The Morning After: Sony's portable speakers arrive just in time for summer

And are we ready to give our kids a robot companion?


Meet Moxie, a companion robot made specifically for children to play with every day. As Devindra Hardawar notes, the idea of an R2-D2 of your own is interesting, until it gets dystopian. So which side of the line does this bot fall? According to company co-founder Paolo Pirjanian, two months after launch, customers are averaging 25 minutes of engagement every day — although that the company knows that isn’t exactly encouraging.


Devindra’s kid is (wisely) robot-averse, so he tried it himself for a few weeks and was surprised by how well the conversations flowed. He found that Moxie mixes things up from day to day and could easily find its place as a support to help ward off anxiety. The jury is out on whether or not Moxie is a good enough fit for kids to justify its $1,500 plus month service charge price, but maybe it has a future in hanging out with tech-obsessed millennials?

— Richard Lawler

Sony adds four new models to its portable wireless speaker lineup

Vaccinated outdoor gatherings still need a playlist.


On Monday, Sony revealed four new portable speakers, ranging from ultra compact and easily packable to larger karaoke-ready party machines. Depending on your needs, the company should have something to keep the music going at your outdoor — or perhaps indoor — gatherings this summer.

The SRS-XB13 is around three and half inches tall — shorter than a 12-ounce drink can — and about three inches wide. It still has enough space for a battery that lasts up to 16 hours, is IP67 rated and has a Sound Diffusion Processor to blast big sound out of a tiny shell. At $60, it’s just cheap enough for you to buy two and pair them for stereo output on the beach or by the pool.

At the other end of things, the SRS-XG500 is a $450 boombox-style speaker with IP66 dust and water proofing, plus a water-repellent mesh that helps liquid bead off. Its battery can last up to 30 hours, and plugging it in for just ten minutes will charge the speaker enough to use for three hours.
Continue reading.

Qualcomm refreshed its Snapdragon 7c chip for PCs and Chromebooks

The first laptops with these chips should arrive this summer.

Snapdragon 7c Gen 2

The Snapdragon 7c Gen 2 features a Kyro CPU that can achieve clock speeds of up to 2.55GHz. The company claims it delivers 10 percent faster performance than "most competing platforms” (read: Intel’s Gemini Lake platform). The company also claims the 7c Gen 2 can deliver up to two times the battery life of its competitors. Meanwhile, with Windows 10X shelved, Qualcomm is working with Microsoft to address app compatibility issues using a new Snapdragon Developer Kit for Windows 10.
Continue reading.

Anker's second-gen GaN chargers are smaller and more efficient

Looking for something that can charge a MacBook Pro and still fit in your pocket?

Anker GaN II chargers

The GaN Nano II lineup is more efficient, smaller and better at regulating temperatures than the first wave of devices, according to Anker. The company says it did this by upgrading the chips and internal layout of its new 30W, 45W and 65W chargers.

The 65W model offers full-speed charging for the 13-inch MacBook Pro and fast charging for other laptops, with a foldable plug that makes it 58 percent smaller than Anker’s previous 61W charger. The GaN Nano II chargers are now available to pre-order via Amazon and Anker. The 30W model is $30, the 45W one costs $36 and the 65W version will set you back $40.
Continue reading.

Florida governor signs state's social media 'deplatforming' bill into law

Coincidentally, it doesn’t apply to companies that operate theme parks in the state — like Disney.

The law bars companies from banning Florida politicians and gives the state’s Election Commission the power to fine them up to $250,000 per day for takedowns involving public office candidates. It allows all residents of the state to sue tech companies if they feel they’ve been treated “unfairly.” Additionally, those companies will need to detail how they decide on bans. If you’re wondering how this is compatible with Section 230 or, perhaps, the Constitution, then you are not alone — we’ll likely see that argument decided once someone files a lawsuit.
Continue reading.

Ford's F-150 Lightning Pro comes with a $50,000 extended range variant

For commercial fleet customers only.

2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Pro. Pre-production model with available features shown. Available starting spring 2022. Max towing varies based on cargo, vehicle configuration, accessories and number of passengers.

Ford has unveiled the F-150 Lightning Pro, a more utilitarian version of the F-150 Lightning electric pickup aimed at commercial customers. Offered in regular and extended-range versions, the Pro models come with more basic, easier-to-clean vinyl seats and without some of the fancier interior options.

The $39,974 base model (before incentives) is available to both retail and fleet operators and offers 426 horsepower and 755 pound feet of torque, with 230 miles of estimated EPA range. For up to 300 miles of estimated EPA range, the extended range version with dual-charging starts at $49,974.
Continue reading.

Apple releases iOS 14.6 with support for paid podcast subscriptions

Apple Card account holders also get access to Family Sharing.

Now, Apple users will see some podcasts offer perks like ad-free episodes when they agree to support them financially. iOS 14.6 also allows you to take advantage of Apple's Family Sharing feature with your Apple Card. Up to five other people can use your card, and you also get access to features like family expense tracking and optional limits.

The latest update also improves AirTags: You can add an email address as a contact instead of your phone number. On the Mac side, a simultaneous update adds support for more AMD RDNA2 video cards like the 6800, 6800XT and 6900XT.
Continue reading.

But wait, there’s more...

Google Photos will help you delete blurry pictures and screenshots

What's on TV this week: 'Friends' reunion, 'Rugrats' and 'Lucifer'

Russia orders Google to delete 'illegal' content or face slowdowns

iFixit looks inside Apple's new 24-inch iMac

Norway fines Tesla for reducing battery capacities and charging speeds

Engadget Deals: Amazon's Fire TV Cube is on sale for $100 right now

Hyundai's 300-mile Ioniq 5 crossover EV is officially coming to the US

Uber Showtime series will star Joseph Gordon-Levitt as former CEO Travis Kalanick

Engadget Deals: The MacBook Air M1 drops back down to $900 at Amazon

'Charlie Bit My Finger' sold as an NFT could vanish from YouTube forever

This article contains affiliate links; if you click such a link and make a purchase, we may earn a commission.