World Tech Update, November 10, 2011

Thanks for joining us here on World Tech Update. I'm Nick Barber. We'll start this week with yet another tablet making its debut in time for the holiday season. Barnes and Noble on Monday launched the Nook Tablet with a 7 inch screen that has a resolution of 1024 by 600 pixels. It takes on the soon to be relseased tablet from book-selling rival Amazon. The tablet will serve as an e-reader and can stream HD movies and music. For reading the battery could last as long as 11 hours. Barnes & Noble took time to point out that it's Nook Tablet has 1 gig of Ram compared to the Kindle Fire's 512 MB. The Nook Tablet comes with 16 gb of internal storage, where the Fire has 8. The Nook Tablet will be on sale by the end of the week for 250 dollars.

Adobe announced Wednesday that it's abandoning the Flash Player in future mobile browsers to focus on HTML5. The changes will take place following the upcoming release of Flash Player 11.1 for Android and the Blackberry Playbook. The changes will allow Adobe to increase its investment in HTLML 5, a Flash alternative, and to innovate with Flash in areas where it can "have the most impact," such as advanced gaming and premium video. If you remember it was back in April 2010 when Apple's Steve Jobs wrote his memo on Flash pointing out its security and poor performance among other issues.

Microsoft installed a gigantic Windows Phone in New York’s Herald Square Monday to mark the debut of Windows Phone 7.5 devices on store shelves. The smartphones available from AT&T include the 200 dollar Samsung Focus S, which has a 4.3-inch screen; the 50 dollar Samsung Focus Flash, which has a 3.7-inch screen; and the HTC Titan, which has a 4.7-inch screen. HTC's Radar 4G has a 3.8-inch screen and is available on T-Mobile's network for 100 dollars. The event included a performance by Far East Movement as Microsoft continues to go to great lengths to spread awareness of the Windows Phone OS. The company also said that it’s taking steps to align the smartphone OS with its future tablet and PC operating systems. Microsoft wants to bring similar user experiences across Microsoft-based phones, PCs and tablets to make usage consistent and easier.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg visited MIT on Monday as part of an east coast recruiting tour. The entrepreneur also visited Harvard University, his alma mater. While at MIT he held closed door meetings with students and faculty. In a very brief visit with the press Zuckerberg clarified a statement he made where he said had he the chance to start Facebook again he may have kept it in Boston.



Mark Zuckerberg

CEO, Facebook


Zuckerberg. He also visited Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh


Hackers invaded the European Parliament, but not in a way you'd expect. The EU hosted a 24-hour hackathon that attracted 54 coders from 17 nations focused on transparency and helping consumers understand what they're getting from their ISPs.



Neelie Kroes

VP, European Commission


There were 2 tracks. The first was the Internet quality track that focused on allowing users to better understand the quality of Internet they're getting, a category won by the team from Italy. And the second was the Global Transparency Track that focused on better visualizing the accessibility of information on the Internet won by the UN team.


Honda unveiled an updated Asimo robot with a number of advancements including what the company call autonomous behavior control technology. The company said Asimo has advanced from an automatic machine, where it could carry out a specific set of tasks to an autonomous machine, where it now can make decisions based on its surroundings. For example it can detect obstacles using multiple sensors and avoid them without being told to do so by an operator. The robot can also recognize a face and a voice and respond to multiple people who are speaking simultaneously: a task difficult for even humans.




Asimo’s legs have been strengthened and its range of movement extended. Those improvements allow the robot to walk over uneven surfaces for example, or run backwards or hop on one leg. It’s hands have embedded tactile sensors in both the fingers and the palms and it can complete tasks that require a high level of dexterity like holding a paper cup without crushing it, according to Honda. Asimo has been under development for about 11 years and has accomplished a number of tasks which include the mundane like delivering drinks and moving office supplies to the more artsy like conducting an orchestra.


Well that's our show for this week, thanks for joining us here on World Tech Update. To find out what's coming up on every week's show be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter. As we head out this week we'll leave you with more shots from New York. I'm Nick Barber and for all of us here at the IDG News Service thanks for watching and we hope to see you next week.



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IDG News Service

Nick Barber