Alphabet Inc, the new holding company for Google, announced that it expects to start delivering its consumer packages by drones in 2017.
David Vos, the leader for Alphabet’s Project Wing, said his company is in talks with the Federal Aviation Administration and other stakeholders about setting up an air traffic control system for drones that would use cellular and Internet technology to coordinate unmanned aerial vehicle flights at altitudes under 500 feet (152 meters).
Amazon.com is one of the companies that intend to make package delivery by drone a reality. But drone deliveries are not expected to take flight until after the FAA publishes final rules for commercial drone operations in the US, which are expected early next year.
Two years after initial research began, Project Wing was announced in August 2014 with a YouTube video showing a field test of its most viable prototype in Australia.
Watch the Project Wing Prototype
Note that in the US Google was testing Project Wing with NASA. And its becoming a reality in 2017!
Speculation is mounting that Jeremy Clarkson’s new Amazon Prime show be called Gear Knobs, after BuzzFeed discovered a trademark application for the cheeky title by Clarkson’s lawyers, Olswang.
The application was made a fortnight before the former Top Gear presenter announced a deal worth a reported £160m to make a new series with Amazon. It was filed through a shell company, which has also registered the title “Gear Knobs”.
A third title – Speedbirds – was also registered by the lawyers. The Daily Mirror wonders if this name could be new moniker for “a Stig-like character in Clarkson, Hammond and May’s new show”. The filings mean the titles can be used for TV shows and merchandising.
The Top Gear brand was worth an estimated £150m a year in sales to the BBC through a lucrative combination of live shows, DVD sales, and all manner of branded merchandise, including Stig bubble bath and Top Gear birthday cakes.
However, the risqué names may not be what Amazon has in mind. Although the applications were made in the middle of July, at the end of August the company’s boss Roy Price said the team were still struggling to find a name for the show.
When asked about the reported new title, an Amazon spokesman said: “Amazon does not comment on speculation.” Clarkson himself was unavailable for comment on the story.
Earlier this week, his sidekick James May tweeted a photograph of himself with the caption “Here I am again, looking like a nob.”
Before he begins work on his new show, Clarkson will return to the BBC as host of an episode of the satirical news quiz Have I Got News For You.
It will be his first appearance on the BBC since he was dropped from Top Gear after punching producer Oisin Tymon, says BBC News.
After a protracted investigation into the incident, BBC director-general Tony Hall decided not to renew the presenter’s contract, saying that “a line has been crossed” and “there cannot be one rule for one and one rule for another”.
Clarkson’s appearance on Have I Got News For You will coincide with the start of the show’s 50th series.
The 55-year-old presenter had been due to host an episode of the show in April, but pulled out after the so-called ‘fracas’ that cost him his job at Top Gear.
At the time, a statement from production company Hat Trick said: “On reflection, Jeremy Clarkson has decided not to host Have I Got News For You. We fully expect him to resume his hosting duties later in the year.”
Meanwhile, Sky has taken a much firmer line on the prospect of working with Clarkson in the future.
Stuart Murphy, the broadcaster’s entertainment chief, said that he had a ten-second conversation with his colleagues about whether they would like to employ Clarkson after he was dropped by the BBC. But “who nowadays is happy” working with someone who used the n-word, he asked an audience at the Royal Television Society convention last week, The Guardian reports.
Clarkson once mumbled the word while reciting the nursery rhyme Eeny, meeny, miny, moe during an episode of Top Gear.
“His view was it wasn’t transmitted,” said Murphy. “Come on. There’s no need to say that. For him to be so tentative about his apology and loving the fact that he’s a naughty schoolboy. Grow up. It’s a different age, grow up.”
The upshot of Murphy’s short conversation with his colleagues was that none of them were happy to employ Clarkson.
“We are a family brand,” said Murphy. “It would have been short-term gain for long-term mess. He’s not someone we want to work with.”
Clarkson is currently on holiday, but is expected to begin preliminary work on his Amazon show in the next few months.
