News Roundup: Tech vs Trump, deliveries, and running red lights
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News Roundup: Tech vs Trump, deliveries, and running red lights

Samsung fallout continues

Over 90% of Samsung Galaxy Note 7s have been returned. For the few daredevils who fancy clinging on to their explosive devices, Samsung will be pushing out an update that will brick the devices and prevent them from charging. While some might argue that’s a bold and somewhat invasive step, there’s nothing to be gained from letting people hang onto the remaining devices. Except may lawsuits.

In related news, the rumour mill is suggesting Samsung’s first commercially available foldable phones will available in 2017. But would anyone really want a new, highly unusual, borderline experimental phone from the company right now? Any reviewer who asks for one is a brave soul.

Tech vs Trump

Donald Trump is yet to take the helm of the US, but there’s already controversy (if it ever actually went away). A group of over 200 tech workers from the likes of Google, Microsoft, GitHub, Stripe, Mozilla, and more, have come together to form NeverAgain.tech, a group which refuses to help Trump create any sort of database on Muslims or any other group.

“We are choosing to stand in solidarity with Muslim Americans, immigrants, and all people whose lives and livelihoods are threatened by the incoming administration’s proposed data collection policies,” the open letter on the site reads. “We refuse to build a database of people based on their Constitutionally-protected religious beliefs. We refuse to facilitate mass deportations of people the government believes to be undesirable.”

The letter likens any company helping Trump’s plans for registers of Muslims or any other group to IBM’s involvement with the Nazi Holocaust during World War II, and pledges to prevent and expose any such examples found within their own companies.

No Pirate Party rule

Despite being given the seat at the head of the table, the Icelandic party has failed to form a government. The Pirates were given the mandate by the President after both the Independence Party and the Left-Green Movement failed to form a government, however the Pirates have backed out after failing to reach any sort of agreement with the other parties. A little over six weeks have passed since the elections.

M&A

Google has acquired smartwatch software startup Cronologics, Nokia has bought Deepfield, IFS has snapped up Mxi, Cloudflare now owns Eager, and DeliveryHero has got its hands on Foodpanda.

Twitter had developed its own instant messaging platform aimed at emerging markets, but killed it off before release.  

NSA

-          A significant minority of government agencies don’t encrypt their public Cloud data.

-          Former HP CEO Carly Fiorina may end up as Trump’s intelligence director.

-          Apple is designing its servers in-house to avoid third-party interception and spying.

 

Diversity

Dropbox released both its latest diversity figures and transparency report this week. The file-share company received just over 300 search warrants and provided content in most cases. The company is 33% female (up 1% on last year), 3% black (up 1%), and 6% Latino (up 1%). “Though we’ve made progress in hiring minorities this year, the numbers aren’t where we want them to be,” Dropbox VP Arden Hoffman wrote.

Things, things, things

Both Windows 10 and Samsung’s Tizen have had Internet of Things options for a while, but Google has finally caught up (or just replaced Brillo, its previous offering). The company this week announced Android Things, and Android-based IoT platform. It is currently available as a developer preview.

Meanwhile, Microsoft is shoving Cortana wherever they can fit the digital assistant. According to a presentation seen by CNet, Cortana will be coming to fridges, toasters, and other home devices sometime 2017. Why anyone would want a Cortana-enabled toaster is a mystery, however.

Cars

Google’s self-driving project is now all grown up and has been spun out of X (nee Google X) as a standalone unit known as Waymo. Although a full business plan is yet to appear, it seems the company wants to supply its technology to current automakers rather than compete with them directly and build its own vehicles.  

In other car news, BMW is another company to accept full liability for accidents involving its driverless cars, while Lyft claims its services add $750 million to local economies where it operates (imagine how much Uber can claim in that case).

Uber’s self-driving car project has been pulled from the streets of California this week after the company failed to apply for the right permissions.

One of Uber’s autonomous vehicles was filmed running a red light this week, but the company said this was down to human error and the driver has been suspended.

Deliveries

While they make some of the best videos, Alpha-Google’s Boston Dynamics was rumoured to be on the chopping block earlier in the year. Company CEO Marc Raibert proposed an interesting pivot for the company this week. “Many people are talking about drone delivery,” he said during a conference in Spain this week. “So why not just plain legged robots?”

Amazon, meanwhile, has completed its first paid-for delivery by drone. The tech conglomerate delivered a Fire TV stick and a bag of popcorn to a customer’s garden in Cambridge, UK. The delivery, which took place last week, took 13 minutes from click to delivery, according to CEO Jeff Bezos.

The company is also reported to be extending its logistics empire. Already in possession of various planes, trucks, and ships, Amazon is rumoured to be launching an “Uber for trucks” which will link trucker and shippers. Business Insider says it will launch in the summer of next year.

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Dan Swinhoe

Dan is Senior Staff Writer at IDG Connect. Writes about all manner of tech from driverless cars, AI, and Green IT to Cloudy stuff, security, and IoT. Dislikes autoplay ads/videos and garbage written about 'milliennials'.  

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