15.
Being able to have all of your iPhone's main apps accessible right on your car's display is so great. CarPlay offers a simple interface and quick access to all the core functionality you might need. On top of that, it supports Siri as well as third-party apps that are must-haves in your car. I cannot tell you how excited I was when Waze first came to CarPlay. Now, I seriously can't drive anywhere without it. CarPlay even supports a widget view now. This way, you can have an animated map while things like your music player and phone controls are displayed off to the side.
But not having wireless CarPlay in my car was definitely a bummer. That's why I was so happy when I found this awesome wireless CarPlay adapter!
The name says it all. This is the device you've been waiting for if you're like me and you have a vehicle that doesn't support wireless CarPlay connections. The CarlinKit 2.0 Wireless CarPlay Adapter connects to your vehicle through a standard USB-A or USB-C port and acts as a wireless conduit between your car and your iPhone. This way, you can connect to the adapter wirelessly via Bluetooth. Now you won't have to plug your iPhone into your car every time you get in.
This is the gadget we've been waiting for!
Read through the reviews on Amazon and you'll see that this wireless adapter works very well for most people. A few people do seem to run into problems, but there are fixes out there for most issues. So many people are quick to complain when all they had to do was actually read the instructions and perform a quick and easy software update. The bottom line is that the CarlinKit 2.0 Wireless CarPlay Adapter works very well for most people. And now is the perfect time to give it a shot. Both versions (one for older cars and another for newer cars) are on sale at the lowest prices ever!
Looking for the best deal on an Amazon device? Or perhaps you need something for your home? No matter what you're looking for, Amazon should have a great deal for you. That's exactly why we've put together this guide best deals on Amazon.
You don't necessarily have to wait for Amazon Prime Day to get awesome deals. In fact, Amazon always runs great deals on all kinds of its own products. But, third-party companies that sell on Amazon also offer excellent regular deals.
This list is updated daily, so check back as much as you want for the latest finds.
Google gave the world the first the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro announcement in early August to stay ahead of leaks. It’s the first announcement because it’s not the full, official Pixel 6 series launch. Google confirmed the product names, designs, custom Tensor processor, and some of the main specs at the time. The company will unveil the new Pixels in full at some point in October. We think we know when the new Pixel phones will start selling online. However, Google hasn’t stopped promoting the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, mounting a massive marketing push right around the iPhone 13 reveal. The phones are on display in Google’s New York retail store, although customers can’t try them just yet. With all that in mind, it shouldn’t be surprising to see a first unofficial Pixel 6 Pro hands-on video leak online.
Avengers 5 is the movie MCU fans can’t wait to watch, but we’ve hardly gotten to a point where there’s even a storyline worthy of an Avengers team-up. Marvel boss Kevin Feige said as much in an interview a few weeks ago. Soon after that, Marvel practically told us that Avengers 5 is in the works, and we nearly missed it. It’s the post-credits scene of Shang-Chi that makes it clear that the Avengers are still an active group of superheroes ready to defend the planet against any threats, especially Thanos-level ones.
Separately, Marvel has already started planting the seeds of a different Avengers team with the MCU shows that have premiered on Disney Plus. On top of that, another group of Avengers might soon assemble. And it’ll be thanks to a different TV series, says a trusted leaker.
Intuit on Monday announced an agreement to acquire Mailchimp, a global customer engagement and marketing platform for small and mid-market businesses, for $12 billion in cash and stock advances. The purchase could be the linchpin that thrusts the mostly financial software company into solving more fertile mid-market business challenges for its customers.
Are you looking for a way to reinvent the traditional vendor marketplace? Consider adding composable commerce to your bag of tricks. This marketing approach enables businesses to bring to their brands a distinct method to continuously optimize their customers' experiences.
Automated bots operated by malicious actors are costing businesses an average of 3.6 percent of their annual revenue. For the 25 percent worst affected businesses, this equates to at least $250 million every year. Even more concerning is the time it takes to discover these attacks. On average, more than 14 weeks pass before a successful attack is detected.
