So there's this company called Microsoft. Perhaps the name rings a bell. Pretty good at software, services, that kind of thing. They've spent the last five years getting absolutely obliterated on the most important software platform of our time: the mobile phone. Just obliterated, as arch competitors Google, Apple, even Palm (Palm!) have whizzed past, slipping the occasional kick in the ribs to Windows Mobile 6.5, laying in the gutter there. Bleeding pretty badly.
But it seems as if the hemorrhaging may have finally stopped.
Last night, Google announced that it has agreed to invest heavily in a proposed $5 billion, 350-mile power transmission backbone that would provide infrastructure for future offshore wind projects along the mid-Atlantic coast. But even with the backing of one of the world's mightiest tech companies, various financial investment firms, and many important officials in government, the transmission line is going to be something of a technological trick.
When it comes to artificial intelligence Google has a head start, what with all that free data we give them every time we search for a 30 Rock clip. So perhaps it's no surprise that the search giant is the latest enterprise to pursue a future where cars drive themselves via complex, decision-making artificial intelligence software. Over the weekend it was revealed that Google has seven test cars that have driven 1,000 miles each without any human intervention whatsoever.
Logitech just announced the very first Google TV box, to be called the Revue. With video calling, a full QWERTY remote, and lots of apps, it's much more capable than the Apple TV (which is either "streamlined" or "barebones," depending on who you ask). But to get the full Revue package, you'd have to spend enough to buy four--yes, four--Apple TV units. Eeep.
Apple's new Apple TV has been overhauled. It's been shrunk to a tiny black square, with a new interface and some great new features. But while it does some things very well, it's severely lacking in both content and functionality.
Roku just announced that it'll be bringing Hulu Plus to its low-cost streaming video boxes later this fall. It's a great move, one that will move the evolution of TV one step further towards true connectedness. Along with Google TV, Apple TV, Boxee Box, and all the rest, this is part of a major push towards making your TV as web-happy as your computer.
Shweeb first surfaced last summer as a gimmicky but eye-catching tourist attraction. It's a monorail system in which the "cars" are clear plastic pedal-powered bubbles, hanging under the monorail. The cars, equipped with seven gears, supposedly travel very quickly, nearing 30 mph over short distances, as tracked on a 218-yard test track built at the company's New Zealand headquarters.
Just in time for back to school, UC Berkeley researchers have created what might be the coolest backpack ever: a wearable collection of cameras and lasers that maps the interiors of buildings as it goes, instantly generating photo-real 3-D maps of structures.