How low can it go? The Google Home Hub is now just $59

The nifty smart-screen, now known as the Nest Hub, continues its slow and steady march toward the dollar store.


How low can it go? Hard to say, but the Google Home Hub keeps dropping a few bucks every few weeks.


Well, here we are again. A while back I made the joke that if this trend continues, the Google Home Hub (which was recently renamed the Nest Hub) will soon be free. Because for months now, each week seems to bring another $1-2 discount.

Like this week: For a limited time, and while supplies last, Altatac via Rakuten has the Google Home Hub for $58.99 when you apply promo code ALT10 at checkout. You also need to be signed into your Rakuten account (assuming you have one; if not, you’ll have to sign up for one).

The Home Hub originally sold for $149, but Google recently lowered it to $129. Even before that, it started showing up from resellers for around $80, and every couple weeks it seems to drop another a buck or two. I keep thinking it can’t possibly go any lower, but, well, happy Monday!

The Home Hub takes the Google Home smart speaker and adds a 7-inch touchscreen. That opens the door to things like guided recipes, song lyrics, appointment calendars and so on — all the same stuff your phone or tablet can do, but on something that’s a permanent fixture in, say, your kitchen.

There’s no camera, so you can’t use it for video calling the way you can an Amazon Echo Show or Facebook Portal. (Some people might find that preferable, though, in light of recent privacy concerns.) Google does offer a smart assistant with a camera, the new Nest Hub Max, but it’s $230.

And don’t forget the new Echo Show 5, which seems very Google Home Hub-like and sells for $90 — but has just a 5-inch screen.

Watch this: Google Home Hub comes up big as a smart home control…

Read CNET’s Google Home Hub review to learn more. Verdict: Top marks, even if the audio quality doesn’t quite rival some screenless smart speakers. Likewise, over at Best Buy, it has an impressive 4.6-star review average from over 3,000 buyers.

At $150, this might have seemed a little extravagant. But at $59? Awfully tempting. (Of course, I’m also tempted to see if it can drop any lower.)

Read more: The first 9 things you should do with your Google Home Hub

Originally published March 29.
Update, July 22: Another price drop.

CNET’s Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on PCs, phonesgadgets and much more. Note that CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page. Find more great buys on the CNET Deals page and follow the Cheapskate on Facebook and Twitter!

Google Home Hub
CNET may get a commission from retail offers.

Forget silicon – SQL on DNA is the next frontier for databases

A couple of years back, even researchers would wave off using DNA to store data as something too futuristic to have any practical value. Today, you can extend PostgreSQL with the right software and bio-chemical modules, and run SQL on DNA.

Raspberry Pi 4 Starter Kits Are Available Now


The fourth incarnation of the Raspberry Pi platform was announced last month with some massive and long-awaited upgrades. The Raspberry Pi 4 Model B includes up to 4GB of RAM, a faster CPU and GPU, full-throughput Gigabit Ethernet, dual band Wi-Fi, a whole bunch of additional ports, and dual monitor support at resolutions up to 4K (30fps dual / 60fps single).

In other words, the Raspberry Pi 4 has the potential to become a genuinely useful budget desktop PC. The power boost is also going to be huge for tinkerers. That having been said, the CanaKit Raspberry Pi 4 Starter Kit is now available on Amazon in 1GB, 2GB, and 4GB flavors with prices that range from $79.99 to $99.99. The 4GB kit includes the following:

  • Raspberry Pi 4 4GB Model B with 1.5GHz 64-bit quad-core ARMv8 CPU (4GB RAM)
  • 32GB Samsung EVO+ Micro SD Card (Class 10) Pre-loaded with NOOBS
  • CanaKit Premium High-Gloss Raspberry Pi 4 Case
  • Micro HDMI to HDMI Cable – 6 foot (Supports up to 4K 60p)
  • CanaKit USB-C Raspberry Pi 4 Power Supply with Noise Filter – Specially designed for the Raspberry Pi 4 (UL Listed)
  • CanaKit USB-C PiSwitch (On/Off Power Switch for Raspberry Pi 4)
  • Set of Heat Sinks
  • USB MicroSD Card Reader
  • CanaKit Quick-Start Guide
  • CanaKit GPIO Reference Card

