Google invests 22 million Dollar in the mobile operating system KaiOS

Google invests 22 million US dollars into the mobile operating system KaiOS which runs on so called “feature phones”. Feature phones are a mixture of smart phones and classic phones (only for calling). Even though feature phones do not provide to full functionality of modern smart phones, the enable users to access the Internet, and provides also features like GPS and WiFi. The main target market of feature phones are developing countries where people cannot invest much money in phones. KaiOS runs e.g. on Nokia 8110, the so called “Banana mobile phone”.

According to Google apps like maps and YouTube should run in future also under KaiOS.  Google Manager Anjali Joshi explains that all people shall have access on Google services, including desktop, smart phones but also feature phone users. KaiOS will use the Google investment in order to faster distribute KaiOS enabled phones.

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Austria and Italy raise concerns against EC copyright reformation

In the EC parliament more and more concerns are raised against the planned copyright reformation. In detail the EC rights committee proposed to install automatic upload filters on online platforms for user generated content which automatically reject uploads containing copyright protected material.

States like Austria and Italy claim, that there are still many open questions, hence the proposal is not ready for being published right now. This caused already a postponement of the final decision. Main arguments against this new law is the restriction of the freedom of the opinion and information.

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facebook sells adds based on user behavior propagation

According to Intercept magazine FBLearnerFlow artificial intelligence facebook is capable to propagate future user behavior. This software delivers data how users will behave in the future, in which products they will be interested and which attitudes they develop.

This data is sold in an anonymized version to customers can place ads specifically on future wishes. The system works similar to Predictive Policing , which predicts behavior of humans in connection with potential crimes. According to fb data like current location, WLAN access details, viewed videos, friend list and connected profiles are used.

facebook already introduced FBlearnerFlow already in May 2016. It was introduced as a software which helps to provide users the most relevant information. The software calculates millions of models and makes more than 6 million forecasts per second. As an example the software can immediately deliver all users who are close to change from one brand to a competitor, which is a kind of loyalty forecast.

Hence advertising changes dramatically. No more users will get ads e.g. for a new Renault but it will be analyzed if the user is already dissatisfied with his current car. Based on this alternatives are presented.

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Smart phone market decreases for the first time

According to Gartner the first time the smart phone market decreased in the fourth quart of 2017. This rises the question whether the peak of the smart phones is reached? Besides Huawei and Xiaomi all producers had a decrease in their turnover in comparison to 2016.

According to Gartner this decrease originates from two issues: first a smaller group of people upgraded their simple phones to smart phones and second a larger group of people bought high quality phones and keep them longer as usual.

Smart phone sales in Q4 2017 according to producers, Gartner
producer phones sold market share phones sold market share difference
Q4 2017 Q4 2016
Samsung 74,03 Mill. 18,2 % 76,78 Mio. 17,8 % -3,6 %
Apple 73,18 Mill. 17,9 % 77,04 Mio. 17,8 % -5,0 %
Huawei 43,89 Mill. 10,8 % 40,80 Mio. 9,4 % +7,6 %
Xiaomi 28,19 Mill. 6,9 % 15,75 Mill. 3,6 % +79,0 %
Oppo 25,66 Mill. 6,3 % 26,70 Mill. 6,2 % -3,9 %
others 162,91 Mill. 39,9 % 195,06 Mill. 45,1 % -16,5 %
Total 407,85 Mill. 432,14 Mill. -5,6 %
Gartner, February 2018

Nevertheless Samsung could protect its market leader position with its flagship products Galaxy S8 and S8+. Despite the announcement of three new models in September 2017 Apple had a decrease in its sales. This was mainly caused by the fact that the new models where introduced very late (Nov 17). But Gartner thinks that Apple sales numbers will increase in 2018 with the new iPhone X. Many customers waited with buying a new iPhone because expecting the new iPhone X. However, there are also rumors that Apple will decrease the production numbers of the new iPhone X.

