Fisker’s luxury EV will debut in January at CES 2018

Fisker Inc. started taking pre-orders for the EMotion in June, but the car isn’t scheduled to ship until 2019. It’s priced at $129,000 and the company is said to be working on a more affordable version priced around $34,000 that aims to take on the Tesla Model 3. That model is expected to hit the market sometime in 2020.

In regards to being labeled a “Tesla killer,” Fisker told TheStreet, “I don’t think anyone is out to kill anybody. Tesla doesn’t really have a competitor. It doesn’t look like one is going to emerge. I think it’s time to move to a next level of this technology and I believe that we have come up with some real breakthroughs.”

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/08/18/fisker-luxury-ev-debut-january-ces-2018/

TCL limits its budget-friendly 4K smart TV to one size

When we picked TCL’s P-Series Roku 4K Smart TV for our Buyer’s and Back to School Guides, we noted a perfectly good television with an “extra-bright screen, good contrast and accurate colors” — a steal for $650. The Wirecutter named it “The Best 4K TV on a Budget,” and CNET loved it. At the time, the TV was also available at a more budget and space-friendly $500, 50-inch model as well as a higher-end 65-inch display for $1000. Now the company is apparently dropping the smaller and larger sizes and will only make the 55-inch version of this budget TV.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/08/18/tcl-limits-budget-friendly-4k-smart-tv-one-size/

Newton is the rare email app that works great on both Windows and Mac

I tried out Newton on Windows 10 over the last week, and the good news is that it offers a near-identical experience to the Mac app. For those who haven’t given Newton a shot, it’s similar to the departed Mailbox app — it’s starkly minimal and puts the focus on whatever message you happen to be reading or composing. There aren’t multiple panes to distract you; you either see a list of your messages or whatever email you happen to be reading or writing.

There’s a search bar up top, a sidebar that contains all your folders, and a few buttons to filter just unread messages or starred / flagged emails and that’s about it. The app has plenty of keyboard shortcuts for archiving, snoozing or deleting email, so getting around the interface without a mouse is pretty easy. And the app supports all the popular email services including Office 365, Outlook, Gmail, Google Apps, iCloud, Exchange, Yahoo and plain old IMAP. Between the many services and devices you can use in Newton, it’s pretty easy to find a combo that’ll work for you.

I tried the Windows app with several different accounts and found that it worked quickly and without any problems in all cases. Changes I made on one device were synced quickly back to both the original email account (like Gmail on the web, for example) as well as my other devices running Newton (a MacBook Air and iPhone 6S).

The app feels uncomplicated and fast, but there’s some sneaky power under the hood if you want to dig into the settings menu. There, you’ll find a bunch of “supercharger” features that let you do things like snooze messages, add read receipts, schedule emails to be sent in the future, get reminders for messages you haven’t replied to and more. You can also connect 10 other apps to extend Newton’s features — you can send files or messages to things like Todoist, Newton, Trello, Wunderlist and so forth. Unfortunately, one of the better superchargers — the recently launched Tidy Inbox — isn’t available for Windows just yet. But the team behind Newton said it should arrive within a couple weeks.

As it was last time I tried Newton, the biggest problem with the service by far is its price. Newton still costs $49.99 per year to use all of its features. Anyone trying the Windows app will get a 14-day trial, but after that, some of the “power” features like push notifications, snooze, connecting apps and more will stop working. If you don’t eventually subscribe, even more features will be removed, but it isn’t clear exactly how that works. A Newton representative said that eventually the app will provide an “experience that’s not recommended.” (Ominous!)

So while the app won’t immediately stop working, it won’t really be a viable option for long after that trial is over. And Newton doesn’t offer a per-month plan, so it’s $50 all in one shot, a bitter pill you’ll need to swallow every year. Although I’m happy to support quality developers like the team behind Newton, the price just doesn’t quite feel in line with what similar apps cost. (The powerful Airmail is $5 for iOS and $10 for the Mac, for example. With that said, Airmail doesn’t work on Windows.) If you’re someone who uses multiple platforms regularly and demands a consistent experience across all of your devices — mobile /and/ desktop — Newton is an excellent but very pricey option.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/08/17/newton-email-app-windows-launch/

Target buys same-day delivery company to battle Amazon

According to Bloomberg, the move is part of larger logistics and operations changes at Target, which has only seen a 22 percent increase in online sales this past quarter. That’s good, but still much less than Walmart’s reported 63 percent growth online.

While the terms of Target’s acquisition of Grand Junction were not disclosed, Bloomberg reports that the 13 employees will move to Target’s San Francisco offices to start helping the retailer get products to its customers faster. “Speed matters,” Target’s Arthur Valdez told Bloomberg. “Grand Junction’s platform, along with our 1,800 stores, allows for speed to the guest that can be very competitive.”

