DJI confirms Mavic 2 Pro is on the way with different lens options

DJI has new versions of the Mavic Pro on the way, and thanks to a mistakenly published advertisement, the company has now confirmed to CNET a few specs and features ahead of the drones’ official reveal.

There appear to be two big changes coming to this generation of the Mavic: first, the introduction of a “zoom” model (a configuration DJI is calling Mavic 2 Zoom) that can shoot as wide as 28mm and as tight as 48mm. And second, the introduction of a new Pro model with a much larger image sensor.

Both zoom lenses and 1-inch image sensors are features that DJI has so far reserved for its more expensive professional drones. And while it sounds like you’ll have to choose between one or the other in this generation of the Mavic, it will at least start to bring those features down to a wider audience.

The camera system on the Pro will have a big one-inch CMOS sensor — which is a huge bump over the 1/2.3-inch sensor in the original Mavic Pro. The advertisement also mentions that this is a “Hasselblad camera,” meaning the iconic Swedish photography company likely had some involvement in the development of the camera architecture. (DJI acquired a majority stake in Hasselblad a few months after the 2016 release of the original Mavic Pro.)

While it isn’t stated, it’s likely the Zoom version won’t have the same 1-inch sensor, and will instead take advantage of the smaller sensor sized user on the original to allow for that level of zoom.

The Mavic 2 will fold up, much like its predecessor, and appears to be slightly slimmer. It will feature improved performance in the air as well, with a 31-minute flight time and nearly five miles of range. It will have better obstacle avoidance thanks to sensors that face in all directions, which is similar to what DJI did with the smaller, newer Mavic Air.

No other specs have been revealed so far, but it’s safe to assume the Mavic 2 Pro will shoot 4K footage, and will build on the already robust features that have given DJI a stranglehold on the drone market. The company had originally planned to announce the new drone in July, but delayed the event (for an unannounced reason) late enough that UK retailer Argos did not have time to pull the advertisement.

Correction July 30th, 6:55PM ET: This article originally stated that DJI had confirmed the Mavic 2 would support interchangeable lenses; while has been rumored, the confirmed advertisement actually points to there being two separate models of the Mavic 2, instead of one model with swappable lenses.

Google is making it easier to reschedule meetings in Calendar

Google is making it easier to reschedule meetings on Calendar — and avoid all that unnecessary Slack chatter — with a new feature that lets participants propose alternative times from within the app itself. The organizer of the meeting is then given the option to review and accept the new time or reject it. All attendees’ availability windows, if their calendars are shared with co-workers, will also now be displayed in a side-by-side view, so it’s easier to propose times that work with everyone’s schedules.

Normally, most meeting time reshuffling has to be done in person, or over email or company chat apps. Google is hoping to cut down on those annoying conversations by helping users automate subtle office interactions right from within G Suite apps.

Image: Goolge

“This allows for richer communication between attendees, reduces time spent on meeting practicalities, and makes meetings more productive with key stakeholders in attendance,” reads the company’s blog post. Part of this new Calendar feature will also let users add an optional message to the proposal, to give some context around the rescheduling.

The feature won’t be live on mobile until August 13th, but it should be available for all web users of Google Calendar starting today. The rescheduling feature should also work across domains and with Microsoft Exchange, the company notes.

Ecobee’s Peak Relief mode will adjust your thermostat to help save money during the priciest hours

Ecobee is launching a “Peak Relief” pilot program for its smart thermostats that will automatically cut down on heating and air conditioning during the day’s peak hours to help curb the cost of temperature control.

The company says that this program will be customized specifically for each individual’s home by taking electricity rates, comfort preferences, the local weather forecast, and the home’s energy efficiency into account. Peak Relief bundles this data and ramps up either heat or AC just before those peak times to regulate temperature inside your home. Ecobee says the goal is to help find ways to keep users comfortable while reducing their community’s energy usage and electricity bills. The company claims the feature can save customers an additional 10 percent on their heating or cooling bills.

The Peak Relief pilot rolled out today in select markets in California, Ontario, and Arizona. However, it looks to be a pretty limited rollout overall since the program is only available to users with electric heating and cooling systems and time-of-use utility rates. Interested users can sign up to learn when it’ll be available for them.

