Microsoft today announced the acquisition of Havok from Intel. Havok makes a 3D physics engine and licenses it to gaming studios; its work has been featured on more than 600 titles, including popular franchises such as Assassin's Creed, Call of Duty, Destiny, Dark Souls, The Elder Scrolls and Microsoft's own Halo. While Microsoft says it is delighted to add Havok's technologies to its robust portfolio of tools and components for developers, like DirectX 12 and Azure, it did point out that it won't stop supporting partners going forward. "We will continue to license Havok's technology to the broad AAA games industry," Microsoft said in a statement to IGN. "This also means that we will continue to license Havok's technology to run across various game consoles including Sony and Nintendo."

India Alphabet Google

The paperwork is filed and it's official: Google has restructured itself into Alphabet. As of the close of business today shares of the old Google are now part of Alphabet, which counts Google as a subsidiary. On our end, this doesn't change much -- unless you're a big fan of Ingress or Pokemon -- but now Sergey Brin and Larry Page can chase innovations in seemingly unrelated areas. Sundar Pichai will keep running day-to-day operations at the new Google, except now with the title of CEO. Google now includes Android, Search, YouTube, Apps, Maps and Ads. Meanwhile, Alphabet can focus on Google Fiber (high speed internet), Calico and Life Sciences (health), Google Ventures and Google Capital (investments), Nest (home automation) and Google X (everything fun, like drone deliveries, self-driving cars and city-wide WiFi).

[Image credit: Jeff Chiu/Associated Press]

Everybody needs a creative outlet -- a valve, if you will, to relieve the pressure of modern humanity. What if your outlet was creating video games? And what if a friend of yours compiled the games you made during a specific personal crisis, and distributed them to the world to digest? If they did, you'd have The Beginner's Guide, Davey Wrenden's weird, introverted interactive narrative experience. Join me, Tim Seppala and the disembodied voice of Wrenden himself at 6PM ET (3PM PT)on, the Engadget gaming homepage and right here in this post as we explore the mind of a game developer "struggling to deal with something they do not understand." Fair warning, though: this one is gonna get a little weird.

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Ad blockers have been all over the news lately, in large part because of Apple's decision to allow them in iOS 9. Now, the creator of one of the most well-known ad blockers has apparently decided to sell his creation to an undisclosed company. As reported by The Next Web, creator Michael Gundlach posted a note in an update to his Adblock Chrome Extension saying that he was selling the company, with his "long-time managing director" taking over the role of working with that new company. It seems that Gundlach is no longer working with Adblock at all

NASA is hard at work on designing the perfect aircraft to land on Mars. Just a couple of weeks ago, the space administration showed a new wing shape it is testing for future Red Planet-bound planes. As part of furthering these developments, NASA recently brought on a few students to help with its Preliminary Research Aerodynamic Design to Land on Mars program, otherwise known as Prandtl-m aircraft. The participants built a boomerang-shaped plane made of carbon fiber, which was then tested in an aircraft hangar and a different set of higher altitudes outdoors. Unfortunately, NASA says test flights didn't turn out as expected every time, namely due to the complexity of having an adequate launch system in place. One option, for example, was to have a radio-controlled plane that would take the research aircraft to the necessary altitude and have it be released.

Autos Apple and Android

Cupertino is set on improving its voice technology and virtual assistant, and is reportedly doing so by acquiring a UK-based startup that specializes in just that. Financial Times reports that Apple acquired VocalIQ, a company that builds virtual assistants using machine learning tech. One can easily surmise that Tim Cook & Co. were interested in VocalIQ's smarts to further boost Siri, but Apple may also be interested in help with either of its automotive efforts. GM was reportedly working on a system with VocalIQ that would learn a driver's intentions and vocabulary over time, taking cues that are more intuitive. With Apple having both CarPlay and Project Titan on the table, the company's plans could be focused solely on the driver's seat. That being said, we'll have to wait and see how the matters progress, but hopefully we won't have to wait until 2019 to get the details.