Raspberry Pi 4 Model B highlights include:

  • A 1.5GHz quad-core 64-bit ARM Cortex-A72 CPU (~3× performance)
  • 1GB, 2GB, or 4GB of LPDDR4 SDRAM
  • Full-throughput Gigabit Ethernet
  • Dual-band 802.11ac wireless networking
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Two USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 ports
  • Dual monitor support, at resolutions up to 4K
  • VideoCore VI graphics, supporting OpenGL ES 3.x
  • 4Kp60 hardware decode of HEVC video
  • Complete compatibility with earlier Raspberry Pi products

Keep in mind that the Retropie gaming emulator software doesn’t work with Raspberry Pi 4 at the time of writing. This will change soon, but if you’re looking to use the Pi 4 as an arcade machine, you might want to hold off for a bit, or grab an older model. When Retropie is ready to go, you’ll likely see a retro gaming-focused Raspberry Pi 4 Starter Kit added to the CanaKit lineup.

Note: This is not a sponsored post, but if you purchase one of the awesome products featured above, we may earn a small commission from the retailer. Thank you for your support.


Have you subscribed to ComicBook Nation, the official Podcast of yet? Check it out by clicking here or listen below.


In this latest episode we’re all in on San Diego Comic Con 2019! Day two is done and we talk about The Witcher, The Walking Dead Season 10, Veronica Mars, Avengers: Endgame and more! Make sure to subscribe now to never miss an episode!



Single Board Computers (SBC) continue to ramp up the features and performance enabling new products and workloads. Looking to compete with tiny development boards like NVIDIA’s Jetson Nano, ODROID, Asus Tinker, and Intel (though the future of some of their product lines is unknown), Chinese Shenzhen Wesion Technology Co., LTD under it’s Khadas brand has launched the VIM 3 and VIM 3 Pro packing a 64-bit Amlogic A311D SoC, two or four GB LPDDR4, 16 or 32 gigabytes eMMC 5.0 storage, and modern I/O including USB 3.0, M.2, GPIO, HDMI, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and Gigabit Ethernet. The boards measure 82 x 58 x 11.5mm and weigh 28.5g with the VIM 3 having a MSRP of $99.99 and the VIM 3 Pro at $139.99.

Sitting at the heart of the Khadas VIM 3 (and VIM 3 Pro) is a 12nm Amlogic A311D SoC featuring four 2.2 GHz ARM COrtex-A73 cores plus two Cortex-A53 cores at 1.8 GHz in a big.LITTLE configuration along with an ARM Mali G52 MP4 GPU at 800 MHz, a NPU (neural processing unit) rated at 5.0 TOPS (tera operations per second) and 1536 MAC (multiply-accumulate) INT8 inferences per cycle, a Cortex M4 low power core for “always-on” processing, and ARM TrustZone security support. There is also a separate programmable STM85003 MCU with programmable EEPROM. According to a review by ETA Prime, the Khadas VIM 3 puts up a good showing on the performance front, though the usefulness and performance of the touted NPU is still up in the air as we wait for software support, developer interest, and more details on the hardware capabilities. On more traditional computing tasks, the CPU and GPU deliver a notable bump in performance versus cheaper options like the Raspberry Pi and it is able to playback 4K video smoothly (though it struggled with some of the very high bitrate sample videos) with H.265 being your best bet but H.264 being serviceable. Officially, Khadas rates the board at 4k75 H.265 10-bit decode or “low latency” 4k60 or 1080p60 decodes with multi-video 4k60+1080p60 also being possible. In ETA Prime’s review, he managed to get a Geekbench 4 single core score of 1522 and multi core score of 4165 as well as 2976 in Gfx Bench, and 1258 in 3DMark SlingShot Open GL3.1. Reportedly, emulation of PSP and Dreamcast games is possible, but GameCube and PS2 are out of reach for this SBC.

