TechSummit Rewind 131

This is the TechSummit Rewind, a daily recap of the top technology headlines.

Google will launch two flagship smartwatches early next year

Tag Heuer Intel-powered smartwatch

Google will launch two new flagship smartwatches in the first quarter of next year, according to Android Wear product manager Jeff Chang. The watches will the flagship devices for Android Wear 2.0 and will launch with the platform.

The new models will be branded with Google’s manufacturing partners, similar to Google’s Nexus smartphone program.

After the new watches launch, existing Android Wear devices will be updated to Android Wear 2.0. The update will bring standalone apps that don’t require a phone to operate, Android Pay support, and support for Google’s voice-controlled Assistant.

The following devices will get the update:

  • Moto: 360 Gen 2, 360 Sport
  • LG: Watch Urbane 2nd Edition LTE, Watch Urbane, G Watch R
  • Polar: M600
  • Casio: Smart Outdoor Watch
  • Nixon: Mission
  • Tag Heuer: Connected
  • Fossil: Q Wander, Q Marshal, Q Founder
  • Michael Kors: Access Bradshaw Smartwatch, Access Dylan Smartwatch
  • Huawei: Watch, Watch Ladies
  • Asus: ZenWatch 2, ZenWatch 3

Other partners will also release new Android Wear 2.0-compatible devices throughout 2017. Google has claimed its commitment to supporting and promoting these launches in order to help build awareness.

“We’ve enabled a lot of diversity with our hardware partners to target different types of consumers and preferences. This is a marathon, not a sprint. This category of product is here with us to stay.”

-Jeff Chang, Android Wear product manager

Uber’s self-driving cars flee to Arizona after California troubles

uber-self-driving-car-transportation-930x620

Uber has begun implementing its Plan B for where it will test out its self-driving cars, moving the vehicles to Arizona with riders beginning to see them on the roads early next year.

“Our cars departed for Arizona this morning by truck. We’ll be expanding our self-driving pilot there in the next few weeks, and we’re excited to have the support of Governor Ducey.”

-An Uber spokesperson

“Arizona welcomes Uber self-driving cars with open arms and wide open roads. While California puts the brakes on innovation and change with more bureaucracy and more regulation, Arizona is paving the way for new technology and new businesses. This is about economic development, but it’s also about changing the way we live and work. Arizona is proud to be open for business. California may not want you, but we do.”

-Doug Ducey, Arizona governor

Canada declares “high-speed” internet essential telecommunications service

internet1

Canada has declared high-speed broadband internet access a “basic telecommunications service” that every citizen should be able to access.

“The future of our economy, our prosperity and our society – indeed, the future of every citizen – requires us to set ambitious goals, and to get on with connecting all Canadians for the 21st century.”

-Jean-Pierre Blais, Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) chair

The CRTC has also set new goals for download and upload speeds. For fixed broadband services, all citizens should have the option of unlimited data with speeds of at least 50 megabits/second for downloads and 10 megabits/second for uploads. Mobile coverage simply calls for “access to the latest mobile wireless technology” in cities and major transport corridors.

According to the commission, some two million Canadian households (18 percent of the population) currently don’t have access to their desired speeds. That’ll be helped by a $750 million government fund to help pay for infrastructure over five years. The CRTC expects 90 percent of the Canadians to have access to the new speeds by 2021.

The commission also mandates that wireless service providers will have to offer platforms that address the needs of people with hearing or speech disabilities within six months. According to Blais, this timeline is necessary because the country “can’t depend on market forces to address these issues.”

Pokemon Go comes to Apple Watch

pokemon-go-apple-watch

Niantic has brought the smash hit Pokemon Go to the Apple Watch, letting you more easily play Pokemon without having to always pull out your phone. Instead, you can tap to find nearby Pokemon, collect items from PokeStops, and even log your gameplay as a “workout.”

Your Apple Watch fitness sessions will also count towards hatching your Pokemon eggs and receiving candy with your Buddy Pokemon.

The app will also send push notifications about a variety of important in-game events, according to Niantic, including when they’re nearby Pokemon to catch, when you’re near a PokeStop, when your Eggs hatch, and when medals are awarded. However, you’ll still need to break out your iPhone when it comes time to actually catch the Pokemon.

The app is rolling out now in all markets where the main game is available.

Google employee sues company for being too confidential

Google.jpg

A Google product manager has filed a lawsuit in the San Francisco California Superior Court against the company for its confidentially policies on the grounds that they violate California labor laws. The suit alleges that Google operates an internal “spying program” on its own employees.

“Google’s motto is ‘don’t be evil.’ Google’s illegal confidentiality agreements and policies fail this test.”

-The lawsuit

The suit alleges that a Google co-founder reiterated at a company all-hands meeting that anyone who leaks confidential info would be terminated.

If Google is found guilty of violating California labor law, it could be fined up to $100 for each of the 12 alleged violations, multiplied by its over 61,000 employees. That fine doubles to $200/pay period/employee, up to an entire year, if any of the violations persisted past a single pay period. That means the maximum payout here could be as much as $3.8 billion, giving each Google employee around $14,700. The suit specifically mentions a Securities and Exchange Commission guideline that bans companies from preventing their employees from interacting with the agency about potential violations.

According to the lawsuit, Google’s Code of Conduct classifies confidential information as “everything at Google.” The company operates “Stop Leaks,” a program that encourages employees to report suspicious behavior, which includes other employees asking detailed questions about projects or other work details. The suit alleges that Google “suppresses information” about potentially illegal products or regulatory-skirting practices by advising employees not to include details signaling how the company may have broken the law or violated contract terms.

“We will defend this suit vigorously because it’s baseless. We’re very committed to an open internal culture, which means we frequently share with employees details of product launches and confidential business information. Transparency is a huge part of our culture. One employee confidentially requirements are designed to protect proprietary business information, while not preventing employees from disclosing information about terms and conditions of employment, or workplace concerns.”

-A Google spokesperson

Djay Pro comes to iPhone for $5

After a year on the iPad, Djay Pro is launching on the iPhone today with the same headline features: the ability to mix four tracks at once, to control video alongside the tracks, and to easily get started.

As the name suggests, it’s meant for those who want to use the app to DJ at clubs and parties and need the ability to queue additional tracks and visuals.

In addition, the app also includes the ability to add more cue points on each track compared to Djay 2, 3D Touch and haptic feedback support, and has deeper Spotify integration, like the ability to select streaming quality.

The app is available now (for a couple weeks) at a sale price of $4.99 that’ll eventually get bumped up to $9.99. The app supports the iPhone 5 and newer.

BitTorrent Live comes to iOS

bittorrent-live

Six months after its initial launch, BitTorrent Live has launched on iOS. It’s already available on the Fire TV, Apple TV, and macOS.

While the service offers a somewhat lackluster offering of 16 channels – including NASA, France 24, and One World Sports – the technology behind BitTorrent Live is significant. The service relies on peer-to-peer technology, casting viewers as a broadcaster for a more distributed method of streaming video that the company claims offers lower latency and more scalable steaming compared to traditional methods.

The app’s available now in the App Store.

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