Category Archives: Tech

Project Loon signs its first deal for Internet-delivering balloons—in Kenya

Candido’s video aid when the time came to explain how Project Loon functions. “The team back in Mountain View knows presentations aren’t my strength.”

Project Loon, the Internet-delivering balloon system that grew out of Alphabet’s Project X division, has announced its first commercial deal. According to multiple reports, the recent Project X graduates will partner with Telkom Kenya to increase connectivity in the country.

“Connectivity is critical. If you are not online, you are left out,” Joe Mucheru, Kenya’s information, communication, and technology minister, told Reuters. “Loon is another technology that is being introduced that the licensed operators hopefully can be able to use.”

Public details of the deal appear scarce for now—no firm timeframe for deployment or financial details were available as of press time. The BBC notes that with this new partnership, Telkom Kenya will provide the Internet signals and Loon will spread it over remote areas of Kenya.

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DC’s streaming service will cost $8 per month

We've known for awhile now that DC Comics, home of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, was working on its own streaming service to house its TV shows and movies. Now, DC has released more details on the service. DC Universe will be priced at $75 per y…

FCC votes against Sinclair/Tribune merger, likely dooming deal

Enlarge / A sign for the Sinclair Broadcast buildings seen on October 12, 2004 in Hunt Valley, Maryland. (credit: Getty Images | William Thomas Cain)

The Federal Communications Commission has voted unanimously against approving Sinclair Broadcast Group’s acquisition of Tribune Media Company, likely dooming the merger.

Technically, the commission adopted a Hearing Designation Order that refers the merger to an administrative law judge. Mergers usually don’t survive that legal process. Besides referring the merger to a judge, the FCC’s other options included denying the merger outright, approving the merger, or approving it with conditions. The unanimous vote to refer the merger to a judge was finalized on Wednesday evening.

Sinclair’s problems stem from its plan to divest some stations in order to stay under station ownership limits. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai proposed the designation order on Monday, saying that Sinclair’s proposal to divest certain stations “would allow Sinclair to control those stations in practice, even if not in name, in violation of the law.”

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Halo devs not working on battle royale mode for Infinite

Enlarge / Don’t expect this to be the setting for a survival-style battle on an ever-shrinking map anytime soon.

The stratospheric success of games like Fortnite and Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds in the past year has led to a wave of copycat battle royale survival games and modes. Even franchises like Call of Duty aren’t immune, with Black Ops 4 adding a new battle royale mode called Blackout while ignoring the usual single-player campaign.

It seems the Halo series will not be following the trend, though. In a Halo 5-focused “social stream” hosted on Microsoft’s Mixer platform last night, 343 Industries writer Jeff Easterling said the studio is not working on a battle royale mode for the upcoming Halo Infinite .

A viewer plainly asked, “Will there be battle royale in Halo Infinite?” Easterling responded definitively, “I’ll tell you right now, the only BR we’re interested in is Battle Rifle, the original BR. So calm yourself.”

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Tempow turns any old Bluetooth speakers into a surround sound system

One of the most distinctive features in the Moto X4 — its ability to stream music to multiple Bluetooth speakers at once — came from Tempow, a small Paris-based startup. That's particularly useful for those of us who've collected several Bluetooth…

Gorilla Glass 6 tackles the problem of cumulative smartphone damage

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Coming soon to a smartphone near you: it’s Gorilla Glass 6, the latest version of Corning’s ubiquitous smartphone display cover. Gorilla Glass typically sits between the display and the outside world protecting your precious pixels from damage and receiving touch input. Lately, manufacturers have been using it for the back of the phone, too.

Every year, Corning says the newest version of Gorilla Glass is better than last version. Gorilla Glass 4 survived drops “up to 80 percent of the time” when dropped “face down from one meter,” while Gorilla Glass 5 survived “80 percent of the time” from 1.6-meter drops onto a rough surface. This new glass concoction is designed to take multiple drops, though, with Corning saying it can survive “15 drops from 1 meter onto rough surfaces.” (One meter is a little more than three feet.)

This year, the company is tackling repeated damage that is inflicted on a display. While a brand new piece of Gorilla Glass might survive any single drop, the micro abrasions incurred from multiple drops weaken the display panel and make it more likely to break next time. Corning says Gorilla Glass 6 should reach the market in “the next several months.”

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Comcast admits defeat in bidding war for Fox, clearing path for Disney

(credit: Comcast)

Comcast is abandoning its attempt to purchase 21st Century Fox properties, the cable company announced today.

“Comcast does not intend to pursue further the acquisition of the 21st Century Fox assets,” Comcast said in a statement.

That doesn’t mean Comcast is done trying to buy media properties, however. Comcast’s statement said that it will focus on its attempt to purchase Sky, a British media and pay-TV company. Comcast last week raised its bid for Sky, topping a previous offer made by 21st Century Fox.

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MacBook Pro document confirms ‘anti-debris’ keyboard redesign

When iFixit tore down the new MacBook Pros, it found silicone barriers protecting keyboard switches. While Apple claimed these were to make the keyboards quieter, others suspected that the membranes were a way for Apple to fix its troublesome keyboar…

YouTube begins embracing the hashtag

When you visit YouTube on Android or the web, you might come across something you probably associate more with Twitter or Facebook: hashtags. The video platform now allows uploaders to add hashtags to their descriptions and video titles to make it ea…

DARPA’s insect-sized SHRIMP robots could aid disaster relief

DARPA's efforts to propel military technology forward often manifest in a diverse fashion, spanning everything from drone submarine development to a biostasis program that aims to buy more time to rescue soldiers on the battlefield. The SHRIMP progra…