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Google isn’t moving Legacy G Suite users again, despite admin console warnings

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Google

Grandfathered-in “Legacy G Suite” users got a scare recently when another new “transition” message started popping up in the Google Admin console. “The transition to Google Workspace has started,” said the new message that suddenly appeared in people’s accounts. This was after Legacy G Suite users went through a contentious transition last year, where Google’s opening position involved shutting down their accounts if people didn’t start paying, but eventually, it was talked into not doing that. A Google spokesperson tells us the Workspace transition message was “a bug that surfaced an old banner from earlier in the process last year, and our team is working on removing it. More changes are not happening at this time, and those who previously opted-in for personal use are not expected to take any further action.”

We’ve received a few questions about this message, and this Reddit post has people wondering what the deal is, but it’s just a bug. That’s great because Legacy G Suite users have gone through enough already. To recap, Google currently offers businesses the option to pay a monthly fee for a Google/Gmail account that ends in a custom domain name instead of @gmail.com. Today this is called “Google Workspace,” but due to Google’s constant rebrands, it was first called “Google Apps for your Domain,” then “Google Apps,” and then “G Suite.” Google’s custom domain service was not always paywalled and not always exclusively aimed at businesses—it was free from 2006 to 2012. Google even pitched these accounts to families as a way to let everyone have similar email addresses. Some people did so, which means today they are getting a paid service for free.

Don't believe a word of this message.
Enlarge / Don’t believe a word of this message.

Last year, the Google accounting department turned its Eye of Sauron on these long-term users and threatened to take away their nearly 16-year-old accounts if they didn’t start paying a business rate for these formerly free and not necessarily business accounts. After a public outcry, Google eventually left these “Legacy G Suite accounts” alone after making users confirm that they were using their accounts for “non-business” purposes. After that, everything was settled.

Legacy G Suite users are specifically not a part of “Workspace,” which is a paid service. So this new message that popped up yesterday suggests they would have moved to another new service. Even though Google says it’s an error that users could see this message, actually following the prompt would lead you to another error message about “Google Workspace for personal use” which is a product that does not exist. Workspace has tiers like “Business Starter,” and grandfathered-in users are on “Legacy G Suite”, but “Workspace for personal use” is not a thing. Apparently, this was all the beta branding for the original plan last year, and somehow it all got published yesterday.

Enlarge / “Google Workspace for personal use” is not a thing that exists.

Lee Hutchinson

Google Workspace for personal use would be a great product for Google to sell, by the way. We’ve complained before that while Apple and Microsoft both sell custom domain email services to consumers at a reasonable rate, Google does not, only offering business email at much more expensive rates. A big part of the Legacy G suite problem is that these personal users have nowhere to go inside Google.

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Lenovo gives up on its dream of Android gaming phones

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Android manufacturers occasionally try to push this idea of a “gaming smartphone”—usually, these companies try to extend the “PC gamer” design motif to smartphones, with RGB LEDs and aggressive marketing. Since Android games are mostly casual pay-to-win tap fests, though, we often have to ask, does anyone want a gaming smartphone? If you’re Lenovo, the answer is apparently “no,” as Android Authority reports Lenovo is killing the “Legion” gaming phone business.

The site quoted a Lenovo spokesperson:

Lenovo is discontinuing its Android-based Legion mobile gaming phones as part of a wider business transformation and gaming portfolio consolidation. As a leader in gaming devices and solutions, Lenovo is committed to advancing the gaming category across form factors, as well as focusing on where it can bring the most value to the global gaming community.

While gaming phones often seem like a product without a market, we are a bit sad to see Lenovo pack it in since the Lenovo Legion Phone Duel 2 was the most extreme version of the idea. That phone had what must have been the most powerful cooling system ever fitted to an Android phone, with two internal cooling fans, copper heat pipes, and loads of graphite pads. While most passively cooled Android phones would quickly throttle in a graphics-intensive game, this was one of the rare phones with what looked like sustainable cooling. Of course, it didn’t fit into a normal smartphone body—the phone’s center (in landscape) was about twice as thick as normal, but it was a neat product.

Lenovo packed a lot of other interesting additions into its gaming phone: it had six touch-sensitive buttons on the back: four on the top edge of the phone, replicating L1/R1 L2/R2 design of console controllers, and two on the back of the phone for your middle fingers. It also had two USB-C ports: one in the usual location, but since that would be blocked during landscape gaming, a second port was on the side of the phone, so it would point downward during landscape gaming. You could charge from either port, but you could also charge with both ports simultaneously, which Lenovo called 90 W “ultra-fast double charging.” The included charger had two USB ports on it.

