Best Google Store Black Friday 2018 deals: Home Hub, Pixel 3, and Pixelbook all on sale

Best Google Store Black Friday 2018 deals: Home Hub, Pixel 3, and Pixelbook all on sale

We must be deep into the holiday shopping season at this point, because even Google is announcing site-wide Google Store deals now. Its store is the place to go if you want to get a bargain on Google’s own hardware, including phones, tablets, laptops, smart devices, and accessories.

Want to upgrade to the latest Pixel phone? In the market for a Google Home smart speaker for your office. What about Pixelbook or Chromebook? You can save big bucks on all these if you head to the Google Store this Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Here’s a look at what’s on sale.

Also: Best Black Friday 2018 deals: Business Bargain Hunter’s top picks

Best Google Store Black Friday 2018 deals

Note: These deals start Nov. 22 unless otherwise specified.


(Image: CNET)

ZDNet has reviewed most of these devices from Google, and needless to say, we love them. We think the Google’s Pixel 3 is great for business, and that the phone’s new Night Sight camera feature is mind-blowing. We also really like the Home Hub and how it doesn’t have a camera, making it more secure than, say, Amazon Echo Show or Facebook Portal.

CNET: Black Friday deals 2018 | Best Holiday gifts 2018 | Best TVs for the holidays

We also enjoy Nest’s portfolio for controlling every nuance of our smart office and home. And the Google Clips is great fun for when you have some downtime. Honestly, you’d be crazy to ignore some of these deals. They’re among the best we’ve seen yet, and we doubt they’ll get any cheaper after the holidays. Better grab them now while they’re reduced.

TechRepublic: A guide to tech and non-tech holiday gifts to buy online | Photos: Cool gifts for bosses to buy for employees | The do’s and don’ts of giving gifts to coworkers

More deep discounts from other retailers are rounded up in ZDNet’s Black Friday hub here.

For more great deals on devices, gadgetry, and technology for your enterprise, business, or home office, see ZDNet’s Business Bargain Hunter blog. Affiliate disclosure: ZDNet earns commission from the products and services featured on this page.

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Work and play: Our picks for the holiday’s best tech gifts

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Apple Highlights Photos Shot on iPhone XR

Apple Highlights Photos Shot on iPhone XR
Apple today
highlighted “Shot on iPhone” photos captured with its latest smartphone, the
iPhone XR. Apple shared portraits, landscapes, and more that
iPhone XR
users posted on social networks like Instagram and Twitter.

Apple’s iPhone XR is equipped with the same 12-megapixel wide-angle lens that’s in the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, and it has all of the same features like Smart HDR and Depth Control for adjusting the amount of blur in a Portrait mode photo.

Image via photographer Austin Mann

The iPhone XR is unique among iPhones because its rear-facing Portrait mode option doesn’t require a two-lens camera setup.

Instead of relying on a telephoto and a wide-angle lens to separate the subject of a photo from the background, the iPhone XR uses software to create a similar effect. As a result, Portrait mode photos captured on the XR only work with people and aren’t available for other subject matter like pets and food.

As a bonus, though, because rear Portrait mode on the
iPhone XR
uses the wide-angle lens with wider f/1.8 aperture instead of the f/2.4 telephoto lens used by the
iPhone XS
and XS Max, its Portrait photos can come out better in low lighting conditions.

iPhone XR
, like the XS and XS Max, uses a TrueDepth camera system for the front-facing camera with a 7-megapixel setup. TrueDepth on
iPhone XR
is identical to TrueDepth on Apple’s pricier iPhones, allowing for a full front-facing Portrait mode with Portrait Lighting options.

previously shared a series of images that were shot on
iPhone XS
and XS Max following the launch of those two devices. The company’s full selection of
iPhone XR
photos can be seen in its Apple newsroom article.

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Sony Won’t Attend E3 2019

Sony Won’t Attend E3 2019

Since its inception more than 20 years ago, the Electronic Entertainment Expo has traditionally been the biggest gaming event of the year. The industry’s major players, Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo, have all had a regular presence at the show, but it appears Sony won’t be a part of next year’s event.

