KW 5: Researchers find location trackers in 450 apps, Xiaomi and O2 expand their cooperation, Apple enables use of two HomePods as stereo pair

NEWS

Researchers find location trackers in 450 apps: ExpressVPN has released new research that highlights how smartphone apps are being used to track users all over the world. According to the report, ExpressVPN Digital Security Lab identified location tracker SDKs in 450 different apps. The apps found to have location trackers include everything from popular dating apps to shopping and travel apps. Data the apps are gathering is as varied as the type of apps using this tech. In December, Google and Apple banned X-Mode Social, the software development kit from data broker X-Mode, from iOS and Android apps. But just 10 percent of the apps which had used X-Mode libraries at some point over the past year has removed the tracking code as required, ExpressVPN Digital Security Lab researchers said.
komando.com, duo.com

Xiaomi and O2 expand their cooperation: The network provider O2, which belongs to Telefónica, and the Chinese electronics manufacturer Xiaomi have announced the expansion of their cooperation. At the end of 2019, O2 was one of the first German network operators to include Xiaomi products in its portfolio and to offer them via its online shop and in O2 stores. This includes mobile devices and other electronic products such as the Mi Smart Desk Lamp 1S or the Mi Smart TV 4S from Xiaomi. According to their press release, Xiaomi and O2 want to further expand their hardware range. O2 also wants to offer Internet of Things and lifestyle products from Xiaomi in the future.
paudal.com

Apple enables use of two HomePods as stereo pair: Apple was late releasing the HomePod. And even though the company took a few extra months to finish things up, it shipped without two key features: multi-room audio and stereo pairing. Without those, there wasn’t a compelling case for buying multiple HomePods. But Apple has finally released a long-awaited software update for that enables the AirPlay 2 streaming protocol — which also lets owners pair two HomePods in stereo or group together multiple speakers across your house.
engadget.com

No more YouTube app for the first three generations of Apple TV: YouTube is planning to discontinue support for its dedicated Apple TV channel, meaning third-generation devices will no longer be able to access the service. The video platform recently began to inform users that the channel will be shut down starting next month, reports 9to5Mac. The change doesn’t affect the two Apple TV boxes currently being sold today. Apple TV HD (fourth generation) and Apple TV 4K (fifth generation), the two models that run tvOS and have a built-in App Store, will continue to have supported YouTube apps. Rather, the AirPlay requirement for playback is coming to third-generation Apple TV streaming boxes that were first introduced in 2012.
appleinsider.com, 9to5mac.com

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African Edition – The weekly newsletter that provides you with hand-picked news about current discussions and news from Africa: from socio-political developments to African-European relations. The continent at a glance. african-edition.com

Smart Cities: Between economic megatrend and bourgeoisie 2.0 berliner-zeitung.de
Autonomous driving: Level 0 to 5 explained t3n.de
Apple Car: Former Porsche manager comes on board t3n.de
IoT: Avast recommends more security for smart home devices iavcworld.de
Regensburg: Pilot project autonomous shuttle starts – next step towards “Smart City”? tvaktuell.com

NUMBER OF THE WEEK

Germany is only in fourth place in Bloomberg’s innovation ranking. Last year, Germany was still the front runner.
bloomberg.com

BACKGROUND

EA files video game patent for voice controlled characters: Electronic Arts filed for a patent last month which concerns the use of “Voice Controlled Video Game Characters”, an official posting on WIPO IP PORTAL confirms. The abstract for the patent confirms a number of things, including allowing a player to designate custom voice utterances to control an in-game character. Interestingly, the patent also lists the capability that the machine may learn in-game character actions associated with each of a number of player-defined utterances.
thedirect.com

Autonomous driving hardly saves energy: Networking and assistance systems could technically make cars more efficient. Unfortunately, the electronics still consume a lot of electricity. Due to their high energy consumption, the fuel savings are quickly offset, a recent study by Agora Verkehrswende shows. If factors such as the cellular network, traffic infrastructure and backend server are included, this even causes additional consumption of around 2,500 watt hours per 100 vehicle kilometers.
heise.de

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IoT: Enercity is investing in Rockethome, Xiaomi is working on smart glasses iot-ticker.net
Blockchain: New Amazon CEO is crypto-curious, Swiss blockchain law is taking shape blockchain-ticker.net
AI: ESA relies on AI systems in space, European research project uses AI to treat Covid patients ai-ticker.net
Safety and Security: Emotet has been disrupted, Hamburg data protectionists are investigating Clubhouse safety-security-ticker.net

QUOTE

„A smart home not only helps older people live longer independently in their familiar surroundings, but also relieves the relatives. I think it’s a cliché that smart homes are only interesting for millennials. There is so much potential especially for seniors.“
Smart Home expert Indzi Kodba, Head of the Products & Trade division at Rexel Austria, does away with the cliché that Smart Living is only for young people.
derbrutkasten.com

NOT SO SMART…

Swiss watchmaker releases mechanical watch that looks like an Apple Watch: Swiss watchmaker H. Moser & Cie has debuted a $30,800 follow-up to its original Apple Watch clone, dubbed the Swiss Alp Watch „Final Upgrade.“ Like the original, the new Swiss Alp Watch is a mechanical timepiece crafted in a way to mimic Apple’s digital smartwatch. It features a similar rectangular design, curved edges, and a crown on the side. The Swiss Alp Watch Final Upgrade does, however, feature a few new touches.
appleinsider.com

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