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Toyota’s received a modern and glossy new Prius, and the auto press appears to agree: This one appears fairly cool. Earlier Prius fashions have lengthy been seen as, uhh, lower than cool, with their awkwardly boxy teardrop form and normcore vibe. The 2023 Prius, by comparability, appears stylish, with a modern physique that squishes down that Prius teardrop into one thing resembling a Tesla.
It’s nonetheless a combustion-electric hybrid that requires its fill of gasoline to run—sadly, the all-electric revolution hasn’t come for the outdated Prius but. Toyota says it will get about 57 mpg, which makes it essentially the most fuel-efficient Prius but. The automotive can also be going to be zippier than earlier than, with a 220-horsepower engine underneath the hood. That’s good for a Prius; ask a automotive individual. Different new options embody a hands-free driving mode and the inclusion of photo voltaic panels for topping up the battery whereas the automotive is stationary.
The brand new Prius shall be obtainable in two fashions: the bottom Prius and a barely beefier Prius Prime. Toyota hasn’t mentioned when the automobiles shall be obtainable or how a lot they’ll price, however search for them subsequent 12 months.
Right here’s another information from the buyer tech world.
Microsoft Groups Will get Video games
Microsoft introduced a brand new function for its Groups video conferencing software program: video video games. Members in a Groups name can now play video games like Solitaire, Minesweeper, and Wonderment proper within the app. The video games are geared toward individuals utilizing Groups for work. Nancy Baym, senior principal analysis supervisor at Microsoft, says placing video games inside a office device fosters a way of human connection that’s badly wanted after nearly three years of distant work.
“Individuals have been capable of be actually productive, however they have been feeling much less related, and that was having loads of dangerous results,” Baym says. “Video games are certainly one of numerous very nice methods to only kind of gently intervene there and say, this is an providing so that you can construct reference to each other in a low stress sort of method.”
To strengthen that objective of connection constructing, not one of the video games are single participant. (No, not even Solitaire). Which means you gained’t be capable of quietly play a sport by your self as you faux to take heed to your supervisor’s supervisor drone on about quarterly KPIs. Taking part in video games together with your staff might present a pleasant break from the deluge of the workday, even when it nonetheless quantities to spending time in entrance of a display screen. We’ll see how lengthy it takes for Zoom fatigue to provide method to Minesweeper fatigue.
Take a look at Leica’s Giant Lens Cellphone
Hey test it out, Leica made one other smartphone to comply with 2021’s Leitz Cellphone 1. What’s that? Does it have a digital camera, you ask? Oh, does it. As you may count on from the illustrious digital camera model, the Leica’s lens is the principle attraction on the Leitz Cellphone 2. The one big-ass lens occupies the highest third of the telephone. Its ocular-focused design is a rebuttal to all of the subtly built-in smartphone digital camera lenses.
The Leitz Cellphone 2’s big digital camera captures 47.2-megapixel photos. On the opposite aspect is a 6.6-inch OLED display screen that permits you to view all of your beautiful panorama pictures or gloriously detailed selfies. Oh yeah, and you can too use it to make telephone calls or no matter. It’ll solely be obtainable in Japan; these outdoors of the nation should purchase it as an import.
Netflix Is Coming for Your Buddies
The times of Netflix account sharing are doubtless inching to a detailed. This week, Netflix launched a brand new function in customers’ account settings referred to as Managing Entry and Units. It permits a consumer to disable their Netflix account on particular units—one thing that consumer can conveniently deploy to kick relations, associates, and roommates off their Netflix account. It is an innocuous sufficient function, and one which shall be good for anybody who desires to zap their credentials from the tv they misplaced within the divorce, to be able to cease their ex from stealth-streaming exhibits on their dime. However it’s additionally a transfer that units the stage for Netflix’s purge of account sharing.
Netflix has been constructing towards this for months. The corporate has examined charging additional charges for extra accounts in a couple of international locations, and it says it’s trying to implement this system in almost all of its markets subsequent 12 months. The corporate additionally rolled out an ad-supported subscription plan earlier this month.
Too Many Twitter Troubles
Properly, Twitter had an excellent run. Now that almost each worker has left Twitter and the positioning appears to be in freefall, issues are about to get even weirder on the hen app. (Assuming it stays up and operating.) In no matter kind Twitter continues to limp alongside, it’s by no means been extra weak to safety threats.
This week on WIRED’s Gadget Lab podcast, safety author Lily Hay Newman talks by way of the methods by which Twitter’s precarious place might result in hacking, information leaks, and the additional unfold of misinformation throughout the platform.
As a veteran PC gamer with a desire for Sony’s PlayStation consoles, I’m a late convert to the delights of Microsoft’s Xbox Recreation Cross Final subscription service. I usually play the identical video games for weeks, however my Steam library is bristling with unplayed titles, and my youngsters have an insatiable thirst for brand spanking new video games. I used to be skeptical concerning the high quality and depth of Recreation Cross (and recreation subscription companies usually). However shopping for a gradual stream of video games for me, my spouse, and my two youngsters was getting costly.
