Moto Smartphones to Get Amazon Alexa Voice Assistant Support Later This Year

It seems like the battle for digital assistants is about to get intense as Amazon and Lenovo will be bringing former’s voice-based digital assistant Alexa to latter’s Moto smartphones later this year. An Alexa Moto Mod for Moto Z smartphones is also in development. Considering that Lenovo just launched its Moto G5 and G5 Plus smartphones at MWC 2017 with support for Google Assistant, it will be interesting to see which assistant will be preferred by the company (and by users) for its upcoming flagship smartphones.

Moto Smartphones to Get Amazon Alexa Voice Assistant Support Later This Year

The integration of Amazon Alexa with Moto smartphones that’s due later this year, would ensure that users will not have to use any physical or on-screen buttons to unlock their device and activate the digital assistant as it is in always-listening mode.

Amazon Alexa, which already features in its voice-activated Echo and Dot speakers, will now also be making its way to Moto Z smartphones later this year first in the form of a Moto Mod accessory. “With our Amazon Alexa Moto Mod, you can easily perform everyday tasks while on the go, like controlling your smart home, checking the news, requesting a ride from services like Uber, and more – using just your voice,” the company said in its blog post. Notably, the company has not provided any specific details about the Moto Mod that would provide Alexa support to Moto Z smartphone.

The company in its blog also reveals that other new Moto Mods are coming – including a Moto Power Pack that automatically charges the smartphone and will be available from March at $49 and EUR 49. Other new Moto Mods we can expect, according to the company, are a wireless charging Mod, a Gamepad Moto Mod, a Turbo Power Moto Mod, and a charging adaptor.

As Lenovo has also introduced Google Assistant, previously available just for Pixel smartphones, to its Moto G5 and Moto G5 Plus devices, it will be interesting to see if it will integrate Alexa to its future flagships or stick with Google Assistant. Google also announced that all devices running Android 6.0 or higher will soon get Google Assistant support.

Apart from the Alexa support, Lenovo also announced its Moto Power Pack mod that provides users with 50 percent more battery juice. “We’ll also be launching additional power-focused Moto Mods including a wireless charging Moto Mod, a Turbo Power Moto Mod and a charging adaptor,” the company said. The company also plans to launch a Gamepad Moto Mod and says that this is just the beginning of the partnership between Alexa and Motorola.

Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa are being seen as direct rivals and as Google entered Amazon’s territory with its Home speakers, it seems only fair that Amazon is now entering the space currently dominated by the search giant. We have will have to wait and see how the partnerships between the companies evolve in the upcoming months.

HP Pro x2 612 G2 Rugged 2-in-1 Business Laptop Launched at MWC 2017

Targeting today’s mobile professionals who want a stylish device that is easy to use, HP Inc on Sunday announced a dynamic new commercial 2-in-1 detachable laptop at Mobile World Congress 2017 in Barcelona. The HP Pro x2 612 G2 is available from Sunday in the US, priced starting $979 (roughly Rs. 65,000).

HP Pro x2 612 G2 Rugged 2-in-1 Business Laptop Launched at MWC 2017

The new HP Pro x2 612 G2 is a versatile 2-in-1 detachable laptop, featuring multiple modes ideal for commercial use, including presentation mode, inking mode for taking notes, tablet mode for data collection, and notebook mode. It comes with the HP Active Wacom Pen stylus with the ‘App Launch’ feature, apart from a 165-degree kickstand. The biggest update the HP Pro x2 612 G2 brings over its predecessor, the HP Pro x2 612, is that it features MIL-STD 810G certification for durability, making it ideal to take out in the field.

“Today, more than 60 percent of Millennials work from more than one location and by 2020 they will be a majority of the workforce. They want sexy mobile devices that meet their on-the-go work styles and IT needs these devices to be manageable, serviceable and secure,” said Michael Park, Vice President and General Manager, Mobility, Personal Systems, HP Inc.

The HP Pro x2 612 G2 can be configured with a choice of the latest seventh generation Intel processors, providing reliable performance to meet a variety of end-user-needs. The Pro x2 includes a USB Type-C connection for quick charging and data transfers and USB Type-A for accessing traditional legacy peripherals. The device was built from the ground up for secure work environments and includes a built-in smart card reader, a removable SSD, and the HP Client Security Suite Gen3, along with an optional fingerprint sensor and optional Near Field Communications (NFC), HP said.

