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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

Xiaomi launches Mi A3 Android One smartphone with 48MP rear camera in India for $181

Google has found a committed Android One partner in Xiaomi. The Chinese electronics giant today launched the Mi A3, its third Android One smartphone in recent years, in India as the company looks to expand its handset offering in its most important market.

The Mi A3 features mid to high-end hardware modules and follows Xiaomi’s tradition of punching above its price class. It sports a 6.088-inch HD+ (1560X720 pixels) AMOLED display, a trio of 48MP, 8MP and 2MP camera sensors on the back to capture detailed and sharp photos, and a 32MP selfie shooter.

The Mi A3 comes in two variants: one that bundles 4GB of RAM and 64GB storage. It is priced at Rs 12,999 ($181). The second variant, which features 4GB of RAM and 64GB storage, is priced at Rs 15,999 ($223). Both of them are powered by the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 processor.

A lot about Android One’s future is riding on the Mi A3, which was first unveiled by Xiaomi in Spain last month. Xiaomi said the Mi A1 and Mi A2 handsets that it launched in last two years remain the most popular Android One handsets.

For Android One, a program announced by Google in 2014, the Android maker works with phone vendors closely to ensure timely software updates and clean and “stock” Android experience without the bells and whistles that carriers and phone companies pre-install on their devices.

Android One saw significant momentum in its early years when many top smartphone vendors including LG, HTC, and Motorola launched several handsets under the program. But until recently, it appeared that Google’s initiative was losing its momentum.

xiaomi androidone

Xiaomi, which ships MIUI Android skin on its standard smartphones, has tried to not cut any corners to make up the cost, Manu Jain, the head of Xiaomi India and VP of Global operations, said at a media conference in New Delhi Wednesday.

(Xiaomi makes a significant amount of its revenue from its services and apps, all of which are not pre-installed on the Mi A3 handset.)

On the contrary, Jain said Xiaomi has added some of the familiar features to appease users. The Mi A3 handset houses a fairly large 4030mAh battery, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and supports external microSD card should you need more storage — three things that are too often too much to ask for.

Xiaomi says it has also incorporated a fingerprint sensor into the display to allow users to quickly unlock the phone. (It also supports unlocking via facial recognition.) You can check rest of the specs here. The Mi A3 will go on sale in India through Amazon India and Xiaomi’s own online store this Friday. It will hit the brick and mortar retail stores at a later stage.

For Xiaomi, which entered India in 2014, the world’s second largest internet and smartphone market, has become its most important region. The company has been the top smartphone vendor in India for eight straight quarters.

Source: TechCrunch

DoorDash acquires autonomous driving startup Scotty Labs

DoorDash has been on an acquisition tear of late with Scotty Labs as its latest target. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but this comes after DoorDash acquired Caviar in a deal worth $410 million.

Scotty Labs, a tele-operations company that is working on technology to enable people to remotely control self-driving cars, raised a $6 million seed round from Gradient Ventures with participation from Horizon Ventures and Hemi Ventures last March. The startup had previously worked with Voyage for its self-driving cars in retirement communities.

“Our core belief at Scotty has always been that Autonomy + Remote Assistance is the future,” Scotty CEO Tobenna Arodiogbu wrote on Medium. “We have intentionally always considered ourselves to be the anti-hype company and focused intensely on developing core infrastructure and algorithms to ensure the safe deployment of autonomous vehicles.”

Meanwhile, DoorDash quietly brought on the two co-founders from Lvl5, another company that had built tech to create high solution maps for autonomous driving using crowdsourced imagery and computer vision to merge and process the images. In April, Lvl5 announced it was shutting down after the acquisition.

Details of how Scotty Labs and Lvl5 will fit into DoorDash’s business are nonexistent, but you could imagine DoorDash using Scotty’s technologies to remotely control delivery robots or other types of autonomous vehicles.

“We’ll share more updates in the near future but for now, we’re really excited to be part of the amazing DoorDash family and looking forward to building something magical together,” Scotty Labs co-founder Tobenna Arodiogbu wrote on Medium.

From what we understand, the Lvl5 deal was more of an acquihire and did not include any of the maps that were built using the company’s technology. Instead, startup Mapillary obtained that trove of hundreds of millions of images.

