Echo isn’t just for sound anymore. Amazon on Tuesday announced Echo Show, a new version of its popular smart speaker that comes with a 7-inch color touchscreen, 5-inch front-facing camera and dual 2-inch Dolby speakers. The unit is priced at $230 — or two for $330 — and will start shipping June 28. With its screen, it can show YouTube videos, access home security cameras, display photos and scroll lyrics as you listen to songs from streaming services like Amazon Music, Pandora, Spotify, TuneIn, iHeartRadio and others.
A 7-year-old flaw in Intel chips could enable hijackers to gain total control of business computers and use them for malicious purposes. The Intel AMT vulnerability is the first of its kind, according to Embedi, which released technical details about it last week. Attackers could take advantage of the flaw to get full control over business computers, even if they were turned off, provided they were plugged into an outlet, according to the firm, which makes security products for embedded and smart devices.
Google and AIY Projects have launched an open source DIY artificial intelligence Voice Kit for Raspberry Pi hobbyists. The AIY Voice Kit includes hardware for audio capture and playback, connectors for the dual mike daughterboard and speaker, GPIO pins to connect low-voltage components such as micro servos and sensors, and an optional barrel connector for a dedicated power supply. The Voice Kit can use cloud services such as Google Assistant SDK, which is enabled by default, or it can use the Cloud Speech API or run completely on-device.
Car residual prices are collapsing, based on an alert that crossed my desk last week, and it struck me that we haven’t considered much the secondary impacts of having self-driving cars, and the changes that will result from turning automobiles into four-wheeled elevators. Many industry players are treating self-driving cars much like cruise control: a nice-to-have option that will make driving much easier and safer. There are a lot of industries that will be impacted by this, though, both positively and negatively.
The first reviews of the new KEYone BlackBerry handset appeared this week, and the early consensus is that this device will appeal to BlackBerry fans who want its familiar physical QWERTY keyboard coupled with the functionality of Google’s Android OS. This handset technically is not a true BlackBerry — it is the first device from TCL since it entered a licensing agreement with BlackBerry Limited, formerly Research In Motion. TCL’s license agreement covers the name and hardware patents, including the QWERTY keyboard.
A phishing scam that surfaced earlier this week used Google Docs in an attack against at least 1 million Gmail users. However, that amounted to fewer than 0.1 percent of Gmail users were affected, according to the company. Google last year put the number of active monthly Gmail users at more than 1 billion. Google shut down the phishing scam within an hour, it said, through both automatic and manual actions. It removed the fake pages and applications, and it pushed updates through Safe Browsing, Gmail and other anti-abuse systems.
Since Linus Torvalds developed the Linux kernel, there has been an explosion of distributions that can be categorized into several broad classes. The ecosystem is truly expansive. There are hundreds of distributions out there, but each category has some that have become emblematic. Here’s a brief look at a few. My hope is that by showcasing some of these Linux standouts, you will appreciate what makes them special, and get inspired to take a deeper dive yourself. Ubuntu is one of the most iconic distributions of Linux, period.
Hulu on Wednesday announced a new live-streaming television service for $39.99 per month, which will place the company in direct competition with newly launched services from DirecTV Now, YouTube and other OTT content providers. The Hulu with Live TV beta will offer 50 channels of live-streaming television — including sports, news, entertainment, children’s programming and local network affiliates — along with the existing Hulu on-demand video, without set-up costs or hidden fees.
Ultimate Edition has a lot going for it. However, the latest release, version 5.4, also reflects numerous missteps that developers of a seasoned Linux distro should avoid. Ultimate Edition is a fork of two popular Debian-based Linux families — Ubuntu and Linux Mint — that aimed to take the best of both Linux entities and blend in a fresh mix of visually stimulating features. Ultimate’s developers took a path that diverged somewhat from the two new desktop environments that were the hallmarks of its forked heritage.
Odds appear good that Apple will be joining Amazon and Google in the smart speaker competition with a Siri-powered device it plans to introduce at WWDC next month. The new home-AI product reportedly will have excellent acoustics with one woofer and seven tweeters, and the processing power of an iPhone 6. Its price tag likely will be higher than Amazon’s Echo, which sells for $179. The speaker may have a camera, and it likely will control other devices — locks, lights, appliances, curtains and such — by voice commands issued through Siri.