What’s New in Chrome 94, Available Today

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Google Chrome gets a new release every four weeks. Version 94 arrives on September 21, 2021, and it includes Google Drive files on the New Tab Page, more HTTPS features, and a new sharing menu. Let’s take a look.

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HP’s latest Spectre x360 2-in-1 laptops feature 16-inch OLED displays

HP is again using OLED displays for its latest Spectre x360 2-in-1 laptops, but this time, you get a bit more screen for your money. The new HP Spectre x360 comes with an optional 16-inch, 16:10 4K OLED display — up from the 15.6-inch displays last year — delivering true VESA blacks with “100 percent color calibration,” the company announced. 

The new model has an extra 22mm of viewing space compared to the previous models, while still offering fairly slim bezels all around with a 91 percent screen-to-body ratio. It’s also available with a 3,072 x 1,920 IPS touchscreen, if budget is an issue. At the same time, you get a top-mounted 5-megapixel webcam with a physical shutter for privacy and Windows Hello support. It comes with HP’s AI controls and “beauty mode” that can improve lighting and “touch up skin, teeth and eyes.” 

HP's latest Spectre x360 2-in-1 laptops come with 16-inch OLED displays

HP

It should have enough power to drive those features too, with an 11th-gen Intel Core i7 CPU and Intel Evo graphics, or an optional NDIVIDA GeForce RTX 3050 laptop GPU, along with 16GB of memory, 512GB PCIe NVMe storage and 32GB of Intel Optane memory. It also offers quad B&O speakers, up to WiFi 6E, a MicroSD card reader, two Thunderbolt 4 with 40Gbps speeds and USB Power Delivery USB4 Type-C ports, HDMI 2.0b, Bluetooth 5.2 and 17 hours of battery life. The HP Spectre x360 2-in-1 arrives in the fall at HP.com or Best Buy starting at $1,639, but expect to pay more for the OLED 4K model. 

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PayPal launches its ‘super app’ combining payments, savings, bill pay, crypto, shopping and more

PayPal has been talking about its “super app” plans for some time, having recently told investors its upcoming digital wallet and payments app had been given a go for launch. Today, the first version of that app is officially being introduced, offering a combination of financial tools including direct deposit, bill pay, a digital wallet, peer-to-peer payments, shopping tools, crypto capabilities and more. The company is also announcing its partnership with Synchrony Bank for its new high-yield savings account, PayPal Savings.

These changes shift PayPal from being largely a payments utility that’s tacked on other offerings here and there, to being a more fully fleshed out finance app. Though PayPal itself doesn’t aim to be a “bank,” the new app offers a range of competitive features for those considering shifting their finances to neobanks, like Chime or Varo, as it will now also include support for paycheck Direct Deposits through PayPal’s bank partners, bill pay and more.

By enabling direct deposit, PayPal users can get paid up to two days earlier, which is one of the bigger draws among those considering digital banking apps over traditional banks.

In addition to shifting their paychecks to Payal, customers’ PayPal funds can then be used for things that are a part of daily life, like paying their bills, saving or shopping, for example.

The enhanced bill pay feature lets customers track, view and pay bills from thousands of companies, including utilities, TV and internet, insurance, credit cards, phone and more, PayPal says. When bill pay first arrived earlier this year, it offered access to (single-digit) thousands of billers. Now, it will support around 17,000 billers. Customers can also discover billers through an improved, intelligent search feature, set reminders to be notified of upcoming bills and schedule automatic payments for bills they have to pay on a regular basis. The bills don’t have to only be paid from funds currently in the PayPal account, but can be paid through any eligible funding source that’s already linked to their PayPal account.

Via a Synchrony Bank partnership, PayPal Savings will offer a high-yield savings account with a 0.40% Annual Percentage Yield (APY), which is more than six times the national average of 0.06%, the company says. However, that’s lower than top rivals in the digital banking market offer, like Chime (0.50%), Varo (starts at 0.20%, but users can qualify to get 3.00% APY), Marcus (0.50%), Ally (0.50%), ONE (1.00% or 3.00% on Auto-Save transactions), and others. However, the rate may appeal to those who are switching from a traditional bank, where rates tend to be lower.

