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As another week comes to a close, there are a number of gadget deals to pick from as well as some leftovers from the July 4th holiday. Apple’s AirPods with wireless charging case remain on sale for $150 and you can still grab a bunch of first-party Nintendo Switch titles on sale at GameStop. Weber’s SmokeFire connected grills are also discounted by $200, creating a prime opportunity for those who want to level-up their grilling game during the rest of the summer. Here are the best deals from this week that you can still get today.
AirPods with wireless charging case
Amazon’s sale on Apple’s AirPods with wireless charging case drops their price down to $150. That’s $50 off and the lowest price we’ve seen since May. We gave these AirPods a score of 84 for their improved wireless capabilities (thanks to Apple’s H1 chip) and their solid five-hour battery life. The included wireless charging case with this model makes it even easier to power up the AirPods if you have a Qi-capable charging pad.
The Apple Watch Series 3 remains at $169 at Amazon, the lowest price ever for the smartwatch. While not the newest Apple Watch, the Series 3 has most of the features you’d expect a solid wearable to have including all-day activity and exercise tracking, built-in heart rate monitor and GPS, and on-watch apps and smartphone alerts. We gave it a score of 82 when we first reviewed it thanks to all of the features previously listed as well as its solid performance and good battery life.
The base model of the latest MacBook Air is still on sale for $899 at Amazon, which is $100 off its normal price (just be sure to clip the $50 coupon on the page before adding it to your cart). It has a Core i3 processor, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, plus the much improved Magic Keyboard that replaced Apple’s butterfly mechanism recently. It’s one of the reasons why we gave the new MacBook Air a score of 87, in addition to its sharp Retina display, smooth trackpad and accurate TouchID sensor.
Amazon’s smart speaker turned home hub is down to its lowest price ever, only $80, and that includes a free Philips Hue smart light bulb. The Echo Plus normally costs $150, so this is a great deal if you’ve wanted a smart speaker that pulls double-duty as a smart home hub. Any Zigbee-compatible device, like the Hue bulb included in the bundle, can be connected directly to the Echo Plus — no other hubs required. We gave the Echo Plus a score of 86 for its much improved audio quality, more attractive design and its new stereo audio ability that let’s you connect two devices at once.
Now’s a good time to upgrade your grill while Weber has its SmokeFire series on sale. You can get $200 off both fo the grills in the lineup, bringing the SmokeFire EX4 down to $799 and the SmokeFire EX6 down to $999. We originally gave these grills a score of 71 but recently bumped it up to 80 thanks to the updates Weber has made to its connected platform. Both grills now feature remote temperature adjustment and shutdown, better push notifications and more efficient handling of temperature fluctuations.
Engadget readers can get Aukey’s 30,000mAh USB-C power bank for $42 by using the code ENGADGETY3 at checkout. That’s $18 off its normal price and the lowest price we’ve seen it. this high-capacity power bank can charge any USB device you throw at it including the newest iPhones and Android devices as well as the Nintendo Switch. It also supports Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 to power up compatible devices quickly and safely.
Both Amazon’s Echo Show 5 and Echo Show 8 are on sale right now — the Show 5 is down to $60 and the Show 8 is down to $90. This is a decent sale, even if they’re not the lowest ever prices we’ve seen for the two smart displays (that’s $50 and $80, respectively). We gave the Echo Show 5 a score of 85 for its sunrise alarm feature, good sound quality and its compact design that makes it a good nightstand device. The Echo Show 8 is much better as a communal device thanks to its larger display. If you plan on using it as a cooking guide for recipe instructions and videos, you should consider the deal Amazon has that includes one free year of Food Network Kitchen (which typically costs $40) when you buy the Echo Show 8.
The Echo Flex is also on sale for $17.49. This is the lowest price we’ve seen on the handy little adapter — it plugs into a wall outlet, allowing you to put Alexa in rooms that maybe don’t have room for a standalone smart speaker.
The SteelSeries Arctis 1 is one of our favorite wireless gaming headsets and now the PS4 model is on sale for $80 at Amazon. That’s $20 off its normal price and close to the lowest we’ve seen it. We like the Arctis 1 for its clear, consistent wireless connection and its detachable microphone. Also, SteelSeries makes some of the most attractive gaming headsets you can get.
Prime members can try out Amazon Music Unlimited for free for three months with this offer. Aside from being an Amazon Prime subscriber, you also have to be new to Music Unlimited (so you can’t have paid for it or tried it out before). If you meet those requirements, you can snag this offer and try out Amazon’s Spotify competitor. It offers most of the same features as other music subscription services: unlimited music listening, an ad-free experience, unlimited offline listening and convenient voice control with Alexa. Just keep track of time — your subscription will renew at the standard $10-per-month price after the trial is up.
The next webinar in the SSF series, with ecological economist and futurist Hazel Henderson, will address how the UN SDGs can and should replace GDP as the basis for valuing society leading to an economy based on planet protection and human wellbeing. Claudine Schneider is Hazel’s guest.
