HTC U12+ leak hints at four cameras, Snapdragon 845

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HTC U12 Plus leak

We’re officially in the thick of flagship season, with the Galaxy S9 launching tomorrow and the LG G7 and Huawei P20 appearing in leaks. Now another major upcoming smartphone has leaked out.

Details of the HTC U12+ have been shared by VentureBeat. According to the report, this device is codenamed Imagine, and that it may never have a standard U12 sibling.

The image of the device shows that it has a total of four cameras, with two 8MP sensors on the front and 16MP and 12MP sensors on the back. There’s a fingerprint reader on the back of the phone, too, and on the front is a 6-inch WQHD+ display.

Inside the U12+ is said to be a Snapdragon 845 processor, 6GB of RAM, 64GB or 128GB of storage, and a microSD card slot if you need additional storage. There’s reportedly a 3,420mAh battery powering this whole package. Rounding out the U12+’s feature set is Android 8.0 Oreo and Edge Sense, an HTC feature that lets you perform actions by squeezing the sides of the device.

HTC is allegedly aiming to launch the U12+ in early May. The device is a big one for HTC, as the company continues to have a rough time in the smartphone market. The competition is fierce, with Samsung’s Galaxy S9 and S9+ shaping up to be another pair of quality flagships, Google putting out great devices in the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, and companies like LG, Xiaomi, and Huawei bringing solid phones to market, too. It’ll be interesting to see how HTC responds to these devices and how the U12+ stacks up to them.

Based on what we’ve heard so far, are you interested in the HTC U12+? – Latest videos, reviews, articles, news and posts

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YouTube limits moderators to viewing four hours of disturbing content per day

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YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said today that the video platform has started limiting the number of hours its part-time content moderators can view disturbing videos to four hours per day. The news, announced during a Q&A session during Wojcicki’s South by Southwest Interactive talk here in Austin, comes as companies like YouTube are struggling to parse through the sheer volume of user-uploaded content and ensure it abides by its policies. Platforms including YouTube, Facebook, Reddit, and Twitter have faced criticism for subjecting low-paid contractors to content that can be extremely disturbing.

“This is a real issue and I myself have spent a lot of time looking at this content over the past year. It is really hard,” Wojcicki said about…

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Gartner: Four strategies to make smart cities work for citizens

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Smart cities can only be successful if local government engages with citizens, opening up the dialogue to meet their needs, said Gartner today. Developing IoT programmes without consulting the community is the wrong strategy, said the analyst company.

Smart cities are no longer just about optimised traffic patterns, parking management, efficient lighting, or improvements to public works, said analysts, but should instead be about a community-driven approach to deciding local priorities.

Gartner has proposed four strategies to refocus smart city developments on citizens’ needs.

Bettina Tratz-Ryan, research VP at Gartner, said that a top-down focus on technology platforms alone should be set aside in favour of asking citizens what their needs are, and which services could be improved.

In this way, technologies such as AI and machine learning could be put to better use, she said. “Changes in citizen mindsets mean that governments must change their mindsets,” explained Tratz-Ryan.

“Government CIOs today need to look at creating innovation strategies to attract new industries and develop digital skills. They need to look at changing their spatial planning, road infrastructure, data and service management.”

Gartner recommends

Gartner’s four strategies are designed to help local government CIOs bring this change about. They are:-

First, understand which issues directly impact citizens and apply technology to solving those problems first. This might include aligning the data gathered via AI and machine learning platforms to meet specific citizen or business requirements.

Second, CIOs should be mindful of the digital divide and pay equal attention to the challenges faced by citizens with fewer IT skills.

Virtual assistants powered by natural-language processing could be one way of achieving this, suggested Gartner, creating a more intuitive way for people to communicate with smart services.

Third, create an open data strategy. Gartner said that open data portals could allow businesses, schools, colleges, universities, and citizens access to data that had previously been hidden. This could help them to design better or more efficient services that are focused on proven needs.

And fourth, CIOs are urged to use clear measurements and KPIs to explain the progress of smart city programmes to their stakeholders.

Gartner claimed that by 2020, two-thirds of all smart city strategies will incorporate KPIs to visualise the impact of mobility-focused urban services.

Internet of Business says

For all the talk of smart city programmes, data gathering, smart street lighting, and more efficient transport systems, it is rare to hear technology commentators talk about community need and what citizens or local businesses actually want. So we commend Gartner for doing exactly that.

