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May
22
Samsung and Mastercard team up on Digital ID
Posted by Mike Moore on 22 May 2019 02:29 PM

Mobile shopping could be set for a major security boost following a new partnership between Mastercard and Samsung.

The card provider has announced it will be working with the smartphone giant to help develop and push out a new digital identity security system across mobile devices.

This could finally spell an end to consumers needing to remember multiple passwords and login details, instead relying on biometric data or a single digital ID.

User-centric

“At Samsung, we believe consumers should be in complete control of the privacy and security of their personal identity and we’re excited to work with Mastercard to bring the first digital identity solution to Samsung smartphones,” said Yongje Kim, EVP and head of service business office at Samsung Electronics Mobile Division.

Mastercard had previously announced a similar partnership with Microsoft, which it said would help facilitate speedier payment for online purchases through a similar digital ID service.

The company says its new service will feature privacy by design, and be built around user-centric principles such as data ownership, confidentiality, consent and transparency, and will not collect any identity data.

“Our digital and physical lives are merging and we need a digital identity solution that reflects this reality," said Ajay Bhalla, president of cyber & intelligence at Mastercard.

"Without control over how their data is used, people rely on outdated systems that can compromise their security. Our collaboration with Samsung advances a digital identity solution that is bound to a trusted device – the mobile phone – which is used by millions of people every day."


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May
22
Connected businesses ‘can give all workers a voice’
Posted by Mike Moore on 22 May 2019 01:00 PM

Workers across the world are feeling frustrated by a lack of communication between themselves and their bosses, according to new research.

A report from Workplace by Facebook has found that today’s workforce is more dispersed than ever, with a significant portion of employees away from company headquarters. 

Although good for productivity, this disconnect appears to be creating a disconnect between the two parties, leaving workers feeling alienated and lacking a voice.

Connected

The study, which surveyed over 4,000 frontline workers and HQ managers in the US and UK, discovered that only 14 percent of these felt connected to their business home.

Despite 95 percent of business leaders recognising the value of collaboration tools, only 56 percent have rolled them out, leaving many employees feeling they lack a voice.

Less than half (45 percent) of workers said they share their ideas with senior team members, however, 25 percent of employees have had an idea but never told anyone, and a further 38 percent report having shared an idea, only for it to be ignored.

“Collaboration tools are crucial in connecting the unconnected and ensuring everyone has a voice,” Karandeep Anand, VP Workplace by Facebook, said of the findings.

“There is a serious communications failure between managers and frontline workers which is inhibiting innovation and creativity. Some workers may be deskless, but they should not be voiceless.”

“What we're doing here at Workplace is creating a community of people who genuinely believe that the future of work can be better than what's been in the past,” Anand added at an event in London today announcing the research.

“We genuinely believe businesses are better when they're connected (and) when businesses feel connected, and people feel much stronger sense of community, work is better - and that's what Workplace was designed to do.”

“Creating and shaping the future of work isn't just exciting, but a responsibility.”


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May
22
Smartphone cannibalization deals major blow to PC and tablet sales
Posted by Naushad K. Cherrayil on 22 May 2019 12:00 PM

Cannibalisation of smartphones dealt a major blow to the PC and tablet markets in the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries in the first three months of the year, with tablets taking a bigger hit.

Fouad R. Charakla, senior research manager at International Data Corporation (IDC), told TechRadar Middle East that there has been a considerable decline of 7.6% in the regional PC sales to 740,489 units compared to 801,369 units a year ago. 

He believes the shortfall of Intel chips in the market also had an impact on PC sales, mainly in the entry-level CPU shipments. “From what we learned was that Intel was prioritizing the supply of high-end CPUs, so, entry-level CPUs suffered. There were some cases where PC manufacturers considered shipping with AMD chips to fill the gap,” he said.

Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner, said that vendors had to change their mix due to the shortfall related to production issues. “It is the entry level of the PC market that had a bigger impact. The top three vendors – HP, Dell and Lenovo - got most of the chips they needed while the rest of the vendors weren't getting enough supplies. The three top players have 60% of the market between them,” he said.

Although the chipmaker has invested $1.5 billion more to boost its production, Intel’s CEO Robert Swan said during their earnings conference call recently that supply challenges will persist throughout the third quarter and increased capacity will improve its position in the second half of the year.

“The new Intel CEO had said that these kinds of shortfall will never happen again but we have to see what the changes they are going to implement,” Atwal said. He also thinks that the roadmap for AMD is currently quite looking good for vendors that need another supplier.

