GLOBAL TECH WRAP: Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo to feature Apple CarPlay in new vehicles this year

An Apple Carplay mockup
The US is home to 10 out of 10 of the highest ranking tech industry billionaires on Forbes' list
Samsung Chromebook 2

Apple’s iOS in the Car is Arriving, and It’s Called CarPlay, reports Time. (See Apple's official CarPlay site here). The technology allows a car's built-in display to become the second screen for an iPhone. Features include using the Siri voice assistant for calls and accessing messages, and an Apple Maps will anticipate your destination based on recent trips, the company says. Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo are at the Geneva International Motor Show announcing that they’re rolling out the feature in new vehicles this year. BMW, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, Suzuki, Toyota and others are also planning to support it in future models. Watch for Apple to push iTunes Radio (not yet available in NZ) as a key part of CarPlay.

Bill Gates is back on top of Forbes' Billionaires List after a four-year hiatus, reclaiming the title of world’s richest person from telecom mogul Carlos Slim Helu of Mexico, who ranked No. 1 for the past four years. Gates fortune rose by $US9 billion to $US76 billion in the past year as Microsoft's stock rose sharply (although Windows Phone and Windows 8 are struggling to become fashionable, the company is making bucketloads across the board). 

The year’s biggest dollar gainer was Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg ($US28b), whose fortune jumped $US15.2 billion as shares of his social network soared Frobes says. Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg ($US1b) joins the ranks for the first time, as does Facebook’s longtime vice president Jeff Rothschild. Also, thanks to a $19 billion deal  (including restricted stock) with Facebook, WhatsApp founders Jan Koum ($US6.8b) and Brian Acton ($US3b) join the ranks of Silicon Valley’s wealthiest for the first time (Facebook recently agreed to by the pair's messaging company for $US4 billion cash plus stock worth up to $US16 billion). They are 4 of 26 newcomers whose fortunes come from technology, 10 of whom are American, including Dropbox CEO Drew Houston ($US1.2) and Workday cofounder Aneel Bhusri ($US1.3 billion) - Workday being a provider of cloud HR software to which Xero has been compared.

Not making the list this year is John Stanton, chairman of 2degrees' majority investor Trilogy. The US-based telecommunications investor, whose wealth was at one point put over $US1 billion by Forbes, has had a complicated time of it over recent years with his major US investment Clearwire.

Thanks to the tech boom, and strong stock market, the U.S. once again leads the world with 492 billionaires, followed by China with 152 and Russia with 111, Forbes says.

Samsung Chromebook 2 Line Aims to Leave the Bargain Basement, reports Techland. Up-and-coming Chromebooks run on Google's Chrome interface and the cloud-focused Google Apps. Samsung's latest is expensive, by Chromebook standards (it's priced from $US399). Beyond incremental hardware upgrades, the13.3-inch display Samsung Chromebook 2 is more of a head-turner, Techland says. "Rather than looking like a knockoff of Apple’s MacBook Air done in plastic, as the existing Chromebook does, it’s got a gray case done up in a stitched, leather-like material, a look also seen in other Samsung devices such as the Galaxy Note 3." Samsung could not immediately provide local details. (Cyclone has been perhaps the highest profile of Chromebooks from Samsung and others in NZ; read: Cyclone pushes ChromeBooks - Google-powered laptops priced from $350. But do they cut it?)

ABC's Oscars Video-Stream Outage Points to Big Challenges for Networks, says the Wall Street Journal. The US broadcaster blamed problems on traffic over-load, but the Journal notes there was also confusion over which viewers were supposed to be able to access the stream, and where. Locally, Sky TV switched from Kordia to Akamai for online content delivery after the mens 100m finals blacked out on iSky (now Sky Go). Telecom recently announced plans to launch an interent TV service later this year.

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