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Facebook and Instagram want a piece of the NFT action
facebook headquarters

Coinbase and Mastercard announced a partnership earlier this week to make non-fungible tokens (NFT) more accessible to the masses. Specifically, the two companies want to let buyers purchase NFTs with real money, which is a lot easier than learning how to use digital tokens to do it. But having Facebook’s parent company Meta embrace NFT is something that would truly take NFTs mainstream. And it looks like Meta wants Facebook and Instagram to fully support NFT technology, from creating these collectible pieces of digital art to trading them.

Continue reading...

The post Facebook and Instagram want a piece of the NFT action appeared first on BGR.

Today's Top Deals

  1. Oops: Price mistake on Amazon’s #1 smart home device means you can get it for free
  2. Ditch your horrible Apple TV remote with this $15 replacement
  3. Thursday’s deals: KN95 masks, $15 Sonicare toothbrush, major Anker sale, more
  4. KN95 masks made in the USA are finally in stock at Amazon

Trending Right Now:

  1. Scientists think they figured out when the Sun will explode and kill us all
  2. Polar bears took over an abandoned island and moved into empty houses
  3. If you have DirecTV, you’re about to lose these 2 channels

Facebook and Instagram want a piece of the NFT action originally appeared on BGR.com on Thu, 20 Jan 2022 at 15:01:51 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


Hurry: Philips Sonicare electric toothbrush deals start at $15
Philips Sonicare toothbrushes

It's fantastic that the pandemic seems to be winding down again in the US. Needless to say, it's because so many millions of people have been vaccinated. But even though the CDC recently revised its safety recommendations, there are certain activities that some people try to avoid. If dentist visits are on your list, you definitely need to check out the Philips Sonicare deals on Amazon today.

So many of our readers have told us that they're still trying their best to avoid the dentist right now. And it seems like they plan to continue to skip nonessential visits until the pandemic is "over." Whether or not that's a good idea, upgrading your old manual brush with an electric toothbrush is never a bad thing. It's probably more important now than ever before if you plan to delay your next routine dental cleaning.


Philips One by Sonicare Battery Toothbrush, Midnight Blue, HY1100/04

Philips One by Sonicare Battery Toothbrush, Midnight Blue, HY1100/04

Price: $14.95
You Save: $10.04 (40%)
Buy Now

Philips Sonicare deals at Amazon

Sonicare electric toothbrushes are some of the best options in the business, but they're generally also quite expensive. That's especially true if you want the best of the best. But the good news is that Amazon is offering some solid discounts right now that slash several models to the lowest prices of the year. Here, we're going to show you some of the best deals on the hottest models you can get.

Anyone looking for something high-end that checks every box there is to check will be interested in either the Philips Sonicare ExpertClean 7500 Bluetooth Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush or the DiamondClean Smart 9300 Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush, which are available today with discounts up to $30. That's a great deal on these top-of-the-line models!

Needless to say, however, you don't have to spend anywhere near that much to get a great rechargeable electric toothbrush right now.

Prices start at just $14.95

The ProtectiveClean 4100 Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush is a best-seller that people really love, and you can snag one today for just $49.99 thanks to a new lower retail price.

Or, if you want to spend even less, you can pick up the Philips Sonicare DailyClean 1100 model for just $24.95!

Also of note, the Philips Sonicare One toothbrush is available for just $14.95 right now. This great electric toothbrush was designed with travel in mind. This model makes it so easy to get the best possible clean on the go. It also features 3-month battery life, which is amazing!

Scroll through all of these great Philips Sonicare deals down below.


Philips Sonicare One

This is one of the best Philips Sonicare deals you'll find. It's only $14.95 right now!

  • Take Philips Sonicare brushing technology with you wherever you go
  • Comes with a special case for easy travel
  • Compact design fits anywhere
  • Tapered bristles and sonic vibrations polish your teeth and brighten your smile
  • 2-minute times with 30-second notifications
  • Battery life lasts for up to 3 months!
  • Colorful design comes in seven different colorways


Philips One by Sonicare Battery Toothbrush, Midnight Blue, HY1100/04

Philips One by Sonicare Battery Toothbrush, Midnight Blue, HY1100/04

Price: $14.95
You Save: $10.04 (40%)
Buy Now


Philips Sonicare DailyClean 1100

  • The Philips Sonicare DailyClean 1100 pulses gently and moves fluid between your teeth and gums
  • This model is gentle but cleans effectively each and every time
  • Special sonic technology helps prevent cavities and tooth decay
  • Philips' special EasyStart program helps you start slowing and adjust to the sonic brushing power
  • Proprietary QuadPacer 2-minute timer helps ensure that you spend enough time brushing each area of your mouth


Philips Sonicare DailyClean 1100 Rechargeable Electric Power Toothbrush, White, HX3411/04

Philips Sonicare DailyClean 1100 Rechargeable Electric Power Toothbrush, White, HX3411/04

Price: $24.95
Buy Now


Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4100

  • ProtectiveClean 4100 removes up to 7 times more plaque than a regular manual toothbrush
  • Special pressure sensor technology provides a gentle clean
  • Custom curved power tip reaches all the toughest spots in your mouth
  • Safe for use with braces, fillings, crowns, and even veneers
  • Helps prevent cavities and improve gum health
  • Quadpacer timer lets you know when you've spent enough time cleaning each region of your mouth

This is one of the most popular Philips Sonicare deals, so it could sell out soon.


Philips Sonicare HX6810 ProtectiveClean 4100 Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush

Philips Sonicare HX6810 ProtectiveClean 4100 Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush

Price: $49.99
Buy Now


ExpertClean 7500

  • Removes up to 10 times more plaque than a manual toothbrush and provides expert-level cleaning
  • Pressure sensor alerts you when you're brushing too hard, protecting your teeth in the process
  • The automated Sonicare app gives you progress reports so you can maintain or improve your brushing habits


Philips Sonicare HX9690/05 ExpertClean 7500 Bluetooth Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush

Philips Sonicare HX9690/05 ExpertClean 7500 Bluetooth Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush

Price: $142.15
You Save: $7.80 (5%)
Buy Now


Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Smart 9300

This is one of the hottest Philips Sonicare deals out there right now!

  • This is Philips Sonicare's best and most advanced toothbrush
  • Provides the most exception and complete oral care
  • Removes up to 10 times more plaque than a manual toothbrush
  • Makes gums up to 7 times more healthy in just 2 weeks when using gum health mode
  • White+ mode removes up to 100% more stains in just 3 days compared to manual brushing


Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean Black Edition Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush

Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean Black Edition Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush

Price: $199.95
You Save: $30.04 (13%)
Buy Now


The post Hurry: Philips Sonicare electric toothbrush deals start at $15 appeared first on BGR.

Today's Top Deals

  1. Oops: Price mistake on Amazon’s #1 smart home device means you can get it for free
  2. Ditch your horrible Apple TV remote with this $15 replacement
  3. Thursday’s deals: KN95 masks, $15 Sonicare toothbrush, major Anker sale, more
  4. KN95 masks made in the USA are finally in stock at Amazon

Trending Right Now:

  1. Scientists think they figured out when the Sun will explode and kill us all
  2. Polar bears took over an abandoned island and moved into empty houses
  3. If you have DirecTV, you’re about to lose these 2 channels

Hurry: Philips Sonicare electric toothbrush deals start at $15 originally appeared on BGR.com on Thu, 20 Jan 2022 at 14:26:36 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


These 9 stimulus check programs get you payments up to $7,500 in 2022
stimulus check

For the first time, President Biden has acknowledged something that's seemed obvious for at least a month now. That he doesn't have the votes and will probably be unsuccessful in his bid to pressure Congress to pass an extension of the monthly child tax credit stimulus checks. The ongoing negotiations for which he addressed during a press conference on Wednesday.

