#367 June 23, 2014 – A New Phone from Amazon

This week’s headline story: A new phone from Amazon!

Screen Shot 2014-06-23 at 8.55.25 AMAmazon has released it’s long anticipated smartphone this past week, and caused quite a stir in the media. The new Amazon Fire Phone is obviously well-thought-out, and incorporates new technologies not found in any other smartphone. To begin with, the phone utilizes multiple cameras to track the users face, and determine where the phone is in relationship to the face. This allows the phone to provide 3D effects without the need for 3D glasses. Amazon takes advantage of this unique feature by incorporating 3D effects into many of its apps. Additionally, Fire Phone users can flip their wrist sideways to access menus, and tilt the phone up and down to scroll, making it easy to navigate the phone with one hand. The phone also boasts high-quality sound provided on tangle-free earbuds.

Fire Phone also includes Mayday, an app that provides one-click access to a video chat with Amazon tech support. Mayday is likely to start a new trend in companies offering similar services. In fact, LogMeIn has announced a new release of it’s mobile app Boldchat which provides similar functionality for online businesses.

The killer app on the Fire Phone is Firefly, an app that is able to identify over 100 million items using the handset’s camera, and microphone. You can use Firefly to identify a song that’s playing, a product on the shelf, a work of art, a person’s face, or a TV show or movie. Once identified, Firefly provides useful information such as the artist’s biography, a movie’s description and list of actors, upcoming concerts, and of course the option to buy the item at Amazon with one click. Privacy advocates are warning that Firefly opens the door to unprecedented opportunities for data collection, since each use of Firefly provides Amazon with your location, sounds and images.

Read more about Amazon’s new Fire phone, at Amazon.com.

and elsewhere in Tech News.

  • Can Apple Crack the Smartwatch Code? [WSJ]

    Apple iWatch Reportedly Coming in October [NewsFactor]

    Amazon’s Fire Phone, shared the spotlight this week with Apple’s iWatch. A report in The Wall Street Journal provided a sneak peek at the long-anticipated iWatch indicating that it will be available in various screen sizes, and will contain 10 sensors to track health and fitness. The Journal reports that iWatch shipments could reach as high as 15 million units by end of the year.

  • $50 million Google coding initiative targets girls [USA Today]

    New Push To Get Girls into Computer Sciences [NewsFactor]

    Google is investing $50 million in a project to get girls excited about coding. The project is named Made with Code, and it’s mission is anchored by a website where girls can hear from successful women coders, and learn basic coding technique centered on feminine interests. Google also plans to provide grants to host girl-coding parties at Girl Scouts and Boys and Girls Clubs around the country, as well as fund a range of marketing and other awareness campaigns. The idea is to de-couple coding with dry tech chores, and instead show how the skill is vital to everything from movie-making to helping cure malaria.

  • FCC Examining Reasons for Internet Traffic Jams

    Internet Congestion Found To Be Real and ‘Very Serious’ [NewsFactor]

    A recent study has confirmed that there are areas of the Internet where data traffic gets stuck in bottlenecks that slow down data delivery for hours. The FCC has launched a project to determine the cause of those data traffic jams, and to see if ISP’s are managing their networks reliably and honestly.

  • Bitcoin Faces Biggest Threat Yet: a Miner Takeover [NewsFactor]

    Rise of Powerful Mining Pools Forces Rethink of Bitcoin Design [MIT Tech Review]

    The virtual currency, Bitcoin, is facing a new challenge. A British-based Bitcoin “mining pool” called GHash has amassed nearly half of the Bitcoin computing power and has briefly exceeded 50 percent control. Miners like GHash operate the computers that keep track of bitcoins and create additional coins. The fact that one player can amass majority control could undermine trust in the currency, experts say. Bitcoin is considering changes to it’s algorithms to eliminate the possibility of such a take-over.

  • Android, Windows Phones To Get OS Kill Switches [NewsFactor]

    Following Apple’s lead, Microsoft and Google have announced that Windows Phone and Android phones will soon include a “kill switch” that allows users to render a phone useless if lost or stolen. The news means that 97 percent of smartphones in the United States will soon have a kill switch curtailing the alarming trend of violent smartphone theft.

and in Information Security news this week..

  • Report: Chinese Phone Comes Preloaded with Spyware [NewsFactor]

    A cheap brand of Chinese-made smartphones called Star N9500, have been found to carry preinstalled espionage software. The discovery has caused all phones manufactured in China to become suspect.

and in Tech Industry news…

  • Parallels Remote Desktop App Comes to iPhone, Android [NewsFactor]

    Parallels is the industry’s best virtual machine software for accessing virtual desktops. For example, it’s a popular solution for Mac users who need to run windows apps on their Mac. Now Parallels has released Parallels Access for iOS and Android devices. Using this new app, users can run a full Windows Desktop on their iPad, iPhone, or Android tablet and phone.

  • LinkedIn Rolls Out Job Search App for iPhone [NewsFactor]

    LinkedIn has rolled out a new app for iPhone that allows job-searchers to look for work conveniently and discreetly.

and finally…

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