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Bose Headphones Accused Of Spying On Users

April 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Bose Corp spies on its wireless headphone owners by using an app that tracks the music, podcasts and other audio they listen to, and violates their privacy rights by selling such data without permission, a lawsuit charged.

The complaint filed by Kyle Zak in federal court in Chicago seeks an injunction to stop Bose’s “wholesale disregard” for the privacy of customers who download its free Bose Connect app from Apple Inc or Google Play stores to their smartphones.

“People should be uncomfortable with it,” Christopher Dore, a lawyer representing Zak, said in an interview. “People put headphones on their head because they think it’s private, but they can be giving out information they don’t want to share.”

Bose did not respond on Wednesday to requests for comment on the proposed class action case. The Framingham, Massachusetts-based company has said annual sales top $3.5 billion.

Zak’s lawsuit was the latest to accuse companies of trying to boost profit by quietly amassing customer information, and then selling it or using it to solicit more business.

After paying $350 for his QuietComfort 35 headphones, Zak said he took Bose’s suggestion to “get the most out of your headphones” by downloading its app, and providing his name, email address and headphone serial number in the process.

But the Illinois resident said he was surprised to learn that Bose sent “all available media information” from his smartphone to third parties such as Segment.io, whose website promises to collect customer data and “send it anywhere.”

Audio choices offer “an incredible amount of insight” into customers’ personalities, behavior, politics and religious views, citing as an example that a person who listens to Muslim prayers might “very likely” be a Muslim, the complaint said.

“Defendants’ conduct demonstrates a wholesale disregard for consumer privacy rights,” the complaint said.

Zak is seeking millions of dollars of damages for buyers of headphones and speakers, including QuietComfort 35, QuietControl 30, SoundLink Around-Ear Wireless Headphones II, SoundLink Color II, SoundSport Wireless and SoundSport Pulse Wireless.

He also wants a halt to the data collection, which he said violates the federal Wiretap Act and Illinois laws against eavesdropping and consumer fraud.

Dore, a partner at Edelson PC, said customers do not see the Bose app’s user service and privacy agreements when signing up, and the privacy agreement says nothing about data collection.

Edelson specializes in suing technology companies over alleged privacy violations.

Will Intel’s Skylake X and X299 Appear In Q2?

April 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

According to the latest set of rumors, Intel might be scrambling to launch its X299 platform with Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X CPU and these could come in late June/beginning of July.

Originally scheduled to launch sometime in Q3 2017, with August as the most obvious target, it appears that Intel has pushed the launch for its new HEDT (High-end Desktop) X299 platform date forward to the 25th and 27th week of this year, which puts it somewhere in the end of June, beginning of July, timeframe. 

As detailed earlier, Intel Skylake-X lineup will include six- and ten-core CPUs, have support for quad-channel DDR4-2667 memory and should be the core of Intel’s HEDT X299 LGA2066 platform.

The Kaby Lake-X lineup will only include quad-core SKUs, have a TDP of 112W and lack the integrated GPU, but also come dual-channel DDR4-2667 memory support and 16 PCIe 3.0 lanes, down from up to 44 PCIe 3.0 lanes with the Skylake-X SKUs.

If the rumor, coming from Benchlife.info, proves out to be true, we should hear and see more about Intel’s new X299 HEDT platform at the Computex 2017 show, kicking off on May 30th in Taipei.

Courtesy-Fud

Facebook Is A Hub For Augmented Reality, Says Mark Zuckerberg

April 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Facebook Inc is wants to capitalize off of the technology known as augmented reality, a mix of the real and digital worlds best known from the hit smartphone game Pokemon Go, Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said.

Speaking at F8, the company’s annual conference for software developers, Zuckerberg said Facebook was an obvious hub for businesses to reach people and experiment with augmented reality, although he did not suggest the company was planning to make similar games itself.

Pokemon Go, jointly developed by Nintendo Co and Niantic Inc, has generated masses of followers around the world as players use their phones to capture animated characters that appear in real locations.