"There's two really big components that I feel strongly about that I'm not sure I can get in the package," Biden said. "One is the childcare tax credit and the other is help for the cost of community colleges." At the same time, however, various stimulus check programs and related efforts are ongoing around the US -- and will put free money into the hands and bank accounts of millions of Americans this year.

From California to Vermont, and including cities like Chicago, everything from stimulus checks to basic income programs is being tried. And will unfold in various stages for the rest of this year. Below, we've got all the details about some of the initiatives to know about.

Continue reading...

The post These 9 stimulus check programs get you payments up to $7,500 in 2022 appeared first on BGR.

Today's Top Deals

  1. Oops: Price mistake on Amazon’s #1 smart home device means you can get it for free
  2. Ditch your horrible Apple TV remote with this $15 replacement
  3. Thursday’s deals: KN95 masks, $15 Sonicare toothbrush, major Anker sale, more
  4. KN95 masks made in the USA are finally in stock at Amazon

Trending Right Now:

  1. Scientists think they figured out when the Sun will explode and kill us all
  2. Polar bears took over an abandoned island and moved into empty houses
  3. If you have DirecTV, you’re about to lose these 2 channels

These 9 stimulus check programs get you payments up to $7,500 in 2022 originally appeared on BGR.com on Thu, 20 Jan 2022 at 13:51:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


iOS 15.3 RC and iPadOS 15.3 RC now available on iPhone and iPad
iOS 15.2 beta

Apple rolled out the iOS 15.3 and iPadOS 15.3 Release Candidate updates on Thursday, January 20th. These will be the final updates before iOS 15.3 rolls out to the general public.

First of all, we should note that all of the devices that were supported by iOS 14 will be supported by iOS 15 as well, so if you were able to update to iOS 14, you’re in the clear for at least one more year, even if you’re still using an iPhone 6s Plus, an iPad Air 2, or an iPad mini 4.

Continue reading...

The post iOS 15.3 RC and iPadOS 15.3 RC now available on iPhone and iPad appeared first on BGR.

Today's Top Deals

  1. Oops: Price mistake on Amazon’s #1 smart home device means you can get it for free
  2. Ditch your horrible Apple TV remote with this $15 replacement
  3. Thursday’s deals: KN95 masks, $15 Sonicare toothbrush, major Anker sale, more
  4. KN95 masks made in the USA are finally in stock at Amazon

Trending Right Now:

  1. Scientists think they figured out when the Sun will explode and kill us all
  2. Polar bears took over an abandoned island and moved into empty houses
  3. If you have DirecTV, you’re about to lose these 2 channels

iOS 15.3 RC and iPadOS 15.3 RC now available on iPhone and iPad originally appeared on BGR.com on Thu, 20 Jan 2022 at 13:30:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


Best smart plugs for Alexa: Get Kasa smart plugs at the lowest of 2022
Kasa Smart Plug by TP-Link being controlled by an iPhone

You'll find plenty of great deals right now at Amazon. But there's one particular deal we need to draw your attention to because it offers the lowest price of the year on the best smart plugs for Alexa.

That's right, the hot new TP-Link Kasa Mini Smart Plugs are down to an awesome price. That's the good news, but we're afraid it's not all good news. These smart plugs have been selling like crazy which shouldn't come as much of a surprise. But since they're so popular, there's a good chance that this deal might sell out.

BGR Deals readers are a savvy bunch. As a result, they stock up on certain things pretty much they go on sale with deep discounts. That makes sense, of course, because our readers have always a keen eye for spotting killer deals. Today, for example, they're stocking up on On/Go COVID Home Test Kits (40% off) and AirPods Pro with MagSafe ($189.99 instead of $249).

Those are great deals, but there's one particular sale you need to see.


Kasa Smart Plug Mini 15A, Smart Home Wi-Fi Outlet Works with Alexa, Google Home & IFTTT

Kasa Smart Plug Mini 15A, Smart Home Wi-Fi Outlet Works with Alexa, Google Home & IFTTT

Price: $26.99
You Save: $3.00 (10%)
Buy Now

Best smart plugs for Alexa

Best Smart Plugs for Alexa

Insanely popular TP-Link Kasa Mini Smart Plugs are the #1 best-selling smart plugs out there among BGR Deals readers and it's not even close. Of course, it's pretty easy to figure out why.

These awesome smart plugs include all the features you'd expect. They're all durable and an app that is a cut above most rival offerings. The most popular model sells for $15 each, but Amazon's awesome Black Friday deal last year offered shoppers a nice big discount. They sold out fast back then and they've continued to sell out pretty regularly ever since.

Now, they're finally back in stock again for even less than they cost last year on Black Friday. In fact, these best-selling smart plugs just hit the lowest price of the year!

Also of note, this is the newest model that's even more compact than the previous version.

Amazon's current deal on TP-Link Kasa Mini Smart Plugs could sell out yet again now that the cat's out of the bag. This deal first popped up a few months ago and it was scheduled to end after a couple of weeks.

It did end at the time... but now it's somehow back! And the good news is that if you miss out on this new opportunity to get these popular plugs for just $6.75 each, you can get the previous-generation version for the same exact price in 4-packs!

You're getting a terrific value with either option, so grab a few while you still can.


Kasa Smart Plug Mini 15A, Smart Home Wi-Fi Outlet Works with Alexa, Google Home & IFTTT

Kasa Smart Plug Mini 15A, Smart Home Wi-Fi Outlet Works with Alexa, Google Home & IFTTT

Price: $26.99
You Save: $3.00 (10%)
Buy Now

Kasa Mini Plug fast facts

These are definitely the best smart plugs for Alexa, if you ask us. Well, unless you're eligible for Amazon's deal that gets you a $25 Amazon Smart Plug for just 99¢.

Even if you do get a 99¢ Amazon plug though, you still should probably stock up on TP-Link Kasa Mini Smart Plugs. After all, what are you going to do with just one smart plug?!

Here are the key takeaways:

  • TP-Link's Kasa smart plugs let you control just about anything in your home using a simple app on your smartphone
  • They also support voice control thanks to integrations with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant
  • Turn your devices on and off with a simple voice command!
  • Works with lamps, fans, home appliances, Christmas lights, and so much more
  • Use the scheduling feature in the app to turn your devices off and on at certain times each day, or only on specific days each week
  • Simple setup lets you configure each one in about 1 minute
  • UL certified for safe use
  • 2-year warranty provided by TP-Link


Kasa Smart Plug Mini 15A, Smart Home Wi-Fi Outlet Works with Alexa, Google Home & IFTTT

Kasa Smart Plug Mini 15A, Smart Home Wi-Fi Outlet Works with Alexa, Google Home & IFTTT

Price: $26.99
You Save: $3.00 (10%)
Buy Now

The post Best smart plugs for Alexa: Get Kasa smart plugs at the lowest of 2022 appeared first on BGR.

Today's Top Deals

  1. Oops: Price mistake on Amazon’s #1 smart home device means you can get it for free
  2. Ditch your horrible Apple TV remote with this $15 replacement
  3. Thursday’s deals: KN95 masks, $15 Sonicare toothbrush, major Anker sale, more
  4. KN95 masks made in the USA are finally in stock at Amazon

Trending Right Now:

  1. Scientists think they figured out when the Sun will explode and kill us all
  2. Polar bears took over an abandoned island and moved into empty houses
  3. If you have DirecTV, you’re about to lose these 2 channels

Best smart plugs for Alexa: Get Kasa smart plugs at the lowest of 2022 originally appeared on BGR.com on Thu, 20 Jan 2022 at 12:56:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


X-Men are coming to the MCU soon – here’s how Marvel might do it
Doctor Strange in Multiverse of Madness trailer

Marvel is widely expected to feature several X-Men mutants in the next big MCU Phase 4 movie. That’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which is shaping up to be a much more ambitious film than Spider-Man: No Way Home. Considering what we just experienced in No Way Home, it makes sense to see some of the Fox mutants in Doctor Strange 2. It’s not just excellent fan service, it’s also a celebration of the Marvel characters from the Fox universe. We never expected the Fox X-Men to appear in the MCU because solving the continuity problems would be a massive headache. As it stands now, the Foxverse of mutant stories doesn’t even really make sense.

