U.S. telecoms regulator stops clock on Sprint, T-Mobile merger review

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission said on Thursday it has halted the informal 180-day “shot clock” on the review of the merger of wireless providers Sprint Corp and T-Mobile US Inc to give the public three additional weeks to comment on the $26 billion tie-up.

Tesla enters into agreement with Chinese lenders for Gigafactory

Tesla Inc said on Thursday it signed an agreement with lenders in China for a 12-month facility of up to 3.5 billion yuan ($521 million) for the electric carmaker’s Gigafactory in Shanghai, and secured new commitments from banks that could be used for investments in the United States and elsewhere.

Germany does not want to ban Huawei from 5G networks: minister

Germany does not want to ban Chinese telecoms equipment maker Huawei Technologies from building its 5G networks, Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said on Thursday, adding that Berlin would tighten security criteria for all vendors instead.

‘It’s Just Us Left.’ Meet the Manager Running the World’s Last Blockbuster

In less than a month’s time, there will officially only be one Blockbuster store left in the entire world. But the last remaining relic of the once mammoth video rental chain that owned movie night has no plans of shutting its doors anytime soon.

In the wake of reports that Australia’s last location will be closing up shop by the end of March, a Blockbuster in Bend, Ore. — which was already the only franchise still open in the United States — is set to be the lone Blockbuster left on the planet.

But according to Sandi Harding, the general manager of the location in Bend, the news of her store’s new status left her with mixed emotions. “Initially, my reaction was excitement and, ‘Oh my gosh.’ It was pretty exciting to know that we had outlasted everyone else,” she told TIME. “But then as soon as I got excited, I also realized that someone is losing their job somewhere and that we’re losing another Blockbuster store. It’s just us left, which means that we’re just that much closer to being completely gone and that’s just so sad.”

However, Bend’s Blockbuster — which still has “popcorn ceilings” and “IBM computers from 1992” — doesn’t sound like it’s having any trouble keeping its doors open. “We sign up probably 5-10 membership applications a day and everybody thinks that I’m blowing that number up or exaggerating it, but I’m really not. We set up accounts every single day for new people.”

In the age of Netflix and other digital streaming platforms, Harding credits her store’s success to both local support and Bend’s budding tourism industry.

“Bend has grown tremendously in the last few years. But I think that even though we’re growing and getting bigger, people really love to buy local,” she said. “They know that our owners live two miles away from the store and that they’re frequently down here. I’ve been here 15 years, most of my staff has been around for a while and I think they just really appreciate that.”

Debate over anti-Semitism charges exposes divide in Democratic Party

A debate within the Democratic Party over charges that one of its U.S. House of Representatives lawmakers made anti-Semitic remarks has exposed an ideological and generational rift in the party, prompting a vote condemning bigotry against minorities.

Samsung’s Galaxy Buds vs. Apple AirPods

Samsung’s new Galaxy Buds, designed to compete with the AirPods, are launching this week. We got our hands on a set and thought we’d compare them with the AirPods to see just how Samsung’s newest earbuds measure up to Apple’s super popular product.

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Like the AirPods, the Galaxy Buds are wire free, using Bluetooth to connect two separate ear pieces to a smartphone or other device. Samsung opted for a different design than Apple, though, using a pillbox-style case and a squatter, rounder design for the earbuds themselves to set the Galaxy Buds apart from the AirPods.

Apple’s AirPods, as you probably know, have a distinct design with a stem that comes out of the ears and a square flip case that’s been likened to a container of dental floss.

Samsung’s Galaxy Buds come in white, black, and yellow, while the AirPods are limited to white at the current time. The Galaxy Buds have a simple, clean design with a USB-C charging port at the back and Samsung branding at the top. AirPods have no Apple branding and a Lightning port at the bottom, along with a reset button on the back.

Both cases hold their respective earbuds in place magnetically and offer additional charge, and we found both to be equally portable. The AirPods case does have a slight edge, though, because it better holds the AirPods in place thanks to a stronger magnetic grip.

No headphones are going to fit in everyone’s ears, and some people may have problems with the AirPods, while others might have issues with the Galaxy Buds. We had problems with fit when it came to the Galaxy Buds and it was difficult for us to get a good seal. We didn’t have that problem with the AirPods, but fit is something that varies from person to person.

With the Galaxy Wear app on a Samsung device, you can see battery level and choose different equalizer presets, a feature not offered on the AirPods. With AirPods, you can see battery level natively when paired with an iOS device, but there’s no accompanying app for making adjustments to sound. The Galaxy Buds also have an ambient sound setting to better let you hear your surroundings, but we didn’t notice a huge difference.

Samsung’s Galaxy Buds support customizable gestures just like the AirPods do. A tap plays or pauses music, a double tap plays the next track or answers/ends a call, a triple tap plays the previous track, and a tap and hold accesses the voice assistant, turns on ambient sound, or adjusts the volume. On AirPods, many of these same gestures are supported, but there’s no tap gesture for changing volume.

AirPods pair to an Apple device using a W1 chip that enables quick pairing and device switching, and on Samsung phones, there’s a similar feature for the Galaxy Buds. You can pop open the case to do a quick pair with a Galaxy smartphone, and there’s an easy switch feature for swapping the earbuds over to any other Galaxy device.

Apple limits this feature to the iPhones, and similarly, the easy pairing feature on the Galaxy Buds is limited to Samsung devices. There’s no quick pairing when using the Galaxy Buds with Android devices or an iPhone, so you’ll need to use regular Bluetooth.

With the AirPods, there’s a neat feature that pauses the music when you remove an earbud from your ear, which is not available with the Galaxy Buds, but Samsung’s earbuds do offer several features not available with the AirPods.

For one, there’s wireless charging, so you can charge the Galaxy Buds using any Qi wireless charging accessory. When using the Galaxy Buds with a new S10 device, there’s a PowerShare feature that lets the S10 charge the Galaxy Buds, which is both handy and cool.

There’s actually a rumor that the 2019 iPhones could get a similar feature, so we may very well be able to charge that rumored wireless AirPods charging case that’s in the works with a 2019 iPhone when September rolls around.

Samsung’s Galaxy Buds are basically the AirPods of the Samsung ecosystem. You’re probably not going to want to pick these up if you’re an iPhone owner because the AirPods offer so many more benefits, but if you have a Samsung device, there are a lot of great features you can take advantage of.

Tag: Samsung

This article, "Samsung's Galaxy Buds vs. Apple AirPods" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Explainer: Why Canada’s Trudeau is under fire over SNC-Lavalin case

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday denied interfering in Canada’s judicial system as he sought to defuse a month-long crisis threatening his political future, but offered no apology, asserting only that lessons had been learned.