Tech Facts October 2014

Queen-Elizabeth first tweet

These are the main stories in tech news that caught our attention the past month. Read on to learn about Nine Inch Nails frontman, Google’s new project and more…

Apple

The Nine Inch Nails frontman, Trent Reznor, is now working for Apple. The singer will remain focused on music streaming / delivery, a position he held at Beats Music before Apple bought both the streaming service and Beats hardware line for $3 billion. Apple is reportedly planning to integrate the streaming service within iTunes next year, and Reznor will have major influence over the next steps. “I think the right streaming service could solve everybody’s problems,” he said. “We haven’t quite hit the right formula yet. There’s a whole generation of kids that listen to music on YouTube, and they’ll suffer through that ad if there is one”.

A couple of weeks ago, Apple CEO, Tim Cook, spoke out on his sexuality for the first time: “I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me.”, he wrote in BusinessWeek. “I don’t consider myself an activist, but I realize how much I’ve benefited from the sacrifice of others. So if hearing that the CEO of Apple is gay can help someone struggling to come to terms with who he or she is, or bring comfort to anyone who feels alone, or inspire people to insist on their equality, then it’s worth the trade-off with my own privacy.”

In other Apple news: in a controversial move that has attracted a lot of attention, Facebook and Apple will start covering the costs of egg-freezing procedures, up to the value of $20,000 for individual employees. In an attempt to attract more female talent to their predominantly male workforces, this move is intended to offer more choice to women who couldn’t otherwise afford the expensive procedure.

Google

The Android project co-founder, Andy Rubin, is leaving Google to create an incubator for hardware start-ups. Rubin joined Google when the company acquired Android in 2005. “I want to wish Andy all the best with what’s next,” Google’s CEO Larry Page said in a statement. “With Android he created something truly remarkable-with a billion plus happy users. Thank you.”

Google announced a project that uses nanotechnology to identify signs of disease. The project binds tiny magnetic nanoparticles, one-thousandth the width of a red blood cell, to various molecules and identify markers of disease. Patients would need to swallow a pill and wear a magnetic device that tracks the particles. “We’re trying to stave off death by preventing disease,” Andrew Conrad, the head of the company’s life sciences division said on stage at WSJD Live. “Fundamentally, our foe is…unnecessary death. Because we have the technology to intervene, we should expend more energy and effort on it.”  The company still needs to determine the right dose of nanoparticles, and prove to the FDA that their method is safe.

In the meantime, Google confirmed, after being first revealed on Reddit, that it is testing a new product that connects people searching for health conditions with doctors over video chat. “When you’re searching for basic health information — from conditions like insomnia or food poisoning — our goal is to provide you with the most helpful information available. We’re trying this new feature to see if it’s useful to people.” the company explained.

Motorola

After the acquisition by Google, for $2.91 billion back in February, Motorola Mobility officially became part of Lenovo. Mainly interested in the company’s patent portfolio, Google bought Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion back in 2012, and lost hundreds of millions since the purchase. “Google will maintain ownership of a majority of the Motorola Mobility patent portfolio, while Motorola will receive a license to this rich portfolio of patents and other intellectual property,” says Lenovo. “The iconic Motorola brand will continue, as will the Moto and DROID franchises that have propelled our growth over the past year,” declared Rick Osterloh, Motorola president.

Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II sent her first official tweet, at London’s Science Museum, celebrating the history of communications technology. The British Monarchy claims the tweet was “sent personally by the Queen.” However – while the Queen can be seen in photos clearly typing on an iPad, the actual tweet was sent with an iPhone, raising questions whether Queen Elizabeth II really sent it herself.

That’s all folks!