Other uses of augmented reality have included the ability to hang out with a hologram of “Mad Men” star Jon Hamm or assemble a virtual human brain, all on mobile devices.

A recent push by Facebook to add camera features to its suite of smartphone apps will help the company popularize similar features, Zuckerberg said.

“Even if we were a little slow to add cameras to all our apps, I’m confident that now we’re going to push this augmented reality platform forward,” he said.

For a company that began as a way for college students to see pictures of each other, Facebook’s move toward augmented reality represents another step in its long evolution. It also raises the stakes for its competition with rival Snap Inc, the maker of Snapchat that describes itself as a camera company.

Zuckerberg said people could use the technology to leave a virtual note for a friend at a bar, or to find virtual street art on a wall that in real life is blank.

“This isn’t just about finding a Pokemon in a one-block radius,” he said.

Eventually, he said, people would use augmented reality on eyewear, although he did not give any details about possible Facebook hardware.

In 2014, Facebook acquired its Oculus virtual reality goggles unit for $2 billion, although that division is a long way from making a mass-market product or contributing significantly to the company’s earnings.

As part of his conference address, Zuckerberg addressed shortcomings on another major project, Facebook’s push into video. He said the service needed to do more to prevent the spread of violent videos, such as one on Sunday of a fatal shooting in Cleveland that was visible on the site for two hours.

 

Baidu Wants In On Automonous Vehicles, Plans Launch In July

April 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Baidu Inc has announced plans to launch its self-driving car technology for restricted environment in July before gradually introducing fully autonomous driving capabilities on highways and open city roads by 2020.

The project is named Apollo after the lunar landing program, the Chinese search giant said, adding it would work with partners who provide vehicles, sensors and other components for the new technology.

As part of its push into artificial intelligence (AI), the company in January named former Microsoft Corp executive Qi Lu as chief operating officer.

Two months after the appointment, Baidu’s chief scientist Andrew Ng, who led AI and augmented reality (AR) projects, said he would step down.

The company also launched a $200 million fund in October to focus on AI, AR and deep learning, followed by a $3 billion fund announced in September to target mid- and late- stage start-ups.

“AI has great potential to drive social development, and one of AI’s biggest opportunities is intelligent vehicles,” Qi said in a statement.

In November, Baidu and German automaker BMW AG  said they would end their joint research on self-driving cars due to differences in opinion on how to proceed.

Technology and automotive leaders contend that cars of the future will be capable of completely driving themselves, revolutionizing the transportation industry, with virtually all carmakers as well as companies such as Alphabet’s Google and parts supplier Delphi investing heavily in developing the technology.

Is Intel Shrinking?

April 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Despite promises that Intel made to Donald (Prince of Orange) Trump that it was building new factories in the Land of the Fee, it seems that Intel is still downsizing its US workforce.

The number of full-time workers directly employed by Intelnear Rio Rancho fell by 37 percent in 2016 – from 1,900 salaried workers in 2015 to 1,200 as of December – according to the company’s latest annual report to the Sandoval County Commission.

Intel spokeswoman Liz Shipley told the Albuquerque Journal in an email that its head count is down from what it reported last spring in its 2015 report.

This is the sharpest annual decrease to date in direct, full-time employment at the plant since the company began laying off workers and reducing its head count through attrition in 2013. In that year, the Sandoval County plant employed 3,300 people, meaning its salaried workforce has fallen by nearly two thirds over the last four years.

The company still employs about 1,000 contract workers, about half of whom are generally on site daily to work on specific projects, Shipley said. But it’s not clear how many of those are full or part-time workers.

Intel announced in April 2016 that it planned to lay off about 12,000 people worldwide, or about 11 percent of its global workforce. That restructuring affected the Sandoval County site, according to the Intel report.

Sandoval County Commissioner Jay Block, who represents Corrales and Rio Rancho, said:  “It’s hard for people here to find high-paying jobs like those at Intel. That’s why this plant is so critical to our community.”

