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Microsoft To End Detailed Security Bulletins

January 17, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Microsoft discontinue issuing detailed security bulletins in February, which for nearly 20 years have provided individual users and IT professionals information about vulnerabilities and their patches.

One patching expert crossed his fingers that Microsoft would make good on its pledge to publish the same information when it switches to a new online database. “I’m on the fence right now,” said Chris Goettl, product manager with patch management vendor Shavlik, of the demise of bulletins. “We’ll have to see [the database] in February before we know how well Microsoft has done [keeping its promise].”

Microsoft announced the demise of bulletins in November, saying then that the last would be posted with January’s Patch Tuesday — the monthly round of security updates for Windows and other Microsoft software — and that the new process would kick in on Feb. 14, next month’s patch day.

The web-based bulletins have been a feature of Microsoft’s patch disclosure policies since at least 1998, and for almost as long have been considered the professional benchmark by security experts.

 A searchable database of support documents will replace the bulletins; that database has been available, albeit in preview, since November on the portal Microsoft dubbed the “Security Updates Guide,” or SUG.

The documents stored in the database are specific to a vulnerability on an edition of Windows, or a version of another Microsoft product. They can be sorted and filtered by the affected software, the patch’s release date, its CVE (Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures) identifier, and the numerical label of the KB, or “knowledge base” support document.

“Our customers have asked for better access to update information, as well as easier ways to customize their view to serve a diverse set of needs,” wrote an unnamed member of the Microsoft Security Response Center in November to explain the switch from bulletins to database.

Rovio Seeks New Gaming Path, Opening Studio In London

January 17, 2017 by  
Filed under Gaming

Finnish mobile games and animation developer Rovio Entertainment is intensifying its search for new hit games by opening a studio in London to focus on multiplayer games that would not rely on the company’s Angry Birds brand.

Privately-held Rovio has struggled in recent years as profits from the Angry Birds franchise dropped, prompting deep job cuts and divestments.

But last year Rovio launched an animated Angry Birds 3D Hollywood film that it said did well at the box office and yielded new licensing deals.

 Rovio is now looking to build a team of about 20 people in London to create “massively multiplayer online” (MMO) games that support a large number of players simultaneously, with a focus on new characters.

“MMO is a genre that is growing in mobile, but it is not fully saturated. We are not looking for a niche position but a very wide, inclusive game,” Wilhelm Taht, head of games, told Reuters.

The original Angry Birds game, in which players use a slingshot to attack pigs who steal the birds’ eggs, was launched in 2009 and it remains the top paid mobile app of all time.

Rovio exploited the brand early on by licensing its use on a string of consumer products. But the company’s failure to bring out new hit games resulted in falling profit, prompting Rovio to cut more than 300 jobs in 2014 and 2015.

“In the long term, our new characters may generate intellectual property and even a brand,” Taht said.

Rovio has a series of smartphone games based on Angry Birds characters. In 2015 it published a puzzle game called Nibblers and it will soon put out Battle Bay, a real-time multiplayer game.

Rovio is not looking to launch a large number of games this year, Taht added.

“Perhaps there’s been some change in our thinking here,” he said. “The market is favorable for games that will live long and that are operated with a service mindset.”

Asked about Nintendo’s hit smartphone game Pokemon GO, Taht said the game truly put augmented reality (AR) on the gaming map.

“We will, of course, be following AR as a technology and a tool,” he said.

In the first half of 2016 Rovio booked a small operating profit, compared with a loss a year earlier, help by growth in game sales.

Rovio has around 200 employees spread between its four game studios in Finland and Sweden and about 400 in total.

Robot Rights Get Debated In The EU

January 16, 2017 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Robots should be granted rights as “electronic persons,” members of the European Parliament recommended — but not until the machines are all fitted with “kill” switches to shut them down in an emergency.

Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee wants the European Commission to propose legislation that will settle a number of ethical and liability issues in the field of robotics — including who is to blame when an autonomous vehicle is involved in a collision.

Granting the more sophisticated autonomous robots some kind of electronic personhood could settle issues of who is responsible for their actions, the committee suggested. More urgent than the question of robot rights, though, is setting up an obligatory insurance scheme that would pay the victims of a self-driving car if it caused an accident in the European Union.

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) also want an EU agency to advise on the technical, ethical, and regulatory issues around robotics, and a voluntary ethical code of conduct for those who design and work with robots. That code should include a requirement that designers put some kind of “kill” switch in their robots so that they can be shut down in an emergency.

