Category Archive : Mobile Phones

Rivian won’t start delivering its EV pickups until 2021

Rivian won’t start delivering its EV pickups until 2021

Rivian EV pickup production delayed


Rivian

Rivian’s electric pickups are some of the most hotly anticipated EVs in the US, but potential buyers will have to wait to get their hands on one. After shutting down its plant last month due to the coronavirus crisis, the startup has announced that production will be delayed until 2021, according to the Chicago Tribune. Rivian had aimed to deliver its first EV pickups and SUVs later this year, but it can’t get its facility (a former Mitsubishi plant), retooled quickly enough.

Rivian planned to hire thousands of employees in a push to start producing the fully electric R1T pickup and R1S SUV, but the pandemic has interrupted that process. It has been forced to furlough many of its full-time and hourly workers (with full pay), but now it only has a skeleton crew of maintenance workers and contractors. “There are 11 Rivian employees there in 2.6 million square feet,” spokesperson Amy Mast told the Tribune. Other automakers, including Ford, Telsa and GM, have also been forced to stop production due to COVID-19.

Unlike other EV startups, Rivian is being taken seriously and has even attracted financing from another automaker, Ford. On top of building its own pickups, Rivian will build vehicles for Lincoln based on its “skateboard” EV platform. The company recently announced that it would be able to sell its EVs for less than it expected, saying that a mid-range R1T with 300 miles of range would sell for $69,000 with a comparable R1S going for $72,000.

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Published at Thu, 09 Apr 2020 08:26:00 +0000

Google expands its conversational Duplex AI to the UK, Australia and Canada

Google expands its conversational Duplex AI to the UK, Australia and Canada

Google


Google

Google’s high-tech Duplex AI calling service has quietly made its way to the UK, Australia and Canada. The tech giant originally launched the feature in the US back in 2018 before it started a pilot testing for it in New Zealand a year later. With Duplex, you can ask Google Assistant to call, say, restaurants or car rentals for you, so you can make a table reservation or book a vehicle.

VentureBeat has spotted a change on a Help Center page that shows the phone numbers Google will use to call business owners per country. The updated list now includes the UK, Australia and Canada in addition to the US and New Zealand.

According to the publication, though, those countries aren’t getting the full Duplex experience yet. Google told VentureBeat that this rollout is part of the company’s efforts to confirm businesses’ operating hours using the Duplex AI. The tech giant is taking steps to include businesses’ status and hours in search results, so that people don’t go out unnecessarily while the world is still trying to flatten the coronavirus curve.

In this article:

Duplex, Google, AI, news, gear
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Published at Thu, 09 Apr 2020 06:56:47 +0000

Zoom forms security council and adds features to prevent ‘zoombombing’

Zoom forms security council and adds features to prevent ‘zoombombing’

Video Call Facetime Chatting Communication Concept


Getty Images/iStockphoto/Zoom

Zoom has been beefing up its security measures ever since it vowed to fix its “biggest trust, safety and privacy issues.” Now the company has revealed that it has officially formed a security advisory council and that one of its members is Alex Stamos, who served as Facebook’s Chief Security Officer from 2015 to 2018. Stamos is one of the third-party experts who’ll help Zoom conduct a comprehensive security review of its platform. In a post he published on Medium, he said:

“Zoom has some important work to do in core application security, cryptographic design and infrastructure security, and I’m looking forward to working with Zoom’s engineering teams on those projects.”

In addition, the company has also rolled out a new version of the app that removes the meeting ID from the title bar so that it can’t be leaked through screenshots. If you’ll recall, one of the biggest security issues Zoom has to deal with is trolls crashing shared video calls by guessing meeting IDs. In addition, hosts will now have access to a security icon that has all of the app’s in-meeting security controls, including the ability to switch on Waiting Room. Zoom recently enabled the feature by default so that hosts would have to approve attendees first before they can enter a chat.

Those changes and the company’s promises weren’t enough to stop Google from banning its workers from using Zoom, though. According to BuzzFeed News, the tech giant told its employees that Zoom will no longer work on its computers, because it doesn’t meet the company’s security standards.

In this article:

zoom, security, news, gear
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Published at Thu, 09 Apr 2020 04:16:05 +0000

LG teases curved edges and ‘Raindrop’ camera for its next phone

LG teases curved edges and ‘Raindrop’ camera for its next phone

LG


Engadget

With Mobile World Congress canceled, the calendar for new phone introductions is up in the air, but LG is already moving towards a new device, and tonight teased the “design language” for another phone. Presumably this device will represent the next entry in its G series, after LG already updated its V line with the dual-screen ready V60 Thinq a couple of months ago.

Whether it arrives called the G9 or not, this new phone will have at least two distinct design elements. First up is the “3D Arc Design” that curves both the edges of the display like a Galaxy phone, as well as the back of the device in a symmetrical way that LG claims is both more pleasing to the eye and more comfortable in-hand.

