• Google to update Pixel 4 face unlock with eye detection ‘in the coming months`
    by Dieter Bohn on October 21, 2019 at 1:17 am

    Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge One of the headline features for the Google Pixel 4 is that it adds a new, secure face unlock feature in lieu of a fingerprint sensor. Only it turns out that “secure” is a relative term, as the phone will unlock even if your eyes are closed. Google has given us a statement promising that it will issue a software update that will fix that problem up, but unfortunately the timeline for it is longer than users might like. Google says that “it has “been working on an option for users to require their eyes to be open to unlock the phone, which will be delivered in a software update in the coming months.” The Pixel 4’s face unlock feature is very similar to the iPhone’s system, utilizing infrared projectors and cameras to create and read an... Continue reading…

  • 11 new trailers you should watch this week
    by Jacob Kastrenakes on October 19, 2019 at 2:00 pm

    Photo: David Lee / Netflix I always thought Jesse was slighted by the end of Breaking Bad. Not the last episode — it sent him off on the right note, as far as things were going — but the final season as a whole. Jesse’s humanity ultimately became more important than the wreck that was Walter White, but the show didn’t care to recenter our interest around the one flawed character who still deserved sympathy. (At least, as far as I remember from watching this in 2013.) El Camino is something of an attempt to fix that. It’s a totally unnecessary, but entirely fun return to Breaking Bad’s world. It’s hardly a movie in the traditional sense; and even if you remember Breaking Bad reasonably well, you may (as I did) find yourself looking stuff up afterward. But it’s... Continue reading…

  • How Pebble smartwatches are getting a second life
    by Jay Peters on October 19, 2019 at 2:00 pm

    The crowdfunded Pebble smartwatch officially died last June, but a group of dedicated Pebble fans are giving Pebbles second lives, as detailed in this great article on iFixit that you should go read. The Pebble launched to a record-breaking Kickstarter in 2012 because it looked like it had the potential to be the first good smartwatch. Part of the appeal was that it seemed ahead of its time — it could do things like show you notifications and help you control your phone’s music, which would become table stakes for smartwatches made by other companies in the years to come. The first Pebble seemed ahead of its time But once the Apple Watch entered the market in 2015, it was game over for Pebble. The company was acquired by Fitbit in late... Continue reading…

  • Salesforce CEO hates Section 230, but his lawyers sure don’t
    by Nick Statt on October 19, 2019 at 12:15 am

    Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, an outspoken tech industry figure who is apparently not afraid to criticize other business leaders, spent all week bashing Facebook over the company’s refusal to moderate certain content on its platform, like political ads that contain lies. He’s on tour promoting his book, Trailblazer, and is understandably generating headlines and free promotion as a result. But one peculiar call to action that Benioff voiced two days ago on Twitter, in favor of abolishing the oft-misunderstood Section 230, may not have been all that well thought out. That’s because, according to BuzzFeed News, Salesforce lawyers are using Section 230 as a defense in not one, but seven lawsuits involving the website Backpage, to which... Continue reading…

  • Motorola may add flashy Moto E6 Play to its budget lineup, according to leaked renders
    by Nick Statt on October 18, 2019 at 9:40 pm

    Image: Mobielkopen Motorola’s Moto E6 line is all about compromises for the sake of affordability. As a budget Android handset, you’re sacrificing high-end features, build quality, and oftentimes aesthetics for something cheap and functional. But according to new renders acquired by German website Mobielkopen, the E6 line may be getting a slick visual update in the form of a proper E6 Play variant of the phone. The $149 standard E6 came out this summer as a budget Android phone on the cheaper end, just below the Moto G7 Play. But unlike last year’s E5, which came in a standard E5 and then Play and Plus variants, the E6 was the only model available until the addition of the E6 Plus back in September, which was only made available for European and South... Continue reading…

  • Kik Messenger will live on after Kik sells it to focus on cryptocurrency
    by Jay Peters on October 18, 2019 at 9:20 pm