 “We urgently need to create a robust European legal framework,” said the committee’s rapporteur, Made Delvaux.

That urgency, the MEPs said, is not so much because autonomous robots are likely to run amok any time soon, but rather that if the EU doesn’t move first, it will end up having to follow rules set by other countries.

Intriguingly, tax figures among the issues the MEPs want the Commission to take into consideration. For robots wanting the same rights as people, it could be a case of no representation without taxation.

The full Parliament will vote on the committee’s recommendation next month, but even if it agrees, the Commission is under no obligation to follow such a request for legislation.

Tesla Ends Free Charging For New Vehicles

January 16, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

It will now cost new Tesla owners about $15 to complete the trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco when using the company’s Supercharging stations.

The new pricing applies only to owners who purchase their electric vehicles after this Sunday. Those who bought vehicles before Jan. 15 will continue to receive free charging, the company said.

The company this week announced that its charging costs will vary from state to state and depend on which charging “tier” a driver is using. Tier 1 pricing, which applies to cars charging at or below 60 kW per minute, will cost half as much as cars using Tier 2 charging, which applies to cars charging above 60 kW per minute. In New York, Tier 2 charging will cost 20 cents a minute and in California, it will cost 19 cents.

Cars using fast charging or Tier 2 charging can attain about a half a full vehicle charge in 30 minutes — enough to travel up to 170 miles.

Tesla announced both kilowatt hour and by-minute pricing for its Supercharger stations, and said a road trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles (about 380 miles) would cost about $15. (A cross-country trip from Los Angeles to New York — about 2,800 miles — would run around $120 in charging fees.)

Tier 1 pricing also applies anytime your vehicle is sharing Supercharger power with another car. Supercharger pricing information can be viewed on the vehicle’s 17-in. touchscreen.

Tesla Model S and Model X cars ordered after Jan. 15 will receive 400 kWh (kilowatt-hour) of free Supercharging credits (roughly 1,000 miles) annually on the anniversary of their delivery.

“We carefully considered current Supercharger usage and found that 400 kWh covers the annual long-distance driving needs of the majority of our owners,” Tesla said in a blog. The company didn’t mention whether buyers of the Model 3 EV, due out in mid-2018, would also receive an annual free charging credit.

The Model 3 will be Tesla’s most affordable EV, with a starting price of about $35,000, and was originally slated to ship at the end of this year. Preorders for it have topped 400,000.

In North America, Tesla Supercharging pricing is fixed within each state or province. Internationally, pricing is fixed within each country, Tesla said.

When fully charged, the 85 kWh Model S sedan has a range of just over 300 miles, depending on road conditions and the speed at which it’s driven, according to Tesla.

“Where possible, owners are billed per kWh (kilowatt-hour), which is the most fair and simple method. In other areas, we bill for the service per minute,” the company explained on its website.

The fees for charging could provide Tesla with as much as $175 million in revenue just in this first year, according to Trip Chowdhry, managing director of equity research for Global Equities Research.

Nissan Chooses London For Self-driving Car Tests

January 16, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Japanese automaker Nissan said it will conduct its first European real-world trials of self-driving vehicles in London, choosing Britain just months after it said it would build two new models in the country despite concerns over Brexit.

The government has said it wants to encourage the development and testing of autonomous driving technology in Britain, helping build an industry to serve a worldwide market it reckons could be worth around 900 billion pounds ($1.1 trillion) by 2025.

On Friday Nissan said a modified version of its compact electric LEAF car equipped with autonomous driving technology will be tested in the capital next month, the first such demonstrations on European public roads.

 “With future models secured and cutting-edge innovation being developed right here in the UK, we’re looking forward to a strong future of designing, engineering and manufacturing in the country for customers right across the world,” said Nissan Europe Chairman Paul Willcox.

In October the firm, which builds around a third of Britain’s total car output, said it would expand production at its plant in northeast England with what a source described as a government promise of extra support to counter any loss of competitiveness caused by Britain’s EU exit.

U.S. Defense Department Testing 3D Printed Drone Swarm

January 13, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

The Department of Defense has been testing low-cost, autonomous, micro-drones for low-altitude intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions.

The drones, dubbed Perdix, operate as a swarm and are not individually pre-programmed. Instead, they act as a collective organism with one distributed brain for decision-making, the DOD said in a statement on Monday.

“Because every Perdix communicates and collaborates with every other Perdix, the swarm has no leader and can gracefully adapt to drones entering or exiting the team,” says William Roper, director of the Strategic Capabilities Office of the DOD.

