Daily Tech Headlines – July 19, 2016

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Daily Tech Headlines – July 19, 2016
Number 29
Broadcast Date JULY 19, 2016
Episode Length 6:30
Hosts Rich Stroffolino

Netflix meets earnings but not subscribers, iTunes fixes Apple Music, and Mercedes drives to Haarlem.


Jim Dalrymple at The Loop reports that Apple has started to quietly rollout an update to how Apple Music matches songs in subscribers existing iTunes libraries. Previously, Apple used tagged metadata to identify songs, which caused some errors, especially for live music tracks. The new system uses an audio fingerprint system and is identical to the standalone iTunes Match service already available. Any incorrectly matched songs will be updated using the new system, and Apple Music will not auto-delete incorrectly tagged songs, if they have been downloaded to a users personal library. The company has reportedly begun switching 1-2% of users over to the new system per day.
Mercedes completed a successful trial of their automated bus system in Amsterdam. The creatively named Future Bus travelled 12-miles from the Schiphol airport in Amsterdam to a town called Haarlem, navigating turns, tunnels and traffic lights along the way. A human operator remained in place on the 40-ft bus at all times, but was not needed to take control during the trip. A Mercedes spokesperson stated the company didn't plan to take this model to production, but that the navigation system, CityPilot, could someday be used in a production fleet.
Netflix announced it earned $0.09 per share in Q2 with revenue of $2.11 billion. Analysts had expected earnings per share of $0.03 at the same level of revenue. Netflix also announced it now has 83.18 million subscribers worldwide. Of concern to investors, the company missed its subscriber growth projections, adding only 160,000 subscribers domestically, and 1.52 million abroad. Previous guidance expected 500,000 and 2 million, respectively. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings cited increases in subscription prices as driving increased subscriber churn, resulting in the lower overall subscription numbers, however Hastings remained confident stating: "in terms of new members, which is most of what drives growth, the new pricing is working great.”
Microsoft launched its Stream service for enterprise that allows YouTube like video sharing with corporate security tools. It has likes, comments and recommendations all meant for things like training videos and employee communications. Microsoft is also working on speech to text, automatic translations, face recognition and live streaming. Each video can be assigned access rights, access groups, have access removed and be prevented from sharing outside the company. An API will let companies build apps on top of it too. Stream will eventually converge with Office 365 video. The service is available as a free preview.
HP will begin shipping its new Windows Phone, the Elite x3, starting August 29th in the US. The phone will sell for $699, or $799 with an included desktop dock, which will work with Windows' Contiuum feature, to enable desktop capable computing from the phone. A laptop shell will also be available, although HP declined to comment on a price or date. HP is aiming the device squarely at businesses, and has been working with companies on app virtualization software for the device.
Samsung announced today that Samsung Pay is now available on their Gear S2 and Gear S2 classic smartwatches. The feature rolls out in public beta, and payments can be made at NFC terminal, Magnetic Secure Transmission not being supported. Of note, users will have to reenter card information directly to the watch, information will not be carried over from a Samsung Pay app on a phone. Additionally, the feature is not currently supported on 3G enabled models. The beta remains US only at this time.
In obligatory Pokemon Go news, Bloomberg reports that on the strength of consumer demand for Pokemon Go, Nintendo's market capitalization rose to $39.8 billion in early trading this morning. Significantly, this represents a doubling of the companies value, and pushes the company's market value past Sony Corp. Additionally, the game is scheduled to launch in Japan on July 20th, along with a trial of sponsored gym locations, in partnership with McDonalds. John Russell at TechCrunch reports that further launches in Asia will come in the next two weeks.
Social network Snapchat and personal emoji maker Bitmoji announced a partnership in a blog post earlier today. Snapchat users can now use custom stickers from bitmoji in both snaps and chat. To participate, users must have or create a Bitmoji account, then link it to their Snapchat account.
Drone maker DJI updated their geofencing system to add real time wildfire alerts. This will prevent drones from hampering firefighting efforts. The company is getting this data from AirMap, a company specializing in low-altitude navigational info for drones, which pulls wildfire outbreaks directly from the Department of the Interior's incident command system. Overrides will be available, so the update will not hamper drone use by first responders.
Seagate announced the availability of a new hard drive in their Barracuda Pro line, toping out capacity at 10TB. The platter-based mechanical hard drive is aimed at network and surveillance storage. The new drive will retail for $535.
And finally in breaking gastropod news, researchers at Case Western Reserve University created what they describe as a "biohybrid robot" using 3D printed parts, and the mouth muscle of a California Sea Slug. When using chemical or electrical stimuli to induce the nerves to contract the muscle, the robot can crawl forward at a borderline observable 0.4 centimeters per minute. Doctoral candidate and research lead Victoria Quinn stated the goal of the research is to create "a robot that can manage different tasks than an animal or a purely manmade robot could."


Preceded by:
"Daily Tech Headlines – July 18, 2016"
Daily Tech Headlines – July 19, 2016
Followed by:
"Daily Tech Headlines – July 20, 2016"