This summer's surge in spending is making digital retailers more vulnerable to accounting errors that result in significant revenue losses. To address this issue, UpstartWorks developed an automated system to audit and recoup unpaid invoices lost in the supply chain quagmire. Its new accounting automation engine resolves costly marketplace oversights that can save businesses millions.
Some Bird users in the US may notice a new option if they search for vehicles in its app: Nearby public bike stations not operated by the company itself. Bird has launched public bikeshare integration for its application, which connects commuters with local providers. In addition the showing locations of nearby stations, the integration will also show the number of bikes currently available in each one and link users to the operators' own apps.
According to the company, this move is part of its Smart Bikeshare Program announced in June. Bird also said that this allows the company to "strategically meet the multimodal mobility needs of cities without monopolizing transportation options or competing with local businesses." At the moment, the integration is only live for iOS, though it will make its way to Android "in the near future." Also, it will only show bikeshares operated by the cities of Oslo (Oslo City Bike), Austin (Metrobike Austin), Los Angeles (Metro Bike), San Antonio (SA Bikeshare) and Milwaukee (Bublr Bikes Milwaukee) in Europe and the US right now.
Bird says they're only the "first" to implement the program, though, so more cities will probably be added in the future. Especially since the company offers public bikeshare integration at no cost to cities and local operators. While Bird is mostly known for its rental scooters, it also has products people who want their own bike can buy. It launched its first electric Bird Bike at the same time it introduced the Smart Bikeshare Program a few years ago, and just last month, it released another e-bike that costs US$2,299.
MIT has unveiled a new toolkit that lets users design health-sensing devices that can detect how muscles move. The university's Science and and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) created the kit using something called "electrical impedance tomography" (EIT), that measures internal conductivity to gauge whether muscles are activated or relaxed. The research could allow for wearables that monitor distracted driving, hand gestures or muscle movements for physical rehabilitation.
In a paper, the researchers wrote that EIT sensing usually requires expensive hardware setups and complex algorithms to decipher the data. The advent of 3D printing, inexpensive electronics and open-source EIT image libraries has made it feasible for more users, but designing a wearable setup is still a challenge.
To that end, the "EIT-kit" 3D editor allows users to enter the device parameters and place the sensors on a device that may go on a user's wrist or leg, for instance. It can then be exported to a 3D printer and assembled, and the final step is to calibrate the device using a subject. For that, it's connected to the EIT-kit's sensing mother board, and "an on-board microcontroller library automates the electrical impedance measurement and lets you see the visual measured data, even on a mobile phone," according to CSAIL.
Where most wearables can only sense motion, and EIT device can sense actual muscle activity. The team built one prototype that could sense muscle strain and tension in a subject's thigh, allowing them to monitor muscle recovery after an injury. It also showed other possible uses, like gesture recognition, a distracted driving detector and more.
The team is working with Massachusetts General Hospital on rehabilitation tech using the devices while refining the tech. The eventual aim is to develop "rapid function prototyping techniques and novel sensing technologies," said lead author Junyi Zhu.
It’s almost comical how stagnant the iPad mini has been in recent years. The 2019 version sported an upgraded processor and a slightly nicer display, but essentially looked the same as the tablet that debuted in 2012 (which is dated, to say the least). That hasn’t stopped the iPad mini from gaining a loyal following though, and we even called 2019’s mini our favorite small tablet.
Now it appears that Apple’s giving the tablet the love that its devotees have been asking for. The 6th-generation iPad mini is really more of an iPad-Air mini with its new “all-screen” Liquid Retina design, TouchID-capable top button, second-generation Apple Pencil support and USB-C charging. It’s the most significant update the mini has received in years, and Apple’s hoping you’ll pay extra for it. The 2021 iPad mini starts at $499, $100 more than its predecessor’s starting price, and with that Apple is squashing any notions that “smaller” means “lesser.”
Design and hardware
Many people, myself included, were happy to see the facelift Apple gave the iPad mini. While the old design with the physical Home button isn’t necessarily bad (it’s still good enough for the new 10.2-inch iPad, apparently), it felt boring on the mini after seeing it unchanged for so many years. This year’s iPad mini has what Apple calls an “all-screen” design, which is just different enough from the “edge-to-edge” display that the iPad Pros have to warrant discussion.