GDP accounts for all the public expenditures as “debt” while ignoring the value of the assets they created. If GDP were to be corrected by including the missing asset account, these debt-to-GDP ratios would be cut by up to 50% — with a few keystrokes! Learn why money isn’t what you think it is and why that matters to life on Earth in the next two webinars with Hazel and guests.
Claudine Schneider is a former Republican U.S. representative from Rhode Island. She was the first, and to date only, woman elected to Congress from Rhode Island. She is founder of Republicans for Integrity, which describes itself as a network of “Republican former Members of Congress who feel compelled to remind Republican voters about the fundamentals of our party and to provide the facts about incumbents’ voting records.”
October 22nd webinar with Claudine Schneider and Hazel
Akron, Ohio-based RVShare has seen sharp growth in demand amid the pandemic, as more would-be travelers seek socially distanced options for hitting the road. Founded in 2013, the company matches RV owners with prospective renters, filtering by location, price and vehicle types.
Previously, RVShare had raised $50 million in known funding, per Crunchbase data, from Tritium Partners. The company is one of several players in the RV rental space, and competes alongside Outdoorsy, a peer-to-peer RV marketplace that has raised $75 million in venture funding.
BrightFarms closes on $100M: Indoor farming company BrightFarms said it secured more than $100 million in debt and new equity capital to support expansion plans. The Series E round of funding was led by Cox Enterprises, which now owns a majority stake in the company, and includes a follow-on investment from growth equity firm Catalyst Investors.
Anyscale inks $40M: Anyscale, the Berkeley-based company behind the Ray open source project for building applications, announced $40 million in an oversubscribed Series B funding round. Existing investor NEA led the round and was joined by Andreessen Horowitz, Intel Capital and Foundation Capital. The new funding brings Anyscale’s total funding to more than $60 million.
Klar deposits $15M: Mexican fintech Klar closed on $15 million in Series A funding, led by Prosus Ventures, with participation from new investor International Finance Corporation and existing investors Quona Capital, Mouro Capital and Acrew. The round brings total funding raised to approximately $72 million since the company was founded in 2019. The funds are intended to grow Klar’s engineering capabilities in both its Berlin and Mexico hubs.
Blustream bags $3M: After-sale customer engagement company Blustream said it raised $3 million in seed funding for product usage data and digital transformation efforts for physical goods companies via the Blustream Product Experience Platform. York IE led the round of funding for the Worcester, Massachusetts-based company with additional support from existing investors.Pillar secures another $1.5M: Pillar, a startup that helps families protect and care for their loved ones, raised $1.5 million in a seed extension to close at $7 million, The round was led by Kleiner Perkins.
Google rejects DOJ antitrust arguments: In the wake of a widely anticipated U.S. Justice Department antitrust suit against Google, the search giant disputed the charges in a statement, maintaining that: “People use Google because they choose to, not because they’re forced to, or because they can’t find alternatives.”
Facebook said to test Nextdoor rival: Facebook is reportedly testing a service similar to popular neighborhood-focused social Nextdoor. Called Neighborhoods, the feature reportedly suggests local neighborhood groups to join on Facebook.
Online shopping has become the norm for most people in 2020, even coaxing traditional retail brands to up their presence to stay competitive. However, now that shoppers can’t see and touch products like they used to, e-commerce discovery has become a crucial element for customer acquisition and retention.
Enter Syte, an Israel-based company that touts creating the world’s first product discovery platform that utilizes the senses, such as visual, text and voice, and then leverages visual artificial intelligence and next-generation personalization to create individualized and memorable customer experiences, Syte co-founder and CEO Ofer Fryman told Crunchbase News.
This brings the company’s total fundraising to $71 million since its inception in 2015. That includes a $21.5 million Series B, also led by Viola, in 2019, according to Crunchbase data.
Fryman intends for the new funding to be put to work on product enhancements and geographic expansion. Syte already has an established customer base in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and will now focus expansion in the U.S. and Asia-Pacific.
Meanwhile, Syte has grown 22 percent quarter over quarter, as well as experienced a 38 percent expansion of its customer base since the beginning of 2020.
“Since we crossed $1 million annual recurring revenue, we have been tripling revenue while also becoming more efficient,” Fryman said. “We can accelerate growth as well as build an amazing technology and solution for a business that needs it right now. We plan to grow further, and even though our SaaS metrics are excellent right now, our goal is to improve them.”
Anshul Agarwal, managing director at LG Technology Ventures, said Syte was an attractive investment due in part to its unique technology.
“They have a deep-learning system and have created a new category, product discovery that will enable online shopping in a way we never had the ability to do before,” Agarwal said. “The product market fit was also unique. We believe in the strong execution by the team and the rapid growth in SaaS. We looked at many different companies, and the SaaS metrics that Syte showed are the strongest we’ve seen in a while.”