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Google Signs Deal With CBS For Web TV Service

October 21, 2016 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

google-web-tv-150x150Alphabet Inc unit Google has inked a deal with CBS Corp to carry the network on its planned web TV service and is in advanced negotiations with 21st Century Fox and Viacom Inc to distribute its channels, three sources told Reuters.

The service, which will be part of Google’s YouTube Platform, is expected to launch in the first quarter and will include all of CBS’ content, including live NFL games, one of the sources said.

Google’s so-called “skinny bundle,” with fewer channels than a typical cable subscription, will cost $30 to $40 a month, the source said. It was unclear which Fox and Viacom networks would be part of the Google service, two of the sources said.

The sources requested anonymity because the discussions are confidential. A spokesperson for YouTube declined to comment.

Google will be launching into an increasingly crowded market. Dish Network Corp and Sony Corp, which in the past year have launched skinny bundles to appeal to younger viewers who do not want to pay for cable.

And both AT&T Inc and Hulu, the online video service owned by Disney, Fox, Comcast Corp and Time Warner Inc, have streaming television offerings that are expected to go live in the next few months.

The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the news, said Google was also in advanced talks with Walt Disney Co.

A representative at Disney was not immediately available for comment. CBS, Viacom and Fox declined to comment.

Google has been talking to media companies about its web TV for years, but its plans have just ramped up over the past few months, one of the sources said. Apple Inc had looked at a similar service but has shelved that plan for the time being, sources had previously told Reuters.


Facebook Continues To Lose Younger Users To Snapchat, Instagram

October 20, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

facebook-teens-150x150Facebook has been having a hard time attracting  younger users for several years now and it looks like the problem is getting worse.

According to Piper Jaffray Companies, a recent survey of 10,000 U.S. teenagers showed that 52% used Facebook at least once a month this fall, compared to 60% who used it monthly in the spring.

“Factoring out shifts in the population surveyed, core Facebook usage likely declined by three basis points, which indicates Facebook is gradually becoming less relevant versus Instagram and Snapchat,” Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster wrote in a research note to investors.

The same survey, however, showed that teen use of Facebook-owned Instagram has gone from 70% to 74% in the same time frame — and rose from 75% to 80% for rival Snapchat.

When asked what their favorite social network was this fall, 35% said Snapchat; 24% said Instagram; and 13% said Twitter and Facebook (which tied for third place).

While older users – say anywhere from 35 to 65 years old – have shown to be loyal Facebook users, the site isn’t pulling in enough users 24 and younger to offset losses as older users die off.

“Well, think about it,” said Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with ZK Research. “If Facebook just lost 8% of all teens, that’s millions of users…. Over time, they need to keep the funnel of users coming in on the younger side. I think it creates a huge issue down the road. It’s not likely they can add users that are of older generations. They probably have all they will get from anyone 30 and older.”

Facebook certainly has been working to draw in younger users.

In August, Facebook unveiled its Lifestage stand-alone app. Designed for iOS devices, the app enables teen users to share videos with other people in their schools.

Lifestage was born as a rival to Snapchat and basically a video version of an early stage Facebook.

Also, in March, the company bought face-swapping app Masquerade or MSQRD. The app enables users to dress up their photos and selfies with an Iron Man helmet or a panda outfit.

Facebook hoped that by being able to add special effects to their pics, teens and young adults would be pulled onto Facebook — or at least one of the apps. But so far, at least, those efforts don’t appear to be panning out.

Is Qualcomm Moving Toward Iris And Retina World?

October 19, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

Qualcomm’s Sy Choundhury, Senior Director of Product Management, talked to the media audience in Hong Kong at the 4G and 5G summit about the security mechanisms and machine learning capabilities of Snapdragon processors. 

He came up with a nice reference when talking about security, saying it is comparable with talking about hygiene. You don’t know where it starts and where it stops and this topic doesn’t get a lot of traffic unless one gets hacked / compromised.

Sy talked about security beyond fingerprint and predicts that eye-based security will happen with a lot of OEM devices next year.

Fingerprint sounds secure and it is good enough for most customers, but it looks like eye-based technologies will take over in more devices over the next year.

Microsoft and HP launched rather low volume Windows-based phones, first with iris-based recognition last year. On the other hand, the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 was the high volume phone that got positive reviews on iris recognition and security performance.

