Last week in tech: The whole world is going premium
Microsoft's awesome new Xbox controller, OnePlus 6 smartphone, and download our new podcast.
Last week we all experienced a truly fascinating example of the internet’s effect on our culture. A phenomenon we now know as “yanny versus laurel,” exploded into social media feeds like an avalanche. It sparked roughly 1.5 days of internet bickering, follow-up articles, and news segments, then promptly disappeared into the giant meme warehouse of the internet like the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. While that was happening, the rest of the world was still turning, and tech news continued to churn, too. So, don’t worry if you were too distracted to catch it. Here’s a quick wrap-up of the week that was.
Download the latest Last Week in Tech podcast!
On this week’s episode of the podcast, we talk about the broken promises of streaming and the death of old-school internet fame. Plus we pick a few of our favorite recent gadgets and gear items to hit store shelves. Download it now so you can listen later when you’re sitting in Memorial Day traffic and trying to avoid talking to your family. You can listen in the player embedded above, subscribe on SoundCloud, follow on iTunes, or add us to your Stitcher.
Google switched up a bunch of its services, including YouTube Red
If you subscribe to Google’s YouTube Red premium service, things are about to change significantly as it transforms into various flavors of YouTube Premium. You can get a full breakdown of the upcoming changes here, as well as a look into what the heck the new Google One cloud storage service entails.
OnePlus announced its new flagship Android phone
When you picture the top-tier Android devices, you probably envision a Samsung Galaxy S9, a Google Pixel 2, or perhaps an LG handset. While OnePlus may not have the same kind of brand recognition as the others, the company makes a very solid Android-powered smartphone. Its latest release is called the OnePlus 6 and it costs just $529. Early reviews are positive thanks to the latest Qualcomm processor, the 6.3-inch display, and the low price tag.
Microsoft announced an Xbox One controller built for accessibility
The Microsoft Adaptive controller is specifically designed to help people with disabilities play games on the Xbox One and PCs. The controller is meant to lie flat and has a pair of large buttons and a total of 19 different ports so players can plug in different input devices like keyboards, joysticks, and foot pedals that fit the specific player’s needs.
Microsoft’s new Surface Hub 2 is built for offices, but I want it for my house
The original Microsoft Surface Hub was like a giant touchscreen display created to help teams collaborate in an office setting. There were two models—a 55-inch version and a massive 84-inch display—both of which you could touch. But they were meant to be stationary. The new Surface Hub 2, however, is a 50.5-inch display that lets you rotate it depending on its intended feature. Think of it like the fanciest whiteboard in the world. Of course, Google’s Jamboard might have something to say about that.
Google AI will reveal its robotic nature if it calls you
At its recent developers conference, Google showed off a truly impressive demonstration of its Duplex AI tech, which can call and make appointments for you using an eerily human voice. It’s a promising feature, but it introduces a lot of security and privacy questions into the conversations. Now, Google has confirmed that these AI bots will identify themselves as artificial intelligence when they make a call.
Logitech made a simple-but-powerful gaming mouse
If you’re looking for a new gaming mouse that isn’t lit up like a UFO headed to Mardi Gras, then Logitech’s $60 G305 might your answer. It’s built like an office mouse, but it has a flagship sensor for responsive handling and Logitech’s fastest wireless connection to fight lag during gameplay. Those Starcraft resources aren’t going to collect themselves, after all.
Elon updated us on the Boring Company and the high-performance Tesla Model 3
Tesla dual motor means there is a motor in front & a motor in rear. One is optimized for power & one for range. Car drives fine even if a motor breaks down. Helps ensure you make it to your destination & don’t get stuck on side of road in potentially unsafe conditions.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 20, 2018
Sometimes Elon Musk makes weird, cryptic Twitter promises about starting a candy company and sometimes he shares information about products people actually care about. This week, Musk held a 9Q&A session](https://www.cnet.com/news/elon-musk-to-talk-hyperloop-boring-company-tunnels-thursday/) in LA about his Boring Company tunnels under the city. He says rides on the LA hyperloop will move passengers at up to 150 mph and it will only cost $1 to ride.
On the Tesla side of things, Musk announced a performance version of the Model 3, which has dual electric motors and all-wheel-drive. The souped up version of the car will cost roughly $78,000, which is more than double the $35,000 price tag of the original. It will do 0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds, assuming it ever rolls off the assembly line.