This week J.D. and El Kaiser entertain pastry-slinging guests in the studio and in between bites of cannoli, Pedro explains the tech term “Internet of Things” while J.D. provides details on alternatives for Google Reader which is set to shut down July 1st. In the news, Sony debuts a new smartwatch; the Ouya open-source Android-based game console makes the scene; Microsoft reverses course on its Xbox One policies; and Apple looks into Wi-Fi issues with its new MacBook Air laptops.
It’s the week before the U.S. Independence Day holiday and companies are popping out all kinds of news as the general public will likely be distracted by fireworks and grilled meat for part of next week. For example, Sony had a slew of announcements this week, including its SmartWatch 2 and the Xperia Z Ultra Android-based phablet with a 6.4-inch 1080 HD-screen. The company also put out a software update for the iOS Music Unlimited app.
The Ouya open-source Android-based game console has finally landed, although early reviews have not been kind. (Speaking of game consoles, we all saw that news last week that Microsoft reversed course on its Xbox One policies and used games and offline player mode are now accepted, right?)
Also in Microsoft gaming news, the company is developing its Age of Empires game for iOS and Android. Need an Android device to play it on? Pre-orders started this week and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 3 tablets in the 10.1, 8.0 and 7.0 models will arrive here in the States on July 7.
Microsoft showed off its upcoming Windows 8.1 system this week at its annual Build Conference, this year in San Francisco. This free update to Windows 8 is due out this fall and includes several new features.
The Leap Motion controller folks have a released a limited beta version of the Leap Airspace app for Mac and PC users so they can control their computers with gestures. The controller is getting some good early reviews and has its own app store revving up as well ahead of its July 22 launch.
Meanwhile, Real Cameras continue to fight back against the Smartphone Invasion as best they can. Fujifilm’s new X-M1 camera has built-in Wi-Fi, although you have to bounce your photos through your Android smartphone or iPhone before you can post them online.
In the Department of Oh, What Else Is New?, the social network recently had a security issue. A white-hat programmer found a bug in Facebook’s data archive that inadvertently revealed the phone numbers and email address of about six million users. Facebook posted its explanation of the situation on its blog and company claims that the issue has been fixed. Concerned Facebook users have issued demands for an apology (which, with a buck plus tax, would get you a cup of coffee at the McDonald’s in Times Square — but probably won’t prevent further Epic Facebook Security Fails).
And finally, Apple is also said to be investigating Wi-Fi issues with its newly released MacBook Air laptops and has also rolled out a second version of its iOS 7 beta so that iPod Touch and iPad users in Apple’s dev program can see the flat world for themselves. And for those not in the Apple Developer program, well, there are always the video demos on the Applefan sites to keep you in the infinite loop of upgrade-watching.
Can the mythical iRadio finally be on the way for real? Apple’s recent deal with the Warner Music Group has some wondering if the company’s long-rumored streaming music service will soon be announced — maybe even at the World Wide Developers Conference in San Francisco next week.
Apple also has some other things on its To Do List this month, namely that Federal antitrust case against the company that opened this week in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. Federal lawyers accuse Apple and five major book publishers of conspiring to raise e-book prices together before the iPad came out in 2010.
Meanwhile, Amazon continues to expand its empire with 4,000 TV episodes — mainly children’s shows from Viacom — going into the Amazon Instant Video inventory. Amazon Instant Video now has about 41,000 titles for the streaming.
Samsung keeps adding Galaxies to its universe of flat devices. The Galaxy Tab 3 — available in 8-inch and 10.1-inch screen sizes, were announced this week and the new models are said to run on Intel processors instead of ARM chips. Other companies are also rolling out new hardware sporting Intel processors; among others, the new Haswell chips are included in Toshiba’s top-shelf Qosimo X75 and a new 27-inch all-in-one from Dell Computer.
Yahoo Mail Classic has become extinct, replaced by the new-look Yahoo Mail. A page on Yahoo’s Help site said that the new terms of service for Yahoo Mail required “the acceptance of automated content scanning and analyzing of your communications content, which Yahoo Uses to deliver product features, relevant advertising, and abuse protection.” Yahoo points out that those not wishing to be scanned can download mail with an IMAP e-mail client or just close their accounts.
Microsoft, while trying to get people interested in buying Windows RT tablets, is said to be cutting the price of the software to get OEMs interested and have lower-priced Windows-based tablets available for consumers.
As for Android hardware, the Jelly Bean version of Google’s mobile operating system is now running on a third of the Android-powered devices out there. Android used also got their own version of Twitter’s Vine app for creating six-second videos. Mashable gave the app a test drive and also reported that a 16-year-old user figured out how to breach the six-second Vine limit and rickrolled the service.
A trio of researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology say they’ve figured out how to hack an iPhone in less than a minute with a malicious USB wall charger. The proof-of-concept Evil Charger will debut next month at the Black Hat security conference.
And finally, fans of the 11th Doctor were upset to learn over the weekend that Matt Smith is leaving the starring Time Lord role on Doctor Who after this year’s Christmas episode. This means holiday regeneration and a tidal wave of Internet speculation on who the 12th Doctor will be. Actor Ben Daniels has been mentioned, along with more diverse possibilities. The online betting firm William Hill has the odds and online polls have popped up everywhere, but really, just make Helen Mirren an offer.