Apple Loses Siri Patent Case, When Uber Drivers Go Bad, And More… [Tech News Digest]
Also, Aereo uses the recent Supreme Court ruling to its favor, Chromecast gets an AirPlay-like update, Spotify is finally coming to Canada, you WILL want a pair of RocketSkates, and a YouTube video that makes you hallucinate.
Apple In Siri-ous Trouble In China
Apple has failed in its attempt to have voice-recognition patents held by a Chinese company ruled invalid in China. The Shanghai-based Zhizhen Network Technology holds patents which could see Siri labelled as infringing on intellectual property rights.
According to BBC News, Zhizhen has its own virtual personal assistant, called Xiao i Robot, which began life as a chatbot in 2003. Zhizhen claims Apple is infringing on its patents, and China’s State Intellectual Property Office agrees, refusing to grant Apple’s wishes that the patents be invalidated.
Apple’s options include stopping selling all products containing Siri in China, and reaching a financial settlement with Zhizhen over its patents. The latter is far more likely, but won’t be cheap. Still, Apple could always use the money it has received from Samsung in their many disputes over patents. Irony.
The Uber Taxi Ride From Hell
Uber continues to disrupt (we hate the word but it is rather fitting) the taxi business. But the latest drama isn’t one Uber will be boasting about. As detailed by The Washington Post, Ryan Simonetti experienced the Uber ride from Hell when his driver fled from a taxi inspector in Washington D.C.
The Uber driver is alleged to have been trying to avoid a fine, and thought it appropriate to exceed the speed limit and drive through red lights in order to do so. The taxi inspector eventually saved the day, but not before Simonetti and his fellow passengers had a scary trip.
An Uber spokesperson said, “Rider safety is our #1 priority. We will cooperate with authorities in their investigation and have deactivated the driver pending the outcome.” And what about the vetting procedure for Uber drivers? Which clearly failed on this occasion.
Aereo Now Claims To Be A Cable Company
If the networks don’t want Aereo to exist, then they should offer the same service.
— Caitlin Imbimbo (@ForeverG5) July 3, 2014
In its ongoing effort to stay alive, Aereo is using the ruling about its illegality against the U.S. Supreme Court. While backing the broadcasters in their case against Aereo, judges ruled that Aereo “is for all practical purposes a traditional cable system.”
Aereo is now taking those words literally and arguing that as a “traditional cable system” it’s entitled to a statutory license. The broadcasters are, unsurprisingly, rallying against this move, calling Aereo’s new stance “astonishing.” We think “genius” is a more apt description.
Chromecast Gets Android Screen Mirroring
Google has added Android screen mirroring to Chromecast in an AirPlay-like update introducing ‘Cast Screen’. This new feature was revealed at Google I/O 2014 but will take time to roll out to all users. Android screen mirroring is also only available on select devices from select manufacturers.
Spotify Is Coming To Canada
Looks like Spotify is finally coming to Canada. I’ve tried it and it just didn’t compete with Rdio in any way, so I doubt I’ll switch.
— Mike Battista (@Mike_Rochip) July 9, 2014
Spotify is finally coming to Canada three years after launching in the United States. Canadian music lovers can now sign up for an invitation to use the streaming service, with a gradual rollout expected to last several months.
If you do get an early invite then please tell us what you think of Spotify. And download our free guide to Spotify to help you get started with the service.
RocketSkates Zoom Onto Kickstarter
Not all Kickstarter projects deserve press attention, but in a week when potato salads are raising thousands of dollars , motorized skates surely do. RocketSkates from Acton are rollerskates which use hub motors to propel the wearer along at up to 12 mph.
These are the successor to the company’s first effort called Spnkix; the major improvement being removing the need for a remote control. At $399 per pair RocketSkates aren’t cheap, but they are insanely cool. And I want some. Now.
How To Hallucinate Without Taking Drugs
And finally, you no longer need to take illegal drugs to get a hallucinogenic high. Instead, just watch this YouTube video following the on-screen prompts. You may not see purple unicorns jumping over rainbows, but you will see something strange and unusual. HT: Gizmodo.
Warning: Please do not watch this video if you suffer from migraines or have a history of seizures.
Your Views On Today’s Tech News
How will Apple handle Siri in China? Does the taxi ride from Hell make you less keen to use Uber? Did the featured YouTube video make you hallucinate as advertised?
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: Global X via Flickr