Yesterday in San Francisco, Google launched a pair of new smartphones, some AV devices and a Surface-like tablet. But future events could just as easily devote a large portion of their running time to the Internet of Things and smart home devices. Tilt your head by 90 degrees and you can almost spot Google's subtle strategy to become the dominant name in your home -- after all, as the phone market begins to play itself out, it's only natural that the firm would move onto the next big thing. After years of lingering on the periphery of the industry, perhaps souped-up lightbulbs and thermostats are ready for their day in the sun.

Google may have started its life as a search engine, but 17 years has seen the company steadily evolve into one that produces as many goods as it does services. It may not be running the factories itself in a lot of cases, but you can pick up more than a handful of products with the Google logo slapped on the chassis. Then there are the more outlandish devices, like self-driving cars and face-worn computers, that could alter the way we live our lives. Consider this a reminder of all the weird and wonderful things that the engineers in Mountain View spend their days working on.

Get all the news from today's Google event right here.


Whether it's a technology giant like Google or a small startup, nowadays everyone wants a piece of the VR pie. Shot, for instance, was created by a group of friends from Spain who wanted to bring a social aspect to virtual reality. Through a Kickstarter campaign launching today, Shot promises to make it easy for people to create VR content on an iPhone -- which can then be shared with friends via an app. In order to do so, the firm designed a camera adapter for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, one that will allow users to capture 235-degree videos and 360-degree pictures. Shot says it's able to accomplish this effect by having two fisheye lenses in its adapter, giving it the ultra-wide field of view necessary for VR.

Sonos faces a unique challenge on the eve of launching the most important products it has developed in years. The company's mission statement is simple to sum up: It wants to make it easy to listen to high-quality music anywhere in your home. And it believes its new products, the flagship Play:5 speaker and new software called Trueplay, move that goal forward. But there's one part of that mission -- "in the home" -- that speaks to perhaps the toughest problem facing the company: How do you convince people who've grown up listening to music with their iconic iPod headphones to spend hundreds of dollars on an expensive home audio setup?


What better way to close out the busy month of September than with a Google event? Nearly three weeks after Apple announced its latest smartphones, the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, the search giant is preparing to do the same, with a keynote of its own tomorrow in San Francisco. But while the event will likely focus on a refreshed set of Nexus handsets and the upcoming public release of Android Marshmallow, there are signs that Google is also planning to deliver a couple new Chromecast products -- including one that's all about audio. We also wouldn't be surprised to hear more about Android Wear, especially since we've seen a number of new devices introduced over the past month, like Motorola's second-generation 360 and the Huawei Watch. All will be revealed tomorrow, but for now, let's break down the leaks and rumors.

With the EOS M3, Canon finally has a worthy mirrorless camera

Canon's entry into the mirrorless space started with the EOS M in 2012. Unfortunately, the company's first interchangeable lens camera failed to impress, due to its sluggish performance, a tedious user interface and subpar battery life. A year later, the improved (and mostly faster) M2 was introduced, but Canon only ended up selling it in China, the UK and its home country of Japan. Fast-forward to today and the EOS M3 is set to ship in the US next month, despite being announced in February and having been available overseas for almost as long. But now it's here. And, unlike the original EOS M, this one was actually worth the wait. Canon, it seems, has finally figured out the right formula to building a satisfying mirrorless shooter.

Next weekend, theater-goers will watch astronaut Mark Watney battle to survive on the red planet in The Martian. Meanwhile, the Mars One initiative whittles down a list of Earth dwellers to journey to the very same planet by 2020. In a hostile and alien environment like Mars, it takes knowledge, preparation and practice to survive. You can't just, as Watney put it, "science the shit out of this" if you don't have a clue what to expect. To honor past orbital pioneers and future planetary explorers, we look at some of the simulators and mockups that real astronauts used in preparation for launching themselves off this blue orb and into the well-studied, yet unpredictable vastness of space.

[Image: NASA / Mercury astronaut training on gimbal rig 1960]

Whenever a new iPhone launches in Hong Kong, local folks would seize the opportunity to make a quick profit from the grey market. They would get their brand new phones from either Apple or local carriers, and then sell them off to specialists who would later offer bulk orders to mainland Chinese buyers. The quicker they act, the more cash they get. The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus are no exception. This morning, I was the first customer to pick up my 128GB rose gold 6s Plus from a carrier store (the shop assistants even took a photo to mark the occasion), but I quickly sold it for HK$10,000 or about US$1,290 at the Sincere Podium mobile phone mall just around the corner. That's roughly a US$250 profit based on the device's local price, which isn't bad at all.

Logitech MX Master

Plenty of folks make do with their laptop trackpads, but for many of us, there's still a place in our hearts (and on our desks) for a good ol' fashioned mouse. And, while gaming mice certainly offer lots of bells and whistles to make you a better player, what do you do when all you need is something to browse the web with? To answer that question, we've scoured reviews from a few trusted sources to find the best non-gaming mice out there. You might not be sniping soldiers from a rooftop with them, but they'll certainly make it easier to edit documents at work.

It's inevitable at this point: After having experienced a variety of virtual reality -- from gaming to cinematic -- whenever I'm about to enter into a new demo, my anxiety spikes. "Is this going to make me massively ill?" I wonder, fearing the subsequent rapid heartbeat, flop sweat and nausea that mark the unwelcome arrival of motion sickness. I mention this not to discredit the coming revolution of VR -- because I do think it's here to stay and I'm glad for it -- but to sound an alarm bell for the industry. If VR is to go mainstream -- and given Facebook's billion-dollar bet on Oculus VR, it very well should -- consumers like me need to stop getting sick. It's a pitfall the brilliant developer Jesse Schell mocked in his talk on making great VR at Oculus Connect 2 in Los Angeles: "Our game is so good it makes you vomit." Schell's comment was obviously made tongue-in-cheek, but it underscored a common symptom of faulty VR development. Thankfully, there's an antidote to this: education.

Whether you're familiar with the studio's name or not, you've definitely been touched (and likely gobsmacked) by the computer-generated imagery in one of the blockbuster films to get the Industrial Light and Magic treatment. From Jurassic Park (and its sequels) to the upcoming Disney-backed Star Wars films, the Lucasfilm-run powerhouse is one of the more visible and transformative visual effects forces in entertainment. Now, with a suite of virtual production tools, it's poised to change the way we experience not just film, but also storytelling with an iPad and a virtual reality headset.

Office 2016 is out of preview today, and in a sentence, it represents Microsoft's most obvious effort yet to catch up with Google Drive. Though the new release looks generally the same as the last version, it's designed for sharing and collaboration in a way that Office 2013 really wasn't. In particular, Office 2016 introduces real-time co-authoring (a feature already available in the web version of Office), along with the ability to attach OneDrive files to emails in Outlook. In addition to Google, though, the new software takes aim at various other tools businesses might be using, including Slack (for chatting) and Trello (for to-do lists and task management). You might even be able to avoid the browser sometimes, thanks to built-in Bing search results. Microsoft's goal with Office 2016, then, wasn't just to match what Google Docs can do, but to ensure business users in particular barely need to leave the app.