Tech News Archives - New Malaysia News

Nintendo of America’s Doug Bowser to take over as president
Nintendo of America Inc president and chief operating officer Reggie Fils-Aime will retire after almost 13 years at the helm. [...]
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Under fire Huawei and foldable screens in focus at top mobile fair
5G devices to shine at the Mobile World Congress 2019 starting Monday. ― AFP pic BARCELONA, Feb 22 ― Phone makers will focus on foldable screens and the introduction of blazing fast 5G wireless networks at the world's biggest mobile fair starting Monday in Spain as they try to reverse a decline in sales of smartphones.Huawei will also be in the spotlight at the four-day Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona as the Chinese telecom giant fights US efforts to persuade its allies not to use the company's technology to build their 5G networks due to concerns that its gear could facilitate Chinese spying.The firm is the leading manufacturer of equipment for the fifth-generation cellular networks which operators are starting to install. The technology ― known as 5G ―  will bring near-instantaneous connectivity for smartphones and devices from automobiles to robots.“This year we are going to see real 5G ready launches happening in different countries and the focus will be on where, when, how and what are the consumer benefits going to be of 5G in 2019,” said Ian Fogg, a mobile industry analyst at OpenSignal, which collects and analyses data from mobile networks.Huawei and other firms are scheduled to carry out 5G smartphone demos at the fair even though the next generation wireless network will not be widely available for several more years.Samsung, the world's biggest seller of smartphones, unveiled a handset that folds open to be a tablet on Wednesday in San Francisco, becoming the first major manufacturer to offer the long-awaited feature.China's Xiaomi and several other firms are expected to follow Samsung's lead and present foldable devices of their own in Barcelona although it was not clear if they would be prototypes or commercially available devices such as Samsung's.'Consumer frustration' Foldable phones come as handset makers are scrambling to introduce new features to attract customers.Global smartphone sales fell 4.1 per cent in 2018 to a total of 1.4 billion units due to an economic slowdown in China, which consumes about one-third of the world's phones, and a lack of major innovations that encourage people to upgrade their devices, according to research firm IDC.Sales fell by 0.5 per cent in 2017 for a first annual decline.“People have been holding on to their phones longer. A lot of it is consumer frustration that devices aren't changing a tonne and prices keep going up,” said senior IDC research analyst Ryan Reith.Apple as usual will not be present at the show and Huawei this year will present its new flagship at an event in Paris in March instead of at the fair.With the three biggest smartphone makers not unveiling new devices in Barcelona, the rest of the industry will have a rare opportunity to grab the spotlight at the fair.Huawei opportunity? Huawei received a boost in its battle to ease concerns over its technology in the lead up to the congress after the Financial Times reported on Monday that British intelligence has concluded security risks posed by using equipment made by the firm can be managed.And mobile communications industry body GSMA, which organises the fair, urged European governments not to ban Huawei from helping to build their 5G networks.Australia, New Zealand and Japan have followed Washington's call for a Huawei ban, but the picture in Europe is more nuanced, not least because Huawei's 5G capabilities are ahead of those of its rivals, analysts say.Major countries such as Germany fear banning the Chinese firm would cause a considerable setback in Europe's efforts to deploy 5G and stay competitive in communications.The fair will be an opportunity for the Chinese firm “to show that it is continuing to do their work, that it's still innovating, and that it does things well differently from its competitors,” said Dexter Thillien, an analyst at Fitch Solutions. ― AFP [...]
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Nike stumbles into social media storm after basketball star’s shoe splits
A Nike Inc sneaker worn by a college basketball superstar split in half less than a minute into a highly anticipated game between Duke University and North Carolina, prompting an outcry on social media as the company sought to figure out what caused the problem. [...]
