Washington — Car makers hope new technology can help save lives. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, deadly pedestrian accidents are up 45 percent nationwide since 2009. The Department of Transportation finds the nearly 6,000 killed in 2017 made up 19 percent of all traffic fatalities.
Now IIHS is testing technology it believes could prevent up to 65 percent of pedestrians collisions, cutting deaths by 58 percent.
The technology uses cameras and sensors to warn drivers and, if needed, automatically applies the brakes. The institute tested the system on 11 small SUVs. Nine earned either superior or advanced ratings for avoiding or reducing the severity of collisions at speeds ranging from 12 to 37 miles an hour.
The Subraru Forester and Toyota RAV4 did the best. But the BMW system did so poorly it received no credit at all.
“It either didn’t break or didn’t mitigate the speed enough,” said David Aylor, with IIHS.
IIHS wants the technology to be standard on all vehicles in the near future.
My Internet has been down since the morning of February 7 and, at the time of writing this on February 14, the problem was ongoing. So much for the “we will send a technician in three to five working days” promise made by my service provider. Imagine in this day and age that policy still exists, though. Life certainly is not on in that regard.
To be honest, this experience has taught me that in as much as I frequently threaten to drop everything and get off the technology grid for a few days, I really can’t do it. I feel completely lost. As lost as Hansel and Gretel wandering through a forest of technological frustration. All the devices and gadgets are there, but it’s like they serve no purpose. And to make matters worse, a few months ago I had cancelled my mobile data plan and opted for a call-as-you-go plan because I saw no need to keep paying for a data plan when there is wifi just about everywhere.
So basically, it meant that because I could not possibly work from home. I had to get up, get dressed, spend at least two hours in traffic to the office and back. And while I was at home, I had no way of getting quick information, no Netflix, no social media, no YouTube. I had no idea what mischief Fallon was up to in the latest Dynasty episode, had no idea what was trending on FB, unable to communicate via WhatsApp, nothing. When it came to helping my son with homework, I was unable to Google fast answers and had to resort to old school methods of guiding him along. It was either I read and re-read the method to change a decimal into a fraction until I grasped the concept (never did at school), or phone a friend (easier option). And while I did get time to do quite a bit of reading, my tech withdrawal symptoms were bad, to the point where I felt like the walls were closing in.
This whole experience got me to thinking, if my old Gen X tail, which is tottering on the borders of barely understanding the technology and embracing it, was having such a hard time coping with the absence of said technology, what can I expect of my ten-year-old who knows nothing else? Who, it seems, knew everything there was to know about an iPad from the day he was born. Who was so confused the first time he picked up a landline and heard a dial tone. “Aunty, come and hear the strange noise the phone is making,” he had said as he led her in earnest to where the fixed line was plugged in. Who assists me when I’m having problems with my computer and phone, very impatiently, mind you, because I’m “too slow”. The same kid who, a few weeks ago sat with his manual and set up his new PS4 with zero assistance from me because I didn’t know how to begin to help him. How can I now expect him to do things in the same way I did them?
I recall about a year ago he was doing his Vocabulary homework, and instead of using his hard copy dictionary he googled the words and wrote down the meanings. I, of course, insisted that he do it the traditional way – the way I knew how. “You won’t have a computer and Internet service in the exam room to Google the words,” I told him. “Neither will I have a dictionary,” he countered. “You are always saying I take too long to complete my homework. This way is easier and faster,” he pressed. He beefed up his argument with the fact that he knows how to use the dictionary in case there is a tech failure. He was right and I relented. Because lets face it, there is no going back to doing some things the old school way. Things like hard copy encyclopedias and dictionaries can now be deemed pre-historic.
