Roland’s tiny R-07 recorder is better than your phone’s recorder app


This post is by Matt Burns from TechCrunch


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In an era when the smartphone can do everything, why do you need a standalone audio recorder? Roland, makers of music gear, might have an answer.

Their R-07 voice recorder is about as big as an original iPod and is designed for music recording, practice and playback. It features two microphones on top as well as an auxiliary microphone input. It also includes a headphone jack and supports Bluetooth.

As a recorder, the R-07 is a single-touch marvel. You record by turning it on and pressing the center button. It records to MicroSD card and can create up to 96 kHz 24-bit WAVs and 320 kbps MP3s. It runs on USB power or two AA batteries.

A Scene mode makes the R-07 a bit more interesting. It has built-in limiters and low cut, essentially features that will make voices crisper. Further, you can set it to “Music Long” to record

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Adobe brings its Premiere Rush video editing app to Android


This post is by Frederic Lardinois from TechCrunch


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Adobe launched Premiere Rush, its newest all-in-one video editing tool that is essentially a pared-down version of its flagship Premiere Pro and Audition tools for professional video editors, in late 2018. At the time, it was only available on iOS, macOS and Windows. Now, however, it is also finally bringing it to Android.

There is a caveat here, though: it’ll only run on relatively new phones, including the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S10 series, Google’s Pixel 2 and 3 phones and the OnePlus 6T.

The idea behind Premiere Rush is to give enthusiasts — and the occasional YouTube who needs to quickly get a video out — all of the necessary tools to create a video without having to know the ins and outs of a complex tools like Premiere Pro. It’s based on the same technologies as its professional counterparts, but its significantly easier to use. What you

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Trump’s Huawei ban also causing tech shocks in Europe


This post is by Natasha Lomas from TechCrunch


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The escalating US-China trade war that’s seen Chinese tech giant Huawei slapped on a US trade blacklist is causing ripples of shock across Europe too, as restrictions imposed on US companies hit regional suppliers concerned they could face US restrictions if they don’t ditch Huawei.

Reuters reports shares fell sharply today in three European chipmakers, Infineon Technologies, AMS and STMicroelectronics, after reports suggested some already had, or were about to, halt shipments to Huawei following the executive order barring US firms from trading with the Chinese tech giant.

The interconnectedness of high tech supply chains coupled with US dominance of the sector and Huawei’s strong regional position as a supplier of cellular, IT and network kit in Europe suddenly makes political risk a fast-accelerating threat for EU technology companies, large and small.

On the small side is French startup Qwant, which competes with Google by offering a pro-privacy search engine.

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Smart TVs add fuel to Xiaomi’s Q1 earnings


This post is by Rita Liao from TechCrunch


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Chinese smartphone company Xiaomi just released its first quarterly results since announcing its $1.48 billion pledge to focus on smartphones and “AIoT,” an acronym for Internet of Things powered by artificial intelligence.

Xiaomi’s adjusted net profit for the first quarter increased 22.4% year-over-year to 2.1 billion yuan ($300 million), while total revenue climbed 27.2% to 43.8 billion yuan ($6.33 billion).

Sales in India, where Xiaomi handsets dominate, as well as other countries outside China, continued to be a bright spot for the company. International markets brought in 38% of its total revenue over the first quarter, representing a 35% increase. Xiaomi’s overseas momentum came amid a global slowdown in the smartphone sector and at a time its rival Huawei copes with a technology ban that threatens to hobble international sales.

Smartphones remained as Xiaomi’s biggest revenue driver, though the segment had shrunk from

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The Meizu 16s offers flagship features at a mid-range price


This post is by Frederic Lardinois from TechCrunch


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Smartphones have gotten more expensive over the last few years even though there have only been a handful of recent innovations that really changed the way you interact with the phone. It’s maybe no surprise then that there is suddenly a lot more interest in mid-range, sub-$500 phones again. In the U.S., Google’s new Pixel 3a, with its superb camera, is bringing a lot of credibility to this segment. Outside the U.S., though, you can often get a flagship phone for less than $500 that makes none of the trade-offs typically associated with a mid-range phone. So when Meizu asked me to take a look at its new 16s flagship, which features (almost) everything you’d expect from a high-end Android phone, I couldn’t resist.

