Andy Rubin’s Company Unveils New Phone, Digital Assistant

Android operating system co-creator Andy Rubin has introduced his Essential Phone that he says can be dropped onto concrete without breaking. The new smartphone, which will run on Android software, has magnetic connectors for a 360-degree camera or charger. Priced at $699 and available only in the U.S., Essential Phone will come without preinstalled apps or a need for yearly updates. Rubin also unveiled Essential Home, a voice-activated device that controls appliances. Both products are part of Rubin’s Playground Global incubator. Continue reading Andy Rubin’s Company Unveils New Phone, Digital Assistant

Apple iPhone Sales Dip While Apple Pay, Apple Watch Soar

In the latest quarter, Apple’s profit and revenue have ticked upward, but the company is experiencing problems with its iPhone, whose sales dropped 1 percent from the previous year to 50.8 million phones. The dip in sales is attributed to customers waiting for the 10-year anniversary phone, due in the fall, and weakness in China. Despite the slump, sales of the iPhone 7 were somewhat strong, pushing total revenue up 4.6 percent to $52.90 billion. In contrast to the iPhone, Apple Pay transactions and Apple Watch sales soared. Continue reading Apple iPhone Sales Dip While Apple Pay, Apple Watch Soar

The Rise of Specialized Computing and New Era of Chip Design

Moore’s Law, which states that the number of transistors in a chip doubles approximately every two years, is sputtering to an end. As a result, an increasing number of companies are relying on specialized computing, which transforms software tasks into silicon chips rather than relying on CPUs. This key technology is behind two recent developments: Intel’s acquisition of Israeli startup Mobileye, which produces chips and software for autonomous vehicles, and Nvidia’s latest iteration of a system to speed up machine learning. Continue reading The Rise of Specialized Computing and New Era of Chip Design

Oppo Reinvents Zoom Technology for Mobile Phone Cameras

Chinese smartphone maker Oppo has created a new tech called 5X that it claims radically improves zoomed-in photos recorded from smartphone cameras. The dual camera system was inspired by submarine periscopes; it diverts light through a custom prism onto an angled telephoto lens that subsequently provides more light and clarity to objects positioned in the frame from a distance. Zoomed images are also usually more sensitive to camera movement, so Oppo included an optical stabilization system. The company demoed its prototype at the recent Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Continue reading Oppo Reinvents Zoom Technology for Mobile Phone Cameras

Google Takes On Siri, Opens its Assistant to Android Partners

Google is making Assistant available to all its Android partners, in an effort to entice more Apple iPhone customers. Introduced five months ago, Google Assistant, which answers questions, plays music and completes tasks, is showcased in a closer partnership with LG Electronics, announced at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Up until now, Google’s Pixel smartphone, which was introduced in October, has been the only handset with Assistant. Apple’s iPhone will have its tenth anniversary this year. Continue reading Google Takes On Siri, Opens its Assistant to Android Partners

China’s Phone Makers Dominate Fast-Growing Market in India

In the last few months, Chinese smartphone brands have begun to dominate sales in India, the world’s fastest growing phone market. Led by Vivo, Chinese phones represented four of the top five phones there in Q4 2016, according to a report by Counterpoint Research, which noted that the move demoted former top-of-the-list Indian phones Micromax and Intex. Samsung is the smartphone manufacturer with the most to lose. Although its phones are still No. 1 in India, its share of sales nationwide lost 5 percent in the last year, now at 24 percent. Continue reading China’s Phone Makers Dominate Fast-Growing Market in India

Japan Display Plans to Introduce Flexible LCD Screens in 2018

Apple supplier Japan Display Inc. announced it plans to provide flexible LCD panels next year as part of an effort to take on its South Korean competitors. Samsung introduced the angled display for its Galaxy Edge series in 2014 using OLED tech. Rival LCDs were limited due to their glass layer, “which is why the LCD screens on Apple’s iPhone series — some made by Japan Display — are flat,” reports The Wall Street Journal. “Japan Display’s new LCD uses plastic instead of glass. While not as flexible as OLED screens, Japan Display’s chief operating officer, Shuji Aruga, said it is flexible enough to be used in Galaxy Edge-type designs.” Continue reading Japan Display Plans to Introduce Flexible LCD Screens in 2018

