TIME Video Games

Bungie’s New Destiny Trailer Detours to Storm-Wracked Venus

Bungie rolls out another 60 seconds of Destiny gameplay with a peek at Venus, once a terraformed human stronghold now held by a robotic alien race.

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From Mars to Venus, it seems Bungie’s counting down planetary locales you’ll be visiting in Destiny, its online-only first-person shooter due out on September 9.

Last week saw our band of intrepid heroes stalking the red-duned surface of the fourth rock from the sun, so this week is about the second.

“Venus was once the site of a great discovery – a paradise. Now, it is a monument to all that we have lost,” writes Bungie in the teaser. There’s not much else to say about the formerly-greenhouse-gas-suffused planet, which looks lush and bucolic here.

Those peacock-headed mechanoid creatures you’re seeing in the combat cuts are the Vex, a robotic alien species that can time-travel and want to exterminate humanity. And I’m guessing those gate things are the warp points from which they’ll pour forth to help fill your XP meter.

TIME Big Picture

Meet Levi’s Stadium, the Most High-Tech Sports Venue Yet

Levi's Stadium
A general view during a preseason game between the San Francisco 49ers and Denver Broncos at Levi's Stadium on August 17, 2014 in Santa Clara, California Ezra Shaw / Getty Images

Most people have heard of smartphones, smart cars and smart homes. Say hello to the smart stadium.

Set in the heart of Silicon Valley, Levi’s Stadium — home to the San Francisco 49ers — is now the most high-tech stadium anywhere in the world.

It’s in the center of the tech universe, of course, so it’s only natural that 49ers management decided to devote a significant sum of money to building high-tech infrastructure. The stadium will allow all 70,000+ fans to connect to Wi-Fi and 4G networks to take advantage of personalized services, making the event experience more enjoyable.

I had the privilege of attending the inaugural event at Levi’s Stadium, where the San Jose Earthquakes took on the Seattle Sounders in an MLS league game. About 49,000 people attended that event, well below the stadium’s 70,000+ seat capacity, so the game served as a dry run to work out some of the kinks. I also attended the first NFL game to be played in the stadium: the Denver Broncos came to town to help the 49ers christen the stadium in a preseason game on Aug 17. The first regular-season NFL game will be held there on Sept 14, and will serve as the official grand opening of the stadium.

Turning Downtime Into Screen Time

What I discovered from these two experiences is that the 49ers’ stadium is indeed the most tech-advanced stadium in the world, using technology to make the fan experience much richer and more entertaining. Al Guido, the COO of the 49ers, told me that one challenge that’s been an issue in the NFL is that the amount of action that takes place in a football game only about amounts to about 15 minutes. People want access to things like stats, replays and other media when live play isn’t taking place.

During that downtime, the 49ers organization wanted to deliver all types of new ways to enjoy the game, turning to technology to deliver it through a connected experience. According to Mr. Guido, “The 49ers wanted to transform the in-stadium fan experience and make it possible to see the action live but still have the similar features that a fan has at home while watching the game on TV.”

Cables, Routers and Bandwidth Aplenty

So how did the 49ers and their tech partners achieve the goal of enhancing the fan experience by harnessing technology for this purpose?

According to Dan Williams, the VP of technology for Levi’s Stadium, they laid out 400 miles of cabling, 70 miles of which are just dedicated to connecting the 1,200 distributed antenna systems that serve the Wi-Fi routers that are placed to serve every 100 seats throughout the stadium. Levi’s Stadium features a backbone of 40 gigabits per second of available bandwidth, easily scalable to accomodate event attendance, which is 40 times more Internet bandwidth capacity than any known U.S. stadium, and four times greater than the standard for NFL stadiums that’s been mandated by the league to be in place by 2015.

Levi's Stadium Router
Access points are spread throughout the stadium every 100 seats, serving up wireless Internet service to fans during the games Ben Bajarin for TIME
Levi's Stadium Repeater
Repeaters placed throughout Levi’s Stadium pass Internet service along from section to section Ben Bajarin for TIME

The stadium also has about 1,700 high-tech beacons. Using the latest version of the Bluetooth Low Energy standard, these beacons can be used to give people pinpoint directions to their seats as well as to any other place in the stadium. They can also be used to send them alerts about specials from concession stands and other promotions from time to time.