Experience interactions not possible on other smartphones. Tilt, auto-scroll, swivel, and peek to navigate menus and access shortcuts with one hand. Dive into a new class of immersive apps and games—peek to see detailed views of clothing, shoes, and more in the new Amazon Shopping app for Fire phone, or take on a character’s viewpoint to see around corners and obstacles in games.
Quickly identify printed web and email addresses, phone numbers, QR and bar codes, plus over 100 million items, including movies, TV episodes, songs, and products—simply press and hold the dedicated Firefly button to discover useful information and take action in seconds.
Get free, live, on-device video support with an Amazon expert, 24×7, 365 days a year at the touch of a button. No appointments necessary. Now available over the AT&T cellular network, in addition to Wi-Fi.
A custom-designed sensor system that responds to how you hold, view, and move your phone.
Immersive apps and games
Peek in maps to show Yelp ratings. In Stubhub stadium view, see 90 degrees to the left and right of your seat, as if you were actually there, looking around. In games, like Lili, take on the character’s viewpoint and move your head to look around corners, obstacles, and other objects.
One-handed short cuts
Access menus, shortcuts, and useful information with tilt, swivel, and peek.
Tilt for panels—use the left panel to navigate menus, and the right panel to access useful information and shortcuts, like attaching photos to a text message, viewing song lyrics, and more.
Swivel for access to important notifications and quick actions like Mayday, Flashlight, Settings, and more.
Peek keeps your display uncluttered by revealing additional details and quick actions only when you need it.
With auto-scroll, scan long web pages or read entire books without ever having to touch the screen.
Simply press the Firefly button to instantly identify and take action on…
Phone numbers, web, and email addresses
Firefly identifies printed text on posters, magazines, and business cards—make calls, save new contacts, send emails, and visit websites without typing long addresses.
Movies & TV
Firefly recognizes over 240,000 movies and TV episodes, and 160 live TV channels. Firefly uses X-Ray, powered by IMDb, to show information on actors, plot details, and related content—add titles to your Watchlist or download to watch later.
Firefly recognizes songs so you can access artist information, play related songs, download albums direct to your Fire phone, or add them to your Wish List to purchase later on. With Firefly-enabled apps like iHeartRadio and StubHub, you can create radio stations based on an identified artist, or even find tickets for their next show.
Over 70 million products
Recognize household items, books, DVDs, CDs, video games, and more. Access product details, add items to your Wish List, or order on Amazon straight from your Fire phone.
Amazon’s award-winning customer service, now on your phone.
Free, live, on-device tech support
Simply hit the Mayday button in quick actions and an Amazon expert will appear to help you via live video. Our tech experts can co-pilot you through any feature by drawing on your screen, walking you through how to do something yourself, or doing it for you—whatever works best. Throughout the process, you’ll be able to see the Amazon expert live on your screen, but they won’t see you.
Now available over the AT&T cellular network
In addition to Wi-Fi, Mayday is now available over the AT&T cellular network. Enjoy free, on-device tech support, 24×7, 365 days a year. Normal data charges apply when you are using Mayday over the cellular network.
Help in 15 seconds or less
No waiting in line. No appointment required. The Mayday response time goal is 15 seconds or less.
Optical Image Stabilization, stunning 1080p video, plus free unlimited photo storage in the cloud.
13MP camera with optical image stabilization
Fire phone features a custom-tuned 13 megapixel camera system, with a fast five-element wide aperture f/2.0 lens for crisp, beautiful images. With optical image stabilization, Fire phone keeps the shutter open up to four times longer for stunning shots, even in low light conditions.
Stunning 1080p Video
Capture all the action in stunning HD. Fire phone records in 1080p at 30 fps from both front and rear-facing cameras, for great-looking video whatever you want to shoot.
Never miss a moment
No more fumbling to take a photo. With Fire phone’s dedicated camera button, you can launch the camera in just about a second—even when the screen is off.
Free unlimited cloud storage
Get free, unlimited cloud storage for all photos taken with Fire phone (in full resolution). No more worrying about what to delete.
Automatic back-up to Cloud Drive
Fire phone can automatically back up your photos and videos to Amazon Cloud Drive. Access anytime on Fire phone, other Amazon devices, or Cloud Drive apps.