LG made another $1,800 Signature Edition smartphone based on the V35

LG is continuing its quest to corner the market on ultra high-end handsets with a new entry in its Signature Edition series, via 9to5Google. Started last year with a modified version of the V30, Signature Edition phones are LG’s pricey ceramic devices that run in the ballpark of $1,800.

The second version, unveiled today, is basically an LG V35 in a ceramic body. (The V35, announced back in May for $900, is pretty much a G7 ThinQ in the body of a V30.) The back of the phone is made out of zirconium ceramic, a material LG says makes it nearly scratch-proof. Like the first model, this one will run you KRW 1,999,800 (about $1,790 at current exchange rates). There will only be 300 units made, and it goes on sale on August 13th.

This time around, you get a choice of black or white. You’ll also get a free pair of B&O’s Beoplay H9i over-the-ear headphones (retailing for around $500), which certainly softens the blow of a $1,800 smartphone. You can also have it engraved. As for the device’s specs, it’s the same as the standard V35: Snapdragon 845, 6GB of RAM, 6-inch Quad HD+ display, and 256GB of storage.

T-Mobile signs $3.5 billion deal with Nokia for 5G technology

T-Mobile and Nokia have announced a $3.5 billion deal that will see Nokia provide T-Mobile with “complete end-to-end 5G technology, software, and services” as the carrier continues to build out its 5G infrastructure.

“We are all in on 5G,” commented T-Mobile’s chief technology officer Neville Ray in the announcement. Nokia will help build T-Mobile’s 5G network on both the 600 MHz and 28 GHz millimeter wave portions of the spectrum, in accordance with the 3GPP’s 5G New Radio (NR) standards.

It’s a major move forward on both sides of the deal. T-Mobile is one of the first major carries to publicly announce an investment into 5G hardware, and it gives Nokia an edge over fellow 5G networking providers like Ericsson and Huawei, all of which are looking for new opportunities to expand as 4G network growth begins to slow. Plus, it’s yet another concrete sign that we’re finally getting closer to actual 5G networks beginning to roll out in the increasingly near future.

Jeff Bezos’ kids made their own DJ Roomba with an Echo

It’s often said that a fresh pair of eyes can be essential for innovation. Altogether, Jeff Bezos’ four children have eight twinkling eyes and the common sense to slap an Echo Plus on an iRobot Roomba, an invention that is more or less what analysts are expecting from Amazon next in the form of a mobile Echo robot.

In an Instagram post, dad Bezos proudly showed off his kids’ handiwork: blue painter’s tape haphazardly holding down the Echo to create an Alexa on wheels.

The Echo Plus doesn’t appear to be plugged in, but rather looks like it’s standing on a third-party battery base, which is interesting considering that Amazon currently doesn’t offer its own. There might be a good reason for that though, as Amazon is reportedly working on its first home robot, something akin to a “mobile Alexa”, Bloomberg reported in April. Alexa voice commands are already integrated into Roombas, so there’s a natural connection there as both companies try to figure out the role of robotics in the smart home.

All of this could either mean that this is Bezos’ coy way of hinting at a new product in the works, or maybe his kids are just fans of DJ Roomba from Parks and Recreation.

Firefox is getting a new logo, and Mozilla wants to hear what users think

Mozilla is redesigning the Firefox logo, with a little help from the rest of us.

This time around, though, the plan isn’t just to create one new icon for the flagship browser, but to design an entire series of icons to fit the brand’s different ventures — from mobile and VR browsers, to screenshot and file sharing tools. Mozilla’s already uploaded some possible takes, and now wants users to comment on its blog for feedback about what the icons should look like.

“As an icon, that fast fox with a flaming tail doesn’t offer enough design tools to represent this entire product family,” Mozilla designers wrote in a blog post. That means looking past recoloring the logo or making the fox sleeker: Mozilla is starting from square one with many aspects of this Firefox redesign.

The company shared two “design system approaches” to get feedback from its users. Both options offer a “master brand” icon — either a stylized, geometric fox head, or a more familiar swooshing flame — that all of the products will live under. Mozilla also shared options for a general browser icon, along with what appear to be other, more singularly focused browser icons (for Firefox Focus, for example). There are even symbols for some of its standalone apps, but these proposed icons might be far from where they ultimately end up.

