This $90,000 fireproof tankbot will scout burning buildings for people to save

Fighting fires was always dangerous. But with climate change, there have been more wildfires, which means even more risky rescue missions for local firefighting squads. That’s why multiple different companies and teams of scientists are working to develop robots that can scope out burning buildings before human firefighters have to enter. The latest entrant is FireBot, a remote-controlled robot that can withstand temperatures as high as 650 degrees Celsius. At that scalding temperature, a firefighter wearing a protective suit can only withstand about 15 minutes of exposure.

FireBot, which can be operated for four hours at a time, looks like an object straight out of a sci-fi film. With its saw-like “arms” that help the metallic boxy device move, the bot can climb obstacles in its path using tracks that allow it to climb stairs and debris – a requirement for navigating raging fires. According to TechCrunch, which hosted FireBot’s parent company at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco this week, the bot uses MIMO wireless technology that can transfer data to a receiver as far as 0.9 miles away. That way, a crew can safely examine the inside of a burning building while using a joystick and display to maneuver the bot.

The device has built-in sensors that include HD optical and thermal imagers, as well as various mechanisms to detect dangerous gasses. In addition, it can check for the presence of carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide, which are the two deadliest fumes that can injure or kill humans in a fire. Also importantly, the device is seemingly fast despite its boxy appearance. The FireBot can move twice as fast as a firefighter wearing full personal protective equipment that can, on average, be as heavy as 45 pounds.

Paradigm Robotics' Firebot
Paradigm Robotics

The robot is expected to cost at least $90,000 when it goes on sale in the third quarter of 2024. Alternatively, fire departments could lease it. Although this device isn’t exactly cheap, it can help alleviate the annual fees associated with firefighter injuries, which is estimated to cost fire departments up to $197,860 a year, according to a paper the National Fire Protection Association published in late 2019.

The FireBot is not the first device that uses robotics to make firefighting safer. Scientists at the Naval Research Laboratory are developing what’s known as SAFFiR, or the Shipboard Autonomous Firefighting Robot. The bi-pedal humanoid robot is being engineered to navigate ships, interact with people, and use thermal imaging to identify and handle a hose to put out small fires.

When Engadget covered the Navy’s robot back in 2019, SAFFiR was still not water- and fire-proof, which may be why the Navy said its more advanced prototypes are still in the experimental stages of R&D. Similarly, there’s DARPA’s Atlas, a disaster-response robot that hosts an infrared and a rotating light detection and ranging (LIDAR) laser that allows it to navigate dense smoke. Still, nothing is as seemingly advanced as Paradigm’s FireBot in terms of being able to withstand and navigate heat at fire scenes.

In a similar vein, the Los Angeles Fire Department even experimented with specialized drones that can aid in scope and rescue missions as well as a ridiculously large 3,500-pound “Thermite RS3” robot. That robot costs $272,000, making the FireBot seem almost reasonable by comparison.

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Source: Engadget – This ,000 fireproof tankbot will scout burning buildings for people to save

YouTube’s upcoming AI-powered creator tools include a generative green screen

YouTube has new AI features for creators on the way. AI-powered features the company announced at its Made on YouTube event on Thursday include a green screen feature, insights to stimulate ideas, automatic dubbing to other languages and a soundtrack search.

Dream Screen gives YouTube Shorts creators an AI-powered green screen, similar to a popular feature on TikTok. YouTube’s tool will automatically remove backgrounds from your videos, replacing them with AI-generated images or videos based on your prompts.

Although it’s yet to be seen how professional and convincing the generated content appears in practice, the idea is for Dream Screen to make it easier to illustrate fantasy scenarios or simply liven up otherwise ho-hum backdrops. YouTube suggests trekking through an enchanted forest or riding shotgun as your pug drives you to school as two oddball scenes Dream Screen can craft. The company says it will start to test the tool with “select creators” later this year before a broader rollout in 2024.

YouTube marketing screenshot of an upcoming generative feature called AI insights. The shot shows a creator's YouTube Studio page. The Channel analytics page has a box up top that says,
YouTube Studio’s AI-powered insight recommendations

YouTube Studio will get a new feature that brainstorms for you. Similar to asking ChatGPT for video ideas, the “insight recommendations” feature can draft outlines and help creators conceptualize projects. Similarly, assistive search in Creator Music will make it easier to find background tunes for your videos. “Simply type in a description of your content and AI will suggest the right music at the right price,” YouTube VP Toni Reid wrote today. Both Insights and assistive music search will be available for creators next year.

YouTube also showcased the AI-powered dubbing feature it began testing earlier this year. Developed at Google’s Area 120 incubator, it can generate a text-based translation into the selected target language. The company says it gives you a chance to double-check the output before choosing from different virtual narrators to read your content. The feature is currently being tested with select creators in English, Portuguese and Spanish.

The company is also launching a YouTube Create app to help video makers produce content on their mobile devices. It includes standard features like editing, trimming, automatic captioning, voiceovers, filters, effects and royalty-free music with beat matching. The free app is currently in beta for Android in select markets.