But it so happens that a crazy new Doctor Strange 2 plot leak offers an unexpected solution. Marvel might be able to merge the MCU and the Fox universes without worrying too much about the logic of it all. And now, we might be able to explain everything.

Before we go any further, you should know that huge spoilers might follow below.

Continue reading...

The post X-Men are coming to the MCU soon – here’s how Marvel might do it appeared first on BGR.

Today's Top Deals

  1. Oops: Price mistake on Amazon’s #1 smart home device means you can get it for free
  2. Ditch your horrible Apple TV remote with this $15 replacement
  3. Thursday’s deals: KN95 masks, $15 Sonicare toothbrush, major Anker sale, more
  4. KN95 masks made in the USA are finally in stock at Amazon

Trending Right Now:

  1. Scientists think they figured out when the Sun will explode and kill us all
  2. Polar bears took over an abandoned island and moved into empty houses
  3. If you have DirecTV, you’re about to lose these 2 channels

X-Men are coming to the MCU soon – here’s how Marvel might do it originally appeared on BGR.com on Thu, 20 Jan 2022 at 12:21:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


AirPods are so cheap right now at Amazon, it has to be a mistake
Apple AirPods 3 on a table next to an iPhone 13 Pro

Can you imagine seeing discounts on brand new Apple products a few years ago? Something like AirPods deals with deep discounts never would have happened.

But now that Apple works more closely with top retailers like Amazon, things have changed. We actually expect to see new Apple devices get discounts soon after release. What we never could have expected, however, is to see AirPods deals like the ones available right now at Amazon.

Previous-generation AirPods Pro are on sale with a discount right now... but whatever you do, don't buy them. Why not, you ask? Because instead, you can pick up a pair of Apple's hot new AirPods Pro with MagSafe for just $189.99. That's an excellent deal on brand new AirPods and you definitely don't want to miss it. We can't believe AirPods Pro are so cheap even though Christmas sales are now long gone!

Also, AirPods 3 are back on sale for $169 and AirPods 2 are down to $109.99!

Other deals include up to $70 off other AirPods models. On top of all that, the Apple Watch SE is down to $249, and the new Apple Watch Series 7 is on sale with discounts up to $60. Hurry and you can get one for $339, which is an all-time low price!

The only thing to keep in mind is that all these deals are definitely going to disappear soon. This is likely your last chance to save big on best-selling Apple products!


New Apple AirPods Pro

New Apple AirPods Pro

Price: $189.99
You Save: $59.01 (24%)
Buy Now

Best Amazon deals on Apple products

Amazon has so many great deals on Apple products, we almost don't even know where to begin.

We'll cover all the best Apple deals available right now at Amazon. But the most logical thing to do is start with the most popular product among our readers, and that's AirPods!


AirPods Black Friday deals are back

AirPods Deals

Among BGR Deals readers, no headphones outsell AirPods. As a matter of fact, we're not sure there are any gadgets at all that outsell Apple's AirPods.

The $199 AirPods 2 with Wireless Charging Case are back in stock for $200, but DO NOT buy them. Instead, upgrade to AirPods 3 with MagSafe and get them for $169.

You'll get wireless charging plus the new form factor, and you'll spend less money.


New Apple AirPods (3rd Generation)

New Apple AirPods (3rd Generation)

Price: $169.00
You Save: $10.00 (6%)
Buy Now

Finally, we have the AirPods Pro that our audience is totally obsessed with. They're $249 at Apple, but Amazon's massive discount slashes them all the way down to $200. Believe it or not, they're actually the same price that Apple used to charge for AirPods 2 with Wireless Charging!

As we said, however, you shouldn't buy them. That's because Apple's just-released AirPods Pro with Magsafe charging are on sale for just $189.99!

Why buy the old model when the new ones have the same huge discount?!

We seriously can't believe that Black Friday pricing is back for these best-sellers. Thousands upon thousands of our readers bought them at a discount, so this is your chance if you missed out. There's no way this deal will last much longer though, so it could be now or never.


New Apple AirPods Pro

New Apple AirPods Pro

Price: $189.99
You Save: $59.01 (24%)
Buy Now


Crazy Apple Watch sale that's almost as good as AirPods deals

AirPods Deals

Amazon has massive discounts right now on several Apple Watch models. That includes rare discounts on the Apple Watch Series 7 and Apple Watch SE! The only problem is that it looks like these deals are on the verge of disappearing. That means it could be your last chance to save!

At the time of this writing, the Apple Watch Series 7 was down to $339. That's an all-time low price!

As for the Apple Watch SE, you can get one today starting at just $249. That's within a few dollars of the deal we saw on Black Friday.


Apple Watch Series 7 GPS, 41mm Green Aluminum Case with Clover Sport Band - Regular

Apple Watch Series 7 GPS, 41mm Green Aluminum Case with Clover Sport Band - Regular

Price: $339.00
You Save: $60.00 (15%)
Buy Now


Apple Watch SE (GPS, 40mm) - Silver Aluminum Case with Abyss Blue Sport Band

Apple Watch SE (GPS, 40mm) - Silver Aluminum Case with Abyss Blue Sport Band

Price: $249.00
You Save: $30.00 (11%)
Buy Now


MacBook Air

AirPods Deals

If you're in the market for a powerful new Apple laptop, there are several incredible options out there. Of course, not everyone wants to shell out big bucks for the new MacBook Pro. Instead, check out the MacBook Air. It's powered by Apple's blazing-fast M1 chip and it's on sale right now with a solid discount at Amazon.


2020 Apple MacBook Air Laptop: Apple M1 Chip, 13” Retina Display, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage, B…

2020 Apple MacBook Air Laptop: Apple M1 Chip, 13” Retina Display, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage, B…

Price: $899.00
You Save: $100.00 (10%)
Buy Now


AirTags

Apple AirTags Deals

Believe it or not, Apple AirTag trackers are on sale right now, which is even rarer than AirPods deals! They're $29 each when you buy them individually, and 4-packs sell for $99. Head over to Amazon, however, and you'll find AirTag 4-Packs in stock again.

This deal will definitely sell out, so you'll need to hurry. Once it's gone though, be sure to check Amazon's "other sellers" section because you might save some money that way.


Apple AirTag 4 Pack

Apple AirTag 4 Pack

Price: $96.70
You Save: $5.00 (5%)
Buy Now


MacBook Pro

MacBook Pro Deals

Amazon's big sales right now slash up to $150 off the price of the 13-inch MacBook Pro. That's a tremendous deal for one of the most powerful laptops ever made. The brand new 14-inch MacBook Pro that was just released in 2021 is also available.

Here are some key details to keep in mind:

  • Apple's M1 chip is a revolution in the personal computing space, offering unrivaled CPU and GPU performance
  • Instant wake means no more waiting for your laptop to load
  • The 8-core CPU delivers up to 2.8x faster performance, while the 8-core GPU brings up to 5x faster graphics
  • The M1 is also Apple's most efficient chipset ever, enabling up to 20 hours of battery life on a single charge
  • The dedicated 16-core Neural Engine enables advanced machine learning capabilities
  • There has never been anything like this before on comparable notebook computers


2020 Apple MacBook Pro (13-inch) with Apple M1 Chip

2020 Apple MacBook Pro (13-inch) with Apple M1 Chip

Price: $1,349.00
You Save: $150.00 (10%)
Buy Now


2021 Apple MacBook Pro (14-inch) with Apple M1 Pro Chip

2021 Apple MacBook Pro (14-inch) with Apple M1 Pro Chip

Price: $1,949.99
Buy Now


iPad

iPad Deals

If you're in the market for a new tablet, we have some excellent news. Not only is the newest 10.2-inch iPad back in stock at Amazon for the first time since last October... it's also on sale at a discount!

