Week in Tech: Google learns the Alphabet, Samsung gets the Edge

What does the search giant's shake-up spell?

Week in Tech

Some weeks are like the Del Amitri song where "nothing ever happens". This week, though, is more Everything Everything: we've discovered a new Galaxy, seen Google announce a surprise and very significant reorganisation, found more reasons to distrust car tech and discovered the games consoles we thought were gone for good. Man Alive, it's week in tech!

A is for A Large Corporate Restructuring

Everybody sing along: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, Google's changed the com-pa-ny. The giant formerly known as Google is creating a new subsidiary called Alphabet that will in turn take over Google and end up as a holding company for Google's various divisions including Google. We hope that's clear.

What's going on? Matt Swider knows: "Restructuring is dry, until you realize what this really opens up the Alphabet cofounders to do," he says. "Page and Sergey can take on more world-changing moonshots, and mature them to the level of Google and Android, now that the search engine and operating system are ready for other people to run."

It also makes Google less vulnerable to regulators such as the EU, although we're sure Google hasn't thought of that.

Has Samsung got the Edge?

It has: the Galaxy S6 Edge+, to be precise. Swiftly moving on from the obvious jab that Samsung's even copying the "plus" from the iPhone 6 Plus now, what we've got is a bigger, curvier Galaxy S6 (and a Galaxy Note 5, although that doesn't seem to be coming to the UK). It's perfect for anybody who liked the previous Edge but wanted something a little bit bigger and a little bit cheaper. Expect a typically exhaustive review from our phablet furtler, Gareth Beavis, very soon.

Go get a watch, man

What's the collective noun for a bunch of smartwatches? We're going with armful, and this week we got an armful of watch news. We're also getting some new faces, as the latest Android Wear update supports interactive watch faces. The Huawei Watch has taken its time to arrive but looks ready to launch and the Samsung Gear A will reportedly come in three not-like-Apple-honest-guv different versions. Meanwhile, we've discovered the 10 best things about the Sony Smartwatch 3 and discovered what Watch OS 2 means for the Apple Watch.

Corvette hacked by SMS

Connecting cars to the internet has been a great idea so far. Just weeks after hackers took over a Jeep Cherokee using its built-in internet connection, security researchers have hacked a Corvette by sending it a text message and disabling its brakes. This time the weak link was an insurance-style black box; next week it'll be something else in some other car. Isn't the future exciting?

Blackberry: is this the 'droid you're looking for?

The beleaguered BlackBerry has a new Android phone coming, and it's codenamed Venice. You'd think that naming your supposed saviour after a formerly great city that's turned to tat and is falling into the sea wouldn't be the best idea, but if nothing else it proves BlackBerry's marketing is as good as it ever was. The handset's rather like Samsung's Galaxy S5 Edge and runs Android, but it also has a slide-out keyboard because BlackBerry. The future of phones? We'll get back to you.

Twitter's tweets: not so petite

Twitter, the internet's home of brevity, has announced a new feature: tweets that are much longer than tweets. The good news is that it only applies to DMs, which are no longer limited to the standard 140 characters. The first apps that can take advantage of the new DM limit are Twitter on Android, iOS, web and Mac, with others following shortly afterwards.

V.A.T.S. what we call sexy

Overexcited gamers are heading for pornographic websites for instant relief, but it's not what you think: the adult site PornHub is currently hosting some "sneakily captured (and poorly shot) film of the Fallout 4 Gamescom demo." It's not because the game is inherently sexy, or features adventures of improbably moustachioed plumbers; it's because YouTube is pretty good at taking down copyrighted content and PornHub isn't. The footage is currently labelled "Hidden camera shows audience teased by big butt man in tights live." No, really.

The little Steam engine that could

Could come with a big price tag, that is. The portable Steam Machine formerly known as SteamBoy and now renamed Smach Zero will ship in Q4 2016 for US$299 (£299, AU$409). There will be two versions: a basic model with Wi-Fi and 3G, and a pro model with 4G. More details haven't been disclosed just yet, but it promises to launch with an available library of around 1,000 games.

Game over: the consoles you've probably forgotten about

Steam Machines may be gaming's future, but how well do you know its past? Do you remember the VC4000 or the Philips CD-i? Most of us don't either, so hurrah for Kane Fulton's exploration of the videogame consoles you probably forgot ever existed. It's a tale of false starts, ideas that were before their time, and what Microsoft did before the Xbox.

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