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Source: Engadget – YouTube’s upcoming AI-powered creator tools include a generative green screen

How to track your moods in watchOS 10

Apple’s watchOS 10 officially became available on September 18, and it brings a new feature in the Mindfulness app that gives you the option of logging your feelings and moods directly on your watch face. These updates will be available if you have an Apple Watch Series 4 or newer model. Here’s how to navigate that new feature.

Mindfulness app
Malak Saleh

How to log your mood

When you open the Mindfulness app, tap “State of Mind” and then “Get Started” to begin the logging process. From there, you can either log a “momentary emotion” to input how you feel at that instant, or a “daily mood” to report how you felt overall that day.

Mood logging
Malak Saleh

Using the watch’s Digital Crown, you can scroll through seven abstract images with corresponding emotional valences ranging from “very pleasant” to “very unpleasant.” Once you select an emotion, you can opt for more logging and go into greater detail about the feelings you’re experiencing (including what’s having the biggest effect on you) by selecting options from a drop-down menu.

Mood logging -- very pleasant
Malak Saleh

How to view your mood logs

Over time you can keep tabs on your daily logging activity in the Health app under the “Mental Wellbeing” tab. Using a paired iPhone, click “State of Mind” and then open “Show in Charts.” From this page, you can view the type of entries for daily moods or momentary emotions. You also have the option to view lifestyle factors associated with these entries to learn how your moods may correlate with variables like time spent in the sun, sleep trends, and exercise habits.

Malak Saleh

Additionally, specific assessments for depression and anxiety are now accessible in the Health app. You can also export PDFs of personal health reports if you ever need to share logs with a medical professional. You’ll need to open the Health app and click the “Sharing tab” at the bottom of the screen. From there you can choose to “Share with someone,” such as a contact, or “Share with your doctor.” 

If you want to share with your doctor, you can search for specific hospital systems to connect your health data and keep tabs on clinical records. For example, if you were a client at “Green Primary Care” in Huntsville, Alabama, you could directly connect to the patient portal, get secure access to health records, and also share your personal health data with a care team – this is where building a habit of logging daily moods may be helpful for a provider to get a fuller picture on the state of your mental health.

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Source: Engadget – How to track your moods in watchOS 10

Ubisoft confirms The Division 3, but it’s a long ways off

Ubisoft just confirmed that Tom Clancy’s The Division 3 is headed toward active development. We have a long time to wait before we get our hands on the franchise sequel, despite it being over four years since The Division 2 graced consoles and PCs back in 2019. The company also named Julian Gerighty as Executive Director for the entire The Division brand.

If that name sounds familiar it’s because Gerighty is often credited as being the modern architect of the franchise after coming aboard in 2014 as Associate Creative Director ahead of the original game’s launch. He moved up to Creative Director just in time for The Division 2 and its DLC releases.

So just how long do we have to wait? Settle in folks and grab your hibernation pajamas, as it’s gonna be awhile. Gerighty is currently the Creative Director for a little open-world game called Star Wars Outlaws. He won’t transition to The Division 3 until that game has shipped. Ubisoft says Gerighty’s first task will be to assemble the development team, so that hasn’t happened yet. Star Wars Outlaws doesn’t release until sometime next year so, well, you do the development math.

Despite the forthcoming sequel, Ubisoft says The Division 2 will still be supported, though the company didn’t detail future plans for DLC content. Concrete information regarding The Division 3 is basically non-existent, but Gerighty did say that the development process will be “about refinement, it’s about pushing the quality bar consistently forward.”

Outside of that, Gerighty will use his Executive Director role to solidify “brand identity.” That means he’ll be actively involved with spin-off titles, mobile releases and the like. There are a “plethora” of upcoming projects set in the franchise’s universe, like the mobile game The Division Resurgence and the spin-off shooter The Division Heartland.

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Source: Engadget – Ubisoft confirms The Division 3, but it’s a long ways off

GTA+ now includes free games, starting with three Grand Theft Auto remasters

Rockstar announced on Thursday that GTA+ subscribers will now get access to a rotating selection of Rockstar Games. At launch, members can download and play Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition, the 2021 remaster of early 21st-century classics GTA III, GTA: Vice City and GTA: San Andreas.

The games will only be available for the console platform your GTA+ membership is tied to. Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition typically costs $60, so this could be a cheap and easy way to revisit the trio of open-world pioneers. The remastered trilogy polishes the original’s dated graphics with new lighting and environmental upgrades, high-res textures, greater draw distances, modern controls and refined targeting.

The 2021 remake starts with the highly influential Grand Theft Auto III (2001), which dazzled turn-of-the-millennium gamers with its vast (for its day) open-world sandbox of Liberty City. 2002’s GTA: Vice City built on that formula while adding a voiced protagonist, Tommy Vercetti (the late Ray Liotta), along with an abundance of 1980s nostalgia and satire. GTA: San Andreas capped off the trilogy in 2004 with a broader scope (it spans three cities) and a memorable 1990s hip-hop soundtrack; you walk in the shoes of Carl “CJ” Johnson (Christopher Bellard) as he returns to his Grove Street home after five years away.

GTA+ launched in 2022 for GTA Online players on PS5 and Xbox Series X/S. In addition to the revolving assortment of games, the $6-per-month program offers perks like a monthly deposit of $500,000 in virtual currency, and rotating rewards like in-game vehicles, clothes, properties, weapons and bonus mission rewards.

