This week's recap: the progression of Apple Maps, the end of Firefox OS, a quantum computer, Sansumg Pay for gift cards, and a stylish router

The progression of Apple Maps

When Apple Maps was launched in 2012 to compete with Google Maps, is wasn't the greatest product there ever was: there were more than a few issues regarding navigation and map elements. With time though, the app got much better, to the point where it is now used 3 times as often than its competitor on iPhones and iPads. According to a report launched this week, the app now processes 5 billion requests every week. Google Maps still leads the market though, mostly because it is available both for Android and iOS, which of course is not the case for Apple Maps! Analysts credit the Apple increase in market shares in part due to its integration in thrid party apps, for instance Yelp and Starbucks.


The end of Firefox OS for smartphones

After only two years in the market, Mozilla devided to cull development for Firefox OS for smart phones. Firefox OS was mainly targeting less expensive devices in emerging markets, but it never gained enough traction to fill Mozilla's hopes.The company is now thinking about focusing on The Internet of Things.


A computer that's 100 million times faster than a PC

Two years ago, Google and NASA partnered to developed a D-Wave quantum computer, mainly to see if this machine would have benefits over conventional computers. This super-machine is stored at the NASA AMES Research Center, and its "keepers" just released its first data. For some tasks, for instance to resolve optimisation problems with 945 binary variables, the computer, called D-Wave X2, had astounding results! Like, it was 100 million times faster than a single core PC. NASA still warned that even if these results were "promising," one should not forget that these computers can only perform a very narrow range of super-specialized tasks, so they won't flood the market anytime soon.


Samsung Pay now manages gift cards

Those sporting a Samsung Galaxy phone will maybe happy to hear that when they receive lots of gift cards this Holiday season because their loved ones just didn't really want to bother, they will at least have the opportunity to enter these cards into Samsung Pay. The app now stores these gift cards and pay with it at about 50 merchants, including Toys’R’Us, Domino’s, eBay, Nike and Staples. The app also makes it possible to share gift cards and even buy some for other people. It's a great differenciator for Samsung, since Apple Pay still does not support that feature.


A... stylish router?

Routers are practical, for sure. But they are also usually really ugly and so people want to hide them. Google, which manufactures the OnHub Wi-Fi router, just launched an interesting project along with TP-LINK : they offer 3 very sleek and stylish router shells, available on the Google Store for between $29 and $39. The project also provides CAD files, 2D outlines and guidelines that make it possible for artists and even Average-Jane-and-Joes to come up with their own customized shell for the OnHub. Users are even invited to share their creation on social media using #OnHubMakers.