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Today in Tech News Digest, Google starts building robots, sales of PCs are expected to fall sharply, Spotify woos artists, the PlayStation 4 hits the 2 million sold milestone, UPS tries to one-up Amazon, Office 365 is offered free to students, and Star Wars lands on Instagram with a Darth Vader selfie.

Google Building Androids, For Real

Google is developing its own army of robots, with Android founder Andy Rubin in charge of bringing this vision through to reality. In order to achieve this goal, Google has acquired seven robotics-oriented technology firms over the past few months.

In an exclusive interview with the New York Times, Rubin revealed he had “a history of making my hobbies into a career,” and robotics is something he’s passionate about. He didn’t reveal Google’s specific plans for the new wave of robots, but it’s thought manufacturing will be the initial target market rather than consumers.

While Rubin admits this is a “moonshot” requiring a “10-year vision,” Google isn’t exactly new to turning science fiction concepts into working prototypes. The biggest examples of this being Google Glass 10 Of The Best Google Glass Videos Shot So Far 10 Of The Best Google Glass Videos Shot So Far Google Glass may or may not change the world. It's really too early to tell. However, Google Glass is certainly an innovative new product with the capacity to change our idea of mobile devices. It's... Read More and the company’s self-driving cars The Shocking Effects Of The Google Driverless Car [INFOGRAPHIC] The Shocking Effects Of The Google Driverless Car [INFOGRAPHIC] The future is closer than you might think. Thanks to Google's top secret research department, Google X, driverless cars are now a reality and could be hitting the mainstream in the not too distant future.... Read More .

Cynics may suggest this is nothing more than posturing from Google, delivered as a riposte to Amazon’s plans for delivery drones Amazon Delivery Drones, Facebook Hack, Kindle Fire Vs iPad Air [Tech News Digest] Amazon Delivery Drones, Facebook Hack, Kindle Fire Vs iPad Air [Tech News Digest] Amazon aerial drones, Facebook friends list hack, Google Nexus handsets vulnerability discovered, Black Friday numbers are released, Steam introduces user reviews, and the Kindle Fire HDX is compared favorably to the iPad Air. Read More . The timing suggests there is some truth to that, but while Amazon chief Jeff Bezos’ announcement surely prompted the revelation, Google has clearly been working on this for months.

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PC Sales Plummet

The PC market is expected to have declined further than expected in 2013, with research firm IDC predicting a 10.1 percent drop in shipments. If proven correct, this would be by far the biggest annual decline ever seen. The reasons for this decline, and the declines seen over the past few years, are many and varied, but the switch to tablets and smartphones is likely to be the biggest cause of this dip. The question is, will the PC market ever recover? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Spotify Targets Artists

Spotify Music Streaming With Spotify: What You Get For Free Music Streaming With Spotify: What You Get For Free The long awaited streaming music service, Spotify landed in the U.S. last week. Unlike other streaming services, however, Spotify offers an ad-supported free option, which makes millions of albums and songs available to you through... Read More has begun wooing artists to its cause, with a standalone website designed for content creators rather than consumers. The website explains the basics of how Spotify works, offers analytics and best practices, and most importantly, reveals the truth about royalties and payments to artists.

While many artists have already embraced the new digital/streaming order of things, some are holding out in the belief that they’re being shortchanged. The Spotify Artists website is clearly an attempt to convey the positive side of the story to unconvinced musicians. If it means The Beatles and Pink Floyd put their music on Spotify then we all win.

PS4 Hits 2 Million

It took just 24 hours for the PS4 to rack up sales of 1 million. And now sales have hit the 2.1 million mark just two weeks after the launch of Sony’s next-gen console. Sony makes it clear this is real sales to real consumers, rather than merely shipments to retailers. Those who haven’t yet bought one may want to join our PS4 giveaway Sony PlayStation 4 Review And Giveaway Sony PlayStation 4 Review And Giveaway Ladies and gentlemen, the next generation of video game consoles is here, with the Sony PlayStation 4! Read More (closing date: Dec. 13).

