The week in gadgets

8 May 2012

A look at gadget happenings, as Google’s self-driving cars take to the Nevada roads, Samsung gives you an in-depth look at the newest slimline Series 9 notebook, and an Apple insider claims to have glimpsed the much-anticipated Apple television set.

Google granted licence to test-drive autonomous cars

Self-driving cars are set to hit the road in the US as Google has been granted the first licence to test-drive autonomous cars in Nevada, the first US state to approve regulations allowing companies to try out these vehicles on public roads.

An Autonomous Review Committee from the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles approved the licence following demonstrations in Carson City and along the bustling Las Vegas Strip, as well as a review of Google’s safety plans, employee training, system functions and accident reporting mechanisms.

The cars will be easily recognised by their own unique red licence plates featuring an infinity symbol on the left-hand side, as Bruce Breslow, director of the Nevada DMV, said, “I felt using the infinity symbol was the best way to represent the ‘car of the future’.”

Though Google is the first company to file an application to test its autonomous driving system, other car manufacturers have also expressed an interest so, chances are, more licences will be issued in the near future.

Samsung tears apart the new Series 9 notebook, so you don’t have to

Ever wondered how manufacturers manage to make our favourite devices sleeker and slimmer with each iteration? Well, Samsung reveals all on its blog with a full breakdown of the components of the second-generation Series 9 Notebook.

An in-depth look into the ultra-slim laptop shows you how the materials used and innovative design come together to form a device that’s 28pc slimmer than its predecessor – and still manages to squeeze in a full-size 4-in-1 SD multi-card reader.

The stunning images tell the full story, so head over to the Samsung Tomorrow blog for a closer look.

Full breakdown of Samsugn Series 9 notebook components from Samsung Tomorrow

A ‘well-placed’ source claims to have seen Apple TV prototype

Elsewhere, the rumour mill was spinning wildly this weekend as Apple-obsessed news website Cult of Mac reported a “well-placed” source had seen Apple’s HDTV prototype and given it the low-down.

The anonymous source claims to have seen the yearned-for TV in action and that features include a large LED-backlit display, similar to the Thunderbolt; built-in iSight camera that can recognise and zoom in on faces to enable making video calls from the couch; and Siri, the voice-activated virtual assistant that made a name for herself when she appeared on the iPhone 4S.

Though there’s no officially released information on the Apple television’s interface, specs or pricing, and even Cult of Mac admits the prototype their source viewed could differ greatly from the final product, it’s still nice to wistfully gaze upon Dan Draper’s design mock-ups. Soon… soon.

Stay informed – get daily updates on the latest happenings in technology directly to your inbox.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.