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Source: Engadget – GTA+ now includes free games, starting with three Grand Theft Auto remasters

Snapchat+ grows to 5 million subscribers

Snapchat’s subscription service for its most dedicated users continues to grow. Snapchat+, the premium service that offers fans exclusive features, has more than 5 million paying subscribers, Snap announced Thursday.

The milestone comes after the service, which launched last June, crossed 3 million sign-ups in April. That’s still just a fraction of the 750 million people who use Snapchat each month, but it’s a significant number for the company, which has been looking to boost non-advertising sources of revenue. As Bloomberg points out, Snap CEO Evan Spiegel has said his “medium-term goal” is to reach 10 million paying users.

Snapchat has used generative AI tools and other exclusive features to lure users to signing up for the $4-a-month service. When the company first introduced its MyAI chatbot and, more recently, its generative AI selfie feature, the tools were initially limited to paying subscribers. Other perks, like the ability to check how many times friends view your Story and exclusive Bitmoji customizations, are meant to appeal to power users.

The relative success of Snapchat+ stands in contrast to X Premium (formerly known as Twitter Blue), which Elon Musk has made a centerpiece of his strategy to revitalize the embattled social media company’s business. X has not formally released subscriber counts, but one researcher, speaking to Mashable, recently estimated the number to be less than one million.

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Source: Engadget – Snapchat+ grows to 5 million subscribers

Razer's latest gaming gear includes RGB lights and new Huntsman Pro keyboards

It’s not only Microsoft that had a notable hardware event on Thursday. Razercon took place on the same day. As ever, Razer took the opportunity to reveal its latest gaming gear, accessories and software updates. Among the announcements was a new line of smart light bulbs, lamps and light strips called Aether to help you kit out your home in delicious RGB.

The range includes the $80 Aether Lamp, $130 Lamp Pro (which offers multi-zone lighting), $50 Light Bulb, $130 Light Strip and $30 Light Strip Extender. The devices will be available by the end of the year. They support Razer’s Chroma tech along with Alexa, Google Assistant and Matter.

Razer is expanding its range of gaming chairs as well with a new line called Fujin. These chairs have a breathable mesh back and lumbar support. The Pro model has a 3D contoured headrest (which you can buy separately for the base model for $129) and an aluminum alloy frame. The Fujin chairs start at $649 in the US and $599 in the rest of the world. The Pro model will run you $1,049 Stateside and $999 elsewhere. The base model is available now, while the Fujin Pro and headrest will ship in November.

Razer's Fujin Pro gaming chair.

Keyboard enthusiasts might be tempted by the Huntsman V3 Pro. The performance-focused keyboard for competitive gamers features what Razer is calling its most advanced switches yet. They have an adjustable actuation range of between 0.1mm and 4mm, along with a 100-million keystroke lifespan. Other features include a multifunction digital dial, dedicated control buttons, textured keycaps and a leatherette wrist rest.

There are three Huntsman V3 Pro variants, all of which will arrive in October. The standard model is $250. You can save a few bucks by ditching the number pad with the $220 tenkeyless version. The Huntsman V3 Pro Mini, meanwhile, is $180.

Razer's Hunstman V3 Pro keyboard lineup.

On the software side, you’ll now be able to use generative AI to create PC desktop wallpapers that hook into Razer Chroma. The company’s tech will detect the dominant colors in the wallpapers and reflect those in RGB lighting. There’s also a new dedicated Chroma app for managing lighting on Razer devices.

Meanwhile, the Razer Synapse app is getting an update. The aim is to reduce the system resource requirements and make it easier and faster to update Razer devices. You’ll still be able to manage RGB lighting in this app too.

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Source: Engadget – Razer’s latest gaming gear includes RGB lights and new Huntsman Pro keyboards

Google takes a snarky shot at Apple over RCS in its latest ad

Google has been trying to publicly pressure Apple into adopting the GSMA’s RCS (Rich Communications Service) messaging protocol for a long time now, with nothing to show for it. As a matter of fact, Apple CEO Tim Cook seemed to completely dismiss the idea when he answered a question on the subject by saying that consumers should buy their moms an iPhone. Google and its Android platform aren’t giving up that easily and they’ve just released a snarky ad to continue criticizing Apple’s preferred messaging platform. 

The ad’s called “iPager” and mimics Apple’s marketing language to reveal a retro-styled beeper, indicating that Apple’s behind the curve with its chosen messaging platform. The spot states that the iPager uses “outdated messaging tech” to “text with Android,” citing many of the perceived disadvantages of sticking with SMS technology when communicating with Android phones. Google didn’t invent this comparison whole-cloth, as the 30-year-old SMS tech actually dates back to old-school pagers.

Apple’s continued use of SMS messaging does hobble Android integration in a few ways, but the reverse is also true. Most famously, there’s the dreaded green bubble when texting an Android user from an iPhone. There are some feature-breaking bugs inherent to group chats between iOS and Android users and images sent from Android phones to iPhones tend to be rather pixelated. This is yet another side effect of those interoperability issues.

