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Google will let rivals appear as default search engine options on Android for free

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Google will jettison an auction system that forces other providers to bid for the right to be featured as a default search engine option on Android. Following a $5 billion fine and antitrust enforcement action in 2018, people in Europe have been able to choose which core apps and services they use on Android by default, instead of having to use Google products at first.

Users in the region see an Android choice screen while setting up a device or after performing a factory reset. They can select their default search engine from a number of options. However, the three providers that are presented alongside Google Search have been determined by a sealed bidding process.

Some rival search engines have called the pay-to-play method unfair. The European Commission told TechCrunch that it stepped in after competitors flagged their misgivings about the approach. The EC “discussed with Google means to improve that choice screen to address those concerns.”

“Following further feedback from the Commission, we are now making some final changes to the Choice Screen including making participation free for eligible search providers,” Oliver Bethell, Google’s head of competition for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, wrote in a blog post. “We will also be increasing the number of search providers shown on the screen. These changes will come into effect from September this year on Android devices.”

The revamped choice screen will feature up to 12 search engine options. The one you pick is the default for searches on the home screen and Chrome, if you use that as your browser. Your device will also install that provider’s search app.

Only general search engines are eligible, and they need to have a free search app on the Play store. Vertical search engines (i.e. specialist or subject-specific ones) will be locked out. Providers that syndicate search results and ads from Google won’t be featured on the list either. The changes will come into effect for new Android devices sold in the UK and European Economic Area by September 1st.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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Source: https://www.engadget.com/google-android-choice-screen-europe-default-search-engine-auction-173936666.html?src=rss_b2c

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Porsche to develop battery cells for EV motorsports

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Porsche’s shift to electrification could boost its motorsports output. The German automaker has announced a joint venture to develop and produce battery cells for race cars and a small batch of high-end production vehicles. Porsche will make a high double-digit million euro investment in the “Cellforce” project, Chief Executive Officer Oliver Blume said at a press conference, reports Autoblog

The new cells will be able to charge in less than 15 minutes, which is significantly faster than the 22.5 minutes it takes to charge the Porsche Taycan battery to 80 percent from 5 percent, according to Bloomberg. Porsche previously revealed that it would use a silicon-based anode instead of the customary graphite in a bid to boost power density and reduce the battery’s overall size. The changes should be a good fit for motorsports, where the size and weight of a vehicle and quick refueling is critical to winning races. Porsche made the jump to the electric Formula E championship for the 2019/20 season. 

Like the rest of the automotive industry, the company is going all-in on electrification. Porsche previously said that it expects at least 80 percent of its vehicles sold globally to be partially or fully electric by 2030. To get there, Porsche is spending $15 billion on electric mobility along with digital services. 

Its partner on the battery project is lithium-ion specialist Customcells, whose facilities in Tübingen, South-West Germany are close to Porsche’s headquarters in Stuttgart. Reports, which have been swirling in the German media since last fall, previously indicated that the Tübingen site would serve as the location for the battery production plant. The German government has now virtually made that a certainty by contributing around $71 million to the project in exchange for the factory being located in the south of the country. Porsche said it will own 83.75 percent of Cellforce, compared to Customcells’ 16.25 percent minority stake.

Blume made it clear, however, that the project would not match the scale of Tesla’s Gigafactories. The small-scale plant would produce around 100 megawatt-hours of annual capacity, the CEO said, enough for around 1,000 sports cars per year. The tech developed by the venture will trickle down to Porsche’s high-performance derivatives of existing cars. Though the company played down any large-scale transference at the outset.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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Source: https://www.engadget.com/porsche-batteries-electric-motorsports-102040418.html?src=rss_b2c

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Samsung’s best SSD, the 980 Pro, is $100 for Prime Day

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All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

If you want to add more storage to your console or PC, take a gander at the Samsung 980 Pro. It’s a high-end solid-state drive that’s on sale for Prime Day, with the 500GB variant dropping from $150 to $100. Meanwhile, the 2TB model is down from $430 to $330.

Buy Samsung 980 Pro (500GB) at Amazon – $100

Buy Samsung 980 Pro (2TB) at Amazon – $330

The SSD has PCIe 4 connectivity and an M.2 2280 form factor, so it should fit into laptops as well as desktops. It can reach speeds of up to 6,900 MB/s. The 980 Pro’s nickel coating and heat spreader label should help manage high temperatures.

