Digital Zone 289: Amazon Prime Air

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In this edition of the Digital Zone, we talked about:

  • Amazon Prime Air
  • Bigger screens, more data
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 rumors
  • Facial password
  • Windows 7 over Windows 8
  • Facebook news
  • Sprint LTE coming to Salt Lake City
  • iPad Air or iPad Mini with Retina display?
  • Cameras, cameras everywhere

Press the ‘PLAY’ button to listen to Digital Zone 289: Amazon Prime Air

Amazon is testing a delivery service that uses drones to deliver packages within 30 minutes of an order being placed. Dubbed Amazon Prime Air, the service uses 8-propeller drones about the size of a remote-controlled airplane to transport shoebox-size plastic bins from fulfillment centers to customers’ homes. The service, which still requires more testing and clearance from the Federal Aviation Administration, could take to the skies as soon as four to five years. The little unmanned aerial vehicles rely on GPS to deliver their cargo.

Owners of smartphones with larger screens consume considerably more data on their devices than do the owners of smaller devices like Apple’s iPhone. The finding comes from new figures out from The NPD Group, which looked at monthly Wi-Fi and cellular data consumption among American consumers. For the three months ending July 2013, NPD found that the owners of smartphones with screens sized 4.5 inches and larger used 44 percent more data than those with smaller devices. Owners of devices with screen sizes smaller than 4.5 inches used about 5GB of data per month on Wi-Fi and cellular connections. Those with larger devices used around 7.2GB of data per month

The Samsung Galaxy S5 will feature a metal unibody design when it debuts in 2014, according to Japanese Web site EMSOne. The most recent rumors suggest that the device might be offered in two versions: the traditional plastic design, and a metal body.

You may one day be able to unlock your iPhone using your face. Apple was awarded by the US Patent and Trademark, a patent called “Personal computing device control using face detection and recognition” which envisions a method to access your iPhone and other devices based on facial detection and recognition. As such, your face would act as a password, allowing only you to answer a phone call and perform other tasks. The technology would start by scanning your face in order to record all of its unique features, such as texture, color, size, and shape. You could run the same process for any other person whom you want to use your iPhone. In response to an incoming call, your phone would scan your face to make sure it matches that of an authorized user. If so, the call goes through, and your iPhone displays the usual incoming call screen. If not, the device remains in lock mode with only the ringtone chiming away. The same security could apply for incoming e-mails. Looking at the iPhone would alert you to and display an e-mail. An authorized face would prevent the e-mail alert and hide or block the actual message.

Even with the return of the ‘Start’ button, Net Applications finds that Windows 8 growth has stagnated as the combined market share of Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 grew by only 0.05 percentage points in November. In contrast, Windows 7′s market share grew by 0.22 percentage points, which means that users upgrading to new PCs still seem to prefer Windows 7 to Windows 8. It also seems that Windows 8.1 growth is almost entirely driven by current Windows 8 users who are eagerly upgrading their PCs to take advantage of the latest software, as Windows 8.1′s market share grew by 0.92 percentage points and Windows 8′s market share shrank by 0.87 percentage points.

In October, a Pew Research Center report was released showing that 30-percent of American adults on Facebook get at least part of their news through the social network. That number may grow in the coming months, with Facebook announcing that it will be showing more news links, particularly for those who are accessing the social network through a smartphone. Facebook says in its announcement that this is to further refine the News Feed so that it gives users what they want to see when they want to see it. Facebook says that it will be targeting high-quality content, and that users on smartphones will be seeing those links appear in their News Feed a tad more often than they do on the desktop. Memes are getting the short end of the stick, and will be showing up less, being lower-quality content that the social network has identified as less wanted by its users over news content. The news links will be related to users various interests, and Facebook says that it noticed that individuals prefer to see content about their favorite sports teams, high-quality current events news, and shared interests, among other things. Now when users click on a link, they may be served up to three related links beneath it following the update.

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