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All That Has Happened In Technology In the Last 24 Hours

All That Has Happened In Technology In the Last 24 Hours

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19 June 2019

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has arrested a leader of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) youth wing for uploading hateful content against state departments on social media

The crime wing in-charge Mr. Iqbal while talking to a private news agency said that Waleed Butt who was previously the president of the PML-N’s youth wing in Gujranwala was posting hateful content in social media against the state institutions of Pakistan. He further added, “Butt had used inappropriate language against the judiciary, army officers and Prime Minister Imran Khan”.

A first information report (FIR) against Butt was registered at the sub-circle of the FIA Cyber Crime Circle in Gujranwala on Monday, on the complaint of a local citizen named Ameer Hamza. The FIR was registered under Sections 11 and 20 of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016 (Peca). This cybercrime law had faced a massive criticism by civil rights campaigners and was termed as ‘draconian’ when the law was passed by the Nawaz Sharif-led PML-N government.

Nokia, Ericsson and SK Telecom have all teamed up to work on 6G

While 5G is primed to have an immense impact on the way we work and stay connected, it is bound to be surpassed by the next big thing: 6G. And what’s more, three of the biggest names in the telecom industry have already decided to collaborate on it.

Scandinavian telecom vendors Nokia and Ericsson have reportedly entered into a partnership with South Korean company SK Telecom (SKT) to work on research and development for 6G. As one of the top telecom operators in the world and also the first to switch on a commercial 5G network, SKT clearly hopes to stay ahead of the curve and pioneer the future of connectivity technology.

A hacker conference speaker has been removed over his abortion views

A US politician has been removed from the list of speakers at the Black Hat hacker conference following protests over his views and voting record. Republican Will Hurd was due to be a keynote speaker at the high-profile conference in Las Vegas in August.

His inclusion prompted protests and threats of a boycott from some ethical hackers due to attend the conference. The protests centred around his anti-abortion stance and his wider voting record.

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18 June 2019

Facebook is going to unveil a plan to bring cryptocurrency payments into the mainstream today

The world’s biggest social network is expected to outline details of a virtual currency launching next year that it hopes will avoid the rollercoaster volatility associated with “blockchain” technologies such as bitcoin.

Facebook is setting up a consortium called “Libra” which, according to the Wall Street Journal, has been joined by more than a dozen companies including Visa, Mastercard, PayPal and Uber. The companies, along with venture capitalists and telecommunications firms, will reportedly invest around $10 million each into the consortium.

WhatsApp is threatening to take legal action against spammers

The world’s largest messaging app with a user base of over 1.5 billion, WhatsApp has been facing problems like spamming or bulk messaging for spreading fake news and selling products for quite a while now. WhatsApp says no more. The Facebook-owned company will now take legal action against users who send too many messages.

WhatsApp has already mentioned these rules when a user agrees with the Terms & conditions of the service. WhatsApp users are barred from contravening those rules according to an agreement they signed and now the company has pledged to pursue other punishments, too.

Samsung says that it’s TVs should be regularly virus-checked

A how-to video on the Samsung Support USA Twitter account demonstrates the more than a dozen remote-control button presses required to access the sub-menu needed to activate the check.

It suggested users should carry out the process “every few weeks” to “prevent malicious software attacks”. The suggestion surprised cyber-security specialists, who said the public would be unlikely to go to the trouble.

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16 June 2019

Twitter has banned state-backed propaganda accounts from Iran, Russia, Spain and Venezuela

The US platform said it had taken the material off its network, but would make it available to researchers and investigators studying online threats.

Tech firms have been accused of allowing political propagandists to use social media to hijack elections, poison online debate and smear their opponents. But Twitter, in a blog post by head of site integrity Yoel Roth, said “transparency is core to our mission” and vowed to fight “misleading, deceptive, and spammy behaviour”.

Selena Gomez says thats Instagram ‘would make me depressed’

Selena Gomez says she deleted Instagram from her phone because it made her feel “depressed”. Speaking ahead of the release of her new film, she said social media negatively affected her self-esteem.

The 26-year-old told Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest, “it would make me feel not good about myself, and look at my body differently”.The singer added that despite having more than 152m Instagram followers, she doesn’t go on it much.

Google plans to roll out a tool that lets Android users view moving animals in augmented reality through their device’s camera

It currently only works with some animals but could be expanded to include objects and brands in future. It was unveiled last month at the firm’s annual event for developers who create apps for Android devices.Devices which currently support it include specific models by Huawei, Samsung, LG and One Plus.

Apple also supports a wide range of Augmented Reality applications and while some iPhone users appear to be able to access this feature, others cannot.

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15 June 2019

Students from Iqra University have designed electricity generating tiles

The device produces electricity when you walk on it, a concept of energy harvesting using wood and artificial glass. The device converts kinetic energy into electricity and according to the students, if the tiles are installed in an area of 300 meters, they can generate enough electricity to charge 7 to 8 batteries of UPS in just 2 hours.

While the same project has been done in foreign countries, like the SolarCityproject by Elon Musk which integrates solar panels within roof tiles to generate electricity and then we have the Pavegan system which integrates the same concept used by these students on a commercial level.

A Pakistani entrepreneur has won the GIST Tech-I Award for “Outstanding Entrepreneur from an Emerging Economy”

Syed Abrar, Founder of Azaad Health, a Pakistan based healthcare startup, has won the award for “Outstanding Entrepreneur from an Emerging Economy” at U.S. Department of State’s GIST Catalyst Competition 2019 hosted at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in The Hague, Netherlands, June 3-5. Abrar was one of the 30 finalists at the competition, representing 18 different countries, competing in five categories of Food and Agriculture, Connectivity, Energy, Health, and Water.

Huawei has delayed the launch of the Mate X folding handset until September, having originally planned to launch it this summer

The firm said it wanted to conduct extra tests following screen problems reported by early reviewers of Samsung’s Galaxy Fold. Both firms had unveiled the devices in February but Huawei said it now wanted to be “cautious”.

Samsung currently has no release date for the Fold. Huawei confirmed to the BBC that the Mate X is expected to launch in September 2019. “We don’t want to launch a product to destroy our reputation,” it told the media. “The Mate X was always going to come later than Samsung’s Galaxy Fold, but the Korean phone-maker’s problems have certainly given Huawei more breathing space,” said Ben Wood from CCS Insight.

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14 June 2019

Facebook to buy stake in Indian e-commerce start-up Meesho

Facebook is buying a stake in Indian e-commerce start-up Meesho, Ajit Mohan, the head of the United States tech giant’s Indian business said on Thursday, looking to deepen its reach in one of the world’s biggest internet markets.

Meesho, a digital platform on which re-sellers of everything from jewellery to mobile phones reach prospective customers via social media platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram, already has about two million entrepreneurs focused on India’s smaller towns and cities, the vice-president and managing director at Facebook India told Reuters.

India plans to establish its own “very small” space station in the next decade

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chief K. Sivan said on Thursday that the ambitious project would follow a successful launch of a manned space flight scheduled by 2022.

“Our space station is going to be very small… useful to carry out experiments,” Sivan told reporters in New Delhi.

“We are not having a big plan of sending humans on tourism and other things,” he added. A space station is capable of hosting crew members for years on end, and provides facilities for experiments and support vehicles to dock.

The Chinese ambassador has warned Britain over blocking Huawei

China’s Ambassador to London Liu Xiaoming warned the British government that if Huawei is blocked from developing 5G networks then it will hurt Chinese trade and investment relationship with the United Kingdom (UK).

“It will send a very bad message not only to Huawei but also to Chinese businesses,” Ambassador Liu Xiaoming told the BBC.

He added that blocking Huawei would lead to “bad effects not only on trade but also on investment.”

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13 June 2019

Huawei cancels laptop launch because of US trade blacklist

Huawei has ditched a product launch for the first time since the US placed it on a trade blacklist. It was reported that the Chinese tech firm had intended to unveil a new laptop as early as this week. However, its consumer device chief Richard Yu told CNBC that it had become”unable to supply the PC”.

“[It’s] unfortunate,” he added via a WeChat message to the business news network. He added that the product itself might have to be scrapped. “[It] depends on how long the Entity List will be there,” he wrote.

Chernobyl selfies lead to warning from show’s writer

Some people visiting the site in Ukraine, where the world’s worst nuclear accident happened in 1986, have been taking pictures smiling at the abandoned power plant – one person posted a semi-naked picture. Craig Mazin said it’s “wonderful” that a “wave” of people have been visiting. But he’s asked people to remember “that a terrible tragedy occurred there”.

Estimates of the number of people affected vary hugely – the Chernobyl Forum says fewer than 50 died following exposure to radiation, but there could eventually be up to 9,000 deaths linked to the disaster.

Uber picks Melbourne as first international test site for flying taxi service

Uber Technologies said it will use Australia’s second-largest city, Melbourne, as the first international test site for the group’s planned flying taxi service. The United States ride sharing firm had previously chosen Dubai as the first test site outside the US for its UberAIR service but reopened its request for proposals last month after launch delays in the Middle Eastern city.

