Google Reveals Android Lollipop, HBO Battles Netflix, And More… [Tech News Digest]

android-lollipop-forest-840x420Also, Google Glass is addictive, Facebook Safety Check, webOS begone, Will.i.am finds his Puls, and a working iPhone is created in Minecraft. Check the latest tech news from this article on MakeUseOf.com.

Google Reveals Lollipop, New Nexus Devices

Google has revealed Android L, which is Android 5.0, with the L standing for Lollipop. Android Lollipop features a newly redesigned user interface called Material Design, as well as improved battery life (up to 90 minutes extra), multiple user accounts and more besides. Lollipop is designed to “work on all your devices and to be customized for you the way you see fit.

Android Lollipop will make its first public appearance on the Nexus 6 and Nexus 9, the former being a 6-inch phablet from Motorola, the latter being a 9-inch tablet from HTC. Older Nexus devices will be upgraded to Android Lollipop in “the coming weeks,” while other devices will receive the update when the individual manufacturers see fit to push it out.

Google has also unveiled Nexus Player, a streaming media player running Android TV. This Asus-made device will not only play movies and TV content as you would expect, it will also play Android games and support Google Cast, enabling content to be sent from other devices.

HBO Launching Standalone Service In 2015

HBO has announced plans to offer a standalone subscription service starting sometime in 2015. HBO is currently only available to U.S. residents who also pay for a raft of other channels. But HBO CEO Richard Plepler has promised to go “beyond the wall” and launch a “stand-alone, over the top” version next year.

Details are thin on the ground, so it isn’t yet known how HBO will deliver such a service to customers, or what it’ll charge for the privilege. Regardless, this puts HBO on a collision course with streaming services, and Netflix in particular. But with an increasing number of people refusing to pay a small fortune for channels they don’t want to watch, HBO had to act, and fast.

Doctors Warn Google Glass Is Addictive

Doctors in San Diego are warning that Google Glass can be addictive. This is based on the case of one Glass Explorer, a 31-year-old navy serviceman who became addicted to Google Glass after wearing the device for up to 18 hours a day.

The addicted party is now recovering after 35 days of treatment, but his condition should stand as a warning to people not to become so attached to wearable technology, both literally and figuratively.

Facebook Introduces Safety Check

Facebook has introduced what it calls Safety Check. This is a way of checking in, either yourself or with others, when a major disaster strikes. Essentially, any Facebook user in close proximity to a natural disaster will be asked if they’re safe. Selecting ‘I’m Safe‘ will post an update to their wall instantly informing friends and family they don’t need to worry about them. Which, credit where credit is due, is actually a rather good idea.

HP Shutting Down webOS Services

HP is shutting down the last remaining aspects of webOS, with the HP App Catalog and cloud services support for webOS devices closing on January 15, 2015. HP has published an FAQ stating that this “is part of an orderly end of life program [as] the user count has dwindled to the point where it is no longer viable to keep the services running.

This shouldn’t come as a great surprise seeing as the company ended support for webOS hardware more than three years ago (one of our biggest tech disappointments of all time). Still, it means the handful of people who are still using webOS devices will have little choice but to move on to something else in the new year.

Will.i.am’s Weird Wearable

Will.i.am has unveiled his wearable wrist device at the 2014 Dreamforce conference in San Francisco. The Black Eyed Peas frontman’s latest attempt to become a force in the technology industry is called Puls, a smartcuff that apparently took 35 engineers more than two years to develop.

Puls is a standalone smartwatch with 1GB of RAM and 16GB of storage. It boasts a Siri clone called Aneeda, a built-in speaker, GPS, a pedometer, and an accelerometer. Unfortunately, it’s also big and bulky, with a strap that makes it look like it belongs in the 1980s.

There is no word yet on pricing or a release date, but we suspect most of you will have already decided you don’t want one of these monstrosities anyway.

Working iPhone Created In Minecraft

And finally, some clever dick has created a working iPhone in Minecraft. While you cannot ring out on it, you can turn it on or off, explore default apps, and generally marvel at the level of creativity on display here. The video is in German, but English speakers should be able to pick out enough words to make some sense of what is being said. [H/T TUAW]

Your Views On Today’s Tech News

Are you excited at the prospect of Android Lollipop? Are you likely to subscribe to a standalone version of HBO? What do you think about Will.i.am’s wearable?

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.

by: Dave Parrack

Photo by: MakeUseOf.com

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