Amazon Prime same-day delivery is the service to beat, however, with coverage for almost 30 metropolitan areas across the US as of last year alone. Amazon has been doing this for much longer, too, with Prime Now’s debut as far back as 2014.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/08/14/target-buys-same-day-delivery-company-battle-amazon/

Playing professional ‘Call of Duty’ with half a thumb

He isn’t talking about the accident itself, of course. Today, Wyatt is a 23-year-old professional Call of Duty player who got his start in the Halo scene when he was a teenager. He feels lucky because the standard Xbox controllers used to play Halo conformed to his injury nicely — the right analog stick was closer to the palm than the left, just like he needed.

“It was almost like a perfect fit for my right hand, my right thumb,” he says. “If I would have lost my left thumb I wouldn’t have been able to hold a controller because the analog stick would have been too far away.”

Playing professional 'Call of Duty' with half a thumb

Now that he’s playing professional Call of Duty, which is tied to the PlayStation 4, Wyatt has to use controllers with both analog sticks close to the palm. “It’s not too crazy,” he says. “I do have to angle the controller a little bit to the right just to make the little adjustment that I don’t have, but, for the most part, it’s comfortable.”

Wyatt plays under the name “Enable” on North American team FaZe Clan, which is currently competing in the Call of Duty World League Championship, the franchise’s largest tournament of the year. There’s a prize pool of $1.5 million, with $600,000 for the victorious four-man squad. So far, FaZe is doing well. They’ve made it to the top 12 out of 32 teams and as of Saturday morning, they’re still in the running for the grand prize. The tournament is live now and runs through Sunday, August 13th. And Wyatt is showing up.

“In game one on Retaliation Hardpoint, Ian ‘Enable’ Wyatt led his squad to a 250-101 victory, as he went 20-10 with over two minutes of hill time,” the official Call of Duty blog reads. That’s 20 kills and just 10 deaths, all with a clear focus on the match’s main objective: control the hardpoints.

This is how Wyatt wants to make a name for himself in the eSports world — by showcasing his skills and proving, time and again, that he’s one of the best FPS players around. The fact that he’s missing half a thumb is more of an afterthought in his mind.

Playing professional 'Call of Duty' with half a thumb

“I don’t want it to define me,” he says. “Because, yeah, it’s cool to talk about but there’s so much more to me, not only as a player, but just as a person. I’d rather — not like hide it, but just kind of keep it in the background.”

Part of this desire to downplay the injury comes from Wyatt’s perspective on eSports in general: He knows he’s not the only professional player with baggage.

“There are certain obstacles that I’ve had to go through, but the way I look at it, every player here, any athlete, whatever the case may be, they all have their own obstacles that they went through in their life,” he says. “Whether it be something physical, like in my case losing a thumb, or not having supportive parents or growing up in poverty.”

Wyatt has a solid support system in his mother. When he was a kid, she encouraged him to pursue anything that made him happy — whether it was trying traditional sports or diving into competitive video games.

“Once I got my first paycheck especially — I was 15 years old and I got second at a national event in Halo, and I believe the prize was like $15,000 each or something like that,” Wyatt recalls. “For a 15-year-old to bring that home, that’s when she really saw the potential to make a decent living out of it. That’s when she kind of told me and pushed me to play more video games and really see how far I can make it.”

Playing professional 'Call of Duty' with half a thumb

Professional gaming has evolved rapidly since Wyatt was 15. Now he’s playing Call of Duty full-time, earning a salary and competing at the highest international level. By the end of the Championship this weekend, the Call of Duty World League will have paid out $4 million to players across the 2017 season.

The eSports industry in North America is becoming more stable by the day. Two of the largest eSports titles, League of Legends and Overwatch, recently introduced new regulations aimed at making their tournaments sustainable, profitable and fair for players, many of whom get their start in high school, just like Wyatt did. Beginning in 2018, all players in the League of Legends Championship Series will earn a minimum of $75,000 a year, plus bonuses, benefits and more access to post-career training. On the Overwatch League side, players will earn at least $50,000 a year and see similar perks.

Wyatt says Call of Duty creator Activision and World League showrunner Major League Gaming can learn a lot from these moves.

“I think the best bet for them is to kind of follow the footsteps of the other eSports that are ahead of Call of Duty,” he says. “Because they’ve shown the right ways to do it and the wrong ways to do it.”

