Mid-range Pixel for developing markets could land this summer (joined in India by Home, Nest stuff, practically everything Google sells)

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Whether you’re selling phones or powering the platforms behind them, there’s little that’s more exciting for a company seeking out growth opportunities than a rapidly expanding market. As other markets around the globe see slumping projections or sales threatening to plateau, India’s doing gangbusters, and last year sales of smartphones were up 14 percent. This growth hasn’t gone unnoticed, and today we’re checking out some signs of Google’s increasing interest in India, including rumors of a possible new Pixel phone targeting India and other “price-sensitive” markets.

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Mid-range Pixel for developing markets could land this summer (joined in India by Home, Nest stuff, practically everything Google sells) was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Opinion: Why emerging markets should choose GSM LPWAN for IIoT projects

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OPINION Neil Hamilton, VP of Business Development at Thingstream, explains why businesses in emerging markets should choose GSM-based LPWAN connectivity to realise the full potential of IIoT projects.

iob new conectionsNEW CONNECTIONS

An occasional series of vendor perspectives on the world of connected business – because it’s all about making new connections and starting new conversations.

The rapid adoption of consumer and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) applications in developed markets, powered by the cloud, has already changed the way in which services are consumed, and their potential is vast. However, the potential for the IIoT in developing markets is also enormous; IDC predicts that projects in Africa and the Middle East alone will grow to a market valuation of $ 7 billion in 2018.

However, fragmented connectivity and infrastructures in these regions are still significant barriers to deploying effective, widespread IIoT systems.

The challenge in emerging markets

Current low-power wide-area networks (LPWANs) struggle to provide full coverage outside of major cities and towns even in developed nations, so overcoming fragmented rural connectivity in emerging markets is far from easy.

While cellular data connectivity in most developing markets remains limited, it is still more prevalent than other LPWANs offered by unlicensed providers; these still need to connect to a cellular network to communicate with the IoT ecosystem.

This is why businesses need a cost-effective, reliable, secure, and low-power option that provides ubiquitous connectivity, using the existing infrastructure.

There are many industries in these markets in which cellular or unlicensed technologies severely restrict the deployment of IIoT applications, largely due to a lack of roaming coverage.

For example, an organisation that wishes to track its assets across borders in rural areas will be unable to have full visibility of goods whenever connections are lost. Similarly, for fixed-location services where there is a lack of coverage, regularly sending data to the cloud isn’t always possible. And when a network is available, cellular roaming charges can be prohibitively expensive.

GSM-based low-power connectivity

The most ubiquitous network is the established GSM voice network, which is now available in more than 190 countries and is increasingly reliable, especially when compared with cellular data.

IoT devices can automatically connect wherever GSM connectivity is present, using the strongest network available. This avoids disruption when moving between carriers on a cellular signal, ensuring worldwide connectivity. So it makes sense to leverage this network, as other internet-based options are unable to compete in terms of cost, reliability, and coverage.

One solution is low-bandwidth messaging, achieved through a Message Queue Telemetry Transport for Sensor Networks (MQTT-SN) system. Communicating across a USSD messaging protocol that’s available on the GSM voice network, this lightweight publish/subscribe protocol can send tiny packets of data –160 bytes or less – providing true ubiquitous IoT connectivity.

This is boosted by the inclusion of integrated Quality of Service (QoS), allowing an MQTT-SN protocol to handle the transmission and re-transmission of messages, guaranteeing delivery to the corresponding ‘thing’ or application. The level of QoS is fully customisable for IoT adopters, depending on network security and application logic.

Furthermore, IoT sensors can be programmed to communicate almost any type of information that can be carried across a low-bandwidth signal, avoiding the need to have multiple devices that further clog the network.

The power issue is also circumnavigated, thanks to the way in which the devices can work. By sending data only when needed, a device’s on/off setup enables battery longevity to be maximised, not only for months, but for years, creating a true LPWAN.

This is also advantageous in emerging markets with unreliable power grids, where outages are more commonplace. Instead of sending data at regular intervals, data can be delivered when parameters have changed. For example, this would allow for remote condition monitoring of equipment, allowing for maintenance to be better planned for and more predictable.

Furthermore, data is not communicated using the internet, greatly improving cyber security by having no need to use IP addresses between devices and the connectivity platform, helping to keep connectivity levels high and costs low.

For devices that are remotely connected via the internet, the issue of securely bridging the ‘air gap’ between operational technology and IT systems continues to prove a major challenge for the safe transfer of data, which again favours GSM connectivity.

Choosing the right connectivity for emerging markets

The emergence of LPWANs, such as a GSM voice-based network, has forced businesses in emerging markets to change how they approach IoT deployments. This is because they need to think about what data is actually required from devices and how often that data is needed.

If this can be included in 160 bytes or less, why pay for an energy-sapping internet connection that is costly to implement and run, while also being visible to potential hackers?

An alternative, GSM voice-based network is the strongest and most reliable option that offers true global connectivity for IoT devices to communicate in emerging markets. Using a network with an already-established infrastructure offers huge advantages in scalability, connectivity, security, and cost.

Choosing such a network can enhance efficiencies in a variety of sectors, such as agriculture, logistics, and utilities, all of which are economically crucial in emerging markets. This type of connectivity will enable IIoT projects to be quickly accelerated in developing countries, helping to create a truly global supply chain.

