T-Mobile adds 5.6 million more customers in 2020 – CNET

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Angela Lang/CNET

T-Mobile has announced adding 5.6 million net customers during 2020. It's the most customers added in the carrier's history, T-Mobile revealed in its preliminary full-year results Wednesday.

"Our focus on bringing unmatched value and experience to customers while building and delivering the nation's best 5G network paid off with record-breaking results in 2020," said Mike Sievert, T-Mobile CEO. "Our 5G leadership position is getting stronger every day."

Read more: Verizon vs. AT&T vs. T-Mobile compared: How to pick the best 5G carrier for you

T-Mobile said its "ultra capacity" 5G network now reaches 106 million people. According to T-Mobile, this is 50 times more than Verizon's 5G coverage, although the carriers use different radio waves for their 5G networks.

Verizon uses high-band millimeter-wave 5G spectrum, which is super high speed but limited to traveling short distances and being blocked by solid obstacles like buildings and trees. AT&T uses 850MHz spectrum for its low-band 5G network, which has better range but slower speeds. AT&T and Verizon will also be employing a new technology called Dynamic Spectrum Sharing to share 4G airwaves with 5G and improve performance.

T-Mobile also uses low-band 600MHz spectrum but was also able to integrate Sprint's midband 2.5GHz spectrum for its "layer cake" approach to 5G since the carrier's $26.5 billion merger with Sprint went through in April 2020. Midband spectrum is faster than low-band, and travels further than high-band.

You can check out T-Mobile's 5G coverage maps hereAT&T's 5G maps here and Verizon's 5G coverage map here.

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Celestial illumination: Save $30 on a magnetically levitating LED lamp – CNET

globe
Daily Steals

I love magnetically levitating globes -- they're science-fiction magic come to life in the form of a mesmerizing modern sculpture. But what happens if you take a levitating globe and add an LED light, turning it into a small desk lamp? You get one of these cool gadgets. Right now, you can save $30 on any of the modern lighting fixtures at Daily Steals, with prices ranging from $70 to $90. To get the deal, apply promo code CNETDECO at checkout. 

There are some really cool lights in this collection. My favorites are the celestial globes, such as the Moon, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn -- all priced at $90 with the code. But there are others as well, like a large LED ring and a cool sculpted dragonfly.

The floating lights are powered inductively, so there are no visible wires (except for the wall outlet that plugs into the base). Not only are you getting a solid discount on the Daily Steals price, but a little comparison shopping shows that the prices compare favorably with those of other retailers. Similar levitating globe lights run $100 on Amazon and $110 at Brookstone, for example. 


CNET's deal team scours the web for great deals on tech products and much more. Find more great buys on the CNET Deals page and check out our CNET Coupons page for the latest promo codes from Best BuyWalmartAmazon and more. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page.

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Earin A-3 earbuds drop the AirPods-style microphone stem – CNET

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Earin

Way back in 2015, Swedish company Earin was the first to release a set of true wireless earbuds. Now it's unveiled its third-generation A-3 earbuds. and they look a lot like what the standard AirPods would look ike if you removed their trademark extruding stems. The new buds are set to hit Kickstarter on Jan. 14 for $199 in black and silver colors and will hit Amazon and other retailers in the next few months, Earin says.

Like the AirPods, they have an "open" design, which means there's no silicone ear tip to jam in your ear. The advantage of an open design is that it can be more comfortable. The downside is that sound from the outside world leaks in, making open-design earbuds harder to use in noisy environments, and they can sometimes be a little lacking the bass department. Also, for some people, they might not fit as securely as noise-isolating earbuds. (I have trouble keeping the standard AirPods in my ears but many others don't.)

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The A-3 earbuds deliver 5 hours of battery life from a single charge.

Earin

I haven't tried the new A-3 buds yet, so I can't tell you how they fit or perform, but they perhaps represent the future of true wireless earbuds, with more companies developing more discreet designs. Apple shrank the stems on the AirPods Pro a bit from the standard AirPods and rumor has it that the company may completely eliminate the protrusions on the next-generation AirPods.