Call of Duty occupies a unique space in eSports: It’s a console game, while other major titles are PC-based. Plus, Call of Duty is a massive, established brand with an inherent audience. These are bonuses in Wyatt’s eyes, and he says Activision and MLG are on the right track. And he would know — he’s one of the oldest professional Call of Duty players and he’s been competing in the FPS scene for nearly a decade.

“I think they’ve been going in the right direction for the past couple of years, and it’s really started to grow,” Wyatt says. “There’s an organic viewership. I’m excited, but it’s a little too early to tell.”

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/08/12/call-of-duty-faze-enable-thumb-esports-world-league-championship/

Indie slasher ‘Severed’ comes to Nintendo Switch

Drinkbox’s critically well-received Severed has been available on a slew of platforms, but the march of time has made it harder to find: the PS Vita and Wii U are clearly on the way out, and not everyone wants to play it on a 3DS or iPhone. You’re getting a new choice today, though: Drinkbox has launched Severed on the Nintendo Switch. It’s the same game at heart, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The game’s blend of touchscreen slashing, role-playing elements and disconcerting story (complete with a distinctive, surreal art style) go a long way.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/08/08/severed-for-nintendo-switch/

Obama’s science advisors are reportedly still hard at work

These former OSTP members have counseled Democratic lawmakers, held strategy sessions, consulted with scientific societies and have helped conduct analyses of how Trump administration budget proposals and policies could affect research, innovation and the economy. The group, which reportedly numbers in the dozens, keeps in contact through email chains and conference calls and congressional staffers told STAT that they’ve remained in contact with the Obama-era OSTP officials. “A lot of people feel a sense of personal responsibility to use what we learned for the greater good at a time when the federal government is averse to things we think are really important,” said a former OSTP staff member.

One congressional aide told STAT that it isn’t all about differences in science policy but that a lack of administration engagement on scientific issues has led members of congress to reach out to former OSTP members. “I get calls from congressional staff, wanting my insights on a bill that I was working on while I was there. And I think that’s natural,” said Kei Koizumi, previously the assistant director for research and development at the OSTP. “I expect that’s going to taper down once there are people at OSTP who will pick up work on some of these bills and efforts.” But OSTP staff replacement has been slow going and a planned expansion will still only bring numbers up to less than half of what was employed by the Obama administration.

However, whether the OSTP is at full force or effectively tapped, it may not make much of a difference in an administration with such a clear disregard for scientific data.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/08/07/obamas-science-advisors-hard-at-work/

Toyota and Mazda will work together to build EVs

The plant will cost $1.6 billion and will produce roughly 300,000 cars per year. It’s not clear where in the US it will be located, but it will create jobs for around 4,000 people. Toyota will also take a 5 percent stake in Mazda as a part of the deal.

This partnership is a good move, when you consider how crowded the EV landscape is right now. These days, car companies aren’t just competing with one another. They’re also competing with electronics companies interested in the EV and self-driving business. It allows the companies to pool their resources and catch up with competitors in EV markets and other areas of developing tech.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/08/04/toyota-mazda-ev-partnership/

A Japanese cosmetics company found its perfect pitch man: Guile

The trend of video game characters hawking real-life products doesn’t seem to be slowing, but this time it’s a classic character capitalizing on the right opportunity. Guile’s unmoving ‘do makes him the perfect imaginary person to endorse J-Gel, which is made by a cosmetics company that Kotaku says has been in the business since 1615. Even in defeat the Street Fighter character’s hair hardly moves, which makes us wonder why this tie-in didn’t happen sooner? (Although, if Capcom is ready to license, someone has a few ideas for what comes next.)

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/08/04/j-gel-guile-street-fighter/

A New York library card is your ticket to stream thousands of movies

Starting this Friday, the New York Public Library and Brooklyn Public Library systems will both have access to the Kanopy collection, which notably includes every movie in the Criterion Collection. You’ll need to visit a library branch to get a “full access” library card, but once you do you’ll have access to the 30,000 films that Kanopy offers. Beyond the Criterion Collection, Kanopy also has content from The Great Courses, PBS, the BBC, First Run and a number of other providers. Given Kanopy’s background, there’s a focus on documentary and educational content, but there should be all types of films available — there’s probably just not as many current blockbusters as you’ll find on other services.

Users will be able to view up to 10 movies per month and have three days to finish watching them once they start. Kanopy has iOS, Android and Roku apps and supports Airplay if you want to watch movies on Apple TV.

This move into New York City follows Kanopy’s launch in Los Angeles and Grand Rapids earlier this year. We’ve reached out to Kanopy to see what other public libraries they operate in and will update this post if we find out more. But in the meantime, NYC residents should make sure they have their library cards ready to go.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/08/03/nypl-kanopy-free-movie-streaming/