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12 June 2019

Data of around 100,000 passengers compromised through cyber-attack on US border patrol database

A hacker named “Boris Bullet-Dodger” stole the information of around 100,000 passengers through a cyber-attack on the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP). A US CBP official said on Monday that one their subcontractors were under a “malicious cyber attack” which exposed images of passengers coming in and out of the country. The authorities came to know about the breach on May 31.

According to a CBP spokesperson, the compromised data including photos of travelers faces and licenses plates were transferred to the subcontractor’s network without receiving any authorization from the authorities. However, the authorities claim that the stolen data did not contain any identifying information of the passengers and that the passport and travel documents are also safe.

Amazon insists that Human staff will always be needed

The company said it had deployed more than 200,000 warehouse robots working in around 50 of its locations. But despite Amazon investing heavily in advanced robotics, Tye Brady said the firm’s centres would never reach the point where they could be fully automated.

“Not at all. One ounce of my body just doesn’t see that,” he said. “The way that I think about this is a symphony of humans and machines working together, you need both. “The challenge that we have in front of us is how do we smartly design our machines to extend human capability.”

Ocado has invested £17m in developing so-called “vertical” farms

The firm, which delivers food bought online from Waitrose, is planning to grow herbs and leafy greens next to its distribution centres. It has made two investments in indoor farming. One is a joint venture with 80 Acres, a US vertical farm business, and Priva, a Dutch firm that provides climate control technology.

It has also bought a stake in Jones Food in Scunthorpe. Ocado’s chief executive Tim Steiner said he wanted vegetables grown on the farms to be delivered to kitchens within an hour of being picked. “We believe that our investments today in vertical farming will allow us to address fundamental consumer concerns on freshness and sustainability, and build on new technologies that will revolutionise the way customers access fresh produce,” he said.

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11 June 2019

China is creating a system to protect its technology, as the US continues to restrict the access of Chinese companies to American technology

The People’s Daily newspaper said on Sunday that the system would build a strong firewall to strengthen the nation’s ability to innovate and to accelerate the development of key technologies. “China … will never allow certain countries to use China’s technology to contain China’s development and suppress Chinese enterprises,” the main paper of the ruling Communist Party said, without directly referring to the United States.

No details have been released about what China is calling a national technological security management list. The plan was announced on Saturday evening in a brief three-paragraph dispatch by the official Xinhua news agency.

A man who was involved in a major hack attack of telecoms firm TalkTalk has been sentenced to four years in prison

Daniel Kelley, 22, from Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, pleaded guilty in 2016 to 11 charges including involvement in the attack where the personal data of more than 150,000 customers was stolen.

Kelley will serve his sentence in a young offenders institution. He was sentenced at the Old Bailey on Monday. Email addresses and bank details were taken after TalkTalk’s website was breached in 2015, with the total cost to the company from multiple hackers estimated at £77m.

Kelley’s hacking offences also involved half a dozen other organisations, including a Welsh further education college, Coleg Sir Gar, where he was a student. He hacked the college “out of spite” before targeting companies in Canada, Australia and the UK – including TalkTalk which has four million customers. The 22-year-old has Asperger’s syndrome and has suffered from depression and extreme weight loss since he pleaded guilty to the 11 hacking-related offences in 2016, the court heard.

Survey shows that internet users around the globe distrust social media companies, with 75% of those surveyed citing Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms as contributing to their lack of trust of the internet

While cyber criminals, cited by 81pc of those who distrust the internet, remained the leading source of distrust, a majority in all regions — 62pc globally — indicated that a lack of internet security was also a critical factor.

In terms of the effects of user distrust, nearly half (49pc) of those surveyed who distrust the internet said their distrust had caused them to disclose less personal information online, while 40pc reported taking greater care to secure their devices and 39pc said they were using the internet more selectively. Conversely, only a small percentage of people reported making use of more sophisticated tools — such as using more encryption (19pc) or using technical tools like Tor (The Onion Router) or virtual private networks (VPNs) (12pc) — to protect themselves online.

Eight out of 10 (78pc) people surveyed are concerned about their online privacy, with over half (53pc) more concerned than they were a year ago, marking the fifth year in a row that a majority of those surveyed say they feel more concerned about their online privacy than the previous year.

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10 June 2019

US lawmakers believe that Boeing delayed a fix to the 737 Max safety alert, which may have caused two plane crashes

In a letter to Boeing, the Federal Aviation Administration and a Boeing subcontractor, Reps. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) and Rick Larsen (D-Wash.) said they’d obtained information suggesting that even though the plane maker knew the safety alert wasn’t working when it began 737 Max deliveries in 2017, it decided to wait until 2020 to implement a fix. The warning light tells flight crews when an angle-of-attack sensor is giving false readings. The faulty sensor was linked to both the Lion Air crash in Indonesia in October and the Ethiopian Airlines crash in March.

As part of an ongoing investigation of the crashes by the House transportation committee, which DeFazio chairs, the lawmakers are asking Boeing to disclose when the company knew the light was defective and when it informed airlines.

Microsoft has deleted a database of 10 million images which was being used to train facial recognition systems

The database was released in 2016 and was built of online images of 100,000 well-known people.The database is believed to have been used to train a system operated by police forces  and the military. The deletion comes after Microsoft called on US politicians to do a better job of regulating recognition systems. Microsoft told the Finance Times the database was no longer available, because the person who curated it had now left the company.

Last year Microsoft President Brad Smith asked the US Congress to take on the task of regulating the use of facial recognition systems because they had “broad societal ramifications and potential for abuse”. More recently, Microsoft rejected a request from police in California to use its face-spotting systems in body cameras and cars.

Animal rights activist confronts Jeff Bezos on stage due to one of Amazon’s suppliers’ treatment of their chickens

Priya Sawhney evaded event security, as well as some of Mr Bezos’ personal detail, which costs a reported $1.6m (£1.25m) per year. “Jeff, you are the richest man on the planet,” Ms Sawhney said, holding a flower. “You can help the animals.” Mr Bezos and Jenny Freshwater, another Amazon executive on stage at the time, sat calmly as the woman was removed.

The Direct Action Everywhere animal rights group said it was protesting against what it claims is poor treatment of chickens at a farm in Petaluma Poultry, a California farm that supplies chicken and turkey to Amazon and others. “Animal abuse is the crime here, not animal rescue,” Ms Sawhney said in a press release published quickly after the incident.

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9 June 2019

Facebook has suspended app pre-installs on Huawei phones

Facebook Inc is no longer allowing pre-installation of its apps on Huawei phones, the latest blow for the Chinese tech giant as it struggles to keep its business afloat in the face of a US ban on its purchase of American parts and software. Customers who already have Huawei phones will still be able to use its apps and receive updates, Facebook told Reuters. But new Huawei phones will no longer be able to have Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram apps pre-installed.

Smartphone vendors often enter business deals to pre-install popular apps such as Facebook. Apps including Twitter and Booking.com also come pre-installed on Huawei phones in many markets. Twitter Inc declined to comment and Booking Holdings did not respond to a request.

Top G20 finance officials agreed that there was a need to tax internet giants like Google and Facebook

The G20 has tasked the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development to fix an international tax system that has seen some internet heavyweights take advantage of low-tax jurisdictions in places like Ireland and pay next to nothing in other countries where they make huge profits.

OECD chief Angel Gurria presented G20 finance ministers and central bank chiefs meeting over the weekend in the western Japanese city of Fukuoka with a “roadmap”, already signed off by 129 countries, in a bid to clinch a long-term solution by 2020. “We have to hurry up,” stressed French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire during a panel discussion of top policymakers before the G20 meeting officially opened.

NASA has said that it will open the International Space Station to tourists by 2020

NASA said it will open up the International Space Station to business ventures including space tourism as it seeks to financially disengage from the orbiting research lab.

Price tag? Tens of millions of dollars for a round trip ticket and $35,000 a night. “NASA is opening the International Space Station to commercial opportunities and marketing these opportunities as we’ve never done before,” NASA chief financial officer Jeff DeWit said in an announcement made at the Nasdaq stock exchange in New York.

There will be up to two short private astronaut missions per year, said Robyn Gatens, deputy director of the ISS.The missions will be for stays of up to 30 days. As many as a dozen private astronauts could visit the ISS per year, NASA said. These travellers would be ferried to the orbiter exclusively by the two US companies currently developing transport vehicles for NASA: SpaceX, with its Crew Dragon capsule, and Boeing, which is building one called Starliner.

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8 June 2019

Google flags US national security risks from Huawei ban: report

Alphabet Inc’s Google warned if the United States administration moves ahead with the sweeping ban on Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, it risks compromising national security, the *Financial Times* reported on Thursday.

Google’s move comes as the world’s two top economies ratchet up tariffs in a battle over what US officials call China’s unfair trade practices.

While the sanctions are expected to hurt Huawei in the short term, industry experts say it could force the company — and other Chinese firms — to become self-reliant by developing more home-grown technologies, hurting the dominance of American companies such as Google in the longer term.