PayPal believes its high-yield offering will be able to compete not based on the APY alone, but on the strength of its combined offerings.

Image Credits: PayPal

“We know that about half of customers in the United States don’t even have a savings account, much less one with a very competitive rate,” notes PayPal SVP of Consumer, Julian King. “So all in all, we think that by bringing together the full set of solutions on the platform, it’s a really competitive offering for an individual.”

The app has also been reorganized to accommodate the new features and those yet to come.

It now features a personalized dashboard offering an overview of the customer’s account. The wallet tab lets users manage Direct Deposits and connect funding sources like bank accounts and debit and credit cards alongside the ability to enroll in PayPal’s own debit, credit and cash cards. And a finance tab provides access to the high-yield savings and the previously available crypto capabilities, which allows users to buy, hold and sell Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin.

The payments tab, meanwhile, will hold much of PayPal’s traditional feature set, including peer-to-peer payments, international remittances, charitable and nonprofit giving, plus now bill pay and a two-way messaging feature that allows users to request payments or say thank you after receiving a payment — whether that’s between friends and family or between merchants and customers. This addition could bring PayPal more in line with PayPal-owned Venmo, which already offers the ability to add notes to payments and make comments.

Messaging also ties into PayPal’s new Shopping hub, which is where the company is finally putting to good use its 2019 $4 billion Honey acquisition. Honey’s core features are now becoming a part of the PayPal mobile experience, including personalized deals and exclusive rewards.

Image Credits: PayPal

PayPal users will be able to browse the discounts and offers inside the app, then shop and transact through the in-app browser. The deals can be saved to the wallet for future use, so they can be applied if shopping later in the app or online. Customers will also be able to join a loyalty program, where they can earn cashback and PayPal shopping credit on their purchases. The company says these personalized deals will improve over time.

“We’ll use AI and [machine learning] capabilities to understand what kind of shopping deals are most interesting to customers and continue to develop that over time. They’ll just get smarter and smarter as the product gets more usage,” notes King. This will include using the data about the deals a customer likes, then bringing similar deals to them in the future.

Also new in the updated mobile app is the addition of PayPal’s crowdsourced fundraising platform, the Generosity Network, first launched late last year. The network is PayPal’s answer to GoFundMe or Facebook Fundraisers, by offering tools that allow individuals to raise money for themselves, others in need, or organizations like small businesses or charities. The network is also now expanding to international markets with Germany and the U.K. to start, with more countries to come.

As PayPal has said, the new app is laying the groundwork for other new products in the quarters to come. The biggest initiative on its roadmap is a plan to enter the investment space, to rival other mobile investing apps, like Robinhood. When this arrives, it will support the ability to buy stocks, fractional stocks and ETFs, PayPal says.

It will also later add support for paying with QR codes, like Venmo, and tools for using PayPal to save while in stores.

The updated app is rolling out starting today in the U.S. as a staggered release that will complete in the weeks ahead. However, PayPal Savings won’t be available immediately — it will arrive in the U.S. in the “coming months,” as will some of the shopping and rewards tools.

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The Fastest Way to Open Your Camera on iPhone

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Your dog is standing on its head, and you’re fumbling to unlock your phone and launch the camera app before you miss it. Luckily, there’s no need for unlocking—the Camera app is just a swipe away on the lock screen. Here’s how to get to it as fast as possible.

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Free decryption tool to remove REvil ransomware is available

One of the worst types of malicious software that computer users worldwide are plagued with is ransomware. This type of malware encrypts the contents of the user’s computer in an attempt to force the PC owner to pay a ransom to decrypt their hard drive. Anyone impacted by the REvil ransomware can decrypt their machine for free with a master … Continue reading

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