One-on-one RCS messages have been end-to-end encrypted since 2021, with group chats following suit just last month. iMessage texts have long been encrypted too, but only from iPhone to iPhone. Google’s latest ad shines an (admittedly slanted) light on the vulnerability consumers face when texting across operating systems, as those SMS texts aren’t encrypted. Additionally, RCS text messages lose encryption when making the leap to iOS devices. It’s anyone’s guess why Apple should make this change and not Google, despite RCS being a more globally adopted standard.

This ad’s unlikely to convince Apple to change anything, as it’s only the latest salvo in Google’s snark campaign. Back in 2022, the company spoofed Drake to pile on Apple and there have been plenty of other minor jabs at Cupertino’s expense at events like I/O 2022 and on social media. We all know Apple is notoriously stubborn when it comes to adopting non-proprietary technology, especially if it views the change as unnecessary. No matter who’s to blame, these interoperability issues are annoying for consumers and bad for data privacy. Maybe an antitrust case will get this sorted one day.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Source: Engadget – Google takes a snarky shot at Apple over RCS in its latest ad

Razer makes a $5,000 Lamborghini-inspired version of its Blade 16 laptop

This year’s Razercon event held a couple of surprises for those who love the computer accessory company and luxury lifestyle brands. Razer has partnered up with Lamborghini to create a beefed up Blade 16 laptop that draws plenty of aesthetic inspiration from the sports car maker. It boasts a customized chassis with orange highlights that’s “infused with the spirit of Lamborghini.” The price tag is also infused with the spirit of Lamborghini, as this thing costs $5,000.

It looks pretty cool, but the actual components also got some Lambo love. The CNC-milled chassis is made from a single block of aluminum, adding durability, with a finish inspired by Lamborghini’s signature orange and matte black. The design on the lid echoes the headlights of the recently-announced Lamborghini Revuelto hybrid vehicle. So now you can race down the information superhighway in your Lambo computer as you race down the actual highway in your Lambo car. It’s an ouroboros of unnecessary speed.

The specs here are on-point, as there are some significant improvements over the base-level Blade 16 laptop. This is a highly-souped up edition, with a 13th Gen Intel Core i9 HX processor that boasts 24 cores and 32 threads. It also features a GeForce 4090 GPU, a 4TB SSD, 32GB of DDR5 RAM and a dual-mode mini-LED 4K 16” display. This thing is a beast, but remember that $5K price tag. Despite the cost, the Razer Blade 16 x Automobili Lamborghini Edition could become a collector’s item some day, as the company is only making 150 units.

An image of the D+G Razer Barracuda headphones on a desk.

Razer has also teamed up with fashion icons Dolce & Gabbana to create a gold-emblazoned edition of its popular Barracuda wireless headphones. The fashion brand’s signature design has even been applied to a Razer Enki gaming chair and a bunch of clothing items to celebrate the partnership, like hoodies and t-shirts. Let’s hear it for corporate synergy!

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Source: Engadget – Razer makes a ,000 Lamborghini-inspired version of its Blade 16 laptop

Microsoft’s Adaptive Touch makes laptop trackpads more inclusive

Microsoft continues to build inclusive accessories and features for its mainstream products and the company showed off more at its annual fall event on Thursday. It unveiled an Adaptive Touch feature that works on the “precision haptic trackpad” of the Surface Laptop Studio 2. During its keynote, the company called this the “most inclusive touchpad on any laptop,” and based on my early impressions, that claim might just be true.

Not a lot is currently known about how the feature will work, but I was able to spend some time with Microsoft’s accessibility program manager Solomon Romney to get a deeper understanding. Romney was born without fingers on his left hand and struggles to use standard touchpads on most laptops. Adaptive Touch allows him to drag his left hand on the glass-covered surface and not have the cursor jump around the screen.

The first thing to point out is that the adaptive touch feature currently requires a haptic trackpad to work, meaning at the moment it’s only available on the Surface Laptop Studio 2. You’ll have to go into the computer’s touchpad settings and enable Adaptive Touch, which throws up an alert that you won’t be able to use multitouch gestures like pinch to zoom.

That’s because the system is looking for multiple points of contact with the trackpad and noticing if they’re moving in the same general direction, to determine where to move the mouse. It’s in part based on the technology that Microsoft uses for palm rejection, but reconfigured for Adaptive Touch.

Microsoft barely mentions this feature in its materials announcing the Surface Laptop Studio 2, and Google searches for terms like “Microsoft inclusive trackpad” or “Surface Laptop Studio 2 accessibility touchpad” yield unrelated results. It’s clear there’s still a lot to understand about how Adaptive Touch works and what its limits are. For now, though, it’s encouraging to see Microsoft continue to design for inclusivity.

Follow all of the news live from Microsoft’s 2023 Surface event right here.

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Source: Engadget – Microsoft’s Adaptive Touch makes laptop trackpads more inclusive

Facebook now lets you create up to four additional profiles

Meta announced on Thursday that Facebook users can now create multiple profiles. The company will let you add an @username for up to four additional personal profiles attached to your main account. After creating a new alias, you won’t need to log out and back in to switch between them. Facebook first began testing the feature last July.