CES 2017 Keynote Speaker Line-Up Foretells Scope of Show

A look at the line-up of keynote speakers for the upcoming CES 2017 show in Las Vegas confirms the Consumer Technology Association’s expanding worldview and provides a leading indicator of what to expect when the sprawling show opens on January 5. The “night before” keynote, made famous by Bill Gates, is now a coveted timeslot occupied this year by Nvidia co-founder and CEO Jen-Hsun Huang, making his first CES keynote presentation. Nvidia’s substantial investment in artificial intelligence along with its well-established achievements in self-driving cars, VR, and gaming are likely topics. Continue reading CES 2017 Keynote Speaker Line-Up Foretells Scope of Show

Facebook Debuts New Optical Networking Tech, 100G Switch

Facebook is intent on helping innovate technological advances as it grapples with increasingly more video, and pushing down prices for hardware. To that end, the company has created Voyager, a high-speed, long-distance networking system, and will share its plans with other companies, per its commitment to open source software. Voyager will enable data centers in different locations to link with fiber-optic cables. The company also unveiled Backpack, its 100G-switch platform for connecting racks inside the data center. Continue reading Facebook Debuts New Optical Networking Tech, 100G Switch

Google May Intro New Pixel-Branded Phones, 4K Chromecast

On October 4 in San Francisco, Google will likely reveal new Pixel-branded smartphones, the Pixel and larger Pixel XL. Google manufactures the Pixel phones by itself rather than in collaboration with LG, Huawei or other partners. A teaser video for the event features a rotating group of photos shown in a phone-shaped format. In addition, Google may also use the event to debut Google 4K Chromecast, go into more details about Google Home and reveal more specific plans for its upcoming Daydream VR headset. Continue reading Google May Intro New Pixel-Branded Phones, 4K Chromecast

Apple Experiences Downturn, iPhone SE Sales a Bright Spot

Apple’s quarterly profit fell 27 percent to a net income of $7.8 billion in the fiscal third quarter ending June 25, compared with $10.68 billion in last year’s third quarter. This downturn, which marks a second straight quarter of reduced revenues, reflects a prolonged downturn in iPhone sales, the first since the smartphone was introduced in 2007. The smaller, less expensive iPhone SE, which debuted in March, alone enjoyed strong sales, with sales of all other models dipping. Continue reading Apple Experiences Downturn, iPhone SE Sales a Bright Spot

Google to Offer its Own Smartphone, Secure Future Services

By the end of the year Google plans to release its own smartphone, which will compete directly with the Apple iPhone and extend the company’s reach into hardware. Google is presently in talks with carriers about the branded phone. Its Android operating system already powers 80 percent of smartphones sold around the world in phones made by, among others, Samsung, LG and Huawei’s Google Nexus brand. With its new smartphone, Google will take charge of design and manufacturing as well as software. Continue reading Google to Offer its Own Smartphone, Secure Future Services

Google Introduces VR System Daydream, VR-Capable Phones

During its I/O conference this week, Google announced it is releasing a new virtual reality system, dubbed Daydream, which includes a range of VR-capable Android smartphones, a headset design, a controller and applications, all of which will be released this fall. Daydream will be compatible with Google’s current and future Android mobile operating system, including the upcoming version, code-named Android N. Samsung, Alcatel-Lucent, Asustek, HTC, Huawei, LG and Xiaomi are among those already building Daydream-compatible phones. Continue reading Google Introduces VR System Daydream, VR-Capable Phones

Starry to Roll Out Fast, Affordable, Wireless Internet Service

Following the shutdown of Aereo, Chet Kanojia is back with a new venture that intends to revolutionize broadband delivery. New York- and Boston-based startup Starry is looking to introduce a test version of its super-fast, wireless Internet service this summer. With its planned July beta release, Starry will join companies such as AT&T, Ericsson, Facebook, Google, Huawei, Qualcomm and Verizon that are working on millimeter wave fixed wireless systems to approach gigabit-per-second service in homes and businesses. Continue reading Starry to Roll Out Fast, Affordable, Wireless Internet Service

As 5G Tests Begin, Providers Gear Up for Internet of Things

This summer, Verizon and AT&T will start testing 5G, the fifth-generation mobile network likely to speed up adoption of the Internet of Things, from autonomous vehicles to smart homes and more. Unleashing the Internet of Things — projected to double to 50 billion connected ‘things’ globally by 2020 and 500 billion by 2030 — will also enrich the companies that create these new IoT networks, potentially including Cisco Systems, Nokia, Oyj, Ericsson, Qualcomm and Intel. Bottom line: 5G is the most profound expansion of the Internet ever. Continue reading As 5G Tests Begin, Providers Gear Up for Internet of Things

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