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Google last year sacrificed the Nexus brand for an entirely new line of high-end smartphones. The Pixel phones became quick hits, especially following the Galaxy Note 7 disaster, even if they’re not as affordable as most Nexus phones used to be. The Pixels are also different from Nexus handsets in one other key area: They don’t run pure Android anymore.

However, if you’re still looking for an affordable Google phone that gets fast vanilla Android updates, you’re in luck. But don’t expect these handsets to be called either Nexus or Pixel.

Remember the low-cost Android One experience that debuted in Asian markets a couple of years ago? Well, Google is going to expand it to the US, The Information has learned.

Android One phones might not come with the same build Quality and top features as the Pixel phones, or more recent Nexus predecessors. But they won’t be expensive either. Instead, Android One will offer users a device that won’t break the bank and will be compelling from the software side of things.

Android One phones may come from Android handset manufacturers you might not be familiar with, including Micromax or QMobile. But LG, a company who made various Nexus smartphones in previous years, may also be in the cards.

No matter who makes these devices, they’ll run a somewhat bloatware-free version of Android that’ll receive fast updates from Google. That includes both major Android releases and security updates.

The Android One phones will cost $200 to $300, according to two people familiar with Google plans, and they should be launched before “the middle of the year,” which means we might hear something about it at Google I/O 2017.

Author: Chris Smith
Source: https://www.yahoo.com/tech/report-google-wants-bring-dirt-cheap-android-phones-222422322.html

Categorized in Internet Technology

With the advancement of technology, we have become more connected with each other. Yet the current estimates say only 40 percent of the global population is connected to the Internet. That is why more and more innovations are being created to bring the Internet even to the places which are very difficult to access. Here are some of the new Internet technologies that will revolutionize how we connect with each other in the distant future.

Light Fidelity or Li-Fi 

Oledcomm, a French startup company introduced Li-Fi last year during the Mobile World Congress. As opposed to Wi-Fi, Li-Fi is based on LED, specifically, it uses the flicker rate of LED lamps, which are much faster than the radio waves used in Wi-Fi connections. However, since it uses the power of light, it cannot pass through walls like the radio waves. Its biggest advantages are security and speed because it is confined at a specific place.

Solar-Powered Drone Routers

Mark Zuckerberg dreams of connecting the world using solar-powered drones equipped with internet technology. His Connectivity Lab is developing such technology. They began tests for the first phase when they launched Aquila, a solar-powered drone with a wing span as big as the Boeing 747. The test flight lasted 93 minutes which is faster than the team's projected 66 minutes.

Satellite "Routers"

If Facebook is looking into solar-powered drones to bring the Internet to the world, Samsung is proposing a network of 4,600 satellites to connect all of us globally. These satellites have the capacity to send out 1 zettabyte a month. In case you have no idea how much a zettabyte is, that is 1 trillion gigabytes.

MegaMIMO 2.0 

The MegaMIMO is MIT's breakthrough technology for a faster Internet connection. According to the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab at MIT, the MegaMIMO is 330 times faster than the regular Internet connection we have now.

Author : Chris Brandt

Source : http://www.universityherald.com/articles/59400/20170109/internet-technologies.htm

Categorized in Internet Technology

FILE- In this Jan. 9, 2007, file photo, Apple CEO Steve Jobs holds up an iPhone at the MacWorld Conference in San Francisco. Jobs introduced the first iPhone a decade ago. Jobs' "magical product" reshaped culture, shook up industries and made it seem possible to do just about anything with a few taps on a screen while walking around with the equivalent of a computer in our pocket. 

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Few people realized it at the time, but the world shifted fundamentally a decade ago when Steve Jobs pulled the first iPhone from Apple's bag of technological tricks.

"Every once in a while, a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything," Jobs declared as he paced across a San Francisco stage.

It obviously wasn't an empty boast. We all know now that Jobs' "magical product" has reshaped culture, shaken up industries, put computers in billions of pockets and made it possible to do just about anything with a few taps on a screen. Besides its then 3.5-inch touch screen, the first iPhone featured a browser for on-the-go web surfing and built-in apps to check email and get directions.

GOING MOBILE

Apple has sold more than 1 billion iPhones since its debut, spawning millions of mobile applications and prodding other technology companies to make similar smartphones that have become like phantom limbs for many of us.

We use iPhones and their copycats to instantly share video and pictures with friends and family from almost anywhere. We use them to figure out where we are going. We use them to find the best deals while shopping in stores and to pay for stuff at the checkout stand. We use the phones to a hail ride, to tune instruments, to monitor our health and help find our next jobs.

Phones have gotten so smart that they even talk back to us via helpful digital concierges such as the iPhone's Siri and the recently introduced Assistant on Google's Pixel phone.

"IPhone is an essential part of our customers' lives, and today more than ever it is redefining the way we communicate, entertain, work and live," Apple's current CEO, Tim Cook, boasted in a retrospective that the Cupertino, California, company posted on its website.

ROADKILL IN ITS WAKE

The iPhone's revolutionary touch screen doomed the BlackBerry, another once-popular internet-connected phone. Mobile phones and their tablet cousins triggered a downturn in personal computer sales that is still unfolding.

An estimated 219 million desktop and laptop computers shipped worldwide last year, down from 264 million in 2007, according to the research firm Gartner Inc. Meanwhile, nearly 1.9 billion mobile phones shipped last year, up from 1.15 billion in 2007.

All told, Gartner estimates about 5 billion mobile phones are currently in use around the world compared to 1.3 billion PCs.

The eroding popularity of PCs spurred shake-ups at powerful tech companies such as Microsoft, Intel, Hewlett-Packard and Dell, none of which adapted nimbly to the mobile world unleashed by the iPhone.

Then-Microsoft's CEO Steve Ballmer scoffed at Apple's glass-and-metal gadget, telling USA Today in April 2007 that "there's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance."

Microsoft wound up squandering the $7.6 billion that it spent to buy phone maker Nokia in a futile attempt to catch up to the iPhone. Ballmer stepped down as CEO three years ago and was replaced by Satya Nadella, who introduced versions of Microsoft's popular Office programs that worked on Apple's iPad — a tablet based on the iPhone.

A HUGE HIT ... AND THEN A STALL

The iPhone's success helped make Jobs a revered figure for many, and one whose October 2011 death was mourned around the world.

The device has established Apple as the world's most profitable company with earnings of $45.7 billion on sales of $216 billion during its latest fiscal year. (Prior to the iPhone's release, Apple posted an annual profit of $2 billion on sales of $19.3 billion.) Its stock-market value is hovering around $635 billion, thanks to a split-adjusted stock price that's risen by nearly a factor of 10 since the iPhone's debut.

Lately, though, the iPhone appears to be losing some steam. People are keeping older models for longer before upgrading or switching over to competing phones that run on Google's Android software.

Apple suffered its first-ever decline in iPhone sales in its last fiscal year, causing the company to miss its revenue projections and hitting Cook with a 15 percent pay cut.

Most smartphones now run on Android, partly because Google gives away the software. That has helped iPhone rivals woo price conscious consumers, especially outside the U.S., with phones that are much cheaper than the iPhone, whose latest models now cost more than $649 to $849.

In his statement, though, Cook promised the iPhone is "just getting started. The best is yet to come."

Author : Michael Liedtke

Source : http://www.sfgate.com/business/technology/article/Apple-proved-a-phone-can-change-the-world-in-just-10845999.php

Categorized in Internet Technology

Though some critics love to knock PCs as dinosaurs, laptops and desktops have gotten sexier, faster and even smarter. For every blue screen of death, there are droves of technological enhancements driving PCs into the era of virtual reality, 4K video and 5G connectivity. Here are the top 10 PC technology and trends to watch next year.

