Weekly Bytes | Apple’s reconfigurable keyboard, Google app’s ‘short videos’ feature, and more


Here’s our curated list of important tech news from this week in byte size.

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Apple’s patent for reconfigurable keyboard

Apple has received a patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for a reconfigurable keyboard that may be used in the company’s future laptops and desktops, Patently Apple reported. A reconfigurable keyboard’s individual keys may have a display which uses optical fibres, and the keyboard’s control circuitry may be able to dynamically adjust the key labels (alphabets, numbers, etc.) to support different languages, use of the keyboard in a gaming application, or to otherwise customise the appearance of the keys for a user, the patent document noted. In another update, here’s a look at Apple’s high and low points in 2020.

Google tests search feature for ‘short videos’ on mobile app

Google is said to be testing a feature on its mobile app that displays ‘short videos’ from TikTok and Instagram in a carousel among other search results, Search Engine Roundtable reported. The feature had surfaced a few months ago in Google’s Discovery panel, which is available on Android devices, and showed videos from YouTube, Trell, and Google’s project Tangi. However, the feature’s current expansion to its app, primarily displays TikTok and Instagram videos, which can be accessed through a web link, the report noted. This feature is different from Google’s ‘Stories’ feature, it had announced in October 2020. In another development, India is no longer Google Pay’s top generator of new users.

SpaceX will try to catch boosters using launch tower arm

SpaceX is working on a new way to recover its boosters in the future by using the launch tower. CEO Elon Musk tweeted, “We’re going to try to catch the Super Heavy Booster with the launch tower arm, using the grid fins to take the load.” The present approach involves using a booster’s landing legs and its propulsion system to land on a pad. However, the future boosters under development like the Super Heavy Booster, may not have legs, Musk indicated. Recently, the aerospace company’s Falcon 9 first stage rocket booster had set a reusability record. In another update, ESA’s public information officer Bethany Downer attempts to simplify space science and technology.

Chromium update aims to fix antivirus issue on Chrome, Edge

Chromium-based browsers like Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge will get an update that aims to fix antivirus software related issues like saving bookmarks and other files for Windows 10 users, TechRadar reported. “Anti-virus programs and other scanners may briefly lock new files which can lead to frequent problems,” Bruce Dawson a programmer at Google’s Chrome for Windows team, explained in a post on the Chromium Gerrit. “This is only done on Windows because that is hoped to be the only place where it happens,” he added. In another development, Google Assistant is singing ‘New Year song’ to celebrate the arrival of 2021.

LG announces Transparent OLED display

LG on Thursday announced Transparent OLED display which can have different applications, and will be showcased at the upcoming CES 2021. The South Korean tech giant will demonstrate its 55-inch Transparent OLED’s applications, including in a Smart Bed, a Restaurant Zone, and a Metro Zone. “Transparent OLED is a technology that maximises the advantages of OLED and can be used in various places in our daily lives, from stores, shopping malls, and architectural interiors to autonomous vehicles, subway trains, and aircraft,” Jong-sun Park, SVP at LG Display, said in a statement. This week, we also looked at the top 10 tech developments of 2020.

You can read more at thehindu.com/technology

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