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Report: Pinterest files confidentially for stock listing
Launched in 2010, Pinterest is a virtual bulletin board platform, with users decorating their boards with pictures showcasing interests including food, fashion, travel and lifestyle. ― Reuters pic SAN FRANCISCO, Feb 22 — Pinterest, the online “visual discovery” service which claims some 250 million users, has filed confidentially for a stock market listing, The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday.The report said San Francisco-based Pinterest would seek a valuation of at least US$12 billion (RM48 billion), joining the ranks of richly valued venture-backed tech firms hitting the public markets.Launched in 2010, Pinterest is a virtual bulletin board platform, with users decorating their boards with pictures showcasing interests including food, fashion, travel and lifestyle.It allows users to share such images, although it does not call itself a social network. It also enables users to link to online shopping and other services to find items they have “pinned.”Pinterest brings in money from its role in online shopping and from advertising, but has shared few details regarding how well those efforts have been paying off.According to the Journal, the company is seeking a late June listing that would be underwritten by Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase.Pinterest declined to comment on the report.A 2012 law allows some firms to file confidentially, a change aimed at allowing startups to begin the process of raising capital before releasing detailed financial information.Other venture-backed tech firms worth more than US$1 billion, sometimes called “unicorns,” that are expected to launch initial public offerings (IPOs) this year include ridesharing firms Uber and Lyft, and the workplace messaging startup Slack.CEO Ben Silbermann worked at Google before founding Pinterest.According to research firm eMarketer, Pinterest will take in less than one per cent of US online ad spending but reaches nearly 40 per cent of US social network users.“Pinterest’s IPO is definitely one to watch in the coming months,” said eMarketer analyst Andrew Lipsman.“As the first major digital media platform to hit the markets since Snap, the industry will be watching closely to see if it can withstand scrutiny as a public company.”Lipsman added that Pinterest “has a strong argument to make as an advertising platform because of its visual nature and the aspirational way in which users engage.” — AFP [...]
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Samsung finally lets users reassign Bixby button
Now, you can customise the Bixby button to open almost anything. — Handout via AFP SEOUL, Feb 22 — Previously, if you were a Samsung phone owner but not a Bixby user, the dedicated hardware button may have gotten under your skin more than once, to say the least; with the latest Samsung Galaxy smartphone lineup, though, you can reassign the button to whichever application you want, including those from third parties.On Wednesday at Samsung Unpacked, the company unveiled a new collection of Galaxy-branded smartphones, all of which — including the Galaxy Fold — came with a new and improved Bixby button.While the dedicated button hasn’t changed in terms of physical design, its capabilities have changed just enough to address one of the biggest consumer complaints: The button can now be reassigned to be a shortcut to your favourite app.If you don’t use the virtual assistant, you can now make the button open an application of your choice, even third-party apps, with either one or two taps. If you have designated one tap for a different app, two apps will open up the conventional Bixby feed and vice versa. Holding the button down, however, will always open Bixby voice.The feature, so far, is only available to the S10 lineup and the Galaxy Fold. There’s still no word whether or not older generations will be updated to support Bixby button customisation. — AFP-Relaxnews [...]
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Google Doodle celebrates Steve Irwin, the original Crocodile Hunter     – CNET
Steve Irwin might be remembered for his wild antics and fearless love of crocodiles, but Google also remembers him as a family man. [...]
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Online ATM-style scam puts shoppers at risk
Online shoppers are at a growing risk from a scam which allows hackers to skim their payment details, cyber security firm Symantec warned. [...]
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Vivo V15 Pro Malaysian pricing revealed
According to DirectD, the Vivo V15 Pro will be priced at RM1,799. — SoyaCincau pic KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 22 — The Vivo V15 Pro with its 32MP pop-up selfie camera will be launched in Malaysia on February 26, 2019. Ahead of the local event, we now have the pricing details from a local retailer.According to DirectD, the Vivo V15 Pro will be priced at RM1,799. That’s RM100 more than last year’s Vivo V11.The retailer is now accepting pre-orders with a RM100 deposit. On top of that, pre-order customers will freebies worth more than RM700 which include a Full HD action camera, a Vivo gift pack, hotel vouchers, a tripod and a six-month LCD crack warranty. The Vivo V15 Pro is available in both Topaz Blue and Coral Red. Stocks are expected to arrive on March 2, 2019.In terms of specs, the Vivo V15 Pro features a 6.39″ Full HD+ AMOLED display and it is powered by a newer Qualcomm Snapdragon 675 processor. The device has 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage that’s expandable via microSD.The V15 Pro gets a 32MP selfie camera that’s hidden with a pop-up mechanism while the rear gets a triple-camera setup that’s assisted by AI. The device features a 48MP f/1.8 main camera, an 8MP f/2.2 ultra-wide-angle camera and a 5MP f/2.4 shooter for depth of field effects. Powering the device is a 3,700mAh battery that supports Vivo’s dual-engine fast charging via USB-C. Out of the box, it runs on Android 9.0 Pie with FunTouch OS skin on top. — SoyaCincau [...]
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Google returns to Apple Watch with note-taking app
After a year break from the Apple Watch, Google makes a comeback with note-taking app Keep. [...]
