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Mobile TECH_Technology

Uber introduces new 911 feature

Uber has rolled out a new 911 feature from it rideshare app, according to a report by Lifehacker. The new 911 app option allows riders to contact police if an accident or emergency should occur when riding in an Uber vehicle. The 911 feature can be activated by tapping a button and confirming the emergency request.

The 911 feature is noted by a small police shield in the bottom corner of the map screen. When you tap the icon, an emergency toolkit appears which includes a call 911 button option. If you tap that button, users are then given a red button to press to receive emergency services immediately.

Upon tapping the 911 button, the Uber app will display the exact location as well as vehicle make, model, and license plate number that a rider is presently riding in and share it with police. Uber enacted that 911 feature to make it easier to communicate with emergency services should the need arise with its customers.

Currently, Uber is offering the 911 feature in Denver, Charleston, Chattanooga, Naples, Louisville, and the Tennessee Tri Cities. Nashville will also get the 911 option soon as well as more metropolitan areas in the near future.

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Business Mobile

Verizon quietly launches new affordable phone carrier service to keep up with customers

Verizon has launched a new more affordable phone carrier called Visible, according to a report by PhoneArena.com. The company secretly unveiled the company, charging only $40 for monthly service that including unlimited talk, text, and data in the U.S. The carrier uses Verizon’s 4G LTE network.

Users looking to access the service need to subscribe to Visible after being invited to join from a current subscriber. Those that received an invitation to join can download the app for the Apple App store. Here, they can fill out personal information and include the invite code they were provided in the invite.

Verizon then sends a SIM card to users the next day. SIM cards can be placed in phones, which then activates the Visible service. Top data speeds for the Visible network top out at 5 Mbps. Videos are played at 480 p. The network is only available for iOS currently.

Visible doesn’t require a contract for subscribers and does not cap data usage performance. Payments for the Visible service are made through PayPal or Venmo. Visible currently can only be used with iPhones models that have been unlocked.

Verizon added the Visible service as a way to keep subscribers under its company umbrella.

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Business Media Mobile NONE TECH_Technology

Apple’s CEO Cook Given pay cut as sales slump

Apple has just experienced its first sales drop in 15 years after the sales of iPhone took a downward trend. This, in turn, has led to the company’s CEO Tim Cook being handed a 15 percent pay cut.

The Company said that the sales of iPhones had gone down and revenues had dropped, citing that as the reason the company was forced to cut Cooks pay along with all its top executives. But looking at the figures, Cook will not have a reason to complain as he has still done extremely well.

The compensation package went from $10.3 million for the past year to $8.7 million for the fiscal year that ended in September.

According to the latest figures from the company, sales decreased by 8 percent to $216 billion, while the operating profit decreased by 16 percent to $60 Billion. The iPhone was responsible for the decline in all their products.

It was also the first time since 2001 that annual revenue dropped since Steve Jobs launched the musical player iPod. This then produced the iPhone and iPad. The iPhone changed the way we look at phones, and despite its high price and competition from other brands, it became a very sort of status symbol, defying all the odds.

Apple had anticipated a sales drop, but not a steep one like the one that occurred. There is still hope that sales could have rebounded over the holiday season, but we will find that out when the quarterly results, that include the festive season will be released in towards the end of this month.

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Business Mobile NONE TECH TECH_Technology

Artificial intelligence (AI) in phones set to change the mobile industry

In the past one year, artificial intelligence in phones has actually come of age.

Apple pioneered the technology in 2011 by incorporating this technology in its Apple Siri hit iPhones, and from that point on there has been no looking back. Now, more apps and more technological gadgets are increasingly using AI. In the future, AI will frequently take up roles of instructors and could also be used for teaching according to technology pundits.

And now, Samsung is rumored to launch its own virtual assistant that will come with the Galaxy S8 set to be launched in February 2017.

Sammobile which is a community of Samsung users, which shares news, reviews, as well as tutorials, has reported that AI will be used in all the apps that will come pre-loaded with the Galaxy S8.

Samsungs AI development got a significant boost when it bought Viv Labs which is an Artificial Intelligence software company that is based in the United States. Viv Labs are the same company that was behind Apple’s Siri technology. The new AI assistant in the Galaxy S8 will have a male voice called Bixby and a female voice, Kestra.