DoorDash would not comment on what the new hires are working on, but through its robot pilots and partnership with GM, the startup has made no secret of its interest in exploring autonomous technology, specifically looking at how it can improve the cost and efficiency of deliveries, and it would make sense that it would also want to have in-house expertise to own and manage those projects

DoorDash has experimented with delivery robots before. In 2017, DoorDash partnered with both Starship Technologies and Marble to test food delivery via robot. More recently, DoorDash announced a partnership with GM’s Cruise to test self-driving food delivery cars. DoorDash is also beefing up its in-house team of autonomous and navigation specialists.

This investment in autonomous through its acquisition of Scotty Labs and acquihire of the team from Lvl5 comes at a time when DoorDash says it is revamping its policies around driver wages.

The enthusiasm and potential of autonomous had led to startups creating literally dozens of interesting products that focus on different aspects of this field. But it will take a village to get this tech off the ground, which means that consolidation is inevitable.

DoorDash — operating on the principle of economies of scale — has been pretty aggressive in positioning itself as one of those consolidators. We have heard it tried to merge with Postmates. It bought Caviar this summer. And it has raised an absolute ton of money. In May, DoorDash raised a $400 million round valuing it at $12.6 billion. Meanwhile, DoorDash’s main competitor, Postmates, is gearing up to go public this quarter.

As technology becomes a key way for the crowded arena of delivery startups to differentiate themselves, investing in its own autonomous tech R&D — by way of picking up some of these disparate startups that may have struggled to survive on their own — is one way for DoorDash to build out that tech cred.

Source: TechCrunch

Timbuk2’s Parker is a commuter backpack made for the long haul

It’s finally Bag Week again! The most wonderful week of the year at TechCrunch. Just in time for back to school, we’re bringing you reviews of bags of all varieties: from backpacks to rollers to messengers to fanny packs.

Honestly, I’d thought I’d have grown out of backpacks by this point in my life. I had a year or two flirtation with messengers, but all roads eventually led back to the over-the-shoulder satchel. As a subway commuter who carries around a laptop at all times, it just works for me.

Until recently, however, I never really had much allegiance to any bag companies. I’ve used JanSport and Crumpler and Herschel and have a closet full of promotional bags I’ve accumulated over the years, but any semblance of brand loyalty has been fleeting at best.

Last year, however, I fell pretty hard for Timbuk2’s Never Check (as hard as a man can fall for a travel backpack). The carry-on backpack joined me for two weeks in Asia, traveling to a handful of different TechCrunch events. It addressed my travel needs better than any bag I’ve used, and when I returned to the States, I purchased the company’s Authority Pack for my day to day commute.


I like the bag just fine. It’s got a nice assortment of internal pockets, but lacks the kind of versatility I’d gotten used to with the Never Check. Hoping to split the difference, I asked the company to send its new Parker Commuter Backpack to take for a spin. So far, so good. The bag does a good job delivering much of the Never Check’s amenities on a scale that works for the nearly two or so hours a day I spend commuting in and out of Manhattan.

Waterproofing was key to the choice, as well. I’d recently lost use of a work MiFi in a freak torrential downpour. It was stowed away in a zipped-up pocked I thought was sufficiently insulated against the elements. Turns out, however, that a little water behind the display is a dangerous thing when it comes to a portable Wi-Fi device.

The Parker has that part covered with a wax canvas front, including a couple of external pockets with covered zippers. I was a bit surprised how much of the storage space was monopolized by the trio of out-facing pockets. It’s a 180 from the two slim ones on the Authority.

Here there are zippers on the top and bottom pouches, with the center and largest pocket snapping together with a magnet. It’s an interesting touch and one I’ve not seen much of in backpacks. It does seem to lack the relative security of a zipper, so you might want to skip storing valuables in there, but it makes for easy access, which is great for things like keys. I’ve also not had any issue with the three after getting caught in the rain a couple of times.


On either side there’s a narrow, but expandable slot for an umbrella and/or water bottle. And like the Never Check, the primary zipper expands the bag for additional storage. That’s nice for overnights, or those days when you’re bringing groceries back to the apartment.