Unfortunately, Samsung canned the Note 7 due the battery issues but there will be more phones with iris security in the near future. Some companies chose to use the retina recognition, which is interesting as it doesn’t require any additional hardware. While iris recognition needs additional hardware that adds a few dollars to the Bill of Materials (BOM), retina scanning uses the RGB camera that you already have on your phone.

The downside is that you need a lot of computation power on both the CPU and GPU side, but since the SoCs are getting better and faster this should be a matter of software optimization to really make good use of the mobile chipsets.

Iris scanning seems to be an industry leader, and it will coexist with retina scanning, but it can take up to 4 years for both iris and retina sensors to be as widely used as fingerprint sensors are used now. Not to mention, security experts will love the fact that with iris and fingerprint sensors, you can get a two-factor authentication.

Companies like AliPay are investing a lot of money and they acquired EyeVerify, the company that was working on a retina-based verification solution. AliPay naturally works on a secured payment and as many of you know Apple Pay, along with Android Pay and Samsung Pay do rely on a fingerprint and with that authentication they do quite a good job.

Face recognition is also something that might be used by some devices and there is a lot of research about it as apparently your face has enough distinctive features to make it work reliably.

The future will bring some additional ways of security, and should be viewed as a good thing. Despite the whole fuss, most computers still use passwords, and most homes still use a physical key to unlock.


Qualcomm’s First 5G Modem Coming In 2017

October 19, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

Qualcomm has surprised the audience at the 4G/5G summit this week in Hong Kong by launching the world’s first 5G modem. The Snapdragon X50, as it is called, supports operations in the millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum in the 28GHz band.

It will employ Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MIMO) antenna technology with adaptive beamforming and beam tracking techniques. Before we get you any additional details, we want to let you know that with 800 MHz bandwidth support, you get to peak download speeds of 5Gbps. That translates to about  625MB/s maximum download speed.

Qualcomm’s X16 modem is the world’s first gigabit-class modem that can theoretically get you to 1000Mbps, or 125MB/s maximal speed.

One of the limitations of the mmWave spectrum is that it doesn’t really penetrate walls, but with the help of beam forming and beam tracking the signal can propagate off walls and get you the desired speeds.

Snapdragon X50, on the other hand, is a chip that works together with Snapdragon 4G modems. Since Snapdragon X50 is launching in the second part of 2017, it should launch in devices in 2018. Fudzilla wrote before that 2018 is the year when real life trials of 5G networks will start around the world. The real deployment is expected by 2020 by at least major telecoms, but you got to start somewhere.

“The Snapdragon X50 5G modem heralds the arrival of 5G as operators and OEMs reach the cellular network and device testing phase,” says Cristiano Amon, Executive Vice President, QTI and President, Qualcomm CDMA Technologies. “Utilizing our long history of LTE and Wi-Fi leadership, we are thrilled to deliver a product that will help play a critical role in bringing 5G devices and networks to reality. This shows that we’re not just talking about 5G, we’re truly committed to it.”

The 5G modem will need a 4G modem to use the standard LTE 1 Gbps class services. The Snapdragon X80 is designed to be used for multi-mode 4G/5G mobile broadband via dual connectivity.

The Snapdragon X50 will provide 5G services while Snapdragon X16 will provide traditional 4G LTE-A services. Naturally with times we can see that the 4G part will get integrated in the 5G modem, but this is a bit down the road from now.

If you have any doubts that 5Gbps peak speeds are too much, you think about 360 videos, 4K and 8K video, virtual reality streaming, and you will quickly realize that we will one again be able to eat up the data.

The data caps will largely increase, but just give it some time. T-Mobile in the US has a sort of unlimited data plan today, and things will only get better from this point.


Will Apple Benefit By Leaps And Bounds Off The Note 7 Disaster?

October 18, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0note7Samsung is going to lose a few customers over its Note 7 fiasco, but not as many as the Apple fanboys have speculated.

The Tame Apple Press has been claiming that almost all the Galaxy Note 7 customers would defect to Apple’s iPhone 7, but a new survey suggests that less than 12 percent  of them are thinking like this, and that number is shrinking by the day.

Branding Brand conducted a second survey of 1,000 Samsung smartphone owners from October 11-12 to compare consumer confidence to its earlier study, conducted on September 23.

