Electric vehicles could be our salvation from traditional gas guzzlers, but mass adoption poses new challenges. If millions of homeowners start charging their cars every night, will the power grids be able to keep up? California utility company PG&E is partnering with BMW for a trial -- announced in January but starting this month -- that solves the problem by compensating i3 drivers for non-peak charging. Here's how it works: PG&E will contact BMW when they want to curb consumption. The car company will then select drivers based on their "desired departure time" submitted in the BMW i Remote app. So if you have a flat battery and need to make a trip in the next couple of hours, BMW shouldn't throttle your home and leave you without a ride. Those that are affected will receive a notification and have the option to "opt out" of the one-hour delay, should it prove to be a bad time.
Nvidia has issued a recall for the Shield Android tablet after determining that its battery "can overheat, posing a fire hazard." Although the recall is voluntary, Nvidia is asking users to back up their data and fill in the relevant online form to receive a replacement. The issue pertains to tablets sold between July 2014 and July 2015. You can check to see if your tablet is affected by heading to the Settings menu, clicking "About tablet," then "Status," and looking at the "Battery" section. If you see "B01," you can carry on using the Shield as normal. If you see "Y01," though, your tablet is at risk of overheating and you should arrange a replacement ASAP.
For developers, allowing the public to evaluate apps before general release is paramount -- it helps weed out the bugs that could derail an otherwise successful launch. Both Apple and Google offer the capability, but TestFlight features have only been baked into iOS for the better part of a year and Android owners have typically had to jump through a number of hoops in order to sign up. With that in mind, Google has made some welcome changes that take the hassle out of the process.
Harvard's Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering has a history of creating tiny, insect-inspired robots, and its latest one can stand and jump on water just like a strider. The Wyss group has teamed up with scientists from Korea's Seoul National University and Harvard's John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences to design a machine that can mimic a water strider's "most complex maneuver." In order to accomplish that, they captured actual insects jumping on camera and studied their movements closely to determine their secret.
When Microsoft bought Nokia, it inherited a pretty large feature phone business. But that business has shrunk a lot since the purchase, according to Strategy Analytics, and Microsoft hasn't set the smartphone world on fire either. As a result, Huawei just displaced it as the world's third largest mobile phone vendor by shipping 30.6 million phones, nearly 50 percent more than last year. It now holds a 7 percent market share behind Apple (10 percent) and Samsung (20.5 percent). Microsoft sits in fourth place after selling 27.8 million phones, nearly half the 50.3 million devices it sold last year over the same period.
What's the next step after fully funding your game in 40 minutes on Kickstarter? If you're the team behind Yooka-Laylee, Playtonic, you get a publisher to help with stuff like localization (translating dialogue and text for different regions), QA testing and other unglamorous but still necessary elements of game development. To wit, the former Banjo Kazooie creatives have hooked up with indie label Team17, perhaps best known for the Worms and Alien Breed franchises. This partnership means that Playtonic can worry about working on the game itself while Team17 takes care of the more menial bits and bobs. Good thing, too considering Playtonic is still planning to hit a simultaneous October release across PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Wii U. If you'd like to check out more, hit the jump for our interview with the folks from the studio.
If you're one of the millions of people who've already upgraded to Windows 10, you've probably noticed that the OS changed your default apps. Your main browser, for instance, suddenly became Microsoft Edge after the upgrade -- something Mozilla finds "disturbing," especially since the platform actually made it trickier to switch back to Chrome, Firefox or any other browser. In an open letter to Microsoft head honcho Satya Nadella, Mozilla's CEO Chris Beard revealed that the non-profit got in touch with the Windows 10 team when it got wind of the change, but that "didn't result in any meaningful progress."
Twitter's making its experimental homepage visible to all visitors who aren't logged in, the company has confirmed to BuzzFeed. This new landing page shows potential users what the website is all about at a glance. See, it might be your favorite social network, but a lot of people still don't "get" it -- for instance, we'll bet more people in your family use Facebook instead. In its latest earnings report, Twitter revealed that it only has 316 million monthly active users, whereas Facebook almost has 1.5 billion (yes, with a B) by now. The company's likely hoping that displaying celebrities' accounts and tweets based on popular topics can entice curious folks to just give in and sign up for an account.
FireChat, that offline messenger that Hong Kong locals used during the height of their pro-democracy protests, now has off-the-grid private messaging capability. If you recall, you could only use its public "Nearby" tab if you want to talk to people in your area without depending on an internet connection. Now, you can contact someone in private -- provided that you're not the only two people using the app in your town. In order for the PMs to go through, messages hop on whatever's available: multiple local networks, WiFi, Bluetooth and even the internet. According to TechCrunch, FireChat uses the store-and-forward technique, wherein your message is sent to the nearest available network and kept there until the next one becomes available. Don't worry, though: PMs will be encrypted to prevent other users from reading them.
Microsoft's Yusuf Mehdi is checking in with a Windows 10 status update, revealing that the OS is already on some 14 million devices. He noted that not everyone who reserved an upgrade has gotten it yet, but says the rollout will continue in phases over the next few weeks. While whether or not you can upgrade to Windows 10 may still be in question, we have information to help decide if you should with our FAQ and review. Of course, if you're one of the millions already in the door, you can just let us know how the new experience is working so far.