VR PCs on your head

idgns2 s004 s001 t005.mov.00 11 43 15.still006Intel/IDGNS

An Intel employee demonstrates the company’s Project Alloy headset on stage during IDF 2016 in San Francisco on August 16, 2016.

VR devices will come in many new shapes and sizes, with some of them acting essentially as PCs that fit on your head. Dell, Asus, Acer, Lenovo and HP will release mixed reality headsets, which will allow users to interact with 3D objects that pop up as floating images superimposed on a real-life background. The devices will provide a new level of human-computer interaction, making it more fun than ever to create 3D objects, play games, watch moves, and have interactive Skype calls. These “holographic computers,” as they have been called, will have Intel chips, an integrated GPU and possibly a 3D RealSense camera to identify objects, measure distances, and provide new perspectives on surroundings.

Storage prices will go up

IntelMartyn Williams

A computer with an Intel SSD on display at Computex 2015 in Taipei

Prices of SSDs are going up due to shortages, and that could have an impact on the price of laptops, 2-in-1 computers and storage. Dell’s XPS 13 with Intel’s Kaby Lake chips and a 512GB SSD, for example, is not available right now.  Other laptops with 512GB SSDs are priced unbelievably high. Most PC makers are offering 128GB or 256GB SSDs in PCs by default. Choose storage wisely, as it isn’t easy to screw open a superthin 2-in-1 to replace an SSD.

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Talk to your PC

CortanaMicrosoft

Woman using Microsoft’s Cortana voice-activated assistant on Lumia smartphone.

The feud between Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, Google’s Assistant and Microsoft’s Cortana voice-activated assistants could get more interesting next year. Users will be able to shout out Cortana commands to Windows 10 PCs from a longer distance, thanks to a “far-field speech recognition” technology that Intel and Microsoft are working on. Until now, Cortana worked best if a user was close to a PC, but millions of Windows PCs will turn into Amazon Echo competitors with this new feature. Cortana can do a lot more than Amazon Echo, like accessing information from the cloud, chatting with chatbots, checking email and other tasks. 

AMD ratchets up chip battle with Intel

chip waferMartyn Williams

Intel has been the unchallenged king of PCs for more than a decade, but AMD is fighting back with its new Ryzen PC processor, which will reaches PCs next year. A healthy rivalry will be good news for PC users, some of whom may jump from the Intel to the AMD camp. AMD claims Ryzen is 40 percent faster than its current PC chips, which on paper is impressive. The chips will first hit gaming PCs, and then mainstream laptops and desktops later in 2017. Ryzen will battle Intel’s Kaby Lake in early 2017, and the 10-nanometer Cannonlake in late 2017.

ARM-based laptops with Windows, again

microsoft windows 10 signStephen Lawson

The first attempt at ARM PCs, which ran on Windows RT, was an unmitigated disaster, and it left many users skeptical of the idea. But Microsoft hasn’t given up, especially as 5G starts to become a reality and cellular connectivity in PCs becomes essential. Microsoft announced that next year PCs will be available with Qualcomm’s ARM-based Snapdragon 835, which is primarily for smartphones. Super-thin laptops will get integrated modems and a long battery life with the chip. The ARM-based PCs will run Win32 applications that run on regular x86 PCs via emulation.

For now, no PC maker has announced ARM-based Windows PCs—manufacturers  may be cautious in light of the Windows RT fiasco. There are also many challenges. Snapdragon isn’t as fast as high-end x86 Intel or AMD chips, and won’t support 64-bit applications initially. Also, emulation may limit the ability to exploit hardware acceleration.

Bluetooth 5 will take charge

Bluetooth logoStephen Lawson

The Bluetooth logo.

Laptops and 2-in-1s will be equipped with the latest Bluetooth 5 wireless specification, which is a longer and faster upgrade to the aging Bluetooth 4.2. Bluetooth 5 will allow PCs to communicate wirelessly with devices up to 400 meters away in clear line of sight, but a more reasonable range is about 120 meters, according to analysts.  Bluetooth 5 will transfer data at speeds of up to 2Mbps, which is two times faster than its predecessor.

Beautiful screens, 4K and HDR

dell xps13Dell

Dell’s XPS 13 has an edge-to-edge screen.

Laptops like the XPS 13 and Lenovo’s Yoga 910 have beautiful edge-to-edge screens, a feature that may be included in more laptops next year. Also, 4K screens and HDR (high-dynamic range) technology will make games and movies look stunning. HDR results in more vivid images, and TVs, cameras and monitors supporting the technology are already available. Netflix is also doubling down on HDR. An HDR standards battle is brewing with DolbyVision and HBR3, but GPU makers are supporting both standards. AMD expects DolbyVision to ultimately win.

New storage and memory technologies

3d xpoint die optaneIntel

3D XPoint is the technology behind Optane products.

Intel’s Optane, a superfast SSD and DRAM replacement that could ultimately unify memory and storage, could cause a radical change in PC architecture. But that won’t happen for a few years, and the initial expectations for Optane are modest. The first Optane SSDs will be in enthusiast PCs, and could cost a small fortune. Optane SSDs have been measured as being 10 times faster than conventional SSDs. Over time, Optane could replace DRAM DIMMs, with the added advantage of being able to store data.

The SSDs won’t be in laptops next year as the technology’s uses are still being explored. Optane is based on a technology called 3D Xpoint, which Intel co-developed with Micron. SSDs based on Micron’s 3D XPoint technology will ship next year under the QuantX brand.

More changes for keyboards

Yoga BookLenovo

Lenovo’s Yoga Book has a virtual keyboard on a touch panel.

We saw some interesting changes to keyboards this year: Apple added the Touch Bar, while Lenovo swapped out the hard keyboard for a virtual keyboard on a touch input panel for its Yoga Book. Lenovo wants to bring the virtual keyboard to more Chromebooks and 2-in-1s, partly because of its versatility. The touch input panel can also be used to draw or take notes with a stylus. It’s a toss-up: Lenovo believes that those used to typing on mobile devices will adapt to this touch panel keyboard quickly, while hard keyboard diehards will dismiss the idea.

Some ports won’t go away easily

USB Type-C (4)James Niccolai

USB Type-C cable on show at CES

PC makers may not muster up the courage to remove the headphone jack and SD card slots from PCs right away, but USB 2.0 slots could be on their way out. Some PC makers may leave out display and other legacy ports with the emergence of the versatile USB Type-C, which can be used to charge PCs and connect displays, storage devices and other peripherals.

Author : Agam Shah

Source : http://www.infoworld.com/article/3150947/computers/top-10-pc-technologies-and-trends-to-watch-in-2017.html

Categorized in Internet Technology

The CRTC promises high-speed connections to the rural areas lacking it, but their plan has holes

Going home for the holidays is always a welcome escape from school and the everyday hustle and bustle of life. However, ‘back home’ for me is the boonies, the sticks, the country. While the slower pace is nice, I always get a little more slow than I bargain for. Slow Internet, that is.

Sometimes, it’s slow enough to be deemed unusable. The idea of Internet in the bush is more of a symbol or an idea, a technological feat to strive for, than an actual service. With the United Nations declaring the Internet a basic human right in today’s technology-minded world, it’s astonishing that some rural areas still don’t even have basic access.

I’m not just a millennial with a socially acceptable addiction to being connected: the Internet is essential and crucial to functioning in our current society. So, it’s about time the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s (CRTC) decided to treat broadband Internet access as a “basic telecommunications service,” which means it’s finally time for them to give us in the countryside all the Internet.

They report that they hope to reduce the 18% of Canadian homes without adequate Internet to 10% in the next five years, and eradicate it entirely within the next 10 or 15. They’re also requiring service providers to put money into a fund — projected to grow to about $750 million worth — to facilitate these changes.

