Tech News

Amazon Testing Kindle Unlimited, Driverless Cars Are Lethal Weapons, And More… [Tech News Digest]

Dave Parrack 17-07-2014

Also, Apple and IBM get into bed together, BlackBerry is getting its own virtual personal assistant, a former dictator is suing over a Call Of Duty game, and Futurama is reimagined in 3D, with truly eye-popping results.


Amazon Testing Kindle Unlimited Service

Amazon is currently testing Kindle Unlimited, a $9.99-per-month subscription service offering unlimited access to more than 600,000 Kindle Looking For A New Kindle? Here's How To Decide Which Is Right For You Amazon currently offers 8 different models of Kindles, and with so many options, choosing one can be a tad confusing for the average consumer. What exactly differentiates these devices from each other? Read More eBooks and audiobooks. References to the upcoming service were removed after being spotted by people on the Kindle forums and detailed on GigaOM. The video above at least confirms Kindle Unlimited is real.

Of the 600,000+ books due to be available on Kindle Unlimited, there are none from the big five publishers. However, big name series such as Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, and The Lord Of The Rings are all included. Kindle Unlimited is set to live alongside the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, which is currently a perk for Amazon Prime customers Is Amazon Prime Worth Your Money? We Help You Decide! Amazon Prime is a big deal. But is it worth the money you pay for it? We answer your questions and concerns. Read More .

We expect Amazon to announce Kindle Unlimited in the near future. The company will be hoping this will be for eBooks what Netflix is for video and Spotify is for music. It does face competition from Scribd and Oyster, but neither of these have the instant access to millions of customers enjoyed by Amazon.

FBI: Driverless Cars Are “Lethal Weapons”

Most people are rather excited at the prospect of driverless cars, albeit with a certain amount of apprehension thrown in for good measure. Not so the FBI, which has taken a particularly pessimistic view on how driverless cars Your Car Could Soon Drive Itself, Facebook Has Big Plans For Oculus, And More... [Tech News Digest] Google Glass has been given a boost in specs, simplifies Google's "right to be forgotten" process, Opera 24 has been released for Linux, and the truth behind overtly happy Facebook status updates. Read More will be used in the future.

In an internal report seen by The Guardian, the FBI warns that autonomy “will make mobility more efficient, but will also open up greater possibilities for dual-use applications and ways for a car to be more of a potential lethal weapon that it is today.” The assumption being that driverless cars will make drive-by shootings a breeze and give terrorists a new weapon to use against us.


This may well be true, but what about the number of lives saved each year by the significant drop in road traffic accidents that will come as a result of driverless cars 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 ? We’re personally choosing to remain positive about a future in which all cars drive us from A to B and back again.

Apple & IBM Team Up For Enterprise Push

Apple and IBM have teamed up for a big push into the enterprise market, historically controlled by Microsoft. The tech giants have inked an “exclusive” deal which will see IBM pushing businesses to adopt iOS as their mobile operating system of choice.

The full ramifications of this alliance won’t be known for some time. However, it’s a big deal considering Apple once painted IBM as the corporate giant which needed to be removed from power.

The ‘1984‘ commercial is one of the most iconic Apple ads of all time An Apple (Ad) A Day: Top Ten Commercials You’re Likely To Remember Apple is a company that you either love or hate; there's very little middle ground. This is because you either buy into the company and its culture or reject it outright. Seeing as I don't... Read More . Sadly, a similar ad made now would have to show Apple as a corporate giant choosing to share power with the old enemy.


BlackBerry Assistant To Compete With Siri

Apple has Siri 8 Things You Probably Didn’t Realize Siri Could Do Siri has become one of the iPhone’s defining features, but for many people, it’s not always the most useful. While some of this is due to the limitations of voice recognition, the oddity of using... Read More , Microsoft has Cortana Geek Humor Included! Meet Cortana, Windows Phone 8.1 Digital Assistant Cortana is the best reason to upgrade your Windows Phone early. Microsoft's answer to Siri offers great features and will make you laugh. Read More , and Google has Google Now OK, Google: 20 Useful Things You Can Say to Your Android Phone Google Assistant can help you get a lot done on your phone. Here are a whole bunch of basic but useful OK Google commands to try. Read More . Not to be outdone, BlackBerry is getting its own virtual, voice-activated, personal assistant called BlackBerry Assistant. Catchy name.

BlackBerry Assistant will make its debut in BlackBerry 10.3. As outlined in a blog post previewing the new feature, BlackBerry Assistant “helps manage simple tasks on my device from searching my email and calendar, finding out what’s trending on Twitter, to sending trivia night invitations.

This is all very nice, but what we really want to know is, will BlackBerry Assistant predict football scores as accurately as Cortana Microsoft Changes Outlined In Memo, Amazon Drones On To FAA, And More... [Tech News Digest] UK government restores data retention powers, Verizon and Netflix continue war of words, Cortana predicts World Cup winners, Netflix advertises the best job ever, and Kelsey Grammer is a grammar Nazi, but only on Twitter. Read More ?

