Review: Logitech ZeroTouch Alexa-Powered Car Mount

The Logitech ZeroTouch car phone holder brings the power of Amazon’s Alexa to your car. The ZeroTouch combines a car mount, mobile app, and Alexa so you can not only make calls and send texts, but access your smarthome settings safely from behind the wheel.

Source: Phone Scoop – Latest News

Qualcomm Targets IoT Anew with Snapdragon 210 and SoC

Qualcomm today revealed two new sets of products design with the Internet of Things in mind. First, the company plans to add support for the Android Things operating system to its Snapdragon 210 processors and X5 LTE modems. Android Things is Google’s IoT platform. Qualcomm says the the Snapdragon 210 and X5 combo will be the most powerful processor/modem available to Android Things, allowing developers and hardware makers to design more capable devices and services. Some possible use cases include electronic signage, video monitoring, and asset tracking, as well as smart home assistants and smart appliances. The Snapdragon 210 and X5 SoC for Android Things will be available later this year. Separately, Qualcomm said it is sampling two new SoCs for IoT that combine three radios into a single package. The QCA4020 includes Bluetooth Low Energy 5, Dual-band Wi-Fi, and 802.15.4-based technologies, including ZigBee and Thread. The QCA4024 integrates Bluetooth Low Energy 5 and 802.15.4 tech. These modules will support a wide range of IoT platforms, including Apple’s HomeKit, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Open Connectivity Foundation. Qualcomm expects to see them put to use in smart cities, toys, home control and automation, networking, and home entertainment. The QCA4020 and QCA4024 are sampling now and will reach consumer devices later this year,

Source: Phone Scoop – Latest News

Qualcomm Fine Tunes RF Antennas for Snapdragon 835

Qualcomm today introduced a new range of RF front-end products that will complement advanced processors such as the Snapdragon 835. The new family of radios are the first gallium arsenide (GaAs) power amplifier modules to come from Qualcomm. The company says the QPA546x and QPA436x are multimode, multiband power amplifier (MMPA) modules that are designed for superior cell-edge performance, which also makes them the first MMPA modules optimized for High Power User Equipment (HPUE) operation. Sprint plans to use HPUE later this year to improve the performance of its 2.5GHz spectrum to boost speed and capacity at the cell edge. The module family supports a range of other technologies, including Qualcomm TruSignal antenna performance. Qualcomm says its newest TruSignal design is better able to support carrier aggregation while also maximizing power efficiency over LTE. Consumers should see more consistent voice and data performance both indoors and out. The QAT35xx antenna is ready for the Snapdragon 835, while the QPA546x and QPA436x are sampling now with the expectation that they’ll reach consumer devices later this year.

Source: Phone Scoop – Latest News

Qualcomm Snapdragon X20 Modem Powers 1.2Gbps Speeds

Qualcomm today announced the Snapdragon X20 LTE modem, which it says is the first Category 18 modem capable of download speeds up to 1.2Gbps. The X20 is manufactured using a 10nm FinFET process. It supports up to 5×20 MHz carrier aggregation, 4×4 MIMO, and up to three aggregated LTE carriers. The X20 LTE modem uses a new RF transceiver that Qualcomm claims is capable of receiving up to 12 spatial streams of LTE data. Each downlink supports 256QAM, while uplinks support 64QAM. Other features include all major carrier technologies, more than 40 LTE frequency bands, LTE Broadcast, and VoLTE with support for Ultra HD Voice. Last, the Snapdragon X20 LTE modem supports Dual SIM Dual VoLTE for advanced use cases. Qualcomm believes the X20 will be ideal for Gigabit LTE networks, which are expected to bridge the gap between today’s 4G networks and what will eventually become 5G networks. Qualcomm says the X20 is already sampling, but it won’t ship on consumer products until the first half of 2018.

Source: Phone Scoop – Latest News

WhatsApp Adds 'Status' Feature in Nod to Past and Future

In a nod to its past as well as its future, WhatsApp is adding a “status” feature that lets users tell their contacts what they are up to.

It’s not a new idea — WhatsApp started out as a way for people to let their friends know what they are up to — at work or available, for example. Messaging, now the app’s main function, was added later.

But it’s also a sign that the Facebook-owned app is expanding the amount of features it has, just as Instagram, another Facebook subsidiary, has been doing over the years.

Users will be able to post photos or videos as status updates.

