TechSummit Rewind #040

Editor’s Note: This is the TechSummit Rewind, a daily recap of the top technology headlines.

Apple adds more publishers for its News app

Apple has now garnered over 50 publishers on board with its News app, which will launch with iOS 9 later this year.

“It’s not a hugely complicated application. What [Apple] bring[s] to it is massive distribution, and they’re giving publishers the ability to present their brands, in a way that feels like those brands. We like it when we tell stories in ways that are true to our brands.”

-Troy Young, Hearst digital chief

Hearst is among the partners for the app.

Apple will allow publishers to keep 100% of their own ad revenue and 70% of revenue for ads that Apple sells. Publishers will also get credit from ComScore for the stories that users view, so they can be factored into overall audience numbers.

“The business model is good.”

-Bob Sauerberg, Conde Nast president

Conde Nast will offer six titles through the News app at launch:

  • Vanity Fair
  • Wired
  • GQ
  • Epicurious
  • Teen Vogue
  • Conde Nast Traveler

Four advertisers – Burberry, Ford, Campbell Soup, and Reynolds – have signed up to pay Conde a flat fee regardless of readership on the app.

Twitter restructures product team; promotes Jeff Seibert

Twitter HQ

Jeff Seibert, the man behind Twitter’s developer products for over a year, has been promoted to become the San Francisco, CA-based company’s new head of consumer product.

Twitter senior VP Kevin Weil will still oversee all product at the company, including ad products, developer products, and other consumer properties like Vine and Periscope. Seibert will be responsible for the company’s flagship property, and Senior Director of Engineering Rich Paret will take over Twitter’s developer products.

“We’re lucky to have a number of strong product minds at Twitter and I couldn’t be more excited to have Jeff on my team focused on the core Twitter experience.”

-Kevin Weil, Twitter senior VP

Motorola launches second generation Moto 360 smartwatches

2015 Moto 360

Motorola has taken the wraps off the three distinct smartwatches in the Moto 360 family: a men’s version in two sizes, a women’s version, and a dedicated sport version with an on-board GPS and outdoor-readable display. Motorola is now calling its smartwatch offerings a “collection,” with over 300 possible combinations of looks with bands, colors, bezels, and sizes in the mix.

The men’s and women’s Moto 360s are available to preorder now from Motorola’s website to ship in a couple of weeks for prices between $299.99-$429.99, while the Moto 360 Sport will be available later this year.

Motorola is still using a round watchface for the men’s and women’s 360s with small changes. The men’s version comes in 46mm and 42mm versions, while the women’s version comes with a 42mm face and narrower 16mm strap mounts. The strap mounts on both versions are now standard lugs fused to the outside of the watches, which make it easier to swap bands.

Other details include the button moving to the two o’clock position, and the ability to customize the finish of the small bezel surrounding the display. The men’s version of the watch will be available in silver, gold, and black; while the women’s version is available in silver, gold, or rose gold with a few new strap options like a leather double wrap.

Motorola has kept the overall display shape the same, including the six o’clock position “flat tire” that allows the 360 to have the highest screen-to-case ratio of any smartwatch. The display itself has a slight bump in resolution compared to last year, but is still an LCD.

Looking toward the internals, the new Moto 360s have a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor that should help the 46mm watch last up to two days between charges with the 42mm watch estimated for roughly a day and a half of battery life. Charging is still done via a wireless dock, which comes with the watch purchase.

The Moto 360 Sport has a unique fixed silicone strap and special LCD display that can be read in direct sunlight. It’s based on the 42mm watch, but is chunkier than the standard model. The Sport can also track distance and map runs with its dedicated GPS chip.

The watches are running the latest version of Android Wear, which makes it compatible with both iOS and Android. Motorola is including a couple of new watch faces with “Live Dials,” which can be set to display weather conditions, step count, battery levels, or app shortcuts. At launch, Live Dials can be set to open Shazam, Kevo, IFTTT, and the Ford app at launch, but Motorola is making it possible for other developers to create Live Dials as well.

Huawei Watch goes on sale September 17 for $350-$800

Huawei has announced the U.S. availability of its Huawei Watch that totes Android Wear. The watch will go on sale September 17th and will come in models ranging from $350-$800.

Six models with stainless steel, back, or rose gold-plated watch bodies will be available. The stainless steel and black models are available for pre-order now, with the rose gold models coming later this year.

“Designed first and foremost as a watch, the Huawei Watch is unlike any smartwatch available today.

“We are committed to meeting U.S. consumers’ demands for premium products and the Huawei Watch is a step in that direction. It embodies Huawei’s technology innovation heritage, pursuit of premium design, and integration of useful functionality that we strive to develop in each product.”

-A Huawei spokesperson

The Huawei Watch has a round face and body, standard lugs, and a 42mm diameter. A physical crown sites on the watch body’s two o’clock position. The body is made out of “316L cold-forged stainless steel” with a scratch resistant face made from two-layer sapphire crystal.

The lug design makes it easy to swap in various 18mm bands. The watch also comes with a variety of watch faces that users can switch with for different settings, moods, or activities.

