How to get married with Android Auto

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It’s been a year since the launch of the Open Automotive Alliance, which happened here in Las Vegas at CES 2014. Now, 12 months later, Android Auto is real. It’s not out, exactly — you can’t buy any cars or head units that have it installed quite yet — but it’s coming in a matter of weeks, and that means that Google partners are out in force showing Android Auto devices you’ll be able to own in 2015.

Andrew Brenner, product manager for Android Auto at Google, sounds like he was basically born for the job: he got it, he says, because he’d hacked the dashboard of his own car with a Nexus 7. Now, he’s picking me up in a Hyundai Sonata equipped with a near-production build of his software.

We’re going to get married.

Okay, not quite…

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We raced, wrestled, and wrecked at our first ever Drone Rodeo

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It was my second lap around the course at the Clark County Shooting Complex when the adrenaline really kicked in. I was rounding a turn with my opponent hot on my tail and losing altitude as I angled for the flag. “You’re coming in low!” shouted one of the spectators, and I throttled up, sending a spray of dirt in front of my eyes before I blasted into the straightaway and got back to a safe height. For a moment I forgot that I was sitting on a chair with some Fatshark video glasses strapped to my head. I felt like I was flying.

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These NASA travel posters will make you dream about space exploration

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As NASA continues to search for Earth-like planets out in the farthest reaches of space, the agency is also dreaming about what it might be like once we finally land on those planets. To that end, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory has created a series of travel posters the show off what life could be like on three different exoplanets.

Kepler-186f, the first Earth-sized planet found in the habitable zone around a star, for instance, could very well feature wonderfully strange red grass, according to NASA. “If plant life does exist on a planet like Kepler-186f,” the agency writes, “its photosynthesis could have been influenced by the star’s red-wavelength photons, making for a color palette that’s very different than the greens on Earth.”

O…

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AT&T’s CEO wants to put more wearables on the network

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Glenn Lurie has a lot of work to do. Successor to the longtime AT&T Mobility CEO Ralph De La Vega, Lurie is leading the carrier into uncharted territory — a land where glasses, watches, and even thermostats can all be considered connected devices. For years, AT&T Mobility has made its bones on the backs of cell plans and mobile phone subsidies, but Lurie isn’t content with just focusing on phones and tablets with technology evolving so rapidly.

The former head of emerging devices — AT&T’s IoT division — Lurie sees connected cars and homes as the next big revenue stream for AT&T, but he’s also interested in seeing more wearables connected directly to his company’s cell towers. The Verge sat down with Lurie after he spoke at AT&T’s…

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What it’s like to use OSVR, the ‘Android of Virtual Reality’

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Before I tell you what it’s like to use the OS VR, I should tell you what it is. And, more importantly, what it isn’t. Yesterday my colleague Adi Robertson wrote a fantastic explanation of Razer’s OSVR. Here’s how she summarized it:

“OSVR is a development system meant to get VR on all kinds of hardware. It’s not an operating system, but Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan refers to it as the ‘Android of virtual reality,’ an open-source software platform that encompasses multiple game engines, head-mounted displays, and control schemes. While you might be able to make a game in Unity and port it to multiple devices, VROS does the work of optimizing it for each device. Around two dozen companies and organizations, including Leap Motion, Virtuix, and…

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FBI Director Comey reveals new details on the Sony hack

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Speaking at a cybersecurity conference in Manhattan today, FBI director James Comey went into more detail about how the FBI determined North Korea was behind the recent digital attacks on Sony Pictures, which culminated in the partially canceled release of The Interview. According to Comey, the Guardians of Peace “got sloppy” when masking their IP addresses, allowing FBI researchers to catch the malware attempting to “phone home” directly to a North Korean internet connection in at least one instance. Web access in North Korea is extremely limited and connections are almost exclusively controlled by the government, which makes it unlikely a third party would be able to hijack a North Korean IP without the government’s explicit consent….

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The entire smartwatch industry is waiting for the Apple Watch

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At CES 2015, there are battlegrounds everywhere. Companies have come to Las Vegas vying for space in your home, in your car, on your face, in your pocket, on your desk, and in your car and your home a few more times. But the one place no one seems to care about this January is the place everyone thought was heating up the fastest: your wrist.

During the fall of 2014, it looked like the world would soon be awash in smartwatches. Samsung, Sony, LG, Asus, Motorola, Pebble, Meta — companies big and small attempted to find out what people want their wrists to do. Devices came hard and fast: LG made the G Watch, and then immediately learned a lesson from the Moto 360 and built the G Watch R. It was a perfect setup for CES — it’s a new,…

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Up close with Garmin’s bulky, feature-packed new smartwatches

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Later this quarter, Garmin is launching three attempts to cement its place in the smartwatch market. The Fenix 3 takes Garmin’s GPS features and adds a host of activity tracking options, updating it with color display options and an app platform called Connect IQ. The Epix is focused squarely on navigation. It updates your location continuously on a map; includes an altimeter, compass, and barometer; and supports phone notifications and existing apps. And the less rugged Vivoactive includes fitness tracking and app support in a thinner package. They’ll run between $249.99, for a Vivoactive with no heart monitor, and $599.99, for a sapphire-domed Fenix 3 or an Epix with a built-in topographic map.