“Each individual icon will undergo several rounds of refinement, or may change entirely, between now and their respective product launches,” the company said. “Our focus at this point is on the system.”

It’s not the first design change the Mozilla platform’s undergone recently, either. Back in December, it launched a bolder, brighter, and simplified icon for Firefox Quantum that was “less about fur and more about a being made of flame,” the company wrote in a blog post. Not only that — but this whole Firefox change is pretty similar to the process Mozilla used when it was redesigning its own logo about two years ago.

Mozilla’s not asking for users to submit their own ideas for designs, and it’s not looking to put these designs to a vote. It’s just looking for feedback on the design ideas as they stand, with the caveat that “these design systems are still a work of fiction”, and that “icons are not final.”

Google blasts you with Windows and Mac error messages in new Chromebook ad

Google isn’t holding back with its latest Chromebook commercial. The minute-long ad blasts you with Windows and macOS error messages, virus warnings, and blue screens of death all in an effort to demonstrate the simplicity of Chrome OS. Google’s message is that its Chromebooks come with virus protection, automatic updates, all-day battery life, and a variety of Android apps. It’s Google’s first clear shot at both Windows and Mac laptops, and it comes nearly five years after Microsoft launched its own attacks at Chromebooks.

Most of Google’s criticisms of Windows and macOS would have made more sense years ago, though, as both Microsoft and Apple have addressed many of the infamous problems Google has chosen to highlight. Windows 10 ships with built-in virus protection, automatic updates, and many laptops now offer “all-day” battery life. The strength of Chrome OS is its pure simplicity, and that’s not necessarily demonstrated well in an ad designed to highlight old error messages.

Google’s Chromebook ad timing comes just as laptop makers head into back-to-school season. It’s a chance for Google and others to convince students and teachers to purchase new machines for a new school year. Microsoft is launching its new Surface Go this week which is clearly aimed at students, and Apple has already kicked off its free Beats headphones promotion for select MacBooks.

Google has a strong lead in the US education market thanks to its Chromebooks, and its latest ad suggests it’s ready to battle for even more market share. Chrome OS might not be ready to take on the iPad just yet, but Google keeps proving Chromebooks are ready to go head-to-head with Windows laptops and Macs.

WhatsApp’s new group video calling feature is now live

Back at Facebook’s F8 developer conference in May, WhatsApp announced that it would be bringing group calling with both voice and video support later on this year. Now, WhatsApp says the feature is live for users around the globe on iOS and Android starting today. The group calling feature supports up to four people simultaneously, regardless of where those people are.

The company says it engineered the feature to work under less-than-stellar network conditions, so you can video chat a friend or family member from a far-flung locale so long as you can get yourself online. Calls are also end-to-end encrypted, like all chats on the platform.

Image: WhatsApp

Earlier this year, WhatsApp announced that it has 1.5 billion monthly active users, so there’s probably quite a few people who are itching to try the new group calling feature out. WhatsApp first launched video chatting in 2016 and voice calling way back in 2014, and now its users spend a total of 2 billion minutes per day talking on the phone.

Logitech is acquiring Blue Microphones for $117 million in cash

Logitech is making a big purchase to secure a foothold in high-end audio recording. Tonight, the company announced that it’s acquiring Blue Microphones for $117 million. The all-cash transaction will result in Blue, known for USB condenser microphones including the Snowball and Yeti, joining Logitech’s existing portfolio of brands. Aside from Logitech and Logitech G, the company also owns Astro Gaming, Jaybird, and Ultimate Ears. Yeah, it’s putting together quite the roster.

“For Logitech, this is a new space,” the company wrote in its blog post announcing the deal. “But, at the same time, it’s not at all. Gamers are already using our Logitech G webcams to stream. People are video calling with friends and family thanks to Logitech every day. And in business, our audio and video know-how is apparent every time a video meeting takes place at the office. Joining up with Blue and their microphone lines is a logical adjacent opportunity with great synergies.”

Founded in 1995, Blue sells microphones that range in price from $60 to over $4,000 (for studio-grade hardware), and they’re used by podcasters, musicians, and any other consumers who need higher-fidelity audio than what they get from the built-in microphones on their devices. Now, after dropping a heap of cash on the company, Logitech will do its best to make sure Blue’s devices become just as essential as its own wireless keyboards and mice.