This week in tech, a popular fit band tracker is causing more than weight loss – it’s causing a recall. In other news, streaming video becomes top priority as Netflix works with Comcast to stream “better,” and ABC lets you watch the Oscars from anywhere. On the device front, Samsung and Apple to continue to battle it out for smartphone market share and details of their new devices have surfaced.
Here’s what happened, this week in tech.
1. Fitbit Recalls Activity Tracker – Fitbit voluntarily recalled their Fitbit Force wristbands after complaints of itchy, irritated wrists. In a letter to customers, CEO of Fitbit, James Park, said about 1.7 percent of Force users reported cases of skin rashes after wearing the devices. The cause of the irritation, which is assumed to be allergic contact dermatitis, is either a reaction to the nickel that’s in the stainless steel part of the device, or other materials used in the strap.
Anyone who has a FitBit Force can return the wristband and receive a full refund. The band owner can simply fill out a form on the Fitbit website or call the company’s customer service center, and let them know. The owner will receive a kit to mail the Force back to the company and should receive a refund check within six weeks.
2. Comcast and Netflix Join Forces for Better Streaming – Thanks to our growing need to consume media on demand and binge watch an entire television series in a 24-hour period, Netflix and Comcast have decided to team up to create a better viewing experience.
This unique partnership will bring to light new avenues for Netflix’s videos to travel its way onto TVs and other devices. To Comcast’s benefit, Netflix will pay them for the improved access. While the payment amount and all the sticky details of the partnership remains unknown, this decision goes against Netflix’s previous statements, which indicated that they would refuse to pay high-speed Internet providers when customers are already paying high monthly fees.
Let’s see where this takes us, but hopefully, it will mean that House of Cards marathons will remain uninterrupted.
3. Oscars Streaming Live – Won’t be in front of your TV to watch the shiny awards and even shinier celebrities this Sunday for the Oscars? No fear, because you won’t have to miss a single award announcement or cut-off acceptance speech because ABC will stream the 86th Academy Awards online and via mobile using the Watch ABC app. This will be the first time the Oscars are available through a live stream and usage is expected to be high. Now, nothing can keep you away!
4. New Phones – Samsung Galaxy S5 and iPhone 6 – While the smartphone market continues to change and is driven by innovation, two leaders – Samsung and Apple – have announced new phones slated to come out this spring and fall, respectively.
Boasting a few cool new features, the Samsung Galaxy S5 will go on sale April 11th in over 150 countries. A new, maybe not so new, feature of the Galaxy S5 is the fingerprint scanner, which is an optional biometric measure you can use to unlock your phone (similar to the iPhone 5S). A newer, and probably more sellable feature, is that the phone is water resistance (it is rated to stay underwater for up to 30 minutes at a depth of one meter, or about three feet). Other improvements are with its TouchWiz interface, which will improve the speed of the camera focus, which will take a mere 0.3 seconds, and there will also be small tweaks to the keyboard and some good-looking wallpaper options.
As for Apple, the iPhone 6 is focusing heavily on performance as it has with the newest releases of their iPads and laptops. The iPhone 6 will have faster Wi-Fi than on any other device and will feature a new chip that will double performance for video and music downloads, improve upload speeds at large public events, increase Wi-Fi range, and improve battery life. In addition, this chip could potentially bring wireless charging to the iPhone world (what?!). The device will also introduce the use of quantum dots to enhance the Retina display.This technology combined with the phone’s bigger screen will allow for better color reproduction, which will make photos and videos look better than ever.
The smartphone battles continue!
What did you notice this week in tech? Tell us.