The ESA–the company that organizes E3–has shared the first details about E3 2019, and Sony will not have a presence there. The publisher is notably absent from the list of companies that have already committed to the event, among them its biggest console competitors, Microsoft and Nintendo, as well as other major publishers like Take-Two, Ubisoft, Activision, and more.

Sony has confirmed it plans to skip next year’s E3. “As the industry evolves, Sony Interactive Entertainment continues to look for inventive opportunities to engage the community,” the company said in a statement to GameSpot. “PlayStation fans mean the world to us and we always want to innovate, think differently and experiment with new ways to delight gamers. As a result, we have decided not to participate in E3 in 2019. We are exploring new and familiar ways to engage our community in 2019 and can’t wait to share our plans with you.”

This will mark the first time Sony has opted to skip E3 since it entered the video game business in the mid-90s, although other companies have similarly begun to reevaluate their E3 showings in recent years. Microsoft notably moved nearly its entire presence offsite to the Microsoft Theater for E3 2018, with only Mixer present on the showfloor, while Nintendo has forgone live press conferences in favor of pre-recorded video presentations for the past several years. Sony, too, tried something different with its E3 2018 showing by focusing primarily on four of its upcoming games and presenting them through a “guided experience,” which garnered a mixed reaction from viewers.

Despite opting out of next year’s E3, Sony doesn’t appear to have cut its ties with the ESA. The company is still listed as a member on the ESA’s website, so it is still paying membership fees and supporting the organization in that way.

E3 2019 isn’t the only major event Sony is skipping. The company recently confirmed it will not host its annual PlayStation Experience this year. “We won’t have it in the States this year,” worldwide studios head Shawn Layden revealed on the PlayStation Blogcast. “Now that we have Spider-Man out the door, we’re looking down into 2019 games like Dreams and Days Gone. But we wouldn’t have enough to bring people all together in North America to have that event. We don’t want to set expectations really high and then not deliver on that. It was a hard decision, but we have determined that this year we will not hold PlayStation Experience.”

While video game companies may be rethinking their traditional approach to E3, the expo continues to be a major event. “E3 2018 broke records, and we sold out of both exhibit space and attendee badges,” Stanley Pierre-Louis, interim CEO of ESA, said. “We are confident that, through the continued creative innovations delivered by our participating member companies, E3 2019 will deliver the same kind of excitement and energy. This year, we’re looking forward to expanding E3 beyond the walls of the LACC and connecting gamers and attendees with incredible video game content throughout the entire LA Live complex.”

E3 2019 takes place June 11-13. It is notably the final show confirmed for the Los Angeles Convention Center–the venue it has traditionally been held in for much of its history. Former ESA CEO Michael Gallagher had previously said the organization may pursue other options if the LACC does not modernize and upgrade the facility.

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Video Game Review: Red Dead Redemption 2

From Rockstar Games, the creators of classic video game series, such as the Grand Theft Auto series and the previous two entries in the Red Dead series, comes a masterpiece of a video game in Red Dead Redemption 2.

If for some reason you are unfamiliar with the series, think GTA but set in early America, with cars replaced by horses and more freedom to rob, kill and explore the beautiful, open world until your heart’s content. Set as a prequel to the infamous Red Dead Redemption, the newest installment gives players the opportunity to play through the events and learn about the backstories of their favorite characters from the 2010 game.

Red Dead Redemption 2 takes place in the year 1899 as America was progressing towards a more civil society, making the gun-slinging era of the American Midwest obsolete as law cracked down hard on bandits and outlaws.

The story is played through the character of Arthur Morgan, a rugged member of the Van der Linde gang, which includes John Marston from the 2010 edition of the game. Following a botched robbery in the town of Blackwater, the story picks up with the gang moving to find a location safe from the closing grip of the law. Following a train robbery set up to get the gang back on their feet, the player is set free to do as they please in the expansive open world of Red Dead Redemption 2.

