Last week in tech: Google’s Pixel 4 Smartphone, DJI’s new robot, and E3
Here's what you missed last week.
Tech rumors are fun to follow, but sometimes they break your heart. Early “leaks” can promise features and specs that never appear in the real product and you’re left feeling disappointed because someone made a promise that was never based in reality. This week, however, Google shook up the rumor cycle by tweeting a photo of its upcoming flagship smartphone, the Pixel 4. It took all the air out of a leaked render of the device that was circulating the web. It was a rather awesome move on Google’s part because it cuts down on some of the opportunities for misinformation and revealed the better-looking square camera module..
That’s not the only story happening in the tech world this week, though. Here’s a quick rundown of the stories you might have missed.
Listen to the latest episode of the Techathlon Podcast
Now that summer has arrived, it’s time to bring your Bluetooth speaker outside, grab an iced tea, and listen to the Techathlon podcast loud enough that your neighbors complain. On this week’s episode, we test your knowledge of classic sounds from the web pages of the past, lament—and celebrate—the death of iTunes, and discuss the priciest gadgets on the market today.
E3 dumped a ton of video game news on us
If you’re a gamer, the E3 conference is among the best weeks of the year. We learned about a ton of new games for every platform including an upcoming Zelda game and a futuristic cyberpunk one starring the infinitely lovable Keanu Reeves. We also heard much more about the next generation of gaming consoles that are coming next year. I look forward to playing all of that once I finally beat the SNAKE game on my Motorola RAZR phone. So close!
Verizon’s $100 tracking device comes with a year of service
Smart Locator is a tiny digital device that uses a combination of LTE, Bluetooth, and Wifi to keep precise tabs on its location. So, if you want to keep track of your kid, pet, or a super-villain whose lair you’ve been unable to find, this could help. Is it creepy? Yeah, probably, but other devices like this already exist from carriers like AT&T, so they will likely stick around.
Tyson is getting in on the big business of fake meat
Companies like Beyond and Impossible have been growing like crazy thanks to their ability to manufacture delicious, chewy goo that tastes surprisingly like meat. Now Tyson is making a strong move into the simulated sinew space with a new line of non-chicken nuggets made of pea protein, egg whites, bamboo, flaxseed, and other stuff you’d expect to find in a $13 smoothie from that fancy health food cafe near your gym.
Fujifilm made a film camera that records sound
Instax film cameras have remained one of the most fun gadgets on the market for years, and the latest version will probably keep it that way. The adorable Mini LiPlay camera mixes digital image capture with analog prints. It can also record audio clips to listen to later as you peruse the photos in the associated iPhone app. In other Fujifilm news, the company announced that it has started making black-and-white photographic film again to please millenials and also me.
An artist tested Facebook’s policy on deepfakes
Deepfake videos are convincing forged videos that use AI in order to make it look like people are saying and doing things that never really happened. The results are impressive and sometimes extremely misleading. Facebook typically doesn’t delete the deepfake videos immediately because they don’t inherently break the rules. However, this week, a deepfake starring Mark Zuckerberg popped up and put that policy to the ultimate test. The company stood by its original stance and said it wasn’t going to delete the video, but don’t expect this conversation to end here since these videos are only getting more convincing.
DJI made a tank that teaches kids to code
We mostly know DJI for its flying drones, but the company’s latest product is built to maraud around on the ground. The RoboMaster S1 is a remote-controlled tank, complete with a turret that fires actual projectiles. It ships unassembled and allows users to give commands and directions with code in addition to its typical controls. It’s fun, if a little pricey at $500. Check out some first impressions here.