It seems that only 40 percent of Note7 users have had enough of Samsung and want to go somewhere else. Given what has happened, this is a rather small figure and of that 40 percent, less than a third are moving to something Applish. This figure is down from an earlier survey which was conducted after the first recall.

As expected most Samsung users  will go with another Android phone (up to 62 percent from 57 percent) and eight percent thought they would buy a Google Pixel. Given that is not really out yet we are not even sure why this option was in the survey. The Pixel is another Android device that means that Apple is going to get only 12 percent of the total Samsung users. More than 88 per cent of Note 7 users will either stay wilt Samsung or Android.

Chris Mason, co-founder and CEO of Branding Brand said:

“As we’ve watched the Galaxy Note7 recall and discontinuation play out, even more people say they will switch their smartphone brand. Consumers want to be confident in their personal safety and will choose a new smartphone accordingly. Only a week after Google’s smartphone launch, many already have their sights set on the Pixel.”


HTC Releases New Virtual Reality Gadgets

October 17, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-vr-gadgetsHTC has been showing off the prototype of its VR controller and position-tracking modules for its virtual reality headsets.

The assorted throngs at Valve’s Steam Dev Days developer conference had a chance to play with the new gear although the press were banned from taking photos. Apparently some members of the great unwashed who were not showing their press cards managed to tweet pictures of them playing with the new controllers before HTC bouncers could stop them.

The controller is smaller than the current Vive controller and it strap to the player’s palm, so users can open their hands without dropping them. HTC said there are 21 sensors on the current prototype but was managing to keep all other technical details under wraps.

Personally we are not impressed with this line of technology. Strapping on armour to play a game, or do anything important is not really the way VR should work.  These remind us a little too much like handcuffs, and while that is great for watching sometime of VR porn, it will not be useful for the rest of the time.

It would be much better if they did everything with external cameras which track your every movement and limit the number of censors you have to wear. Making the user look like an idiot will always be a big handicap for VR and this sort of thing does not help.    


Samsung Offers Financial Incentive For Return Of Galaxy Note 7 Phones

October 14, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

galaxy-note-7-recall-150x150Samsung Electronics has begun offering financial incentives for U.S. and South Korea customers who turn in their Note 7s for other products or refund them, as the tech giant scrambles to shore up its reputation in the wake of a damaging safety crisis.

The consumer electronics company is also expanding a U.S. recall of the fire-prone model to a total 1.9 million Note 7 phones, which includes the 1 million Galaxy Note 7s it recalled on Sept. 15.

The South Korean giant is in damage-control mode as rivals like Apple Inc and LG Electronics try to steal market share from the global smartphone leader after it was forced to scrap its latest high-end device.

Samsung is boosting its marketing and promotional efforts around other Galaxy-series smartphones to cushion the blow from the demise of the premium Note 7, which it finally abandoned this week after failing to resolve overheating problems which caused some of the phones to ignite.

Samsung said on Thursday it is offering up to $100 in bill credit to consumers who exchange their Note 7s for any Samsung smartphone in the U.S.

U.S. customers who exchange their Note 7s for a refund or other branded smartphone will receive $25 in bill credit.

“We appreciate the patience of our consumers, carriers and retail partners for carrying the burden during these challenging times,” said Tim Baxter, president and chief operating officer, Samsung Electronics America.

“We are committed to doing everything we can to make this right.”

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said on Thursday the Note 7’s “battery can overheat and catch fire, posing serious fire and burn hazard to consumers.”

It added that Samsung has received 96 reports of batteries in Note 7 phones overheating in the U.S., including 23 new reports since the Sept. 15 recall announcement.

In the U.S., Samsung began sending fireproof boxes and protective gloves to customers returning potentially explosive Note 7s, drawing humorous barbs from social media commentators.

The company has commenced offering similar financial incentives in its home market of South Korea, which it says would compensate consumers for their “big inconvenience.”

After days of heavy losses, Samsung’s shares ended 1.4 percent higher on Thursday while the broader market fell 0.9 percent.

On Wednesday, the firm slashed its quarterly profit estimate by $2.3 billion to reflect the impact of the Note 7 withdrawal, giving some investors hope that the financial cost of the debacle had been largely accounted for.

