Threads Surpasses X in Downloads, Tests an In-App Camera

Users appear to prefer Meta Platforms’ Threads to Elon Musk’s social platform X, based on the disparity between the number of downloads, which is widening. Globally, Meta’s Instagram spinoff — which has many of the same features as the app formerly known as Twitter — has recently been seeing three times as many daily downloads as X on iOS devices, and more than twice as many from the Google Play app store for Android. The analysis is from intelligence firm Appfigures, which this week lists Threads as No. 2 among all free app downloads, and X at No. 40. As Threads introduces new features, it is also testing a new in-app camera. Continue reading Threads Surpasses X in Downloads, Tests an In-App Camera

CES: The Asus ROG Phone 8 Series Highlights Mobile Gaming

The Asus ROG Phone 8 series — demonstrated at CES 2024 in Las Vegas last week — is generating excellent reviews for its gaming capabilities and additional praise for its functionality as a smartphone. The devices start at $1,100 and tick up to an entry level of $1,500 for the ROG Phone 8 Pro. Asus calls the ROG Phone 8 series “the biggest redesign in its history,” and says it has evolved from just a gaming phone into a device suitable for streamers and content creators. At the heart of that is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 Mobile Platform, supported by 8,533 Mbps LPDDR5X RAM and UFS 4.0 storage. Continue reading CES: The Asus ROG Phone 8 Series Highlights Mobile Gaming

CES: TCL Demos RayNeo X2 Lite Augmented Reality Glasses

The RayNeo X2 Lite 3D AR glasses were demonstrated for the first time at CES 2024 in Las Vegas last week. Weighing just 60 grams (2.1 ounces), the sleek eyewear was lauded for its microLED optical waveguide display and standalone form factor, which does not require tethering to a computer or smartphone. The RayNeo X2 Lite, releasing in Q3 2024, and the Ray Neo X2, which had a limited launch in China but has not yet been released to the rest of the world, are anticipated as the first microLED display augmented reality glasses which will be available in the United States. Continue reading CES: TCL Demos RayNeo X2 Lite Augmented Reality Glasses

CES: Session Details the Impact and Future of AI Technology

Dr. Fei-Fei Li, Stanford professor and co-director of Stanford HAI (Human-Centered AI), and Andrew Ng, venture capitalist and managing general partner at Palo Alto-based AI Fund discussed the current state and expected near-term developments in artificial intelligence. As a general purpose technology, AI development will both deepen, as private sector LLMs are developed for industry-specific needs, and broaden, as open source public sector LLMs emerge to address broad societal problems. Expect exciting advances in image models — what Li calls “pixel space.” When implementing AI, think about teams rather than individuals, and think about tasks rather than jobs. Continue reading CES: Session Details the Impact and Future of AI Technology

CES: Xreal Offers Spatial Computing with Air 2 Ultra for $699

Xreal, the Chinese XR company formerly known as Nreal, debuted its Air 2 Ultra AR glasses at CES 2024 this week in Las Vegas, with the $699 item scheduled to ship to U.S. buyers in March, crowding the February 2 release date Apple just announced for its $3,500 Vision Pro mixed reality headset. Though currently aimed at developers, who can preorder now, the Air 2 Ultra will be available for purchase online from Xreal to anyone in France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and the UK, in addition to China and the United States. Continue reading CES: Xreal Offers Spatial Computing with Air 2 Ultra for $699

CES: Circana Foresees an Increase in Tech Spending in 2024

The technology sector had a tough 2023. During a CES session in Las Vegas yesterday, Circana Vice President Paul Gagnon and Circana Industry Analyst Ben Arnold revealed the details of what they’ve been tracking over the last year, noting both areas of decline and “pockets of growth.” They encouraged tech vendors to look for innovative ways to sell products, targeting consumers via age group and income bracket as well as looking at geographic zones such as Mexico that are experiencing growth. The good news, they stressed, was the return of growth in the latter half of 2023. Continue reading CES: Circana Foresees an Increase in Tech Spending in 2024

Meta AI Seamless Translator Converts Nearly 100 Languages

The research division of Meta AI has developed Seamless Communication, a suite of artificial intelligence models that generate what the company says is natural and authentic communication across languages, facilitating what amounts to real-time universal speech translation. The models were released with accompanying research papers and data. The flagship model, Seamless, merges capabilities from a trio of models — SeamlessExpressive, SeamlessStreaming and SeamlessM4T v2 — into a single system that can translate between almost 100 spoken and written languages, preserving idioms, emotion and the speaker’s vocal style, Meta says. Continue reading Meta AI Seamless Translator Converts Nearly 100 Languages