The plant still makes 32-nanometer chips, while Intel’s newer plants are producing 22- and 14-nanometer chips. It was apparently creating newer plants that Intel promised Trump that it would create.So on one hand it is creating jobs in one part of the country and in the other gutting them.

The company is now preparing to produce next-generation 10-nanometer chips, putting the Sandoval County plant far behind the curve. Intel has not given the plant any major upgrades since 2009, when the plant went from 45- to 32-nanometer technology.

Courtesy-Fud

New York City May Force Tipping Feature To Be Added To Uber Service

April 19, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Ride-services company Uber Technologies Inc may be forced to provide riders a way to tip their drivers, despite its longstanding resistance, if a plan by New York City’s taxi regulator is implemented.

The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission has announced intentions to propose a rule no later than July that would require all for-hire vehicles to allow passengers to tip drivers using the same method they use to pay for the ride. In Uber’s case, this would involve adding a tipping feature within the its smartphone app.

The commission said its proposal is a response to driver concerns over falling wages, as Uber has reduced fares in New York City and across the country. Tips could help boost drivers’ income.

Uber has said previously it opposed tipping because it was an inconvenience to passengers and slowed the transaction between rider and driver.

“I found myself having to work longer hours away from my family to earn the same money,” Luiny Tavares, who has driven for Uber for five years, said on a call with reporters that was organized by the Independent Drivers Guild.

The guild, set up last year to advocate for drivers, started a campaign last summer to pressure Uber to add a tipping feature in its app. Uber was “unable to move on the option,” said guild founder Jim Conigliaro, so the guild brought the issue to the taxi commission.

Any tipping proposal faces a protracted process before it becomes a rule Uber must follow. The taxi commission has the authority to initiate rulemaking on its own, but rules must be certified by city legal authorities. There is also 30-day public comment period and public hearing, and a board of commissioners votes on the final rule.

“We have not seen the proposal and look forward to reviewing it,” said Uber spokeswoman Alix Anfang. “Uber is always striving to offer the best earning opportunity for drivers and we are constantly working to improve the driver experience.”

Adding a tipping feature to Uber’s app would remove one significant difference between Uber and its chief U.S. competitor, Lyft. Lyft has a smaller market share but is the preferred service of many drivers because it allows tipping through the smartphone app. Lyft said in March that its drivers have earned more than $200 million in tips since the company’s founding.

Are Macs Virus Free

April 19, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

The myth that Macs are somehow more secure than other operating systems appears to be a myth according to a Threat Report by McAfee Labs.

Attacks on Macs have risen by 744 percent in 2016 and there are more than 460,000 malware samples on Mac machines found. Although this is not a particularly high number you have to acknowledge that this is one security company and on a single machine.

It appears that after years of leaving Macs alone, virus writers are suddenly taking an interest in knocking them over and the security by obscurity measures, along with faith-based defences are not working.

The Tame Apple Press has rushed to say that “despite the dramatic increase in macOS malware attacks, Mac owners need not be too alarmed”.

One newspaper even said that the attacks were just irritating and not like the “true malware attacks” that Windows users have to suffer.

Most of the attacks were just adware which automatically generates and displays advertising material, including banners or pop-ups, whenever a user is online, the Tame Apple Press  tried to reassure Apple fanboys.

Last summer, Mac owners were warned about a new malware dubbed Backdoor.MAC.Elanor – a nasty piece of code that infects the OS X operating system and gives hackers complete access to the files on the computer.

Courtesy-Fud

Microft Sets Retirement Date For First Windows 10 Release

April 18, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

True to form, Microsoft has announced May 9 as the date it will issue the final updates for the debut edition of Windows 10 that launched in 2015.

Two months ago, Microsoft had extended support for Windows 10 version 1507 — Microsoft labels feature upgrades by year and month — from March to May, but did not specify the date in the latter month.

