Harman and Neil Young’s Pono want to bring pristine audio to your car stereo

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Neil Young’s mission with Pono is about much more than a single music player; the rock legend made as much clear in an interview with GigaOm earlier today. During that chat, Young revealed that Pono plans to certify third-party devices with a Pono stamp of approval whenever they meet the company’s stringent standards for audio quality. Certification won’t be free, but Young said it’s a nominal fee and the Pono seal will tell listeners that they’re hearing music in its purest form. “It can say ‘certified Pono’ or it can say ‘branded Pono’. Those are the two things we offer, and neither of them are very expensive,” Young said. And it turns out Pono already has its first partner lined up: Harman.

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This black box promises to wirelessly charge a dozen gadgets at once

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Most phones that can be wirelessly charged today still have to sit right on top of a charging pad — in fact, even being slightly misaligned with the pad can cause a phone not to charge. Now, the company Energous says that it has a solution. Using a new take on existing technology, Energous says that it’s able to wirelessly charge a device anywhere within a 15-foot radius of its transmitter. The closer to the transmitter, the faster a phone will charge — the farther away, the slower. Charging speed also decreases if more than one device is being charged off of a single transmitter, but that’s theoretically not going to be an issue: Energous’ vision is that your phone, wearables, and other devices will slowly charge throughout the day,…

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The Onewheel isn’t a skateboard, but it’s still fun as hell

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On Tuesday night I made the mistake of climbing the fence that surrounds the convention center parking lot where our trailer is stationed. I don’t exactly remember what happened, but I made it to the top, remember it wobbling, and the next thing I knew I was on the ground in a lot of pain. I badly injured my right foot. Normally this wouldn’t be much of an issue besides the pain, but I had a rideables shoot less than 12 hours later.

I limped back to the hotel in excruciating pain, and when I woke up the next morning my foot was red, swollen, and hot. I was still in just as much pain, if not more. I thought I was screwed. How could I possibly get on the Onewheel when I could barely walk?

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I tried a car stereo that blocks everyone else’s bad music

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Listening to anything in the car is more or less a communal experience. Someone puts something on — the radio, a playlist, a podcast — and everyone else in the car can either listen along or put on headphones. That means if you want to enjoy something of your own on that new aftermarket audio system your friend won’t shut up about, you’ll have to wait. Harman wants to help change that by building what it calls Individual Sound Zone (ISZ) technology into cars, letting you listen to what you want without hearing what’s playing in everyone else’s speakers.

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Apple set to increase app prices in Canada and most of Europe by tomorrow

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Apple plans to raise the price of apps in Canada and most of Europe by tomorrow morning due to recent changes in local laws and exchange rates. In an email sent to developers Wednesday, and published by Apple Insider, the company said that price increases would take effect in “all territories in the European Union as well as in Canada and Norway, decrease in Iceland, and change in Russia,” further adding that the changes would be implemented sometime in the next 36 hours, or by about 6AM ET tomorrow.

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Sony’s Smart B-Trainer puts your workout routine in your headphones

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Headphones haven’t exactly jumped on the “internet of things” bandwagon — for the most part, they’re thankfully still just meant to get audio into your ears. One exception to that is the workout space, where headphone makers are adding new tech to their devices to make them more useful when you’re out for a run. Take Sony’s new B-Trainer headphones, for example — on the surface, they look similar to many other Bluetooth workout headphones, but Sony has developed them to include a host of features for those doing more rigorous workout training.

From the companion Android or iOS app, users can load specific workouts over to the headphones and also store music locally, so you can go for a run without bringing along your phone. And as you…

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Nissan and NASA are helping each other develop self-driving cars

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NASA and automaker Nissan have inked a five-year deal to work with each other on automated driving tech, Wired reports. That might not seem like a natural fit — Nissans don’t traditionally go into space, after all — but there’s the whole matter of rovers that need to be able to navigate semi-autonomously on other planets. Thanks to the delay in signal propagation, humans can’t control interplanetary rovers in real time.

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Game of Thrones’ fifth season will debut on April 12th

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The fifth season of Game of Thrones will make its debut on April 12th, HBO has announced. The first episode of the new ten-episode-long season will air at 9PM that evening, followed by the season debuts of Silicon Valley and Veep. Previous reports claimed that the new season would debut alongside HBO’s anticipated streaming service, though there’s no been no official word from the network on that front. In the meantime, if you need to catch up on season four, which was the most torrented show of last year, you may want to head to an IMAX theater near you.

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Jason Derulo came to CES for tips on upgrading his new castle

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CES and Las Vegas are absurd. They’re the kind of over-the-top you don’t get anywhere else, where seeing insane, surreal things is normal to the point of being mundane. Jason Derulo fits right in here. He has a castle. You know. No big deal.

Last night, the Verge went to the Light Nightclub for iHeartRadio’s annual night of debauchery, where Derulo was scheduled to talk dirty to a crowd of reporters and corporate hangers on. If that sounds crazy, it absolutely is. To quote Nilay Patel, it’s one of the silliest parties at CES, since it’s there that you remember that not only does Clear Channel have a lot of money, but it has enough money to outdo every other party in Vegas all in the name of an app you and your friends never use. It’s a…

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I talked with Wu-Tang’s RZA about Bluetooth speakers and secret albums

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Last year, the Wu-Tang Clan tried something different for the release of A Better Tomorrow: it released the album first on a portable speaker, three weeks before it showed up anywhere else. The Wu-Tang also announced an additional album — and that they would only produce one copy. Fans reportedly pooled together $5 million to buy the sole copy, but nothing materialized. We sat down with RZA, a Wu-Tang co-founder and one of its principal producers, to talk about both albums, the concept of music as tangible, exclusive art, and find out more about the Wu-Tang pay tier.