The Galaxy S8 will also try and have a more powerful and intelligent assistant that will take the place of the previously used S Voice and will also compete with Google’s and Apples Assistant and Siri respectively.

It will be equipped with a system-wide reach and an Application Program Interface(API), that will also accommodate third party developers.

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Media Mobile NONE TECH TECH_Technology

A hacker creates a way to steal all your passwords from your Chrome browser

Only weeks after Google’s Chrome was stated to be the biggest browser in the world a hacker has come forth and explained how easy it is to steal information of the browser.

The hacker explained that he used the auto fill sequence so popular with modern browsers. What he does is send a bait site to the unsuspecting hack victim.

These are often dummy sites that resemble popular well-rated websites. The victim will often use the auto fill option and send the details of the login to the hacker.

“A hack has been discovered in some modern web browsers that can use the “Autofill” feature to allow cyber thieves to view user names, emails and even passwords,” said David Snelling from Express UK.

But this technique has been used for a while now so what makes this new method different. The hacker explained that with his method Chrome doesn’t just send the details of that particular login. Instead, it sends all the save passwords and personal information.

The information includes CVV numbers, bank account information and every other piece of information saved in your browser.

This could be catastrophic if not looked into because many people today have all their bank and personal setting saved on Chrome.

The hacker explained that the worst part is that he did not need any specialized tool to carry our his malice just the chrome browser.

But it’s not just Chrome that is susceptible to this hacking. All the modern browsers that have the ability to auto-fill your information can suffer this.

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Business Mobile TECH

HTC layoff eliminates 1,500 employees

Smartphone maker HTC has announced a job reduction strategy scheduled for October, in which 1,500 employee layoffs will occur within the Taiwanese manufacturing division.

As the company eliminates roughly a quarter of its 6,450 global staff, HTC projects a bid to restore its profitability, as reported by Reuters.

In a statement, the company plans to reorganize and take advantage of efficiency savings as well as help cushion its non-existent bottom line.

Officials have pledged to work with the Bureau of Labor, supporting all of those affected.

“This plan will allow more effective and flexible resource management going forward,” the company told Reuters.

Reorganizations have become conventional within HTC, as the manufacturer attempts to leverage profits and stability from a previous shuffle earlier this year.

Shortly after the president of HTC’s mobile division resigned, the company decided to combine its VR and mobile divisions into one, resulting in minimal benefits.

Declining profits have continued to plague the company, which was once seen as a leader in the smartphone space. Since 2014, the company’s annual profits have trended downwards, with an unknown recovery projectors. HTC has affirmed its commitment to remaining in the mobile space amid strategy concerns.

The employee layoffs will officially occur in October 2018, as reported by Reuters.

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Mobile TECH

Apple releases iOS 12 public beta 1

Apple users can now download the iOS 12 public beta through Apple’s public beta website. The technology company has launched the beta version of iOS 12 prior to its scheduled September release, with efforts to make the iPhone and iPad experience faster and more responsive.

FaceTime now supports video and audio with up to 32 people at once. Video users can start Group FaceTime right from a group thread in Messages or join an active one at any time.

A new type of customizable Animoji is anticipated for iPhone X. Smartphone users can easily create a Memoji to match their personality and mood. Limitless alter egos can be created for Messages and FaceTime.

Apple has also integrated a new way to add personality to Messages and FaceTime right from the in-app camera. The beta version demonstrates how quickly creation and share features can be implemented involving a photo or video with Animoji, Memoji, cool filters, stickers, and animated text.

Most distinctly, the ARKit 2 enables developers to create more immersive augmented reality experiences, including the ability for simultaneous use among multiple people. AR objects can now be sent with Messages and Mail, then viewed in the real world. A new AR app in iOS called Measure helps users measure real-world objects simply through camera positioning.

Apple’s iOS12 enhancements improve performance on all supported devices, including the older model iPhone 5s and iPad Air. The Verge warns consumers about reserving the beta version to main devices, saying, “Do not to download it on your main device. Save it for a tester phone or iPad.

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Business Mobile TECH TECH_Technology TV

Netflix launches Android Smart Downloads feature

Streaming giant Netflix premieres a new Android feature which ensures users conveniently have playlists and favorite movies available on the go.

