Subscribe to:

Subscribe to :: TheGuruReview.net ::

MediaTek Devops New Chip For 4K TVs

January 18, 2018 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

MediaTek has been showing off its MT5598 chipset for HDR-enabled 4K TVs.

The MT5598 is a high-spec UltraHD SmartTV platform. It supports lots of different entry-to-enthusiast HDR technologies, and allows 4K TV manufacturers the flexibility to pair it with a range of LCD panels, backlight combinations, licensed or free technologies and localized content standards. These standards cover UltraHD Blu-ray and streaming services from Netflix, YouTube, Amazon, VuDu, VQQ, Voole, iQIY and YouKu.

Media Tek claims that its MT5598 brings MediaTek AI enhancements that enable voice control, plus audience, environmental and content awareness to SmartTV’s. These can collectively enhance the user experience by providing a tailored, real-time reaction in picture quality, channel selection and more based on who, how and what is being watched.

MediaTek General Manager of Home Display and Custom IC Business Unit Evan Su said that for 20 years, MediaTek has been a market leader in developing innovative chipsets for home entertainment products and devices.

“Our newest SmartTV chipset will bring the most advanced online streaming standards and superior picture quality into homes around the world.”

In addition to HDR-enabled content, MT5598 has its own HDR dynamic range remapping engine. It provides HDR post-processing enhancement to SDR content on HDR-capable displays, re-imbuing color, saturation and the dynamic range of brightness that is lost in SDR content. Combined with its 13th generation Picture Quality Engine, the MediaTek Super Resolution System (SRS) selectively enhances fine details without artifacting, sharpens edges and provides 4K Motion Estimation and Motion Compensation (MEMC).

Courtesy-Fud

Bitcoin Continues Slide Over Banning Fears

January 17, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Bitcoin fell 18 percent on Tuesday to a four-week trough close to $11,000, after reports that a ban on trading of cryptocurrencies in South Korea was still an option drove fears grew of a wider regulatory crackdown.

Bitcoin’s slide triggered a massive selloff across the broader cryptocurrency market, with biggest rival Ethereum down 23 percent on the day, according to trade website Coinmarketcap, and the next-biggest, Ripple, plunging 33 percent.

South Korean news website Yonhap reported that Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon had told a local radio station that the government would be coming up with a set of measures to clamp down on the “irrational” cryptocurrency investment craze.

South Korea had said on Monday that its plans to ban virtual coin exchanges had not yet been finalized, as government agencies were still in talks to decide how to regulate the market.

 Bitcoin slid on the latest news, trading as low as $11,191.59 on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange, down 18 percent on the day, for a short period putting the digital currency on track for its biggest one-day fall in three years.

“It’s mainly been regulatory issues which are haunting the cryptocurrency, with news around South Korea’s further crackdown on trading the driver today,” said Think Markets chief strategist Naeem Aslam, who holds what he described as “substantial” amounts of bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple.

“But we maintain our stance. We do not think that the complete banning of cryptocurrencies is possible,” he said.

Cryptocurrencies enjoyed a bumper year in 2017 as mainstream investors entered the market and as an explosion in so-called initial coin offerings (ICOs) – digital token-based fundraising rounds – drove demand for bitcoin and Ethereum, the second-biggest digital unit.

The latest tumble leaves bitcoin down more than 40 percent from the record high around $20,000 it hit in mid-December, wiping about $130 billion off its “market cap” – the unit price multiplied by the total number of bitcoins that have been released into the market.

The news from South Korea came as it emerged a senior Chinese central banker had said authorities should ban centralised trading of virtual currencies as well as individuals and businesses that provide related services, according to an internal memo from a government meeting seen by Reuters.

Bloomberg reported on Monday that Chinese authorities plan to block domestic access to Chinese and offshore cryptocurrency platforms that allow centralised trading.

 “(It) seems like it’s uncertainty spooking the markets,…with regulations unclear,” said Charles Hayter, founder of data analysis website Cryptocompare. “(Traders) are taking profits on the increased risk scenarios going forward.”

A director at Germany’s central bank said on Monday that any attempt to regulate cryptocurrencies must be on a global scale as national or regional rules would be hard to enforce on a virtual, borderless community.

Big Blue Still The Patent King

January 16, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

While the media attention has shifted away from Biggish Blue in the hardware world, there are signs that the company is still quietly getting on with it and inventing things.

