Technology

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The Week in Tech

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Nintendo shoot down Android rumours

Whilst all of gadget land might well be salivating at the prospect of today's impending WWDC Apple keynote speech (check back tomorrow for my thoughts on that), it is the Californian tech giants primary rival in the mobile stakes that almost shook the video gaming world to its core this week. Reports throughout the week seemed to suggest that Nintendo would be using an Android operating system as the basis of its mysterious upcoming “NX” system. The rampant rumours suggested that the Japanese gaming legends were looking into using the system to give developers “More flexibility in making content that can also be on smartphones and tablets.” This would, of course, make sense, considering Nintendo recently announced that they would be creating games for mobile phones and tablets, with the help of DeNA, a company little known outside of Japan.

Rumours spread last week that suggested Nintendo would be using an Android operating system as the basis of its mysterious upcoming “NX” system

Old Ninty shot down those rumours later in the week, however, when a company spokesperson flat-out denied the rumours by stating: “There is no truth to the report saying that we are planning to adopt Android for NX.” Personally I think it would be an incredibly wise move, as the primary reason the Wii U (Nintendo's current console) has failed so drastically (despite being a great machine) is because it's notoriously difficult to develop for. By adopting an open-source platform like Android, Nintendo would surely be better equipped to combat an increasingly competitive marketplace? While solid details on NX are currently scarce, company president Satoru Iwata previously stated that Nintendo may take a wildly different direction with the new system than with its past platforms. Nintendo expects to share more details about NX next year, with the company already suggesting that they won't be referencing it at this year's E3 trade show.

 

The force is with this R2-D2 Mini Fridge!

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Star Wars obsessives and beer fans everywhere (though the two are not necessarily mutually exclusive) rejoice! The household appliances company Haier has produced a life size R2-D2 mini fridge that will deliver drinks to you. The adorable fridge comes with a remote control, and is fully rechargeable. When summoned, it will roll over to you and you can grab a chilled drink from R2's front panel. It is thought the R2-D2 mini fridge will be coming out next year, but no pricing information is available yet (it won't be cheap).

 

Netflix experiments with advertising and Jeremy Clarkson

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Whilst one of the primary reasons many of us have shifted our televisual viewing habits away from traditional TV and towards Netflix is because of the lack of advertisements, the streaming services die-hard fans could be in for a rude awakening. The company is reportedly testing advertisements that tease the service's original programming. Indeed, the company is already showing trailers for Netflix original shows such as Orange is the New Black or Marvel's Daredevil, before and after viewers in select markets stream a video. You won't be seeing the Go Compare man popping up before your next binge session however, as Netflix has said it has no plan to implement any third-party advertisements in the future.

Netflix is reportedly testing advertisements that tease the service's original programming

A spokesperson for the company said: “We are always testing new things via the service, many of which never see a rollout. We have nothing more to add at this point.” Reed Hastings, Netflix CEO, also posted on his personal Facebook account to quell any rumours about potential advertising from outside markets. The post states: “No advertising coming onto Netflix. Period. Just adding relevant cool trailers for other Netflix content you are likely to love.” In related news, reports have surfaced over the weekend suggesting that Netflix is looking to launch a rebooted version of Top Gear with the original trio of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May on board. It's all speculation at this point though, so don't get your engines revved just yet.

 

Chronos turns any watch into a smart watch

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Whilst many gadget fans are still reeling after the recent launch of the Apple Watch, many more of us were left unimpressed by Apple's first foray into wearable tech, so are looking elsewhere for our fashionable technological fixes. Enter “Chronos,” an intimidatingly named device that fits on the bottom of any watch and offers notifications from phone in the form of blinking LEDs and vibrations. You can also tap your watch face to activate the device, allowing you to silence incoming calls or control music playback. The company have only launched a sign-up page so far and there is no pricing but I'll certainly be keeping my eyes on these nifty little disks!

 

Google squeeze secure computing environment onto a Micro SD Card

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Google recently unveiled a secured computer contained entirely on a device the size of a micro SD card. “Project Vault” is designed to be an equivalent to the protection found on a phone's SIM card, and will be able to keep a user's important content safe with ease. Google supposedly went with the micro SD form factor so that they could have more data to project video, a decent amount of storage (Vault has 4GB of data storage on board) and modularity, so users can take it anywhere. The Vault sports an ARM processor running RTOS, a secure operating system focused on privacy and data security. It also has an NFC chip, an antenna, and a suite of cryptographic services, including hashing, signing, batch encryption and a hardware random number generator.

Google recently unveiled a secured computer contained entirely on a device the size of a micro SD card

The project was designed by Google's Advance Technology and Projects group (ATAP), who have released an open source development kit for the Vault, and have also built an enterprise-targeted first product version that’s being used internally at Google right now. Vault works with any operating system, including Android, Windows, OS X and Linux, seeing as it's essentially it’s just a generic storage device to the host computer or phone.

Benjamin Hiorns is a freelance writer, struggling musician and gadget enthusiast from Kidderminster in the UK.

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