The gameplay in Red Dead Redemption 2 is as fun as you can get in a video game. With the freedom to roam the world, complete missions, rob people to get money for guns and ammo to rob MORE people, hunt animals such as bears and leopards and search for hidden treasure, this game gives the player a litany of things to keep their attention.

In such an expansive game, with over 60 hours of gameplay, the player can choose whether to go streamline through the plot and complete the game quickly or get every little achievement and take their time relishing in this wonderful game. A myriad of side missions are present to help the player explore the map, meet new people and build their wealth by helping out and doing people’s dirty work.

Graphically, this game is second to none. The producers of this game took their time developing it, and it obviously shows. No matter where you are on the map, from snow areas to the open plains to swampy regions, the graphics are stunning. Light reflects off of water and shines as it would in real life, the skies are painted with pastel colors during sunsets and in the night sky, stars litter the sky and make it hard not to look up and stare for minutes before getting back to being a badass bandit. Grass flows naturally in the wind, facial hair on characters is lifelike and even grows when unattended to. The minuscule details are what set this game apart, graphically, from any other.

New additions to Red Dead Redemption 2 make it an upgrade over the already amazing Red Dead of 2010. The most notable new feature added to the game is the ability to be able to talk to any person throughout the game. Whether it be a random person you pass on a path or a person sitting at a bar, the player is given the options to greet, harass or rob anyone they please. Talking mad smack to people lets the player blow off steam by getting into fights with the NPCs.

Other noteworthy features added to this game include the ability to dual-wield weapons, with one of the most lethal combos being the pistol and sawed-off shotgun, and the ability to swim through lakes and streams.

Overall, Red Dead Redemption 2 is one of the most enjoyable games that I’ve ever played. From the gameplay to the utterly stunning graphics to the storyline of the game as a whole, Red Dead Redemption 2 is a unique game in a unique series of Old West mischief. It is honestly hard to find flaws with this game- everything seems just right, creating a profoundly enjoyable video game experience.

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Telltale Games Being Pulled From Steam As Liquidation Reportedly Begins

The slow demise of Telltale Games continues this week as several of the developer’s older titles disappear from digital storefronts such as Steam. The studio’s closure doesn’t mean those games are gone forever, though, and anyone who already owns them will maintain access to them.

The shuttering of Telltale Games has moved pretty quickly following the unexpected firing of 250 staff members in September, with the developer going through an assignment process that has led to several of its games winding up in a state of limbo, according to Game Daily. For now, Back to the Future, Tales of Monkey Island and Jurassic World have all been removed from Steam. Those games were all developed pre-The Walking Dead, which is when Telltale’s popularity really took off.

As noted above, Telltale is currently working its way through assignment proceedings, which are quite a bit different than bankruptcy. This process allows a company to quickly shift its assets to new owners, potentially receiving compensation in return. That compensation is typically then used to pay creditors what they are owed, allowing the company to end on a more clean note than simply filing for bankruptcy. It’s a bit of a messy ball of yarn and I’m no legal expert, though, so I don’t even want to hazard a guess as to what the assignment process looks like for Telltale until they’ve made more information available. If they are in the process of selling their properties, though, it could mean any number of their series will be back on the market at a future date under a new publisher.

As for now, the only clear answer we have is that the final season of The Walking Dead will be completed. Telltale fired the vast majority of its employees just as the second of four chapters was getting ready to roll out. The second chapter launched as planned, but it was announced that the rest of the season, along with most other Telltale projects, would be tossed in the bin. Enough folks were kept on to finish work on a Minecraft series the studio is making for Netflix but, after more folks noted they were also being laid off in the following weeks, the skeleton crew of 25 seems to have dwindled even further.

The sudden shuttering of the studio has produced at least one lawsuit claiming Telltale did not follow California law when it comes to such a large closure. Those 250 employees were dropped without warning and, last we heard, without any sort of severance.

The sliver of silver lining to this ordeal is that Skybound, the studio owned by Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman, stepped in to scoop up some of Telltale’s former employees and, thanks to a deal they struck with the closing studio, finish the final season of the long-running game series.

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