The drones are meant to be controlled in much the same manner as a coach would guide a sports team. The operator orders a broad objective, and the drones communally decide how best to execute the plan.

The latest test, initially documented on “60 Minutes,” took place at China Lake, California, in October. There were 103 mini remote-controlled vehicles launched from three F/A-18 Super Hornets.

Prior tests have also taken place in Alaska and Edwards Air Force Base in southern California.

The DOD says Perdix is in its sixth generation, with a seventh-generation model featuring more advanced autonomy in the works.

 

Instagram Stories To Get Advertising

January 13, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Facebook Inc’s Instagram is adding more than 30 advertising partners to one of its fastest-growing features, Instagram Stories, in a bid to boost advertising revenue.

The social media company will become a more important player in maintaining Facebook’s growth in advertising revenue in 2017. During the last two earnings calls, Facebook executives said they may soon reach a limit on the amount of ads they can place before users, one of the factors that had driven ad revenue growth.

Instagram is expected to generate $3.64 billion in worldwide ad revenue this year, nearly double that of 2016, according to eMarketer. That would represent 12.3 percent of Facebook’s global ad business, up from 8.4 percent in 2016. In the United States, eMarketer said it expects Instagram to account for more than 20 percent of Facebook’s ad revenue.

eMarketer also found that 74 percent of U.S. companies plan to use Instagram this year, up from 53 percent in 2016. This level of use would allow Instagram to surpass Twitter.

Media buyers are optimistic about Instagram’s ability to maintain Facebook’s place, second only to Alphabet Inc’s Google, in the digital ad marketplace. “Instagram could end up being as strong a revenue component for Facebook as YouTube has been for Google,” said Noah Mallin, head of social for ad agency MEC Wavemaker.

In Instagram Stories, users and businesses can post a string of photos and videos that disappear after 24 hours. It launched in August and now has 150 million daily active users, according to Jim Squires, director of market operations for Instagram.

The new ad product will show full-screen ads intermittently as users swipe through photos and videos on Instagram Stories. The company is testing it with major advertisers including General Motors Co, Nike Inc and Airbnb, which is using it to promote its product Trips on Airbnb.

Time Warner Inc’s Turner Sports will test ads for cable network TNT’s airing of the National Basketball Association’s All-Star Game in New Orleans next month.

Companies normally test new advertising products with a select group of advertisers before a wider roll out.

“It’s definitely gained importance,” said Ian Schafer, founder and chairman of ad agency Deep Focus, who said he plans to spend more money with Instagram.

Are Notebooks Making Gains Against Tablets?

January 13, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Notebooks, which had been written off by the Tame Apple Press after Steve Jobs showed off his tablets, are now back.

Beancounters working for Deloitte have found that the sales of slates are expected to be down 10 per cent in 2017 compared to last year and there will probably be 165 million units leaving the shops.

This is a third less than the total number of slates shifted in 2014 when 230 million tablets were sold.

PC and laptops however are expected to stay at the same level as last year, and Deloitte has observed that the kids of today don’t want tablets any more. They either want a phablet, or a notebook.

Phablets were the thing that Steve Jobs told the world they did not want and yet it turned out they did. It might have been the reason he was telling us that was because he knew that they would kill off his tablet dream.

Paul Lee, head of TMT research at Deloitte, commented: “There are three consumer devices that are leading tablets by a large margin: TVs, smartphones, and computers. It seems unlikely that the tablet will ever displace these devices.”

IDC’s figures from last summer showed a big slump in tablet shipments, but also found that detachable sales were improving. Most analysts think that hybrid 2-in-1s will represent a fifth of all PCs by the year 2020.

Courtesy-Fud

Is Intel Worried About Qualcomm?

January 13, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Last week at CES 2017 we noticed that Intel felt so unsecure about itself that it used a big curtain to hide the Qualcomm logo from the booth next door. This really happened and we were lucky to document it. 

Intel and Qualcomm had booths next to each other at CES 2017 and this has been going on for a few CES shows. The difference this year, was that Intel ordered a huge curtain to block the view to Qualcomm’s logo standing on the side of the booth. Qualcomm didn’t.

We are not sure how the CES 2017 organizers were OK with it, but it definitely felt at least a bit tasteless to do this to a company you are directly competing against. We took the picture from both Intel’s and Qualcomm’s booth. 