“We are confident the 3Q 16 re-statement puts to bed the direct financial impact of the Note 7 recall and termination,” UBS said in a report.

“In the near-term, we believe investors will re-focus on shareholders returns ahead of full 3Q results Oct 27th.”

Is Samsung Ready For The Galaxy S8

October 14, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

Just moments after Samsung officially confirmed that it is stopping  production of Note 7 and halting all  sales, the first realistic Galaxy S8 rumors have emerged. 

According to a leak on the Weibo social network there will be two variants of the Galaxy S8 – the 5.1-inch and 5.5 inch. We are quite sure that the 5.5-inch version comes with an edge shaped screen and it is likely to be imaginatively called the Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge.

According to the leak, both versions of the S8 will use Super Amoled screens. The 5.1 version comes with a QHD (2560×1440) while the 5.5 version might have a 4K display.

As we indicated before, there will be two processers powering the Galaxy S8 phones. One is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 830 while the other is the Exynos 8895. The Snapdragon 830 can be safely called the 10nm successor of Snapdragon 820. The Exynos 8895 will likely use the same processor.

It is likely that Samsung will offer Exynos powered phones in the European market and leave us with a less attractive modem. The US and some other markets will end up with the better Qualcomm variant.

The Galaxy S8 comes with two main cameras, that is the current trend for high end phones and it will incorporate the UFS 2.1 flash storage.

One not so surprising announcement is that the Samsung’s S Voice might be replaced by the Viv assistant. Samsung just bought  Viv – the digital assistant that was created by one of the people who gave the world  Siri.

Most of the leaked information make sense, but again, we will have to wait and see if the information is really accurate. It would make a lot of sense to see Galaxy S8 phones with the specifications mentioned above. Some colleagues are confident that the phone may launch on February 26 2017. We are confident the launch might take place a day or two before the Mobile World Congress 2017, that takes place in Barcelona and starts on 27 February.


Can Google Sell 4 Million Overpriced Pixels By Years End?

October 13, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-over-pixelAccording to new estimates from Digitimes Research, the recently announced Google Pixel smartphone is expected to reach 3 to 4 million shipments in the second half of this year, giving a 10 percent increase in HTC’s total smartphone shipments from the first half.

Google’s latest Pixel and Pixel XL devices come in 5-inch and 5.2-inch display sizes and feature a quad-core Snapdragon 821 processor, a 12.3-megapixel rear camera, an 8-megapixel front camera and look very similar to Apple’s iPhone from an aesthetic perspective. Pricing is also very similar, as the Pixel starts at $649 for 32GB and the Pixel XL starts at $769, while the iPhone 7 is also $649 for 32GB and the iPhone 7 Plus is $769 for 32GB.

Performance similar to Snapdragon 820 devices

Recently, the performance of the latest Snapdragon 821-powered flagship Android devices has become a recent site of investigation, When averaging the top eight Geekbench 4.0.1 scores sorted by multi-core performance, the results show the Pixel and Pixel XL receiving scores of around 1,603 single-core and 4,106 multi-core, still lower on average than the iPhone 6S (2,506 / 4,320). Meanwhile, the A10-powered iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus manage scores of around 3,473 single-core and 5,707 multi-core.

For the most part, the Pixel and Pixel XL seem more in line with the HTC 10 (1,745 / 3,961) and LG G5 (1,699 / 4,108), both of which feature the Snapdragon 820 with 2.15GHz high-performance cores and 1.6GHz power-efficient cores. The Snapdragon 821 features two 2.4GHz high-performance cores and two 2GHz power-efficient cores, meaning Google’s Pixel smartphones should be at least 10 percent faster than these devices, but this does not seem to be the case in this benchmarking utility for now.

Battery life is another story entirely, and this is where the Snapdragon 821 shows improvement over Snapdragon 820 devices including the previous Nexus 5X and 6P. Internet browsing over LTE improves by 60.2 percent over the Nexus 5X and 30 percent over the 6P, while talk time improves about 30 percent over the Nexus 5X and 13 percent over the 6P, according to a list compiled independently by Reddit user TyGamer125.

Pixel, Pixel XL will be 40 to 50 percent of HTC shipments

Meanwhile, Google’s launch of the HTC-manufactured Pixel smartphones is projected to increase HTC’s total handset shipments to around 6.5 and 7 million units by the end of the year, up from between 5.8 and 6.1 million units in the first half.