IBM inventors received a record 9,043 patents in 2017, marking the company’s 25th consecutive year of U.S. patent leadership and crossing the 100,000-patent milestone. IBM is still the outfit which churns out that most patents. 2017 marks the 25th consecutive year that IBM has been named the leader in granted U.S. patents, with a record 9,043 patents

The new patents were granted to a diverse group of more than 8,500 IBM researchers, engineers, scientists and designers in 47 different U.S. states and 47 countries.

For example there was Maja Vukovic’s patent for a system that detects and counteracts cyber attacks.

Ginni Rometty, IBM chairman, president and CEO said that for the past 25 years, IBM’s patent leadership has changed the way the world works with advancements critical to the modern era of computing.

“Today, nearly half of our patents are pioneering advancements in AI, cloud computing, cybersecurity, blockchain and quantum computing – and all are aimed at helping our clients create smarter businesses.”

IBM inventors received in 2017 more than 1,900 cloud patents, including a patent for a system that uses unstructured data about world or local events to forecast cloud resource needs. The system can monitor data sources – including news feeds, network statistics, weather reports and social networks – to identify where and how cloud resources should be allocated to meet demand.

Another set of innovations helps solve one of artificial intelligence’s current limits: lack of personalization, which can hinder how AI communicates with people. Among the industry-leading 1,400 AI patents IBM inventors were granted in 2017 is a patent for a system that can help AI analyze and mirror a user’s speech patterns to improve communication between AI and humans.

IBM inventors also received 1,200 cybersecurity patents, including one for technology that enables AI systems to turn the table on hackers by baiting them into email exchanges and websites that expend their resources and frustrate their attacks. It could substantially reduce the security risks associated with “phishing” emails and other attacks.

IBM inventors also patented significant inventions in emerging areas like quantum computing, including a new way for improving a quantum computer’s ability to acquire and retain information – otherwise known as signal readout fidelity. This can lead to efficiency in the components necessary to build a quantum computing system.

Other patented innovations from IBM inventors in 2017 include:
• A machine learning system designed to shift control between an autonomous vehicle and a human driver as needed, such as in an emergency.
• A method that uses blockchain technology to reduce the number of steps involved in settling transactions between multiple business parties, even those that are not trusted and might otherwise require a third-party clearinghouse to execute.
• A technique that automatically elevates the security protection of a mobile device when it determines that device is located far from its owner and is likely under someone else’s control.

Courtesy-Fud

AMD Going 7nm With Vega

January 16, 2018 by  
Filed under Computing

AMD’s Lisa Su has announced Vega 7nm as a machine learning “instinct part” first. AMD is quite clear that this is for machine learning first and don’t want to comment on our curiosity whether Vega 7nm can make it to the market as a gaming product soon.

Radeon Instinct Vega 7nm sounds like a shrink down of Vega architecture, a much safer approach than the new architecture Navi in 7nm. It is simply safer to shrink the existing architecture, such as Vega from 14nm to 7nm, than to jump to a new manufacturing process and a new architecture.

AMD calls this new product the Radeon Instinct Vega 7nm and this is a direct successor to the Radeon Instinct MI25. Of course, this card addresses machine learning, a market that is currently dominated by Nvidia Volta parts, but, at the same time, AMD is not charging an arm and leg for its products either.

Nvidia’s Volta is a 12nm part, while Vega at 7nm is likely to bring higher clocks, better performance and some optimizations on the architecture side.

7nm in 2018 won’t be easy

AMD states that 7nm Radeon Vega Architecture has been built for machine learning, which might imply that there will be some significant architecture optimizations for machine learning.

Lisa Su said that AMD has a production level machine learning software stack. It is questionable how much impact AMD made with its Instinct products as the industry massively follows the  Nvidia Cuda based solution, but we will be following the latest developments.

Late 2018 would be when we would expect any kind of 7nm, but we won’t go into details about this right now.

Courtesy-Fud

Kenmore’s New Washer,Dryer Allows Monitoring From Smartphone

January 12, 2018 by  
Filed under Mobile

The 5-cubic-foot washer is said to be able to wash a “full-size” load of laundry in just 29 minutes. It also offers a Rugged cycle designed to handle bulky items like blankets with steam and a longer cleaning time. Its Direct Drive Motor is supposed to have six different wash movements, which change based on the specific cycle you choose. And, Kenmore says its cold water setting cleans your laundry just as well as warm water.

The 7.3-cubic-foot dryer has an “EasyLoad” door that can open either from the top or the side — whatever’s easiest for you.

But the big news is the new smart capabilities these models have via the related Kenmore Smart app. Up until this point, Kenmore’s laundry appliances have had very limited smart functionality.

