To mirror the Rio Olympics, you may have noticed interactive doodles for the last 16 days on the Google home page. And you could download those games in the Google Play and Apple iOS stores. In some ways more fun, and lots less controversial than the Rio events or all the political games
"This wouldn't have happened if Steve Jobs were around" is one of the most overused insults that even fans will hurl at Apple CEO Tim Cook when he does something they don't like. Fact is, you can apply the line to many of the things that Cook has done to make Apple as powerful, profitable, and vibrant as it is.
More important, just like the early iPhone, Amazon has managed to turn the Echo into the center of a new ecosystem. Developers are flocking to create voice- controlled apps for the device, or skills, as Amazon calls them. There are now more than 300 skills for the Echo, from the trivial — there is one to make Alexa produce rude body sounds on command — to the pretty handy. It can tell you transit schedules, start a seven-minute workout. read recipes, do math and conversions, and walk you through adventure games, among other possibilities.
Makers of digital home devices like Nest are also rushing to make their products compatible with the Echo. Alexa can now control your Internet—connected lights, home thermostats and a variety of other devices. Hardware makers can also add Alexa’s brain into their own devices, so soon you won’t need an Echo to consult with Alexa — you could find it in your toaster, your refrigerator or your car.
In design, they’re simple. They’re very traditional earbuds, with a small circular bulb that holds a few microphones and a processor. All the processing of sound is done individually on each bud, and they can be calibrated to each user's individual separate ears. Their software leverages tried-and-true acoustic techniques for noise cancellation and effects, but also machine learning algorithms able to adapt to your surroundings.
The app associated with the Here buds has three tabs: a volume knob, which is the master switch for the volume of your world; an equalizer, coupled with effects like echo and reverberation; and a tab split into Tune In and Tune Out, which are pre-made filters meant to either enhance the soundscape or cut it out tailored to certain situations.
A new On The Go (OTG) wearable charging cable for smartphones, called Thino, is a portable charger, battery back-up, and data transfer all in one compact, durable and lightweight aluminium body! Thino has a dual side USB connector and is able to detect and switch between different USB charging methods such as charging downstream port (CDP), dedicated charging port (DCP) and standard downstream port (SDP). Thino is able to supply any Android and iOS device with the maximum current it can draw from the source. The built-in 480mAh Lithium Polymer battery can be used as a portable back-up battery to keep your device up and running for 2 hours.
The metal detector-style ping is similar to the proximity alerts of other stuff-finder tools, such as the successful Kickstarter project Tile. Like Tile, Pixie communicates with an iPhone via Bluetooth. Unlike Tile, it’s sold in packs of four, which the app can name to keep each one identifiable. Together, three of the Pixies ping out signals to better triangulate the location of the one you can’t find, at a range as far as 50 feet indoors and 200 feet outdoors. Outside that range, it’ll remember the item’s last location.
Four in five Peruvians don’t have a bank account, but in a country of 30 million people, there are about 32 million cell phones. So the leading Peruvian banks have teamed up to get money moving through those phones. On Dec. 15, Peru Digital Payments, a company owned and operated by the country’s leading financial institutions, launched Bim, a mobile payment program that unites all their online customer interfaces on one system.
“We want this program to reach the people who don’t have bank accounts,” says Carolina Trivelli, who’s overseeing Bim and previously ran the government’s development ministry. “That’s the woman who lives in the countryside and has a nine-key cell phone, a 2G connection, and a prepaid phone plan.”
Peru’s software is the first of its kind: While there are 255 mobile money programs in 89 countries around the world, no other program includes all of a country’s banks, and the majority allow transactions only between customers of the same phone company. By February all three major Peruvian carriers will offer users access to Bim.
Companies like JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. are rolling out their own products just as mobile-payment apps are catching on. By 2019, eMarketer estimates that the total value of transactions made by tapping a phone on an in-store terminal will reach $210 billion, up from $8.7 billion in 2015. For banks and retailers, that presents an opportunity to take on Apple Pay and Google’s Android Pay -- and maybe save on transaction fees to boot.
At the Mobile World Commerce in Barcelona this week, Visa is showing off
• Connected Commerce: Explore new ways to pay with mobile devices using mVisa and Visa Checkout, as well as a number of wearable contactless payment devices, such as Barclaycard’s bPay wristbands, keychains and stickers
• Connected Car: Experience the latest fuel and parking proof-of-concept apps (see photo below of app in a Honda car) in a connected car that bring greater simplicity and convenience to everyday tasks
• Biometric Authentication: Preview the future of payment authentication prototypes through biometrics. Learn how you could pay at the register with the simple wave of hand, or through facial recognition and fingerprint capabilities on mobile devices
Like online pioneers LegalZoom and Rocket Lawyer, apps including GetDismissed, LegalTap, WinIt, and Fixed—the last specifically designed to fight parking and traffic tickets—promise users relatively cheap and easy legal counsel. Some offer brief chats with lawyers, others work on a contingency basis, and still others rely primarily on software that can detect potentially dismissal-worthy errors in legal paperwork. “These kinds of applications work to increase access and availability,” Houlihan says. Some are also referring users to legal counsel in cases involving business incorporation, employment contracts, and other matters.