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Friday’s top tech news: 1080p but better

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YouTube is testing another perk for its Premium subscribers that offers a higher bitrate than existing 1080p streams. The option, named “1080p Premium,” is currently in testing for a small number of users, and appears to boost the bitrate of video streams by a couple of Mbps. It could be a neat option for subscribers who watch primarily on smartphones, where 1080p-resolution displays are far more common than 4K.

And speaking of video bitrates, the popular LumaFusion video editing software is now widely available on Android and ChromeOS, after previously being available for the iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

Finally, if you missed PlayStation’s State of Play yesterday, my colleague Ash Parrish has a great roundup of the most interesting trailers. Personally I’m most excited by Baldur’s Gate 3 finally getting an official release date: August 31st. It previously had a vaguer “August 2023” release window.

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: Friday, February 24th, 2023.
  • Would you let ChatGPT control your smart home?

    Screenshot from a YouTube video showing a blue smart speaker with an RGB ring around it. The speaker is on a white desk; a Palm Springs courtyard is visible behind. showed off a proof-of-concept ChatGPT integration using its voice assistant. The Josh system is currently only available through professional installers.

    Today, you can ask Alexa to turn on the lights or have Siri tell you the temperature in your bedroom, and sometimes they’ll get it right. Or you may hear, “You have 15 devices named lights; which one would you like to control?” or “The current temperature in Kathmandu is 53 degrees.” But what if your voice assistant was not only always accurate but could also respond to nebulous comments like “I’ve had a rough day; what’s a good way to unwind?” with “intelligent” responses? For example, by lowering the shades, dimming the lights, adjusting the thermostat, and queuing up some goodies on Netflix?

    That’s the potential of voice assistants powered by new AI language models, according to Alex Capecelatro, co-founder of the home automation system. has already started working on a prototype integration using OpenAI’s ChatGPT. This proof-of-concept video shows Capecelatro asking the Josh assistant to open the shades, turn off the music, and tell him the weather (controlling three things at once is a capability Josh already has). He then goes on to use more natural voice commands for the smart home, like “I’m filming a video; it’s kind of dark in here,” to which the voice assistant responds — slightly clumsily — by turning up the lights in the room.

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  • Dish Network’s internal systems are so broken some employees haven’t worked in over a day

    Illustration of the Dish wordmark on a black and red background.
    Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

    Since Thursday morning, Dish Network has been experiencing a major outage that’s taken down the company’s main websites, apps, and customer support systems, and employees tell The Verge it’s not clear what’s going on inside the company. The company’s website is completely blank save for a notice apologizing for “any disruptions you may be having” while promising that “teams are working hard to restore systems as soon as possible.” The Boost Mobile and Boost Infinite sites display a similar message.

    When we called each brand’s customer support lines, there were no humans on the other end — each call automatically hung up after delivering a recorded message about the outage.

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  • “Get up there, Cybertruck!”

    Here’s a video of the long-delayed Tesla Cybertruck “off-roading” over some bushes in front of Tesla’s new engineering HQ in Palo Alto. Check out that giant windshield wiper! (For more on the Cybertruck’s wiper woes, click here.)

  • Where did voice commands go wrong?

    We’ve talked a little bit about how interest rates explain what’s going on in tech, but I really enjoyed this insightful newsletter about why Alexa is suddenly bothering you about how it can make shopping lists:

    The other day was the final straw. Someone in my household made a request, and during the follow-on prompt, in a terrifying concert, my wife, my 3 and 6 year-olds, and me, all, in a tone that no parent should ever encourage for their kids, yelled, “Alexa, NO!!!!

    Alexa, what happened?


  • Feb 24

    Richard Lawler, Nilay Patel and 3 more

    This week on The Vergecast we talked about Section 230.

    On the latest episode (you can find the audio feeds here) TC, Nilay, and Alex broke down this week’s Supreme Court hearings that could significantly impact the internet.

    After a break and a lineup change, we also dig into the new fraud charges filed against Sam Bankman-Fried, Spotify’s AI DJ (I don’t trust it), the Microsoft vs. Sony battle over Activision, and Tesla’s new California engineering HQ.

  • Nintendo confirms it won’t be part of E3 2023

    Nintendo’s logo
    Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

    Nintendo has confirmed to The Verge that it will not be attending E3 2023.

    “We approach our involvement in any event on a case-by-case basis and are always considering various ways to engage with our fans,” the company said in a statement. “Since this year’s E3 show didn’t fit into our plans, we have made the decision to not participate. However, we have been and continue to be a strong supporter of the ESA and E3.”

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  • Meta has a new machine learning language model to remind you it does AI too

    Image of the Meta logo and wordmark on a blue background bordered by black scribbles made out of the Meta logo.
    Illustration: Nick Barclay / The Verge

    The buzz in tech these last few weeks has been focused squarely on the language models developed and deployed by the likes of Microsoft, Google, and OpenAI. But Meta, Facebook’s parent company, continues to do significant work in this field and is releasing a new AI language generator named LLaMA today.

