Tech

YC-backed Observant uses the iPhone’s infrared depth sensors to analyze user emotions
techcrunch.com
Observant has found a new way to use the fancy infrared depth sensors included on the iPhone X, XS and XR: analyzing people’s facial expression in order to understand how they’re responding to a product or a piece of content. Observant was part of the winter batch of startups at accelerator Y Combinator, but was still in stealth mode on Demo Day. It was created by the same company behind bug-reporting product Buglife, and CEO Dave Schukin said his team created it because they wanted to find better ways to capture user reactions. We’ve written about other startups that try to do something similar using webcams and eye tracking, but Schukin (who co-founded the company with CTO Daniel DeCovnick) argued that those approaches are less accurate than Observant’s — in p [...]
471
Like
Save
Italian consumer watchdog hands down €15M in fines to Apple and Samsung for slowing devices
techcrunch.com
Italy’s Autorità garante della concorrenza e del mercato, roughly equivalent to this America’s FTC, has fined Apple and Samsung a total of $15 million for the companies’ practice of forcing updates on consumers that may slow or break their devices. The amount may be a drop in the bucket, but it’s a signal that governments won’t always let this type of behavior fly. The “unfair commercial practices” are described by the AGCM as follows: The two companies have induced consumers – by insistently proposing to proceed with the download and also because of the significant information asymmetry of consumers vis-a-vis the producers – to install software updates that are not adequately supported by their devices, without adequately informing them, nor [...]
583
Like
Save
LG retains confidence in its mobile business despite continued losses
techcrunch.com
LG remains confident that it can turn the corner for its serially unprofitable mobile business despite the division racking up a loss of over $400 million this year so far. The Korean company as a whole is having a good year. Following a record six months of profit and revenue in the first half of 2018, the group saw Q3 revenue jump 2.7 percent sequentially to reach 15.43 trillion KRW, or $13.76 billion. Operating profit rose by 45 percent year-on-year to reach 748.8 billion KRW, that’s $667.7 million. The company’s home entertainment business is the standout performer generating total sales of 3.71 trillion RKW ($3.31 billion) and a 325.1 billion KRW ($289.9 million) profit, with LG Mobile second in terms of revenue. But, the mobile division continues to bleed cash. This [...]
824
Like
Save
Xiaomi opts for sliding camera and no notch for new bezel-less Mi Mix phone
techcrunch.com
Xiaomi has announced the newest version of its bezel-less Mi Mix family, and it doesn’t sport a notch like its Mi 8 flagship. Indeed, unlike the Mi 8 — which I called one of Xiaomi’s most brazen Apple clones — there’s a lot more to get excited about. The Mi Mix 3 was unveiled at an event in Beijing and, like its predecessor, Xiaomi boasts that it offers a full front screen. Rather than opting for the near-industry standard notch, Xiaomi has developed a slider that houses its front-facing camera. Vivo and Oppo have done similar using a motorized approach, but Xiaomi’s is magnetic while it can also be programmed for functions such as answering calls. That array gives it a claimed 93.4 percent screen-to-body ratio and a full 6.4-inch 1080p AMOLED displa [...]
562
Like
Save
Fleksy’s keyboard grabs $800k+ via equity crowdfunding
techcrunch.com
The dev team that’s now engineering the Fleksy keyboard app has raised more than $800,000 via an equity crowdfunding route. As we reported a year ago, the development of Fleksy’s keyboard has been taken over by the Barcelona-based startup behind an earlier keyboard app called ThingThing. The team says their new funding raise — described as a pre-Series A round — will be put towards continued product development of the Fleksy keyboard, including the core AI engine used for next word and content prediction, plus additional features being requested by users — such as swipe to type.  Support for more languages is also planned. (Fleksy’s Android and iOS apps are currently available in 45+ languages.) Their other big push will be for growth: Scaling the us [...]
456
Like
Save
Snapchat loses 2M more users in Q3 as shares sink to new low
techcrunch.com
Snapchat continued to shrink in Q3 2018 but its business is steadily improving. Snapchat’s daily active user count dropped again, this time by 1 percent to 186 million, down from 188M and a negative 1.5 percent growth rate in Q2. User count is still up 5 percent year-over-year, though. Snapchat earned $298 million in revenue with an EPS loss of $0.12, beating Wall Street’s expectations of $283 million in revenue and EPS loss of $0.14, plus a loss of a half a million users. Snap entered earnings with a $6.99 share price, close to its $6.46 all-time low and way down from its $24 IPO opening price. Snap lost $325 million this quarter compared to $353 million in Q2, so it’s making some progress with its cost cutting. That briefly emboldened Wall Street, which pushed the sha [...]
333
Like
Save
White House belatedly begins planning for 5G with memo asking for policy recommendations
techcrunch.com
The White House has issued a memorandum outlining the need for a new national wireless connectivity strategy; the document doesn’t really establish anything new, but does request lots of reports on how things are going. Strangely, what it proposes sounds a lot like what the FCC already does. The memorandum, heralded by a separate post announcing that “America Will Win the Global Race to 5G,” is not exactly a statement of policy, though it does put a few things out there. It’s actually more of a request for information on which to base a future policy — apparently one that will win us a global race that began years ago. In fact, the U.S. has been pursuing a broad 5G policy for quite a while now, and under President Obama we were the first country to allocate spect [...]
487
Like
Save
Facebook launches Candidate Info where politicians pitch on camera
techcrunch.com
Facebook wants to make YouTube-style monologue videos the new way for politicians to talk straight with their constituency. Today, Facebook launches Candidate Info, featuring thousands of direct-to-camera vertical videos where federal, state and local candidates introduce themselves and explain their top policy priority, qualifications and biggest goal if they win office. Elizabeth Warren (D – MA Senate), Scott Walker (R – WI Governor) and Beto O’Rourke (D – TX Senate) have already posted, and Facebook expects more candidates to jump in shortly. These videos will soon be available as part of an Election 2018 bookmark in the Facebook mobile app’s navigation drawer. And starting next week, the clips will begin appearing to potential constituents in the News Fe [...]
333
Like
Save