This may translate to increased prices on services to compensate. With no regulation on rates accompanying the new mandate, consumers are in a tight spot: if the CRTC makes service providers pay more money, those providers will take it straight from our pockets, and without proper policies in place, there’s no telling whether or not we’re going to be charged fairly.

The overall goal is to be able to offer high-speed Internet services to rural areas, with only the hope that they will be affordable. This isn’t good enough. This doesn’t equate to providing adequate Internet to all citizens, not when that access might itself be unfairly inaccessible for financial reasons. This lack of foresight demonstrates a real failure to provide the fundamental human right. What, exactly, is the CRTC doing?

The CRTC has come under fire for being stuck in the past and an obsolete regulator, but in spite of those flaws, it’s still the only credible Canadian regulator which is separate from government. While policing the Internet has always been frowned upon, financial regulation done in the interest of providing it for everyone at an affordable price would be in the best interests of Canadians.

The Internet has become key to meeting our most basic human needs. Newspaper classifieds have gone the way of the dodo. Finding a job, finding a place to live, and, not to mention, socializing is all done via a broadband connection. Even inmates have the right to access the web. Providing Internet service to all at a respectable speed is imperative, but not the final goal — it needs to be at a reasonable price, and we need to do more to ensure that.

Canada is ranked only 33rd in the world for Internet speed. If the CRTC is going to be relevant in our expanding technological society, it needs to work harder to protect the ‘public interest,’ even if the regulations and policies necessary to truly accomplish that are at the expense of the companies which provide Internet services.

Author: Kendra Nelson
Source: http://www.the-peak.ca/2017/01/stronger-internet-needs-to-come-with-stronger-policies

Categorized in Internet Technology

It was the biggest bout of 2016 in the digital economy: MakeMyTrip (India) versus Union of India & Ors on September 1 in Delhi High Court. The largest travel website in India had filed a writ petition against the Directorate General of Central Excise Intelligence (DGCEI).

In January 2016, the tax authority arrested a MakeMyTrip (MMT) employee after searches at its Gurgaon premises.

The alleged offence — revenue loss to the government because hotels listed on MMT had not paid service tax. Just six months before this, MMT had been warding off price competition from Ibibo Group, backed by South African conglomerate Naspers; Oyo Rooms, backed by Japan’s Softbank; venture capital-backed Yatra and older nemesis, ClearTrip

Then, suddenly, there was solidarity among travel aggregators, which the high court noted. "There is a common pattern emerging in both cases (MMT and Ibibo) and… the scope of powers of DGCEI requires to be examined." 

Every hotel aggregator was claiming it had more than 25,000 hotels listed on its website (Yatra claimed 36,000). There had been DGCEI searches at the Gurgaon offices of Ibibo and Yatra on January 13 and at ClearTrip’s in Mumbai.

Each company responded with writ petitions claiming the authority’s overreach. One secret all tax advisors know is that the government loves ecommerce to bits. 

At no expense to the government, companies battle each other to build better technology platforms, bringing the informal sector—hotels, taxis, restaurants, single screen cinema halls, shopkeepers—to the digital economy. This helps the government form a money trail that didn’t exist.

Predictably, thus, DGCEI lost the high court case. But it was able to counter MMT’s claim of agreements with more than 30,000 hotels. DGCEI said the website possessed PAN details of only 3,922 hotels, "of which 1,728 were not even registered with service tax authorities."



Though its effort to make MMT liable for listed hotels’ tax losses was wrong, as the court ruled, DGCEI had managed to trace a money trail to less than 2,000 hotels in the informal economy using just one travel website.

The DGCEI offensive was a surprise for online travel aggregators (OTA) in India, which regrouped against the government— and won.

When MMT chairman Deep Kalra spoke with ET recently, he reflected on that phase. "Had we (OTAs) had an association at that time, we could have taken an even stronger stand. When a serious issue hits you, an association can help a company because it has that credibility."

Lack of such a body or think-tank is ailing India’s consumer internet industry, which is estimated by RedSeer Consulting to have brought $45 billion worth of goods and services online last year. (More than 30 per cent of this is because of Indian Railways’ online bookings and the OTAs.)

More remarkably, in a departure from China, the local landscape has both size (331 million internet users) and diversity for customers. This means myriad types of companies and ideologies.

While Google and Facebook dominate their mainstay search and social network business, Google browser Chrome is battling Alibaba-owned UCWeb from China for the Indian smartphone user.

Can internet industry based in metros and diversified across sectors find a cohesive voice?

In etail, Amazon vs Flipkart isn’t the two-horse race it’s often billed as. Even Snapdeal, ShopClues and Paytm users shop online and Alibaba has just launched operations. Since 2010, less than $20 billion has gone into creating online category battles involving more than 3,000 startups.

Even as foreign investors such as Sequoia, Accel, Tiger Global, Alibaba and Softbank increased their India exposure like never before, the industry that was born competed aggressively to build technology and bring informal sectors online.



"Entrepreneurs are yet to come together. They have fallen short in finding that unified purpose," said a venture capital investor in Bengaluru, who requested anonymity.

There were murmurs of Flipkart cofounder Sachin Bansal starting a separate ecommerce body last year but not much has come of it. The think tank vacuum is as conspicuous as the local market is globalised.

Even as late as in 2013, the industry counted on Google’s Rajan Anandan to bring legitimacy to fashion portals from India, such as Myntra. It didn’t matter that Anandan was born in Sri Lanka, or that he is managing director of America-bred Google’s South East Asia and India operations.

For fashion and apparel companies and sellers, a Google guy’s endorsement at Myntra conferences brought credibility to a nascent sector, also because he was then chairing industry body Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI).

It still isn’t rare for the affable Anandan to be a keynote speaker at developers and software-as-a-service conferences in India, as he was part of the September 2015 launch of ed-tech portal Udacity’s launch in India.

He has invested in almost 50 startups in this region, a testament to how Anandan —and, by extension, Google—is culturally entrenched in India. But fissures are beginning to show. Is Anandan a messiah or mercenary? "Google makes money out of the digital economy which Rajan champions," noted the Bengaluru VC investor quoted earlier.

His larger point was, "We need that one guy who people value and respect as an independent voice, who connects and has the concern and a sense of mission-mode to emerge as a leader for the industry."

Can internet industry based in metros and diversified across sectors find a cohesive voice?

Considering the scale, velocity and size of the industry, the time and effort required is huge. "That person has not emerged," said the investor. It has to be a full-time pursuit, as in the case of the late Dewang Mehta for Nasscom (IT industry), Tarun Das (Confederation of Indian Industry) and, more recently, Sharad Sharma at iSPIRT (software product industry). In Delhi’s lobbying circles, the internet industry is seen as a spoilt brat.



Sample a couple of perceptions — the money is drying but entrepreneurs’ capabilities haven’t gone up dramatically. Second, this is a two-sided market where buyers and sellers are getting subsidised for market share. 

"They (Ecommerce companies) should all sit in a room — if one company decides to stop such subsidies, others need to agree as an ‘association,’ that they won’t allow contrary practices because they are anti-competitive. Right now, ‘Indian vs American’ or ‘Chinese vs Indian’ is an outcome of lack of unity, which no current industry association can fix," an industry observer in Delhi explained. 

The view from Bengaluru is a study in contrast. It is put down to a divide between the cities. "It’s almost like you have to be in Delhi to be influential, which means a significant amount of entrepreneurs’ time has to be spent in the National Capital to be influential," the VC investor said.

In 2014, Nasscom carved out the Internet, Mobile and Ecommerce Council (NIMEC), chaired by veteran Sanjeev Bikhchandani, who founded online classifieds company Info Edge, best known for jobs website Naukri.com. 

NIMEC is co-chaired by Kunal Bahl, cofounder of Snapdeal. There are also nine members and two special invitees (chief executives of Yepme and Zomato). Of the nine, five are CEOs of companies headquartered in Delhi (MMT, Paytm, PolicyBazaar, Jaypore and Google India). 