Meizu, of course, is essentially a total unknown in the U.S., even though it has a sizable global presence elsewhere.

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Huawei launches AI-backed database to target enterprise customers


This post is by Rita Liao from TechCrunch


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China’s Huawei is making a serious foray into the enterprise business market after it unveiled a new database management product on Wednesday, putting it in direct competition with entrenched vendors like IBM, Oracle and Microsoft.

The Shenzhen-based company, best known for making smartphones and telecom equipment, claims its newly minted database uses artificial intelligence capabilities to improve tuning performance, a process that traditionally involves human administrators, by over 60 percent.

Called the GaussDB, the database works both locally as well as on public and private clouds. When running on Huawei’s own cloud, GaussDB provides data warehouse services for customers across the board, from the financial, logistics, education to automotive industries.

The database launch was first reported by The Information on Tuesday citing sources saying it is designed by the company’s secretive database research group called Gauss and will initially focus on the Chinese market.

The announcement comes at a time

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OnePlus redefines premium with the 7 Pro


This post is by Brian Heater from TechCrunch


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OnePlus has never been particularly beholden to industry trends. Nowhere is that better demonstrated than with the 7 Pro. In the face of a stagnated smartphone market, Apple, Samsung and Google all went budget, releasing lower-tier takes on their pricey flagships to appeal to consumers looking for something akin to a premium experience without having to shell out four figures.

The 7 Pro, on the other hand, is OnePlus’ most premium device to date. But while the shift marks a break from much of the industry, it’s a very logical step for the company’s current trajectory. OnePlus made a name for itself creating low-cost flagship devices with features that were just slightly behind the bleeding edge.

In recent years, however, the company has looked to change that perception, becoming one of the first Android phones with an in-display fingerprint sensor and promising to be among the first to deliver 5G.

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What Pixel 3a tells us about the state of the smartphone — and Google


This post is by Brian Heater from TechCrunch


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Announced yesterday at Google’s opening I/O keynote, the Pixel 3a arrives at a tenuous time for the smartphone industry. Sales figures have stagnated for most of the major players in the industry — a phenomenon from which Google certainly isn’t immune.

CEO Sundar Pichai discussed exactly that on the company’s Q1 earnings call last week. “While the first quarter results reflect pressure in the premium smartphone industry,” he explained, “we are pleased with the ongoing momentum of Assistant-enabled Home devices, particularly the Home Hub and Mini devices, and look forward to our May 7 announcement at I/O from our hardware team.”

That last bit was a clear reference to the arrival of the new budget tier of Google’s flagship offering. The 3a is a clear push to address one of the biggest drivers of slowing smartphone sales. With a starting price of $399, it’s a fraction of the

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Samsung spilled SmartThings app source code and secret keys


This post is by Zack Whittaker from TechCrunch


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A development lab used by Samsung engineers was leaking highly sensitive source code, credentials and secret keys for several internal projects — including its SmartThings platform, a security researcher found.

The electronics giant left dozens of internal coding projects on a GitLab instance hosted on a Samsung-owned domain, Vandev Lab. The instance, used by staff to share and contribute code to various Samsung apps, services and projects, was spilling data because the projects were set to “public” and not properly protected with a password, allowing anyone to look inside at each project, access, and download the source code.

Mossab Hussein, a security researcher at Dubai-based cybersecurity firm SpiderSilk who discovered the exposed files, said one project contained credentials that allowed access to the entire AWS account that was being used, including over a hundred S3 storage buckets that contained logs and analytics data.

Many of the folders, he said,

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Android Q devices will get over-the-air security updates — but there’s a catch


This post is by Zack Whittaker from TechCrunch


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Devices shipping with Android Q will receive over-the-air security patches without having to go through device manufacturers.

