Huawei’s phone sales are ballooning while Apple and Samsung’s slump
New Delhi : China-based Huawei outsold Apple’s iPhones in the first quarter of this year, seizing the California company’s second place spot in a tightening smartphone market dominated by Samsung, a tracker said on Tuesday. A total of 310.8 million smartphones were shipped globally during the first three months of this year in a 6.6% decline from the same period in 2018, according to preliminary data from the Chinese-owned International Data Corporation.
It was the sixth consecutive quarter of decline for global smartphone shipments, the market tracker added. IDC saw the results as a sign that 2019 will be another down year overall for smartphone shipments, apart from strong growth by Huawei. “It is becoming increasingly clear that Huawei is laser focused on growing its stature in the world of mobile devices, with smartphones being its lead horse,” said IDC mobile device program director Ryan Reith.
“The overall smartphone market continues to be challenged in almost all areas, yet Huawei was able to grow shipments by 50%.” South Korean consumer electronics behemoth Samsung saw smartphone shipments drop 8.1% to 71.9 million in the first quarter.
Huawei, meanwhile, weighed in with 50.3% growth to ship 59.1 million smartphones and put it within “striking distance” of Samsung, according to International Data Corporation.
Samsung Foldable Smartphone to be Named Galaxy F; Pricing And Release Dates Revealed
The name, price, and release date of the shadowed folding smartphone that Samsung teased last week is coming into the light. The South Korean news outlet Yonhap News Agency released a report Monday outlining details the phone manufacturer hasn't announced yet; now, instead of referring to the device as "Samsung's foldable smartphone," we can address it as the Galaxy F.
The smartphone-tablet hybrid's exterior display is expected to be 4.6 inches as opposed to the 7.4-inch length of the inner display when the device is unfolded. According to the agency's sources, the Galaxy F will likely cost around 2 million won (about $1,770) and be officially unveiled in March, just a month after the flagship Galaxy S10 is announced at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona (February 25-28, 2019). Accompanying the Galaxy F will be a second version of the S10, except this one will run 5G.
At the conference last week, the company stated that the phone will be mass produced, but it's suspected that the high price point will drive away potential customers no matter how impressive the Infinity Flex Display is. After months of anticipation have been built for the release, fans hope the phone won't be a gimmick with a price tag that high.
Apple iPhone X Catches Fire During iOS 12.1 Update Process; Company to Investigate
An Apple iPhone X has apparently overheated and caught fire in the process of updating to iOS 12.1. The images of the iPhone X unit, with the cracked glass and burn marks clearly visible, were posted on Twitter by the user. The user has claimed that when this incident happened, he was charging the phone with the company's Lightning Cable and Wall Adapter. However, as soon as the phone exploded, the user claims he removed the charger from the phone after he noticed the phone was getting hot, and smoke started emerging after a point. The user has given this information to Apple, and the company is investigating this matter. Also Apple has asked the user to ship the unit to them, for further investigation. The user gave this information on Twitter.
The burnt iPhone X, as seen below, is said to belong to Rahel Mohamad from Federal Way, Washington in the United States. The 10-month-old device that Rahel bought in January.
According to Mohamad, he has reached out to Apple, which stresses to investigate it further by getting Mohamad to ship the iPhone X to them. In a reply on Twitter to his original tweet, Apple Support said that this is definitely not expected behaviour and would wish to resolve it soon.
Recently, Samsung Galaxy Note 9 was had also exploded. At the launch, the company's CEO DJ Koh said that this is the safest smartphone ever. The woman, in whose handbag the Galaxy Note 9 exploded, has filed a case against Samsung over this incident.
Intel AI DevCon: Betting Big on Neural Compute Stick 2, And a Generous Dose of AI
On the sidelines of the Intel AI DevCon conference in Beijing, the tech giant has unveiled the Neural Compute Stick 2, also known as NCS 2. This device has been developed to help design smarter artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms and would be most useful for developers working on smart home gadgets and what Intel classifies as other network edge devices. The Intel NCS 2 is powered by the latest generation Intel VPU, the Intel Movidius Myriad X. This is the first to feature a neural computing engine, which is a dedicated hardware neural network inference accelerator delivering additional performance.
