TechSummit Rewind #020: April 21, 2015

Editor’s Note: This Is the TechSummit Rewind, a daily look at the day’s top technology stories.

Amazon Web Services can make predictions

Amazon Web Services logo

Amazon has launched a machine learning feature for Web Services that lets any developer use it to make predictions.

The company claims that it will now take 20 minutes to solve a problem that previously took 45 days.

PC market shrinks as companies don’t upgrade

If you’re a PC maker that prioritizes on the enterprise, I would scroll past this story.

The PC market shrank between 5.2-6.7 percent in Q1 2015, according to both Gartner and IDC, because companies stopped upgrading from the recently discontinued Windows XP.

Many of the business that PC makers are banking on modernizing have already. IDC claims that this was the lowest volume for PC shipments since 2009, when the world was still clawing back from a recession.

Still, there are some exceptions to the rule. Lenovo is still peaking, and ASUS is resurging on its larger Windows tablets, according to Gartner.

ASUS’ VivoWatch features 10-day battery life

ASUS VivoWatch

ASUS’ newest smartwatch, the VivoWatch, is set to offer 10 days (yes, a week and a half!) of battery life. The fitness-centric device features a stainless steel body, IP67 rating against dust and water, heart-rate monitoring and sleep tracking.

HP’s Omen Pro is a slim laptop for serious work

HP’s Omen Pro might look like an Ultrabook, but it’s a true engineering marvel to see what was jammed inside its 0.78-inch, 4.68-pound unibody aluminum frame.

HP Omen Pro

The Omen Pro packs in Intel Core i7 processors, a NVIDIA Quadro K1100M graphics card and 1080p 15.6-inch screen. It doesn’t come cheap, however, the Omen Pro is available now for a whopping $2,199.

In terms of storage, you’ll receive either HP’s 256GB or 512GB Z Turbo PCIe solid-state drives. Its RAM capacity tops out at 16GB, so if you need more, you’ll have to ditch style for an HP ZBook. Lastly, the Omen Pro runs Windows 7 Professional.

Drone Wars: 3D Robotics puts the heat on DJI with Solo ‘smart drone’

3D Robotics Solo

3D Robotics has upped the ante on rival DJI with the “ready to fly” Solo quadcopter. You’ll still need to bring your own camera though.

The Solo features twin 1GHZ Linux computers: one in the drone and controller, which should give plenty of power for “smart” features without taxing the core flight computer. Other key features include live 720p HD streaming from a GoPro to your phone (or other HDMI-equipped display) from over half a mile away, several cinematic flight modes, autopilot features and a modular “accessory bay.”

It’ll set you back $1,000 for just the drone, and $400 more with a Solo GoPro camera stabilizer. For anyone more than casual filmmakers, this puts the Solo in the same range as the Phantom 3 Professional’s $1,260 pricetag.

“90 percent of our buyers already own GoPros. That means we can put more of the cost, and more of that technology into the Solo.”

– Colin Guinn, 3D Robotics sales & marketing SVP

Essentially, 3D Robotics focuses on the drone, leaving the camera expertise to GoPro.

Despite its name, the Solo is both a consumer-friendly product and a customizable and hackable enthusiast one. Adding new features is as easy as swapping out batteries thanks to the accessory bay. Possible add-ons include indoor-flying or infrared sensors or a ballistic parachute. You’ll also not tied to 3DR’s camera stabilizer, as that’s swappable as well. The battery bay is designed to accommodate bigger cells, and the motor pods can be replaced for four screws.

3D Robotics collaborated with GoPro to give Solo direct access to the camera settings. Stop/start recording when you want, switch from photo to video, change the video mode, or basically anything else, directly from the Solo mobile app.

The Solo’s “cable cam” and “orbit“ modes allow you to set up fancy shots on your own. For example, you can create a virtual “cable” between points, and the Solo will only fly between those points in a straight line, panning and tiling in the process. Or, you can manually pan the camera yourself and remain on the fixed cable.

The Solo launches in May at the aforementioned price points.

Sony’s Xperia Z4 has an image-stabilizing front camera for stable selfies

Sony Xperia Z4

Sony’s unveiled its newest flagship in Japan, and it’s a lot like its predecessor. It has the Z3’s 5.2-inch screen, metal frame, Hi-Res audio support and 25mm wide-angle rear camera lens. Upgrades come in a thinner (7mm) and lighter frame, as well as a new wide-angle front camera with digital image stabilization.

Sony’s also added timer functions for improved posing and group selfies (or “groupies”, if you must). The X4 launches this summer in Japan, in four shades of metal.

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