The May 9 retirement was quietly announced on several support documents, including the “Windows lifecycle fact sheet,” which lists several kinds of deadlines for various versions of the operating system.

Another document put it plainly. “The time has now come to end servicing for version 1507,” the support document read.

Stopping support for Windows 10 editions — Microsoft released the fourth on Tuesday — is an important part of the company’s software-as-a-service model. The company has pledged to support an individual edition, such as 1507, not for 10 years, as policy required for, say, Windows 7 or 8.1, but only for 18 months or so. That mandate insured Microsoft would not need to craft security patches, fix other bugs or add new features for an increasing number of versions.

By the time Windows 10 1507 slips off the list, it will have been supported for about 21 months. Part of the reason it lasted longer than Microsoft’s stated norm was because the firm issued just one feature upgrade — v. 1607 — in 2016.

The next Windows 10 edition, v. 1511, could be purged from support as soon as early October. That’s because Microsoft has committed to simultaneously supporting just two Current Branch for Business (CBB) builds. At the release of N+2 onto CBB, the company starts a 60-day-or-so countdown. At the end of the 60 days, N drops off the support list. N+1 then becomes N and N+2 morphs into N+1.

Under that policy, N would be 1511, N+1 version 1607 (released in August 2016) and N+2 1703 (this month’s feature upgrade). Version 1703 will likely be promoted to the CBB in four months, or August; two months more would put 1511’s support demise in October.

Users running 1507 must have upgraded to 1511, 1607 or 1703 by May 10 to receive future security patches, and other fixes or enhancements. Windows 10 1507 will not suddenly fail to boot, however, or degrade, as do copies that have not been activated with a product key.

The only exceptions will be customers whose devices are running v. 1507 from the Long-term Servicing Branch (LTSB), a special release track available only to organizations using Windows 10 Enterprise.

Netflix Expansion Talks Include Indonesian Telecom Giant

April 18, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

U.S. video streaming service provider Netflix is engaged in negotiations with Indonesia’s top telecom firm PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia Tbk (Telkom) to offer its service in the country, a spokesman at the Indonesian company said.

The U.S. company has made an aggressive push globally, but faced problems such as tough local competition and regulatory hurdles in several major Asian markets. In Indonesia, a country of 250 million people, Netflix ran afoul of the film censorship board last year for carrying content deemed inappropriately violent or sexual.

The communications ministry of Indonesia, home to the world’s largest Muslim population, had also demanded that Netflix set up a office in the country and pay local taxes.

While state-controlled Telkom had blocked Netflix, the service was still available in Indonesia via WiFi connections and other carriers.

Telkom is now negotiating a partnership agreement with Netflix and hopes to complete the process next month, Arif Prabowo, vice president for corporate communication at Telkom, said in a text message.

Telkom was previously concerned that Netflix carried “content that has a negative element”, Prabowo said.

“If we work together, that means we would know and can be responsible for the content broadcast by Netflix.”

Teaming up with Netflix would expand Telkom’s content offering, Prabowo added. “The choices for our customers will be more varied.”

A Netflix spokeswoman declined to comment.

Foxconn, Apple May Team Up For Toshiba’s Memory Business

April 17, 2017 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Apple could be mulling over joining forces with its China-based supplier Foxconn to acquire a major stake in Toshiba’s semiconductor unit.

In January, Toshiba officially announced it would seek to sell a portion of its flash memory business, including the SSD business of the Storage & Electronic Device Solutions Division, to a not-yet-named buyer.

The Nikkei Asian Review has reported that Toshiba may sell a 20% stake in the memory business for between $1.77 billion and $2.65 billion, “while retaining a majority stake and keeping the new company in group earnings.”

Toshiba’s solvency and fundraising ability are presently in doubt because of a $1.9 billion accounting scandal and a huge loss related to the purchase of a U.S. nuclear plant business. The company, which invented NAND flash in the early 1980s, had been considering spinning off its semiconductor operations and selling a partial stake to Western Digital (WD) and others, as it tries to cope with a massive impairment loss in its U.S. nuclear power unit.