So, I thought, if I have suffered so much from this experience, I can only imagine what he must be going through. How can I reprimand him for being in a foul mood because he can’t hook up with his friends on the PS to play Fortnite? Or because he can’t get some well-deserved time off after lessons to binge on one of his favourite Netflix series? Or that he can’t chat with his friend Isabella in Ohio on WhatsApp? I understand that reading, outdoor play etc are important and that there should be a limit on the amount of time children spend on screens. But just as my generation and the generations before and after had that special something that was “our life”, technology is this generation’s and we can’t fight it. No wonder he reacted as if there was a death in the family each time I threatened to sell or give away his precious devices as a form of punishment. After this experience, I will have to be a bit more lenient with my threats. Note to self, stay away from “sell” or “give away”.
As for my former Internet service provider, I thank you for the lesson, but I’ve learnt it well enough. I don’t want or need a repeat.
As Valentine’s Day rolls around, here’s how technology took centre-stage in our ‘self-love lives’ — for better or worse
At 10.30 pm on October 29, 1969, the first message on the Internet was sent by UCLA student Charley Kline in the form of two letters ‘lo’. Romantics, to this day, debate that it was obviously meant to be ‘love’, whereas irrefutable records show Charley meant to type ‘login’ and the system had crashed after the first two letters.
Fast forward 50 years to present-day and we can send all sorts of lovey-dovey messages in the form of quick texts, GIFs, SnapChats, videos, Instagram stories… the list is endless. Given there are countless expressions and forms of love in the digital space, thanks to technology mediating everything we do, this behemoth blanket of binaries became more than just an aid — it is now a crutch, a platform and our confidante.
We’ve seen love traverse from paper to screen to holograms to Artificial Intelligence — even to the point when, if we’re bored enough, we can ask Siri if they love us. It’s not just romantic love to which our technology panders; there is body positivity and self-love, so let’s take a look at these, and evaluate if the Internet is doing justice or doing harm.
Micro-blogging sites such as Instagram and Facebook have contributed big-time to both the depreciation and appreciation of self-love. We tend to judge our self-worth in terms of likes, responses, the number of private messages we get, and so on. Maybe, ease up on social media, whether it means taking a break for a few days or even going full-Monty and removing yourself entirely from the platform to become more purposeful in other ways.
That’s what psychologist Raisa Luther of Hope Trust recommends too. “Mental health is impacted by everything around us. As the saying goes for our body: you are what you eat, the same goes for our mind as well. What we feed our mind manifests in good or ill mental health.”
“Further, technology is a highly powerful tool in developing or destroying relationships. It reduces the importance and need for face-to-face interaction — this can result in changing the very face and nature of human relationships,” Raisa continues, “I fear that we are so influenced by technology and its various components that we may one day forget what it means to be human, or feel human. I have seen the same in my practice, where people get so influenced by technology that it affects their self-worth, self-esteem and even their identity. FOMO leads to a lot of my clients leading dual lives — and sometimes it is difficult to maintain boundaries between an online persona and the real, offline self.”
We heart pods
Though the rise of the podcast was driven by true crime narratives, stories on the world of startups and more, Love and relationships have not been very far behind. The popular Modern Love podcast by The New York Times is one of the most popular podcasts in this genre. Bengaluru-based Paravathi Shiva, an IT specialist, says, “When I was growing up, dealing with college breakups and infatuations, you only had agony aunt columns or extremely weird late-night radio shows, where the host spoke in a high-pitched voice and dispensed repetitive advice. That has changed now. I am married now and listen to podcasts on relationships and more. Most of these podcasts are conversational and extremely relatable, making you feel like you are part of the conversation and not just a member of the audience. In the Modern Love podcast, I was very moved by the reading of You May Want to Marry my Husband, an essay written by writer Amy Krouse Rosenthal. It was beautifully-written, of course, but listening to it was even better.” Sales manager Shuvan C from Delhi agrees with this assessment. “I do not listen to many podcasts. However, I do like to listen in to the art of love podcast, where a dating expert offers an entertaining take on love and relationships. The best part about podcasts is that it is more informative and has lovely stories. I am single and feel that it makes me more confident to negotiate the complex web of relationships.”
