Today in Tech News Digest, switching from Windows XP to Chrome OS, forcing Facebook Messenger, Project Ara developers, Comcast named “worst company in America,” Apple iWatch rumors, and an Easter PSA from Goldieblox.
Google Urges XP Users To Try Chrome OS
With Microsoft having ended support for Windows XP, those people still using the aged operating system need to jump ship or risk becoming a target for cybercriminals and digital ne’er-do-wells. Google is offering a solution: switch to Chrome OS.
In order to persuade XP orphans that Chrome OS is the way to go, Google is offering sizeable discounts for enterprise customers. Firms buying hardware through Chromebooks for Business can get $100 off each managed device running Chrome OS, and $200 off of a VMware DaaS (Desktop as a Service) subscription is purchased at the same time.
VMWare DaaS enables Chrome OS users to run Windows apps in a virtual environment, so it’s a good option for those wanting to break away from Microsoft without losing access to its software.
Whether enterprise customers will turn away from Windows in droves remains to be seen, but Google is doing all it can to position Chrome OS as a viable alternative.
Facebook Forcing Messenger Use For Chat
In order to chat to people through Facebook on your mobile you will soon be forced to download the standalone Facebook Messenger app. This is as a result of the social network stripping the messaging tab from Facebook for iOS and Facebook for Android.
According to TechCrunch, some users are already being notified of the change, with the rest set to follow. Eventually, the vast majority of mobile Facebook users will be required to download Facebook Messenger in order to continue chatting to friends.
This has been in the works for some time, with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg having explained his reasons for the forthcoming change as long ago as November 2013. He suggested that “having it [Messenger] as a second-class thing inside the Facebook app makes it so there’s more friction to replying to messages, so we would rather have people be using a more focused experience for that.”
Still, there is sure to be huge criticism of this move, as there is every time Facebook changes something without consulting its users first.
Project Ara Detailed In First MDK
The jury is still out on whether modular smartphones have a future, but Google is forging ahead with its plans for Project Ara. The company has just released the first Project Ara MDK (Module Developers Kit) [No Longer Available], which defines the base design and details the customization options open to developers.
The first Project Ara Developers Conference is taking place at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California on April 15 and 16. The final MDK is due to be released by the end of 2014, at which time Project Ara will — if it’s ever going to do so — come of age.
Comcast Is “Worst Company In America”
Comcast has been named the “worst company in America” by The Consumerist. The website invites its readers to vote for which company deserves the Golden Poo award each year, and Comcast managed to win the 2014 vote by beating out Monsanto, SeaWorld, and Walmart.
This is the second time Comcast has won the negative accolade, matching EA which won it consecutively in 2012 and 2013. This year, however, EA lost out to Time Warner Cable in the first round despite the Dungeon Keeper controversy and the SimCity debacle.
iWatch Priced At “Several Thousand Dollars”
Apple is expected to release its first foray into the emerging wearables market later this year, and we’ve already been treated to much speculation about the end product. However, there is always room for more, right?
As reported by MacRumors, KGI Securities analyst Ming Chi Kuo has revealed his best guesses on the iWatch. He thinks it will ship in two different sizes, 1.3-inches and 1.5-inches, both of which will feature “flexible AMOLED displays with sapphire covers.” He also suggests biometric sensors as standard, a “fashionable appearance,” integration with other iDevices, and wireless charging functionality.
This all meshes with previous rumors, but where Kuo differs is in his prediction of pricing. He suspects there will be low-end and high-end offerings, meaning “the most expensive model of the iWatch line will carry a price tag of several thousand US dollars.” More than a MacBook Pro with Retina Display? That seems unlikely, even for Apple.
GoldieBlox Shows “Brain On Engineering”
And finally, GoldieBlox is continuing its effort to dispel the myth that little girls are only interested in playing with dolls and dressing up as princesses. Because, shock horror, some girls prefer more geeky pastimes.
The latest ad from the interactive toy company is an Easter PSA which plays on the “This is your brain on drugs” message from the 1980s. Just with “drugs” having been replaced with “engineering.” Clever.
Tech News Digest… Breaking News Into Bite-Sized Chunks.
Image Credit: Flyshoe via Flickr