Oppo announces 5G and 10x lossless zoom handsets


This post is by Brian Heater from TechCrunch


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Saturday afternoon is a rough time for a press conference — particularly with the official kickoff of Mobile World Congress still a few days away. That said, there are certain advantages to being an early bird. Chief among them is the ability to claim firsts — namely having the first 5G handset of the show.

That might not mean a lot in the grand scheme of things, but in a week that’s expected to be dominated by 5G announcements, it’s a way to stand out from the crowd. Of course, like the rest of the promised 5G handsets we’ve heard about so far — with the noble exception of Samsung’s — details are still pretty scarce

What we do know is that the handset — along with so many others set to be announced this week — will be powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855. Fitting, given that we can almost

Continue reading “Oppo announces 5G and 10x lossless zoom handsets”

These hyper-efficient solar panels could actually live on your roof soon


This post is by Devin Coldewey from TechCrunch


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The clean energy boffins in their labs are always upping the theoretical limit on how much power you can get out of sunshine, but us plebes actually installing solar cells are stuck with years-old tech that’s not half as good as what they’re seeing. This new design from Insolight could be the one that changes all that.

Insolight is a spinoff from the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, where they’ve been working on this new approach for a few years — and it’s almost ready to hit your roof.

Usually solar cells collect sunlight on their entire surface, converting it to electricity at perhaps 15-19 percent efficiency — meaning about 85 percent of the energy is lost in the process. There are more efficient cells out there, but they’re generally expensive and special-purpose, or use some exotic material.

One place people tend to spare no expense, however, is in space.

Continue reading “These hyper-efficient solar panels could actually live on your roof soon”

These hyper-efficient solar panels could actually live on your roof soon


This post is by Devin Coldewey from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




The clean energy boffins in their labs are always upping the theoretical limit on how much power you can get out of sunshine, but us plebes actually installing solar cells are stuck with years-old tech that’s not half as good as what they’re seeing. This new design from Insolight could be the one that changes all that.

Insolight is a spinoff from the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, where they’ve been working on this new approach for a few years — and it’s almost ready to hit your roof.

Usually solar cells collect sunlight on their entire surface, converting it to electricity at perhaps 15-19 percent efficiency — meaning about 85 percent of the energy is lost in the process. There are more efficient cells out there, but they’re generally expensive and special-purpose, or use some exotic material.

One place people tend to spare no expense, however, is in space.

Continue reading “These hyper-efficient solar panels could actually live on your roof soon”

Watch the historic first private mission to the Moon launch Thursday night


This post is by Devin Coldewey from TechCrunch


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For the first time later this week, a privately developed moon lander will launch aboard a privately built rocket, organized by a private launch coordinator. It’s an historic moment in space and the Israeli mission stands to make history again if it touches down on the Moon’s surface as planned on April 11.

The Beresheet (“Genesis”) program was originally conceived as an entry into the ambitious but ultimately unsuccessful Google Lunar Xprize in 2010, which challenged people to accomplish a lunar landing, with $30 million in prizes as the incentive. The prize closed last year with no winner but as these Xprize competitions aim to do, it had already spurred great interest and investment in a private moon mission.

SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries worked together on the mission, which will bring cameras, a magnetometer, and a capsule filled with items from the country to, hopefully, a safe rest on

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Samsung’s foldable phone? Meet the Galaxy Fold


This post is by Brian Heater from TechCrunch


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Samsung’s promised a much better look at its foldable phone at tomorrow’s big S10 event. We already caught a glimpse of the product late last year at the company’s developer conference, but among the many uncertainties with the product is what the hell the company will name the thing.

After all, the device essentially represents an entirely new category for Samsung, so older naming conventions could be out the window. The “Galaxy F” name has been floated, but, well, nobody wants that.

<

p class=”p1″>Perennial leaker Evan Blass (who’s most recently help expose the S10 to the world in recent months) says the handset will be the Galaxy Fold. Not bad, I guess. Probably one to go on — certainly a step up from the Galaxy F, which is, frankly, a bit too easily mocked.

So we have a name — and

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Daily Crunch: Huawei founder remains defiant


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The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here.