Toyota speeds up electric vehicle schedule as demand heats up

Toyota Motor Corp aims to get half of its global sales from electrified vehicles by 2025, five years ahead of schedule, and will tap Chinese battery makers to meet the accelerated global shift to electricity-powered cars.

The change illustrates the breakneck growth in the electric vehicle (EV) market, which is transforming the auto industry, and is also an acknowledgement by Japan’s top carmaker that it may not be able to meet demand for batteries on its own.

Toyota is now faced with a higher-than-expected demand for cars that use batteries, rather than gasoline, Executive Vice President Shigeki Terashi told a briefing on Friday.

Thirsty Singapore taps into innovation to secure its water future

Every day after his morning run, Adam Reutens-Tan washes under a half-full camping shower hooked on the ceiling of his bathroom.

The modified shower, which uses just four litres of water, is one of several ways the Reutens-Tans family conserve water as part of a countrywide push to cut Singapore’s daily consumption by eight per cent by 2030.

The nation currently uses 141 litres per person each day — about enough for two typical eight-minute US showers, according to Harvard University statistics. Singapore, a steamy, low-lying island city-state, is the fifth most likely country in the world to face extremely high water stress by 2040, according to the US-based World Resources Institute. And it is hardly alone.

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7 June 2019

Simulation solves 40-year black hole mystery

Scientists on Thursday unveiled the most detailed simulation of a black hole yet, solving a mystery dating back more than four decades over how the star-devouring monsters consume matter.

Coming fresh on the heels of the first ever photo of one of the giant objects, which are scattered across the Universe, astrophysicists are now several steps closer to understanding how they form and develop.

A black hole is born when a large star collapses in on itself. Far from being a “hole”, they are instead incredibly dense objects with a gravitational pull so strong that nothing, not even light, may escape them.

As they suck in matter such as gas, dust and space debris, they form an accretion disk — a churning mass of super-accelerated particles that are among the brightest objects in the Universe — around them.

Amazon plans to deliver by drone ‘within months’

Amazon has said it will use drones to deliver packages to customers “within months”. It unveiled its latest iteration at a conference in Las Vegas, touting the machine’s ability to spot obstacles such as people, dogs, and clotheslines.

Amazon executive Jeff Wilke said the drone would be able to travel 15 miles to carry packages weighing 5lbs (2.3kg) or less. Mr Wilke did not say where in the world the drone deliveries would initially take place, or precisely when.

However, the US Federal Aviation Administration told the BBC it had granted Amazon a permit to operate the drone in the US.”The FAA issued a Special Airworthiness Certificate to Amazon Prime Air allowing the company to operate its MK27 unmanned aircraft for research and development and crew training in authorized flight areas,” the regulator said.

YouTube to ban ‘hateful,’ ‘supremacist’ videos

YouTube announced on Wednesday it would ban videos promoting or glorifying racism and discrimination as well as those denying well-documented violent events, like the Holocaust or the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting.

The announcement by the Google-owned video-sharing platform was the latest of a series of tech industry moves to filter out hateful and violent content, which have spurred calls for tougher regulation.

“YouTube has always had rules of the road, including a longstanding policy against hate speech,” a company statement said.

“Today, we’re taking another step in our hate speech policy by specifically prohibiting videos alleging that a group is superior in order to justify discrimination, segregation or exclusion based on qualities like age, gender, race, caste, religion, sexual orientation or veteran status.”

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6 June 2019

YouTube says anti-gay slurs don’t break its hate speech rules

YouTube is one of many companies that has given its logo a rainbow-themed makeover to show support for LGBT rights – but, underneath the colourful veneer, a row has erupted over how the video-sharing site enforces its own hate-speech policies. At the centre of the dispute is journalist Carlos Maza, who presents a popular series called Strikethrough for the news site Vox.

He says he has faced persistent abuse from rival video-maker Steven Crowder, who has more than 3.8 million subscribers on YouTube. Whenever Maza publishes a video for Vox, Crowder will post his own “debunking” video, peppered with insulting language attacking Maza’s sexual orientation and ethnicity.

So, last week, Maza posted a video compilation of the abuse. In the clips, Crowder imitates Maza’s accent and calls him, among other things, a “lispy queer”, a “gay Vox sprite” and a “gay Mexican”.  YouTube itself accepted the videos were “hurtful”, it was failing to enforce its own policies.

It rules prohibit content that:

  • is deliberately posted in order to humiliate someone
  • makes hurtful and negative personal comments about another person

YouTube said Crowder’s comments did not violate the policies because they were sandwiched between “debate”.

In notes provided by Google and published by news site Gizmodo, the company said: “We take into consideration whether criticism is focused primarily on debating the opinions expressed or is solely malicious.”

Sony’s PlayStation CEO wants a seamless transition to its next-generation console

In his first interview since becoming Sony’s PlayStation CEO in April, Jim Ryan offered some details about his company’s successor to its popular PlayStation 4 console, expected next year.

Among them, Ryan said his company plans to offer “cross-generational play,” effectively offering players the ability to play a game on their PS4, switch to a new console and continue, and then switch back. Effectively, it won’t matter to Sony’s servers which device they’re playing on. As a result, they’ll have all the same friends while they do that.

“Whether it’s backwards compatibility or the possibility of cross generational play, we’ll be able to transition that community to next-gen,” he said. “It won’t be a binary choice about whether you have to be ether on PlayStation 4 or next-gen to continue your friendship.”

Samsung launches 5G gaming service with cloud-streaming service Hatch

The Hatch for Samsung app is designed for the Galaxy S10 5G and for use with 5G mobile networks such as those launched by Sprint and Verizon. 5G, also already launched in the US by AT&T, is the next-generation network being used by smartphones to provide faster speeds and more capacity.

“The blazing fast speed and low latency of 5G will totally transform mobile gaming, so we’re thrilled to work with Hatch to pioneer 5G gaming in the US,” Chris Jo, Samsung Electronics America’s head of services, said in a statement.

The app comes with more than 100 games with no in-game purchases and no downloads required. Some of the games include Hitman Go, Monument Valley, Space Invaders Infinity Gene and Arkanoid Rising.

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5 June 2019

A Russian YouTuber has been sued over a film review

A popular Russian YouTuber known for his film reviews has hit out at his country’s Ministry of Culture with allegations of censorship.

In a video which has been viewed more than three million times, Yevgeny Bazhenov revealed he is currently being sued for copyright infringement by film studio Kinodanz for using too many clips in his film reviews. However, Mr Bazhenov alleges the real motivation is censorship and he has accused the Ministry of Culture, which funded Kinodanz’s film, Beyond the Edge, of being involved.

“You, me, we all should have the right to say what we think, especially when we critique something that was filmed on our money,” Mr Bazhenov said in his video.

According to news outlet Interfax, the Ministry’s director of cinematography Olga Lyubimova has denied being involved in the lawsuit saying: “We provide support in producing and promoting films on the Russian market and abroad, but we do not provide support in court… these phrases and claims are 90% baseless.”

United States will now demand social media details from visa applicants

Nearly all applicants for US visas will have to submit their social media details under newly adopted rules. The State Department regulations say people will have to submit social media names and five years’ worth of email addresses and phone numbers.

When proposed last year, authorities estimated the proposal would affect 14.7 million people annually. Certain diplomatic and official visa applicants will be exempt from the stringent new measures. However, people travelling to the US to work or to study will have to hand over their information.

“We are constantly working to find mechanisms to improve our screening processes to protect US citizens, while supporting legitimate travel to the United States,” the department reportedly said.

Tinder faces Russian demand to share user data

Russian authorities have told dating-app Tinder it will have to comply with requests to hand over messages and photos of its users in Russia. Under recent Russian laws, 175 companies have been put on a register that requires them to store data for six months on Russian servers.

Companies that refuse, like the private messaging app Telegram, risk being blocked in Russia.

Tinder said it had “registered to be compliant”.

However, it was adamant that “this registration in no way shares any user or personal data with any Russian regulatory bodies and we have not handed over any data to their government”.

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4 June 2019

International travellers are falling victim to fake mobile phone registrations

Some international travellers who have returned home for Eid celebrations have found out that there are fake devices registered against their CNIC. According to an employee of the telecommunication sector, an agency may have sold the person’s details to a buyer in the black market for fake mobile phone registration.

Haris Ahmed arrived in Pakistan with his family from Riyadh and once he logged into the Device Identification Registration and Blocking System website, he discovered that there was a phone registered in his name that didn’t belong to him. To make matters worse, his wife and his children also had phones registered against their respective CNICs. Haris also tried to contact a relative who recently came from Los Angeles but there was a phone registered against her CNIC as well.

In another peculiar case, Syed Iqbal arrived from Bahrain with his family and all members of the family, including minors, had a phone registered against their CNICs once they checked on the DIRBS website. To get the phones removed from all CNICs, he registered a complaint on the Citizen Portal as well as with PTA.

PTA announces that the total broadband users in Pakistan reach 70 million mark

Pakistan has reached a mark of 70 million broadband, 3G, 4G and landline internet users. According to the latest data shared by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) out of those 70 million users, 67 million are 3G and 4G subscribers.

