Tech Tent: Hot gadgets, self-driving cars and a weird party at CES

Yandex founder Arkady Volozh with one of the firm's self-driving cars
Image caption The founder of Yandex - the "Russian Google" - is proud of his firm's progress with self-driving cars

It is the show that tells you where technology is heading - and this week on Tech Tent we bring you all the hottest gadgets and the top trends from CES in Las Vegas.

We find out about the interactive plank of wood that could be an interface for your smart home and the Japanese companion robot designed to make you fall in love with it.

We discuss 5G, AI and voice-activated devices - and try to cut through the hype and work out what products unveiled here will have a lasting impact.

We also go for a ride in a self-driving car with Arkady Volozh, founder of Russia's tech giant Yandex. His company, often seen as Russia's equivalent of Google, started its autonomous vehicle research programme just two years ago.

But it is already operating a robot taxi service in Moscow and another Russian city, just as Google's Waymo division has begun a commercial ride sharing service in Phoenix, Arizona.

Read full article Tech Tent: Hot gadgets, self-driving cars and a weird party at CES

CES 2019: Preparing for take-off

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Media captionWATCH: Hands on with Mui, the smart plank of wood

Can you detect a low moaning sound coming from Nevada? Yes, it's that time of year again.

Technology journalists have descended on Las Vegas for CES and are complaining bitterly about the cost of hotels, the queues for taxis, and the sheer volume of silly new products - everything from an internet-of-things cat toilet to a crypto-currency-mining piggy bank.

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Tech Tent: Tim Cook's bombshell

Chinese person and iPhone Image copyright AFP

It is a company that is always tight-lipped about its finances between its quarterly results, so Wednesday's letter from Tim Cook warning Apple investors that the outlook had suddenly darkened was a bombshell which rocked the market.

On this week's Tech Tent we explore whether Apple's chief executive was right to blame a slowdown in the Chinese economy for its problems or whether there are wider issues with the iPhone, the product which turned it into a trillion dollar company.

Read full article Tech Tent: Tim Cook's bombshell

HMV: Did streaming cause retailer to fail?

HMV Image copyright Reuters

Was your first reaction to this morning's news about HMV: "I thought they went bust years ago."

Well, in a way you were right. In 2013, with sales plunging more than 10%, the firm called in the administrators.

Read full article HMV: Did streaming cause retailer to fail?

Tech Tent: When gaming stops being fun

A gaming console in hands Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The games industry may seem glamorous but for workers it can mean low pay and job insecurity

A glamorous industry where highly paid people do exciting and creative work - that is how many see the video games business.

But on Tech Tent we hear from people who paint a different picture of zero-hours contracts, unpaid overtime and job insecurity.

Read full article Tech Tent: When gaming stops being fun

Tech Tent: Can we trust the telecoms giants?

The telecoms industry has had a rough week Image copyright Getty Images

This week, a basic error by Sweden's Ericsson took millions of mobile customers offline, while its Chinese rival Huawei faced mounting pressure from those who consider it a security risk.

On the latest Tech Tent podcast, we ask: can we trust the telecoms industry?

Read full article Tech Tent: Can we trust the telecoms giants?

Tech Tent: Missing Mark Zuckerberg

Empty chair Image copyright Reuters
Image caption An empty chair was prepared for Mark Zuckerberg

For three hours this week Richard Allan was in one of the world's most uncomfortable seats.

In a Westminster committee room, parliamentarians from nine countries battered Facebook's European policy chief, mostly over one issue: why was he there instead of Mark Zuckerberg?

Read full article Tech Tent: Missing Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook’s fiercest foe and the battle over bikinis

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Who should Facebook most fear as it battles a series of scandals about its handling of user data and its role in spreading fake news? US politicians perhaps, or maybe German privacy campaigners and EU regulators?

No, my nominee is the member of parliament for Folkestone and Hythe, Damian Collins.

Read full article Facebook’s fiercest foe and the battle over bikinis

Tech Tent - is it curtains for crypto?

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It was once the future of money but this week has seen Bitcoin lurch 20% lower, with other crypto-currencies suffering even more serious falls.

On Tech Tent we ask whether the dream of a decentralised currency that would overturn the established financial system is over - and whether the regulators need to step in to protect naive investors.

Read full article Tech Tent - is it curtains for crypto?

Is Facebook a friend to local journalism?

Zuckerberg graphic Image copyright Getty Images/BBC

Facebook, often seen as one of the factors behind the decline of local newspapers, has unveiled a scheme to train reporters to work in local communities across the UK.

The social media giant is giving £4.5m ($5.7m) to local newspaper groups, which will hire around 80 people to spend two years training to be community reporters.

Read full article Is Facebook a friend to local journalism?