LG
Engadget

The other part is the camera. For once there’s no megapixel stunting here, instead LG is touting its “Raindrop” camera design with a main camera that pops above the surface, above two lenses and a flash that are flush with the surface. It’s a little different than the usual bulges and humps in modern smartphone camera housings, but it should at least make for something interesting to see.

Is a “minimalistic” approach enough to pull people away from other phones and avoid the rough edges of its predecessor, the G8X? A recent rumor claimed it would launch May 15th with a new brand name, 5G and a step-down Snapdragon 765 processor. It likely won’t be long before we find out if any or all of those details hold up.

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Published at Thu, 09 Apr 2020 02:16:03 +0000

Hangouts Meet has been renamed to Google Meet

Hangouts Meet has been renamed to Google Meet

Google Meet on an Android tablet


Google

If it wasn’t already clear that Google is less than fond of the Hangouts name, it is now. As noticed by Android Police, the internet giant has rebadged Hangouts Meet as Google Meet. The old branding is still present for mobile apps. However, we wouldn’t count on that lasting for long given changes on the web.

We’ve asked Google if it can comment on the switch, including on the possibility of changes to Hangouts Chat.

It’s not certain what prompted the changeover, although it’s no secret that Hangouts hasn’t had the best reputation. For many, it’s the epitome of a confused Google messaging app strategy that included Allo and other unsuccessful services. There’s also the question of public image. If Google is going to pitch its videoconferencing feature to the corporate crowd, a name that conjures images of street corner chats (aka Hangouts) doesn’t sound very professional. This might help customers take Google Meet seriously instead of turning to Zoom or other alternatives.

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Published at Thu, 09 Apr 2020 00:21:31 +0000

Facebook will provide free Portal devices to UK hospitals and care homes

Facebook will provide free Portal devices to UK hospitals and care homes

Facebook Portal (2019) filters


Nicole Lee/Engadget

Facebook’s support for the fight against COVID-19 now includes a simple but important addition: keeping people in touch. It’s partnering with the UK’s National Health Service to offer up to 2,050 free Portal video calling devices to the country’s hospitals, care homes, hospices and other medical settings. The hardware will help patients contact friends and family at a time when they can’t see each other in person.

About 50 Portals are already in use at pilot locations in Surrey, with London, Manchester and Newcastle cities coming soon. Wired shared leaked details on April 6th. While this will initially be useful only to locations with sufficient WiFi connections, the NHS is looking at options like LTE hotspots and cellular-equipped tablets to enable chats in areas where WiFi isn’t an option.

The project will only cover a small slice of the NHS’ facilities, and there’s no doubt that this could serve as a way to market Portal to would-be customers. At the same time, it may also help the healthcare industry evaluate the impact of video chats on patients’ wellbeing. The NHS’ digital division, NHSX, also believes video calling like this could help staff work remotely when possible, improve communication between teams and move both consultations and outpatient check-ups to video chats.

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Published at Wed, 08 Apr 2020 23:01:16 +0000

Here’s what Twitter’s weird ‘data-sharing’ notification really means

Here’s what Twitter’s weird ‘data-sharing’ notification really means

FILE PHOTO --  People holding mobile phones are silhouetted against a backdrop projected with the Twitter logo in this illustration picture taken in  Warsaw September 27, 2013.   REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/Illustration/File Photo


Kacper Pempel / Reuters

Twitter is rolling back a privacy setting that allowed users to control whether or not some of their data was shared with the company’s advertisers. The company began notifying users of the change Tuesday, saying that the update will help Twitter “continue operating as a free service.” 

“The control you have over what information Twitter shares with its business partners has changed,” the message says. “Specifically, your ability to control mobile app advertising measurements has been removed, but you can control whether to share some non-public data to improve Twitter’s marketing activities on other sites and apps. These changes, which help Twitter to continue operating as a free service, are reflected now in your settings.”

Twitter's updated its data sharing settings so most users can no longer opt out of data sharing with advertisers.
Twitter

Prior to this update, Twitter allowed users to opt out of data sharing that enabled Twitter to tell advertisers how users interacted with ads for mobile apps, and share some “non-public” information like device identifiers. Now, most Twitter users have no choice whether or not that data is shared with Twitter’s advertisers. Those in Europe and the United Kingdom will still be able to opt out, according to the company.

Additionally, Twitter says it will now run ads for its app on Facebook and Google. Users can opt out of sharing “non-public” data — such as whether or not they installed Twitter’s app as a result of an ad — with Google and Facebook. That setting is available here, under “Share your data with Twitter’s business partners.”

In a statement, a Twitter spokesperson described the change as “part of our ongoing work around transparency and control.”

“We’re updating a data sharing setting that relates to sharing additional information with business partners, specifically to measure the effectiveness of mobile app ads on Twitter,” the spokesperson said. “This is part of our ongoing work around transparency and control. We want to ensure that people understand the settings we provide, what they do, and how to use them.”

