Uber CEO Steps Away as Company Initiates Major Changes

Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick announced his plans to take a leave of absence as chief exec while the company works to salvage its brand and launches a reorganization that includes closer supervision by its board of directors. “At a packed meeting with employees on Tuesday morning,” reports The New York Times, “Uber released 13 pages of recommendations compiled as part of an investigation into sexual harassment and other wrongdoing conducted by the former attorney general Eric H. Holder Jr. and his law firm, Covington & Burlington.” Continue reading Uber CEO Steps Away as Company Initiates Major Changes

TV Holds Top Spot, While Smartphone Adoption On the Rise

According to new research figures, TV still holds the top spot in tech devices. The Consumer Technology Association reports that 96 percent of U.S. homes have at least one television, while 80 percent have a smartphone. However, the total number of TV sets — 308 million — was down 3 percent, while the number of homes with smartphones jumped six percent over the previous year. DVD/Blu-ray players dropped 7 percentage points and relinquished the No. 2 spot to smartphones. Not surprisingly, the majority of most popular tech devices are products that feature screens. Meanwhile, ABI Research predicts that HDR TV shipments will reach 245 million units in 2022. Continue reading TV Holds Top Spot, While Smartphone Adoption On the Rise

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

CES: Fasetto Rolls Out a New Class of Connectivity with LINK

Wisconsin-based startup Fasetto demonstrated its LINK storage and communications device at CES 2017. Ideal for media production, the portable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4G connected device might be the easiest way to distribute video via up to 15 mixed devices. A production unit merely needs access to a web browser and a little more than eight hours of battery charging time for streaming distribution. This device might also function as a budget version of on-set video support. The compact design (2-inches by 2-inches by 1-inch deep and a mere 4 ounces) packs up to 2TB of solid state storage with a 64 bit octa-core 2.1GHz Exynos 7420 processor and 4GB of RAM. Continue reading CES: Fasetto Rolls Out a New Class of Connectivity with LINK

Intel Develops New Chips for Internet of Things, Automobiles

After cutting 12,000 jobs in April, Intel has focused on the Internet of Things and data centers, which accounted for 40 percent of the company’s revenue last year. Now, Intel has introduced two new Atom processors: the E3900 for connected devices and wearables, and the A3900 for smart auto apps. The new processors are versatile and will serve a variety of industries, with the E3900 as the IoT “workhorse,” featuring “fog computing,” the ability to determine what processes to perform itself and which to send to the data center. Continue reading Intel Develops New Chips for Internet of Things, Automobiles

Audi Announces Next-Generation V2I Connected Car Features

Later this year, Audi will roll out the first feature of its new vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) service in select 2017 models. The company’s new traffic light information system will notify drivers of the remaining wait time at red lights. It represents the first time an individual vehicle will access real-time infrastructure information. The platform is a practical, yet significant, first step for connected cars as they begin to integrate into the existing municipal infrastructure with an eye toward the dawn of “smart cities.” Continue reading Audi Announces Next-Generation V2I Connected Car Features

Apple is the Latest Tech Giant to Launch Bug Bounty Program

Apple has announced its new “security bounty” initiative that will offer payments up to $200,000 to any hackers who inform the company about critical vulnerabilities to its products. In doing so, Apple joins major tech companies that have similar programs in place. Alphabet, Facebook and Microsoft “have paid out millions of dollars in bug bounties over the past few years,” reports The Wall Street Journal. Automobile companies such as Tesla and GM are also introducing bounty programs as vehicles are relying more on software to control their systems. Continue reading Apple is the Latest Tech Giant to Launch Bug Bounty Program

Battery Material Could Hold Charge for Years, Even Decades

Researchers from the University of California at Irvine have found a new battery material that could possibly hold a charge for decades. While studying fragile nanowires, a PhD candidate on the research team decided on a whim “to switch the liquid electrolyte surrounding the nanowire assembly with a gel version,” reports Smithsonian. To the team’s surprise, the gel capacitor initially ran for 30,000 cycles and kept going for a month. Although still experimenting, the team believes the thick gel reduces the nanowire’s fragility, a solution that could prove revolutionary for commercial batteries. Continue reading Battery Material Could Hold Charge for Years, Even Decades