1. ‘There’s no way the U.S. can crush us,’ Huawei founder claims

In a rare interview with the BBC, Ren Zhengfei defiantly claimed that Huawei’s business is growing stronger amid pressure from the U.S. government, which is pursuing criminal charges over alleged business dealings in Iran.

“The world needs Huawei because we are more advanced,” Ren said through a translator. “Even if they persuade more countries not to use us temporarily, we could just scale things down a little bit.”

2. Flipkart co-founder Sachin Bansal invests $92M in Ola

This represents Bansal’s most prominent and largest investment to date, and his first major deal since he left Flipkart following its sale to Walmart for

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Lenovo leads $10M investment in 6-legged robot maker Vincross


This post is by Rita Liao from TechCrunch


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Vincross, the company behind the six-legged robot Hexa, said on Tuesday that it’s picked up $10 million in a Series A+ funding round led by Lenovo Capital, the startup fund managed by Lenovo Group. Returning investor GGV Capital and newcomer Seekdource Capital also participated. The company declined to disclose its latest valuation but said the proceeds will go towards research and development as well as new product lines.

Neuroscience and artificial intelligence researcher Tianqi Sun started Vincross in Beijing back in 2016 when he raised $220,000 for Hexa on Kickstarter. At the time the insectile, programmable robot had separated itself from the horde of humanoids on the market by billing itself as the first robot that can climb stairs, making it suitable for firefighting and other rescue tasks.

Meanwhile, Lenovo’s interest in the startup underscores the personal computer giant’s intent to catch the impending robotics wave, which has been evident since

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Qualcomm launches its next-gen 5G modem and mmWave antenna


This post is by Frederic Lardinois from TechCrunch


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There can be little doubt that 5G is going to take center stage at this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. After years of hype without any real products, this is finally going to be the year that 5G — and especially 5G phones — will become available. 5G phones obviously need 5G modems, so maybe it’s no surprise that Qualcomm decided to get ahead of the MWC news cycle by launching its next-gen 5G modem and new mmWave antenna today.

As the company stressed throughout its press conference ahead of today’s announcement, it believes that the 5G rollout will be quite different from what we saw with 4G a few years ago. That launch, the company argues, was comparably slow, with only a few operators launching on a single band in a few select cities and with only a handful of available phones. The 5G rollout, however, is going

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TCL leaks foretell a weird future for foldable phones


This post is by Brian Heater from TechCrunch


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Foldables are going to get weird. And I’m here for it. Just check out these leaked TCL renders from CNET. All manner of strange and wonderful folding devices — two tablets and three smartphones, including one that flips all the way around into a Futurama-style bracelet. There are renders for tablets and phones that fold both in and out.

Granted, few if any will actually come to fruition, but if this first wave of foldables opens up smartphone design in new and interesting ways like these, the industry will be all the better for it. Of course, we’re still in the early stages of all of this — and the first wave of foldables have yet to prove themselves of interest to the smartphone-buying audience beyond simple novelties.

We’ll be seeing a fair bit more of the space week at Mobile World Congress, along with Wednesday’s Samsung event, which is

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Apple could release a 16-inch MacBook Pro and a 31-inch 6K display


This post is by Romain Dillet from TechCrunch


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Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is quite reliable when it comes to Apple’s road map. And he shared a ton of information over the weekend in a new report obtained by 9to5mac. In 2019, you can expect a bigger MacBook Pro, a new display and upgrades to iPhones, iPads and AirPods.

Let’s start with the Mac. According to Kuo, Apple has been working on a MacBook Pro with an all-new design. It’s unclear if those future models will retain the same keyboard, as many users have been complaining about the reliability of the butterfly keyboard.

But Kuo learned there will be a bigger model, with a 16 to 16.5-inch display. Let’s hope that Apple is going to trim down the bezels around the display.

