Neil Gaiman’s Anansi Boys Ordered to Series at Prime Video
Neil Gaiman’s Anansi Boys Ordered to Series at Prime Video


Anansi Boys is coming to Amazon. Prime Video announced Wednesday that it had ordered a six-episode limited series adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s 2005 fantasy novel, about Charlie Nancy and the mysterious Spider, twin brothers and sons of the West African trickster god Anansi, who went by the name Mr. Nancy during his time on Earth. Mr. Nancy is a shared character with Gaiman’s American Gods, previously adapted as a series on Starz and Prime Video. But Amazon notes that Anansi Boys will be a standalone story and won’t be a spin-off or sequel to American Gods.

Gaiman will serve as writer, co-showrunner, and executive producer on Amazon’s Anansi Boys adaptation, part of his overall deal at Amazon Studios. Gaiman’s co-writers include Sir Lenny Henry, Arvind Ethan David, Kara Smith, and Racheal Ofori. Douglas Mackinnon (Good Omens) will co-showrun with Gaiman. Hanelle M. Culpepper (Star Trek: Picard) will direct the first episode of Anansi Boys. Jermain Julien (Grantchester) and Azhur Saleem (Doctor Who) will direct other episodes.

Henry, Mackinnon, Culpepper, Hilary Bevan Jones (Endor Productions) and Richard Fee (Red Production Company) are fellow executive producers. Paul Frift will produce. Anansi Boys will be a production of Amazon Studios, The Blank Corporation, Endor Productions, and RED Production Company. Filming on the six-part Anansi Boys will begin in Scotland later in 2021.

In a prepared statement, Gaiman said: “Anansi Boys began around 1996, from a conversation I had with Lenny Henry about writing a story that was diverse and part of the culture that we both loved. I wrote a novel, an (I hope) joyous and funny book about a dead god and his two sons, about birds and ghosts and beasts and cops, based in Caribbean and African tales. It was my first number one NYT Bestseller, and went on to become a beloved and award-winning book.

“Anansi Boys as a TV series has been a long time coming — I first started working with Endor and Red on making it over a decade ago. We needed Amazon Prime to come on board and embrace our vision, we needed a lead director with the craft and vision of Hanelle Culpepper, we needed the creative and technical wizardry of Douglas Mackinnon (who worked out how we could push the bounds of the possible to shoot a story set all over the world in a huge studio outside Edinburgh), and we needed the rest of the amazing talents that nobody knows about yet.

“I am thrilled that Sir Lenny Henry is one of our executive producers. He was there when it was conceived, he narrated the audiobook and he has kept the heart of the production true. We are trying to make a new kind of show with Anansi Boys, and to break ground with it to make something that celebrates and rejoices in diversity both in front of and behind the camera. I’m so thrilled it’s happening, and that people will be meeting Mr. Nancy, Charlie and Spider, the Bird Woman and the rest of them.”

Henry added: “I’ve been a huge fan (and couch sleeping friend) of Neil Gaiman’s for over 30 years and I have loved being a part of the Anansi Boys creative team. I love that we’re going to have a suitably diverse cast and crew to tell this joyous story! What’s great is that the whole production is listening and ensuring that inclusion is happening and is being seen to be done.”

Mackinnon said: “I’m thrilled that we get to take the story of Anansi Boys from page to screen with the creative powers of Neil and Lenny, as well as an extraordinary group of other writers, directors, and a cast and crew of so many diverse perspectives alongside us. We’ll be shooting in brand new studios in Scotland where we’ll have the most cutting-edge CGI technology in the world to make all the magic and wonder of Anansi Boys come to life.”

Culpepper said: “There’s nothing quite like Anansi Boys, a compelling and contemporary story wrapped in unique and powerful mythology from the Black diaspora. I’m both excited and honoured to be working with legends like Neil Gaiman and Lenny Henry, along with the rest of the incredible Anansi team, using new technology and new studios to create a great show in ways that couldn’t have been done before now. This is a dream project for me as a director.”

Here’s the official synopsis for Anansi Boys from Amazon:

Based on Gaiman’s novel of the same name, Anansi Boys follows Charlie Nancy, a young man who is used to being embarrassed by his estranged father. But when his father dies, Charlie discovers that his father was Anansi: trickster god of stories. And he learns that he has a brother. Now his brother, Spider, is entering Charlie’s life, determined to make it more interesting but making it a lot more dangerous.

