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Samsung and Apple’s war for the best high-end smartphone is leading to ridiculous prices



Samsung kicked off its “Galaxy Unpacked” event in San Francisco on Tuesday with a slick promo video introducing its new folding smartphone, the Galaxy Z Flip. Rebecca Hirst, Samsung’s UK head of marketing, took the stage to tout the phone as being “like nothing you’ve ever experienced before.”It all seemed to be going so well as she talked through the phone’s specs and features. Then came the price reveal: $1,380.”That’s kind of a mixed response,” Hirst said to scattered applause.It wasn’t even the most expensive smartphone Samsung unveiled that day. The top-of-the-line version of its new flagship, the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, starts at $1,399. If you get a 512 GB version, the price ticks up to $1,599.99.The Samsung event highlights the new normal for the smartphone industry. In 2017, Apple shocked the world by charging $999 for the iPhone X. Many outlets questioned whether consumers would ever pay that much for a phone. Now, as Apple and Samsung compete for the high-end market, there are a growing number of smartphones that cost well over $1,000.Two of Apple’s newest smartphones, the iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max, start at $999 and $1099, respectively. The latter can cost as much as $1,449. And you can’t get any of Samsung’s newest phones for less than that once unthinkable price tag of $999.Even Motorola is charging $1,500 for a smartphone reboot of its Razr flip phone that comes with a plastic screen, a small battery and a fairly average camera by today’s standards. But that didn’t stop enthusiastic (and maybe nostalgic) customers from lining up. Motorola had to push the new Razr’s launch date because of high demand.Samsung’s Galaxy S20 lineup packs better cameras, battery life and built-in 5GContrary to what some may have assumed two years ago, smartphone users appear more than willing to shell out four figures on what may well be considered luxury products.”Consumer preference has been going towards going more high-end in general,” Maurice Klaehne, an analyst at Counterpoint Research, told CNN Business.Klaehne says the high price points of recent devices are dictated partly by the fact that customers are holding onto their smartphones for months — or even years — longer than they used to before upgrading.”Apple and Samsung, in particular, were seeing the market kind of peak in terms of how many phones are being bought year over year,” he said. “So they’re looking for ways to maximize their profit.”Newer technologies like folding displays and 5G, both of which Samsung is leaning heavily on with its latest lineup, also make it easier to justify charging more — at least for now, Klaehne said.Samsung takes second crack at a foldable smartphone with Galaxy Z FlipSamsung is counting on its head start in 5G, the next generation mobile technology that allows users to download a movie in seconds, to pull in customers. With the new Galaxy S20 series, the company now has eight 5G-enabled phones on the market. The Galaxy S20+ and S20 Ultra are even equipped with a higher-bandwidth millimeter wave 5G, requiring them to have an extra antenna that drives up the manufacturing cost further. (Apple’s first 5G iPhone isn’t expected to come out until later this year.)But as these newer technologies become more common the cost could eventually drop.Indeed, as pricey as the Galaxy Z Flip may be, it actually started around 30% cheaper than last year’s $1,980 Galaxy Fold, Samsung’s first foray into folding smartphones that was delayed for months because of defective displays.


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Tech News

Mercedes engineers help deliver pandemic crisis device in under 100 hours




Mercedes has played a pivotal role in helping to produce a key device in the battle against the coronavirus.

The team’s High Performance Powertrains [HPP] department, in conjunction with mechanical engineers at University College London [UCL] and clinicians at University College London Hospitals [UCLH], have developed a breathing aid that can help keep Covid-19 patients out of intensive care.00:2200:59

Known as Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), the device has been used extensively in hospitals in Italy and China to help coronavirus patients with serious lung infections to breathe more easily, when oxygen alone is insufficient.

The first breathing aid was produced in under 100 hours following an initial meeting. One hundred devices are to be delivered to UCLH for clinical trials, followed by the delivery of thousands in a rapid roll-out to hospitals around the country ahead of the predicted surge in Covid-19 hospital admissions.

Professor Tim Baker, of UCL Mechanical Engineering, said: “Given the urgent need, we are thankful that we were able to reduce a process that could take years down to a matter of days.

“From being given the brief, we worked all hours of the day, disassembling and analysing an off-patent device. Using computer simulations, we improved the device further to create a state-of-the-art version suited to mass production.

“We were privileged to be able to call on the capability of Formula One – a collaboration made possible by the close links between UCL Mechanical Engineering and HPP.”

Mercedes’ assistance is part of ‘Project Pitlane’, a collaboration between seven UK teams – Red Bull, Racing PointHaas, Mercedes, McLarenRenault and Williams – who have answered the call of the UK government for assistance in the development and manufacture of ventilators.

HPP managing director Andy Cowell said: “The Formula One community has shown an impressive response to the call for support, coming together in the ‘Project Pitlane’ collective to support the national need at this time across a number of different projects.

“We have been proud to put our resources at the service of UCL to deliver the CPAP project to the highest standards and in the fastest possible timeframe.”


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Microsoft Bows to Pressure, Ends External Investment into Facial Recognition Startups Due to Limited Control




Computer software and hardware company, Microsoft has decided to suspend minority investment into startups developing facial recognition technology. This suspension comes after the tech giants, under heavy pressure, backed out of AnyVision, its last portfolio company developing facial recognition.

AnyVision is an Israeli startup. According to an audit initiated by Microsoft’s venture arm, M12 and carried out by former US Attorney-General, Eric Holder and an international law firm, Covington and Burling LLP, AnyVision’s facial recognition technology was being used by the Israeli government in surveillance of Palestinians along the West Bank.

