This is the best laptop under $500

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Here are five tech things that happened this week and how they affect your business. Did you miss them?

1 – This guy rates laptops for a living and he says it’s the best laptop under $500

Sean Riley van Laptop magazine has just given its endorsement for the best laptop under $500. Lenovo’s Duet 5 Chromebook is Sean’s choice for its superior display quality – detachable screen – and expansive 13-hour battery life. The only downside Sean pointed out is system performance, but only when compared to other laptops on the market. His overall score for the Duet 5 is 4.5/5 stars. (Source: Laptop)

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Why this is important for your business:

I’m looking for a new laptop and I’ve never owned a Chromebook. I feel that because hard drive space is limited or because it’s not Microsoft, a Chromebook isn’t the right device for me. But that’s crazy – I love my Android phone, Microsoft apps work great on it, and when am I ever not online? Sean’s endorsement could be my point of purchase.

2 – Microsoft is bringing a green screen feature to Teams meetings

You can now enhance your virtual meetings with a cinema-quality backdrop. Microsoft just added a green screen feature Microsoft Teams – providing a much richer experience with wallpapers. Users can now appear as if they are in a variety of environments similar to the technology used in film. (Source: beta news)

Why this is important for your business:

This can be a big change for people who shoot videos but want to improve their background significantly. Microsoft’s upgrade to its virtual meeting room has raised the bar as users can manipulate their background to enhance presentations – to provide more privacy based on the screen setting – and a host of other cool effects. Microsoft points out that green screen significantly improves the definition and sharpness of one’s image. Green screen is available in Teams Public Preview.

3 – Google is realigning its virtual assistant unit with a focus on Bard AI technology

CNBC reported on a recent announcement from the company that Bard — the AI-generated assistant — will take center stage in terms of ongoing development. Google is engaged in a large-scale promotion of its AI-powered technology. It recently sent a message to the public announcing the testing phase for Bard with an invitation to try the technology. (Source: CNBC)

Why this is important for your business:

Google has also been quietly working on Bard for the past few years and had to launch it ahead of schedule after ChatGPT stole the show. Most entrepreneurs I talk to don’t pay much attention to it either until their underlying AI improves and becomes more accurate. But think of the possibilities when Bard is really ready for prime time for what you can ask him to do with your data from Google. I will be writing about this in the not too distant future.

4 – TipHaus, which helps businesses distribute tips, raises $3.5 million and launches banking tool

TipHaus – described as the “world’s first and only end-to-end tip distribution solution” – is a start-up founded by Leif Magnuson. With a customer base that includes restaurants and hotels, TipHaus helps managers calculate and manage tip distributions to their staff. (Source: GeekWire)

Why this is important for your business:

Now in over 2,000 locations nationwide – TipHaus offers its software ($99/month per location) that interfaces with a branch’s POS system. Tips are distributed systematically, eliminating manual time and accidental errors.

5 – PayPal launches Apple Pay support for small businesses

Financial services provider PayPal has added ApplePay to its system for small and medium-sized businesses. (Source: iClarified)

Why this is important for your business:

As financial institutions continue their efforts to streamline and secure electronic transactions, PayPal is aware of the challenges SMEs face. “The retail landscape is constantly evolving and SMEs need access to a range of tools to drive sales…” said Nitin Prabhu, PayPal’s VP, Merchant Experiences and Payment Solutions.