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Samsung will launch more foldable phones soon

Including one that folds vertically

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This year’s buzzword is “foldable.” Within the space of a month, the world’s major technology companies have launched foldable smartphones. Even the industry’s newcomer, Energizer, has unveiled a capable offering for the market. As expected, the remaining companies missing from the foldable race are scrambling for their own launches in the future.

Despite a clear dominance in the race, Samsung might extend their lead even further. According to Bloomberg, the South Korean company is developing two more foldable phones for the future.

The first plan will supposedly go against Xiaomi’s and Huawei’s foldable phones. The Samsung Galaxy Fold folds inward like a book. In contrast, Xiaomi and Huawei revealed outwardly folding smartphones. The differing design eliminates the need for a secondary smaller screen. Ultimately, the design will economize Samsung’s foldable phone production, allowing for thinner phones.

The second plan involves a fairly new design (as far as recent history goes). Rather than focusing exclusively on horizontal folds, Samsung will devote some resources to vertical folds. The developing phone will likely look like the classic flip phones from more than a decade ago. Of course, Samsung will probably leverage on innovative design, rather than banking on nostalgia. If true, the second foldable phone will offer a hitherto unseen design.

According to the source, both phones will launch either late 2019 or early 2020. Given the timeframe, Samsung is still judging the market’s demand. Amid all the announcements, the world’s foldable phones will launch only later in the year. Samsung’s own Galaxy Fold comes out this April.

SEE ALSO: Samsung might provide foldable screens to Apple

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Apple’s iPhone 13 series won’t get a USB-C port

Lightning connector is still the king

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Apple’s iPhones have shipped with a Lightning port for the longest time, and the trend won’t be changing anytime soon. While USB-C continues to rule the industry today, Apple shall stick with the conventional port for an indefinite period of time.

The latest research note by TFI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple will not ditch the Lightning connector in favor of a USB Type-C standard on iPhones anytime soon. And the decision to do so apparently has a lot to do with two key reasons — profits and longevity.

“We believe that USB-C is detrimental to the MFi business’s profitability, and its waterproof specification is lower than Lightning and MagSafe,” he said in the note, as quoted by AppleInsider. MFi stands for Apple’s Made for iPhone (MFi) program, allowing Apple to license the proprietary technology to other brands for making compatible accessories.

Kuo also predicts that the Pro iPhone model might lose the notch, favoring a hole-punch camera that’s popular on Android phones. However, he also adds that a shift to Touch ID is unlikely.

The note also says that we can expect an iPhone SE option with 5G compatibility. This is actually a no-brainer since every phone maker is gearing up for the boom, and the developing markets are yet to deploy full-scale 5G, giving some time to Apple.

Lastly, he speculates that the iPhone 13 Pro successor will be Apple’s main iPhone release to abandon the notch and “adopt” the hole-punch display design. Android phone makers have taken a similar approach, and it has worked well so far for everyone.

Users have long asked for a USB-C port on the iPhone because it eliminates the need to carry a Lightning cable wherever you go. Thanks to standardization, a USB-C wire is capable of charging a MacBook, Android phone, third-party accessories, as well as power banks. Having one universal port helps massively in enabling easy portability. In fact, even the iPad Pro has a USB-C port available now.

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Facebook to pay $650 million in facial recognition lawsuit

The company that never learns

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A federal judge has approved a settlement in which Facebook will pay US$ 650 million to a class-action lawsuit over its tagging feature. The lawsuit alleged that facial recognition technology, used to tag photos, infringed on users’ privacy.

Facebook users who submitted claims will get at least US$ 345 from the company, the AP reported. The lawsuit had claimed that the adoption of facial recognition technology was being done without seeking permission from users. The social network also failed to inform the users how long their data was being stored.

While many of us view the tagging option as a feature, the platform collects sensitive facial recognition data, whose handling procedures remain opaque. Facebook ended photo-tagging suggestions in 2019 and instead opted for a model to allow users to control what data the platform has over their face.

“Overall, the settlement is a major win for consumers in the hotly contested area of digital privacy,” wrote Judge Donato. “The standing issue makes this settlement all the more valuable because Facebook and other big tech companies continue to fight the proposition that a statutory privacy violation is a genuine harm.”

The class-action case was first filed in Illinois in 2015, suggesting a violation of the Biometric Information Privacy Act. Facebook initially agreed to pay US$ 550 million last year, but another $100 million was added to the judge’s insistence.

 

Attorney Jay Edelson, who originally filed the suit in Illinois in April 2015, told the Chicago Tribune that the settlement was a “big deal.” He also tweeted that the settlement, “was the largest cash privacy class action settlement in history.”

Facebook has an abysmal track record of managing users’ data. In 2019, The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) imposed a US$ 5 billion penalty on Facebook for misrepresenting users’ ability to control their facial recognition data, as well as other sensitive account metadata.

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Facebook unveils BARS, a TikTok-like app for rappers

Builiding a community dedicated for rappers

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Facebook has launched a new platform called BARS and it’s specially made for rappers. What’s its unique selling point? Unlike TikTok, BARS does not focus on transitions and lip-syncing to make content.

The app will allow budding rappers to focus on the lyrics rather than investing their time on expensive equipment and studios. You can choose from a wide array of premade beats, which can be leveraged by the rapper with their own lyrics and effects.

It also has a Challenge mode, wherein users can perform freestyle rap while incorporating auto-suggested lyrics. Aspiring rappers can just focus on the lyrics and record themselves to these beats. In addition, the app helps rappers finetune their craft as well with the help of auto-suggested rhymes while the user is writing.

BARS will let you select your rap experience level upon sign-up: Beginner, Intermediate, or Advanced. The Beginner selection will provide a handy auto-rhyme dictionary to help kickstart your experience. Advanced rappers get the Freestyle mode with several words to create an instantaneous rap.

Once users finish recording their videos in the app, they can share them across various social media outlets. The app has a TikTok-like feed where the discoverability is maximum. The app also promises “studio quality vocal effects,” including actual AutoTune.

After creating the videos, you can save them to your camera roll and share them on other social media platforms. For now, only a small number of iOS users can download the app in the US. Interested users can also sign up for the waitlist in the app.

BARS Community Manager DJ Iyer revealed in a blogpost that the Coronavirus pandemic has been one of the major reasons behind the creation of the app. “I know access to high-priced recording studios and production equipment can be limited for aspiring rappers. On top of that, the global pandemic shut down live performances where we often create and share our work,” he Iyer added.

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