The data also reveals that the total number of cellular network users in Pakistan had reached 161 million by the end of April 2019, which is 1.26% larger as compared to the 159 million users in the May 2019. The total number of Jazz 4Gusers increased from 8.774 million by the end of March to 9.618 by end of April. However, according to the companies press release on Friday, the cellular network has reached a 10 million mark for 4G data subscribers in Pakistan. The number of 3G users of Jazz has decreased from 13.622 million to 13.393 million.

Huawei may sell its 51% stake from sub-marine cable business

The Chinese technology giant Huawei is planning to sell its 51% shares in an undersea telecommunications cable business named Huawei Marine, as described in the exchange filing from the Chinese buyer on Monday.

In the filing the Hengtong Optic-Electric which is an optical communication network products firm based in Jiangsu province said to the Shanghai Stock Exchange that the company had signed a letter of intent with Huawei’s subsidiary named Huawei Tech Investment on May 31. According to this letter, the company will buy Huawei’s share in the cable business via cash and share issuance. However, the price of the shares was not mentioned in the filing.

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3 June 2019

Pompeo warns Germany: use Huawei and lose access ‘to our data’

The United States raised the pressure on Western allies in a war of attrition over next-generation networks on Friday, saying countries that allow China’s Huawei to build their telecoms infrastructure could be cut off from crucial intelligence data.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued the warning after meeting Foreign Minister Heiko Maas of Germany, which has so far stood with Britain and France in declining calls to ban the state-owned manufacturer from the 5G networks now being built.

Justice Department to probe Google’s business practices

The US Justice Department is readying an investigation of Google’s business practices and whether they violate antitrust law, according to news reports.

The search giant was fined a record $2.72 billion by European regulators in 2017 for abusing its dominance of the online search market. In the US, the Federal Trade Commission made an antitrust investigation of Google but closed it in 2013 without taking action.

Now the Justice Department has undertaken an antitrust probe of the company’s search and other businesses, according to reports by The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and Bloomberg News. They cited unnamed people familiar with the matter.

Extinction Rebellion plans Heathrow drone protest

Extinction Rebellion activists are threatening to shut down Heathrow Airport with drones.

The climate change protest group vowed to stage a one-day demonstration in June and then 10 further days in July – unless the government cancels plans for expanding the airport.

Ten days of protests across central London in April saw 1,130 people arrested for various offences.

Heathrow Airport said the plan was “reckless” and could “endanger lives”.

Extinction Rebellion said it was in talks with members about carrying out action to close the airport on 18 June and again from 1 July for up to 10 days if the government did not cancel plans to expand the airport.

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2 June 2019

AI beats humans in multiplayer video games

It’s official: the machines are going to destroy you (if, that is, you’re a professional multiplayer gamer).

A team of programmers at a British artificial intelligence company has designed automated “agents” that taught themselves how to play the seminal first-person shooter Quake III Arena, and became so good they consistently beat human beings.

The work of the researchers from DeepMind, which is owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet, was described in a paper published in Science on Thursday and marks the first time the feat has ever been accomplished.

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg ‘survives’ leadership vote

An attempt to make Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg step down as the company’s chairman has failed.At the company’s annual general meeting on Thursday, shareholders had the opportunity to vote on Mr Zuckerberg’s leadership. Mr Zuckerberg is both Facebook’s chief executive and the chairman of its board of directors.

He controls about 60% of the voting power and would only have lost if he voted against himself. Some investors have called for him to step down as chairman as they believe this would help him focus on running the company. One of those investors is Trillium Asset Management, which owns Facebook shares worth about $7m (£5.5m).

North Face apologises over Wikipedia ‘hack’

Brazilian subsidiary of ad agency Leo Burnett Tailor Made was behind the effort in April to insert the images on Wikipedia pages explaining the history and character of well-known and remote locations. In a video explaining what it had done shared by Advertising Age, North Face said it had “hacked” the search rankings using Wikipedia pages.

It said it capitalised on the fact that many people search Google prior to embarking on a hiking trip or trek and the most popular images for the locations they seek are usually taken from Wikipedia pages. To exploit this, models wearing or using North Face gear were snapped in more than 15 locations including Brazil’s Guarita State Park and the Mampituba lighthouse as well as California’s Cabo peninsula and Scotland’s Cuillin mountains.

The strong criticism led North Face to issue an apology. “We believe deeply in Wikipedia’s mission and apologise for engaging in activity inconsistent with those principles,” it said via Twitter. “Effective immediately, we have ended the campaign and moving forward, we’ll commit to ensuring that our teams and vendors are better trained on the site policies.”

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1 June 2019

‘Britain may not have made final decision on Huawei and 5G’

Britain may not have made a final decision on allowing China’s Huawei a restricted role in building parts of its 5G network, US President Donald Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton said on Thursday.

The Trump administration, which has sanctioned Huawei and tried to block it buying US goods, has told allies not to use its 5G technology and equipment because of fears it would allow China to spy on sensitive communications and data.

Britain’s National Security Council, chaired by Prime Minister Theresa May, met to discuss Huawei last month and a decision was made to block Huawei from all core parts of the 5G network but to give it restricted access to non-core parts.

World’s first 5G laptop powered by Snapdragon 8cx unveiled

Well, 5G networks may soon take a while to reach the masses, but 5G smartphones and laptops are already ready to carry them.

At this year’s Computex, the US chipmaker Qualcomm and Beijing-based PC maker Lenovo have announced their joint Project Limitless and under this project, they are going to start large scale manufacturing of the world’s first 5G-enabled laptop. The 5G laptop will be powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8cx platform.

Yes, it’s the same laptop which has already been teased at this year’s Mobile World Congress. But now, we have now got a better idea of what this device will be capable of. It must be noted that Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8cx 5G compute platform is going to be the first ever 7-nanometer platform built for PCs that offers built-in 5G data connectivity.

Fake mobile device registrations could lead up to 7 years of imprisonment

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) in partnership with the FIA is reportedly stepping up efforts to curb fake mobile device registrations. FIA has started arresting both shopkeepers and users involved in these fake registrations and the culprits will be awarded 7 years of imprisonment to properly ban the use of non-compliant devices.

Earlier this month, it surfaced that PTA blocked phones are being unlocked in the black market for as low as Rs. 2000. PTA had started the use of DIRBS and banning of non-compliant phones on 30th April after a series of extensions in deadline to getting your mobile device registered. At that particular time, around 2.8 million devices were to be banned by PTA and the enforcement of this new step shows that there were obstacles in the way.

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31 May 2019

‘The Ruet’: Fawad Chaudhry announces launch of moon sighting mobile app

Following the launch of Pakistan’s first official moonsighting website, Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry on Thursday announced the availability of a mobile application which displays the various phases of, and other real-time information about, the moon.

The app, named ‘The Ruet’, is available on the Google Play store for download.

PTA reveals passengers mobile registration data got leaked

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has revealed that the travel agents and civil aviation officials had leaked the personal data of passengers. PTA while informing the Senate Standing Committee on Information Technology said that the data of passengers was leaked even before they went to the mobile registration counters to register their devices.

The leaked data included information about the passport number and ID card number of the passengers, which were then used to register mobile phones without the knowledge of the passport owner. The passengers came to know about this issue when they went to the registration booths at the airport to register their phones and found that there are mobile phones already registered under their names.

Uber will now deactivate riders with below average rating

The popular ride-hailing service, Uber announced yesterday that it will be deactivating those riders that are consonantly receiving bad reviews from the drivers and as a result have received an overall below average rating.

Uber, however, said that they’ll have to “develop a significantly below average rating.” Initially, the company will notify the rider when their rating starts to dip. The company will send tips on how to get their rating back-up such as speaking politely to the driver, not asking the driver to speed up or not leaving the trash in the car.

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30 May 2019

Huawei asks US court to throw out federal ban

Chinese telecom giant Huawei stepped up its legal battle on Wednesday to overturn US legislation barring American federal agencies from buying its products amid an escalating high-tech dispute.

Huawei filed suit against the US bill in March, calling it “unconstitutional” and saying the US Congress had failed to provide evidence to support its restrictions on Huawei products.

The company filed a motion for summary judgement on Wednesday (Tuesday in the United States), seeking a quick determination by US courts on whether the case has merit to proceed.

Chinese e-commerce leader Alibaba Group is exploring a potential second listing in Hong Kong that could raise $20 billion

US-listed Alibaba is aiming to file an application in Hong Kong as early as the second half of 2019, Bloomberg News reported, quoting unidentified people with knowledge of the plans.

The listing would be intended to open up new funding channels for Alibaba, whose 2014 listing in New York raised $25bn in the world’s largest initial public offering. An Alibaba spokesperson declined comment to AFP, saying the company does not respond to “market rumours”.

China has sought to encourage its current and future big tech firms to list nearer to home, including via a planned technology board in Shanghai that would be China’s answer to the Nasdaq exchange.