This of course has a big background and deserves a bit of an explantation. Intel won part of the iPhone 7 modem deal and clearly stated that it wants to compete even more on 5G, picking on Qualcomm’s core business more actively. Intel chose CES 2017 to announce its 5G modem, while Qualcomm had already announced the Snapdragon X50 5G SoC. Qualcomm is expected to deploy Snapdragon X50 for testing in the second half of 2017 and is expected to do 5G trials with AT&T, SK Telekom and Verizon.

At the same time, Microsoft shocked the IT world by confirming that the Snapdragon 800 series of chips have full support for Windows 10. We saw a demo of a Snapdragon 820 machine and there will definitely be Snapdragon 835 notebooks supporting Windows 10 coming to the market later this year. Needless to say, the companies developed a big rivalry in the last two years.

Last year, Intel let go some 12,000 employees in April  while Qualcomm let go off some 4,500 people in order to restructure the company. In the meantime Qualcomm has acquired an automotive SoC giant NXP for $47 billion preparing the company to be a big influence in the automotive industry.

Fudzilla also noticed that there have been quite a few people crossing over from Intel to Qualcomm and in the other direction, implying that Qualcomm can use some help in competing wotj Intel on the PC side of the industry.

Intel on the other hand has its hands full. Its big rival AMD is just weeks from releasing the Summit Ridge codenamed Zen-architecture based 14nm eight core Ryzen processor. The first impression is that the CPU looks really competitive to Intel’s high end Extreme Edition desktop line and AMD announced more than a dozen systems that are expected to launch in Q1 2017 and onward.

Later in 2017, both AMD and even Qualcomm are expected to announce their server solution and increase the pressure on Intel in this heavily profitable market. Back in 2013 Intel stated that for every 400 smartphones you need one server. Since the amount of traffic grew massively between 2013 and today and the fact that video is now 55 percent of all internet traffic, we believe that you need one server for a few hundred phones, definitely less than 400 these days.

Qualcomm was the first to announce and showcase the 10nm SoC, and we saw a live demo of the Snapdragon 835 based prototype of a phone. As a few executives mentioned the other day, there is a high expectation that Snapdragon 835 might end up being even more successful than Snapdragon 820, and we already pointed out that Snapdragon 820 had more than 200 design wins. The performance, footprint and 25 percent better battery life compared to Snapdragon 820 have every chance to make a three billion transistor Snapdragon 835 an instant success.

Intel has completely abandoned smartphones after billions of investments and a failure to make a dent in this huge market. Intel’s X86 based mobile SoCs simply failed to compete with ARM based chips.

So far, Intel has tried and failed to launch 10nm processors, and this is happening to a company that owns some of the world’s most advanced and biggest FABs in the world. After decade of tick-tock execution, the recent launch of Kaby Lake, the third generation 14nm processors for desktop and notebooks definitely confirmed there’s trouble in paradise. One can only hope that Intel can get the 10nm processors out before the end of 2017 but it has become increasingly hard to migrate from one to another manufacturing node.

Courtesy-Fud

Twitter Being Sued As ‘Powerful Weapon For Terrorism’

January 12, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

The families of three Americans murdered in ISIS terror attacks have filed suit against Twitter for allegedly knowingly providing support for the terrorist group and acting as a “powerful weapon for terrorism.”

The suit was filed over the weekend in a federal court in New York City on behalf of the relatives of three U.S. nationals who were killed by ISIS in the March 22, 2016, terrorist attacks in Brussels and the Nov. 13, 2015, terrorist attacks in Paris. At least 32 people died in the Brussels attack and about 130 in the attack in Paris.

The suit alleges that Twitter has violated, and continues to violate, the U.S. Anti-Terrorism Act. The plaintiffs are asking for a jury trial and monetary damages to be determined at trial.

 Twitter did not reply to a request for comment.

“Twitter’s social media platform and services provide tremendous utility and value to ISIS as a tool to connect its members and to facilitate the terrorist group’s ability to communicate, recruit members, plan and carry out attacks, and strike fear in its enemies,” the suit alleges. “ISIS has used Twitter to cultivate and maintain an image of brutality, to instill greater fear and intimidation, and to appear unstoppable …”

The lawsuit also contends that specifically for the Brussels and Paris attacks, ISIS used Twitter to issue threats, as well as to announce and celebrate the attacks.

The lawsuit was filed by the family of siblings Alexander Pinczowski and Sascha Pinczowski, who were killed in Brussels, and the family of Nohemi Gonzalez, who was killed in Paris.