The Intel NCS 2 runs on a standard USB 3.0 port and requires no additional hardware, enabling users to seamlessly convert and then deploy PC-trained models to a wide range of devices natively and without internet or cloud connectivity, Intel suggests while pitching the simplicity of the NCS 2 stick.
The edge devices are generally any specific pieces of hardware that enable the control of the flow of data between two different networks. Some examples of these include wireless routers, switches and network gateways, as well as a variety of Internet of Things (IoT) gadgets such as smart cameras, smart doorbells, drones with guidance cameras and more. Intel's NCS2 is essentially a fully-capable neural network, inside a form factor no larger than a regular USB drive. This would be useful in the development of smart gadgets and devices by offloading a lot of the required processing power for training the artificial intelligence algorithms for these devices, to its onboard Movidius Myriad X vision processing unit (VPU).
Apple iPad Pro Launch Offers, Price in India, Launch Date And More: All You Need to Know
Apple unveiled the iPad Pro (2018) in two variants of 11-inch and 12.9-inch on 31 October 2018 in New York. Approx two weeks after the announcement of the new iPad Pro 11 and iPad Pro 12.9, goes up for pre-order in India today, with shipments coming in on November 16. Apple iPad Pro (2018) 12.9-inch model Wi-Fi only model is priced at Rs 89,900 (64GB), Rs 103,900 (256GB), Rs 121,900 (512GB) and Rs 157,900 (1TB). While the Wi-Fi + LTE model is priced at Rs 103,900 (64GB), Rs 117,900 (256GB), Rs 135,900 (512GB) and Rs 171,900 (1TB). Coming to the 11.0-inch iPad Pro WiFi version is priced at Rs. 71,900 while the WiFi + Cellular version will retail at Rs. 85,900. The new Apple Pencil 2 is sold separately, and it costs $130 (approximately INR 9,500). The Smart Keyboard Folio will set you back by another $200 (about INR 14,500).
The new iPad Pro features an edge-to-edge Liquid Retina display and it comes with Apple’s custom A12X Bionic chip with greater neural network capabilities. The iPad Pro also gets Face ID. The iPad Pros are powered by an A12X bionic chipset made on 7nm process. It has 10 billion transistors, an octa-core CPU, and 7-core GPU. There is also a dedicated neural engine for machine learning and AI related tasks.
Apple has also ditched the Lightning Port on the tablet and switched over to USB Type-C port. The iPad Pros also have front and rear cameras. At the back you have a 12-megapixel sensor and a 7-megapixel sensor on the front. Connectivity options on iPad Pro include a type-C USB port, that supports USB 3.1 Gen 2, as well as Gigabit-class LTE and a Smart Connector on the bottom side for the Smart Keyboard folio.
Snapchat Introduces Friendship Profiles And Bitmoji Merch
Snapchat is celebrating user relationships Tuesday by introducing Friendship Profiles, profiles that privately share application memories between friends and groups of friends. Each profile will consist of whichever images, videos, messages, and links that friends have saved in the application over the course of their Snapchat history together, making highlights and special moments easy to locate and enjoy again. To access the profile, all you have to do is tap on a friend's Bitmoji.
In addition to these new friendship files, Snapchat is also introducing Bitmoji Stories according to Engadget, a feature that portrays your character in comic book-like scenarios that can feature your friends from time to time. Basically, your Bitmoji can be as social as you are. Depending on just how strong your friendships are and how much you love Bitmojis, the company will also be bringing Bitmoji merch to the Snap Store on Thursday. You'll be able to purchase products like stickers, apparel, phone cases, and even mugs featuring your virtual avatar by itself or paired with a friend's just in time for the holidays.
Over the next few weeks, Snapchatters across the world will gain access to Friendship Profiles. Bitmoji Stories arrive Wednesday only in English for now, and you'll find new merch in the Snap Store beginning Thursday for US users.