Prime Video has not set a release date for Anansi Boys.






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LG to use 100% renewable energy by 2050
LG to use 100% renewable energy by 2050


LG to use 100% renewable energy by 2050
Source: Leanne Werner via Getty

LG Electronics announced today that it’s planning on running its entire business on renewable energy by 2050 as a part of its sustainability strategy.

The transformation will be phased by region starting with North America. LG said in its press release that it plans on powering all of its North American offices and manufacturing sites using renewable energy within the year. LG manufacturing facilities outside of Korea will convert 50 per cent of their electricity use to renewable within the next four years.

“Our commitment to creating a better life for all can best be actualized by LG transition to renewable energy and achieving carbon neutrality,” said Park Pyung-gu, senior vice president of LG’s safety and environment division, in the press release.

To achieve this goal, LG plans on adopting a multitude of technologies, including solar panels, sourcing energy directly from suppliers, using renewable energy credits, and using local power sources.

LG production sites around the world
LG production sites around the world. Source: LG

LG is currently on track to cut its carbon emissions in the production phase by 50 per cent. By adding energy-efficient facilities and carbon emission reduction devices in its production process, LG is planning to reach its carbon reduction target by 2030. Additionally, it’s looking to increase waste recycling rates at production sites to 95 per cent within the same deadline.



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Lava Z2s With 6.5-Inch Display, 5,000mAh Battery Launched in India
Lava Z2s With 6.5-Inch Display, 5,000mAh Battery Launched in India


Lava Z2s has been launched in India. The budget-friendly smartphone comes with a 6.5-inch HD+ IPS display with a waterdrop-style notch and Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection. Lava Z2s packs a 5,000mAh battery but there is no fast-charging support on the smartphone. This is the third smartphone in the Lava Z2 series after the vanilla Lava Z2 and Lava Z2 Max. It runs on Android 11 (Go edition). It is up for purchase via leading online platforms as well as retail outlets.

Lava Z2s price in India, availability

The new Lava Z2s comes in a sole 2GB + 32GB storage variant and is priced at Rs. 7,299. However, it is available to purchase for an introductory price of Rs. 7,099 via the official website and Amazon. At the time of writing, the phone’s Flipkart listing shows a price of Rs. 7,999. However, that could soon be updated to match the prices on other platforms. Lava Z2s will also be available via leading offline stores. Notably, Flipkart also currently lists the device as “Coming Soon.”

Lava is offering the smartphone in a single Striped Blue colour option. The company is also providing 100 days of screen replacement warranty on the smartphone.

Amazon is offering Lava Z2s with no-cost EMIs starting Rs. 334 per month and along with an exchange offer up to Rs. 6,700.

On the other hand, Flipkart is offering the smartphone with no-cost EMIs starting at Rs. 278 on select Debit Cards. The Indian e-commerce giant is also offering a 5 percent unlimited cashback on Flipkart Axis Bank credit cards. Additionally, users will also get 20 percent off on first transaction with Amex Network Cards issued by ICICI Bank, IndusInd Bank, SBI cards, and Mobikwik wallets.

Lava Z2s specifications

The budget-friendly dual-SIM (Nano) smartphone from Lava runs Android 11 (Go edition). Lava Z2s sports a 6.5-inch HD+ IPS (720×1,600 pixels) display with 2.5D curved screen. Under the hood, it is powered by an octa-core MediaTek Helio processor, paired with 2GB DDR4x RAM. Its 32GB of onboard storage can be expanded up to 512GB via a microSD card.

For optics, it sports a single 8-megapixel rear sensor with f/2.0 aperture. The rear camera also features Beauty Mode, HDR Mode, Night Mode, and Portrait Mode. For selfies and video calls, the smartphone features a 5-megapixel snapper with f/2.2 aperture at the front. Connectivity options include Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, LTE, Bluetooth v5, and USB Type-C with USB OTG support. Lava Z2s measures 164.5×75.8×9.0mm and weighs 190 grams.


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How to Watch Deleted YouTube Videos
How to Watch Deleted YouTube Videos


You had saved and liked a few videos on YouTube so that you can watch them later without having to search for them actively. But today when you opened the Liked Videos section, you noticed that some of them have disappeared. Sometimes the owners remove the YouTube videos or the video is not available in your region. 