If more councils asked residents what could be better, what doesn’t work, and what needs fixing urgently, then more of them might be seen as enablers and allies rather than as remote or inefficient bureaucracies.

Smart city technologies and the IoT, combined with open data sets, could not only connect services better within local communities, but also connect citizens to their elected representatives and the services that work for them.

Read more: Councils partner with Telensa on smart city programmes

Read more: Poles apart: Five cities putting smart streetlights to new uses

Read more: Portugal teams with Cisco on national digitisation plan

Read more: Rotterdam and IBM plan to create world’s smartest port with IoT

The post Gartner: Four strategies to make smart cities work for citizens appeared first on Internet of Business.

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Four Reasons Why the Opioid Epidemic Is Getting Worse, Not Better

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Despite efforts to address the crisis, opioid overdoses in the U.S. continue to increase at a disturbing rate.

A new report compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that the number of people checking into the emergency room (ER) after overdosing rose by 30 percent between July 2016 and September 2017. In 2016 alone, opioids were the cause of nearly 42,000 deaths across the country, more than any previous year on record.

“In every region, in every age group of adults, in both men and women, overdoses from opioids are increasing,” CDC Acting Director Anne Schuchat told NPR.

The fact that the report was only able to capture people who were hospitalized suggests that the grim toll may be much higher, because many people who overdose never go to the ER.

The CDC’s report didn’t delve into the cause behind the 30 percent increase, but several factors may have played a part in this concerning trend:

  • Insurers won’t cover alternative treatments: For people affected by chronic pain, there are many options other than addictive pain killers. The so-called interventional pain treatments include local injections and physiotherapy. However, perhaps because their positive impacts are more difficult to assess, insurance companies often don’t cover this type of treatment, making them less affordable than legal opioids.
  • Access to stronger opioids: NPR notes how easy it is to get stronger illegal opioids such as fentanyl. While it can be used for pain relief, notes the drug carries a high risk of dependency, as do other compounds like OxyContin, Percocet and Vicodin, though they can be prescribed by doctors. Kratom is another such drug meant to treat pain relief, yet the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has deemed it dangerous.
  • Children: According to research recently published on the journal Pediatrics, the number of children between the age of 1 and 17 who have been admitted to hospitals for opioid overdose has nearly doubled from 797 patients between 2004 and 2007, to 1,504 patients between 2012 and 2015. Jason Kane, an associate professor of pediatrics and critical care at Comer Children’s Hospital in Chicago and lead author of the research, suspects many gain access to their parents’ medications, and either intentionally or accidentally take them.
  • Lack of legislation: The opioid epidemic is clearly nothing new, yet congress has put little effort to address the situation; a belief shared by Andrew Kolodny, co-director of Opioid Policy Research at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management. Kolodny told NPR: “There’s been a lot of talk from Congress and from the administration and a recognition that we need to do something about this problem. But nothing yet has happened.” As reported by Bloomberg BNA, however, both the House and Senate are now looking for ways to manage the crisis in the future. In January, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey introduced new legislation intended to combat the opioid crisis. According to Reuters, Arizona officials blame opioid overdose for roughly 800 deaths occurred in the state since June 2017.

While the opioid crisis can’t be attributed to the combination of the above factors alone, it’s clear that more must be done to offset the significant loss of lives to products that are supposed to help people. The CDC’s report is sure to turn heads and bring some much needed attention to the problem, but it’ll be for naught unless things change fast, be it through legislation, or future drugs made specifically to tackle addiction and withdrawal.

The post Four Reasons Why the Opioid Epidemic Is Getting Worse, Not Better appeared first on Futurism.


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Apple Products Estimated to Have an Average Lifespan of over Four Years

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Its widely known that Apple devices enjoy a longer lifespan than products from other competing products. It is how many people have tried to justify the ‘Apple tax.’ However, no one exactly known what’s the average lifespan of an Apple device. Apple itself has never revealed any such number. Asymco analyst Horace Dediu, however, has managed to come at an estimate thanks to some maths wizardry and by basing his maths on some numbers revealed by Apple. Continue reading
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Average Apple Device Lifespan Estimated at Just Over Four Years by Analyst

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Asymco analyst Horace Dediu this week shared new research that focuses on determining the average lifespan of Apple devices. Dediu’s research doesn’t break down data on a specific product level, but instead encompasses Apple’s entire stable of products in one general lifespan average. According to Dediu’s proposal, if you use the number of active devices and cumulative devices sold, you can get to the average lifespan (via The Next Web).