TechCrunch already reported that Apple will release a new Mac Pro in 2019. But Kuo believes the company is also going to release a high-end display

Continue reading “Apple could release a 16-inch MacBook Pro and a 31-inch 6K display”

Apple acquires talking Barbie voicetech startup PullString


This post is by Josh Constine from TechCrunch


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Apple has just bought up the talent it needs to make talking toys a part of Siri, HomePod, and its voice strategy. Apple has acquired PullString, also known as ToyTalk, according to Axios’ Dan Primack and Ina Fried. The company makes voice experience design tools, artificial intelligence to power those experiences, and toys like talking Barbie and Thomas The Tank Engine toys in partnership with Mattel. Founded in 2011 by former Pixar executives, PullString went on to raise $44 million.

Apple’s Siri is seen as lagging far behind Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, not only in voice recognition and utility, but also in terms of developer ecosystem. Google and Amazon has built platforms to distribute Skills from tons of voice app makers, including storytelling, quizzes, and other games for kids. If Apple wants to take a real shot at becoming the center of your connected living room with

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Deploy the space harpoon


This post is by Devin Coldewey from TechCrunch


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Watch out, starwhales. There’s a new weapon for the interstellar dwellers whom you threaten with your planet-crushing gigaflippers, undergoing testing as we speak. This small-scale version may only be good for removing dangerous orbital debris, but in time it will pierce your hypercarbon hides and irredeemable sun-hearts.

Literally a space harpoon. (Credit: Airbus)

However, it would be irresponsible of me to speculate beyond what is possible today with the technology, so let a summary of the harpoon’s present capabilities suffice.

The space harpoon is part of the RemoveDEBRIS project, a multi-organization European effort to create and test methods of reducing space debris. There are thousands of little pieces of who knows what clogging up our orbital neighborhood, ranging in size from microscopic to potentially catastrophic.

There are as many ways to take down these rogue items as there are sizes and shapes of space junk; perhaps it’s enough to

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Samsung’s new tablet sports Bixby 2.0


This post is by Brian Heater from TechCrunch


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Bixby’s been on a bunch of phones and several appliances. Until now, however, Samsung’s smart assistant has been largely MIA on the company’s tablets. Of course, I’ve never pretended to have the faintest idea of the company’s strategy here.

Anyway, just ahead of MWC and its own Unpacked (S10) event, the company just dropped a bunch of info about the Tab S5e, its first slate to sport Bixby 2.0. A key part of the feature’s arrival is Samsung’s plan to make its mobile products a centerpiece of its smart home play.

As the company notes, “Tab S5e offers a smarter and more convenient way to interact with your device, and serves as an ideal hub to control your connected home devices. Switch on your TV and your lights at the same time with Quick Command, which allows you to customize several actions under one command—making voice control of

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Asteroid is building a human-machine interaction engine for AR developers


This post is by Lucas Matney from TechCrunch


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When we interact with computers today we move the mouse, we scroll the trackpad, we tap the screen, but there is so much that the machines don’t pick up on, what about where we’re looking, the subtle gestures we make and what we’re thinking?

Asteroid is looking to get developers comfortable with the idea that future interfaces are going to take in much more biosensory data. The team has built a node-based human-machine interface engine for macOS and iOS that allows developers to build interactions that can be imported into Swift applications.

“What’s interesting about emerging human-machine interface tech is the hope that the user may be able to “upload” as much as they can “download” today,”Asteroid founder Saku Panditharatne wrote in a Medium post.

To bring attention to their development environment, they’ve launched a crowdfunding campaign that gives a decent snapshot of the depth of experiences that can

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Xnor’s saltine-sized, solar-powered AI hardware redefines the edge


This post is by Devin Coldewey from TechCrunch


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“If AI is so easy, why isn’t there any in this room?” asks Ali Farhadi, founder and CEO of Xnor, gesturing around the conference room overlooking Lake Union in Seattle. And it’s true — despite a handful of displays, phones, and other gadgets, the only things really capable of doing any kind of AI-type work are the phones each of us have set on the table. Yet we are always hearing about how AI is so accessible now, so flexible, so ubiquitous.

And in many cases even those devices that can aren’t employing machine learning techniques themselves, but rather sending data off to the cloud where it can be done more efficiently. Because the processes that make up “AI” are often resource-intensive, sucking up CPU time and battery power.

