Thursday, February 12, 2015

Samsung Teases Galaxy S6 Camera As Reports Of Two All-Metal Models Emerge

Samsung’s next flagship device is going to be revealed in just a few short weeks ahead of this year’s Mobile World Congress, and the head of the company’s camera division is already teasing us about its photo capabilities. In an official blog post, Samsung SVP DongHoon Jang provided a survey of the company’s smartphone camera progress over the years, complete with a chart breaking things down in terms of megapixel count on both front and back cameras from the Galaxy S, to last year’s Galaxy S5.
Jang talked a lot about some of the specific advances made to smartphone cameras in recent years, including technical tricks like High Dynamic Range (HDR) and phase detection auto focus. Thanks to these and other features, the Galaxy S5 has earned a reputation as among the best rear cameras currently available on a smartphone, according to Jang.
In a section hinting at what’s to come, Jang highlighted the recent work Samsung has done to improve the front-facing camera on their devices, including the 5 megapixel shooter on Galaxy A7, A5 and A3 devices. That’s likely an indication that the upcoming flagship Galaxy S6 (or whatever Samsung chooses to call it) will have at least a 5 megapixel sensor up front, if not something even more-improved to serve our growing vanity.
Jang also notes that each new generation of camera goes through over 10,000 photo-captures of testing, in all types of lighting, and this is linked to how they’re thinking about the next generation of mobile cameras for their devices. He says the cameras on this year’s flagship will be “intelligent and do all the thinking for users, allowing them to take amazing pictures under any conditions” with just a simple shutter press.
Samsung focusing on a fool-proof photo experience means they’ve learned from the best – the iPhone has long been the best smartphone camera on the market in that it takes the best possible photos with just a simple tap, and lately it doesn’t even need a user to tap to focus, though it offers additional sophisticated features should people want those. Apple’s genius was in making sure that no matter how hastily or awkwardly a user pokes that shutter button, they’ll get something usable that at least captures the moment, and it sounds like Samsung realizes just how crucial a component that is in the overall smartphone experience.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg says that Samsung is planning two versions of the upcoming flagship, both of which will have all-metal bodies in a first for Samsung’s premiere offering, and one of which will have a wraparound screen. Both will feature 5.1-inch displays, the report claims. The version with the wraparound will have a display that spills over both right and left edges, unlike the single-sided Galaxy Note 4 Edge Samsung introduced last year.
If true, this sounds like good strategy for Samsung. The company has long stuck with its plastic aesthetic, but the market has changed such that the difference between a mid-range and a premium device is really narrowing. By revamping design with premium materials, Samsung can reinvigorate a brand that has become a bit stale – and the wraparound screen offers a bit of technical peacocking, even if that ends up being a version only a small segment of the population opts to actually purchase.
We’ll find out exactly what Samsung has planned on March 1 when it reveals all at a special event in Barcelona.

iPhone And iPad Users Can Now Download iOS Apps From Pinterest

Pinterest is making its visual social network a destination for app downloads, after itannounced a partnership with Apple that lets its users download iOS apps directly from its mobile app.
The company said that ‘app Pins’ will be visible within its iOS app — bad news for Android-loving Pinners, this is an iOS exclusive — and will allow users to pin their favorite apps, and also download apps for an iPad or iPhone without leaving the Pinterest app.
That’s significant not only because the App Store is brimming with apps, more than 1.4 million to be precise, which make finding new downloads tough, but because Pinterest is inherently mobile. The company told The New York Times that 75 percent of activity on its service — which has an estimated 70 million monthly users — comes from mobile devices.
Apple took the lead and opened an ‘App Store’ account on Pinterest to help showcase apps.

Pinterest made its name with photos, but this tie-in with Apple is another example of it expanding its focus into other media, with the goal of monetization in mind. It branched out to cater to the travel and cooking verticals with dedicated new features, but perhaps the most significant new arrival was ‘promoted’ (aka advertiser) pins which opened to all in December of last year following a beta period.
The U.S. company has raised significant capital from investors — it closed a $200 million Series F round at a $5 billion valuation in May 2014 — but only recently has moved towards monetizing its service. Promoted pins are an obvious source of revenue, and app Pins — though initially for users — could also yield revenue for the company if it decides to open them up to developer and advertiser promotion.
There’s a case for that move already. Facebook app installs have blossomed into a lucrative business for the world’s most popular social network, while Twitter lets developers promote app download links on its service. Pinterest doesn’t enjoy the same scale as either of those companies, but this new opportunity to gain downloads among its loyal user base could become an interesting acquisition channel for developers.

