We may not see Moto X4 launching this month

2017 is definitely a big year for Motorola. As many of you may know, the company is expected to launch many smartphones in June as they have already sent out press invites for three events.

Going by the rumors, the Moto Z2 is likely to be launched on June 27 and Moto X4 is said to be launched on June 30. However, renowned leakster Andri Yatim has something else to say. According to his tweet, the launch of Moto X4 has been delayed. He has also claimed that the Lenovo-owned original equipment manufacturer (OEM) may still “mention” the Moto Z2 on Friday, June 30. He has not said anything about the Moto G5S Plus though, which is also rumored to launch this month. According to Yatim, the delay of the Moto X4 has been caused by Qualcomm. If you are wondering, let us make it clear. Currently, Qualcomm seems to be struggling to meet the demand for its latest mid-range chipset Snapdragon 660. For those who are unaware, the Moto X4 is said to come with the same processor under its hood. The same leakster previously disclosed some of the specs and features of the Moto X4. We may not see Moto X4 launching this monthThe device is said to feature a posh build with glass and metal sandwiched body along with the IP68 rating for water and dust resistance. The other specifications of the Moto X4 those were leaked include a 5.2-inch FHD 1080p display and a 3800mAh battery. Talking about the Moto Z2, it may get announced or the company just decides to tease the device. The tweet is pretty confusing. As for the specs, it is likely to be powered by the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 paired with Adreno 540 GPU. It is further being accompanied by 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of on-board storage. On the software front, the smartphone is expected to run on Android 7.1.1 Nougat. Apart from that, the Moto E4 Plus will get launched on June 30 in the US.

 

Location and context advances in Android

 

Google’s annual developers conference in May, Google I/O, featured many announcements, accomplishments and 2017 plans. Of particular interest, the Android Location and Context Team’s talk “Android Sensors & Location: What’s New and Best Practices,” is available online.

This followed a keynote by CEO Sundar Pichai on solving problems at scale with deep neural networks, machine learning algorithms and artificial intelligence (AI). He also spoke about a shift from a mobile-first model to AI-first. Google is doing this across every product area, applying AI and machine learning. Other keynotes updated Assistant, Photos, YouTube, Superchat, Android and VR (virtual reality).

The Android Location and Context team — Marc Stogaitis, Wei Wang, Souvik Sen and myself — spoke about background location, location accuracy, activity recognition, Android sensor hub, Android sensors and the future of location and context.

Discussing why battery life is so important, we showed detailed graphs on the costs of accessing different parts of the phone subsystems like WiFi, GNSS and making data connections.

Then we introduced Background Location Limitations (at the 4:30 point in the posted video) coming with Android’s latest operating system in Android O. These limits will prevent applications from misusing Android’s APIs in the background, thus saving its user’s battery. There were examples on how to make your app background ready for these upcoming changes.

We showed plans for location accuracy improvements (12:50) coming later this year and comparisons of existing vs. upcoming solutions for the positioning algorithm.

We covered the tools to help analyze GNSS measurements. How strong are the individual measurements? How accurate are the range measurements? With these tools, developers now have direct insight into the lowest layers of a GNSS receiver. Then came activity recognition algorithms (15:40) and how deep neural networks will improve the precision of these algorithms and help advance the field in activity recognition.

I spoke spoke about the Android Sensor Hub (20:27), how Google is leveraging the capabilities of an always-on low-power processor in Android phones. The sensor hub allows Google to port algorithms such as Activity Recognition, Geofencing and Gestures from the main application processor into the low-power sensor hub. We then went into detail around the new sensor features (25;55) and improvements around the compass (28:34).

Finally, we looked into the future (33:28). I covered Project Elevation, Accurate Indoor Location, and dual-frequency GNSS. Closing thoughts were around how more signals are going to be added into the low-power always-on compute domains so that the phone is more aware and intelligent, simplifying users’ interactions, augmenting human memory and knowledge, and assisting users understanding of themselves and the world around them.

Access to Raw GNSS Measurements

In related news, our new web page is up and operational!  This site provides all the details around GNSS Raw measurements in Android along with our analysis tools for anyone to download. Our previous site was accessible to people who signed up as a partner with Google, but now we have opened up this site to everyone.

