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Hilton Waldorf Astoria Sold

If you've stayed at one of Hilton's hotels in the past year, you might want to check your credit card history. The chain has confirmed a report that hackers compromised its payment systems, putting your data at risk. The intruders got in between November 18th and December 5th in 2014, and between April 21st and July 27th this year. They didn't get home addresses or PIN codes, but they did get card numbers, security codes and names -- enough that they could potentially make purchases.

Ah, Thanksgiving -- the perfect time to relax with your family and play something slow, wholesome and casual. Nintendo, it's your time to shine: join us as we check out Animal Crossing Amiibo Festival and Mario Tennis Ultra Smash on Wii U to see which game better compliments a gluttonous holiday meal. We'll be streaming at 6PM Eastern / 3PM Pacific right here in this post, on the Engadget Gaming homepage and, if you want to join us in chat, at And yes, it's okay to vent your Amiibo shopping frustrations here. This is a safe space, friends. We understand.

Bang and Olufsen is known for two things: unique design and high prices. Sometimes, the cost isn't so much of an issue if the design is matched by quality audio or a solid display panel. The company's new BeoPlay A6 is a $1,000 wireless speaker with three modes to change its sound based on where it's placed in a room. With Sonos and others already offering similar products for a fraction of the price, I was unsure if B&O's latest product would live up to steep asking price. Unfortunately, my suspicions were correct.

Amazon has released a ton of new features for its Video app. The update includes 3D touch support, Next Up (which is basically auto-play), picture-in-picture and X-Ray, which offers a wealth of IMDB information and trivia at the touch of a button. Even though some of these features are iPad exclusive (like picture-in-picture) they can help Amazon stand up against competition like Netflix when content alone won't carry the day. The 3D touch option is only available on Apple's latest smartphone offerings, the 6s and 6s Plus, and lets you access a number of features faster, but offers nothing in the way of exclusive functionality. Also, the app has been customized for the iPad Pro, meaning Amazon-exclusive content is bigger and better than it's ever been before. What more could you ask for?

[Image credit: AOL]

After Android Pay's slow rollout throughout the US, it's finally available to everyone -- well, those with a compatible device anyway. In the spirit of giving (or trying to get more people using the service), Google has teamed up with to support special needs children in US schools. Through December 31st, Google will donate $1 for every purchase made through Android Pay, with a total of up to $1 million. The idea is to create an interactive classroom environment so kids who struggle to engage aren't left out. What's more, Android Pay will double its donations for every purchase made on Black Friday. As if you needed another reason to spend big on the most insane shopping day of the year.

[Image credit: AOL]

Automatic sprinklers watering lawn

Putting your sprinklers on a timer system is probably the best way to avoid under-watering your plants -- but the "set and forget" mentality isn't the most economical. What if it rains during the week and you forget to turn the timer off? Now you're wasting water and drowning your lawn. A company called ETwater thinks it has a better automatic solution: a smart sprinkler that only waters your lawn when it actually needs it.

3D-printed vascular systems

It's safe to say that you want your doctors to know exactly what they're doing when performing surgery. But how do they train for a vascular operation, which is both extremely tricky and unique to your anatomy? By using 3D printing, that's how. MakerBot's parent company Stratasys is teaming with physicians to create 3D-printed replicas of patients' vascular systems, giving surgeons a way to practice before they poke around your blood vessels. The models use flexible photopolymers (that is, light-sensitive polymers) to recreate the feel of organic tissue, so you don't have to worry that the surgery team is only used to working with hardened plastic.

Sony's had its Remote Play tech in one form or another since the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable, but it didn't truly take off until its implementation on PlayStation 4 and the PS Vita handheld. But that's kind of wasted when nobody is buying the Vita and it's getting zero love from its parent company. Remote Play PC is exactly what its name implies: an application that tricks the PS4 into thinking a PC is a Remote Play device. Microsoft changed the game (sorry) with the ability for the Xbox One to stream its games to Windows 10-based hardware and until Sony catches up we're just going to have to settle for an unofficial app that costs money to perform the task.

Vine on the Apple Watch

Vine teased months ago that it was working on support for the Apple Watch, and it's finally delivering on that promise. Grab the updated Vine app for iOS and you can watch those 6-second looping videos on your wrist (either featured ones or those from favorites) whenever you need a quick pick-me-up. You can set your total loop count as a complication, too, in case you're just that close to hitting an important milestone. The wrist-based app doesn't work quite the way it does on your iPhone, as you might suspect. Videos won't automatically play, and the audio goes through the watch's built-in speaker -- keep that in mind if you decide to watch cat videos while you're waiting for the bus.

Crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter don't deal in investments: Backers pledge money to a project and that's generally where their involvement ends. No purchasing shares, no percentage of final sales. Video game-funding platform Fig, however, combines this traditional form of crowdfunding with actual investment -- and it will allow unaccredited people to invest in its next campaign. This move opens up investment to people who aren't SEC-accredited, meaning they don't make at least $200,000 a year (or have a minimum net worth of $1 million). "We believe that fans, in addition to having the opportunity to participate in the rewards-only tiers, should also have the opportunity to buy shares and participate in the financial success of a title," Fig CEO Justin Bailey says in a press release.

You know you want to plug your phone into your belt.