(As told to Nikhil Varma)
However, studies show the response is quite dependent on a person’s disposition; are they naturally vulnerable to social pressures imbibed by technology? “We found that having a sense of purpose allowed people to navigate virtual feedback with more rigidity and persistence. With a sense of purpose, they’re not so malleable to the number of likes they receive… Purposeful people noticed the positive feedback, but did not rely on it to feel good about themselves,” surmises Cornell University professor Anthony Burrow, co-author of study ‘‘Likes’ less likely to affect self-esteem of people with purpose’.
YouTube, despite its ongoing strife around policy and content creation, does have its happy corners, and with beauty vlogging an all-time rage, the subculture of body positivity channels has been crawling up the subscriber ladder, but not necessarily T-series-style. And no, we aren’t referring to over-hyped fitness gurus or flat-tummy-detox-tea sponsors who live for monetisation!
Pooja Kochar runs one of India’s growing channels, ‘30ish’, for body positivity chats. “30ish is trusting its internal GPS and turning towards YouTube. We are being mentored by #YouTubeSpaceMumbai to understand viewer preference for digital content,” she says on her site, “We conceptualise, create content and manage execution of social media campaigns which are completely customised. These campaigns are further supported through our blog, Twitter feed and Instagram page. We will live your brand, to give it the most authentic narrative.”
The cross-promotion of platforms for community-driven positivity is ideal in rebuilding the YouTube algorithms a lot of users have a problem with, especially with the site’s very flawed and clearly capitalistic ‘Trending’ section. With the Internet brimming with life-threatening challenge videos and dangerous pranks, it’ll be useful to employ to our advantage.
So this Valentine’s Day, when you see hearts and cheesy texts floating around, be sure to love yourself first and foremost.
RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) There’s new hope in this new year that fewer scam or robo-calls will bother people thanks to new technology and blocking efforts by service providers who are being pushed by the FCC to make changes.
In March, Verizon says it’ll be providing its customers with a free app that will help filter out scam and robo-calls.
It will join T-Mobile and AT&T who also offer various forms of free filters aimed at reducing the annoying calls.
Robo-calls from telemarketers and scam calls are inundating mobile phones.
Many of the scam calls originate from overseas using technology that clones or spoofs legit numbers to make it look like the call is coming from someone you know.
It’s getting worse, according to a company that offers data solutions to mobile carriers.
First Orion says it’s anticipating in 2019 at least half of all calls made to cell phones will be fraudulent.
“What we tell people is if you don’t recognize the phone number, don’t answer it,” says Gavin Macomber who is a Senior vice president of First Orion.
He says when you answer a call and start engaging with someone — like pressing a number to connect to an agent, “as soon as you do that, you’ll start receiving a lot more scam calls.”
But there is technology being brought on line that may start eliminating scam or robo-calls right from the source of that call.
Last week T-Mobile began offering “Caller Verified” service.
It’s using a new technology nicknamed STIR and SHAKEN which the FCC wants all carriers to adopt.
STIR stands for Secure Telephony Identity Revisited and SHAKEN is an acronym for Secure Handling of Asserted information using toKENs.
It’s sort of like a digital fingerprint for phone calls.
Here’s how STIR AND SHAKEN technology work:
When a person makes a call, the caller’s service provider checks the source of the call and the number with an authentication service to make sure it’s legit.
It then sends the call to your service provider using a special authentication code.
Before the call is passed on to you, your service provider does a double check by sending the authentication code to another verification service.
That verification service checks the number against a database called a certificate repository.
If it all checks out, and isn’t a robo-call or a cloned number, the call is then passed to your phone.
This all happens in a matter of seconds because it’s all done electronically.
The STIR and SHAKEN technology will work best when all carriers adopt it.
Otherwise, a scam or robo-call from a non-participating carrier can still get through to your phone even if your provider is using that tech.
Right now, only calls to and from T-Mobile phones are screened with this technology.
