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2024-07-16 19:06:53| Engadget

Big-ticket items might get the lion's share of the attention during Amazon Prime Day, but look below the surface and you'll find a bunch of deals on items that were already budget-friendly. Case in point: our pick for the best budget wireless earbuds, the Anker Soundcore Space A40, have dropped to $49. That's a discount of $31 and brings the earbuds back down to match their record-low price. This is just one of many Prime Day deals we have our eye on. We feel that the Soundcore Space A40 buds deliver excellent active noise cancellation (ANC) performance, especially for a model in this price range. Anker employs an adaptive system by default that adjusts the ANC intensity based on the noise around you. You can set the ANC to strong, moderate or weak levels manually too and Anker claims it can block up to 98 percent of noise. It's worth noting that the ANC might not be as effective for blocking higher-pitch sounds, while the transparency mode does the trick, but it's not nearly as effective as what you'd find on more premium earbuds. The Space A40 buds are pretty comfortable. They have a battery life of about eight hours, with the charging case adding around another 40. The default sound profile is warm and pleasant without totally blowing out the low end. You can tweak the EQ settings to your preference in the Soundcore app, which can help you refine the bass and higher frequencies. The touch controls are customizable too. Changes you make are saved directly to the earphones. The IXP4 water resistance rating isn't super robust, but you'll be able to wear the Space A40 in light rain and at the gym without too much of a concern. What's more, there's multipoint pairing, so you can connect the earbuds to two devices at the same time for what it's worth, we haven't encountered any significant connection issues. Your Prime Day Shopping Guide: See all of our Prime Day coverage. Shop the best Prime Day deals on Yahoo Life. Follow Engadget for Prime Day tech deals. Hear from Autoblogs experts on the best Amazon Prime Day deals for your car, garage, and home, and find Prime Day sales to shop on AOL, handpicked just for you.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/prime-day-deals-bring-our-favorite-pair-of-budget-wireless-earbuds-down-to-only-49-170653500.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising


2024-07-16 18:40:56| Engadget

For whatever reason, some people might not want to shop at Amazon. Or maybe youre a completist and want to check out every possible sale out there. Whatever your reasoning, weve gathered up the best anti-Prime Day sales from retailers like Target, Walmart and B&H Photo. We also spotted a few deals directly from manufacturers. Here are the best rival Amazon Prime Day deals we could find that arent on Amazon. As with all Engadget tech deals coverage, we almost exclusively highlight discounts on gear we've tested or have otherwise used and know to be worthy of your money. We cross-checked our guides and reviews with the Prime-Day adjacent deals other retailers have put forth to come up with what you see here. Site-wide anti-Prime Day sales A variety of brands are hosting site-wide sales of their own. Some of the deals are no different than what youd see on a typical Tuesday, but a few of the discounts seem like they were inspired by Amazons giant July bonanza. If youre down to browse, you may find a few worthwhile deals on the sale pages from: Marshall speakers Breville Sony Google Store Logitech Your Prime Day Shopping Guide: See all of our Prime Day coverage. Shop the best Prime Day deals on Yahoo Life. Follow Engadget for Prime Day tech deals. Hear from Autoblogs experts on the best Amazon Prime Day deals for your car, garage, and home, and find Prime Day sales to shop on AOL, handpicked just for you.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/the-best-prime-day-deals-from-walmart-target-best-buy-and-more-164056172.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising


2024-07-16 18:07:21| Engadget

Google reportedly offered a group of EU-based cloud firms $512 million (470 million) as an attempt to derail an antitrust settlement with Microsoft and force the continuation of a formal complaint, according to Bloomberg. The attempt failed and the settlement went through. Heres how it went down. A non-profit trade organization called the Cloud Infrastructure Services Providers in Europe (CISPE) issued a complaint to the EUs antitrust arm, alleging that Microsoft made it too difficult for business customers to change providers because the software was tied to Azure cloud services. This led to a negotiation between CISPE and Microsoft to give the former better access to the latters technologies and end the formal complaint. Thats when Google, a rival to Microsoft, stepped in. The company allegedly offered the aforementioned financial package to the group, so long as they continued with the complaint. This is according to confidential documents and people familiar with the matter, all of which were vetted by Bloomberg. The financial package broke down into two parts. The vast majority of Googles offer included software licenses for its cloud technology over five years, with a value of $495 million or 455 million. The remaining amount was offered in cash, as well as a long-term partnership proposal. Amazon Web Services (AWS) also contributed money to Google's offer, despite being an actual member of CISPE.  Googles deal was conditional, however, on CISPE continuing its EU antitrust complaint against Microsoft. This didnt influence the cloud companies that comprise CISPE, which are mostly European firms. Instead, the group went in the opposite direction. It entered into a similar agreement with Microsoft that allows them to use enhanced Azure features and gives them the ability to offer Microsoft products and services on their local cloud infrastructures. There was also a cash payout agreement from Microsoft to CISPE of around $11 million, according to people familiar with the agreement. "Microsoft's playbook of paying off complainants rather than addressing the substance of their complaint hurts businesses and shouldn't fool anyone," Amit Zavery, head of platform at Google Cloud, told CRN. We are exploring our options to continue to fight against Microsoft's anti-competitive licensing in order to promote choice, innovation, and the growth of the digital economy in Europe. Its worth noting that Zavery didnt address the allegations that, well, Google did the same exact thing. According to The Register, an individual familiar with the matter called Googles response a bit rich.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/google-reportedly-offered-eu-cloud-firms-over-500-million-to-continue-antitrust-case-against-microsoft-160721324.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising


