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Samsung’s got a new budget 5G handset and a fitness tracker with a two-week battery

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Yesterday’s overflow Galaxy Unpacked event was about one thing and one thing alone: the Galaxy Z Fold 2. Honestly, it was a bit anticlimactic after its predecessor found Samsung unveiling five new devices. But the singular focus wasn’t for lack of new stuff to show off. In fact, the company just unleashed a whole slew of new products across a wide range of categories, including a gaming monitor, charging pad, refrigerator and washing machine.

There are two in particular I’d like to break out here, however: the new Galaxy Fit 2 band and A42 5G handset. The latter in particular is worth highlighting, given the company’s huge push into 5G this year. Samsung is betting big on pushing early and hard on the next-generation wireless tech.

Early this year, the company announced that it would be standardizing 5G across its flagship products. The company has also made a major push toward embracing the tech on its budget devices, including the A7 and now the A42. 5G hasn’t quite turned out to be the market correction the industry was banking on, due in no small part to a slowdown in sales from the pandemic. Certainly few banked on that. But while Apple has yet to announce a 5G iPhone (give it a month or two, mind), Samsung’s already loaded up.

And importantly, the A42 looks like it may be Samsung’s cheapest 5G offering (though we’re still waiting on exact pricing). Honestly, Samsung wasn’t particularly chatty about the device during an IFA-tied event. Though we do know there’s a quad-camera system and a 6.6-inch display. Honestly, one of the most remarkable things about 5G is how quickly affordable devices have hit the market, thanks in part to the efforts of component makers like Qualcomm .

Image Credits: Samsung

The Galaxy Fit 2 is notable mostly for the inclusion of a 15-day battery (per Samsung). It can autodetect five different kinds of workouts and monitors sleep. It’s nice to see Samsung still offering something up to the dwindling tracker market, even as its (and the world’s) focus has clearly shifted over to smartwatches.

Source:- TechCrunch

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Apple's Smaller Rivals Unite to Fight iPhone App Store Rules – Gadgets 360

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Spotify and the makers of Fortnite and Tinder are taking on Apple and Google as part of a newly formed coalition calling for “fair treatment” in the way the tech giants run their app stores.

The Coalition for App Fairness, a Washington-based nonprofit, launched Thursday and will advocate for legal and regulatory changes, such as measures that could block Apple and Google from favouring their own apps in the iPhone and Android operating systems they control. The activism from smaller rivals adds to scrutiny the tech giants are facing from US and European regulators and lawmakers.

The group aims to be the “voice of app and game developers in the effort to protect consumer choice and create a level playing field for all,” said a statement from Horacio Gutierrez, head of global affairs and chief legal officer for music-streaming pioneer Spotify.

Apple is the group’s main target, though Google’s app store policies are also on its radar. Both companies this summer dropped the popular game Fortnite from their app stores after the game’s developer introduced a direct payment plan that bypasses their platforms.

Apple and Google both take a 30 percent cut from in-app revenue purchases, which has long been a sore spot with developers.

Fortnite’s developer, Epic Games, responded by suing the companies over what it sees as anti-competitive behaviour. Epic is backing the new coalition along with Spotify, online dating app maker Match Group, and other members including Tile, Basecamp, ProtonMail and European media industry associations.

In addition to the app stores, Big Tech is facing fresh scrutiny from antitrust regulators. As the Trump administration moves toward antitrust action against search giant Google, it’s campaigning to enlist support from sympathetic state attorneys general across the country.

The anticipated lawsuit against Google by the Justice Department could be the government’s biggest legal offensive to protect competition since the ground-breaking case against Microsoft almost 20 years ago.

Lawmakers and consumer advocates accuse Google of abusing its dominance in online search and advertising to stifle competition and boost its profits.


Are Apple Watch SE, iPad 8th Gen the Perfect ‘Affordable’ Products for India? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

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Amazon's Ring reveals a flying drone for your home and new car alarms – MobileSyrup

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At Amazon’s fall hardware event, the company revealed several new Ring products, including an autonomous drone that flies around and monitors your home.

The Ring Always Home Cam drone flies by itself, but users can tell it what path to take through their house. This means the setup for the drone involves mapping the inside of your home and setting lookout points to make sure the drone catches all the info you’re after.

The drone can also fly to inspect disturbances triggered by other Ring Alarms.

When this new camera finishes flying, it returns to a little docking station where it recharges so it can do another pass later. While sitting in its dock, the camera and microphones are covered, so it only records when it’s flying around, according to Amazon.

While an interesting concept, it’s unlikely many people are going to want to pay $249 USD (roughly $332 CAD) for this drone when they could place much cheaper cameras in several locations around their home. Then there’s also the privacy concerns surrounding a tiny flying drone continually monitoring your home. The Ring Home Cam is slated for release sometime in 2021.

Ring Car alarms

Beyond the futuristic, dystopian home drone, Ring also announced three new products aimed at the car.