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MaxisOne Plan 98 now updated with more weekday data
The MaxisONE Plan 98 is now getting 20GB data for weekday and 10GB data for the weekends. — SoyaCincau pic KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 21 — MaxisONE Plan is a postpaid plan that offers unlimited calls, unlimited SMS and bundled data. For the base RM98 plan, Maxis is offering 30GB of data which is split by 15GB for weekdays and 15GB for the weekends. If you use more data between Mondays and Fridays, Maxis has made a slight revision where you’ll be getting more allocation for the weekday.The MaxisONE Plan 98 is now getting 20GB data for weekday and 10GB data for the weekends. If you prefer to have full unrestricted access for your 30GB data, you can add an additional RM10/month. This data split between weekday/weekends is only applicable to this RM98 plan and you’re free to use all of your data at any day of the week if you’re on their higher RM128, RM158 and RM188 plans.If you’re an existing MaxisONE Plan 98 customer, you should have received an SMS like the one below:Great News! Your MaxisOne Plan 98, will be enriched from 15GB All-day + 15GB 4G Weekend to 20GB All-day + 10GB 4G weekend quota from 21-22 Feb. This enhancement is free, automatic and permanent and will be reflected on MyMaxis App in the next few days. Enjoy surfing and streaming on the No.1 4G network. More info: www.maxis.com.my/maxisoneIf you don’t want to spend more on your postpaid plan, you can enjoy unlimited quota on the MaxisONE 98 plan when you add-on a Maxis fibre broadband plan under its MaxisONE Prime offer. With MaxisONE Prime, you can enjoy unlimited internet for both your home and mobile. At the bare minimum, it will cost you a total of RM187/month (excluding tax) for the 30Mbps Fibre broadband (RM89/month) plan and MaxisONE 98 plan (RM98/month). — SoyaCincau [...]
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Google’s new cloud boss has big task to catch rivals, Reuters data show
Alphabet Inc’s cloud computing division remains a distant third behind Amazon.com Inc and Microsoft Corp in terms of global revenue, according to analysts’ estimates. ― Reuters pic SAN FRANCISCO, Feb 21 — Google has a new cloud computing boss and big ambitions to someday produce more revenue from that business than from advertising.Now comes the hard part: Winning over big-spending customers.Alphabet Inc’s cloud computing division remains a distant third behind Amazon.com Inc and Microsoft Corp in terms of global revenue, according to analysts’ estimates. A few major companies manage their data on Google’s servers. But Google has nowhere near the vast customer base of Amazon, according to a new Reuters analysis of company regulatory filings.Businesses generally are not required to disclose their cloud vendors. Reuters found 311 out of about 5,000 worldwide that did so in 2018. While not comprehensive, the data provide a window into Google’s challenge.Thirty-five of those companies named Google as a cloud provider. The largest by market capitalisation were oil major Total SA and bank HSBC Holdings Plc.Amazon Web Services led with 227 clients, including travel company Expedia Group Inc and industrials giant Siemens AG. Microsoft’s Azure cloud had 69 firms, among them weapons maker Axon Enterprise Inc and business data firm Dun & Bradstreet Co.Thirty-four of the companies cited multiple clouds.The previously untracked data show the work ahead for Thomas Kurian, who is weeks on the job as chief executive of Google Cloud. Kurian has vowed to double down where Google has seen promising results. Specifically, he plans to target governments and top companies in retail, manufacturing, healthcare, media and finance.“A lot of our focus as we go forward is making sure that our sales organisation has the background and the ability to sell to large, more traditional companies,” Kurian said at a Goldman Sachs investor conference last week. “There’s enormous appetite in those companies to consider Google.”Google declined to comment or make Kurian available for an interview.People familiar with his plans said he is looking to reshape his division’s culture. A key part is developing or acquiring easy-to-use, industry-specific corporate applications, an area that Amazon and Microsoft do not dominate.“It’s about the on-ramp onto their cloud,” said Daniel Ives, a New York-based financial analyst following the cloud industry for Wedbush Securities. “The main way to get that is through applications.”A 22-year veteran of Oracle Corp, Kurian gave the database company fresh life as the product leader behind its move to selling cloud services. His hire is already making potential customers reconsider Google, said Ray Wang, founder of Constellation Research, a Monta Vista, Calif.-based firm that helps businesses negotiate cloud deals.