The company likely sees the update as a necessary move to bring in more ad dollars. As The Verge points out, Twitter recently blamed issues with some of these privacy settings for missing revenue targets in 2019. And, more recently, Twitter has warned that the coronavirus pandemic has negatively affected ad revenue, despite a surge in usage. 

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Published at Wed, 08 Apr 2020 21:59:50 +0000

Radiohead is uploading concert films to YouTube for isolated fans

Radiohead is uploading concert films to YouTube for isolated fans

Thom Yorke, singer of Radiohead, in concert during the Rock in Rome summer festival at the Cavea of the Auditorium Parco della Musica. Rome (Italy), July 21st 2019 (photo by Marilla Sicilia/Archivio Marilla Sicilia/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images)


Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images

Radiohead has made a career for themselves writing songs about personal and social alienation. And so it should come as no surprise that the band is now trying to help its fans get through recent tough times by posting weekly concert videos to its YouTube channel

The series starts tomorrow at 5PM ET. First on the docket is the Live from a Tent in Dublin show the band played on October 7th, 2020The group’s set that night pulled primarily from Kid A, which Radiohead had released about a week before the show. As far as a first choice, it’s a particularly fitting one given the album’s themes and lyrics have only become more resonant in recent years. Fans of OK Computer and The Bends also have something to look forward to with “Paranoid Android” and “Just” making an appearance. If you’re the impatient sort, you can watch the concert right now through the Radiohead Public Library, an online archive of rarities, merch and more the band launched earlier this year. Doing so, however, you’ll miss out on chatting with other fans.

Radiohead is by no means the first band to do something like this. We’ve already seen groups like Metallica do the same, and more are likely to follow as the week go by.  

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Published at Wed, 08 Apr 2020 20:47:46 +0000

Rocket Lab proves it can recover a rocket in mid-air

Rocket Lab proves it can recover a rocket in mid-air

A previously launched Electron rocket.


Rocket Lab

Last year, Rocket Lab announced that it would attempt to reuse the first stage of its Electron rocket. The company’s goal is to catch the stage as it falls back towards the ocean by plucking it out of mid-air with a helicopter. While that’s ambitious, a video released today shows that Rocket Lab may not be too far off. The clip shows one helicopter dropping an Electron test stage and another hooking the stage’s parachute with a grappling hook and towing it back to land.

Rocket Lab pulled off this stunt in early March. One helicopter dropped the Electron test stage over open ocean in New Zealand. A second helicopter caught it, on the first attempt, at around 5,000 feet.

Next, Rocket Lab will attempt to recover a full Electron first stage following a launch. It won’t pull that from the air but will retrieve the rocket stage after it lands in the ocean. A parachute will help slow its descent, and like previous versions, it will include instrumentation to “inform future recovery efforts.” That mission is planned for late 2020.

Of course, catching a rocket stage after an actual launch is a lot different than catching one that’s dropped neatly by a helicopter. But the feat is a key milestone, as Rocket Lab’s plans to reuse the rockets depend on this recovery method. If it’s successful, Rocket Lab will be able to lower costs, and in theory, that may lead to more launches.

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Published at Wed, 08 Apr 2020 19:56:37 +0000

France is developing an app to track the spread of COVID-19

France is developing an app to track the spread of COVID-19

An aerial view shows the deserted Champs de Mars near the Eiffel tower in Paris during a lockdown imposed to slow the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in France, April 2, 2020. Picture taken with a drone April 2, 2020. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol


REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

France is joining those countries betting that technology will help track and contain COVID-19. It’s developing a StopCovid contact tracing mobile app that will use Bluetooth to detect transmission chains for the coronavirus and help limit the spread. If you get close to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, the app could let you know and encourage testing to be safe.

Officials are eager to stress a number of privacy protections. They’re cooperating with the Pan-European Privacy-Preserving Proximity Tracing (PEPP-PT) project meant to respect users’ data, and the app will be open-sourced to encourage code inspections. French privacy overseer CNIL will have input, too.

Still, TechCrunch warns that privacy concerns remain. It’s not clear if StopCovid will be centralized or not. If it is, there’s a risk hackers could match anonymized identifiers to real names. And like other tracking projects, there’s a worry that the government might abuse the tracking technology for other purposes.

There’s also the question of its release. A prototype version of the app is expected in three to six weeks. That’s fast by typical development standards, but it could come relatively late into the outbreak. It might end up being used to prevent a resurgence of the virus after the main outbreak passes than to deal with the illness at its peak. And that’s assuming the app is released at all. The French digital sector minister, Cédric O, cautioned that the app might not reach the public if technical hurdles with Bluetooth prove insurmountable. If it does succeed, though, it wouldn’t be surprising to see a host of other countries follow suit.

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Published at Wed, 08 Apr 2020 18:32:46 +0000