In the tech world, a lot happens in a week. So much news goes on, in fact, that it’s almost impossible for mere mortals with real lives to keep track of everything. That’s why we’ve compiled a quick and dirty list of the top 10 tech stories from the last week of January. Everything from the upcoming Super Bowl ads to a photobombing horse — it’s all here.
If you’re “super rude” to Elon Musk, there will be consequences. Take venture capitalist and former auto journalist Stewart Alsop. After tearing into Musk’s Tesla company in a blog post, the CEO personally canceled Alsop’s order for one of the firm’s Model X SUVs. It all started back in September when Alsop attended the launch event for the luxury electric vehicle.
Fitbit has churned out another one. The fitness tracking wearable company added a new band to its ever-growing list — the Fitbit Alta. The Fitbit Alta has all the bells and whistles of the recently launched Fitbit Blaze and other similar Fitbit products, including Reminders to Move, SmartTrack, weekly exercise goals, as well as all-day activity and sleep tracking. What makes it really special is that it focuses on interchangeable bands, so you can customize how the wearable looks on you for all sorts of occasions.
SoundCloud is on a roll when it comes to adding features. Last month the indie-focused music streaming service added top charts to give users a glimpse at what tracks were being played the most, and now it’s adding another key music discovery feature. Added to the service’s iOS and Android apps yesterday, a new feature called Stations is very similar to Spotify’s Radio or iTunes Radio. While it didn’t have a name, this feature has been available to those using SoundCloud on the Web.
David Bellis’s amusing picture of a photobombing horse didn’t only win him a free vacation worth £2,000 (about $2,900). It also brought him international attention and a whole load of hassle after the party-pooping owner of the animal demanded a share of the prize. Bellis was out for a walk with his son in Wales recently when son Jacob asked to take a selfie with the horse behind him. As he snapped the photo, the horse – one clearly with a mischievous sense of humor – decided to join in the fun and say “cheese.”
Thanks in part to its trifecta of network owners, including Disney (ABC), 21st Century Fox (Fox networks), and Comcast (NBC/Universal), Hulu carries current seasons of multiple network and cable TV shows, often available to users the day after air. Unfortunately, the cozy relationship with its owners that’s kept Hulu afloat so far, could be what sinks it — especially if Time Warner Inc. gets its way. According to The Wall Street Journal, Time Warner is currently in talks to buy a 25 percent equity share in Hulu, with a goal of eventually shifting the service away from airing current seasons of network TV shows.
Next page: 5 more tech stories you might have missed this week
The Super Bowl has a long history of spawning creative and/or hilarious advertising campaigns, but according to A.V. Club, a planned Squarespace promo may be poised to top the list. Comedy duo Key and Peele will reportedly record live commentary of the big game in the guise of Lee (Key) and Morris (Peele), a pair of off-the-wall aspiring sportscasters from Atlanta.
If California robotics startup SuitX has anything anything to say about it, wheelchairs might be obsolete in just a few short years. Earlier today, the company revealed a new exoskeleton, dubbed the Phoenix, designed to help disabled people get around without the help of wheeled mobility devices. It’s definitely not the first suit of its kind, but it also happens to be cheaper, lighter, and easier to manufacture than most other devices of its kind, which is a pretty big deal.
The Federal Aviation Administration is taking a tough stance on drones at the Super Bowl this year: bring them, and we’ll shoot them down. The “no-drone-zone” spans much further than just the stadium itself too, extending out 36 miles from Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California.
It was never a matter of “if,” but merely “when.” WhatsApp, the Facebook-owned messaging service, on Monday announced it’s finally bust through the billion-user barrier. “We are proud of this milestone, and we’re humbled by the extraordinary ways all of you have used WhatsApp,” the company said in a post announcing the achievement, adding that it was “excited to see how far we’ve come.”
Sick of the same old metal or plastic slab phone design? Prefer something cuter and cat-related? Good news! There’s a new Hello Kitty phone coming, and it couldn’t be more Hello Kitty if it tried. Freshly announced in Japan, the 2016 Hello Kitty phone has a strong pedigree, coming from a long line of pink, blue, and white colored feline phones, but this is without a doubt the cutest we’ve seen yet.
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