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Google Gives Devs First Look at Android O
March 22, 2017
Google on Tuesday unveiled a developer preview of the latest version of its mobile operating system, code named "Android O." The new OS is designed to improve on battery life and interactive performance of devices, according to Dave Burke, vice president of engineering, Android, at Google. The new release puts automatic limits on what applications do in the background in three areas.
Apple Unveils Budget-Friendly iPad, Dresses iPhone in Red
March 22, 2017
Apple has announced an iPad update, a red iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, and a new video-editing app for iOS. The iPad upgrade has a 9.7-inch, 2048 x 1536-pixel Retina display and Apple's A9 64-bit processor. The unit will come in silver, gold and space gray with a starting price of $329 for 32 gigabytes of storage and WiFi-only support. It will cost $459 for a 32-GB unit with WiFi and cellular support.
Apple May Alter the AR Competition
March 21, 2017
Apple is stockpiling resources to make a splash in the augmented reality market. The company reportedly is not only marshaling internal resources behind its AR efforts, but also hiring talented outsiders and acquiring companies with expertise in AR hardware, 3D gaming and virtual reality software. The new outsiders include engineers who worked VR headsets for Google and Microsoft.
McDonald's Puts Mobile Ordering to the Test
March 16, 2017
McDonald's has begun testing new mobile ordering and payment functionality at 29 of its restaurants in California. It will expand the pilot to another 51 restaurants in Washington on March 20. The company will run multiple pilots to gather customer feedback, work out any issues that arise, and streamline integration with its IT systems before rolling out its updated mobile app more broadly.
Pro-Turkey Hackers Hit Prominent Twitter Accounts
March 16, 2017
Hundreds, if not thousands, of Twitter users, many of them high-profile, were hacked Tuesday by someone who appeared to support Turkey in its diplomatic row with the Netherlands. Their accounts displayed a Swastika -- reversed to face to the right -- as well as the Turkish flag and hashtags to the Nazialmanya and Nazihollanda accounts, which displayed comments on the attack.
Facebook Gets Tough on Spy Apps
March 15, 2017
Facebook has updated its Facebook and Instagram policies to prohibit developers from using data obtained from those platforms in surveillance tools, according to Rob Sherman, deputy chief privacy officer. Facebook already has taken enforcement actions against devs who created and marketed surveillance tools in violation of the company's previous policy, he noted.
Gadget Ogling: Note-Taker Triumphs, Classic Nokia Returns, and Audio Thrills
March 14, 2017
Transcribing speech is tedious, but until voice recognition truly can handle all manner of accents and verbal tics, it's a necessary evil. Hands up, everyone who thinks I wouldn't want a machine to take care of that for me. No one? Good. Titan Note records and transcribes audio, with a particular trick up its sleeve: It can discern different speakers when it's transcribing.
WhatsApp Field-Trials Business Chat
March 14, 2017
WhatsApp reportedly has been conducting tests of a business chat system with a number of companies that are part of the Y Combinator startup incubator. The API gives companies a direct line of communication with WhatsApp users. WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum last year said the company would seek to monetize the free chat service by providing businesses with direct access to consumers.
Malware Found Preinstalled on Dozens of Android Phones
March 13, 2017
Malware has been discovered preinstalled on 36 Android phones belonging to two companies, security software maker Check Point reported. "In all instances, the malware was not downloaded to the device as a result of the users' use -- it arrived with it," noted Oren Koriat, a member of Check Point's Mobile Research Team. The malicious apps were added somewhere along the supply chain.
Despite Intense Scrutiny, Uber Lays Another Egg
March 10, 2017
Already under the microscope for claims of sexual harassment and questionable labor practices, Uber this week said it would ban the use of a controversial technology to block regulatory authorities from monitoring its operations. The company's "greyballing" technology is designed to hide the standard city app view in specific cases -- for example, from former riders blocked for being abusive.
USB-C Port, Curved Display Top Latest iPhone Rumor List
March 1, 2017
Apple poked a hornet's nest when it removed the standard headphone jack from the iPhone 7. It may do it again by replacing the Lightning port with USB-C in the next iPhone. The Lightning port, introduced in 2012, is used to charge and connect accessories to the iPhone, but Apple reportedly plans to swap it for USB-C, which the company has been introducing into its computer lines.
