Daily Tech Headlines – October 26, 2016

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Daily Tech Headlines – October 26, 2016
Number 101
Broadcast Date OCTOBER 26, 2016
Episode Length 8:15
Hosts Tom Merritt

Microsoft announces new laptop, desktop and Windows 10 Creators Studio. Alphabet pauses Google Fiber expansion. Vodafone pays a big UK fine.

Headlines

Microsoft announced the next update to Windows 10 will come this Spring and be called Creators Update. It will include a new Microsoft Paint capable of making 3D designs that you can share on Facebook or export to a new 3D art community called Remix3D that also shares works from Minecraft. Objects can be scanned in 3D with an upcoming cross-platform phone app. Microsoft also showed viewing Remix3D objects in HoloLens AND announced Windows VR headsets coming from HP, Dell, Lenovo, Asus, and Acer that require no external sensors, starting at $299. Windows Creator's Studio will also integrate Microsoft's game streaming service called Beam and add custom gaming tournaments and proper Dolby Atmos support. Finally Windows 10 will have a new messaging feature that combines Skype, mail, and other apps into a pop-up panel in the task bar and allow documents to be dragged to contacts there. It can also can receive SMS messages sent to Android phones.
Microsoft also announced the SurfaceBook i7. As the name implies it has an Intel i7 processor, double the graphics performance of the previous SurfaceBook and promises 16 hour battery life. The Surface Book is up for preorder from Microsoft.com and ships in November for $2,399. Also T-Mobile posted an update to its listing for the Alcatel Idol 4S which went on sale in July bundled with the Gear VR. It's now listed as the Alcatel IDOL 4S with Windows VR coming soon.
Finally Microsoft announced the Surface Studio an all-in-one desktop. It has a 28-inch 192 ppi PixelSense touchscreen that is 12.5 mm thick and capable of 13.5 million pixels. It also has an Intel Core Processor, 32GB of RAM, a 2 TB hybrid hard drive and an Nvidia GTX 980M GPU. A hinge on the back allows it to be repositioned and lay almost flat. You can preorder the Studio today for $2,999 though it will only be available in limited quantities. Preorders get the Surface Dial haptic feedback input device for free. Others can buy it November 10th for $99.
Alphabet announced it will reduce staff and pause expansion of Google Fiber, signaling a change in strategy for the division. Craig Barratt, CEO of Alphabet's Access division, which includes Fiber, plans to step down from the role, but will remain with the company as an adviser. Google Fiber will continue services to existing locations, and will not halt construction on new sites. Expansion will not proceed at this time in 8 potential sites announced earlier this year.
Amazon released an update for the Fire Tablets adding the Alexa smart assistant to the 2016 Fire HD 8 and 2015 Fire and Fire HD 10 and 8. Alexa will activate by pressing the on-screen home button. You can also link a Fire Tablet to the Amazon Echo. For instance ask Echo the weather and the report can show up on the Fire tablet's screen.
Apple reported its Q4 earnings with revenue of $46.9 billion and earnings of $1.67 per share. Analysts expected $46.9 billion and $1.65 a share. Apple shipped 45.5 million iPhones down from 48.1 million last year. Apple also shipped 9.3 million iPads and 4.9 million Macs.
Intel introduced its E3900 Series of Atom Processors for Internet of Things, transportation and retail. The E3900 has more than 1.7 times more computing power compared to the E3800, in the same thermal envelope, allowing faster memory. Intel's 9th-gen graphics engine improves 3D graphics 2.9 times and can support up to three independent displays. It also has better low light visibility noise reduction and color and detail preservation. It also includes the Trusted Execution Engine 3.0 meant to prevent unauthorized software from tampering with the device. Auto part maker Delphi is among the 30 early customers for the chips.
Bloomberg reports Apple has dozens of software engineers in Kanata, Canada working on a car operating system. About two dozen supposedly came from BlackBerry's QNX division. Apple hired former QNX CEO Dan Dodge earlier this year. Senior engineer Derrick Keefe also left QNX for Apple in 2015. The OS would be used to run separate software efforts being developed elsewhere, including an autonomous driving system.
IBM announced new products around Watson. The Watson Data Platform combines Watson data ingestion with cloud services and machine learning. Watson Virtual Agent lets customers pretrain bots with cross-industry content. Staples, Autodesk and the Weather Company are already customers. IBM has optimized natural language processing, Watson Conversation and Watson's API to work with Apple's iOS speech framework. And Watson Cloud video can track unstructured data for audience insights, video scene detection and live event analysis. IBM is also working with Udacity, KIvuto and Pearson on educational certification around AI.
The Daily Beast obtained documents showing AT&T's Hemisphere program uses stored metadata on customers to assist law enforcement in investigations of criminal cases and medical insurance fraud. AT&T requires a subpoena, but not a warrant, in order to deliver the data and charges for the service. The program dates back to 2008.
At a Wall Street Journal event, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said the Internet-only DirecTV Now service will cost $35 a month and include more than 100 channels, from Time Warner, NBCUniversal, Fox, and Disney, and more. Stephenson said the service will be available by the end of November.
UK's Ofcom has fined Vodafone £4.6m for breaches of consumer protection rules. 10,452 pay-as-you-go customers paid but never received phone credit over a 17-month period because of errors in a new billing system. Vodafone also broke rules in handling customer complaints. Vodafone has credited all but 30 of the affected customers who it could not find. Vodafone said it has also invested in better customer service and training.
LG Chem Ltd the world's largest automotive battery maker, will partner with solar company Sunrun to sell home energy storage in the US. Sunrun has used Tesla batteries in its installations in Hawaii up until now. In addition to Sunrun customers, LG Chem's batteries will be available to the entire solar industry through AEE Solar, Sunrun's solar products distribution arm.

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Preceded by:
"Daily Tech Headlines – October 25, 2016"
Daily Tech Headlines – October 26, 2016
Followed by:
"Daily Tech Headlines – October 27, 2016"