Daily Tech Headlines – February 21, 2018

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Daily Tech Headlines – February 21, 2018
Number 443
Broadcast Date FEBRUARY 21, 2018
Episode Length 4:06
Hosts Tom Merritt

Apple might buy minerals directly from miners, Qualcomm shows off VR/AR headset reference design, Android P may do more to stop camera misuse.


Bloomberg's sources say Apple is in talks to purchase cobalt directly from miners in order to avoid a shortage of the ingredient necessary to make lithium ion batteries. An expected boom in electric cars could cause a shortage in cobalt. Supposedly, Apple wants to secure several thousand metric tons of cobalt a year for five years or more. South Korean oil refiner SK Innovation recently agreed to buy all of Perth's Sconi mine cobalt and nickel for up to 13 years.
Qualcomm showed off a reference design for a VR headset using its Snapdragon 845 chip. The Snapdragon 845 Xtended Reality platform is meant for standalone VR and AR headsets. The chip can support sensors and cameras to provide six degrees of freedom movement controls and simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM). The 845 chip promises 30% faster graphics, 30% better power efficiency and double the display throughput speed compared to the 835. It can handle 2K resolution per eye and foveated rendering.
XDA-Developers reports that code from the Android Open Source Project, merged on January 19, indicated the next version of Android, Android P, will prevent background apps from accessing a device's camera. This would stop apps from using the camera when the user would not expect it to, such as when the screen is off.
In response to Qualcomm raising its offer to buy NXP Semiconductor, Broadcom is lowering its offer to buy Qualcomm from $121 billion to $117 billion. Qualcomm has declined Broadcom's offer but Broadcom has nominated members to Qualcomm's board who will be voted on at a shareholder meeting on March 6.
Uber launched a cheaper ride-hailing service called Uber Pool Express. It's similar to Uber Pool where you share your ride with people heading in the same general direction. But to smooth out the route, Express will require you to walk up to two blocks for your pickup. The option is available in Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and Denver, and will expand to more cities Thursday.
Intel has given PC makers microcode updates to mitigate the branch target injection Spectre attack on its 6th, 7th, and 8th generation Core chips. It also has new updates for its latest Core X-Series and Intel Xeon Scalable and Xeon D processors for datacenters.
Reuters sources say they expect the US FCC to publish its new Internet guidelines on Thursday which would remove the net neutrality rules currently in place. The publication would put the new order into effect and give the US Congress 60 days to overturn the rules.
Security research firm RedLock says it discovered last month that it discovered credentials for Tesla's Amazon Web Services on a Kubernetes console. Tesla corrected the issue and said it only affected test cars. RedLock said someone had taken advantage of the open account and was using it to mine cryptocurrency.
AT&T announced that it will begin mobile 5G service in parts of Atlanta, Waco, Texas and Dallas this year with nine more cities to be announced in the coming months. AT&T made no mention of which devices might support the service as most 5G-capable devices aren't expected until 2019.
Google is debuting Auto Ads, that uses machine learning to decide the number and placement of ads on web pages, taking the burden off publishers. A beta running since last April saw an average revenue rise of 10 percent for participants.
Nest announced that an update to its Cam IQ software allows the indoor version of the camera to natively support Google Assistant. Nest also added a cheaper $5 a month cloud storage plan that gives 5 days.


Preceded by:
"Daily Tech Headlines – February 20, 2018"
Daily Tech Headlines – February 21, 2018
Followed by:
"Daily Tech Headlines – February 22, 2018"