This model is still so hard to find at other retailers, so this is definitely exciting news. But if you want even better performance, there are a few discounts you should check out.

The awesome iPad Air is in stock. If you want even more power, the iPad Pro (11-inch) is discounted right now.

Additionally, the iPad Pro (12.9-inch) starts at $999 today, which is a nice big $100 discount. These are all fantastic Amazon deals on best-selling Apple tablets, though the discounts aren't as impressive as Amazon's AirPods deals.


2021 Apple 10.2-inch iPad (Wi-Fi, 256GB) - Silver

2021 Apple 10.2-inch iPad (Wi-Fi, 256GB) - Silver

Price: $449.00
You Save: $30.00 (6%)
Buy Now


2021 Apple 11-inch iPad Pro (Wi-Fi, 128GB) - Silver

2021 Apple 11-inch iPad Pro (Wi-Fi, 128GB) - Silver

Price: Price too low to display
Buy Now


Go here to see this month's best deals online!

The post AirPods are so cheap right now at Amazon, it has to be a mistake appeared first on BGR.

Today's Top Deals

  1. A Black Friday 2019 deal like no other: Free money from Amazon
  2. The 10 best Black Friday deals of the day

Trending Right Now:

  1. This new Alexa feature is so much cooler than we thought it would be
  2. Black Friday 2019: These $38 noise cancelling true wireless earbuds sound better than $250 AirPods Pro
  3. Huge leak may reveal the epic villain who replaces Thanos in MCU Phase 5

AirPods are so cheap right now at Amazon, it has to be a mistake originally appeared on BGR.com on Thu, 20 Jan 2022 at 11:46:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


Best office chairs in 2022: Sit more comfortably at your desk
Best Office Chairs

Finding a great office chair that you actually like can be difficult. It is not so long ago that people have been in offices and hated their chair so much that they stole a coworker's chair when they weren't around. Everyone has squirmed in their seat, trying to get comfortable at their desk while working on a paper or project for an extended period of time.

Getting an office chair that you like is smart for your office, even if it's in your home. If you want to go the route of an ergonomic chair, it will help make sure your posture is straight and the stress on your back and neck is minimized. If you're like a lot of workers, you're sitting and staring at a computer screen most of the workday. The relief you can get with the right chair helps distribute any pressure of sitting for a long time and can help alleviate pain. Take a look at our picks for the best office chairs and don't think about stealing someone else's.

Best ergonomic office chair: NOUHAUS Ergo3D Ergonomic Office Chair

Best Ergonomic Office Chair
NOUHAUS Ergo3D Ergonomic Office Chair Image source: NOUHAUS/Amazon

Pros: Customizable, great lumbar support

Cons: May creak over time

You want to be supported in your chair every time you sit in it. When you use the NOUHAUS Ergo3D Ergonomic Office Chair, you're sure to feel that way. With its 3D adjustable armrest and lumbar system, you'll get a sense of comfort. Made with breathable ElastoMesh, it provides optimal airflow to avoid sweating. It can tilt back 135° and comes with multiple castors. The lumbar support hugs your back to mimic a cushion.

The seat lifts up and down for a custom fit. The five-point base with dual castors gives greater stability and strength, compared to four-point bases. It also comes with a set of blade wheels for hardwood floors. This is made for adults up to 275 pounds. Also, this is one of the best office chairs because it can recline like crazy. You can find the right amount of lean for yourself because of the tilt angle you have. As you may expect with any chair (especially one that allows you to tilt back), this may creak over time after extended use.


NOUHAUS Ergo3D Ergonomic Office Chair - Rolling Desk Chair with 3D Adjustable Armrest, 3D Lumba…

NOUHAUS Ergo3D Ergonomic Office Chair - Rolling Desk Chair with 3D Adjustable Armrest, 3D Lumba…

Price: $329.99
Buy Now

Best office chairs for support: Gabrylly Ergonomic Mesh Office Chair

Best Office Chair with a Headrest

Pros: Suitable for a large array of heights, foldable armrests

Cons: Not good for anyone sitting cross-legged

Many of us are in our chairs for most of a workday. Trying to stay loose and not stiffen up can be hard, especially if you have neck issues. The Gabrylly Ergonomic Mesh Office Chair has high back, head, and neck supports. It provides four supporting points: head, back, hips, and hands. It also comes with proper lumbar support. You can adjust the seat height, headrest, backrest, and flip-up arms to meet different needs. This is suitable for people between the heights of 5'5" and 6'2".

The entire chair, including the arms, measures 25.6"W x 22"D x 45.3"-54.9"H. The loading capacity is 280 pounds. You'll also be able to recline up to 120° or sit up straight. Trying to fit under a desk, the armrests can be folded. Made from breathable mesh, this will resist abrasion and also provide you with solid airflow. It takes almost no time to install this and it comes in black or grey. Some people sit cross-legged on their chairs while they're working. But it won't be easy to do in this chair.


Gabrylly Ergonomic Mesh Office Chair, High Back Desk Chair - Adjustable Headrest with Flip-Up A…

Gabrylly Ergonomic Mesh Office Chair, High Back Desk Chair - Adjustable Headrest with Flip-Up A…

Price: $289.50
You Save: $40.00 (12%)
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Best space-saving office chair: Hbada Office Task Desk Chair

Best Space-Saving Office Chair
Hbada Office Task Desk Chair Image source: Hbada/Amazon

Pros: Ergonomic backrest, mesh back is breathable

Cons: Not great for extended use

For the home office that is a bit narrow, check out the Hbada Office Task Desk Chair. This has a sleek design and takes little effort to adjust. You can flip the arms up and put the chair under a desk for more space-saving. It is suitable for a living room, study, family room, office, and more. This mid-back design matches different decorative styles. The ergonomic backrest fits the natural curve of the lower back. It will help take away any spinal pain.

You can raise the height from 17.7" to 21.2" while also tilting it 120°. It has a weight capacity of 250 pounds. There is a heavy-duty base with smooth and silenced rolling casters. Furthermore, the high-density mesh back is breathable. While you'll be good to use this during a day, you'll probably want to get up and walk around a bit. That's not just for your health but also because you'll want to get up and move around after a while in this chair.


Hbada Office Task Desk Chair Swivel Home Comfort Chairs with Flip-up Arms and Adjustable Height…

Hbada Office Task Desk Chair Swivel Home Comfort Chairs with Flip-up Arms and Adjustable Height…

Price: $93.49
You Save: $76.50 (45%)
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Best value: Furmax Office Mid Back Swivel Lumbar Support Desk Chair

Best Value Office Chair
Furmax Office Mid Back Swivel Lumbar Support Desk Chair Image source: Furmax/Amazon

Pros: Affordable, wing-type back support

Cons: A bit more narrow than the other options

The Furmax Office Mid Back Swivel Lumbar Support Desk Chair will give your wallet a break. This is an ergonomic chair with lumbar support that's comfortable. The mesh back supports and is breathable. It has an updated thick padded seat that provides extra comfort for daily use. The maximum weight capacity is 265 pounds. It boasts a five-star, heavy-duty base with 360° swivel wheels. They'll be running smoothly on floors. Also, the wing-type back support allows you to sit for a long time. This is offered in standard black as well as eight other colors. It is narrow but the price will not upset you.


