Samsung will reportedly announce the Galaxy S9 in February

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Samsung is reportedly planning to announce its next flagship phone, the Galaxy S9, in February, according to a report from Bloomberg, with the phones launching as early as March.

If true, it’d be one of the earliest announcements for a new model of Samsung’s main Galaxy line, which have typically been announced in March and released in April in years past. As was rumored earlier, the S9 and the accompanying S9 Plus will be more of an iterative update than the drastic redesign of the S8, with VentureBeat’s Evan Blass claiming that the devices will see faster processors in the form of the recently announced Snapdragon 845, along with updated cameras.

The S9 was rumored to make an early appearance at CES in January, but later reports cast…

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Everything we know about T-Mobile’s TV service coming in 2018

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On Wednesday, T-Mobile announced that it plans to launch an internet TV service sometime in 2018. The carrier is in the process of acquiring Layer3 TV for an undisclosed sum to help jumpstart the new offering.

In typical T-Mobile fashion, CEO John Legere vowed that this TV service will radically disrupt the traditional cable / satellite industry, and the company is also touting it as a superior option to other streaming TV competitors like Sling TV, DirecTV Now, PlayStation Vue, Hulu, and YouTube TV. “We’re gonna build TV for people who love TV, Legere said. “This will be as big, if not bigger than the revolution we created in wireless.”

T-Mobile hasn’t directly confirmed features or pricing on the upcoming service. But early mock-ups…

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Google’s Project Tango is shutting down because ARCore is already here

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Google said today that it’ll be shutting down Project Tango next year, on March 1st. Project Tango was an early effort from Google to bring augmented reality to phones, but it never really panned out. The system was introduced in 2014 and made it into developer kits and even a couple consumer devices as recently as last year.

But those devices required special sensors. And in the meantime, Google (and competitors, like Apple) figured out ways to bring AR features to phones with just the hardware that’s already on board. Google introduced a new augmented reality system, known as ARCore, in late August. It just brought that system to the Pixel and Pixel 2 in the form of some augmented reality stickers — immediately opening AR features to…

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Is the Renault Zoe Star Wars edition the electric car for Han Solo?

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Product tie-ins for Star Wars: The Last Jedi seem to have hit the market just in time for the holidays — along with the movie you’ve probably just seen — but there’s already a car that pays homage to next year’s Solo: A Star Wars Story. This is the creatively named Renault Zoe Star Wars edition.

The Renault Zoe is an electric car sold primarily in Europe (Boston-based nuTonomy has used them for autonomous test cars), but its maker seems to think it has the right name to have some tie-in with the expanding Star Wars franchise. Renault last sold cars in the US in the 1980s, possibly because lots of money was spent on getting Americans on board with the pronunciation of the French brand.

For the record, the Zoe was Europe’s best-selling…

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Porg Invasion is the Star Wars: The Last Jedi mini-game that’s about to take over Facebook

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It wouldn’t be a new Star Wars film without an adorable and yet equally divisive pet-like character from which Disney can launch a merchandising gold mine. The Force Awakens gave us the stoic and circular R2-D2 successor BB-8, but Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi, which hits theaters today, is all about the porg. To celebrate the puffin-like bird species of planet Ahch-To, on which Luke Skywalker has exiled himself, Disney is launching a Facebook Instant Games mini-game today called Porg Invasion.

To avoid spoilers, let’s just say that porgs are not Chewbacca’s favorite thing in the world. Porg Invasion puts you in the Wookiee pilot’s shoes, with BB-8 as the primary playable character, as you stave off a porg onslaught on the Millennium…

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Whoops, iTunes won’t be available in the Microsoft Store this year, after all

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Earlier this year at Microsoft’s Build conference, the company revealed it was working with Apple to get iTunes included in the Windows Store. The promise was that it would be available by the end of 2017, but now it looks like that won’t be happening.

In a statement emailed to ZDnet, an Apple spokesperson said, “We have been working with Microsoft to deliver the full iTunes experience to our customers and we need a little more time to get it right.” So at least there’s some good news: Apple isn’t scrapping the project entirely, and plans are still in place for iTunes to come to the Windows Store (now called Microsoft Store). Apple did not comment on what specifically is causing the delay.

iTunes is one of the most searched for apps…

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Google Maps will now alert you when it’s time to get off the bus or subway

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Google Maps is adding a helpful new feature for travelers and commuters who tend to daydream or lose track of time during their train, subway, or bus ride. The app will now send a push notification when you’re approaching your stop.

This tiny-but-useful addition is something that some other navigation apps (like CityMapper) already do, and can go a long way in pulling you out of a podcast or Spotify haze so that you get off at the right place.