Once DirectX PC games start supporting the Xbox Series X/S Direct Storage feature, the 980 Pro could be ideal for PC gamers — as long as the rest of your hardware is up to scratch. In the meantime, you could use the SSD as a system drive to get optimal performance for your day-to-day PC use.

Sony has yet to reveal which SSDs will be compatible with the PlayStation 5’s storage upgrade slot (or when it will even activate the slot), but there’s a chance that the 980 Pro will meet the bar. Until then, you’ll be able to pick up an enclosure and use the SSD as external storage for PS5 ox Xbox Series X/S.

Get the latest Amazon Prime Day offers by visiting our deals homepage and following @EngadgetDeals on Twitter.

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Source: https://www.engadget.com/amazon-prime-day-2021-samsung-980-pro-ssd-101050993.html?src=rss_b2c

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Fitbit’s Sense health tracker is just $200 for Prime Day

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All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

If you’ve had your eye on Fitbit’s Sense smartwatch with advanced health tracking, today is the day to get one. Both the Carbon and White models are now available at $200 for Amazon Prime Day, a full $40 less than the best price we’ve seen so far. For perspective, Fitbit launched the Sense back in September 2020 with a price tag of $330, so that’s a discount of nearly 40 percent. 

Buy Fitbit Sense at Amazon – $200

The Sense offers features designed to track your physical health as well as your activities. We gave it a solid score of 82 in our review for tools like an electrodermal activity (EDA) sensor that looks for changes in skin that may be caused by stress. It can also track your body temperature and blood oxygen levels and even detect the start of a menstrual cycle. 

Naturally, it’ll measure your heart rate and warn you if it’s too high or low based on your age and resting heart rate. You can track runs, walks, hikes and bike rides thanks to the built-in GPS, and also see the quality of your sleep. It measures more specialized activities like yoga, golf, martial arts and tennis too, letting you see how much time you spent in the fat-burning zone. 

The only drawbacks are a slightly unintuitive buttonless design and navigation that can be a bit sluggish. Still, it offers just about every health and fitness tracking feature you could want, and the $200 price is lower than competing models from Apple and Samsung. 

Get the latest Amazon Prime Day offers by visiting our deals homepage and following @EngadgetDeals on Twitter.

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Source: https://www.engadget.com/fitbit-sense-smartwatch-all-time-low-prime-day-095550972.html?src=rss_b2c

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The Kindle Paperwhite drops to a new low of $80 for Prime Day

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All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

It’s Amazon Prime Day and, as ever, the company has solid deals on Kindles. The Kindle Paperwhite gets the most notable discount of the bunch. The base version of the ereader typically costs $130 but for the next couple of days, you can pick it up for an all-time-low price of $80.

Buy Kindle Paperwhite (fourth-gen) at Amazon – $80

The most recent Paperwhite is waterproof with an IPX8 rating. It should still work after being immersed in up to two meters of fresh water for as long as an hour. Even those who read on the beach while letting waves lap their toes can rest somewhat easily. The Paperwhite is protected against submersion in up to 0.25 meters of seawater for three minutes. Still, you probably shouldn’t go throwing it into the bath or the ocean.

In our review of the fourth-gen Kindle Paperwhite, we noted it has a better-contrast display than previous models. There’s Audible and Bluetooth support, so you can connect a speaker or headphones and listen to an audiobook, or listen to books using the text-to-speech feature. Unfortunately, the Paperwhite doesn’t support MP3s.

Buy Kindle (10th-gen) at Amazon – $55 Buy Kindle Oasis (third-gen) at Amazon – $175

Along with the Paperwhite, the standard Kindle is on sale for Prime Day. The ad-supported model is down from $90 to $55. At the higher end of the lineup, there’s also a discount on the Kindle Oasis. It dropped from $250 to $175 for Prime Day.

Get the latest Amazon Prime Day offers by visiting our deals homepage and following @EngadgetDeals on Twitter.

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Source: https://www.engadget.com/amazon-prime-day-2021-kindle-sales-paperwhite-oasis-094009824.html?src=rss_b2c

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