NUST gets approval for science & technology park from PPPA

National University of Sciences & Technology (NUST) has secured the approval to initiate working on its latest project, which is “National Science & Technology Park” from the Public-Private Partnership Authority’s (PPPA) Board. PPPA granted the approval for the tech park at the first board meeting under the chairmanship of Minister for Planning, Development & Reforms Khusro Bakhtyar.

This multi-billion dollar initiative is aimed at developing the knowledge economy of Pakistan through innovation and growth of hi-tech entities. NSTP will serve as an innovation powerhouse for businesses by boosting the university’s chief strengths and unique position in the global technology market.

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29 May 2019

Ramazan in Middle East is for fasting and Facebook, data shows

The holy month of Ramazan, with its long days of fasting and prayer meant to draw worshippers closer to God and away from worldly distractions, is being reshaped by technology.

People in the Middle East spend close to 58 million more hours on Facebook during Ramadan and watch more YouTube videos — everything from beauty tips and recipes to sports and TV dramas — than any other time of the year, making the holy month not only the most important one for Muslims, but also the prime time of the year for advertisers.

UBL Mobile Banking App uses Augmented Reality for finding exclusive discounts nearby

The world is moving rapidly towards a cashless economy and this is being demonstrated by the fact that more and more people rely on their smartphones, debit/credit cards for payments across the globe. According to statistics, 63% of smartphone users have at least one financial app on their phone. With more and more features being added every day to mobile applications, it is no surprise that people are leaving conventional methods and adopting modern technologies.

Apple unveils first new iPod model in four years

Apple on Tuesday introduced its first new iPod model in four years, highlighting music and games as it continued to make a priority of serving up digital content.The new-generation iPod touch, essentially an iPhone without the phone calls, was available in more than two dozen countries at Apple’s online shop starting at $199.

“We’re making the most affordable iOS device even better with performance that is twice as fast as before, Group FaceTime and augmented reality,” said Apple vice president of product marketing Greg Joswiak.

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28 May 2019

China’s tech ‘Long March’ could be road to nowhere

China’s president has called for technological self-reliance in the escalating rivalry with America, but experts believe Beijing’s late start on tech and relatively backward capabilities could make that a mission impossible.

China has no doubt made an amazing transformation, from a former basket case wracked by mass famine and political upheaval to a highly connected society marked by growing use of renewable energy, a space programme, and bullet trains criss-crossing the country.

But a closer look reveals that while China is adept at assembling foreign technologies into commercially successful products at home, its ability to innovate remains deeply hampered, tech experts said.

Supreme Court hears its first case using e-Court system

For the first time in the judicial history of Pakistan, the Supreme Court (SC) on Monday, began hearing cases via e-Court — a system based on video-conferencing connectivity, the apex court announced in a press release as reported by Dawn. The Supreme Court announced to start the e-Court system last Friday.

To make Pakistan’s judicial system more effective and convenient, the three-member bench of the apex court led by Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa heard arguments of lawyers of Karachi branch registry through video conferencing facility from the Court Room No. 1 of the apex court in Islamabad.

TikTok’s parent company now intends to make its own smartphones

The development company behind TikTok now intends to make its own smartphone after the immense success with the video app. The smartphone would come with ByteDance’s own apps preinstalled such as news aggregator Jinri Toutiao, TikTok itself and an unannounced music streaming service which was the core ambition of the company for this year.

ByteDance has been hugely successful and as of 2018, it is valued at a staggering $78 billion and is regarded as one of the most valuable unicorn companies till date. The main intention behind the smartphone according to the Financial Timesreport is actually a dream of the CEO of the company who envisions a smartphone preloaded with many apps (bloatware?). ByteDance had acquired a patent of Smartisan, an electronics manufacturer in China, which will allow the company to make its own smartphones.

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27 May 2019

Facebook removed over 2 billion fake accounts in just three months

In its effort to combat the spread of false news and violence through its platform, the social media giant, Facebook has taken down 2.2 billion fake accounts during a course of three months, January to March, this year. This massive account removal development marks a record high for the company as the number is quite identical to the monthly active users of Facebook which reached a figure of 2.38 billion, as per last month’s stats.

To compare how big Facebook’s recent move is, it must be noted that Facebook had disabled 1.2 billion fake accounts in the previous quarter and 694 million between during the last three months of 2017. The new figures were recently released in the company’s third Community Standards Enforcement report. Moreover, Facebook has planned to release this report for the Facebook app and Instagram on a quarterly basis starting from 2020, rather than twice a year.

WhatsApp to get two new much-needed features soon

Facebook recently announced that it is going to bring ads feature on its popular messaging app WhatsApp, and now according to WABetaInfo, WhatsApp is working to launch two new features on its platform which includes sharing your WhatsApp story on Facebook and QR codes for profile.

As reported by WABetaInfo, users will now be able to share their WhatsApp status as a Facebook story. The messaging app will now have a “Add to Facebook Story” option that will allow users to perform this function. However, in order to add your status as a Facebook story, users must have the Facebook app installed in their mobile devices.

Mona Lisa ‘brought to life’ with deepfake AI

The subject of Leonardo da Vinci’s famous Mona Lisa painting has been brought to life by AI researchers. The video, achieved from a single photo, shows the model in the portrait moving her head, eyes and mouth. The latest iteration of so-called deepfake technology came out of Samsung’s AI research laboratory in Moscow.

Some are concerned that the rise of convincing deepfake technology has huge potential for misuse. Samsung’s algorithms were trained on a public database of 7,000 images of celebrities gathered from YouTube. The AI system mapped facial features and movements on to a photo to bring it to life.

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26 May 2019

Novartis gets US approval for $2.1 million gene therapy

Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis on Friday announced it had received US regulatory approval for a gene therapy that treats a rare childhood disorder and has a price tag of $2.1 million, making it the most expensive drug in history.

The company said Zolgensma was a one-time treatment for spinal muscular atrophy, a disease that affects about 1 in 10,000 births and which results in death or the need for permanent ventilation by the age of two in 90 percent of cases.

But the announcement comes as the administration of US President Donald Trump has vowed to tackle soaring drug costs.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX raised over $1 bln in six months

Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk’s SpaceX has raised more than $1 billion in financing in the last six months as it aims to roll out an ambitious high-speed internet service by using a constellation of satellites to beam signals from space.

The company raised $486.2 million in an equity offering, starting December, and another $535.7m in an offering that began in April, its regulatory filings on Friday showed.

The rocket company on Thursday launched the first batch of 60 small satellites into low-Earth orbit for Musk’s new Starlink internet service.

GSMA concerned at high fees for renewal of telecom licences

The GSM Association (GSMA), which represents more than 750 operators and almost 400 companies including handset and device makers and software companies worldwide, raised serious concerns over the “unreasonable fees” set by the government and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) on operators renewing mobile spectrum licences in Pakistan, which it believes pose a significant risk to the mobile connectivity of millions of citizens, according to a statement issued by the association on Wednesday.

The PTA spokesman could not be reached for comment despite repeated attempts.

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25 May 2019

Pakistan among top states where Facebook curbed most content

The total content restricted in Pakistan by social media giant Facebook doubled between July and December 2018, according to the platform’s latest transparency report released on Friday.

Facebook restricted 4,174 items within Pakistan during the second half of 2018, as compared to 2,203 pieces from the first half of the year.

After India (17,713 items restricted), which topped the list of countries where the platform restricted maximum content, Pakistan ranked second followed by Brazil (4,026). According to the breakdown of the content restricted in Pakistan, Facebook suspended 3,811 posts, 343 pages and groups, 10 profiles and one album. On Instagram, the platform restricted a total of nine items — seven posts and two accounts.

Senate panel alarmed over giving data access to ‘spy’ firm

A parliamentary body on Thursday expressed its concern over the access to data being given to a US firm linked with global cyber surveillance.

The Senate Standing Commi­ttee on Cabinet Secretariat was probing the matter of the Pak­istan Telecommunication Auth­o­rity (PTA) signing an agreement with the US-based Sand­vine Corporation, to monitor, analyse, and curb grey traffic.

The issue was referred to the standing committee when Senator Mushtaq Ahmed during the previous Senate session asked a question about the PTA signing an agreement for monitoring internet traffic with a company working as a partner with Israeli intelligence.

Nokia could benefit from Huawei’s restrictions in US, CEO HMD Global

Nokia  could benefit from a US crackdown on Chinese rival Huawei, as the race to release 5G services is picking pace, this statement was given by Nokia’s Chief Executive Rajeev Suri. He told the investors about the regulatory problems Huawei is facing and that, and he stated, “Perhaps there is a long term opportunity but more than that, it’s hard to say at this point.”

Nokia which is owned by HMD Global last month reported a quarterly loss after the company failed to supply required 5G telecom components in time. Suri admitted that Nokia had been a little slow in getting 5G technology operational, and he quoted that the reason for this delay company is merging its own technology plans with those of the acquired Alcatel-Lucent. Suri added, “We are late in 5G by a few weeks to a couple of months”.

