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General Views Of A Microsoft Corp Store Opening After The Release Of Windows 8

Microsoft is apparently readying its new flagship retail outlet to open this Fall on New York's Fifth Avenue. Microsoft Extended Experts Team member Gokan Ozcifci tweeted the image below, which appears to show the storefront at 677 5th Ave with signage reading "Microsoft Store Coming Fall 2015". Microsoft has been pushing its brick and mortar retail business for about five years now. The company has 100 outlets in the US, Puerto Rico and Canada though most of those are those Microsoft-branded store-within-a-store sections you see at Best Buy and Staples. This will be its first flagship location, just blocks from one of Apple's four Manhattan storefronts.

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Dictating a WhatsApp message in Google's search box

Sure, the Google search box in Android lets you dictate regular text messages, but what if your conversations live in a non-standard chat app? You can relax as of today. Google now supports using your voice to send messages in English through a handful of third-party services, including WhatsApp, Viber, NextPlus, Telegram and WeChat. All you have to do is name the service when you're issuing the command -- "send a WhatsApp message to Bob" will make sure that your friend gets your missive where he's expecting it. More apps and languages are in the cards, so don't despair if your favorite mode of communication isn't compatible right away.

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If you're an inventor, then your expertise probably lies in developing hardware and software rather than knowing the ins-and-outs of the logistics business. Amazon is hoping to help these individuals with Launchpad, a system that lets startups harness the company's vast marketing and transportation resources. Essentially, if you run a venture capital-backed startup or have made a splash on Kickstarter, then you can send Amazon a box of devices and Jeff Bezos will take care of the rest. For instance, Launchpad will be one of the first places that you can buy Thync's mood-changing wearable and Eero's distributed WiFi hardware.

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The special edition of Fallout 4 comes with a pretty spectacular piece of swag: a real-life Pip-Boy that works with your smartphone. Understandably, the $120 bundle sold out almost as soon as it went on sale, but as much as the game's publisher wanted more of your cash, it's admitted that it simply can't make any more. Bethesda's Pete Hines has told GameSpot that the factories that produced the device were working at full-pelt, but simply couldn't fit more manufacturing runs into their production schedules.

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Developers Dave Proctor and Alex Rushdy of 13AM Games are in the middle of an impassioned conversation about the Wii U and independent development.

"I think the industry is getting into a habit of unsustainably large development, where it's like, 'Ugh, of course the Wii U can't run Assassin's Creed Unity,'" Proctor says.

Rushdy cuts in, "Nothing can run Assassin's Creed Unity."

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T-Mobile CEO John Legere in front of the iPhone 6

If you've ever had to upgrade an iPhone months after launch, you've likely felt some anxiety: you need a new device right now, but you know you'll feel buyer's remorse when the next model shows up in September. T-Mobile thinks it can set your mind at ease, however. It's launching a promo that lets you swap the iPhone 6 for its successor while locking in the $15 per month JUMP On Demand lease price -- so long as you buy the existing handset by September 7th, you just have to trade it in to upgrade. You'll also get first dibs on the next iPhone if you order it from the carrier within the first two days of availability, so you shouldn't be waiting for days simply because you ordered a few minutes too late.

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Motorola X Play

It's fair to say that the Moto X Play is the phone that no one expected from today's big event. Think of it as something between a Moto G and a Moto X. It's got the specs of a mid-ranger like the original Moto X, but has the pop-off covers and more practical design of the Moto G line. It's actually a fairly attractive phone; a little big for my tastes, perhaps, but everything feels well-built and sturdy, even if not mind-blowingly so. In my limited time with it, the 1.7GHz Snapdragon 615 processor seemed plenty fast enough, and its 5.5-inch, 1080p display looks very pretty (although it pales in comparison to the higher-end Style's Quad HD panel). Perhaps the only thing Play owners will be able to laud over Style owners is the phone's enormous 3,630mAh battery, which Motorola claims is good for two days of use, and supports quick charging.

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It's a little hard not to look at the Moto G as one of the less interesting devices we saw today -- after all, it got unveiled in India while plenty of us were sleeping and it was quickly overshadowed by the unlocked beauty of the Moto X Style. Motorola clearly doesn't see it the same way. The Moto G has been the best-selling smartphone in the company's history, and it had to make sure that this year's model struck a crucial balance between price and performance. We just got our own unit to fiddle around with, and so far, Motorola has another cheap champion on its hands.

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Digital photo, movie and music collections may have been growing over the years, but luckily hard drive capacity is keeping pace, albeit in increasingly smaller packages. Western Digital recently launched its most capacious My Passport Ultra drive yet, boasting 3TB of storage in an array of colorful shells. You can keep your files at the ready with the safety of 256-bit hardware-based data encryption and USB 3.0 transfer rates of up to 5 GB/s. Using WD Backup, you can also set up scalable automatic backups of desktop folders and files to the portable drive or fling them to the cloud for safe keeping. WD has provided us with a trio of these devices this week so three lucky Engadget readers can try to stuff them full of data. As usual, just head on down to the Rafflecopter widget for up to three chances at winning one these 3TB My Passport Ultra drives from WD.

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Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo following its crash

After nearly 9 months of investigation, the National Transportation Safety Board has an official explanation for Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo crash. As suspected, the accident happened when the co-pilot triggered the "feathering" system (moving the tail wings to increase drag for reentry) well below the intended Mach 1.4 speed -- the premature resistance led to the suborbital craft breaking up and plummeting into the Mojave Desert. More details are forthcoming, but Virgin Galactic says that it welcomes the findings. Hopefully, the lessons learned prevent future accidents and keep private spaceflight on track.