The company suggests picking profiles for your personal life, work and any specific interests or communities you want to spin out of your main account. “Whether you’re new to Facebook or a longtime user, you may want to keep your personal and professional relationships separate, or you may want to keep one profile tied to a community you’re a part of and another profile just for friends,” Meta wrote in its announcement blog post. “Creating multiple personal profiles lets you easily organize who you share with and what content you see for the various parts of your life.”

Meta says each profile will have its own unique feed with pertinent content based only on that profile’s interests. “Think one profile for the foodie scene you love and another one to keep up with your friends and family,” the company wrote. The company says Instagram’s success with a similar feature inspired the move, and beta testing the feature taught Facebook that many people like having a clearer organization of friends, groups and interests “to engage with the audience they believe is most relevant.”

Each new profile will start fresh with Facebook’s default privacy and notification settings, so you may want to change them manually for each one. In addition, your primary Facebook account won’t reveal that you have extra profiles.

The feature comes with some restrictions. First, Facebook’s Dating, Marketplace, Professional Mode and payments won’t be available to your secondary profiles at launch. In addition, messaging for extra usernames will only be available in the Facebook app and on the web. (Messenger support for additional profiles will arrive “in the coming months.”) Finally, only eligible adult accounts can make new profiles. Remember: Your new handles are bound by Facebook’s policies, meaning you can’t misrepresent your age or location.

The feature begins rolling out globally on Thursday and will continue over the coming months.

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Source: Engadget – Facebook now lets you create up to four additional profiles

Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio 2 hands-on: More ports and a much-needed spec bump

The Surface Laptop Studio is sort of a unique PC thanks to its innovative hinged display, stylus support and well-rounded specs. In some ways it’s the ultimate jack-of-all-trades but master of none system. And now a sequel has arrived sporting a much-needed spec bump and the addition of some long-requested features including a microSD card slot. 

Now, some folks may be dismayed to see that the exterior of the just-announced Surface Laptop Studio 2 is largely unchanged. But as someone who’s been using the previous model as my main travel notebook for the last couple of years, I’m not that bothered. You still get clean, minimalist lines along with a 14.4-inch 2,400 x 1,600 120Hz PixelSense display that can tilt like an easel. I’m even happy to see little quirks like its two-tiered base return, which keeps the system’s vents cleverly hidden and away from the edges of the system while also offering a shelf for Surface Slim Pen 2 to latch onto. 

As you can see, Microsoft hasn't messed around much with the new Surface Laptop Studio 2's design (left) when compared to the original.
As you can see, Microsoft hasn’t messed around much with the new Surface Laptop Studio 2’s design (left) when compared to the original (right).
Photo by Sam Rutherford/Engadget

However, along the sides are some very important updates: a new USB-A port and a microSD card slot. This is the first time either of these has been available on this line, and while it might not sound like a big deal, for a system that’s geared toward artists and content creators, this change represents a major quality-of-life upgrade. Just being able to quickly transfer photos from a camera to your laptop without needing a cable or an adapter is extremely useful. And with the addition of a USB-A port along with the two Thunderbolt 4 USB-C jacks, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to leave all your dongles at home without sacrificing connectivity. 

There are also some subtle design changes including a new aluminum chassis instead of magnesium like you got on the original. This results in a very slightly thicker body (just 1 or 2mm), a more silvery hue and a smoother finish. 

As for performance, I really like the Surface Laptop Studio 2’s updated components. Even at launch, the original felt somewhat underpowered due to a middling quad-core chip despite being billed as Microsoft’s most powerful laptop. But now, with support for up to an Intel Core i7-13800H chip, 64GB of RAM, 2TB of storage and an RTX 4060 GPU (or an RTX 2000 card on commercial models), this successor feels like a more well-rounded machine. Sure, it’s not as fast as a similarly-priced gaming laptop and it’s not quite as thin as a typical 14-inch ultraportable. However, the combination of a high-res touchscreen with pen integration and a spec refresh delivers way more versatility than almost all of its rivals. 

One last big change is the addition of Microsoft’s Adaptive Touch feature, which brings increased accessibility. The tech uses a new touch algorithm that makes it easier for differently-abled people to mouse around and use the touchpad. And while I might not get a ton of use out of it, I appreciate how simple it is use. All you have to do is open the Surface app and you are immediately presented with options for enabling Adaptive Touch and adjusting things like click sensitivity and double-click speed. 

Granted, there aren’t a ton of major changes on Surface Laptop Studio 2 aside from refreshed specs and some new ports. But I think that’s OK, as this feels like a case of not messing with an already tested and still very innovative design. The main drawback is that with a starting price of $1,999, Microsoft’s latest flagship laptop costs a lot more than a typical 14-inch rival. But that may just be the cost for a system that can do a lot of everything. 

The Surface Laptop Studio 2 goes on sale on October 3. 

Follow all of the news live from Microsoft’s 2023 Surface event right here.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Source: Engadget – Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio 2 hands-on: More ports and a much-needed spec bump

Everything Microsoft announced at its Surface and AI event

It was Microsoft’s turn to step up to the plate and hold a fall hardware event on Thursday. Although Surface devices were the name of the game, there was a heavy — and I mean heavy — focus on AI. In the company’s first event since longtime Chief Product Officer Panos Panay departed this week (reportedly for Amazon), Microsoft revealed a pair of new consumer laptops and a whole lot of Copilot AI news.

