Weekly Rewind: ‘The Last Jedi,’ the first HomeKit smart bulb, the tiniest phone

star wars: the last jedi review amazon prime
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 the tiniest cellphone to the fastest hyperloop system — it’s all here.

‘The Last Jedi’ is unlike any Star Wars film, and that’s what makes it so Star Wars

star wars the last jedi review

“There’s a glorious, quintessential scene in Rian Johnson’s $200 million epic, The Last Jedi, that — as someone who grew up watching the original films dozens of times before I could even understand them — hit me like a ton of bricks.

No, it wasn’t the shocking moment Vice Admiral Holdo takes out an entire battalion with a kamikaze jump to lightspeed. It also wasn’t when Snoke is stunningly disposed of by Kylo Ren’s masterful lightsaber Force push. It wasn’t even Luke’s defiant relishing of freshly squeezed, green alien milk in front of Rey, a scene which seems to have affected so many Star Wars geeks so strongly (most of whom, by the way, will happily choke down cow’s milk — have they ever even seen a cow?!).”

Read: ‘The Last Jedi’ is unlike any Star Wars film, and that’s what makes it so Star Wars

2018 Ford Mustang: Performance, specs, features, prices

2018 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang

The question to answer when choosing a 2018 Ford Mustang isn’t, “Do you want to go fast?” but rather, “How fast is fast enough?” From the 301-horsepower EcoBoost model, to the 460-hp Mustang GT, to the 526-hp Shelby GT350R, your pony choice depends on how far you want to turn the go-fast dial and how wide you’ll open your wallet.

Read: 2018 Ford Mustang: Performance, specs, features, prices

Ledvance gives the world the first Apple HomeKit-enabled smart light bulb

ledvance sylvania smart light bulbs filament and phone

In a major step forward for smart home-enabled consumer electronics, LED manufacturer Ledvance is furthering its long-standing Sylvania brand by launching the Sylvania Smart+ Soft White A19 filament bulb, which lands in markets complete with full Apple HomeKit compatibility.

Unlike competing products that are emerging into the smart home market, the Sylvania Smart+ bulbs can be directly controlled using Bluetooth via Apple’s Siri intelligent personal assistant and Apple’s Home app — without buying a separate hub or smart socket or requiring a Wi-Fi router to function accordingly.

Read: Ledvance gives the world the first Apple HomeKit-enabled smart light bulb

Eat our dust, Elon Musk. Virgin’s Hyperloop One sets crazy new speed record

hyperloop one new record 240mph xp 1

Virgin’s Hyperloop One has set a new speed record with its hyperloop pod transportation system, leaving Elon Musk’s efforts to this point in the dust.

The magnetic pod achieved speeds up to a jaw-dropping 240 miles per hour — or 351 feet every second — at DevLoop, the world’s first full-scale hyperloop test site in the Nevada desert. That’s 48 miles per hour faster than its initial tests last summer, and 20 miles per hour faster than the previous record set by Musk’s hyperloop pod. If you’ve ever wanted a preview of what it’s like to travel at hundreds of miles per hour in a hyperloop, check out the video above.

Read: Eat our dust, Elon Musk. Virgin’s Hyperloop One sets crazy new speed record

Salomon’s S/Lab Shift bindings match uphill capacity with downhill performance

salomon s lab shift bindings

Ski touring is a popular backcountry sport quickly gaining notoriety around the globe, but it’s not without its limitations. These limitations are attributed to ski equipment, which is most effectively designed to serve one primary purpose as opposed to meeting all the needs required by dedicated ski tour participants — until now.

Salomon’s new S/Lab Shift bindings will change the way you think about ski touring, offering a product that performs equally well during uphill ascent as it does for shredding lines down the mountain.

Read: Salomon’s S/Lab Shift bindings match uphill capacity with downhill performance

No, those aren’t giant hands — the Tiny T1 is the world’s smallest mobile phone

worlds tiniest cellphone kickstarter zanco tiny t1 in hand

As hard as it may be for younger readers to believe, there was a time before “phablets” became a thing, when cellphone companies were in a race against one another to see who could create the world’s smallest handset. Jump forward a decade and a half, and that particular fed has gone the way of nu metal, “bullet time” effects, and personalized ringtones — but one company wants to bring it back, and they’ve created the “world’s smallest mobile phone” to show just how serious they are.

Read: No, those aren’t giant hands — the Tiny T1 is the world’s smallest mobile phone

Pepper is everywhere in Japan, and nobody cares. Should we feel bad for robots?

pepper the robot wave

Pepper the robot has consistently hit headlines since its introduction several years ago. The humanoid robot is a surprisingly regular sight in Japan, despite being a rarity in the U.S. and Europe. Created by mobile technology mega-corp SoftBank, we were pleased to see Pepper on duty not only in SoftBank’s many stores, but helping out the public in other places too.

