Cricket customers will get free HBO Max, if they don’t mind ads


You won’t have to spring for AT&T’s regular phone service if you want HBO Max tacked on to your plan — provided you’re wiling to make some sacrifices. The carrier’s Cricket Wireless brhas revealed that it will provide free HBO Max service to customers using its $60 per month Unlimited plan if they’re willing to live with the ad-supported tier. This isn’t as sweet as what you’ll get at AT&T proper, but it will give you a chance to catch up on shows without pricier wireless service or a separate Max subscription.

The offer will be available to both new current customers starting on August 20th. We’ve asked if Cricket customers can pay extra for ad-free HBO Max.

It’s a logical move for AT&T. The telecom will likely still own WarnerMedia until 2022, this gives it a chance to boost both Cricket HBO Max until that split happens. It could help the company maintain or increase plan prices, too. Nonetheless, you might appreciate this if you’re looking to save money. Prepaid phone customers in the US seldom get the no-extra-charge services other perks that increasingly come with conventional (postpaid) plans — this could save you money if you’ve been looking for something to watch.

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Dell’s new monitor lineup includes a $350 portable second screen


Dell is back with a variety of new monitors that range from its first 14-inch portable to a trio of 27-inch displays. At its thinnest, the former is just 4.95mm thick — making it slimmer than an iPad Air, but slightly heavier at 1.3 pounds. The portable display is essentially a second screen that you can slot in your bag or purse when you leave your home office to go to work. In terms of design, the $350 monitor is attached to a tilt stthat beefs up its overall dimensions weight. But, it also allows you to bend the display up to 90 degrees. It will be available worldwide on August 31st.

Dell

The 27-inch monitors include a 4K model with a 60Hz refresh rate that is the priciest of the lot at $620. There’s also AMD FreeSync for tear-free, low-latency gaming. Like several of the other newcomers, the S2722QC comes with a USB-C port that can receive a display data signal plus deliver enough power (up to 65W) to charge your laptop. 

Dell

Dell

If you’re on a tighter budget, there’s also a $500 27-inch display dubbed the S2722DC, which essentially swaps 4K for QHD visuals with a higher 75Hz refresh rate. Both screens arrive August 19th. For $100 more, you can grab some neat extras for video calls on the 27-inch S2722DZ, including a pop-up 5-megapixel camera, noise-cancelling mics dual 5W speakers. If you don’t mind settling with full HD instead of QHD, then the 24-inch S2422HZ offers similar specs for $440. The two displays will come to North America first on September 7th followed by the rest of the world from October 12th.

Dell

Dell

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GM teams with AT&T to bring 5G to its vehicles in 2023


General Motors AT&T are expanding their partnership with plans to bring 5G to cars within the next few years. Some model year 2024 vehicles, which should start arriving in 2023, will be the first GM models equipped with 5G. Among GM’s 2024 models is the electric Hummer SUV. GM vehicles from model year 2019 later with 4G LTE capabilities will have faster connection speeds via the 5G network too.

The companies are building out a “high-performance 5G core network” with upgraded coverage centered on roadways. GM AT&T claim the network will enable faster software updates music video downloads, as well as more responsive navigation voice services.

Improved connectivity should benefit autonomous vehicles as well. GM says the 5G network will “provide a strong foundation” for its semi-autonomous Super Cruise tech along with its Vehicle Intelligence Platform. 

Bringing 5G connectivity to cars at a broad level was always on the cards. It’ll be a while yet before there’s widespread network coverage on highways in rural areas, so adding 5G to vehicles starting in model year 2024 seems a reasonable timeline. AT&T says its 5G network is currently available in 14,000 cities towns across the US.

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Amazon is reportedly planning to open mini department stores


Amazon is preparing to increase its brick mortar footprint in a big way. The retailer plans to open several large physical locations in the US akin to department stores, according to anonymous sources cited by The Wall Street Journal. The new stores — the first of which will come to Ohio California — will sell clothing, household items electronics from “top consumer brands.” Obviously, shoppers can also expect to run into Amazon’s own-brproducts, too.

While the sites are tipped to be around the third of the size of a typical department store at 30,000 square feet, they’ll still be much larger than Amazon’s other physical locations. The move sees the company expanding into an area it originally disrupted as it grew into an all-in-one online shopping destination. 