The Email Privacy Act Re-introduced To Protect U.S. Citizens

January 12, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

A bill has been reintroduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that would require law enforcement agencies to obtain a warrant before they dig into users’ emails and other communications in the cloud that are older than 180 days.

The Email Privacy Act, reintroduced on Monday, aims to fix a loophole in the Electronic Communications Privacy Act that allows the government to search without a warrant email and other electronic communications that are older than 180 days and stored on servers of third-party service providers such as Google and Yahoo.

“Thanks to the wording in a more than 30-year-old law, the papers in your desk are better protected than the emails in your inbox,” the Electronic Frontier Foundation, digital rights organization, said in a blog post Monday.

The bill was passed by the House last year but stalled in the Senate. U.S. Reps. Kevin Yoder (R-Kan) and Jared Polis (D-Colo) said they are reintroducing the legislation because the Senate failed to act on it before the 114th Congress came to a close.

 If the legislation becomes law, government agencies will have to obtain a warrant based on a showing of probable cause to compel service providers to disclose emails and other electronic communications of Americans, regardless of the age of the mails or the means of storage. In the original version of the legislation, the government also had to notify the person whose account is disclosed, along with a copy of the search warrant and other information, within a stipulated period.

Privacy groups and tech companies backed the legislation when it was first introduced. But it failed to clear the Senate as it was bogged down with amendments such as the requirement of mandatory compliance by service providers without court oversight when law enforcement claimed an emergency as an exception for asking for user data. U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) proposed an amendment that would expand the information that the FBI can obtain with a National Security letter without prior judicial oversight.

“Government access to communications without oversight of warrants is a dangerous path for any country that supports democratic values,” said Ed Black, CEO and president of the Computer & Communications Industry Association, in a statement Monday.

“Rules on how the government can access electronic communications in criminal investigations have simply not kept up with advances in modern technology. Indeed, US law still treats data stored in the cloud differently than data stored on a local computer,” said Information Technology and Innovation Foundation vice president Daniel Castro in a statement.

Opposition to the bill came previously from a number of agencies, including the Securities and Exchange Commission, which uses administrative subpoenas on service providers to work around people under investigation who don’t keep copies of incriminating mail after sending it or decline to share their content with the SEC.

IBM Is Still The Patent King

January 12, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

While the Tame Apple Press is still trying to spin Jobs’ Mob as the most innovative in the world, the crown belongs to the outfit that Steve Jobs mocked – IBM.

IBM received the most patents for the 24th year in a row and broke the US record in 2016.

It had 8,088 patents granted to its inventors over the 12 months covering areas such as artificial intelligence (AI), cognitive computing, cloud, health and cyber security.

No other company in US history has managed to get 8,000 patents in a single a single year. And to put that in perspective, that means that IBM invents 22 new things a day.

It also owns a third of the patents relating to AI, cognitive computing and cloud computing alone. The details were released by Ginni Rometty, IBM’s chairman, president and CEO who said:

“We are deeply proud of our inventors’ unique contributions to discovery, science and technology that are driving progress across business and society and opening the new era of cognitive business.”

There are nine other innovative companies in the top ten list and guess what? Apple does not even make the top ten.

The list goes IBM, Samsung, Canon, Qualcomm, Google, Intel, LG, Microsoft, TSMC and Sony.

Courtesy-Fud

EU Tougher Privacy Controls To Impact Messaging Services, Email Providers

January 11, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Online messaging and email services such as WhatsApp, iMessage and Gmail  will go up against tougher regulations on how they can track users under a new proposal presented by the European Union executive on Tuesday.

The web players will have to guarantee the confidentiality of their customers’ conversations and ask for their consent before tracking them online to serve them personalized ads.

The proposal by the European Commission extends some rules that now only apply to telecom operators to web companies offering calls and messages using the internet, known as “Over-The-Top” (OTT) services, seeking to close a perceived regulatory gap between the telecoms industry and mainly U.S. Internet giants such as Facebook, Google and Microsoft.

 Tuesday’s proposal would allow telecom companies to use customer metadata – such as the duration and location of calls – to provide additional services and make more money, something they are barred from doing under the current rules.

The review of the so-called e-privacy law will also force web browsers to have their default setting as not allowing personalized online advertising based on browsing habits. Instead, users will be asked to opt in to allow websites to place cookies on their browsers.

“It’s up to our people to say yes or no,” said Andrus Ansip, Commission vice-president for the digital single market.

