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New APK teardown hints at future Google rival to Amazon’s Echo Show

Ars Technica - 53 min 46 sec ago

Enlarge / Amazon's Echo Show may have a Google-made rival in the near future. (credit: Amazon)

Sections of code within a recent update to the Google app seem to bolster reports that Google is working on a competitor to Amazon’s Echo Show smart speaker.

An Android Police teardown of the Google app’s v7.14.15 beta update uncovered several references to functions and commands that can be performed by a device or feature codenamed “Quartz.”

The code suggests that Quartz is activated through voice commands and can perform typical smart speaker tasks like setting a timer or checking the weather. However, it also points to several functions that would likely involve a screen, such as Web browsing, showing Google Maps data, and displaying recipes and other cooking info. The update also seems to contain different layouts for watching videos on YouTube, which Google pulled from Amazon’s touchscreen speaker last month with little explanation.

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BB-8 finds love with another Star Wars droid in new comic - CNET - News - 1 hour 10 sec ago
Romancing the robot? Watch as BB-8 and its new astromech soulmate roll off together in the latest issue of Marvel's Poe Dameron comic.

ROCA 'round the lock: Gemalto says IDPrime .NET access cards bitten by TPM RSA key gremlin

The Register - 1 hour 4 min ago
Here's what to do if you have an affected badge

Some Gemalto smartcards can be potentially cloned and used by highly skilled crooks due to a cryptography blunder dubbed ROCA.…

Toshiba's 'breakthrough' battery can charge in six minutes - Roadshow - News - 1 hour 8 min ago
Toshiba didn't talk about cost per kWh, so it's probably... not cheap.

After Supreme Court detour, Apple v. Samsung goes to a fourth jury trial

Ars Technica - 1 hour 16 min ago

Enlarge / People hold their iPhone during the Apple iPhone 3G launch ceremony in Seoul, South Korea, in 2009. (credit: Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

The Apple v. Samsung lawsuit is getting a big "reset," thanks to last year's Supreme Court ruling on design patents.

The long-running litigation rollercoaster has included so many turns it's hard to keep track. The case was filed in 2011 and went to a 2012 jury trial, which resulted in a blockbuster verdict of more than $1 billion. Post-trial damage motions whittled that down, and then there was a 2013 damages re-trial in front of a separate jury. An appeals court kicked out trademark-related damages altogether.

Meanwhile, a whole separate case moved forward in which Apple sued over a new generation of Samsung products. That lawsuit went to a jury trial in 2014 and resulted in a $120 million verdict, far less than the $2 billion Apple was seeking. That verdict was thrown out on appeal, then reinstated on a subsequent appeal. So that one appears to stand.

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Send your own 'Stranger Things' message from the Upside Down - CNET - News - 1 hour 24 min ago
A fan on Reddit sets up a wall of Christmas lights connected to the internet so others can transmit messages to his dorm room, "Stranger Things" style.

'Geostorm' is not quite the thunderous trash you're looking for - CNET - News - 1 hour 30 min ago
"Geostorm" is perfect for those disaster movie fans who loved "Armageddon" but thought the acting was too high-brow…

Of course Star Trek: Discovery will come back for Season 2

Ars Technica - 1 hour 31 min ago

Enlarge / Captain Gabriel Lorca (Jason Isaacs) and Lieutenant Ash Tyler (Shazad Latif). (credit: CBS)

On Monday, the day after Star Trek: Discovery’s sixth episode aired, CBS announced that the show would be brought back for a second season.

The show—which is only available on CBS All Access, the network’s online streaming platform—has been met with generally positive reviews, including here at Ars.

"This series has a remarkable creative team and cast who have demonstrated their ability to carry on the Star Trek legacy," said Marc DeBevoise, president and chief operating officer of CBS Interactive in a statement. "We are extremely proud of what they've accomplished and are thrilled to be bringing fans a second season of this tremendous series."

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iPhone 8 trade-ins spike ahead of iPhone X, says reseller - CNET - News - 1 hour 39 min ago
One tech recycling site says Apple's new model is already being returned.

Space traffic alert: 8 asteroids buzz Earth in just 3 weeks - CNET - News - 1 hour 47 min ago
A space rock whizzed by this weekend at the second closest distance so far in 2017. October is turning out to be a busy month.

Upgrading to an iPhone X? Get a head start now - CNET - News - 1 hour 59 min ago
If you're a member of Apple's iPhone Upgrade Program, you'll want to do this now.