Furmax Office Chair Mid Back Swivel Lumbar Support Desk Chair, Computer Ergonomic Mesh Chair wi…

Furmax Office Chair Mid Back Swivel Lumbar Support Desk Chair, Computer Ergonomic Mesh Chair wi…

Price: $34.98
You Save: $20.01 (36%)
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Best leather chair: Amazon Basics Executive Office Desk Chair

A look at the chair
Amazon Basics Executive Office Desk Chair

Pros: 360-degree swiveling function, black leather upholstery

Cons: Creaks after a while

Leather gives your office a distinct look and feel and the Amazon Basics Executive Office Desk Chair delivers on that. This office chair is covered in black polyurethane bonded leather with a pewter metal finish. With a padded seat, back, and armrests, you'll feel comfortable during a long day at work. It is perfect for home and office use. The pneumatic seat height adjustment and tilt lock allow you to choose your customized settings. It swivels 360 degrees and supports up to 275 pounds. Also, it is BIFMA-certified.


Amazon Basics Executive Office Desk Chair with Armrests, Adjustable Height/Tilt, 360-Degree Swi…

Amazon Basics Executive Office Desk Chair with Armrests, Adjustable Height/Tilt, 360-Degree Swi…

Price: $160.91
Buy Now

Add a home printer with your office chair and check out our favorites!

The post Best office chairs in 2022: Sit more comfortably at your desk appeared first on BGR.

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TikTok joins Instagram in testing creator subscriptions

Soon after Instagram started rolling out paid subscriptions for creators, TikTok says it may be following suit. The service is exploring a feature that would allow influencers to paywall at least some of the content they share on the app, as The Information first reported.

TikTok's subscriptions are being tested on a limited basis, so you may not see your favorite creators using them anytime soon. The platform didn't provide more details about how the feature works. "We're always thinking about new ways to bring value to our community and enrich the TikTok experience," a TikTok spokesperson told Engadget.

As with the likes of Twitch, Twitter and YouTube, TikTok allows viewers to send tips to influencers who are enrolled in the Creator Next program. Users can also buy and send virtual gifts to creators.

Given its other monetization options and that rival platforms have embraced subscriptions, it's hardly a surprise that TikTok is following that path too. In 2020, TikTok announced a $200 million fund to support creators.

Meta is also spending heavily on influencers. The company said last year it would invest $1 billion in creators across the likes of Facebook and Instagram by the end of 2022, in the hope of keeping them away from competitors. CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company won't take a cut of their earnings until at least 2023. Instagram subscriptions are only available to a very small number of creators for now, but there are plans to open up access to others in the coming months.


NBA games in 4K are coming to YouTube TV

The view from your couch will look a little more like sitting courtside in the days to come, as Streamable reports on Thursday that YouTube TV will begin offering select NBA matchups in 4K. 

The only, ahem, hoop viewers will need to get through in order to watch is having a YouTube TV subscription with the 4K Plus add-on. YTTV on its own is $65 a month, the 4K add-on will set you back an additional $12/mo for the first year before nearly doubling, up to $20/month thereafter. Not every game will be made available in the high definition format though Saturday's game between the Cavs and Thunder will.


Twitter brings NFTs to profile photos, but only for Twitter Blue subscribers

Twitter is giving NFT enthusiasts a new reason to pay for a Twitter Blue subscription. The company is testing a new feature that allows NFT owners to authenticate NFTs displayed in their profile photos.

The feature, which is being offered as an early stage “Labs” feature for Twitter Blue subscribers, allows NFT owners to connect their crypto wallet to their Twitter account and display an NFT as their profile photo. While many NFT owners already use the art in their profile photos, the Twitter Blue feature will also add an icon indicating that the NFT has been authenticated and that person behind the account is the official owner of the piece.

Though only Twitter Blue subscribers can access the feature, the authentication symbol will be visible to everyone on Twitter. And other users will be able to tap on the hexagon symbol in order to learn more about the NFT in the image.

Twitter will verify NFTs in profile photos for Twitter Blue subscribers.
Twitter

While Twitter has previously indicated that it was working on an NFT authentication service, it’s notable that it would choose to offer the feature to Twitter Blue subscribers first, The company debuted the $3/month subscription service in November, in a bid to appeal to power users who might pay for specialized features. The NFT feature is “still under active development,” according to the company, and it’s not clear if it plans to launch it more widely. Twitter has previously said that early-stage “labs” features are experiments that could become available outside of Twitter Blue, kept around for subscribers, or killed off entirely.


Airbnb will offer travel insurance this spring

Airbnb knows you might be reluctant to book a stay while the COVID-19 pandemic makes trips risky, so it's planning to offer some protection of its own. The rental service has revealed it will introduce custom travel insurance for guests sometime this spring. While the terms aren't available, Airbnb will team with a "reputable" insurer to offer coverage.

The company has also launched a Guest COVID Support Program that partly compensates travellers if border closures, quarantine periods or other government policies make existing reservations impractical. If a host won't provide a full refund, Airbnb will offer a travel coupon worth 50 percent of whatever hasn't been refunded so far. The program applies to all stays with a check-in date of December 1st, 2021 or later, so you might want to talk to Airbnb if your holiday plans fell apart.

There's no mystery behind the strategy. Airbnb's business has been hit hard by the pandemic as a whole, and COVID-19's Omicron variant is only increasing the worry for hosts and guests who were hoping the worst was behind them. First-party insurance and coupons might persuade some would-be adventurers to book stays when they would have otherwise stayed home.


Peloton is reportedly pausing Bike and Tread production amid lower demand

Peloton is reportedly pumping the brakes on Bike and Tread production as demand for the home fitness equipment is said to be slowing.

It's said to be putting production of its standard Bike and Tread (treadmill) products on hold for two months and six weeks, respectively. The company stopped building Bike+ units last month and it doesn’t plan to pick up production of that more expensive model until June, CNBC reports. As for Tread+, Peloton reportedly doesn’t expect to build any more of those in its 2022 fiscal year.

According to CNBC, Peloton said in an internal presentation that there’s been a significant drop in demand due to consumer “price sensitivity” and increased competition from rivals. On top of that, gyms are open again in many regions following COVID-19 lockdown measures. After being cooped up at home for the better part of two years, it wouldn’t be surprising if fitness fans wanted to work out elsewhere. Meanwhile, research firm M Science said it hasn’t seen evidence of a rise in demand for at-home fitness amid the surge of the Omicron variant.

As things stand, Peloton is said to have overestimated demand and thousands of its products are in warehouses and on cargo ships. It reportedly needs to sell many of those before making more bikes and treadmills.

Meanwhile, per the presentation, Peloton Guide was delayed from October to next month, and the product might slip again to April. Peloton Guide is a strength-training system that uses camera and machine learning to track users' movements and help them match their form against an instructor.

Earlier this week, it was reported that Peloton is looking to reduce costs. Measures could include layoffs and store closures.

Engadget has contacted Peloton for comment. The company will report its latest quarterly financial results on February 8th, which should make the status of Peloton and its products slightly clearer.


Facebook takes down fake Iranian accounts that posed as Scottish locals

Facebook disabled a network of fake accounts that posed as English and Scottish locals, but were actually an Iran-based influence operation. The company detailed the takedowns in its latest report on coordinated inauthentic behavior on its platform.

The network was relatively small — eight accounts on Facebook and 126 on Instagram — though it had amassed about 77,000 followers, according to the company. Facebook’s security researchers didn’t indicate exactly who in Iran was behind the effort, or what their motives were, but said some of the people involved had a “background in teaching English as a foreign language.”

“This network posted photos and memes in English about current events in the UK, including supportive commentary about Scottish independence and criticism of the UK government,” Facebook writes in its report. In a call with reporters, Facebook’s Global IO Threat Intelligence Lead, Ben Nimmo, said that it’s not the first time the company has caught Iran-linked fake accounts targeting Scotland, but that the latest network stood out for its “artisanal” approach to the fake personas.

“What was unique about this case was the effort that the operators took to make their fakes look like real people,” Nimmo said. He noted the accounts spent considerable time posting about their “side interests,” like football, in an attempt to boost their credibility. Some of the accounts also lifted profile photos from real celebrities or media personalities, and regularly updated the images in order to appear more real. Other accounts used fake photos generated by AI programs.

