The Upload: Your tech news briefing for Thursday, May 28
- 28 May, 2015 21:13
Lenovo's concept for a new smartphone with a projector on top.
Lenovo's concept smartphone lets you interact with projected images
A Lenovo concept smartphone that's fitted with a laser projector module can display content on a hard surface, like a table or wall, where users will be able to interact with the projected images. On Thursday, Lenovo showed off "Smart Cast," which can also read the gestures of users interacting with the projected images: in one demo, a user was able to play a song on the image of a piano keyboard projected onto a table.
Google said to be planning a do-over on mobile payments
As Google's annual I/O developer conference kicks off on Thursday, the New York Times reports that one of the areas rumored to be overhauled is mobile payments, where the search giant's Google Wallet has underwhelmed to date. The Times says that it will introduce a service called Android Pay for making credit card payments from inside mobile apps, while Google Wallet will be recast as a peer-to-peer payments app for sending money to your friends.
Mobile users may get tools to block spam texts and calls
It may be impossible to find a mobile phone user who won't welcome the news that the U.S. Federal Communications Commission wants to give them more tools to block unwanted text messages and phone calls. A new proposal would close loopholes in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 that have allowed some marketers, bill collectors and other businesses to send unwanted text messages or make unwanted robocalls.
Sidecar eyes alcohol, drug delivery
While Uber and Lyft fight it out in the cutthroat ride-hailing app business, Sidecar is busy carving out a unique niche: After adding medical marijuana deliveries to its portfolio of services offered in San Francisco earlier this month, it's now in talks with potential partners to deliver alcohol and pharmaceutical drugs to its users. CEO Sunil Paul said it aims to have those items on board by the end of the year.
Look for Apple Watch developer kit coming soon
A software development kit for writing native Apple Watch apps is on the near-term horizon, re/code reports. At the moment, developers have been limited to customizing iPhone apps so that they can take advantage of some Watch functions. With the new SDK, developers can write games to run on the watch, and also access its sensors.
Fitness band companies take rivalry to court
Wearables in the fitness space may be an endangered species as multi-function smartwatches take off, but two of the leaders in that market are taking their intense rivalry to court in California. In a complaint filed Wednesday, Jawbone is accusing rival Fitbit of "systematically plundering" its employees, trade secrets and intellectual property.
German judge says ad-blocking software is perfectly legal
A case brought by German media groups upset that ad-blocking software cuts into their revenue streams has gone against the plaintiffs, the Financial Times reports. The Munich district court ruled Wednesday that not only is the software legal, so is offering advertisers the paid option to get on a "whitelist" of ads that aren't blocked. The media companies had claimed that Adblock Plus violates laws on competition and copyright, among others.
Chip maker Avago may be close to buying Broadcom
Avago Technologies is in advanced talks to acquire Broadcom in a potential deal that could mark the latest consolidation in the global semiconductor industry, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. Broadcom makes chips for a wide range of communications products, including wired and wireless networks, connected home and car equipment and the Internet of Things. Avago's silicon goes into industrial and enterprise storage gear as well as wireline and wireless networks.
Computer chips made of wood promise greener electronics
Researchers have developed semiconductor chips that are almost entirely made out of wood-derived material. Aside from being biodegradable, the chips could be produced for only a fraction of the cost of conventional semiconductors, according to the researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For the substrate of the chip, they used cellulose nanofibril (CNF), a flexible, transparent and sturdy material with suitable electrical properties.
The International Drone Expo in Japan featured a number of unusual UAVs, like glider-shaped machines that can take off vertically, drones with flashing lights and palm-sized flyers.
One last thing
A security researcher explains why proposed export controls on cybersecurity tools could make the world more dangerous and send people like him to jail.