I understand why Apple didn’t want to give the mini the same “edge-to-edge” moniker, but it could have come up with something a bit better than “all-screen.” The bezel surrounding the 11-inch iPad Pro’s screen is roughly 0.25-inches thick and that of the iPad mini is only about 1/8th of an inch thicker than that. That’s not a huge difference, but it’s more noticeable when you’re only working with an 8.3-inch display. Also, the previous iPad mini had a 7.9-inch display, so you’re not getting a ton of extra screen real estate on the new model.
That said, I found the bezels to be just the right xxxx. Notably, they helped me get a better grip on the mini when I was using it as an e-reader, and I can only assume many mini owners will do the same. The same could be said for when I was watching YouTube videos while carrying the mini around my apartment — I never accidentally paused the playing video because the bezels gave me enough room to hold the device.
The new mini’s display xxxx and the fact that it’s a Liquid Retina panel are the upgrades here, because the 5th-gen model supported TrueTone, 500 nits of brightness and the P3 color range as well. This year’s mini has a 2266 x 1488 resolution, 326ppi panel, which is only slightly higher than the old model’s 2048 x 1536 resolution, 326ppi screen. If you upgrade from the 2019 mini, you may not notice a huge difference in quality, but the rounded-rectangle shape of the new mini’s display and the revamped design overall gives it a fresh feel.
Otherwise, I felt like I had a small version of the iPad Air the entire time I was using the mini. Their designs are very similar, save for the location of certain buttons. The iPad mini now has flat edges with a TouchID-capable power button and volume adjusters at the top and a USB-C port at the bottom. Notably, its edges lack a headphone jack and that may be a key factor for current iPad mini owners in their decision to upgrade or not. It’s made of 100-percent recycled aluminum, weighs less than one pound and measures 6.3mm thick — just as portable as the last model, but with a much-needed modern aesthetic.
TouchID is nothing different from older iOS devices, although it may take you a tad longer to set up because of how narrow the fingerprint-sensitive button is. It’s exciting that Apple finally brought USB-C to yet another iPad as it makes charging more efficient but it also continues to feed us poor saps who yearn for a USB-C iPhone sometime in our lifetimes. Also, the new design allows the second-generation Apple Pencil to neatly and magnetically stick to the right edge of the tablet.
I’ve been keeping the iPad mini by my side at all times for the past week or so, and I was pleasantly surprised by how easy that was thanks to its xxxx. Every iPad is portable, but some are certainly more portable than others. I have a 2020 11-inch iPad Pro and, while it could come with me almost anywhere, I mostly use it in my home as a secondary device or as my main driver when I’m traveling. The iPad mini, on the other hand, could fit into almost any bag I own without hassle, providing a much-needed larger screen for activities like reading, watching videos and FaceTime calls. I didn’t find it super difficult to use my thumbs to type on the mini, treating it almost like a super-wide iPhone, but I also wouldn’t call it a comfortable experience.
Speaking of FaceTime, the iPad mini comes equipped with the new 12MP ultra wide front camera that supports Center Stage, the feature that automatically pans and zooms to keep you in frame during video calls. Each time I used FaceTime, I could move around my (admittedly small) kitchen and the mini’s camera followed me so my family could always see most of my face. There’s a limit, of course — I often stepped out of the camera’s field of view, but it followed me until I was nearly out of the camera’s field of view. This is a handy feature for anyone like me who’s often multitasking while catching up with loved ones over FaceTime.
The rear camera is also better than that on the previous mini, but I wouldn’t consider it a huge selling point. It’s a 12MP wide camera with an f/1.8 aperture, 5x digital zoom, Quad-LED TrueTone flash and Smart HDR 3 support. It can also shoot 4K 60 fps videos and shoot Slo-Mo videos at up to 1080p 240 fps. We’ve all seen a tablet photographer in the wild, but considering the shooters on our phones are far-and-away more capable than those on tablets, most people turn to the smallest screen in their pockets for photography. The pictures of my fiancé and my cat that I took with the mini were just fine, but I found myself more inclined to use the rear camera as a document scanner with Evernote’s Scannable app. And even in that case, was it better than using my iPhone? Not necessarily, just more convenient when I was using the iPad mini as my default device.