Other carriers have said they’ll get on board with STIR and SHAKEN soon — and the FCC is pushing them to do it as quickly as possible.
From foldable cellphones to high tech burgers, more than 4,500 companies showcased their latest technology at CES, the world’s largest consumer electronics show which took place in Las Vegas earlier this month.
Even though tech behemoth Apple does not make an appearance, the trade show gives the public a glimpse at emerging tech trends for 2019 and beyond.
One of the most anticipated technologies is 5G – the next generation wireless network that experts say could be as much as ten times faster than broadband.
Cutting edge tech 12:31 PM ET Fri, 18 Jan 2019 | 04:23
“I see a huge quantum leap from going from 4G to 5G, much bigger than 3G to 4G. And of course, my expectation is that we are going to see so much more innovation,” Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg told CNBC recently.
Chris Velazco, Engadget’s senior mobile editor told CNBC’s “On the Money” in an interview that “2019 is going to be the year of 5G, this is going to be the first year people will actually be able to buy devices and jump on the 5G networks,” he said.
As a result, 5G “will have really big ramifications for the way we use our devices and the way these devices talk to each other,” he added.
The technology won’t be for everyone, however – at least not right away. Meanwhile, Velazo admitted that 5G technology “still feels like it’s a lot of talk. We don’t have a great sense of how these things pan out in more concrete ways.”
Yet one technology that did make an impression at CES was foldable screen technology. At the event, LG showcased a 4K OLED TV that rolls up when you don’t want to watch it.
Watch this super thin TV roll up and disappear in seconds 11:46 AM ET Mon, 7 Jan 2019 | 01:31
But it’s not just big screens: A Chinese company called Royole showed off its flexible screen technology for a smartphone/table called the FlexPai. This is the world’s first commercially available foldable phone, and it beat Samsung and Apple to market. The company is currently taking orders: The cost? A whopping $1,318, even more than an iPhone.
However you may want to hold off. Velazco had a chance to check out the device while at CES, and he admitted “they’re maybe not the most polished devices.”
Yet he found the technology compelling. “The ability to fold out and use the phone as a tablet is frankly really powerful,” he told CNBC.
If you’re looking to take a deeper dive into meditation, a Canadian company called Interaxon recently released the Muse 2.
The headband goes across your forehead and reads brainwaves in real-time. It then uses auditory cues to provide feedback on the user’s meditation state.
When it comes to virtual and augmented reality (AR) technology, it usually means wearing large glasses over your eyes, blocking out the world around you.
Chinese startup Nreal has plans this year to release their version called Light – which as its name suggests – is a lighter version.
“They’ve been able to take the technology that makes some really impressive AR devices like the Microsoft HoloLens and the Magic Leap and converted it down to this form factor,” Velazco told CNBC.
Air New Zealand
But the tech editor admits one of the bigger surprises at CES, based on the level of people that seemed into it, was Gillette’s heated razor. And the name really says it all.
“It’s a heated razor that’s meant to sort of replicate the experience of getting a hot towel wet shave at a barber shop.” The razor is not in stores yet but according to Engadet’s report, it will retail for $160.
Another surprising find at CES was burgers. Impossible Foods showed off their latest meatless burger recipe: Impossible Burger 2.0.
“The original Impossible Burger used wheat protein and it tasted pretty good, but it kind of didn’t give you the same kind of mouth feel that a traditional burger would,” Velazco explained. “So they rejiggered the formula. This [latest version] is based on soy protein.”
He added: “You actually get a bit more of the experience of eating meat, plus I think the flavor has been upgraded as well.”
Be it in New York City or a small town in Oklahoma, Target stores look similar in design, but not so when it comes to the way goods are stacked.
In a world where the placement of products is counted as a key driver of sales, even the positioning of a can of beans is significant. Often, the decision on where to place a product or how to highlight a brand is made halfway across the world, here in Namma Bengaluru.
