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Xbox One

Bad news if you were hoping to pick up an Xbox One in Beijing next week: Microsoft has just delayed the game system's launch in China from September 23rd to sometime before the end of the year. The company isn't saying just prompted the last-minute pushback, but it claims that it needs extra time to offer "first rate gaming and entertainment experiences" -- in short, something is still pretty rough around the edges. Whatever the reasons, Chinese gamers will have to wait a little while longer to get their first major console since the country lifted its years-long ban on fun-minded machines like this.

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Oculus VR has a new headset. CEO Brendan Iribe showed the prototype, dubbed Crescent Bay, off today at the first Oculus Connect conference. It has built-in audio, it's lighter and packs 360-degree motion tracking. Iribe says that the jump between the new prototype and the previous developer kit (DK) is as dramatic as the jump between DK1 and the recently shipped DK2. Of course, it has a higher resolution screen and refresh rate, but the focus on this version though, seems to be audio. The headset sports onboard headphones that apparently can be removed if you'd rather use your own, and custom audio software (with help from the University of Maryland's RealSpace3D tech) to make "presence" much more convincing. "We're working on audio as aggressively as we're working on the vision side," Iribe said. Which makes sense, considering that sound is at least half of the experience for most entertainment.

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Aether's Cone speaker is a fresh spin on music streaming

The first HiFi I had all to myself was a hand-me-down Sony music center (something like this). It was a mix of faux-wood panels and brushed metal, with three media options: cassette, vinyl and radio. Then the '90s mainstay "all-in-one" HiFi (and CD!) became my main music hub for many years. These days, it's a very different game. If you're not running a networked system, connected to your favorite streaming services, then, frankly, you're doing it wrong. But, what if you don't want an all-encompassing solution from the likes of Sonos or Bang & Olufsen? You could go with Bluetooth speakers, but that's a whole different proposition altogether (and a bit of a minefield). Then there's the Cone by Aether. It's portable, networked and works with streaming services. At $400 (the same price as Sonos' Play:5 speaker), it's going to have to have a few tricks up it's sleeve to lure in potential buyers. I have a fairly large gap in my music room though -- can this fill it?

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Dell Streak

It's safe to say that Steve Jobs was off the mark when he declared that no one would buy big smartphones -- they've become popular enough that Apple itself is now making large iPhones. But how did these supersized devices escape their niche status to become the must-haves they are today? The transformation didn't happen overnight. It took a succession of ever-bigger phones to spark the public imagination and prove that huge screens were here to stay. We've rounded up 10 of the most important examples -- head on over to our gallery to see how enormous became the new normal.

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When Verizon launched its "Advanced Calling 1.0" feature earlier this month (read: voice over LTE), it only worked with two phones: The Samsung Galaxy S5 and the LG G2. Now the company can add the iPhone to that list, well, at least the iPhone 6. Verizon customers who upgraded to Cupertino's latest handset are reporting that VoLTE is working on both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. A user on the MacRumors forum said he had to activate the feature in his phone's cellular menu first, but afterwards was able to make calls freely. It's also notable that he called a landline -- previously, the feature was only said to work between compatible Verizon phones. Is it working for you? Fire up your new handset (if you're into that brand), and let us know in the comments.

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We know, all your friends rushing out to buy new iPhones and you're stuck with that 'outdated' iPhone 5s you just bought. That's what happens when you go swimming without checking your pockets first. Still, it's not all bad: there's a Google for iOS update available, and it's completely free! In addition to promising faster search results, this minor update adds "What to Watch" TV recommendations to Google's list of content cards. Tend to watch your television at a friends house? No worries -- the update has added multiple route options to transit cards, too. You'll get there in no time.

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A lack of its own new PCs to use the service on isn't stopping Sony from bringing its Video Unlimited platform to the web. As the beleaguered electronics outfit notes on the PlayStation Blog of all places, it's playing catch-up king once again and no longer requiring users to download and launch a separate app to peruse their content library on desktop. Now all you need to do is hit the "watch now" button from the Sony Entertainment Network store's website to check out anything you've rented or purchased. So long as the service is available in your region to begin with, you can use web streaming. The move away from a proprietary application also means that the service is finally available on Macs as well -- you know, in case you aren't into that whole iTunes fad.

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Need to make a new Gmail account but don't want to deal with creating a mandatory Google+ profile to go with it? Don't sweat it, because Mountain View's removed that requirement to join its ailing social network, and once again signing up for the search giant's email service takes you directly to the inbox without any fuss. As evidenced in marketing blog Wordstream's screenshot below, however, you'll still need a G+ account if you want to futz around with the rest of Google's services. Meaning, if leaving reviews for apps or media in Google Play and uploading videos to YouTube is totally your bag, you'll have to take the plunge and "upgrade" your Gmail account regardless. Still, for those who just need to create a burner email address to give out to less-than-trustworthy websites, the process is a bit less annoying now.

[Image credit: Shutterstock]

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Lakers Suns 1998

Remember when Apple introduced its EasyPay self-checkout feature in 2011, and everyone wondered "how can they really tell if a customer is buying something or just shoplifting?" According to the Scottsdale, AZ police, former college and professional basketball player Rex Chapman had the same thought and acted on it. They arrested the 12-year NBA veteran at 1:45 PM local time, after employees recognized him as a former player for the Phoenix Suns and tied him to a string of thefts. Chapman accused of committing seven instances of theft over a few months, snagging gear worth more than $14,000 and selling it at a local pawnshop for cash. All of this was allegedly done by picking up the items, pretending to use the self-checkout feature in the iPhone's Apple Store app and then just walking out. Now Chapman is facing nine counts of Organized Retail Theft and five counts of Trafficking in Stolen Property -- all of which are felonies -- and we're wondering if Tim Cook has another security issue that could use some attention.

[Image credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS]

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CHINA-INTERNET-ALIBABA

We'd heard that the US IPO for Chinese company Alibaba could be among the biggest ever, and it did not disappoint. Closing at a stock price of $93.89, it raised $21.8 billion for the company and is the biggest IPO in US history. According to Bloomberg, it could become the biggest ever (topping Agricultural Bank of China's $22 billion IPO in 2010) if underwriters make use of an option to buy more shares, which market observers expect they will. Now that Alibaba has joined the club of recent tech IPOs like Facebook and Twitter and it has cash to throw around, many wonder if it will start acquiring smaller companies the way its Silicon Valley rivals have lately. Despite being mostly unknown in the US Alibaba is massive in China, operating sales platforms described as similar to Amazon, eBay and Paypal, and Reuters says it controls more than 80 percent of online sales there. Jack Ma (pictured above) founded the company in his apartment in 1999 and is now China's richest man, personally worth some $18 billion as of market close, according to the Wall Street Journal.

[Image credit: PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images]

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