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Is Sharp Making A Comeback?

October 24, 2016 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Troubled Japanese television manufacturer Sharp is expecting significant improvement in annual profit due to restructuring with its new owner Foxconn.

Shares in the outfit soared more than 10 percent after the Nikkei business daily reported that Sharp forecasts operating profit of about $385 million for the business year through March which was much better than expected.

Meeting the forecast would mark the first operating profit in three years for Sharp, which is rebuilding under Taiwan’s Foxconn which bought two-thirds of the telly maker in August.

Sharp slashed about 6,000 jobs in the last financial year through early retirement and an operations overhaul including withdrawal from its money-losing North American TV set business.

Sharp said it expected profit to improve but revenue to fall. Its shares subsequently jumped nearly 11 percent to their highest price in about six months, far outperforming the benchmark Nikkei average share price index.

However the prospects of Sharp’s mainstay display panel business are not that hot. The global panel market is on the cusp of improvement as a production cutback resolved a supply glut.

But Sharp still has to find ways to compete with Chinese peers rapidly expanding capacity, and with South Korean makers far ahead in next-generation technology.

Sharp said it would provide a full-year earnings forecast on 1 November when it announces its second-quarter results.


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.


Automakers, Google Unhappy With CA Rules Governing Self-driving Cars

October 21, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

google-self-driving-car-150x150Alphabet Inc’s Google unit and automakers express their dissatisfaction with California’s proposals to set new, mandatory rules for testing self-driving cars in the state, which industry officials said could hobble their efforts in the home to much of self-driving vehicle testing and development.

Automakers and Google raised a litany of concerns about California’s proposal at a hearing in Sacramento on Wednesday. They expressed opposition to the state proposal to require compliance with guidelines that federal regulators issued last month, but made voluntary.

They questioned why California would require a new autonomous vehicle data recorder and what data they would be required to test, and they objected to a proposal they said would force a 12-month delay between testing a vehicle and deploying it on public roads.

Automakers also questioned whether police should be able to get any self-driving data within 24 hours without seeking a warrant or subpoena.

California regulatory policy is important to automakers and technology companies because of its impact on operations in the state, and because the policies enacted in the most populous U.S. state often influence what other states and other countries do.

The proposed requirement that manufacturers generate a year of driverless testing data before applying for an operating permit drew objections from General Motors Co, Volkswagen AG, Honda Motor Co, Ford Motor Co, and Google.

The state’s approach “could greatly delay the benefits that self-driving vehicles can bring to safety and mobility for individuals,” said David Strickland, who heads the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets that includes Google, Ford, Lyft, Uber Technologies Inc  and Volvo Car Group.

Brian Soublet, deputy director of the California DMV, said Wednesday the department wants concrete suggestions to help improve its proposal. Soublet said the department will be considering potential changes over the next several months but he did not give a timetable for finalizing the rules.

“The goal is making sure that we can get this life-saving technology out on the streets,” Soublet said.

California’s proposal would allow for the absence of a human driver and a steering wheel in advanced self-driving cars. In December, California had proposed to require licensed drivers and controls in self-driving vehicles.

Ron Medford, director of safety for Google’s self-driving car project, said California’s proposal to require manufacturers to obtain local approval is “unworkable.” The rule could prevent manufacturers from testing a vehicle that can travel from one area to another.

Advocacy group Consumer Watchdog urged California to prohibit autonomous vehicles without a human driver until federal regulators enact enforceable standards.

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.


Galaxy Note 7 To Take Another $3 Billion Out Of Samsung’s Profit

October 18, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

galaxy-note-7-150x150The fallout from the Note7 debacle, expected to take a huge bite out of Samsung’s third-quarter profit, will keep hurting its business into next year, the company said.

The fourth-quarter impact on Samsung Electronics’ operating profit will be “in the mid-2 trillion won range,” the company said in a press release early Friday. Using the midpoint of 2.5 trillion South Korean won, that would be about $2.2 billion. The damage will continue in the first quarter of next year, with an impact of about 1 trillion won, Samsung said.

The company announced Tuesday it had permanently stopped production of the Note7. It had launched a recall of the phone just weeks after it went on sale because of fires and explosions that destroyed some of the devices. Then, some replacement units it sent out as part of the recall had the same problem.

Also on Friday, the company said it would make significant changes in its quality assurance processes to enhance product safety for consumers.

