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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

The Red Hydrogen One phone is black magic – CNET

The Red Hydrogen One is an exciting, eccentric phone aimed at creatives and early-adopters.
Source: CNET

Apple's Mac and iPad Pro get some overdue quality time – CNET

The company has updated its iPhones with new technology like Face ID, while its tablets and computers have stayed essentially the same for years.
Source: CNET

Southeast Asia’s Grab pulls in $200M from travel giant Booking

Fresh from a strategic investment from Microsoft, Southeast Asia’s ride-hailing leader Grab is back in the money again after it closed $200 million in fresh capital from Booking Holdings, the travel firm formerly known as Priceline.

The investment is part of an ongoing round of funding that Grab said is on course to reach $3 billion before the end of the year. Grab raised $2 billion for the round — including a $1 billion check from Totoya — but it continues to add strategic partners, like Microsoft and Booking. Grab — which bought Uber’s regional business in March and is present in eight countries — is valued at $11 billion and we understand that hasn’t changed with this round.

The deal — which mimics Booking’s recent $500 million investment in China’s Didi — will lead to the two companies team up to offer reciprocal services. That’ll see Grab’s transportation services integrated into Booking’s apps and services with support for Grab Pay. On the other side, Grab said that Booking’s travel accommodation services will come to its app sometime in 2019, although Grab customers in “multiple markets” will get rewards and offers in the app before the end of this year.

Besides Booking.com and Agoda, Booking also operates Kayak, Priceline.com, Rentacars.com and OpenTable. The firm rebranded from Priceline in February 2018.

The tie-in makes sense on both sides. Ride-hailing services are a prime channel for travel companies — Didi and Grab both dominate their respective markets, Grab claims over 110 million downloads — while the idea of pre-ordering a Grab to meet you after a flight has landed, or having one take you to your hotel will be logical for many.

Grab started out offering taxis, but it has since expanded to private car vehicles, motorbikes and a range of non-transportation services that include payments and food delivery. In addition, the company opened its platform to third-parties this summer in an effort to develop a ‘super app’ for Southeast Asia’s rapidly growing internet population, which is already larger than the entire U.S. population.

It hasn’t all been plain-sailing for Grab in its post-Uber world. Both Uber and Grab were fined a collective $9.5 million by Singapore’s watchdog for the merger — they got a lighter rap on the knuckles in the Philippines — while some users have complained about a bloated app, inferior service quality and higher fees in recent months. Grab disputes the latter claim that it has increased prices, but it has pledged to do better by its customers.

Grab’s chief rival is Indonesia Go-Jek, which is said to be raising $2 billion more to support a regional expansion plan. Go-Jek has already moved into Vietnam and Thailand, while this week it opened sign-ups for drivers in Singapore.


Source: TechCrunch

The Red Hydrogen One phone exists — but should it?

The Red Hydrogen One is real. I’ve held it in my hands. It’s sitting face down on my desk right now as I type these words.

None of this is to say, of course, that it needs to or even should exist. The Hydrogen One is less a phone than an idea that manifested its way into existence through sheer force of will. It’s a testament to the fact that just because a concept is potentially disruptive doesn’t necessarily make it good. Not with a starting price of $1,299 (and $1,599 for the titanium version), at least.

The handset functions best as a conversation piece. It’s big and it’s bold and it’s bizarre, sporting a massive footprint that dwarfs even the Pixel 3 XL, flanked by serrated edges that bring nothing to mind more than John Rambo’s hunting knife. And certainly the size, weight and build of the product should leave little question that the thing could double as a weapon, should you find yourself in a tight spot.

Of course, in this crowded smartphone market, getting noticed is half the battle. And the Hydrogen One has no problem on that front. I got a lot of “what’s that?” when I took the handset for a spin, capturing friends and food in 3D courtesy of the dual stereo rear-facing 12-megapixel cameras.

The next question is usually something in the area of “why?” That one is a bit more difficult to answer. After a few days with the phone, I’m still struggling with a justification for the front-facing Holographic 4-View display that doesn’t lean heavily on novelty. There’s no denying that it’s neat — or at the very least interesting. But I’m struggling to imagine a future in which most or even some of my picture or video viewing is done on this sort of device.

Red has leveraged a new take on the sort of 3D displays we’ve seen on products like Nintendo’s bygone 3DS. Created in partnership with a company called Leia, the technology works thusly:

Leia leverages recent breakthroughs in Nano-Photonic design and manufacturing to provide a complete lightfield “holographic” display solution for mobile devices, through proprietary hardware and software. The Silicon Valley firm commercializes LCD-based mobile screens able to synthesize lightfield holographic content while preserving the normal operation of the display.

All of that results in an image that provides a sense of depth to the viewer, without the sort of eyestrain found in similar tech. On the face of it, however, it looks pretty similar to those old holographic baseball cards they made back in the day. It also means that, in spite of the 515ppi 5.7-inch display, images can sometimes feel fuzzy. Another interesting side effect is a fair amount of light bleed from the top and bottom of the screen while in four-view mode.

Content will certainly be an issue going forward. That’s always an issue with these sorts of formats. Right now, the phone offers a slew of short nature photos, along with free access to a pair of movies (“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” and “Ready Player One”) available as an exclusive to AT&T subscribers.