With their sales already plummeting, the pandemic sealed the fate of several high-profile department stores. The likes of J.C. Penney Neiman Marcus Group have filed for bankruptcy along with other big names in the sector. Though some were thrown a lifeline when they managed to attract new owners. 

Amazon, on the other hand, has seen its fortunes skyrocket during the pandemic as it profited from an increasing shift toward e-commerce. Its booming business even helping to bankroll founder Jeff Bezos’ trip into space.

Amazon’s move into physical retail predates the virus, however. The company started with brick mortar bookstores back in 2015, later acquiring Whole Foods for $13.4 billion in 2017. More recently, it opened cashierless Amazon Go stores in the US UK. Not to mention its highly-curated Amazon 4-star stores Amazon Pop-Ups inside malls.

The larger stores are apparently viewed as a way of letting shoppers try before they buy, which is particularly useful for things like apparel. That’s an area where Amazon has historically struggled. As the WSJ notes, the only high-fashion label on its online store is Oscar de la Renta. It also lost a major seller in Nike in 2019, which decided to go it alone in e-commerce — a move that has paid off for the sneaker company.

Amazon’s department stores would also allow it to showcase its range of electronics, from its Fire TVs tablets to Echo speakers to its Ring home security range, even its Luna cloud gaming service. Notably, big box retailers have shown that emboldened shoppers are returning to stores. Both Walmart Target recently smashed estimates in their respective second quarters as sales rose across most categories.

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The Morning After: A new battle system for ‘Pokémon’


After a bit of a break from the headlines, the Pokémon juggernaut is back. A Nintendo Direct event yesterday gave us a better look at Pokémon: Legends, a new kind spin-off title from the Pocket Monster universe. Combining the cute monsters with feudal Japan aesthetics is a fun twist, it looks like Legends will offer a different kind of battle system. Battles are still turn-based, but rather than Pokémon each taking a turn trading blows, their stats equipped items dictate the order of actions.

Each Pokémon’s four moves has two styles: agile style strong style. The former speeds up your action speed might bump up your next turn in the queue, but the move will be weaker than unusual. It appears this action queue will be core to battles in Legends.

And if you’re just here for Pokémon silliness, you’ll be able to ride your Pocket Monsters around like steeds and, well, jet skis.

— Mat Smith

Cruising in San Francisco, shooting drones.

Engadget

Holoride’s VR gaming system for passengers caught our attention a few years back at CES when we were given a track ride in an Audi had the game react to the movement of the vehicle while we played. Well, the company is back, this time it demoed two games threw off the shackles of the track for the real world. Roberto Baldwin tackles a new kind of in-car entertainment.

The device lives in your abdomen.

PILLSID

Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies

Researchers from Italy have created a robot that deals with diabetes without needles. PILLSID involves two separate parts: an internal insulin dispenser that a doctor would surgically implant in your abdomen a magnetic capsule loaded with the hormone. When you need to top-up, you swallow the capsule, which makes its way to the dispenser.

In a test involving three diabetic pigs, the research team found the system could successfully manage insulin levels for several hours. In some instances, they found bodily fluids from the pigs would leak into the robot. It’s early days for now.

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The obscure online resource saw a spike in activity.

The front of the US Capitol building seen through protective barriers.

The Washington Post via Getty Images

The FBI received a tip-off about suspicious activity ahead of the Capitol Riot on January 6th from a surprising source: a recreational mapmaker. Elliot Carter contacted law enforcement after his site about Washington, DC’s underground infrastructure got a spike in activity from suspicious websites. His warning eventually made it to the highest ranks of the Capitol Police.

His “online tip” to the FBI was even mentioned in the US Senate Rules HomelSecurity committees’ June 2021 review of the US Capitol insurrection.

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It removed more than 20 million individual posts.

Since the start of the pandemic, Facebook has taken a much tougher stance on health misinformation than it had in the past, removing millions of posts for sharing misinformation. Now, we know how many accounts, groups pages have been banned from the platform for repeatedly breaking those rules: just 3,000.

But the relatively low number of bans tracks with findings by researchers who say that only a few individuals are responsible for the vast majority of vaccine mistruths on social media. Facebook’s VP of Content Policy, Monika Bickert, told reporters that the company has had to continually evolve its policies, noting that some groups have used “coded language” to try to evade the company’s detection. 

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