    Image: Kik Last month, Kik announced that it would be shutting down the once-popular Kik Messenger app to focus on selling its Kin cryptocurrency, and fighting an SEC battle about the Kin cryptocurrency. But today, in a surprise, it was announced on the Kik blog that Kik Messenger will apparently live on, as it has been purchased by MediaLab, a holding company that owns companies like anonymous-messaging app Whisper and mixtape-sharing service DatPiff. In the blog post, MediaLab committed to continuing to develop Kik Messenger, saying that it will spend “the next few months” on making the app “faster, more reliable, [and] less buggy.” However, MediaLab also said that, to help pay for the expenses of maintaining the messaging service, it will be... Continue reading…

  • You can now subscribe to Twitch streamers on iOS, if you pay the Apple tax
    by Bijan Stephen on October 18, 2019 at 8:57 pm

    You can now subscribe to your favorite streamers from your iOS device, provided you have an iOS device and have updated the Twitch app. Truly we are living in the future. Twitch announced the news at this year’s TwitchCon in San Diego, but the feature rolled out today. It’s a little different than your usual Twitch subscribing experience, and yes, it is Apple’s fault. The reason it’s taken this long for Twitch to offer subs through its iOS app is because Apple takes a 30 percent cut of any digital subscriptions or media sold through apps on its App Store. So most companies — like Amazon, which owns Twitch — just don’t sell media through iOS apps. To subscribe on iOS, you have to buy what Twitch is calling “iOS Sub Tokens,” which cost... Continue reading…

  • Blizzard is banning people in its Hearthstone Twitch chat for pro-Hong Kong statements
    by Bijan Stephen on October 18, 2019 at 8:25 pm

    In February, Blizzard announced a new Hearthstone e-sports program, called the Masters Tour, to pit the game’s best players against each other for a chance to win the acclaim of the internet (and potentially a lot of money). A European leg of the tour is currently happening in Bucharest, and you can catch the action over on Twitch. But there’s a catch: anybody who posts anything pro-Hong Kong seems to be earning an automatic 24-hour chat ban, as reported by Dot Esports. (On Twitch, a chat ban means that you can’t post anything in a channel’s chat for a certain amount of time; offenses and ban lengths are both specified by moderators.) That said, the bans seem inconsistent. On Friday afternoon, over at the @PlayHearthstone Twitch... Continue reading…

  • AOC and Ted Cruz call out Apple for dropping Hong Kong app in joint letter
    by Colin Lecher on October 18, 2019 at 7:45 pm

    Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images In two letters, a bipartisan group of lawmakers sharply criticized Apple and Blizzard over their recent actions in China. “Strong concern” over Apple’s decision The first, addressed to Apple CEO Tim Cook, expresses “strong concern” over the company’s decision to remove an app used by Hong Kong protesters from its App Store. The app, called HKMap, tracked police presence and was used by pro-democracy activists, but was removed earlier this month after Apple claimed it was being used for criminal activity. The app’s developers said there was no evidence of that, and Apple has been slammed for the move. “Cases like these raise real concern about whether Apple and other large US corporate entities will bow to growing Chinese demands rather... Continue reading…

  • Wing’s delivery drones take flight for the first time in Virginia
    by Andrew J. Hawkins on October 18, 2019 at 7:36 pm

    Wing’s drone delivery service is now live in Virginia. The Alphabet subsidiary is now delivering snacks and health care products to residents of Christiansburg, Virginia, after receiving approval from the government and teaming up with major players like FedEx and Walgreens. Wing says it’s the first commercial drone delivery service in the US. Earlier this year, Wing became one of the first drone operators to be certified as a commercial air carrier by the Federal Aviation Administration, allowing it to deliver goods to people who may live miles away and not in the drone operator’s line of sight. A video posted by Wing shows an elderly couple and a family with young children using their smartphones to select items for delivery. The... Continue reading…