News Schmooze: The robo-onslaught begins

Sony introduces its newer, scarier Aibo; the 'incredible' PDA watch; and Microsoft bites hands

Forget about corporate wireless smart brain implant terminals, everybody knows what the next big thing in the high-tech industry really is: robots. Honda has its disturbingly human-like walking Frankenstein, Sony has its cute quadruped for lonely old people. And the latest model, which they showed off this week, raises new possibilities: will Sony fit its newer, meaner Aibo with eye-mounted laser cutters and heat-seeking missiles? The Schmoozer wonders if Sony really knows what it's getting into here -- surely it's only a matter of time now before such "toys" develop superbrains and rise up against their creators. And it also dances to music!

Fossil, the American trendy watch company, is doing its part to create what some refer to as "unuseless" high-tech products. The new Wrist PDA isn't a PDA, and it is hardly small enough to fit on your wrist... plus, to use it you have to already own not just a PC but a PDA as well. Perhaps the watch could come with its own companion, a trendy plastic ring that stores your shopping list for when you can't be bothered to wear anything on your wrist.

The BBC had a busy week: not only did it unveil a new look that adds a little menu to the top of every page, it also turns out to be talking to ITV about free access to BBC digital channels on the ITV Digital set-top box. Apparently this is supposed to encourage people to use digital TV, except to do that, you might need to offer something besides EastEnders repeats.

Now that Microsoft has the entire US federal government in its back pocket, maybe it can finally get on with the business of instituting the software-developer equivalent of martial law. It has already launched its big propaganda campaign branding the GPL and Linux as anti-American, and now apparently those "anarchists" known as the security community are to blame for pointing out flaws in Bill Gates' software.

The Schmoozer's guess: it's all part of the efforts of Scott Culp, Microsoft's security guy, to be more like a real security guard... he's already got the moustache for it, after all.

The News Schmooze is ZDNet UK's irreverent take on the week's news. Send your tip-offs to: mailroomuk@zdnet.com.

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