The Kenmore Elite Smart top-load washer and Front Control dryer cost $1,000 each and are available now (roughly £740 and AU$1,270 converted).

What to expect from the smart home at CES 2018: We take a look at the smart home and appliance trends we expect to see this year.

South Korea To Ban Crytocurrency Trading

January 12, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

South Korea’s government has announced it will ban cryptocurrency trading, sending bitcoin prices plummeting and throwing the virtual coin market into turmoil as the nation’s police and tax authorities raided local exchanges on alleged tax evasion.

The clampdown in South Korea, a crucial source of global demand for cryptocurrency, came as policymakers around the world struggled to regulate an asset whose value has skyrocketed over the last year.

Justice minister Park Sang-ki said the government was preparing a bill to ban trading of the virtual currency on domestic exchanges.

“There are great concerns regarding virtual currencies and the justice ministry is basically preparing a bill to ban cryptocurrency trading through exchanges,” Park told a news conference, according to the ministry’s press office.

After the market’s sharp reaction to the announcement, the nation’s Presidential office hours later said a ban on the country’s virtual coin exchanges had not yet been finalized while it was one of the measures being considered.

A press official at the justice ministry said the proposed ban on cryptocurrency trading was announced after “enough discussion” with other government agencies, including the nation’s finance ministry and financial regulators.

Once a bill is drafted, legislation for an outright ban of virtual coin trading will require a majority vote of the total 297 members of the National Assembly, a process that could take months or even years.

The government’s tough stance triggered a selloff of the cryptocurrency on both local and offshore exchanges.

The local price of bitcoin plunged as much as 21 percent in midday trade to 18.3 million won (12,730.35 pounds) after the minister’s comments. It still trades at around a 30 percent premium compared to other countries.

Bitcoin BTC=BTSP was down more than 10 percent on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp at $13,199, after earlier dropping as low as $13,120, its weakest since Jan. 2.

 South Korea’s cryptocurrency-related shares were also hammered. Vidente and Omnitel, which are stakeholders of Bithumb, skidded by the daily trading limit of 30 percent each.

Once enforced, South Korea’s ban “will make trading difficult here, but not impossible,” said Mun Chong-hyun, chief analyst at EST Security.

“Keen traders, especially hackers, will find it tough to cash out their gains from virtual coin investments in Korea but they can go overseas, for example Japan,” Mun said.

Park Nok-sun, a cryptocurrency analyst at NH Investment & Securities, said the herd behaviour in South Korea’s virtual coin market has raised concerns.

Indeed, bitcoin’s BTC=BTSP 1,500 percent surge last year has stoked huge demand for cryptocurency in South Korea, drawing college students to housewives and sparking worries of a gambling addiction.

“Some officials are pushing for stronger and stronger regulations because they only see more (investors) jumping in, not out,” Park said.

By Thursday afternoon, the Justice Ministry’s announcement had prompted more than 55,000 South Koreans to join a petition asking the presidential Blue House to halt the crackdown on the virtual currency, making the Blue House website intermittently unavailable due to heavy traffic, the website showed.

nVidia Joins Forces With VW and Uber

January 12, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

GPU maker Nvidia has decided it needs more friends in the car industry and is teaming up with the super popular VW and Uber.

For those who came in late, VW was Hitler’s favourite car company which got into hot water when it was discovered to be lying to various authorities over diesel emissions in its cars. Uber is  still reeling from the side effects of intense sexual harassment investigations, sketchy global business practices, unhappy drivers, discrimination within the company ranks, and sexist behavior within its board. 

Nvidia already has partnerships in the industry with companies such as carmaker Tesla and China’s Baidu, makes computer graphics chips and has been expanding into technology for self-driving cars.

Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang told the assembled throngs at the CES technology conference in Las Vegas that Uber’s self-driving car fleet was using its technology to help its autonomous cars perceive the world and make split-second decisions.

Uber has been using Nvidia’s GPU computing technology since its first test fleet of Volvo SC90 SUVs were deployed in 2016 in Pittsburgh and Phoenix.

Uber’s autonomous driving program has been shaken this year by a lawsuit filed in San Francisco by rival Waymo alleging trade secret theft.

Nvidia said development of the Uber self-driving program had, nevertheless, gained steam with one million autonomous miles being driven in just the past 100 days.

With Volkswagen, Nvidia said it was infusing its artificial intelligence technology into the German automakers’ future lineup, using its new Drive IX platform. The technology will enable so-called “intelligent co-pilot” capabilities based on processing sensor data inside and outside the car.

