Amazon Testing Kindle Unlimited, Driverless Cars Are Lethal Weapons, And More… [Tech News Digest]
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 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 .
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 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 ? 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
Just ran into this lady who is NOT in favor of Apple-IBM partnership pic.twitter.com/lJy10pJARg
— Doug MacMillan (@dmac1) July 16, 2014
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.
BlackBerry Assistant To Compete With Siri
I bet I’m the only one in the entire world who’s not excited about that personal assistant whatever-its-name-will-be coming on #BlackBerry.
— Cath (@marleysky) July 16, 2014
Apple has Siri , Microsoft has Cortana , and Google has Google Now . 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 ?
Manuel Noriega Suing Over Call Of Duty
First came Lindsay Lohan, who is suing Rockstar 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
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