“They’ve worked with him,” Wang said. “There’s a trust factor that wasn’t there before.”Kurian also must reassure some investors bewildered by Google’s cloud ambitions: Diversifying revenue beyond advertising is a plus, but it is not coming cheap.Google, Microsoft and Amazon combined spent nearly US$53 billion (RM215.9 billion) on capital expenses last year, driven by data centre projects to house their clouds.With gross margins of 20 per cent or less, selling cloud storage or tools for which customers need specialised staff is less lucrative for a small vendor, industry experts said. But margins on the type of software Kurian likely wants to offer can top even the 60 per cent of Google’s ad business. “The next wave of growth is going to have to come from the heavy hitting applications,” said Kerry Liu, chief executive at Rubikloud, which helps retailers with cloud projects.‘Geeky, techy platform’Google got serious about the cloud around 2016, five years after Amazon Web Services had become a multibillion-dollar behemoth. But Google’s reputation for limited customer support has attracted mostly newer businesses or those with significant tech know-how.Mike Fisher, Etsy Inc’s chief technology officer, said Google’s superior AI tools helped win over the New York-based crafts marketplace. Fisher expects data-crunching algorithms to account for 25 per cent of its server use this year, up from 10 per cent last year.“We’ve been more pleasantly surprised than we thought,” Fisher said of the cloud’s benefits. Advertising software company OpenX recently agreed to spend at least US$110 million on Google Cloud over five years. The Pasadena, Calif. firm bet its clients would benefit from transacting on the same infrastructure as Google’s ads system.“It’s a bit more of a geeky, techy platform, but we’re that kind of company,” said Chief Technology Officer Paul Ryan.Kurian’s planTo attract more traditional corporate clients, Google Cloud will need to do some handholding, executives at its partners and rivals said.Kurian is well-suited to the role. Two of his former colleagues said his follow-up and candid disclosures about product limitations helped seal deals at Oracle. An early riser, Kurian impressed staff with his meticulous preparation for morning meetings as well as his recall of the tiniest details of clients’ systems from years before.Kurian also managed billions of dollars in acquisitions at Oracle, including the purchases of software firms BEA Systems and Taleo.Applications could come through similar deals and internally: Google is testing product recommendation software for shopping apps, a person familiar with the project said, to add to its small set of specialised tools.Kurian told the investor conference that “you will see us continue to expand our footprint there.” — Reuters [...]
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Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart share Guinness record for Marvel X-Men roles     – CNET
The two actors now have the record for "the longest career as a Marvel superhero" in common. [...]
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Google’s Nest hub has a microphone it forgot to mention
Google says it forgot to mention that it included a microphone in a security product it began selling in 2017, but blames the omission on an error. [...]
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Instagram to introduce donation story stickers this year
Silhouettes of mobile users are seen next to a screen projection of the Instagram logo in this picture illustration taken March 28, 2018. — Reuters pic LOS ANGELES, Feb 21 — To follow in its older sibling’s footsteps, Instagram will be adding a donation feature similar to Facebook’s fundraising tool to the platform this year.At Facebook’s Communities Summit earlier this month, the company briefly mentioned that Instagram Fundraiser stickers are in the works, but already after combing through the Android app’s code, TechCrunch’s Ishan Agarwal found information “detailing how users will be able to search for non-profits or browse collections of suggested charities and ones they follow.”Following this discovery, reverse-engineering specialist Jane Manchun Wong was able to produce images of what the donation stickers and non-profit search engine could look like on the app:Instagram is working on "Donation" stickerIt lets users to start fundraisers for their favorite non-profits pic.twitter.com/hrhjkpPNpM— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) February 18, 2019A Facebook spokesperson then summarised the feature to TechCrunch: “Later this year, people will be able to raise money and help support non-profits that are important to them through a donation sticker in Instagram Stories. We’re excited to bring this experience to our community and will share more updates in the coming months.”The fundraising tool on Facebook not only raised over US$1 billion (RM4 billion), but also greatly aided in the progression of the platform’s commerce strategy — which Zuckerberg admitted will be a major part of 2019 — by saving the credit cards used for donations on file.Instagram, too, has demonstrated a commitment to commerce with the gradual addition of features and tools to make on-platform shopping easier and more personalized; soon, those credit cards which the company has on file could be used for making donations, as well. As outlined by TechCrunch, “After you’ve donated to something once, Instagram could offer instant checkout on stuff you want to buy using the same payment details.”Therefore, a side effect to making a donations sticker is that each user’s shopping experiences will be streamlined, perhaps even made a little too easy. — Relaxnews  [...]