In all, nine of the 13 companies in the council representation are headquartered in Delhi. The rest are Latif Nathani of eBay (Mumbai), Murugavel Janakiraman of Matrimony.com (Chennai) while Bhavish Aggarwal of Ola Cabs and Amit Agarwal of Amazon sit in Bengaluru. If the industry representation is by category, there are four online retail companies and then a spate of aggregators (classifieds, travel, food tech, payments and so on).

But NIMEC is not a true mirror of the representation or influence of Bengalurubased companies, where most of the capital has been infused. Bengaluru as a market too has a record of high volume of users and fast uptake of internet services. 

This reflects in employment generated by Bengaluru companies, notably Flipkart. Bikhchandani countered this, saying the current 11 members do not restrict the agenda.



"All discussions are with the larger set of companies that is directly affected," he said by email. For instance, there have been goods and services tax (GST) discussions with every ecommerce member of Nasscom, including Flipkart. Payment inputs have been taken from Visa, Mastercard and Flipkart, among others who are not council members. 

There have been policy discussions on connectivity with Nasscom members who are not on the council, even emerging but key internet businesses from Bengaluru like UrbanClap (local home services) and Practo (healthcare appointments). 

"This is a diverse industry," said Bikhchandani."Ecommerce spans sectors — transport, travel, retail, pharma or payments — with different needs and focus areas. Even in the same sub-sector, we have had differences (say in etail) but finally, they come together to a common set of recommendations." 

Bikhchandani cited the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) Press Note 3, which spelt out guidelines for FDI in ecommerce. Similarly, Nasscom inputs went to the recent Ratan Watal Committee to review the digital payments framework. 

"The internet industry has strong internal competition. However, cohesive voices do emerge," said Bikhchandani, adding that both Nasscom and IAMAI are effective industry bodies. Another Nasscom official noted that perceptions vary across generations, with two stark extremes.

"Bikhchandani, now in his 50s, has been through a number of phases, including a job and the early days of the internet. On the other hand, you have very, very young startups–take the other extreme of a Rahul Yadav, who co-founded Housing.com right after IIT and is the bad boy of the startup world," he explained.

There are far lower levels of patience among founders of new age internet companies. IAMAI and Nasscom measure themselves by government action on their policy recommendations — with, say, Telecom Regulatory Association of India (Trai) and DIPP — not high-decibel statements to the media.

"We are business associations in the vein of CII, Ficci or Assocham," said Subho Ray, IAMAI president since 2006. "But yes, a think tank is required to focus on the impact of internet . As business associations, we may lack the correct representation when it comes to assessing technology impact." 

A think tank will call on industry players to go beyond their companies and individual interests and drive neutral policy. Lack of such a think tank is showing in how ‘additional factor of authentication,’ an RBI stipulation of payment gateway for internet companies, is applied for local companies and global competitors who have payment gateways outside India. 

"The reality in aspects like two-factor authentication, which is a massive issue in digital payments, is that companies are actually disadvantaged," MMT’s Kalra told ET, calling for a level playing field.

The software product industry has a think tank in iSPIRT, run by Sharad Sharma. The digital industry is still looking for that voice, even as public sector behemoths like State Bank of India challenge Paytm’s credentials because it is seen to be less of an Indian company owing to its Chinese investors. 

As OTAs have discovered, in a diverse and even divided field, it takes a government hand to push the internet industry toward unity.

Author: Kunal Talgeri
Source: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/tech/internet/can-internet-industry-based-in-metros-and-diversified-across-sectors-find-a-cohesive-voice/articleshow/56302210.cms

Categorized in Internet Technology

The meme that 2016 has been the “worst year ever” has certainly had a lot of material to work with in these last days before 2017 arrives.

But while many have found Internet culture in 2016 to be irredeemable, this past year wasn’t all bad on the Internet for us as individuals. So I asked some of my colleagues to send me stories about where, personally, they found the good on the Internet this year, for one last look at some of its small bright spots, before we get on with the task of finding 2017 to be even worse.

Self-care lists

In the midst of a 2016 that bombarded us with wave after wave of hate and fear, Tumblr’s self-care master lists were my refuge. Even just seeing the tips in numbered order , helpfully suggesting different self-soothers, felt calming in its own way. “Put on comfy clothes.” “Drink some water.” “Play with a pet.” “My personal favorite: this master list of master lists . Even if you can’t change the world, a bath bomb can. Or more accurately, maybe someone nice on Tumblr can, gently reminding you to indulge in some bath bombs. “You deserve it” — sometimes I wish I could wrap those three words around me forever. — Julia Carpenter 

The country of New Zealand 

Somehow, among all the churning badness of Twitter culture, I managed to make a friend on the platform. That friend is a dairy farmer in New Zealand, whom I had to contact in February to confirm that he did, in fact, send a picture of his dog to someone to have it rated on a scale of 1-10 (it’s a long story; digital culture is a weird beat). He replied with a beautifully-told email in response to what was, essentially, a random reporter asking him for a couple of fact confirmations.

See all those likes and retweets? Those came mostly from New Zealanders, because what followed was a long-lasting absorption into “New Zealand Twitter,” which has been mostly delightful. For months, Twitter’s algorithm decided (correctly) that those tweets were ones I’d like to see again:

Making a friend on the Internet isn’t a monumental achievement, but for me, in this year where we’ve learned a lot about the real-life consequences of the worst parts of Internet culture, it helped to remind me of what I used to like so much about being online in the first place. — Abby Ohlheiser

Goldendoodles

Most days, scrolling through my Facebook news feed can feel like an assault on my peace of mind. As has been well-documented this election cycle, Facebook has become deeply partisan, emotional and vitriolic — and yet every day, I return. Yes, it’s partially because it’s my job to be on Facebook. But I’ve also discovered the most wonderful community on Facebook in the form of a public group somewhat inelegantly named “Goldendoodle’s friend and family!!” or GFAF, as I’ll call it.

GFAF is composed of nearly 6,000 goldendoodle owners and lovers who literally post pictures of their dogs cuddling with teddy bears, riding in the passenger seat of cars, or running around the house fresh from a bath. Members also exchange food recommendations, behavioral challenges and tips for combing through doodles’ matted hair.

For the uninitiated, goldendoodle owners are a bit … obsessive. But you can’t blame them. Goldendoodles, a designer dog mix of a poodle and a golden retriever, are truly the most perfect form of animal. They possess the poodle’s intelligence and the retriever’s allegiance. Their eyes are deeply emotive, and they look like giant teddy bears. Also, they’re hypoallergenic.

Doodle owners know this, and in GFAF, they’ve found their people. It’s a full-throated and elated celebration of these dogs who are just so darn cute. GFAF members live all over the country and undoubtedly hold myriad political beliefs, but in this group, they can all agree on this one thing. It’s a welcome break from the rest of the Internet — even for those of us without goldendoodles. — Alex Laughlin

Ron Lehker, the 90-year-old Redditor

Nearly every day this year, a now 91-year-old man living in Washington, D.C., has slowly climbed the stairs to his third floor attic, set his cane aside, and sat down in front of Reddit.com. Ron Lehker’s grandson first got him hooked in January. He posted a photo of his white-haired, blue-eyed grandfather on the “Ask Me Anything” thread.  “I Am 90 Years Old — An officer during WWII, a retired educator, and more engaged with society today than I’ve ever been before. AMA!” More than a thousand questions flooded in.

Hi! If you would want everyone to know one thing, what would it be?

How much porn do you watch?

Would you say your love for your new partner is the “same” as the love you had for your wife of 43 years?

Ron carefully reads each inquiry, then leans back in his chair and thinks deeply about what his 91 years have taught him.