How Deeply Could Bribery Scandal Wound Samsung?
February 28, 2017
South Korean prosecutors on Tuesday indicted Samsung head Lee Jae-yong and four other executives on bribery and embezzlement charges, following a lengthy investigation into Lee's ties with impeached president Park Geun-hye and her confidant, Choi Soon-sil. Charges against Lee, vice chairman of Samsung Group, include pledging bribes to organizations tied to Choi.
Nokia 3310 Pushes Nostalgia Buttons
February 28, 2017
HMD Global, owner of the Nokia phone brand, on Sunday reintroduced the classic 3310 feature phone at the MWC, along with a line of brand new Nokia smartphones that run on the Android platform. The relaunch of the 3310 is the reimagination of one of the world's best-selling feature phones as a sleek, lightweight device that features 22 hours of talk time and an entire month of standby time.
Snap Sells Itself as Camera Company as IPO Nears
February 27, 2017
As it approaches its IPO, Snap, maker of the popular Snapchat messaging app, is positioning itself as a camera company. "We feel like we're really at the beginning of what cameras can do," said Snap CEO Evan Spiegel. "Before, cameras were the best way to perfectly save or record something that you saw. They sort of helped augment memory -- but now, you know, cameras augment the way that we talk."
FCC Head Champions FM Radio for Smartphones
February 27, 2017
Ajit Pai, the new chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, last week issued a call for activation of the FM chips in smartphones. The vast majority of smartphones sold in the U.S. have FM chips, but they're activated in only about 44 percent of the top brands, Pai said. Although that's nearly twice the 25 percent figure of two years ago, it's not good enough, he suggested.
Mobile World Congress: Gigabit Wireless and the Anti-iPhone Set
February 27, 2017
One of the biggest disappointments at this year's Mobile World Congress is that the Samsung Galaxy 8 phone won't make it. The Galaxy line has been the ultimate iPhone fighter. Rumors around the anniversary edition of the iPhone suggest that it will do amazing, magical things, like 3D selfies. OK, I'm really missing Steve Jobs at the moment -- who the hell wants 3D selfies?!?
Rich Content Makes WhatsApp Look a Lot More Like Snapchat
February 22, 2017
Facebook has rolled out a WhatsApp update that could threaten Snapchat's share of the mobile app messaging market. The update allows WhatsApp users to share photos and videos through the app's status area. Moreover, like WhatsApp text messages, content shared through status updates is protected by end-to-end encryption -- a key distinction between WhatsApp and its competitors.
AWS Unveils Chime Conferencing Service
February 16, 2017
AWS on Tuesday introduced Amazon Chime, a cloud-based unified communications offering that lets users engage in high-quality audio and HD video meetings across Windows and Mac desktops, and iOS and Android mobile devices. Companies just have to download the app; they don't need to make upfront investments in hardware or software. Users can switch seamlessly between desktop and mobile apps.
Apple's Cook Blasts 'Mind Killing' Fake News
February 15, 2017
Apple CEO Tim Cook has called for a campaign against fake news. Its purveyors -- largely interested only in getting the most clicks -- are defeating the people who are trying to tell the most truth, he said. Fake news is "killing people's minds in a way," Cook remarked. The worldwide epidemic of fake news requires a crackdown by both government and tech, he suggested.
FTC's Lawsuit Should Make You Feel Very Insecure About the IoT
February 14, 2017
Even though D-Link expressly promised that many of its wireless devices had the highest level of security available, the FTC last month filed a lawsuit that alleges otherwise. The FTC filing includes copies of online marketing materials and technical specifications for D-Link's products, and flatly declares that "thousands of Defendants' routers and cameras have been vulnerable to attacks."