Windows 10 helps PC growth in commercial sector

Charakla and Atwal said that the consumer demand for PCs declined significantly, while the commercial sector, on the contrary, achieved growth. “The business sector is positive for the last two years as users move to Windows 10,” Atwal said.

According to StatCounter, the global desktop and laptop market share for Windows 10 was 56.24% in April 2019 compared to 46.07% in April last year. Gartner analyst predicts that Windows 10 will represent 75% of the professional PC market by 2021.

In the GCC, desktop shipments rose about 8% while laptop sales plunged around 15%.

During the same period, the regional tablet market fell 19 per cent year on year to 618,676 units compared to 759,763 units.

“The significant portion of requirements for tablets is fading away and or satisfied either with a laptop or a smartphone,” Charakla said.


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May
22

In 2001, Pixar's Monsters, Inc was not only a charming kids film, but a technological marvel: the Pixar animators' super computers had created a world full of fuzzy creatures with hair so natural-looking, you wanted to reach into the screen and give them a hug.

But this was in a closed environment, each strand hand-picked. Fast-forward to 2019 and EA is showing off an equally, if not more, impressive demo.

Check out the video below. It shows off EA's Frostbite engine, developed by in-house studio DICE, demoing hair-rendering technology using what's thought to be comparable to next-generation gaming hardware:

Fantastic, right? Sure, the mannequin is a lot less huggable than Monsters, Inc's Sully, but the hair is just as lifelike. The key difference? This isn't a canned, choreographed performance – this is hair moving in real-time, using EA's in-game engine.

Future-gazing

Now, before tongues start wagging, we can't say for certain if this is representative of what to expect visually from any next-gen PS5 or Xbox Two hardware. Their complete specs remain a tightly guarded secret. 

But you can bet your last dollar that EA, being one of the biggest game publishers in the known universe, will have access to them at this point, and that demos like this are in anticipation of what they know is coming. 

Keep in mind though that this is hair rendering done in pretty much isolation – there's no open world rendering in the background here for instance, so who knows how much system resource this is requiring. But as an indication of where things could go, this is mouth watering.

It's also a bit of a PR booster for EA, too. The Frostbite engine has come under fire recently, given as it was reportedly a key factor in why recent hotly-anticipated titles Anthem and Mass Effect Andromeda were lukewarm on release. 

Developer Bioware simply struggled to get it to work with their ideas, and with EA studios mandated to employ it, couldn't work around its deficiencies.

That's not to say it's not produced great work elsewhere, with the Battlefield series and EA's sports titles built on it to great effect (even if Respawn's Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order will be skipping it). 

FIFA 20, for instance, will continue to use the engine, and the demo shows EA's continued commitment to the tool - so future footballers could (and, hopefully, will) have even more luscious locks.

  • Don't forget Project Atlas too, EA's grand vision for cloud gaming

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May
22
ARM 'stops' all work with Huawei after US ban
Posted by Steve McCaskill on 22 May 2019 11:19 AM

Huawei’s ambitions for the smartphone market have been dealt a serious blow according to leaked documents that suggest chipmaker ARM is suspending all activities with the beleaguered Chinese vendor.

Last week, the US Commerce Department prohibited American firms from doing business with Huawei, a move which means the company’s handsets will no longer receive updates for the Android operating system from Google or access to its popular applications.

However, the impact of that order is set to be far-reaching and could have even more disastrous consequences. The BBC has obtained internal memos ordering ARM employees to stop working on all Huawei contracts and cases to provide any support.

ARM Huawei

ARM’s chip designs are used to power virtually every major mobile chipset, including those from Qualcomm and Huawei’s Kirin processors. ARM is based in the UK and owned by Japanese firm SoftBank, but many of its designs feature US-made technology.

This has led ARM to believe that working with Huawei would see it breach US trade regulations. The BBC also notes that this impacts ARM China, a joint-venture that aims to make ARM technology and localised support available in the country. ARM has a 49 per cent stake.

Huawei is not commenting on the reports, but an inability to use ARM technology in Huawei’s Kirin processors would be extremely damaging. Huawei has been preparing for a ban on US technology for some time, stockpiling components and developing an alternative operating system to Android, but the innovations afforded by ARM would be impossible to replace.

The upcoming Kirin 985 chip is unaffected, but Huawei would be unable to use ARM technology in future iterations.

Huawei has managed to build on domestic success by expanding into Western Europe in recent years thanks to a series of critically acclaimed devices. It is now the world’s second largest manufacturer, recently overtaking Apple, despite being excluded from the US.

ARM has been approached for comment.

Via BBC


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