Bytes: What’s new in tech
HQ Trivia a holiday hit
HQ Trivia was easily “the hottest new app” of 2017, said Becky Peterson in BusinessInsider.com. Created by the founders of Vine, the four-month-old iPhone game broadcasts live twice a day, giving players the chance to win “real money” if they correctly answer 12 multiple- choice questions within a time limit. Each game features a jackpot of around $1,000, split evenly among winners, but the pot has been as high as $12,000. The number of players hit a record on Christmas Day, as 730,000 people logged on to play at 9 p.m. ET. Some 550,000 people competed on Christmas Eve. HQ’s popularity has increased sharply in recent weeks. After averaging 60,000 daily players in November, HQ saw an average of 300,000 in December. An Android version will be released this month.
Schmidt out as Alphabet chairman
Eric Schmidt is stepping down from his executive chairman’s role at Alphabet, the parent company of Google, said Daisuke Wakabayashi in The New York Times. Schmidt joined the company in 2001 “to provide what amounted to adult supervision for the company’s young founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin,” and was instrumental in taking Google public in 2004. Schmidt later became a “go-between for the company in Washington.” No reason was provided for Schmidt’s move, and he will continue as a board member. But Schmidt “has been marginalized over time through a combination of changing leadership and the shifting political environment” in Washington. In a time of heightened scrutiny of workplace conduct, it has been noted that Schmidt, who is married, also “brought a series of girlfriends to corporate events over the years.”
Internet via power lines
AT&T is testing the delivery of high-speed internet over power lines, said Anjali Athavaley in Reuters.com. The trials, begun last month in rural Georgia and an undisclosed “non- U.S. location,” mark the telecom giant’s latest attempt to deliver internet speed beyond the 1 gigabit–per-second standard expected from fiber service. The trial uses high-frequency airwaves that travel along electrical lines. Analysts say the service, which would be available anywhere with close proximity to power lines, could be a game changer. The wild card, they say, is that power companies in control of the lines need to be persuaded to support the service. AT&T and archrival Verizon are also testing 5G services delivered via radio signals.