Weekly Rewind: Amazon's new product lineup, the Levi's smart jacket, the Chrome competitor

top tech stories Amazon Tap
A lot can happen in a week when it comes to tech. The constant onslaught of news makes it nigh impossible for mere mortals with real lives to keep track of everything. That’s why we’ve compiled a quick and dirty list of this week’s top tech stories, from Amazon’s new product lineup to Lyft’s new Ford partnership  — it’s all here.

Amazon Echo Plus, Connect, Spot bring Alexa to every room, Zigbee, 911 calling

Amazon Echo Second Generation

The Amazon Echo universe is expanding again. In the face of the emergence of a veritable panacea of smart home speakers from competitors, Amazon is stepping up to the plate and taking on the challenge. On Wednesday, the company announced a series of new products, including a new Amazon Echo, Echo Plus, a brand new device called the Echo Connect, an alarm clock-like device called as the Echo Spot, and Echo buttons geared towards gamers that will sell for $20 a pair. Amazon also announced a new Fire TV as well as an Alexa integration with BMW vehicles coming in 2018.

Read: Amazon Echo Plus, Connect, Spot bring Alexa to every room, Zigbee, 911 calling

Is face time over? New biometric tech identifies you through your ‘heartprint’

biometric heartprint password feat

With the iPhone X, smartphone market leader Apple may have announced that fingerprint sensors are out and facial recognition is in as the hot new biometric technology — but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some intriguing alternatives on the horizon. The latest one? Smart new tech from researchers at the State University of New York at Buffalo, who have developed a computer security system that uses radar to read your personal heart rate signature.

Read: Is face time over? New biometric tech identifies you through your ‘heartprint’

Park this vintage VW Bus fridge in the kitchen for retro appeal

volkswagen bus refrigerator

Modern style has trended toward a more minimalist style. As appliances become more muted in tone, they tend to fade into the background. As a market response, retro appliances are making a comeback. They have unique shapes, bright colors, and stand out against everything else. And when it comes to retro design, there is arguably nothing more iconic than the 1960s Volkswagen Bus.

In celebration of German engineering and the need to keep food fresh, Gorenje has revealed the Volkswagen Bus refrigerator. Just like the vehicle that inspired it, this special edition fridge features chrome trim, a two-tone paint job, and a big VW emblem on the door. The only things missing are headlights, a windshield, and a bumper.

Read: Park this vintage VW Bus fridge in the kitchen for retro appeal

Faster and even more minimalist, Firefox Quantum makes Chrome look old

Firefox has been playing catch-up ever since Google’s Chrome captured the desktop and mobile markets with its blend of functionality and speed. Now, Mozilla is aiming to leapfrog its competitor with Firefox Quantum, and update the bones of Firefox, focuseing on how browsers will work with future devices. We went hands-on with Quantum to see if Google has reason to worry.

Read: Faster and even more minimalist, Firefox Quantum makes Chrome look old

Instagram #kindcomments is back with new tools for regulating commentary

instagram offline f8 2017
Pixabay/Pexels

Instagram is working to curb those offensive comments — on Tuesday, September 26, Instagram launched a few new tools that the platform says are designed to strengthen its commitment to safety and kindness.

The first change allows users with a public profile to choose who can comment on their posts. With the new tool, Instagrammers can keep comments open to everyone or just to certain groups. For example, public profiles can be adjusted so that only followers can comment. The new Instagram comments options allow users to limit comments to accounts they follow, accounts following them, or both.

Read: Instagram #kindcomments is back with new tools for regulating commentary

Ford, Lyft partnership aims to bring autonomous cars to the masses

Ford Lyft partnership

Ford hopes to harness the newfound power of ridesharing to bring autonomous vehicles to the people. The Blue Oval has announced plans to start a giant pilot program in which Ford vehicles will be integrated into the Lyft application, and dispatched to customers during periods of high demand. The first cars could hit the streets as early as 2021.

The idea isn’t to beat Tesla, Uber, BMW, Volvo, and every tech company in the autonomous arms race. The goal of the Ford, Lyft partnership is to provide answers to some of the questions facing the ridesharing industry today. One of the big question marks is how to create a technology platform capable of connecting seamlessly with another brand’s platform. The partners also want to figure out where to dispatch self-driving vehicles and get an idea of the infrastructure that will be needed to maintain them.

Read: Ford, Lyft partnership aims to bring autonomous cars to the masses

Everything you need to know about the Google Pixel 2

pixel 2
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The Google Pixel was the Android smartphone to beat last year, and Google is looking to capitalize on that success. As we get closer to the expected October 4 launch of the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, rumors are ramping up. It’s possible LG is building one of the phones for Google, and HTC may be behind the second, smaller counterpart.

Here is everything we know about the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL.

Read: Everything you need to know about the Google Pixel 2

Would you pay $350 for Levis’ new smart jacket?

poll levis smart jacket jaquard fabric

Well, it’s about time. On Monday, October 2, you’ll be able to order Levi’s touch-sensitive denim smart jacket for $350. That’s quite a bit for a simple jean jacket, but thanks to its integration of Google’s “Jacquard” technology, it’s more than just outerwear — it has a few tricks up its sleeve. Well, on its sleeve, actually.