Tech Partnerships

One of the companies that contributed to the overall strategy and execution of some the stadium’s high-tech features is Sony. Sony’s technology is at the center of the stadium’s control room, which manages all of the video for the over 2,000 Sony TVs that have been placed around the venue, as well as the 70 4K TVs found in most of the suites and the two giant LED displays in each end zone.

When I asked Mike Fasulo, the president and COO of Sony Electronics, about his company’s involvement in the new Levi’s Stadium, he told me, “Our partnership with the San Francisco 49ers and the new Levi’s Stadium goes well beyond technology and products. This is truly a one-of-a-kind fan experience, with the world’s greatest showcase of 4K technology from the best of Sony’s professional and consumer products. For every event, every fan will be immersed in the pinnacle of entertainment and technology to enhance their experience.”

Other major sponsors from the tech world include Intel, SAP, Yahoo and Brocade.

An App to Tie It All Together

There’s also a Levi’s Stadium smartphone and tablet app, which offers the following features:

  • The app can guide people to the parking lot entrance closest to their seats, and then once inside, guide them to their actual seats.
  • Fans can watch up to four replays at a time during the game, seeing the exact replays shown by the studio as if they were watching at home on their TV. A fan can actually watch the game live on this app as well. They can also get stats and other info related to the game via this app.
  • It can guide fans to the closest bathroom with the shortest lines, which I predict will become the most used feature at any game.
  • Fans can connect either by Wi-Fi or to one of the 4G networks from the major carriers. Each of the big telecom networks has expanded its antenna service to enhance its customers’ wireless connections within the stadium.
  • Fans can order food and drink from any seat in the stadium and it will be delivered directly to their seats. People also have the option of ordering food from their seats and going to an express line at the concession stands to pick up their food in person, too.

The painstaking attention to tech detail that the 49ers and its partners have integrated into Levi’s Stadium is sure to be the envy of NFL stadiums throughout the U.S. For the time being, it’s the gold standard in high-tech stadiums and one that’s sure to be copied by many sports facilities around the world.

The Valley Advantage

However, I suspect that by being in the heart of Silicon Valley, this stadium may keep the lead in high-tech wizardry for some time. Keep in mind that the tech companies partnered with the 49ers on Levi’s Stadium because it also provided them a showcase for their technology. As Sony’s Fasulo stated above, it provided the company with a major showcase for its 4K professional and consumer products. Intel loves the fact that all of the servers that are used to power the networks show off the power of Intel processors, and Brocade’s networking technology is showcased as a world- class solution.

Silicon Valley is also the center of tech innovation. As people in the industry continue to create new technologies that can be used to enhance the sports experience, where do you think they will take it first? Since the 49ers have already shown a commitment to using technology for delivering the ultimate in-stadium fan experience, the organization will most likely be open to all sorts of new technology to help it deliver an even greater experience in the future. Think of this symbiotic relationship between Silicon Valley’s tech companies and the 49ers as home field advantage for both.

It’s probably not a stretch to say that the pioneering efforts of the 49ers to make Levi’s Stadium a truly smart stadium will force other NFL stadiums to follow the team’s lead, striving to make all of their stadiums smarter. It will also serve as a potential blueprint for other sports stadiums around the world. Being in Silicon Valley does have its advantages, though: With the kinds of tech sponsors and partners that are in its back yard, I suspect that Levi’s Stadium will continue to get smarter and smarter.

Bajarin is the president of Creative Strategies Inc., a technology industry analysis and market-intelligence firm in Silicon Valley. He contributes to Big Picture, an opinion column that appears every week on TIME Tech.

TIME Video Games

You Shouldn’t Play Diablo 3 Ultimate Evil Edition on Your PS Vita

Blizzard Entertainment

Blizzard's action-roleplaying opus looks and plays great on the PS4 and Xbox One, but it's an inscrutable mess on the PS Vita.

Diablo 3: Ultimate Evil Edition exemplifies everything I don’t like about knocking through certain games on Sony’s PlayStation Vita using Remote Play.

That’s supposed to be the thing you buy a Vita for these days: its wireless PS4 screen-sharing feature, since the handheld’s future as a place to go for new content is gradually closing up, board by board. Instead, the Vita is now the PS4’s $200 second screen, Sony’s unplanned answer to Nintendo’s Wii U GamePad.