2024-07-16 18:00:56| Engadget

When Beats discontinued the Pill+ in early 2022, the company seemed to be done with portable Bluetooth speakers. At that point, it hadnt debuted a new model in over six years, which is a far cry from the release schedule were accustomed to from Beats. But, to the surprise of many, the company has re-entered the crowded market with a redesigned Pill ($150). Taking more aesthetic cues from its older models instead of the most recent Pill+, the company sought a cure by completely re-engineered the inside of the device to improve sound quality. It also made the new Pill more rugged along the way, while doubling the battery life and adding modern features like lossless audio, remedying what ailed the previous aging model. A prescription for better sound While there are some visible changes, Beats did most of its overhaul on the inside of the new Pill. Most importantly, the company ditched the dual tweeter and dual woofer setup from the Pill+ in favor of a new design that only uses one of each. A larger, more powerful pill-shaped woofer provides more robust bass with less total harmonic distortion (THD) and a lower frequency range. That single tweeter has been upgraded, too. The driver for mid-range and treble sits in its own housing and has a larger rear cavity. Beats says this setup decreases the crossover responsibilities for the tweeter and woofer in covering the Pills full sonic range. As a result, the two components work more efficiently as the tweeter is only tasked with mids and highs while the woofer cranks out the bass. Another item Beats added on the new Pill is lossless audio over USB-C. The speaker can handle higher-quality tunes up to 24-bit/48kHz via a wired connection. This is my favorite way to listen to the Pill as the audio is more immersive with better clarity. Billy Strings Live Vol. 1 in Hi-Res Lossless on Apple Music is noticeably improved over listening via Bluetooth, for example. Of course, the speaker will also charge in this scenario since youre physically connected to the laptop or whichever device its streaming from. Billy Steele for Engadget All of this creates much-improved sound quality on the new Pill. The Pill+ was no slouch by 2015 standards, but portable Bluetooth speakers have come a long way in nine years. The rebuild under the hood provides great clarity with punchy highs, full mids and booming bass for much of the volume range. At maximum loudness though, things are more of a jumbled mess as the speaker cant maintain the crisp, clear detail it offers at around 85 percent and below. For Balance and Composures Cross To Bear, the Pill accurately replicates the snappy kick drum and snare combo with the droning bass line over top. Guitars weave through in a layered fashion and the vocals cut clean in the mix. The low-end tone provides depth to this alternative rock track that many speakers this size cant. The Pill also does a respectable job with boomy hip-hop songs from Run The Jewels and Kaytranada, although the speaker does start to struggle when the bass is super deep, like on RTJ4s Out Of Sight. The tone isnt as clean as most other songs I tested from the genre. Amplify and Stereo modes return from the Pill+ to expand the capabilities of the Pill if you have two of them. The first simply offers bigger, louder sound since youre using the power of two speakers. The second creates a true stereo pair with dedicated left and right channels. Both work well, but if youre only using the onboard controls to activate Stereo mode, you have to remember to join the speakers in Amplify mode first. Theres no option in the iOS settings to do this, but you can activate the modes inside the standalone Beats app for Android. The Beats Pills design Billy Steele for Engadget One visible design change is the drivers now sit at a 20-degree angle. Beats says it did this to improve sound projection and it delivered. The new Pill does a better job of beaming audio in the direction of your ears when its sitting on a shelf or a table, rather than just blasting it straight out the front. I was especially struck by how well the Pill projects low-end tone on boomy hip-hop and electronic tracks. Four buttons line the top of the Pill for a complete suite of physical controls. The power button, which is on the left, also handles pairing, battery status, voice assistant, USB-C audio and reversing the charging direction. In the middle, the redundantly named Center button offers the media controls while also playing a role in activating Amplify and Stereo modes. And on the right sit the two volume buttons. These are all dimpled circle buttons that work reliably and are easy to find by touch. The new Pill is also built for the great outdoors. Beats engineered this speaker with IP67-rated dust and water resistance, while the Pill+ didnt have an IP rating at all. This number means the Pill is fully dust tight and can survive full immersion up to 30 minutes in depths of one meter (just over three feet). Thats plenty of protection for a day at the beach or the pool without having to worry about terminal damage. Beats also included a loop strap that attaches to the end of the speaker for easy carrying or hanging up the unit. The Beats Pill as a speakerphone Something Beats is hyping on the new Pill is the ability to use it as a speakerphone. This functionality has been available on Bluetooth speakers before, but the company says its combination of a noise-learning lgorithm and full duplex capability (both sides can hear clearly without being cut off) leads to a better experience. I found this to be true during my testing as the Pill sounds much better than most earbuds in quiet spaces. The audio quality on calls suffers when the speaker is trying to battle background noise; however, its still your voice that comes through clearly rather than a loud fan or some other distraction. Battery life Beats says the new Pill will last up to 24 hours on a charge, which is ample power for a few days. During my testing, I noticed that the speaker could actually muster more. It might be because I kept volumes around 35 to 40 percent most of the time, since the Pill is really loud at 50 percent. After 14 hours of listening to music on both my laptop and iPhone, I still have 70 percent battery left. If you do find yourself in a pinch, the Pill is equipped with Beats Fast Fuel feature that gives you two hours of use by plugging in for 10 minutes. Whats more, the speaker will charge while connected to another device, like your laptop, via a USB-C cable. The Pill has a charge-out feature that can top up your phone or other small devices too, and you can reverse the charging direction with a triple tap on the power button. The competition There are so many alternatives to the Beats Pill, with plenty of them available for $100 or less. I would recommend reading our in-depth guide on the best bluetooth speakers that has some suggestions as well as what to look for when youre shopping. I will point out the JBL Charge 5 from that list, primarily due to its sound quality. Its just as durable as the Pill and you can use two for a stereo setup or sync it with any PartyBoost-enabled JBL devices. The Charge 5 also has up to 20 hours of battery life and a built-in power bank to top off your phone, making it a great deal at under $150. Wrap-up Ill be the first to admit I didnt have a new Beats speaker on my 2024 Bingo card. But, Ill also be quick to confess that I enjoyed my time with the new Pill, mostly due to its much-improved sound quality. Doubled battery life, lossless audio over USB-C and a more rugged build set the Pill up to compete with popular models from Ultimate Ears, JBL and others. Plus, Beats took a chunk out of the price, making this new model a much more palatable offering at $150. While the audio isnt as good at extreme volumes and the bass tone isnt as consistent on some tracks, overall audio quality is the best aspect of the Pill. And that makes it a solid addition to your music regimen.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/beats-pill-review-a-revival-worth-the-wait-160056269.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising


2024-07-16 16:32:43| Engadget

The UK's antitrust watchdog is once again investigating Microsoft. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has opened a formal probe over the company's hiring of former Inflection AI staff and its licensing of the startup's tech. The initial phase one investigation will be wrapped up by September 11, at which point the CMA will determine whether to open a more in-depth (phase two) probe. The agency will try to determine whether Microsoft attempted to avoid antitrust scrutiny by recruiting Inflection's staff and employing its tech but not buying the company outright. It will look at whether the moves "resulted in the creation of a relevant merger situation under the merger provisions of the Enterprise Act 2002" and if that has, or is likely to have, a negative impact on competition in the UK. "We are confident that the hiring of talent promotes competition and should not be treated as a merger, Microsoft told Bloomberg in a statement. We will provide the UK CMA with the information it needs to complete its inquiries expeditiously. Microsoft's Inflection strategy is also under the spotlight in the US. The Federal Trade Commission is investigating the situation. Microsoft last week gave up its non-voting observer seat on OpenAI's board in what onlookers believed was an attempt to evade further antitrust scrutiny. Microsoft has invested over $10 billion into OpenAI which has also drawn the attention of the FTC and CMA. Meanwhile, the CMA and Microsoft are familiar foes. The antitrust agency heavily scrutinized Microsoft's $69 billion takeover of Activision Blizzard. The probe was the final hurdle the companies had to overcome before closing the deal.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/uk-antitrust-officials-join-ftc-in-investigating-microsofts-hiring-of-inflection-ai-staff-143243701.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising


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