Key features

  • 300mAh battery offers up to two days of battery life in normal use, and fast charging offers 80 percent battery life in 45 minutes, or 75 minutes for a full charge.
  • Always-on watch face gives immediate access to the time
  • WiFi connectivity for instant notifications when the user’s phone isn’t in Bluetooth range
  • Bluetooth 4.1 LE lets users pair directly with Bluetooth devices to enjoy music on the go with/without a smartphone
  • Six-axis motion sensors identify activity automatically
  • Enhanced heart rate monitor delivers measurable health tracking
  • 4-inch (400×400) AMOLED screen offers a resolution of 286ppi

Lenovo at IFA 2015

Smartphones

Lenovo showed off a pile of smartphones at IFA 2015. None of which are coming to North America, but Motorola’s parent company is going to be bringing these phones to China, the Middle East, and Europe.

Starting with the two Phab phones, the base model has a 6.98-inch, 1080p screen and mid-range specs. The upgraded Phab Plus has a slightly smaller 6.8-inch screen with the same resolution, 2GB of RAM, and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor.

The Vibe S1 has two front-facing cameras for your selfie-taking use. The main sensor is eight megapixels while the second is a two megapixel depth-sensing camera for adding bokeh effects. There’s also a MediaTek processor, 3GB of RAM, and 160GB of storage.

Lenovo’s Vibe P1 and P1m have yet another gimmick: a physical switch to put your phone into power-saving mode, and big-a** batteries. The P1m features a 5.5-inch 720p screen and a 4,000mAh battery. The P1 has a nicer 1080p, five-inch screen and a 5,000mAh battery. The aforementioned phone also weighs 6.67 ounces, which isn’t exactly light for a smartphone.

All of these phones will be launching in the next few months.

Tablets

Lenovo also showed off three new Android tablets in their YOGA Tab line: the YOGA Tab 3 8”, the YOGA Tab 3 10”.

The YOGA Tab 3 8” and 10” use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 212 processors clocked at 1.3GHz, while the Yoga Tab 3 Pro 10” ships with an Intel Airmont processor with 4 Atom cores with a peak frequency of 2.24GHz.

Moving on to the displays, both of the non-pro YOGA Tabs use a 1280×800 IPS LCD, while the YOGA Tab Pro features a 10.1” 2560×1600 IPS LCD.

The YOGA Tab 3 Pro 10” also has four front-facing speakers (the non-pro models have two), along with Dolby’s Atmos 3D surround sound processing. It also features a pico projector that can project an image up to 70” in size with a brightness of 50 nits.

The YOGA Tab 3 Pro 10” will be priced at $499 for the WiFi model, and $599 for the LTE model.

Here are the spec sheets:

Model Lenovo YOGA TAB 3 8” Lenovo YOGA TAB 3 10” Lenovo YOGA TAB 3 Pro 10”
Processor 1.3GHz Snapdragon 212 2.24GHz Intel Atom X5-Z8500
Storage 1GB RAM, 16GB internal, microSD card slot 2GB RAM, 16/32GB internal, microSD slot
Dimensions 210x146x3-7mm 253x185x3.5-9.5mm, 655g 179x247x4.6mm at thinnest point, 665g
Camera 8MP rotatable 13MP rear-facing, 5MP front-facing
Battery 6200mAh 8700mAh 10200mAh
OS Android 5.1 Lollipop Android 5.0 Lollipop Android 5.1 Lollipop
Connectivity 802.11b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, microUSB 2.0, Optional LTE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0, microUSB 2.0, Optional LTE

PhantomAlert wants to shut Waze down after alleged theft

waze

PhantomAlert, a company that makes a Waze-like traffic app, has now sued the Google-owned app for copyright infringement.

The Washington DC-based company argued in a filing that a failed data-sharing deal between itself and Waze collapsed in 2010, and within two years, Waze stole PhantomAlert’s “points of interest” database.

“Among other methods, PhantomAlert determined that Waze had copied its Points of Interest database by observing the presence of fictitious Points of Interest in the Waze application, which PhantomAlert had seeded into its own database for the purpose of detecting copying.

“On information and belief, Waze copied the PhantomAlert database on multiple occasions after late 2012, reincorporated the copied data into the Waze application, and continued to display the Points of Interest data to the users of the Waze application.”

-PhantomAlert, in a civil complaint

When Waze was then sold to Google in June 2013, the company handsomely profited from this theft.

“Waze needed to grow its database to increase its value and become more attractive to potential acquires. Our complaint alleges that Waze stole PhantomAlert’s database when Waze could not get it legally, and then sold itself to Google for over $1 billion.”

-Karl Kronenberger, PhantomAlert attorney

The lawsuit asks the court to completely shut down Waze, and order Google to pay damages.

“I started PhantomAlert seven years ago as an entrepreneur with a dream, and now that dream has been crushed by companies that are profiting from the years of blood, sweat, and tears our team put into our product.”

-Joseph Scott Seyoum, PhantomAlert CEO

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