We haven’t been able to try out most of…

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LG’s WebOS smartwatch is scheduled for early 2016, says WSJ

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LG’s smartwatch plans may be only a year away, according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal. The report says LG’s much-rumored WebOS smartwatch is set for release in early 2016, citing “a person familiar with the plans.” According to the source, “We’re going to slowly try to build an (software) ecosystem around areas we can have more control over,” setting the watch in contrast to the companies Android watch offerings. If true, it’s an encouraging sign for a project that many thought might never see a final release. As the company told The Verge in October, “there are many initiatives going on at LG at any given moment. The majority of them never see the light of day.”

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Haruki Murakami wants to help solve your problems

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Famed Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami is about to become the internet’s agony uncle. Yesterday, Murakami’s publisher announced that the reclusive writer will launch a website where fans can ask for advice and pose questions “of any kind.” The site will be called “Murakami-san no tokoro” or “Mr. Murakami’s place,” though his publisher, Shinchosha, has not announced a URL or email address for it.

“After so long, I want to exchange emails with readers,” Murakami said in a statement published by Shinchosha.

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Kickstarter ditches Amazon Payments, moves to Stripe for ‘faster checkouts’

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Good news for crowdsourcing projects: Kickstarter has announced that it’s dropping Amazon Payments in favor of San Francisco-based startup Stripe. The company says this will give backers “a simpler, faster, and easier checkout process,” while project creators will no longer have to set up an Amazon Payments business account to get their money. Kickstarter — which has been using Amazon’s services since it was founded — says it made the decision to switch after the online retailer discontinued the payment product the site was using. It also added that fees would not change for backers or project creators.

Stripe already boasts Twitter, Reddit, and Facebook among its clients

For Stripe, Kickstarter is another famous name in its client…

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Los Angeles police just bought Tasers that activate body cameras if used

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Hot on the heels of announcing its plan to buy some 8,000 body cameras from Taser, the Los Angeles Police department has ordered up actual Tasers that automatically record on those Taser cameras when fired. Reuters says that the department ordered 3,000 of Taser’s X26P smart weapon, a model that was announced two years ago, and is designed to work in tandem with Taser’s body recorder. When connected by Bluetooth, the camera can store footage while the weapon keeps a log of how it was used, including things like when it was fired, and if the electrical wires made contact. The camera also won’t start recording until the weapon’s safety is switched off.

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Intel’s CES 2015 keynote was among the best — watch the highlights here

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The best keynote of CES* didn’t mention the Internet of Things once. I’ve been keeping track, and not a single press event until today has gone by without someone uttering those three, rather indeterminate words. Intel talked at length about creating a more connected world, populated by autonomous drones, intelligent doorways, and sight-assisting jackets, but it managed to do it without resorting to the favorite buzz phrase of CES 2015. Brian Krzanich also proved to be more charismatic than might be expected of a big tech CEO and the entertainment portions of the evening were in fact entertaining.

* Ross Miller disputes this assertion, countering with the Mercedes keynote, which I didn’t pay too close attention to. I understand there…

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The Vergecast 132: CES 2015, Day 1

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On this, the first official day of CES 2015, The Vergecast is a reflection on the day’s experiences. Nilay Patel yells across the floor to Sony’s booth, Chris Ziegler relinquishes control to a self-driving car, Chris Plante breaks things on the show floor, and special guest Joanna Stern has a selfie stick. Join us, won’t you?

We’ll be back again from the show floor Wednesday evening with more Vergecast!

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Sennheiser’s luxurious Momentum headphones cut the cord with new Bluetooth models

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With every passing day, I get more and more tired of headphones with cords. Sennheiser knows it, too — the company is showing off three new sets of Bluetooth headphones that are based on the company’s existing designs. The two pairs of its Momentum line —over the ears and on-ears — are now wireless and contain the same noise canceling features that are found in the standard models. They manage to keep pretty solid battery life, as well — Sennheiser said they last 22 hours between charges.

Given that they’re priced at $399 and $499 (for the on-ears and over the ears, respectively), we expected excellent sound and comfort and weren’t let down when they tried them on. We only tested them for a few minutes, but the noise canceling features…

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We made steak at CES with the Anova sous-vide cooker

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Immersion cooking, otherwise known as sous-vide, has exploded in popularity with the tech crowd in recent years, mostly because it makes it easy to say you’re a home chef. Put your meat of choice into a plastic bag, plop it into a pot of boiling water, and you’re pretty much there. (That is unless you’re bad at following basic instructions.) Anova is making it easier to cook your next meaty meal by letting you very nearly forget about what’s on the stove.

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