Tech Update - 13 December 2019

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The New Xbox Series X

Microsoft has revealed details about its next generation Xbox, which is called the Xbox Series X:

  • Most powerful Xbox, 4 times faster than the last one.
  • It will stand either vertically or horizontally.
  • It will have a new wireless controller, with a new share button.
  • Will be available at the end of 2020, in time for Christmas holidays.
  • Support for 4k at 60 Frames Per Second (FPS), with option to go to 8k and 120FPS.

Zooming out: The current Playstation and Xbox consoles are showing their age, and both are rolling out new consoles in time for Christmas holidays 2020. It's always interesting to see which console becomes the dominant one.

Last of the consoles? This could be the last generation of consoles, with the introduction of games streaming without the need for a console from the likes of Google's Stadia.

Links: Microsoft


Samsung Has Sold 1 Million Galaxy Fold Devices

Samsung announced, at the TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin event, that it has sold 1 million Galaxy Fold devices to date. That's a big milestone for a completely new smartphone concept, which cost a whopping $2,000 each.

The Galaxy Fold had a rough start, with it often breaking due to quality issues at the initial release. It shows the risks taken when launching a completely new type of device. After the initial release, Samsung re-released a more durable version.

Links: Samsung, TechCrunch


Ex-GM President Pushing For Self Driving Electric Cars To Solve Transportation Problem

What is the future of transport? It's a big question to a big problem!

The problems:

  • Congestion at many big cities, meaning transport is not efficient nor quick.
  • Pollution from using so many cars powered by combustion engines.

According to Bloomberg, the ex-GM President Dan Ammann, the future (and solution to our current problems) will be one of self driving electric cars in which we share rides. This will be more of a hop-on hop-off taxi concept, rather than owning your own vehicle.

Now, he would say that given that he's the head of Cruise, which plans to provide exactly that: a self driving ride-sharing service. But it's still an intersting and conceivable option for the future.

Questions to ask:

  • Will people want to give up ownership of cars?
  • Will electric cars get cheaper and provide better range?
  • Will sharing of cars improve with new apps?

Links: Bloomberg


Google Provides 1,500 Phone Locations To Law Enforcement

In Milwaukee, Wisconsin there were a series of arson attacks which resulted in two dead dogs and $50,000 worth of damages.

Law enforcement requested (or demanded via search warrants) Google for location based data they had for the area, for the times at which the arson took place.

According to Forbes, in response to the request, Google gave them 1,500 phone locations that fit the criteria asked for.

This is a first (known) case where so many phone locations were provided.

What this shows:

  • Google can easily find phones within a specified area and timeframe (known as a geofence search).
  • Users are not made aware of such demands and data transfers. The location data is known to Google if 'location history' is switched on.

Questions to ask:

  • Is this the future of law enforcement?
  • Should Google (and others) provide so many phone locations in such a case, or should they limit results (within the legal limits they are bound to). Even if they find one guilty party, that leaves roughly 15,000 innocent people who have had their location shared without their knowledge.
  • Do you want to disable your location history?

Links: Forbes


Worlds First 3D Printed Neighbourhood

According to Fast Company, a non-profit call New Story is building a neighbourhood with 50 houses in Mexico using 3D printers.

What you need to know:

  • The non-profit wants to build affordable houses in Mexico.
  • It uses 3D printers that can 'print' a house in 24 hours.
  • The technology is provided by a company called Icon.
  • These homes are some of the only ones built in real conditions (and not lab or factory conditions).

Zooming out: Building affordable homes for the worlds poor could be a solution to helping those communities out of poverty. The total market could be huge (think of all the shanty towns around the world).

Links: Fast Company, New Story, Icon