Project Sunroof, FCC fines, IDF 2015 - The Wrap

IDG News Service | Aug 20, 2015

Google helps you decide if solar energy will pay off, Lenovo opens a smartphone factory in India and Intel moves moves focus away from chips at IDF.

Lenovo looks to India for smartphones and Google helps price out solar.

Here's your tech top 3 and what you need to know this week.

If you're wondering whether you should invest in solar energy, Google has an answer. Called Project Sunroof, users can enter their home address and the site gives information like how much sun the roof gets, how much the solar panels would cost to rent or own and how much money you might save. The tool currently works in the San Francisco Bay area, Fresno, California and the Boston area, but Google wants to expand it.

A US internet provider must pay the Federal Communications Commission 750,000 dollars for kicking users off their personal hotpspots and trying to force them to use its Wifi service. Smart City provides internet at hotels and convention centers and the FCC said at 5 venues across the US, the company sent coded messages to hotspots to terminate connections. It said Smart City stopped the practice after learning about the investigation.

China's struggling Lenovo is looking to neighboring India for smartphone growth. The company announced that it would for the first time build smartphones in India with a new facility that will churn out 6 million smartphones in the next seven months. The assembly unit in India has 1500 workers and the Moto-E low end handset is already rolling out from the factory.

In focus this week we take a look at Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco. Typically it's a time where Intel touts its next generation processors and chips, but that wasn't the focus. As the PC market continues to decline, Intel's once ubiquitous chips aren't such anymore. So the company pivoted at IDF to more exciting technologies like its Real Sense depth sensing cameras. Its three lenses which include a 2D camera, infrared laser and infrared camera let computers see. Intel showed how the cameras can integrate into more than just PCs and tablets and the company is trying to entice makers to use them. It's being used in a robot bellhop that will deliver drinks to your hotel room. Intel did talk about Curie, it's tiny SOC for wearables that will come to select hardware makers in Q4. Intel showed how you can track the speed and position of a BMX bike that apparently had Curie chips on its handlebars and seat. It also released some new SDKs, including one called Identity IQ, which can authenticate a wearer's identity. Strangely enough, Intel is producing a reality show called America's Greatest Makers. It's about inventors creating gadgets with the Curie chip with the winner getting a million dollars.

I'm Nick Barber and that's a wrap.