Monday, July 2, 2018

Samsung Foldable Phone Mass Production to Start This Year; Display May Fold Two-Third: Report

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Samsung appears all set to launch the Galaxy X, the smartphone with a foldable display. Samsung's plans to launch a foldable smartphone have been rumoured for years, and the company confirmed it had plans to launch it in 2018. While the tech world has been anticipating a foldable smartphone from Samsung for a long time, the South Korean giant is now said to be ready for the mass production of foldable OLED panels. While a new report out of South Korea claims to reveal the plans by Samsung Display, it does not indicate the exact device where the OLED panels will be used. However, rumours mills suggest that they could be used in the upcoming Galaxy X, said to get launched next year. 

As per an ETNews report, sources have claimed that Samsung Display is finally gearing up for mass production of foldable OLED displays, with the aim to supply the folding phone next year. Of course, these display panels will differ from the ones seen in the likes of Galaxy S9 and iPhone X. They will actually be bendable, making it possible for users to fold a smartphone. While the alleged Samsung Galaxy X is expected to be launch in 2019, and mass-production of the foldable displays will kick off in time for that, the report says.
Source: NDTV

OnePlus 6 Red Colour Variant Launch Teased for July 2

OnePlus 6 Red Colour Variant Launch Teased for July 2
OnePlus 6 was launched to the world back in May this year in Mirror Black and Midnight Black colour options, followed by a Marvel Avengers Limited Edition variant as well as a Silk White Limited Edition model. But, it seems, the Chinese phone maker has plans to launch yet another colour variant in a shade of red as soon as July 2. The development was teased by OnePlus itself and could point towards the launch of an OnePlus 6 Lava Red variant. As is tradition, we could expect this edition to launch in India.
In a video teaser on its official Twitter account, OnePlus wrote, "Now initiating: C61422. Do you wish to continue?" A simple Google search reveals that C61422 is, in fact, the RGB code for Dark Red. This almost gives away the upcoming launch of a red-coloured OnePlus 6 next month, on July 2. OnePlus India has shared the same tweet, indicating the India launch will be around the same time. Even tech YouTuber MKBHD posted a tweet that shows the silhouette of the OnePlus 6 red variant hidden behind the Midnight Black variant. While the RAM/ storage combination is currently not known, we could expect it to arrive in the 8GB RAM/ 256GB storage configuration, much like the recently refreshed Midnight Black variant. Price is also expected to be the same as the Midnight Black at Rs. 43,999. Separately, a live photo of what's alleged to be the OnePlus 6 Red colour variant has been shared on Slashleaks.
Source: NDTV

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Microsoft’s New Lumia 650 Is A $199 Windows 10 Phone

Microsoft unveiled its first Lumia phones running Windows 10 back in October, and today it offered up a third and much cheaper variant.
If last year’s Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL looked impressive — impressive for phones running on a ‘dead’ platform — then the Lumia 650, which was outed today, is the budget version, coming in as it does at $199 — far cheaper than the $549 and $649 of the 950 and 950 XL.
That $199 gets you five-inch OLED screen, eight- and five-megapixel cameras and the front and back, and a Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 212 which doesn’t support Microsoft’s ‘Continuum ‘ phone-to-PC feature.
http://techcrunch.com/

Microsoft’s New App “Fetch!” Tells You What Kind Of Dog You Are (And It Can ID Your Dog, Too)

Even Microsoft’s new image recognition app has no idea what kind of dog I have. Oh well! If you don’t own a mixed-breed mutt saved from the kill shelter, however, you might have fun with the company’s latest Microsoft Garage project: Fetch!, a new iPhone app that looks at photos of dogs to identify its breed. Or, in the case when it can’t make an exact match, the app will show you a percentage of the closest match.
Oh yes, in case you’re wondering – you can use it with people, too.
The app is the latest in a series of fun projects that are meant to highlight machine learning’s potential. In this case, that’s the ability to look at an image and make some sort of determination about its contents – basically, it’s teaching machines to make the sort of intuitive leaps that people naturally do.
http://techcrunch.com/