Humane’s $700 Ai Pin Is Positioned to Replace Smartphones

Former Apple designers Imran Chaudhri and Bethany Bongiorno last week officially launched the Humane Ai Pin they’re positioning as a smartphone replacement. The $700 wearable magnetically attaches to clothing. A $24 per month T-Mobile data subscription is required for connectivity. Described as “a download device and software platform built from the ground up for AI,” it’s got an ultra-wide RGB camera, depth sensors and motion sensors, and a speaker that creates “a bubble of sound” that can be loud or soft. Preorders for the Ai Pin begin November 16, with shipments scheduled to begin in early 2024. Continue reading Humane’s $700 Ai Pin Is Positioned to Replace Smartphones

Canon Litho Breakthrough May Advance Global Chipmaking

Canon has made a breakthrough it says can help manufacture the world’s most advanced semiconductors. The company’s latest nanoimprint lithography (NIL) system challenges Dutch firm ASML, to date the leader in extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography technology. ASML creates tech used in TSMC’s chips made for Apple iPhones. Canon says its FPA-1200NZ2C nanoimprint semiconductor manufacturing equipment can produce chips equivalent to a 5-nanometer process, the current state of the art, and with further improvement expects to enable circuit patterning corresponds to 2nm nodes. The new equipment is also energy efficient, Canon says. Continue reading Canon Litho Breakthrough May Advance Global Chipmaking

Adobe Debuts Three New Firefly Models and Adds AI Labels

Adobe is building out its AI infrastructure with three new generative AI models to augment Photoshop, Illustrator, Adobe Express and other tools. In all, Adobe released over 100 major new AI features and updates across Creative Cloud flagship applications at Adobe MAX 2023. The three-day Los Angeles event saw Adobe debut three new Firefly models — Firefly Image 2, Firefly Vector and Firefly Design — each designed to generate content that is cleared for commercial use. The Firefly Image 2 image generator offers improved detailing for things like skin texture, hair and foliage. Continue reading Adobe Debuts Three New Firefly Models and Adds AI Labels

Disney+, Maybelline Sign Up for Snapchat’s ‘Phantom House’

With internal Snapchat data indicating 80 percent of its members plan to use the service during Halloween activities, the platform was eager to scare up a special treat. What it came up with is an immersive original series called “Phantom House.” Disney+ and Maybelline are among the first sponsors to sign-up for the weekly installments spanning across Snap’s Chat, Camera, Stories and Spotlight tabs. “’Phantom House’ will come to life during Advertising Week New York through an out-of-home takeover” that includes a live activation, according to Snap. Continue reading Disney+, Maybelline Sign Up for Snapchat’s ‘Phantom House’

Samsung Showcases the Latest Additions to Its Galaxy Lines

At yesterday’s Samsung Developer Conference in San Francisco, South Korea’s number one smartphone exporter unveiled new additions to its Galaxy ecosystem: the Galaxy S23 FE model phones, the Galaxy Tab S9 FE and S9 FE+, and Galaxy Buds FE. These latest additions to the flagship Galaxy line are designed to provide a pro-level camera as well as smooth mobile gaming performance. Complete with AI editing tools for easy-share content, the Galaxy S23 FE is also customizable, with Pro Mode controls that allow manual selection for shutter speed, aperture and ISO for those who choose. Continue reading Samsung Showcases the Latest Additions to Its Galaxy Lines

Google Unveils Creative AI Features for Its Pixel 8 Phone Line

New devices to make life easier and more stylish in the home and on the go debuted at yesterday’s Made by Google event. The AI-powered Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro smartphones took center stage, packed with a Tensor G3 chipset. Event co-stars included the Pixel Watch 2, also with a processor upgrade — in this case, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon W5. Google’s Pixel Buds Pro got a makeover with two new colors: light blue and porcelain. The Pixel Fold and talk of the upcoming experimental launch of Google Home AI and Google Assistant with Bard were other highlights. Continue reading Google Unveils Creative AI Features for Its Pixel 8 Phone Line

AI Wearable Makes Its Runway Debut at Paris Fashion Week

“Smartphones helped us evolve into the modern, connected humans that we are,” but now the world is ready for the next step, which is “screenless” computing, Humane Chairman and President Imran Chaudhri said at a TED Talks appearance earlier this year. Now, Humane has debuted what some are calling “a futuristic AI pin wearable” at Paris Fashion Week. Styled the “Humane Ai Pin,” the connected device is an “intelligent clothing-based wearable” that “uses a range of sensors that enable natural and intuitive compute interactions” designed to integrate seamlessly into users’ day-to-day lives. Continue reading AI Wearable Makes Its Runway Debut at Paris Fashion Week

Google Claims New Chromebook Plus Doubles Performance

Google is introducing the Chromebook Plus, a new category of its popular laptops and tablets that the company says offers AI capabilities and “double the performance” of existing Chromebooks. The new category also provides access to Google Photos Magic Eraser and Adobe Photoshop on the web, starting at $399. Google says it drew on user feedback and worked with partners at Acer, Asus, HP and Lenovo to optimize performance and add productivity. The initial eight models all feature processors that are 12th Generation Intel Core i3 or above or AMD Ryzen 3 7000 series or above. Continue reading Google Claims New Chromebook Plus Doubles Performance