PUBG Will Come to The PlayStation 4 on December 7: Watch Video
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds” popularly known as PUBG is officially coming to PlayStation 4 on December 7, Sony announced on Tuesday. The game first released on PC in March 2017, then came to Xbox in December 2017, where it’s enjoyed nearly a year of console exclusivity. PUBG will launch with three iconic maps – Erangel, Miramar, and Sanhok – with the highly anticipated snow-themed map coming this winter. The game will include all major features like custom matches, ranked system, event mode, Trophies, and much, much more.
There will be four editions offered. The Disc Edition and Looter’s Edition are just physical and digital versions (respectively) of the base game and will sell for $40. The Survivor’s Edition is $60 and includes the Survival Pass: Vikendi; 2,300 G-Coin Pack; and 20,000 BP. The Champion’s Edition is the same as the Survivor's but bumps the G-Coin up to 6,000. It will sell for $90.
Additionally, Tencent Games and PUBG Corporation have confirmed that the upcoming PUBG Mobile Star Challenge global finals will take place in Dubai later this month. The new event will take place at the Festival Arena in Dubai from 29 November to 1 December. The PUBG Mobile Star Challenge is being billed as the game’s first official eSports festival. The winning team at the event will take home from a prize purse of $400,000.
The minimum requirements to participate in the PUBG Mobile Star Challenge is that players must have more than 1,000 fans or followers across specified streaming platforms and social but can form a squad of up to three other players. The finals will see the top 20 teams from Europe, Asia, North America, South America, Japan, Korea, and China to participate in the Global Finals at Dubai. More than 15,000 teams had applied to be a part of the challenge.
Apple Donating 1000 Watches for Binge Eating Study is a Part of a Larger Health Push
Apple is donating 1000 Apple Watch units for a study that attempts to find out the causes and the symptoms for disorders such as binge eating. The disorder is also known as Bulimia Nervosa. The study is being done by the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, and is called Binge Eating Genetics INitiative (BEGIN).
Bulimia is a potentially life-threatening eating disorder, in which people tend to binge eat. Subsequently, they then take steps to avoid weight gain, perhaps as a counter measure for all the food they have eaten—this includes forced vomiting, excessive exercising or fasting for inconsistent periods of time. According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, as many as 30 million people in the United States alone suffer from an eating disorder. According to researchers, as many as 10 million cases of Bulima Nervosa are diagnosed just in India every year.
The BEGIN study will enrol 1,000 participants, ages 18 or older, who have experienced binge eating disorder or bulimia nervosa. Each participant will be wearing an Apple Watch during the 30 day period, so that researchers can monitor the heart rate to understand any deviations or noticeable trends during the time of the binge eating.
The addition of the Apple Watch to the BEGIN study is just the latest push for the smart wearable into the healthcare space. Earlier this year, Apple added a new features to the Watch to enable it to monitor for signs of Parkinson’s disease, by being able to track the tremors and dyskinesia symptoms. Researchers at Stanford have also teamed up with Apple to study how the Watch can be used to detect arrhythmias, while Cardiogram scientists have already proved how the Apple Watch can be used to identify the early signs of a possible stroke, through irregular heartbeats. Cardiogram is an app for the Apple Watch, and it relies on DeepHeart neural network designed to identify and predict any potential cardiovascular risk—including Afib, sleep apnoea and hypertension.
Earlier this year, Apple announced that patients of NYU Langone Health, Stanford Medicine and 40 other health systems in the US, representing hundreds of hospitals and clinics across the country, could now view their medical records on their iPhones. The updated Health Records section the Health app on the iPhone will compile medical information from various institutions, allowing for better monitoring—this app also collects data from the Apple Watch. “People hand you all sorts of things these days, and more data is almost never bad, but when they show up with paper, how do you summate that?” said Robert Harrington, cardiologist and chairman of the department of medicine at Stanford, in the official announcement.