Dediu’s research on this topic was propelled forward when Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed the total number of active Apple devices — 1.3 billion worldwide — during the company’s most recent earnings call. Now, the analyst proposed that to determine the average lifespan, you can subtract the known active devices number from cumulative devices sold to determine “cumulative retired devices.”

Dediu then said that to estimate the average lifespan, you calculate the time between “cumulative devices sold” at the beginning of a product’s lifespan, and the current “cumulative retired devices.” He ultimately determined that the average Apple device lifespan is about 4 years and three months, when looking at the data of Apple products sold in Q2 2013 and retired in Q4 2017, a time when the 2013 devices died or otherwise stopped working and their owners sought to purchase new versions.

Dediu gave a detailed breakdown of his calculations:

Here’s how to compute this yourself: Visually, the lifespan is the distance horizontally between the two vertical bars such that the bars are the same length. The top vertical bar measures the gap between the area (cumulative devices) and the curve (active devices) and the lower bar is the gap between the area and the x-axis, i.e. the cumulative devices. When those two bars are the same size the distance between them is the lifespan (at the time of the top bar.)

Arithmetically, the average lifespan at a given time t is the duration between t and the moment when the cumulative devices sold reached the cumulative retired devices at time t.

For example today–as the visual above represents–the lifespan is the time since cumulative devices sold reached the current total retired devices. The cumulative retired devices can be calculated as 2.05 billion cumulative sold minus 1.3 billion active or 750 million. The time when cumulative devices sold reached 750 million was the third quarter 2013. The lifespan is thus estimated at the time between now and Q3 2013 or 17 quarters or about 4 years and three months.

He noted that cumulative devices sold for Apple includes Macs, iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches, and the iPod touch, although of course the lifespan average number is just that — an average — and doesn’t perfectly apply to each individual product. Just over four years is likely in the ballpark for how long Mac users keep around their computers, but if looked at on a product-by-product basis that statistic would likely be different for iPhone and Apple Watch owners.

For more details on the topic, check out Dediu’s full post on

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Analyst estimates average lifespan for all Apple devices at over four years

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The average lifespan of an Apple device is probably just over four years, according to analysis into figures released during the fourth quarter investor conference call, suggesting that iPhones and iPads remain in active use for twice as long as the typical consumer iPhone upgrade cycle.
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Honor 7X Oreo Beta goes live in four EU countries

Today, Honor has launched its Beta program for Honor 7X owners in four European countries: France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. The program will let you test non-final builds of EMUI 8.0 based on Android 8.0 Oreo. New features will include a refined UI, improved performance and stability, as well as some of Huawei’s AI features, though just the ones that don’t require the Kirin 970’s NPU. Honor 7X The Honor 7X will be receiving EMUI 8.0 Oreo sometime in Q2 of this year. So making the Beta available now shows the phone maker is on track for a Q2 release. If you have an Honor 7X in… – Latest articles

Wanna Clone Your Dog Like Barbara Streisand? Here Are Four Things You Need to Know.

This week, a Variety cover story broke the most newsworthy animal cloning story since Dolly the sheep. Before Samantha, Barbra Streisand’s well-loved Coton de Tuléar, passed away in 2017 at the age of 14, her owner had her clonednot once, but twice. Cells from the dog’s mouth and stomach were used to create the two clones, which are called Miss Scarlett and Miss Violet.

If you’re thinking about following Streisand’s example and are dead-set on bringing Fido back to life, here’s are a few things you should know.

It’s Not Cheap

Streisand didn’t reveal which company she entrusted with cloning her pet, but the options currently available are rather expensive. A South Korean lab called Sooam Biotech has reportedly carried out the procedure over 600 times, and charges $ 100,000 per attempt, while the Texas-based ViaGen Pets asks for a more reasonable $ 50,000 each time, according to a report from the New York Times.

It’s Not Fool-proof

That price tag is even more distressing when you learn that making a genetic copy of your pup is far from a guarantee. Sooam Biotech estimates that its cloning process works about a third of the time, per NPR. Other dogs are used as surrogates, and provide eggs, and their welfare has to be taken into account when we consider the ethics of cloning – is it really fine to have a dog miscarry unnecessarily?