Amazon Acquires Emvantage To Build Its Online Payment Platform In India

Amazon will acquire startup Emvantage for an undisclosed amount to develop its Indian e-commerce site’s payment platform. In a press announcement, Amazon said the Noida-based company’s employees will start working for Amazon’s payment team after the transaction is completed.
Founded in 2012 by chief executive officer Vivek Sagar, Emvantage’s platform includes a payment gateway for online transactions made using credit or debit cards, mobile payment tools that integrate into merchant apps, and a prepaid wallet.
Making it easier for customers to pay for online purchases is a key point of focus for India’s top e-commerce businesses, which include Amazon, Snapdeal, and Flipkart. India’s e-commerce market is expected to be worth $100 billion by 2020, but the country’s credit card penetration rate is still extremely low. Instead, many shoppers pay for e-commerce purchases using online wallets that can be topped up at brick-and-mortar stores, pre-paid cards, or cash on delivery.
Paytm, an online payments company backed by Alibaba, is positioning its mobile wallet as an alternative to credit and debit cards, but it competes with several payment gateways owned by India’s major e-commerce players. These include Snapdeal’s Klickpay and Freecharge; FX Mart, which was acquired by Flipkart last September; and now Emvantage (Amazon is expected to close the transaction by the end of March).
In a statement, Srinivas Rao, the director of Amazon Payments India, said “Emvantage is a valuable addition to our team as we accelerate our payment offerings, ensuring the best in class online payment experience anywhere that customers shop with us.”
http://techcrunch.com/

Reddit Hires Twitter’s Former News Manager As Head Of Journalism And Media

Reddit has hired Mark S. Luckie, the former news manager at Twitter and the person behind Today in Black Twitter, as its first-ever head of journalism and media. Journalists and media organizations have been using Reddit for years to discover and source content, but sifting through the loads of information on Reddit isn’t the easiest of tasks. Luckie’s new role will entail working with media organizations, as well as government organizations, to understand how they’re currently using Reddit and what their needs are from the platform, Luckie told me. He’ll then take that feedback and build it into Reddit’s product, with the goal of making Reddit more accessible to a broader community of people.
“A lot of it is delving into the community and figuring out how news spread within subreddits,” Luckie said. “I’ve been on Reddit for 8 years now as a lurker. It’s crazy. I don’t think I’ve done anything for eight years, including Twitter. Now, I want to look at it in an official capacity. I’ll delve into data, analyze the links going in, profile pages — all of this stuff that can be used to quantify news. I’m a spreadsheet kind of guy. I want to get in there and get my hands my dirty.”
http://techcrunch.com/

Monday, February 8, 2016

Impact, Investment And Demand: Three Pillars For Civic Tech Success


Last year was one of great momentum for civic tech. We saw more people and resources than ever enter the space, garnering interest from startups, corporations, government agencies and investment firms. Kicking off 2016, civic tech is a fast-growing field with tangible potential to improve the relationship between citizens and government.
As the field works to become a sustainable, scalable ecosystem, there are three key trends to keep an eye on — areas where civic tech can start to cement its impact and provide critical proof points.

The 2016 election effect — proving the power of civic tech

This year’s presidential election will usher in a new wave of citizen engagement tools and platforms aimed at educating voters and boosting voter turnout. These tools and platforms deployed on a national scale in 2016 will provide valuable lessons in what works and what doesn’t work when trying to increase citizen participation.
With the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary, Change.org is hoping to get more than political pundits engaged this election season. The petition website recently launched Change Politics, a new website and mobile platform aimed at empowering voters with more valuable, curated information — beyond what we typically learn through campaign ads and party affiliation.
Change Politics will allow voters to pose questions directly to candidates, will show candidates’ endorsements and will help users create a personalized ballot guide they can use on election day with their smartphones.
A growing number of acquisitions are proving that civic tech is a viable field.
While new tools such as Change Politics will help reshape what it means to be an engaged citizen, what will be truly game-changing is if entrepreneurs can take the lessons learned from civic tech’s application during the presidential election and apply them at the local level, both in the United States and abroad. For cities and states, these lessons can help build tools and platforms that engage citizens on issues they care about — and can help foster these interactions on a regular basis, rather than just every four years.

