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Peak Design launches Kickstarter campaign for MagSafe-like smartphone accessories
by João Carrasqueira
Just last week, Apple introduced the iPhone 12 family, and with it came the launch of MagSafe for iPhone, a new mechanism that makes wireless charging on iPhone 12 easier, while also allowing for accessories to be attached using the mechanism. But if you're looking for something similar without the Apple tax - or without joining the Apple ecosystem at all - Peak Design today introduced Mobile, an ecosystem of magnetic accessories that are very reminiscent of MagSafe for iPhone.
Peak Design is most known for its Everyday travel bags and camera accessories, and Mobile is its first major investment in smartphone-specific accessories. At the core of the ecosystem is the Everyday Case or the Universal Adapter. The former is a regular smartphone case, but it's only set to be available for Samsung's Galaxy S20 family as well as Apple's iPhone 11 and 12 lineups, while the universal adapter is a simple sticker that you can attach to almost any smartphone.
From there, you can use the magnetic mechanism to attach your phone to any of the remaining accessories in the lineup, which are designed for a variety of use cases. There are wall-mounts in case you're in the kitchen and need to see your phone's screen hands-free, for example, car mounts (with or without wireless charging capabilities), bike mounts, a kickstand, a tripod, and more. Some accessories relies on the magnets exclusively to hold the phone place, but others, like the bike mount, use a hard lock that relies on aluminum teeth to prevent your phone from flying off the mount.
Apple's MagSafe announcement caught Peak Design off guard, but the company says it's working to ensure that its accessories are compatible with MagSafe to the best of its ability, so soft-lock accessories and mounts should work with MagSafe phones and cases, while MagSafe chargers and and accessories should also be able to lock onto the Peak Design case. Work is still being done in this area, though, since Apple hasn't publicly shared details on what work is needed to make MagSafe-compatible accessories.
Peak Design's system may be interesting if you're not planning on getting an iPhone 12, though it's worth keeping in mind that wireless charging is only designed to work with phones that are compatible with the Everyday case. If you use the universal adapter, it might not align properly with your phone's charging coil, meaning official support is pretty limited. In terms of mounts and other accessories, though, almost any phone should be good to go.
Mobile by Peak Design has just launched as a Kickstarter campaign, but it's already smashed its $100,000 funding goal. Still, if you'd like to get a discount on the products, you can back the campaign and get some of the accessories for a lower price. The expected shipping date is May 2021.
Kickstarter union reaches an agreement with the management to support laid-off workers
by Anmol Mehrotra
The Kickstarter union has reached an agreement with the management to support laid-off employees after the company fired over 45% of the staff due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. In an internal memo, Kickstarter CEO Aziz Hasan noted that the company has seen a 35% drop in new projects with “no clear sign of rebound.”
Kickstarter union represents 60% of the company’s 140 employees and was working with the management to reach an agreement to support the laid-off workers. According to a press release sent out earlier today, the laid-off employees will get the following benefits:
Four months of severance pay for all laid-off employees; Four months of continued healthcare coverage for employees earning more than $110,001; Six months of continued healthcare coverage for employees earning $110,001 or less; Release from non-compete agreement upon accepting severance; and Recall rights of one year for members to return to any forthcoming job opening within their "classification," and a number of other provisions. OPEIU President and Local 153 Business Manager Richard Lanigan noted that the agreement was "negotiated under difficult circumstances" and "is a testament to the power and protections of a union"
Richard Lanigan further said:
Kickstarter was the first tech company in US history to unionize after a successful vote in February. Kickstarter employees are represented by the Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU).
By News Staff
EVERSPACE 2 dev says the game won't be exclusive to the Epic Games Store
by Florin Bodnarescu
Unveiled on August 19 during gamescom's Opening Night Live event, Rockfish Games' single-player space shooter, EVERSPACE 2 went the Kickstarter route - much like its predecessor. Now, because both titles have gone the crowdfunding route, the developer's co-founder and CEO, Michael Schade, posted a Kickstarter update which addressed, among others, the lack of exclusivity to the Epic Games Store.