WhatsApp says the status posts will be end-to-end encrypted , just as its messages are. That means only the parties who are communicating can see the messages, not an outside party or even WhatsApp.

But the company sees status as a way to “share moments with all your contacts — not just with individuals or groups.” Updates will expire after 24 hours. There is a privacy setting allowing users to control who sees the updates.

WhatsApp has more than 1 billion users. The company says its users spend more than 50 billion messages each day, including 3.3 billion photos, 760 million videos and 80 million GIFs — the animated images that make many popular internet memes.

Image Credit: iStock.
Source: Mobile Tech Today

Uber Hires Eric Holder To Investigate Sexual Harassment Allegations

Uber has hired the former US attorney general Eric Holder to investigate allegations of sexual harassment after an engineer went public with claims that she repeatedly faced sexism and discrimination at the ride-sharing company.

In a staff email shared with the Guardian on Monday, Uber?EU?s CEO, Travis Kalanick, said Holder would conduct an ?EU?independent review?EU? and also revealed that women made up only 15% of the company?EU?s workforce in engineering, product management and scientist roles.

The hiring of Holder, who was attorney general under Barack Obama, comes as the description of harassment from Susan Fowler, a former site reliability engineer, has gone viral, prompting women across Silicon Valley to share stories of facing misconduct and discrimination in the male-dominated tech industry.

?EU?It?EU?s been a tough 24 hours. I know the company is hurting,?EU? Kalanick said in his email. ?EU?It is my number one priority that we come through this a better organization where we live our values and fight for and support those who experience injustice.?EU?

Fowler?EU?s lengthy account on her blog alleged that management and the HR department at the San Francisco-based company frequently dismissed documented cases of sexual harassment, protected a repeat offender and threatened to fire her for raising concerns.

Fowler, who declined to comment further on Monday, alleged in her post that a manager immediately propositioned her for sex when she joined in late 2015, and that a director explained the dwindling number of women in her organization by saying ?EU?the women of Uber just needed to step up and be better engineers?EU?.

Fowler, who now works for technology company Stripe, said a manager harassed her with messages on the company chat system but did not face any consequences from HR despite her providing screenshots. She said she later learned that other women had complained about his inappropriate behavior.

?EU?Upper management told me…
Source: Mobile Tech Today

Media Organizations Ask Judge To Order Release of iPhone Records

The Associated Press and two other news organizations asked a judge Monday to force the federal government to reveal how much it paid for a tool to unlock an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino, California, shooters.

The news organizations said in a court filing there was “no adequate justification” for the FBI to continue to withhold information on the cost of the tool or the identity of the vendor that sold it. They said their requests were narrowly tailored and, contrary to the arguments of the FBI and Justice Department, did not seek information that would jeopardize national security or be exploited by America’s enemies.

“While it is undisputed that the vendor developed the iPhone access tool, the government has identified no rational reason why knowing the vendor’s identity is linked in any way to the substance of the tool, much less how such knowledge would reveal any information about the tool’s application,” lawyers for the news organizations wrote in the filing to the U.S. District Court in Washington.

The AP, Vice Media LLC and Gannett, the parent company of USA Today, sued the FBI in September. The news organizations sought to learn more about the mysterious transaction that cut short a legal dispute in which the government won a court order to force Apple Inc. to unlock the work phone of Syed Rizwan Farook, who along with his wife killed 14 people in the December 2015 San Bernardino attack.

The FBI had maintained for weeks that only Apple could access the information on its phone, which was protected by encryption, but announced in March that it had ultimately broken or bypassed the company’s digital locks with the help of an unidentified third party. The government has refused to say how it acquired the tool or how much it paid, though…
Source: Mobile Tech Today

Money-Losing Toshiba Selling Medical Leasing Unit to Canon

Embattled Japanese electronics maker Toshiba Corp. is selling its stake in a medical equipment leasing company to Canon Inc. for 31.4 billion yen ($277 million).

Toshiba said Tuesday it is selling its entire 65 percent stake in Toshiba Medical Finance Co. to Canon, a Japanese camera maker, effective March 31. Tokyo-based Toshiba has been in talks with Canon since late last year on the sale.

Toshiba, which owns U.S. nuclear company Westinghouse, is in deep trouble after suffering massive losses in its nuclear business. It has been selling off lucrative businesses such as its computer-chip operations.