Samsung's Chromebook Pro Earns Respect
February 14, 2017
Some early reviewers of the Samsung Chromebook Pro characterized it as a "MacBook killer," but others were more restrained in their enthusiasm. Jointly developed with Google and first demoed at CES 2017, the Chromebook Pro is slated for release next month. Samsung's Chromebooks basically are lightweight productivity tools that rely heavily on access to cloud-based resources.
Verizon Caves, Launches New Unlimited Data Plan
February 13, 2017
Facing growing pressure to respond to growing wireless data demands in the U.S. mobile phone market, Verizon finally relented. The company on Sunday announced its own unlimited smartphone option while keeping alternatives open for lighter data users. Verizon's new introductory plan provides unlimited data on smartphones or tablets, along with unlimited texts and phone calls, for $80 per month.
Dozens of iOS Apps Vulnerable to WiFi Snooping
February 9, 2017
Dozens of applications for Apple's mobile devices are vulnerable to WiFi snoopers, according to Will Strafach, CEO of the Sudo Security Group. He identified 76 popular iOS apps available at Apple's App Store that were vulnerable to wireless eavesdroppers, even though the connections were supposed to be protected by encryption. There have been 18 million downloads of the vulnerable apps, he said.
Was Apple's Outstanding Q1 a Fluke?
February 6, 2017
Apple had a good quarter, but if you look under the numbers there is a ton of trouble. It just dropped behind Google in brand value, and valuation may crater in a few months. The iPhone 7 did well, but that shouldn't be a surprise, given that its biggest competitor, Samsung, saw its phone literally go up in flames last quarter. The Galaxy 8 is coming, though, and it looks really impressive.
Apple Goes on Record-Breaking Spree
February 1, 2017
Apple stunned Wall Street with Q1 earnings that set new quarterly unit and revenue records in key product segments, and its highest-ever earnings per share. CEO Tim Cook said the company set all-time revenue and unit records for its iPhone and Apple Watch brands, all-time revenue records for its Mac and Services businesses, and all-time revenue records for four of its five geographic sectors.
Trump Clings to Personal Phone Despite Security Risks
January 27, 2017
President Donald J. Trump apparently has continued to use his personal Android smartphone despite security concerns. Trump was concerned about losing access to his personal phone even prior to taking his oath of office, according to a report citing unnamed aides who said he worried about how isolated he could become in the White House without his phone to keep in touch with friends.
Personalization, Simplicity Key to Smart Home Device Adoption
January 26, 2017
Continued innovation and messaging are crucial for smart safety and security device manufacturers that want to capitalize on new opportunities in the emerging Internet of Things. Early adopters of smart devices are often drawn to the innovative design and technological gadgetry. However, mass market adoption depends on clear and compelling value propositions that appeal to the masses.
Barra Leaves Post as Xiaomi's International Point Man
January 24, 2017
Almost four years after being poached from a critical post at Google to join Chinese upstart Xiaomi, Hugo Barra on Monday announced he will return to Silicon Valley in February. Barra, who led the Xiaomi's overseas expansion as vice president, international, explained the move largely as a desire to reconnect with his family and restore a sense of normalcy to his life.
Samsung Explains Note7 Failure, Promises to Do Better
January 23, 2017
Samsung has announced new quality assurance protocols to ensure that it won't have a repeat of the catastrophic issues that plagued its Galaxy Note7 handsets. The company last fall issued a universal recall after several of the devices caught fire or exploded. In one incident, an aircraft had to be evacuated after a Samsung Galaxy Note7 caught fire and produced thick smoke.
Samsung's Note7 Post Mortem Turns Up 2 Problems
January 21, 2017
Samsung is set to release the results of its Galaxy Note7 investigation on Monday, explaining the underlying causes of the problems that led to the phone's demise. The three independent quality control and supply chain analysis firms Samsung engaged to conduct the investigation concluded that the Note7 was affected by two separate issues. One was a battery issue; the other was the rush to market.
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How do you feel about flying on a pilotless plane?
No way -- if there's a screw-up, you can't just jump out.
I'd do it -- flights are pretty much entirely automated anyway.
I'm skeptical but open minded, especially if fares would be much less.
I would try it if there were *someone* on board to take over in a pinch.
It's the wave of the future -- I'm resigned to it.