Netflix’s huge Tudum fan event

Stranger Things season 4 Creel House teaser

Bridgerton Kathony clip


T-Mobile and Sprint merger deal

T-Mobile US Inc. and Sprint Corp. agreed to new terms for their pending merger that take account of the slide in Sprint shares since the transaction was first agreed, putting the industry-altering deal a step closer to completion.

T-Mobile owners will get roughly 11 shares of Sprint for each of their stock, the companies said Thursday. That’s an increase from a ratio of 9.75 previously and is more favorable for T-Mobile’s German owner Deutsche Telekom AG.

The equity value of the amended deal is about $37 billion compared with the original agreement of $26.5 billion, according to Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Erhan Gurses. The higher valuation partly reflects the 62% gain in T-Mobile shares since the all-stock transaction was announced almost two years ago, despite the deterioration in Sprint’s business.


You can now pre-order Disney+ if you’re in the United States

What you need to know

  • Disney+ is now available for general pre-order in the United States.
  • It’s still $6.99 a month, or $69.99 a year.
  • And you still have to wait until Nov. 12 to actually watch it.

If you just can’t wait for Nov. 12 to roll around and for Disney+ to officially launch, it’s now available for pre-order for folks in the United States.

And, well, that’s it. You don’t get anything extra. You don’t get a price break, like with the D23 promotion. But you do have the knowledge that you’ve subscribed to something and given Disney your credit card more than a month in advance. So there’s that.

More: How to sign up for Disney+

Note that this is only for Disney+, and that the ridiculously well-priced $12.99 bundle that includes Hulu and ESPN+ won’t be available until launch on Nov. 12.

Disney+ is the upcoming streaming home for all of Disney proper. Of course, that world has expanded by several orders of magnitude as Disney also owns Marvel and Star Wars, as well as Pixar and National Geographic.


Apple’s iPhone event stream on YouTube got nearly 2 million streamers

What you need to know

  • For the first time ever, Apple streamed its iPhone event on YouTube.
  • The format proved to be a runaway hit with streamers.
  • During the stream, the iPhone event got over 1.8 million streamers.

For the first time ever, Apple streamed its iPhone event live on YouTube. It normally locks it down to a stream held on its own site, and prior to 2018, it was only available on Safari browsers. It’s slowly loosened its restrictions with this year being the most readily available for people and they responded in kind.

The new format was an unsurprising hit, getting nearly 2 million streamers during the event. In total, the Apple event garnered over 1.8 million streamers at its peak.

Apple’s iPhone events always receive an unprecedented amount of attention, but now we are able to put into context just how much. In years past, in streaming the event through its own site, Apple didn’t disclose streaming numbers. YouTube, however, shows the number during the live stream, giving us a peek at Apple’s numbers.

They were quite impressive as intrigue around the iPhone 11 (and Apple’s other announcements) was at a fever pitch.

We appreciate Apple using new formats to make its events readily available. It makes it more convenient to keep up with all of its announcements. Besides YouTube, Apple has also embraced social media, offering to send people announcement tweets on Twitter as the event goes on.

Apple’s next event will likely take place in the next couple of months. We’re hoping it continues streaming its events on YouTube from here on out.


YouTube TV throws in free Showtime for longtime subscribers

A pleasant surprise is greeting some YouTube TV subscribers this evening — free Showtime through Sept. 5. Flip on YouTube TV on any of your devices and you’ll be hit with a huge announcement telling you to check out YouTube TV from a computer (that’d be at to claim the free offer.

A couple clicks later, and you’ve got yourself 90 days or so of the premium network.

Note that if you’re taking advantage of YouTube TV’s multiple accounts (you can have as many as six) you’ll need to turn on that free offer individually on each account. At the end of the free period, the subscription will be canceled and you won’t be billed for more. If you cancel the trial during the three free months, that’s it — you won’t be able to start it back up again.

