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Three new year's resolutions Google needs to keep in 2017

ZDNet

As I discussed in my column on Apple's new year's resolutions, the home environment allows providers to pick up a different set of requests than in the mobile environment offers. Apple may never bring together its mobile and desktop operating systems. In contrast, Google has spoken vaguely about its "desktop" (Chrome) and "mobile" (Android) operating systems converging essentially since Chrome was launched, the closest we have come has been the nominal support of Google Play (with many incompatible apps) on Chrome. If Google continues its 2016 ways, an enhanced Chromecast could offer support apps (or at least Roku-like channels) or could see a companion product in a Google-developed "Pixel TV" device that would bring Google back into the TV platform conversation.


No dodging that conference call now: Volvo adds in-car Skype for Business, will test Cortana too

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Volvo says it will add Microsoft's Skype for Business app to its new 90 Series range of cars. Tech companies and car makers are building alliances to take advantage of the increasing computing power packed into cars. Tech firms want to make sure their apps are the ones that find favour with motorists, making the car the next big app battleground, with productivity apps leading the way. For example, Microsoft has also signed an in-car productivity deal with Renault-Nissan, while Google is well advanced with its own autonomous vehicle project, and Apple's long-rumoured Project Titan is also believed to be an electric car.


Under Armour at CES highlights digital transformation efforts as clothing, wearables, apps, data merge

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Plank said on Under Armour's third quarter earnings conference call: As Under Armour becomes an ongoing digital transformation story it's worth checking in on the moving parts. One critical touch point for Under Armour's brand and data is its running shoes as well as wearable devices. Last year, Under Armour and HTC unveiled the UA Healthbox, which is a bundle that includes a connected scale, chest heart rate monitor and UA Band, which was manufactured by HTC. These headphones have in-ear heart rate monitoring, connect via Bluetooth for music, and add coaching from UA Record.


Year of upheaval: These are the trends shaping Middle East tech

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Over the past year, the Middle East's IT, tech, and telecoms sectors have witnessed considerable change. Noon is raising funding of $1bn from Gulf investors, with Saudi Arabia's sovereign Public Investment Fund taking a 50 percent stake. In developing economies, where most people still pre-pay their mobile data, people like messenger platforms for being lot less demanding in data usage, which helps keep data costs down. Perhaps the most interesting insight comes from people who say the public nature of social networks puts them under too much pressure to look their best at all times and always give the impression that their life is amazing.


How 3,000 Uber rides could replace New York's entire taxi fleet

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The team has developed a new algorithm which crunched the numbers and, assuming carpooling becomes more popular, MIT has come to the conclusion that NYC only needs 3,000 four-person cars to serve 98 percent of transport demand in New York City. Led by Professor Daniela Rus, the MIT CSAIL group's algorithm also suggested that if two-person carpools were in use, 3,000 could serve 94 percent of demand, and only 2,000 vehicles would be needed to cater for 95 percent of demand if they carried 10 passengers each. "To our knowledge, this is the first time that scientists have been able to experimentally quantify the trade-off between fleet size, capacity, waiting time, travel delay, and operational costs for a range of vehicles, from taxis to vans and shuttles," says Rus. Today, carpooling services are somewhat limited -- especially as requests need to be in before a route can be determined -- but the researchers say that in the future, the algorithm could be used to rematch requests to different vehicles, including those with larger capacities, while also keeping in mind passenger cost, time and convenience.


The 4 tech trends that will shape 2017, predicted by ZDNet editors

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As we do each week, the editors of ZDNet will continue to put our heads together in 2017 and give you our weekly Monday Morning Opener--an editorial that zooms in on the most important topic in tech for the week. It's a safe bet that the Internet of Things will accelerate and feature more real-world deployments, big data applications and maybe even a bit of advertising. The wild card for smart city deployments is planning (comprehensive vs. a series of smaller IoT efforts), security concerns and returns for cities, citizens and businesses. Even PCs--boring, boring PCs--have been more interesting than smartphones this year, as we talked about in our 2016 wrap-up.


Three new year's resolutions for Apple

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Apple is more than an iPhone company. Rumors have swirled that the next-generation iPhone may have more efficient processors, have an even larger display (bucking mainstream screen downsizing) or used curved glass or plastic but, without further details, those would appear to just be following other companies' leads. But the one that likely has even greater potential is Siri, Apple's voice agent that in many ways started the AI obsession tsunami circling the company like its new campus. Today, only a handful of apps types can integrate into Siri, As with the iPhone hardware, though, Apple can expect growing competition here as Google steps up efforts with Google Assistant and Samsung begins to roll out its own agent based on its acquisition of Viv technology designed by Siri's creators.


2016 in transport: Rocket misery, EV traction, and supercomputers

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Whether this is just a runaround to get from A to B, a flight to get to a conference or distribution networks for parcels and supplies, companies and the general public require a strong transport infrastructure for cities and businesses to thrive. Meanwhile, Hyundai announced plans to open a new data center in Guizhou, China, next year which will support connected cars. Originally proposed by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, the futuristic city transport Hyperloop, a transport system based on propulsion and vacuums, was renamed Hyperloop One and received a cash injection of $80 million this year after debuting with a public demo. In 2016, the space transport startup, co-owned by Elon Musk, announced plans to colonize Mars in the next decade, which may be considered a very ambitious timeframe.


Tencent and NavInfo buy into Here maps and form Chinese joint venture

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Chinese technology giant Tencent, along with Beijing-based mapping company NavInfo and Singapore state-owned investment firm GIC, announced this week the trio intended to jointly take up a 10 percent share of mapping company Here, with current owners Audi, BMW, and Daimler reducing their indirect holding by the same amount. As well as the share purchase, the companies announced the creation of a 50/50 joint venture between Here and NavInfo to provide mapping services to the Chinese market, and allow Here to use NavInfo's data. The joint venture company is expected to focus on services for autonomous cars and operate Here's Internet of Things platform in China. After months of speculation, the mapping company was eventually picked up by German car makers Audi, BMW, and Daimler for €2.8 billion in August of that year.


Singapore tech should have much to expect in 2017

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Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim said in a Facebook post following TPG's win: "Singapore now has a fourth telco... Consumers can look forward to more attractive price packages and innovative services." With the country taking the lead in this field as one of the few worldwide to already have begun actual road trials, it now needs to continue driving this forward by tapping lessons from the tests to improve the technology. First introduced in mid-2014, the Singapore government has since rolled out numerous pilots involving data sensors and hetnet technologies. It also should reveal gaps that need to be plugged as well as provide valuable lessons that local businesses can tap to improve their own operations and efficiencies.