According to Luke Lin, a senior analyst at Digitimes Research, Pixel shipments should account for around 40 to 50 percent of HTC’s total smartphone shipments in the second half of this year.


Will Sound Push The Oculus VR To Faster Growth?

October 13, 2016 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Oculus VR has introduced new Oculus Earphones which it claims will give “next-level audio integration,”

The outfit added that they will be a  “new sound solution to satisfy even the most serious audiophiles.” We have grave doubts about that from the outset.

Any audiophile will dismiss earbuds in any shape simply on principle, particularly when they are priced at $49. Earbuds which lost lesst han $50 will be the audiophone equivalent of listening to sound between two bean tins attached with a piece of string. The fact that these are being touted as an improvement on the Company’s Rift VR headset there is now worries me –  it means that the sound is currently as a Justin Beiber concert but you can get an upgrade so that it sounds like a Céline Dion concert held in a rubbish skip.

Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe, who announced them at the third-annual Oculus Connect developers conference in San Jose, CA.

Oculus Earphones will be available to buy from 6 December, though you can pre-order them starting 10 October on There’s no word yet on pricing or availability outside of the US.


Shipments Of Apple, Microsoft Devices To End 2016 Down

October 12, 2016 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

apple-and-microsoft-devices-150x150Shipments of devices ran by Apple’s and Microsoft’s operating systems will end 2016 down from the year before. But Apple’s will recover next year, while Microsoft’s will continue with growth challenges, research firm Gartner said this week.

In 2017, Apple’s combination of iOS and macOS — the former powering iPhones, the latter Macs — will have taken second place from Windows on the devices shipped during the year. The gap between the two will widen slightly in 2018.

According to Gartner, which provided Computerworld with its forecast broken out by operating system, Windows will power about 260 million devices shipped in 2016, a 12% decline year-over-year. The 260 million represents 11.2% of the total of 2.3 billion total devices, which overwhelmingly run Google’s Android.

Gartner has progressively downsized its estimates of total devices shipped and Windows’ portion of those shipments, throughout 2015 and 2016. In March 2016, for example, the research firm projected that more than 2.4 billion devices would ship this year, and that Windows would power 283 million, or 11.7% of the total.

Microsoft’s shrinking share of the operating system market has been both ongoing and well documented. This year, however, Windows took a new hit as Microsoft quit the battle with Apple and Google when it walked away from the smartphone business.

But Windows now has company: Gartner also downgraded its 2016 forecast for Apple’s operating systems.

In 2016, iOS and macOS will account for 259 million of the year’s shipped devices, or 11.1% of the total. The 259 million represents a 7% decline from 2015’s 276 million, and is down 14% from the March 2016 forecast. The cause: Soft sales of the iPhone, Apple’s dominant device, by far.

iOS and macOS, however, will recover in 2017, Gartner predicted, climbing 9% to 280 million — admittedly only a few million more than during 2015 — and adding 3% in 2018 to reach 290 million.

Under the latest Gartner forecast, Windows should drop another 3%, to 253 million, in 2017, then claw back a half a percentage point to 254 million in 2018.

Overall, Gartner’s latest forecast was gloomier for almost every device category than earlier estimates.

Apple’s $120 M Patent Infringement Award Reinstated Against Samsung

October 10, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

apple-vs-samsung-3-150x150A federal appeals court has reinstated a $120 million jury award granted to Apple Inc against Samsung, marking the latest twist in the fierce patent battles between the world’s top smartphone makers.

The court said that there was substantial evidence for the jury verdict related to Samsung’s infringement of Apple patents on its slide-to-unlock and auto-correct features, as well as quick links, which automatically turn information like addresses and phone numbers into links.

Friday’s decision was made by the full slate of judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C. In an 8-3 ruling, the judges said that a previous panel of the same court should not have overturned the verdict last February.

The three-judge panel did not follow U.S. Supreme Court limits on the scope of its review, because it examined evidence outside the record of the case, the decision said.

Representatives for Samsung and Apple could not immediately be reached for comment.

The appeal stems from a May 2014 verdict from a federal court in San Jose, California, which ordered Samsung to pay $119.6 million for using the Apple features without permission.