Here’s the official fine print:

Exclusive SHOWTIME® offer through 9/5/19

This SHOWTIME® promotion is only open to valid YouTube TV members in the United States. Promotional value of subscription(s) are non transferable, not for resale, not redeemable for cash, and non-refundable. YouTube TV offer is redeemable where YouTube TV is available.

Eligible participants will be contacted by YouTube TV and must take action in order to claim the offer. Eligible YouTube TV Family Managers will need to opt-in to add SHOWTIME® to their plan using Members Settings on a computer. Offer can be activated at anytime but is only valid until promotion ends on September 5, 2019, at which time all SHOWTIME® subscriptions will end. At the end of the offer period, SHOWTIME® will be automatically removed and members will not be automatically charged the standard SHOWTIME® subscription price. If members cancel their membership during this time, the offer will no longer be valid. Offer requires a Google account, a current form of payment and an active YouTube TV subscription. YouTube TV reserves the right to change or cancel the offer at any time.


NVIDIA partners with Unity and Unreal to integrate ray tracing tech

NVIDIA’s ray tracing tech hasn’t gotten off to a great start, with just a few titles offering support for the technology. That’s all set to change, as NVIDIA has announced at GDC that it is teaming up with Unity and Unreal to integrate its ray tracing technology into both game engines. That’s a major win for the chip vendor as it tries to make ray tracing more accessible to developers.

Nearly 90% of PC games are developed on either Unity or Unreal, so the fact that ray tracing tech is baked into the game engines makes it that much easier for game studios to leverage the technology. The low uptick of ray tracing meant that sales of NVIDIA’s RTX cards have been lukewarm to say the least. With two of the biggest game engines throwing their weight behind the technology, that should change soon.

In fact, NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang foreshadowed the announcement last month in an earnings call,

Probably one of the biggest stories that came out just last week is Unreal engine and Unity, both of the game engines, are going to incorporate RTX and ray tracing technology in the engine itself.

Ray tracing leads to much more realistic visuals in games as it simulates light bouncing off various surfaces. But the downside is that doing so requires a lot of processing power, and this is why RTX cards have dedicated cores to facilitate real-time ray tracing.

Unreal Engine 4.22 with ray tracing is in preview right now, and we should know more details about a final release shortly. Unity will offer “production-focused” real-time ray tracing integration in a new build that will go live on April 4.


Google’s Netflix-style game streaming service could become reality on March 19

Google has sent out invites for an event on March 19, where the search giant is expected to unveil more information about its cloud gaming service.

Dubbed Project Stream, the service is designed to make high-end gaming more accessible to consumers who don’t own a console or powerful gaming PC. If you have a decent internet connection and a machine that runs Chrome, then you’re good to go.

Google briefly tested the service in beta last year, giving gamers access to Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.

Rumors about Google entering the gaming world surfaced at the beginning of last year, when a report claimed the search giant was developing a subscription-based service that could be accessed through a Google-made console.

Google’s Project Stream could go head-to-head with similar services from Sony and Nvidia, which offer access to AAA titles over the internet. Meanwhile, Amazon and Microsoft are also rumored to be working on video game streaming services, with releases expected later this year.

We’ll provide more details about Google’s service as they become available.VIA: ANDROIDCENTRAL


OnePlus Will Be First To Offer Device With New Snapdragon 855 Chip

OnePlus just scored a huge win. Its next smartphone flagship, which is expected to be called OnePlus 7, will be the first smartphone to feature the Snapdragon 855 processor in 2019. The news was revealed at Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Summit in Hawaii where it is unveiling its next-gen technology for 2019.

In the past, OnePlus has always made it a point to keep its devices on the cutting edge. The OnePlus 5 was one of the first smartphones to come with 8GB of RAM in 2017. Not that the phone could really take advantage of the extra memory at the time, but it did ensure the phone was future-proof.

