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Google donates free Chromebooks and 100,000 mobile hotspots for rural

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Google will provide 4,000 Chromebooks and fund the use of 100,000 Wi-Fi hotspots for rural students in California, who are studying from home as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, CNBC reports. The initiative, which was announced by California governor Gavin Newsom and Google CEO Sundar Pichai, will allow students to get access to free and unlimited Wi-Fi for a minimum of three months.

In California, EdSource reports that 20 percent of students can’t get on the internet. Google’s donation could cut this number in half, according to California State Board of Education Linda Darling-Hammond.

“We’re providing 4,000 Chromebooks to California students in greatest need & free wifi to 100,000 rural households during the #COVID19 crisis to make...

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Sprint is dead. Long live Sprint

Sprint Flatiron Logo Sprint Flatiron Logo

It’s done. We now have just three major cell phone carriers in the US: Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, which just completed its merger with Sprint. It’s been such a long time coming and has seemed so inevitable that the news — on April Fools’ Day, no less — felt like little more than a blip in the tech world.

If you’re a Sprint customer, don’t panic. Chaim Gartenberg has the answers on what’s next for Sprint customers now that the T-Mobile merger has gone through. There’s no need to worry that things will change significantly in the short term. And T-Mobile is doing what it can to offer some immediate benefit. Sprint customers may get access to T-Mobile’s LTE network if their phones support its bands and may get software upgrades to...

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What Zoom doesn’t understand about the Zoom backlash

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

[Ed. note: Today’s newsletter and column was written and distributed before Zoom CEO Eric S. Yuan published his 1,300-word plan to address the security and privacy issues related to the company’s unprecedented consumer growth. What follows is unedited because email is forever.]

Just in time for one backlash against the technology industry to end — or at least pause — a fresh set of concerns has arrived to occupy our attention. Zoom, the once-obscure enterprise video chat app company, rocketed to prominence as COVID-19 forced tens of millions of Americans — and most of Silicon Valley — to begin working, schooling, and socializing at home. Like lots of people, I’m now on Zoom for multiple hours a day. But with all that new usage comes...

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The first Harry Potter audiobook voiced by Stephen Fry is now free to

Harry Potter Image: Warner Bros

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, which was released as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in the US, is now free to stream on Audible. It’s part of a series of initiatives launched by JK Rowling and friends to keep everyone entertained while they’re cooped up at home. Better yet, it’s the version narrated by Stephen Fry, which has previously been difficult to legally access in the US.

As well as making the audiobook available, the series’ publishers are also temporarily relaxing licencing restrictions to allow teachers to read the books to their students in remote video lessons.

There are big debates about whether Stephen Fry’s or Jim Dale’s rendition of the audiobooks are better, but as a Brit who grew up listening to Fry’s...

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Zoom announces 90-day feature freeze to fix privacy and security issue

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Zoom’s recent growth has put it in the spotlight over a series of privacy and security issues, and the company is now promising to address them over the coming 90 days. In a detailed blog post, Zoom CEO Eric S. Yuan explains how the company has been responding to a massive increase in users. Zoom has never shared user numbers before, but Yuan reveals that back in December the company had a maximum of 10 million daily users. “In March this year, we reached more than 200 million daily meeting participants, both free and paid,” says Yuan.

That’s a huge increase that has seen people use Zoom for reasons nobody expected before the coronavirus pandemic. “Our platform was built primarily for enterprise customers,” explains Yuan. “We did not...

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Asus’ ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 is a gaming laptop with two screens

It’s a big day in the mobile-computing world. Intel has unveiled its new H-series chips, Nvidia has announced its RTX Super GPU lineup for mobile devices, and just about every major laptop manufacturer is introducing new laptops incorporating that hardware. But Asus is releasing something unlike anything else that’s hitting shelves today: the Zephyrus Duo 15.

Asus says that this is the first dual-screen laptop branded specifically for gaming. It’s technically correct, although it discounts past dual-screen laptops — like the company’s own Zenbook Pro Duo and Zenbook Duo — that were fairly competent gaming machines, too.

Here’s how the new laptop works. Like Asus’ past dual-screen laptops, there’s one screen (the main 15.6-inch one) which...

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Gigabyte’s latest gaming laptop supports Intel’s most powerful 10t

Image: Gigabyte

Gigabyte has introduced three new versions of its Aorus gaming laptops: the Aorus 15G, 17G, and 17X. Each features the newly announced Intel 10th Gen Comet Lake H-series processors, and you’ll be able to choose between the eight-core Intel Core i7-10875H and the high-end Intel Core i9-10980HK. These are also Gigabyte’s first gaming laptops to include Nvidia’s new RTX 20-series Super mobile graphics chips, and they’re configurable to feature the RTX 2080 Super Max-Q chip.

Additionally, each of these machines comes standard with Omron mechanical keyboards and displays with a 240Hz refresh rate. Each of these laptops looks a bit different. While the 15G and 17G look like they might be able to blend in with a pack of sleek ultrabooks, the...

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Nvidia’s RTX Super GPUs for laptops have arrived — here’s where

The Asus GX701. Some of Asus’s new gaming laptops will include the new RTX chips. | Nvidia

Nvidia has announced its new RTX 2080 Super and RTX 2070 Super mobile GPUs. These are the company’s top-of-the-line (and priciest) RTX cards for laptops, offering a performance bump over the company’s standard RTX 2070 and 2080 offerings. They’re based on Nvidia’s Turing architecture, which includes dedicated “RT Core” hardware designed to drive ray tracing. RTX Super cards first arrived for desktop machines last July, and standard RTX mobile GPUs were only made available shortly after CES 2019.

Nvidia will also offer Max-Q configurations (intended for thin gaming laptops), which it says many upcoming notebooks will feature. The company says its Max-Q systems will double the power efficiency of previous designs thanks to a new feature...

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Intel’s new 10th Gen chips bring 5.0GHz clock speeds to gaming lapto

Intel is announcing the next wave of its Core processors, and it’s finally bringing out the big guns, with its first 10th Gen Comet Lake H-series processors for laptops. They’re Intel’s beefiest, most powerful, and most demanding chips, designed to go in high-end gaming laptops and creative machines for users who need the most power. The new chips have a TDP of 45W, with clock speeds that can boost past 5.0GHz, a first for Intel’s processors.

The star of the show is the new Core i9 model, the Core i9-10980K, with eight cores, 16 threads, and a base clock speed of 2.3GHz that can boost all the way up to 5.3GHz. But Intel will be offering multiple chips that can reach maximum boost speeds of 5.0GHz or more between its i9 and i7 lineup (the...

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MSI announces new laptops with Comet Lake H and new Nvidia GPUs

MSI has announced some of the first laptops to include Intel’s new 10th Gen processors from its Comet Lake H series. The company has announced specs and release dates for its GS66 Stealth, GE66 Raider, and Creator 17, all of which were unveiled at CES earlier this year.

The two gaming rigs will feature up to an i9-10980HK, and the Creator 17 will sport up to an i7-10875H. All three will also feature up to Nvidia’s Geforce RTX 2080 Super Max-Q mobile graphics.

Image: MSI
The MSI GS66 Stealth

Of the two gaming laptops, the GS66 Stealth has the more subdued design. MSI says it’s ideal for business users who might also enjoy some casual gaming. The GE66 Raider, by contrast, is geared toward gamers who want...

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