So far, 320 companies involved in self-driving cars – whether software developers, automakers and their suppliers, sensor and mapping companies – are using Nvidia Drive, formerly branded as the Drive PX2, the company said.

Huang added that Baidu and German auto supplier ZF Friedrichshafen had selected Nvidia Drive for their AV computing platform development in China.

Nvidia added that its first Xavier processors would be delivered to customers this quarter. The system on a chip delivers 30 trillion operations per second using 30 watts of power.

Nvidia will collaborate with Silicon Valley startup Aurora – co-founded by the former head of Google’s autonomous program, Chris Urmson – to build a new self-driving hardware platform using the Xavier processor, Huang said.

Courtesy-Fud

Will AMD Launch The Ryzen 2000 This Quarter

January 11, 2018 by  
Filed under Computing

According to a report coming from Japan, AMD’s Ryzen 2000-series (Ryzen 2) processors, may launch in March, alongside its new motherboard chipsets, the X470 and the B450.

According to Hermitage Akihabara, retailers in Japan are gearing up for the Ryzen 2 launch in March this year, which should bring decent performance improvements thanks to an optical shrink.

According to an earlier roadmap leak, Pinnacle Ridge can be considered as the “tick” in AMD’s CPU lineup as it will be based on the same Summit Ridge architecture or Zen+ cores, which should bring slight IPC improvement, mostly thanks to the 12nm LP manufacturing process.

It is most likely that AMD will be able to squeeze higher clocks and better power efficiency, and some rumors also suggested higher memory frequency support.

As noted, the new Ryzen 2000 series chips will be paired up with the new 400 series chipset, including the X470 and B450-based motherboards. While these will be based on the same AM4 socket, it is still not clear if the 300-series chipset motherboards will be supporting the new Ryzen 2000 series CPUs.

Hopefully, more information will surface as soon as CES 2018 show kicks off next week.

Courtesy-Fud

Intel’s Mobileye Software Going In Millions Of Vehicles

January 10, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Intel Corp Chief Executive Brian Krzanich announced 2 million vehicles from BMW, Nissan Motor Co Ltd and Volkswagen AG would use its unit Mobileye’s autonomous vehicle technology to crowdsource data for building maps that enable autonomous driving.

The world’s largest chipmaker bought Israeli firm Mobileye last year to compete with peers such as Qualcomm Inc and Nvidia Corp and tap the fast-growing market of driverless cars.

Intel will also tie up with SAIC Motor Corp Ltd, which will use Mobileye technology to develop cars in China, the chipmaker said.

Krzanich also said Intel had not received any information of customer data being compromised so far after the company confirmed last week that the security issues reported by researchers in its widely used microprocessors could allow hackers to steal sensitive information from computers, phones and other devices.

Security researchers had disclosed two security flaws exposing vulnerability of nearly every modern computing device containing chips from Intel, Advanced Micro Devices Inc  and ARM Holdings.

Can Samsung Sell Over 300 Million Smartphones In 2018

January 10, 2018 by  
Filed under Mobile

According to a fresh report, Samsung aims to sell a total of 320 million smartphones in 2018.

The South Korean The Investor, spotted by GSMArena.com, reported that Samsung plans to retain its lead in the smartphone market without increasing its targets from last year.

In addition to the high 320 million target for standard smartphones, the company also wants to flog 40 million feature phones, 20 million tablet units, and five million wearables.

The goal is similar to its last yearly target,  and the company reckons that it should be enough to keep the lead in the smartphone market, ahead of Apple, which sold around 200 million devices in 2017.

Courtesy-Fud

NVidia Intends To Stop Data Centers From Using Consumer-Grade Graphics Cards

January 10, 2018 by  
Filed under Computing

nVidia Has said “NO” to businesses wanting to uses its consumer-grade GeForce graphics cards in their data centers.

By changing its licensing agreements on its software packages and drivers, Nvidia has moved to push companies away from GeForce cards to its Tesla graphics accelerators.

The increase in performance of consumer GPUs, alongside their relatively wallet-friendly prices, have made GeForce cards more appealing to businesses running data centres.

Previously, the artificial imitation of double-precision floating point capabilities of GeForce GPUs made Nvidia’s enterprise-grade Quadro workstations and Tesla products more appealing to companies looking for good performance with data centre workloads reliant on common general-purpose GPU acceleration.