Then there’s the content you capture yourself. I will say I was surprised at some of what the rear-facing cameras could do. Turns out they handled low light fairly well. That said, my amateur photography skills ended up with my capturing some pretty wonky shots with uneven depths. But even if I were a better photographer, I can’t really imagine looking at my own images in 3D is a compelling enough use case to make the considerable investment required.

I realize I’ve been pretty harsh on this $1,300 phone. And there are, indeed, things to like here. The build quality is at the top of the list. It’s certainly not to everyone’s taste — the Hydrogen One is big and garish and won’t fit in the pockets of your yoga pants. But it’s definitely solid. Red’s always had that going for it. The thing is built like a goddamn tank.

And while, again, I can’t imagine the technology having a lot of stickiness (we can meet back here in five years and you can make fun of me when every phone has some version of the tech), it’s utterly fascinating. It’s probably even more so when, let’s be honest, you’ve got a little bit of that sticky icky in your system. Also, shout out to the company for not cutting other corners here, including battery — 4,500 mAh is downright absurd.

Another little-discussed feature (because we’ve gotten plenty of other things to focus on) is its modularity. Like an SLR, the rear camera can be swapped out. Of course, those modules aren’t coming until next year, so it’s not exactly a selling point at launch. When it does arrive, it will include things like an extended battery. It does look like the company’s painted itself into a bit of a corner with regards to module size, similar to what Motorola did with its Z line.

The Hydrogen One is available November 2. It’s easily one of the most ambitious, bold and fascinating smartphones I’ve ever seen. If the device does, indeed, flop, it will have done so with the sort of audacity rarely seen in a space full of me-too devices. If you’re going to fail, fail big. At least that way you won’t be forgotten.


Source: TechCrunch

We've Been Talking About Self-Driving Car Safety All Wrong

Forget miles driven and disengagements. It’s time for a new framework. We just need to figure out what that looks like.
Source: Wired

Google beefs up Firebase platform for the enterprise

Today at the Firebase Summit in Prague, Google announced a number of updates to its Firebase app development platform designed to help it shift from an environment for individuals or small teams into a full-blown enterprise development tool.

Google acquired Firebase 4 years ago to help developers connect to key cloud tools like a database or storage via a set of software development kits (SDKs). Over time, it has layered on sophisticated functionality like monitoring to fix performance issues and access to analytics to see how users are engaging with the app, among other things. But the toolkit hasn’t necessarily been geared towards larger organizations until now.

“[Today’s announcements] are going to be around a set of features and updates that are catered more towards enterprises and sophisticated app teams that are looking to build and grow their mobile apps,” Francis Ma, head of product at Firebase told TechCrunch.

Perhaps the biggest piece of news was that they were adding corporate support. While the company boasts 1.5 million apps per month running on Firebase, in order to move deeper into the enterprise, it needed to have a place corporate IT could call when they run into issues. That is coming with the company expected to announce various support packages in Beta by the end of the year. These will be tied to broader Google Cloud Platform support.

“With this launch, if you already have a paid GCP Support package, you will be able to get your Firebase questions answered through the Google Cloud Platform (GCP) Support Console. Once the change is fully launched, Firebase support will be included at no additional charge with paid GCP Support packages, which includes target response times, a dedicated technical account manager (if you are enrolled in Enterprise Support) and more,” Ma explained in a blog post.

In addition, larger teams and organizations need more management tools and the company announced the Firebase Management API. This allows programmatic access to manage project workflows from IDE to Firebase. Ma says this includes direct integration with StackBlitz and Glitch, two web-based IDEs. “Their platforms will now automatically detect when you are creating a Firebase app and allow you to deploy to Firebase Hosting with the click of a button, without ever leaving their platforms,” Ma wrote.

There were a bushel of other announcements including access to better facial recognition tools in the Google ML kit announced last spring. There were also improvements to Crashlytics performance monitoring, which includes integration with PagerDuty now, and Firebase Predictions, its analytics tool, which is now generally available after graduating from Beta.

All of these announcements and more, are part of a maturation of the Firebase platform as Google aims to move it from a tool aimed directly at developers to one that can be integrated at the enterprise level.


Source: TechCrunch

San Francisco Tech Billionaires Go to War over Homelessness

Salesforce’s Marc Benioff and Square’s Jack Dorsey line up on opposite sides of a proposed tax on businesses to fund homeless programs.
Source: Wired

Carbon Capture Is Messy and Fraught—But Might Be Essential

A new report calls for more research into carbon capture tech. Problem, though: Who will pay to make it happen?
Source: Wired

Here’s how a new MacBook could blow us away (but we’re not holding our breath)

Word on the street is that Apple might announce a new MacBook at its Oct. 30 event. We don’t know much about the possible update, but we know a few ways Apple could impress us — if the company decided to follow through.

The post Here’s how a new MacBook could blow us away (but we’re not holding our breath) appeared first on Digital Trends.


Source: Digital trends

'Fortnite' Scams Are Even Worse Than You Thought

YouTube videos with millions of views. Nearly 5,000 bogus websites. V-Bucks scammers have gotten out of control.
Source: Wired

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