Tech Retrospect: Apple's CarPlay revs up and Bitcoin creator supposedly exposed
Miss a few stories this week? We'll get you up to speed with this rundown of all the tech news.
We've been hearing about Apple's in-dash play for some time now, but this week it finally became a proper reality. With a new name at that. What was "iOS in the Car" this week became CarPlay, unveiled with little fanfare in an early morning announcement ahead of the Geneva Motor Show. That's because multiple manufacturers on that show's floor would be showcasing the tech, including Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo.
CarPlay is a means for an iPhone (5 and newer) to power a touchscreen on a new car's dashboard. The interface is iOS-like, but vastly simplified compared to what's seen on phone or tablet. Functionality is limited too, really just letting you access maps and audio, though Siri can read messages to you and take dictation for responses. Also limited is support for third-party apps, with just Spotify, Beats, iHeartRadio, and a few others making the grade for now.
Nearly all the major manufacturers have pledged their support, many releasing cars this year and the rest to follow next. Still no announcements about aftermarket upgrades to existing cars, so if you really want in on this then you may want to start saving for a down-payment. That said, CarPlay is far from the only game in town. MirrorLink and Google's Automotive Link are also set to make waves this year, and if you click on that very link right there you can find out what to expect from all three.
Will the real Satoshi Nakamoto please step forward?
Bitcoin, the cryptocurrency that's been all over the news for the past year or so, was created by an individual calling himself Satoshi Nakamoto. He claimed to be a 37-year-old Japanese man but, at the time, few believed that was his real name. Newsweek, however, did, with journalist Leah McGrath Goodman this week making the claim that a 64-year-old man named Dorian Prentice Satoshi Nakamoto, who lives in California, is indeed the reclusive Bitcoin creator.
However, as I write this, those claims are looking somewhat dubious. Nakamoto has denied being the creator of Bitcoin, speaking to the AP and saying "No no no I was never involved," and that he was misunderstood by the Newsweek journalist. As we go to press it's unclear where the truth lies, but if indeed this all boils down to a mistake it'll prove to be a somewhat inglorious start to Newsweek's highly trumpeted print relaunch.
BlackBerry chief pragmatic as report shows 94 percent of owners traded away
How would you rate BlackBerry's chances for success at this point? The company's CEO John Chen himself weighed in at Mobile World Congress, telling the Financial Times that the company has a "50-50 chance" of pulling through. That's not exactly encouraging, but then neither is another number shown in a supposed internal memo from T-Mobile. Published by TmoNews, the internal report shows that many BlackBerry owners took advantage of T-Mobile's $200 incentive to upgrade to a new phone. However, of those, 94 percent chose to switch to Android or iOS -- despite T-Mo marking an additional $50 off BlackBerry devices. It might just be time to adjust those stakes, John.
Samsung Galaxy TabPro 12.2 ships March 9 for $650
Samsung continues to go boldly where no tablet maker has gone before, releasing devices of all shapes and sizes. Its latest is the 12.2-inch TabPro, which is now expected to ship this weekend, on March 9. The 32GB version will set you back a somewhat steep $650, but for that you do of course get a stylus, plus a lot of premium features including a year of Gogo in-flight WiFi and a $25 Google Play store credit. Why, that's enough to get the entire Angry Birds anthology.
Gmail iOS app just got a lot better
If you're a Gmail user on an Apple mobile device and you've been annoyed by the app's leisurely approach of pulling down your new messages only when you tell it to, it's time for you to update. Google has released a new version of the Gmail app that supports background pre-fetching, meaning it'll always have the latest messages from friends and family ready whenever you crack open that inbox. And your spam. It'll have that too.
Spotify buys Echo Nest
Spotify has a great selection of music, as good as any online service at this point, but is still is a bit hit-or-miss when it comes to helping you find new tunes. That could change very soon thanks to the acquisition of Echo Nest. Echo Nest provides data and metrics about music, helping to interrelate tunes and artists and, in theory, make better recommendations. It already powers Spotify competitors like iHeartRadio, Rdio, and Beats Music, which, if nothing else, should make for a choice revenue stream for the company. You know, just in case this whole streaming thing doesn't work out.
Xbox One update brings improved multiplayer, giant exoskeletons
Gamers around the world are ready for Titanfall, a first-person shooter with giant mechs that's slated to arrive on March 11. Now, the Xbox One itself is ready. Microsoft's latest received the update this week, which makes it easier to find fellow gamers online and also adds a suite of small enhancements. Make sure you update now if you're looking forward to a gluttonous bout of gaming on Tuesday.
Next-gen HTC One given thorough overview
We're still a few weeks away from, HTC's even on March 25, where the company will presumably unveil the successor to the HTC One. But, you can get yourself a fairly comprehensive walkthrough right now courtesy of the video here. The phone, rumored to be called "M8" at least internally, looks to have dual rear cameras and improved speakers compared to the current One. It won't be long now.