Khadas Launches VIM3 SBC With Amlogic A311D SoC - Mobile  1

Other internal hardware on the board includes a 2×2 802.11ac Wi-Fi + BT 5.0 chip (AP63985), Real-Time Clock (RTC), PWM fan header, Wake On LAN support, MIPI CSI and DSI connectors for dual cameras (8MP ISP) and a display, a TF card slot (SDXC), 40 GPIO pins, and a M.2 connector (though unfortunately only PCI-E 2.0 x1) that can connect an SSD, be USB 2.0, or connect via ribbon cable to an extension board for things like a cellular modem or multiple SSDs. There are also power, reset, and function buttons.

As for external I/O, the VIM 3 offers one USB 3.0, one USB 2.0 plus a Type-C 2.0 OTG port (also used for power), Gigabit Ethernet, SD card slot, IR, and HDMI 2.1 video output.

The Khadas VIM 3 seems like a decent single board computer option if you are looking for something with a bit more hardware horsepower than entry-level options like the Raspberry Pi. If the software support (particularly for the NPU) is there, it may prove to be a good option for robotics and automation projects, and the ARM Mali GPU may prove easier to work with than Broadcom’s VideoCore series thought that seems to ever so slowly be less of an issue. It is certainly in a different class at $100+ but for developers and enthusiasts that can justify the extra money for the additional compute horsepower it may be worth it.

What are your thoughts on the more expensive SBCs?

Magnax Yokeless Axial Flux Motor Promises 98 Percent Efficiency

This motor design also offers more power density and lower weight than radial motors.

One of the arguments traditional carmakers use for the survival of combustion engines is that it still has many development possibilities. Variable compression and the SPCCI cycle would be examples of that. Electric motors’ energy efficiency is around 90 percent. But a new concept from Belgium promises to offer 98 percent of energy efficiency. It is from Magnax and consists of a yokeless axial flux motor.

The new engine, according to the manufacturer, is very capable because of the way it has been conceived. Its wiring has rectangular section other than round, which saves space, makes filling more effective (90 percent), and prevents copper loss.

There are two permanent magnet rotors and the stator is yokeless, something that makes flux paths the shortest possible, according to Magnax.

Magnax Yokeless Axial Flux Motor Promises 98 Percent Efficiency

The coils also count on a cooling system that helps them keep the lowest possible temperature, but it is the axial flux that allows the Magnax motor to have a high power-to-weight ratio. And this image shows that in the best way possible.

Magnax Yokeless Axial Flux Motor Promises 98 Percent Efficiency

While the radial electric motor used on the BMW i3 offers 168 hp (125 kW),  184.4 lb-ft (250 Nm), and weighs 101 lb (46 kg), a Magnax axial flow with the same torque would offer 268 hp (200 kW) and weigh only 35 lb (16 kg).

Since mass is one of the three pillars of efficient vehicles, and EVs already have to deal with heavy battery packs, any weight advantage is always welcome. It is a classic example of more for less.

Magnax Yokeless Axial Flux Motor Promises 98 Percent Efficiency

This inherent lightness also makes the Magnax less demanding in natural resources. While the magnet of BMW’s radial engine weighs 4.4 lb (2 kg), the one in the axial motor is just 2.7 lb (1.2 kg).

This may be something crucial in the future, with more and more vehicles demanding more and more neodymium for permanent magnets. And more rare earth, or RE, as some call it.

Magnax claims its motors are ideal for cars, motorcycles, and airplanes. We can’t wait to see the first EV equipped with one of them. Or four of them, in case it is an AWD model.

Source: Magnax