Increased funding and exits — accelerating growth and scale

From early stage funding to completed exit strategies, today’s civic tech companies have more funding opportunities than ever. A growing number of acquisitions are proving that civic tech is a viable field, attracting real interest from investors and entrenched companies.
A prime example of this kind of investment in civic tech comes from GovDelivery, the 15-year-old digital communication platform for government. Recognizing over the last several years the need for more cloud-based, user-centered tools, the company acquired NuCivic andTextizen in an effort to create more points of access between citizens and government.
These types of acquisitions will enable GovDelivery to deploy civic tech that better fits government and citizen needs. And combining forces with civic tech startups is part of a strategy that propelled the company to its strongest year ever in 2015, with 100 million subscribers and an estimated record revenue of $35 million.
In forecasting for the year ahead, 2016 will likely see this virtuous cycle of investment continue to grow — an estimated $285 million was raised in capital for U.S. civic tech companies in 2015 (according to Omidyar Network’s internal analysis using database PitchBook. Omidyar Network researchers identified 23 companies as related to civic tech and totaled investment capital raised in 2015). For the greater civic tech movement, this influx of funding enables civic tech companies to scale more quickly and reach more people, which, in turn, will grow acquisition opportunities and strengthen investor confidence in the field overall.

Greater government adoption rates — breaking down barriers and driving demand

In many communities around the country, a wall exists between government agencies and civic tech startups. Procurement policies and a general lack of awareness between the two groups often mean that the best solution to a city’s problem may never get discovered and implemented. This divide is potentially the biggest obstacle still facing civic tech in 2016.
Civic tech entrepreneurs and investors undoubtedly have their work cut out for them.
We’re starting to see the wall being chipped away in cities like New York, San Francisco, London and Barcelona, thanks to local government agencies’ growing willingness to rethink procurement. Working with online platform Citymart, governments are implementing problem-based procurement, where instead of issuing a list of specifications for a pre-determined — and often quite limited — solution, agencies make an open call for new ideas around a challenge facing their communities, such as excessive noise in residential areas, bicycle theft and food waste.
By the end of 2015, Citymart had completed more than 100 challenges with more than 50 cities around the globe, resulting in 10 times more solutions for cities’ problems and 98 percent of contracts going to SMEs, startups and social entrepreneurs.
As more cities start to bear the fruits of a problem-based procurement, other government agencies will gain the confidence they need to work with civic entrepreneurs. And as cloud, open data and IoT technologies become an increasing need for local government, civic tech companies will find more inroads for successful relationships with local government. For civic tech to truly reach its tipping point, this symbiotic relationship between government, entrepreneurs and innovators is mission critical.
In the year ahead, civic tech entrepreneurs and investors undoubtedly have their work cut out for them. In addition to procurement, strict regulations and varying success metrics leave many at risk of falling into a pilot-stage purgatory, never able to fully scale their innovations. However, if stakeholders can hold tight to the opportunities ahead of us with the presidential election, continue attracting capital and forge new relationships with government, 2016 can be a watershed year for the sector.