When looking at OS only iOS could fight the predominance of Android. But only 14% of the market share is equipped with iOS, the rest is nearly totally under the reign of Android. Microsoft OS has only 0.1% of the total share left.

smart phone sales according OS, Gartner
OS devices sold market share devices sold market share difference +/-
2017 2016
Android 1.320,12 Mill. 85,9 % 1.268,56 Mill. 84,8 % +4,1 %
iOS 214,92 Mill. 14,0 % 216,06 Mill. 14,4 % -0,5 %
others 01,49 Mill. 0,1 % 11,33 Mill. 0,8 % -86,8 %
otal 1.536,54 Mill. 1.495,96 Mill. +2,7 %
Gartner, February 2018
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Intel announces new augmented reality glasses “Vaunt” projecting directly on the human retina

Intel works smart glasses called Vaunt which look like normal glasses and have a weight of only 50 gramm, as reported by The Verge.  All electronics including battery are within the glasses iron. In comparison to Google glass the Vaunt projects its information directly on the human retina which prohibits that other people can see whether the person wearing the glasses receives currently information or not.

The Verge
Intels new augmented reality glasses Vaunt ((C) image: The Verge, Screenshot from video)

The Vaunt glasses project a monochrome image which enhances readability. For a crystal clear image the distance between the glasses and the eye must be constant. But then the projected information remains clear, even when you are short sighted. The image is projected via a laser diode (VCSEL, Vertical-Cavity Surface-Emitting Laser).

Next to this the Vaunt holds a gyro sensor which recognized head movements. So you can e.g. read a new message with head movement to the right and delete it with a head movement to the left.

Video from a The Verge reporter who tests “Vaunt” (C) The Verge.

The glasses are developed by a from Intel especially founded department called “new devices group”. Later in 2018 Intel wants to open access on the development environment and on prototypes so that programmers can get a first impression on the glasses functionality. Vaunt is based on a smart phone with iOS or Android which delivers data. A proper App will be soon published by Intel.

Competitor Google glass disappeared since 2014 for some years, however, in July 2017 they announced that they are currently working on a version of Google glass for industry.

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Telemedicine market increases

In Germany the market of telemedicine is likely to be liberalized (currently it in Germany it is only allowed to treat / advise patients over video calls when there was prior a personal contact.). This includes e.g. video chats with patients in order to make tele-diagnosis  and to replace and/or reduce home visits. The liberalization of the market will cause a strong competition between start ups and huge companies like Google and MS who are already very active in this market (in US).

Background of the planned liberalization is the lack of medical doctors and the concentration of medical doctors in huge cities. Hence especially in rural areas tele medicine would be an advantage and could save a lot of time and costs for both, patients and medical doctors.

Currently a start up company in Munich, teleclinic, developed an app with the same name which connects more than 200 doctors who can be contacted by patients for therapy and advise. However, in this market is high competition on going. In US the products “Doctor on demand” – driven by Google – and MDLive – driven by Microsoft – are the market leaders. Small start ups have here little chances to find a place, and Palacin – co-founder of teleclinic – states that soon Google and Microsoft will conquer the German market as well. The only hurdle is the very complex health system, which may cause troubles in a fast implementation and may give local start ups with local know-how an advantage.

Telemedicine involves that patients are willing to share their personal health data with big companies such as Google or Microsoft. It is open if this will be the case. Nevertheless nobody really expects that tele medicine will replace normal face-to-face meetings with medical doctors but will only amend the offered services.

Another question is payment. Therefore in Germany since 2017 the health insurance accepts also advise given per video which is payed per hour.

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First super market without cashiers

Amazon opened in Seattle (US) the first super market without any cash registers. The vision of “Amazon Go” is that customers just take the goods needed and leave afterwards the super market. The payment is done automatically via their amazon account.

store-interior
(image (c) amazon)

Technically this works as follows: the customer has to use a special app “amazon go” and when entering the store the phone must be registered. The shop is equipped with many cameras which track the customers. This is done by 3D object recognition and not by face detection. The cameras track which articles are taken from which shelf, additionally each each shelf is equipped with a weighbridge so any taken article is registered. At the shop exit the customer again uses his phone for check out.

Due to technical problems the opening of the super market was delayed by one year. The software had problems with tracking large groups of people. But now the 3D object recognition and tracking is stable. It even succeeded to recognize and separate between several cloaked amazon affiliates in the same pokemon  costumes.

The super market offers food from the organic brand whole foods which was recently bought by amazon. The variety is the same as in a normal super market. However, no customer has to wait at the cashier desks when shopping is finished. Even though there are no cashiers the super market has affiliates working, e.g. one is greeting customers at the entry, several are making fresh salads, one is checking the age at the shelf with alcohol.

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