Posted: 5:05 p.m. Monday, July 8, 2013
By John Brandon
This week, we look at how Windows 8.1 is shipping to PC makers, Facebook is rolling out Graph Search, and Garmin has a new product for your car.
Each Monday, I'll cover the tech trends, gadgets, business services, and apps of note. The goal is to highlight not just consumer flash-in-the-pan ideas, but actual developments that could impact your business. Post in comments if you know of any other trends!
1. Garmin HUD
Here's an automotive innovation worth tracking. Garmin will release the HUD (Head-up Display) later this summer. There's a reflector you attach to the windshield, and can then see navigation instructions without having to look down at a GPS. Do a lot of business on the road? Keep an eye out for this one.
2. Windows 8.1 shipping to PC makers in August
Get ready to upgrade. PC makers like Lenovo and Acer will get their hands on the Windows 8.1 release next month for later deployment this fall. (There's already a free preview build you can try out now.) Why does this all matter? For a small office, just ask one of your employees struggling to understand Windows 8. The new update should fix problems with usability, especially related to the missing Start button. It's not quite coming back, but there will be a more obvious way to access the Metro UI apps.
3. HTC One with Google released
I'm a big fan of this well-built phone. HTC has stripped out any extra add-ons like Sense UI and wireless carrier apps. This phone is a strategic move now that the first Motorola phone, the Moto X, is forthcoming following the Google acquisition. Why use a stripped-down phone? It tends to be easier for employees to get ramped up to speed without the clutter. I've been testing one all week, and it also seems to run faster.
4. Facebook Graph Search
Search tech can be the lifeblood of a small company. On Google, you can search through an archive of billions of links. Now, Facebook is finally rolling out its new Graph Search tool to the masses. (It was in limited deployment for a while--I've been using it for about a month.) You can search for keywords, people, places, and just about anything on the closed network. Helpful, especially for your next social media campaign.