Copilot and other AI updates

Microsoft spent most of the event talking about AI and Copilot. In fact, the hardware almost seemed like an afterthought. The company is unifying the Copilot AI assistant across its suite of products. Copilot will be available more broadly as part of a Windows 11 update that will arrive on September 26.

Copilot is built into Windows and it will appear in apps such as Edge. You’ll be activate Copilot with your voice or a right click. You might use Copilot to organize windows on your desktop, delete the backgrounds from photos or even generate a Spotify playlist.

The assistant will be able to pull context from your phone. For example, by reading information you receive from your airline via text message, Copilot can pull up your flight information. A shopping-focused version of Copilot is on the way too.

Copilot works with a new feature called Windows Ink Anywhere. You’ll be able to use a pen to, for instance, snip a screenshot of a math problem. Copilot can then solve the problem and explain how it reached that solution.

Enterprise users will need to wait a little longer to make use of Copilot in the Microsoft 365 suite. It will be generally available starting on November 1 for $30 per user per month. Microsoft says Copilot can summarize meetings and prioritize tasks based on what’s in your inbox. In Outlook, it will be able to draft emails in a way that mimics your writing style and voice, according to the company.

Elsewhere, Bing Image Creator will soon employ the DALL-E 3 model to generate more realistic-looking images. It will include an attribution to note that an image was AI generated.

Bing will also be able to prioritize search results based on your chat history. If you often ask the Bing chatbot about a certain sports team, the search engine may prioritize results accordingly. You can switch this function off, if you prefer (or you can simply avoid using the chatbot).

Surface Laptop Go 3 

Surface Laptop Go 3

Oh yes, there was some pesky new hardware to discuss too. Microsoft showed off the Surface Laptop Go 3, a 12.4-inch touchscreen notebook designed for portability. It weighs just 2.49 pounds and it has a 12th-gen Intel Core i5 CPU. Microsoft says it’s 88 percent faster than the original Surface Laptop Go from three years ago.

The Surface Laptop Go 3 will be available in four colors — Platinum, Sage, Sandstone and Ice Blue — and it starts at $799. You can get your hands on the system on October 3. We’ve already had the chance to try it, so be sure to check out our first impressions.

Surface Laptop Studio 2

from MSFT hardware event 2023

On the higher end is the Surface Laptop Studio 2. Microsoft says this is the most powerful Surface it has built to date. It has an Intel 13th-gen i7 H class processor and up to an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4060 GPU. You can have up to 2TB of storage and 64GB of RAM as well. 

The Surface Laptop Studio 2 has a 14.4-inch display with a 120Hz refresh rate. The screen can tilt forward this time around. Elsewhere, there’s a trackpad that seemingly rolls in some features from Microsoft’s accessibility-focused Adaptive Mouse as well as a slot for a microSD card. 

Notably, the Surface Laptop Studio 2 has a neural processing unit that can power AI effects. Microsoft says this is the first Intel NPU in a Windows laptop. Meanwhile, the company is bundling in the Surface Slim Pen 2.

The Surface Laptop Studio 2 will be available on October 3. It starts at $1,999. 

Follow all of the news live from Microsoft’s 2023 Surface event right here.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Source: Engadget – Everything Microsoft announced at its Surface and AI event

Hyundai is offering a free EV charger and $600 off installation for a limited time

While the better environmental impact and lack of gas payments make EVs an enticing option, other costs and steps still stand as a hindrance. Hyundai is the latest car manufacturer attempting to minimize these negatives with a new incentive offering complimentary chargers and up to $600 off their installation fee. Hyundai‘s ChargePoint Home Flex Level 2 EV Charger is typically $549, providing a $1,100 total savings.

The offer is available for anyone leasing or purchasing a brand new 2023 or 2024 Ioniq 5 or Ioniq 6 and a 2023 Kona Electric. However, it has to be through Hyundai Motor Finance (who will provide a coupon code) from now until October 31. Once purchased, customers have 90 days to schedule the installation through the Hyundai Home Marketplace, run by its partner Electrum Energy Advisors. Electrum handles the scheduling, installation, and questions, while Hyundai foots the bill. 

“We know that the charging infrastructure and the process of preparing their homes is at the forefront of the minds of many EV-curious buyers,” José Muñoz, president and global COO of Hyundai Motor Company and president and CEO of Hyundai Motor North America, said in a statement. “With this offer, we’re making it easier for everyone to go electric by providing our EV customers with an expert Energy Advisor who can personally walk them through the process of outfitting their homes with the proper charging, energy storage and collection equipment using our Hyundai Home Marketplace.”

However, there are, of course, strings: The ChargePoint Home Flex Level 2 EV Charger is only free in conjunction with the installation and is available at select retailers in limited quantities. Plus, they’ll only install it at “select residential property,” so customers should double-check that their house qualifies before forking over any money. 

