Nintendo posts up Switch Online apps, free to use for the rest of the year

I Splatoon in your general direction

If you’re a fan of Nintendo’s hit Switch gaming console, good news: the Switch app for your phone or tablet just hit app stores. Bad news? At least for right now, it doesn’t do much. But, hey, more good news: in just two days, it’ll do more and pretty soon, you’ll be able to play Splatoon 2 with all your friends on your phone. And best of all, it’s free to get and use until 2018, when it’ll cost $20 a year to play. We know: that’s outrageous!

The app will bring voice and chat functionality to many of the games expected to fill Nintendo’s Switch Online service, which will continue to fill out as time goes on. The Switch gaming console has been a big success for Nintendo, so we’re anxious to see if they can follow up with a solid online gaming experience as well.

Bixby, you’re on

Better late than never is what they’re probably saying at Samsung right now, as the new AI agent Bixby has finally been activated for English-speaking users in the U.S. and elsewhere. Samsung is framing Bixby as less like a Siri-type personal assistant and more like a helper for running your phone, in this case a Galaxy S8 or S8 Plus, which has an actual dedicated Bixby button.

Originally introduced in April, Samsung has delayed the roll out of an English-speaking Bixby due to what they said was a lack of data. However, it looks like that’s been solved or at least solved enough to get Bixby rolling. Naturally, Samsung says Bixby will continue to evolve and expand in usefulness as time goes on, at least until he (or she) is old enough to go drinking with Siri and Alexa.

It knows if you’ve been bad or good

A new warning for parents who bought their kids interactive, internet-connected toys: The FBI says they may be spying on you. In a warning issued on Monday, the FBI said security measures in many connected toys are notoriously weak and vulnerable to hackers, who could use the ever-more-sophisticated toys to listen to or even record video of the area they’re being used, let alone crack sign-in data and gather up information about your kid – or you.

The FBI doesn’t single out any toys in particular since there are so many now, and fortunately, the high-tech G-Men and Women also list several resources and crime reporting channels for parents as well, so hit the link to read the whole warning and make sure that connected Chucky doll is only as scary as he oughta be.

We’ve got more news on our Facebook page and YouTube channel, and be sure to tune in to this week’s DT podcasts: Close to the Metal (computers and such) on Tuesday, Trends with Benefits (general tech shenanigans)  on Thursdays, and Between the Streams (movie and TV topics) every Friday.