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Robinhood suffers harshest hangover after pandemic stock trading boom

Active users desert upstart retail broker while stodgier rivals weather market slump

Musk sells $7bn of Tesla stock ahead of court fight with Twitter

Billionaire seeks to avoid ‘emergency sale’ of shares if social media company forces $44bn deal to close

PGA can block golfers who joined Saudi-backed rival from playoffs, judge rules

Players allege unfair ban after joining start-up circuit backed by Saudi sovereign wealth fund


SpaceX successfully completes static fire test of Starship's Super Heavy booster

SpaceX has cleared an important hurdle that brings it closer to the Starship system's first orbital flight test. The company has successfully completed a static fire test of the Super Heavy's current prototype, the Booster 7, a month after its previous attempt ended up in in flames. SpaceX used the Booster 7 for this test again but fired only a single Raptor engine on the orbital launch pad, igniting it for a few seconds to give engineers a close look at how it's performing. 

The Booster 7 is equipped with 33 Raptor version 2 engines meant to give it lift it needs to launch both the first stage itself and its upper stage companion, the Starship spacecraft. During the company's previous static fire test attempt, the booster caught fire on the launch pad. Company chief Elon Musk revealed on Twitter back then that the issue had stemmed from the engine spin start test SpaceX had conducted and that going forward, the company "won't do a spin start test with all 33 engines at once" anymore.

In addition to testing Booster 7, SpaceX also did a static fire test on two of the six Raptor engines on Starship 24. That's the current prototype for the launch system's upper stage, and it's what will fly to space for the system's first orbital flight test. It's still unclear when SpaceX intends to send the Starship to orbit for the first time, but it likely has to conduct more testing before that happens, including static firing more of its Raptor engines. 

Urbanista unveils ANC earbuds with a light-powered charging case

Urbanista has revealed its latest set of earbuds, and you may never need to toss a charging brick in your bag if you travel with them. That's because the Phoenix buds have a charging case with Exeger's Powerfoyle solar cell material. The company says this can top up the case's battery using any kind of indoor or outdoor light.

The earphones offer eight hours of playback time, according to Urbanista. The brand says the charging case has a total battery reserve of 32 hours as well. The Phoenix charging case looks much taller than cases for other true wireless earbuds, likely to ensure there's sufficient surface area for the solar cell material.

The earbuds have hybrid active noise cancellation (ANC) support, along with noise-reducing microphones and a transparency mode. They have multipoint connectivity, meaning you can connect them to two devices at the same time. You'll have access to touch and voice controls, as well as deeper customization through the Urbanista mobile app. There's IPX4 water resistance too.

Urbanista Phoenix earbuds and charging case

Urbanista previously used Powerfoyle tech in its Los Angeles over-ear headphones. In trying them out, we found that direct sunlight was able to charge them at a faster rate than the battery drained as a result of playback. However, the headphones charged much slower in ambient light.

It's unclear who might be able to use the Phoenix buds to their full effect. If you're outside a lot and are able to leave the case in direct sunlight while you're using the earphones, you might never need to plug in the USB-C cable to top up the battery. At the very least, it's an intriguing product that offers a look at another possible use case for the solar cell material.

The Phoenix earbuds are available in black or pink. A set costs $149/£129/€149.

US Justice Department is reportedly poised to sue Google over its digital ad dominance

Google may soon be facing its second antitrust lawsuit filed by the US Department of Justice. According to Bloomberg, the DOJ is gearing up to sue the tech giant as soon as September after a year of looking into whether it's been using its dominant position to illegally control the digital ad market. The Justice Department's lawyers have reportedly been conducting another round of interviews to glean additional information that could help make their case stronger. These new interviews are expected to build on previous ones conducted much earlier on in the investigation. 

The Justice Department first filed an antitrust lawsuit against the company back in 2020, accusing it of having an unfair monopoly over search and search-related advertising. For that particular case, the agency argued that forcing Android phone manufacturers to set Google as the default search engine prevents rivals from gaining traction and ensures that the company will earn an enormous amount of money from search-related advertising. 

In the same year, Texas filed a multi-state lawsuit against Google, with the state's Attorney General accusing the company of using its "monopolistic power to control" ad pricing. The company's ad practices are under scrutiny not just in the US but in other parts of the world: The European Commission also opened a probe to look into whether Google limits rival services' access to user data for ad purposes last year. As a concession to the EU's concerns, Reuters reported in June that Google may let rival ad platforms run ads on YouTube.

While the DOJ has yet to officially file its case, Google spokesperson Peter Schottenfels defended the company's ad business in a statement to Bloomberg, which says: "Our advertising technologies help websites and apps fund their content, and enable small businesses to reach customers around the world. The enormous competition in online advertising has made online ads more relevant, reduced ad tech fees, and expanded options for publishers and advertisers."

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