The first is called Ring Car Alarm and plugs into the OBD-II port that most cars feature and then alerts users to bumps, break-ins, when you’re being towed and more. When the device detects one of these events, it triggers an alert that’s sent to the user’s phone so that they can set off an alarm. This can also link to your Alexa devices so they can notify you as well.

Then there’s the Ring Car Cam, which also monitors for bumps and break-ins like the Ring Car Alarm, but it will videotape whatever is happening as well. This device also has a car crash detection feature that alerts local authorities if you’re in a serious collision.

The final device, called the Ring Car Connect, is a software framework for developers and an aftermarket device that adds the features from the Ring Car Alarm and Ring Car Cam directly into a vehicle. So far, this is only going to be available in Tesla’s cars, but once users install the device, they’ll be able to see footage from the Tesla’s cameras and record driving footage via the Ring app.

Overall, it seems unlikely that Amazon will bring these products to Canada since they’ll require partnerships with Canadian carriers.

Source: Ring 

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Amazon’s Ring Always Home surveillance drone is unsettling – Vox.com

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Amazon has announced a new way for consumers to surveil their own homes: a camera-equipped drone that connects to Ring security systems. Ring, which Amazon owns, has a history of enabling controversial levels of surveillance in homes and neighborhoods. So the addition of a flying camera that can venture into new nooks and crannies is, at best, unsettling.

The Ring Always Home Cam is designed to fly around different areas of someone’s home every so often, capturing footage before landing back in its dock. The device is meant to stay indoors and fly autonomously based on pre-programmed flight paths that navigate between the walls of a house, a Ring spokesperson told Recode. The announcement comes after Amazon last year won a patent for a home surveillance drone; it’s also worth mentioning that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has not yet authorized the sale of this device.

Amazon says its new Ring surveillance drone is scheduled to go on sale in 2021 for $249 (once FCC authorization is obtained), and the company says it built in the product with “privacy in mind.” In a live blog of the virtual announcement event, Amazon said the Always Home Cam “only records when in flight; when it’s not in use it sits in a dock and the camera is physically blocked.” The company added that the drone is “loud enough so you hear when it’s in motion.” This is illustrated in a promotional video from Ring that shows a hypothetical robbery in which a burglar breaks into a man’s bedroom while the man is not home. The drone then chases off the burglar while the man anxiously watches the action through a smartphone app.

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On its face, the new Ring drone might seem neat and futuristic, but it also serves as a reminder of the company’s checkered history with privacy and surveillance. Ring has long faced intense criticism over its existing security products, and those concerns only grew after Amazon acquired the company for $1 billion in 2018. One particularly sensitive issue is Ring’s vast and somewhat secretive network of police partnerships, which allow law enforcement to request footage collected by Ring cameras. Ring’s Neighbors app has also been accused of exacerbating racism and capitalizing on fear of crime. Meanwhile, many, including some members of Congress, are worried that the company will soon incorporate facial recognition into the Ring platform.

“The introduction of a roving drone security camera inside your own home potentially upends the idea of the very idea of home as a private place,” Matthew Guariglia, a policy analyst at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told Recode in email. “Amazon’s new products certainly have the potential to extend what was already an invasive surveillance system into the realm of the absurd.”

While a Ring spokesperson told Recode that the Always Home camera footage cannot be requested by police, Amazon has not made a formal commitment not to allow police to request this footage in the future.

The announcement of the Ring drone arrives at a time when Amazon is also attempting to expand its products’ functionality in private and public spaces with an update to its Sidewalk project. As Amazon explains on its website, Sidewalk aims to create a shared network that could connect a suite of Amazon’s connected products for the home, like some of its Ring devices and Echo voice assistants. The effort is also meant to operate at a larger scale, potentially connecting devices throughout a neighborhood. For example, Amazon says that Sidewalk would enable certain Ring products to continue sending certain alerts even in the absence of a wifi connection. Eventually, the platform will promote “smart security” and even help find pets and valuables, the company said in a blog post on Monday.

“The Sidewalk Project has the potential to extend what is supposed to be home surveillance into community and neighborhood surveillance,” Guariglia said. “With all of these technologies, the individuals who purchase this equipment often are not asking how their neighbors feel about technology that could potentially extend the reach of networked smart devices, including those created for the purpose of recording and tracking well outside of their own property and into public spaces.”

So despite the advertised benefits of Amazon’s growing network of gadgets, the company is also setting itself up for more criticism over how these products also seem invasive or even Orwellian, especially as lawmakers face more pressure to regulate surveillance products and limit the technological capabilities of law enforcement.

Basically, it seems as though Amazon wants to be everywhere, and it’s working hard to get there. So even while every Ring product might seem useful — even cool — on its own, considered in the aggregate, Amazon is producing a constellation of connected products that could be repurposed to record and surveil us, whether through its microphone- and camera-equipped devices, like the Echo and the Echo Show, or the new Ring cameras for cars Amazon also announced on Thursday. And with each new device, Amazon seems to hold more of the cards, collecting not only data about what’s happening in our homes but in our neighborhoods, too. That may not be the future we want.

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