As folks may remember, Metro Exodus was one of the first big titles to go Epic exclusive, with The Outer Worlds, and crowdfunded titles like Phoenix Point and Shenmue III also going the exclusive route. Schade had this to say:
The second game's Kickstarter campagin, which debuted at the beginning of the month and has a funding goal of €450,000 (approximately $494,000), reveals a bit more about the potentially strange release schedule, given that the final version isn't out until 2021.
via EVERSPACE 2 Kickstarter As per the roadmap (pictured on the right), a demo will be pushed out to backers of the Standard edition or higher tier in December, via Steam. This will be followed by a closed alpha in April next year, a Closed beta in July 2020, after which the game will hit Steam Early Access in September of next year. Following that, there will be three major updates (in Q4 2020, Q1 2021, and Q2 2021), ending in the release of the game in the third quarter of 2021.
Set in a persistent open-world, and drawing from classic RPG elements - it is being positioned as a looter shooter in space -, the game's approximately 20-hour long campaign is headed for a release on Windows, Mac, and Linux - via Steam and GOG - in Q3 2021, with a release on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 six months after the PC release. In the studio's own words:
You can check out the Kickstarter campaign here.
By Timi Cantisano
Unihertz's tribute to the BlackBerry Passport is now available with limited stock
by Timi Cantisano
We reported on the Unihertz Titan a couple of weeks back and now it is time to throw down your money if you are interested in a device that looks like the spiritual successor to the BlackBerry Passport.
If you're unfamiliar, the device has styling that is uncanny with the Passport, featuring a wide body, a 4.5-inch display with a resolution of 1440 x 1440, and QWERTY keyboard. The keyboard also acts as a trackpad, which means you can swipe your finger across the keys and you'll get a response on the display. As you might expect, the device also has a fingerprint reader for added security.
Unihertz won't say exactly what chip is powering it, but it is an octa-core 2GHz CPU with 6GB RAM and 128GB of internal storage. It has a dual SIM slot, meaning you can make use of two SIMs, or use one of the slots for additional storage with a micro SD card. There is a 16MP rear camera and an 8MP front-facing camera. NFC support is present and will allow for mobile payments to be supported.
With its 6,000mAh battery, it should provide plenty of power throughout the day and if you happen to run low, you will be able to charge using its USB Type C port or through a wireless charging pad. Those that are concerned about its resilience to the elements, the Titan has an IP67 rating. The handset will be running Google's Android 9.0. So all in all, this is a pretty complete package for an Android device that started (with early bird pricing) at just $199.
If you're interested, the Kickstarter is now live. Unfortunately, the early bird pricing of $199 and $219 are no longer available, disappearing after just a few hours. But, you can still pledge the amount of $239 to lock one of the 275 (as of writing) devices available, which is still $120 off its $359 recommended retail price.
At the time of this article going out, the campaign has already amassed double its goal, which is a good sign. But like any crowd-funded project, a final product and its quality are not guaranteed, so be careful before you part with your money.
By Timi Cantisano
The Unihertz Titan could be a spiritual successor to the Blackberry Passport
by Timi Cantisano
Well, it looks like Unihertz, yep, the brand that used to make your home's cordless phone, is set to introduce an Android handset that could be seen as the spiritual successor of the Blackberry Passport.
Sure, it won't be running BlackBerry OS but the styling is uncanny with the Passport, with the Unihertz Titan featuring a wide body, 4.5-inch display with a resolution of 1440 x 1440, and QWERTY keyboard. As far as internals, the firm doesn't give details about the processor or RAM, but it does state that the handset will offer an IP67 rating for protection against the elements, a large 6,000mAh battery, wireless charging, fingerprint unlocking, global LTE support, and NFC.
Unfortunately, you won't be able to find this at your local electronics retailer, instead, you will have to pledge your hard-earned money towards the Kickstarter campaign that will be going live soon. If interested, you can register your email to be notified when the campaign goes live. As far as pricing goes, when it makes its crowdfunding debut, the Unihertz Titan will be offered for $199.