[Image credit: AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu]

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AP

Our sun blasts out over 50 percent of its energy as "near-infrared" light, but solar cells only harvest visible light. As a result, the best commercial panels only convert about 20 percent of solar energy to electricity. Researchers from UC Riverside have now figured out how to "upconvert" infrared energy into much more useful visible light, a process that could make solar panels up to 30 percent more efficient. To do it, the team combined semiconductors with organic molecules, resulting in a material that essentially helped them "reshape the solar spectrum," according to lead researcher Christopher Bardeen.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

So if you've ever wished you could get a Nexus 6, but with all the Moto Maker customizations, you're in luck, cause that's pretty much what the Moto X Style Pure Edition is. It's got the same basic shape and design as the Moto X you love, just super-sized to 5.7 inches. At its thickest, the Moto X Style is a surprisingly beefy 11.06mm. That's not exactly chunky, but it's certainly thicker than many other super-svelte flagships out there. You don't necessarily notice the extra bulk though, because the edges taper down to a more manageable 6.1mm. What you do notice is the heft. The 179g body feels substantial. But not in a holding-a-brick way -- more in a premium way. The Moto X Style feels like it was made from durable high-end parts and materials, not from cheap, flimsy plastic.

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Moto Surround at the Motorola event

Hold on, folks -- Motorola's big event wasn't done when it unveiled a trio of new smartphones. The company has also launched two sets of Bluetooth headphones, the in-ear Surround (shown above) and over-ear Pulse (below). Besides the form factor, you're mostly choosing based on longevity. The bigger Pulse lasts a healthy 18 hours on a charge, while the tinier, waterproof Surround will get you a smaller, but respectable 12 hours of listening. They're both available today, starting at $60 for the Pulse and bumping up to $70 for the Surround.

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Moto X Play

While we expected Motorola to refresh the Moto X and revise the best-selling Moto G, we weren't anticipating a big-screened handset for those on a budget. The new water-repellent Moto X Play is designed to be exactly that: It's powered by a 1.7GHz Snapdragon 615 octa-core processor with 2GB of RAM and features a slightly smaller 5.5-inch full HD display, 21-megapixel rear-facing and 5-megapixel front-facing cameras and a whopping 3,630mAh battery that Motorola says will last around two days on a full charge. If you liked the Droid Turbo's longevity, then the Moto X Play could be your new favorite -- especially because its "TurboPower" quick-charging technology will get you back up and running in no time.

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Moto X Style

Motorola's Moto X Style has an extra trick up its sleeve. If you get the unlocked Pure Edition in the US, it'll reportedly work on any US carrier, including LTE -- you won't have to give up fast data to get the phone you want on your network of choice. It'll cost $400 at Amazon, Best Buy and Motorola when it arrives in September, or about "$200 to $300 less" than comparable flagship phones.

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The Moto X is alive and well in 2015. The latest iteration of the highly customizable flagship, dubbed the Moto X Style, has a giant 5.7-inch Quad HD screen with the tiniest of bezels. It also has a six-core Snapdragon 808 processor, 3GB of RAM, front facing stereo speakers, a 21-megapixel camera and "TurboPower" quick charging technology. But what you really care about is those lovely customizable elements, like the back plate and metallic accents. Those luxurious leather and wood pieces you love are back, of course. But there's also a new silicone finish for the rear of the device that has a "soft feel" and a "warm look." Though, we're reserving judgment until we get to grope it ourselves.

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Today on In Case You Missed It: Our society's most influential nerds wrote a letter urging the United Nations to ban autonomous weaponized robots out of fear of their potential killing capacity. IBM is redesigning its data centers to recycle air by forcing hot air through silica, getting cooler air cheaply. And researchers at Vanderbilt University designed a tiny pincher surgical tool that is only two millimeters thick, for use with smaller parts of the body.

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Weeks of leaks and an early Moto G unveiling in India didn't keep Motorola from putting on a show here in New York (oh, and London too). And why should it? We're expecting to see a brand new Moto X take the stage this morning, and if we're really lucky, we might catch a glimpse of a shiny new Moto 360 to go with it. The most puzzling angle of all is Motorola's insistence that today will change our "mobile relationships," but hey -- it's still early and there's plenty of time for bizarre, corporate rationale. Bring it, Moto.

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If you're a Motorola fan, you already know that the company is going to reveal a bunch of new stuff today. But did you know that you can watch a live stream of the whole shebang starting at 6AM PST/9AM ET? You can get your first look at the Moto X with its rumored 5.5-inch 1080p display and 21-megapixel camera, and possibly even a Moto X Sport version with a dustproof and waterproof body. You'll also see the new Moto G and possibly even see a refresh of one of the few Android Wear watches anybody likes, the Moto 360. You can check the live stream video below, but to get the real dirt, be sure to tune in to our live blog as well.

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Never accuse us Engadget editors of not knowing who reads our site. That's the whole point: We know you guys, and we know that you don't always read through to to the end (and that some of you, unfortunately, don't read at all). So for all of you -- the folks who like to write "tl;dr" in the comments -- we're introducing mini review videos that cut straight to the point in 30 to 45 seconds. Think of it as the simple review card you all know and love, brought to life. You'll be seeing a lot of these on our site, and to kick things off, we're starting with a product we reviewed just last week: the ASUS Chromebook Flip.

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