This is the second installment of the Nurun IT Download, with the latest news stories in the technology industry with insights from Nurun experts.
1. Yahoo! acquires Tumblr: Yahoo! and Tumblr reached an agreement over the purchase of Tumblr for $1.1 billion. Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer made a clear statement in regards to the acquisition, promising “Not to screw it up.” At Tumblr it’s business as usual, with CEO David Karp staying in charge and no major changes being made in the near future.
The bottom line: Analysts see the acquisition as a chance for Yahoo! to get closer to the highly coveted teenage demographic. Increasing brand awareness through Tumblr looks like an interesting plus for Yahoo!, but it’s the long-term level of integration between the two services that will show us if the acquisition was a good move.
2. A closer look at the new Kinect: The new Microsoft Kinect, available with the Xbox One later this year, features many exciting technology advancements. Full HD cameras not only increase the current quality of skeleton detection, but also add features like the detection of subtle gestures, balance, joint rotations and heart rate. It will also support up to six users simultaneously through a larger field of view.
The bottom line: Microsoft confirmed on their technical blog that the SDK and Windows version of the device will be available in 2014. We should expect to see some interesting applications of the technology in retail settings, including interactive store displays and window installations.
3. Chrome introduces conversational search: Already available on Android through Google Now, Google has launched a Siri-like conversational search tool in version 27 of Chrome. You can now search Google using your voice, and Chrome will answer your questions. You can then continue to discuss the same subject using only pronouns.
The bottom line: As much as we want to be excited about this feature, there are still a lot of limitations that need to be addressed if it is to be used efficiently on a daily basis. Breakthroughs in voice recognition patterns will surely help, and it’s good to see Google continuing to work on new features that will continue to make the web more accessible.
4. WiFi network beats speed record: The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany managed to deliver 40 GB of data per second over a distance of roughly one kilometer using high frequencies (240 GHz).
The bottom line: As bandwidth requirements for movie streaming and gaming continue to increase, such as those needed for 4K digital movies, wireless technologies need to evolve to support these kinds of speeds. These kinds of results indicate that consumer technologies with higher wireless speeds will become available over the next few years.
5. A new smart lock for your home: The August Smart Lock is a Bluetooth Low Energy door lock that is controlled through an app. It allows the user to provide single or multiple entries to anyone with a smartphone over a specified period of time. The August Smart Lock will be available before the end of the year for $199.
The bottom line: Innovations like this continue to push the Internet of Things to new heights. We can see devices like the August Smart Lock being incredibly useful to those who use vacation and rental platforms like Airbnb.
6. Google introduces the HTC One Google Edition: After announcing the Galaxy S4 Google Edition at Google I/O, Google and HTC announced the HTC One Google Edition will go on sale starting June 26th. The highly praised phone will be available without the HTC Sense layer and will receive Android updates as quickly as Nexus phones.
The bottom line: Google is clearly changing its strategy concerning flagship phones for their mobile operating system. Making sure that the best Android phones are available with the stock version of the OS will clearly increase sales of those phones. It will be interesting to see how Google positions its Nexus phones after this.
7. Microsoft brings back the start button: After confusing customers by only displaying the start button when users navigated to the bottom left corner of the screen, Microsoft is reinstating the start button in Windows 8.1. Just as in the past, it will always be present in the corner.
The bottom line: It’s not easy for a company with such an established user experience to change things that are so central to their user base. Using Windows 8 installation rates as a base augment, it will be interesting to track the other changes Microsoft will need to make.