Twitter’s  new prototype testing program isn’t the only way it’s working to fix conversations on its site. The company confirmed it’s currently running another public-facing test focused on making Twitter “more conversational” — but this time with Retweets instead of Replies. The test involves using a thin line to connect a quote-style retweet to the person commenting on the tweet, instead of placing the quoted tweet in a box as before.

Here are some visual aids.

Today, when you comment on a tweet you’re reposting, the original tweet is boxed in like this:

The new test sees Twitter eliminating the box entirely, and connecting the comment to the tweet using the same sort of line that is used today with Replies.

For example, here is a before and after of the change. (Click through to the tweet to view the images larger). You can see the original look on the left, and the update using the line on the right:

We asked Twitter if this was a permanent change or just a test, and a spokesperson confirmed it was the latter.

The test was available on Android on Tuesday of this week, but began rolling out to iOS users yesterday.

Despite the launch of the new testing program, the company said it would continue to A/B test various conversational features and other changes within its public app.

“The fact that we’re doing this [Twitter prototype testing program] doesn’t mean that we don’t do regular testing – like we do with all our development processes in our regular app all the time,” Sara Haider, Twitter’s director of product management, noted in an interview at CES in January.

The prototype program, meanwhile, serves as more of an experimental testing grounds where Twitter users are able to directly influence the development process with their feedback and opinions.

Twitter had learned over the years that some of the best ideas come from the community itself. Many of its products — including @ Replies, the hashtag (#), tweetstorms (now “threads”) and Retweets (originally “RT”) — were developed in response to how people were already using Twitter. Now, Twitter hopes to tap into the hive mind to build whatever else is coming next.

But not all of Twitter’s changes are community-driven. (After all, I’m not sure anyone was really all that concerned about how Retweets were displayed.)

That means you’ll still see Twitter testing smaller changes like this one in the public app.

Whether or not the lines will eventually come to replace the box for Retweets still remains to be seen, however. While it does make the comment seem more like someone is continuing a conversation, the update arguably makes it easier to confuse a Retweet with a Reply, too.

“We’re working on updates to Retweet with Comment as part of our efforts to make Twitter more conversational,” a spokesperson for Twitter confirmed to TechCrunch. They also hinted we’d see more tests of this nature in the future, as well.

Четверг, 21 февраля 2019 23:55

Pinterest files confidentially to go public

Visual search engine Pinterest  has joined a long list of high-flying technology companies planning to go public in 2019. The business has confidentially submitted paperwork to the Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering slated for later this year, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.

Pinterest declined to comment.

Founded in 2008 by Ben Silbermann, earlier reports indicated the company was planning to debut on the stock market in April. In late January, Pinterest took its first official step toward a 2019 IPO, hiring Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase as lead underwriters for its offering.

The company garnered a $12.3 billion valuation in 2017 with a $150 million financing.

Touting 250 million monthly active users, Pinterest has raised nearly $1.5 billion in venture capital funding from key stakeholders Bessemer Venture Partners, Andreessen Horowitz, FirstMark Capital, Fidelity and SV Angel. The business brought in some $700 million in ad revenue in 2018, per reports, a 50 percent increase year-over-year.

Pinterest employs 1,600 people across 13 cities, including Chicago, London, Paris, São Paulo, Berlin and Tokyo. The company says half its users live outside the U.S.

Pinterest will likely follow Lyft,  Uber and Slack to the public markets, which have all filed confidential paperwork for IPOs or, in Slack’s case, a reported direct listing, expected in the coming months.

Компания Samsung представила первый гибкий смартфон Galaxy Fold. Презентация прошла на мероприятии Samsung Galaxy Unpacked 2019, на которой были представлены смартфоны серии Galaxy S10.

Galaxy Fold в сложенном состоянии представляет собой смартфон в привычном нам формате, оснащенный 4,6-дюймовым дисплеем с разрешением 1960×840 пикселей, пишет The Verge.

Внутри установлен дисплей Infinity Flex размером 7,3 дюйма и разрешением 2152×1536 пикселей, который позволяет превратить его в небольшой планшет, просто раскрыв аппарат словно книгу. Оба экрана имеют одинаковую плотность – 420 точек на дюйм.

В сложенном состоянии толщина устройства составляет 17 мм, в открытом виде – 6,9 мм.

Galaxy Fold оборудован процессором Snapdragon 855 и 12 ГБ оперативной памяти. В качестве накопителя используется 512 ГБ флеш-памяти стандарта UFS 3.0, которая вдвое быстрее, чем UFS 2.1. Работает смартфон от двух батарей суммарной емкостью 4380 мАч.

Galaxy Fold оснащен шестью камерами с трех сторон – спереди и сзади в сложенном виде, а также с внутренней стороны в открытом состоянии.

