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

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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

Computing

The true advantage of AMD’s next-gen chips isn’t power, it’s platforms

AMD announced some impressive new processors and GPUs at E3 this week, with plenty of muscle to flex. But the real strength of AMD in the future isn't its power or even its price. It's cross-platform scalability.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Facebook’s Study, Uber’s fast-food drones, deepfake Zuck

On this episode of DT Live, we discuss the biggest tech news of the day, including Facebook’s new Study app, Uber’s fast-food delivery drones, a new Legends of Zelda game, an update from E3, and deepfake Zuck.
Cars

Fiat Chrysler is the latest to partner with autonomous-tech specialist Aurora

Fiat Chrysler and Silicon Valley startup Aurora are joining forces to develop self-driving technology for commercial services, marking the latest in a string of similar collaborations between automakers and tech specialists.
Gaming

Bethesda’s Orion reveal points to an industrywide shift to cloud gaming

Bethesda is getting into the cloud gaming mix but not as competition. Bethesda revealed Orion, a collection of tech patents focused on improving cloud gaming no matter what platform is used.
Mobile

Huawei's folding phone held back for more tests, will be released in September

The Huawei Mate X is an exciting 5G folding smartphone with stunning looks. The Mate X has three screens, a clever hinge system, and a Leica camera. All the details you need to know are right here.
Android

You can pre-order the Galaxy S10 5G from Sprint starting today

Samsung announced a whopping four new Galaxy S10 devices, from the low-cost S10e to the triple-camera S10 and S10 Plus. But it's the Galaxy S10 5G that steals the show, as it's the first 5G-ready smartphone to hit the market.
Mobile

5 features I’d like to see in Google’s Pixel 4 smartphone

We’ve had a sneak peek at Google’s forthcoming Pixel 4 smartphone, and it offers few clues about what we’ll get. These are the 5 features I’d like to see Google include to take the Pixel line to the next level.
Mobile

These are the best Moto Z4 cases to boost your new phone’s longevity

The Moto Z4 is the newest way to experience Motorola's flagship range. But just because it's cheap, doesn't mean that it's expendable. Make sure your new and beautiful Moto Z4 survives for a long time with one of the best Moto Z4 cases.
Mobile

Pixel 4 gets spotted in real world, showing not even Google can stop the leaks

Rumors abound about the Google Pixel 4, Google's next Pixel phone following the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3a. Getting around the leaks, Google straight-up teased an image of the back of the phone. Here's what you need to know.
Home Theater

Diagnose and fix some common Apple AirPods problems with our handy guide

Apple’s AirPods are among the best fully wireless earbuds we’ve seen, but they’re not perfect. If you’re having trouble, take a look at our guide to the most common problems and what you can do to fix them.
Deals

Fitbit Versa and Samsung Gear fitness smartwatches get big Amazon price cuts

Some of the best options can get pretty pricey, but with smartwatch discounts on the Fitbit Versa and Samsung Gear Sport, they are really quite affordable right now. You can save up to $125 on a new fitness watch.
Mobile

Huawei’s lock screen ads were a mistake, but may be a sign of things to come

Ads were placed on the lock screen of Huawei device owners yesterday, causing outcry on forums and social media. Huawei initially said it wasn't responsible, but that's no longer the case. Here's what happened.
Mobile

These are the best Pixel 3a XL cases and covers to protect your Google phone

If you want to change up the look or feel of your new Google phone, you want some decent drop protection, or both, then we have you covered with this list of the best Google Pixel 3a XL cases and covers.
Deals

The best Amazon Prime Day 2019 deals: Leaked date and what you need to know

Amazon Prime Day 2019 is still a month away, but it's never too early to start preparing. We've been taking a look at the best discounts from previous Prime Days to give you our predictions of what to expect this year.