But as a second screen employed to judiciously whack away at fields of Fallen Overseers and Flesh Gorgers or Bone Reavers and Boggits in a game like Diablo 3, it leaves a lot to be desired. I say this not to slag Diablo 3 itself, which is at least as terrific on the PS4 and Xbox One as it is on the PS3 and Xbox 360 (I now prefer the consoles versions to the PC original).

I mention it only to warn Vita owners who may be eyeing Remote Play as a selling point for the PS4 version of the game, out Tuesday, August 19. It’s not.

Fire up Diablo 3 on the Vita courtesy the PS4 and you’re transported to a world that’ll give you some sense of what yours is going to feel like when you’re finally trundling through middle age with a pair of reading glasses dangling from shirt pocket or lapel. Words that correspond to face button selections in the game and that look just right on a TV screen per Blizzard’s PC-to-console redesign are practically Lilliputian on the Vita’s minuscule display. The text in my copy of The Compact Oxford English Dictionary — which reduces the entire 20-volume to a single grimoire-sized tome resized by a third of its original dimensions — is roughly on par. Of course, this dictionary comes with one of those slide-over magnifying lenses; the Vita has no such feature.

Text-schmext. Who cares, you’re probably saying. It’s a Blizzard game! Granted, no one plays Diablo 3 for the sculpted prose or imaginative plotting, but let’s say you ignore the writing team’s potboiler blather — there’s a lot of gameplay-specific stuff that’s lost in the shrunken muddle, even if you hold the Vita close and squint.

You’ll need to memorize face-button ability assignments, for instance, because the icons at screen bottom identifying what’s what are lookalike blobs of light smaller than eraser heads. Secondary feedback panels are equally obscure: you can tell you’re benefitting from some sort of power-up, but only that, the icon-of-whatever in its nanoscale square rendered inscrutable.

Just keeping your bearings turns into a needle-hunt: the automap at maximum zoom becomes a faint overlay that’ll let you keep track of the edges of things or pinpoint simplistic map icons like red hearts (healing nodes), but where points of interest lie clustered together, you might as well be sorting specks of sand in an anthill. And the game’s informational nexus, where you fiddle your inventory and skills or check your paragon level and quest objectives, is…actually not too bad, except when you’re looking at colored text. Deep blue (normal magical) items, which look deep purple to me, are almost illegible against the screen’s black background.

As usual, the Vita’s rear touchpad stands in for the missing DualShock secondary triggers, but it’s about as reliable as Microsoft’s Kinect, failing to trigger at first tap about a third of the time. If you’re standing back a ways from a cluster of enemies, no problem, but get yourself blocked up by a squad of Wallers, say, and that lack of one-to-one hair-trigger dependability leads to wasted potion quaffing at best, and at worst, sudden (and unwarranted) death.

Have you ever held a DualShock controller next to the Vita? Try it, paying attention to the length of the thumb controllers. You could stack at least two of the Vita’s nubs to meet one of DualShock 4’s, and that’s being conservative when you factor in the subsurface rotary base and joint. There’s significantly less play, in other words, which when you factor in the Vita’s inherent screen lag, makes for fussy results. Where I have yet to misfire an Entangling Shot wielding the DualShock 4 playing on TV, when playing on the Vita, my Demon Hunter’s missile-fire will careen wide of the mark at least once per scrum, and on occasion fire in the opposite direction. There’s just not enough control space to stretch out and fine-tune your tactics in a game that’s chiefly about tactical fine-tuning.

I’ll give Blizzard this: At least the battle numbers that rise over your or your enemies’ heads are magnified, crit counts or damage amounts looming large for a microsecond, like when you type on an iOS device’s onscreen keyboard. If you just want to wade into a level and farm a bit without tactical nuance, keeping tabs on the mathematical results, it’s doable. But I wouldn’t call it enjoyable.

Like I said, I love Diablo 3 on the PS4, I’m just pointing out that the Vita as a second-screen device for a game like this — and for others with similar problems, like Assassin’s Creed 4 or Need for Speed: Rivals – is an afterthought, something no one’s really designing to. Who can blame them? You’re essentially taking a sledgehammer to an exterior wall and trying to convince someone the hole you get is a window.

Diablo 3 is one of these games that might have worked as a native Vita port, assuming you could get the camera down close enough without breaking design elements specially tailored for the target resolutions (say precisely how far such-and-such spell travels across the screen). It’ll never get one, of course, because no one’s buying the Vita as a destination platform these days, so we’re left with Remote Play’s interpolated half-measures.

