What’s new in tech
Uber launching its own scooter
Uber is joining the scooter wars, said Joshua Brustein in Bloomberg.com. Acknowledging that “cars aren’t always the best form of urban transport,” the ride-hailing company has begun engineering its own electric scooter. But this latest venture, coming after forays into self-driving cars and flying taxis, has Uber “playing catch-up in a market already flush with billion-dollar startups.” Rivals Lime and Bird have already “blanketed cities with scooters,” pushing into metro areas “with the same aggressive tactics pioneered by ride-hailing companies.” Uber enters the fray just as local governments scramble “to pass rules requiring scooter- and bike-sharing businesses to get licenses” to ensure they are not “outflanked,” as they previously were by, well, Uber.
Political ads will get even worse
“Campaign strategists are gearing up to flood Facebook with inflammatory and polarizing ads heading into the midterm elections,” said Georgia Wells and Deepa Seetharaman in The Wall Street Journal. Campaign strategists believe the social media giant’s advertising platform “rewards extreme messaging more than other venues.” For its part, Facebook countered that such strategies “often backfire, partly because extreme ads can be hidden by those who find them disagreeable.” The debate underlines Facebook’s “often controversial role as a political tool.” Staff from both political parties agree that Facebook’s low ad costs and “ability to target narrow slices of voters make it a uniquely effective tool for motivating people to act in support of a cause or a candidate.”
New 8K TVs are overhyped
“TV’s next must-have feature isn’t really a must-have,” said Shara Tibken in CNET.com. Samsung last week unveiled the Q900, its first 8K TV, at an electronics show in Berlin. Due to be released in the U.S. next month and packing more than 33 million pixels, the 85-inch TV is the first scheduled to arrive on the U.S. market with display technology that has four times the resolution of 4K screens. LG and Sharp are also launching 8K models in the U.S. soon. But while 8K TVs undoubtedly boost pixel numbers in their displays, this much-hyped advancement might be of “dubious value.” Experts argue that “you’ll have to sit really close to the screen, even with huge 85-inch TVs like the Samsung, to notice a difference in the sharpness.” Perhaps most tellingly, as yet, “there isn’t even content you can watch on it.”