Panorama, lenticular, and burst capture
Capture even the widest scene with the panorama setting, hold down the shutter button to capture a burst of shots in a fast-moving scene, or combine multiple images in lenticular mode.
Fire phone automatically suggests when to turn on High Dynamic Range (HDR). HDR merges multiple exposures into a more detailed, vibrant image—even in back-lit conditions.
Fire phone comes loaded with a suite of built-in tools and Android apps, with all the apps you want from the Amazon Appstore. For a limited time, Fire phone comes with 1,000 Amazon Coins (a $10 value) for apps, games, and in-app purchases.
Experience a new class of immersive apps and games that use Dynamic Perspective, Firefly, and the enhanced Home Carousel
Useful information at a glance
See news updates from USA Today, Yahoo! News Digest, and more, scan your Pinterest feed, or play recent iHeartRadio stations—all from your home carousel, without even opening the app.
Identify and take action quickly
With Firefly-enabled apps, you can get tickets with StubHub, see trending topics on Twitter, and, coming soon, identify art, wine labels, and more.
A new perspective on gaming
Move your head to look around a world or control a character’s movement in popular games like Lili and Snow Spin. Use the peek feature to see more of the battlefield in Saber’s Edge. Plus, look for exclusive new titles from Amazon Game Studios later this summer.
Ultra-fast launch and load times
A 2.2 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor, combined with 2GB of RAM, enables faster app launch times, quicker website load times, and smoother multi-tasking.
Fast, fluid graphics
An Adreno 330 graphics processor delivers the performance and fluidity needed for immersive gaming, video, and more.
High-speed data and voice support
Fire phone features nine bands of LTE, four bands of GSM, five bands of UMTS for better voice coverage, faster data speeds, and international roaming, plus 802.11ac support, Wi-Fi channel bonding, NFC and Bluetooth support.
Better viewing indoors and out
Fire phone’s 4.7″ HD display features dynamic image contrast, a wide viewing angle, circular polarizer, and an industry-leading ultra-bright display at 590 nits, to making it easy to see in all lighting conditions, indoors and out.
Uncompromised battery life
With advanced power management technology, Fire phone delivers up to 285 hours of standby time, up to 22 hours of talk time, up to 65 hours of audio playback, and up to 11 hours of video playback.
Dynamic Perspective sensor system
Dynamic Perspective uses four ultra-low power specialized cameras—the smallest globally shuttered cameras in existence—plus four infrared LEDs for invisible illumination, real-time computer vision algorithms, and a custom graphics engine rendering at 60 fps.
5.5″ x 2.6″ x 0.35″ (139.2mm x 66.5mm x 8.9mm)
5.64 ounces (160 grams)
2.2GHz Quad-core Snapdragon 800 CPU, with Adreno 330 GPU and 2GB of RAM
4.7″ HD LCD display, with 1280 x 720 resolution at 315 ppi, 590 cd/m2 brightness (typical), 1000:1 contrast ratio (typical)
13 MP rear-facing camera, multi-frame HDR, auto focus, optical image stabilization, f/2.0 5-element wide aperture lens, LED flash
2.1 MP front-facing camera
Fire OS 3.5.0
32 GB or 64 GB
Free cloud storage for all Amazon content, and photos taken with Fire phone
Battery size: 2400mAh. Talk time: up to 22 hours; standby time: up to 285 hours. Video playback: up to 11 hours; audio playback: up to 65 hours.
1080p HD video recording at 30 fps (front- and rear-facing cameras)
Dual stereo speakers with Dolby Digital Plus audio processing
Apple’s iPad ranked first in the list with a score of 836 over a total possible score of 1,000 points. The study questioned tablet owners on five categories. These include performance, ease of use, styling and design, features, and cost.
Apple’s iPad scored high on the first four categories. On the other hand, Amazon’s tablets excelled in the cost category, scoring an overall score of 829 points out of 1,000. Other tablet manufacturers such as Samsung, Asus, and Acer followed close behind in the list, though their scores were all below the study average of 828 points.