Infringement of the quick links feature accounted for nearly $99 million of the damages.

The jury had also found that Apple infringed a Samsung patent on digital photo technology and awarded $158,400 in damages. Friday’s decision upholds that award.

The two companies have been battling over mobile device technology patents for years, with Apple mostly prevailing.

In December, Samsung paid Apple $548.2 million stemming from a separate patent case. Part of that dispute has been appealed to the Supreme Court, which will hear it on Tuesday.

The case is Apple Inc v. Samsung Electronics Co Ltd et al, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, No. 15-1171.


Amazon Partners With MediaTek

October 10, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

The first-generation Echo device is a voice-activated household digital assistant that can be used to play music, read audiobooks, answer questions about the weather, traffic and latest news, or control IoT-connected light switches and thermostats, among other useful utilities. The device launched in November 2014 and features a Texas Instruments single-core ARM Cortex A8, along with 256MB of LPDDR1 memory and 4GB of storage capacity.

The new Echo Dot will be launching later this month with a MediaTek SoC, while the report suggests shipments of the chip are expected to peak between October and November. The chip is expected to improve the device’s ability to hear a user ask a question from any direction, though this will likely be tested when reviews are posted in a couple weeks. Meanwhile, Amazon will continue sourcing from Texas Instruments to produce Cortex A8 chips for its existing Echo device.

Amazon been purchasing chips from MediaTek since at least 2014 for use in Kindle Fire HD tablets and OTT devices, and now wants them to be part of the smart home device market as well.

In September, the company announced it would release a software update to support Echo Spatial Perception between existing Echo and newer Dot devices, allowing a single device to answer a voice command based on nearest proximity to the user. Of course, Amazon wants its customers to buy at least half a dozen of these assistants to scatter around the house, with bulk discounts available on six and twelve packs at $49 and $99 price reductions, respectively.

The Echo Dot will go on sale October 20th and is currently available for pre-order on the product page for $49.


Ford To Link Some Cars To Amazon’s Alexa Home Voice System

October 5, 2016 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

ford-logo-150x150Some Ford owners will soon be able to control features in their home from their cars using Amazon’s Alexa voice service or start their vehicles from their desks using the same system.

Ford Motor Co said that three models, the Focus Electric, Fusion Energi and C-Max Energi, by year’s end will be able to communicate with smart home devices using Alexa by pressing a voice recognition button on the steering wheel.

Consumers can send instructions to their Ford vehicles from home by using Amazon’s Echo smart home device and Alexa, an “intelligent assistant,” similar to Apple’s Siri, that enables users to access Internet services and interact with devices using voice commands. Vehicle owners also will be able to send simple commands via Alexa to smart home appliances and systems.

The Ford-Amazon partnership was announced at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in January. Production plans were shared last week with Reuters during a demonstration of the service at Ford’s Research and Innovation Center in Palo Alto, California. A Ford spokesperson said the service has entered a final phase of testing with Amazon before its planned release at the end of the year.

Among the functions that Alexa can provide are the ability to preset temperature in the home, check the security system or turn on the outside lights from the car. Using an Echo device in the home or office, Alexa users can start the vehicle, lock or unlock their doors and check the range between charges, after providing a security code.

Alexa also can be used to update shopping lists, get weather reports, check appointments and cue up music in the car.

Some of the in-vehicle services through Alexa will be rolled out to other Ford models starting early next year, according to Ford spokesman Alan Hall.


Sharp Goes All-In On OLED

October 5, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Japan’s Sharp is to spend $570 million on its OLED screen business in one of the first major investments since it was taken over by Foxconn.

While the figure sounds large, if you have ever tried to get a mortage, it is actually rather small compared to what Sharp’s South Korean rivals are spending on OLED development.

Sharp said it will invest in pilot production lines at its plants in Osaka and in Mie prefecture, western Japan, which are due to start between April and June 2018.

New CEO Tai Jeng-wu has previously said that Sharp will work with Japan Display on OLED displays. Foxconn took control of Sharp last month in a deal that gives its access to the Japanese firm’s advanced screen technology. That move was probably to squeeze more cash out of its major client Apple. But it is pretty clear that something has to be done with OLEDs.

Research firm IHS has forecast that shipments of OLED smartphone panels will overtake LCDs in 2020.


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