Android GNSS Analysis Tool: Shows how you can select and run the analysis on a per satellite basis. This tool now supports multi-constellation and dual frequency (L1+L5) by default

Android apps typically access GNSS chipsets through a filter, which improves the GNSS location output for the majority of use cases. Filters use additional sensors, such as motion sensors, to improve the end user experience. However, filtering is not appropriate for some applications used by professionals such as researchers and original equipment manufacturer (OEM) developers. The Android Framework provides access to raw GNSS measurements on some Android devices. The page lists Android devices that support raw GNSS measurements as well as tools that help you log and analyze GNSS data.

 

Sony Xperia XZ Premium is now part of Open Devices program: Know what this means

 

What this means is that Sony is now allowing people especially developers to test, develop and also flash their own version of Android Nougat on the Xperia XZ Premium. The company says that the Open Devices program is meant for developers and not for consumers. However, the company also puts out a warning saying that the software provided can be unstable due to its early stage.

So going with developers might be a wise choice. Further, Sony says that it is offering guides on how to use the company’s AOSP device configurations to build a unique version of Android Nougat and flash it on unlocked Xperia device. However, developers will need to remember to download the necessary software binaries before they begin the development process. “As you may know, the Open Devices program is our way to provide access and tools to build and test your custom software on a range of Sony devices.

You can access all the resources you need through our Open Devices page on Developer World. We value our open source community and welcome you to participate in our projects via GitHub. Feel free to provide feedback on further resources you may need and where we can improve,” says the company.

This is really good for developers who are building an AOSP for the first time. New developers in the scene can always get started by following the guide provided by Sony.

 

Samsung ISOCELL Image Sensor Brand Launched, Dual Camera Setup Demoed at MWC Shanghai

 

HIGHLIGHTS
The image sensor brand is named after Samsung’s ISOCELL technology
The ISOCELL technology was first introduced in 2013
We may see the ISOCELL dual camera first on the Galaxy Note 8
Samsung is at MWC Shanghai, and has used the platform to introduce its new image sensor brand ISOCELL. The image sensor brand is named after Samsung’s own ISOCELL technology, and is aimed at providing high camera output in thin smartphone designs. The company even demoed its dual camera setup technology that uses its ISOCELL technology as well – presaging the launch of its first dual camera smartphone, thought to be the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.

The introduction of the image sensor brand indicates Samsung’s foray into yet another product category. The company currently makes its own Exynos processors, memory chips, UFS storage, and even SD cards, and an image sensor has now joined the bandwagon. The ISOCELL technology was first introduced in 2013, and it separates each pixel with a physical barrier that reduces colour crosstalk among pixels. This allows high colour fidelity, enabling high image quality even with smaller pixels.Samsung ISOCELL Image Sensor Brand Launched, Dual Camera Setup Demoed at MWC Shanghai

Samsung notes that the ISOCELL technology can be implemented in any of four different variations: Bright, Slim, Fast, and Dual. Bright sensors claim to deliver bright and sharp images with high colour fidelity and reduced noise in low-light environments. ISOCELL fast sensors are pegged to provide fast autofocus onto still or moving objects even when dark. Slim sensors adopt the smallest pixel sizes available in the market at 0.9-1.0um, yet produce high quality images for even slim devices, and lastly, dual sensors can be mixed and matched to meet consumer demand.
“Samsung ISOCELL is a brand that represents the essence of our leading pixel technologies. We expect the ISOCELL brand to help consumers easily acknowledge and confide in camera performance as well as overall quality of the device. With our advanced image sensor technologies, Samsung will continue to bring innovation to cameras used in smartphones and other applications,” said Ben Hur, Vice President of System LSI marketing at Samsung Electronics.

Furthermore, the little demo of Samsung’s dual camera setup using ISOCELL (as reported by Pocket-lint) also hints at Samsung’s plans of introducing it in a future flagship device. Perhaps the Galaxy Note 8? The smartphone has also been tipped to sport a dual camera setup in many leaks, a first in any Samsung smartphone lineup – if true.

 

Two Nokia feature phones reach TENAA, likely 105 and 130 successors

The new Nokia 3310 was a blast from the past, but HMD is interested in feature phones for more than just the nostalgia. Two new Nokia handsets – TA-1010 and TA-1034 – have landed at the TENAA facilities.

These are believed to be the successors of the Nokia 105 and Nokia 130. They don’t offer much in the way of features, instead they are pure simplicity. The new 105 doesn’t even have a camera! Still, the original 105 used to cost €11 (before taxes), so we’re probably looking at a similar cost here (the new 3310 is kind of pricey).

