A lot can happen in a week when it comes to tech. The constant onslaught of news makes it nigh impossible for mere mortals with real lives to keep track of everything. That’s why we’ve compiled a quick and dirty list of this week’s top tech stories, from the best products of 2017 to the biggest failures of the year — it’s all here.
2017 was a big year for tech. Twitter users finally broke free of their 140-character chains, while Tesla made good on its electric car for the people in the Model 3. The Wannacry ransomware attack became one of the most disruptive cyberattacks in history, and three commissioners on the FCC, led by Chairman Ajit Pai, repealed Obama-era net neutrality rules (at least temporarily).
Good news or not, it was a busy year in tech. 2018 looks no different, and we’re already watching some important tech trends that we expect to make waves in the new year. But first, let’s see how we did in predicting what we would be talking about in 2017.
AMD has made some real progress in its battle against Intel for CPU market share by releasing the new Ryzen processors, based on the Zen architecture in 2017. Ryzen chips already provide a compelling price-performance advantage over Intel equivalents, and that advantage could get a real boost in 2018. Apparently, all Intel CPUs produced in the last decade suffer a security flaw that can only be fixed in software, with a real performance penalty.
As The Register reports, the bug is related to related how programs access memory — specifically information that should only be accessible to the operating system kernel that maintains the highest level of privileges. Thanks to the bug, user programs can access the protected kernel memory space and “see” information that should be locked away.
Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve may be the traditional New Year’s broadcast in the U.S., but Facebook users launched live broadcasts in huge numbers on New Year’s Eve. In fact, the number of users going live on Facebook on New Year’s Eve totaled nearly half of the viewer count for the ball drop in Times Square. According to data released by Facebook on January 3, the social media platform saw a 47 percent increase in the number of users going live to celebrate the transition into a new year.
More than 10 million people used Facebook Live to celebrate the new year, the social media platform said. New Year’s Eve is the largest day for live broadcasts, so Facebook launched a handful of live features ahead of the new year to give users additional options, including live augmented reality effects such as 2018 glasses and party hats.
A week after it was first revealed that Apple was slowing down older iPhones (ostensibly to stabilize performance), the company has succumbed to mounting pressure. As an apparent gesture of goodwill, Apple is offering owners of iPhone 6 and later models a battery replacement for $29 — a limited-time $50 discount.
Apple originally intended for the replacement batteries to go on sale in late January. However, Tech Crunch has reported that the company has started offering the discounted batteries as of December 30. Apple did say that initial supplies could be limited, so users may want to act fast.
There’s a ton of tantalizing tech to take in at CES, but let’s face it, folks: TV rules. The world’s largest consumer electronics show has seen a number of TV innovations, with several significant advances (and a few fads, too) unveiled in just the last five years: 4K, curved TVs, bendable TVs, TVs that look like wallpaper, OLEDs, quantum dots, HDR, and even 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray players. Where could brands like Samsung, Sony, LG, and TCL possibly go from here? It looks like it starts with an 88-inch 8K OLED TV from LG.
We generally end up seeing more of everything we love about TV at CES — higher resolution, bigger screen sizes, better HDR, higher brightness, deeper blacks, and elevated, cutting-edge technologies. This year will be no different. LG has just announced it will be showing an 8K OLED television, and that’s just the beginning of the fanfare we can expect to see over the coming hours and days. Here’s what you can expect to see in TV at CES 2018.
Firefox isn’t just the name of a web browser — it’s also a 1982 movie starring Clint Eastwood, based around a fictional Russian fighter jet controlled by the pilot’s thoughts. Someone at Nissan is apparently a fan of that movie. The carmaker’s experimental “Brain-to-Vehicle” (or “B2V” for short) technology allows cars to interpret signals from a driver’s brain. It doesn’t allow drivers to fire missiles with their thoughts, but Nissan believes the technology could help improve future driver-assistance systems and make self-driving cars more human friendly by putting machines and people on the same page.
Google’s best-known software ventures may be Android and Chrome OS, but the company is actually working on a third operating system. It’s called Fuchsia, and when it was first discovered last year, it only popped up as a single command line. Now we know a lot more about the operating system, however.
Fuchsia looks totally different than any other mobile operating system we’ve seen, including Android, but that could be the point. The fact is that there’s currently a ton of mystery surrounding the operating system. We don’t know what it’s for, if it’s aimed at eventually replacing Android, if it’s just an experiment by Google, or if we should expect to see the new OS at Google I/O this year.
The podcast Serial is being adapted to a TV series, but it has also inspired at least one other project. Apple nabbed Are You Sleeping, a new drama series starring Oscar winner Octavia Spencer, Deadline reports.
The project is based on Kathleen Barber’s 2017 novel of the same name, which centers on a woman and her family dealing with the pain of having a true-crime podcast question the guilt of the boy who murdered her father. Barber wrote the book following the success of Serial. She admitted in a 17Scribes interview that she got swept up in the story and her first draft of Are You Sleeping was “a way for [her] to work through” her “obsession” with the podcast. Specifically, she was concerned with her lack of empathy for the people involved.
CES is a preview of a lot of the trends we see in technology throughout the year. In the world of computing and laptops, CES 2018 is already shaping up to be an important one. While there will be plenty of surprises at the show, we have some ideas about what manufacturers will be showing off — and what they won’t be.
CES is just around the corner, and soon enough we’ll be feasting our eyes on everything the tech world has to offer us in 2018. For now, here are the five computing trends to have your eye on heading into the world’s biggest tech trade show.
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