We've reached out to Apple for confirmation of the acquisition and will update this post when we hear back.

[Image credit: AP Photo/Paul Sancya]

There's a hit vehicle hiding in GM's formula for the Chevy Volt. You can sense it in the enthusiasm that current Volt drivers have for their cars. You can see it in the amount of money GM has poured into its extended-range electric vehicle project. And perhaps most importantly, you can feel it from the driver's seat of the new, second-gen model. The big question is whether or not GM will be able to turn its much-hyped 'halo car' into a best-seller this time around. After driving it in northern California, I can tell you that the Volt is tremendous. But we all know it takes more than that to create a hit.

Leave it up to Apple to downplay a surprisingly useful engineering feat: A water-resistant iPhone. It turns out the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus sport a combination of new technology that makes them far more resistant to liquid damage than past iPhones, iFixit reports. Apple packed in a new gasket around the sides of the phone, and it incased every cable connector on the phone's logic board with a waterproofing material. Given that the logic board that includes most of the iPhone's sensitive electronics and is the most prone to water damage, Apple's solution is particularly clever. Most other water-resistant phones focus on protecting external ports, rather than internal electronics. While it's far from being truly waterproof, there are plenty of videos online showing iPhone 6s models surviving water dunks. The truly strange thing is Apple has never mentioned the feature -- unlike Samsung and Sony, both of which championed water resistance as key features of some recent phones (though Samsung gave up on it for the Galaxy S6, and Sony is backtracking on its claims).

France Snowden

What happens when one of the most wanted men in the world joins Twitter and forgets to disable email notifications? 47GB of emails. As you might expect, Edward Snowden was immediately inundated with followers, replies, favorites, DMs and retweets -- all of which came with individual alerts to the NSA whistleblower's email account. For reference, Snowden currently sits at 1.26 million followers (and counting) and his first tweet earlier this week has been favorited 110,000 times with 120,000 retweets. Hopefully his phone was in silent mode.

[Image credit: AP Photo/Charles Platiau, Pool]

When it comes to connected speakers and multi-room audio, Sonos is the clear leader in the clubhouse. Its devices are also typically more expensive than the competition. Sony, a name with a lot of home theater experience, is offering its own Sonos-like system with a collection of three speakers. The company's "SRS" line was announced earlier this year, and while the trio also features the larger SRS-X88 and SRS-X99, I've spent the past few weeks with the entry-level model, the $300 SRS-X77. With Sonos being the go-to name for gear like this, Sony has quite the uphill climb. That said, it at least makes a valiant effort.

"Isn't this supposed to be fun?" I asked myself over and over again. I knew the answer was "yes," but I still wasn't having any. I'd been playing Super Mario Maker, a video game that lets you make your own Super Mario Bros. levels and play them on a real Nintendo console, and I was completely miserable. It didn't make any sense. I'd dreamed about making Nintendo games since I was 6 years old, but when the company gave me the chance to prove a game design genius lived under my skin, I flopped. It was then that a shocking and heartbreaking realization washed over me: I hate making video games.

There have been Apple Car (or iCar) rumors since at least 2007. They usually involve the company teaming up with an automaker to design an iPod- or iPhone-ready vehicle. Nothing has ever come of all the speculation and it's probably for the best. When Apple teams up with another company, the results are rarely satisfying. Remember the train wreck known as the Motorola ROKR? Now it looks like Apple is finally forging ahead with its automotive plans according to reports. But it'll do so on its own and there will reportedly be a production vehicle ready in 2019. If true, it's a bold plan. Not because launching a vehicle in that short of a time frame is impossible. It's that the electric, semi-autonomous vehicle market will be pretty crowded come 2019. But Apple should be fine with that because entering a crowded market with its own twist on a product is what it does.