I may not have been taking a ton of photos with the iPad mini, but I use it for almost everything else that I normally turned to my iPhone for. The A15 Bionic chip inside makes the mini feel zippy, and it handled everything that I threw at it well. I spent most of the time watching YouTube and Netflix videos, answering messages in Gmail and Slack, taking notes in Evernote, saving wedding inspo in Pinterest, browsing e-cookbooks in the Kindle app and doodling in Procreate and GoodNotes. The iPad mini didn’t falter once and, in comparison to my iPhone, the tablet’s larger screen made it a much better work companion when I was trying to be productive on the couch. The mini smoothly ran games like Temple Run 2, Crossy Road and High Rise as well, even if my attempts at beating those games were anything but.
While it didn’t affect the performance of the iPad mini I had, the storage capacity on the model you choose may have a significant impact on how you use your mini in the future. The tablet comes in 64GB and 256GB models, with the higher of the two costing $150 more than the other. That’s a significant difference in both capacity and cost, and it follows an unfortunate pattern in the iPad lineup — you’ll find the same pricing structure in the iPad Air configurations. The previous iPad mini had the same minimum storage capacity, so we didn’t even get an upgrade here and that’s a shame.
While I don’t think most people will be using the iPad mini as a laptop replacement, it would have been nice to have a 128GB model just to have an in-between option for those with tighter budgets. I would also hesitate to recommend the 64GB model to anyone that wants to use their iPad mini as the digital file folder for their documents, photos, books, scans and more. Considering iPadOS 15 takes up 7.5GB of space already, those people may quickly eat up most of their internal storage.
With the Apple Pencil
Another area that could eat up storage over time are handwritten notes, scribbles, doodles and other artwork you make with the second-generation Apple Pencil. The previous iPad mini supported the first-gen stylus, but I was thrilled to see the newer Apple Pencil snap on to the side of the mini and line up almost perfectly. The Pencil is almost as tall as the tablet so it truly feels like the two were made for each other.
Since I regularly use the Apple Pencil with my 11-inch iPad Pro, I was not surprised to find that using it with the iPad mini is a similar, yet more constrained, experience. But that’s not a bad thing — I actually think the iPad mini excels at being a digital notebook. It’s portable enough to come with you everywhere you go and it’s much easier to balance in your palm while you jot down notes during a walking meeting. Apple makes it really easy to take notes in iPadOS 15, too, with the Quick Note feature that’s accessible by swiping up from the bottom-right corner of the iPad. It opens a small window on the screen into which you can scribble a quick grocery list or something you don’t want to forget. Those Quick Notes get saved in the Notes app, where you can retrieve and edit them at any time.
Apple’s made the Notes app more robust over the years, so much so that it could be your main note-taking tool. But there’s no shortage of capable apps in which to use the Apple Pencil and I was happy to find that two popular ones, Procreate and GoodNotes, work just as well on the iPad mini as any other iPad. Serious artists will probably want to spring for an iPad with a larger screen because it just gives you more space to play with, both in regular and Split View. But those who are visual thinkers, those who prefer to sketch out their thoughts, will probably find the mini’s screen to be sufficient. For example, I’m in the early stages of planning a wedding and I took the iPad mini with me on a few venue tours. Not only was it much less ostentatious to take around than my larger iPad, but I could also snap quick photos with it, bring those images into Procreate, pull out colors I liked in venue fixtures and decorations and experiment with them in concept sketches.
One thing that hasn’t changed about the iPad mini is its estimated battery life. Just like the 2019 model, Apple estimates the slab should get up to 10 hours of battery life, and again, that’s a bit of a lowball. With how much I was using the device, I essentially had to charge it every other day. The mini lasted an entire afternoon and evening filled with doodling, video streaming, emailing, light gaming and more (I used it instead of my phone for almost every task), and I was able to use it most of the next day before the battery life dropped to around 10 percent. I also ran a makeshift battery test on it, playing a video clip on repeat until the tablet died, and the mini lasted just about 12 hours.