At Target, decisions such as the floor plan and where to stock what are increasingly made with the help of experts in India’s technology capital. Data scientists here scan shop sales data to find patterns on customer spending and look for ways to nudge them to spend more. The team in Bengaluru also engages with the shoppers on smartphones to get them buy online from Target, rather than rival Amazon.
As the world’s largest retail companies look to tank up on technology skills to stay ahead, they are flocking to Bengaluru. Out of 25 Fortune 500 retailers, about 10 have set up technology shops in India and smaller retailers are following their larger rivals, show data from IT industry lobby Nasscom. When they are not setting up their own captive units, these retailers are working with Indian IT companies to outsource services.
The early entrants came in the mid-2000s and as they experienced success, rivals started facing the ‘peer pressure’ to join them. From US-headquartered Walmart and Target to Japan’s Rakuten and Chile’s Falabella, retailers are expanding their engineering workforce in India and even more are looking to set shop here.
“We are talking to about 80% of the top retailers, not just in the US but in Europe as well, and almost everyone is looking at setting up captives in India. They are at different stages of the plans, but three years out, I would expect about 80% of the world’s top retailers to have a presence here,” Lalit Ahuja, CEO of consultancy ANSR, told ET.
Ahuja’s firm has helped about three dozen companies set up inhouse centres in India. As many as 11 of these were in the retail sector and four in consumer products.
If the early players came looking for the technology talent that India offered, they now realise that the country has not just technology but a concentration retail expertise, he said. Others too have similar views.
“Initially, everyone saw what Amazon did and tried to replicate it. Now they want to go beyond Amazon and India has everything — digital native talent (and) a thriving retail and ecommerce market that is open to experimentation,” KS Viswanathan, vice president of industry initiatives at Nasscom, said. “The cost of failure is lower here as well.”
Amazon has had executives working on global product development for more than 12 years in India, long before the 2013 launch of its marketplace in the country.
No single company is as invested in beating Amazon as Walmart. The world’s largest retailer got its India tech foothold through an acquisition, of Kosmix which it rebranded Walmart Labs. The country is now key to its tech plans.
“We have four chief technology officers in Walmart and we meet every week and we’re constantly talking about growth plans and how many seats in Bangalore we get. Bangalore is the one place we all are. It’s serving as the seed for the new models,” Jeremy King, executive vice president and chief technology officer at Walmart, told ET. King said Walmart had begun piloting robots in stores to help clean spills and spot empty gaps on shelves.
In addition to its $19 billion acquisition of ecommerce company Flipkart and boosting talent at Walmart Labs, the Bentonville, Arkansas-based company is scouting for startups it can take over for the talent they have. ET reported that the company made its second acqui-hire, Int.AI, in India last month, as part of its plan to buy about five startups a year in the country. It even has a unit of what it calls the CIA — competitive intelligence analytics — in India to help win the global ecommerce race.
Even for those companies that have come to Bengaluru initially to handle customer calls and process employee payrolls, their operations here have advanced to handle more critical business roles.
“Over the years, our business at Bengaluru has evolved from being a shared service to a business service model. Technology has evolved from service delivery, to a ‘Dev-Ops’ model,” said Sumit Mitra, chief executive of Tesco Business Services and Tesco Bengaluru. “Some 78% of all our Technology colleagues working here are engineering-focused.”
The scale at which retail companies are growing is leading to a massive hunt for talent with senior leadership coming from homegrown ecommerce players. Walmart’s India Lab is headed by Hari Vasudev, who was previously a senior vice- president of engineering at Flipkart. Online commerce and Internet company Rakuten’s India unit is also headed by a former Flipkart executive, Sunil Gopinath.
“We have been able to grow Rakuten as a technology brand in India. If you look at the kind of talent we are getting, we are hiring people from Amazon, eBay, Flipkart, from fin-tech companies like Paytm, startups and from big software companies like Oracle. There is probably no top company in Bangalore that is not represented as a hire by Rakuten,” Gopinath told ET in a recent interview.
