Here are today's top stories from Tech News Today for January 08, 2014:
- Dell promised in December to deliver a 28-inch Ultra-HD monitor for less than $1,000. And it looks like they’re going to overdeliver that promise when they ship it later this month. The price for Dell’s P2815Q monitor was announced today, and it’s $699. The bigger story here -- and at CES generally -- is just how fast the price of 4K products are dropping. Dell isn’t exactly a discount brand. And if Dell can sell a 28-inch Ultra-HD display this month for $699, we can expect the price for 4K on the desktop to drop to a few hundred dollars by the end of the year. Read more at dell.com.
- We've seen rumors and leaks for weeks now, hinting at an Android phone from Nokia, code-named “Normandy”. Today, Evleaks posted what he claims are pictures of the phone using Nokia’s “forked” version of Android. The screens show an interface in three views, which look a little like Windows Phone and a little like Nokia’s Asha platform. Microsoft is currently in the process of acquiring Nokia's mobile device business and licensing Nokia's patents for 10 years. The existence of the “Normandy” phone is only a rumor at this point, and it may or may not ever ship. Read more at theverge.com.
- China’s Alibaba Group launched a mobile game platform yesterday and will compete against rival Tencent. Games will be sold on Alibaba’s Taobao Mobile shopping site and app. The company has an interesting revenue sharing deal: 70% for developers, 20% for the company and 10% for charity. (Tencent pays only 10% to game developers and keeps the rest.) China has about 300 million mobile game players. Read more at technode.com.
- In more Alibaba news, Alibaba’s Taobao - a C2C shopping platform - has banned the sale of bitcoins and other virtual currencies after a Chinese-government crackdown on the crypto-currency. The ban starts Tuesday, and it also includes the sale of how-to guides and computer hardware and software to help facilitate bitcoin mining. Read more at newsdaily.com.
- Big Brother is watching you drive! Or is it Big Mother. A company called Cellcontrol, which can enable parents to monitor and control how their teen drivers use their smartphones, now supports the Apple iPhone. Called Drive I-D, the company’s new iOS support can stop drivers from using some features, such as texting and email, while allowing others, like Siri. The product is a hardware box, plus an iOS app, which work together to monitor both the car’s motion and also the phone’s usage. Administrators -- parents -- can set policies about what teen drivers can and cannot do with their iPhones. The company calls it: “Personalized…Backseat Driving from the Couch." Read more at prweb.com.
- One Laptop Per Child has unveiled two new low-cost tablets focused on children’s education. New Jersey-based Vivitar makes the hardware, but the big shift is in the tablets' Android-based software, which is focused on helping children research and decide various career choices. Kids who want to be an astronaut, scientist, musician or podcaster, will be exposed to the math, science and concepts they would need to learn. The organization also launched an app store for curated educational content. One Laptop Per Child prices The 7-inch XO-2 at about $150 and the 10-inch XO-10 about $200 when they’re released in the spring. Read more at prnewswire.com.
- Sony President and CEO Kazuo Hirai announced a huge -- and hugely expensive -- “short throw” laser projector for casting TV and other content up on a wall to create a 147-inch virtual TV. When the product ships this summer, it could cost as much as $40,000. And the reason? It’s Ultra-HD! The device itself sits next to the wall, and looks like a low cabinet. But when it’s on, it throws an incredible 2,000-lumen image at a 4096 by 2160 resolution. Read more at sony.net.
- Apple's time keeps on slippin slippin slippin, into the future. The company is having a hard time making its iWatch, according to a new report in The Information, because it hasn’t found a screen technology that’s both high quality and has great battery life. A rumor circulated earlier this week citing manufacturing holdups because of the finish treatments for the watch housing, and The Information seems to be confirming this. Read more at theinformation.com.
- Scientists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology have developed electronics so small, flexible and thin that they could be used on the surface of a contact lens, wrapped around a human hair or applied as a second skin, according to an article published yesterday in the journal ‘Nature Communications.’ The circuits are created by printing them on a one-micrometer thick layer of a substance called parylene. Products using this technology are still years away. But -- who knows? -- maybe the next big thing after wearables is the Google Contact Lens and the iPatch. Read more at smithsonianmag.com.
- There's been a lot of controversy around tech company buses shuttling employees who live in San Francisco through the city down south to Silicon Valley. Protesters blame high paid tech workers for using San Francisco as a bedroom community, driving up rents, and creating traffic problems. It's because such an issue the city has even proposed a fee for the buses and new rules about where they can stop. Well in typical Google fashion the company is trying something new - some employees will be able to commute by boat -- a catamaran that ferries Googlers from San Francisco to bay adjacent Redwood City. Read more at sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com.
For insight, analysis, and discussion of these topics and more, check out Tech News Today for January 08, 2014.