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24 May 2019

Apple will now inform iPhone users when iOS updates will affect performance

It’s been quite a while since we talked about Apple and its slowing down iPhones and now the Cupertino tech giant has agreed to warn iPhone owners if an iOS update will slow a device or affect battery life.

After the last year’s discussion about whether or not Apple should have informed iPhone users that some updates for its operating system will slow down their iPhones, the UK Competition and Markets Authority initiated an investigation to learn more about the matter.

14% of Google Assistant calls are handled by humans

According to The Verge, a quarter of Google Duplex calls are actually started by a human. The media outlet notes that 14% of Duplex calls start off using the Assistant but require someone from Google’s call center to complete the call. The intriguing question at this point is how Google determines whether to start a call with a human or the Assistant?

There are quite a few solutions to that. For an instant, if Duplex isn’t sure whether an actual person is asking for reservations, or the person making the reservation is a spammer, it will transfer the call to a Google call center representative. The company claims it’s using human intervention to help it gather the information that can be used to for Duplex learning.

Galaxy Fold gets a Game of Thrones edition; hope it won’t disappoint you like the show did

The Games of Thrones Galaxy Fold edition is out but you can’t afford it because it will be four times as expensive as the original Galaxy Fold by the South Korean tech giant Samsung. The famous Russian company Caviar popular for making a customized version of popular phones in gold has yet again pulled out a new stunt. The time, the luxury brand has decided to go even further and announce a new design for the Samsung Galaxy Fold which is still struggling large-scale market launch following a delay due to design issues.

The new Fold design made by Caviar is dedicated to the most loved show of HBO— Game of Thrones and its unreleased novel The Winds of Winter and goes overboard with the ornaments as is the norm with Caviar. On a lighter note, I don’t know how the company will manage to reimburse so much gold on the upcoming phones because as per my info, there’s nothing left in the King’s Landing now, except for fire and blood.

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23 May 2019

Microsoft removes Huawei’s MateBook X from its online store, remains silent over potential Windows ban

Amidst the feud between China and America and Google’s decision to ban Huawei from using its services, Microsoft has made a subtle move by removing Huawei’s flagship laptop, MateBook X from its stores.

A listing of MateBook X Pro from Microsoft’s online store mysteriously vanished over the weekend. So searching for any of Huawei’s products resulted in no results at the Microsoft online store. However, according to Verge, Microsoft is still selling MateBook X Pro at its retail stores. With the attack on Huawei now reaching its climax, things do not seem good for the Chinese company.

“One-ring” scam is targeting Pakistanis via phone calls

A notorious one-ring scam is targeting Pakistanis on cellular networks using phone calls.

Pakistani citizens are warning each other on social media websites and messaging apps after the resurfacing of an “on-ring” resurfaced in Pakistan last week. Several Pakistani citizens have received phone calls from unknown international numbers, which is raising the suspicion about “Wangiri” or “one-ring” scam.

Wangiri originally emerged from Japan, and it means “one ring and disconnect”, which means it enables scammers to generate robocalls to hundreds of thousands of mobile users, mostly to their mobile devices.

Google admits it stored user passwords for fourteen years

Google  has disclosed in a blog post, that it has recently discovered a bug that stored the user passwords of some G suite users in plain text. The bug which Google says it discovered has been around in the system since 2005, though the search giant says it has not found any evidence of the passwords being used or accessed improperly.

Google is now resetting the passwords which might have been affected by the bug and also informed the G suite administrators about the issue. According to Google, the bug has been in the system since 2005.

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22 May 2019

Google unveils 2nd edition of smart glass, its cheaper augmented reality headset

The US-based technology company which is also quite popular worldwide for its search engine, Google, has finally realized that it has to provide affordable products in the market alongside assuring creativity in them. In its bid to capture more market, this year’s Pixel phone of Google was also cheaper than previous ones. And as now, the tech behemoth has announced that it will be launching the Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2, its new smart glasses that are more powerful and cost $999 only.

Customs officials stopped an attempt to smuggle mobile phones worth Rs. 3.5 million

Customs officials at Jinnah International Airport Karachi in a recent operation have stopped an attempt to smuggle mobile phones and other smartphone accessories worth Rs. 3.5 million, as reported by local media outlets.

According to the details, Customs officials at Karachi airport noticed a man who brought excessive baggage along with him while returning from Sharjah. Upon interrogation, Customs officials recovered around 239 mobile phones and other smartphone accessories from him.

Government to cut 50% of HEC’s Budget for 2019-20

Chairman Higher Education Commission (HEC), Dr. Tariq Banuri while giving a briefing to the National Assembly Standing Committee on Education and Professional Training, has warned the committee against proposed budget cuts in for higher educational institutions in Pakistan that doing so, would push these institutions towards a crisis. The standing committee’s meeting was chaired by MNA Mian Najeebud Din Awaisi and was held at the HEC Secretariat.

Dr. Banuri said that HEC had proposed a budget worth Rs. 103.55 billion for the higher education sector for the fiscal year 2019-20. However, the indicative budgetary ceilings (IBCs) showed that only Rs. 58.5 billion would be allocated for the sector.

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21 May 2019

Intel and Qualcomm also cut off Huawei

After losing its Android license, Huawei is reportedly losing support from the major chipmakers as well. As reported by Bloomberg, manufacturers including Intel Corp., Qualcomm Inc., and Broadcom Inc. have told their employees that they will not supply their components to Huawei until further notice.

The suspension from the chipmakers came right after Google cut off Android’s license to Huawei, following an executive order from the Trump administration prohibiting US organizations from using telecommunications equipment manufactured by the companies which pose a security risk to the country.

Pakistani family wins technology award at AI World Championship

A Pakistani family, known as the Mayets, has won the Technology Award in the AI World Championship in Santa Clara, USA. The family participated in the junior division of the AI Family Challenge and won the award for inventing Cavity Crusher. This is a device that uses artificial intelligence to monitor a child’s brushing habits.

The AI championship selected families those families that are using artificial intelligence to tackle the problems they face in their communities. The winning family’s coach, Sana Mehmood was also appreciated for making great efforts in training the family.

Government is failing to support small-medium scale firms in IT sector of Pakistan, Syed Ahmad

The chairman of the Pakistan Software Houses Association and a member of the Prime Minister’s Task Force on IT & Telecom Syed Ahmad has said in a Facebook post that the government is wasting funds on the R&D and other academic centric/supply side activities that are providing no benefit to the country.

Syed Ahmad said that due to the lack of support from the government I am withdrawing exports marketing program proposal from Federal Government that was created to help the small-medium scale firms (SMEs) in IT sector to travel internationally to conferences, exhibitions, and networking events. He apologized to the small firms and said that they had to stick themselves to small online sales and may have to limit themselves to small ticket sales items.

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20 May 2019

Huawei won’t bow to US pressure: founder

Chinese telecoms giant Huawei is ready to deal with Washington’s crackdown and will reduce its reliance on US components, its founder has told Japanese media. President Donald Trump effectively barred Huawei from the US market on Wednesday and added it to a list which would restrict US sales to the firm amid an escalating trade war with Beijing.

“We have already been preparing for this,” Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei told a group of Japanese journalists on Saturday in his first interview since Trump’s move.

Tech Talk: A startup does all for your home renovation

Have you ever renovated your home? Finding the right paints, perfect tile fit and then the person to oversee everything doesn’t seem like the most convenient thing to me.

Enter EZMakaan.com, and it might just be. EZmakaan is a Karachi-based startup for all things home. Whether you want to buy tiles for flooring the new home, or an oven to finally start baking, the website has you covered. Currently, they have products in nine categories, ranging from appliances and electronics to bathroom and sanitary.

Huawei loses access to Android and Google, effective immediately

In a surprise move, Google has halted its business operations with Huawei, one of the leading mobile phone manufacturers in the world, effective immediately — a report by Reuters notes. The halted business streams include anything in relation to the transfer of hardware and software products except the open source ones. If accurate, this can send shockwaves across the world and massively impact Huawei users and businesses all over the world.

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18 May 2019

PTA blocked phones are being unlocked in black market for as low as Rs. 2000

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) had started blocking the unregistered or illegal smartphones and feature phones in Pakistan since the 30th of April, after a delay of several months. But people have found a way out of this. The blocked phones from PTA are being unblocked on the black market at Rs. 2000 and Rs. 3000 depending on the handset.

During a meeting between Senate standing committee and the Ministry of Information Technology, Senator Mian Mohammad Ateeq Shaikh raised the issue, saying that the blocked smartphones are being unblocked on the black market for 2000 or 3000 rupees. He said that these mobile phones being unblocked at this cheap rate would have fetched the national treasury more than Rs. 30,000.

CSS aspirants might get Urdu as an optional language as Senate passes resolution

The upper legislative chamber of Pakistan, Senate has recently passed a resolution that seeks to allow Central Superior Services (CSS) aspirants to take Urdu as an optional language to prepare the country’s premier services exams. Senate resolution about Urdu as a medium of exam for CSS has no legal effect at this time as no Bill has been passed in the Senate.

Sirajul Haq, the Chief of Pakistan’s socially conservative and Islamist political party Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), moved the resolution in the upper house of Parliament, demanding that the CSS exams must be taken in Urdu.