“OMG! I love the new social media,” he wrote to the person who asked about his love for his wife. “Such a fascinating way to connect, yet so sterile in its ability for us to get acquainted …”

It’s been nearly a year since people started asking questions, and Ron’s AMAs are buried deep in the mountain of nonsense on Reddit. But all that matters to him is that every person who reached out to him gets a response, even if no one else reads it. Ron provides wisdom on love and loss, religion and politics, living and dying.

He is the Internet in its purest and best form: connecting people who need each other, even if they’ll never meet. — Jessica Contrera

Group chats

2016 has been a pretty weird year for anyone who likes to spend time online. This year, however, I’m thankful for a corner of the Internet in which I’ve found solace: group chats.

To be clear, there is nothing new about group chats. I discovered them like I discover most popular things: late and then aggressively. There’s a good chance you’ve been in a group chat if you’ve ever used GroupMe, WeChat, Gchat, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Kik or Instagram DMs. They’re actually hard to avoid.

The particular chat that rekindled my love with the Internet happens to be a Facebook Messenger chat with some friends from college.

Some of them still live in our college town, others have moved, and it spans a couple of graduating classes. While we were all friends in college, we weren’t any sort of tightknit group at the time. The chat itself started sometime last February as a forum to discuss Kanye West’s then-new album “The Life of Pablo,” and, well, we never stopped. We still discuss music, but the conversations have meandered into television, sports, employment, unemployment, “graduate school?” and the general aspirations and fears of 20-somethings on the precipice of “real” adulthood. We roast each other. We coach each other up before job interviews. We have inside jokes. We go into the settings and change each other’s display names (in November, they were all Thanksgiving related; this month, they’re all Christmas puns). Mostly, it’s very friendly, and we’re all pretty positive and supportive with each other.

People’s online personas don’t always match with who they are in real life. I’m a reserved person IRL, and I tend to steer toward the more performative, less personal social networks like Instagram and Twitter. It’s been nice to have a closed-off platform, with people I trust, where I can relax and be the big ol’ goofus I am. There’s an element of trust in a closed group, and it’s a stark contrast from virtually every other second I spend on the Internet. — Ric Sanchez

The Teens 

Source: GiphyThe teens never asked for much.

And yet, they are benevolent bunch, giving us so much when we’ve given them so little in return. Considering what we have gifted them — melting polar ice caps that threaten our way of life and a national debt well into the trillions — you’d think the teens wouldn’t be so generous. But it is their altruism, as evidenced by their ceaseless production of the purest memes, that I am most thankful for this year.

Whether I’m scrolling through my Instagram Explore tab or checking Tumblr, I know the boundless creativity of the teens will always greet me, pulling me out of whatever spiraling sense of despair I’ve found myself in. Be it their PSAT memes , their enthusiastic support of their peers , their ability to create a cultural phenomenon out of a frog on a unicycle that once appeared in a physics textbook or their array of viral challenges , the teens are creating some of the most wholesome content on the Internet.

I — we — need the teens now more than ever. In a country plagued by increasing divisiveness and less-than-wholesome political discourse, I fear that the only people capable of bringing us together are the teens and their memes. — Tanya Sichynsky

Author: Abby Ohlheiser
Source: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/these-were-our-bright-spots-on-the-internet-in-2016/ar-BBxLMmV

Categorized in Internet Technology

ere are generally two paths for dealing with someone in power when disagreements arise. One is to confront, and the other is to understand and influence. What is interesting is the most common path taken is the former while the most successful is the latter. I think the reason is that the former path is both the natural path for disagreement and the most visible. Confrontation is always more newsworthy than influence.

When done right, exerting influence has the odd result of not conveying credit while actually making far more progress. This suggests that one of the ways to determine whether someone is doing something because they believe in the outcome vs. doing it for fame and status is whether they move to influence or to confront.

The vast majority of tech executives and politicians confronted Trump, which had little impact on him, while Peter Thiel moved to influence. As a result, he now may be the most powerful person in tech, even though that didn't appear to be his goal.

I'll share some thoughts about that this week and close with my last product of the week, which has to be Varonis. It is the one product that could have prevented virtually all of the high-profile breaches that crippled both Yahoo and Hillary Clinton's campaign.

Confrontation and Backstabbing

One of the most common ways decisions are made in the tech industry is that the most outspoken and disagreeable person at the table wins, and the person who is better founded but isn't as focused on the status of winning often loses. I call this the "biggest assh*le at the table method," but there is a more technical term for this: argumentative theory. I've reviewed a lot of failed companies, and at the heart of most failures seems to be this process.

There is a second process that is equally common, in tech firms in particular, and it has a common name that I'll paraphrase because I can't use the actual name in mixed company. It is "kiss you screw you." This occurs after everyone at the table agrees, and then a bunch go out and do everything they can to cause the idea to fail in order to screw the poor person who is trying to execute.

If you've ever wondered why a lot of good ideas fail, it is largely because some group of folks inside companies secretly move to cause them to fail. Personally, I think people should be fired for doing that, but they often are rewarded instead, which suggests there are a lot of managers on the wrong side of this practice.

I personally think the Obama administration was defined by both practices. The Republicans largely practiced the "biggest assh*le at the table" method and were obstructionist, while the Democrats seemed to agree but acted against the president behind the scenes, which is why efforts like Obamacare were such a train wreck.

Collaboration and Influence

Compare the way much of the tech industry supported Clinton vs. how Peter Thiel supported Trump. Clinton got money and vocal support, and Thiel provided technical advice and focus. He advised and kept tightly to tech topics like cybersecurity, which are critical to the well being of the country. Clinton's massive support from the industry largely consisted of money, because most thought she was an idiot. That was thanks largely to the email thing, but I've seen notes going back years, suggesting that was hardly a new perception.

The right path for Clinton's supporters would have been to fix the "idiot" thing. Yet there is no evidence it was even attempted. Thiel, in contrast, worked to make Trump smarter, and the result was not only better execution in the final days of the campaign, but also last week's tech meeting, which focused on making tech companies more profitable.

Contrast this with Eric Schmidt's relationship with President Obama, which became an embarrassment for the president and didn't seem to result in anything but an unusual protection against antitrust charges for Google. As a result, it's arguable that tech actually appears weaker at the end of Obama's term than it did at the beginning. If the current trend holds, that shouldn't be the case with Trump, but that outcome will depend largely on Thiel's relationship with Trump.

Thiel vs. Gawker

Peter Thiel spent $10M taking out Gawker, which scared a lot of folks because it silenced a voice in media. Personally, I thought Gawker was an abomination -- largely because it focused on disclosing personal information about powerful people or celebrities, doing them harm for money.

Gawker had its roots in tech, and a tech service that monetizes hurting people tarnishes the entire industry and is counter to efforts that are working to eliminate bad behavior, like bullying, by making it appear like you can bully anyone. By the way, this doesn't mean that I agree with some of the behavior that Gawker called out -- I just don't think it is in the tech industry's best interest to validate the hostile use of personal information, given the critical need to protect everyone's individual privacy.

I'm kind of surprised more tech CEOs haven't backed Thiel's efforts, largely because having a "secret mistress" is an extremely common perk of the job. My guess is that most believe they are careful and that their clandestine relationships won't be reported. Sadly, many aren't as good at keeping this stuff secret as they think. Had Gawker not been killed, many of those delusional executives likely would have had some explaining to do to their wives, kids, employees, stockholders and boards. Such things rarely go well, so Thiel did them one hell of a favor that most may never appreciate fully.

Wrapping Up: Thiel vs. Whitman

Perhaps the biggest contrast was between Thiel and Whitman. Thiel focused on collaboration, while Whitman took the confrontational path to extremes, seemingly switching parties. Thiel will have a great deal of influence on the Trump administration, while Whitman will have zero influence on it and may find that HPE is blacklisted both by Trump's companies and the federal government -- or worse, be prioritized for contract audits.

