Autumn is just around the corner and Amazon is already thinking of the ultimate entry on every child’s Christmas list with their recently announced Fire Kids Edition tablet. Also last week PWC reveals some interesting data about wearable tech and Windows 10 gets the thumbs down from Mary Jo Foley herself. Read more in the Monday tech news roundup below.
Amazon kid’s play
Amazon may have started out selling books but now it sells everything under the sun. If I want the best deal, be that on a printer cartridge or a bike part, Amazon is the place to go.
Now the company is trying to loop kids into its world with a tablet especially designed for the younger generation. The Fire Kids Edition tablet not only tightly controls content but it also offer tons of child specific consumables.
As a dad, I am very concerned with content controls. You can take, say my daughter’s iPad (which use to be mine before she commandeered it) and make the browsing safe. But having the tablet built from the ground up for safe computing is likely more effective. Then there are the thousands of kid-specific movies and videos available on the new Fire Kids Edition which is another plus but there are two problems with that. First off, I’m not sure I want my kid spending all day staring at a screen. Second – you get all this mind wasting content free for a year. After that, you are feeding Amazon’s coffers. That is why the Fire Kids Edition sells for a relatively paltry (US) $100. Amazon will make all its money in the future by feeding content to this little unit.
Personally, at least for now, I’ll stick with letting my daughter use the iPad complete with content control software – which I’ll then remove when she turns 44.
The wearable tech security threat
A new report by PriceWaterhouseCooper exposes the security threat posed by wearable technology. For anyone working within the security industry, this is not exactly breaking news. This threat is identical to the Internet of Things (IoT) threat, a category in which wearables reside.
What was rather stunning, however, was the finding that 20% of survey respondents already wear wearable tech. This comes as a surprise because you don’t see much wearable tech around. With cell phones, almost no one even wears a watch but it is also true that watches are making a sort of comeback because they are equipped with smart tech giving the wearer more than just the time. The same can be said of fitness trackers, which are very discreet but are able to collect so much information.
The report does point to specific wearable issues. Fitness trackers and smartwatches, for instance, capture location information, which if hacked can let a criminal know where you are and where you have been. The lesson is that a connected device, no matter how innocent it seems, can leave you just as vulnerable as that fully functioning computer you are likely staring at.
Meet the new Windows – as unstable as the old Windows
I have used Windows since it first came out, that’s the past 30 years give or take. After 3 decades of existence you’d think that Windows would be indestructible but according to long-time Microsoft watcher Mary Jo Foley, Windows 10 is as unreliable as the old Windows:
“On my Windows 10 machine, this is how I’ve come to start my day: I slowly open my laptop lid, cautiously peer at my screen and wonder what is no longer working like it did yesterday”.
Yikes! This is a description of a thirty-year-old operating system in its latest iteration. This is bad news for Microsoft as stability is one of the core things users look for in an operating system. Apple did something smart years ago. Instead of hanging onto the guts of the Mac operating system, it switched everything over to Mach, a version of Unix. Since then, it has been all smooth sailing for Apple when it comes to the stability of their OS. That ship has sailed for Microsoft, but it comes with a warning for future OSes. The tech giant needs to start focusing less on features and more on core usability concerns.