This week: BlackBerry pumps the breaks on hardware production, leading tech companies partner on A.I. and we examine who shoulders the burden for device security.
BlackBerry halts hardware production
After BlackBerry’s failed attempt to stimulate interest in its phones via Android adoption, the company is calling it quits on hardware production. To save capital, the company will turn to third-party sources to design, build and sell its devices. The announcement ends a prolific chapter in the evolution of the phone industry. Now, the company plans to hone its focus on software and services. This continues a movement initiated by new CEO John Chen, who joined the company in 2013. Analysts question whether the company’s software and services divisions will be enough to overcome the pain of the now-defunct hardware division.
Read more about BlackBerry’s farewell to its iconic hardware at CNet.
Tech Titans Team for A.I. Governance
Increasingly, data is becoming a highly-sought commodity for the modern business. Leveraging this data in the world of artificial intelligence has opened unprecedented opportunities for today’s enterprise. Recognizing this and seeing a need for regulations going forward, Amazon, Facebook, Google, IBM and Microsoft have formed the Partnership on A.I. This rarely seen move of self-governance encourages the participating enterprises to continuously push the boundaries of A.I. while coming together to discuss their advancements. However, the members will also meet to analyze and further define gray-area topics, such as ethics, inclusivity and privacy.
Read more about the Partnership on A.I. at TechCrunch.
Google Station to Offer Wi-Fi to Public Venues Across the Globe
A new program from Google intends to make Wi-Fi available to public places all over the planet. The initiative follows on Google’s recent partnerships with RailTel and Indian Railways, which has brought free Wi-Fi to over 3.5 million users a month across 52 rail stations. And while its Wi-Fi rollout in India has been of zero cost to users, it’s not clear if this new global initiative will carry a price tag. An informational site about the initiative states that it will pursue partnerships with “large venues and organizations, network operators, fiber providers, system integrators and infrastructure companies.”
Who will shoulder mobile security?
Historically, the burden of device security has fallen on the end user. Whether through implementing protective technologies or simply engaging in safe online behavior, the buck has stopped on the user’s desk. Should it though? Adrian Ludwig, lead engineer for Android security at Google, recently argued that this mode of thinking is outdated. Now, as the shift to mobile and cloud is full-steam ahead, it makes sense for platform providers to step up and take responsibility for device security. Ludwig pointed to openness into device performance as a key component of helping strengthen security. Currently, most of Android’s billion users have some sort of interaction with an endpoint security system that feeds Google activity on security threats, such as malware. So the question is, are Ludwig’s comments indicative of a larger shift within the industry?
Read more on the debate for mobile security responsibility at ZDNet.
Google Boosts Security of Incognito Searches
Whether trying to surprise a significant other with a nice gift or secretly trying to master “Space Oddity” on guitar, mobile users can turn to the Google app’s incognito searches for private browsing. Recently, the company announced steps to further protect its incognito mode by adding Touch ID access to mobile devices. Now, if a friend gets control of a user’s phone, incognito search tabs remain inaccessible until unlocked with touch recognition. While a nice additional layer, it’s important to remember that searches still are not totally private. Employers can continue to monitor traffic at work, ISPs can see your search history and Google can do the same. In addition to the added privacy, the update now lets users watch YouTube videos directly in Search.
Read more on Google’s updates to incognito searches at Digital Trends.