HP also announced a range of new vertical workflow accessories for the company’s x2 lineup and Elite x3 platform. These accessories are designed with versatility in mind, helping mobile professionals be productive and remain connected whether they are in the office or on the go, HP said.

Three Technology-Based Techniques That Can Keep Your Company Growing

Technology is a wonderful thing. One of the great things about it is that it can be used to keep your organization growing. Unfortunately, not every business owner has tapped into the power of using technology-based techniques to optimize conversion, improve daily operations, and accomplish other company-optimizing objectives. But you should. Below you will find just three of many technology-based techniques you should deploy to keep your organization on the road to growth:

Image result for Three Technology-Based Techniques That Can Keep Your Company Growing

  1. Update Your PVD Technology.

If your organization makes use of vacuum coating products and services, it’s probably time to update your technology. Companies like Vergason Technology, Inc. are pleased to offer clients a wide range of technologically advanced goods and services that will keep your equipment in optimal condition. When you start thinking about which company to obtain your technology from, make sure that you do background research to determine which organization has the most industry experience, a good reputation, and a proven track record.

  1. Utilize Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software.

In addition to updating your company’s PVD products and services, it’s important for you to utilize CRM software. This software is important because it will empower you to organize and optimize your lead generation processes. Another great benefit of CRM technology is that it enables you to record each of your interactions with your current clients. Once this happens, you’ll be able to make more informed decisions regarding which products to market to them and when. When you start looking for the right retailer from which to purchase your CRM software, make sure that you select a company that consistently receives positive online reviews.

  1. Hire An Online Advertising Firm.

While many business owners know that advertising is an important, inalienable aspect of the brand-building process, not all of them have tapped into the power of online advertising. This form of advertising is immensely important because it helps you reach members of your target market who were not already exposed to your brand through traditional modes of marketing such as radio ads and television commercials. Some of the services that an online advertising firm might offer you include:

  • online reputation management
  • social media optimization
  • web design and development
  • responsive web design
  • content marketing
  • search engine optimization

Don’t Delay: Put Your Company On The Path To Growth Today!

Technology can help your organization grow in numerous ways. Start implementing some or all of the tech-based strategies outlined above to keep your business moving forward in a great way!

Google Home or Amazon Echo may replace your landline soon

After smartphones ousted landlines, their usage is seen diminishing with time, but some companies which have their focus on home speakers might soon change this. According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, Google and Amazon are already considering to add the ability to make and receive voice calls to companies’ through Home and Echo devices respectively.

Domotics gearing up

Companies are already planning to equip technologies in smart home products that would allow users to control lights and other smart appliances, stream music and order groceries online. Seems like in future a single home product would control the entire home? Isn’t it?

Also, the other great thing is that these speakers will help you to charge your phone easy, while your phone sits on charging mode.

Will this work?

However the main question is how would the companies integrate call services through the speakers, nowadays calling services through speakers are provided via Bluetooth. Also, dedicated Voice over IP applications like Hangouts and Duo would require time to provide the application.

But for Amazon, the prospect of pulling off the ‘new call-speakers technology’ is bleak at the moment, as the company has just launched a new app for video conferencing. Reportedly, it is considering multiple approach to this problem, including merging users’ contact information from their paired phone, integrating third-party apps like Skype and perhaps giving your Echo its own number.

For now, we can’t predict what will happen but the thought of having your phone aside on charging while you’re talking to someone through your smart home device seems interesting for the moment. The only concern is how good will it be.

Really Blue Google Pixel release date confirmed for February 24

Google made a big deal about the trio of colours it was offering its new Pixel smartphones in at launch back in October 2016, but the ‘exclusive’ Really Blue finish didn’t arrive in the UK… until now.

The search giant has confirmed that the Really Blue Google Pixel and Google Pixel XL will be available to pre-order from February 17, with stock arriving in stores and online from February 24.

This colour variant will only be available from EE and Carphone Warehouse, and it’s a limited edition colour so it’s strictly “available until stocks last.”

How much?

