Latest Technology News

Microsoft aims to take 'mixed reality' mainstream in 2017

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Virtual Reality arrived properly in 2016, although it has yet to really make any mainstream impact. Augmented Reality did enter our lives via Pokémon Go, but that’s been about it so far.

Microsoft is targeting 2017 as the year that mixed reality starts to become a thing, and at the Windows Hardware Engineering Community event (WinHEC) in Shenzhen, China the company shared the PC specifications (co-developed with Intel) that will power the first MR headsets from Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP and Lenovo set to arrive next year.

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Facebook reveals the biggest trending topics and Live videos of 2016

2016

We're nearing the end of the year, so expect to be inundated with retrospectives for 2016 -- Facebook has just released its look back at the year that's (nearly) gone by.

The social network's review of 2016 comprises two top 10 lists: the most popular trending topics of the year, and the most popular Live videos of the year. It should come as no surprise that the trending topics list is dominated by major political events such as the US election and Brexit, as well as celebrity deaths.

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Conexant and Amazon bring Alexa to Raspberry Pi with 'AudioSmart 2-mic Development Kit'

PiAlexa

Amazon's Echo devices are incredible. I'll admit that I was a skeptic at first, but once I got my own, I was hooked. Not only can the Alexa voice assistant provide me with important data like weather, news, and traffic, but it can play music too. Most importantly, it serves as a brilliant IoT control unit. My house has several WiFi connected power outlets, and I can verbally tell Alexa to turn off my lamps. It can even control my television!

Much of Amazon's success with Echo and Alexa is thanks to third-party developers and hardware. Today, Conexant and Amazon announce the AudioSmart 2-mic Development Kit. This add-on for the Raspberry Pi should enable easier development of devices using Amazon's Alexa voice technology. This could ultimately lead to further growth and adoption of the Alexa voice assistant.

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Windows 10 coming to ARM -- paving the way for always connected, more power-efficient PCs

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There’s a fair amount of news coming out of the Windows Hardware Engineering Community event (WinHEC) in Shenzhen, China at the moment, but potentially the most exciting announcement is that Windows 10 is coming to ARM.

A partnership with Qualcomm means that we’ll soon see a range of Snapdragon-powered Windows 10 PCs with integrated cellular connectivity that run x86 Win32 and universal Windows apps.

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Senior leaders holding new tech adoption back

Hand stop

IT managers in UK organizations believe their senior leaders are intentionally holding back the adoption of new technologies, as they fear that could endanger their position within the company. This is according to a new report by global cloud communications provider 8x8, which surveyed 260 IT managers in UK organizations.

Almost half (45 percent) of IT managers are suspicious senior leaders are holding technology back for reasons of "self-preservation". Same IT managers, a third of them (34 percent), believe their company is making full use of the latest technology. Among C-suites, that percentage is up to almost a half (49 percent).

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BBC trials 4K Planet Earth II in HDR on iPlayer -- but you probably can't watch it

frog

There are a growing number of ways to enjoy Ultra HD content on your 4K TV or monitor. Just a couple of days ago, Google added 4K movies to Google Play.

Now the BBC announces it is trialing 4K high dynamic range (HDR) video on its iPlayer streaming platform, and I can confirm, having watched it, it's absolutely stunning stuff. However, you shouldn’t get too excited about it, yet -- there are a couple of big catches that will mean you probably won't be able to watch it.

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Facebook granted European license for electronic payments in Messenger

Facebook Messenger app iOS iPhone

Payments through Facebook Messenger have been available in the US for some time now, and they're about to make their way to Europe.

Facebook has just been granted a license for 'payment services' and 'e-money issuance' with the Central Bank of Ireland. As a member of the European Union, holding a license in Ireland means that Facebook will be able to offer its payment services in all of the EU member states.

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Microsoft and Intel’s Project Evo will 'raise the bar for what’s possible with Windows PCs'

Project Evo

At the Windows Hardware Engineering Community event (WinHEC) in Shenzhen, China, Microsoft made several announcements, including news that it is working with Intel on a new venture, called "Project Evo".

The aim of this, according to Microsoft, is to "deliver all-new ways for devices to light up with the latest in advanced security, artificial intelligence and Cortana, mixed reality, and gaming".

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Junk food ads targeting children to be banned online

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Advertisements for junk food that are aimed at children are to be banned from non-broadcast media, including online. The Committee on Advertising Practice (CAP) announced the measures, which will affect advertisers in the UK, as the government tries to tackle childhood obesity.

The ban means that foods high in fat, salt and sugar cannot be advertised on social media, YouTube channels and gaming websites in ways that will specifically appeal to children.

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Google OnHub Soars, Apple AirPort Crashes

Google OnHub

We all make mistakes. The challenge is recognizing and correcting them quickly enough. So comes admission: I bought Apple AirPort Time Capsule to replace Google OnHub—what a bad decision.

My tale starts with a chance sighting on Kinja Deals for the 2TB Apple WiFi router on sale at Amazon for $199; one-hundred bucks off. I ordered on Nov. 16, 2016, and the device arrived two days later. At the time, I had 45Mbps AT&T Internet (which has changed since). Placed in the same location where OnHub had been, about 3 meters away from my desk in the same room as the router, throughput consistently came in at 15Mbps, occasionally a little more, as measured by Fast.com or SpeedTest.Net. By contrast, Google's router wirelessly pumped 40Mbps or more. Ah, yeah.

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Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 14986 for PC arrives on the Fast ring, introduces many new features

Windows-10 key

New Insider Preview builds of the forthcoming Windows 10 Creators Update have been arriving on the Fast ring on a weekly basis. There was a gap over thanksgiving (naturally), and last week a blocking bug on the PC version meant that Build 14977 was only made available for Mobile.

This week it’s back to normal, with a new build for PC rolling out on the Fast ring, and the wait has definitely been worth it as Build 14986 comes packed with lots of new features and improvements. This is the most exciting new build in quite some time. Windows Insider Chief Dona Sarkar uses her Twitter account to tease new build numbers, and this week our very own Brian Fagioli provided the all important clue.

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GDPR predictions for 2017

Data protection

The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is due to come into force on May 25, 2018. This means that IT teams have more than a year to audit their IT systems, check existing customer records and data, and ensure that these systems respect the new set of rules that will be in place.

However, the gap between intentions and actions can be a big one. So what do I predict will happen around GDPR in 2017?

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Bluetooth 5 is here

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While Bluetooth is not perfect, it has greatly impacted the technology industry. Look no further than headphones and speakers to see that it has made wireless music possible. It is also the technology that links smartphones to smartwatches. Those are just two such examples -- there are countless more.

Today, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group announces the official adoption of the previously-announced Bluetooth 5. In other words, it is officially the next major version of the technology, which will eventually be found in many consumer devices.

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Google makes Android app updates even smaller

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When you update apps over a cellular network you go through your data plan more quickly -- and there is nothing that you can do about that. However, Google has found a way to make sure that Android users reach their data limit later rather than sooner.

Using the File-By-File patching technique, Google says that it is able to reduce the size of update files by an average of 65 percent. And, in some cases, the reduction can even exceed 90 percent. But how much data can you actually expect to save?

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Google cozies up with Slack for tighter integration

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Faced with competition from the likes of Microsoft Teams, Slack is strengthening its partnership with Google to bring greater cloud integration to users.

The beloved communication tool is teaming up with Google Cloud to improve Google Drive support, but there's also support for bots in the form of Drive Bot. Security and sharing is also in line for improvements, and the recently-announced Team Drives from Google will also be supported.

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