UPS Drones On

It seems Amazon isn’t the only company experimenting with delivery drones Amazon Delivery Drones, Facebook Hack, Kindle Fire Vs iPad Air [Tech News Digest] Amazon Delivery Drones, Facebook Hack, Kindle Fire Vs iPad Air [Tech News Digest] Amazon aerial drones, Facebook friends list hack, Google Nexus handsets vulnerability discovered, Black Friday numbers are released, Steam introduces user reviews, and the Kindle Fire HDX is compared favorably to the iPad Air. Read More , as UPS has reportedly been working on using the exact same technology as the online retail giant. This news comes via sources talking to The Verge, and UPS would only say that, “The commercial use of drones is an interesting technology and we’ll continue to evaluate it.” With so many practical and legal obstacles to overcome before these efforts can (literally) get off the ground, it’s far too early to get excited. Or is it?

Free Office 365 For Students


Office 365, Microsoft ever-popular productivity suite, is now potentially available for free to students around the world. Thanks to the Student Advantage program Teachers Can Now Offer Office 365 To Their Students For Free With Worldwide Launch Of Microsoft’s Student Advantage Teachers Can Now Offer Office 365 To Their Students For Free With Worldwide Launch Of Microsoft’s Student Advantage The worldwide launch of Microsoft’s Student Advantage program now allows teachers to offer Office 365 to their students for free. The Student Advantage program is now open to 35,000 schools and colleges worldwide. Read More , schools and colleges which hold a license for either Office 365 ProPlus or Office Professional Plus can now offer access to their students at no extra cost. So, someone’s paying, but at least it isn’t the lowly students.

Star Wars Instagram

And finally, Disney has launched an official Instagram account for Star Wars. This may be nothing more than an early promotional effort for Star Wars VII, due to be released in 2015, but what Star Wars fan 10 Twitter Accounts All Star Wars Fans Should Follow 10 Twitter Accounts All Star Wars Fans Should Follow In October 2012 Disney acquired Lucasfilm, the production company primarily known for the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises. For a fraction over $4 billion, Disney therefore landed the Star Wars franchise, and promptly announced... Read More could resist? The first photo uploaded to the Star Wars Instagram was a Darth Vader selfie, and I guess we’ll let him off using this hateful medium 5 Things To Avoid When Taking Selfies 5 Things To Avoid When Taking Selfies Selfies shouldn’t be taken lightly, and there are many things you need to avoid. Read More for fear of being strangled at arm’s length.

Tech News Digest… Breaking News Into Bite-Sized Chunks

Image Credits: JD Hancock, Microsoft Sweden

  1. dragonmouth
    December 5, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    "will the PC market ever recover?"
    If you mean to the levels before tablets and smart phones, then NO. The "erosion" is just the people who never really needed all that a desktop/laptop has to offer switching to tablets/phones. There probably will be further consolidation among the manufacturers and/or PCs will become a minor portion of a manufacturer's product line but PCs will never completely disappear. Of course all that is predicated on no unexpected advances in technology.

    @Kannon:
    "The desktop remains the single best productivity oriented environment around"
    It is. However, the people who switched/are switching to tablets/phones were never productive. PCs will become niche devices just like the mainframes did. Think of PCs as Shopsmith multi-tools and phones and tablets screwdrivers and saws. Not everybody needs a Shopsmith, for most people a hammer and a screwdriver is sufficient.

  2. Kannon Y
    December 5, 2013 at 7:28 am

    Again, great roundup of today's news. I'm a bit depressed that desktop sales are down, though. The desktop remains the single best productivity oriented environment around. I couldn't imagine working from anyplace else. But the slowdown in desktop sales means further market segmentation. AMD will likely pursue consoles and gaming machines and Intel will likely redouble efforts targeting mobile.

    • Dave P
      December 5, 2013 at 3:49 pm

      Thanks, Kannon. :)

      I suspect desktop sales will bounce back once everyone's bought a tablet, which should be soon at the rate they're disappearing off store shelves.

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