Read: Pepper is everywhere in Japan, and nobody cares. Should we feel bad for robots?

 More regulations are coming as EU rules that Uber is not simply an app

top tech stories uber

Uber’s year of trials and tribulations is not over yet, and not getting any better. On Wednesday, December 20, the Court of Justice of the European Union determined that Uber is not simply an app or a tech platform, but rather a transport service. As a result, the company must comply with the transportation regulations of the EU’s member states, and cannot assert that its services fall exclusively under the jurisdiction of the more lax ecommerce guidelines.

Read: More regulations are coming as EU rules that Uber is not simply an app

From Trump haircuts to lawn mowers, ‘Sounds Fun’ is an Alexa game about noises

Mike Epps Sounds Fun

When comedian Mike Epps was a kid growing up in Indianapolis, his family didn’t have a lot of money for things like toys or games. So, to amuse himself, the star of Next Friday and The Hangover learned how to make realistic noises with his mouth. Taking a cue from his inspiration, actor Michael Winslow of the Police Academy movies, Epps would recreate sounds like tea kettles and weed trimmers. He would play jokes on his friends by walking up behind them and making the hiss from spray can that sounds as though he were spraying the backs of their heads.

Read: From Trump haircuts to lawn mowers, ‘Sounds Fun’ is an Alexa game about noises

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Write music with your voice, make homemade cheese

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Gaming

Find the buried treasure with our Fortnite weekly challenge guide

The Fortnite season 8, week 4 challenges are now out for all players around the world. The big one this week tasks players with searching for Fortnite buried treasure using the buried treasure map item. Here's where you can find treasure on…
Business

Captain Marvel continues to soar at the box office with huge second weekend

Captain Marvel blasted into theaters in a big way a week ago, and Marvel's first female-led solo superhero movie is showing no signs of slowing down after a big second week in theaters.
Business

4 women innovators who are using tech to help others live better lives

Meet four women leaders who are not only at the forefront of technology today, but also using tech — from robotics and medicine to food and undergarments — to help others.
News

Browse safely and securely with Opera’s unlimited VPN on Android

Opera has added a new VPN to its Android browser, offering an easy way to keep your privacy and data locked up solid, and with no limits on usage or cost, you can keep it on all the time.
Product Review

The new iPad Mini certainly isn’t a beauty, but it performs like a beast

Apple’s new iPad Mini has beastly performance, fluid iOS 12 software, and good battery life. It also looks like it came straight out of 2015, because the design hasn’t been changed. Here are our impressions of Apple’s new 7.9-inch…
Mobile

You can now listen to Google Podcasts on your desktop without the app

The Google Podcasts app is no longer entirely necessary to listen to the podcasts it offers. With a simple tweak of the sharing URL, you can listen to a Google Podcasts podcast on your desktop or laptop without the app.
Mobile

Need a quick battery boost? Try one of our favorite portable chargers

Battery life still tops the polls when it comes to smartphone concerns. If it’s bugging you, then maybe it’s time to snag yourself a portable charger. Here are our picks for the best portable chargers.
Mobile

The Samsung Galaxy S10 5G might be a few short weeks away from launch

Samsung has 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 among the first 5G-ready smartphones to hit the market.
Computing

T-Mobile goes after big cable companies, pilots wireless home internet service

In a shot at big cable companies, T-Mobile is launching a new pilot program to bring an unlimited wireless LTE home internet service to up to 50,000 homes across the United States by the end of 2019.
Mobile

Type away on the best iPad keyboard cases, from the Mini to the Pro

Whether you're looking to replace your laptop with a tablet or merely want to increase your typing speed, a physical iPad keyboard is the perfect companion to the iPad. Check out our top picks for every available iPad model.
Mobile

Apple patent suggests Apple Watch bands could have built-in fitness indicators

Apple may be exploring ways to make Apple Watch bands a little more useful. A new patent has been filed by Apple that suggests Apple Watch bands could eventually have indicators for things like fitness goals.
Mobile

Apple patents hint at improved Apple Store and unboxing experiences

It looks like Apple is working on ways to improve the Apple Store and product unboxing experiences. The company has been awarded a few patents, largely for tech that can be used in product packaging to ensure products stay charged.
Wearables

Fossil made a smartwatch in 2004, and it’s part of a new brand retrospective

Fossil has been making watches for 35 years, and to celebrate the anniversary, it has a new retrospective exhibit complete with the first smartwatch it made — the Wrist Net watch from 2004.