We’ve been reporting for months on Sonos’ upcoming speakers, but yesterday my colleague Chris Welch published some pretty final-looking marketing images of the Era 100 and Era 300 smart speakers. Expect both to offer USB-C line-in and support for Bluetooth streaming, while the Era 300 will additionally support spatial audio and Dolby Atmos. An official announcement is apparently just a few short weeks away.
Next up, my colleague Andrew Webster got to visit the new Super Nintendo World attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood recently and chat with legendary game designer Shigeru Miyamoto himself.
Finally, Microsoft is continuing to work hard to close its deal to acquire Call of Duty publisher Activision Blizzard. It’s reiterated the ten-year deal it’s signed with Nintendo to bring the first-person shooter franchise to the company’s console as senior Microsoft execs reportedly prepare to meet with EU regulators in an attempt to allay their competition concerns.
And now, here’s a silly tweet to start your day:
Stay tuned, as we continue to update this list with the most important news of today: Tuesday, February 21st, 2023.
Elon Musk keeps laying off Twitter employees after saying cuts were done
Meanwhile, he is still giving aggressive deadlines to make sweeping changes, like revamping how ad targeting works in a week.
Biden won’t stop a potential ban on importing Apple Watches
Biden upheld an ITC ruling that sets up a legal battle over the Apple Watch’s EKG feature, but don’t expect the smartwatches to disappear just yet.
- RIf you need to use AI to respond to a tragedy, maybe it’s better to say nothing at all.
The Vanderbilt Hustler reports the school’s Peabody Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion is apologizing after sending a message regarding the shooting at Michigan State University that was “paraphrased” from OpenAI’s ChatGPT model (via Gizmodo).
The generic-sounding email lacks any kind of personal touch, and responses to it reflect that, as noted by this quote from Vanderbilt student Laith Kayat:
Deans, provosts, and the chancellor: Do more. Do anything. And lead us into a better future with genuine, human empathy, not a robot
Wireless ISP Starry is filing for bankruptcy
The company says it’ll continue providing internet service to new and existing customers as it restructures.
Microsoft recruited Nintendo and Nvidia to help fight Sony over the Activision deal
Microsoft is hoping two gaming giants will help get its Activision Blizzard deal across the line with regulators in Europe.
Microsoft is already undoing some of the limits it placed on Bing AI
Last week, Microsoft limited how much people could talk to Bing, and after complaints, it’s expanding access again.
Microsoft is bringing Xbox PC games to Nvidia’s GeForce Now service
Microsoft says it will bring its Xbox PC games to Nvidia’s GeForce Now cloud streaming service. If its Activision deal is approved, it will also bring Activision Blizzard’s games to Nvidia’s service.
Ikea’s Sonos-powered Symfonisk picture frame speaker is a screaming deal at $65 off
The stealthy smart speaker is as cheap as it gets, clocking in at $194.99. Plus, excellent deals on a 32-inch curved Samsung gaming monitor, triple-A PlayStation 5 games, and another buy one, get one deal on keycaps.
- JGet ready for a PlayStation State of Play on Thursday.
The show kicks off at 4PM ET and 1PM PT, featuring new PSVR2 titles, “indie and third-party” reveals, and a look at Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, which will be released on May 26th.
Bernie Sanders throws support behind striking YouTube Music workers
The Alphabet Workers Union calls it the first-ever strike in Google’s history.
- RThe FTC wants you!
American citizens with at least one year of specialized technical expertise in software engineering, design, technology research and technology policy, or product management and development are being sought to add roughly a dozen people to the FTC’s new Office of Technology.
According to FTC chair Lina Khan, “Our office of technology is a natural next step in ensuring we have the in-house skills needed to fully grasp evolving technologies and market trends as we continue to tackle unlawful business practices and protect Americans.”
- MGen Z — and basically nobody else — is using TikTok for news.
In a Morning Consult poll, 14 percent of Gen Z said they start researching major news events on TikTok, compared to just 1 percent of other generations.
It’s worth noting Google Search is still by far the most popular for everyone — albeit less so for Gen Z compared to older adults.
Building a social media app by yourself is tricky
For the next five weeks, The Vergecast is talking to people who work independently to build cool things on the internet, like Hive — the Twitter competitor.
The sporty Beats Fit Pro earbuds now come in three new colors
You can get blue, pink, or a very bright neon yellow starting February 23rd for the usual $199.99.
The Supreme Court battle for Section 230 has begun
The future of recommendation algorithms could be at stake.
- AHere’s the live feed of this morning’s Section 230 Supreme Court hearing.
The court is hearing Gonzalez v. Google, one of the biggest tech law cases in years, at 10am ET. You can livestream the audio if you want to tune in — and we’ll have coverage of Gonzalez and its sister case Twitter v. Taamneh over the coming day and week.Live Oral Argument Audio
- RGreen light.
As we collectively emerge from the post-President’s Day haze, we’re expecting earnings results today from Coinbase.
But first up, we have advice on switching away from SMS two-factor authentication for anyone still using Twitter, and Adi Robertson considers why social networks are suddenly treating security as a premium service.
Microsoft and Sony square off in EU showdown over Activision and Call of Duty
A closed-door meeting might be key to Microsoft’s Activision acquisition, as Sony and Microsoft come face-to-face.
- JIt’s official, Android 13 is now available on the Nothing Phone 1.
Following reports that Nothing’s Android 13-based OS update had started exiting beta on the Phone 1, the company has made it official.
Unlike the phone’s original software, the new update has been developed in-house at Nothing, and the company says it delivers big performance improvements for the phone.
Microsoft signs binding Call of Duty deal with Nintendo ahead of EU Activision hearing
The 10-year legal agreement to bring Call of Duty to Nintendo players was announced as Microsoft prepares to make its case to EU regulators.
- AHere are even more images of the not-yet-announced new Sonos speakers.
Hours after our own Chris Welch revealed what will likely be Sonos’s next two speakers, a leaker has tweeted what appear to be additional images of the Era 100 and Era 300. You can check out all the images in the thread. Sadly there is not a 3.5mm port in sight.
Exclusive: these are the new Sonos Era speakers
The Sonos Era 300 and 100 are coming in late March. Both will support Bluetooth and USB-C line-in on top of Wi-Fi streaming as the company looks to reset the bar for smart speakers.
Shigeru Miyamoto is working with his hands again
As Super Nintendo World opens up in Los Angeles, the creator of Mario talks about getting back to his roots, and exploring new creative fields.