A lack of steady security updates has been a major pain point for Android users over the years. Google finally has a fix for the problem. At its annual developer conference Tuesday, the tech giant said it’ll bypass mobile makers and push security updates directly to devices.

The benefit is that users won’t have to wait lengthy periods for device manufacturers to test and quality assure the patches for their devices for fixes to critical security vulnerabilities that put users at risk.

Security updates for Android Q will be focused on 14 modules crucial to the operating system’s functioning — including media codecs, which have long plagued the Android software with a steady stream of security flaws.

There’s a catch — two, in fact.

Devices updating to Android Q will not work with

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Google’s budget Pixel 3a starts at $399, available in ‘purple-ish’


This post is by Brian Heater from TechCrunch


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Last week’s earnings didn’t go the way Alphabet wanted. The fault primarily lies at the feet of the company’s ad business, but the hardware side didn’t come out great, either. Like the rest of the industry, Google’s been struggling to sell smartphones. Sundar Pichai cited “year over year headwinds” in reference to Pixel 3 sales figures.

He did, however, hint at good things to come. Selling the future is an important part of a CEO’s job, of course, but there are reasons to be hopeful. There are interesting innovations on the way, like 5G and foldables, and, in Google’s case, there are other things in the works. Pichai alluded to both a new Taipei R&D campus and, in the much shorter term, hardware announcements planned for Google I/O.

It was clear to all listening that the exec was referring to the Pixel 3a with the latter bit. Like the Pixel

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Google refreshes Android Auto with new features and a darker look


This post is by Kirsten Korosec from TechCrunch


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Android Auto — the in-car platform that brings the look and functions of a smartphone to the vehicle’s central screen — is getting a new look and improved navigation and communication features that will roll out this summer.

The improvements and new look were revealed Monday during Google I/O 2019, the annual developer conference.

The most noticeable change might be the overall look of Android Auto. It now has a dark theme, new fonts and color accents designed to make it easier for drivers to quickly and more easily see the content on the car’s central screen.

The new version of Android Auto has also improved its notifications. Drivers can choose to view, listen and respond to messages and calls more easily.

Engineers have updated the software to make it more seamless. The system, if properly enable, would pop up on the car’s screen once the vehicle was turned on. However,

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The EU will reportedly investigate Apple following anti-competition complaint from Spotify


This post is by Jon Russell from TechCrunch


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The spat between Spotify and Apple is going to be the focus on a new investigation from the EU, according to a report from the FT.

The paper reported today that the European Commission (EC), the EU’s regulatory body, plans to launch a competition inquiry around Spotify’s claim that the iPhone-maker uses its position as the gatekeeper of the App Store to “deliberately disadvantage other app developers.”

In a complaint filed to the EC in March, Spotify said Apple has “tilted the playing field” by operating iOS, the platform, and the App Store for distribution, as well as its own Spotify rival, Apple Music.

In particular, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek has said that Apple “locks” developers and their platform, which includes a 30 percent cut of in-app spending. Ek also claimed Apple Music has unfair advantages over rivals like Spotify, while he expressed concern that Apple controls communication

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Once a major name in smartphones, LG Mobile is now irrelevant — and still losing money


This post is by Jon Russell from TechCrunch


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LG was once a stalwart of the smartphone industry — remember its collaboration with Facebook back in the day? — but today the company is swiftly descending into irrelevance.

The latest proof is LG’s Q1 financials, released this week, which show that its mobile division grossed just KRW 1.51 trillion ($1.34 billion) in sales for the quarter. That’s down 30 percent year-on-year and the lowest income for LG Mobile for at least the last eight years. We searched back eight years to Q1 2011 — before that LG was hit and miss with releasing specific financial figures for its divisions.

To give an indication of its decline, LG shipped over 15 million phones in Q4 2015 when its revenue was 3.78 trillion RKW, or $3.26 billion. That 2.5 times higher than this recent Q1 2019 period.

Regular readers will be aware that LG mobile is

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iPhone hard hit as global smartphone shipments continue nosedive


This post is by Brian Heater from TechCrunch


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The smartphone industry is in rough shape. Sundar Pichai used the word “headwinds” to discuss the company’s difficulties moving Pixel 3 units, but Canalys’ latest report is far more blunt, describing the situation as a “freefall.”