Many times, controversial videos are removed by YouTube if they fail their terms and conditions. Is there a deleted video that you really want to watch but don’t know how to watch deleted YouTube videos? Now that you are here, you will not have to worry again about having to watch deleted YouTube videos.

There are multiple ways to find deleted YouTube videos online. Firstly, if you have the link to the deleted YouTube video then you can just retrieve it from the internet archive. If you don’t have the link then you can use software to find the deleted YouTube video. Let us go through the process of recovering deleted YouTube videos step by step. 

deleted YouTube videos

Just follow any of the methods discussed below and you will be able to access deleted YouTube videos.

1. Watch deleted YouTube videos with URL

The Internet Archive has been accumulating and arranging websites since 1996. In other words, the current data and layout has been saved by your system. Therefore, this system will also help you to retrieve the deleted YouTube videos.

All you need to watch the deleted YouTube videos are their respective links. You can then use these links on archive.org and access your deleted YouTube videos. The steps to this process are as follows.

  • Initially, look for the URL. Some places where you can find it include the YouTube email, or the channel account. The link may also be available in your browser history or YouTube history.
  • Check your social media handles in case you had shared it with someone. Many times, you can find it on some fanpages. Even though the video is not working anymore but you can still copy the URL of that video. 
  • Open archive.org to paste the URL of the deleted YouTube videos and then press return.how to watch deleted YouTube videos
  • Upon finding the deleted YouTube videos on the archive, you will get to see its details.
  • The deleted YouTube videos will not play directly because you will need to download it.
  • Right-click on the video and then download it. The deleted YouTube videos have now been restored for you to watch.

The internet archive is useful in recovering any webpage that has been deleted. I have used it many times to find lost information and web content. It stores regular updates of almost all public websites.

2. Watching deleted YouTube videos with no URL

It is possible that even after looking at every possible place you have not been able to get the URL. There is nothing to worry though. Owing to its global village like network, the internet connects everything.

So, there is a chance that the deleted YouTube videos can be retrieved even without having a URL. People are always making duplicate versions of the deleted YouTube videos and releasing them online.

But if you want the one that you had watched, then we need to do some deep diving. It can be slightly complicated than the previous one, but then it won’t be any fun if it wasn’t so, right?

Follow the steps below to access the deleted YouTube videos.

  • Type “site: www.youtube.com + name of the deleted YouTube videos” on the Google search bar.
  • Google will now give you all the relevant names from the database of the app, bringing you one step closer to retrieving the deleted YouTube videos.
  • In case the deleted YouTube videos have been shared on Facebook or social media platforms by others, you can replace YouTube with the social media account in the URL site on the search bar.
  • Upon obtaining the URL of the deleted YouTube videos, follow the previous method by pasting the URL on the internet archive. Obtaining the deleted YouTube videos from there on won’t be any difficult.

3. Modifying the links

You can watch the deleted YouTube videos by their modified links. The process is really simple and requires you to follow a few steps. The link modification technique of watching deleted YouTube videos is as follows.

Step 1: Get hold of the link(s) of the deleted YouTube videos. Let us take one for this case in order to understand the process better – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vlm5v-vCLRw. The portion of the link after the question mark, that is v=Vlm5v-vCLRw is known as the video ID.

Step 2: You will have to copy this ID and then look for it on Google so that you discover the details of the deleted YouTube videos. Once you have done so, you will be able to retrieve it in no time.

4. Using Recoverit

If you cannot recover deleted YouTube videos via its URL, you can always resort to certain software that does the same. One such software is Recoverit that can be used to retrieve deleted YouTube videos.

Let me walk you through the steps of accessing the deleted YouTube videos with the help of Recoverit.

  • Look for the location where you think the video was last seen before it disappeared.
  • Follow that up by scanning all the files of that space.recover deleted youtube videos
  • The deleted YouTube videos will appear on your screen.
  • You will also see that there is an option to restore them.
  • Do the needful in order to get back the deleted YouTube videos.

Recoverit is a data recovery software from Wondershare. This software is capable of deleting data on your system and on the web. It can also be used to create backups of your data and restore it in the event of data loss.