Paying out $60 for a recreation they merely will need to have, solely to seek out they’re tired of it after every week, wasn’t sustainable. My spouse and I are likely to solely purchase video games we all know we will like, which is an alien idea for teenagers. What lastly persuaded me to enroll was my crestfallen daughter, who discovered herself unable to hitch her game-hopping Xbox buddies, who all appear to have Recreation Cross. Listening to squeals of laughter as she racks up hours with friends in Sea of Thieves and Human Fall Flat goes an extended method to justifying the fee, however what has made Recreation Cross Final a significant a part of our family are the PC video games.
An surprising profit is that my youngsters and I readily strive extra video games now, taking part in titles which may have handed us by. Recreation Cross not solely helps us uncover video games we like but in addition lets us drop titles we don’t. It’s much less dangerous to take an opportunity on one thing, and never feeling like it’s important to follow a recreation since you purchased it’s releasing. We’re gaming greater than ever.
Video games Galore
Lengthy hyped as the perfect deal in gaming, Recreation Cross Final is a subscription service that invitations you to an all-you-can-eat buffet at a desk laden with tons of of video games for $15 per thirty days. You’ll be able to set up and play video games on Xbox or PC, with almost 500 video games included for each platforms, respectively. You can even stream console video games (no set up vital) to play on a MacBook, pill, or smartphone. If you do not have an Xbox however have a PC or vice versa, it’s also possible to get a PC or Console plan for $10 per thirty days, although you’ll miss out on some perks.
You’ll find a recreation in each style within the present Recreation Cross lineup, with a stable mixture of classics, standard sequence, indies, and contemporary AAA titles. However it wasn’t at all times so. When it launched 5 years in the past, Recreation Cross was Xbox-only and provided round 100 video games. Recreation Cross for PC and the Final tier that mixed them didn’t arrive till two years later, and cloud gaming was solely folded into the combination in 2020.
By forging shut offers with huge publishers and buying a gradual stream of proficient recreation builders, Microsoft has concurrently beefed up the Recreation Cross again catalog and lined up a formidable roster of launch day titles. I’ve sunk weeks into Halo Infinite, Complete Struggle: Warhammer 3, and Guardians of the Galaxy. I’ve loved video games I used to be thinking about however didn’t purchase on launch, like The Outer Worlds, Hades, Prey, and Frostpunk. And I’ve had the odd nostalgic blast of outdated favorites I wouldn’t purchase once more, like Spore, Dungeon Keeper 2, and Fallout: New Vegas.
Once they aren’t gaming with buddies, my youngsters are engrossed in video games like Two Level Campus, Sims 4, and Subnautica. All of it is a long-winded means of claiming there’s an important selection of video games to play, which is what makes Recreation Cross Final so irresistible. Even higher is the cloud gaming possibility (presently out there for almost 400 video games), which lets you play these titles on just about any machine—you’ll be able to hearth up a recreation and take a look at it with out having to attend for a obtain or release house for set up.
Caveats and Competitors
There are some caveats price stating concerning the service. All of us love the choice to strive a number of video games with Recreation Cross Final, however each cloud gaming and my willingness to obtain extra video games financial institution on high-speed web. Earlier than fiber got here to my space, this informal recreation hopping would have been unattainable. (We used to should plan forward and obtain in a single day.)
It’s been 25 years since a small studio in Dallas recast the traditional world by way of the prism of a real-time technique recreation. Age of Empires has echoed Monk wololos about our properties ever since: Dad and mom believed that their children have been studying historical past; children believed that they have been gaming surreptitiously. And veteran gamers know that each have been proper.
But Age of Empires didn’t all the time obtain the adore it does at the moment. The rise of the Xbox noticed PC gaming take a again seat for Microsoft: Communities like AoE’s have been left to fend for themselves. In a really possible way, it was the eagerness of those obsessives that led to Microsoft’s renewed consideration and the discharge of the franchise’s newest entry, 2021’s Age of Empires IV.
All of the video games proceed to obtain updates or DLCs. Age of Empires video games are headed for Xbox and cellular units, full with cross-play so console players can get their palms on the RTS basic and play with their PC-loving mates. Additionally, Age of Mythology is lastly getting a definitive version. Age IV is constructing momentum, too, with an anniversary version crowning a 12 months of updates designed to woo gamers who discovered it a tad stripped again at launch. AoE is now some extent of real-time-strategy delight and a shining jewel in Microsoft’s roster.
On October 25, after watching the anniversary occasion—and having fun with a surprisingly adept group of lute-bearing bards carry out the collection’ iconic music—I spoke with Phil Spencer, CEO of Microsoft Gaming, and World’s Edge studio head Michael Mann in regards to the previous and way forward for the franchise.
This interview has been edited for size and readability.
WIRED: So it is the twenty fifth anniversary of Age of Empires, and I do know, Phil, you have been with Microsoft for greater than 30 years. You’ve seen this evolution of the franchise. However I believe there was undoubtedly a niche, for each real-time technique and Age of Empires, the place it didn’t look good. Was there ever a second the place Microsoft was like, Age and the real-time-strategy style is completed? After which, the second a part of that’s, when and what turned it round? If you have been like, wow, that is value being attentive to once more?