This is not, to be fair to the Vita (and Sony, and Blizzard), the Vita’s fault. It wasn’t designed to play games like Diablo 3 on its otherwise gorgeous five-inch OLED screen, or with its tiny thumb nubs in lieu of a full-sized gamepad with full-fledged thumb sticks. Studios will sometimes admit that porting an older game to a newer system and giving it the HD trimmings isn’t a horsepower or even recompilation conundrum so much as an interface or asset scalability one. That’s the trouble with so many Remote Play games, and the reason why games like Final Fantasy X and X-2 HD take years instead of a few brief months to come together.

TIME apps

Teenage Kid Ignoring Your Calls? There’s an App for That

iphone teenager
Getty Images

The "Ignore No More" application locks teens Android phones until they call mom or dad back

A New York mom got so sick of her teen kids ignoring her calls she created an app so they couldn’t.

Sharon Standifir, the creator of the “Ignore No More” smartphone application, told CBS New York that after repeatedly having her calls to her teens go unanswered, she researched how to develop an application that would shut their phones down until they called her back.

And so, that’s what she created after working with developers for months. The $1.99 app, which is currently only available for download on Android phones, allows parents lock their kids’ phones from a separate device, forcing them to call a list of select numbers (including 911) in order to gain access to the device.

“No calls to friends, no text, no games, notta’ until they call you back. When they do, you can unlock their phone if you choose to do so,” reads the application’s website. “How’s that for parental control?”

 

TIME Social Media

Twitter Is Making Experimental Timeline Changes

Social Media Site Twitter Debuts On The New York Stock Exchange
Twitter announced its initial public offering and debut on the New York Stock Exchange on November 7, 2013 in London. Bethany Clarke—Getty Images

Basically, tweets that you favorite are no longer semi-private, but will be treated like retweets

Twitter appears to be experimenting with a change to user timelines, leaving some account holders dismayed.

The change means that a user can now see tweets favorited by people they follow, the Verge reports. Some users are also receiving notifications when someone they follow begins to follow a new user.

Previously, a user’s timeline only showed tweets and retweets from other accounts. The change is similar to Facebook’s practice of auto-posting what friends like or have commented on, through the Open Graph app, which connects activity on apps to the Facebook news feed — although the company recently drew back its use of the app in May, Verge reported.

The experimental Twitter change could transform the dynamic of the timeline from a list that users cultivate to one that marks what is most trending on the microblogging platform.

Other recent Twitter experiments have included embedding tweets into tweets, which has been relatively uncontroversial, but a search on Twitter reveals that many users do not welcome the new change.

Some users have joked that they could finally use the mute feature on Twitter — which allows users to make the tweets or retweets of others invisible without blocking them — to drown out the traffic now inundating their timelines.

[The Verge]

TIME space

A Satellite Took Pictures of Another Satellite and Now It’s a GIF

The launch of DigitalGlobe's WorldView-3 is seen from Vandenberg Air Force Base on Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014.
The launch of DigitalGlobe's WorldView-3 is seen from Vandenberg Air Force Base on Aug. 13, 2014. DigitalGlobe

Well, this is pretty meta

A series of pictures provided to TIME by DigitalGlobe shows what kind of fun you can have when you own multiple satellites.

The images captured the launch of the company’s newest satellite launching into orbit this past Wednesday.

The new WorldView-3 satellite, worth roughly a half-billion dollars and about the size of a small RV, became the highest-resolution commercial satellite in space. DigitalGlobe, the company that funded its manufacture, said it will offer 31-centimeter resolution, much clearer than the current 50-cm aboard the WorldView-2.

Technology aboard the new satellite will, among other things, supply Google Maps with higher resolution photos for “satellite view.”

The satellite that shot the photos was flying at an altitude of over 300 miles, according to DigitalGlobe, and orbiting at a speed of 17,000 mph.

Video of the launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California can be seen below.

TIME Video Games

There’s Life on Mars in Bungie’s Latest Destiny Trailer

Mars is the kind of place to raise your kids, so long as they're comfortable wearing something Dune-ish and come packing heat.

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Is it really mid-August already? We’ve less than a month until Destiny lands on September 9 for PlayStation and Xbox platforms like a thermobaric bunker-buster, taking the wind out of everything else’s sails through September’s remainder and possibly beyond.