Internet of Business says: This opinion piece has been provided by Thingstream, and not by our independent editorial team.

The post Opinion: Why emerging markets should choose GSM LPWAN for IIoT projects appeared first on Internet of Business.

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Samsung Galaxy A6 and Galaxy A6+ launch markets confirmed

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Recently Samsung SM-A600FN and SM-A605G surfaced on Geekbench earlier, pointing to the a Galaxy A6 and Galaxy A6+ smartphones being prepared for a launch. According to SamMobile, the Korean company will indeed launch these devices, but only at three markets – Europe, Russia, and Middle East. The Samsung Galaxy A6 is reportedly coming with Exynos 7870 chipset, seen in the Galaxy A3 (2017) and some phones from the more affordable J series. The SoC is coupled with 3 GB RAM and is running Android 8.0 Oreo, most likely with Samsung Experience UI 9.0 on top. The Galaxy A6+ was shown…

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HTC Vive Focus standalone VR headset is coming to international markets

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HTC Vive Focus standalone VR headset

Looks like the start of Vive Pro pre-orders isn’t the only VR news that HTC has to share this week.

HTC said today that its standalone Vive Focus headset will be sold in “international markets later this year.” That’s about all that HTC had to say about the rollout, though, so it’s unclear exactly which markets will get the Vive Focus and when they’ll get it.

The HTC Vive Focus is a standalone virtual reality headset, meaning that unlike the Vive and Vive Pro, you don’t need a powerful PC  to use it. The headset includes a 2880×1600 AMOLED display and Snapdragon 835 processor, a microSD slot, built-in microphones and speakers, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. It features QuickCharge 3.0 charging, and HTC says that you can get up to 3 hours of active use on a single charge.

HTC currently only sells the Vive Focus in China, where it’s priced at ¥3,999 ($ 632 USD) for the Almond White model and ¥4,299 ($ 680 USD) for the Electric Blue version.

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Google Pay on Wear OS expands to more markets

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Google Pay (combination of Google Wallet and Android Pay) was officially available on Wear OS (formerly Android Wear) only in a couple of markets so far: the US and the UK. That changes now, as the service has expanded to three more countries, including Spain, Australia, and Canada. That’d explain why some users outside of the US and UK (see Reddit link below) are now able to access the functionality. If you remember, Oreo for Huawei Watch 2 disabled the feature (yes, it was unofficially available earlier) in non US and UK markets. However, now users in at-least Spain, Australia, and…

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MoviePass won’t let its customers buy tickets to Red Sparrow in some markets

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MoviePass is reportedly preventing some of its subscribers from buying tickets to Jennifer Lawrence’s new action movie, seemingly as part of a negotiation strategy with the film industry. In this case, MoviePass users on Twitter have reported running into trouble trying to see Red Sparrow, which is blacked out in the MoviePass mobile app in some markets with a message that reads, “This movie is not supported by MoviePass.”

“We occasionally remove some films from our ticketing inventory in some markets for a limited time, similar to how we organically promote films in certain markets to better understand member behavior,” MoviePass told Slashfilm in a statement. “As part of this ongoing testing, we have stepped up our efforts to remind…

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Sprint announces its first six Massive MIMO 5G markets, rollout starting in April

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As MWC begins to wind down, one of the key talking points has been 5G (much like CES). For us in the United States, the competition and race between the carriers will feel a little familiar. AT&T and T-Mobile have already announced their 5G plans, and Sprint is getting in on the action, too.

Starting in April, the yellow carrier will have 5G towers available in Chicago, Dallas, and Los Angeles.

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Sprint announces its first six Massive MIMO 5G markets, rollout starting in April was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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AT&T announces its first 5G markets: Dallas, Waco, and Atlanta

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AT&T has been vague on its 5G plans, saying only that a dozen cities will have 5G of some sort by the end of the year. Today, AT&T’s plans are slightly less vague. We know three of those dozen 5G markets: Dallas, Waco, and Atlanta.

This 5G is different than AT&T’s hastily named “5G Evolution,” which is still just LTE. In fact, its 5G evolution features have been live on T-Mobile for a few years.

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AT&T announces its first 5G markets: Dallas, Waco, and Atlanta was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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YouTube TV gaining new channels and expanding to new markets, also increasing price

YouTube TV Google Pixel

Looks like those rumored YouTube TV changes are true.

YouTube today confirmed that YouTube TV is gaining some new channels and expanding to new markets, but that it’s also getting a price hike. First, the new channels include TNT, Adult Swim, TBS, CNN, Cartoon Network, truTV, Turner Classic Movies, and others.

YouTube TV is also gaining new sports content like March Madness, nationally televised NBA games, NBA All-Star weekend, NBA Playoff games, MLB Postseason games, UEFA Champions League soccer, and PGA Championship golf. Coming soon will be NBA TV and MLB Network, too, with customers able to add NBA League Pass and MLB.TV for an extra fee if they’d like.

Also of note is that in the coming weeks, YouTube TV will expand to new markets like Lexington, Dayton, Honolulu, Richmond, Mobile, and Syracuse.

Finally, YouTube TV will see its monthly price increase to $ 40 per month on March 13. Customers who sign up before March 13 can keep the original $ 35 price.

Price increases are never exciting, but at least YouTube TV is gaining several new channels to help make the increased price worth it. Plus, we’ve gotten one month’s notice of the price increase, so there’s still plenty of time to sign up at the $ 35 rate.

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