Read more: Best wireless earbuds for 2021

As for specs, the A-3 buds have an IPX52 water resistance rating (they can withstand a sustained spray of water but are not fully waterproof) and deliver 5 hours of battery life with five extra charges from their charging case. They have 14mm drivers, Bluetooth 5.0 and Qualcomm's higher-end QCC5121 chipset. AAC and aptX audio codecs are supported (certain Android devices like Samsung Galaxy smartphones support aptX streaming but iPhones do not). 

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An Earin A-3 in an ear.

Earin

AirPods are known for working very well for making calls, partly because of the protruding stems, which sit closer to your mouth and house beam-forming microphones that capture your voice clearly. When you remove the stems, you lose that technological advantage for voice calls. Earin says the company has overcome that by combining an external microphone with technology that detects your voice through your ear with speech-detecting accelerometers. It's possible Apple would use similar technology if it moved to a stem-free design for next-generation AirPods.

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Mob storms Capitol as Facebook, Twitter roles come under fire – CNET

Pro-Trump protesters outside the US Capitol

A mob gathers outside the US Capitol following a rally with President Donald Trump on Jan. 6.

Samuel Corum/Getty Image

A mob of people stormed the US Capitol on Wednesday as weeks of President Donald Trump's unfounded claims the 2020 election was stolen boiled over into a display of insurrection. The chaos, which included multiple reports that shots had been fired, came as Congress was assembled in the building to affirm the election's results.

Trump, who had spoken to a rally of supporters nearby, stirred up his fans, telling them "We will never give up, we will never concede." The president also used Twitter to attack Vice President Mike Pence, who had earlier issued a statement saying that he couldn't stop the congressional count of electoral votes, which is mandated by the Constitution.

"Mike Pence didn't have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution," Trump tweeted in a statement that falsely claimed fraudulent votes were certified by the states. "USA demands the truth!," he continued. Twitter initially labeled the tweet as disputed, noting that users can't reply to, retweet or like the tweet "due to a risk of violence." The tweet is no longer available along with two other tweets Trump posted on Wednesday.

Congress affirmed Biden's victory over Trump early Thursday after the House and Senate rejected GOP efforts to throw out Georgia and Pennsylvania's electoral votes for Biden.

Trump, who lost the US presidential election to former Vice President Joe Biden, has been using Twitter and Facebook to push baseless claims about election fraud to his millions of followers. The companies have labeled several of Trump's tweets and posts, but critics say those efforts do little to stop the spread of misinformation that could incite violence. On Wednesday, however, both companies took harsher action. 

In a rare move, Twitter locked Trump's account and said it required removal of three tweets that violated its rules regarding elections and other civic processes. "If the Tweets are not removed, the account will remain locked," Twitter said in a tweet. Twitter also added that Trump's account will be permanently suspended if he violates the company's rules again.

Facebook also removed a video the president had posted for "expressing support for the people causing the violence," according to a note by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg that was tweeted out by a New York Times reporter. Facebook also blocked the president from posting to his page for 24 hours, according to the Times. Facebook-owned Instagram also locked the president's account for the same period of time.

Social networks have typically been reluctant to remove Trump's posts though politicians aren't exempted from their rules against inciting violence. In the past, Twitter has added a notice to Trump's tweets but allowed users to view his remarks because of public interest.

Facebook, which exempts politicians from fact-checking, also added labels to several of Trump's posts directing users to its election information center before removing them. In a blog post, Facebook said it would also remove content that praised the storming of the US Capitol, and calls to bring weapons to protests or for protests that violate D.C.'s 6 p.m. ET.

By the time the social networks acted , however, Trump's posts had already garnered a lot of views. A Trump video that repeated false claims about election fraud but urged rioters to "go home now" racked up more than 13 million views on Twitter before its was made unavailable. Facebook and Google-owned YouTube pulled down the video.

Facebook's VP of Integrity Guy Rosen said in a tweet the company removed Trump's video because "we believe it contributes to rather than diminishes the risk of ongoing violence." YouTube cited a policy of removing any new videos alleging fraud in the 2020 presidential election, as Trump's video did. YouTube put the rule in place a month ago and essentially categorized Biden's victory as historical fact. YouTube said it would allow copies of the video to remain up if they're presented in the context of "sufficient educational, documentary, scientific, or artistic value."

The White House didn't respond to a request for comment.