5. Using Disk Drill

Another software that is equally helpful in retrieving deleted YouTube videos is Disk Drill. The steps to be followed are discussed below.

  • Download the software to install it in your PC.
  • Choose the drive containing the deleted YouTube videos.
  • Click on “Recover” to begin the scan. Disk Drill will now search the videos. You have the option to narrow your search.
  • Choose the videos you want to retrieve as well as a location where you can store them. Do not store it in the same place as it might get corrupted.
  • Click “Recover” again and this time the files you selected will be restored.

Disk Drill works the same way as Recoverit but if you don’t like Recoverit then you can use this one. It is also a popular data recovery software. Specially, if the data existed in your system but has now been deleted.

The deep scan mode of Disk drill will find the deleted data in no time.

6. Contacting YouTube Support

If you are apprehensive of using software, you always have the option of reaching out to the YouTube support team. They will know what went wrong and fix it immediately to restore the deleted YouTube videos. This is how it is done.

  • Log into your account in YouTube.
  • Go where it is written “Need more help”. Click on it.
  • Click “need creator support”.
  • Select your specific category of issue. Go to email support and click on it.
  • Click on “Contact Creator Support team”.

Please note, this step will only work if you are not able to watch a YouTube video due to some technical difficulties or the error is on YouTube’s side. If the owner has deliberately removed the video then YouTube can’t help you in that case.

Using the above steps your issues will be resolved soon and you will be able to watch your deleted YouTube videos again. Bookmark this page for future reference in case you ever need to find a deleted YouTube video again. 



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Zack Snyder Will Make Army of the Dead 2 After Rebel Moon for Netflix
Zack Snyder Will Make Army of the Dead 2 After Rebel Moon for Netflix


Army of the Dead 2 has been confirmed — but it’s not coming for a while. Zack Snyder will return to direct and write the sequel to Army of the Dead with the first chapter’s co-writer Shay Hatten, but only after he’s done with his Star Wars and Akira Kurosawa-inspired sci-fi adventure movie Rebel Moon, which goes into production in early 2022. Both those titles — Army of the Dead 2 and Rebel Moon — are part of a new first-look film deal set up by Snyder at Netflix, alongside wife and producing partner Deborah Snyder, and executive Wesley Coller. Together, they run the production outfit The Stone Quarry Productions.

The Hollywood Reporter brings word of Snyder’s new expanded deal at Netflix, with confirmation straight from the horse’s mouth. Deborah said: “For us, it was so important to find a partnership that was based on mutual respect. The creative process works best when everybody trusts each other, and you can take chances and be creative. For us, we don’t usually play it safe. The content we make is a little bit edgier. And I think it’s important to have a good partnership and hear each other. And Netflix has given us a lot of freedom. But they’ve also embraced the idea of trying new things and not necessarily waiting for a success before moving ahead.”

Review: Snyder’s Zombie Movie, Army of the Dead, Needs a Bullet to the Brain

Army of the Dead is already on its way to become a franchise. A prequel film, Army of Thieves (centred on Matthias Schweighöfer’s Army of the Dead character Dieter) is due on Netflix later in 2021. There’s also the anime spin-off series, Army of the Dead: Lost Vegas, which follows the Army of the Dead’s principal cast before the events of the film. Snyder will direct episodes of Army of the Dead: Lost Vegas, slated to premiere in early 2022 on Netflix. The streaming service will take that approach to Rebel Moon too, with sequels and series already being planned.

This might seem premature, but Netflix’s faith in Snyder seems to be paying off. Netflix revealed that Army of the Dead was watched by 75 million member households in the first 28 days after its release in May. That made Army of the Dead one of Netflix’s top 10 movies of all time, following Chris Hemsworth’s Extraction (99 million), Sandra Bullock-led Bird Box (89 million), Mark Wahlberg’s Spenser Confidential (85 million), Ryan Reynolds-led 6 Underground (83 million), Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston in Murder Mystery (83 million), Charlize Theron’s The Old Guard (78 million), Millie Bobby Brown-led Enola Holmes (76 million), and Jamie Foxx and Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Project Power (75 million).

