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The Next Web reports TAG Heuer, Intel and Google announced a partnership at the Baselworld watch fair. TAG will launch an Android Wear watch with Intel hardware by the end of the year. Intel previously has partnered with Fossil on smart watches and powered a smart bracelet called Mica.
Starting on the Apple Watch’s preorder date of April 10th, customers will have up to 15 minutes to check out and try on the Watch at an Apple Store. 9 to 5 Mac talked to”sources briefed on the upcoming changes” who say that each store will set up 10 or more “try-on” stations, and four different zones– In Zone One, employees will help customers try on the entry level sport edition; Zone Two is for sales, Zone Three is for questions, and Zone Four is– well, if you have to ask, you can’t afford it. (Hint: it’s gold). Apple is also considering ‘try-on’ appointments if things get too busy.
Engadget reports Opera announced it has acquired VPN company SurfEasy. Senior Vice President of Products Nitin Bhandari says his team has “concrete plans” to integrate personal privacy products from SurfEasy into the Opera browsers.
Got range anxiety? The Verge reports Tesla will release a software update with a Range Assurance app, that runs in the background, communicating with Tesla’s network of chargers. The app will warn Model S drivers if they risk having less energy in their batteries than it will take to get to the nearest charger. Telsa is also introducing a Trip Planner that will take into account charger locations on long-distance trips. The update will be released within two weeks.
Reuters reports in an interview with Bloomberg TV Virgin Group’s founder Richard Branson said “We have teams of people working on electric cars. So you never know. You may find Virgin competing with the Tesla in the car business as we do in the space business.” Virgin Group spokesman Nick Fox told Reuters. “We are working with the Virgin Formula E team to develop the plan for next season’s cars. Our aim is to build a leading engine and car for next season. Maybe ultimately that could be used in the broader car market in the future”.
TechCrunch reports Android Auto is live for devices running Android 5.0 Lollipop or later. Of course tat doesn’t do you much good unless you have a compatible car stereo system. That means the US and UK and a model from Pioneer. Android Auto apps are now available on Google Play store including Pandora, Spotify, Soundcloud and more.
CNET reports that US revenue generated from streaming music like Pandora and Spotify eclipsed sales of CDs last year, according to the Recording Industry Associate of America. Streaming music sales were 1.87 billion in 2014, compared to 1.85 billion in CD sales. CD revenue dropped 12.7 percent while streaming revenue jumped 29 percent. Digital downloads still make up the biggest chunk at $2.58 billion though that fell 8.7%. Total music sales in the US fell 0.5 percent to $6.97 billion last year.
Fortune reports at CeBit Alibaba founder and CEO Jack Ma showed off a facial recognition feature meant to be used with Alipay service. Ma called it “Smile to Pay.” It works by comparing a photo taken at the point of purchase with a stored photo. Smile to Pay will come to China first then other countries.
TechCrunch reports Rethink Robotics, the company responsible for the teachable industrial robotic arm Baxter, has released a smaller lighter version called Sawyer. While Baxter was meant to repeat the same simple task again and again, like sticking things in a box, Sawyer is aimed for tasks that require more agility and flexibility. Baxter and Sawyer can be used together to address 90% of the manufacturing tasks that cannot be automated with existing technologies. Sawyer costs $29,000, weighs 42 lbs, can carry up to 9 lbs, reach up to 1 meter, has a barcode scanner, object recognition and includes force sensing joints to locate parts in a semi structured environment.
The Next Web reports Pebble has pledged $1 million towards the development and support of smartstrap projects for the new Pebble Time watches. Smartstraps plug into special ports to extend functionality to the strap. Pebble highlighted concepts from Seeed Studio with modular function-specific strap pieces and Spark.io which adds cellular connectivity. Developers should tweet @Pebble or email email@example.com with ideas.
News From You:
The_corley sent us this Engadget story reporting the success of a Google ballon delivering an internet connection from Chile to Australia. Part of Google’s Project Loon the balloon was launched from New Zealand and across the Pacific to Chile, 5500 miles away. After testing the ballon’s command functions and airborne LTE network they sent it back across the Pacific to Australia and tested internet connectivity achieving two hours of connectivity in places where it might not occur otherwise. The tests are giving Google a better picture of how the system will scale.
Berke80 submitted the TechDirt story highlighting The IlluMask. Let’s assume you find a light therapy mask covered in LEDs a desirable product. You’d normally have to pay hundreds of dollars for one. The IllumiMask is only $30. How could this have been done? By breaking it. Even though LEDs should last 30-40,000 hours, IllumiMask programs in a restriction that only lets you use the mask 30 times for 15 minutes each time before you have to throw it away and buy another. However as TechDirt explains, a screwdriver, a paperclip and some gentle hands can reset the IllumimAsk’s use count letting you use it for the life of the bulbs.
Discussion Section Links:
Pick of the day: Gazelle
Tom and Jennie,
I know most people in your audience know about Gazelle as a place to go to sell used electronics, but I recently discovered they are an excellent place to buy them as well. They list their items on their eBay storefront, and list their condition from “poor” to “very good” and give clear explanations of what each category means. Their prices are really competitive and you don’t have fight other people’s bids since its all “buy now”. Their free shipping is also excellent, I recently bought an iPad mini 2 32gb, it arrived at my door within 30 hours of ordering. The only downside is the inventory fluctuates fairly quickly, so if you see a deal you should probably jump on it. They are also my go to recommendation for replacement phones out of contact, thought your audience should know.
Rich from Lovely Cleveland
Hey, guys. I’m a little behind on shows, but I wanted to suggest Dropbox as another legitimate use of peer-to-peer file sharing. The “LAN Sync” option will sync your files across computers on your network without each peer having to go through Dropbox’s servers. When setting up a new computer, the first thing I do is install Dropbox and enable LAN Sync which significantly reduces the synchronization process. (If doing so on Windows, you have to explicitly give permission for the firewall to allow traffic on that port.)
Just announced: The Buzz Out Loud 10 Year reunion on March 29th at 12:30 pacific /3:30 p eastern and 7:30p GMT! It’s free! Tom, Molly, Veronica, Jason and many other special guests! Tickets for the event at the Hak 5 warehouse are available at http://bit.ly/BOLreunion but if you want to attend online you don’t need even need a ticket. The event will stream live on Alpha Geek Radio and on YouTube with more details forthcoming.
Also Podcast Awards! Remember yesterday, and the day before, when we told you how you could vote for your favorite podcast in the Podcast Awards? Well guess what, you can vote again today! For example, you could vote for DTNS in the technology category, but you can also support Night Attack in the “Mature” and “Video” categories. Also you can vote for The Instance, Film Sack and our good friends at The Morning Stream and Night Attack. I guess you could also vote for Serial. But only once. Vote once a day at http://www.podcastawards.com/ until March 24th.
Wednesday’s guest: Iyaz Akhtar