Tech’s fu­ture is likely to be in goods, with launch of Google Home

Jamaica Gleaner - - SPORTS -

re­searches prod­uct re­calls. “It was only when the sec­ond batch of phones be­gan to fail The com­pany also re­ceived more bad news last Fri­day when fed­eral reg­u­la­tors is­sued an emer­gency or­der ban­ning the Sam­sung Gal­axy Note 7 smart­phone from air­planes. The US De­part­ment of Trans­porta­tion, the Fed­eral Avi­a­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion and the Pipe­line and Haz­ardous Ma­te­ri­als Safety Ad­min­is­tra­tion said the phones can’t be car­ried on flights to, from or within the United States. Pas­sen­gers can’t put them in checked bag­gage, and the phones can’t be shipped as air­freight, the agen­cies said. The or­der went into ef­fect at noon EDT last Satur­day. “We recog­nise that ban­ning th­ese phones from air­lines will in­con­ve­nience some pas­sen­gers, but the safety of all those aboard an air­craft must take pri­or­ity,” said Trans­porta­tion Sec­re­tary An­thony Foxx. “We are tak­ing this ad­di­tional step be­cause even one fire in­ci­dent in­flight poses a high risk of se­vere per­sonal in­jury and puts many lives at risk.” Pas­sen­gers who try to take their Gal­axy Note 7 phones aboard air­craft may be forced to re­lin­quish their de­vices and may face fines, the agen­cies said. “Pas­sen­gers who at­tempt to evade the ban by pack­ing their phone in checked lug­gage are in­creas­ing the risk of a cat­a­strophic in­ci­dent,” they said. “Any­one vi­o­lat­ing the ban may be sub­ject to crim­i­nal pros­e­cu­tion in ad­di­tion to fines.” (TNS): IT’S EASY to imag­ine a fu­ture in which prod­ucts as mun­dane as toast­ers and win­dow blinds will be con­nected to the internet and con­trolled by soft­ware. It’s harder to guess who’s go­ing to make them. Lead­ing pro­duc­ers of con­sumer soft­ware such as Google, Facebook, Ama­zon.com and Snapchat are branch­ing into de­sign­ing phys­i­cal goods at ac­cel­er­at­ing rates. Driven by in­ten­si­fy­ing com­pe­ti­tion for con­sumer at­ten­tion and en­abled by de­clin­ing man­u­fac­tur­ing costs, soft­ware com­pa­nies are en­ter­ing bat­tle with firms as far re­moved from Sil­i­con Val­ley as Timex and Ray-Ban.

The years to come could see Ama­zon mak­ing book­shelves that know what’s on them, gro­cery de­liv­ery app In­stacart ped­dling re­frig­er­a­tors that re­stock on their own and mu­sic-stream­ing ser­vice Spo­tify de­sign­ing head­phones with a cel­lu­lar chip and flip-down video dis­play.

It’s all con­jec­ture for now, but they are real con­sid­er­a­tions for soft­ware be­he­moths that want to so­lid­ify mo­nop­o­lies as well as start-ups seek­ing to up­end tra­di­tional con­sumer brands, tech­nol­ogy ex­ec­u­tives and ad­vi­sors say.

“Ev­ery­thing that’s a phys­i­cal ob­ject is even­tu­ally go­ing to be a com­bi­na­tion of hard­ware and ser­vices,” said Amar Hanspal, se­nior vice-pres­i­dent for prod­ucts at de­sign soft­ware gi­ant Au­todesk. “The more in­dus­trial and com­plex ones are go­ing to come from a tra­di­tional hard­ware com­pany. But the more con­sumeror­i­ented and less com­plex soft­ware com­pa­nies will enter those prod­uct cat­e­gories a lot more.”

The lat­est signs of that fu­ture emerged last Tuesday when Google launched Home, a $130 table­top de­vice com­pa­ra­ble to an alarm clock, ex­cept it re­sponds aloud to spo­ken com­mands and search queries. It also re­vealed a Wi-Fi router and the first fully Google-branded smart­phones. The unveiling caps a turn­about for a com­pany that orig­i­nally limited its mo­bile am­bi­tions to sup­ply­ing free soft­ware to hand­set mak­ers.

Google’s an­nounce­ment came the week after Snap Inc, for­merly Snapchat, shared de­tails about US$130 video-cam­era sun­glasses it’s ship­ping later this year.

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