Fawad Chaudhry plans to convert 1500 Government schools to ‘Science Technology schools

In his struggle to provide digital education to students of government schools, Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry has recently announced his ambition to convert the government schools across the country into well-equipped “Science technology schools”. Fawad Ch was talking to a private News channel where he revealed his ambition along with a promise to establish DNA laboratory.

Fawad Chaudhry said that the technology will boost economic and industrial growth of Pakistan. He said that they have selected 1500 government schools in the first phase of their program to introduce technology-based education in them. “The program will equip government students to compete with other students from any part of the world”, he added.

Your bank account may be blocked if you don’t verify biometrics before 31st May

Those people who have bank accounts at any bank in Pakistan will now have to verify biometrics before May 31. And in case, you don’t opt to avail biometric authentication, your bank account is going to be suspended, Samaa News reports.

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) had issued a directive last year in October that all the commercial banks including microfinance and Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) must verify the bank accounts of their customers with biometrics. Therefore, all the local banks have been sending SMS to the account holders for biometric verification at the nearest branch to avoid account blocking. However, there is no definite deadline as some banks including HBL are asking for verification before May 31, while others want accounts verified by June 30, 2019.

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17 May 2019

We may not see a 5G iPhone until 2025 after Intel-Apple modem divorce, report

Apple intends to design its own 5G iPhone chips — but it will take quite a long to be materialized.

Apple may not have its custom 5G modem ready for its iPhones for about six years. The Cupertino tech giant, which was expected to lag Android device makers when it comes to integrating superfast 5G connectivity into phones, is now focused on designing more of the components inside its devices to rely less on suppliers, as according to a report by The Information.

Islamabad Police registers FIR against a man for posting blasphemous comments on Facebook

Islamabad Police has registered an FIR against a man who was alleged of putting blasphemous comments on Facebook.

According to the FIR registered, a resident of Islamabad from Sector G-9/3, Muhammad Yasir Qasmi, son of Abdul Waheed Qasmi had filed a complaint against Shaukat Ali, resident of Golra. Yasir claimed that Shaukat had been putting highly blasphemous comments on the social media website, targeting the holy personalities in response to the posts which Yasir Qasmi had been sharing on his Facebook account on the internet.

Xiaomi reduces smartphone prices in Pakistan during Ramadan

Xiaomi, one of the fastest emerging smartphone companies in developing markets that offer the best value for money with its innovative handsets, has recently announced a price cut on some of its top-selling smartphones in Pakistan as part of Ramadan offer.

Interestingly, Xiaomi is also one of few smartphone companies in Pakistan who sell their products on their own online stores alongside several other eCommerce marketplaces and offline retail stores. MiStore is offering up to Rs. 7,000 discounts during Ramadan.

Uber riders can now choose a quiet mode to keep conservation with the drivers to a minimum

Uber is offering its users an ability to keep the conversation between themselves and their drivers to a minimum by selecting “quiet mode” from the Uber’s mobile app. The ride-hailing service is also offering some other perks as well which include luggage service, freedom to choose a specific interior temperature and extra time so that they can find their driver’s car after it had arrived at the pickup location.

These amazing perks are available to the customers who choose the Uber’s pricier Uber Black and Uber Black SUV service. Users will also get access to a dedicated customer support line. Uber is also promising that the man behind the wheel of the car you order will be a commercially licensed driver, who will show up in a kind of vehicle you would be expecting when using a luxury car service.

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16 May 2019

Oppo and Vivo offers new ramzan deal by cutting prices in half

Just last week we reported that Huawei has reduced prices of its smartphone in Pakistan, now two more Chinese smartphone giants — Oppo and Vivo — have slashed the prices of some of their top-rated smartphones by over 15%.

Both companies have announced the price cut on social media as part of a special Ramadan offer. As for the selfie expert maker, the Oppo A7 is now available to purchase online and retail stores in just Rs.31,999. The phone packs a huge 4230mAh battery and waterdrop notch display, as affirmed by the company in a Facebook post.

Fawad Chaudhry said that the government plans to give loans for execution of tech-based business ideas

Our science and technology minister seems overwhelmingly motivated to make bigger announcements every day that influences the tech industry of our country.

In his efforts to boost the startup ecosystem in Pakistan, Federal Minister for Science and Technology, Chaudhry Fawad Hussain has recently announced that government will provide loans for the execution of technology-based business ideas.

Vivo plans to launch the Y17, in Pakistan

Vivo has been introducing several multiple smartphones at a different price in the Pakistani market. Recently the Chinese smartphone manufacturer launched Vivo V15 and Vivo V15 Pro, the two new handsets in Pakistan, featuring pop-up camera function in both devices. Now the company is planning to launch Vivo Y17, Vivo Pakistan in an Instagram post on Tuesday showcased the Y17 device and said it is coming to Pakistan soon.

Vivo Y17 features a huge 6.35-inch HD+ LCD display with 720×1544 screen resolution. It has a 19.3:9 aspect ratio and Vivo claims that this device has an 89% screen to body ratio. The display has a waterdrop notch style at the front side of the smartphone.

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15 May 2019

NAB suspects Ufone of illegally acquiring the next generation 4G/LTE services from the PTA, causing Ufone to ask the Islamabad High Court to step in

Ufone has approached the Islamabad High Court (IHC) against the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for starting an inquiry in connection with the alleged illegal award of next-generation mobile service. The NAB initiated an inquiry against Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) for illegally awarding the next generation 4G/LTE services to Ufone.

Lenovo has announced the release for the world’s first ever foldable PC

After other companies have tried to make foldable touchscreen phones, Lenovo decided to take it up a notch by announcing a foldable PC. The foldable PC from Lenovo features a 13.3-inch LG made OLED display with 2k screen resolution and 4:3 aspect ratio. As the PC folds inwards, you really don’t have to worry about the display getting scratched inside your bag. But the main concern for this PC is the quality of the display.

New Facebook app is allowing it’s users to ask each other anonymous questions

AskMe! is Facebook’s new companion app that lets people ask interesting questions to each other by keeping their identities anonymous. The app is quite similar to the Ask.fm, the app which has become the biggest social network in the world for questions and answers for youth.

Meanwhile, the AskMe app is fully integrated with Facebook’s app and asks for user permission before taking control of people’s profile. The app allows users to send a message to a person in their friend list who also plays this game. However, your friend “would not know you are the one who asked this question”.

HUAWEI P30 and P30 Pro users have gained access to the dual-view camera mode

With this capability, users can create split-screen videos by simultaneously using the phone’s primary camera and zoom lens, showing two perspectives at once on the screen. Pioneering this advanced camera technology, Huawei’s continued innovation and focus opens the doors for users to further experience the creative possibilities within videography.

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14 May 2019

Fawad Chaudhry announced that the lunar calendar and app will be ready by the 15th of Ramzan

The Minister of Science and Technology announced that the lunar calendar will be available soon, along with an app. The purpose of said calendar to help with the moon sighting. This will help know what dates eid will be on, and so on.

He further informed that he has invited religious scholars to become a part of the committee he created to help in the preparation of the lunar calendar. He also urged for providing the religious leaders with government jobs of 14 to 16-grade pay scale. Fawad previously said that spending 4 million rupees for the moon sighting every year in unwise and that the Ruet-e-Hilal committee members should sight the crescent voluntarily.

The Toyota NUST Automotive Group (NUSTAG) cleared the technical inspection and completed their first valid run with a mileage of 72 km/liter

NUST team’s energy efficient car wins big at the Shell Eco-marathon 2019. Pakistan was ranked 3rd among the leading countries at the Shell Eco-Marathon 2019 Asia 2019, held in Malaysia, and NUST team car’s mileage won the 11th position out of 100+ teams in the competition.

This year a total of 55 UrbanConcept teams from South Asia took their innovative vehicles at the event to compete against each other in sub-categories including battery electric power, hydrogen fuel cell and spanning internal combustion engine.

Apple is soon expected to unveil the highly anticipated iOS 13 at its World Wide Developer Conference in June 2019

The new iteration of iOS will bring a lot of new exciting features including an all-new ‘Dark Mode’. However, new rumors suggest that a lot of old Apple devices will not get the iOS 13 update. Typically Apple lends software support to its old devices for up to five years which is by far the best software support in the tech industry. If we go by this count, then iPhone 5s, iPad mini 2 and iPad were released in 2013 so their time is already up.

WhatsApp continues purge of older software, announced more mobiles that will not be able to their app

Many WhatsApp users could soon be forced to buy a new phone as the popular messaging app has announced the deadline for ending its support.

As reported earlier, all Windows phones will lose the ability to access WhatsApp after December 31st, 2019, and now the messaging app has further updated its support page by stating that WhatsApp users of Android versions 2.3.7 and older, likewise, the iOS 7 version and older, will no longer be able to “create new accounts, nor reverify existing accounts” on its platform after February 1, 2020.

