Bored with people talking about the Snap IPO? Here’s some more interesting news you might have missed this week.
Includes infuriating internet-of-things PR fluff, as well as some things you should probably read.
That’s the Nokia ringtone, just one feature of the nostalgia-imbued re-release of the Nokia 3310. Some have said that HMD’s new version of the handset is an indictment of the smartphone market. Others say it’s just PR.
Whatever it says about the market, users have been happily tweeting about the return of Snake (albeit ruined by a makeover). The phone costs $49, unless you want to spend $1,700 on this golden Vlad Putin edition created by retailer Caviar.
Will the internet of things show us no mercy?
Pizza Hut has released Pie Tops – shoes with a button in the tongues, which will order a Pizza when pressed, thanks to a connection with your phone’s Pizza Hut app.
The shoes are a tie-in with Pizza Hut’s sponsorship of NCAA March Madness. There will be a few pairs on sale, with some being given away to fans.
Prove you’ve read this article before you comment
NRKbeta, the tech publication of Norway’s state broadcaster, now requires commenters on some articles to answer a series of questions to prove they have actually read it. Ståle Grut, journalist, told Nieman Lab “If you’re going to debate something, it’s important to know what’s in the article and what’s not in the article.”
The multiple choice questions are enabled by a Wordpress plugin built in-house.
YouTube streaming subscription service to launch in spring
YouTube TV was announced on February 28. For $35 a month from spring you’ll get ABC, NBC, Fox, and CBS, as well as 35 affiliated cable channels, all delivered over the internet alongside native YouTube content.
The service will also have a DVR tool to record shows with unlimited cloud storage. Whether on smartphone, tablet or laptop, you can access the service and also cast from smartphones to your TV. Execs say the goal is not to attract cord cutters but younger viewers who are paying for linear TV for the first time. More from Bloomberg.
Line debuts its intelligent personal assistant
The Line app now has an intelligent voice assistant called Clova (short for ‘cloud virtual assistant’). Line also plans to add an Echo-style piece of hardware for the home, as well as allowing third parties (such as Sony) to integrate Clova into their own hardware.
Line has a majority stake in Vinclu, which produces Gatebox (see the mesmerising video below), so here’s hoping Line’s home assistant is a friendly holographic manga character (or perhaps even one of the Line mascots).
Good news for VR (amidst the naysaying)
While many say VR hype has raised consumer expectations too high, this week saw some good news. The New York Times reported that Sony has sold 915,000 Playstation VR units in the four months since release. Compare that to the 1.4m iPhones that Apple shifted in the three months from its debut, and it doesn’t sound too shabby.
Elsewhere in VR, Oculus has slashed $200 from the price of its hardware bundle. Some might say this is a bad sign. But their VP of content told Polygon that everybody who has tried Oculus wants one, but it was just too expensive.
Oculus is still more expensive that Playstation’s headset, so it will be interesting to see what happens to sales in 2017.
On Tuesday a problem with Amazon Web Services caused loads of internet services to fail including Slack and Trello.
It took several hours to fix. In a beautiful coincidence, the outage corresponded with AWSome Day, a conference celebrating all things AWS, held in Edinburgh.
YouTube viewing time to surpass TV?
Nielsen says that Americans watch 1.25bn hours of TV every day, each (not really, that’s cumulative). And now The Wall Street Journal reports that YouTube has hit the 1bn hour mark (after a 10-fold increase over the last five years).
The paper suggests it’s only matter of time before the trajectories intersect as TV viewership continues to decline year-on-year.
Netflix invests in the rest of the world
Netflix currently has 90 shows in production outside of the US. On Wednesday, CEO Reed Hastings said $1.75bn had been invested in original content in Europe, including co-productions with the BBC.