Latest Progress of Autonomous Driving Showcased at CES

Since 2016, each edition of CES has touted the imminent arrival of “Fully Self-Driving” (SAE Level 5) autonomous vehicles. While some companies working on “mostly self-driving” offered rides around town (like Russian-based Yandex), this year’s show came with a dose of realism as companies focus on clearing the hurdles associated with lower levels of autonomy. Demonstrating these efforts, companies showcased sensor fusion, mapping technologies and new intelligent systems. Meanwhile, some companies are using this calm before the storm to focus on the user experience. Sony even built a car to jumpstart the conversation. Continue reading Latest Progress of Autonomous Driving Showcased at CES

CES 2020: Experts Consider Cybersecurity For Smart Cities

The smart city was the topic of a CES conversation moderated by Strategic Cyber Ventures chief executive Hank Thomas, whose expertise was gained in relevant military and government work. Columbus, Ohio won the U.S. Department of Transportation’s first Smart City Challenge, and Smart Columbus director Jordan Davis reported that this win came with $50 million in grant funding, which was matched locally. “There is no clear definition of what a smart city is,” Davis noted. “But seamless connectivity is the ideal.” Continue reading CES 2020: Experts Consider Cybersecurity For Smart Cities

Toronto Has Become a Magnet For Major Tech Companies

Toronto has become an attractive locale for Silicon Valley companies to set up shop. Intel plans to build a graphics-chip design lab there, Uber Technologies will open an engineering hub, and Google’s parent, Alphabet, aims to build a new Toronto campus as part of its “smart city” on Lake Ontario. Microsoft also said it will increase its Canadian workforce by 20+ percent. All that activity has led Silicon Valley Bank, which funds startups and venture capital firms, to open an office in what is the largest Canadian city. Continue reading Toronto Has Become a Magnet For Major Tech Companies

Streaming Audio Gets Better with Free Lossless Audio Codec

The quality of digital audio has waxed and waned since storage migrated from physical media to files stored on devices or in the cloud. Up until now, large technology companies such as Apple have been the ones making audio developments, such as taking MP3 mainstream with the iTunes Music Store in 2003. Increases in bandwidth have helped improve the quality of streaming audio. Consumers have pushed for better audio, and now some music services have adopted FLAC, a Free Lossless Audio Codec that is changing the game. Continue reading Streaming Audio Gets Better with Free Lossless Audio Codec

Facebook Faces Another Privacy Issue Due to Software Bug

Facebook revealed that a software bug was live for 10 days during May and, as a result, may have affected up to 14 million users. The company explained that millions of users who believed they were sharing privately with their friends or small groups may have actually shared their information publicly; the bug apparently updated the audience selector to “public” without notifying users. Facebook announced it plans to contact the individuals that may have been impacted. “We’d like to apologize for this mistake,” said Facebook’s chief privacy officer Erin Egan in a statement yesterday. Continue reading Facebook Faces Another Privacy Issue Due to Software Bug

Facebook Criticized for Sharing User Data with Device Makers

Over the last ten years, Facebook inked agreements with at least 60 phone and device manufacturers to share access to troves of users’ personal information. Among those manufacturers are Amazon, Apple, BlackBerry, Microsoft and Samsung, in addition to several Chinese electronics companies. These data-access partnerships started before Facebook apps were widely available on smartphones. As a result of these deals, Facebook increased its influence as a social media platform, and device makers offered popular features including “like” buttons, messaging and address books. Continue reading Facebook Criticized for Sharing User Data with Device Makers

End of an Era: Fujifilm to Acquire Photocopying Pioneer Xerox

After 115 years, Xerox has ceased operation as an independent company, agreeing to sell more than 50 percent of its business to Fujifilm Holdings in a $6.1 billion deal that will include restructuring and job cuts. In its heyday, Xerox introduced the first copying machine, and its Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) refined the computer mouse and graphical-user interface and built the Alto, a prototype personal computer that sold 1,000 units. Over the years, Xerox lost its innovation mojo and joined the ranks of Kodak and BlackBerry, two other companies that introduced groundbreaking technologies. Continue reading End of an Era: Fujifilm to Acquire Photocopying Pioneer Xerox