Neither Toshiba nor WD have confirmed a potential sale, however.

Earlier this year, Toshiba took a writedown of $6.56 billion against its struggling U.S. nuclear equipment operations and it’s hoping to rebound from that loss with a sale.

“Its financial problems were a major drag on the growth of its memory business,” Sean Yang, research director of DRAMeXchange, said in an earlier interview.

Several potential buyers have been identified in reports, including Apple, according to Bloomberg’s news service. Apple is considering investing several billion in Toshiba’s memory business, according to the report.

“It seems like they are selling the Golden Goose and keeping the money pit,” said Jim Handy, an analyst with Objective-Analysis, referring to Toshiba.

If Apple were to purchase a stake in Toshiba’s semiconductor business, it would be a departure for a company that has historically outsourced most of its parts and labor, Handy said.

“Seagate and Western Digital used to believe that vertical integration was necessary in order to compete in the SSD market, although Seagate appears to have changed its tune,” Handy said. “A captive source of supply is a good thing to have during a shortage, but can be a millstone during an oversupply.”

Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., a major supplier to Apple, reportedly said it was not participating in talks after reviewing a possible deal “with interest.”

According to one report, Western Digital (WD) is none too happy about Toshiba’s plans to sell its memory business. WD reportedly sent a letter to Toshiba telling it the proposed sale breaches a joint-venture agreement as part of the FlashAlliance to build flash fabrication plants in Japan, which are operated by Toshiba. WD’s SanDisk holds a 49.9% share in the FlashAlliance and a Toshiba has a 50.1% share.

Any potential sale by Toshiba might be on hold for now as it deals with WD’s concerns.

If Toshiba does sell a major stake in its memory business — or the entire unit — it would do little to effect the memory market as a whole from the perspective of supply and demand, according to Handy.

“From the perspective of national security there are significant concerns that Japan will lose control of an important technology, and that it will be owned by a company from a country that has a difficult history with Japan,” Handy said, referring to China and Foxxcon. “From WD’s perspective it’s really strange, since they have a very good working relationship and understanding with Toshiba, but not necessarily with the buyer.

“I like to think of it as your spouse coming in and saying: ‘Here’s somebody new for you to be married to!’ then walking off.”

T-Mobile And Dish Networks Score Most In FCC’s Wireless Spectrum Bids

April 17, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

T-Mobile US Inc bid $8 billion and Dish Network Corp $6.2 billion to acquirethe bulk of broadcast airwaves spectrum for sale in a government auction, according to a statement from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.

The two carriers accounted for most of the $19.8 billion in winning bids, the FCC said. Comcast Corp agreed to acquire $1.7 billion in spectrum, AT&T Inc bid $910 million and investment firm Columbia Capital offered $1 billion.

The FCC said 175 broadcast stations were selling airwaves to 50 wireless and other telecommunications companies. Companies plan to use the spectrum to build new networks or improve existing coverage.

The spectrum auction’s end is widely expected to kick off a wave of deal-making in the telecom industry. Until now, companies participating in the auction have been restrained by a quiet period, but that will end after April 27, when down payments are due from auction winners.

T-Mobile said its $8 billion winning bid would enable it “to compete in every single corner of he country.” The company, controlled by Deutsche Telekom AG , said the investment will quadruple its low-band holdings.

Verizon Communications Inc and Sprint Corp opted not to bid.

“What is most interesting to us was (Verizon) was nowhere to be found,” Jennifer Fritzsche, an analyst at Wells Fargo, said in a research note, adding that “we continue to believe Verizon’s interests lay in the higher band spectrum assets.”

Craig Moffett, an analyst at MoffettNathanson, said in an email that there were three surprises in the results: “Comcast bought less than expected, Dish Network bought more, and Verizon bought nothing at all.”

Moffett said Dish’s spectrum spending underscored “the growing importance of the company’s valuation as it relates to their spectrum holdings.”

