This week's recap : new forked Android phones, Windows 10 and data privacy, the TiVo Bolt, the Tesla autopilot, the new Chromecast

A 2nd generation of forked Android phones

Silent Circle and Fairphone, who offer smartphones using very forked versions of Android, are about to launch a new generation of powerful models. Such alternative Android distribution is increasingly popular, even creating a growing niche market. The über-secure Blackphone 2, from Silent Circle, is not available in presale for $799, while the Fairphone 2, with its high environmental and ethical standards, should be availabe in November for about $600. Fairphone additionally announced that it would release its source code.


Microsoft tries to reassure users regarding Windows 10 and data privacy

Since the Windows 10 launch this summer, many people were claiming on different platforms that the new OS was spying on users and collecting data for extraneous purposes. This week, Terry Myerson, executive vice president for the Windows & Devices MS group, attempted to set the record straight in a blog post. The company thus affirms the that users remains at the core of the data privacy strategy. He also explained that Windows 10 only collected information in order to make the product work better for each user, and that it is possible to control which kind of information is collected.


The TiVo Bolt

TiVo is launching a new digital video recorder named Bolt, which supports 4K. Among its interesting features: SkipMode, whicih makes it possible to directly skip a whole set of ads. Its remote control can also play a song if lost, thanks to a button on the DVR. Nice design too, with a box that's significantly smaller than its previous versions. Bolt is available in the US in 500GB ($300) and 1 TB ($400) versions. In Canada, TiVo is only offered through Cogego (which operates in some mainly rural parts of Quebec and Ontario).


A self-driving Tesla around 2018

On top of unveiling the future Model X, Elon Musk, the Tesla founder and CEO, made a few interesting announcements. Current Tesla Model S owners can soon expect a software update that will enable the car to drive itself hands-free, in an "autopilot mode". The software is currently being beta tested, and Musk hopes it will be ready next month (a slight delay compared to the company's original schedule). Moreover, Musk predicted that within 3 years, all Tesla cars will be able to fully drive themselves. Tesla however expects that regulators will take some time (between 1 and 3 years) to approve the practice. The future is coming!


Google wants to enter your living room, one way or another

Google will soon launch two new versions of its Chromecast stick. The Chromecast 2 for video, with its colorful design, will support WiFi, have an improved plugging system (with a flexible HDMI cable), and will keep its unbeatable price: $35. The other version will address audio, sending music (and other audio content) from any Android device to a sound system. But analysts are wondering: why is Google still pursuing both this project AND the Android TV? Could there be a merge on the horizon?