Weekly Tech Recap - № 207 - Google game console, Android Q ß, Firefox Send, Razer peripherals, smart speakers, and Tesla Model Y
Google game console
Unverified image circulating on the Net. © X.
All the signs suggest that Google might present a game console at the Game Developers Conference taking place March 18 to 22 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. First clue: Google published a video on YouTube that promises to reveal its “vision of the future of gaming” on March 19. Second clue: Rick Osterloh, senior vice president of Google’s Hardware division, promoted the video on Twitter. In addition, we already know that Google is working on a streaming game platform, Project Stream, a service similar to GeForce Now. A demonstration of its handling with the game Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey was presented last October. Finally, we also know that Google has filed a patent for a game controller. All this leads us to hypothesize that a connected console based on Project Stream will be unveiled. What’s more, Montreal’s Jade Raymond, who was managing the Star Wars franchise at Electronic Arts, formerly of Ubisoft Montreal, announced Tuesday that she was joining Google as vice president.
⇨ Ars Technica, “All signs point to a Google game console announcement at GDC.”
Android Q beta
Q. © iStock.
Google released a beta version of its upcoming Android operating system. The highlights of this release include new privacy and security controls, support for new foldable phones, a sharing menu that finally really works, and a faster application launch. You can only install this first beta version on Pixel devices (all versions, including the first one). If you do not have a Pixel device, you can still use Android Emulator and download the system images via the SDK Manager in Android Studio. This just leaves the code name for this version. Not easy to find a sweet treat name that starts with a Q ...
⇨ Android Developers Blog, “Introducing Android Q Beta.”
Firefox Send. © Mozilla Foundation.
Mozilla has launched a new encrypted file-sharing service called Firefox Send that is similar to WeTransfer. It allows users to send up to 1 GB of files free of charge. Users can increase their transfer capacity to 2.5 GB if they open a Firefox account that is also free. Unlike other services, there are currently no paying options. Files on Firefox Send are ephemeral, each download link being set to expire after a certain time or number of downloads, with a maximum of 7 days or 100 downloads. You can also protect downloads with a password.
⇨ Ars Technica, “Firefox Send lets you send files up to 2.5 GB with time and download limits.”
Razer peripherals for small budgets
New Razer gaming peripherals. © Razer.
Razer is launching three new gaming peripherals: a keyboard, a mouse and a headset, all of which are affordable, compared to the usual prices. The low prices don’t mean low quality, but rather reduced functionality in comparison to more expensive models. The mechanical keyboard is an update of BlackWidow and is offered at US$ 120. The Kraken headset, priced at US$ 80, is also an update of a previous model, the Kraken Pro V2. The Basilisk Essential Mouse is based on the design of the original Basilisk. It has seven configurable buttons and will cost US$ 50. Good news for gamers with smaller budgets or for those who want to make their money go further.
⇨ Circuit Breaker, “Razer splits hairs with cheaper, slightly better new peripherals.”
Success of smart speakers
Line-up of Echo devices. © Amazon.
If you have a smart speaker, you might own a Google Home or more likely, an Amazon Echo. In U.S. smart speaker owners grew 40 percent over 2018 to now reach 66.4 million — or 26.2 percent of the U.S. adult population. Though market share is debatable, the consensus is that the Echo is in the lead (about 61% in the U.S.), with the Google Home closing the gap. Amazon is allegedly selling its Echo devices at cost or even a loss to maintain its first place in this competitive market.
Tesla Model Y
Model Y. © Tesla.
In Los Angeles, Tesla CEO Elon Musk showed off a prototype version of the Model Y, the fourth mass-produced vehicle that the electric car maker will bring to market. As expected, the vehicle will be a larger SUV take on the Model 3, much like the Model X was the larger, SUV version of the Model S. The Model Y could achieve 0 to 100 kilometers per hour in 3.5 seconds. The 480 km, long-range version of the vehicle will go into production in Fall 2020 with an MSRP of 47,000 USD. The 370 km standard version will cost 37,000 USD and go into production in spring 2021, according to Musk. The Y will seat seven people with 1.9 m2 of storage space.
⇨ Ars Technica, “At quick Los Angeles event, Tesla announces the 300-mile-range Model Y.”