Comcast sold spectrum from three of its NBCUniversal owned stations in New York, Philadelphia and Chicago for $481.6 million.

The FCC also announced new channel assignments for 957 non-winning stations that must change channels to clear the new wireless airwaves for use.

Of the $19.8 billion bid, more than $7 billion will go to reduce the U.S. deficit and $10.05 billion to broadcasters relinquishing spectrum. Up to $1.75 billion will go to broadcasters that incur costs in changing channels.

Sellers had initially sought $86.4 billion for 126 megahertz. Many analysts had expected broadcasters to earn more and sell more spectrum.

Was Apple Really Selling Bricked Phones?

April 17, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

Australian users have a bit of a DIY mentality – like New Zealanders they can’t see the point of paying a fortune for something that they can get a mate to fix cheaper.  Normally they would only take it in to Apple if the problem cannot be fixed with masking tape and number eight fencing wire.  Apple has a huge problem with this. It makes a fortune charging fees to have its spotty blue shirts repairing things that most uses could fix with a screwdriver and WD40.

According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, Apple thought it would be a rather super, cool, and revolutionary thing to brick iPhones which had not been repaired by its Genii. The way users would have to return the phone to be fixed.

Australia’s consumer watchdog has sued Apple claiming that the bricking happened in a software update which had cracked screens fixed by third parties and then refused to unlock them on the grounds that customers had had the devices serviced by non-Apple repairers.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission told the court that consumer guarantee rights under the Australian Consumer Law exist independently of any manufacturer’s warranty and are not extinguished simply because a consumer has goods repaired by a third party.

Of course Apple is not saying anything. We have no doubt that its acolytes really believe that they are saving the customers’ souls from the dangers of cheap repairs. Everyone knows that all the phones don’t really belong to the users but are given in a sacred trust to the user for large amounts of cash on the assumption that they will never touch without the blessing of the church.

The regulator said that between September 2014 and February 2016, Apple customers who downloaded software updates then connected their devices to their computers received a message saying the device “could not be restored and the device had stopped functioning”.

Apple engaged in “misleading or deceptive conduct and made false or misleading representations to consumers” about its software updates and customers’ rights to have their products repaired by the company, the commission said.

As well as fines, the ACCC said it was seeking injunctions, declarations, compliance program orders, corrective notices, and costs.

Courtesy-Fud

With The Pitfalls Samsung Still Very Profitable

April 17, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Samsung is better than Apple at making money. Sure, it might not have margins as good as the fruity cargo cult, it might not make as much cash, but it appears to be unstoppable.

How many companies can have the majority of the press against them, produce a phone which caught fire, has its Vice Chairman and several executives locked up for corruption, and still make a pile of dosh which eclipses the sun?

Samsung Electronics is reporting record earnings thanks mostly to its chip division and the quarters ahead could be even better if its newest smartphone, Galaxy S8, is a success.

Samsung is seeing a boom in memory chips and a sudden spike in demand from smartphones and servers.

Shares of Samsung, Asia’s biggest company by market capitalization and the world’s largest memory chip maker is near record highs after gaining nearly 17 percent so far this year, on top of the 43 percent surge in 2016.

Now Wall Street is expecting Samsung’s January-March operating profit to have risen 41 percent from a year earlier to $8.44 billion. This is Samsungs’ highest profit since the third quarter of 2013.

The Galaxy S8 is out from April 21 so the most analysts are predicting even greater profits in the second quarter.

Analysts expect tight supply conditions for memory chips to continue this year, particularly in NAND flash chips used for long-term data storage, keeping Samsung’s margins padded. That leaves the mobile division as the key earnings variable, they said.

It is starting to look like the Note 7 fiasco only delayed Samsung’s march to dominance and the S8 will help Samsung regain its lead over Apple.

If you think all this is par for the course, imagine that if the press hated Apple, Tim Cook was locked up for cutting an illegal deal over a golf course with President Trump and the iPhone 7 caught fire,  It is unlikely that Apple would recover, let alone make record profits. 

