Building a quality and inexpensive tablet isn’t as easy as assembling a quality and inexpensive personal computer. The article explains why: “There’s a higher learning curve to cranking out bargain-priced tablets than there was to slapping together cheap desktops. With a supply of standardized components, PC assembly mainly requires a screwdriver or a good outsourcing firm. Tablets have to be light and attractive enough for consumers to want to carry them around all day, so engineering and design are crucial. U.S. telecom regulations require that cellular-equipped tablets be tested in all major cities and regions where a company wants to sell them.”
In a demonstration of the value of online maps and map data, Google recently paid over 1 billion dollars for Israeli consumer mapping company Waze. According to an article in the Economist Magazine on June 15th, Apple and Facebook were also interested in purchasing the Waze, but Google beat them to the punch. The deal by Google may have been a strategic move to deny its big competitors a great consumer mapping company and application, but we can expect Google will also take advantage of the companies software and mapping data. The article states: “Smartphones on which Waze’s app is open are tracked automatically. They contribute to an ever-changing map that shows drivers the best way to beat the traffic on the way to work or home. Drivers can also choose to report jams, as well as accidents, roadworks, speed traps and petrol prices. Thousands have also edited Waze’s maps. Waze users’ data, if eventually built into Google’s maps, should give a timelier, fuller picture of conditions on the roads.”
The new Garmin Monterra GNSS Receiver for outdoor enthusiasts is now being built on top of the Android Operating System. This means users of the Monterra can now download apps from the Android Play Store that take advantage of the Monterra’s location capabilities.
It makes sense that Garmin is making this move. More and more smart phones have built in location capabilities, and those capabilities will only improve. Why by a Garmin device with limited functionality when you can get a smart phone that does what a recreational grade GNSS receiver does?
Garmin is taking advantage of an open source operating system to offer a lot more functionality to its users. This also allows it to tap into a large pool of Android App developers that can create innovative location based applications for its users and its devices.
This is an interesting move by Garmin. I look forward to seeing if it will help Garmin to survive. I still can’t bring my self to spend several hundred dollars on a recreational GNSS receiver when my smart phone always knows where I am.
The company that makes the Raspberry Pi is working with Oracle to bundle Java on the tiny computing platform. This will allow students and other inventors to write programs for the Raspberry Pi that run in the popular Java programming language.
The November 17th Issue of the Economist Magazine has an article entitled “Deeper Thought” that describes the worlds top super computer, Titan, and how it runs on GPUs in addition to traditional CPUs. This makes the super computer very fast, and energy efficient.
There are challenges to building a super computer in this way, including the challenge of breaking problems up into chunks that are suitable for processing by suite of GPUs.
In an article entitled “War of the Virtual Wallets“, the November 17th Issue of the Economist Magazine describes the fight over the future of how we pay for goods and services: digital wallets and mobile phone payment systems.
The article describes the efforts of big credit card companies like Visa and Mastercard to compete with companies like Google and Paypal. There is a lot of money at stake. The article says 15 trillion dollars were funneled through credit, debit, and prepaid cards last year.
At the end of the day, it should be a lot easier to pay for stuff as a consumer. The competition is good for the big credit card companies. As the article says when it quotes Jack Dorsey: “…This will force the card networks to up their game.”