The Project Jacquard denim jacket features a touch-sensitive sleeve that allows you to control your smartphone with taps, swipes, and brushing motions. According to the Verge, it’s primarily designed with cyclists in mind, so you’ll be able to pause your smartphone’s music playback or skip songs with a simple gestures.

Read: Would you pay $350 for Levis’ new smart jacket?

SoundMolds custom headphone eartips review

soundmold eartips both
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

Getting the perfect fit from an in-ear headphone is essential both for sound quality and security, but even though most products come with 16 pairs of tips in different shapes, sizes, and materials, getting the ideal seal is an exercise in frustration at best, and totally impossible at worst.  That seal is crucial for sealing out noise around you, delivering good bass response, and, perhaps most importantly, remaining comfortable so you’ll, you know … want to wear them.  Thankfully, SoundMolds custom eartips successfully solve this conundrum with its custom-molded silicone eartips – and they will work with any in-ear headphone you choose.

Read: SoundMolds custom headphone eartips review

Product Review

4 Lenses, 40 megapixels, and 400k ISO. Huawei’s P30 Pro is a photography freak

Huawei’s P-series phones place an emphasis on the camera. That’s why the company partnered with Leica on the camera tuning. The latest phone is the Huawei P30 Pro, and it must fill the big shoes of last year’s stunning P20 Pro. Is it…
Apple

Apple’s Netflix competitor Apple TV Plus headlines a barrage of new services

Apple's It's Show Time event in Cupertino, California, is officially over, with the tech giant announcing a new video-streaming service to compete with Netflix and Amazon, a new way to subscribe to paid news outlets, and more.
Computing

Oculus shows off the Rift S, plans to phase out its original VR headset

Oculus plans to phase out its flagship Rift VR headset for its newly created Rift S. The Rift S made its debut this week at the 2019 Game Developers Conference and is expected to be released in spring 2019.
Mobile

Amazon’s new Kindle has an adjustable light and costs less than $100

Amazon has taken the wraps off of a new Kindle model, which boasts a number of great features and comes at a very affordable price. Perhaps the best thing about the new Kindle is that the device has an adjustable.
Deals

Here are 20 portable tech gadgets you’ll want to use every day

If you're looking for portable tech to keep you charged up while on the go (or for some great small gift ideas), we've rounded up 20 must-have gadgets. You'll find everything from a mini gaming controller to a folding Bluetooth keyboard.
Product Review

Compared to the P30 Pro, Huawei may have stripped too much out of the P30 phone

Has Huawei pulled all the best parts out of the P30 Pro to make the P30, its cheaper, smaller sister phone? Yes, but the answer is more complicated than that. Here’s our look at the 6.1-inch P30.
Wearables

Carbon fiber is making Casio’s new connected G-Shock watches even tougher

Casio, a master of tough watches, has introduced carbon fiber to the construction of several G-Shock models, making them stronger and lighter, and allowing for some interesting design changes too.
Mobile

Huawei P30 Pro vs. Mate 20 Pro vs. P20 Pro: Which Huawei flagship is best for you?

If you're after a Huawei smartphone, but can't pick between this year's flagship and the previous two, or maybe you're looking to upgrade, we're here to explain what makes the P30 Pro, P20 Pro, and Mate 20 Pro different.
Mobile

Huawei P30 Pro vs. Huawei P30: Should you go pro or save some dough?

The latest phones from Huawei are seriously powerful, eye-catching devices, but what sets them apart? We take a look at the Huawei P30 Pro and compare it to the Huawei P30 in various categories to uncover the differences.
Mobile

The 13 best iPhone 7 Plus cases to protect your Apple phone

The iPhone 7 Plus is big and beautiful, but you need to wrap it up if you want to protect it from damage. We’ve rounded up some of the best iPhone 7 Plus cases and covers available. Get some protection or a new style today.
Mobile

Huawei’s Eyewear smartglasses aim to fuse fashion and tech

At its launch event for the new P30 and P30 Pro smartphones, Huawei surprised us with a pair of smart glasses. Created through a partnership with Gentle Monster, these glasses are designed to be stylish and act like a Bluetooth headset.
Mobile

Galaxy S8 owners on Sprint start receiving the Android Pie update

Android 9.0 Pie has been released. But is your phone getting Android 9.0 Pie, and if so, when? We've done the hard work and asked every device manufacturer to see when their devices would be getting the update.
Mobile

Huawei P30 Pro vs. Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus: 2019’s biggest flagships clash

Huawei launched the powerful P30 Pro. It's a beautiful phone with tons of power and some extremely capable cameras. But you could also describe the Galaxy S10 Plus that way — so which is better?
Mobile

Huawei adds a new, smaller Elegant size to the Huawei Watch GT range

Huawei launched two new versions of the Huawei Watch GT. The first, the Huawei Watch GT Active, comes with two new colors. The Huawei Watch GT Elegant comes with a smaller frame and a more elegant and stylish look.