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Tencent’s new blockbuster US game studio is led by a ‘GTA’ veteran


Tencent is determined to have more of an impact on gaming outside of China, and not just by pouring money into existing studios. Reuters reports that Tencent Holdings has created a new California studio, LightSpeed LA, that will develop and publish “AAA” (read: blockbuster) titles. The team will be led by former Rockstar Games studio manager Steve Martin and will have alumni from both Rockstar as well as 2K Games, Insomniac and Sony.

The Grand Theft Auto veteran didn’t outline what LightSpeed would work on, but joined the wave of companies hoping to end crunch time with promises of a “stress-free work environment.” Read More

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UK may cut Huawei out of 5G networks this year


The UK had decided in January that it would allow equipment from Huawei and other “high risk” companies in non-core parts of the nation’s 5G networks, limiting their involvement to 35 percent in networks connecting devices and other hardware to mobile masts. Reports later emerged that the UK might phase out Huawei over the space of three years.

The US has maintained that Huawei, ZTE and other Chinese companies are dangerous as they could potentially help China spy on sensitive communications. Officials have been publicly reluctant to outline just what (if anything) Huawei is capable of, however, and unofficial reports of access to carrier backdoors suggested these may have been common networking tools. Huawei has maintained its innocence. Read More

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Rocket Lab mission fails shortly after launch


The rocket had been carrying payloads for three customers, most notably Canon. It was supposed to be demonstrating an Earth imaging camera system ahead of plans for mass production. Planet was expanding its giant constellation of Earth observation satellites, while In-Space was launching its first cubesat mission as part of an initiative to help researchers and startups get payloads into orbit.

The loss comes after 11 consecutive successful Electron launches, including some with a relatively rapid turnaround. This isn’t the end, then, but it suggests that Rocket Lab may have work to do before it’s a completely reliable option for getting machines into space. Read More

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Uber is finally available in Tokyo as a taxi service


Uber is a mainstay in numerous giant cities, but it hasn’t had a foothold in Tokyo — a combination of strict limits on ridesharing and public wariness has kept it out of Japan’s best-known metropolis. Now, however, it’s part of the landscape. Bloomberg reports that Uber has launched its first service in Tokyo despite operating in Japan for about six years. This isn’t ridesharing, though. Instead, it’s offering Uber Taxi through 600 vehicles in the central business district as well as popular city areas like Akihabara, Asakusa and Shinagawa. Read More

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Boeing is reportedly ending production of its 747 jumbo jet


If it wasn’t already apparent that the era of ‘big’ flying is ending, it might be soon. Bloomberg sources say Boeing is ending production of its iconic 747 jumbo jet (specifically, the 747-8) in about two years. A spokesperson for the aircraft maker didn’t confirm or deny the shutdown, saying there were “more than two years” of production left to fulfill orders. However, Bloomberg pointed to signs of a firm stop in “subtle wording changes” for financial statements.

While there’s no claimed explanation for the move, it’s no secret that Boeing faced both a hostile market and its own troubles. Even before the pandemic, the air travel industry had shifted toward smaller, more fuel-efficient twin-engine jets like the 787 Dreamliner. The 15 remaining unfulfilled 747 orders are all destined for freighter use, with 12 of them headed to UPS. The 747-8 was also late and over budget, and is believed to have been a money-loser since 2016. The last passenger order was for Air Force One in 2017. Read More

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Nigerians face US charges over online fraud worth ‘hundreds of millions’


US law enforcement is cracking down on a pair of alleged online fraudsters that appear to have been wildly successful. The United Arab Emirates has sent the US two Nigerian nationals, Ramon Olorunwa Abbas and Olakean Jacob Ponle, to face charges relating to large “business email compromise” scams. Abbas is accused of money laundering in schemes meant to pull in “hundreds of millions of dollars,” according to the Justice Department. He reportedly helped with a plan to launder $14.7 million stolen from a “foreign financial institution,” helped take nearly $923,000 from a New York law firm and was even involved in a plot to steal roughly $124 million from an English Premier League club. Read More

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Porsche unveils more affordable rear-wheel drive Taycan, but only for China


The automaker didn’t explain why the car was China-only upon announcement, although research chief Dr. Michael Steiner previously said the RWD model was for regions where the weather didn’t necessitate AWD. Take heart, though, as Porsche said this version was “still in consideration for the USA.”

It wouldn’t be surprising to see the base Taycan reach the US and other countries. The machine could help Porsche better compete against EV brands like Tesla, whose Model S Performance starts at nearly $89,500. It might also be important in light of grim car markets during the pandemic. While EVs have faired relatively well in the current economic climate, pricing is clearly more of a concern than usual. Read More

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Watch Rocket Lab launch a Canon satellite into space at 5:19PM ET


Public fireworks shows may be in short supply this weekend due to the pandemic, but Rocket Lab is ready to fill the gap. It’s planning to launch its 13th mission, “Pics Or It Didn’t Happen,” from a complex on New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula at 5:19PM Eastern with a livestream (below) available 15 minutes before takeoff. The launch window is open until 6:03PM Eastern. This is only the third Rocket Lab launch this year, due in no small part to the pandemic, and it includes some significant payloads. Read More

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Reddit and LinkedIn will fix clipboard snooping in their iOS apps


The clipboard privacy feature in iOS 14 is prompting more major developers to tone down their apps’ nosy behavior. To start, Reddit told The Verge in a statement that it would fix code in its iOS app that copies clipboard data with virtually every keystroke, as Urspace.io co-founder Don Morton discovered. There’s a “codepath” in the post composing tool that checks for web links in the clipboard and suggests titles based on that link, Reddit said. It stressed that it “do[es] not store or send” clipboard data, and expected the fix to arrive on July 14th. Read More

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Animal Crossing fans get real about the fictional NookPhone


Kris Naudus / Nintendo

Despite living on what is ostensibly a deserted island, players like Corey and Joshua called out how the phone always displayed a strong signal — ideal for when you’re in a pinch and need to call the rescue service. VideogameScrapbook called it “a miracle it works even when there are zero cell phone towers for hundreds of miles,” and Thomas found this “pleasantly surprising considering I was one of the first people to call this island home. It always reads full-bars, and the signal strength really shows. Call quality sounds as if the one I’m speaking to is right next to me.” However, he did take issue with the inability to call out on the device, asking “Why, Nook Inc.?” Read More