New Nokia 105 (TA-1010): in Black New Nokia 105 (TA-1010): in Black New Nokia 105 (TA-1010): in White New Nokia 105 (TA-1010): in White
New Nokia 105 (TA-1010) in Black and in White

As for the new Nokia 130, this one does have a camera and is a dual-SIM device (dual-standby). TENAA doesn’t list any more features, though we think the list is pretty complete – again, these are S30+ phones, there is not much to them. It seems that they don’t even have 3G, which could be a problem soon as some carriers have started sunsetting 2G.

New Nokia 130 (TA-1034) New Nokia 130 (TA-1034) New Nokia 130 (TA-1034) New Nokia 130 (TA-1034)

BlackBerry Seeks Sales Force to Match Software Focus

 

Software maker BlackBerry Ltd’s long-running recovery effort has been slowed by a dearth of salespeople to promote its revamped and more complex products, with CEO John Chen pledging to hire more sales specialists to help achieve its growth target.

While BlackBerry’s traditional customers were security executives in top global companies, its reboot from smartphone maker to seller of everything from automotive software to cyber-security consulting and asset tracking for the trucking industry has seemingly moved faster than its sales force can keep up.

BlackBerry’s revenue started declining in 2013 after Apple Inc and Alphabet Inc wrested control of the smartphone market from the Canadian company. Chen took over as chief executive to fashion a turnaround and has been adding new software businesses to boost revenue, which remains a fraction of what it was in its heyday.

Chen told analysts on Friday he planned to hire more salespeople for industrial software maker QNX, acquired in 2010, as well as for its Internet of Things business, which connects computing devices in everyday objects and includes the Radar asset tracking service for trucking.”Our issue is get it out there and get the deal done,” he said. “And so we really need to ramp up our distribution channels.”

A sales force boost will likely eat into profit, at least in the short-term, as the metrics of success BlackBerry wants to achieve typically depend on higher commissions to motivate sales staff.

“Salespeople are coin-operated,” said Berkeley Warburton, managing director of advanced customer strategy at Accenture. “If you want the right behaviours out of them you have to incentivise them in the right way.”

BlackBerry, which ended February with just over 4,000 employees compared with more than 4,500 a year earlier, declined to say how many of them were involved in sales. Five years ago the company had 16,500 employees, with 1,500 working in sales and marketing.

BlackBerry on Friday disappointed investors with an unexpected software sales decline, pushing its shares down as much as 13 percent after a sharp rally in recent months.BlackBerry Seeks Sales Force to Match Software Focus

BlackBerry’s quarterly revenue miss prompted caution about Chen’s efforts to revive growth.

“It’s really different, in terms of who makes decisions about those things, it’s no longer the IT (information technology) team. It’s now the product design team,” said Eric Johnson, the dean of Vanderbilt University’s Owen School of Management.

Coupled with that, many of the products and services it is now pitching are much more complicated than selling smartphones.

“The product doesn’t sell itself in the way that they used to. They have more complex products,” so BlackBerry’s salespeople need to shift focus and sell solutions instead, Accenture’s Warburton said.

For example, BlackBerry’s QNX unit must integrate its automotive software with that of many other vendors as well as the carmaker on a production timeline of years rather than months.

“It’s a highly consultative sales process,” Vanderbilt’s Johnson said. “They’re going to have to make significant investments in their sales force to make it work.”

BlackBerry reached a deal to work directly with Ford Motor Co last year, but Chen told reporters in a briefing on Friday that talks with other automakers were taking a long time to bear fruit.

“The reason is they are going to have to adopt most of our technology for it to make sense,” Chen said. “This is not a technology issue. … The contractual terms and requirements are the long goal.”

Chen also said he might buy companies to boost sales, with a focus on growth areas including cyber-security, machine learning and artificial intelligence, connected cars, and in asset tracking to compliment its Radar product.

 

Nokia Feature Phone Lineup to Get a New Addition Soon, Certification Site Tips

 

HIGHLIGHTS

  • A new leak points to another Nokia feature phone
  • Images of the phone were spotted by TENAA
  • The feature phone goes by the model number TA-1017

The reincarnation of the Nokia 3310 was met with adulation and nostalgia across the globe. The feature phone launch reignited hopes for the dying category in the market, and now as per new reports, Nokia-licensee HMD Global is looking to launch a new feature phone in the coming months.