Phil Spencer: So it is a good thread to drag on this one. I imply, the factor that we noticed with Age was much less in regards to the style, to be trustworthy, and extra simply how the group was persevering with to play. The video games have been nonetheless that can be purchased, and we simply noticed a vibrant group of individuals on the market taking part in. And we weren’t actively engaged with the group as Xbox. When Xbox began, I’d say, regretfully, we took our focus off of PC and targeted extra on console, which meant franchises like Flight Sim and Age—the communities have been left to fend for themselves a bit. And as we developed our gaming technique, gamers taking part in on any display, we began franchises in our portfolio the place the communities have been lively, pretty massive, and actually engaged with the sport and engaged with one another. And Age was proper there as a kind of franchises.
Home windows 11 was launched final yr, and now Microsoft has pushed out the primary considerably sizable replace for the desktop working system. The upgrades are useful but comparatively small in comparison with a number of the large OS adjustments Microsoft has made previously. It appears Microsoft didn’t really feel prefer it had all that a lot to enhance on, contemplating that chief product officer Panos Panay referred to as Home windows 11 “probably the most used and most liked model of Home windows ever” on this week’s announcement.
Microsoft highlighted new accessibility and safety tweaks to the desktop OS. New accessibility enhancements make stay captions extra outstanding and add extra “pure” sounding automated text-to-speech narrators. A brand new Focus mode works like a do-not-disturb function in your smartphone, blocking all onscreen notifications for a set period of time.
On the safety facet, Microsoft says it’ll quickly be including identity-theft alerts to Home windows Defender (in the event you subscribe to the Microsoft 365 workplace suite). Microsoft Defender SmartScreen tells you in the event you’re placing login data into a web site that’s recognized to be malicious or has suffered an information breach.
There are additionally some structure and value adjustments like improved window snapping, which helps you to snap particular person browser tabs to completely different elements of the display screen. (Hooray, locations for much more browser tabs to go.) There are some new updates to Images as effectively. Some are targeted on creating extra nice visible preparations, and others discover new methods to show outdated pictures of memorable occasions, even when generally you could not need the reminder.
Microsoft additionally performed up its environmental efforts, saying that it might probably now schedule power-hungry system updates at a sure time of day in particular places so that they’ll put much less pressure on electrical methods. Sleep and screen-off settings have additionally been tweaked to make use of rather less energy.
Right here’s some extra information from the world of shopper tech.
A Extra Hackable Chromebook
Framework, an organization that designs devices with repairability in thoughts, has a brand new laptop computer popping out. It is a Chromebook—the results of an official partnership with Google—that is constructed to be extremely customizable. Like Framework’s extra conventional laptop computer PCs, the Chromebook options 4 port slots that may be personalized with a mixture of connectors. There are alternatives for USB-C ports, HDMI connectors, Micro SD slots, and even 1-terabyte storage choices. The items that slot in are hot-swappable, which suggests you possibly can swap your ports or storage on the fly in the event you want a distinct connector. (Don’t fret, there’s a headphone jack inbuilt.)
And since Framework is large on repairability, the Chromebook can be constructed to be taken aside. It ships with a screwdriver that can be utilized to disassemble nearly any a part of the machine, and you may swap out inside elements, and even the keyboard and display screen bezel. For the privacy-minded, it has a bodily swap that immediately shuts off the mic and digicam.
The Framework Chromebook is offered for preorder now beginning at $999. The corporate says it’ll begin transport in early December.
Google’s Cheaper Chromecast
Google’s plug-n-watch Chromecast is a helpful little puck that you would be able to slug into the facet of a TV to stream films and reveals from all types of providers. Google’s obtained a brand new Chromecast now, and at solely $30 it’s a easy, low cost possibility for operating streaming apps like Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Max on nearly any display screen or monitor.
It is undoubtedly a price range possibility. The decision on the $30 dongle maxes out at 1080p; it does not assist 4K like Google’s $50 Chromecast, which continues to be accessible. Each include a distant that accepts enter from each your palms and your voice, and each work with Google’s Stadia cloud gaming platform.
Amazon Reignites the Fireplace
Amazon not too long ago up to date its most cost-effective Kindle, and now it is sprucing up its Fireplace HD tablets. Positive, these low cost Android tablets are usually not iPads. They will’t even run the total vary of Android apps. However in the event you or your youngsters have used and favored Fireplace HD tablets, or in case your family will get most of its content material from Amazon, this can be a spiffy improve.
The 2 new Fireplace HD 8 pill fashions get a claimed 30 p.c velocity enhance based on Amazon. Each function a claimed 13 hours of battery life too. The bottom mannequin begins at $100 and comes with 32 or 64 GB of storage. There’s additionally a Plus model, after all. The brand new Fireplace HD Plus will get an additional gigabyte of RAM (3 GB) and prices $120. Each tablets can settle for microSD playing cards as much as 1 TB in order for you extra storage.