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I don’t want a zoom lens on my phone

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Some things will always sound better in theory than practice, but nowhere is this more true than the show floors of CES. Take Asus’ new smartphone with an optical zoom lens: you don’t want a zoom lens on your camera. It’s an example of gratuitous feature creep that might just rob us of something great.

I wouldn’t blame you for disagreeing at first — on paper, a legitimate zoom lens sounds like an objective improvement to one of the most important things that the most important device in our lives performs. After all, digital zoom is nothing more than a quality-degrading crop. But it’s worth thinking about how and why we use our phone cameras. Apple often notes that its iPhones are the most popular cameras in the world, which means its…

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What it’s like to attend the world’s biggest tech conference for the first time

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Have you ever been in a crowded place, like a shopping mall or a sports arena, and felt alone? Surrounded by strangers, you sense a barrier, both invisible and impenetrable. That’s how I felt my first day of CES, the largest consumer electronics show on Earth. I chose to break the barrier.

With the help of the Verge video team, who are my bottomless well of courage, I patrolled the halls for marketing gurus and corporate liaisons, people with years of CES experiences on their mind and public speaking training in their soul. Many people shirked my grasp for human contact; a few humored a conversation; one or two provided legal council in a theoretical murder scenario involving myself and a renegade self-driving car.

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CISPA, the infamous cybersecurity bill, is headed back to Congress

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An infamous cybersecurity bill may be headed back to Congress in the new year. Representative Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) has told The Hill that he will be reintroducing CISPA to the House on Friday, as a response to the growing cybersecurity challenges facing the nation. The bill has been put before Congress a number of times in the past, but coming on the heels of the Sony Pictures hack, Ruppersberger believes there will be new energy behind the legislation. “The reason I’m putting bill in now is I want to keep the momentum going on what’s happening out there in the world,” Rep. Ruppersberger, told The Hill. “We have to move forward.”

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The weirdest car at CES doesn’t even have four wheels

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Many of the cars at CES look just like normal, everyday cars, except they’re packed to the gills with next-gen technology — Android Auto, CarPlay, self-driving, the list goes on.

Then there’s Elio.

The quirky little three-wheeler was briefly parked in the lot outside the Las Vegas Convention Center this week, drawing curious stares and photographs from countless passersby. It’s just a prototype cobbled together with sundry parts from various automakers, but by the time it’s on sale next year, Elio Motors claims the car will get 84 miles per gallon from a three-cylinder engine. Perhaps even crazier, it’ll cost just $6,800. That’s less than most motorcycles, never mind cars.

You probably wouldn’t do a family road trip in it, but the…

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Shaq and Shingy hacked my brain with #brands

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Moments before Shaquille O’Neal sauntered on stage at CES, the man he has entrusted with his licensing agreements took a few moments to brag about him. O’Neal, who had flown in to reveal the secrets of his personal brand to a rapt audience of marketing executives, sat in the back of the ballroom while the presentation began. Ian Gomar, president of Shaquille O’Neal Consumer Properties, showed the first slide: SHAQUILLE O’NEAL BRAND UPDATE 2015.

The state of the Shaquille O’Neal brand is strong. In 2013 O’Neal’s licensing deals brought in $21 million, thanks to a dizzying array of products that span jewelry shops, department stores, and 7-Elevens. He is the face of Buick, IcyHot, and Gold Bond. And 2015 will be even more ambitious: it is…

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Watching 24 episodes of Friends at the same time gave me a headache

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Sure, you can now watch every single episode of the seminal ’90s sitcom Friends on Netflix, but this video is way more efficient. What you’re seeing here is all 24 episodes from the show’s first season superimposed on each other and played simultaneously. At first, a vague wave of comforting Friends familiarity washed over me, but it wasn’t long before the whole experience started to make my brain hurt — unconsciously, I think my poor cranium was groping for some semblance of a plot line to grab on to. Are Ross and Rachel at the laundromat? Is this the first time Joey ever said “How you doin’?” I can’t be sure… all I can hear are muffled laughs and white noise that is best described as a crowded airport.

This is probably what alien…

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This is the year to buy a new laptop

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Like PC gaming, laptops were supposed to be on their way out by now. Bulkier and less flexible than tablets, they were meant to be obviated by a more streamlined hybrid beast: the 2-in-1 computer that’s both a laptop and a tablet. But here at CES 2015, what I see is not the demise, but the resurgence of the laptop, in all its glorious varieties. Gaming machines are roaring louder, business PCs are doing more with less power, and, well, have you seen Dell’s XPS 13 yet?

Every year brings iterative innovation and improvements, yes. What’s different about this one is that a confluence of events has built up into a bubbling tide of awesome that’s about to spill over the laptop market in 2015. Allow me to elaborate.

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What’s next for cars at CES?

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As exciting as CES has become in the auto industry, it’s also become a little predictable. The same two topics — autonomous driving and the connected car — have been pervasive here for well over half a decade, and they’re showing no signs of going anywhere. It’s not that there isn’t still plenty of news to be made in those categories, but the news has become incremental. Cars are now expected to have touchscreens and internet connections. Pretty much every automaker has proven at one time or another that it can make a car drive on its own.

It raises the question, what’s next? When every car has Android Auto and CarPlay compatibility, a configurable instrument cluster, and a self-driving mode, what will be the new hot automotive topic in…

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