This Day in Tech: HP saying goodbye to WebOS, PC unit

Too busy to keep up with the tech news? Here are some of the more interesting stories from CNET for Thursday, August 18.

Boonsri Dickinson
Boonsri Dickinson is a multimedia journalist who covers science, technology, and start-ups. She is a contributing editor at CBS SmartPlanet, and her work has appeared in Wired, New Scientist, Technology Review, and Discover magazine. E-mail Boonsri.
Boonsri Dickinson
2 min read

Too busy to keep up with the tech news? Here are some of the more interesting stories from CNET for Thursday, August 18.

Jon Rubinstein introduces the HP TouchPad, a WebOS-based tablet, in February 2011. James Martin/CNET

• The world's largest computer maker Hewlett-Packard announced today that it's buying software company Autonomy for $10.2 billion. But its also bidding farewell to its WebOS and PC units. HP appears to be following IBM's trajectory and is getting more into the analytical software business.

• IBM is producing the first working cognitive computing chips that are meant to perform like a human brain. The chips are expected to power computers with processors that mimic the human brain's cognition, perception, and action abilities. CNET's Daniel Terdiman wrote late last night: "While it's too early to say exactly what kind of applications will be powered by the new chips, (project leader Dharmendra) Modha suggested that they will likely tackle some of the thorniest problems in computing. Among those he foresees are programs that could analyze financial markets with extreme precision and attention; that could monitor global water supplies and track and report information on things such as wave height, ocean tides, water temperature, and even issue tsunami warnings; and those that could allow a supermarket worker to instantly sense when produce has gone bad."

• Here's a scoop: Smartphone maker RIM is in talks with four record labels to launch a music service for BlackBerry Messenger, sources tell CNET. The BBM service is an instant message service that lets cell phone users chat instantly over the Internet.

• A new Apple patent hints at an augmented reality camera app, which will help users navigate unfamiliar terrain. That's just one of 20 new patents awarded to Apple today. Others include a multitouch display and MagSafe for a future iPad.

• You can now see weather updates on Google Maps. Rain or shine, the weather layer allows people to see cloud cover and current weather conditions on Google Maps.

• The online note-taking service Evernote acquired Skitch, a Mac drawing app.

• You can erase your search history, but supercookies might still be lurking. Major Webs ites such as MSN.com and Hulu.com have been using this method to track people's online activities, according to The Wall Street Journal.

• Cell phone use could reduce sperm count and damage sperm quality, study says.

• AT&T will get rid of its 1,000 text message plan for new customers. It's new unlimited text messaging service will cost more. "The vast majority of our customers prefer unlimited plans," an AT&T spokesman told CNET in a phone conversation today. "And with text messaging growing, the number of people interested in these plans will keep growing."