Also, like the Never Check, there’s a nearly hidden zipper on the side rear for slipping a 15-inch laptop in and out. Interestingly, that panel can also be accessed through the main compartment. I’m not in love with that part. I do like the way the Never Check keeps the laptop hidden.


There’s plenty of space inside — more than I generally need day to day. There’s plenty of space for my camera, gym shoes and all of the other crap I lug around, day to day. I could, however, have done with additional pockets inside — spots devoted to things like pens. That’s a point for the Authority, which also incorporates a mesh net for loose objects.

The Airmesh back panel is a nice touch, keeping the wearer’s back a bit cooler, especially during this brutal East Coast August. There are plenty of security straps, as well, for cyclists, though those thankfully remove easily for day to day usage.

At $219, the Parker is considerably pricier than the Authority ($129), but it’s got more than enough space and is built to last.

Source: TechCrunch

Walmart sues Tesla for negligence after multiple solar panel fires

Walmart is suing Tesla for breach of contract and gross negligence after rooftop solar panel systems on seven of the retailer’s stores allegedly caught fire, according to a filing.

Walmart said the lawsuit, which was filed Tuesday in New York state court, arose from years of gross negligence and failure to live up to industry standards by Tesla and the solar panels it designed, installed and promised to promised to operate and maintain safely on the roofs of hundreds of Walmart stores.”

Bloomberg was the first to report on the court filing. The lawsuit is aimed at Tesla Energy Operations, a division within the clean energy and electric vehicle automaker that was formerly known as SolarCity .

Tesla did not return a request for comment. A Walmart spokesperson said there was nothing else to add beyond the lawsuit filed Tuesday. TechCrunch will update the article if Tesla responds.

The lawsuit comes just days after Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced a new rental offering for solar power in a bid to reboot the flagging renewable energy business. Tesla’s share of the solar market has declined since its merger with SolarCity in 2016. In the second quarter Tesla  deployed only 29 megawatts of new solar installations, while the number one and two providers of consumer solar, SunRun and Vivint Solar installed 103 megawatts and 56 megawatts respectively.

Walmart has asked Tesla to remove solar panels from all 240 locations where they have been installed as well as pay for damages related to fires that the retailer alleges stem from the panels. The lawsuit points to several fires on the retailer’s rooftops that allegedly stem from Tesla solar panels.

The lawsuit states:

To state the obvious, properly designed, installed, inspected, and maintained solar systems do not spontaneously combust, and the occurrence of multiple fires involving Tesla’s solar systems is but one unmistakable sign of negligence by Tesla. To this day, Tesla has not provided Walmart with the complete set of final “root cause” analyses needed to identify the precise defects in its systems that caused all of the fires described above. The number of defects, however, is overwhelming and plainly indicative of systemic, widespread failures by Tesla to meet the standard of care, as set forth in the governing contracts, as to the solar systems installed at Walmart’s stores.

Unsatisfied with Tesla’s actions, Walmart requested in May 2018 that the company disconnect all of the solar panel systems, according to the lawsuit. Tesla complied. However, Walmart alleges that another fire erupted even after the systems were disconnected.

In Walmart’s view, numerous problems with the design and installation were propelled by SolarCity’s business model, which relied on “installing as many solar panels as quickly as possible.”

“SolarCity’s business model was ultimately a bust. Unbeknownst to its customers until public reports later exposed its shoddy practices, SolarCity suffered from “a quality assurance problem,” the lawsuit alleges.

Tesla announced plans to merge with SolarCity in 2016, in a controversial all-stock $2.6 billion deal that closed in November of that year.

Source: TechCrunch

YC-backed Stoic is a journaling app with a focus on understanding your feelings

The process of using the Stoic journaling app is simple: You open the app in the morning and the evening, when you’ll be prompted to answer a couple of questions and perform a few simple exercises.

For example, this evening the app asked me to rate my current level of fulfillment and to identify what made me smile today, while also pointing me to guided exercises like journaling and breathing.

Stoic is part of the current batch of startups at Y Combinator (it’s taking the stage today at Demo Day). Founder Maciej Lobodzinski told me that his goal is to help users understand the different factors influencing their mental and emotional state.