Rakuten’s India headcount is currently about 450 and the company plans to double that in the next 12-18 months. Indian talent is also part of its operations in Japan — out of the 2,500 engineers in its home country, about 60% are non-Japanese, from India, China, the US and Korea.
Smaller retailers that have established centres in India are also expanding their technology operations here. Jobs at these companies span the spectrum, though, unlike traditional IT services, there are limited requirements for freshers. Mid-level jobs are more common and senior leaders are also in demand.
For some companies, the employee growth rates have been significant. Lowe’s began its India operation four years ago with 20 employees. It now has 1,600, and expects to add more. “In the coming years, we plan to hire more people to join our team in Bangalore, to enable our technology transformation initiatives and be a part of our growth story,” said James Brandt, senior vice president and managing director of Lowe’s India.
Lowe’s employees work on ecommerce and digital solutions, data management and analytics, finance, infrastructure, quality and operations.
Given the long distance between Bengaluru and the retailers’ locations across the globe, companies go the extra mile to keep the operations here connected to their global strategy. Minneapolis, Minnesota-based Target, one of the earliest retailers to bet on Indian talent, has a yearly strategy meeting that takes place at the start of the financial year for its Minneapolis and India leadership. Its CEO and chairman, Brian Cornell, and his executive team attend the annual India meeting.
“Visits by our team members to our headquarters in Minneapolis help them get a better sense of the Target experience and our guests. Team members collaborate at every level. A matrixed approach to organisational structure is adopted where product ownership lies wherever the expertise is,” Ankur Mittal, vice president of Digital Technology for Target India, said. Target has nearly 3,000 employees in India, Mittal said.
Retailers are also focused on hiring and keeping the best employees. Most companies are transferring the ownership of products to Bengaluru — to allow employees here to make decisions without needing to constantly check back with the headquarters, and help motivate them. “It comes to the quality of work. As long as you are able to drive the right models of ownership, then that is the number one motivator,” Walmart’s Vasudev said. “Money alone has stopped being a motivator.”
A man preparing for the civil services examination has been detained for allegedly sending an email last week to Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s office threatening to kidnap the AAP leader’s daughter.
The man in his mid-twenties was detained from Uttar Pradesh and is being brought to Delhi from Rae Bareilly, a senior police officer said on the condition of anonymity. He is yet to be arrested.
The officer said the man, a graduate, has been living in Delhi for the last one-and-a-half years and preparing for the UPSC examination.
The chief minister’s office received two to three emails last Wednesday, in which the anonymous sender had threatened to kidnap and harm Kejriwal’s daughter, Harshita.
“In the email, the unknown sender has claimed that they will harm the chief minister’s daughter and have challenged him to do whatever he can do to protect her,” a senior officer had said.
A Delhi Police constable was temporarily deployed for the security of Kejriwal’s daughter and to shadow her whenever she goes out, the senior official had said on condition of anonymity.
“Despite the threat e-mails, Kejriwal or his family members did not ask for any security cover themselves. The constable assigned for Kejriwal’s daughter’s security accompanied her to her office in Gurugram on Friday. He went to the CM’s house on Saturday as well,” an officer privy to the investigation said.
Harshita, a chemical engineering graduate from Indian Institute Technology (IIT) Delhi, works for a multinational company in Gurugram.
Kejriwal has been attacked in the past. In November last year, a man had thrown chilli powder at the chief minister inside the Delhi Secretariat, one of the most protected buildings in the national capital. The incident drew condemnation from the AAP, which accused the Bharatiya Janata Party of orchestrating these attacks. The BJP denied the allegations.
Also read: You are my only hope, says man before throwing chilli powder at Arvind Kejriwal
Before that, he has had ink, shoes, slippers and fists thrown at him.