The Cloned Dog Might Not Act The Same

Our genes do not dictate who we are. Identical twins can sometimes act, or even look, pretty different. The same is true for cloned dogs. Pet cloning company My Friend Again writes on the FAQ on its web site: “If the new clone grows up in the same environment as the original dog than the personality will be the same or closely similar.” Closely similar. 

Don’t Leave it Too Late

Still thinking of cloning your dog? It’s best to plan ahead.

If your dog is still alive, you can take it to the vet to get the biopsy sample required for cloning – an eight-millimeter piece of skin from its abdomen, according to Business Insider. If it’s already passed away, you’re not completely out of luck, but you’ll need to wrap its body in wet towels and keep it in the refrigerator until you can take it to a vet and get those samples. Not exactly letting Fido rest in peace.

Maybe Consider Adoption

By bringing another animal into the world, you might be leaving one more to die. Every year, around 1.5 million shelter animals are euthanized in the U.S. alone because nobody wants them. Also, it’s way cheaper to adopt from a shelter, or even from a breeder, than to clone the family canine.

The post Wanna Clone Your Dog Like Barbara Streisand? Here Are Four Things You Need to Know. appeared first on Futurism.


Apple now has four roads to a 5G iPhone, each challenging

Now that the dust has settled from Mobile World Congress 2018’s major 5G wireless announcements, two things are clear: 5G networks are coming even faster than recently expected, and based on its current relationships with 5G modem suppliers, Apple has a tough road ahead before it launches a 5G iPhone.

Being second or even tenth to market didn’t matter to Apple in 2007, when the first iPhone arrived without 3G network support, or in 2012, when the iPhone 5 shipped two years after early 4G networks. But a lot has changed since then. Apple is now the world’s #1 or #2 smartphone maker, depending on the quarter, and depends on iPhones for 1/2 to 2/3 of its revenues. Additionally, its current flagship phone arguably leads the industry in technology and sales. So if Apple decides to wait on 5G, which will certainly be 2019’s biggest new technology, it could simultaneously hurt its stock, market share, and reputation for innovation.

I’m not going to tell you what Apple is going to do, because that has become a Tim Cook-level business decision that may require Apple to work with a partner it doesn’t like. But I am going to outline the four roads Apple is going to choose from, and tell you which direction I think it’s most likely to take.

Road 1: Qualcomm

Normally, Qualcomm would be Apple’s most obvious 5G partner. Qualcomm’s modems have been inside iPhones for years, sometimes alone, and more recently alternating with Intel modems. The San Diego-based chipmaker has also been working on 5G technology for years, pushing to get 5G standardization completed early, and signing up dozens of 5G customers.

Above: Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon announces that 19 manufacturers and 18 carriers will be using Snapdragon X50 modems to roll out 5G devices to customers in 2019.

Image Credit: Jeremy Horwitz/VentureBeat

But Apple and Qualcomm are in the middle of a gigantic legal dispute over 4G patent payments, which has evolved from “largely about money” to “international antitrust battle” status over the past year. The dispute is currently serious enough that Apple has reportedly abandoned Qualcomm entirely for 2018’s new iPhone models, and has been actively working to remove Qualcomm parts from its product families. (That’s no easy task given the varying cellular needs of iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches.)

So why is Qualcomm listed as Road 1? Disputes like this have a way of getting resolved when working together is necessary, and Qualcomm recently settled similar patent licensing issues with another major customer, Samsung. As discussed below, Apple might not have a better option for launching its first 5G phone, and settling with Qualcomm could make future device development a lot easier.

Road 2: Samsung

Conventional wisdom has it that Apple doesn’t really like Samsung — that, as years of lawsuits have established, Apple sees the Korean company as a knock-off artist that made its name trading on obviously copied Apple innovations. Yet Samsung components are inside many Apple devices — sometimes screens, sometimes chips, and yes, sometimes even ideas. Apple’s latest flagship phone, the iPhone X, depended 100% on Samsung for its Super Retina display, as rival screen maker LG reportedly couldn’t meet Apple’s quality requirements.

Samsung is already publicly working on 5G devices, having revealed prototype tablets earlier this month, and the Galaxy S10 will almost certainly be 5G-capable. Not surprisingly, Samsung makes 5G modems, too, now including CDMA support, as well as hardware that can be used to provide an entire home with 5G wireless services, including optimized performance for Samsung phones.