On Wednesday, the social networks faced more calls to suspend Trump's accounts and take stronger action against posts that incite violence. University of Virginia law professor Danielle Citron, journalist Kara SwisherObama Foundation CTO Leslie Miley, Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt and others posted tweets urging Twitter to boot Trump from the social media site. 

"Time is now to suspend Trump's account," Citron tweeted. "He has deliberately incited violence, causing mayhem with his lies and threats."

Twitter said in a statement it will take action against tweets that violate its rules. "Let us be clear: Threats of and calls to violence have no place on Twitter, and we will enforce our policies accordingly," the company said. (Its tweets referencing the events in Washington, D.C. can be found here.)

Facebook, which likewise has rules against inciting violence, also faced criticism for allowing Trump and his supporters to push false claims of voter fraud on its site. Christopher Wylie, the whistleblower in Facebook's Cambridge Analytica scandal, tweeted the violence that broke out at the US Capitol was an "inevitable manifestation of the conspiracy, vitriol and hate fed to people daily on Facebook."

Facebook said it's reviewing and removing any content that violates its rules against inciting violence.

Biden addressed the nation just after 4 p.m. ET, calling the attack an "assault" on democracy that "borders on sedition." He also called for Trump to appear on national TV to denounce the mob's actions. "President Trump, step up," he said.

A woman who was being treated for gunshot wounds on the Capitol grounds was later reported to have died from her wounds. 

CNN showed scenes rioters bashing in windows and scampering through them. In photos, the pro-Trump mob milled in the Capitol Building, mugging with statues and entering legislators' offices. 

Members of the House of Representatives and the Senate had gathered Wednesday to count the electoral votes transmitted by the states to Washington. Trump and some lawmakers sought to use the process, which is usually ceremonial, to challenge the results of the election. The president had pressured Pence, who presides over the process, to support his unfounded claims the vote was stolen.

Hours before the vote count began, Trump tweeted that states wanted to correct their votes and repeated bogus claims of "irregularities and fraud." He called on Pence to send the votes back to the states. "Do it Mike, this is a time for extreme courage!" he wrote in a tweet that was labeled as disputed.

Several reporters were tweeting from the scene, including Huffington Post's Matt Fuller, Politico's Olivia Beavers and Huffington Post's Igor Bobic.

CNET's Joan E. Solsman and Corinne Reichert contributed to this report.

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These Are the 17 Must-Watch TV Shows of 2021

Release date: TBD, Amazon

Loki

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One need that’s never been fully satiated by the MCU: Loki. Sure, Tom Hiddleston’s God of Mischief has been in quite a few Marvel movies now, but never for long enough. Now, the guy is getting his own show. Loki’s official synopsis just says that it takes place after the events of Avengers: Endgame and its trailer is a bit vague and mysterious, but c’mon. It looks like a helluva good time.

Release date: May, Disney+

The Dropout

Saturday Night Live’s Kate McKinnon stops impersonating Elizabeth Warren, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Hillary Clinton and instead fills the shoes of a more infamous figure—Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes—in this Hulu series. That’s it. That’s the plug.

Release date: TBD, Hulu

Y: The Last Man

This adaptation of the incredible comics series from Pia Guerra and Brian K. Vaughan has felt like pop culture vaporware for so long that it would be hard to imagine it was actually being released even if the world wasn’t in the middle of a pandemic. Regardless, this apocalyptic drama, about what happens when a mysterious occurrence wipes out all mammals with Y chromosomes, is allegedly in production. Like many other series over the last year, the production was halted by Covid-19, but there’s still a chance it could hit its 2021 release window.

Release date: TBD, FX on Hulu

Midnight Mass

Did you enjoy The Haunting of Hill House? You’re in luck. Horror impresario Mike Flanagan is back with another Netflix series sure to tingle your spine. This one—Midnight Mass—is about a remote island community that begins experiencing unprecedented, and terrifying, events after a young priest comes to town. Flanagan actually finished the shoot for this during the pandemic and there’s a chance it’ll be ready to stream this year. Here’s hoping.  

Release date: TBD, Netflix

Foundation

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Speaking of throwing money at worthwhile ambitious projects, Apple TV+ has ordered a sprawling adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation novels. Could this be the streaming service’s big genre break? We’ll see.