Army of the Dead 2 ‘Insane’ Idea Ready to Go, Zack Snyder Says

“I’ve known Zack and Deb for years and was fortunate to be part of Dawn of the Dead, his first film,” Netflix film chief Scott Stuber said in a prepared statement. “I have since had the privilege of watching his career grow and see the evolving impact of his work. To see him return to his roots with Army of the Dead, which is now one of our most popular films, and build a world out of these characters with the upcoming Army of Thieves and anime series, is amazing to see. We’ve only scratched the surface of what’s still to come and create with Zack, Deb, Wes and everyone at Stone Quarry.”

Before this Netflix deal, The Stone Quarry was previously set up at Warner Bros., where Snyder delivered the 2007 action epic 300, the 2009 superhero movie Watchmen, the 2010 animated fantasy Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole, the 2011 fantasy action Sucker Punch, the 2013 Superman film Man of Steel, the 2016 follow-up Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and the 2017 mash-up Justice League, which was turned into Justice League Snyder Cut earlier this year for HBO Max. As part of the deal, Snyder also produced 300: Rise of an Empire, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and Wonder Woman 1984.


It’s Google I/O time this week on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast, as we discuss Android 12, Wear OS, and more. Later (starting at 27:29), we jump over to Army of the Dead, Zack Snyder’s Netflix zombie heist movie. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.



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Best Snowshoes 2021 | TechnoBuffalo
Best Snowshoes 2021 | TechnoBuffalo


Snowshoeing is an expensive affair. You need the shoes, poles, and some sort of bag to house all your gear. This kit from ALPs gives you all the necessities at a fair price. With aluminum frames and fast pull binding buckles, these beginner-friendly shoes come in a variety of sizes. The heel bindings help you climb moderate hills with ease, and the aluminum alloy teeth increase traction and grip on powdery snow paths that are untraveled. If you’re just starting out and want the best bang for your buck, these are the best snowshoes out there today. You get a lightweight set of shoes, poles, and a carryall bag.





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Major Websites Having Access Issues Around the World
Major Websites Having Access Issues Around the World


Huge parts of the Internet including Zomato, Paytm, Disney+ Hostar, Sony LIV, Paytm, PlayStation Network (PSN), and Steam are down for many users around the world. Although the details are still unclear, early reports indicate that this could be related to the Akamai Web infrastructure. According to Internet outage tracker DownDetector, the outage seems to have started at around 8.55pm on Thursday evening. Within five minutes, the number of reports from people unable to access Zomato alone stood at around 3,000.

For the latest tech news and reviews, follow Gadgets 360 on Twitter, Facebook, and Google News. For the latest videos on gadgets and tech, subscribe to our YouTube channel.


Gopal Sathe is the Editor of Gadgets 360. He has covered technology for 15 years. He has written about data use and privacy, and its use in politics. He has also written extensively about the latest devices, video games, and startups in India. Write to gopal@ndtv.com or get in touch on Twitter through his handle @gopalsathe with tips.
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Realme C15, Realme C12 Receiving Android 11-Based Realme UI 2.0 Update

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OnePlus Nord 2 5G First Impressions: Still Finding North
OnePlus Nord 2 5G First Impressions: Still Finding North


The OnePlus Nord was launched in July last year to focus on the sub-Rs. 25,000 price segment. As OnePlus flagships got more and more expensive, the OnePlus Nord promised good performance at a somewhat more affordable price. Now, it has been discontinued, clearing the way for an even more affordable model, the Nord CE 5G, and its true successor, the OnePlus Nord 2 5G. This new OnePlus smartphone has an improved camera setup and a MediaTek Dimensity processor. Does it still deliver the OnePlus experience? I got my hands on the OnePlus Nord 2 5G and here are my first impressions of the device.

OnePlus Nord 2 price in India

The OnePlus Nord 2 starts at Rs. 27,999 in India for the base variant, which has 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. There are two more variants of the OnePlus Nord 2, one with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, and finally 12GB of RAM with 256GB of storage. These are priced at Rs. 29,999 and Rs. 34,999 respectively. I had the top-of-the-line variant with me for review.

The OnePlus Nord 2 looks familiar and seems in place along with the OnePlus 9 series and the OnePlus Nord CE 5G (Review). Picking up the OnePlus Nord 2, it instantly feels premium to the touch. It has a 6.43-inch display with a camera hole in the top left corner for its 32-megapixel selfie shooter. The OnePlus Nord 2 5G sports an AMOLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate and full-HD+ resolution. It also has Corning Gorilla Glass 5 for protection for the display as well as the back.