Samsung didn’t forecast how the Note7 incident would affect sales in the coming quarters, but said it will “normalize” its mobile business by expanding sales of other high-end phones, such as the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge.

On Wednesday, the company estimated the Note7 problem would cut about 2.6 trillion won out of a third-quarter operating profit of 7.8 trillion won. It also expects to report revenue of about 47 trillion won, down from the 49 trillion won it had forecast earlier.

IBM, Partners To Take On Intel With Introduction Of OpenCAPI

October 17, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

ibm-opencapi-150x150Technology heavyweights IBM Corp, Google and seven others have teamed up to launch an open specification that can boost data center server performance by up to ten times, to take on Intel Corp.

The new standard, called Open Coherent Accelerator Processor Interface (OpenCAPI), is an open forum to provide a high bandwidth, low latency open interface design specification.

The open interface will help corporate and cloud data centers to speed up big data, machine learning, analytics and other emerging workloads.

The consortium plans to make the OpenCAPI specification available to the public before the end of the year and expects servers and related products based on the new standard in the second half of 2017, it said in a statement.

Intel, the world’s largest chipmaker, is known to protect its server technologies and has chosen to sit out of the new consortium. In the past also, it had stayed away from prominent open standards technology groups such as CCIX and Gen-Z.

“As artificial intelligence, machine learning and advanced analytics become the price of doing business in today’s digital era, huge volumes of data are now the norm,” Doug Balog, general manager for IBM Power, told Reuters.

“It’s clear that today’s data centers can no longer rely on one company alone to drive innovation,” Balog said.

Advanced Micro Devices Inc, Dell EMC, Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co, Mellanox Technologies Ltd, Micron Technology Inc, NVIDIA Corp and Xilinx Inc are also members of the OpenCAPI consortium.


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.


The Galaxy Note Fiasco Brings Profit Woes To Samsung

October 13, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

samsung-building-150x150Samsung Electronics Co cut its quarterly profit estimate by a third on Wednesday, absorbing a $2.3 billion hit from ditching its flagship smartphone in what could be one of the costliest product safety failures in tech history.

Quantifying the financial pain of Tuesday’s move to scrap the Galaxy Note 7 smartphone after a global recall and weeks of mounting problems, the world’s top smartphone maker said it expects its July-September operating profit was 5.2 trillion won ($4.7 billion), down from the 7.8 trillion won it estimated five days ago.

Samsung said in a statement the 2.6 trillion won ($2.3 billion) guidance cut reflects the sales and earning impact it currently expects from the decision to permanently halt sales of the $882 Note 7 device. Its third-quarter revenue estimate was also cut to 47 trillion won from 49 trillion won previously.

The new earnings guidance is 30 percent below third-quarter 2015’s operating profit, and left investors and analysts pondering the longer impact on Samsung’s brand and earnings. Rival suppliers of smartphones that use the Android operating system, like Samsung’s, stand to benefit if the Note 7 damage drive consumers elsewhere.

“It’s possible there could be additional profit impact in the fourth quarter but it likely won’t be as large as the third quarter,” said Park Jung-hoon, a fund manager at HDC Asset Management, which owns shares in Samsung. “I think it’s possible for fourth-quarter profits to come in as much as the high 7 trillion won range.”

Samsung shares ended down 0.7 percent on Wednesday, with the Seoul market closing before the earnings guidance cut was announced.

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.


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.

Driverless Vehicle Finally Make Debut On U.K. Streets

October 12, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

self-driving-vehicle-150x150A driverless car with passengers took to Britain’s public roads for the first time on Tuesday, as part of trials aimed at paving the way for autonomous cars to hit the highways by the end of the decade.

The government is encouraging technology companies, carmakers and start-ups to develop and test their autonomous driving technologies in Britain, aiming to build an industry to serve a worldwide market which it forecasts could be worth around 900 billion pounds ($1.1 trillion) by 2025.

Earlier this year, it launched a consultation on changes to insurance rules and motoring regulations to allow driverless cars to be used by 2020 and said it would allow such vehicles to be tested on motorways from next year.

A pod – like a small two-seater car – developed by a company spun out from Oxford University will be tested in the southern English town of Milton Keynes on Tuesday, with organizers hoping the trials will feed vital information on how the vehicle interacts with pedestrians and other road-users.

“Today’s first public trials of driverless vehicles in our towns is a ground-breaking moment,” Britain’s business minister Greg Clark said.

