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By astro | enjoy fresh news of technology and beyond

Tesla opens Model 3 order process to non-employees

Tesla's Model 3 has <i>technically</i> been on the market since July, but only to employees, their family members or people who are tight with the EV maker. Your pre-order hasn't been very useful if you're one of the hundreds of thousands of regular would-be owners. However, Tesla is finally, slowly …

Car Tech

Snips lets you build your own voice assistant to embed into your devices

French startup Snips is now helping you build a custom voice assistant for your device. Snips doesn’t use Amazon’s Alexa Voice Service or Google Assistant SDK — the company is building its own voice assistant so that you can embed it on your devices. And the best part is that it doesn’t send …

Automation

Amazon’s Echo Buttons available to order in time for holiday trivia games

Amazon unveiled its Echo Buttons at a big hardware event earlier this year, promising that the hockey puck-shaped buzzers would be ready in time for trivia games at Christmas. Amazon is now opening preorders for the Echo Buttons, available in the US in a two-pack for $19.99. The buttons will ship …

Amazon

Elon Musk has finished building the world's biggest battery in less than 100 days

As promised to help South Australia with energy problems<p>Elon Musk looks to have delivered on his promise to build the biggest lithium ion battery in the world in an effort to help South Australia with its crippling energy problems. “100 days from contract signature or it’s free,” Musk tweeted at …

Jay Weatherill

Apple’s Thanksgiving ad encourages you to do wild gymnastics with your AirPods in

Apple’s Thanksgiving ad this year teaches us that if we all wear AirPods, we can transport ourselves into a <i>Stranger Things-</i>esque world — minus the monsters and the grime — filled with ballet and sexy lighting. Then, by pirouetting through the streets and picking lint off strangers’ jackets, we, …

Sam Smith

DJI’s latest pair of drone goggles are designed for racing

Drone maker DJI has released a new version of its DJI Goggles for drone racers. They’re called the DJI Goggles RE, short for racing edition. The original DJI Goggles went up for presale this past April and, like those, the DJI Goggles RE look a bit like a VR headset and let you control a drone with …

Drones

Apple acquired augmented reality headset startup Vrvana for $30M

As Apple reportedly ramps up work to ship an augmented reality headset in 2020, it has acquired a startup from Montreal, Canada that could help it get there. TechCrunch has learned that Apple has acquired Vrvana, maker of the Totem headset — which had rave reviews but never shipped. The deal was …

Augmented Reality

You can now hail Uber rides for friends who don't have accounts

If you use Uber often enough, you've probably had those moments where you wanted to hail a ride for someone else, such as a friend heading home from the bar. It isn't always easy to arrange a guest trip, however, which is why Uber has just introduced a feature that lets you order a ride on someone …

Uber

Philip K. Dick’s ‘Electric Dreams’ hits Amazon on January 12th

Last month, we saw the trailer for <i>Electric Dreams</i>, an anthology series based on Philip K. Dick's sci-fi short stories, that will be available exclusively in the US on Amazon Prime. Now, we finally have a release date for the series. All ten episodes will be available for streaming starting January …

Philip K. Dick

'Bait!' brings an ice fishing expedition to Facebook's social VR

Facebook launched its social VR Spaces beta last April, finally showing us a compelling experience that helped put the social media company's acquisition of Oculus in the first place. Recently, Oculus showed off a little ice fishing game from casual game studio Resolution Games at the Oculus …

Ice Fishing

Now you can send PayPal invoices over Facebook Messenger

PayPal has spent the last few months adding more integrations to make sending money easier. Sure, some are gimmicky (like 'friendship gift cards'), but a new feature to keep track of group purchases is nifty. The platform also started allowing folks to send cash over Facebook Messenger -- and now …

Facebook Messenger

Google’s chatbot analytics platform Chatbase launches to public

At Google I/O this year, Google quietly introduced a new chatbot analytics platform called Chatbase, a project developed within the company’s internal R&D incubator, Area 120. Today, that platform is being publicly launched to all, after testing with hundreds of early adopters including …

Chatbots

Uber is buying 24,000 Volvo XC90 SUVs to form a fleet of driverless cars

They’ll be delivered between 2019 and 2021<p>Uber will buy 24,000 XC90 SVUs from Volvo to form a fleet of driverless vehicles, reports <i>Bloomberg</i>. The XC90s, which start at $45,750, will be delivered between 2019 and 2021. The base vehicles feature core autonomous driving technologies that will enable …

Transportation

Roomba now supports IFTTT functionality

‘Tweet to start a cleaning job’<p>iRobot has been continuously adding ways to make Roomba a more necessary part of connected homes since introducing the Roomba 980, its first Wi-Fi-connected model in 2015. Now, it’s introduced IFTTT functionality, adding 11 applets to further automate Roomba’s work …

