Vergecast: Windows 11 leaks, RCS encryption, and this week in antitrust policy

Every Friday, The Verge publishes our flagship podcast, The Vergecast, where co-hosts Nilay Patel and Dieter Bohn discuss the week in tech news with the reporters and editors covering the biggest stories.

In this episode, the show is split into three sections. First, Nilay and Dieter talk to Verge senior editor Tom Warren about this week in Microsoft: leaks of the Windows 11 UI, announcements from E3 2021, and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella doubling as the company’s chairman.

  • Windows 11 leak reveals new UI, Start menu, and more
  • Microsoft Teams’ new front row layout arrives later this year
  • Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella now doubles as the company’s chairman
  • Microsoft announces Xbox TV app and its own xCloud …
  • Microsoft is bringing next-gen Xbox games to the Xbox One with xCloud
  • Even the Xbox app has stories now
  • The Xbox Series X mini fridge will be available this holiday season
  • Microsoft Flight Simulator is landing on Xbox Series X / S consoles on July 27th
  • The best trailers of E3 2021

In section two of the show, Verge politics reporter Makena Kelly returns to explain the continuing push by the US government to enact antitrust legislation on tech monopolies — this week, five new bills were introduced and the Senate confirmed a new commissioner of the FTC.

  • Tech antitrust pioneer Lina Khan will officially lead the FTC
  • How Republicans and Democrats are gearing up to fight tech monopolies
  • House lawmakers introduce five bipartisan bills to unwind tech monopolies
  • Senate bill would make it easier to cancel a subscription online after a free trial

In part 3, Verge managing editor Alex Cranz joins in to chat about this week in gadgets and Google — the company is adding end-to-end encryption to their Messages app, Sonos officially announced their picture frame speaker, and Telsa’s Model S Plaid made its big debut.

  • Google’s first retail store opens this week
  • Google adds E2E RCS encryption to Messages, emoji mashup suggests, and more for Android
  • Google Workspace and Google Chat are officially available to everybody
  • Honor confirms Google’s apps will return to its phones with new 50 series
  • Beats Studio Buds review: big ambition, imperfect execution
  • Ikea and Sonos announce picture frame speaker, coming July 15th for $199
  • Watch the debut of Tesla Model S Plaid, the ‘quickest production car ever made’
  • The Realme GT lays claim to OnePlus’ ‘flagship killer’ mantle
  • Oppo’s rollable concept phone is pure potential lacking polish

You can listen to the full discussion here or in your preferred podcast player.


Xbox Design Lab Returns With Series X and S Controllers

(Image credit: Microsoft)

The Xbox Design Lab, which allows gamers to design their own controllers, is back online. While it had previously been using the Xbox One controller, the new Design Lab is based on the Xbox Series X and Series S controllers.

Currently, you can place orders in the United States, Canada and “most” western European countries. Controllers are $69.99 (a $10 add-on to MSRP for store-bought controllers), and an additional $9.99 if you choose to get optional engraving. Controllers are delivered with two weeks of orders being placed.

There are eighteen colors, some of which are seen in existing controllers. Pulse Red, Electric Volt and Shock Blue are new to the Design Lab but are also available on the market without the customizations.

Microsoft is also adding a black-on-color ABXY button option, which harkens a bit back to the original Xbox and Xbox 360 controllers, and black-on-white view, menu and share buttons.

Xbox controllers work not only with Microsoft’s consoles, but are also widely considered the best option for PC gaming, as most publishers use Xbox buttons in games by default.

Microsoft had paused the Design Lab back in October as it transitioned to the new consoles. This announcement was made during a post-E3 extended briefing.