Cookies are placed on web surfers’ computers and contain bits of information about the user, such as what other sites they have visited or where they are logging in from. They are widely used by companies to deliver targeted ads to users.

Online adverstisers have warned that overly strict rules would undermine many websites’ ability to fund themselves and keep offering free services. They say the data they use can not identify the user and is therefore low risk, making asking for consent every time too onerous.

The proposal scraps the obligation on websites to ask visitors for permission to place cookies on their browsers via a banner every time they land on it if the user has already consented through the privacy settings of the web browser.

The “cookie banner” has been lambasted as ineffective because people tend to accept them without necessarily reading what that entails.

Companies falling foul of the new law will face fines of up to 4 percent of their global turnover, in line with a separate data protection law set to enter into force in 2018.

The proposal will need to be approved by the European Parliament and member states before becoming law.

Is Apple PC Division Faltering?

January 11, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

While the Tame Apple Press is doing its best to claim that Apple will replace Microsoft as the world’s leading OS, it appears to be covering a story which shows that the fruity cargo cult is losing ground in in PCs.

According to web analytics vendor Net Applications,  it has found that Apple’s desktop and notebook operating system — formerly OS X, now macOS — powered just 6.1 percent of all personal computers last month.

This is a significant fall from the seven percent it held this time last year and down from seven percent and the unlikely peak of 9.6 percent in the middle of the year. In fact, last year, the Tame Apple Press was telling us that Apple now had control over the notebook market.

The Mac’s 6.1 percent user share in December was the lowest mark recorded by Net Applications since August 2011 – more than five years ago.

In October, the company reported sales of 4.9 million Macs for the September quarter, a 14 percent year-over-year decline and the fourth straight quarterly downturn. In other words, Apple’s sales slide during the past year has been steeper than for the personal computer industry.

So why did Apple do so well last year and now it appears to be falling spectacularly this year? It looks like Apple clawed ahead after Microsoft made a huge stuff up with Windows 8 and OEMs were putting out cheap junk. Even Linux was doing comparatively well in the same time reaching 2.3 percent, causing some to announce 2017 to be the year of the Linux desktop. While this is a New Ritual along with bringing coal into the house, both OSx and Linux were basically doing well on Vole’s cock-up. The fact that neither could capitalise on Microsoft’s failure shows the sad state of both movements.

As Microsoft started to claw back users with Windows 10, Apple thought it would be a wizard move to put out products which were years out-of-date and aimed at its consumer users rather than the business users.

Courtesy-Fud

Amazon’s Alexa Takes On Rival Google’s Android OS

January 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Amazon.com Inc’s digital assistant popped up just about everywhere at the CES technology show this week in Las Vegas, even making an unexpected appearance on rival Google’s Android system.

Companies ranging from appliance maker Whirlpool Corp to Ford Motor Co unveiled products featuring Alexa, the digital assistant from Amazon that responds to voice commands.

Most strikingly, Chinese firm Huawei Technologies Co, which manufactures smartphones running on the Android operating system produced by Alphabet Inc’s Google, announced that its flagship handset will come with an app that gives users access to Alexa in the United States.

 The adoption of Alexa by a prominent Android manufacturer indicates that Amazon may have opened up an early lead over Google as the companies race to present their digital assistants to as many people as possible, analysts said.

Many in the technology industry believe that such voice-powered digital assistants will supplant keyboards and touch screens as a primary way consumers interact with devices.

While the shift is only in the early stages, Google must establish a strong presence quickly, particularly on Android devices, to maintain its dominance in internet search, said analyst Jan Dawson of Jackdaw Research.

“To the extent that voice becomes more important and something other than Google’s voice assistant becomes the most popular voice interface on Android phones, that’s a huge loss for Google in terms of data gathering, training its AI (artificial intelligence), and ultimately the ability to drive advertising revenue,” he said.

Alexa debuted on the Amazon Echo smart speaker, and Amazon is establishing a broad array of hardware and software partnerships around it. The competing Google Assistant launched last year on the company’s Pixel smartphone, after appearing on Google’s messaging app, and has begun to roll out to third-party devices as well. Graphics processor maker Nvidia Corp announced at CES that its Shield television will feature the assistant.

While Google has expressed an interest in bringing its assistant to other Android smartphones, the decision to debut the feature on its own hardware may have strained relations with manufacturers, Dawson said.

“It highlights just what a strategic mistake it can be for services companies to make their own hardware and give it preferential access to new services,” he said.

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