    LLaMA isn’t like ChatGPT or Bing; it’s not a system that anyone can talk to. Rather, it’s a research tool that Meta says it’s sharing in the hope of “democratizing access in this important, fast-changing field.” In other words: to help experts tease out the problems of AI language models, from bias and toxicity to their tendency to simply make up information.

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  • The Beats Fit Pro earbuds in new yellow and coral colors are already $30 off

    The bright yellow version of the Beats Fit Pro earbuds and their matching case resting on a black mesh pattern.
    Brightly colored earbuds in your ears may do a good job of subtly telling others not to bother you.
    Image: Beats

    The colorful new variants of the Beats Fit Pro wireless earbuds just came out yesterday, and today, the yellow and pink models are already on sale. You can pick up a pair of “volt yellow” or “coral pink” Beats for $169.83 at Amazon, $30.12 off their regular $199.95 price. New products and colorways usually take a little longer than one day before they start seeing some discounts, but if you dig a tennis ball-like color for your electronics (the electric volt Xbox controller says hi!), then you’ve got yourself a nice deal here on something new and fresh.

    Not only are the Beats Fit Pro now brighter than ever but they’re also one of our favorite pairs of Bluetooth earbuds — especially for running and fitness. They sadly lack the convenience of wireless charging in their slightly oversize USB-C charging case, but that’s made up for with excellent sound, great noise cancellation, Find My integration with Apple devices, and an impeccably secure fit in your ears. Read our review.

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  • Remember Ozy Media, the company with splashy New York events, star guests, high-profile writers, and no readers?

    Its 2021 shutdown followed this NYT article (called a “hit job” at the time by founder and CEO Carlos Watson) exposing the whole thing as a sham, reporting COO Samir Rao pretended to be a YouTube executive while on a call with potential investors.

    Now Rao has pleaded guilty while Watson has been arrested, with prosecutors calling him a con man whose lies didn’t stop there:

    Watson directed Ozy’s then-Chief Financial Officer (CFO) to send the bank a fake signed contract between Ozy and the cable network purporting to be for the second season. When the then-CFO refused, Rao, with Watson’s approval, sent the fake contract — which contained terms favorable to Ozy and a forged signature — to the bank, copying the then-CFO. 

    Later that day, the then-CFO emailed Watson and Rao to say that she was resigning effective immediately. She explained, “this . . . is illegal. This is fraud. This is forging someone’s signature with the intent of getting an advance from a publicly traded bank.” She continued, “To be crystal clear, what you see as a measured risk — I see as a felony.”

  • Twitter shut off its internal Slack, and now ‘everyone is barely working’

    Elon Musk shrugging on a background with the Twitter logo
    Illustration by Kristen Radtke / The Verge; Getty Images

    Today, let’s check in on Elon Musk’s Twitter, where sudden software outages and another dubious transparency effort have left the company’s remaining workers more beleaguered than usual.

    On Wednesday, Twitter employees had the tech equivalent of a snow day: the company’s Slack instance was down for “routine maintenance,” they were told, and the company was implementing a deployment freeze as a result.

    Read Article >
  • Feb 24

    Emme Hall

    Meet the couple that built an EV rock crawler for King of the Hammers

    Keith and Melissa Silva’s EV rock crawler at King of the Hammers
    Photo by Emme Hall for The Verge

    When you think of an electric vehicle, you likely think of the ubiquitous Tesla, making its way on a daily commute. Maybe you think of a luxury Lucid Air cutting through the air with nearly no drag on a canyon road. A handful of you might picture a Rivian R1T toddling down a smooth dirt road.

    What you likely don’t think of is an EV ready to tackle the off-road rock trails with 37-inch tires, solid axles front and rear, massive articulation, and a two-speed transfer case. Thankfully, Keith and Melissa Silva of EVolve Racing have a bit of vision.

    Read Article >
  • What is going on with Fitbit?

    Graphic illustration of Fitbit’s logo.
    Once the king of fitness trackers, Fitbit’s recent outages and a decision to shutter Challenges have left users disgruntled.
    Illustration: The Verge

    These days, Fitbit users seem to be asking each other the same question: is it me, or is the app down for everybody else, too? Between frequent server outages and a recent decision to shutter popular social features, frustrated Fitbit customers say they’re weighing their options.

    Earlier this month, Google-owned Fitbit suffered a massive server outage that left users unable to sync trackers or view their data within the app or on Fitbit’s website. If it had been a one-off server outage, it’s likely users would’ve written it off as a fluke. But it extended into a second day and then a third. Then, around 1PM ET yesterday, over 1,600 users reported yet another outage, according to Downdetector. Others reported the outage to the @FitbitSupport Twitter account and in the r/Fitbit subreddit. Fitbit spokesperson Andrea Holing told The Verge that the “short outage” was quickly resolved, but for many Fitbit users, it was one outage too many.

