Toyota has one sleek and shiny new Prius, and the auto press seems to agree: This one looks pretty cool. Earlier Prius models were long considered, uhh, less than cool, with its oddly boxy teardrop shape and normcore vibe. The 2023 Prius looks snazzy in comparison, with a sleek body that crushes that Prius teardrop into something akin to a Tesla.
It’s still a combustion-electric hybrid that needs its fill of gas to run – sadly, the all-electric revolution hasn’t come for the old Prius just yet. Toyota says it gets about 57 mpg, making it the most fuel-efficient Prius yet. The car will also be livelier than before with a 220hp engine under the hood. That’s good for a Prius; ask a motorist. Other new features include a hands-free driving mode and the integration of solar panels to charge the battery when the car is stationary.
The new Prius will be available in two models: the base Prius and a slightly beefier Prius Prime. Toyota hasn’t said when the cars will be available or how much they will cost, but look into that next year.
Here’s some more news from the consumer tech world.
Microsoft Teams gets games
Microsoft has announced a new feature for its Teams video conferencing software: video games. Participants in a Teams call can now play games such as solitaire, minesweeperand amazement directly in the app. The games are aimed at people who use Teams professionally. Nancy Baym, senior principal research manager at Microsoft, says putting games in a workplace tool fosters a sense of human connection that’s badly needed after nearly three years of remote work.
“People could be really productive, but they felt less connected, and that had a lot of detrimental effects,” says Baym. “Games are one of many really nice ways to just gently step in there and say, here’s an offer for you to connect in a low-pressure way.”
To reinforce this goal of connecting, none of the games are single-player. (No, not even solitaire). That means you won’t be able to sit back and play a game while pretending to listen to your supervisor’s manager when it comes to quarterly KPIs. Gaming with your team could offer a nice break from the tide of the workday, even if it still boils down to spending time in front of a screen. We’ll see how long it takes for Zoom fatigue to wear off minesweeper Fatigue.
Check out Leica’s Large Lens Phone
Hey look, Leica has created another smartphone to follow the Leitz Phone 1 of 2021. What is that? Does it have a camera you ask? Ah, it does. As you’d expect from the famous camera brand, the Leica lens is the Leitz Phone 2’s main attraction. The single big-ass lens occupies the top third of the phone. Its eye-focused design belies all subtly integrated smartphone camera lenses.
The Leitz Phone 2’s huge camera takes pictures with 47.2 megapixels. On the other side there’s a 6.6-inch OLED screen to display all your gorgeous landscape shots or gorgeously detailed selfies. Oh yes, and you can use it to make phone calls or whatever. It will only be available in Japan; those outside the country have to buy it as an import.
Netflix is coming for your friends
The days of sharing Netflix accounts are probably coming to an end. This week, Netflix rolled out a new feature in users’ account settings called “Manage Access and Devices.” It allows a user to deactivate their Netflix account on certain devices – something users can conveniently use to kick family members, friends, and roommates off their Netflix account. It’s a fairly harmless feature, and one that will be nice for anyone who wants to zap their credentials from the TV they lost in the divorce to stop their ex from doing stealth streaming shows at their own expense. But it’s also a step that sets the stage for Netflix’s account sharing purge.
Netflix has been working on it for months. The company has tested charging additional fees for additional accounts in some countries and intends to roll out the program in almost all of its markets over the next year. The company also introduced an ad-supported subscription plan earlier this month.
Too many Twitter problems
Well, Twitter has had a good run. Now that almost everyone has left Twitter and the site seems to be in free fall, things get even weirder on the Vogel app. (Assuming it stays up and running.) Whatever form Twitter continues to lag in, it has never been more vulnerable to security threats.
This week on WIRED gadget lab In the podcast, security writer Lily Hay Newman discusses how Twitter’s precarious position could lead to hacking, data leakage and the further spread of misinformation on the platform.