“The global market for autonomous vehicles present huge opportunities for our automotive and technology firms and the research that underpins the technology and software will have applications way beyond autonomous vehicles,” he said.

The pod will operate fully without human control, using data from cameras and radars to move around pedestrian areas. It was made by Oxford University spin-out Oxbotica, with software developed by the university’s Oxford Robotics Institute.

Carmakers Jaguar Land Rover and Ford are both part of driverless car projects in Britain, as major carmakers seek to head off the challenge from technology firms such as Alphabet Inc’s Google, which is also developing autonomous vehicles.

But all parties still need to overcome technological and legal obstacles including determining who would be responsible in the event of an accident, with recent accidents involving driving assistance systems raising safety concerns.

Organizers in Milton Keynes ran a number of exercises ahead of the trial including mapping the town and conducting safety planning with the local council.

Britain is aiming to be more flexible in its approach to driverless testing than some other major economies, with Germany saying it will require black boxes to be fitted in such vehicles and automakers having to navigate different rules across U.S. states.

Salesforce Still Has Interest In Bidding For Twitter

October 12, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net Inc  is still mulling over whether it should make an offer for Twitter Inc  in the face of resistance from Salesforce shareholders over the strategic merits and valuation of such a deal, people familiar with the matter said.

Twitter shares have lost as much as a third of their value since Oct. 5 on concerns the company has attracted less interest from potential acquirers than previously envisaged. It now has a market capitalization of $12 billion.

Salesforce is deliberating whether it is worth making a lowball offer for Twitter in the coming days based on Twitter’s stock performance and any news of other bidders, the people said.

Other potential acquirers such as Alphabet Inc’s Google and Walt Disney Co have backed away from making offers for the Internet company, the people said. There may however be other companies contemplating offers for Twitter whose identity has not yet been reported, some of the sources suggested.

The sources asked not to be identified because the deliberations are confidential. Salesforce declined to comment while Twitter, Google and Disney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Reuters previously reported that Twitter aimed to conclude deliberations about selling itself by Oct. 27, when it reports its third-quarter earnings., run by CEO Marc Benioff, is focused on cloud-based sales and marketing software. Unlike Twitter, its main product is aimed at business users, not consumers. Under, Twitter could become a corporate tool used to power sentiment analysis and nurture customer relationships.

A potential acquisition of Twitter has weighed down Salesforce’s stock since news broke on Sept. 23 that it was vying for Twitter. Its shares rose as much as 7 percent on Monday after a weekend report by Bloomberg News suggested Salesforce was unlikely to make an offer.

Some analysts and investors have questioned why Salesforce would need to own Twitter, when it already licenses the Twitter “firehose” for its new artificial intelligence platform, Einstein.

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.


Salesforce Unveils LiveMessage Service For Chatbot Building

October 10, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

salesforce-150x150Businesses have yet another set of tools to help build chatbots. Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff has begun touting a new LiveMessage service that’s aimed at connecting his company’s Service Cloud with messaging services like Facebook Messenger and SMS.

Benioff is pitching the new service as a way to turn messaging apps into a user interface for Salesforce, in addition to serving as a tool for connecting people with their friends. It will power bots, in addition to direct communications between service representatives and customers. Right now, LiveMessage works with SMS, and it will be expanded to work on Facebook Messenger later this year.

With the launch of LiveMessage, Salesforce is joining a pantheon of different tech companies competing to provide the underlying technology powering companies’ bots. While announcing the product on stage at the company’s Dreamforce event Wednesday, Benioff talked about how it would facilitate “conversations as a platform,” cribbing a phrase directly from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s discussions of his company’s bot-making tools.

In addition to Microsoft, Salesforce will also be competing with Facebook, Google, Oracle and a host of startups. Salesforce has an advantage, as the home of customer data for its fleet of users. Easily connecting that information with logic that can operate a chatbot might be an appealing option for businesses looking to create one without a ton of work.

In addition to running bots, LiveMessage can also be used to connect customer service representatives with users for a live chat session over a variety of platforms. That means it would be possible for users to message a business on Facebook, and get connected with a person who can help them. With LiveMessage, that person would be able to handle the conversation through Salesforce.

It’s all based on technology from HeyWire, a company that Salesforce acquired earlier this year.

What remains to be seen is whether the bot platforms actually take off with users. Tech industry insiders like execs at Microsoft and Salesforce clearly believe in bots. But it’s not clear that users really want to replace traditional user interfaces with automated conversation partners.

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