The results of the study indicate that tablet owners are less likely to add or replace their units anytime soon. Last year, 37 percent of tablet owners stated they intended to purchase a new unit in the coming year. In the 2013 survey only 27 per cent declared they still intended to buy a new tablet within the year.
The research revealed that consumer satisfaction is higher when the tablet unit is a communal device. In the study, sole users scored 28 points lower in satisfaction compared to those who shared a tablet between four or more people. This leads to the suggestion that group satisfaction may have a significant effect on subsequent purchases and brand loyalty.
Google’s iOS Search app, now with Google Now
Boom, just like that Google has issued an update to its excellent Search app for the iPhone and iPad which enables some of the most popular Google Now features on the iOS platform. At least initially, Google Now on iOS devices doesn’t support some of the features Android users have come to love.
Boarding passes, activity summary, events, concerts, Fandango and Zillow cards aren’t included in the update.
All told, 22 of the 29 card types found in Android have made their way to the iOS edition, including weather, traffic, transit schedules and sports scores. Also: Google Now doesn’t have Push Notifications, which makes the feature less useful than on Android, where Google Now can notify users via alerts of their upcoming appointments, changes to their flight schedule, weather and more.
Your promotional video, screenies and additional details are after the break…
The overall look and feel of Google Now on iOS is virtually indistinguishable from its Android counterpart.
However, Google Now on Android is more seamless due to its integration with Google’s mobile operating system, which includes accessing Google Now anywhere with an upward swipe, but also live-updating home and Locks screen widgets which, of course, are not supported on iOS.
Google Now Cards missing from the iOS build: airline boarding passes, activity summary, events, Zillow, Fandango, concerts, research topic, nearby events.
According to AllThingsD, we should expect upcoming new Google Now Cards on Android first, “and then see them added to iOS later.”
To refresh your cards, just swipe up. You must be signed in to the Search app with your Google Account to use Now features.
Google’s blog post reads:
Google Now is about giving you just the right information at just the right time. It can show you the day’s weather as you get dressed in the morning, or alert you that there’s heavy traffic between you and your butterfly-inducing date-so you’d better leave now!
It can also share news updates on a story you’ve been following, remind you to leave for the airport so you can make your flight and much more. There’s no digging required: cards appear at the moment you need them most-and the more you use Google Now, the more you get out of it.
Here’s a promo clip.
The app icon has also been slightly tweaked.
From release notes:
• get just the right information at just the right time with Google Now. • weather and traffic conditions before you start your day • updates on your favorite sports teams and breaking news stories as they happen
Research firm comScore today issued a new survey of the world’s top web properties. Apple.com, which comScore ranked the world’s eleventh most-popular web site last year, climbed to the #8 slot, reflecting the growing popularity of Apple gadgets in the post-Jobs era. Matter of fact the Apple.com web site recorded a 54 percent increase in the number of hits compared to last year.
That’s a significant difference versus a 38 percent average gain for the top 100 measured web properties and the largest increase in the top ten rankings. It should be noted that the web analytics company now finally includes both hits from desktop as well as mobile devices. Go past the fold for the full breakdown…
By comparison, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft sites lead the top three with sixteen, thirteen and six percent gain, respectively, followed by Facebook (up twenty percent) and Amazon sites (up 27 percent).
comScore’s numbers are platform agnostic. Mobile hits include all smartphone and tablet platforms and desktop includes audience reached via video.
The average property within the Top 100 increased its audience size by an average of 38 percent, and 19 of those properties had incremental mobile audiences that extended the reach of their desktop audiences by at least 50 percent, comScore noted.
Here are the full top 50 rankings.
As you can see, the properties with the greatest incremental percentage gains from mobile were Groupon (223 percent), Zynga (211 percent) and Pandora (183 percent).
comScore claims its new MMX Multi-Platform offers “unduplicated accounting of audience size and demographics” across the desktop, smartphone and tablet platforms, one which reflects today’s multi-platform digital media environment.
We’re always taking any kind of survey or research with a healthy dose of skepticism and so should you. Still, this particular survey highlights key trends and the fact that Apple’s web site is climbing in rankings ahead of, say, CBS is notable in and of itself.