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13 May 2019

Elon Musk will be facing a court trial for calling a British cave diver ‘pedophile’

Vernon Unsworth sued Elon Musk last year for defamation after Musk reportedly accused the diver of being a pedophile. The verbal sparring between the two started last summer after the underwater rescue of the youth football team last summer in the Thailand cave. Unsworth who helped the rescue operation last year criticized Elon Musk’s ‘dubious plan’ to rescue the football youth team in a ‘kid-size’ submarine. Elon Musk replied by calling Unsworth a ‘pedo guy’ on Twitter.

Nine people have been charged in an alleged conspiracy to hijack SIM cards and steal cryptocurrency

The scheme, according to court documents, netted more than $2.4 million.

In an unsealed indictment, prosecutors in the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan allege that six of the people, living across the United States and Ireland, were members of a group called “The Community.” The hacking ring, prosecutors say, took part in a scam called SIM hijacking, in which, using either bribery or trickery, hackers convince mobile phone carriers to transfer a phone number to a new SIM card.

Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes calls believes the company should be broken up

Chris says that CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s “focus on growth led him to sacrifice security and civility for clicks,” and that he should be held accountable for his company’s mistakes. Mark Zuckerberg says that its success as a platform shouldn’t be punished. While they do believe “companies should be held accountable for their actions,” they also feel that tech companies such as Facebook shouldn’t be the ones handling all of the “important social, political and ethical questions” for the internet.

Audeze launches its second gaming headphones the LCD-GX

These borrow the same basic layout and construction as the 4z — meaning a suspension headband paired with memory-foam pads, sturdy metal yokes, and interchangeable LCD series cables — but put the focus on gaming.

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12 May 2019

PTA plans to block phones with non-standard IMEI from 1 December

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority’s (PTA) long-anticipated Device Identification Registration and Blocking System (DIRBS) will become operational from December 1, it was announced on Wednesday.

The DIRBS is an indigenous solution aimed to combat the use of smuggled or counterfeit sets which either serve to reduce tax revenues for the state or pose health problems to unsuspecting consumers.

Scientists in Israel unveiled a 3D print of a heart with human tissue

It marked “the first time anyone anywhere has successfully engineered and printed an entire heart replete with cells, blood vessels, ventricles and chambers,” said Tal Dvir, who led the project. While it remains a far way off, scientists hope one day to be able to produce hearts suitable for transplant into humans as well as patches to regenerate defective hearts.

The heart produced by researchers at Tel Aviv University is about the size of a rabbit’s.

Uber has rocky start on Wall Street

Uber Technologies Inc’s shares fell nearly 9 per cent in their New York Stock Exchange debut on Friday, marking a rocky start for one of the most high-profile US companies to go public since Facebook Inc seven years ago.

The fall in shares undermined Uber’s strategy of pricing its oversubscribed IPO conservatively at $45 per share to avoid a repeat of rival Lyft Inc’s stock market struggles following a strong debut in March.

The number of accounts reported by Pakistani authorities to Twitter dropped

Twitter complaints from Pakistan have fallen, from 2,300 between July and December last year from 3,000 in the first six months of the year, according to a biannual report of the social networking website.

The website’s transparency report released on Friday said that between July and December, the government sent requests for removal of 193 accounts and reported 2,349 profiles to Twitter.

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11 May 2019

EyeAutomate win’s first prize at Pakistan’s biggest tech conference

Superior University’s startup, EyeAutomate , won first prize Momentum Tech. They competed against hundreds of participating tech startups from across Pakistan. The startup won a cash prize of PKR 500,000, an electric bike, OLX advertisement worth $20,000, Facebook Advertisement worth $5,000 and a one-year brand consultancy for Acceleration Program by OLX.

EyeAutomate is Pakistan’s first startup to create an eye gaze control tracking software that enables the physically disabled to carry out activities with the movement of their eyes.

The third edition of two-day Momentum Tech Conference concluded in Karachi

The conference hosted hundreds of startups, workshops, hackathon, keynote sessions and panel discussions on technology, digital and entrepreneurial ecosystem in Pakistan.

The event was attended by representatives of notable tech organizations including Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, IBM, Google, Jazz and McKinsey along with numerous tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and investors. Participating startups, investors, technologists, and tech organizations were engaged to train, develop and bring forward the disruptive and innovative technologies to the world of tomorrow. The conference spread was designed in such a way that everyone could take back something.

Google has announced the Incognito mode for Maps, so your data is not linked to your google account

The feature which was first launched in the Google Chrome will now be available in the Maps as well. It will allow users to use their apps without having their data linked back to their Google account.

You could always use your Maps privately while launching the Incognito mode in your Chrome browser, but with this dedicated option inside the app, it will become easier to use than before.

EMUI based Android Q update  is coming to Huawei    

Huawei has become ambitious to provide super-fast Android updates to some of its high-end phones. Just a couple of days after the launch of Google Pixel 3a and 3a XL, the company announced that EMUI based Android Q update will be available for some Huawei and its sub-brand Honor’s devices immediately after Google releases the update for its Pixel lineup of smartphones.

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10 May 2019

Huawei posts Ramzan offer on social media, offers discounts to users

If you are a fan of Huawei, now would be the best time to get your hands on some of the best mid-range and budget phones by the world’s second largest phone manufacturer. We don’t want to lie though, the phones are not much cheaper but price seems affordable.

Huawei has posted the Ramadan Offer on its social media giving discounts to users to grab their favorite smartphones for competitive prices. The offer includes Huawei P30 lite, Huawei nova 3i, Huawei Y9 2019 and Huawei Y5 lite on attractive price tags.

Google’s new feature allows users to set limits for how long the company can store the data it collects from user’s online activity

In an effort to make privacy settings on its platform more transparent, Google has announced a new feature that allows users to set limits for how long the company can store the data it collects from users online activity.

Google in order to customize and improve the app experience for all users, collect information or data like user’s search history and other interactions in Google services. The stored data might also include the Chrome history and information from other websites and applications that use Google’s services, in case you have enabled that feature.

OnePLus 7 pro expected to revolutionize the market

A few days ago, it was released that the Pro version of Chinese company OnePlus will redefine fast and smooth. Now the new information leak mentions two configurations of the OnePlus 7 Pro that are apparently the first of its kind for the flagship killer.

An Indian mobile pricing site has listed a OnePlus 7 Pro variant with 10GB of RAM and 256GB of internal memory citing sources familiar with production units. OnePlus 7 Pro will be announced alongside its younger brother — the OnePlus 7. Both phones will have Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 chipset, stereo speakers, and Warp Charge 30 fast charging tech, among other innovative features. Hope you’re excited for this new phone!

OH NO! WhatsApp going to end its support for all Windows-powered phones by end of the year!

WhatsApp has said in a blog post that it is no longer developing for Windows phone operating system and will end its support in December as well. This isn’t the first time the messaging giant has done this. They have previously ended support for Nokia Symbian S60, Blackberry OS/10, and other Nokia Series 40 operating system mobile phones.

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9 May 2019

Google unveiled a high-performance Pixel handset for a surprisingly low cost!

New Google Pixel 3a phones are displayed during the Google I/O conference at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California on May 7, 2019. (Photo by Josh Edelson / AFP)

Google showcased a high-performance Pixel handset aimed at the middle of the market as part of a wide-ranging pitch to developers of its new hardware, software and privacy efforts.

The Pixel 3a phone, which includes many of the artificial intelligence features of its flagship devices, is priced from $399, executives said as Google opened its annual I/O developers conference near its headquarters in the Silicon Valley city of Mountain View.

The federal government has approved the renewal policy of two telecom operators for 15 years

After a delay of several months, the federal government approved the renewal policy of two telecom operators, Jazz and Telenor, for 15 years. Through the renewal policy government is estimating a revenue generation $1.37 billion in Pakistan. Prime Minister Imran Khan headed the meeting where the matter regarding license approval of Mobile Companies was discussed and approved.

Google introduced the next-generation Google assistant during this year’s Google I/O 2019 developer’s conference.

Google introduced the next-generation Google assistant during this year’s Google I/O 2019 developers conference. Google is touting that this improved version will be much faster with significant performance improvements.

It’s no doubt that Google Assistant is currently the fastest and most accurate AI assistant in the tech industry. The fact that the current version of Google Assistant is already years ahead of its competitors speaks volumes of Google’s success in this department. Google correspondents during the keynote claimed that the Google Assistant will now process and understand voice requests and deliver the results ten times faster than its current iteration.

Google has released a new tool for the developers called CameraX that will allow users to make changes to how their apps use smartphone cameras.

Google has released a new tool for the developers called CameraX that will allow users to make changes to how their apps use smartphone cameras. The tool at the moment is in its early stages of development, but Google says that CameraX will solve the compatibility issues and will probably work steadily across a wider range of smartphone devices.

Developers have to face a wide range of diversity when they code for apps because dozens of mobile phones maker companies release hundreds of smartphones and feature phones every year with a variety of Android variants in them. This makes the work of the developers much difficult while creating apps that tap into handset cameras also have to face an incredible range of under the lens elements. Including sensors and IPUs, and other unique algorithms.

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