Maps has always done turn-by-turn notifications for driving directions, but you’re naturally more attentive when behind the wheel. It’s much easier for mass transit travelers to doze off or get distracted and miss their intended stop. Now, you’ll get a notification that’ll make staying on the…

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Theater chains are terrified of MoviePass because of subscribers like me

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I see a lot of movies. I moved to the Bay Area from New York nearly five years ago, knowing not a single person living in San Francisco, and I found going to the movies to be a solitary, almost meditative experience. Even as my friend group expanded, I kept up on the cherished cinematic ritual: the exorbitantly priced snacks, the ticket-taking and seat-selection process, the previews, and then the movie itself, with its sense of experiencing something new and unseen. There’s an antiquated sense of sacredness to a movie theater, and a theatrical experience only it can deliver.

Still, that experience isn’t cheap. In San Francisco, seeing two movies a month costs at least $25 — upward of $40 with any type of food. Three movies a month is…

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Microsoft is bundling PUBG with the Xbox One X

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Getting battle royale sensation PUBG on the Xbox One was a major coup for Microsoft, and now the company is exploiting that by bundling the game with the Xbox One X over the holidays. According to the company, every purchase of the new 4K console between December 17th and the 31st will include a copy of PUBG (though the promotion is only available in select regions).

PUBG made its Xbox debut this week through the console’s “game preview” program, and while it’s clunkier than its PC counterpart, it still offers the same thrilling action — and, at least from a visual perspective, it appears to run better on the One X compared to the original Xbox One. Microsoft says that more than 1 million players purchased the game in its first 48 hours…

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Vergecast: FCC kills net neutrality, the iMac Pro arrives, and T-Mobile buys Layer3 TV

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The Vergecast three-piece is back together, with Nilay leading the flagship podcast. The biggest news this week is something we’ve seen coming for a while: on Thursday, the FCC voted to repeal net neutrality rules. Nilay, Dieter, and Paul sit down to discuss the action and their viewpoints on what this means going forward for the internet.

Also, the iMac Pro is now available to order and Dieter got to write about it. There’s quite a bit of talk about whether this computer is worth the price for its power.

There’s a lot more in between that — like Paul’s weekly segment “The internet of claps” — so listen to the whole episode to get everything to need to know in the world of tech this week.

02:10 – The FCC just killed net neutrality

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Google Inbox adds a new unsubscribe card to help clear out the emails you never read

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I’m never entirely sure how it happens, but my email is constantly filling up with messages from companies from which I don’t remember requesting newsletters or offers. But they somehow keep popping up anyway.

I usually tend to just delete these as soon as they arrive to triage the damage, but Google is releasing a new feature for Inbox to help solve this problem. A new card will help you unsubscribe from senders whose emails you haven’t opened in the last month, as reported by Android Police.

Image: Android Police

The option appears at the top of your inbox, with a message reminding you that you haven’t opened emails from the sender in the last month and presenting a one-click button to easily unsubscribe.

A…

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This autonomous helicopter can be controlled with just a tablet

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Aurora Flight Sciences, an aviation and aeronautics research company, recently demonstrated a fully autonomous military helicopter that can be controlled remotely with just a tablet. During a demonstration at the Marine Corps Base in Quantico, Virginia, an old UH-1H Huey helicopter flew three missions to deliver cargo without a pilot on the controls and with two infantrymen providing minimal instructions from a small hand-held tablet and a laptop.

The helicopter was fitted with onboard LIDAR and camera sensors that enabled it to detect and avoid obstacles and evaluate the landing zone, Aurora said. Unlike standard unmanned aircraft operations, in which a ground operator provides detailed flight directions to the aircraft, Aurora’s system…

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One Video: Would You Rather by Phoebe Bridgers and Conor Oberst

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Every week, a slew of new music videos hits the web. Watching them at your desk is not time theft because you deserve it; think of it as a nice reward for surviving another work week. But what if you don’t have time to watch every video — maybe you have a deadline, a hungry pet, or other grown-up concerns. In consideration of your schedule, Lizzie and Kaitlyn bring you a series called One Video. Each week we’ll tell you “one video” you need to watch, why, and for how long.