We spent the beta period that just ended exclusively exploring alien-infested ruins on Earth, so the latest trailer should be of more than passing interest as it highlights a very different off-planet locale central to the game’s sprawling mythology, and one we’ve only glimpsed so far: the planet Mars, hundreds of years in our future.

Here’s Bungie’s tease:

What little we know of Mars may as well be a myth. We built a massive metropolis in the red dust. No one knows what remains of our lost age, now buried beneath the dunes.

TIME Gadgets

Paycheck Friday! 7 Worthy Splurges Based On Your Income Tax Bracket

It's Friday. Maybe you just got paid! You could sock that money away like a sucker, or you could act like a rational human being and blow it on something totally unnecessary and awesome. Here are some ideas for your perusal.

$0 to $9,075: Giant Beer Glass (Price: $10)

beer glass
Amazon

The economy, man. It’s rough! (It’s still rough, right?) You might not be pulling in a handsome chunk of change yet, but that doesn’t mean you should have to make four separate trips to the fridge every time you want to sedate yourself.

This giant 53-ounce beer glass costs a mere 10 bones and holds four 12-ounce bottles of suds with five ounces left over for a nice, frothy head. Or maybe dump some tequila in there instead.

$9,076 to $36,900: Wine Bottle Combo Lock (Price: $22)

wine lock
Franmara

At your salary, sharing wine with people is a luxury you just can’t afford. Wine should be like gas money for you: If someone wants to kick in a finski, then grab another glass. If not, hit the bricks. This $22 combo lock corks your wine with a four-digit passcode to keep freeloaders from wheezing the juice.

“You can afford a wine-bottle lock but you can’t afford to share?” your guests will ask. “I can afford a wine-bottle lock because I don’t share,” you’ll respond. They’ll ironically call you Fun Terry from that point on, by the way.

$36,901 to $89,350: Lawn Chair with Tablet Holder (Price: $60)

iPad Chair
Hammacher Schlemmer

You work hard all day. Okay, most of the day. Okay, you work? “Eh.” You manage to make it into work most days? Yes? Okay. Then why, when you get home at night, should you have to choose between going outside on a beautiful summer night or sitting comfortably inside playing Kim Kardashian: Hollywood on your iPad?

Merge your love of outdoor living and the emptiness of worshiping celebrities with this $60 tablet lawn chair. It’s got a 12-inch steel gooseneck that accommodates 7- to 10-inch tablets. There’s a drink holder, too! And a pouch for snacks and stuff. Go easy on the snacks, though: The chair only supports up to 250 pounds and you don’t want to get your tablet all greasy.

$89,351 to $186,350: Ear-Cleaning Whatsit That Connects to Your Computer (Price: $201)

ear scope
Japan Trend Shop

There’s finally a way to see the gunk in your ears as you’re cleaning them out! The $201 Sugoi Mimikaki Ear Pick connects to your Windows PC or tablet via USB, working as a sort of in-home endoscope.

According to the product description, cleaning your ears out this way is “safer, better and, well, just more interesting!” If I had one complaint about cleaning my ears, it’s that I’ve never really been all that passionate about the entire endeavor. My brain realizes that what I’m doing should be extremely interesting, but I just don’t feel it in my heart. This could change everything!

$186,351 to $405,100: Desktop Jellyfish Tank (Price: $366)

jellyfish tank
ThinkGeek

Listen: I’m in no position to tell a person of your stature what to do, but I can advise you that someone with your many resources should at least think about portraying a certain persona. Not weird, mind you, but eccentric.

The teeming masses are all ordering well drinks? You order top-shelf vodka with coconut water. They take simple smartphone photos? You’ll settle for nothing less than a panorama. Every photo, a panorama! They’re buying goldfish from the pet store? You, my friend, have a jellyfish. Eccentric! This $366 desktop jellyfish kit will set you up with everything you need to get started: The bowl arrives first, and then the jellyfish is overnighted to you once you’re ready to become a proud pet owner.

$405,101 to 406,750: Bulletproof Suit (Price: If you have to ask, you can’t afford it)

bulletproof suit
Garrison

Look at this weird tax bracket. Is this a political thing? It seems political.

Anyway, if you’re important enough to somehow slide into this very narrow bracket, you’re clearly important enough that your life could be in constant danger. Be careful! But that doesn’t mean you need to be walking around in a lumpy bulletproof vest all day.

“Hey, is that guy fat or what?”

