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FIVE SMARTPHONES TO LOOK FORWARD TO

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If you’re planning to buy a new smartphone this year, but haven’t bought one yet it might be better to wait a bit longer: Apple, Samsung Electronics and OnePlus are all expected to launch new models in the next couple of months.

Here are some of the models you should see during the second half of the year:

OnePlus 2

While most of the products on this list (and their specs) are just rumors, Chinese smartphone maker OnePlus has been busy detailing its 2 model, which will be launched on July 27.

So far, OnePlus has revealed the phone will have a fingerprint sensor and be powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810. The company is using an upgraded version of the processor, v2.1, that isn’t susceptible to the overheating issues that the first version reportedly suffered from, it said.

OnePlus has also said the 2 will be the first high-end smartphone with a USB-C port, which is meant to be an all-in-one solution for power, video, and data delivery using a single cable with a reversible connector. There are already laptops that use the technology.

Some things OnePlus is still keeping some things under wraps, including what the 2 will look like and cost.

Fairphone 2

Just like OnePlus, Dutch company Fairphone has started to build some hype for its second product. The goal is to build a smartphone that won’t easily break and can be easily repaired.

Hardware specs include a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor and a 5-inch, Full HD screen. The camera has an 8-megapixel resolution and there is 32GB of storage that can be expanded using a microSD card. The LTE smartphone also has 2GB of RAM and two SIM slots. The operating system will be Android 5.1.

The Fairphone 2 will be available for pre-order before the end of August, and then ship during the following couple of months.

Samsung Galaxy Note 5

A new Galaxy Note model arriving during the second half of the year has become a bit of a tradition. A launch at the IFA trade show in the beginning of September looks likely. With the fifth version Samsung needs to step up its game if it wants to compete more successfully with Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus, the upgrade of which before the end of the year is also a forgone conclusion.

Anticipated improvements include a new design that follows in the footsteps of the Galaxy S6. The Note 4 was with its metal frame and plastic back was a step in the right direction. But the metal frame and glass back on the S6 looks classier Another reported upgrade is a screen that’s slightly larger than the Note 4’s 5.7-inch display, with a 2K or 4K resolution.

LG G4 Pro

Launching a high-end smartphone during the second half of the year would be a departure for LG. That strategy has worked well for Samsung with the Galaxy Note family, so LG might want to emulate that to boost sales instead of just relying on dropping the price tag of the G4.

The G4 Pro is rumored to have some really impressive specs, including a 5.8-inch, 1440 by 2560 pixel screen, a 27-megapixel main camera, 4GB of RAM and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 processor.

Most of the parts to build a phone with those specs are shouldn’t cause LG much of a problem. The big question mark is whether the Snapdragon 820 will be ready for use in a smartphone before the end of the year. LG was the first to announce smartphones powered by the Snapdragon 808 and the 810, so the company is a likely candidate to be among the first to get its hands on the new model.

Apple iPhone 6s and 6s Plus

The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus with its bigger screens have been unmitigated successes. The challenge for the company this year will be to come up with upgrades to continue to build on that success.

Cameras are one aspect the company is expected to focus on with the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. Upgrading the current 1.2-megapixel front camera makes a lot of sense since competing products launched this year have at least 5-megapixel cameras. To what extent an upgrade of the main camera to a reported 12-megapixel resolution will result in better image quality remains to be seen. The new models are anticipated to have a faster processor, more RAM and a speedier LTE connection.

source:http://www.pcworld.com/article/2944292/five-smartphones-to-look-forward-to.html

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Industry

THE FINTECH REVOLUTION IN INSURANCE

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Advancing technology has collided with longstanding customer issues to create a series of deep, lasting, systemic challenges for insurance. How will these trends impact insurers’ businesses and the industry overall?

The rise of fintech, changing consumer behavior, and advanced technologies are disrupting the insurance industry. Additionally, Insurtechs and technology startups continue to redefine customer experience through innovations such as risk-free underwriting, on-the-spot purchasing, activation, and claims processing.