One final thought: Because Thiel focused on talking about technology, he could have made the cut to influence Clinton. He didn't make the conflict personal, and he clearly had a strong grasp of what needed to be done by either administration. Whitman could have influenced only Clinton, because her contribution was personal and political.

Even with Clinton, her influence likely would have been insignificant, perhaps limited to getting a largely ceremonial cabinet post. Here is the important part: Given that she is the CEO of HPE, neither outcome would have benefited HPE significantly, and the Trump outcome may have hurt it materially.

I think this showcases a best practice that the tech industry should adapt broadly: Collaboration and focusing on what the industry knows -- tech -- is a far better way both to influence an administration and to make a real difference.

I think it also showcases a far better personal practice as well, because constant confrontation, particularly when it is only to appear superior, or backstabbing for any reason is counterproductive to the overall effort and makes a firm less successful.

So, for those of you who have made being an assh*le or backstabbing a defining skill, if you care about making a difference, then you should change your behavior. For those of you who like being assh*les and backstabbing, be aware that the identification and elimination of folks like you has become a major feature of the coming artificial intelligence-based human resources systems, so eventually you'll be fired. All I can say is, it will be about fricking time.

My last thought is this: Thiel suddenly has become the most powerful person in tech, not through the more typical process of backstabbing and self-aggrandizement, but because he focused like a laser on how to use tech to help the nation and Trump. I should point out something about Jobs, who clearly was the most powerful person in tech last decade. While certainly an assh*le interpersonally, he focused on making Apple great. He became famous not because he focused on gaining fame but largely because of Apple's success. In both cases, it is that focus we should remember as a best practice.

Rob Enderle's Product of the Week

Yahoo last week disclosed that it had experienced a breach that occurred prior to its previously disclosed mega breach and that it was much bigger, impacting 1 billion people -- that is billion with a B. It means that the odds favor the fact that you have been compromised and harmed, and that it clearly wasn't reported in a timely way so you could have protected yourself.

This is on top of indications that both the Democrats and Republicans were hacked, and that those hacks likely did have a material impact on the election, even if it was just the uneven release of compromising emails.

In virtually all cases, the hacks were not discovered until well after they had occurred, and many only when what was stolen was disclosed. Claims that emails were not hacked -- like Clinton's emails or the RNC's emails -- largely coincide with no tracking in place. That is like saying no trees fall in areas where there are no people to observe them falling. Just because you didn't see something doesn't mean it didn't occur.

What makes products like Varonis different is that they monitor behavior and activity. If someone either inside the company or outside has gained access to something they either don't have rights to or that they've never been interested in before, then Varonis sends an alert. These hacks can range from people pulling information to share illicitly to hacking individuals to get access in order to misuse it to download sensitive information.

Varonis logo

What concerns me is that this class of solution seems to be avoided, because people would rather not know they have been hacked so they can claim they are secure. For some, that's preferable to finding out they aren't -- and let's be clear, no one is absolutely secure. Pretending otherwise is just stupid.

Some nimrod earlier this month boasted on Twitter of having my personal information, along with a password I was using back in 2013, suggesting I'm one of the folks who was hacked. Because Varonis could have prevented this, it is my product of the week, and it is a contender for my product of the year, which I'll announce next week.

Author: Rob Enderle
Source: http://www.technewsworld.com/story/Is-Peter-Thiel-the-Most-Powerful-Person-in-Tech-84183.html

Categorized in Internet Technology

CES provides a first glimpse at the future.

Pretty much all of the tech giants attend the vast Vegas expo - either to unveil new products or to clinch deals behind the scene.

But in recent years it's been start-ups that have had many of the most eye-arresting and sensational reveals.

There are more at this year's show than ever before, thanks in part to crowdfunding. They now have to convince retailers - hunting through the halls for the next bestsellers - that the promise of their concept videos has been delivered upon.

Dozens of start-ups are also there thanks to help from governments and other national bodies - France, Israel, Ukraine and the Netherlands all have stands where they'll fly the flag for local talent.

But China may make the biggest splash with more than 1,300 registered exhibitors.

"Every year at CES I meet the people who work on the technology that affects our lives and you can see literally every part of the tech industry represented," innovation evangelist Robert Scoble told the BBC.

Of course, there's a lot of crud too - the challenge is to distinguish the potential hits from the glitch-ridden flops.

Below, we have picked what could be some of the week's highlights:


Voice control and other new interfaces

CES marks the beginning of a land grab by three of the leading virtual assistants: Amazon's Alexa, Microsoft's Cortana and the Google Assistant.

The companies all want their voice-controlled AIs to power third-party products. And Amazon looks to have the head start.

C by GE

The headphones specialist OnVocal will be showing off wireless earphones that link up to Alexa, and GE has also preannounced a table lamp that doubles as a speaker powered by Amazon's voice service. Sonos too aims to add the facility to its wireless speakers, though we believe it isn't quite ready to show off its efforts.

But don't count the other two out.

We know Microsoft is working with Harman Kardon on a "premium audio" speaker, and the firm has teased adding Cortana to other types of products, including toasters. And Google has secured at least one bit of kit at CES - the Aviva speaker - to host its cloud-based intelligence.

Aviva

One expert suggested others will also try to gatecrash the party.

It's not all about voice though.

The French start-up Bixi will be making the case for gesture controls. It will be demoing the final design of a gizmo that lets you control smartphones and tablets with a wave of a hand.

More groundbreaking perhaps is the Blitab, a tactile tablet described as the iPad for the blind.

The Austrian innovation produces small physical bubbles in an area above its touchscreen which delivers refresh double lines of dynamic Braille.

Blitab

Year of the robot?

We're still decades away from having the type of androids seen on TV shows such as Westworld or Humans.

But CES is still an opportunity to see how far along more specialised kit has become.

London-based Emotech is one to watch.

Olly robot

It will unveil Olly - a tabletop bot with its own smart assistant that recognises different household members and adapts it personality to suit each one.

The project was developed with help from academics at University College London, Imperial College and Edinburgh University, and has already secured $10m (£8.2m) of investment from China.

There will also be a range of modular robots.

Several companies are backing the concept, which allows users to switch about parts to change skills and manoeuvrability.

UnibiotImage copyrightEVOVACSImage captionThe Unibot offers changes function depending on which modules are connected to its base

Examples will include Modi, a Lego-style kit that lets owners build a bot out of small cubes - each offering different functions such as motors, lights and infra-red detectors.

Another is Unibot, a robotic vacuum cleaner that trebles up as a mobile home security camera and an air purifier/humidifier.

Meanwhile, OAPs can look forward to Cutii, a robot that resembles an iPad on wheels, which will supposedly become their "companion".

And there will also be bots that zoom round tennis courts picking up balls, remove droppings from cat litter, and even move physical chess pieces around a board.

Robots

Keep an eye out for Laundroid, too. The Japanese clothes-folding machine raised $60m from Panasonic and others for its giant clothes-folding droid following an appearance at last year's CES.

Some have described the idea as ridiculous.

But it will be interesting to see if it works well enough to go on sale later this year, as planned.

Laundroid

Health and wearables

Pregnancy seems to be one of health tech's preoccupations this year.

There is both Ava, a sensor-equipped wristband that apparently alerts women to when they are most fertile, and Trakfertility, a DIY sperm count test that tells an associated app what steps the owner should take to boost their numbers.

Ava wristband

And just in case you are tempted to pair off with the wrong partner, Milo Sensors is in town with what it describes as the world's first blood alcohol wearable.

It's easy to joke, but health tech is booming and analysts are competing to predict how many billions of pounds it will be worth in a decade's time.

The ultimate goal is to create something resembling Star Trek's Tricoder - an all-in-one device that diagnoses any ailment.

An Israeli start-up will be showing off a gadget that promises to get us at least partly there.