It is projecting a 712.5 billion yen ($6.3 billion) loss for its nuclear business, and has been unable to report April-December financial results. Its chairman has resigned to take responsibility for the mess.

Toshiba has already sold part of its chip business, and its president has said it is thinking about selling all of it to get out of the massive red ink.

It has also sold its household appliance unit to Midea of China, which is maintaining the Toshiba brand name.

The company has said it will no longer take on new reactor construction projects and will focus on maintaining the reactors it already has.

Toshiba is also involved in the decommissioning of Japan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, which suffered multiple meltdowns after a massive March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Its costs have risen because of growing safety concerns and regulations after the Fukushima accident, adding to Toshiba’s woes.

Its reputation has also been tarnished in recent years by a scandal over the doctoring of accounting books to meet unrealistic profit targets.

Image Credit: iStock.
Source: Mobile Tech Today

Verizon to Pay $350M Less for Yahoo After Privacy Breach

Verizon and Yahoo today said they’ve amended the terms of their acquisition, first announced in July 2016, which will see the sale price drop by $350 million. The deal has been in jeopardy since December when Yahoo disclosed a material security breach that impacted more than 1 billion users. According to Yahoo, an outside party was able to steal names, email addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth, hashed passwords, and some security questions/answers of users back in August 2013. Verizon had originally agreed to pay $4.8 billion for Yahoo’s core internet business and customer base. The total sale price is now closer to $4.48 billion. Moreover, the two companies agreed to terms with respect to any investigations over Yahoo’s security breaches. The remaining Yahoo business that exists after the transaction will be held accountable for 50% of any cash liabilities from non-SEC or third-party investigations and all the liabilities of SEC and shareholder lawsuits. “The amended terms of the agreement provide a fair and favorable outcome for shareholders. It provides protections for both sides and delivers a clear path to close the transaction in the second quarter,” said Marni Walden, Verizon executive vice president and president of Product Innovation and New Businesses.

Source: Phone Scoop – Latest News

If you walk down to the woods today, remember to take your phone..

If you walk down to the woods today, remember to take your phone..
Spring is coming and as such it is time for us to get out into the wild and explore our beautiful countryside. Now that is fine if it is just you and some friends or family. However, if you have small children, then you may find it somewhat trickier to get them to embrace the idea of going out into the wilderness. There’s just not much motivation for them to go outside – it’s still a bit nippy and well, that annoying water stuff still keeps falling out of the sky.

Now you local Forestry Commission is working very hard to get your young family into the woods to explore and feel nature. That being said it can be difficult for them to be drawn away from the gadgets that we as parents have now become so dependent on. Even with the best intentions, we do also use these gadgets to help us with “childcare” duties when we need to be getting on with something else. This is not a slant on us as parents, it’s just that sometimes it is the easiest option. I know for me the easiest way to get some peace in the car is to throw my tablet up onto the headrest of the passenger seat and put on “Paw Patrol” 🙂

If you walk down to the woods today, remember to take your phone..
So what can we do to help us with this conundrum? Well, the clever people over at Nexus Studios have teamed up with Magic Light Pictures and the Forestry Commission to help us. One of the stalwarts of my son’s library has been a big brown creature with purple thorns on his back and a wart on his nose.

I am of course talking about … The Gruffalo.

If you walk down to the woods today, remember to take your phone..

My son loves going for walks in the woods and following all the signs of possible Gruffalo tracks. Now, whilst that will keep him entertained for a while, he does tend to lose interest quite quickly. As he’s my son he is also very adept when it comes to using technology (I have no idea how that happened by the way). So the possibility of him being able to take pictures of possible Gruffalo sightings does keep him intrigued.

If you walk down to the woods today, remember to take your phone..

This is where Nexus Studios come in. What they have done is developed trails and routes throughout the woods with Augmented Reality for extra fun. When a phone or tablet with the appropriate app is pointed in the right place, AR magic begins. Your phone will superimpose a character from the Gruffalo TV episodes onto a live picture.  This can then be snapped as a picture for later. The app will then allow you to continue on your walk until you find the next marker.

This has been put into place all over England and it is spread over 26 different forests.

If you walk down to the woods today, remember to take your phone..

If you walk down to the woods today, remember to take your phone..

There are 5 different AR markers to find, with each representing a different part of the story. The App is available on iOS, Amazon and Android devices for free. Once you have that awesome Gruffalo inspired shot it can be shared via the app with other #GruffaloSpotters.