In terms of pricing, at EE you can get a free (upfront) 32GB Really Blue Google Pixel for £45.99 per  month with unlimited minutes and texts and 7GB of mobile data.

Meanwhile, the 32GB Google Pixel XL in Really Blue is £50.99 per month with the same allowances, and again is free upfront

Both of these deals include a free Daydream VR Headset and 10 BAFTA winning movies.

Carphone Warehouse is yet to reveal its pricing, but the black Google Pixel is currently listed at £599.99 SIM-free, while the XL is an eye-watering £719.99.

AT&T plans a national IoT network with LTE-M by midyear

AT&T is accelerating its rollout of LTE-M, an IoT network that’s already being used to track shipping containers and pallets, monitor water use, and connect fleets to the internet.Sign at AT&T's flagship San Francisco store

The carrier said Tuesday it will have nationwide LTE-M coverage in the U.S. by the middle of this year, six months ahead of schedule. Previously, AT&T had said LTE-M would cover the U.S. by year’s end.

That means everywhere in the country that AT&T has an LTE network, it will also offer LTE-M. By the end of the year, it will have LTE-M across Mexico too, creating a broad coverage area for businesses that operate on both sides of the border.

LTE-M is one of several LPWANs (low-power, wide-area networks) that are emerging to link sensors and other devices to the internet of things. It’s not as fast as the LTE that smartphones use, but it’s designed to allow for longer battery life, lower cost, smaller parts, and better coverage. LTE-M has a top speed of around 1Mbps (bits per second) upstream and downstream and a range of up to 100 kilometers (62 miles), including better penetration through walls.

AT&T is part of a wave of mobile operators considering or rolling out LTE-M. Others include Orange in France and SoftBank in Japan. AT&T launched its first commercial trial of LTE-M last October in San Ramon, California, and has since opened another in Columbus, Ohio.

Several companies are already using the network for enterprise and consumer applications, AT&T said. They include Capstone Metering, a supplier of wireless water meters; RM2, which makes storage pallets with sensors for monitoring inventory; and PepsiCo, which is using LTE-M to collect usage data from soda fountains. Consumers can dispense their own blends of soda from these fountains, and PepsiCo uses sensors to keep the fountains stocked and learn what blends are popular.

There are already several emerging LPWAN systems from mobile operators and other service providers. The growing LoRaWAN, Sigfox and Ingenu technologies come from outside the traditional mobile industry.

LTE-M and another technology, NB-IoT, are based on LTE and are designed to run over carriers’ licensed spectrum. They may be the best options for enterprises concerned about interference and security, Ovum analyst Daryl Schoolar said.

Though alternative LPWAN providers got a head start as these LTE-based standards were developed, mobile operators can roll out the LTE technologies quickly because they often require nothing more than a software upgrade.

Doubts abound over US action on cybersecurity

How should the U.S. respond to cyber attacks? That’s been a major question at this year’s RSA security conference, following Russia’s suspected attempt to influence last year’s election.p1170191 1

Clearly, the government should be doing more on cybersecurity, said U.S. lawmakers and officials at the show, but they admit that politics and policy conflicts have hampered the government’s approach.

“I wish the federal government could do this, but it’s very hard, unfortunately, due to partisan politics,” said Virginia State Governor Terry McAuliffe, during a speech at the show. “They haven’t been able to take the lead on this issue as they should have.”

Instead, it might be up to the states to assume a larger role in promoting cybersecurity, given that divisive U.S. politics at the federal level have been stalling government action, McAuliffe said on Tuesday.

RSA conference 2017
The RSA conference 2017.

Collectively, state governments store more data than the federal government, including residents’ tax returns, healthcare records and drivers’ licenses, he said. That can make them targets of hackers, so McAuliffe has been urging other states to make cybersecurity a priority.

“It’s up to the governors of this country to lean in and take the lead,” he said.

At the RSA show, U.S. Representative Michael McCaul also spoke and said the U.S. is falling behind on cybersecurity, pointing to the numerous hacks from state-sponsored hackers. “We are in the fight of our digital lives and we are not winning,” he said.

McCaul, who also chairs the House committee on Homeland Security, said Russia’s suspected involvement in influencing last year’s election was a “wake up call.” But he was disappointed with the responses from the  administration of President Barack Obama and Donald Trump, then a presidential candidate,  to the Kremlin’s alleged meddling.