Tyto Home

The TytoHome is designed to let families take heart, lungs, throat, abdomen and other organs' readings and send them to their clinicians. Its slogan is a "check-up without the check-in", but medics may need convincing.

There will doubtless be new twists on the fitness tracker too. It would be unwise to suggest the market for such devices has peaked - Fitbit's app topped Apple's App Store this Christmas, indicating people are still buying them in droves.

But a more intriguing development is wearables with built-in airbags.

Air bag wearables

ActiveProtective is promising to show off a prototype smart belt for the elderly that triggers a cushioning action over their hips if it detects a fall.

And Inemotion has developed ski racing clothes with a similar function to prevent injuries on the piste.

France's Wair has a different spin on discreet wearable tech with a internet-connected scarf that doubles as an air filter.

But the question remains whether wearable tech has a profitable future beyond health.

There will be more app-laden smartwatches - including the possibility of the first Android Wear 2.0 devices - at the show, but the sector has not been the hit many had predicted.

We're also promised the world's first vibrating tight cut jeans that offer their wearers directions without having to look at a screen.

Spinali Design

Televisions

If you had asked the experts a decade ago, they would probably have predicted OLED (organic light-emitting diode) TVs would be the norm by now. But the tech has faced several setbacks.

It's stubbornly refused to become as cheap to manufacture as hoped, it doesn't go as bright as LED equivalents and some complain that it "crushes the blacks" making it hard to distinguish detail in the shadows.

Panasonic OLED TV

Even so, OLED retains a wow factor thanks to its ability to control the light of each individual pixel, helping its images to have more "pop", and its screens to be ever thinner.

Panasonic has hinted it will show off an OLED display at CES that will better handle dim scenes, and there is speculation Sony has similar news.

Plus there's reason to believe prices are about to drop.

Until recently, LG manufactured all the OLED panels used by itself and other brands. But now BOE - a Chinese company - has a rival component. The question is who will break ranks to adopt it.

Samsung TVs

Expect Samsung to make a loud noise about QLED, a new spin on its "quantum dot" technology that allows its screens to be brighter than ever before.

That's important because of HDR - another acronym you're going to have to get used to. It refers to high dynamic range, which allows images to appear more vibrant and detailed - especially in scenes containing both glints of light and shadows.

Dolby Vision

The problem is that there are three rival HDR standards - HDR10, Dolby Vision and the BBC's forthcoming HLG - meaning the potential for another format war.

But it is possible to support all three, so it will be revealing to see if any of manufactures make a commitment to do so with their new screens.


Smart home and other "internet-of-things"

It's now relatively cheap and power-efficient to add sensors and wireless data links to products. That's led to an explosion of ideas - some more sensible than others.

Genican

It's debateable how many of us really need Genican, for example, a device that scans rubbish's barcodes as it is thrown away in order to build up a shopping list of replacement items.

Likewise, it's not clear whether an aromatherapy diffuser needs to be smartphone-controlled, even if its scents really boost memory and clean lungs, as claimed.

Where things get more interesting is when tech genuinely makes lives simpler without requiring too much effort.

One way firms are trying to do this is by focusing on the refrigerator.

LG has a model that activates a sterilisation process when it senses temperature and/or humidity issues in order to extend food's shelf life.

And for those who would prefer to retrofit their existing equipment, UK start-up Smarter Applications has Fridgecam: a device that keeps track of what its owners have in stock and when it expires, sending alerts to buy new items when necessary.

Fridgecam

But one expert says if the sector is to achieve its potential, consumers need to be reassured that the risks do not outweigh the benefits.

"In the last 18 months the conversation about security and privacy has moved from the tech pages to the front pages of newspapers," said John Curran from the consultancy Accenture.

"To make these devices easy to connect and easy to use, some companies have hardcoded passwords or put no security measures in place, and that made them an easy target.

"At CES we're looking for businesses to be more transparent about what data is being collected, how it's being used and with whom it's being shared.

"And they need to make it easier for consumers to adjust their security settings."


Virtual and augmented reality

Getty

There are rumours that HTC will unveil a second-generation Vive VR headset at CES - possibly introducing wireless capabilities - but the system is only nine months old, so that seems a tad optimistic.

The two other big virtual reality firms - Sony and Facebook's Oculus division - launched their kit even more recently.

Even so, there should still be lots of developments.

Huawei has just hired Steve LaValle, one of the brains behind Oculus, and the Chinese firm is set to reveal more about its VR plans at the show.

It's a safe bet that several third-party headsets previously teased by Microsoft will also be on display.

Windows 10 event

And we will also see the introduction of Fove, a crowdfunded VR headset with eye-tracking abilities, allowing gamers to control action with shifts in their gaze.

Fove won't be the only one trying to offer new ways for users to interact with virtual experiences.

Fove

A foot controller that lets you direct where your character walks, a sensor-laden T-shirt that tracks your torso's movements, and various haptic devices that try to let consumers feel virtual objects are just some of the products with CES stands.

With augmented reality - where graphics and real-world views are mixed together - things are still at an early stage.

But Asus and others may reveal handsets that include Google's Project Tango depth-sensing technology, adding basic AR capabilities.

Project Alloy

Intel will have more to say about Project Alloy - a headset that lets you see your hands and other real-world objects within VR worlds.

And a start-up called Occipital will demo a contraption that uses an iPhone to create something akin to Microsoft's HoloLens mixed-reality headset.

While hardware may dominate the headlines, it could be content that determines which products are winners.

Occipital Bridge

"In the US the National Basketball Association recently announced that it will broadcast games in virtual reality," noted Mr Curran.

"And as other big media and content companies get involved, they will attract more types of consumers to VR, rather than just the tech-enthused.

"So, I'll be looking to see which platforms the media providers target as they pursue opportunities in this space."


Transportation

There's going to be a lot of talk and demos of self-driving cars by the big automakers on and off the Las Vegas strip.

Rinspeed

Menawhile, rival chipmakers - including Intel, Nvidia and Qualcomm - will be excitedly pitching their processors and 5G chips as the potential heart of the autonomous vehicle revolution.

But you'll have to wait for a future CES to find anything road-ready that allows the "driver" to really ignore the steering wheel.

BMW HoloActiv

This time round, look instead for new ways to interact with your vehicle.

BMW will unveil its HoloActiv Touch system, in which motorists use finger gestures to interact with graphics that project out of dashboard screens.

And Continental will demo facial recognition tech that recognises who is driving and adjusts mirror and seat positions accordingly.

Faraday Future is also back for a second year to convince sceptics that it can launch an electric car before its funds dry up.

Faraday Future teaser video

There will also be all kinds of alternative transport ideas including an intelligent scooter that shuts off its power if it detects an accident, a motorised rideable suitcase and the latest evolutions of the hoverboard.


Odds and ends

And we've still barely scratched the surface. There are zones dedicated to drones, beauty tech and 3D printing.

Plus there's room for oddities, such as a device that claims to be able to record smells.

Selfie stock drone and Mi Guitar

The BBC tech team will do its best to keep you across all the major developments from the first press day on Tuesday until the show floors shut on Sunday.

You can keep up to date at bbc.co.uk/ces2017 and by following our Twitter list of those covering CES.

Author: Leo Kelion
Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-3840394

Categorized in Internet Technology

From holographic TVs to cylindrical PCs, Samsung bears all

Ohhh boy, Samsung in 2016. You might expect this year in review to be a comedy roast. From exploding smartphones to Supreme Court cases, this was clearly not the South Korean tech company’s time to shine. Fortunately, there were enough silver linings to make up for it.

The Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge were Samsung’s best phones yet. In fact, we called the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge “the best smartphone in the world” at the time of its release. And, because of the way things panned out with the latest Galaxy Note 7, we’re inclined to say that may still be the case.