Manuel Noriega Suing Over Call Of Duty

First came Lindsay Lohan, who is suing Rockstar Facebook Conducts Hundreds Of Experiments, Google Bans Porn, And More... [Tech News Digest] Fallout from the "right to be forgotten," Yahoo kills several unheard of services, Google launches Project Ara beta, Lindsay Lohan sues Rockstar over GTA V character, and Tetris gets played on a T-shirt. Read More over a character she alleges is based on her appearing in GTA V. And now comes Manuel Noriega, the former dictator (and current prisoner) of Panama, who is suing Activision over his depiction in Call of Duty: Black Ops II.


Unlike Lohan, who is merely assuming Lacey Jonas is based on her, Noriega was actually named in the game, leaving no room for this being a case of mistaken identity. Noriega is suing for “blatant misuse, unlawful exploitation and misappropriation for economic gain.” Cha-ching!

Futurama Reimagined In Glorious 3D

And finally, we have a legitimate vision of how a 3D Futurama movie may look thanks to a short test by artist Alexey Zakharov. He created this 30-second clip showing New York in the year 3000 by using a combination of Dsmax, Nuke, Photoshop and After Effects. The results are pretty spectacular.

Your Views On Today’s Tech News

Would you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited if Amazon offered such a service? Is the FBI being too pessimistic in its assessment of driverless cars? Would you see a Futurama movie if it looked as good as it does in that video?

Let us know your thoughts on the tech news of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.


Image Credit: Aurimas via Flickr

Related topics: Amazon Kindle, Apple, BlackBerry, Call of Duty, Television.

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  1. Bártfay Meszike I
    July 17, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    Interesting development, is needed certainly!! :)

    • Dave P
      July 17, 2014 at 10:15 pm

      Which story are you referring to?

  2. Maryon Jeane
    July 17, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    If you could see the state of most of our libraries in the UK, and particularly if you lived in the middle of the countryside here, you wouldn't dismiss Amazon's (possible) offering in such a facile manner. I would pay double that amount (as, no doubt, I will have to as US companies have the nasty habit of keeping the number the same when translating from dollars to pounds across the Pond), to have unlimited access to all the books on Amazon. I already spend much more than this amount on buying books from Amazon as I read day in, day out, whenever I have a spare moment - love it, one of my favourite things.

    I'm really desperately hoping that the possible advent of Kindle books and audio combined isn't an urban myth. The thought of not having to break off from a book because I have to go and do something practical (DIY, housework, gardening, present-wrapping, etc.) is for me wish-fulfilment run riot.

    Why be negative? Yes, obviously there are plenty of things Amazon could do once it has us all in its clutches and completely reliant on it for our reading matter - you don't need to be paranoid or have been reared on a diet of 1984, Brave New World and Fahrenheit 451 to see that - but given the choice between world dominance and continuing to make x million a minute, I think it possible that Amazon will settle comfortably for the latter. And driverless cars can obviously be used for all sorts of nefarious purposes - but then so can a kitchen knife and a pair of curling tongs.

    • Dave P
      July 17, 2014 at 10:21 pm

      I'm in the UK and have witnessed the desecration of our libraries. It's extremely sad. I agree, I think this is a wonderful innovation. And as you say it'll even better if one could switch from reading a book to listening to an audiobook completely at will.

  3. dragonmouth
    July 17, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    WOW!!!! 600,000 books. How many of them are you actually going to read? 6, 60, 600? Besides, you are paying $120/yr to rent books you can borrow for free from a public library. And you pay whether you download books or not. I wonder how many pigeons will Amazon trap with this bait? Amazon is doing this for its bottom line, not to serve the users.

    Driverless cars - I'm with FBI on this. A driverless car is a perfect terrorist weapon. But you're right that they will save lives, except the lives saved will not be the ones you think. There will no more need for suicide car bombers. And please don't say it won't happen. A driverless car is basically nothing more than a drone. Military drones, supposedly controlled via military strength securely encrypted transmissions have been taken over by hostiles. In comparison, what chance do the transmissions controlling the driverless cars stand against hackers? Forget the terrorists. As soon as driverless cars hit the streets in numbers, eveery scripts kiddie in the world will trying to hack the control system.

    To the Pollyannas of the world, driverless cars sound wonderful but beware of the Law of Unintended Consequences!

    • Dave P
      July 17, 2014 at 10:19 pm

      This could help users AND Amazon's bottom line. Publishers and authors will probably lose out the most. I've had a Kindle for about three months now and I've read a surprising number of books in that time. Anyway, having 600,000 available it about choice, not the number most people will read!

      Sure, driverless cars could be a threat, but then so are lots of things. America won't even ban guns, which only exist to cause harm, so it seems a but rich to turn on this future technology.

    • Javier L
      July 18, 2014 at 5:09 pm

      If I read just two books a month, I'd have to pay at least 20$ for them, so the ten dollar a month price tag for having 600,000 books available at any time sounds very reasonable.
      Plus, not everybody has a decent local library to borrow books from.

      Hopefully this testing period does not last long and they start giving the service outside of the U.S.