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China’s President Xi pledges more support for technology firms

BEIJING: China’s President Xi Jinping has vowed to increase government support for technology companies, state media reported, in an attempt to raise the country’s competitiveness that could also further fuel concerns over protectionism. Beijing has put forward so-called Internet Plus and Made in China 2025 strategies, which aim to make Chinese firms world technology leaders and call for progressive increases ... Read More »

International version of the Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro gains certification

SEOUL: Towards the end of March, Samsung unveiled the Galaxy A9 Pro. A phablet boasting a 6-inch display, some of its specs echo those of flagship-level handsets—4 gigs of RAM, Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow and a mammoth 5000 mAh battery capacity. The WiFi Alliance (WFA) has now granted certification to a Samsung SM-A910F, which is thought to be an international version ... Read More »

Facebook and Mirosoft dive underwater to lay a new internet cable to Europe

CALIFORNIA: Facebook and Microsoft are teaming up to immerse themselves in an ambitious project to lay a high-capacity internet cable across the Atlantic. Announcing the plan on Thursday, the pair said the cable will help meet growing customer demand for high speed, reliable connections for their plethora of cloud and online services. Work on putting down the cable, which will ... Read More »

US Army to test ROBOTIC convoy: Self-driving military vehicles to make debut on public interstate highway

WASHINGTON: The US Army is thought to be keen to make use of autonomous trucks to help free up its personnel for other roles while also allowing it to send unmanned vehicles into dangerous areas. Called the Unmanned Mission Module, the technology used in the Fort Hood tests included a high performance LIDAR sensor – or laser radar. This remote ... Read More »

Facebook changes policies on ‘Trending Topics’

SAN FRANCISCO: Facebook Inc said on Monday that it had changed some of the procedures for its “Trending Topics” section after a news report alleging it suppressed conservative news prompted a US Congressional demand for more transparency. The company said an internal probe showed no evidence of political bias in the selection of news stories for Trending Topics, a feature ... Read More »

Microsoft dials back Windows 10 upgrades to 2X a year

CALIFORNIA: Microsoft has scaled back its Windows 10 release schedule to two feature upgrades annually, not the three per year it once said was its plan. The Redmond, Wash. company has hinted since November that it would cut back on the number of Windows 10 upgrades. That’s when it began to refer to the schedule as “two to three times ... Read More »

Apple orders 78 million iPhone 7 handsets from suppliers

CALIFORNIA: Amid stalling iPhone sales, many have claimed we are finally bored of Apple’s handset and have reach ‘peak iPhone’. Now, a new report reveals that although the firm is experiencing a slump in iPhone growth, the tech giant has ordered 72 to 78 million units of its new iPhone 7 this year –10 million more than expected. This is ... Read More »

Microsoft to crack down on content promoting extremist acts

SAN FRANCISCO: With the world growing more concerned about attacks by militant groups on civilians, Microsoft Corp on Friday outlined new policies to crack down what it called “terrorist content” on some of its consumer services. In a blog post, the company said it would ban what it called “terrorist content” on some services such as gaming tool Xbox Live, ... Read More »

Google expands Android Pay

CALIFORNIA: This story was delivered to BI Intelligence “Payments Briefing” subscribers. To learn more and subscribe, please click here. At its 2016 I/O developer conference, Google announced several front- and back-end updates to Android Pay, its proprietary mobile wallet. These updates could introduce additional use cases for the service and accelerate usage and adoption. New developer APIs will make in-app ... Read More »

Researchers use black box, smartphone for home urine test

SAN FRANCISCO:  Researchers at Stanford University have designed a home urine test that uses a black box and a smartphone camera to help analyze a standard medical dipstick. The dipstick test, or color-changing paper test, was invented to test blood sugar in 1956. It now involves a paper strip with 10 square pads. Dipped in a sample, each pad changes ... Read More »

Google to bring Android apps to its Chromebook laptop

CALIFORNIA: Google is set to allow its Chromebook laptops to run Android apps in a bit to take on Apple and Microsoft. The laptops run a version of Google’s Chrome browser instead of an operating system like Windows – but until now have been unable to download apps. According to  market research firm IDC, in Q1 of this year Chromebook ... Read More »

Google engineer says he’ll push for default end-to-end encryption in Allo

CALIFORNIA: After Google’s decision not to provide end-to-end encryption by default in its new chat app, Allo, raised questions about the balance of security and effective artificial intelligence, one of the company’s top security engineers said he’d push for end-to-end encryption to become the default in future versions of Allo. Allo debuted with an option to turn on end-to-end encryption, ... Read More »

Apple confirms existence of the ‘Error 56’ iOS 9.3.2 bug

CALIFORNIA: Earlier this week, Apple rolled out iOS 9.3.2 and the software update fixed a bug that caused phone calls made using Bluetooth on an iPhone SE to become distorted. Inadvertently, iOS 9.3.2 started bricking iPad Pro devices. As a result, hundreds of complaints began to surface on forums and social media. As expected, many iOS users decided to voice ... Read More »

Call of Duty: Modern warfare trilogy available, costs $30

CALIFORNIA: Last week we told you about a certain special bundle that was being promoted by BestBuy. This bundle, the Modern Warfare Trilogy, would allow people that still owned an Xbox 360 or a Playstation 3 the ability to play through all three Modern Warfare games for the low low price of around 30 dollars. Now, that bundle is finally ... Read More »

Apple looks to India for growth

NEW DELHI: To reignite its growth, Apple Inc. is looking to India to be its next China. But the formula that worked so well in China won’t be easy to duplicate. Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook is visiting India this week to push Apple proposals to open its own stores and sell second-hand phones. But his ambitions are much grander: ... Read More »

Twitter tweaks its limit of 140 characters

CALIFORNIA: Twitter is making a major shift in how it counts characters in Tweets, giving users more freedom to compose longer messages. The social media company will soon stop counting photos and links as part of its 140-character limit for messages, according to a source. The change could happen in the next two weeks. Links currently take up 23 characters, ... Read More »

Google could face $4bn European Commission fine over unfair search

LONDON: Last month, the European Commission issued Google with formal anti-trust charges over Android. Now, it appears that the company could face new fines over skewing search results. The Telegraph reports that the charges, which are yet to be finalised, would be the result of “a seven-year investigation of [the] company’s dominant search engine”. It’s not clear exactly what form ... Read More »

Xbox One’s backwards compatibility now supports multi-disc Xbox 360 games

CALIFORNIA: If you’re a big console gamer who laments the fact that you can only play some of your favorite Xbox 360 games on your new Xbox One console, worry not—Microsoft representatives recently announced that the latter is now going to support multi-disc Xbox 360 titles, which gives Microsoft even more options for letting gamers play older games on the ... Read More »

Curiosity measures seasonal patterns in Mars atmosphere

WASHINGTON: The local atmosphere in Mars is clear in winter, dustier in spring and summer, and windy in autumn, show measurements by NASA’s Curiosity rover that has completed recording environmental patterns through two full cycles of Martian seasons. Curiosity this week completed its second Martian year since landing inside Gale Crater nearly four years ago. The repetition helps distinguish seasonal ... Read More »

EA addresses rumors of upcoming Xbox One, PS4 upgrades

CALIFORNIA: Electronic Arts held its earnings call for the fourth quarter of its fiscal year 2016 yesterday, and shared its own thoughts on whether or not Microsoft and Sony are prepping new console designs, as well as information on how such plans might impact its own business. Historically, transitions between console generations have always been a bit rocky for game ... Read More »