That’s the problem Xnor aimed to solve, or at least mitigate, when it spun off from the Allen Institute for

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Eight Sleep unveils The Pod, a bed that’s smarter about temperature


This post is by Anthony Ha from TechCrunch


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Smart mattress company Eight Sleep is announcing its newest product today, The Pod. Co-founder and CEO Matteo Franceschetti described it, succinctly, as “Nest for your bed.”

Eight has been focused on bed temperature for a while, first by offering a smart mattress cover and then a smart mattress that allows owners to adjust the surface temperature and even set different temperatures for different sides of the bed. But The Pod goes even further, with a smart temperature mode that will change bed temperature throughout the night to improve your sleep.

“Our vision is to use technology to personalize the environment while you’re unconscious and asleep,” Franceschetti said. “The biggest factor in the environment in temperature. The reason is … your body temperature changes during the night. If you sleep in an environment with a flat and stable temperature, you’re clearly going to feel hot or cold.”

When

The Pod

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Tim Cook-backed shower startup Nebia shows off a warmer, water-saving shower head


This post is by Lucas Matney from TechCrunch


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I’m not in the habit of getting naked during meetings at startup offices, but this time it felt appropriate.

Nebia, a shower startup that has attracted investments from the likes of Apple CEO Tim Cook and former Google chairman Eric Schmidt’s foundation is back with some new cash (though it won’t divulge how much) and a new generation of its thoughtfully designed shower heads that aim to dramatically reduce the amount of water people use while cleaning up.

After a lengthy chat with Nebia CEO Philip Winter who discussed all of the nuances of the Nebia’s second-gen “Spa Shower” that they just launched a crowdfunding campaign for today, he asked whether I’d like to try it out. With a couple hours of empty space in my calendar, I said “Why not?” and wandered over to the startup office’s shower showroom.

Shower Thoughts

This was probably the most analytical thinking

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DARPA wants smart bandages for wounded warriors


This post is by Devin Coldewey from TechCrunch


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Nowhere is prompt and effective medical treatment more important than on the battlefield, where injuries are severe and conditions dangerous. DARPA thinks that outcomes can be improved by the use of intelligent bandages and other systems that predict and automatically react to the patient’s needs.

Ordinary cuts and scrapes just need a bit of shelter and time and your amazing immune system takes care of things. But soldiers not only receive far graver wounds, but under complex conditions that are not just a barrier to healing but unpredictably so.

DARPA’s Bioelectronics for Tissue Regeneration program, or BETR, will help fund new treatments and devices that “closely track the progress of the wound and then stimulate healing processes in real time to optimize tissue repair and regeneration.”

“Wounds are living environments and the conditions change quickly as cells and tissues communicate and attempt to repair,” said Paul Sheehan, BETR program

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Massless raises $2M to build an Apple Pencil for virtual reality


This post is by Lucas Matney from TechCrunch


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Despite all of the VR over-hyping, for those observing from the inside, the capabilities are still uncharted. VR as a creative medium has probably been one of the more entrancing use cases since the first high-end headsets launched. Products like Google’s Tilt Brush isolated impossible use cases, where VR was the only way to experience that act of creating something mesmerizing from nothing.

Massless has been intrigued by the potential of VR as a way to achieve new precision and more seamlessly shove designers and engineers into their digital workshops. The product they’re working on, the Massless Pen, is a professional stylus that functions with much of the pizzazz you’d expect from a product like the Apple Pencil, featuring things like deep pressure sensing and capacitive touch, in addition to upgrades like haptic feedback.

Indeed, you can use the Massless Pen much like you would any other designer’s stylus, but

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Daily Crunch: Amazon acquires Eero


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The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here:

1. Amazon is buying home mesh router startup, Eero

It’s a pretty clear fit for Amazon as it pushes to make Alexa a feature in the connected home. The move also makes sense for five-year-old Eero — which, in spite of being early to the home mesh router game and pulling in some high-profile investors, has struggled.

If you’re an Eero owner wondering how this affects your privacy, read this.

2. LinkedIn debuts LinkedIn Live, a new live video broadcast service

Launching in beta first in the United States, LinkedIn Live will be invite-only. The plan is to start by covering conferences, product announcements, Q&As and other events led by influencers and mentors, office hours from a

Continue reading “Daily Crunch: Amazon acquires Eero”