Courtesy-Fud

Samsung’s Bixby Digital Voice Assistant Being Delayed

April 14, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

Samsung’s highly promoted Bixby voice assistant will not be available for the Galaxy S8 smartphone on April 21, as previously announced.

The company released a statement that said Bixby will be available in the U.S. on the Galaxy S8 “later in the spring.” Samsung didn’t explain the delay.

The Bixby will join a pack of artificial intelligence assistants that includes Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri and the Google Assistant that are changing the way people interact with their devices.

Some U.S.-based reviewers and analysts had noticed that the Bixby feature wasn’t fully demonstrated when the S8 was announced March 29.

Also, some news reports said Bixby encountered voice recognition problems in English compared to its performance with the Korean language.

The shipment delay applies only to the voice feature in Bixby, while Samsung said other key features of Bixby, like Vision, Home and Reminder will be available in the global launch of Galaxy S8 on April 21.

Samsung went out of its way to promote Bixby well in advance of the Galaxy S8 launch. It was announced in a blog on March 20, nine days before the phone’s launch, by Injong Rhee, executive vice president of software and services for Samsung Electronics.

Rhee pointed out a physical button on the side of the phone that would activate Bixby, differentiating it from Alexa or  Siri and others that are activated by a spoken trigger word. Bixby would offer a “deeper experience” than some others, including support for touch commands. Also, Bixby is designed to know the current state of an app to allow users to carry out work in progress without further explanation. Rhee said the Bixby interface is “much more natural and easier to use.”

Bixby was already two years behind those digital assistants as well as Google Assistant, analysts said. “Bixby is going to be playing catch up,” said Gartner analyst Werner Goertz in March.

One analyst forgave the Bixby delay. “I commend Samsung for trying to get it right rather than just launching and hoping for the best,” said Jack Gold, an analyst at J. Gold Associates.

“It’s never a good idea to put out less than great software on a consumer device. So in this case, if Samsung can delay a few weeks and get a better product, it makes sense to do so. That said, voice recognition generally is not all that easy to do. It’s not just the recognition software itself, but the whole voice chain that has to be tailored. That includes everything from the microphone through the audio channel on the phone to the recognition algorithms and the user interface. If they tested and it wasn’t at their expected level of accuracy, then it’s better to get it right than to get it out fast.”

Samsung Pleased As Galaxy S8 Pre-orders Surpass S7 Launch

April 14, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

Pre-orders for Samsung Electronics Co Ltd’s flagship Galaxy S8 smartphone have surpassed those of its predecessor S7, the firm’s mobile chief said on Thursday, which suggests many consumers are undeterred by last year’s Galaxy Note 7 fires.

Strong initial demand for the S8 will be encouraging for a firm recovering from one of the worst product safety failures in tech history, which ended in the Note 7’s swift withdrawal.

The new smartphone has received favorable reviews ahead of the start of sales in South Korea, the United States and Canada on April 21. Some investors and analysts have even predicted a first-year sales record for the South Korean company.

“It’s still a bit early, but initial response to the pre-orders that have begun at various places across the world have been better than expected,” mobile chief Koh Dong-jin said at an S8 media briefing.

He said the S8 will be the safest Galaxy smartphone to date due to measures implemented to avoid the battery failures that caused some Note 7s to spontaneously combust.

Analysts said strong S8 sales are likely to help Samsung to its best-ever quarterly profit in April-June, along with a booming memory chip market that is widely expected to deliver record revenue this year for the industry as a whole.

Samsung has been working to restore investor trust as well as its reputation since the Note 7’s withdrawal in October within two months of being on the market, losing out on $5.4 billion in profit.

Senior executives told foreign media on the sidelines of the briefing that it will take time for Samsung’s brand image to recover. They also said Samsung has seen a rebound in consumer sentiment toward the firm since announcing the results of a probe into the fires and preventative measures on Jan. 23.

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