Good Thursday morning! Is Alexa freaking you out with its creepy sudden laughing? There's a fix for that. Also: Notched displays are sticking around, and Netflix's plans include Snapchat-esque design tweaks, a cautious approach to VR and an otherwise confident attitude towards rival streaming services.
If you have an Alexa-powered device, you'd be forgiven for thinking it was haunted: Users have been complaining that their devices would laugh randomly or simply refuse to do what they were asked. Is your smart speaker going to murder you in your sleep? Thankfully, no. Amazon was made aware of the weirdness and is taking steps to make its virtual-assistant's reaction a little more complicated. Instead of "Alexa, laugh", you'll have to make the request into an entire sentence, and Alexa will confirm your weird command first.
It's March, and, thus, time for Google to release its first look at the next version of Android. As of today, developers can download the first version of Android P to last year's Pixel and Pixel XL as well as the newer Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. Since it's a developer preview, we're not getting a ton of information about it all, but the focus appears to be on better notifications and... notched display support. It's not going anywhere.
After some leaks, Microsoft has confirmed Windows 10 S is going away -- at least by that name. Instead, some PCs will ship with Windows 10 Home, Pro or Enterprise "in S mode," capable of running only Microsoft Store apps. Upgrading them to standard Windows 10 is possible free of charge, and the new mode will launch with the next operating system upgrade.
When the defense in a California doctor's child pornography case accused the FBI of paying Geek Squad's crew to look for evidence in the defendant's computer, Best Buy denied it enjoys close ties with the agency. According to the EFF, the big-box retailer's team of IT technicians are even closer to the feds than previous reports indicated. The non-profit has received the results to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) it filed last year and found that Best Buy has been enjoying "a particularly close relationship with the agency" over the past 10 years, at least.
Video games do not cause violent behavior. There is no scientific, consensus-backed research supporting the idea that playing video games leads to real-life acts of brutality. Still, the theory prevails, however, and after a shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, left 17 people dead on February 14th, a handful of politicians decried video games for corrupting young minds and inciting violent behavior. (Okay, Alexa, now you can laugh.)
Tomorrow, video-game industry leaders are scheduled to meet with President Trump to discuss this (non-existent) problem. The Entertainment Software Association will be there, and it has a clear message for the White House: "Video games are plainly not the issue: Entertainment is distributed and consumed globally, but the US has an exponentially higher level of gun violence than any other nation."
So what's going on with Netflix? Beyond launching season two of Jessica Jones, the company had time to talk smack about the competition (don't expect to see live TV or sports any time soon,) and explain why it's taking things slowly with VR. One thing that's coming soon, though, is video previews on mobile, which are edited for viewing vertically, like Snapchat.
Samsung practically stole the show at CES with its massive 146-inch MicroLED TV, The Wall -- that's coming August. But that's not something most people will be able to afford. That's where the company's mainstay QLED 4K lineup comes in. At a media event in New York City today, Samsung unveiled its next generation of QLED TVs, which not only look better but feature some genuinely useful improvements. They're an even better option for consumers who want to get rid of the typical cable clutter. Oh, and they even get a wall camouflage feature.
But wait, there's more...
- MoviePass pulls 'unused app location' features from its iOS app
- Huawei's notch-infused P20 phone lineup leaks out
- Google's productivity suite now shows who viewed your files
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