But the shifts in the workloads have meant half precision not double precision is more appealing, which bypasses the issue of limited performance and has seen companies turn towards cheaper consumer GPUs.

Naturally, Nvidia doesn’t want big businesses buying its cheaper cards when it has enterprise-grade tech to shift.

So a change in licensing terms looks to shift businesses back to Tesla GPUs.

“No Datacenter Deployment. The software is not licensed for data centre deployment,” Nvidia’s updated driver licence agreement notes, laying down the law.

However, it adds: “Except that blockchain processing in a data centre is permitted”, which suggests Nvidia still wants people to use its cards for mining cryptocurrency

How Nvidia will enforce this new licensing agreement will have to be seen, but we expect that it will be a major pain in the posterior for companies making use of GeForce cards in their data centres, potentially resulting in them pulling a load of graphics cards from their server arrays when Nvidia’s legal eagles come swooping in.

For people making use of Nvidia GPUs in their personal computing, this move will mean very little but should help prevent companies from snapping up GeForce cards and potentially driving prices up. And it will prevent Nvidia from throttling performance of GeForce GPUs to limit their data centre appeal.

That being said the strength of the parallel processing found in GPUs for crunching machine and deep learning algorithms means Nvidia GPUs have a strong appeal for developers working on artificial intelligence and smart systems.

As such, this could be the reason why the previously enthusiast-level GeForce Titan GPUs have dropped the GeForce branding, seen pricing hit a hefty $3500, and get marketed for AI-powering use.

While Nvidia’s graphics tech all share a common architecture, it would appear that the previously blurred lines between enterprise and consumer-grade cards are becoming more tightly defined for better or worse.

Courtesy-TheInq

Microsoft Accelerates Latest Windows 10 Upgrade

January 9, 2018 by  
Filed under Computing

Microsoft has rolled out 2017’s final Windows 10 feature upgrade to customers faster than it did the year’s first revision, according to data from a Windows app ad network.

Data from AdDuplex, a Lithuanian company whose technology is embedded in thousands of Windows apps, showed that October’s Fall Creators Update (FCU) had been installed on about 54% of all measured Windows 10 personal computers by Dec. 20.

Windows 10’s FCU, also known as version 1709 in Microsoft’s yymmnumeric format, launched Oct. 17. In the nine weeks from then until Dec. 20, AdDuplex reported, more than half – 53.6% to be exact – had upgraded to FCU from an earlier version.

Other editions still proliferated on customers’ PCs. The April feature upgrade, dubbed Creators Update and labeled 1703, powered 34%. Even older versions, including 2016’s only feature upgrade, the Anniversary Update (1607) and the soon-to-be-retired-from-support 1511, accounted for 11% and 1%, respectively.

The quick shift to FCU stood in contrast to the lethargic transition to Creators Update earlier in 2017. Eleven weeks after Creators Update’s April 5 debut, AdDuplex measured its share of all Windows 10 PCs at just 36%, barely more than a third. Its predecessor, the Anniversary Update, or 1607, continued to power the majority of Windows 10 PCs (59%) at the time.

Microsoft controls the pace of Windows 10 feature upgrades adoption, at least in the opening months after each release. While some users do actively seek out the upgrade to download and install, most wait for Microsoft to offer it to their PC, at which point the rest is usually automatic.

The Redmond, Wash. developer has been clear that it does not open the upgrade spigot all the way at the start. Instead, it provides each feature upgrade to an increasing number of PCs as time ticks by, beginning with the subset of the newest systems that theoretically should have the fewest problems installing the code. The staged-release model – while not new, not even Microsoft’s invention – lets developers gauge installation success, correct any problems, and then continue the rolling release.

That the FCU was handed to customers faster than its predecessor could be explained several ways.

After five releases, Microsoft may have found its legs, able finally to get a majority of its Windows 10 users onto a feature upgrade in little more than two months, and thus prove that it can execute its rapid development and release strategy. Or the FCU was simply in better shape at launch than the spring’s Creators Update; the contrasting timelines reflected the better-quality FCU.

Nvidia Teams With Uber And Volkwagen On Self-driving

January 9, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Nvidia Corp is teaming up with Uber Technologies Inc and Volkswagen AG as the graphics chipmaker’s artificial intelligence platforms make further gains in the autonomous vehicle industry.

The company, which already has partnerships in the industry with companies such as carmaker Tesla and China’s Baidu, makes computer graphics chips and has been expanding into technology for self-driving cars.

Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang said at the CES technology conference in Las Vegas that Uber’s self-driving car fleet was using their technology to help its autonomous cars perceive the world and make split-second decisions.