    Read Article >
  • Popular video editing app LumaFusion now widely available for Android and ChromeOS

    Following an open beta last year, LumaFusion is now widely available on Chromebooks and Android phones and tablets.

    LumaFusion, a popular video editing app for iPhones, iPads, and Macs, is now widely available on Android and ChromeOS devices following an early access beta in November last year. Comparable to other well-regarded video editors like Final Cut Pro for macOS and Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve for iPad, LumaFusion provides powerful editing features like green screen and chroma key VFX effects, a magnetic timeline, color correction tools, and more to Chromebooks and Android tablets and phones.

    The app has already proved to be a hit with filmmakers and content creators on Apple hardware, winning the App Store Award for iPad App of the Year in 2021. The developer LumaTouch also claims that LumaFusion has been downloaded 1.1 million times and completed over 68 million project exports since its launch in 2016.

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  • Ampler Axel e-bike review: this is the way

    A green Ampler Axel bicycle stands on an upward slope against a green brick wall.
    Ampler’s new Axel (click here to enlarge).

    Yes, that’s an e-bike, despite the hidden battery and motor that’s so quiet and diminutive that nobody would expect it. It’s built by Ampler, which isn’t a household name — but should be. 

    Founded in 2014, the Estonia-based company was one of the first to recognize that sleekly designed e-bikes are an ideal form of clean and convenient urban transport for young commuters at a time when bicycles with ugly bolt-on batteries were still the domain of cycling septuagenarians. Now, Ampler is back with five models of e-bikes injected with all the know-how the company has accumulated since.

    Read Article >
  • Creed III brings Adonis’ story full circle by trading in one set of daddy issues for another

    Michael B. Jordan in Creed III
    Image: Eli Ade

    The magic of United Artists’ first two Creed films lied in the way they opened up, updated, and revitalized the Rocky franchise — all while feeling true to and deeply reverent of the original Stallone pictures. Like both of its predecessors, Creed III from first-time director and star Michael B. Jordan never wants you to lose sight of what it means to come from humble beginnings or how having family in your corner can fundamentally change a person’s life. But rather than splitting its focus between two different generations of boxers and keeping Rocky himself in the picture for nostalgic diehards, Creed III taps into the spirit of the later Rocky films by turning Adonis Creed into the ultimate father figure fighting to secure his legacy.

    In a movie landscape overfull of sequels purposefully (and inelegantly) designed to still work as standalone features, there’s something very refreshing about the way Creed III dives right back into the story of how Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan), the unknown fighter, became Adonis Creed, the heavyweight boxing champion, and a household name the world over. After years of watching Adonis fall down, get back up, and lay his opponents out, there’s little doubt of his greatness in the boxing world, and the work he does supporting up-and-coming fighters has all but guaranteed that he’ll be remembered as a hero. 

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  • Meta’s next big round of layoffs are coming.

    From the newest edition of my Command Line newsletter, which just hit inboxes for paid subscribers:

    Meta is planning another round of layoffs, I can unfortunately confirm. Leadership has been coy both internally and externally about what is coming, but I’m told that the current plan is to announce more cuts in March after last year’s performance bonuses are paid out. Given what I’ve heard about plans to cut certain orgs by double-digit percentages, I wouldn’t be surprised if the total number is somewhere in the ballpark of the last layoff, which was about 11,000 people or 13 percent of the company.

  • YouTube says it isn’t messing with 1080p — ‘1080p Premium’ is higher-bitrate

    YouTube’s logo with geometric design in the background
    Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

    YouTube has confirmed that it’s experimenting with a higher-quality 1080p option for Premium subscribers after some Reddit users noticed a new “1080p Premium” option in the quality settings menu. The option is currently available to “a small group of YouTube Premium subscribers,” according to Paul Pennington, a spokesperson for the company.

    “1080p Premium is an enhanced bitrate version of 1080p which provides more information per pixel that results in a higher quality viewing experience,” said Pennington, adding that “there are no changes to the existing quality offerings for 1080p (HD) resolution on YouTube.” There have been concerns that YouTube is nerfing the standard 1080p mode to make the Premium version more appealing, but the statement implies that the company hasn’t made any changes.

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  • The biggest news from PlayStation’s State of Play

    Screenshot from Goodbye Volcano High featuring the main character Fang
    Image: KO_OP

    Sony’s first State of Play of 2023 gave fans a little bit of everything. Some neat VR games were shown off. Resident Evil 4 made a brief appearance, along with a new puzzle game from the makers of Tetris Effect, a heaping helping of the Suicide Squad, and more. Here are some of the highlights from the presentation.

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