Wearables are clearly catching on with consumers, and medical institutions are understanding their importance as well. According research firm Canalys’ data published in March, as many as 37.9 million wearables were shipped globally in the Q4 2017. The Apple Watch led the way with 8 million units, while Fitbit shipped 5.4 million units if its various wearables.
Xiaomi Mi TV 4A Pro 49 Review: We Are Rubbing Our Eyes, This Just Cannot be Real
Xiaomi, the company that can be credited with kick-starting the price wars in the long dormant TV space, is back with its latest salvo. The idea of offering large screen viewing experiences at affordable prices continues with the Mi LED TV 4A Pro 49. The name is a mouthful, but that doesn’t really shouldn’t hold you back. What you get for Rs29,999 is a 49-inch Full HD IPS panel and a smart TV that is based on Android TV and runs Xiaomi’s own PatchWall platform for content curation and discovery. But hang on, there must be a catch somewhere—isn’t this too good to be true?
For starters, the design of the Mi TV 4A is very similar to the previous editions of the Mi TV. This means you get a very minimal design with thin bezels around the screen. Secondly, the matte black finish on the frame adds a level of sophistication that makes this TV great to look at. Add to that a sharpish design language, and this will look great in your living room or bedroom. If we have one complaint, it is with the table-top stand which is designed to be fixed close to either edge of the panel—that means you need a table as wide as the TV itself to install this safely. However, this is something we have seen in a lot of TVs off late, but it something that we don’t think is a good idea.
Anyway, moving on to the remote. It remains small, compact and un-cluttered as before. But it now has been redesigned to feel chunkier to hold up, each button press generates a solid feedback and the button layout has been tweaked slightly too. There is now one home button that takes you to Xiaomi’s PatchWall interface, one button that takes you to Google’s pure Android TV interface. There is now a voice search button as well.
Switch the Mi TV 4A on, and what impresses immediately is the slickness of the updated PatchWall interface—fonts have been redone, some elements have been realigned and in general, it looks better than before. Not that PatchWall was bad earlier either. This is the unique aspect of any Mi TV. This is Mi’s own content curation and discovery service that understands your viewing patterns over time, and factors that in too, to provide you with content that you may want to watch. At present, the services that run on the Mi TV 4A are Hotstar, Hooq, Voot, Sony Liv, Zee5, Jio Cinema, Alt Balaji, Eros Now, Hungama Play, Sun Nxt, TVF, Viu, Epic On and Flickstree. That is a lot of streaming sources to subscribe to and get your dose of TV shows, movies and videos. Everything plays back perfectly, and the content curation itself is quite useful. However, we would have preferred more customization options, such as content genres or prioritize one service over another. While we understand Xiaomi does not want to discriminate against any service on PatchWall, as a user, that does mean you’ll often see a lot of content that may not be relevant for you at all—and the option to prioritize certain services could eliminate that potential issue to a certain extent. That said, Xiaomi clearly have spent a lot of effort on improving this feature, and the slightly faster animations, navigation and better fonts show that.
On the other side is the Google Android TV interface. Having two different home screens can be a tad confusing initially, but if you don’t want the curation of the PatchWall, then this simpler and obviously more Google-esque interface could be relevant. It is not as if this is blank or bland, and it has its own suggestions from apps that you, but nothing as elaborate or detailed as PatchWall.
The panel that Xiaomi has used for the Mi TV 4A Pro is Full HD. Before you criticize this for not being 4K, take a step back and think—how many 4K channels do you get on your cable or DTH service, and do you really have a broadband connection fast enough to stream 4K content on streaming services? Chances are, you’ll now get the perspective for Xiaomi’s choice. That has also allowed them to keep the prices down. The advantage this has over most other Full HD TVs in this price range is panel is HDR 10 compatible—this means that content on steaming services which supports this high dynamic range (HDR) feature will be able to take advantage of this. The result, when available, would be much more detailed visuals. It may not make a world of difference at first glance but watch an HDR content on this screen and then on one that doesn’t have HDR, and the difference will be more appreciated then.
