Here are today's top stories from Tech News Today for June 05, 2014:
- The Japanese company SoftBank said today they plan to sell humanoid robots to consumers starting in February. Their $1,900 robot product, called Pepper, will be able to work as baby-sitters, nurses and emergency medical workers and will be able to read and express emotions, as well as learn, according to Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son. Read more at mashable.com.
- Sprint has agreed to buy T-Mobile for $32 billion, according to Reuters. The deal has not been announced by the companies, and the information comes from unnamed sources. Read more at reuters.com.
- Amazon posted a promotional video a new-product announcement for June 18 that is probably a new smartphone. In a few frames of the video, a smartphone is visible at the bottom of the screen. A Bloomberg source also said Amazon plans to announce a smartphone this month. Read more at gigaom.com.
- Twitter is actively pursuing major acquisitions, according to several reports. The company has been in talks to acquire the Berlin-based audio sharing website SoundCloud, according to the Financial Times. Twitter has also considered buying Spotify and Pandora. The Wall Street Journal reported last month that talks between Twitter and Soundcloud had ended because Twitter decided the acquisition was too expensive. In related news, Twitter did acquire a company called Namo Media, which specializes in native advertising, which are ads that come in the form of sponsored articles. Read more at reuters.com.
- Google Glass just got more hands-free. A new, experimental feature enables users to simply look at the tiny display in order to see incoming messages. The feature is called “Notification glance,” and it works only after a message arrives on Glass after the notification sound. You previously had to tap the side of the headset or tilt your head back in order to read incoming messages. Read more at gigaom.com.
- FOLLOWUP 1: We told you last week about Amazon’s battle with publishing giant Hachette. The two companies have been unable to agree to pricing for eBooks. The online retailer has been delaying book deliveries from the publisher by weeks, and preventing buyers from pre-ordering their books. Last night, comedy talk show host Stephen Colbert lashed out at Amazon, flipping them off twice on camera and calling for a boycott of the company. Colbert’s own books are published by Hachette. He also announced the sale of book stickers that say “I didn’t buy it on Amazon.” He also promoted a Hachette book called “California” by Edan Lepucki for sale via a link on Colbert’s own web site. He said he wants to prove he can sell more books than Amazon. Read more at nytimes.com.
- FOLLOWUP 2: Yesterday we talked about attacks on US tech companies by state-owned newspapers in China. Now, China’s state-owned TV broadcaster is attacking Microsoft Windows 8. The segment claimed that the operating system makes users’ personal information available to Microsoft. The Chinese government recently banned Windows 8 from use by government workers, saying that the termination of support for Windows XP somehow makes Windows 8 insecure. Read more at wsj.com.
For insight, analysis, and discussion of these topics and more, check out Tech News Today for June 05, 2014.