On the day the trailer for The Last Jedi drops, Star Wars fans also find out they’re getting a Darth Vader vacuum cleaner

When Disney bought the Star Wars franchise we knew there’d be new films, we knew they’d be toys, but a Darth Vader themed vacuum cleaner; no one saw that coming.

But on the day the trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi dropped, Samsung has taken the opportunity to reveal Star Wars themed editions of its widely acclaimed VR7000 POWERbot robot vacuum cleaner.

“We are very pleased to be part of the excitement leading up to the release of The Last Jedi and to be launching our limited edition POWERbot in partnership with Star Wars fans,” said B.S. Suh, executive vice president of the Digital Appliances Business at Samsung Electronics.

“From its incredible suction power, slim design, and smart features, to the wonderful character-themed voice feedback and sound effects, we are confident the Star Wars limited edition of the VR7000 will be a big hit.”

Star Wars fans will be able to buy two versions of the vacuum, as Samsung is giving them the option of choosing between a Darth Vader or a Stormtrooper design.

The Darth Vader version of the POWERbot features a specially created cover using what Samsung calls “custom premium materials that resembles Darth Vader’s all-black mask”, while the Stormtrooper version replicates the look of a white and black Stormtrooper’s helmet.

The Darth Vader model comes with wifi connectivity and its own remote control, but both models play sound effects, so, for example, when the Darth Vader version is turned on the vacuum will play and mimic the character’s infamous breathing.

Images courtesy of Samsung

To create the special edition products, and make them authentic and true in the eyes of Star Wars fans, Samsung worked very closely with super fans at every stage of the product’s development, from product planning to design, production, marketing, and distribution.

Samsung has said that UK availability will be announced in due course, but if cleaning with a Star Wars themed vacuum isn’t your thing, and you’re happy to have a home that looks like it belongs to a scruffy-looking nerf herder, then you can just wait until Star Wars: The Last Jedi is released in cinemas on December 15.

And you can check out the latest trailer here.

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The UK government is launching a fintech competition to help renters get on the property ladder

The UK government is offering £2 million to fintech developers who come up with a tool that lets renters record and share their payment data.

The Rent Recognition Challenge, which was first announced as part of the chancellors’ autumn budget, will task developers with finding a way to record payment data from Britain’s 11 million renters in a bid to improve their credit scores and ultimately help them to get a mortgage.

“Most lenders and Credit Reference Agencies are unable to take rental data into account, because they don’t have access to it.

“The Rent Recognition Challenge will challenge firms to develop an innovative solution to this problem and help to restore the dream of home ownership for a new generation,” said the economic secretary to HM Treasury, Stephen Barclay.

Economic secretary to HM Treasury, Stephen Barclay. Image courtesy of Chris McAndrew

The competition will provide an initial round of grant funding to six promising proposals to help turn their ideas into workable products.

A panel of leading figures from the Fintech sector will then whittle the six down to just a handful of teams who will receive further funding and support to bring their ideas to market.

“People’s monthly rent is often their biggest expense, so it makes sense for it to be recognised when applying for a mortgage. Without a good credit score, getting a mortgage can be a real struggle.”

Image courtesy of Jeff Djevdet

The government’s attempt to help more people out of private renting arrangements and into home ownership comes after Scottish Widows published a report that warned tomorrow’s pensioners will have to find huge amounts of money to pay ever-escalating rents to private landlords.

Scottish Widows projected one in eight retirees will be renting by 2032, which works out to three times the number renting today. It also said there is a £43bn gap between the income and savings people have now and what the rent bill will be in retirement.

Speaking to the Guardian, Dan Wilson Craw of campaign group Generation Rent said: “The common perception is that retirees either own their home outright or have a council tenancy, so the government will be in for a nasty shock as more of us retire and continue to rent from a private landlord.

“Many renters relying on pensions will qualify for housing benefit which will put greater strain on the public finances.”

The Rent Recognition Challenge will open to applications early in the New Year, and development will conclude in October 2018.