The panel itself reproduces very crisp visuals, which means that even dialed down sharpness settings still don’t result in fuzzy or soft images on the screen. In terms of the colour richness, this has better and more accurate colour accuracy and separation than all of its rivals under the Rs50,000 price point—we can say that with confidence, this sort of performance is actually a big advantage for the Mi TV 4A Pro. In fact, we switched from a Sony Bravia Android TV to the Mi TV 4A Pro, and the difference wasn’t something which would make us feel that we have switched to an inferior television or something that costs less than half of the Bravia’s price.
Now we have to address the elephant in the room. The Mi TV series of smart TVs do not have support for Netflix and Amazon Video, at least not yet. The Mi TV 4A Pro is no different. Now that is a serious limitation, considering Netflix and Amazon Video would be two of the more recognized streaming services available at the moment. if Xiaomi is targeting the urban buyers with the Mi TV 4A Pro, the no-show from Netflix and Amazon Video on the TV is something that cannot be ignored. At present, you will have to make do with workarounds such as an Amazon Fire TV Stick or an Apple TV. And we hope that in the meantime, Xiaomi and Netflix as well as Amazon decide to play along nicely.
There are other niggles too. For instance, the TV only supports 2.4GHz Wi-Fi networks and that is a bit of a downer—2.4GHz band is usually more prone to interference from other wireless routers in range, microwave ovens, cordless phones etc., and that tends to impact speeds more than the 5GHz band. Secondly, the default “Display” setting in the Android TV settings app doesn’t do anything to tweak the picture on any of the sources. For that, you need to specifically go to each source (HDMI 1, HDMI 2 etc.) and then press the large “OK” button-> Device settings -> Picture to access the source specific settings options
Apart from the fact that Netflix and Amazon Video aren’t available on the Mi TV 4A Pro, this is a steal—even if you factor in the cost of buying an Amazon Fire TV Stick to go with the TV. A 49-inch screen size, for less than Rs30,000 cannot be categorized as anything but an absolute category definer. There are no real shortcomings with the overall performance, and the best part is that when this is sitting in your living room, people who turn up to your home will probably guess its price tag is much higher than it actually is.
Employees Urge Microsoft Not to Bid For US Military Project: Report
Following Google's exit from a controversial US military Cloud project, an open letter claiming to be from an unspecified number of Microsoft employees has urged the tech giant to also back out of the military project. Potentially worth up to $10 billion, "Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI)" is a Cloud computing contract aimed to bring the entire military under the envelope of a single Cloud provider.
"The contract is massive in scope and shrouded in secrecy, which makes it nearly impossible to know what we as workers would be building," an open letter titled "Microsoft, don't bid on JEDI" said on the Medium portal written by "Employees of Microsoft". "Many Microsoft employees don't believe that what we build should be used for waging war.
"When we decided to work at Microsoft, we were doing so in the hopes of 'empowering every person on the planet to achieve more,' not with the intent of ending lives and enhancing lethality," the open letter further read. For those who say that another company will simply pick up JEDI where Microsoft leaves it, we would ask workers at that company to do the same, said the letter. "A race to the bottom is not an ethical position. Like those who took action at Google, Salesforce, and Amazon, we ask all employees of tech companies to ask how your work will be used, where it will be applied, and act according to your principles," the Microsoft employees said.
Succumbing to pressure from employees, Google last week dropped its bid to be part of the JEDI contract. The employees backlashed and raised ethical questions on facilitating incorporation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on weapons, illegal surveillance and technologies that could cause "overall harm". "We need clear ethical guidelines and meaningful accountability governing how we determine which uses of our technology are acceptable, and which are off the table. Microsoft has already acknowledged the dangers of the tech it builds, there is no law preventing the company from exercising its own internal scrutiny and standing by its own ethical compass," the letter by Microsoft employees detailed.
On October 9, Microsoft wrote a blog post, saying the company is going through a technology transformation that is unlocking new mission scenarios for government agencies that were simply not possible before. "We are going through a technology transformation that is unlocking new mission scenarios for government agencies with the ability to plan farther, gather information more efficiently and deliver insight where it is needed most," the post noted.