TechSummit Rewind 153

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

Caavo’s $400 set-top box unites Amazon, Apple, everything else into one TV interface

caavo

Caavo is hoping to solve the problem of having to switch inputs with its $399 multi-port box that puts all of your streaming video apps into one interface, and even works with third-party voice control, like Amazon’s Alexa.

Company co-founders Andrew Einaudi and Ashish Aggarwal, who serve as CEO and CTO, respectively.

The Caavo – named because “un cavo” translates to “one cable” in Italian – is a 16-inch, four-pound flat box with eight HDMI inputs, an Ethernet port, two USB ports, a power port, and a 3.5mm jack for an IR extension cable. There are three different aesthetic options for the top of the box (bamboo, mahogany, and tiger wood) and a steel base to keep it in place.

The idea here is to run all of your external TV boxes (Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV, cable box, etc.) through the Caavo and it will present every video option available to you in the same bare-bones interface. It supports 4K video and also comes with a capacitive touch, voice-control remote.

The box won’t ship until the fall, and is still a work in progress. It doesn’t support all DVR features right now. Dish and DirecTV DVR work, but other time-shifting features require “direct partnerships,” according to the company. The company is also still figuring out dynamic pricing to show users the cheapest option for watching movies or TV shows.

Four hundred dollars is a bit much for a streaming TV device, considering that a Chromecast sets you back only $30 and an Apple TV is half the Caavo’s asking price. However, the company assumes that you wouldn’t be afraid to spend on a better TV experience.

Only 5,000 Caavos are planned to ship in its first year of availability, citing a desire to make sure the product is “absolutely nailed” first.

Alexa now supports Outlook.com calendars

amazon-echo

Amazon has updated Alexa with support for Outlook.com calendars. You can use Alexa to add or review upcoming events in a calendar with commands like “what’s on my calendar?” or “add an event to my calendar.”

No update is required as the update was launched in the background. You can add it now in the Alexa app for iOS or Android and on the web under settings > calendar.

Makerbot lays off 30% of its staff as company’s scope narrows

makerbot-replicator-2-dual-head-3d-printer-4

Makerbot is laying off 30 percent of its staff in an ongoing effort to adapt to a changing market.

“We have to make additional changes to lower costs and to support our long-term goals. As part of these changes, we will further integrate our hardware and software product development under one team.”

– Nadav Goshen, Makerbot CEO

Shopify reports bigger loss as expenses soar

Shopify

Shopify reported a bigger quarterly loss Wednesday as operating expenses jumped 80 percent.

The company’s net loss widened to $8.9 million ($0.10/share) in the fourth quarter that ended Dec. 31, from $6.3 million ($0.08/share) a year ago.

The Ottawa-based company’s revenue rose from $70.2 million to $130.4 million.

Jaguar doesn’t think you should have to leave the car to pay for gas

jaguar-shell-partnership

Jaguar and Shell are teaming up to launch a new feature that lets drivers pay for gas without leaving their car. Starting today, drivers of select models will be able to use their car’s touchscreen display to pay for fuel at participating gas stations with a cashless payment app produced by Shell. The feature, which is available in 2018 Jaguar F-PACE, XE, and XF models, uses PayPal or Apple Pay to make the secure payments with Android Pay expected to be added later in the year, according to Jaguar.

The new service will roll out globally later but will initially be available only at Shell’s UK stations. Jaguar is also working on similar in-car payment services for parking and drive-through restaurants.

“In a world where cash is no longer king, customers are increasingly using electronic payments and contactless cards. Making a payment directly from a car’s touchscreen will make refueling quicker and easier.”

– Peter Virk, Jaguar Land Rover director of Connected Car & Future Technology

Of course, you’ll still need to leave your car to actually pump gas, so the time saved isn’t going to account for much.

Signal’s newest update brings video calling, privacy concerns

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Encrypted communications app Signal has brought video calling to both Android and iOS in a new update. However, it also brings support for CallKit on iOS, which includes a privacy issue into an otherwise secure app.

CallKit, a new iOS 10 feature, makes Signal act more like the regular iOS phone app. It lets Signal calls be answered from the lock screen and lists those calls in your “Recent Calls” list. Signal notes that the added convenience could lead to some data being synced to iCloud, including who you called and how long you spoke to them. CallKit is an optional feature and will only work when both parties opt in to avoid data leakage. Video calling is also optional.

According to Wired, Signal is still assessing the feature and might only display “Signal users” in an iPhone’s call log or offer a privacy tutorial to help users understand their settings options.

FTC Disclosure: Paw Print Media, the parent company of Paw Print, is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

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