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I did yoga every day for a year – CNET

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Getty Images

I'm not a resolution-maker, so when a few friends suggested I try Adriene Mishler's January 2020 yoga challenge, I was skeptical. I signed up anyway, with just enough curiosity to commit to it for the month, but no plans to continue beyond. 365 days later, I surprised myself by logging an entire year of yoga. 

Beyond the strength and flexibility I gained, doing yoga every day -- specifically doing Mishler's yoga every day -- helped me put things in perspective as the world grappled with a global pandemic, political upheaval and fights for social justice. 

Sweaty puddle room

Every January, Mishler -- the creator of the now 9-million-subscriber-strong Yoga with Adriene YouTube channel -- releases a month of new videos. Each morning, for 31 days straight, there's a brand-new video on her channel and a brand-new email in your inbox, talking about the practice and encouraging you to give it a try. 

In addition to her January challenge, Mishler, who has been publishing free yoga classes on YouTube since 2012, has hundreds of other videos in the cache -- to try whenever you want, wherever you are, often featuring her impressively calm Australian cattle dog, Benji. 

I was a member of a yoga studio near me when I started Mishler's January 2020 challenge. And in stark contrast to her slow, thoughtful approach, the in-person classes I attended took place in an intensely heated room. Lying prone in savasana at the end of each session was a hard enough breath-battle against the crippling humidity. The class itself, which focused on fast vinyasa flows, perfecting your form and sweating your guts out, was even harder. Those classes always ended with pools of camouflaged sweat speckled across the gray floor, followed by my embarrassed, whispered apologies for hydroplaning into someone's water bottle or mat when my foot accidentally hit a puddle on the way out the door. 

I had probably done half a dozen Yoga with Adriene videos over the years before I signed up for her annual challenge, but to me, the sweaty puddle room was real yoga. Yoga with Adriene was just... stretching. I was so wrong.

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I took a screenshot during the first video on Jan. 1, 2020 -- "day 0," Mishler called it.

Screenshot by CNET/Megan Wollerton

Where I learn what yoga actually is

Mishler's first video on Jan. 1, 2020 wasn't yoga at all, or even stretching. It was a six-minute introduction video called "Welcome Home." "We just take a moment before we begin tomorrow to connect and collect ourselves," she explains, before talking through some tips to get started and what to expect along the way. 

"You can get ahead of the game by just thinking about welcoming yourself back home. You can imagine rolling out a little welcome mat and placing your feet on it and feeling the texture, brushing it off," she says, followed by a joking apology for the somewhat over-the-top visualization.

I was immediately fidgety watching it, unable to reconcile the style of yoga I was familiar with... with one that had an orientation video -- one that required me to sit still and do nothing but breathe. 

But she was laying the foundation for the themes she incorporates into every single video, whether it's a seven-minute bedtime yoga routine where you mostly just lie down and breathe or a more physically demanding hour-long class with vinyasa flows similar to the ones I did in my old hot yoga classes. 

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Occasionally, I shared my progress on Instagram to encourage myself to keep going. 

Megan Wollerton/CNET

Regardless of the class, she encourages you to slow down, especially during the transitions between poses, and check in with how you feel, focusing less on the shapes and more on the sensation. This completely won me over and helped me connect to my breath in an entirely new way, rather than trying to quickly contort myself into uncomfortable shapes to keep up with a fast-paced class. 

The art of slowing down

Not long into the January challenge, I was hooked and found myself looking forward to the classes more and more -- and working my schedule around them to make time. In early January 2020, I was in Las Vegas for CES -- an annual consumer electronics conference where companies showcase the latest tech. I didn't bring a yoga mat with me, instead spreading out a towel on the floor of my casino hotel room as a welcome break from the long workdays. 

Soon, January came to a close, but I kept doing Mishler's videos. While the new-video-every-day thing had ended, she curated month-long calendars of her existing classes for February through December, including new videos every Sunday.

I stopped going to the yoga studio in early March due to the pandemic, but I kept up with Yoga with Adriene. Her videos helped me take a step back when I was feeling burned out by everything happening in the world, especially her focus on belly breathing, or diaphragmatic breathing. 