“The core of the app is: We have this insight and we see what influences your mood and what you feel,” Lobodzinski said. He suggested that this is very different from the “super transactional” idea embedded in my other mental health and wellness apps, where “you pay for my app and you feel better.” In his view, “You should feel how you feel. It’s okay, how you feel, but you should know why you are feeling this way.”

So once there are a couple of weeks of data in the app, you should be able to look back and see how you were feeling on a certain day, and if there were activities that made you feel more or less fulfilled. Over time, Lobodzinski hopes to add more insights about “what influenced you, why you feel this way, why you are productive.”

Stoic screen shots

As the name implies, Stoic is inspired by Lobodzinski’s interest in classical Stoic philosophy (he’s not the first to suggest that the approach has direct applications in the tech industry), and the app even includes quotes from Stoic philosophers.

“It’s an extremely practical framework,” he said. “When I talk to users, there are entrepreneurs, investors, traders — people who found out about the app because they were looking for how to deal with their stress …
If you are stressed with your everyday life and you can get the advice of the emperor of Rome, who dealt with much more serious things, it’s amazing how much better you can feel after that.”

At the same time, users have the option to receive quotes from different schools of thought — not just Stoicism but also Buddhism, Taoism and Catholicism. For some users, their app experience won’t be explicitly focused on Stoicism, but Lobodzinski said that even then, it forms the “spine” of the app’s approach.

The basic app is free, but Stoic charges $27.99 per year for a premium version that includes iCloud syncing and additional content.

Source: TechCrunch

The American AI Initiative: A good first step, of many

The path to general AI — and possibly superintelligence — is being paved before our eyes. And with the proliferation of an AI-driven society, the social and economic value of such technology is also on the rise. In turn, harnessing and leveraging such technology needs to extend beyond the interests of venture capitalists, investment groups and entrepreneurs — and also be a priority on a geopolitical scale.

When the global economy starts to feel the shift ushered in with mass-adoption of AI, the United States needs to be leading the charge as opposed to chasing the pack.

If the U.S. is to compete on a global level, they’ll face an arms race of sorts from a litany of nations that are already doubling-down on the massive advantages that come with national AI proficiency. In fact, 18 different countries have launched national AI strategies, with government funding ranging from $20 million to almost $2 billion.

A first step in the right direction was taken by the Trump administration recently when the president signed an executive order launching the American AI Initiative. This policy will funnel federal funding and resources toward AI-specific research while also implementing U.S.-led international AI standards. Additionally, the program will call for new research into increasing AI literacy in American workers.

Unfortunately, there are no specifics around what exactly this new program actually looks like in practice, and there is no additional research being dedicated toward AI development. There are no timelines for implementation of these initiatives, only a vague goal of roughly six-ish months before a detailed plan is rolled out. Jason Furman, a Harvard professor who helped draft the Obama administration’s report on AI, said that the plan had “all the right elements� but was also “aspirational with no details and is not self-executing.�

How can the private sector build on what the federal government has put in place?

Yet, the importance of government involvement in AI R&D cannot be overstated. If we remain on the path we’re on, one where large technology companies and VC firms are funding the bulk of AI research, the country would only see pockets of growth around the largest technology companies and the regions of the country would continue to stagnate. We would not be able to work on major moonshot projects and collectively pool our resources for the greater good across all regions of the U.S. All innovations would be tightly controlled by technology companies and adoption rates would not move up and actually make a difference in the way we utilize AI. This would result in a marginal talent pool, and new developments would be those of technology innovators — not problem-solvers. Everything would be driven by its contribution to business and not its contribution to society at-large.

So, government involvement matters, yet the administration can’t be solely responsible for catalyzing the change needed by the American workforce — it falls on us as well. So that begs the question…

How can the private sector build on what the federal government has put in place?

The program focuses on five key pillars: Research and development, infrastructure, governance, workforce and international engagement. Like Furman said, those concepts are well and good, but they remain vague and still clearly undefined. But, even if the administration’s program isn’t hitting the ground running, that doesn’t mean that you and I can’t push the ball in the right direction. So, how can we as a workforce help execute on the program? What do we need to do to enact the ideals that the federal government is focused on in AI?

