Facebook launches digital currency
Facebook and 27 other companies — many that are familiar brands in the finance, telecommunications and venture capital markets — are launching a digital currency called Libra. Unlike several popular currencies such as Bitcoin, Libra will be backed by a reserve of assets, will not be decentralized, and cannot be mined. Facebook assures the public that it will not use personal identification of Libra holders for advertising. Gizmodo
dis-rup-shun: Facebook is already one of the largest countries in the world by population, so having its own currency is a natural evolution. The company is a long way from repairing its reputation for respecting privacy, making some suspicious about its monetary instrument. Crypto-currencies, however, have often been perceived as shady and a bit mysterious. Facebook, being a familiar brand despite recent events, is seen as far more regulated and will likely be seen as a safe dealer in new forms of currency, especially given the alliance it has formed with recognized brands.
U.S. approach to 5G will exclude rural coverage
5G is the future of telecommunications and the Internet of Things. The U.S. is fighting for leadership of the 5G build out as it will have implications for the country’s economy, defense and education. The U.S., however, has allocated only high band spectrum for 5G, whereas other countries are reserving mid-band spectrum for their future infrastructure. High band spectrum is more difficult and expensive to transmit. Wired
dis-rup-shun: Providing communications infrastructure for rural or sparsely populated areas has always been a money loser, requiring regulation and subsidies to offset costs. By building 5G on less efficient bandwidth, the U.S. costs for serving all of its population will be on average, higher, likely creating a greater divide between urban and rural populations. Space-based broadband, from networks of low orbit satellites being launched as we speak, could be a means for serving rural areas, but may also be a high cost solution.
Comcast adds gaze control to its TV platform
The ability to control a device by moving one’s eyes is gaze control — a new form of gesture control which serves people who are not able to use a remote control or speak to a smart speaker. Gaze control is now offered in Comcast’s Xfinity X1 remote control software. TechCrunch
dis-rup-shun: Gaze control joins gesture control (moving hands) and voice control to make computing highly accessible to everyone, opening up new job possibilities for people with disabilities but also changing the way we interact with devices in our lives. If our hands are full, the room is noisy, or we wish to interact with devices without others noticing, we will choose alternative ways of device interaction. Expect many control and entertainment devices to offer multiple interfaces for interaction.
Palm offers unlocked tiny smartphone
Whatever happened to Palm? The company now offers a tiny-sized Android smartphone with fewer functions and shorter battery life for $350. The Verge
dis-rup-shun: With smartphone penetration nearly 80% in the U.S. and nearly 50% worldwide, the maturing markets are ripe for niche products. Going for a bike ride? Take your tiny phone. Going to the beach in just your bikini? A job for the tiny phone. A black tie affair? That’s a job for a smartphone by Rolex or Gucci or… you get the picture.