However, Samsung saw success in other areas this year as well. The Samsung Notebook 9, for instance, made our best Ultrabooks list, ostensibly as a return to form for the company’s ostensibly stagnating laptop business. Meanwhile, the company also revealed one of the most unique desktop computers of the year, namely the ArtPC Pulse, which looks to finally take on Apple’s now-antiquated Mac Pro.

Samsung even occupied the top spot on our best 4K TVs list with its quality backlit KS9500 range. That goes without mentioning its advancements in budget-friendly virtual reality options with its third helping of Gear VR headsets.

Looking forward into the future, 2017 could potentially be a year of redemption for Samsung. Although this year brought a handful of stellar product launches, in retrospect they were all overshadowed by one monumental error – perhaps unfairly so.

2017 in Samsung mobile devices

Samsung’s mobile business was hit the hardest this year, and understandably so. The Note 7 blunder, specifically, cost the company nearly $10 billion, according to CNN.

Financial discussions aside, there’s no denying that Samsung’s mobile strategy needs to be turned around in 2017. If rumors and reports are to be believed, the company is most certainly making changes for the better. Next year, you can expect not three but six different smartphones from the Korean hardware maker.

The Galaxy S8, S8 Edge, and Note 8 are all surefire hits – assuming they don’t literally catch on fire – while the company also has refreshes to its low-to-mid range Galaxy A-series smartphones in the works, namely the Galaxy A3, A5 and A7. All will have sufficient bumps in specs including the move to full HD 1080p screens and 3,000mAh batteries at the entry level.

Nevertheless, it should go without saying that we can’t help but have our curiosity piqued more by Samsung’s flagship devices than its low-cost alternatives. If you were one of those who abandoned ship on Apple because of the loss of the 3.5mm headphone jack, it may be disheartened to hear that with the Galaxy S8, Samsung may also be moving to USB-C only arrangement.

Like the iPhone 7, the Samsung Galaxy S8 will reportedly lose its headphone jack in favor of newer, digital interfaces. That’s right, USB-C will join the ranks of Apple’s Lightning connector in serving as a means of replacement for the antiquated (and analog) 3.5mm headphone jack we’ve all come to know and love.

Of course, if that were the Galaxy S8’s only change, we wouldn’t be inclined to upgrade. Luckily, it looks as though the Galaxy S8 will also tote a bezel-free design with both the home button and fingerprint scanner built into the screen. Reports also suggest a large 4K screen, 6GB of RAM and a dual-lens rear camera, reminiscent of the iPhone 7 Plus.

In another attempt to steal some of Apple’s lightning, Samsung released a Jet Black-inspired Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge color variant named Pearl Black. Assuming Samsung wants to keep its forthcoming models in line with current-gen handsets, we wouldn’t discount the possibility of the Galaxy S8 twins adopting the glossy black fashion as well.

Keeping with the company’s history in revealing flagship smartphones the day before Mobile World Congress (MWC) kicks off, we can expect to see both the S8 and S8 Edge in the flesh as soon as February 26.

Another, more far-fetched string of gossip has repeatedly proposed that Samsung has not one, but two foldable phones in production slated for early 2017. One of these devices will ship complete with two flat panels bolstered by a hinge while the other will be sport a single OLED display and ship shortly after the first.

Although it might appear unlikely at first glance, word of a Samsung Galaxy X can be found dating all the way back to 2011. Regardless of budget or personal necessity, Samsung is bound to have something for you in its – as always – vast array of mobile devices set to hit the road in 2017.

2017 in Samsung tablets and computers

Now we’re not going to sit here and pretend Samsung’s computing business has been stellar these past few years, but we’re also not opposed to admitting that this year was pretty damn great for Samsung PCs. The cylindrical ArtPC Pulse tempted us with its potent specs and luscious Mac Pro sense of style.

Meanwhile the Samsung Notebook 7 Spin put the MacBook Pro to shame with an aggressive price point and uniquely HDR display.

Sure, the company had some compatibility issues with Windows 10 earlier in the year, but with PCs as proficient as the Samsung Notebook 9 at the helm, we couldn’t complain too much. While we haven’t heard much about Samsung’s 2017 PC lineup, the company will undoubtedly introduce new hardware come the new year.

Though it’s not a proper home computer per sé, the Galaxy Tab S2 is expected to drop in the first quarter of 2017. This will come not even a year after the release of Samsung’s most recent tablet, the Windows 10-equipped Galaxy TabPro S.

With the strong critical reception to its first shot at Windows on a tablet, we wouldn’t be too shocked to see Samsung take things a step further, opting for a desktop OS on its more affordable tablet PC. As of now, however, all we can say based on reports is that the Galaxy Tab S3 will come in two flavors, one outfitted with LTE functionality and the other without.

Meanwhile, Android tablets fading into obscurity, it would make sense to maintain an exclusive 2-in-1 focus in regard to tablets. SamMobile confirmed back in August that a Galaxy TabPro S2 will arrive across four models in 2017. The outlet’s sources claim that the Galaxy Tab Pro S2 will take advantage of a 12-inch, 2,160 x 1,440 screen and an Intel Core M-series processor.

Outside of that, there isn’t much concrete evidence pointing to much else as far as Samsung computers go. That said, we wouldn’t be awe-struck to see a Kaby Lake revamp of the Samsung Notebook 7 Spin after seeing how it fared with reviewers.

2017 in Samsung 4K TVs

You might say this year was the year that 4K TVs finally managed to truly shake the scene. Whether it’s owed primarily to Black Friday sales or more widely available 4K high-dynamic range (HDR) content, there’s no denying that Ultra HD is the way to go heading into 2017.

With that in mind, Samsung’s KS9500 range leads the pack when it comes to delivering HDR imaging and high quality sound. Because of its overwhelmingly positive reviews, it makes sense that Samsung wants to continue from where it left off in 2017. In doing so, however, this means making some concessions while other companies move on to embrace new technologies.

While the likes of LG and Sony have been quick to employ OLED display panels, VP of Samsung Display, Park Dong-Gun, admitted earlier this year that the Korean tech company would be reluctant to follow suit. Instead, Samsung plans on iterating on its existing Quantum Dot technology, which has demonstrated better clarity and brightness over its OLED counterpart.

Moreover, an emphasis on Quantum Dot will allow for more competitive pricing, enabling Samsung to circumvent its OLED-hoisting opponents. Rather than taking a risk in a polluted OLED market, Samsung is choosing instead to remain at the top of a category it already reigns supreme in.

Lastly, though we shouldn’t expect a consumer version to make its way to brick-and-mortar anytime soon, Samsung filed a patent back in January 2016 for a holographic TV that projects images literally off the screen. Being the ambitious pipe dream that it is, you shouldn’t expect to secure a holographic TV in 2017, but it wouldn’t take us aback to see a working prototype as imminently as CES.

2017 in VR and beyond

We may have only just recently gotten our hands on the third round of Gear VR headsets, and while it’s the perfect gateway drug for Samsung users eager to jump into PC-powered VR, it’s also far from perfect.

Auspiciously, Samsung knows this. That’s why, perhaps with its next Gear VR rendition, the company plans on adding eye and mouth detection for an added layer of immersion (and virtual oddities). This is all just patent hearsay, so don’t sue us if it doesn’t come to fruition, but this does seem like a reasonable next step for Gear VR – aside from better apps and a higher resolution.

All in all, Samsung has a busy year ahead of it, jam-packed with new devices and software across a wide range of categories. Truthfully, it’s rare for companies like this to deliver so many exceptional product offerings across a breadth of different hardware divisions. Here’s to hoping that in 2017, things really blow up for Samsung – just not in the way they literally did this year.

Author: Gabe Carey
Source: http://www.techradar.com/news/what-to-expect-from-samsung-in-2017

Categorized in Internet Technology
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