Would you pay for an Xbox like you paid for a phone in 2010?

The release dates and prices for the new Xboxes‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ 

Yesterday we got the official reveal of the Xbox Series X and Series S pricing, release date, and some additional specs. They will launch on November 10th, and the Series X will cost $499. But really, Microsoft's big play here is to get you to sign up for a service plan — sorry, "Xbox All Access" — that subsidizes the cost of the hardware. So $24.99 per month gets you the Series S and $34.99 gets you the Series X — both payments spanned across 24 months.

Sounds a bit like the cell phone plans of yore, doesn't it? I'm not against it in principle as it does make both consoles more accessible to people who would prefer to pay over time. But it still strikes me as another form of lock-in in a new category that hasn't had that much of it. Would you pay for an Xbox like you paid for a phone in 2010, before those lock-in contracts were done away with?

On the bright side, Xbox Game Pass is adding EA's Play subscription service at no extra cost.

Microsoft also revealed the Xbox Series S specs, which will have four times the processing power of Xbox One. That's nice for a spec sheet (and for people who want to tie their identity to a gaming console and use the superior processor to snark at people who bought Sony consoles), but the real thing to pay attention to on these next-gen consoles is the GPU.

The GPU is, as you'd expect, not as powerful. However, the main effect of that seems to be about kicking out high resolutions. It'll still play all the next-gen games and because it supports the fast SSD architecture, they'll load fast too. All in all it's a better console than I expected for the price!

Finally, we also learned that Xbox Game Pass for PC is doubling its price next week. Taylor Lyles:

Alongside an influx of next-gen console news, Microsoft also confirmed today that it will raise its pricing for Xbox Game Pass for PC from $4.99 per month to $9.99 a month starting on September 17th.
 
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Reviews

┏ Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 review: an extravagant success. Here's my full review and a video to go with it. Against all odds, it's really quite good. I just wish it didn't cost so much. Two grand is too much for this kind of device.

┏ Lenovo's IdeaPad Slim 7 is a showcase for AMD's exceptional new processor. Monica Chin on just how quickly AMD has eaten Intel's lunch in the midrange ultraportable category:

The Slim 7 is not just good, it's exceptional. Sure, it's not a perfect laptop — and it likely won't be a bargain — but the combination of performance and power efficiency that the 4800U offers is unlike anything we've ever seen.

Tech news

┏ Motorola's second-gen foldable Razr adds 5G, better cameras, and a chance at redemption. Motorola is trying to fix a bunch of the problems with the first and it seems like it's made some progress, but I'd absolutely wait for reviews to make a move.

┏ Yubico's new USB-C security key with NFC could be the one key to unlock them all. I've been waiting for precisely this combination forever. Of course, if Apple would switch the iPhone to USB-C, that would also have solved my security key problem.

┏ Amazon's new Alexa partnership lets you link your AT&T number to turn your Echo into a phone. I keep repeating this to random people on the street, who are taken aback by how angry I am about it: the fact that one of our most important methods of communication is a string of numbers whose features are limited by these carriers is nuts. The idea that this kind of partnership is even possible, much less necessary, is a sign that the whole concept of phone numbers is still broken. 

┏ Tile will refund up to $1,000 in products if it can't find your lost item. Tile is the company voted most likely to need some therapy because it's under near-constant threat of Apple releasing a direct competitor that has better access to the iPhone's ecosystem than third parties can. While those Air Tags loom, Tile is beefing up its service options. Ashley Carman has the details:

The plan, called Premium Protect, costs $99.99 per year and includes all of the perks of its premium subscription, including free battery replacements and a 30-day location history as well as item reimbursement up to $1,000. Premium, the original plan, is still available and costs $29.99 per year or $2.99 per month

┏ The Lucid Air is a luxury electric sedan with the speed and power to rival Tesla. Andrew Hawkins has all the details:

The sedan will get up to 517 miles of range, can hit a quarter-mile in under 10 seconds, packs over 1,000 horsepower, and will have a base price of "under $80,000" (as long as the federal government sees fit to continue to give out tax credits to EV buyers).

┏ Epic Games accounts won't be able to use Apple's sign-in system as soon as September 11th. Hm so I guess a good reason to not use "Sign in with Apple" is that if things go sideways with the app developer, you won't lose your account.

More from The Verge

┏ How Microsoft built its folding Android phone. Tom Warren spoke to Panos Panay about the development of the Surface Duo hardware:

"We literally had two pieces of metal and a hinge that we put together," explains Panay in an interview with The Verge. "We had this piece of metal that I carried around in my pocket for months."

┏ The sky is on fire in San Francisco, and we flew a drone through it. Simply stunning photos from my friend Vjeran Pavic. (And stunningly depressing when you think about why the sky was orange in the Bay Area yesterday.)

 
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