Focus on building AI-literacy in American workers

Until the American workforce itself is concerned with being AI-first, we will see challenges in implementation, adoption and deployment, and AI literacy will be largely confined to the areas in which it’s already being heavily used (automation, customer service, insights, engagement, etc.).

Additionally, these industries aren’t even using AI to actually solve problems or improve society, they are largely using it as an autopilot. And if AI is being used simply to automate processes for tech companies, then we’re missing out on the opportunity to use it to its full advantage to solve actual sociological issues around hunger, poverty and healthcare.

And the focus needs to extend beyond the workforce and into the classroom. All STEM programs in American schools need AI-based coursework. Universities need AI-based programs and intelligence labs, such as MIT, for example, where roughly 25% of faculty conduct research on intelligence in labs like the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab, the Robust Robotics Group and the Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems (LIDS).

Our academic institutions and research centers would continue to strive as centers of excellence around the world, meaning that the best and brightest minds would continue to be attracted and would keep our talent pool stocked. Our universities would increase enrollment for AI/digital experts, as those roles would be the golden mature standard.

Startups need to swarm and work closely with federal AI strategy

While I hate to use cliches, this is a “teamwork makes the dream work� situation. Aligning the startup community with government strategy would allow innovation and social good to walk hand-in-hand when it comes to AI development.

The importance of government involvement in AI R&D cannot be overstated.

This would lead in new space technologies, create new innovation for society in food, energy and health, and create a lifestyle that balances efficiency and leisure. It also would allow American corporations to go after dispersion and breakthrough innovation. From a government perspective, this means continuing to provide open and structured data sets for the public to use while still protecting the sensitive information that keeps our citizens safe. Providing these data sets is the first step, but making others aware through education campaigns is also important

Make AI all-inclusive

Much the same way that IT experts, coders and web/app developers had to learn to work side-by-side with business owners, marketers and production-level employees across the business ecosystem over the last two-and-a-half decades, we must bridge the “gap� between AI experts, technologists and leading technology companies and solutions owners, general SMBs and corporate America to develop an inclusive and universally understandable AI strategy.

The advancement of machine learning models, specifically deep learning, relies on the ingestion of data — structured or unstructured. The sharing of this data, from people involved in day-to-day problems and solutions to technologists who are concerned with the big picture, is the key to developing innovative and inclusive AI solutions. A better AI future built on diverse data sets requires both parties to work collaboratively.

Data is officially the most valuable commodity on earth and the countries that win the race to harness and use it to its maximum value and efficiency are going to position themselves favorably around the globe. And if America is to win the race, it will take the buy-in of the collective public, private and government entities in our country. If we are to move past improving our viewing patterns on Netflix and start solving the brass-tax issues in our country’s society, it will come as a result of the convergence of government, society and business.

Source: TechCrunch

Cómo el 'phishing' explota nuestro cerebro para engañarnos

La autoridad del supuesto emisor del mensaje, su carga emotiva e incluso la propia felicidad del internauta disminuyen su capacidad de alerta ante este tipo de ciberataque, que cada vez resulta más efectivo y popular. Pero para solucionarlo hace falta implantar una doble autenticación 
Source: MIT

El padre de los 'deepfakes' lucha contra el monstruo en el que se han convertido

Si su iPhone es capaz de convertirle en un unicornio es gracias al trabajo de Hao Li. Después de perfeccionar su trabajo para aplicarlo el cine y la medicina, se ha centrado en encontrar formas de detectar estas falsificaciones cada vez más realistas, fáciles de crear y difíciles de identificar
Source: MIT

Amazon drops the price for the Fire HD 10 Tablet with hands-free Alexa

The Fire HD 10 Tablet has always been an astonishingly good buy in comparison to iPads. Amazon just sweetened the deal with a significant price drop for the versatile hands-free Alexa-compatible 1080p tablet in a pre-Labor Day sale.
Source: Digital trends

Facebook’s New Privacy Feature Comes With a Loophole

“Off-Facebook Activity” will give users more control over their data, but Facebook needs up to 48 hours to aggregate your information into a format it can share with advertisers.
Source: Wired