The Weekly Techno Briefs help you keep pace with the fascinating and constantly changing world of technology. In this week’s edition we look into WhatsApp’s new text encryption, Amazon's newest attempt at a smart personal assistant, and Toyota's hydrogen fueled car.
WhatsApp battens down the hatchesWhatsApp has added end-to-end encryption and enabled it by default in the latest version of its Android messaging application. The new feature taps Open Whisper's open source TextSecure encryption protocol to ensure that only a conversation's participants can read the messages they exchange. WhatsApp itself won't be able to decrypt the messages even if law enforcement should try to require it.
Amazon’s EchoLast week, Amazon unveiled an unusual product, Echo. It's a $199 stand-alone smart speaker with a splash of Siri and no screen. It has a far-field microphone that can hear a voice clearly from across a room. Utter the keyword "Alexa," and the speaker's virtual assistant springs to life, ready to answer questions, provide news updates and set personal reminders.
It takes the intelligence and voice-recognition of Siri and puts it someplace unexpected, inside a smart home device. Even when it's alseep, Echo is still listening for the trigger phrase that will turn it on and start streaming your voice to the cloud.
Toyota's Mirai aims to kick fuel-cell tech into high gearToyota officially unveiled its fuel cell sedan in an internet video featuring Toyota Motor Corporation's president and CEO Akio Toyoda this week. The new sedan, dubbed "Mirai", which means "future" in Japanese, can travel 650 to 700 kilometres (400-435 miles) on its two tanks of hydrogen. The Mirai can also refuel in less than five minutes and emits only water vapour although fossil fuels are used to produce and pressurise the hydrogen.
The world’s largest carmaker announced it will begin selling fuel cell cars in Japan on 15 December, 2014, and in the US and Europe in mid-2015. The Mirai will retail for 6.7m yen (US$57,600) before taxes. Toyota Motor Corp hopes to sell 400 in Japan and 300 in the rest of the world in the first year.
Link: The Guardian
Mobile database management's coming of ageThe business edge gained from using mobile data-driven applications to access data from anywhere, whenever needed, offers a compelling case for developing better mobile databases. As more businesses are moving towards mobile employees, the push is on for mobile database management tools built from the ground up to run directly inside phones, tablets and wearables. These mobile database solutions are being designed to do what heavyweight open source solutions like SQLite, Cord Data, MySQL and PostgreSQL were not designed to do.
Some 4.55 billion people worldwide are using mobile phones this year. Fast-paced smartphone adoption will continue through 2017, according to eMarketer. Affordable, powerful tablets are now ubiquitous in business and often replace smartphones for enterprise connectivity beyond voice communications. A key benefit of a mobile database is its easy access from several locations from a variety of devices.
The highlights from our Weekly Techno Briefs above do not necessarily represent the view of Capgemini Group.