Unlike the previous mini, the new model uses a USB-C port for charging and it’s about time. It’s good to see Apple transitioning the iPad family to USB-C, even if most people looking to buy an iPad mini probably already have a few Lightning cables strewn around their home. The mini also comes with Apple’s 20W USB-C charger, which should help power-up the device quickly.
The iPad mini’s spec sheet has changed quite a bit, but the appeal of the tablet remains the same. It looks and feels different thanks to the redesign and the handful of new features Apple brought to it. Still, the iPad mini remains one of Apple’s most niche devices. But niche doesn’t mean less-than — with the iPad mini so similar to the iPad Air, you won’t be sacrificing much by choosing it. However, I don’t think most people will take a look at all the new perks — things like a camera with Center Stage, USB-C charging and even the A15 Bionic chip — and be persuaded to choose the iPad mini over any other Apple tablet.
What it will come down to, as always, is xxxx. The iPad mini remains the best small tablet out there and you probably already know if an 8-inch tablet has a place in your life. It either solves a specific problem, or it doesn’t — and if you fall into the second category, you probably prefer bigger screens anyway.
But if you updated in 2019 to the 5th-generation iPad mini, the decision to upgrade now is not entirely cut-and-dry and that’s mostly due to cost. If the 6th-generation iPad mini had the same $399 starting price as the previous model, it would be a no-brainer upgrade. Sure, that extra $100 does get you a lot, but if your 2019 iPad mini is still going strong, the higher price of the 2021 model may be too great. But for those who have a hole in their lives where a small tablet could fit, you (still) can’t get better than the iPad mini.
At this point in the creeping global takeover of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, most people have a clear idea of who the Guardians of the Galaxy are, at least according to James Gunn. There’s the bald dude who’s a tree, Zoe Saldana in green body paint, the other bald dude who isn’t a tree, Bradley Cooper as a raunchy raccoon, and the guy who used to be on Parks and Recreation.
This isn’t the case in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, and that’s a good thing. The game introduces fresh versions of the Guardians and ensures players will get to know them, placing an active emphasis on relationship-building and teamwork, rather than running and gunning. Eidos-Montréal’s interpretation of the Milano crew is familiar but refreshing, and the characters in the game are just as charming as they are in the MCU — if not moreso.
The preview for Guardians of the Galaxy lasted about an hour and dropped me in the middle of chapter five: Star-Lord and his pals are on the Milano, debating whether they should pay a fine at Nova Corps headquarters. They banter and decide to do it, intermittently dealing with a purple-and-orange llama that’s stowed away on their ship from a previous mission. The llama’s name is Kammy. Drax, the vengeful yet simple warrior, calls it “the child.” It’s all very cute.
Star-Lord is the only playable character in Guardians of the Galaxy, but he’s able to interact with and even direct his teammates, taking advantage of their unique skills as needed. For instance, Rocket, the foul-mouthed raccoon, is good at hacking doorways, crawling through vents and fixing things, though he’ll give you an earful while he does it.
By chapter five, Star-Lord has a handful of skills and tools, including the ability to scan his environments for areas of interest or weakness. Using this overlay turns the landscape into an infrared world of neon silhouettes and bright yellow clues. If Star-Lord himself can’t use a particular item, chances are someone on his team can, and he’s able to work with them once he’s found the way forward.
In combat, Star-Lord can instruct his crewmates to use their special moves at any particular time, and they also react automatically to nearby enemy behavior. For example, Star-Lord can freeze an enemy with his ice gun and Groot, the powerful tree creature, will start wailing on the frozen foe, no player input required. There’s also a huddle function that can turn the tide of a big battle — Peter Quill calls the team together and listens to their thoughts on how the fight is going, and then he determines whether to encourage them or check their egos using a range of 1980s pop-rock lyrics. If he picks the right tone, the entire team gets a big boost so they can start spamming attacks; if he picks the wrong words, only Star-Lord gets the damage augmentation.
Fights in chapter five are fast-paced and packed with enemies, meaning the Guardians are often spread across the environment, waging their own tiny wars. Star-Lord’s ability to call in his crewmates’ special powers adds a layer of rapid-fire strategy to the gunbattles, and this system should only become more robust as the game progresses.
