World Tech Update: Apple Watch in April, drone crashes at White House, Motorola back in China

IDG News Service | Jan 30, 2015

Coming up on World Tech Update this week, the Apple Watch is coming in April, a small drone crashes at the White House and Motorola is back in China after a two-year hiatus.

Thanks for joining us here on World Tech Update, I'm Nick Barber coming to you from a very snowy Boston. We'll get to that in just a bit, but first Apple will debut its smart watch in April, according to CEO Tim Cook. The watch will be the first new category of product in more than four years. When Apple first showed the watch back in September the company said it would ship in early 2015. Apple has yet to reveal key details about the product, such as battery life and it's late to the wearable game. Unlike the iPad and iPhone which defined and created a product category, the company's watch will enter a crowded market with almost every major consumer electronics maker already selling or planning to sell a similar device.

For more from Apple and Microsoft it's over to Melissa Aparicio in San Francisco, Melissa?

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Thanks, Melissa. A small hobby drone crash landed on the lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, prompting major security concerns that a similar device could be use to harm the president. This drone, a DJI Phantom was being flown by a government employee at 3 am for fun when he lost control. The drone seen in this video is similar to the one that crashed. According to the New York Times, the White House radar system couldn't detect the drone because of its small size, which is similar to that of a large bird. At a recent Department of Homeland Security conference, a DJI drone was shown packed with 3 pounds of fake explosives to give an idea of how the drones could be used. The pilot who crashed the drone earlier this week has not been charged.

Motorola is back in China after a two year hiatus and it's hoping that smartphone customization is the way to win over customers in a crowded marketplace. Smartphone buyers in China are rarely asked whether they'd like their phones covered in wood or leather, but that's the idea behind Moto X, which can be customized using what the company calls Moto Maker. Motorola was a once sizeable player in the country, but after Google bought it in 2012 it retreated. After Chinese PC maker Lenovo bought Motorola for almost 3 billion dollars it sought to reintroduce the brand to its home market and this is the result. The Moto X will start at 3000 yuan or 487 US dollars.

Sony is planning to lay off another 1,000 people from its mobile division as it attempts to bring the unit back to profitability. The cuts will mainly affect Sony's European and Chinese operations and are expected to be announced as part of a restructuring plan unveiled when it delivers its quarterly results on February 4th according to Japan's Nikkei business daily. For the July-to-September quarter, Sony Mobile Communications reported just 1 percent year on year sales growth. Sony's smartphones have received critical acclaim, but their high prices have limited their popularity. Sony also lacks a significant distribution network in the U.S. market.

Are you a big baker and want technology to make your life easier? Macworld's Caitlin McGarry checks out drop scale and we'll give you a quick preview.

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Qualcomm's much hyped Snapdragon 810 is the most advanced mobile processor on the market, but one flagship device that won't be using it is causing the company some financial grief. Qualcomm warned that its chip division will haul in less revenue than expected because the 810 will not be in the upcoming design cycle of a large customer's flagship device. That customer could be Samsung, which reportedly dropped the 810 from its upcoming Galaxy S6 smartphone because of overheating issues. The Snapdragon 810 is considered an advanced chip for its ability to render 4K video and its support latest wireless technologies.
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