The Q8C maintained its superiority all through the year. Bezel-less design, stunning colour and an aggressive price kept the rest of the competition at bay. Of course if you’ve got the money then the 88-inch version of this, the Q9F at Rs 24,99,900, is the absolute best you can buy now.
This is the year and this is the phone that made the real Nokia stand up and be counted. Elegant and understated, stunning, true android experience, always first to get updates, great camera and a very aggressive price point. Nokia ensured customers’ experience was more important than gimmicks.
Google Home Hub
The Hub is Google adding a 7-inch display to its Home devices that lets users not just hear a response, but also see it. The screen personalises itself to every home member, shows YouTube videos, Google map info, and can control any smart home device and IoT product. The only thing missing is a camera for video calls.
Garmin Fenix 5X Plus
In a world of fitness bands and smartwatches, this is the ultimate beast. Made of titanium, this is an auto sensing multi-sport GPS watch with heart rate technology, run maps on display, a pulse blood oxygen saturation levels sensor, sapphire lens glass and 18-day battery life in smartwatch mode.
Devialet – Phantom Reactor 900
This company changed how people thought of a bluetooth speaker with its Phantom series. Now a huge step further, the Reactor is super small and yet insanely powerful. It can belt out a true 900 watts of undistorted sound including full sub woofer output and do it on Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, optical or analog.
Samsung Galaxy A9
They all called it gimmicky. Why would you need four cameras at the back of a phone? Samsung answered with a big bang. Each camera at the back has a specific function and the phone is intelligent enough to know what to use and when. Eventually the Samsung A9 is the best optics phone under 40K.
XIAOMI MI TV 4 PRO 55 INCH
This was the most exciting TV launched in the country and if it’s Xiaomi, they have to do it different and also make all other TVs look strangely over-priced. A 55-inch display, world’s thinnest LED at 4.9 mm, near bezel less, HDR 10, integrated Mi Sound Bar with 10 speakers and a price under 40K.
Vivo may well be the most innovative phone company this year. They came out with the world’s first in-display finger print scanner. They came up with a pop out camera that ensured that the display has no notch. Now everyone wants to do the same. The Nex was the first to do both together.
Oppo R17 Pro
Round up every big innovation of the year like an in-display fingerprint scanner, water drop notch, three cameras at the back, add a stunning design, then add super fast charging with dual batteries. What you get is a phone that makes your eyes and jaw open wide.
Corning Gorilla Glass 6
This is Corning taking things to its logical conclusion where your phone screen can withstand falls and doesn’t scratch. Nothing more heartbreaking than when your phone screen breaks, and Corning with its 6th generation tech is ensuring in the future, it won’t.
Panasonic OLED TV
With the TH-65FZ1000D they have an absolute winner. Excellent colour reproduction, thin frame, multi HDR support and an array of 12 speakers in its blade audio set up, this TV is the real 4K deal!
Mediatek Helio P 70
This is the year that Mediatek threw down the gauntlet and decided that people should buy a phone by asking for the processor inside by name. With some serious horse power, stunning artificial intelligence, better battery optimisation and amazing optical tricks, the P 70 will be the chip of choice on most mid-priced phones from here on.
For every one product I’ve highlighted here, I had to leave out at least five great ones. That summarises how good tech was in 2018. Watch out for 2019 though, as you haven’t seen anything yet…
Display technology has always been one of the big attractions at international tech conferences such as CES. Royole Corp’s FlexPai and Samsung late last year revived the buzz around the displays and what it has to offer in the future. The ongoing Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2019 in Vegas has given us an idea – screens are becoming smarter, flexible and more premium.
Samsung and Royole Corp may have paved the way for rollable phones, LG has been at the forefront of rollable displays for quite some time. Just last year, it launched 65-inch OLED panel that could be rolled up like a paper. At this year’s CES, LG showcased the 65-inch rollable screen as well. The difference is the rollable screen is now a full-fledged TV and will be commercially available soon.