Interacting with the Guardian NPCs is a critical component of the game’s non-combat moments, when players have to communicate and solve puzzles to progress. Guardians of the Galaxy uses a Telltale-style narrative system that alerts players with text in the upper-right corner when something significant has gone down — think “Gamora will remember that” — and in conversation, there are often multiple responses for players to choose from, sometimes with a timer attached. Seemingly innocuous decisions, such as whether to respond to an audio cue, can significantly change how the game plays out, for instance jump-starting a battle or creating an opportunity for the Guardians to sneak in.
Relationships are everything in Guardians of the Galaxy. The core theme of the game is grief, according to developers, and even as the Guardians joke their way across the stars, they each deal with a unique sense of loss. This is, ironically, what brings them together. The game's music plays into the emotional mood, with plenty of licensed ’80s hits and an original album from Star-Lord that taps into feelings of being an outcast and finding your chosen family.
It’s hard to say if Eidos-Montréal has captured the right balance of emotion and action throughout Guardians of the Galaxy, but the preview is encouraging. The developers aren’t afraid to let dialogue and puzzle-solving breathe for long stretches of the action, while battles themselves are full and frenzied. At any rate, it already feels way better than Marvel’s Avengers.
Guardians of the Galaxy is due to hit PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and S, PlayStation 4, and PS5 on October 26th.
If Amazon opens mini department stores as rumored, they could include high-tech dressing rooms and the retailer's own private-label clothing brands, according to a Wall Street Journal report. The aim is apparently to address some of the normal irritants of clothes shopping, increase its own brand recognition and make the stores as efficient as possible.
One idea is that customers would use a smartphone app to scan QR codes of items they want to try on. Associates would then gather the items and place them in fitting rooms, and the process could eventually become more automated with the use of robots.
Once inside, you'd be able to ask for more clothes using a touchscreen, which could also recommend items you might like based on what you've chosen so far. Those could again be brought by associates and slid through a sliding door that would maintain your privacy.
In the past, Amazon has showcased other high-tech shopping experiences, like AR that would show how your hair would look with different hair dyes. It has also patented a mirror for trying on virtual clothes, but there's no sign yet that it would use such technology in department stores. It also sold the Echo Look camera, a standalone device that gave owners fashion advice using artificial intelligence and machine learning (below), though it was discontinued last year.
Amazon will also reportedly sell its own private label brands, along with a selection of clothing from third-party manufacturers. On top of its own Amazon Essentials line, its online store currently carries products from designers like Oscar de la Renta, Altuzarra and La Perla. However, many luxury and high-end brands — which have the highest profitability — have resisted listing goods online with Amazon.
Reports of Amazon department stores started popping up last month, with sites tipped to be around a third the xxxx of regular department stores. At 30,000 square feet, however, they'd still be larger than Amazon's other physical locations other than Whole Foods.
Even as some physical retailers including JC Penney and Niemen Marcus filed for bankruptcy, Amazon saw sales explode during the pandemic as users shopped online from home. However, customers surveyed recently by Wells Fargo said they preferred the physical department store experience and didn't want to pay for shipping if they weren't Prime members, the WSJ noted. On top of clothing, Amazon's department stores would reportedly allow it to showcase electronics like Fire TVs, readers, Echo speakers and more.
All of this is still a rumor which hasn't been confirmed by Amazon, so take it with some skepticism. Considering how quickly the company is expanding into brick-and-mortar retail right now, though, it does make sense.
I’ll admit, I never believed that Apple would release a phone called the , for obvious reasons. Now that the for both handsets are out, it looks as if the company had no reason to think that it was tempting fate with the number. The esteemed Cherlynn Low has taken a deep dive into the pair and found two handsets brimming with refinements.
Naturally, the 13 isn’t as radical an upgrade as its predecessor, and could just as easily have been called the 12S should Apple have cared to dodge the cursed numeral. The focus here is on polishing these devices to an even higher shine, with the majority of the improvements visible in the improved imaging. All in all, however, the usual rule applies: If you’re ready to upgrade from an older iPhone, pull the trigger, but don’t go out of your way to break your contract early.
