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The Beats Studio Pro are down to $180, nearly matching their all-time low

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The Beats Studio Pro are down to $180, nearly matching their all-time low

If you’re not an audiophile and can’t otherwise afford to splurge on a substantial pair of headphones like the AirPods Max or the new Sonos Ace headphones, a pair of Beats can do the job just fine. The brand’s headphones consistently sound pretty good and have kept up well with the times under Apple’s stewardship. You can consider the Beats Studio Pro the pinnacle of the line right now, and the flagship over-ear pair are nearly matching their all-time low price at around $179.95 ($170 off) at Amazon and Best Buy. That’s only $10 more than the all-time low price we saw during Black Friday.

For example, these headphones are more adaptable than most across the mobile ecosystem duopoly currently ruled by iOS and Android. On iOS, they support key features like one-touch pairing, Siri, spatial audio with dynamic head tracking, Find My, and iCloud sync. On Android, you also get Fast Pair, Find My Device support, and automatic pairing and seamless audio switching between Android devices and Chromebooks. Plus, you get better active noise cancellation and transparency mode compared to the Beats Studio 3 they replaced, not to mention lossless USB-C audio (although you give up the aforementioned audio features when using it).

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Meta’s redesigned Quest app puts a big focus on Horizon Worlds

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Meta’s redesigned Quest app puts a big focus on Horizon Worlds

Meta is rolling out a revamped version of its Quest mobile app that links it more closely with its 3D social platform Horizon Worlds. The app, now called Meta Horizon, comes with a new tab that lets you complete quests from your phone and customize your avatar.

You can also use the app to explore and join new worlds, as well as connect with friends in Horizon Worlds, which launched on mobile and the web last September. Meta says the update won’t take away any features in the existing app, and you can still use it to set up your Quest headsets and browse the library of apps in the Meta Horizon Store.

Another small update coming to the Meta Horizon app is the addition of light mode, allowing you to easily swap between light and dark whenever you want. Meta also rolled out a new feed featuring content from creators in the mobile app earlier this month.

The update comes as Meta looks to expand Horizon Worlds and its handle on the VR industry. In April, Meta announced plans to license its headset operating system, called Horizon OS, to companies like Lenovo and Asus. It will also start featuring experimental App Lab titles more prominently in the Meta Horizon Store and is trying to make it easier for developers to bring their mobile games to Horizon OS.

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Google is purging ‘low-quality’ Android apps next month

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Google is purging ‘low-quality’ Android apps next month

Google is raising its minimum quality requirements for Android apps, and will soon remove those that don’t meet expectations from the Play Store. According to the company’s latest spam policy update, apps that demonstrate “limited functionality and content” — such as text only apps, single wallpaper apps, or those that are literally designed to do nothing at all — will no longer be permitted on the Play Store effective August 31st.

These join existing restrictions that barred broken apps that are not responsive, don’t install, crash, or otherwise function abnormally. Google says it’s added the additional requirements to “ensure apps can meet the uplifted standards for the Play catalog and engage users through quality functionality.”

Google has made previous efforts to better police the apps hosted on its Play Store. As noted by Android Authority, as many as 2.28 million apps were blocked from the service in 2023 for violating policies and putting user security at risk. Google also said it had banned 333,000 “bad” Google Play accounts that same year for repeated severe policy violations, and concerns surrounding fraud and malware.

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Retail prices can jump in seconds with high-tech store price tags

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Retail prices can jump in seconds with high-tech store price tags

Have you noticed how technology is rapidly transforming our shopping experiences? From online marketplaces to self-checkout kiosks, the retail landscape is evolving at breakneck speed. Today, let’s explore one of the latest innovations set to shake up the way we shop for everyday items: digital price tags.

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Digital price tag (Walmart) (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

The rise of smart pricing

Imagine walking into a store where prices change in real time, just like they do on your favorite shopping websites. Well, that future is closer than you might think. Retailers across the globe are experimenting with dynamic pricing systems, bringing the flexibility of online shopping to brick-and-mortar stores.

Retail prices can jump in seconds with high-tech store price tags

Digital price tags (Walmart) (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

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What’s driving this change?

Several factors are propelling this shift towards digital pricing. Stores can update thousands of prices instantly, saving time and labor. This improves accuracy, eliminating discrepancies between shelf prices and checkout totals. The system also allows retailers to quickly respond to market changes or competitor pricing. Additionally, there’s a sustainability angle, as digital tags reduce paper waste from traditional price tags.