Overall, Facebook says that the fake accounts weren’t particularly successful as the most popular account had only reached about 4,000 followers, about half of whom were actually located in the UK. “In a way, this is more like an old fashioned pre-internet influence operation, creating detailed fake personas and trying not to be noticed,” Nimmo said.


Senator Klobuchar's major tech reform bill advances out of committee

A major tech reform bill that would prevent the industry's biggest players — Apple, Amazon, Google, and their ilk — from discriminating against smaller businesses that rely on the big platforms' services is one step closer to passage on Thursday after passing from committee on a bipartisan 16-6 vote. Senators Mike Lee, John Cornyn, Ben Sasse, Tom Cotton, Thom Tillis, and Marsha Blackburn all voted against it.

The American Innovation and Choice Online Act, which was sponsored by Senator Amy Klobuchar, would prohibit Amazon from promoting its own Amazon Basics gear over similar products in search results. Similarly, Apple and Google would be barred from pushing their in-house apps over those from third-party developers in their respective app stores. The bill passed out of both the antitrust subcommittee and the primary judiciary committee with the support of that vote and will now be put forth on the Senate floor.   

Unsurprisingly, the platforms impacted by these proposed regulations are none too pleased with the recent proceedings. Apple's Tim Cook has reportedly been personally lobbying against the bill while Amazon has released the following statement:

There’s a reason why small businesses who sell on Amazon are asking Congress to take a look at the “collateral damage” that will fall on them and their customers, should the American Innovation and Choice Online Act become law. This bill is being rushed through the legislative process without any acknowledgment by its authors of its unintended consequences. As drafted, the bill’s vague prohibitions and unreasonable financial penalties—up to 15% of U.S. revenue, not income—would jeopardize our ability to allow small businesses to sell on Amazon. The bill would also make it difficult for us to guarantee one or two-day shipping for those small businesses' products—key benefits of Amazon Prime for sellers and customers alike. The bill’s authors are targeting common retail practices and, troublingly, appear to single out Amazon while giving preferential treatment to other large retailers that engage in the same practices. We urge the Senate Judiciary Committee to reject Senator Klobuchar and Senator Grassley’s bill and refuse to rush through an ambiguously worded bill with significant unintended consequences.

A similar bill has already passed the judiciary committee's counterpart in the House though the President has not yet weighed in regarding his support of these proposals.


New 'Wallace & Gromit' and 'Chicken Run' movies are coming to Netflix

After a hiatus of more than a decade, the world’s favorite fictitious British inventor (or possibly second after Q from James Bond) and his lovable canine sidekick are making a comeback. Today as part of its ongoing partnership with Aardman Animations Netflix announced the arrival of a new Wallace & Gromit movie and the long-awaited sequel to Chicken Run.

Due out sometime in 2023, Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget picks up after Ginger and Rocky’s daring escape with the hatching of the couple’s new chick Molly at their new island sanctuary home. And while Julia Sawalha and Mel Gibson won’t be reprising their roles as the leading chickens, Dawn of the Nugget’s cast will still feature some big-name stars including Thandie Newton (Ginger), Zachary Levi (Rocky) and Bella Ramsey (Molly), the latter of whom is also set to play Ellie in HBO’s upcoming live-action TV adaptation of The Last of Us.

As for the still-untitled Wallace & Gromit movie, original series creator Nick Park will be returning as director featuring a story written by Park and Mark Burton (Madagascar, The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, Shaun of the Sheep Movie). Slated to arrive almost two decades after The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, Wallace and Gromit’s second feature-length film revolves around Wallace’s latest invention: a “smart gnome” that has developed a mind of its own. Queue the hijinx.

Notably, unlike Dawn of the Nugget which will be a worldwide exclusive on Netflix when it starts streaming sometime next year, the new Wallace & Gromit movie will debut first on the BBC in the UK before becoming available on Netflix in all other regions sometime in 2024.

With Aardman and Netlix’s stop-motion musical Robin Robin having been recently shortlisted for the Oscar’s in the animated short film category, it’s nice to see even more claymation movies get the green light–especially after the bomb that was 2018’s Early Man. That said, with the original Chicken Run and The Curse of the Were-Rabbit having already claimed the number one and two spots as the highest-grossing stop-motion animated films of all time, Aardman Studios might have a hard time competing for attention in a time when traditional computer-animated films have dominated the box office.


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How AI Conquered Poker
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London Mayor Wants Daily Driving Charge of Up To $2.7
London's mayor says he needs to charge drivers a "small" daily fee of up to 2 pound ($2.73) for "all but the cleanest vehicles" to help hit climate change targets. From a report: The road pricing proposal is part of a push by Sadi

Starving Afghans Use Crypto To Sidestep US Sanctions, Failing Banks, and the Taliban
NGOs looking to provide emergency aid to Afghanistan are turning to cryptocurrency. From a report: When the Taliban took over Afghanistan in August of last year, Fereshteh Forough feared that the group would close her school in He

Google is Building an AR Headset
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Sony Expects Microsoft To Keep Activision Games Multiplatform
Sony said Thursday that it expected Microsoft to ensure that games from Activision Blizzard are available on non-Microsoft videogame platforms if Microsoft completes its proposed acquisition of Activision. From a report: "We expec

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Elon Musk's brain implant company Neuralink is now hiring a clinical trial director, an indication that the company's longstanding goal of implanting chips in human brains is coming closer. Bloomberg: The trial director position w


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Russian c.bank proposes banning cryptocurrencies, crypto mining
crypto currency
Representations of virtual cryptocurrencies are seen in this illustration taken November 28, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

Russia's central bank on Thursday proposed banning the use and mining of cryptocurrencies on Russian territory, citing threats to financial stability, citizens' wellbeing and its monetary policy sovereignty.

The move is the latest in a global cryptocurrency crackdown as governments from Asia to the United States worry that privately operated highly volatile digital currencies could undermine their control of financial and monetary systems.

Russia has argued for years against cryptocurrencies, saying they could be used in money laundering or to finance terrorism. It eventually gave them legal status in 2020 but banned their use as a means of payment.

In December, the price of bitcoin fell after Reuters reported, citing sources, that Russia's regulator was in favour of a complete ban on cryptocurrencies.

In a report published on Thursday, the central bank said speculative demand primarily determined cryptocurrencies' rapid growth and that they carried characteristics of a financial pyramid, warning that bubbles in the market could form, threatening financial stability and citizens.

The bank proposed preventing financial institutions from carrying out any operations with cryptocurrencies and said mechanisms should be developed to block transactions aimed at buying or selling cryptocurrencies for fiat, or traditional currencies. The proposed ban includes crypto exchanges.

Russians are active cryptocurrency users, the central bank said, with an annual transaction volume of about $5 billion.

CRYPTO MINING

Russia is the world's third-largest player in bitcoin mining, behind the United States and Kazakhstan, though the latter may see a miner exodus over fears of tightening regulation following unrest earlier this month. read more

The central bank said crypto mining created problems for energy consumption. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are "mined" by powerful computers that compete against others hooked up to a global network to solve complex mathematical puzzles. The process guzzles electricity and is often powered by fossil fuels.

"The best solution is to introduce a ban on cryptocurrency mining in Russia," the bank said.

In August, Russia accounted for 11.2% of the global "hashrate" - crypto jargon for the amount of computing power being used by computers connected to the bitcoin network.


EXCLUSIVE TikTok owner ByteDance's revenue growth slowed to 70% in 2021 - sources

tiktok
Tik Tok logos are seen on smartphones in front of a displayed ByteDance logo in this illustration taken November 27, 2019. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

TikTok owner ByteDance saw its  revenue grow  70% year on year to about $58 billion in 2021,  slower growth than a year earlier as China tightens its regulation of big tech companies.

According to two people familiar with the matter the numbers were revealed to a small group of employees at an internal meeting of the social media giant this week .

