News

Microsoft confirms TikTok acquisition plans

In four countries

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Last Friday, Trump announced a decisive TikTok ban coming within the next few days. At the same time, Microsoft proposed an acquisition, taking the popular platform away from China. However, as the weekend finally wound down, neither a ban nor a deal has surfaced. If anything, Microsoft has further committed to achieving a deal for TikTok. Through a few recent comments, Microsoft confirms TikTok acquisition plans, covering at least four countries.

In an official Microsoft blog, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella finally engaged in discussions with Trump for the buyout plan. Microsoft expects a conclusion “in a matter of weeks” with a closeout happening no later than September 15. In the meantime, Trump confirms the plans as well, giving TikTok only up to 45 days to accept.

Further, the deal is apparently larger than previously reported. Besides TikTok’s US operations, Microsoft plans to acquire the platform’s operations in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Perhaps as a response to the ongoing big tech antitrust scandal, the company is also considering letting other investors in on a minority stake for TikTok.

Naturally, a Microsoft acquisition will snag the platform’s Chinese servers and place them safe and sound in their respective markets. It addresses a major concern surrounding TikTok’s current state in the US — cybersecurity. Since TikTok’s owner ByteDance was a Chinese company, the US government feared for potential attacks against American data. Further, TikTok’s massive global popularity will bolster Microsoft’s presence in the social media industry. Potentially, the buyout is a win-win decision for both parties. All that’s left is to wait for TikTok’s reply to the whole situation.

SEE ALSO: US looking to ban Chinese apps like TikTok

Automotive

Tesla plans to make a US$ 25K autonomous electric car soon

Elon Musk is extremely optimistic

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At its Battery Day event, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the company intends to launch an affordable electric car within three years. The aimed price is around US$ 25,000 — a radically low price for an electric vehicle. The future car hasn’t received a name yet, but rumors suggest it could be Tesla Model C, where C stands for compact.

The announcement was made after Musk reviewed Tesla’s battery development and manufacturing. He is confident that these factors shall help the company offer cut-throat pricing and make the cutting-edge technology available to the masses.

However, the most interesting feature of the car will be its autonomous capability. Sensors and other onboard equipment are expensive and it remains to be seen whether Tesla is able to fulfill its promise.

Musk revealed a new battery design that incorporates a larger and more efficient cell. The new technology is dubbed “tabless” and is said to increase density by five times, offering 16 percent more range. But the technology announced is likely to take years to implement.

The cost of electric cars has consistently dropped in the last few years and Tesla is relying on this trend to hype up its future products. According to The Verge, Prices have already fallen from a lofty US$ 1,100/kWh just ten years ago to about US$ 156/kWh in 2019.

Altough, this isn’t the first time Musk has announced an affordable EV. The Model 3 was initially touted to cost US$ 35,000 but the base option starts at US$ 37,990 while the Performance variant goes for US$ 54,990.

Ultimately, Tesla hopes to make 20 million vehicles a year, Musk said

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Enterprise

Facebook took down pro-China, pro-Duterte accounts

Reportedly China-sponsored and inauthentic accounts

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With the American presidential elections fast approaching, Facebook is taking an active approach against potential election interference. For one, the social media platform is moderating its content more stringently for misinformation. Now, erring accounts are on the chopping block. Today, Facebook took down pro-China, pro-Duterte accounts in the Philippines.

If you’re worried about a potential violation of the right to free speech, the platform claims that the ban affects “inauthentic Chinese accounts,” according to a new security report. In a list containing more than 200 accounts, most were potentially interfering in Asian and American politics. Facebook also included more than 40 pages, nine groups, and more than 20 Instagram accounts.

Most of the accounts were based in the Philippines, commenting (and supporting) China’s claims on the West Philippine Sea and President Rodrigo Duterte’s actions. They also criticized Rappler. Posts were in English, Filipino, and Chinese.

On the flip side, the smaller chunk of suspended accounts is in the United States, showing support for both Democrats and Republicans.

Whereas the American-based accounts have only around 3,000 followers, the Philippines-based accounts have amassed more than 376,000 followers at the time of suspension. Meanwhile, the implicated groups drew in more than 60,000 followers. The accounts spent US$ 60 on ad spending in Chinese yuan. They also spent a whopping US$ 1,100 in Philippine peso.

Undoubtedly, Facebook is taking a more active approach against political interference. It marks a renewed approach compared to its efforts in 2016. Back then, the platform received a lot of flak for affecting the elections in both the United States and in Southeast Asia.

SEE ALSO: Facebook is paying users to delete their accounts

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News

OnePlus 8T will have a 120Hz screen

Confirmed by CEO Pete Lau

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Most smartphone brands today are building their own 120Hz smartphone screens. OnePlus is no different. According to OnePlus CEO Pete Lau, the upcoming OnePlus 8T will have a 120Hz screen.

In an exclusive interview with TechRadar, Lau confirmed a flurry of specifications in the upcoming smartphone. Highlighting the new confirmation list, the OnePlus 8T will carry a 6.5-inch display with a 120Hz refresh rate.

Previously, OnePlus started introducing its 120Hz displays in the OnePlus 8 series earlier this year. At the time, the display aced several tests on DisplayMate’s benchmarking services.

However, the buttery smooth screen found its niche exclusively in the brand’s Pro variants. The OnePlus 8T marks the first non-Pro OnePlus smartphone with a 120Hz screen.

According to Lau, the OnePlus 8T will also have a 2.5D flexible panel, besides the 120Hz display. Accordingly, the smartphone is reportedly offer better brightness and “the highest color accuracy possible across the industry.”

Besides the display, Lau did not confirm any more details about the smartphone. According to previous leaks, the smartphone will have a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus processor. It will also have a quad (48-megapixel + 16-megapixel + 5-megapixel + 2-megapixel) rear camera combination.

Despite the lack of confirmed details, OnePlus has already confirmed an October 14 launch date for the OnePlus 8T. It won’t take long now.

SEE ALSO: OnePlus 8T renders hint at major design change

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