If you prefer something a little more tangible for your little one then you are also able to purchase a Gruffalo Spotters Kit which will include all the things that your young explorer could need for some critter hunting.

If you walk down to the woods today, remember to take your phone..
The app is available now and the trails will be open up until the end of September. If you want to find out where your nearest trial is then please head to the Forestry Commission website.

I will be heading out to catch me a Gruffalo very soon once I have finished my mammoth move from Scotland to England.

Happy Gruffalo hunting!



The Gruffalo brought to life in the forest with new augmented reality app

In the first development of its kind, Magic Light Pictures and Forestry Commission England bring The Gruffalo characters to life in the forest through a new augmented reality app.

The Gruffalo Spotter has been designed for exclusive use at twenty six forests across the country where visitors can join the adventure through the deep dark wood.

Families will follow clues on an interactive trail and track signs of their favourite characters based on The Gruffalo, best-selling picture book written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler.

These clues lead to 5 different Augmented Reality markers – footprint signposts, specific to each one of the characters. For example little footprints for Mouse, a slithery trail for Snake, fox tracks for Fox, bird footprints for Owl and the unmistakable great big Gruffalo footprint.

When the visitor aims their device at the footprint marker, a short animation of that character is triggered, blending in with its natural surroundings.

The self-led trail is packed with fun facts about forest animals with fantastic activities along the way. Once families have spotted the characters, they can use the app to bring the 3D character animation to life and take photos alongside them.

Their photos are automatically added to the device’s gallery, from where it can be shared via social media with the hashtag #GruffaloSpotters.

Taking family forest walks to new heights, the app mixes technology with the real world, encouraging children to get exploring, firing their imaginations and enabling them to have an all-new forest experience.

The Gruffalo Spotter’s app has been has been created by Nexus Studios’ innovative Interactive Arts division and is available for free with no in-app purchases from the App Store Google Play and Amazon. Featuring bold and intuitive design, the app is perfectly suited for easy use by the whole family.

A Gruffalo Spotters kit will be available to buy on site and includes animal facts and tips for tracking wildlife, an evidence collection bag, a magnifying glass and a pencil to make a note of your forest finds!

Bridgette Hall, Recreation Manager for Forestry Commission England commented:

“This is such an exciting development and will deliver a completely different forest experience for our visitors. The Gruffalo is a world renowned story and to be able to bring the characters to life in their natural setting is fantastic. It’s great we’ve had the opportunity to join the two worlds of technology and nature together in a sensitive way!”

Barney Goodland, Head of Digital at Magic Light Pictures said:
“Our partnership with Forestry Commission England has been an overwhelming success from the start so in this, our fourth year of activity, we wanted to do something really special. We’re always looking to further children’s enjoyment of The Gruffalo brand and this was an innovative way to incorporate new technology with a real world experience. Working with the Forestry Commission and Nexus Studios has been a real joy and it’s exciting to now be sharing The Gruffalo Spotter with families. Most importantly for us the app is completely free, which means that it’s there for everyone to enjoy.”

Claire Cook, Creative Producer at Nexus said:

“The team at Nexus are massive fans of The Gruffalo and were really excited to be able to bring the iconic characters to life in the forest through the magic of Augmented Reality. Working with Magic Light and the Forestry Commission has been a fantastic collaboration on many levels, from new technical innovation in AR and real time 3d characters, to creating an experience that works outside in all weathers and for all ages. The creative challenges have always been enjoyable and we can’t wait to see children (and their grown-ups!) playing it.”

Sam Southward, Director at Nexus Studios said;

“One of the exciting things about The Gruffalo Spotter is the way in which we have scaled up the AR technology to create close to life-sized characters in a real world location. Up until this point, the majority of AR has been a smaller and more controlled experience, but for this project we really wanted to see how much we could push it.

On a technical level, we have included a few clever techniques to better integrate the characters into their outdoor surroundings, such as designing the animation to work from the ground up, giving the characters a stage, which will hopefully make the experience even more magical and memorable for the audience.”

The Gruffalo Spotters trail and The Gruffalo Spotter app will launch from February 20th and run until the end of September 2017.

The Gruffalo Spotters app is free from the App Store, Google Play and Amazon and requires downloading before your visit.

Launch dates differ between forests, for further details please visit


The post If you walk down to the woods today, remember to take your phone.. is original content from Coolsmartphone. If you see it on another news website, please let us know.


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