That’s either bad news for Apple, which recently exited the wireless router business and won’t get Apple-specific optimizations, or a great opportunity for Apple to get friendlier with its key Korean supplier. All things considered, I’d call Samsung a dark horse possibility at best — it’s hard to imagine Apple swallowing its pride at this point and relying upon another Samsung solution for a key iPhone feature, but given its current legal situation with Qualcomm, it mightn’t have another practical choice.

Road 3: Intel

Intel is listed as Road 3 for Apple, but it could easily become Apple’s 5G partner in one of two situations: if Intel’s 5G modem development is going better than is publicly known, or if Apple is willing to wait past the first generation of 5G devices. Either is a possibility.

In the 4G era, Intel modems have lagged enough behind Qualcomm’s that Apple felt compelled to slow down the Qualcomm chips in some iPhones to perform comparably to Intel modems found in other iPhones. Without detailed specs for Intel’s upcoming XMM8000 series of 5G modems, many people are assuming — perhaps incorrectly — that Intel will again struggle to match Qualcomm’s performance.

Above: Visitors to Intel’s Mobile World Congress booth on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018, are given a first look at a 5G-enabled concept PC. (Credit: Intel Corporation)

The big question right now is whether Intel will have any smartphone-ready 5G modem available in 2019. This week, Intel said only that it will have laptop-ready modems available by late 2019 — a long time to wait — and unlike rivals that are already producing early chips, Intel might just miss the entirety of 2019 for phones. Certainly, Apple and Intel know more than they’ve publicly said on this topic, but the lack of any 5G phone announcement from Intel at a show as big as MWC suggests that Apple will need to pick another path.

A Road Not Taken: Huawei

Without spending too many words on this point, it’s fair to say that even though Huawei announced the first commercially available 5G chipset this week, Apple’s not going to touch it.

Because of its relationship with the Chinese government, Huawei’s been under investigation by the U.S. government for the entire 4G generation, and has been deliberately frozen out of 5G planning in the U.S. — Australia is likely to be next. Many other companies appear set to use Huawei parts, but Apple won’t use any components that would lock it out of selling phones in its home market.

Road 4: Apple

The last road — and one I’m not going to put much faith in for the time being — is Apple having its own 5G modem ready to go next year. It’s widely known that Apple is actively working on wireless chip development, and Apple-designed W-series chips have already appeared in the Apple Watch, AirPods, and Beats headphones.

However, a full modem would be a big step forward for Apple, and a 5G modem is all but unthinkable right now. As much as Apple would probably love to own this particular component in its devices, 5G is so hugely complicated from an engineering and testing standpoint that I can’t see Apple going its own way with the first 5G iPhone. 2020? 2021? Maybe.

One of the issues is antenna design. Qualcomm clued journalists into this ahead of MWC, noting that 5G device makers will need to find ways to keep multiple antennas accessible, lest data speeds drop dramatically. In an effort to address this for particularly reception-challenged 5G millimeter wave modems, Intel’s laptop solution at MWC was a pair of huge kickstands designed to serve as antennas. Apple would never be OK with a solution like that, but it’s going to need to engineer and test something smarter on its own.

Which road will Apple take?

It’s easy to conclude that Apple will likely rely on Qualcomm, Samsung, or Intel for its first (and maybe even its second) 5G iPhones, then switch to its own modem whenever it’s confident in its network compatibility and performance. But that conclusion leaves two key questions: which company will be its first 5G modem supplier, and when?

If I had to pick just one of these companies as Apple’s most likely partner, it would come down to a choice between Intel and Qualcomm, with Qualcomm in the lead based solely on today’s publicly available information. Despite Intel’s widely-publicized 5G displays at sporting events, the fact that it hasn’t announced smartphone deals suggests that it has probably fallen behind its rivals in some key way. For Apple, that means either waiting for Intel, or choosing between Qualcomm and Samsung. Its dispute with Qualcomm is over money, versus Samsung, which it still deals with despite issues with both money and copying. Settling the lawsuit with Qualcomm would give Apple immediate access to 5G chips, and hence, the ability to launch a 5G iPhone.

There’s always the possibility that Apple could sit out the first generation of 5G devices — and obviously, there’s precedent for that with 3G and 4G. I think the stakes for Apple are too high at this point, but if the company’s willing to risk sales, its reputation, and its stock price, it could be 2020 before we see the first 5G iPhone. If so, the market for premium 5G smartphones will be Samsung’s to lose.

Apple – VentureBeat