“Actually, I think he’s just wealthy.”

Why not try this bulletproof suit instead? It leverages the magic of carbon nanotubes to stave off death at an undisclosed price. It’s worth it, though, right? I mean, how much could a nice suit cost? Like $200? “Try thousands and thousands.” What?! But I buy one and I still get three free, right?

$406,751+: Flying Bicycle (Price: $45,000)

flying bike
Hammacher Schlemmer

“Bike-flying? You’ve nevah beeeen?” Imagine being able to add that phrase to your arsenal.

All it’ll set you back is a cool $45,000 for what Hammacher Schlemmer is calling the “first” flying bike. You have many, many cars in your expansive garage, yes? You probably have a bike or nine as well, no? Why not add this miracle of human ingenuity: “the world’s first bicycle that doubles as a flying ultralight para-trike aircraft,” according to the product description. It cruises at low altitude for up to 75 miles at up to 25 miles per hour, for cracked ice. What are you waiting for?!

TIME Smartphones

How an iPhone With a Sapphire Screen Could Save You Money

Say goodbye to cracked screens with this synthetic crystal already used in airplane windows and rumored to be incorporated in the next iPhone

+ READ ARTICLE

The Apple rumor mill is buzzing about the prospect of a sapphire crystal display in the next iPhone, to be announced on Sept. 9. But what exactly is a sapphire display? And why would you want it?

According to GT advanced technologies, an Apple-backed sapphire manufacturing company, the crystal is a synthetic sapphire material. The material is used in LEDs, airplane windows, certain iPhone camera lenses and fingerprint readers.

The benefit of having a sapphire crystal display is that it would be much harder to break, making it much less likely that you’ll have to deal with a cracked iPhone screen every time you drop your phone.

TIME Gadgets

Samsung Buys Into Home Automation with SmartThings Acquisition

SmartThings

The reported $200 million deal is a puzzler at first glance, but could make sense if Samsung loops in its appliance business.

Now that nearly every tech company, retail store and hardware chain has its own home automation platform, Samsung doesn’t want to be left out.

The electronics giant has acquired SmartThings, which makes smart home products and apps to control them. Samsung hasn’t disclosed the price, but Re/code claims the company paid roughly $200 million. SmartThings says it will remain an open platform and will operate independently within Samsung’s Open Innovation Center.

Here’s how SmartThings works: First, you buy a $99 hub that allows all your devices and appliances to connect. Then, you tack on whatever other home automation gear you want, such as power outlets, light switches, motion sensors and door locks. The hub then connects to your Internet router, allowing you to control everything via smartphone or tablet whether you’re home or away.

SmartThings got its start as a Kickstarter project in 2012, but over the last couple years, many larger companies have launched similar products with hubs that control an array of other devices. Lowe’s has a smart home system called Iris, while Home Depot has backed Wink, an offshoot of New York-based design shop Quirky. Staples has its own platform, called Connect, and Best Buy is reportedly backing a new effort called Peq.

But there isn’t a huge difference between each of these platforms, and right now the landscape is a bit messy. If you’re in the market for a home automation system, it’s tough to decide which one to pick. And there’s so much expensive, proprietary hardware on each platform that you could easily lock yourself into to one system that doesn’t end up being the best fit.

Perhaps that’s why other tech giants such as Google and Apple are moving more cautiously. Earlier this year, Google acquired Nest, whose only products are a smart thermostat and smoke detector. (Nest itself has since acquired Dropcam, a maker of video-monitoring cameras.) Apple hasn’t yet entered the hardware fray, but the next version of iOS will include HomeKit, a framework for controlling third-party devices. There’s been some speculation that Apple TV could serve as Apple’s hub for home automation in the future.

With that in mind, Samsung’s purchase is a head-scratcher at first glance. SmartThings isn’t much different from all the other systems on the market, and probably won’t get much love at retail, given that every chain now has its own preferred platform.

But Samsung may be able to stand out if it can tie in products from its home appliance business, such as ovens, refrigerators and dishwashers. Although Samsung has dabbled in connected appliances before, until now, it hasn’t had a complete platform that covers things like door locks and light sensors. With SmartThings, Samsung could be buying itself those basic elements. Use cases like “make sure the oven’s off when I leave the house” could be pretty compelling to homeowners, and it’s something other platforms won’t be able to do unless they start partnering with major appliance vendors.

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