Tech 2.0 for Thursday, August 1, 2013
Motorola unveiled a new smart-phone Thursday, their first new flagship product since partnering with Google last year. Moto X will be assembled in America at a new plant in Texas and will try to muscle into a hyper-competitive mobile market dominated by Apple and Samsung. One of the key selling points for the Moto X is customization. Buyers can select from more than 2000 combinations of exterior case colors, wood covers, even special wallpaper and inscriptions. Motorola also partnered with Sol Republic to create a line of Moto X accessories like headphones, speakers, cases and docks. The Moto X runs on Android and features technology like enhanced touchless voice controls, active displays, and a quick camera capture mode triggered by a flick of the wrist. The starting price of the Moto X is $199 with a two year contract and will be available in the U.S. starting in late August or early September.
A $60 million research ship funded by a Google executive is setting sail from San Francisco to study a so-called "dead zone" in the Pacific Ocean and other mysteries of the sea. The San Francisco Chronicle reports the 272-foot vessel called Falkor was scheduled to leave port Thursday. The ship carries an unmanned submarine that will travel deep into the ocean off Vancouver Island to study an area where all sea life dies each year from a periodic lack of oxygen. And scientists working aboard the Falkor are treated to amenities not found on the usual research ship: a sauna and down-filled bunks among them. The Falkor is funded by the Schmidt Ocean Science Institute, which was co-founded by Google executive Eric Schmidt and his wife, Wendy.
Netflix is introducing a long-awaited feature that will make it easier for the Internet video service to track and analyze the viewing habits of people sharing the same $8-per-month account. The tool coming out Thursday can splinter a single Netflix account into up to five different profiles at no additional charge. The Los Gatos, Calif., company is hoping its 37.6 million worldwide subscribers will use the profiles feature because it will help Netflix's recommendation system gain a better understanding of the different tastes of viewers using the same account. The feature initially will only be available on Netflix Inc.'s own website and several other viewing outlets, including the iPad, iPhone, Apple TV, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Apple TV and some smart TV models.