As the new year gets underway, 5G networking is finally gearing up for a massive worldwide debut. The new system promises a revolution in internet speeds for mobile networking. As 5G’s infrastructure grows, smartphones are starting to accommodate the new technology. The stage is set for 5G.
Unfortunately, the infant technology is still worlds away from dominating the industry. Case in point, some of the world’s first “5G networks” are actually 4G networks in marketing makeup. The technology is still undergoing some growing pains.
Despite the marketing deception, real 5G networks are already on the rise. American telco AT&T, for example, has launched a few networks and hotspot devices in selected cities across the US. Wary of any launch hiccups, AT&T’s new products flew under the radar, existing mainly to push bragging rights as the world’s first publicly available 5G network.
As a result, the launch is relatively unknown except for a few American users. Thankfully, a Reddit user shared the device’s Ookla tests on AT&T’s subreddit. The user, u/mwb6d, lives in Indianapolis, one of the few first cities. The user tested both 5G and 4G speeds in the same spot.
Though an improvement, the device’s download speeds are disappointingly similar to 4G’s speeds. Meanwhile, the device’s upload speeds are markedly above the 4G average. The device is still faster than 93 percent of the US’ users. However, it’s a far cry from 5G’s promise of blazing-fast internet speeds.
Further, u/mwb6d posted proof of the device’s 5G connection. The “5G+” notification is noticeably different from AT&T’s faux “5G E” notification. Meaning, the device is connecting to the telco’s real 5G networks, as opposed to an advanced 4G LTE one.
Of course, as with most pioneering technologies, growing pains are inevitable. The lackluster speeds are bound to improve once the whole world gets in on the act. However, if AT&T’s new product is any indication, don’t put all your eggs in a 5G basket just yet.
Google introduces a new AI model called Gemini
Already in the Pixel 8 Pro
Artificial intelligence is the story of 2023. While the hype might have simmered down since the middle of the year, the segment is still pushing towards more advancements for the future. Unbothered by the dominance of OpenAI, Google has introduced its latest large language model called Gemini.
Touted as Google’s most flexible model yet, Gemini can understand text, code, audio, images, and videos. Though Google has not shared exactly how many parameters that the model can handle, the company says that Gemini can perform all the tasks you’d expect an LLM to do more accurately and more quickly.
Gemini will come in three flavors, spanning several markets: Nano, Pro, and Ultra. As the name implies, Gemini Nano is the model’s smallest variant. Starting today, the Pixel 8 Pro will start getting Nano to enhance the flagship’s on-device generative AI. The biggest improvements are naturally coming to the device’s camera capabilities. Photos and videos should be clearer and brighter, regardless of lighting conditions.
Meanwhile, Gemini Pro will come to Google’s other offerings. Bard, for example, is getting a huge upgrade, allowing for more intuitive replies. The same model will also come to Search, Ads, Chrome, and Duet AI.
Now, the beefiest of the three, Gemini Ultra is meant to further development in the field. While the previous two are available now, Ultra is coming next year. The premium model will mostly cater to enterprise customers and developers. However, if you want to try it for yourself, Google is also launching the top-tier model to an upcoming version of Bard called Bard Advanced.
US calls out NVIDIA for helping China in AI segment
Immediate sanctions coming for repeated violations
The tensions between the United States and China are still going strong. As the American government continues to curb Chinese companies from operating on American soil, some officials are seeking to expand their crusade against American companies helping China get around ongoing bans. Recently, a U.S. official has called out NVIDIA for allegedly helping China in acquiring state-of-the-art technology.
In a recent talk at the Reagan National Defense Forum (via Fortune), U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo warned participants that China must not obtain America’s best technology, specifically in the AI segment, at all costs. American companies, she says, should follow export restrictions imposed by her office.
Raimondo isn’t settling on idle threats. The secretary specifically called out NVIDIA as a company who continues to skirt around ongoing restrictions. When the Commerce Department imposes a new restriction, NVIDIA would design a chip sitting right below what is allowed. Though the move is legally allowed, Raimondo argues that it breaks the spirit of the law: denying the best technology from China. A chip close enough to the restriction will still grant China the necessary tools to catch up with the United States.
Raimondo seeks to establish a better dialogue with chipmakers to appropriately impede China. If the companies continue to create chips that “enable [China] to do AI, I’m going to control it the very next day,” she said.
Though the secretary’s words don’t indicate explicit sanctions coming to NVIDIA anytime soon, the company is certainly skating on very thin ice in the eyes of the Commerce Secretary.
Nokia is suing Amazon and HP
For using video-related technologies
Nokia isn’t just a company for smartphones. The company is also responsible for several technologies across the industry. As surprising as it is for regular consumers to discover Nokia’s effect on this industry, it’s also quite a shock to discover how many companies are currently stepping on the Finnish company’s toes. Nokia is currently suing Amazon and HP for infringing on several patents.
As confirmed by Arvin Patel, Nokia’s Chief Licensing Officer, Nokia is going ahead with cases against Amazon for “the unauthorized use of Nokia’s video-related technologies in its streaming services and devices.” The case involves technologies that Amazon used for Prime Video including video compression and content delivery. Amazon has not specifically explained the intricate workings of these technologies.
HP is also under fire for using other video-related technologies. Amazon is much more mum about HP’s use of the patented technologies. However, the announcement confirms that HP relies heavily on these technologies in their current lineup of products and services.
Nokia does say that litigation was not its first choice. However, the lack of an amicable resolution between these two companies necessitated the legal case.
Neither Amazon nor HP have responded to what they think of the ongoing legal pursuits against them.
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