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Samsung announces folding phone with 5G — at nearly US$2,000 (VIDEO)
Samsung’s new Galaxy Fold smart phone which features the world’s first 7.3-inch Infinity Flex Display that works with the next-generation 5G networks is seen in this image released in San Francisco February 20, 2019. — Reuters pic SAN FRANCISCO, Feb 21 — Samsung Electronics Co Ltd yesterday unveiled a nearly US$2,000 (RM8,000) folding smartphone in a bid to top the technology of Apple Inc and Chinese rivals and reignite consumer interest amid slumping sales.The Galaxy Fold will go on sale on April 26 and take advantage of new and faster 5G mobile networks. The device looks similar to a conventional smartphone, but then opens like a book to reveal a display the size of a small tablet at 7.3 inches (18.5 cm).The device “answers sceptics who said that everything that could be done has been done,” DJ Koh, chief executive of Samsung Electronics, said at an event in San Francisco. “We are here to prove them wrong.”Samsung remains the world’s largest smartphone maker with nearly a fifth of global unit sales but underperformed a slumping market last year. Chinese rival Huawei Technologies Co Ltd — whose Mate series of phones also command premium prices - gained market share. Other Chinese makers like Xiaomi Corp have also been increasing prices, leaving Samsung to defend its turf against upstart rivals in addition to its longtime foe Apple.With the foldable phone, Samsung is going on the offense on two fronts in the smartphone race: It is offering an eye-catching new feature with the big, bending screen and the first 5G connection in a premium phone, a feature analysts do not expect Apple to match until 2020. Samsung’s new Galaxy Fold smart phone which features the world’s first 7.3-inch Infinity Flex Display that works with the next-generation 5G networks is seen in this image released in San Francisco February 20, 2019. — Reuters pic Samsung is also making improvements to its flagship Galaxy S devices and plans to offer a 4G version of its folding phone.It also challenges the notion of what a phone can cost, debuting at nearly twice the price of current top-of-the-line models from Apple and Samsung itself.Patrick Moorhead, founder of Moor Insights & Strategy, said the new folding device could help Samsung stay at the top and lure consumers to upgrade devices that have looked largely the same over the past five years.“Samsung and Apple go back and forth” to lead the premium smartphone market, Moorhead said. “I think this is Samsung’s chance to take back the innovation crown.”And even though the US$1,980 starting price is steep, some dedicated Samsung fans said they would pay it. Navneet Kumar Singh, a Samsung enthusiast from India who travelled to San Francisco to watch the launch, is ready to place his order.“The prices of the flagship models have been a little aggressive in India,” he said, “But in the end, if you invest the money you’re getting a different experience.”Samsung also introduced several accessories to compete against Apple, including a pair of wireless headphones called Galaxy Buds. The headphones include wireless charging, a feature that Apple has promised to put into is competing AirPods but has not yet released.Samsung also said that its new Galaxy phones will be able to wirelessly charge its headphones and new smartwatches by setting the accessories on the back of the phone. The new Samsung Galaxy S10e, S10, S10+ and the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G smartphones at a press event in London February 20, 2019. — Reuters pic 10 times fasterAlong with the folding phone, Samsung also added new cameras and a 5G version to its Galaxy series of phones.Verizon Communications Inc will be the first carrier to offer service for Samsung’s 5G phones. The networks are expected to be 10 times faster than current ones, improving viewing of live news and sports events.With the 5G versions of its flagships, the Korean electronics maker looks to have beaten Chinese rivals in the 5G race, although the device will operate only on the small number of networks launching later this year. Apple is not expected to release a 5G smartphone until late 2020.The new networks are not available in many places yet but will roll out this year and next. Consumers who want to hold on to their phones for several years before upgrading may be tempted to buy a 5G phone now so that it will be able to take advantage of those networks later, said Bob O’Donnell of TECHnalysis Research. That could sway some Apple buyers over to Samsung and other Android makers with 5G devices.“People are going to be thinking about, am going to be able to use this a year from now? Two years from now? Three years?” he said.Rival smartphone makers are expected to announce 5G models at next week’s Mobile World Congress, the industry’s top annual event, in Spain. Samsung said its 5G handset would be available in the early summer.The Galaxy 10 series needs to appeal to consumers who are reluctant to upgrade for only incremental technological improvements in performance.All of the Galaxy series of rigid phones except the 5G will be available from March 8, with the S10+ priced from US$1,000, the S10 priced from US$900 and the smaller S10e from US$750.The mainline S10 compares with US$999 for Apple’s iPhone XS and US$858 for Huawei’s premium Mate 20 Pro. — Reuters [...]
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Disney pulls YouTube ads amid concerns over child video voyeurs
Walt Disney Co is said to have pulled its advertising spending from YouTube, joining other companies including Nestle SA, after a blogger detailed how comments on Google’s video site were being used to facilitate a “soft-core paedophilia ring”. Some of the videos involved ran next to ads placed by Disney and Nestle. [...]
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