Letter from the Editor
Christmas is right around the corner, but Santa’s not the only one dropping from the sky with presents this holiday season. Amazon’s Prime Air officially began service this week, when a drone made the service’s first delivery in Cambridge, England. So the future of shipping has arrived … for a handful of people in the English countryside.
Many, many more Amazonians will be getting served, however, by Prime Video, now that the company has spun it out into a standalone service. At an introductory rate that’s a third the cost of Netflix, the move creates serious competition for viewing dollars around the world — though it only brings Amazon’s original programming. Still, if critical acclaim is any indicator, you’re getting good value: Both of the two streaming services have shows up for multiple Golden Globes.
One competitor Amazon isn’t (and shouldn’t be) preoccupied with is a new virtual assistant from Japan. It’s a female anime character in a jar. It costs $ 2,500. It will not lift the crushing weight of loneliness that pervades your every waking hour. Oh, and if you’re thinking it’d make a swell Christmas gift, think 2017 — the company’s taking preorders now, but it won’t arrive for a year.
Tesla will tax owners who idle at the Supercharger
More Teslas on the road also means there might be long lines at the local Supercharger. After complaints about owners who leave their car hooked up beyond the time needed for a full charge, Elon Musk & Co. have a fix: idle fees. If you don’t collect your EV within five minutes of it reaching full charge (you’ll get a notification on your phone), then expect a 40 cent per minute charge to sit in that spot.
Apple’s AirPods are now on sale
Online pre-orders are now stretching into 2017, but you can order a pair of Apple’s new EarBuds. The wireless buds go perfectly with a headphone jack-deficient iPhone 7, whose owners are most likely to lay down $ 160 for the pair + charger. A side effect of the AirPods’ tangle free lifestyle is that you might end up losing one, however, and if you do, the replacement will cost $ 69.
Netflix’s weird surprise show ‘The OA’ is now streaming
Last weekend Netflix surprised us by teasing a new miniseries about a mysterious young woman. The trailer left much to the imagination, but the main plot centers on a young woman who was blind before being abducted, and returns to her family seven years later able to see. Its eight-episode length had some hoping for another “Stranger Things” experience. We don’t know if it’s that good, but it’s a perfect choice if you can’t make it out to “Rogue One” this weekend.
“League of Legends” developer signs a $ 300 million streaming deal
eSports looks poised to make a big leap, and BAMTech, a streaming company part-owned by the MLB, the NHL and Disney (read: ESPN) is ready to buy in. It struck a deal with “League of Legends” maker Riot Games that’s worth over $ 300 million, and it will build an app next year to stream competitions on phones, PCs and other devices.
DARPA’s OFFSET program will use gamers to playtest drone swarm control
Stop us if this sounds familiar: A government agency is trying to help the military control groups of flying robots, and one of the ways it will learn is by offering a “physics-based, swarm tactics game.” The idea is to let playtesters swap strategies on how to best control a swarm of drone robots, then apply that knowledge to the real thing.
Nintendo’s Switch console is going on tour
Can’t wait until March to see the Switch? No problem, because Nintendo just announced it’s taking the console on a “Preview Tour” of major cities starting in January.
But wait, there’s more…
- Meet Waymo: Google’s new (old) self-driving car business
- Nokia returns with a dumb phone from its new owner
- The Engadget Podcast Episode 18: In which Terrence drops F-bombs while talking about Yahoo
- Review: HP Spectre x360 (2016)
- Dwarf planet Ceres is ‘oozing’ with water