Retail prices can jump in seconds with high-tech store price tags

Digital price tag (Walmart) (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

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The technology behind the change

Electronic shelf labels (ESLs) or digital shelf labels (DSLs) are at the heart of this retail revolution. These small, battery-powered e-paper displays are wirelessly connected to a central system, allowing for quick and easy price updates. But they’re more than just digital price tags; they’re a gateway to a more interactive shopping experience.

Retail prices can jump in seconds with high-tech store price tags

Digital price tags (Walmart) (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

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What can these smart labels do?

These smart labels are multifunctional devices. They can display prices and product information, show QR codes for additional details, guide store employees for restocking and assist with order fulfillment for online purchases. It’s like giving each product its own mini-computer.

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Retail prices can jump in seconds with high-tech store price tags

Showing how smart labels are multifunctional devices (Walmart) (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

The potential impact on shoppers

This new technology could bring both benefits and challenges for consumers. On the plus side, we can expect more accurate pricing and the potential for better deals on soon-to-expire items. Shoppers will have access to more product information right at their fingertips.

There’s also a possibility of lower prices due to increased store efficiency. However, it’s not all rosy. We might see the introduction of dynamic pricing, similar to surge pricing in ride-sharing apps. This could lead to rapid price fluctuations. There are also privacy concerns with the increased data collection that comes with these systems.

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Retail prices can jump in seconds with high-tech store price tags

Digital price tags (Walmart) (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

Real-world examples: Who’s leading the charge?

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s look at some specific examples of how this technology is being implemented. America’s largest retailer, Walmart, recently announced plans to introduce digital shelf labels in 2,300 stores by 2026. Given Walmart’s massive market share in the U.S. grocery sector, this move could expose millions of shoppers to the technology.

According to Daniela Boscan, a Walmart food and consumable team lead, “A price change that used to take an associate two days to update now takes only minutes with the new DSL system. This efficiency means we can spend more time assisting customers and less time on repetitive tasks.”

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While Walmart’s announcement made headlines, they’re not the first to experiment with this technology. Other major players include Kroger, Whole Foods (owned by Amazon), Ahold Delhaize, and Schnucks, a Midwestern chain. A recent market study estimates that about 26% of grocers and general merchandisers were capable of using ESL technology in 2023, indicating a growing trend in the industry.

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Retail prices can jump in seconds with high-tech store price tags

Employee scanning digital price tag (Walmart) (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

The great price-tag switcheroo

When a store decides to make the leap from traditional paper tags to digital ones, it’s not just a simple overnight change. It’s a massive undertaking that requires careful planning and execution. Picture this: a small army of workers descending upon the store, armed with digital price tags and determination.

These “price tag transformers” swarm the aisles, systematically replacing each paper tag with its high-tech counterpart. Shelf by shelf, aisle by aisle, the store undergoes a visible transformation. The familiar sight of paper tags gradually gives way to the sleek, uniform appearance of digital displays.

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Retail prices can jump in seconds with high-tech store price tags

Changing out paper tags for digital ones (Pricer) (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

The bigger picture: Dynamic pricing everywhere

The adoption of digital price tags in grocery stores is part of a larger trend toward dynamic pricing in various industries. We’ve already seen this in ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft, airline tickets, live music, event sales and fast food, as evidenced by the recent Wendy’s controversy. This shift raises questions about how consumers will adapt to more fluid pricing structures in their day-to-day purchases.

Retail prices can jump in seconds with high-tech store price tags

Digital price tags (Walmart) (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

Kurt’s key takeaways

As we stand on the brink of this digital revolution in retail, it’s important to consider both the opportunities and the challenges it presents. On one hand, the increased efficiency and flexibility could lead to better shopping experiences and potentially lower prices. On the other hand, the introduction of dynamic pricing to everyday purchases might require a shift in how we approach our shopping habits.

As this technology rolls out, it’s crucial for you to stay informed and adapt your shopping strategies accordingly. Monitor price trends, take advantage of additional product information and provide feedback to retailers about your experiences.

What’s your take on this digital retail revolution? Are you excited about the potential benefits or concerned about the challenges? Let us know by writing us at Cyberguy.com/Contact.

For more of my tech tips and security alerts, subscribe to my free CyberGuy Report Newsletter by heading to Cyberguy.com/Newsletter.

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