Lenovo was right to focus on cooling because while PC gaming computers can prove their worth with premium parts, there’s no such thing as “better than flagship” parts for smartphones. The Duel 2 had the same Snapdragon 888 SoC as every other flagship device, but at least it could run without throttling. The other things that exist for PC gaming and don’t exist for Android are games, or at least games that would encourage buying enthusiast-grade hardware. Even if you found a faster-than-normal phone, there would be few apps that could take advantage of it other than an emulator.

Listing image by Lenovo

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After two years, Autodesk Maya and AutoCAD become Apple Silicon-native

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Enlarge / A woman uses AutoCAD on a MacBook Pro in this promotional image from Autodesk.

It has been two years and four months since the first Apple Silicon Mac hit the market, and now Autodesk has finally updated some of its massively popular professional applications (AutoCAD and Maya) to run natively on M1 and M2 chips.

The availability of AutoCAD for Mac 2024 was announced in a blog post on Autodesk’s website on March 28. Like other major AutoCAD updates, it adds new features like expanded automation tools and easier workflows, but the announcement that “for the first time, AutoCAD for Mac 2024 and AutoCAD LT for Mac 2024 now run natively on both Intel and Apple Silicon architectures, including M1 and M2 chips in the M-series chips” is clearly the headlining feature.

Autodesk claims that Apple Silicon support “can increase overall performance by up to two times” compared to the 2023 version of AutoCAD.

AutoCAD is widely used in various industries and trades, including architecture, city planning, and industrial design.

A day later, on March 29, Autodesk revealed the 2024 update for Maya, its 3D modeling software chiefly used in game development, film production, and visual effects. Maya 2024 brings native Apple Silicon support in addition to a slew of new features, including the LookDevX material editor, Hydra support, and so on.

But in contrast to many other makers of widespread professional software in similar industries, such as Adobe and Unity, Autodesk’s efforts to support Apple Silicon—which were announced two years ago—have been ongoing for an interminably long time. Even open source Maya competitor Blender beat Autodesk to the punch.

The Intel versions of both Maya and AutoCAD worked OK in Rosetta, but some Mac users have become understandably frustrated over the past couple of years, and Autodesk never really clarified why it was taking so long.

Nonetheless, it’s here now. We were able to download Maya 2024 for no additional charge on an existing subscription and confirmed that it is running as an Apple Silicon app on an M2 Max-equipped MacBook Pro.

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Apple will host WWDC 2023 in person and online June 5 through June 9

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Enlarge / Apple’s first promotional image for WWDC 2023.

Apple

Apple will host its 34th annual Worldwide Developers Conference at its Cupertino, California, headquarters from Monday, June 5 through Friday, June 9, the company announced on Wednesday.

The conference will kick off with “a special all-day event,” inclusive of the customary keynote presentation and the platform State of the Union talks. The language on Apple’s website suggests that like last year, some or all of those will be presented in prerecorded video form rather than as a live on-stage presentation.

After that first day, Apple will likely host various panels on how developers can work with the company’s developer toolkits and APIs to support new and old features across the various Apple platforms.

Members of Apple’s developer program who want to attend essentially sign up for a lottery to see if they are chosen, as the event cannot host enough people in person to meet demand. That said, the entire conference will also be available online to developers. In either case, the conference is free.

The main purpose of the WWDC keynote each year is usually to announce and explain new features coming to the next versions of Apple’s various platform operating systems—in this case, iOS 17, iPadOS 17, tvOS 17, watchOS 10, and macOS 14.

That’s almost sure to be the case this year as well. Sometimes Apple announces new hardware or consumer services at WWDC, too—but not always.

There have been many reports from reliable sources over the past few months that Apple hopes to provide a first look at its long-delayed mixed-reality headset and related software at this WWDC. If so, we expect that to be a big part of the keynote.

Even if that’s the case, the headset probably won’t be released this June. It’s much more likely that Apple will outline what to expect from a release further down the road (possibly in September alongside the new flagship iPhones, but maybe even later) so that developers can begin work creating applications, games, and experiences for the new platform.

WWDC also coincides with Apple’s Swift Student Challenge, a coding competition for students. The deadline to apply for that challenge is April 19.

Ars Technica will cover the announcements as they come in on the day of the keynote.

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