A Nokia-branded feature phone going by the model number TA-1017 was spotted on the Chinese regulatory site TENAA. By the design of it, it’s a rather ordinary looking feature phone, probably looking to be admired for its durability. At the back sits the speaker grille and camera lens, however there is no flash support seen. At the front is the small display with the physical keyboard taking up much of the space.Nokia Feature Phone Lineup to Get a New Addition Soon, Certification Site Tips

The listing claims that the feature phone does not support 3G connectivity, but there might be another more expensive variant that will offer support. It is expected to run the S30+UI and dual-SIM support is not yet sure. There’s no word on availability or price of the feature phone yet. To recall, HMD Global launched the Nokia 150 and Nokia 150 Dual SIM feature phones back in December, ahead of the launch of its first Nokia Android smartphone – the Nokia 6 – in January.

Nokia is expected to launch several other smartphones this year. So far, the company has launched the Nokia 6, Nokia 5, Nokia 3, and Nokia 3310 (2017) in many countries. At the start of this month, Nokia launched the Nokia 3, 5 and 6 in India, and made the cheapest variant available offline as well as online in the country. Consumers will have to wait till July to get their hands on Nokia 6 and Nokia 5. The Nokia 5 will be available offline, while the Nokia 6 will be exclusively available via Amazon India.

 

Internet companies make hay when the sun peeks out

 

It remains to be seen if funds raised crosses the $5.9 billion internet companies raised in the funding frenzy of 2015. Graphics by Ajay Negi/Mint

Fund-raising by Indian Internet firms has risen sharply this year, with some large one agreeing to so-called down-rounds.

Indian firms in Internet business raised over $3.8 billion in the first half of the year against $2.7 billion in the whole of 2016, according to data collated by Jefferies India Pvt. Ltd.It remains to be seen if funds raised crosses the $5.9 billion internet companies raised in the funding frenzy of 2015. Graphics by Ajay Negi/Mint

In the March quarter, Flipkart and Ola accounted for a bulk of the $2 billion that was raised, with both agreeing to a lower valuation vis-a-vis the previous funding round. This was followed by a large fund-raise by Paytm ($1 billion); Oyo Rooms ($250 million) and a few others such as Swiggy.

It remains to be seen if funds raised crosses the $5.9 billion internet companies raised in the funding frenzy of 2015. Nevertheless, private market investors are more careful and are restricting investments to companies who are leaders in their respective segments, and/or have a business model that is both sustainable and is working towards profitable growth.

Despite this more stringent screening process, the large amounts raised is a heartening sign. Of course, unless firms demonstrate better unit economics as well as sustainable growth, the funding tap may go dry again.

 

Are these the latest danger gadgets parents are being warned about?

 

Fidget Spinners were a hit with children across Devon earlier this year and in some schools they were even banned – and now there is a new toy which is set to be the latest craze.

Fidget Spinners come in a variety of colours and can be bought for as little as £2.99. Although the must-have toy of 2017 has been responsible for a number of accidents and injuries.

However the latest “toy” craze is far more menacing – handheld mini-crossbows, or toothpick crossbows, which have been manufactured as kids’ toys in China, The Guardian reports.

Worried parents want them banned before they take off amid fears a child could end up blinded.

 Image result for Are these the latest danger gadgets parents are being warned about?

However, more serious damage could occur if the toothpick gets substituted for a needle or nail and could be strong enough to shatter glass.

Worryingly, according to the Shanghai Daily newspaper, the items are also selling out fast.

The Shanghai Daily said: “The ‘toothpick crossbow’ toy has spread across China like wildfire among the nation’s primary and middle school children.

“The unusual shooting toy may be very small but it is powerful enough to puncture a balloon and pierce cardboard. And when the toothpick is swapped for a metal needle it becomes a dangerous weapon.”

This story was first published on the Plymouth Herald.

Moto M2 rumored to arrive by October in more markets than the original M

 

Motorola is working on a successor to the Moto M from last year, a new rumor claims. According to a leakster that’s rather new on the scene, the Moto M2 should become available by October. That tracks nicely with the original’s November 2016 unveiling.

The Moto M2 is said to be offered in more markets than its predecessor, which is certainly good news. The original M was sold only in China at first, then slowly expanding to a few more countries after that.Moto M2 rumored to arrive by October in more markets than the original M

The Moto M2 will apparently come with “cutting edge MediaTek processors”, a 5.5-inch 1080p touchscreen (just like the M), and a choice between 4 or 6GB of RAM and 32 or 64GB of built-in storage, depending on which model you buy. As this is nothing but an unconfirmed rumor for now, make sure you don’t take it for granted. If any of this is accurate, expect to see the information confirmed in subsequent leaks.