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 cover the resignation of Mozilla’s CEO, the launch of Amazon Fire TV, the breakup of T-Mobile and Blackberry, announcements from Microsoft Build, and how the US built a Cuban Twitter.
Mozilla CEO Resigns Amid Controversy
Eich insisted this week that he wasn’t resigning, but pressure from Mozilla’s staff and the protest of the Firefox browser by dating site OK Cupid was too much to bear. There are currently no leading candidates to replace Eich as CEO.
Amazon Launches Fire TV
On Wednesday, Amazon officially launched its streaming media device, dubbed Amazon Fire TV.
Amazon’s goal is to simplify and accelerate the viewing experience with easy search capabilities and no buffering, respectively. It will deliver content from its Amazon Instant Video, Netflix, HBO GO, SHO Anytime, Pandora, Hulu, and ESPN, with much more content to come in the future. You can search for content via voice or text entry, play games, and access a bevy of apps.
T-Mobile and Blackberry to Part Ways
Blackberry just dumped T-Mobile. The handset maker announced that it will not renew its licensing agreement with T-Mobile that expires on April 25, and the 4th-largest mobile carrier will no longer sell Blackberries.
Blackberry is clearly still pissed about T-Mobile’s promotion that offered discounted iPhones to their Blackberry-wielding customers. Those customers will still receive services and support, but it probably doesn’t matter, as they’ll be Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint customers soon enough.
Announcements from Microsoft Build Conference
Microsoft’s Build 2014 Conference is taking place this week in San Francisco and the company has some pretty interesting announcements, including:
- Windows 8.1 Update 1, which improves navigation with a more familiar taskbar, among other new features. Also, Microsoft leaked that the famed Start button will return in a future update.
- Windows Phone 8.1, which includes Cortana, the virtual assistant that is a competitor to Apple’s Siri
- New Nokia phones
US Created a “Cuban Twitter”
A story that was leaked this week stated that in 2010 the US Agency for International Development (USAID) developed a “Cuban Twitter”, a simple messaging network that circumvented the country’s strict Internet policies and allowed Cubans to communicate with each other through text messaging. The tool was called ZunZuneo, which is slang for a Cuban hummingbird’s tweet sound.
The idea was to build a user base by distributing news about soccer, music, and weather. And when the crowd got big enough, the hope was that Cuban civilians would use ZunZuneo to organize protests against their government.
Even though ZunZuneo was shut down in 2012 and didn’t really achieve its desired effect, I guess it proves that the U.S. Government can be creative and innovative.
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.