last week in tech

Winter and fall are great times for gadget nerds like us. It’s crummy enough outside that we can stay in and play with gadgets guilt-free. It’s also when manufacturers typically make their big announcements. But this week, Samsung showed off a bunch of new stuff, the latest version of Android dropped, and some binge-worthy content made its way to streaming services. Take that, summer sun!

Your first step for kicking off the week is to download the latest episode of our podcast. We talk about the state of AR and VR pegged to the recent news about the Magic Leap headset. We also go over some of the new features in Android 9 Pie. Plus, Rob Verger talks to Jen Poyant, one of the cohosts of a great new tech podcast called ZigZag.

You can listen on the player above, subscribe via iTunes, follow us on SoundCloud, or add us to your Stitcher.

We met the Samsung Galaxy Note 9


Samsung Galaxy Note 9

Drawing squiggles has never been easier.

Samsung rented out an entire basketball arena in Brooklyn to debut its new Galaxy Note 9 smartphone last week. The phone itself is slightly bigger than its predecessor in almost every way, including a 4,000 mAh battery, a 6.4-inch screen that’s 0.1-inches bigger than the Note 8’s, and up to 512GB of internal storage. The integrated S Pen stylus is also more responsive and yellow, now.

Oh, and there’s other Samsung stuff

In addition to its new flagship phone, Samsung also announced its new Galaxy Watch (about which details are fairly sparse) and a smart speaker called the Galaxy Home, which looks vaguely like a Homepod on stilts with Bixby inside.

Intel crammed 32TB of storage onto a ruler-shaped array


Intel’s 32TB SSD array

Salesperson slaps the roof of the storage device. “You can fit 32TB of stuff in this baby.”

On the topic of big storage, Intel showed off its new 12-inch solid state memory housing that contains 32 TB of storage in a package that’s 95% smaller and ten times more efficient than spinning hard drives when it comes to power consumption. It’s not for average users right now, but we can still dream of slapping that big rectangle full of storage into the bottom of our smartphones like changing the clip on an uzi.

Jeopardy is on Hulu now

The selection of TV you can’t get via streaming is shrinking. The latest convert is the iconic trivia game show, Jeopardy, which has existed in some form for more than 50 years. You don’t get everything—it will be a rotating collection of 60 episodes—but the inaugural selection includes some landmark shows like the Tournament of Champions. Our suggestion: Watch them now, then invite your friends over, casually suggest you “check out” some Jeopardy on Hulu, and then slaughter them by cheating.

Fortnite arrived on Android

It’s undeniably the most popular video game in the world at the moment, but last week, Fortnite finally arrived on Android. That’s particularly notable because the game’s creator, Epic Games, eschewed the Google Play store, forcing users to download the game directly from its servers and install it outside of Google’s app infrastructure. Epic can save some cash when it doesn’t have to share revenue with Google every time someone buys a skin or dance.

Panasonic’s new gadget sucks up stink from your shoes


Panasonic shoe de-stinker

I will personally buy one of these for my house and my gym.

Summertime can make your whole house smell like a locker room thanks to sweaty sneakers, but Panasonic claims its new MS-DS100 device (Japan-only for now, sadly) combats isovaleric acid—a main culprit for creating shoe stank—using ionic particles that “dissolve the unpleasant odors.”

You can watch the free Roku streaming service on the web

If you have a Roku streaming box, you already had access to the company’s ad-supported media streaming service for a while. Now, however, you can stream content like the Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler classic 50 First Dates on a computer, phone or tablet.

AI is better at finding Waldo than you

A creative agency called Redpepper built an AI-powered robot that solves the puzzles in Where’s Waldo? books. You can build one yourself and use it to shame your children who are definitely way slower at finding that stripe-adorned vagabond. This is actually a nice metaphor for AI in general, which is fantastic at sorting through lots of data in a way that challenges our puny human brains.

The limited edition of Super Smash Bros. will come with a Gamecube controller

We’re going to get one of these for the PopSci offices and you’re all invited over to play. I call Ganondorf.

Snap says its redesign cost it 3 million users in just one quarter

We knew that people were mad at Snapchat’s redesign, but last week, Snap quantified that hatred by confirming a drop from 191 million daily active users down to 188 million. The company’s revenue was up, however, proving that the economic system, public opinion, and pretty much every other part of this industry and society in general is basically random.