“If there are no consequences for bad behavior, the bad behavior will continue,” he said. “Unfortunately, we still do not have a clear proportionate response, policies for striking back.”

However, actually coming up with a U.S. doctrine on stopping serious cyber attacks is easier said than done.

“One of the big questions out there is what is an act of war in cyberspace?” said Daniel Lerner, a staff member at the U.S. Senate committee on Armed Services, who also spoke at the show.

Currently, the U.S. treats every serious cyberattack on a case-by-case basis, which does little to dissuade the state-sponsored hackers from attacking in the first place, he said.

“That’s no way to project deterrence. And it really undermines our overall security posture, if every instance is a crisis,” Lerner said.

It doesn’t help that trying to accurately prove a foreign country was behind a cyberattack can be incredibly hard and might involve sensitive intelligence.

For instance, U.S. intelligence agencies have declined to share publicly classified evidence showing why they suspect Russia was behind last year’s election-related hacks. In addition, the Kremlin has denied any involvement.

Nevertheless, more officials in the U.S. government want to see the country take action in the event of another cyberattack, said Brendan Shields, staff director at the House committee of Homeland Security.

“The fuse is getting shorter and shorter,” he said at a panel discussion at RSA. “I think there is a growing desire for making sure deterrence is real.”

Virginia state governor Terry McAuliffe (left) speaking at the RSA conference.

However, going after state-sponsored hackers is only one aspect of the problem. Much more of it has to do with defense, and protecting users from hacking threats that are coming over consumer-made products or websites.

It’s an area where the private sector also needs to play a crucial role, given that IT vendors have most of the cybersecurity talent, said the Virginia governor.

“We need your ideas. We need the private sector,” McAuliffe said. “We at the state government cannot drive this. The federal government cannot drive this.”

India launches 88 Earth imaging satellites from Planet Labs

India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C37) has launched into space 88 satellites from Earth imaging company Planet Labs, giving the startup the ability to “image all of Earth’s landmass every day.”

Planet Labs earlier this month entered into an agreement to acquire Google’s Terra Bella business, including the SkySat constellation of satellites, and said that Google upon closing will enter into a multi-year contract to purchase Earth-imaging data from Planet.

The startup expects its data to be useful for a variety of applications such as measuring agricultural yields, monitoring natural resources, or aiding first responders after natural disasters.

The launch of the PSLV-37 on Wednesday morning local time was a record for India’s space program as it carried 104 satellites into orbit, the largest number so far on a single launch.  Launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota in south India, the PSLV-C37 launched its primary payload, the 714 kilograms Cartosat-2 series satellite for Earth observation, and 103 co-passenger satellites that weighed about 663 kg at lift-off into a 505 kilometer polar Sun Synchronous Orbit.

A Sun Synchronous Orbit ensures that a satellite passes over a section of the planet’s surface at the same local time each day.

Planet Lab’s Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer Robbie Schingler said that as a result of the PSLV launch, the company now has 144 satellites in orbit.

Besides miniaturizing its Dove satellites and learning to build them at scale, the company has “constructed the world’s second largest private network of ground stations; custom built an automated mission control system; created a massive data pipeline able to process the vast amount of imagery we collect; and developed a software platform that lets customers, researchers, governments and NGOs access imagery quickly,” Schingler wrote in a postsoon after the launch.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said Wednesday that besides the Cartosat-2 series satellite, the PSLV-37 carried 101 co-passenger satellites, consisting of smaller nano-satellites, including one each from Kazakhstan, Israel, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates and 96 from the U.S., besides two nano-satellites from ISRO.

The ISRO nano-satellites are modular units weighing less than 10 kg and with payloads of up to 5 kg. They are designed to travel into orbit as co-passenger satellites to accompany larger satellites on PSLV. Besides satellites from Planet, the PSLV also launched eight satellites from remote tracking company Spire.

Apple’s iPhone seizes the smartphone sales crown from Samsung

Apple has overtaken Samsung Electronics in smartphone sales for the first time in two years—but don’t count on it staying ahead for long.iphone 7 lightning port

Samsung sold 76.8 million smartphones in the fourth quarter, giving it a market share of 17.8 percent, but it was just beaten by Apple, which sold 77 million iPhones for a 17.9 percent share, according to figures from Gartner.