At the same time, Apple announced that it will let you incorporate your COVID-19 vaccination card into . That should help weary would-be travelers looking to get around the world without worrying about losing their paperwork. Plus, as part of the iOS 15 rollout, is now available in Apple Music if you’ve got the AirPods Pro or Max hanging from your ears (or head).
The temptations to take your eyes off the road are too great.
A team at MIT believes that drivers using Tesla’s Autopilot system are . Harnessing glance trackers, researchers found that drivers spent less time looking at the road, despite the fact that Autopilot is not a fully-autonomous system. Instead, their gaze was often found directed downwards and toward the center console, which is the sort of thing you’d do if you were playing with Tesla’s beefy touchscreen or your phone. Data like this is not likely to endear Tesla toward the safety authorities, especially when the new head of the NTSB has already that the marketing for Autopilot is “misleading and irresponsible.”
It also announced a new Spectre x360 2-in-1 with a 16-inch OLED display
HP has pulled the dust sheets off a host of new gear, with the headline-grabbing , uh, grabbing all of the headlines. The machine is packing a 34-inch, 5K widescreen display, a detachable webcam and a wireless charging plate built into the bottom of its stand.
Specs-wise, you can equip this thing with an 11th-generation Core i9 CPU, RTX 3080 GPU and 32GB RAM. Built to take advantage of Windows 11’s Snap Layouts, it should be the ideal sort of kit for the creative professional in your life.
At the same time, the company also unveiled a new which gets the option of a beautiful, 16-inch 4K OLED display. That can be equipped with either Intel’s Evo graphics or an RTX 3050 GPU, but we’d wager the latter is better suited to drive all of those lovely pixels.
It does not scream e-bike, and is all the better for it.
As much as we’d all love to cycle to work, cut our carbon emissions and generally do better, the price of an e-bike is often a sticking point. When some companies are trying to charge $6,000 for a whip, you have to wonder at what point micro mobility will be available for the rest of us.
Tenways is looking to address this issue with the , which is currently selling on Indiegogo (usual caveats apply) for $1,400. The CGO 600 has a 250W battery hidden in the downtube, and barely looks like an e-bike at all, both big pluses. Our James Trew has spent the last few weeks biking around on this thing and has nothing but praise for it.
It’ll split into two divisions, one focusing on the ISS, and one on interplanetary jaunts.
NASA’s plans to get humans shuffling around the Moon and Mars means that the organization needs something of a shake-up. Administrator Bill Nelson has announced that the agency is , one focused on space operations, the other on exploration. Put (very) simply, the former will focus on domestic matters like launch operations, missions to the ISS and, eventually, trips back to the moon. The latter, meanwhile, will have responsibility for building the technology that will eventually see Project Artemis take people to the Red Planet.
Back in 2019, Boston's Piaggio Fast Forward company released the first iteration of an automated cargo hauler for pedestrians, dubbed the Gita (pronounced JEE-tah). Two years, and multiple design improvements later, PFF is set to release a smaller, more nimble version which they're calling the Gitaminithis October.
With a cargo volume of up to nearly 2,000 cubic inches and capable of carrying up to 44 pounds of gear and traveling at a top speed of 22 mph, the original Gita was a startlingly large machine able to hold a shopping carts-worth of groceries and keep up with cyclists. However, the Gita's xxxx made it a liability to other pedestrians when navigating on crowded sidewalks, especially the earlier versions that relied on a belt-mounted tracker to know where its owners were.
The Gitamini, on the other hand, is about the xxxx of a Border Collie (990 cubic square inches of cargo space) and weighs just 28 pounds. It can carry up to 20 pounds of gear and thanks to external handles the mini can easily be hoisted over curbs, stairs and other obstacles even when fully loaded. The mini is rated for a maximum range of 21 miles or around six hours of use before needing a recharge. What's more, PFF has traded in the belt-based tracker for advanced optics and machine vision. With the push of an onboard button, the mini will autonomously find, recognize and follow its "leader" using only visual and radar cues like color and motion — the robot does not require a GPS, cell, or wireless network connection in order to do so.
