Welcome to “The Week in Tech,” where we recap some of the most interesting technology and mobile stories from the past week.
This week we talk about the epic Oscars selfie, the identification of the inventor of Bitcoin, the launch of Apple’s CarPlay, and the purchase of a drone company by Facebook.
The selfie seen round the world
How many retweets do your selfies get? Samsung scored a coup when a selfie taken at the Oscars got retweeted over 3 million times.
The cell phone manufacturer spent approximately $20 million on advertising for Sunday’s Academy Awards show but got much more value in product placement when Ellen DeGeneres handed a Galaxy Note 3 to Bradley Cooper, who took the selfie with other top-tier movie stars including Brad Pitt, Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, and more. Oscar winner Jared Leto barely got in.
Sorry, Barack, your “Four More Years” photo has just been dethroned as the most retweeted image ever.
Inventor of Bitcoin identified
Newsweek has identified the inventor of Bitcoin as Satoshi Nakamoto, a humble, private man who lives in Los Angeles. Shortly after the story broke, Satoshi denied his involvement with the crypto-currency, adding another level of mystery to the story.
This already head-spinning story gets better by the minute.
Apple’s CarPlay hits the road
What used to be named “iOS in the Car” is now CarPlay, and Apple unveiled it to the world at this week’s Geneva Motorshow. The company announced that Volvo, Mercedes-Benz, and Ferrari will introduce CarPlay-enabled cars this week, with many other vehicle manufacturers to follow.
Here’s how it works: When an iPhone is connected to a CarPlay-enabled touchscreen dashboard, a simplified iOS interface appears and gives the driver control of messaging, phone calls, music, and more. There are also extensive voice controls via Siri, who can read you text messages and allow you to dictate responses. Third-party music apps like Spotify, iHeartRadio, Stitcher and Beats can be controlled by CarPlay as well.
There’s a huge race in the connected car market, with Blackberry’s QNX platform and Google’s Open Automotive Alliance, among others, jockeying for position. Apple just got a made a big move to be the leader.
Facebook buys a drone company. Interesting.
Facebook is in talks to buy Titan Aerospace, a maker of drones that can float around for years without refueling. While this purchase seems outside of the social network’s strategy, it actually makes a lot of sense with respect to Mark Zuckerberg’s Internet.org initiative, as they’ll use these drones to perpetuate internet access to remote locations from the sky.
Google has been expanding high-speed internet access on the ground with Google Fiber and has toyed with air-based broadband with Project Loon, so Facebook needs to keep up. For both companies to continue to grow, they’ll need to expand internet access to remote parts of the world, and it looks like drones and balloons are the way to accomplish that.
What do you think of these stories? Have you read other interesting mobile and technology stories this week that are worth mentioning? Feel free to add your thoughts to the comments.
Image courtesy of Twitter and Ellen DeGeneres