In 2020, the Beijing-based company's total revenue grew by over 100% to $34.3 billion, Reuters has reported. ByteDance did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Chinese tech companies from Tencent to Alibaba have reported slowing growth amid a sweeping crackdown by the country's regulators, who have rolled out new rules for how they operate and interact with their users. 

According to a recent report by market research firm Interactive Marketing Lab Zhongguancun, 

ByteDance held its second position in China's online advertising market last year with a 21% market share.

The number one position was still held by e-commerce giant Alibaba Group (9988.HK), and third place went to gaming giant Tencent Holdings (0700.HK), according to the report.


The overall growth of online ad sales in China declined to 9.3% in 2021 from 13.8% a year earlier, the report says.


Tech news website The Information last November reported that ByteDance's 2021 revenue was on track to rise about 60% to 400 billion yuan ($63.07 billion).


ByteDance is one of the world's biggest private tech companies with recent trades in the private-equity secondary market valuing it at about $300 billion, Reuters has reported.


Following Beijing's antitrust efforts, ByteDance has recently been downsizing its powerful investment arm. read more

In November, ByteDance reorganised itself into six business units in its biggest organizational change since ByteDance founder Zhang Yiming said in May he would step down as CEO. 

Besides TikTok, ByteDance's other apps include its Chinese equivalent Douyin, news aggregator Jinri Toutiao and video-streaming platform Xigua.

In 2021, users spent approximately $2.3 billion in TikTok and the iOS version of Douyin, a 77% jump year-over-year, according to app tracker Sensor Tower.


 


Microsoft-Activision deal gives merger speculators a new darling
microsoft
Microsoft logo is seen on a smartphone placed on displayed Activision Blizzard logo in this illustration taken January 18, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

Hedge funds, which make profits by speculating on precarious takeovers, got a treat this week when Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) agreed to buy "call of duty" maker Activision Blizzard (ATVI.O) for US$68.7 billion dollars in cash. The transaction requires antitrust laws. 

Approved in the United States and other major jurisdictions, including the European Union and China. It comes at a time when President Joe Biden's administration is taking a closer look at large mergers, blaming some of them for raising prices to consumers that are fueling inflation.

Activision's shares ended trading at $82.15 on Wednesday, well below the $95 per share deal price, reflecting concerns that regulators may shoot down a combination that would create the third biggest gaming company, after Tencent and Sony Group Corp (6758.T).


This infers a 57% chance of the deal closing, based on Activision's closing share price of $65.39 before the deal was announced.


The wide spread gives investors willing to bet on whether the deal will be completed the opportunity to score double-digit returns. At a time when so-called merger arbitrage strategies have trailed the broader stock market's returns, it is an attractive but also risky proposition.


Last year, merger arbitrage funds returned nearly 10% according to Hedge Fund Research data, beating returns posted in 2020, 2019 and 2018, but trailing the broader S&P 500 stock market's 27% gain in 2021.


For some investors, Aon's (AON.N) scuttled $30 billion acquisition of Willis Towers Watson (WTY.F) as the U.S. Justice Department sued to block the deal hurt returns.


Now they are looking to come back, hoping that this deal will also force competitors into making deals of their own.

"The positive outlook for event-driven and merger-arbitrage oriented firms in 2022 has been accelerated with the Microsoft-Activision deal," said Hedge Fund Research Inc President Ken Heinz.


Microsoft and Activision gave themselves until June 2023 to complete the transaction, giving hedge funds months to handicap how regulators will react to Microsoft bundling its Xbox platform with Activision's popular games, such as World of Warcraft and Diablo.


Investors may get hints on the Biden administration's stance soon as the Federal Trade Commission is expected to weigh in on defense contractor Lockheed Martin's (LMT.N) planned $4.4 billion acquisition of Aerojet Rocketdyne (AJRD.N) and the Justice Department will decide on healthcare insurer UnitedHealth's (UNH.N)$13 billion bid for healthcare analytics and technology vendor Change Healthcare (CHNG.O).

Coverage finds such as Millennium, Tiesemann consultant and pentwater capital spend a piece of their fusion bets, and many have occupied Microsoft and Activision for some time.Mutual funds The Merger Fund run by Westchester Capital Management and The Arbitrage Funds run by Water Island Capital offer similar strategies.


AUSTRIA ADDS A LOTTERY TO COVID VACCINE MANDATE

A doctor vaccinates a person with a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in Vienna, Austria April 26, 2021. REUTERS/Lisi Niesner

Austria's conservative government said  Thursday it was launching a national lottery to encourage holdouts to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, hours before parliament passed legislation that would introduce a national vaccination mandate. 

About 72% of the Austrian population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, one of the lowest rates in Western Europe. "What's up for grabs in the Vaccine Fleet?" Vouchers!”

 This is what Federal Chancellor Karl Nehammer said at a press conference  of the social democratic opposition leader Pamela Rendi Wagner, with whom the measure was being negotiated.

Nehammer said he wanted there to be a financial reward for getting vaccinated, adding: “We have learned from the past and we have seen that a vaccination lottery is the best possible way to set up such a system.”


Members of the public, whether already vaccinated or not, would be entitled to one ticket for each shot they have had – three in total for those who have had their booster shot.


Every 10th ticket would win a 500 euro ($568) gift voucher, Nehammer said, adding it would cost up to 1 billion euros. He later added on Twitter that the vouchers could be used in “retail, tourism, hospitality, services, culture and sport”.


Vice Chancellor Werner Kogler said the aim was to support Austrian businesses and avoid online retailers as much as possible.


CHEAP VERSION OF MERCK COVID PILL TO BE MADE FOR POORER NATIONS
An experimental COVID-19 treatment pill, called molnupiravir and being developed by Merck & Co Inc and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics LP, is seen in this undated handout photo released by Merck & Co Inc and obtained by Reuters May 17, 2021. Merck & Co Inc/Handout via REUTERS
A UN-backed agency has struck a deal with nearly 30 generic drugmakers to make low-cost versions of Merck's COVID-19 pill molnupiravir for poorer countries, expanding access to a drug seen as a weapon to fight the pandemic. 

The antiviral drug, which  received emergency use approval in the US in December, reduces hospitalizations and deaths  by about 30% in high-risk patients, according to clinical trials. 
The agreement, negotiated by the U.N.-backed Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) with Merck, allows 27 generic drugmakers from India, China and other countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East to manufacture ingredients and the finished drug. 

The MPP said on Thursday the agreement would see the pill  distributed to 105 least developed countries.

The developers of molnupiravir, which together with Merck are the US company Ridgeback Biotherapeutics and Emory University, will not receive royalties from the sale of cheap versions made by generic drug companies as long as COVID-19 is classified as a public health emergency by the World Health Organization (WHO) .

 "This is a critical step in ensuring global access to a much-needed COVID-19 treatment, and we are confident that with manufacturers  working closely with regulatory authorities, pre-treatments will be rapidly available," said MPP CEO Charles Gore .

Bangladesh's Beximco Pharmaceuticals, India's Natco Pharma, South Africa's Aspen Pharmacare and China's Fosun Pharma are among the generic drug companies that will manufacture the final product.

Tesla investors urge judge to order Musk repay $13 bln for SolarCity deal

 
REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) shareholders on Tuesday asked a judge  to find that Elon Musk forced the company's board of directors into a  deal for SolarCity in 2016 and wanted the CEO convicted, the electric vehicle maker one of the largest judgments in history paid $13 billion.

"This case was always  about whether the acquisition of SolarCity was a bailout from financial troubles, a bailout orchestrated by Elon Musk," said Randy Baron, a shareholders' attorney, at the Zoom hearing.

The closing arguments listed the key findings of a 10-day trial in July when Musk spent two days at the stand defending the deal.Lawsuit from union pension funds and wealth managers alleges  Musk forced Tesla's board of directors to cut the deal to approve for cash -strapped SolarCity, in which Musk was the largest shareholder.