The mid-frame of the OnePlus Nord 2 5G is made out of plastic. On the right side, it has the power button and the alert slider (which is missing on the OnePlus Nord CE 5G), and on the left are the volume buttons. I found the button placement to be quite good, and reaching them wasn’t an issue during one handed use. The USB Type-C port, loudspeaker, SIM tray, and primary mic are at the bottom, while the secondary mic is at the top. The OnePlus Nord 2 5G has dual speakers – the earpiece doubles up as the secondary speaker for stereo sound.

OnePlus Nord 2 5G First Impressions: Still Finding North

The OnePlus Nord 2 5G has Corning Gorilla Glass 5 at the front and back

On the back, the OnePlus Nord 2 5G has a triple camera setup and the camera module bears some resemblance with that of the OnePlus 9R (Review). The camera module consists of a 50-megapixel primary camera with an f/1.88 aperture and OIS. There’s also an 8-megapixel ultra-wide angle camera with EIS and a f/2.25 aperture. These two sensors look like they have big lenses while the 2-megapixel mono camera is smaller and sits next to the flash. The OnePlus logo is slap bang in the centre of the rear panel .

OnePlus offers the Nord 2 5G in three colour options, Gray Sierra, Blue Haze, and the India exclusive  Green Wood. I had a Blue Haze unit with me, and it did not pick up smudges easily. OnePlus also offers a case in the box. The phone weighs 189g and is 8.25mm thick. It does not feel very bulky, and one-handed use is possible.

oneplus nord 2 5g camera module OnePlus Nord 2 5G First Impressions

The triple camera setup on the OnePlus Nord 2 has a 50-megapixel primary camera

OnePlus has opted for a MediaTek Dimensity 1200 processor which has been somewhat customised with additional AI processing power to create the Dimensity 1200-AI, according to both companies. This is also a little surprising since other OnePlus devices so far have been powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processors. There are 6GB, 8GB, and 12GB RAM options, with 128GB of storage for the lower two and 256GB on the highest one. Storage is non-expandable and the Nord 2 5G only has two Nano-SIM slots with support for dual 5G. There is also support for WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.2, NFC, and five satellite navigation systems. The Nord 2 5G packs in a 4,500mAh battery and comes with a Warp Charge 65W charger in the box.

The OnePlus Nord 2 5G runs OxygenOS 11.3 based on Android 11. My unit had the June Android security patch. The UI is clean and only a few Google and OnePlus apps, plus Netflix, were preinstalled. I did not have any issues navigating through the UI and found it to be intuitive to use.

oneplus nord 2 5g alert slider OnePlus Nord 2 5G First Impressions

The alert slider on the OnePlus Nord 2 5G lets you quickly change ringer state

The side-mounted fingerprint scanner is quick to unlock the device, and given the 12GB of RAM that my review unit has, I did not face any hiccups while multitasking. The “enhanced” MediaTek Dimensity 1200-AI showed a lot of promise and it’ll be interesting to test OnePlus’s claims that there are additional camera, gaming, and display features enabled by the AI enhancement. The Realme X7 Max 5G (Review) and the upcoming Poco F3 GT are two smartphones with the same SoC, minus OnePlus’ customisations, so it’ll be interesting to see how the OnePlus Nord 2 5G fares.

Overall, the OnePlus Nord 2 5G seems like an upgrade over the original Nord in every respect, based on the specs. However, it has gone up in price as well, so it’ll be interesting to see if this new smartphone still offers good value for money, or whether you’d be better off with the Nord CE 5G. I will be putting the Nord 2 5G through benchmarks and camera tests, so stay tuned to Gadgets 360 for the full review, coming up soon.



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Amazon Is Lobbying To Get ‘Keys’ To Apartment Buildings Nationwide
Amazon Is Lobbying To Get ‘Keys’ To Apartment Buildings Nationwide



NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon is tired of ringing doorbells.

The online shopping giant is pushing landlords around the country — sometimes with financial incentives — to give its drivers the ability to unlock apartment-building doors themselves with a mobile device.

