Weekly Top 8 Tech Stories – 24th October

A big week in the world of tech where Google, Apple, Tesla and Microsoft had big product announcements and Amazon had its quarterly earnings report.

  1. Google redefines the whiteboard at $6,000
    Googlechrome_2016-10-29_18-33-16.png announced the Jamboard, a very rich interactive whiteboard that integrates deeply with their recently rebranded Google Suite (formerly Google Apps).  This puts it in direction competition with Microsoft’s Surface Hub 55″/80″ line.

    On this 55″ whiteboard, you can have ‘jams’ with your fellow colleagues, with a huge amount of interactivity bringing in content from all over.   Gone are the days of whiteboard inked hands and taking photos of creations.

  2. Microsoft announces its first ever desktop PC
    chrome_2016-10-29_18-39-39For a company that shaped the PC industry it is a little baffling they are only getting into creating their own desktop PC nearly 30 years since the desktop revolution began.  But the wait was worth it.

    In addition to their Surface laptops getting major updates, they introduced the Surface Studio, a $4,000 desktop that is not like anything we’ve ever seen, including a very cool input device, called the Surface Dial.  Move over Apple, there is a new cool kid in town now.

  3. Apple announces the new MacBook with the touch bar
    chrome_2016-10-29_18-45-37While Microsoft was putting its vision of the non-tablet world forward, Apple is trying to redefine the laptop with its latest MacBook, with the new interactive touch bar.

    Instead of the usual row of function keys, they have replaced it with a OLED touch bar, that will change context depending on the application you are in.  Function keys have become ingrained in our brains for various things.  First it was the 3.5mm audio jack, now the function keys – is nothing sacred?  Qwerty layout next?

  4. Tesla announces near on invisible solar roofs and a large power pack
    chrome_2016-10-29_18-52-55Ahead of the shareholder vote later in November about the Solar City deal, Elon Musk took to the stage to announce a new revolutionary solar panel for residential homes that is near on invisible to the naked eye – no more unsightly big silver boxes on the roof.

    In addition, he announced that Tesla have doubled the capacity of its Powerwall product while keeping the price at $5,000 and throwing in an inverter at the same time.  Running your house off-the-grid just got way more affordable and real.

  5. Twitter kills off the 6.5 second video service Vine; 300 people lose jobs
    chrome_2016-10-16_10-37-48Twitter is desperately trying to make money, but while it figures that out, it is killing off the Vine service it launched under 3 years ago.  As part of this cost restructuring 300 people will be losing their jobs.  With all the free media publicity Twitter gets, especially with this years US elections, they still can’t make money or find a buyer (though rumor has it that Disney maybe sniffing around again).

    Though not all may be lost, never wanting to miss an opportunity, the popular adult site, PornHub, has said they are willing to buy it from Twitter, because as they said it, “6 seconds is more than enough” – and they have the data to prove it!

  6. Slack may be in for some serious competition, with Microsoft Teams
    chrome_2016-10-22_10-56-16Microsoft is expected to release next week it’s version of Slack, called Microsoft Teams.  There was a desire internally to buy Slack for $8B but Bill and Satya weren’t for having it.

    Microsoft have been here before, when they bought Yammer in 2012 – the Facebook for business as it was billed.  The leaked photos of Team looks suspiciously close to an updated Yammer. Slack has found a lot of love with its users, so it will be interesting to see if teams are willing to move away.  Pricing could be the key.

  7. Amazon releases weaker profits, stock takes a dive
    chrome_2016-09-24_05-16-50As part of its quarterly report, Amazon announced its profits weren’t as strong as they had hoped, but still profitable, 6 quarters in a row.  However that isn’t enough to appease the stock market who punished the stock by taking nearly $70 off its share price.

    Amazon for so long operated at a loss and now it is profitable it doesn’t seem to be enough for some, who had pegged the stock to break the infamous $1,000 stock price.  AWS was up 55% year-on-year, showing that their grip on the cloud market is showing no signs of letting it up.

  8. Need some sleep on the move?  The OstrichPillow may be what you need
    chrome_2016-10-29_19-17-23.pngWe’ve all been there, schedules get pushed around and before you know it, you are grasping for some sleep whenever you can.   Except you can’t just get comfortable.  Anyone of my fellow air warriors will know the pain of trying to sleep on a cramped plane.

    One company, Studio Banana Creations, may have the solution for us, with their new flexible pillow that transforms from a discrete scarf into something that is well, not discrete.

 

… and this week’s soundtrack was brought courtesy of Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats.  I particularly love his ‘I need never get old’ track.  Excellent album check it out.