Everything you need to know about Android Auto


Google’s operating system for cars has finally arrived. Android Auto, which lets drivers control popular smartphone apps through their car’s dashboard interface, is now available in the 2015 Hyundai Sonata and will be rolled out to additional vehicles in the future.

Here are the key insights from reviewers at The Verge and the Wall Street Journal who have taken Android Auto for a test drive.

Android Auto truly replaces your phone

While driving, Google wants you to put your phone away completely and rely on Android Auto to make phone calls, get directions, queue up music and even send texts. Drivers are locked out of their smartphones while the device is connected to Android Auto. Apps like Maps are as fully-featured through the car as they are on a smartphone (though you can’t look up walking or transit directions).

You’ll be doing a lot of talking

In order to increase…

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The cost of an MBA in Europe has plummeted, thanks to a strong dollar


(Poets&Quants) — Add one more upside to the European MBA for U.S. students. Already, MBA programs in Europe offer an advantage to many students in their typical one-year length, cutting tuition along with opportunity costs. And the top European B-schools tend to accept higher percentages of applicants with lower GMAT scores than highly ranked U.S. schools.

Over the past year, the strength of the U.S. dollar versus the euro has drastically discounted the price of a European international MBA, and led, school officials say, to increased interest from American would-be MBAs. The euro has plunged from a high of around 1.4 dollars per euro in May 2014 to 1.1 now, making it 21% cheaper for students who use dollars to pay European MBA tuition.

INSEAD’s current tuition of 65,800 euros costs $71,557 in dollars – but if the euro hadn’t fallen since this time last year, that price…

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Netflix is pushing for clean energy for its network


While Internet giants like Google and Apple have aggressively been adopting clean power, Amazon, through its cloud behemoth Amazon Web Services, has been criticized for being slower to embrace renewable sources like solar and wind for its data centers. Or at least it has been less transparent than its peers about how it plans to incorporate clean energy.

But some of AWS’s major customers, such as Netflix, clearly want significant clean energy, which could be a major reason why Amazon has more recently committed to using 100% clean energy to power its cloud. In a blog post published on Wednesday, Netflix says that it’s important that its data center providers commit to 100% clean energy (at least by buying renewable energy credits), and Netflix has « a goal to work with datacenter operators to increase their use of renewable sources of power. »

So Netflix is one of those cloud customers…

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Here’s when you’ll be able to buy Xiaomi stuff online


Chinese handset-maker Xiaomi is opening its first official online store in the United States and Europe: Mi.com.

The e-commerce site is set to open in the U.S. on June 1, and in the United Kingdom, France, and Germany a day later. It will offer many of the company’s hardware accessories, including the Mi Power Bank battery charger, Mi Headphones, and Mi Band wearable device-cum-fitness tracker.

« We pride ourselves on making high-­quality products available at incredible prices, and I’m truly excited to bring a selection of our best-­selling accessories to fans in the U.S. and Europe, » said Xiaomi global vice president Hugo Barra in a statement. « We believe that Mi fans will have a great experience with these products, and we look forward to bringing more Mi products over time to the U.S. and Europe.”

The company writes that Xiaomi offers a return policy for unsatisfied customers, as long as they…

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Apple exec: ‘The car is the ultimate mobile device’


Apple Senior Vice President of Operations Jeff Williams hinted on Wednesday the company is interested in doing more with cars.

At the Code Conference in California, an Apple shareholder asked Williams if Apple has its sights set on the auto industry. « The car is the ultimate mobile device, isn’t it? » said Williams, according to Business Insider. « We explore all kinds of categories. We’ll certainly continue to look at those, and evaluate where we can make a huge difference. »

Williams’ response comes amid rumors that Apple may want to take on Tesla with an electric car of its own. The efforts are supposedly nicknamed Project Titan.

Still, Apple has other car plans in the works, too: Its new CarPlay software replaces vehicles’ infotainment systems with an iPhone-style interface.

Williams also spoke on Wednesday about third-party apps coming to the Apple Watch this fall.

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Security researchers team up to prevent smart cities from getting hacked


Imagine this scenario: You’re driving down a city street at night on the way to a see a movie when all of a sudden everything goes black. There are no lights emanating from the downtown office buildings and the traffic signals at an upcoming intersection are shut down, too, causing drivers to suddenly stop their cars.

The city’s power infrastructure has just been hacked. All of the lights have stopped functioning, and you’re stuck in your car trying to navigate the chaos in darkness.

No, this is not a description of the new Mad Max movie, but rather the type of post-apocalyptic scenario that some security researchers believe could take place if hackers were to infiltrate our ever-growing smart cities. It’s also why a consortium of these experts launched a non-profit this week whose purpose is to help city officials plan for safer smart cities.

In a smart city…

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Security in a time of breaches? Microsoft touts beefed-up database encryption


Talk about good timing. A day after news broke that thieves hijacked personal data of some 104,000 taxpayers from the Internal Revenue Service, Microsoft is touting a new encryption technology that it says will make personal data a lot more secure, as long that data resides in a SQL Server 2016 database.

« Always Encrypted » technology will ensure that data is encrypted even while someone is actually working on it, Microsoft said in a blog post. Many systems now encrypt data while it’s sitting in the database or some sort of data store (this is known as encryption at rest) and also when it’s being transmitted around the network (this is encryption in transit.) But when it’s being parsed, analyzed and manipulated? That was a potential attack opportunity.

Per the Microsoft [fortune-stock symbol= »MSFT »] post:

The new security layer addresses that vulnerability by keeping the data encrypted even during transactions and computations…

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