The report from Deloitte Global examines forces that are disrupting the insurance industry and presents four possible scenarios for the future. We explore:

  • Changing the channel: Partnerships with product makers and distributors, and embedding insurance into other products and services may enable customers to select products that best fit their lifestyle.
  • Underwriting by machine: Technology advancements including AI innovations and algorithms will likely individualize risk selection and pricing, and customers can select products based on a wider range of price points.
  • Rise of the flexible product: Time-flexible, event-driven, modular and adjustable coverage may evolve to accommodate life stage, lifestyle, and wellness changes among consumers.
  • E-Z life insurance: Given the growth and shopping patterns in emerging markets, insurers who introduce flexible term products, and master digital distribution without compromising underwriting are likely to win in the marketplace.

Read the report to understand what the future holds for the insurance industry.

Key Contact

Neal Baumann

Neal Baumann

Global Insurance Leader

Neal leads Deloitte’s Global Insurance practice and is the US insurance consulting leader. He has 20 years of experience advising financial services and insurance company clients on corporate and comp… More

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Business

EUROPEAN INVESTMENT BANK RUNS BLOCKCHAIN HACKATHON

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A team from EY triumphed in a 48-hour European Investment Bank (EIB) hackathon designed to find ways to use blockchain technologies to redesign the transaction processing of commercial paper.

The EIB brought together 56 coders from 15 countries in 12 teams for the hackathon, run alongside the bank’s annual forum dedicated to treasury issues.

While the conference was running, the coders were locked in an adjacent room, trying to prove that blockchain tech can improve the transaction process of commercial paper – a short-term financing instrument that is used worldwide in treasury operations and still relies on an ‘archaic’ and complex process.

In the pitching session, the EY team won the contest with an effort that taps a combination of blockchain, robotics and business AI tools to optimise the issuance process and reduce the number of exchanges between the EIB and its counterparties while maintaining each one’s role within the ecosystem.

The EY team won a EUR5000 cash prize and a contract with the EIB to further develop its solution into a proof of concept.

Alexander Stubb, vice president, EIB, say: “There will be major gains from the use of new technologies such as blockchain, generated from the simplification and streamlining of existing financial processes. The new perspectives opened up by digitalisation and Distributed Ledger Technology must be assessed and we must all be ready to make use of them and embark on this new venture.

“As the EU’s financial arm, we decided to be on the active side, learn by experience and make things happen, to be a facilitator and join with our banking partners to pave the way for tomorrow’s financial industry.”

Separately, Barclays is planning a hackathon that will see coders use blockchain technology for post-trade processing of derivatives contracts. The event will take place over two days in September in London and New York, according to Coindesk.

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Industry

GOOGLE NEVER REALLY LEFT CHINA: A LOOK AT THE CHINESE WEBSITE GOOGLE’S BEEN QUIETLY RUNNING

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More information is leaking out about just how Google is planning to re-enter the Chinese market with a mobile search engine application that complies to the country’s censorship laws.

The Intercept first broke this story when a whistleblower provided them documentation detailing the secret censored search project (codenamed Dragonfly). According to them, an overlooked Google acquisition from 2008 — 265.com — has been quietly laying down the foundation for the endeavor.

In order to run a business in China, tech companies are required to obtain a Internet Content Provider license from the Chinese government. As it’s difficult for foreign businesses to obtain this license, Google has long partnered with Chinese IT company Ganji.com. Back in the early years of Google.cn, Google actually operated directly off of Ganji.com’s license, even claiming the Chinese company was temporarily running its search engine. Facing intense scrutiny from the Chinese government and the media over this license arrangement, in 2007 Google formed a legitimate joint venture company with Ganji.com — the Beijing Guxiang Information and Technology Co.

Because of the necessity of that license, Google has maintained that joint venture and has been operating in China under the name Beijing Guxiang Information and Technology Co. ever since. Even after the shut down of Google.cn, Google’s Chinese advertising enterprise has been operating under the joint venture company as well as, low and behold, 265.com. A whois search of the 265.com domain name, which provides a record of the current domain registrant information, pulls up Beijing Guxiang Information and Technology Co. as the registrant organization.

A significant number of Google employees are reportedly none too happy about Google’s project complying with Chinese censorship laws. This most recent news, that the company has long been collecting data for a moment just like this, surely won’t make morale among these workers any better.

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