Category Archives: arstechnica

The Falcon Heavy rocket launched early Tuesday—two cores made it back safely

  • That’s the center core of the Falcon Heavy rocket just missing the drone ship. [credit:
    SpaceX webcast ]

2:50am ET Tuesday Update: SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket launched at 2:30am ET on Tuesday morning, sending its payload of 24 satellites into space. Less than three minutes after the launch, the rocket’s two side-mounted boosters separated from the first stage’s center core, and subsequently returned to make a safe landing near Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

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Amazon takes on TCL’s Roku TV with low-cost HDR Fire TV television

TV with sample illustration of standard and HDR visual

Enlarge / Seeing is believing when it comes to HDR, and this mock-up comparison of the display tech hints at what awaits for Toshiba buyers. (Note: The TV pictured above is NOT the one we’re writing about today.) (credit: Ars Technica)

Things are looking a lot brighter for Amazon’s collection of Fire TV Edition sets. The company is introducing three new smart televisions made by Toshiba that bring HDR support to the product line for the first time. The displays are also going up for sale at an appealing price point.

The Toshiba 4K UHD Smart TV HDR is an LCD panel that promises a typical contrast ratio of 4,000:1, plus HDR in the Dolby Vision standard. The Amazon product listing doesn’t give any specifics on the maximum brightness for this hardware. As the product name implies, it has a 4K resolution as well as a 60Hz refresh rate.

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AT&T sued over hidden fee that raises mobile prices above advertised rate

An AT&T retail store in Chicago, with the AT&T logo seen from outside the building.

Enlarge / An AT&T retail store in Chicago in 2018. (credit: Getty Images | jetcityimage)

AT&T is facing a class-action complaint over its practice of charging a $1.99-per-month “Administrative Fee” that isn’t disclosed in its advertised rates.

As the complaint notes, “AT&T prominently advertises particular flat monthly rates for its post-paid wireless service plans.” But after customers sign up, the telco “covertly increases the actual price” by tacking on the “bogus so-called ‘Administrative Fee,'” according to the lawsuit filed Thursday in US District Court for the Northern District of California.

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Bill Gates calls failure to fight Android his “greatest mistake”

A man speaks from a sofa.

Enlarge / Bill Gates speaks to Village Global. (credit: Village Global)

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates recently gave a wide-ranging interview to VC firm Village Global, and at one point, the topic of mobile came up. Gates revealed his biggest regret while at Microsoft was a failure to lead Microsoft into a solid position in the smartphone wars.

In the software world—particularly for platforms—these are winner-take-all markets. So, you know, the greatest mistake ever is whatever mismanagement I engaged in that caused Microsoft not to be what Android is. That is, Android is the standard non-Apple phone platform. That was a natural thing for Microsoft to win, and you know it really is winner-take-all. If you’re there with half as many apps or 90 percent as many apps, you’re on your way to complete doom. There’s room for exactly one non-Apple operating system. And what’s that worth? Four hundred billion? That would be transferred from Company G to Company M. And it’s amazing to me having made one of the greatest mistakes of all time—and there was this antitrust lawsuit and various things—our other assets—Windows, Office—are still very strong. So we are a leading company. If we’d got that one right, we would be the leading company. But oh well.

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The 2019 Audi A7 might be all the car anyone ever needs

  • I apologize for the use of Audi’s stock images, but it rained a lot during my time with the A7 and none of the pictures I took were good enough to use. [credit:
    Audi ]

High expectations can be a killer. We see this all the time—the let-down sequel to a great movie or the indulgent sophomore follow-up to a brilliant debut album. It also applies to cars; ask any fan of the Mk2 VW Golf for their opinion of the Mk3 as proof. As humans we fall in love, too easily perhaps, with inanimate objects. When a replacement shows up, and our expectations exceed its ability, the result is disappointment. Which is a long-winded way of saying I was actually a little scared when I fired up the 2019 Audi A7 for the first time.

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