BlackBerry Bets on Operating Systems for Self-Driving Vehicles

BlackBerry is now focusing its efforts on QNX, a division to create technology for in-car entertainment and information systems. The Canadian company plans to spend $76 million and double its QNX engineering staff to 1,000 in the next few years. Although BlackBerry competes with major tech companies in autonomous vehicles, it has already inked partnerships with Ford Motor Company and General Motors’ spinoff Aptiv (formerly Delphi Automotive). Deals with Tata Motors and Jaguar Land Rover are also pending. QNX tech will be on display at CES 2018 next month. Continue reading BlackBerry Bets on Operating Systems for Self-Driving Vehicles

Google Demos Android-Powered Vehicle Infotainment System

Google is demonstrating an Android-powered touchscreen car console and infotainment system, offering Google Maps and Spotify as well as controlling seat positioning and temperature. For the first time, Google Assistant is integrated in the system, allowing users to ask for directions and make phone calls. The Android operating system will be demonstrated running on the Audi Q8 and Volvo V90 SUVs at this week’s Google I/O developers conference. Earlier this year, Google showed the software on a Chrysler vehicle. Continue reading Google Demos Android-Powered Vehicle Infotainment System

Thalmic Labs Aims to Change How We Interact with Computers

Since Thalmic Labs debuted the Myo muscle-sensing armband, which lets users control a computer with a wave, the Y-Combinator startup received a $120 million investment from Intel Capital, the Amazon Alexa Fund, and Fidelity Investments Canada; and hired Samsung veteran Tara Kriese as its CMO and former Under Armour wearable devices head Abhi Bhatt as VP of Product Experience. The 100-employee company also opened a 50,000 square-foot manufacturing facility in Waterloo, where it’s working on its next, still-unannounced product. Continue reading Thalmic Labs Aims to Change How We Interact with Computers

Roku Readies 4K HDR Platform, Announces New TVs at CES

Roku is introducing new hardware at CES this week, including a number of 4K TVs featuring Dolby Vision HDR (high dynamic range). The company, whose app platform is now the basis of 13 percent of smart TVs sold in the U.S., has partnered with Element Electronics on Roku TVs expected to hit shelves later this year. TCL, which uses the Roku TV program for all its smart TVs, is also introducing new Roku-based 4K HDR TVs. And Hisense unveiled its H4 series, the company’s first 4K HDR Roku TVs. Dish, Dolby, Element, Hisense, Hitachi and TCL are among the vendors showcasing Roku TVs in Las Vegas. Continue reading Roku Readies 4K HDR Platform, Announces New TVs at CES

BlackBerry Outsources Handset Biz, Shifts Focus to Software

BlackBerry, whose phones were once so popular they were dubbed “Crackberry,” has licensed its brand to a group owned by Indonesian phone companies. The Canadian company — whose market share is now in the single digits in North America and Europe — made this decision despite the fact that it recently adopted the Google Android operating system. The strategy, led by executive chair/chief executive John Chen, is intended to evolve BlackBerry into a software and wireless device security business. Continue reading BlackBerry Outsources Handset Biz, Shifts Focus to Software

BlackBerry’s First Android Device Retains Security Technology

BlackBerry has finally done something it said it would never do: ditch its own operating system. Expected to ship by the end of November, Priv is based on the Android operating system but also incorporates BlackBerry’s encryption technology, still considered superior by the government and industry entities that have been central to the company’s success. Whereas BlackBerry phones once dominated usage among bank, law and other professional employment, the Canadian company lost market share to Apple and Android smartphones. Continue reading BlackBerry’s First Android Device Retains Security Technology

BlackBerry and Google Partner for Business Version of Android

Blackberry and Google have joined forces to develop an enterprise-friendly version of the Android operating system. The companies had already been working together on equipping phones with Android for Work, which helps keep mobile data for business and personal use separate. The new efforts will focus on security and application management features by integrating BlackBerry’s BES12 security software into Android Lollipop. BES12 is compliant with multiple OS platforms and recently added support for corporate-issued iOS devices. Continue reading BlackBerry and Google Partner for Business Version of Android

MasterCard to Test Using Facial Scans for Purchase Approvals

MasterCard plans to test a new program this fall that will experiment with using facial scans to approve online purchases. Consumers will photograph themselves with their smartphones at checkout, an approach MasterCard believes will be easier than remembering passwords. The company also believes it will help combat fraud. While SecureCode was used in 3 billion transactions last year, passwords can still be forgotten, intercepted or stolen. As a result, a number of companies have been turning to biometrics as a solution. Continue reading MasterCard to Test Using Facial Scans for Purchase Approvals

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