During the past two years of innovations, Netflix introduced download functions allowing users to watch specific content on mobile or tablet devices while offline.

In the interim, Netflix analyzed users’ download activity, with reports reflecting two or three episodes of a show at a time per user, rather than downloading the whole season.

Recent technology strategies demonstrate how Netflix has built a capability that takes care of it for you called Smart Downloads. When activated, the next time the mobile app connects to Wi-Fi it will automatically download the next available episode in the series and delete the one you just finished watching to free up space.

“We’ve done a lot of user research in markets worldwide, and the main observation is that usually people don’t download an entire season, but tend to download 2-3 episodes at a time. Then they’ll manually delete and download next episodes,” explained Cameron Johnson, Director of Product Innovation with Netflix.

Currently, the new Smart Downloads feature will remain available solely on Android-powered devices, with no recent reports of timeframes in which the feature will arrive for iPhones and iPads.

Last week, reports surfaced that the streaming giant was testing a higher-priced premium “Ultra” subscription in Europe offering 4K Ultra HD video with High Dynamic Range (HDR) quality and the ability to watch on four screens at the same time.

The news led to speculation that the company would reduce capabilities for certain subscription tiers and introduce a more expensive premium plan.

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HEALTH Mobile TECH_Technology

DARPA awards contract to develop an app that monitors soldiers’ health

DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) announced that it has awarded a $5.1 million contract to Kryptowire to develop an app that monitors the health of deployed U.S. Service Members, writes Aaron Gregg for The Washington Post. The “Warfighter Analytics using Smartphones for Health” program (WASH), would spot diseases based on data collected from a user’s smartphone.

The WASH development program began last year and runs through 2021, reports Gregg. The aim of the program is helping the military work through some of its healthcare issues, while conserving resources. According to the The Washington Post, the app will collect data from smartphone features including cameras, light sensors, fingerprint sensors, microphones and other sources. DARPA’s head of communications explained that “the program aims to develop algorithms that use raw data from smartphone sensors to enable continuous and real-time assessment” of service members’ health status in an effort to find latent or developing conditions and diseases.

Tom Karygiannis, Kryptowire’s vice president of product, believes that although this product’s initial purpose is for military use, it will one day be available to all consumers. “Ultimately, this could mean better treatment, cost savings and making treatment available to more people,” he said. Chris Shipley, managing partner of Ascent Line Partners (a market strategy consultancy) predicts that DARPA’s involvement could mean the technology will reach the commercial market relatively quickly.

“The fact that this is being deployed in a DARPA-funded application is going to be a great learning space for how they can be used in a consumer context,” he said.

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Business Mobile TECH TECH_Technology

Apple combines AI and Siri teams under Giannandrea

Apple has confirmed its combined Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning team will be led by former Google AI head, John Giannandrea,

Giannandrea’s 2018 new position with Apple stems from his tenure at Google, in which he led the Machine Intelligence, Research and Search teams. Additionally, he founded Metaweb Technologies, Tellme, and served as a senior engineer at General Magic, the legendary company founded by Apple team members in 1989.

Notably, the internal structures of the Siri and Core ML teams will remain the same, according to Apple reports.

The company’s internal structure will remain integrated across the organization as strategies disperse the teams to various projects, including developer tools, mapping, and Core OS.

As Artificial Intelligence remains central to Apple’s efforts and initiatives, Giannandrea demonstrates the ability to maintain the integration.

“The haphazard way that Siri has lurched forward has got to get smoothed out if Apple is going to make a huge play for improvements in the same way that it’s doing with Maps,” Matthew Panzarino notes from TechCrunch.

He adds, “I think at some point there was a realization that doing AI/ML heavy lifting with the additional load of maintaining user data privacy was enough to carry without having to also maintain several different stacks for its ML tools. Recent releases like Create ML are external representations of the work that Apple’s ML teams are doing internally, but that work is still too fragmented. Creating a new org sends a clear message that everyone should be on the same page about what masters they serve.”

In consideration of Maps, Apple will continue to build out its two-sided AI/ML teams that focus on general computation in the cloud and personalized, data-sensitive computation locally on devices. With more than 1 billion devices in use, Apple is in the process of building one of the largest edge computing AI networks.