Called Signature OLED TV R (model 65R9), LG describes its new device as the “gamechanger.” Continuing its focus on machine learning and artificial intelligence, the latest LG TV comes with second generation α (Alpha) 9 intelligent processor and deep learning algorithm. It also comes with Amazon Alexa and support for Apple AirPlay 2 and HomeKit.
The Signature OLED TV R, a roll-up television, is presented at the LG press conference at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center during CES 2019 in Las Vegas (AFP)
Tech companies have finally succeeded in crossing the 4K threshold. Samsung introduced a massive 8K 98-inch TV. The company is extending the resolution to 65-, 75-, 82- and 85-inches models. Samsung’s 8K TVs are powered by AI-enabled Quantum processor 8K chip. Just like LG, Samsung will add support for Apple AirPlay 2 support.
Dave Das, Senior Vice President at Samsung Electronics America, unveils the 98-inch QLED 8K at CES 2019 (Samsung)
Sony too joined the 8K bandwagon with Bravia Master Z9G 8K (LCD) and A9G 4K OLED TVs. While Z9G 8K (LCD) will come in large 85-inch and 98-inch models, A9G 4K OLED TVs will be available in smaller 55-, 65-, and 77 inches sizes. LCD panel with 8K resolution is rather interesting as it misses out various advantages that OLEDs bring to the table.
Sony’s 8K TVs come with next-generation image processor X1 Ultimate with 8K X-Reality Pro tech to upscale any content into 8K resolution.
“Additionally, Sony’s unique and evolved Backlight Master Drive technology features a newly developed LED module and control algorithm optimized for 8K. The combination of these technologies brings high resolution and high contrast picture quality images to life in stunning fashion,” Sony explains on its website.
Sony has also added a screen-casting-like ‘Acoustic Multi-Audio’ that makes the sound appear come from the screen.
TCL, which sells BlackBerry phones in select markets, introduced 8K Roku TVs. As the name suggests, these TVs will be powered by Roku’s smart TV technology. TCL’s 8K TVs will launch later this year.
The OnePlus 6T successor is set to launch later this year. Dubbed as OnePlus 7, the smartphone made an unofficial appearance on the web sporting notch-less screen design and unique camera setup. Ahead of the launch in the first half of this year, new details about the latest flagship phone have emerged.
Oppo on Monday announced it will unveil a 10X lossless optical zoom technology for smartphones. Rumours are the technology will make its way to the OnePlus 7 smartphone as well.
Oppo and OnePlus operate separately but have same BBK Electronics as the parent company. More than often OnePlus borrows features from the recent Oppo flagship phone. In the case of OnePlus 6T, the smartphone came with Oppo R17 Pro-like in-screen fingerprint sensor and waterdrop notch.
As far as 10x lossless optical zoom goes, Oppo’s new technology is an improved version of the 5X optical zoom system it showcased at Mobile World Congress (MWC) a couple of years ago. Oppo also launched 5X as a reference phone for the new camera technology.
OnePlus 7 is set to launch with Qualocmm’s latest Snapdragon 855 processor. While the latest chipset brings ultra fast performance at the chipset level, OnePlus 7 is also going to step up its game with Universal Flash Storage (UFS) 3.0. This will be a serious upgrade over the Universal Flash Storage (UFS) 2.1 storage used in most of the smartphones.
The latest UFS tech allows faster data transfer, estimated to be around 2279MB per second and sequential write speed at 1801MB per second ( leaked test scores on an OnePlus device).
UFS 3.0 is itself a new technology standard and is promised to deliver twofold bandwidth and lesser power when booting. Read more about the new storage standard here.
Apart from faster storage and processor, OnePlus is expected to push the RAM barriers. It recently launched a premium McLaren Edition with up to 10GB of RAM.
OnePlus 7 is most likely to be the company’s first smartphone to be 5G ready. The company has already announced it will launch a 5G OnePlus phone in European markets this year. According to reports, OnePlus will introduce a new lineup of 5G phones while keep offering non-5G phones at affordable prices.