The Evolving Technology Of The Super Bowl

The Evolving Technology Of The Super Bowl
As football fans gear up for the 50th anniversary of the Super Bowl this Sunday, we can expect to see not only a great athletic game, but a host of dazzling new technology at play behind the scenes, working to seamlessly bring the game to millions of viewers. To really appreciate how sophisticated this sport has become, here’s a look at some of the ways Super Bowl technology has evolved in the last fifty years.
Camera Tech Has Come a Long Way
Back in 1967, Super Bowl 1 aired to viewers simultaneously on NBC and CBS—the only game to have been aired by two major networks at the same time. Unfortunately most of the footage from the game was wiped, as was standard practice at the time. Just this year the NFL was able to locate all 145 plays of the game on a few dozen different sources, stitch them together, enhance and color correct the footage, to bring the game back to life for the first time. The daytime game features tons of empty seats, despite $12 tickets, and of course no jumbo screen or pyrotechnics filled halftime show.
While Super Bowl 1 is a fun throwback for film buffs, camera technology has come a long way in the past fifty years, and so too has the viewing experience. For this year’s 50th anniversary, CBS Sports is debuting exciting new cameras to bring television viewers even closer to the live event experience. With last year’s game bringing in a record 140 million viewers, this year’s anniversary match between the Panthers and the Broncos is the perfect time to show off new technology.
CBS will have a suite of 70 cameras filming the Super Bowl, which is a big jump from the 40 cameras that covered last year’s game. The showstopper from the new cameras is sure to be the Eye Vision 360, a replay camera that can freeze any moment of play and circle 360 degrees around it, and then continue the play.
With a fleet of 36 cameras mounted near the red zone at the 25 yard line, the placement will allow the cameras to capture the entire field, and then render together into 360 degree views for replays.
Instant replay has become such a pivotal part of how football is both watched and played, so it’s easy to forget that it wasn’t until 1986 that the NFL first implemented a limited instant replay system.

Graphene Shows Promise For Brain Implants



Graphene, the super thin carbon material that’s been exciting scientists in the decade+ since single-atom thick graphene crystallites were successfully extracted from the bulk material, continues to give hints of a promising future blending electronics and biology.

In a new study, conducted by researchers at the Cambridge Graphene Centre and the University of Trieste in Italy, and published in the journal ACS Nano, the suggestion is it could be used to make highly effective, flexible brain implants in future — biodevices that avoid the loss of signal problem associated with the scar tissue that can form around modern electrodes made from more rigid substances, such as silicon and tungsten.

Point is, human brains are made of soft tissue so it helps if your electrodes can flex too. Graphene is also considered to have excellent biocompatibility properties (although research into potential toxicity is not conclusive at this stage).

The implication of the Cambridge-Trieste research is that graphene-based electrodes could, in future, be safely be implanted in the brain — offering promise for the restoration of sensory functions for amputee or paralysed patients, for example, or to help individuals with motor disorders such as epilepsy or Parkinson’s disease. So the future potential being glimpsed here is pretty exciting — albeit, theoretical and a long way out (plus, it should be stressed, the successful experiments were also conducted on rat brain cultures).

The researchers note that previously other groups have shown it is possible to use treated graphene to interact with neurons in the brain, however the problem with using treated graphene was the signal to noise ratio was very low. Working with untreated graphene retains the material’s much lauded electrical conductivity — resulting in a significantly better electrode. And one that was seen to interface well with rat neurons.

“For the first time we interfaced graphene to neurons directly,” said Professor Laura Ballerini of the University of Trieste in Italy, in a statement. “We then tested the ability of neurons to generate electrical signals known to represent brain activities, and found that the neurons retained their neuronal signalling properties unaltered. This is the first functional study of neuronal synaptic activity using uncoated graphene based materials.”

The scientists couch the research as a “first step” towards using pristine graphene-based materials as an electrode for a neuro-interface. So again, graphene-based biodevices aren’t going to be coming to CES next year — perhaps in a couple of decades…

They say their next steps will be to investigate how different forms of graphene are able to affect neurons, and whether tuning the material properties might alter the biological response (in terms of synapses and neuronal excitability).

“Hopefully this will pave the way for better deep brain implants to both harness and control the brain, with higher sensitivity and fewer unwanted side effects,” added Ballerini.

Meet The Voting Board Of The 9th Annual Crunchies

Meet The Voting Board Of The 9th Annual Crunchies
TechCrunch is excited to announce the 100-person Crunchies Board who collectively picked the winners of the 9th Annual Crunchies award.
Early last month the law firm Perkins Coie delivered ballots to these TechCrunch editors, entrepreneurs, investors and other tech notables. The law firm then tallied the ballots and is keeping the winners secret until tonight, when the awards will be handed out at the 9th Annual Crunchies.
Here’s the full list of all the voting members.

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