Translogic's Jonathon Buckley takes to the hills of Mulholland atop the Energica Ego, an all-electric performance motorcycle out of Italy. And while our ride takes place in the US, Energica CEO Livia Cevolini joins the conversation from across the pond to give us details on one of the world's first production-ready electric superbikes.Translogic's Jonathon Buckley takes to the hills of Mulholland atop the Energica Ego, an all-electric performance motorcycle out of Italy. And while our ride takes place in the US, Energica CEO Livia Cevolini joins the conversation from across the pond to give us the details on one of the world's first production-ready electric superbikes.
NASA researchers working with the Spitzer Space Telescope announced on Thursday that they had indeed found the closest rocky exoplanet to our own. It's a tiny burg called HD 219134b that's just 21 light years from Earth in the Cassiopeia constellation, near the North Star. It was first spotted with the 3.6-meter Galileo National Telescope in the Canary Islands before being confirmed with the Spitzer. Even though the planet is larger than Earth, researchers only noticed it as it transited across the face of its parent star (astronomers look for the star to dim then brighten again as evidence of an orbiting planet). Unfortunately, there's basically zero chance that we'll find aliens there as 134b orbits far too close to sustain life.
On the heels of last month's collaboration with Mozilla, Pocket has even more tools for you to try. In fact, the save-it-for-later repository wants you to test new features before they officially arrive in the app or on the web. Pocket's Beta Channel will give you a look at what the company has been working on and the chance to offer feedback. The program is available for Android, iOS and web versions of the software and there's already a new feature to put through its paces. First up for eager testers: recommendations. The tool puts a second feed next to the list of items you've chosen to stash, pulling in "top content from the billions of items saved to Pocket." The app then makes selections for you based on your reading habits so that the chances of you missing something good are drastically reduced. Recommendations is just the first feature that's coming to beta testers, so if you opt in, expect to see more new items soon.
Gangplank is dead. Riot, the developer of League of Legends, took an unprecedented move this week and killed off one of its champions, the pirate Gangplank. He's completely unavailable in the game right now, even for people who have thrown down real money for skins. Gangplank's surprising death came as part of the Bilgewater event, which builds up the lore in League of Legends' more pirate-y champions, including Gangplank and his apparent assassin, Miss Fortune.
"We encourage all Gangplank fans to remain calm for a few days until we can fully assess the situation," Riot writes. "At this time we are not addressing refund requests for him or his skins but please know that over the next several days we'll do our best to make things right for everyone." The fact that Riot has killed a champion and isn't offering refunds to dedicated players suggests that a larger plot is afoot. What do you think Riot plans to do with Gangplank, now that he's taken a long walk off of his own, short plank?
If everything we've heard so far is true, Samsung's next Gear smartwatch could be far more interesting than any of its current products. Following news that the wearable comes with a round design, the company has reportedly confirmed it's also going to feature a rotating, functional bezel ring. The Gear A, as the device is said to be called, plans to let people take advantage of this attribute by letting them use it to zoom in and out across the OS, as well as play games. According to SamMobile, the Tizen-powered smartwatch sports Exynos 3472 dual-core processor with 4GB of onboard storage, a 250mAh battery and a 360 x 360 display that'll rely on the rotating bezel for some features. We'll likely know for sure on August 13th, when Samsung's scheduled to host its Unpacked 2015 event.
If you thought that the lack of a new Apple TV during the company's last developer conference would put a halt to the rumors then... you must not have been paying attention for the last few years. Buzzfeed sources say a revamped set-top box will arrive in September with the previously rumored slimmed-down size, more powerful hardware inside, touchpad (and perhaps TouchID) equipped remote and most importantly, an actual App Store. The third gen Apple TV has gone several years without changes so a refresh is certainly in order, but the other half of the rumor says Apple's long-rumored subscription TV setup will not launch with it. While the folks in Cupertino work out those last few deals and decide if they really want a Sling TV or Playstation Vue-style slim bundle of channels, you can decide if buying a soon-to-be-outdated model is worth keeping access to YouTube.
[Image credit: Jamie Mann / Alamy]
On August 21st at 7PM, we're taking over Exchange LA right in downtown Los Angeles for our second Engadget Live event of the year! Fresh off our amazing trip to Boston earlier this month, we're bringing together editors, readers and brands for a great night of conversation and the chance to interact with the future of technology.
Good news, wearable fans: there's a new version of Google Glass on the way. Only... it's not really meant for you. Both Recode and the Wall Street Journal hear that Google is handing out a new, work-oriented version of its smart eyepiece to its enterprise partners' development teams. As for what it entails? Like 9to5Google hinted earlier, its a mix of performance and accommodating the demands of the working world. There's a hinge to attach it to different glasses, and the wider, thinner prism (aka the display) can move both vertically and horizontally. It also touts a faster Intel Atom processor, better wireless and longer-lasting battery packs that attach to the headset through magnets.
Facebook started teasing its internet-beaming planes last year, but now we're seeing one that it actually built. Pictured above is Aquila, a solar-powered, 140-foot unmanned plane that's designed to deliver internet connectivity from altitudes of 60,000 to 90,000 feet. The UAV, which has the wingspan of a Boeing 737 and weighs roughly 880 pounds, will be able to circle a specific area for up to 90 days when deployed -- a feat possible thanks to its dependence on nothing but solar energy. What's also interesting is how it gets up in the air; Facebook says it uses a balloon to carry Aquila to the aforementioned altitude range, although it's still unclear how the Federal Aviation Administration plans to control this type of traffic.