Uber has been using Nvidia’s GPU computing technology since its first test fleet of Volvo SC90 SUVs were deployed in 2016 in Pittsburgh and Phoenix.

 Uber’s autonomous driving program has been shaken this year by a lawsuit filed in San Francisco by rival Waymo alleging trade secret theft.

Nvidia said development of the Uber self-driving program had, nevertheless, gained steam with one million autonomous miles being driven in just the past 100 days.

With Volkswagen, Nvidia said it was infusing its artificial intelligence technology into the German automakers’ future lineup, using their new Drive IX platform. The technology will enable so-called “intelligent co-pilot” capabilities based on processing sensor data inside and outside the car.

So far, 320 companies involved in self-driving cars – whether software developers, automakers and their suppliers, sensor and mapping companies – are using Nvidia Drive, formerly branded as the Drive PX2, the company said.

 

Do Retro Games Resonate With Gamers

January 9, 2018 by  
Filed under Gaming

Almost half of all gamers in Europe like to go back and play games from their youth.

The latest data comes from ISFE and Ipsos Connect’s GameTrack consumer survey, and is based on a question posed by GamesIndustry.biz.

The results also show that 41% of consumers are eager to go back and experience games that they missed first time around.

The figures confirm the motivation behind the success of retro gaming products such as the NES and SNES Mini consoles, plus the popularity of remakes such as last year’s Crash Bandicoot.

However, the majority of gamers disagree that classic games are better than modern titles (only 22% agreed with the statement), while 45% are of the belief that realistic graphics are an important part of a great game.

The survey also specifically spoke to users of recent retro products, including the NES and SNES Mini, Crash Bandicoot, the Sega Forever project and more. It’s unsurprising that these consumers are more enthusiastic about going back and experiencing classic games (66% like to revisit games from their youth, while 67% like to play older games that they missed). 49% of these consumers also admit that nostalgia is one of the key reasons behind why it buys the games and consoles that they do.

41% of retro gamers are also of the belief that older games are better than current ones, with just 23% disagreeing with that statement (the rest neither agree or disagree). However, a number do find themselves disappointed with their trips down memory lane, with 38% stating that classic games are never as good as they remember.

The question (which combines online sampling with over-the-phone and face-to-face surveys) was posed to gamers from the UK, Spain, France and Germany. In terms of individual territories, French gamers are narrowly the more nostalgic consumer, although the results are relatively consistent across each market.

You can find out more information about the GameTrack survey here.

Courtesy-GI.biz

Android Games Tracks Users Viewing Habits

January 9, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net, Consumer Electronics

Yet another privacy violation has been found alive and well in the Google Play Store.

The New York Times reports that “hundreds” of apps are embedding a revenue stream-creating package called Alphonso that uses your smartphone microphone to track your TV viewing habits.

Games like ‘Pool 3D’, ‘Beer Pong: Trickshot‘, ‘Real Bowling Strike 10 Pin‘ and ‘Honey Quest‘ seem like innocent games but, in fact, have a secret agenda.

Now it’s important to emphasise that you have to actively give permission for an app to use your microphone in the first place, but so often we say ‘yes’ to that sort of thing when we don’t really know the consequences.

In this case, the NYT explains: “Using a smartphone’s microphone, Alphonso’s software can detail what people watch by identifying audio signals in TV ads and shows, sometimes even matching that information with the places people visit and the movies they see.”

It’s a similar principle to Shazam, but without explicit permission. Plus it’s going to be kicking your battery life into submission we imagine.

However, Alphonso does have a deal with Shazam that means that when you Shazam something, the data is sent to Alphonso for analysis.

Alphonso says it does not record human speech, and that it only works with permission from the end user – but that permission needs only to be granted once.

“The consumer is opting in knowingly and can opt out anytime,” explains Ashish Cordia, CEO of Alphonso. The company declined to say just how many apps (some of which are on the Apple Store too) are being used, or which ones.

It also added that it didn’t approve of the kit being used in apps made for children, but this hasn’t stopped developers incorporating it anyway.

Apps like this often use embedded sounds hidden out of range in the TV signal which trigger the apps to record. This data can then be used by advertisers to set rates.

It’s all rather grim and creepy if we’re honest. But that’s just the way the world works now, seemingly. Pass the tinfoil.

Google has promised to improve warnings in the event that apps are harvesting data, whether the app is from inside or outside the Play Store.

Courtesy-Fud

Next Page »