While AnyVision wasn’t implicated by the report for powering a mass surveillance programme in the West Bank and as such does not contravene the pledge the startup signed with M12, pressure was however mounting from both Palestinian, Jewish and American authorities to drop the startup.

Bowing to pressure after seeing the ultimate need to do so, Microsoft decided to cut ties with, not just AnyVision, but all minority investments developing sensitive tech.

By making a global change to its investment policies to end minority investments in companies that sell facial recognition technology, Microsoft’s focus has shifted to commercial relationships that afford Microsoft greater oversight and control over the use of sensitive technologies.M12 said in a release

Regulating the application of Facial Recognition

The issue of regulations and policies surrounding facial recognition and other sensitive technology has been one which big tech companies like Microsoft have been unable to resolve with government and its agencies. And Microsoft has always been at the forefront in the fight to make solid regulations guiding the use of these technologies.

Microsoft Ends External Investment in Facial Recognition Starups Worldwide
Brad Smith

As far back as 2018, Microsoft president, Brad Smith had been calling on the US government to make clear and solid regulations to govern the use of these sensitive technologies. When his appeals seemed to fall on deaf ears, the president, alongside his board, decided to create their own regulations, tagging them ‘principles’.

“We and other tech companies need to start creating safeguards to address facial recognition technology,” Mr Smith said. “After substantial discussion and review, we have decided to adopt six principles to manage these issues at Microsoft. We are sharing these principles now, with a commitment and plans to implement them by the end of the first quarter in 2019.”

These six Microsoft principles guiding its application, use and by extension, investment in facial recognition technology are: fairness, transparency, accountability, non-discrimination, notice and consent, and lawful surveillance.

Difficulty controlling minority investments

With its six principles laid out, Microsoft could control, not only how it deploys its own facial recognition technologies, but also how its portfolio companies developing the technology deploys it.

The problem, however, is controlling companies where it only has minority stakes or investments is not feasible. Thus, while it would share in the blame when such companies default, it couldn’t really do much to make them conform to its principles.

Access Bank's Revolutionary Face Payment Technology May Hit the Market Soon

Thus for the purpose of its image the sensible thing to do would be to walk away. Which is exactly what the company is doing.

“For Microsoft, the audit process reinforced the challenges of being a minority investor in a company that sells sensitive technology, since such investments do not generally allow for the level of oversight or control that Microsoft exercises over the use of its own technology,” Microsoft said in its statement.

Facial recognition technology is one of those areas in tech considered as delicate. This is because of its close association with personal information and tracking which could easily violate the laws of privacy, enables stalking and even espionage.

Since its establishment in 2016, Microsoft’s ventures arm, M12 has been involved in 353 funding rounds and investing nearly $5 billion into its portfolio companies.


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Sports Fans Get Ready as Wizkid Gives Away TECNO Camon 15 During Online Launch




It is getting closer and closer to the TECNO CAMON 15 series online launch day, and more information has been leaked.

Many subscribers have even received a phone invitation from Wizkid himself! We heard that Wizkid will attend the unprecedented online launch, and there will be surprise gifts offered by Wizkid.

Sound exciting?

There are numerous reasons that you should check out the CAMON 15 online launch–here are four of the most compelling ones!

It’s the first-ever smartphone online launch in Africa

History is being made! The online launch of a smartphone is unprecedented in Africa, and TECNO proudly presents its new smartphone CAMON 15 as a pioneer in the industry.

It’s not only an excellent opportunity for TECNO to communicate with the audience directly, but it also means that the Internet in Africa is coming to a new phase. It is a great pleasure and honour to see the latest technological progress in the 2020s.

Music fans–Wizkid will be there waiting for you

One of the most popular idols from Nigeria, whose music has accumulated over 128 million views on YouTube, the talented singer and songwriter Wizkid is also a fan of TECNO smartphones!

Wizkid will apparently be present at the online launch and will be giving away gifts to some lucky viewers. Are you wondering about the collaboration between Wizkid and the TECNO CAMON 15? We will learn more soon!

During the launch event, TECNO will introduce the new technology featured on its phone

As a high-tech company, TECNO strives to constantly lead the frontier of the smartphone industry. Featured the top-quality camera on the market in CAMON 15, the company utilized the latest technology innovations such as a SONY chip 64 megapixels, and TAIVOS™ (TECNO AI Vision Optimization) in their product to increase the camera’s performance.

The CAMON 15 specializes in night-time photography; the strong computational support reduces the noise in the image in low light environments, increasing the photo quality significantly.

The SONY camera is also able to detect minute details from 30 meters away, it enhances the image definition and keeps a refined vision even after zooming in for 8 times.

No matter whether you are a technology geek or have a casual interest in smartphone technology, you will learn a lot from the online launch because TECNO will give you a full presentation on their newest and most cutting-edge technology.

You will have access to all the information you need before you buy your next smartphone

Think about buying a new smartphone but are overwhelmed by the many choices on the market? Find it hard to decide? We understand your struggle. In order to make good purchasing decisions, you need to make informed purchasing decisions, and that’s part of why watching the online launch will be so interesting for you! Simply stay at home and watch it on Channels Television and Startimes Zone, it is so easy to make it! The more information you get, the more you understand the product and what to expect from it. You will also get to understand CAMON 15 in every regard. Don’t miss the chance to make a smart choice!

TECNO has made a truly big move this time.


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