The service, dubbed Key for Business, is pitched as a way to cut down on stolen packages by making it easy to leave them in lobbies and not outside. Amazon benefits because it enables delivery workers to make their rounds faster. And fewer stolen packages reduce costs and could give Amazon an edge over competitors.

Those who have installed the device say it reduces the constant buzzing by delivery people and is a safer alternative to giving out codes to scores of delivery people.

But the Amazon program, first announced in 2018, may stir security and privacy concerns as it gains traction. The company said that it does background checks on delivery people and that they can unlock doors only when they have a package in hand to scan. But tenants may not know that Amazon drivers have access to their building’s front doors, since Amazon leaves it up to the building to notify them.

Ashkan Soltani, a privacy researcher who was a senior tech advisor to former President Barack Obama, said that any device connected to the internet could be hacked, including the Amazon one, and bad actors could try to unlock the doors.

“You’re essentially introducing a foreign internet-connected device into an otherwise internal network,” said Soltani, who was also a former chief technologist at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

Amazon didn’t respond to questions about potential hacking.

The company has already installed the device in thousands of U.S. apartment buildings but declined to give a specific number. It sometimes leaves a clue, placing a round sticker with the Amazon smile logo on buzzers where the device has been installed. On one New York City street, the sticker was on three of 11 buildings. In another neighborhood, two of seven buildings had the sticker.

Amazon salespeople have been fanning out to cities across the country to knock on doors, make cold calls or approach building managers on the street to urge them to install the device. The company has even partnered with local locksmiths to push it on building managers while they fix locks. Amazon installs the device for free and sometimes throws in a $100 Amazon gift card to whoever lets them in.

Soltani said he learned about Key for Business when he was approached by two Amazon salespeople in April who wanted access to the building where he lives in Oakland, California. Building management declined, and no device was installed.

Amazon had better luck with Kenton Girard. A Chicago landlord, Girard agreed to have the device installed in four of his buildings as a way to reduce package theft, which was getting so bad that he was considering building a package drop box outside.

“I would have paid to have it done,” Girard said of the Amazon device.

Currently, only the U.S. Postal Service has a way to enter apartment buildings in order to get to mailboxes. UPS says it has tested a way for its workers to enter buildings without buzzing tenants, teaming up with a smart-lock company in 2018. But that test ended, and UPS declined to say why. The company says customers can instead have their packages delivered to nearby grocery stores, dry cleaners or florists if they’re not home.

FedEx declined to comment for this story.

Amazon has wanted to walk through people’s front doors for years. In 2017, it launched a way for shoppers to let delivery people come in their home when they’re not there and leave packages in the foyer. Walmart did the same shortly after, but its delivery people also stocked the fridge with groceries. Amazon and Walmart don’t say how many people are using those services, but both have expanded them to more cities recently.

In 2018, Amazon set its sights on apartment buildings, launching Key for Business and signing up big landlords to install the device in their developments. But the push seems to have accelerated in the last year or so, with Amazon deploying salespeople nationwide. Recent job postings in Miami and San Antonio say Amazon salespeople can make $3,000 to $11,000 a month in bonuses and commissions. Amazon won’t say how much it’s spending on the effort.

Not all Amazon packages can get through front doors. The company delivers about 60% of its own packages itself, according to shopping data firm Rakuten Intelligence; the rest come through other delivery companies that can’t let themselves in.

Philip T. Evers, a logistics professor at University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, said Amazon’s desire to get the device into as many buildings as possible may be a way to keep competitors out.

“The landlord may say, ‘You know, I’ll do this for one company, but maybe we don’t want it for every delivery company that’s out there,’ ” he said. He added that Amazon could find other uses for the service, like having delivery people pick up returns left in the lobby instead of making shoppers schlep to the post office. Amazon declined to share any future plans.

Jason Goldberg, chief commerce strategy officer at marketing company Publicis Communications, said the device could save Amazon money, since workers can drop off more packages during a shift and may have to offer fewer refunds to those whose packages were stolen.

He heard about the program in December, when a locksmith replacing the buzzer system at his Chicago condo building offered to install Amazon Key for Business for free. Goldberg, who helps manage the building, later allowed Amazon salespeople — dangling a $100 Amazon gift card — to install the device.

“They give it away for free because it benefits Amazon more than us,” Goldberg said.





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