Spot, the four legged robot, will be the first commercial product of Boston Dynamics. Within the next few months the robot shall be introduced to the market. Currently the robot still participates in several studies including building market and parcel delivery. The 3D cameras of the robot are able to monitor the soroundings of construction sites and may indicate possible areas of risk. The robot has also an arm which can be controlled by the user.
The robot was demonstrated live at the re:MARS conference from amazon, which is controlled via a gaming pad. The control is intuitive and easy to use, the robot can be controlled like a model car. Via the camera you will receive a life stream of the robot to the control. By indicating positions within the video the robot will move there. Also the arm can be controlled by the game tablet.
In comparison to simple logistics robots spot is able to adapt dynamically to its soroundings and has not to be programmed exactly for each task. This relates to human capabilities, which the robot shall have. The product will not be a mass product, the company plans to produce 1000 / year as a starting point. The price for the robot is not set yet, but shall be much cheaper than the prototype.
According to the news agency Reuters will Google cancel the commercial contract with Huawei. This is caused due to the US embargo against China, where Trump put Huawei on a black list because of suspect of industry spy. In detail this means that Huawai smart phones won’t be able to get updates on Android anymore nor can they access the PlayStore. Furthermore Google Apps like maps and gmail cannot be used anymore.
This will affect only newly bough smart phones, all already existing smart phones will be able to access the Google PlayStore and will also receive security updates. However, they will not receive anymore new Android versions.
It is unclear what this will mean for future smart phones. Android is a nopen source project, so there are possibilities to keep them updated, however, this requires special technical know how which cannot be expected from the masses. So the only solution seems to be that Huawei will release on own operating system. According to insider knowledge Huawei is already working on such a solution for a longer time.
Self sufficient headsets which can provide VR without a connected PC or smartphone are available for quite a long time now, however, they could not provide the same quality as headsets directly using PC HW power. The new Oculus Quest offers now the same quality and provides additionally a very stable body tracking in all 6 movement axis. The Oculus Quest shall be introduced to the market in spring 2019 for 400 US dollars.
Quest is a little bit heavier than the Rift. The in the headset integrated movement detectors work reliable, also in connection with the hand controller. It can handle also occlusions. Quest uses the same optics than the Oculus Go, the resolution is 1600 × 1440 Pixel per eye, a little bit more than the Go model provides. Furthermore the Quest uses OLED displays instead of LCD. For a self sufficient system the Quest offers very good quality in tracking and display.
Google invests 22 million US dollars into the mobile operating system KaiOS which runs on so called “feature phones”. Feature phones are a mixture of smart phones and classic phones (only for calling). Even though feature phones do not provide to full functionality of modern smart phones, the enable users to access the Internet, and provides also features like GPS and WiFi. The main target market of feature phones are developing countries where people cannot invest much money in phones. KaiOS runs e.g. on Nokia 8110, the so called “Banana mobile phone”.
According to Google apps like maps and YouTube should run in future also under KaiOS. Google Manager Anjali Joshi explains that all people shall have access on Google services, including desktop, smart phones but also feature phone users. KaiOS will use the Google investment in order to faster distribute KaiOS enabled phones.
In the EC parliament more and more concerns are raised against the planned copyright reformation. In detail the EC rights committee proposed to install automatic upload filters on online platforms for user generated content which automatically reject uploads containing copyright protected material.
States like Austria and Italy claim, that there are still many open questions, hence the proposal is not ready for being published right now. This caused already a postponement of the final decision. Main arguments against this new law is the restriction of the freedom of the opinion and information.
According to Gartner the first time the smart phone market decreased in the fourth quart of 2017. This rises the question whether the peak of the smart phones is reached? Besides Huawei and Xiaomi all producers had a decrease in their turnover in comparison to 2016.
According to Gartner this decrease originates from two issues: first a smaller group of people upgraded their simple phones to smart phones and second a larger group of people bought high quality phones and keep them longer as usual.
|Smart phone sales in Q4 2017 according to producers, Gartner
|Gartner, February 2018
Nevertheless Samsung could protect its market leader position with its flagship products Galaxy S8 and S8+. Despite the announcement of three new models in September 2017 Apple had a decrease in its sales. This was mainly caused by the fact that the new models where introduced very late (Nov 17). But Gartner thinks that Apple sales numbers will increase in 2018 with the new iPhone X. Many customers waited with buying a new iPhone because expecting the new iPhone X. However, there are also rumors that Apple will decrease the production numbers of the new iPhone X.
When looking at OS only iOS could fight the predominance of Android. But only 14% of the market share is equipped with iOS, the rest is nearly totally under the reign of Android. Microsoft OS has only 0.1% of the total share left.