Roomba

The Amazon Echo now comes in red to benefit (RED) and fight against AIDS

$10 to charity for each Echo sold<p>Amazon’s second-generation Echo has the benefit of easily swappable shells, and today the company announced that it’s releasing a red version of the smart speaker to benefit (RED) and its fight against AIDS.<p>Other than the unique color, the (RED) Echo is identical to …

Amazon

GE launches $50 hub to connect its Bluetooth smart lights to Alexa and Google Assistant

GE’s been making some really simple and accessible smart lights called C by GE for the past two years, and today, the company is announcing its first big upgrade to the system. It’s a hub, called the C-Reach, that connects C by GE lights to Wi-Fi so that they can be controlled by Alexa or the …

Home Automation

Rez Infinite is now available in VR for Google Daydream

<i>Rez Infinite</i> is one of the best games available for PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift, and the Vive, but the mind-bending experience has always required you to be tethered to a TV or PC. That changes today with the first version of the game for mobile VR — <i>Rez Infinite</i> is out now for Google Daydream.<p>That …

Virtual Reality

Alexa can now play music from Spotify on Sonos speakers

Sonos today confirmed to <i>The Verge</i> that customers can now play music from Spotify on its speakers with Amazon's Alexa voice assistant. To enable Spotify, users must choose it as their preferred service inside the Alexa app. Once that's done, you can tell Alexa to play your full collection of Spotify …

Amazon

Nintendo is releasing a massive Splatoon 2 update in time for the holidays

Producer Hisashi Nogami explains the importance of a constantly evolving game<p>Since the colorful multiplayer shooter <i>Splatoon 2</i> launched on the Nintendo Switch back in July, the game has maintained a fairly steady player base, according to producer Hisashi Nogami. There was some inevitable decline …

Nintendo Switch

The HoloPlayer One lets you interact with 3D holograms

It needs a winning application<p>We've fantasized about holograms for decades only to watch the big tech companies bet mostly on VR or AR. Today, however, a startup called Looking Glass is officially unveiling its idea for a hologram viewing device: the HoloPlayer One. Looking Glass previously …

Augmented Reality

YouTube TV gets picture-in-picture support on Android Oreo

One of the bigger additions in Android Oreo was picture-in-picture support, but a new software feature is only as good as the applications that support it. And now, with the release of YouTube TV 1.11 on Android, you’ll be able to use Oreo’s picture-in-picture feature to keep watching shows — even …

Android Oreo

YouTube is back on Amazon’s Echo Show

Following weeks of disputes between Google and Amazon<p>YouTube has returned to the Amazon Echo Show nearly two months after a Google and Amazon dispute saw the internet search giant pull support for its popular video service from Amazon’s hardware, according to a report from <i>VoiceBot.ai</i><i>.</i><p>According to …

Amazon

You can now send Facebook Messenger photos in higher resolution

A bump up to 4K<p>Facebook Messenger has gotten a bunch of upgrades over the past year, and now you can add the ability to send higher-resolution photos to the list. Starting today, Facebook is rolling out the ability to send “4K” photos on the Messenger app in the US, Canada, France, Australia, the …

Facebook

Instagram adds a request button for friends to crash your live stream

Following a test this past summer and a wider rollout in late October that allowed Instagram friends to live stream together, the service today is adding the option for you to request to join a pal’s live stream, just in case you believe your presence is required.<p>Instagram’s live mode works a lot …

Instagram

Google Lens comes to Assistant on Pixel phones

You no longer have to fire up Google Photos if you want to use Lens to glean information from the world around you. Users have noticed that Lens in now available in Google Assistant on both original Pixel and Pixel 2 phones. Tap a camera button while using the AI helper and you can have it perform …

Google

HaptX promises to make your virtual hands feel like real ones

The holy grail of VR is immersion: to truly feel like you're in a virtual world. While most modern VR headsets do a pretty good job of this, the experience isn't perfect. One problem standing in the way of true immersion are the controllers. They're OK for basic tasks like picking up objects, but …

Virtual Reality

Tesla unveils its largest Supercharger station in the US — and it kind of looks like a truck stop

Gee, I wonder why?<p>About halfway between Los Angeles and the Bay Area, right off Interstate 5, is the tiny town of Kettlemen City. It’s home to a cheese factory, a hazardous waste facility, and as of today, the largest Tesla Supercharger station in the country. It has solar rooftops and a lounger …

Transportation

Introducing Uber Beacon

YouTube

Adobe Scan uses AI to find documents in your photo gallery

Adobe introduced a new feature for Scan, the iOS and Android app that converts scanned documents into editable PDFs using your phone's camera. Thanks to the latest update, Scan can look through your phone's pictures and find receipts, documents, forms and more thanks to AI. It will then turn them …

Adobe