Musk has countered that the deal was part of a decade-old master plan to create a vertically integrated company that would transform energy generation and consumption with SolarCity's roof panels and Tesla's cars and batteries.
Evan Chesler, one of Musk's attorneys, said at the hearing that the deal was not a bailout and that SolarCity is far from insolvent and that its finances are similar to those of many high-growth companies.

"They were building billions of dollars of long-term value," Chesler said of SolarCity.


The all-stock deal was valued at $2.6 billion in 2016, but since that time Tesla's stock has soared.


Shareholder attorney Lee Rudy urged Vice Chancellor Joseph Slights of Delaware's Court of Chancery to order Musk return the Tesla stock he received, which would be worth around $13 billion at its current price.


Musk said in court papers such an award would be at least five times the largest award ever in a comparable shareholder lawsuit and called it a "windfall" for plaintiffs.


Rudy said Slights should consider Musk's contempt for the deposition and trial process, in which he repeatedly clashed with and insulted shareholder attorneys.


"It would be a windfall for Elon Musk if he got to keep shares he never should have gotten in the first place," Rudy said.


Chesler called the request to order Musk to return the stock from the deal "preposterous" and said it ignored five years of unprecedented success at Tesla.


Tesla's stock was down 1% at around $1,040in afternoon trade.


Tesla acquired SolarCity as the electric vehicle maker was approaching the launch of its Model 3, a mass-market sedan that was critical to its strategy. Shareholders allege the deal was a needless distraction and burdened Tesla with SolarCity's financial woes and debt.


Shareholders claim that despite owning only 22% of Tesla, Musk was a controlling shareholder due to his ties to board members and domineering style. If plaintiffs can prove this, it increases the likelihood that the court will conclude the deal was unfair to shareholders.


Musk's lawyers said the celebrity entrepreneur had no authority to fire directors or control their salaries and withdrew from price negotiations in the SolarCity deal.

"Without Elon Musk, Tesla couldn't exist, let alone be worth $1 trillion," said Vanessa Lavely, Musk's attorney. "That doesn't make him a controller. This makes him a highly effective CEO.
Slights ended the hearing by saying he expects to rule in about three months. He said last week that he intends to retire in the next few months. And a request for related shareholders contesting Musk's record pay package was transferred from Slights to another judge.

Source: Reuters


Microsoft to gobble up Activision in $69 billion metaverse bet
Activision

 (Mike Blake, Reuters)

Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) is buying "Call of Duty" maker Activision Blizzard (ATVI.O) for $68.7 billion in the biggest gaming industry deal in history as global technology giants stake their claims to a virtual future.


The deal announced by Microsoft on Tuesday, its biggest-ever and set to be the largest all-cash acquisition on record, will bolster its firepower in the booming videogaming market where it takes on leaders Tencent (0700.HK) and Sony (6758.T).

It also represents the American multinational's bet on the "metaverse," virtual online worlds where people can work, play and socialize, as many of its biggest competitors are already doing.

"Gaming is the most dynamic and exciting category in entertainment across all platforms today and will play a key role in the development of metaverse platforms," Microsoft Chief Executive Satya Nadella said.

Microsoft, one of the biggest companies in the world largely thanks to corporate software such as its Azure cloud computing platform and Outlook franchise, is offering $95 per share - a 45% premium to Activision's Friday close.

Activision's shares were last up 26% at $82.10, still a steep discount to the offer price, reflecting concerns the deal could get stuck in regulators' crosshairs.

Microsoft has so far avoided the type of scrutiny faced by Google and Facebook but this deal, which would make it the world's third largest gaming company, will put the Xbox maker on lawmakers' radars, said Andre Barlow of the law firm Doyle, Barlow & Mazard PLLC.

"Microsoft is already big in gaming," he said.

However, a source familiar with the matter said Microsoft would pay a $3 billion break-fee if the deal falls through, suggesting it is confident of winning antitrust approval.

The tech major's shares were last down 1.9%.

The deal comes at a time of weakness for Activision, maker of games such as "Overwatch" and "Candy Crush". Before the deal was announced, its shares had slumped more than 37% since reaching a record high last year, hit by allegations of sexual harassment of employees and misconduct by several top managers.

The company is still addressing those allegations and said on Monday it had fired or pushed out more than three dozen employees and disciplined another 40 since July.

CEO Bobby Kotick, who said Microsoft approached him about a possible buyout, would continue as CEO of Activision following the deal, although he is expected to leave after it closes, a source familiar with the plans said.

In a conference call with analysts, Microsoft boss Nadella did not directly refer to the scandal but talked about the importance of culture in the company.

"It's critical for Activision Blizzard to drive forward on its renewed cultural commitments," he said, adding "the success of this acquisition will depend on it."

'METAVERSE ARMS RACE'

Data analytics firm Newzoo estimates the global gaming market generated $180.3 billion of revenues in 2021, and expects that to grow to $218.8 billion by 2024.

Microsoft already has a significant beachhead in the sector as one of the big three console makers. It has been making investments including buying "Minecraft" maker Mojang Studios and Zenimax in multibillion-dollar deals in recent years.

It has also launched a popular cloud gaming service, which has more than 25 million subscribers.

According to Newzoo, Microsoft's gaming market share was 6.5% in 2020 and adding Activision would have taken it to 10.7%.

Executives talked up Activision's 400 million monthly active users as one major attraction to the deal and how vital these communities could play in Microsoft's various metaverse plays.

Activision's library of games could give Microsoft's Xbox gaming platform an edge over Sony's Playstation, which has for years enjoyed a more steady stream of exclusive games.

"The likes of Netflix have already said they'd like to foray into gaming themselves, but Microsoft has come out swinging with today’s rather generous offer," said Sophie Lund-Yates, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.

Microsoft's offer equates to 18 times Activision's 2021 earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA). That compares with the 16 times EBITDA valuation of "Grand Theft Auto" maker Take-Two Interactive's (TTWO.O) cash-and-shares deal for Zynga last week.

According to Refinitiv data, the Microsoft-Activision deal would be the largest all-cash acquisition on record, trumping Bayer's $63.9 billion offer for Monsanto in 2016 and the $60.4 billion that InBev bid for Anheuser-Busch in 2008.

Tech companies from Microsoft to Nvidia have placed big bets on the so-called metaverse, with the buzz around it intensifying late last year after Facebook renamed itself as Meta Platforms to reflect its focus on its virtual reality business.

"This is a significant deal for the consumer side of the business and more importantly, Microsoft acquiring Activision really starts the metaverse arms race," David Wagner, equity analyst and portfolio manager at Aptus Capital Advisors said.

"We believe the deal will get done," he said, but cautioned: "This will get a lot of looks from a regulatory standpoint."

This article is copy paste from Reuters Check the original article here

Source: Reuters





WHATSAPP FOR ANDROID, DESKTOP TO GET NEW FEATURES

WhatsApp

The Android app will get new pencil and drawing  tools in a future update, while WhatsApp Desktop will get new chat bubble colors. The desktop app  also gets a new dark blue color that is only visible in dark theme mode.

The instant messaging app is also testing a new emoji message reaction info tab and new  message reaction notification settings.

 WhatsApp feature tracker WABetaInfo said that WhatsApp is introducing new drawing tools to its Android app. You get two pens, including one thinner and one thicker than your existing pen. The app is also working on a blur  tool that may be added  in the future. 

The new features appeared in the WhatsApp Beta for Android 2.22.5 update, but they are disabled by default. These features are still under development and may be made available to WhatsApp beta testers soon.

The WABetaInfo report said the app is also introducing new colour to its Windows and macOS apps with WhatsApp beta for Desktop 2.2201.2.0 update. The new colour scheme will be visible in the dark theme and the chat bubbles seem to be greener compared to the existing colour.

Other elements of the app will also see colour changes with chat bar and background colour now reportedly have a blue tinge.



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