The next OnePlus flagship (7?) will be the first to get the Snapdragon 855. Pretty big win for @oneplus

— Jon Rettinger (@Jon4Lakers) December 5, 2018

OnePlus is taking a similar approach with the OnePlus 7 by including the Snapdragon 855 processor. The new processor from Qualcomm will feature new 7nm architecture and performance that will rival Apple’s A12 Bionic and Huawei’s Kirin 980 processors.

On top of improved performance, the 855 chip will also include support for multi-gigabit data speeds and work nicely with Qualcomm’s 3D Sonic Sensor fingerprint scanner.

OnePlus usually releases its first flagship device around May. That seems like an awful long time to wait for the first device to feature the Snapdragon 855 processor, especially with devices like the Galaxy S10 on deck to be released early next year.

Unfortunately, we did not get any details about the OnePlus device, but judging from early reports, we can already expect the device to be as powerful as any other device on the market.

Apps Business

Android App Updates Will Stop Getting In Your Way

Some time in the near future, pesky app updates on Android will stop getting in the way.

Google announced a bevy of new features at its Android Dev Summit and one of those features addressed the way app updates work. It was part of its Android App Bundle that gives developers tools they can use for their apps, including the new In-app Updates API.

With the new feature, developers will now have two ways to push out app updates that is less intrusive and nudges users to update more often.

The first method lets users update the app in the background with a prompt to restart the app once it is completed without ever kicking them out of the app. It’s super simple and completely gets the app update out of the way of the user experience. The second method greets users with a full-screen reminder to update the app.

Google is already rolling out early testing for the new Updates API to select partners.


OnePlus Takes a Hard Look at Verizon Compatibility

OnePlus and Verizon might be paired up later this year. While the nation’s largest carrier isn’t expected to sell the OnePlus 6T, the necessary bands could be included that allow the flagship device to work properly on the network. Tests are underway for the OnePlus 6T on Verizon’s network, according to PC Magazine. Multiple sources have stated something similar.


Google to Charge Huge Fee to Include Services in EU Android Devices

Earlier this week it was revealed that Google was going to start charging Android manufacturers a fee to install key software apps like the Play Store and Chrome in Europe. It was a big u-turn for Google, which always offered up the apps free of charge to reach the widest possible audience. Now, new internal documents obtained by The Verge reveal Google is going to charge up to $40 per device to install its “Google Mobile Services.”


The figure is higher than originally expected, especially considering the apps are free to install in Europe right now. Google’s decision stems from the European Commission’s $5 billion fine for bundling its own apps with Android, creating a priority for its services on the platform.

In response, Google is unbundling the apps and charging Android manufacturers to install these apps with the most important one being the Play Store as it is the portal where all other apps are downloaded. Without it, the phone won’t be of much use to consumers.

Interestingly, Google is creating three different tiers for which it’ll charge Android manufacturers. The highest fees will be assessed in the UK, Sweden, Germany, Norway and the Netherlands where a device with a pixel density over 500 ppi will have to pay the full $40 fee. Devices with 400 to 500 ppi in these countries will see a $20 fee and devices under 400 ppi will see a $10 fee.

In other countries, the fee for low-cost Android phones will be as low as $2.50 per device. Tablets will see a similar pricing tier that caps out at $20 per device.

It’s not entirely clear why Google is using pixel density as a barometer to charge for its software services. It seems kind of random but that may just be the easiest criteria it found to apply the fee.

Google is offering manufacturers a way to avoid the fees. Through a different agreement, Google is offering to cover some or all of the costs of the fees if the manufacturers install Chrome and Google search.

The new fees will take effect February 1, 2019, and vary depending on the country and device.


Samsung’s Absolutely Teasing Its Foldable Phone

While there still hasn’t been any confirmation, the South Korean company went ahead and rolled out a not-so-subtle teaser. You might need to look closely, but a tweet for the upcoming Samsung Developer Conference includes an animation that hints at the groundbreaking technology appearing soon. Now there’s little doubt of its impending arrival.