Police body cams had no “statistically significant effect” in DC

Ars Technica - 2 hours 12 min ago

Enlarge (credit: Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)

Police body cams worn by 2,600 officers in the nation's capital did not affect citizen complaints or the use of force by the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), according to a new study.

"We found essentially that we could not detect any statistically significant effect of the body-worn cameras," according to Anita Ravishankar, an MPD researcher at a city government group named Lab @ DC.

To conduct the study, researchers identified officers across the seven metro police districts that fit a specific criteria: the officer had to have active, full duty administrative status without a scheduled leave of absence during the study; the officer had to hold a rank of sergeant or below; and the officer had to be assigned to patrol duties in a patrol district or to a non-administrative role at a police station. From there, officers were split into control (no body cams) and treatment groups. "Our sample consisted of 2,224 MPD members, with 1,035 members assigned to the control group, and 1,189 members assigned to the treatment group," the study notes.

The study (PDF) then measured four outcome factors: reported uses of force, civilian complaints, policing activities (which includes tickets, warnings, arrests, etc.), and judicial outcomes, specifically whether MPD arrest charges led to prosecutions.

DC Police Chief Peter Newsham told NPR that everybody was expecting a different conclusion about the agency's $5.1 million program. "I think we're surprised by the result. I think a lot of people were suggesting that the body-worn cameras would change behavior. There was no indication that the cameras changed behavior at all."

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New IIHS crash test could make life harder for automakers - Roadshow - News - 2 hours 17 min ago
The first round of vehicles it tested did pretty darn well, though.

Apple quietly kills off 256-gigabyte iPhone 7

ZDnet News - 2 hours 24 min ago
Hoping to pick up a high-capacity iPhone 7? You'd better hurry.

Harman Kardon Invoke review - CNET - Reviews - 2 hours 29 min ago
Microsoft's answer to Amazon Echo, Google Home and Apple HomeKit is here with the Harman Kardon Invoke. The first smart speaker with Cortana built in, the $199 Invoke sounds great and looks good, but falls short on skills.

Lego Dimensions is officially dead - CNET - News - 2 hours 35 min ago
We called it one of the best "toys-to-life" experiences of its kind when it debuted in 2015. Two years later, Lego Dimensions is done.

Apple and Samsung head for yet another patent damages trial - CNET - News - 2 hours 44 min ago
Judge Lucy Koh also details how to determine what "article of manufacture" actually did the infringing.

Kaspersky pledges independent code review to cast off spying suspicions

Ars Technica - 2 hours 44 min ago

Enlarge / Kaspersky Lab CEO and Chairman Eugene Kaspersky speaks at a conference in Russia on July 10, 2017. (credit: Anton NovoderezhkinTASS via Getty Images)

After reports that data collected by the company's anti-malware client was used to target an NSA contractor and various accusations of connections to Russian intelligence, today Kaspersky Lab announced the launch of what company executives call a "Global Transparency Initiative." As part of the effort aimed at regaining the trust of corporate and government customers among others, a Kaspersky spokesperson said that the company would open product code and the company's secure coding practices to independent review by the first quarter of 2018.

Don't just take our word for it - Kaspersky Lab announces comprehensive transparency initiative

— Kaspersky Lab (@kaspersky) October 23, 2017

In a statement released by the company, founder Eugene Kaspersky said, "We want to show how we’re completely open and transparent. We’ve nothing to hide. And I believe that with these actions we’ll be able to overcome mistrust and support our commitment to protecting people in any country on our planet."

As part of the initiative, Kaspersky Lab will open three "Transparency Centers" for code review—one in the US, one in Asia, and one in Europe. This is similar to the practices of Microsoft and other large major software companies that allow code reviews by major government customers in a controlled environment. Kaspersky isn't the first vendor accused of providing espionage backdoors to follow this route—a similar practice was launched by Chinese networking hardware vendor Huawei in 2012 in the United Kingdom. At the time, Huawei offered to do the same for Australia and the US, but the offer was rejected and the company was banned from sensitive network work in the US by Congress.

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Mother Nature can save the Great Barrier Reef... if we help her - CNET - News - 2 hours 54 min ago
Australia's reef is big, beautiful and on its deathbed. The reef can still heal itself, but not without our help.

UK to help CES tech start-ups after expo chief's criticism

BBC Technology News - 3 hours 13 min ago
The government will fund small firms to attend the tech expo after claims it did little last time.

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