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While Sprint and T-Mobile have already flipped the switch on WiFi calling for the iPhone, AT&T continues to wait it out on the sidelines. And now we may know why. As reported by The Verge, the carrier recently sent a letter to FCC chairman Tom Wheeler accusing competitors of launching the feature without legitimate approval from the government agency. AT&T's Legal Senior Vice President, James Ciccioni, claims Sprint and T-Mobile started offering WiFi calling even though the FCC hadn't granted a support waiver for teletypewriter communications, also known as TTY -- which are typically required for providing accessibility services.

iPhone 6s

It's been a week since the release of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, and while this is an "s" year -- meaning a lot of subtle changes instead of a big redesign -- there's still a lot to like about this year's models. We appreciated the speedier Touch ID fingerprint sensor, and the optical image stabilization in the 6s Plus proved handy with video recording. But our reviewer Chris Velazco came away most impressed with 3D Touch, a "tremendously useful tool" that he "wanted to use all the time." And now we'd like to know if our readers agree. Plenty of you have upgraded to one of Apple's new phones in the past week, and now we're giving you an opportunity to tell us what your experience has been so far. Write a review in our product database for the 6s or 6s Plus and we'll feature some of the best ones in a future post.

This post was done in partnership with The Sweethome, a buyer's guide to the best things for your home. Read the full article here.

After scoping out 160 models over 42 hours of research and testing, we found the $160 Shark Navigator Lift-Away NV352 cleans most kinds of debris from most common surfaces, needs relatively little maintenance, and should last at least five years. That's a combination of benefits we couldn't find with any other vacuum cleaner in this price range.

It won't last as long or clean as deeply as the best high-end vacs, and it may not be as convenient as a cordless vacuum, but the Shark NV352 represents an effective, affordable, simple-to-use compromise that will work well in most homes in the US and Canada.

Residential Solar Panel Installation Ahead Of SolarCity Corp. Earnings Figures

SolarCity, the company co-founded by Elon Musk, now produces the world's most efficient rooftop solar panels with a module efficiency of just over 22 percent. That bests the X-Series panels built by SunPower, which top out at around 21.5 percent. The results were confirmed by the Renewable Energy Test Center, a third party California photovoltaic testing company. SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive told Fortune that the company is shooting for a cost of around 55 cents per watt. It plans to build the 360 watt panels its 1GW solar panel plant in Buffalo, New York, set to open next year.

Google appears to be going all in for the USB Type C future with the Nexus 5X. The LG-made phone ships with a USB-C to USB-C cable, but it won't include a USB-C cable that plugs into most computers and chargers today (which use USB Type A). You'll have to shell out for a separate USB-C to USB-A cable (starting around $13) if you actually want to do that. It's a particularly surprising decision from Google, since USB-C isn't exactly common these days, and since it's also including both sets of USB-C cables with the Nexus 6P. Sure, it saves Google a bit of money, but the omission of a cable compatible with typical USB ports will likely frustrate many upcoming Nexus 5X owners. Even if you don't plug your phone into your computer, it'll make charging much more difficult. So consider this a PSA: If you're planning to get the Nexus 5X, make sure you've got an order in for a USB-C to USB-A cable in as well.

If you're shopping at Target, you'll soon be able to buy something other than picture frames and bedding. The Apple Watch arrives October 18th and be available in every store by October 25th. The retailer said it will stock 20 different models, with prices ranging from $349 for the 38mm Watch Sport, up to $599 for a stainless steel 42mm Watch model. Target is the second retail chain to get the Watch after Best Buy, and apart from Apple, only high-end department stores like Galeries Lafayette in Paris have carried it. The Target deal makes sense, however, since the chain already carries the iPhone, iPad and most other Apple products.

A common complaint from women about tampons is that wearing one is annoying and messy. On top of that, every time one is used, there's a risk of contracting Toxic Shock Syndrome, a life-threatening bacterial infection. It's one of the reasons that menstrual cups have entered mainstream use, since they do the same job without the risk, they're cheaper and kinder for the environment. These cups are now getting a smartphone-style upgrade thanks to the folks at Loon Lab. The firm claims to have created the world's first "smart" menstrual cup that can provide unprecedented insights into a user's reproductive health.