Tech writer Patrick Hearn outlines the pros and cons of three smart assistant platforms: Amazon's Alexa, Google's Assistant and Apple's HomeKit. The areas examined include product support, user friendliness and complexity of installation.
Lori Bajorek, president of the National Esports Association, gave the keynote address at the 2020 AV/IT Summit yesterday. Watch her presentation, in which she shares how digitized youth can be motivated to learn in the classroom and beyond through the power of esports.
Swytch is an enhancement to Logitech room solutions including Microsoft Teams Rooms and Zoom Rooms that enables users to join meetings for other videoconferencing systems from a laptop.
Community first, competition second. That's the philosophy driving the inclusive esports and gaming initiatives at DreamYard, a Bronx, New York, organization that partners with local schools to help students achieve success through the arts. In November the organization launched "BX Start," a 4,000-square-foot gaming center in Foxhurst designed to be an inclusive gaming space that fosters students from diverse backgrounds interested in developing gaming careers.
I'll preface this by saying I'm not sure how many people will be willing to drop hundreds of dollars or pounds on a new console, but given the level of interest we're seeing for the PS5 and Xbox Series X I'm going to guess that the number will be 'quite a lot'.
I've told regular readers that I'm a lapsed gamer, but having the newest gaming behemoth in the house always tugs at my wallet - but the thing we still don't know is exactly how many hundreds these next-generation consoles will cost.
We're likely to find out this month, apparently, and French retailer Carrefour leaked the price at €499, which lines up with the $499 / £449 pricing we've heard. We always take such leaks with a pinch of salt - and there are certainly reasons to be suspicious about this one - but as we move closer to launch, it's easier to believe the prices.
Is that too much? It's hard to say, but the early gameplay clips and advanced features that we've seen suggest you'll be getting a fair amount for your cash.
I'm not even going to bother with a pithy headline for this story - you're probably glad of that - but Apple confirming that you won't be able to get the iPhone 12 as soon as you'd expect is big news, with the coronavirus pandemic having held up the production process by a few weeks.
Just how late will it be? Apple CFO Luca Maestri said on an earnings call: "As you know, last year we started selling iPhones in late September. This year, we expect supply to be available a few weeks later."
That means the iPhone could launch in October, which seems rather late indeed. But remember, this isn't the first time it's happened: the iPhone X came out weeks after its announcement, the iPhone XR was inexplicably delayed, and even the white variant of the iPhone 4 took months to appear.
Apple could well spin this into a good thing, whipping up hype for a couple of its four iPhone 12 models by delaying them longer than the others, but it's a big call to make, and one I'll be watching closely to see what effect, if any, it has on consumer interest.
Going back to the Samsung Note 20 launch we mentioned at the start of this newsletter, and I'll be honest: I'm a little mad about what Samsung has done here, not because the Note 20 is a bad phone, but because Samsung has launched something that's incredibly expensive ($999), but without any of the top technology it could have included.
That tech - arguably the best in any Android phone - has been saved for the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. For example, where the Note 20 has a Full HD screen with 'standard' 60Hz scrolling, the Ultra has advanced resolution and 120Hz, which does make a difference.
Yes, the battery life and camera of the cheaper Note 20 model are good, and the S Pen improved - but I'd have expected to see all of Samsung's best tech in the $1,000 'base' model, not just in the extraordinarily expensive $1,300 Ultra.
After the ire of the last section, let's get back to something fun: Fall Guys. It's a new game that just launched on the PS4, and was instantly made free on PS Plus.
It immediately gained popularity as a pick-up-and-play game, and one that's quickly become a TechRadar favorite. In fact - although not necessarily because of us - it was so popular that the servers crashed during the early days of play.
Thankfully, it seems that things are getting better - and if you've got a Playstation, Fall Guys is definitely worth a play as a refreshing distraction from the never-ending pile-on 2020 is chucking our way.
I don't know if this is coming across at the moment, but sometimes technology annoys me. Why is VR not yet a thing that we're all using every day? Why aren't there more holograms in the world? Why aren't foldable phones a mainstay of consumer electronics?
I still have hope for the latter. 2019 saw some of the first foldable devices hitting the market, and while the first folding phone to hit the market, the Royole FlexPai, was innovative, it was expensive and clunky.
Samsung made things better with the Galaxy Fold, producing a book-like device, but with a weird small screen on the front; and now, as of this week, we've had a glimpse of the upcoming Galaxy Fold 2, pictured above, with what looks to be an improved front screen, although it's still a 'fold-out' book-like design.
As TechRadar's deputy editor John McCann opines, the Huawei Mate XS from 2019 is still the best foldable phone on the market. It's a 'standard' all-screen phone, but then you fold the back section out to sit alongside the front to make that massive, tablet-like screen. It's a long, long way from perfect though - here's hoping one of the brands improves things this year.
There aren't many headphones out there that could garner the kind of hype normally associated with a new phone or games console, but the new Sony WH-1000XM4 wireless over-ears headphones could change that.
These are cutting-edge cans, altering the sound depending on where you are based on smart learning tech. If you like having noise cancelling on when you're at home, but not when you're on the street, they'll switch automatically. They'll know when you want to chat, and will pause the music. And they deliver sweet levels of audio performance.
The only downside our Executive Editor Gerald Lynch found was that they stopped him singing… you'll have to read his review to find out how.
(Oh, and Sherri from Laptop Mag was rocking a pair for our latest Noise Cancelling podcast… but she didn't actually realise. Check out this week's episode to find out how that happened).