Have you ever wanted to carry an external battery for your phone, but hated the thought of creating even the smallest bulge in your pocket? No? Well, someone decided to fill that niche anyway. Ion Tech Wear is crowdfunding the Ion Belt, a 3,000mAh power pack that keeps your phone alive while it keeps your pants up. It's meant to be a "sleek" and "stylish" wearable that goes with anything, but it comes across as a phone holster-like fashion faux pas -- it's still a little too obvious that there's a gadget on your waist, and you're going to look a little dodgy plugging in that USB cable. This isn't even the first battery belt we've seen, for that matter. If you think you can pull it off, though, you can pledge $89 or more in the hopes of getting the belt in June.

Sorry we haven't updated the buyers's guide in a couple months -- we've been too busy pumping out reviews of all the new devices. Now that things have finally started to slow down (fingers crossed), let's take a step back and look at all the awesome stuff we've had a chance to test this fall. For starters, there's a bunch of excellent smartphones that we absolutely need to add to our guide. Namely: the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, the Nexus 6P and 5X, and the Moto X Pure. On the tablet side, we're inducting both the iPad mini 4 and the Surface Pro 4. Microsoft makes another appearance in the laptop section, where we've added the Surface Book, along with Dell's Chromebook 13. Rounding out the list, we threw in a few miscellaneous items, including the new Xbox One Elite Wireless controller, the redesigned Sonos Play:5 wireless speaker and Google's $35 Chromecast Audio.

Amazon Book Store

Did you recently get a notice that Amazon changed your password? You're not alone. Numerous readers tell ZDNet that Amazon reset their passwords after learning that the login might have been "improperly stored" or "transmitted" in a way that could expose it to others. The company is shy about what happened (is it a data breach? A security hole?), but doesn't believe that someone actually swiped your info -- it's just giving you a new password out of an "abundance of caution." Gee, thanks. We're glad to see Amazon taking a better-safe-than-sorry approach, but we've reached out to the internet giant to get a better sense of what happened... and whether or not you have reason to be nervous.

[Image credit: AP Photo/Elaine Thompson]

Row-bot with its 'mouth' hanging open

One day, you might see robots that not only survive in hazardous environments, but thrive in them. University of Bristol researchers have built Row-bot, a swimming robot that powers itself by feeding on dirty water. Its paddle both propels it forward and helps its microbial fuel cell gulp down the nutrients it needs to generate electricity. This robot might never need refueling so long as it's wading through unpleasant seas, whether they're full of algae or oil.

A mesh of Xandem monitors watching over a home

You don't have many great choices for home security systems right now. Conventional systems are expensive and effectively fixed in place, while connected cameras are conspicuous and carry the risk (however small) that someone might spy on you. Xandem thinks it has a better way, however. It's crowdfunding a security system that uses motion-detecting wireless mesh networking (previously the stuff of research) to alert you to intruders. It only requires plug-in nodes to work, and the resulting radio frequency web can both travel through objects and follow subjects. If all goes well, you're getting more complete coverage that stays hidden and reduces the chance of a false positive -- you can even track motion in apps or the web to see if it's a burglar or just a family member who got home early.

When you switch on the traffic layer in Bing Maps, you'll now get a lot more info than color-coded route details. On top of letting you know how bad (or good) traffic is along your route, Bing allows you to see where traffic cameras are for a look at that commute. You can also check multiple cameras at the same time if you want to take a glance at the places where you typically encounter delays along the way. Like Google Maps and other navigation apps, Bing Maps already let you know if you should expect a backup, and now you can take a look at the congestion, or lack thereof, for yourself with this latest addition.

Since NASA modified its old "pumpkin suit" for future missions aboard the Orion spacecraft, it has to undergo testing to ensure that it's tougher and more mobile than its predecessor. These days, NASA has been testing it aboard a C9 aircraft, which can fly in parabolas to simulate weightlessness. The agency even built a mock-up Orion cabin inside in order to see if astronauts will be capable of performing various tasks while wearing the suit. Since the Orion capsule is meant for deep space missions, the Modified Advanced Crew Escape Suit is being developed to be able to sustain crew members in case of emergency and to protect them during spacewalks. Unfortunately, it'll take almost a decade before we see it used for an actual trip to space, as Orion's first manned mission won't happen until 2023.

Hoopla, the app that lets you borrow videos, books and music from your local library digitally, has been on a roll this year when it comes to adding comics. Now, it's making a play for your living room by adding Chromecast support for videos. You'll need a public library card to access Hoopla's streaming catalog, as always, but at least you won't have to worry about late fees. Anything you borrow from Hoopla expires automatically (and yes, multiple people can view the same file at once). Digital lending isn't anything new for libraries, but usually it involves fighting with a clunky library website, rather than having everything accessible through a simple app. Hoopla currently covers 865 library systems, and its library now has more than 400,000 pieces of media.


A report from The Wall Street Journal suggests that Alphabet wants its startup-like subsidiaries to behave more like financially accountable independent companies. Alphabet is the recently formed parent of Google, Google X, Fiber, Nest, and other companies previously under the "Google" banner. Under the change, companies like Google X, Calico and Life Sciences will be billed for using services from other subsidiaries.

On paper, Motorola's Droid Turbo 2 looks like an upgraded version of the Moto X Pure Edition, which was already one of our favorite Android phones. In particular, the Turbo 2 brings more powerful components, a big battery and a shatterproof screen. In reality, though, the Turbo 2 suffers from a slightly dim screen, mediocre camera and loads of Verizon bloatware. The battery life, while pretty decent, is not quite as long as advertised. Also, at $624, it's expensive for what it is, and it's not likely to receive software updates as quickly as the Moto X. Don't get us wrong, it's a decent phone, but given the choice, you'd still be better off with the bog-standard Pure Edition. That's the gist, as you'll see in our mini review video, and if you have time for a longer read, check out our full review here.