The mini is also equipped with what the company is calling "pedestrian etiquette software." This trains the robot to follow its leader at a safe distance and speed while proactively anticipating the movements of the people around them. The mini'swheels are independently powered, enabling it to make Rivian-esque zero-radius tank turns, while a third motor is dedicated to maintaining the robot's balance when accelerating and braking.
"Seeing the initial consumer response to Gita proved to us what a pioneer the product was within the consumer robotics industry,” said Greg Lynn, PFF’s CEO, said in a prepared statement. “The ask to ourselves then became, ‘how do we take what we have heard from people and create something different for a new segment of consumers?’’ Gitamini is the company's answer.
The Gitamini is slated to go on sale for $1,850 on October 15th while the original, larger Gita will see a price reduction to $3,250 at the same time.
Pokémon Unite is now available for download and is ready to play on Android and iOS. It's the same free-to-start MOBA with the same maps and monsters the launched on the Nintendo Switch in July, though the Pokémon Unite team recently rolled out a new update in preparation for its mobile debut. In a post on the game's official website, producer Masaaki Hoshino detailed the new features, starting with full cross-platform support and account linking capability across mobile devices and Nintendo Switch.
The game has also introduced Unite Squads, which allow Trainers to team up with squadmates. According to The Pokémon Company, Trainers can create their own squads with this feature or search for existing ones. Teams will be able to use "tags" to describe themselves to give people with the same interests a way to find them. The update brings a second battle pass with all-new cosmetic items, new in-game events, new held items and support for more languages, as well.
Hoshino has also mentioned in the post that the team is currently developing a new mode designed "to level the playing field for all Trainers, regardless of their held items’ grades." While Hoshino didn't expound on the new mode, it could give people who don't spend a lot of money (if at all) to buy held items on the game a bigger chance to win against others who do.
Get ready, Trainers! Tomorrow, the battle continues as #PokemonUNITE arrives on mobile devices!
SEC's Gensler Doesn't See Cryptocurrencies Lasting Long According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, "Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler said Tuesday he doesn't see much long-term viability for cryptocurrencies (Warning: source paywalled; alternative source),
China Vows End To Building Coal-Fired Power Plants Abroad Chinese President Xi Jinping told the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday that his country "will not build new coal-fired power projects abroad" and plans to boost support for clean energy in developing nations. Axios reports:
The volatile nature of space rocket engines means that many early prototypes end up embedded in dirt banks or decorating the tops of any trees that are unfortunate enough to neighbor testing sites. Unintended explosions are in fact so common that rocket scientists have come up with a euphemism for when it happens: rapid unscheduled disassembly, or RUD for short. Every time a rocket engine blows up, the source of the failure needs to be found so that it can be fixed. A new and improved engine is then designed, manufactured, shipped to the test site and fired, and the…
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The TV show Star Trek: The Next Generation introduced millions of people to the idea of a holodeck: an immersive, realistic 3D holographic projection of a complete environment that you could interact with and even touch. In the 21st century, holograms are already being used in a variety of ways such as medical systems, education, art, security, and defense. Scientists are still developing ways to use lasers, modern digital processors, and motion-sensing technologies to create several different types of holograms that could change the way we interact. My colleagues and I working in the University of Glasgow’s bendable electronics and…
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Join Lauren Razavi onstage at TNW 2021 as she moderates a panel on ‘Hustle Culture and the Burnout Generation.’ Silicon Valley has been the startup capital of the world for a generation – but that doesn’t guarantee it will retain that title in future. As the Silicon Valley playbook is uploaded to the cloud, other startup cities are taking advantage, but we have the opportunity to update our thinking as well. When we talk about “the next Silicon Valley”, what we really want to know is: Where will the next set of game-changing ideas come from? Where are the most…
Facebook is using one of its most engaging places on the site to spread positive stories about the company: the News Feed. That’s right. Over the past couple of months, the social network has amplified — under the fitting name of Project Amplify — stories written by the firm to bolster its image. According to a report from the New York Times, after a meeting in January, Facebook took multiple steps to make the company look good. These included distancing Mark Zuckerberg from controversies, increasing its own ads, and reducing access to internal data for outsiders. Wholesome CEO Let’s start…