Things are pretty ugly in the Q1 report, as smartphone shipments declined for the sixth quarter in a row. The combined global units hit 313.9 million, marking their lowest point in almost half a decade, according to the firm.

Of the big players, Apple seems to be particularly hard hit, falling 23.2% year on year. Once again, China played a big role here, but as usual, the full story is much more complex.

“This is the largest single-quarter decline in the history of the iPhone,” said analyst Ben Stanton in a release tied to the news. “Apple’s second largest market, China, again proved tough. But this was far from its only

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Google’s Wear OS gets tiles


This post is by Frederic Lardinois from TechCrunch


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Google announced an interesting new Wear OS feature today that makes a number of highly used features more easily available. Google calls this feature ’tiles’ and it makes both information like the local weather forecast, headlines, your next calendar event, goals and your heart rate, as well as tools like the Wear OS built-in timer available with just a few swipes to the left.

In the most recent version of Wear OS, tiles also existed in some form, but the only available tile was Google Fit, which opened with a single swipe. Now, you’ll be able to swipe further and bring up these new tiles, too.

There is a default order to these tiles, but you’ll be able to customize them, too. All you have to do is touch and hold a given tile and then drag it to the left or right. Over time, Google will also add more

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Samsung sees Q1 profit plummet 60%


This post is by Jon Russell from TechCrunch


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Samsung’s Q1 earnings are in and, as the company itself predicted, they don’t make for pretty reading.

The Korean giant saw revenue for the three-month period fall by 13 percent year-on-year to 52.4 trillion KRW, around $45 billion. Meanwhile, operating profit for Q1 2019 came in at 6.2 trillion KRW, that’s a whopping $5.33 billion but it represents a decline of huge 60 percent drop from the same period last year. Ouch.

Samsung’s Q1 last year was admittedly a blockbuster quarter, but these are massive declines.

What’s going on?

Samsung said that sales of its new Galaxy S10 smartphone were “solid” but it admitted that its memory chip and display businesses, so often the most lucrative units for the company, didn’t perform well and “weighed down” the company’s results overall. Despite those apparent S10 sales, the mobile division saw income drop “as competition intensified.” Meanwhile,

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Is this the vertical-folding Motorola Razr?


This post is by Matt Burns from TechCrunch


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This could be the upcoming Motorola Razr revival. The images purporting to be the upcoming smartphone appeared online on Weibo and show a foldable design. Unlike Galaxy Fold, though, Motorola’s implementation has the phone folding vertical — much like the original Razr.

This design offers a more compelling use case than other foldables. Instead of traditional smartphone unfolding to a tablet-like display, Motorola’s design has a smaller device unfolding to a smartphone display. The result is a smaller phone turning into a normal phone.

Pricing is still unclear but the WSJ previously stated it would carry a $1,500 cost when it’s eventually released. If it’s released.

Samsung was the first to market with the Galaxy Fold. Kind of. A few journalists were given Galaxy Fold units ahead of its launch, but a handful of units failed in the first days. Samsung quickly postponed the launch and recalled all the review

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Is the Samsung Galaxy Fold a bad omen for foldables?


This post is by Brian Heater from TechCrunch


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I wrote a lot about the Galaxy Fold here. After a week with the device, I was left with mixed feelings independent of the whole ongoing display saga. The TLDR; of it is the story of a first-generation device that’s full of promise but still a bit clunky and prohibitively priced.

Of course, the real reason we couldn’t possibly recommend the device is the high percentage of issues around the device. Samsung issued a handful of early units to reviewers and multiple devices returned with broken screens. Samsung was quick to downplay the issue, but ultimately apologized, issued early findings and pushed the release back to an undisclosed date.

The Fold was supposed to be released today, and until Monday, Samsung had us convinced that it would hit that optimistic time frame. The fact of it all, however, is that the timing was always in question. The device was officially

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