tech in the spotlight

Microsoft Reveals Windows 10

Posted by Shirley Brady on September 30, 2014 05:07 PM

Microsoft announced the new Windows operating system today: Windows 10. Billed as "The Future of Windows," it boasts a new Start menu, multiple desktops, and improved multi-tasking, in addition to:

Windows 10 represents the first step of a whole new generation of Windows. Windows 10 unlocks new experiences for customers to work, play and connect. Windows 10 embodies what our customers (both consumers and enterprises) demand and what we will deliver.

Windows 10 will run across an incredibly broad set of devices – from the Internet of Things, to servers in enterprise datacenters worldwide. Some of these devices have 4 inch screens – some have 80 inch screens – and some don’t have screens at all. Some of these devices you hold in your hand, others are ten feet away. Some of these devices you primarily use touch/pen, others mouse/keyboard, others controller/gesture – and some devices can switch between input types.

We’re not talking about one UI to rule them all – we’re talking about one product family, with a tailored experience for each device.

For some Windows 8 users eagerly anticipating the new release, there was just one question: What happened to Windows 9?

See Windows VP Joe Belfiores's twitty response to the naming speculation, along with his video explaining more about the new Windows. Continue reading...

tech innovation

3D Printing Goes Mainstream as Brands Embrace Maker Movement

Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 26, 2014 02:06 PM

It hasn’t been too long that 3D printing has been part of the consumer marketplace, but the new technology is providing a whole new revenue stream for plenty of brands beyond MakerBot, which has helped popularize the process.

It's the subject of a new documentary produced by Netflix, Print the Legendwhich premiered at SXSW, where Mondelez sparked line-ups with 3D-printed Oreo cookies.

Consumers will see more and more applications in the coming months, joining 3D printing innovations by brands tapping into the maker movement including:

• UPS has been testing 3D printing in six locations and is now expanding that to nearly a hundred stores across the US.Continue reading...

tech innovation

Amazon's Not-So-Secret R&D Lab Gets a Boost from Bezos

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 25, 2014 12:02 PM

Amazon's Silicon Valley research and development arm has been called "secretive" by Reuters and Bloomberg Businessweek. Others have called it "hush-hush" and "mysterious."

While it may keep its projects close to the vest, as any corporate R&D unit worth its salt is entitled to, Lab126 is by no means secret. After all, it's on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and has its own website.

In addition to developing the Amazon Fire phone and a host of other products, from the Kindle family of products to Amazon Fire TV to the Dash at-home ordering scanner, it's reportedly eyeing wearable devices and products for the connected home.

It's also, as Reuters reports, on a hiring spree to staff up its high-tech skunkworks by at least 27 percent over the next five years, in a drive by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to create Internet-of-things inspired home gadgets with a one-button device to order supplies.Continue reading...

tech in the spotlight

Google Helps Indian Government Achieve Digital Dreams

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 23, 2014 04:07 PM

India is undertaking a massive digital infrastructure project, connecting 800 million rural citizens by 2019 in a program called Digital India. And it can't do it alone.

The $17 billion government program, approved by the Indian cabinet last month, will cover 50,000 gram panchayats (village-level governments) this year, another 100,000 next year and the remaining 100,000 by 2016. There are 600,000 such villages in India administered by local governments.

“The entire country will be covered by broadband within three years and the internet will reach the remotest villages,” commented Ravi Shankar Prasad, India's minister of communications and IT. “India is sitting at the cusp of a huge digital revolution.” 

While analysts agree in theory, finding financial resources and keeping to a schedule are major hurdles. Enter Google, which is partnering with the recently launched MyGov, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s citizen engagement platform, on a nationwide contest to spur mobile app development and innovation.Continue reading...

tech innovation

Apple, Watch Your Back: Is Google Going More Boldly Into the Future?

Posted by Ilan Beesen on September 15, 2014 03:14 PM

After months of anticipation, and a few days of perspective, the big Apple keynote last week proved less thrill, and more drill. Not to sound like an ingrate—I’m a longtime Apple admirer and loyal customer—but as far as surprises go, Apple is about as full of them, lately, as a bale of hay.

For its latest worldwide product reveal, Apple’s "one more thing" was the highly anticipated, and long overdue, Apple Watch. The sales pitch by Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake was unexpected, although U2's appearance wasn't. And the missing 'i' in Apple’s Pay and Watch caught everyone off guard, but that’s about it. While stirring interest by Apple fans, iPhone devotees (who snapped up the pre-order phones) and the global tech press, the big event by Tim Cook & Co. was a feature-rich, impeccably-designed bale of hay.

Compared to its history full of silicon-fueled subversion, today’s Apple plays it conservative. While typically the winner at whatever it does, Apple is not even close to being first out to the field with wearable tech, for example. It’s the obsessive batter who takes 10,000 practice swings before stepping to the plate and hitting a homerun. Impressive, but where’s the eccentricity, the wonder, the audacity? Whatever happened to going toe to toe with spectacular failure? Expected awesomeness is still expected.

In the euphoric afterglow of Apple’s keynote, it’s sobering to compare Apple's just-announced innovations with some of the recent work of another tech titan.Continue reading...

tech innovation

Coca-Cola Enterprises Invites Innovation with New Developer Portal

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 15, 2014 11:20 AM

Coca-Cola Enterprises, one of the world's largest Coke bottlers, is launching a new site for developers in order to simplify access to its APIs. The company hopes that a more open and easily accessible ecosystem will allow for the development of more innovative apps by third-party developers.

For instance, the brand is piloting an app that was developed by a third-party in the Asia Pacific region that allows consumers to charge their devices via a charging strip attached to the brand's vending machines and public coolers in shopping malls and airports.  

Coca-Cola first launched its developer portal last year as an "easy-to-use API [as] a group of services to allow our customers, suppliers, consumers, and partners to enhance their interactions with CCE by building great applications."Continue reading...

car talk

Ford Scion Has a Better Idea: Turning to Startups for Tech Development

Posted by Dale Buss on September 9, 2014 06:33 PM

Ford Chairman William C. Ford II has been a trailblazer throughout the years of his stewardship of Ford Motor Co. Among other things, he hacked out an early "green" trail for Detroit Three auto makers with hybrid vehicles and brought in a "non-car" guy in Alan Mulally to take over as Ford CEO in 2006, after Ford saw that his own capabilities as CEO might be limited.

Now Ford has begun to stake out a pioneering position for his family's company in another area: working with technology startups that might be able to help the auto maker get some headway in digital arenas that increasingly are differentiators in an industry whose products are becoming as much computers as they are mechanical machines.

"Traditionally our industry has not worked well with smaller companies," Ford said at a forum this week during the Intelligent Transport Systems World Congress in Detroit, according to Automotive News. Ford Motor needs "a shift in our company in terms of how we interact with this new world."Continue reading...

tech innovation

Game of Drones: Google Tests Drones in Australia as Amazon Heads to India

Posted by Mark J. Miller on August 29, 2014 05:28 PM

Amazon made a big stir last year when it released a video of a drone delivering a package, detailing its reported PrimeAir delivery system. While some called for drone delivery to be rushed along, plenty, including the Federal Aviation Administration, had their concerns.

Of course those concerns haven't stopped drone development. Domino’s Pizza even tried pizza delivery-by-drone, and now a major competitor has entered the space. Google announced Project Wing, the latest moonshot from its GoogleX labs that is responsible for Google Glass as well as Google's self-driving car. 

“Self-flying vehicles could open up entirely new approaches to moving things around—including options that are faster, cheaper, less wasteful, and more environmentally sensitive than the way we do things today,” a Google spokesperson said in an email to Wired.Continue reading...

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