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Perhaps the best indicator that the on-officer camera is an idea whose time has come is that business journals are now producing whole articles about the market gains of the companies that provide them. TASER International, Digital Ally, and GoPro have all seen dramatic gains in their valuations as the police surveillance market quietly begins to pick up momentum. Pending Congressional approval, one key driver of this potential windfall will be a new funding initiative from the Obama administration to provide $263 million to improve community relations with police through cameras.
While the crystal ball deep inside ExtremeTech’s technology bunker wasn’t designed for picking stock winner’s, we can provide some analysis of the products already in use by police forces across the country. Between TASER and another company called VieVu, over 70,000 cameras have already been sold to 5000 police agencies. The new funding would potentially equip an additional 50,000 officers with video capability, as well as training in exactly how this new technology should be used.
Automakers think car buyers are in love with slick connected car features, like buying a song you just heard or updating your Facebook status while parking. Not so. More often, drivers and passengers want mainstream features that get them to their destination faster and then find a place to park. The driver’s top five requests today are on-demand real-time traffic information, automated map updates, real-time weather and news, real-time parking spot finder, and driving assessment/coaching.
“This is a defining year for the auto industry [and] the connected vehicle,” said Thilo Koslowski, VP for automotive at the Gartner tech consultancy, speaking at the Consumer Telematics Show in Las Vegas the day before CES opened. “You will see lots of examples [at CES] of the connected vehicle becoming the main innovator of mobile and IOT [Intenet of Things] innovation. It’s about how the car is connected in the future to the other pieces of our daily lives.” This is the Internet of Cars, or IOC.
For the past few years, Canonical, the UK software developer behind the Ubuntu operating system, has been working to extend its traditional desktop operating system into a much broader range of products. Today, the company launched the alpha version of Snappy Ubuntu Core — an ultra-lightweight Ubuntu distribution designed to interface with large-scale cloud application build outs and power the so-called Internet of Things.
Snappy Ubuntu Core is built on the Ubuntu Core project. As the name implies, Ubuntu Core is a barebones, stripped-down implementation of Ubuntu that’s designed to operate in extremely constrained environments. Its advantage is that its software loadout can still be customized with very specific applications, without the additional overhead typically imposed by the full operating system.
Ever since Apple announced that it was building its own smartwatch, fans of wearables have been eager to see what the Cupertino company would deliver. Whether you love it or hate it, Apple has a reputation for excellence, and for waiting until it can deliver a superior experience that make previous products from lesser companies look like floundering newbies by comparison. Now, that long-time reputation for excellence may be sorely tested by the one force in the universe that remains impervious to the company’s Reality Distortion Field — physics.
New reports indicate that while the Apple Watch will pack significant processing power and a fluid, 60Hz display, it won’t deliver much in the way of battery life. 9to5 Mac is claimingthat the CPU inside the Watch is close in power to the Apple A5 and running a stripped-down version of iOS known as SkiHill.
Opera was one of the original internet browser companies, and the only one that is still alive — and independent — from that era. Jon Von Tetzchner was a co-founder of Opera, and his new company, Vivaldi Technologies, has just launched a technical preview of its new browser. Von Tetzchner has said that the purpose of Vivaldi is to build a browser for sophisticated users and to bring back the community, which was a key differentiator for the Opera browser platform.
Competing in the browser market is no mean feat. Today it is a fundamental piece of every operating system platform — that’s the reason Microsoft, Google, and Apple all have integrated browsers in their desktop and mobile offerings. The browser is also a very important piece of tying an end user closer into the platform. Thankfully, browsers have become increasingly better at supporting standards like HTML5 making it easier to build sites and web apps that work consistently across browsers. Compare that to mobile applications, where apps are clearly tied to iOS, Android, Windows, or Blackberry. While browsers are critically important, because of great standards support it’s becoming harder to differentiate the feature set.
In spite of the significant backlashthat the Google Glass pilot program generated, Sony is dipping its toe into the augmented reality market. Dubbed “SmartEyeglass,” these hilariously bulky glasses are currently available for pre-order in Germany and the UK. This initial release is only intended for testing and development purposes, but does Sony really expect anyone to go out in public with these ridiculous goggles on?
Just last month, Google stopped selling the “explorer edition” of Google Glass. And while we’ll likely see another iteration on the concept, it’s clear that Google’s implementation was too conspicuous. SmartEyeglass, however, is even worse. The glasses themselves are bulky and odd-looking, but the addition of a large cable and a controller makes this “developer edition” stand out like a sore thumb.
Pebble set a Kickstarter record when it launched the original Pebble Smartwatch way back in 2012. That’s like the smartwatch stone age. Now it’s back with a new campaign for the Pebble Time, a smartwatch with a color e-paper screen and a somewhat more refined design than the original watch. If you think the internet might react negatively to a second Kickstarter from this company after the first one netted a whopping $10 million, you’d be wrong. It took only 17 minutes for the campaign to smash the $500,000 goal, and it’s now well into the millions.
The Pebble Time seems to have more in common with the original Pebble than the slightly more premium Pebble Steel. It looks nice, but not something you’d get away with wearing at a formal event. The body is plastic and the bezels are fairly large in relation to the screen. The back is curved to allow for a more ergonomic fit on your wrist. It still has physical buttons on the side for control rather than a touchscreen as most other smartwatches rely on. There’s also a microphone for voice interaction, but it’s not clear how that will tie into your phone yet.