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Source: Engadget – Hyundai is offering a free EV charger and 0 off installation for a limited time

Microsoft’s latest Windows 11 update drops on September 26

Microsoft is releasing a big Windows 11 update next week, on September 26. The catchily-named 23H2 is packed with some real game changing features, along with a whole bunch of quality of life improvements. The update arrives just in time for the launch of the just-announced Surface Laptop Go 3 and the Surface Laptop Studio 2.

The big news here is the inclusion of the new AI-powered Windows Copilot feature. This toolset already exists as part of the Edge browser, but now it’ll be natively implemented in Windows, which allows for some nifty use cases. This native implementation means that Copilot is available in nearly every aspect of the operating system, from Powerpoint to Teams and beyond.

You’ll be able to use Copilot, for instance, to craft text messages using calendar data, explore navigation options in Outlook, generate Spotify playlists and more. This is generative AI so Copilot will also shop for items based solely on a photo, remove photo backgrounds and access the Bing Image Creator, which will soon be based on the vastly-improved Dall-E 3. Bing Chat is also now a native feature that exists in the sidebar.

AI isn’t the only game in town, as this is also a traditional OS update with the usual quality of life improvements. There’s finally native support for RAR and 7-zip file formats, so you can get rid of those third-party archiving apps. The File Explorer has been completely redesigned to increase efficiency, with large file thumbnails and a carousel interface, and the Paint app underwent a similar transformation, with a new dark mode and forthcoming transparency layers. There’s a redesigned volume mixer and updated RGB lighting controls called Dynamic Lighting. The latter toolset uses the open HID LampArray standard and many of the big names in gaming PCs and accessories have vowed to support this effort, such as Acer, Asus, HP, Razer and Logitech, among others.

Windows 11 Passkey feature.

Some current Windows 11 features have received minor updates here. The passkey experience has been optimized and moving your data to a new PC has been streamlined, thanks to an official Windows Backup software suite. Additionally, voice controls have been expanded and the photos app boasts some new editing options.

Finally, there’s the just-announced Ink Anywhere feature. This intriguing toolset is exclusively for stylus users interacting with a touchscreen PC or hybrid device. Ink Anywhere lets you draw on the screen in any text box anywhere within the operating system. The OS converts the handwriting to text and uses it in a number of innovative ways. This is useful for instantaneously uploading notes, but the system also uses AI to automatically answer queries, with Microsoft showing off the tool being used to complete a handwritten math problem.

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Source: Engadget – Microsoft’s latest Windows 11 update drops on September 26

Surface Laptop Go 3 hands-on: Microsoft makes a better case for its cheap PC

The Surface Laptop Go has always been an interesting experiment for Microsoft: What if you took the basic design of the Surface Laptop, but diminished its specs to make it far more affordable? We’ve always found them intriguing, but with the Surface Laptop Go 3, Microsoft has finally transformed its cheap PC into a potentially great computer. Mostly, that’s due to the new Intel 12th-gen CPU, which makes the entire computing experience feels far zippier than before. It feels so good, you might not even notice that the Laptop Go 3’s screen doesn’t quite hit 1080p (it’s still 1,536 by 1,024, like before).

Other than the internals, though, the Surface Laptop Go 3 is pretty much the same as before. The 12.4-inch PixelSense screen is decently bright at 300 nits, the keyboard has enough depth and responsiveness to handle my furious typing, and the trackpad is wonderfully smooth and responsive.. It would have been nice to see some port upgrades this year, it’s still equipped with a single USB-C connection, one USB Type A port and a slot for the Surface charger. 

If you can live with some of those compromises, though, the Surface Laptop Go 3 is a compelling machine for $799. Zipping around the web and launching multiple apps felt no different than a typical ultraportable. I was even able to get some gaming on, thanks to Xbox cloud gaming. I played several minutes of Need for Speed Unbound and was surprised that it felt no different than being played locally. That was especially surprising since I was playing over Wi-Fi in a crowded event space with over a hundred attendees. You can probably get some local gameplay in too, thanks to Intel’s Iris Xe graphics, but certainly not Need for Speed

Our demo unit was also configured with 16GB of RAM, a first for the Surface Laptop Go line. That upgrade, along with the CPU bump, further erodes the line between the Surface Laptop Go and the more powerful Surface Laptops. It’ll be interesting to see how Microsoft upgrades those machines next. For now, though, the Surface Laptop Go 3 may be all the PC some users need.

Follow all of the news live from Microsoft’s 2023 Surface event right here.

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Source: Engadget – Surface Laptop Go 3 hands-on: Microsoft makes a better case for its cheap PC

How to pre-order the Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio 2

While Microsoft’s event on Thursday focused on AI, the company spent some time debuting a few new Surface devices as well. The new Surface Laptop Studio 2 is supposedly the most powerful Surface device Microsoft has made, with support for the latest Intel processor, NVIDIA RTX 40 series GPUs and the first Intel NPU on Windows to power AI effects. The Surface Laptop Go 3, on the other hand, is the company’s newest small laptop and it’s billed to have significant performance improvements and up to 15-hours of battery life. Here’s how you can pre-order the new Surface Laptop Studio 2 and the Surface Laptop Go 3.

Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio 2

The updated Surface Laptop Studio 2 is even more powerful than the previous version, sporting 13th-gen Intel i7 H-class processors, NVIDIA RTX 4050 and 4060 GPUs and it can be configured to have enterprise-level RTX 2000 Ada Generation graphics as well. The 14.4-inch touchscreen tilts forward so you can use it in studio and stage modes (in addition to the standard laptop mode), and the machine has Dolby audio-powered speakers, a touchpad that supports adaptive touch and an included Surface Slim Pen 2. The latest model can be configured to have up to 64GB of RAM and up to 2TB of storage.

Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 3

The new Surface Laptop Go 3 is the latest iteration on Microsoft’s tiny notebook. Coming in at under 2.5 pounds, it has a 12.4-inch touchscreen, a fingerprint-toting power button for biometric logins and improved performance that should make it 88 percent more powerful than the original Laptop Go. Microsoft claims the Laptop Go 3 will have up to 15 hours of battery life and it will come in four colors: platinum, sage, sandstone and ice blue. It will run on Intel Core i5 processors and can be configured to have up to 16GB of RAM and up to 256GB of storage.

Follow all of the news live from Microsoft’s 2023 Surface event right here.

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Source: Engadget – How to pre-order the Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio 2

Microsoft's Surface Laptop Studio 2 has a 13th-gen Intel CPU and RTX 40 series GPU options

Microsoft has announced the (previously leaked) sequel to the Surface Laptop Studio, and it appears to come with plenty of much-needed improvements. 

For starters, the Surface Laptop Studio 2 will offer twice the CPU and GPU power of its predecessor, thanks to Intel 13th-gen i7 H class processors and NVIDIA RTX 4050 or 4060 GPUs. Those GPU options are geared towards speed (and gaming), but can be traded for RTX 2000 Adas for those doing intensive graphical rendering work. During a demo of the machine during its Surface live event, Microsoft made a point of showing it smoking the M2 Max MacBook Pro in Blender. 

The Surface Laptop Studio 2 can also be loaded with up to 2TB of storage space and 64GB of RAM. It will sport an adaptive touch-enabled trackpad, and come packed in with the Surface Slim Pen 2. The touchscreen display will still clock in at 14.4 inches, with a 120Hz refresh, Dolby IQ and HDR. And, yeah, the screen tilts forward. Because of course it does. 

Microsoft is claiming the Surface Laptop Studio 2 will get up to 18 hours of battery life.

Notably, the Surface Laptop Studio 2 will also feature a neural processing unit, which can power AI effects — seemingly the first Intel NPU in a windows laptop . And just for good measure, it’ll host a USB-A port, two slots for USB-C and a microSD card reader. 

The Surface Laptop Studio 2 will be available for customers on October 3, and starts at $1,999. 

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

Follow all of the news live from Microsoft’s 2023 Surface event right here.

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Source: Engadget – Microsoft’s Surface Laptop Studio 2 has a 13th-gen Intel CPU and RTX 40 series GPU options

The Surface Laptop Go 3 starts at $799 and arrives on October 3

Although Microsoft’s annual fall event largely ended up being focused on AI, the company did have some new Surface hardware, too, as we all expected. Microsoft unveiled the new Surface Laptop Go 3, which it says will run for up to to 15 hours on a single charge while still being thin and light (0.62 inches and just shy of 2.5 pounds). The lightweight machine has a 12.4-inch touchscreen with a 3:2 ratio, a resolution of 1,536 x 1,024 and a brightness rating of 320 nits. At first glance, the bezels don’t seem to have changed much from previous iterations. 

Performance-wise, Microsoft claims the Surface Laptop Go 3 is 88 percent faster than the original model, which came out three years ago. Inside, it runs a 12th-gen Intel Core i5 CPU along with Intel Iris Xe graphics. You can configure it with up to 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM and 256GB of storage (512GB in the commercial version). 

In addition, there’s a 720p HD front-facing camera; a power button that doubles as a fingerprint sensor; dual far-field Studio Mics; and Omnisonic speakers with Dolby Audio. As for connectivity, you’ll get a USB-C 3.2 port that you’ll use for DisplayPort and fast charging; a USB-A 3.1 socket; a 3.5mm headphone jack and a Surface Connect port. There’s also Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 support. 

Unsurprisingly, given Microsoft’s focus on AI over the last year, the laptop will embrace Copilot AI, which the company is baking into Windows 11. The Surface Laptop Go 3 will be available in four colors — Platinum, Sage, Sandstone and Ice Blue — and will start at $799. It ships on October 3.

Follow all of the news live from Microsoft’s 2023 Surface event right here.

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Source: Engadget – The Surface Laptop Go 3 starts at 9 and arrives on October 3

Microsoft wants its Copilot AI to be your personal shopper

Microsoft announced Copilot for shopping at its 2023 Surface event on Thursday. The company plans to make Copilot a part of all its flagship products like Windows, Edge and more. Copilot for Shopping will help you decide on a style, locate a specific item and buy it, according to the company. 

But the new launch may be more about playing catch up with its competitors than innovating product. Google Lens, for example, lets you find products to buy by just snapping a picture of them. 

Follow all of the news live from Microsoft’s 2023 Surface event right here.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Source: Engadget – Microsoft wants its Copilot AI to be your personal shopper