OpenCar Poised to Take On Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

INRIX, a Seattle-based company that offers connected car solutions, just purchased OpenCar, which describes itself as an “updateable application platform and developer ecosystem” for the auto industry. With both solutions on board, INRIX can compete head-on with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, both aimed at auto manufacturers interested in integrating smartphone functionality in their vehicles. Ford, Volvo and BMW have confirmed they will integrate Apple and Google’s solutions into new models of their vehicles. Continue reading OpenCar Poised to Take On Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

Alphabet Tops Apple, Still Growing Core Business, Other Bets

Google’s parent Alphabet finally sailed past Apple as the world’s most valuable company, as shares rose 4.2 percent, to a market capitalization of about $560 billion, compared to Apple’s $539.7 billion. Alphabet posted 14 percent revenue growth in its core Internet businesses, including search, YouTube and Android, rising to $74.54 billion from 2014’s $65.67 billion. Revenue from its “Other Bets,” or moonshots, rose 37 percent to $448 million, up dramatically from the $12 million in revenue reported in 2013. Continue reading Alphabet Tops Apple, Still Growing Core Business, Other Bets

Baidu Joins the Race to Get Self-Driving Vehicles on the Road

Baidu, a Chinese company best known for its Internet search engine, has entered the competition with other Internet companies and automobile manufacturers to create an autonomous vehicle. The company has already invested heavily in artificial intelligence and developed software called the Baidu AutoBrain System, which automatically records 3D road data and recognizes objects and road lanes. This expertise may help Baidu gain an edge over Google, General Motors, Tesla and Ford. Continue reading Baidu Joins the Race to Get Self-Driving Vehicles on the Road

Clarion to Demo its New Full Digital Car Sound System at CES

Clarion is bringing what it claims to be the first fully digital, in-car audio system to CES this week. The company’s Full Digital Sound (FDS) system also plays high-resolution audio. “This all-digital approach operates on a purely digital audio signal from the source to the speaker voice coils, resulting in pristine sounding audio with zero loss in quality and no added noise from DACs or analog connections,” explained the company. The digital signal travels from the head unit to a processor and then to the speakers; at no point is it converted from digital to analog or passed through an amplifier. Continue reading Clarion to Demo its New Full Digital Car Sound System at CES

AT&T to Discuss Smart Cities Initiative and Partners at CES

AT&T plans to reveal details regarding its “smart cities” initiative during CES 2016. The company is making a major push to turn traffic lights and other city objects into new tools for reducing expenses while efficiently managing congestion and energy. Telecoms are starting to work with municipalities to leverage data collected from sensors positioned throughout cities to help drivers find parking spaces or clear driving routes, for example. According to AT&T Mobility CEO Glenn Lurie, partners in AT&T’s initiative will be introduced in Las Vegas this week. Continue reading AT&T to Discuss Smart Cities Initiative and Partners at CES

Google to Spin Off Autonomous Cars as Alphabet Company

In 2016, Google will spin off its driverless car unit, currently part of Google X, as a standalone business under the Alphabet aegis. With more than 1 million miles clocked on public roads, the company already has a hefty lead on competitors, including Uber Technologies, which has raised more than $10 billion towards its own work creating an autonomous car. Google first plans to launch a service, with fleets of large and small vehicles deployed in closed areas such as college campuses, military bases and corporate complexes. Continue reading Google to Spin Off Autonomous Cars as Alphabet Company

Uber Approaches $62.5 Billion Valuation, Rivals Form Alliance

Uber Technologies, which increased its U.S. gross revenue about 200 percent this year, plans to raise as much as $2.1 billion in its latest financing round that would value the company at $62.5 billion. The funding would enable Uber to pursue its goals of branching into new services such as food and package delivery, explore new technology such as autonomous cars, and grow globally, particularly in China. Meanwhile, Lyft and other international Uber rivals have formed an alliance to inter-connect their services. Continue reading Uber Approaches $62.5 Billion Valuation, Rivals Form Alliance