She even dedicates whole videos to the concept. "Lower stress levels and reduce blood pressure with deep, diaphragmatic breathing, also known as belly breathing," she teases in the text description of a 28-minute video called "Yoga Belly." I don't know about all that (and, frankly, I'm still figuring it out), but even the simple act of focusing on my breath as I moved through Mishler's videos left me feeling calmer than when I started, even on days when I wasn't stressed. 

That was my biggest takeaway from my year of yoga: You don't have to wait until after you feel burned out to practice self-care. Something seemingly small like 20 minutes on a yoga mat can make a huge difference. And you don't have to do yoga every day to feel the benefits; it doesn't even have to be yoga at all, although I do wholeheartedly recommend Mishler's videos.

Go for a run, have a dance party in your living room -- whatever works for you. 

All I know is that daily yoga has become as ingrained in my routine as brushing my teeth, and it's something I'm carrying with me into the new year. While there's definitely a place for sweating it out in a hot yoga studio, I'll take Mishler's deliberate, meditative approach any day. 2020 might've looked a lot different for me without it. 

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The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

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Apple says App Store saw record-breaking holiday spending – CNET

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Apple

Apple's App Store had a record-breaking holiday season, the company said Wednesday, with customers spending more than $1.8 billion on digital goods and services in the last week of 2020. On New Year's Day alone, people spent $540 million, a single-day record.

Apple said the spending between Christmas Day and New Year's Eve was largely driven by game sales

"We're incredibly optimistic about where we're headed, and we believe that the opportunities for developers and the creative community are endless, as are the positive and meaningful benefits to our customers," said Eddy Cue, Apple's senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, in a release.  

Since its launch in 2008, the company said its App Store has generated $200 billion in revenue. 

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Netflix won’t work much longer on your old Wii U or 3DS – CNET

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Sarah Tew/CNET

As of Dec. 31, you can no longer download the Netflix app from the Nintendo eShop on your old Wii U console or the Nintendo 3DS family of systems, according to Nintendo's website. If you've already downloaded Netflix on one of those consoles, you'll be able to use it until June 30. 

In addition, a few games also abruptly disappeared from the eShop in December, Nintendo Life first reported, including Lego City: Undercover and several DSiWare games like Shantae: Risky's Revenge and Asphalt 4: Elite Racing. However, the Lego City games are still available for the Nintendo Switch

Nintendo didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. 

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Samsung’s Neo QLED TVs are packed with futuristic-sounding tech – CNET

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Samsung's Neo QLED TV has a revamped backlight system based on Mini-LED.

Drew Evans/CNET
This story is part of CES, where our editors will bring you the latest news and the hottest gadgets of the entirely virtual CES 2021.

Samsung, the biggest TV company in the world, is following up a blockbuster year of sales with new 2021 models that tout even better picture quality and more extras aimed at people spending extra time at home. Its massive, incredibly expensive MicroLED TVs steal the headlines around CES but its lineup of QLED TVs comprise the company's bread and butter.

This year the best Samsung QLED models, including TVs with both 4K and 8K resolution, are called Neo QLED. The name isn't necessarily a reference to Matrix 4 but does include plenty of futuristic-sounding tech, all aimed at dethroning the OLED TVs made by rivals like LG and Sony, which continue to beat QLED in my tests for picture quality.

Now playing: Watch this: Samsung's new Neo QLED TVs promise better picture, gaming...

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At the heart of Neo QLED TVs lies a new Mini-LED based, full-array local dimming backlight array that boosts brightness and provides more precise light control. Samsung made its LEDs 40 times smaller than conventional LED units, allowing more to be packed into the TV, and even added a (wait for it...) "quantum matrix" to help direct the LED light more accurately. The result, according to the company, is improved HDR highlights with minimal blooming (stray illumination that bleeds from bright into dark areas) as well as better shadow detail.

Samsung also improved its AI upscaling this year to use multiple neural networks (as opposed to just one in previous years) to tweak image quality on both 4K and 8K models.

Neo QLED technology will appear in all of Samsung's 2021 8K QLED models (the QN800A, QN850A and QN900A series), as well as two series of 4K QLED (the QN85A and QN90A). As usual pricing was not announced but if the Q85T is in the same price ballpark as the 2020 Q80T, currently selling for $1,500 at the 65-inch size, it'll be cheaper than OLED and squarely targeted at midpriced TV shoppers.

