Daily Tech Headlines – February 23, 2018

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Daily Tech Headlines – February 23, 2018
Number 445
Broadcast Date FEBRUARY 23, 2018
Episode Length 4:47
Hosts Tom Merritt

Google launches its Augmented Reality system out of beta, researchers develop a way to charge cell phones with lasers, and Microsoft and Xiaomi team up on AI.


Google's ARCore system is out of beta as version 1.0 launches on the Google Pixel, LG V30s, the ZenFone AR, OnePlus 5 and recent Samsung phones. ARCore now supports anchoring of virtual objects to any textured surface. Developers can submit apps that support ARCore to the Play store now, with Snap, Sotheby's and JD.com among the first to do so. Google is also parterning with certain OEMs in China to let non Google Play devices take advantage of ARCore there. Also the Lens visual search tool is now part of Google Photos on Android and iOS 9 or later.
Google also announced updates to Google Assistant including the launch of Routines which lets you ask for multiple actions at once. Later this year, Google Assistant will also get deeper integration with phone makers and mobile carriers to be able to handle requests specific to those devices or services. Assistant also will add 30 languages by the end of the year and the ability to automatically tell what language you're speaking.
Google's Play Store will also now accept payments from Safaricom's M-Pesa in Kenya. M-Pesa has 27.8 million users and Safaricom has 13 million smart phones on its network.
Xiaomi and Microsoft signed a Strategic Framework Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate in cloud computing and hardware. Xiaomi will use Microsoft Azure for cloud services. The two companies will co-market Xiaomi's Windows laptop-style devices. And the two will collaborate on Cortana-powered speakers. They also intend to pursue multiple projects that use Microsoft AI tech.
CBS Sacramento in California reports that Elk Grove, California's police department has received around 1,600 accidental emergency calls in the last four months. The calls seem to be coming from a nearby Apple refurbishment center, since dispatchers report sometimes hearing conversations in the background about Apple devices and repairs. Apple told CBS Sacramento that it was aware of the issue and was working with the police stations to rectify it.
Last August, Opera delisted its Opera Max app which compressed data to help users with low data caps. The app remained functional for existing users. Friday, Samsung announced it will update the app for Samsung Galaxy devices users to be called Samsung Max and continue to work. Other users will see the app disabled with the next update.
Mobile World Congress kicks off in Barcelona Monday, February 26. The press conferences kick off Sunday the 25th with Huawei at 8 AM Eastern, Nokia at 10 AM and Samsung at 12 Eastern. Sony's press conference is Monday at 2:15 AM eastern and Asus has their announcement Tuesday at 1:30 PM eastern.
Intel, Apple and Alphabet sent letters Thursday in response to questions from US Representative Greg Walden, chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Alphabet said it informed Intel, AMD and ARM of the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities in June 2017. Intel said it did not inform the US government of the issue until the flaws were made public in January, because there was no evidence the flaws had been exploited. Alphabet initially gave the companies a standard 90 days to address the issues before public disclosure but extended the deadline to Jan. 3 then Jan. 9.
HP Incorprated said rising PC and printer sales lead it to expect 2018 earnings to be $1.90 to $2.00 up from a previously expected $1.75 to $1.85. Revenue for its personal systems business rose 15% last quarter beating expectation. Revenue from its printer business rose 13.7 percent.
Scientists at the University of Washington have developed a system to charge batteries with lasers. A thin power cell was mounted to the back of a smart phone and charged by a laser across the room. Currently, the beam is capable of about 2 watts per hour on a 9 square centimeter area from about 4.3 meters away. The researchers believe they can expand this to 100 square centimeters, from a distance of 12 meters.
Nissan will begin testing it's autonomous taxi service called Easy Ride on March 5th along a set route between Nissan's HQ and the Yokohama World Porters shopping center. Mobile Developer DeNA will provide the app. The test will last a couple weeks with the aim to have the service ready for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.


Preceded by:
"Daily Tech Headlines – February 22, 2018"
Daily Tech Headlines – February 23, 2018
Followed by:
"Daily Tech Headlines – February 26, 2018"