Internet of Things Policy To Propel The IoT Industry In The Country

 The worldwide revenue from connected devices is expected to be around US$ 27 billion. As per industry predictions, India could have a 5-6 per cent share of the global IoT industry. Hence, a multi-pillar approach is being sought to build up the framework of the IoT policy.

With the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT), experts predict that trillions of dollars worth of business will be generated, involving millions of applications. The Internet of Things will drive new consumer and business behaviour that will demand progressively more intelligent industry solutions. These solutions represent opportunities worth trillions of dollars for the IT industry. As the reports suggest, the number of Internet connected devices (12.5 billion) exceeded the number of humans (7 billion) on Earth in 2011. By 2020, Internet connected devices are expected to figure between 26 billion and 50 billion, worldwide. The Indian government’s plan to develop 100 smart cities in the country, for which Rs 70.6 billion has been apportioned in the current budget, could lead to the speedy expansion of IoT in the country.

The launch of the Digital India Programme (DIP) of the government also adds the required impetus for the development of IoT. DIP aims at transforming India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy.

Objectives of the policy

To establish a US$ 15 billion IoT industry in the country by 2020. This will also increase the number of connected devices in India from around 200 million to over 2.7 billion by 2020. According to the Gartner report, the gross revenue generated from IoT services worldwide would be US$ 300 billion by 2020. The worldwide revenue from the connected devices is expected to be around US$ 27 billion. As per industry estimates, India will have a share of 5-6 per cent of the global IoT industry

* To develop human resources and technological capabilities for the IoT space for national and global markets

* To take up R&D in all the supporting technologies

* To create IoT products that address particularly Indian needs in the fields of agriculture, health, water quality, natural disasters, transportation, security, automobiles, supply chain management, smart cities, automated metering and monitoring of utilities, waste management, oil and gas, etc.

* A multi-pillar approach is sought to implement the policy framework of the IoT policy. The approach encapsulates five vertical pillars (demonstration centres, capacity building and incubation, R&D and innovation, incentives and engagements, human resource development) and two horizontal supports (standards and governance structure).

Incentives and engagements

The draft IoT policy proposes that the capital goods or raw materials imported for the purpose of manufacturing IoT products in the country will be 100 per cent duty free. Venture funds would be encouraged under the Electronics Development Fund for companies that are in IoT related areas like memories, processors, sensors, low power devices, solar electronics, etc.

Human resource development

The policy has also suggested introducing an IoT based syllabus in B Tech and M Tech courses, along with introducing research programmes in this field. Additionally, certificate courses of two or six weeks’ duration in IoT training have been recommended.

Android Is The Most Vulnerable Mobile Operating System

Along with the alarming growth of the user base for Android run handsets around the globe, it has also become the most vulnerable mobile OS. This is evident from the fact that many popular apps such as Dropbox, Snapchat, and Uber have been hacked in recent times, said Wegilant, an emerging mobile apps security company.

The open nature of Android OS has given rise to Android Security Bugs, Loopholes and Vulnerabilities. Although Android has security features built into the operating system that significantly reduce the frequency and impact of application security issues, it still is a prime target for hackers. It has, today, grown so significant that many applications continue to face challenges pertaining to security. Recently, Google also stopped providing security updates for devices running on Android 4.3 Jellybean and earlier.

Toshendra Sharma, Founder & CEO, Wegilant commented, “There are around One billion Android users in the world and Android has targeted to take this figure to 1.5 Billion by the end of this year. Considering the number, it is crucial for Google to push out security updates for the WebView tool within Android on Android 4.3 Jelly Bean.” 

When the Android mobile OS project was launched at the end of 2007, Google’s intention was not to push for its own purposes but to allow developers to experiment with the code and create their own versions of Android. This came as a big advantage for developers as well as hackers. The latter could easily use the Android Open Source Project for understanding the structure of Android and finding loopholes in it. The core problem is that Android fails to validate public key infrastructure certificate chains for app digital signatures. Unfortunately today, when users are spending more time on smartphones for n-number of purposes, most of them are completely unaware of pertaining security issues, keeping their private and corporate data vulnerable to hackers, adds Toshendra.

Studies suggest that most of the apps requested more Android permissions than they actually use, as recently was the case with Uber app, which they term as “over-privileged”. This increases the propensity of security issues.

Apart from Wegilant, there are others who have validated this issue in the Android operating system. Tod Beardsley, a veteran Rapid7 engineering manager to Forbes with years of experience in the security industry, occasional speaker at security conferences and member of the IEEE has also pointed out similar loopholes and vulnerabilities. Apart from him, various publications including Wall Street Journal and Forbes have raised issues on how Google needs to address the issue of fixing security bugs in Android 4.3 Jelly Bean.