Beyond the picture, Samsung's new QLED TVs offer a few other new features for 2021.

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The backside of Samsung's new TV remote has a solar cell that lets the battery recharge using interior light.

Samsung

Rechargeable remote with solar cell: In a nod to sustainability Samsung's new remote uses rechargeable batteries instead of disposable ones, which Samsung says could save 20 million AAA batteries every year. In addition to a USB-C port, the clicker can be charged via a solar cell on the back, which even works with indoor lighting.

Read more: Samsung TV remotes are solar-powered for 2021 Neo QLED models

Game status display and ultrawide aspect ratio: Samsung's new TVs continue to support the next-generation gaming features of PS5 and Xbox Series X, including 4K/120 fps input and VRR, but new for this year you can long-press on the play/pause button of the remote to call up a special status screen, dubbed Game Bar, that clearly indicates which of those features are currently active. You can also play the game in 21:9 or even 32:9 aspect ratios, with black bars filling in the remainder of the TVs' 16:9 screen.

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The new Game Bar displays game input info.

Drew Evans/CNET

Samsung health with camera-based Smart Trainer: Samsung's health app debuted on its TVs in 2020 and this year it's expanding to offer guided personal training. Plug in an optional webcam (Samsung has a list of recommended cameras, all by Logitech) and the app will track your exercises and give you coaching complete with celebrity personal trainers. Jillian Michaels is the first of six to provide workout content. The smart trainer feature is available on 2021 Q70A TVs and above.

Read more: Samsung TVs aid your workout with camera-based, AI-powered smart trainer

Google Duo video chat: Using an optional webcam again, the Duo app on Samsung TVs allows up to 12 others to join the chat. And if you don't have a camera plugged in you can screen mirror Duo on your phone to the TV and use its camera. It's not Google's more popular Meet software, but at least it's web chat on the big screen.

Google Assistant, Alexa and Bixby voice built-in: Last year Samsung TVs also offered all three voice assistants available via the remote, which included both push-to-talk and hands-free access. In 2021 the company's remotes are push-to-talk only and far-field hands-free mics, which respond to wake words like "Alexa" and "Hey, Google," are built into the Q70A and higher TVs. As always you can disable the mics entirely.

Microsoft cloud services, wireless Dex: Connect an optional keyboard and mouse to create or edit Microsoft 365 documents, and even work on two simultaneously on the big screen. Samsung is also expanding the capabilities of its Dex feature, available on Samsung Galaxy phones and tablets, to connect wirelessly.

Samsung's 2021 TVs will start shipping later this year. Exact model names, series and pricing were not announced, and as usual we'll have to wait for the reviews to see how well Neo QLED actually stands up to good old OLED.

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Is a larger Toyota Highlander happening? Maybe, judging by a new trademark application – Roadshow

What in the world could a Grand Highlander be?

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

Full disclosure: Trademark applications absolutely do not mean there's a an upcoming vehicle ready to wear a specific nameplate. We've seen it happen often, actually. But they can sometimes be the first clue if there actually is a new vehicle in the pipeline. So why the heck has Toyota filed a "Grand Highlander" trademark application?

The automaker filed the documents with the United States Patent and Trademark Office on Dec. 28 of last year, and it has me wondering what Toyota could use the name for. The Toyota Highlander is already a large SUV with three rows of seats, but the "Grand" prefix usually denotes something larger. Think something like the Jeep Cherokee and Grand Cherokee.

It could be some sort of special variant of the Highlander or a new model altogether, though that seems unlikely. Toyota didn't immediately return a request for comment, but don't expect a forthcoming response regardless. Automakers don't often like to talk about future vehicles, if this will be a future vehicle at all.

We did learn Toyota plans to discontinue the legendary Land Cruiser in the US after this year, so perhaps this trademark filing has something to do with that. The automaker told Roadshow last month, "We remain committed to the large SUV segment and will continue to explore future products that celebrate the Land Cruiser's rich off-road history. We encourage loyal enthusiasts and intrepid adventurers to stay tuned for future developments."

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