The fourth quarter is usually a strong one for Apple, boosted by holiday sales of the new generation of iPhones it releases each September, said Anshul Gupta, a research director at Gartner.

For Samsung, though, 2016 ended particularly badly, dominated by the fiasco around the recall of its incendiary Galaxy Note7.

Super-phones like the Note7 could have accounted for 10 to 15 percent of Samsung’s smartphone sales in the period before its recall, said Gupta, but Samsung lost more than that: There was also the damage to its brand.

It could bounce back sooner rather than later, though, as it has a new flagship phone coming out at the end of March.

Apple, meanwhile, is expected to wait until September before unveiling new iPhones. This year will mark the iPhone’s 10th anniversary, and the next model is widely expected to be something special, so Apple fans may delay replacing phones until then, said Gupta. That would leave the way clear for Samsung to move back into the lead from this quarter.

That pattern showed up last year too: Although it dominated the fourth quarter, Apple was a distant second over the full year, with market share of just 14.4 percent over the year, far behind Samsung’s 20.5 percent, and the situation was similar the previous year.

While the giants slug it out, a more interesting battle is going on just beneath them, as the next three companies in the fourth-quarter smartphone rankings are all Chinese.

Huawei Technologies is in third place with a worldwide smartphone market share of 9.5 percent, with fourth and fifth taken by Oppo (6.2 percent) and BBK Communication Equipment (5.6 percent), two companies that many consider to be part of the same conglomerate.

Gartner treats them separately because, whatever their shareholding structure, they operate independently, each with their own product team, Gupta said.

BBK, almost unknown in the West, is now the number one smartphone brand in China, he said. A year ago, though, that honor went to Oppo, and the year before that, Huawei. Previous years saw the Chinese market topped by Xiaomi and Samsung.

These Chinese companies have pushed Apple and Samsung aside in their home market, and are expanding across South Asia.

“Even in their current expansion, Oppo is not focusing just on emerging markets, but also on developed markets like Australia,” said Gupta, so we may soon see them climbing up the rankings in Europe and the U.S too.

The key ingredients for that are already in their products, he said. “Oppo and BBK make great phones in terms of feature set. They have integrated high-end features like dual cameras and fast charge.”

IBM’s hub for wearables could shorten your hospital stay

Researchers at IBM have developed a hub for wearables that can gather information from multiple wearable devices and share it with a doctor, potentially cutting down on the time patients need to spend in a hospital.img 0514

The gadget, which IBM has dubbed a ‘cognitive hypervisor,’ funnels data from devices such as smart watches and fitness bands into the IBM Cloud. There, it’s analyzed and the results are shared with the user and their doctor.

The idea is that patients can be monitored reliably through the device so they can be sent home to recover from illnesses a day or two earlier than they might otherwise have been allowed. It also means that should a problem develop, a doctor can be alerted immediately and an ambulance dispatched if it’s serious enough.

IBM demonstrated a prototype of the device in San Francisco on Tuesday.

“I am Chiyo, your new companion. During this time, please touch me to start,” it said after powering up. “Every time you touch me, I will tell you about your status.”

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IBM’s Chiyo health device as seen during a demonstration in San Francisco on February 14, 2017.

Fed with simulated data, the prototype alerted to a low blood oxygen level and a high temperature after it was tapped.

The device will react to voice commands and interact through a text-to-speech engine. One of the jobs facing researchers is to make the digital speech more realistic and more conversational.

Doing that will encourage users to interact with the device, said Rahel Strässle, a researcher working on the technology at IBM Research in Switzerland.

In developing the system, IBM isn’t planning to get into the wearables business. Instead, it plans to offer the service as a platform on which other companies can build their own health services.

“They can use this technology to build their own wearable devices,” said Bruno Michel, manager of smart system integration at the same IBM Research office.

The prototype is about the size of a grapefruit and is built with off-the-shelf components such as a Raspberry Pi and Arduino boards, but Michel thinks it can be made much smaller.

“I think in about five years, we will be able to have that fit into the ear canal,” he said.