This week’s video: “Would You Rather” by Phoebe Bridgers and Conor Oberst

Lizzie: Kaitlyn found this video this week. It only has around 11,000 views, and I wasn’t one of them until today. But what a nice Friday treat for me personally! The song is the perfect thing…

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Fallout, Doom, and Skyrim show the limits of blockbuster games in VR

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Bethesda has really gone all-in with virtual reality. Whereas many developers and publishers have toyed with the medium, releasing smaller experiments to test the waters, over the last few weeks Bethesda has released three of its biggest games in VR. On the surface, it sounds great. With a VR headset, you can become fully immersed in the thrilling horror of Doom, the post-apocalyptic wasteland of Fallout, or Skyrim’s picturesque fantasy realm.

In practice, though, the games don’t work out quite so well. Each has been tweaked in some way to better suit virtual reality — Doom’s action is less intense, while Skyrim now utilizes motion controls — but they’re still clearly games designed for traditional screens. And, in most regards, they end…

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Facebook’s new Snooze button can mute annoying friends for 30 days

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Facebook is now rolling out its Snooze feature to all users after a period of testing in September. The tool lets you mute a friend, page, or group for 30 days so you can temporarily purge their updates from your News Feed.

The controls are similar to the current Unfollow / Hide tool that lets you permanently remove a user or page’s updates from your timeline entirely without unfriending them. Instead of Unfollow or Hide, you’ll now see the option to snooze the account for about a month. Personally, I think this is particularly helpful now that people on my timeline are starting to answer those personality questions Facebook introduced a week ago, and their answers are completely flooding my News Feed, since each answer is its own…

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The 15 best video games of 2017

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A decade from now, there’s a good chance we’ll look back at 2017 as one of the best years ever for new game releases. Just think about it: some of the medium’s most iconic names — like Zelda, Mario, and Resident Evil — came roaring back to prominence, while new names like Horizon Zero Dawn and Cuphead forced their way into the spotlight.

From blockbuster to indie games, console and PC to mobile, the wealth of experiences on offer has been incredible. And narrowing down our favorites has been a lengthy task. But after a series of votes — and maybe a few arguments — we’ve settled on a list of the 15 best games of the year.

Cuphead

Brothers Chad and Jared Moldenhauer, who formed indie outfit Studio MDHR, captivated the…

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The dark, unsettling adventure Inside is now on the iPhone

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One of last year’s best games was a short but haunting adventure called Inside. Developed by the team behind the similarly macabre hit Limbo, the game put players in the role of a young boy in a mysterious, gray world, uncovering all kinds of horrors along the way. It starts out as a simple platformer, but the game slowly reveals itself to be something more complex, and much darker, than it initially seems — and now you can play it on your phone.

Developer Playdead released Inside on both iOS and Apple TV today, and it makes a pretty seamless transition to a touchscreen device. Much of the side-scrolling game involves simply walking to the right, and solving small puzzles along the way. The mechanics aren’t complex; the real reason to…

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Rogue One is actually about internet freedom

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Now that the new Star Wars is upon us — which, as we all know, is the real Reason for the Season — it’s time for what is now my yearly overthinking of the entire franchise. Last year, I came to the realization that if the galaxy had adequate women’s health care, Anakin would have never turned to the dark side. This year, I want to point out that Rogue One, a tremendously underrated installment of the series, is really about internet freedom.

Really.

Think about it.

(Spoilers ahead for Rogue One.)

Star Wars is life, but Star Wars is also not very good, which is why Rogue One — a Frankenstein’s monster assembled from a butchered first cut and an excessively large space antenna that only exists to add another 30 minutes to…

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The directors of Avengers: Infinity War just optioned Simon Stålenhag’s The Electric State

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Avengers: Infinity War’s Russo Brothers have added a new project to their slate: an adaptation of Simon Stålenhag’s recently Kickstarter-funded art book The Electric State.

Joe and Anthony Russo won a bidding war for the book, says Deadline, and will act as producers for the project. The brothers are looking to bring on It director Andy Muschietti to direct. They will also bring on the Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, the screenwriters behind Captain America: Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War, and the two upcoming Avengers films.

Image: Free League Publishing

Stålenhag is a Swedish artist who specializes in retro-furistic art, telling stories about an alternate, pastoral Sweden in books such as T…

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This might be Microsoft’s secret Surface notepad

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Microsoft has been rumored to be working on a foldable notepad-like device, much like the company’s Courier concept. A patent from earlier this year provided an outline for such a device, but a new patent has emerged this week with a lot more detail. The patent references a “hinged device,” and has been filed by Microsoft Surface engineers that are responsible for creating various Surface hinges and devices.

The device appears to have two separate screens and sections that fold together or flat, much like Lenovo’s Yoga Book. The images also show how the mysterious device could flip over and be used as a nightstand. While there’s not much detail about software for such a device, Microsoft’s patent filing includes a lot of intricate…

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