Talks About Tech Weekly 087: The Connected Home

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Nest Bought by Google
This week Google bought the company Nest for $3.2 billion. Google have been buying lots of companies recently including the robotics company Boston Dynamics. Nest have a smart thermostat for your heating system that allows you to schedule your thermostat based on your daily schedule and you can control it from mobile devices and from the web.

So why would Google want to buy Nest? Maybe because they have patents that Google want. Another possibility could be that Google are interested in the Connected Home idea. The Connected Home is a concept that has been around for a while now and the idea is that you can monitor everything in your house, turn devices on and off and create schedules when you want them to turn on or off. An example is for all the lights in the house to turn on once the house begins to get dark and they automatically turn off the lights at 1am. Nests technology is right down the connected home’s alleyway.

Barack Obama NSA Reform
Barack Obama has begun a reform of the NSA which includes putting restrictions on the information that they can withhold. The majority of the restrictions were on the NSA’s ability to tap phone conversations. Obama can’t just change the NSA in an instant though. His proposition now has to be passed by congress and government departments before it can be put into place. The speech does not address the biggest issue of all which is PRISM.

Google Smart Contact Lenses
Google has made a prototype contact lenses that checks glucose levels in tears. This is extremely useful for diabetics. On the lens is a tiny glucose sensor and transmitter that take up very little power and can relay data to any device. Google says that this product might take 5 years to get into production but it’s still very cool.

Beats Music
Beats music is a new service coming out from Dr.Dre and Jimmy Lovine on the 31st January to compete with Spotify, Rdio, Google Play Music and all of the other music services out there. It won’t have a big library of music to start but what they want to do is be able to tell you the music you would like by asking questions about your taste and analysing the type of music you listen to. It will be purely subscription based and will cost $10 per month with a special for AT&T customers $15 per month for 5 family members on 10 devices. I’m always on for another alternative to keep competition in the space and beats music does provide a different solution to others in the space.

Windows 9
Rumours and leaks are saying that Microsoft will release an update 1 to Windows 8.1 in April. Along with that in April the BUILD conference is in April and there are rumours of Windows 9. That said Microsoft will probably only be showing concepts and will not actually have a product. Windows 8 didn’t really take off so what are Microsoft going to do in Windows 9 to improve it? Well I would definitely like to see a return of the full start menu. I don’t think Microsoft will let go of the Metro interface in Windows 9 though. What I do think they will do is make it easier to bypass the Metro interface. It will be very interesting to see what they will do in April.

Tech We’ve Been Using This Week
This week Kevin and I came second in a video competition and we both won new iPad Mini Retina’s. These tablets come packed with the A7 chip and a 7.9inch retina display that comes in at a resolution of 2048×1536. I have had an iPad 2 for a long time now and I love it but I find the smaller form factor of the mini is just brilliant! It’s much faster than the old iPad 2 and the screen is just amazing! Text looks so clear and crisp it makes the iPad 2 display look like 8-bit. It’s just incredible. The price tag is pretty steep though. The 16GB model starts at €399 but they are great prizes to get though.

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