Устройство использует систему непрерывной работы приложений при переходе между режимами планшета и смартфона. Такие приложения, как WhatsApp, Microsoft Office, YouTube и другие основные программы оптимизированы для дисплея и этих режимов.

Galaxy Fold поддерживает режим многозадачности, при котором можно запустить до трех приложений одновременно.

Galaxy Fold поступит в продажу 26 апреля. Смартфон будет доступен в версиях LTE и 5G. Его стоимость стартует от $1980.

Every smartphone maker has at least one series that represent the company’s spirit. For ZTE, it’s the AXON line. Though this brand has had some difficulties in 2018, it managed to release the ZTE Axon 9 Pro in November last year. Gone those days when the Qualcomm flagship chips were appearing only on selected models. The mentioned model was packed with last year’s top-end chip, namely the Snapdragon 845. Its successor that is said to be called the ZTE AXON 10 Pro is expected to hit the market soon. And from the previous leak, we know it will be packed with the next-gen high-end Qualcomm mobile processor, the Snapdragon 855. Today, 91mobiles reported the phone has passed the EEU (Eurasian Economic Union) certification, which simply means it is almost ready and will land in this market in the nearest future.


Previously, we have seen the ZTE AXON 10 Pro spotted in the GeekBench database under the model number of A2020 Pro. As for now, this device has been certified in Russia by the Eurasian Economic Union, which clearly states that the ZTE A2020 Pro will arrive in the market as the ZTE AXON 10 Pro. Unfortunately, the listing hasn’t revealed anything about the key features of the device.


However, we assume it will be among the first smartphones to be packed with the Snapdragon 855 chip. In the single-core and multi-core tests, the ZTE AXON 10 Pro scored 3824 points and 10762 points, respectively. Thus, it exceeds the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus, which showed 3413 and 10256 points in similar tests.


But we still don’t know whether the ZTE AXON 10 Pro will be uncovered at the MWC 2019 a few days or not. But we know for sure the manufacturer will introduce its first 5G smartphone in the first half of 2019. Is the ZTE AXON 10 Pro that device?

Среда, 13 февраля 2019 01:30

Samsung Galaxy A20 with Android GO spotted on Geekbench

With the first pair of the new Galaxy M series now on sale, the Galaxy A-series is apparently now the next for overhauling. The brand is reportedly working on a number of the Galaxy A-series smartphones, and while a good number of them will arrive as mid-range offerings, it appears that a couple of entry-level offerings might be in the mix.


A yet-to-be-announced Samsung device with the model number SM-A260F has surfaced on the Geekbench database, and if reports are to be believed, the device in question could launch as the Android Go version of the Galaxy A20 that was seen on the same Geekbench about a month ago.


As per the listing, the device will be powered by Samsung’s  Exynos 7870 processor previously seen in the A6 and some other dated Samsung Galaxy J series smartphones. The chipset will be aided by 1GB of RAM, and interestingly, the listing mentioned  ‘go’ in the SoC section which suggests the device will eventually launch as an Android Go device, though still based on Android 8.


Not much else is known about the device at the moment, but as with the Galaxy J2 core Android Go phone and other Android Go edition smartphones, we expect the Galaxy A20 to pack some entry hardware devoid of a fingerprint scanner, dual rear cameras and so on.

Samsung Galaxy A20 with Android GO spotted on Geekbench
Samsung Galaxy A20 with Android GO spotted on Geekbench
Среда, 13 февраля 2019 01:28

Nokia 9 PureView clears FCC, confirms penta-camera design

All appears set for the official unveiling of the Nokia 9. The device alongside the Nokia 1 plus was earlier today found on Google play store among the list of supported devices, and now, it has cleared one more pre-release hurdles in preparation for its unveiling in Barcelona in the coming week.


The device has been certified by the US FCC, but as it is the case with FCC, not so much was revealed, but there are a few things we can take home. First, the device will actually be marketed as the Nokia 9 PureView and will be available in both Single-SIM (TA1082) and two Dual-SIM (TA-1087, TA-1094) variants. The listing further reveals that the TA-1094 and the TA-1087 models will be exclusive to China and Taiwan respectively.  Taiwan probably will be the only market that will get the device as an Android One smartphone.


Aside from confirming the device will launch with a plethora of rear cameras, the FCC documents also reveals that one of the variants with the TA-1087 model number will sport GSM bands 850 and 1900, WCDMA bands II, IV, and V, as well as FDD-LTE bands 2, 4, 5, 7, 12, 13, 17, and 66. Wi-Fi 802.11 a/g/n/ac and Bluetooth connectivity.


The Nokia 9 PureView, when announced, will be HMD’s most advanced smartphones, although prevaling leaks suggest the device won’t have all it requires to stand against the like of the Galaxy S10, and a few other flagships from rival companies.


Chinese manufacturing giant, Xiaomi, is working on its first flagship for the year, Xiaomi Mi 9. So far, the company has succeeded in keeping the details of this smartphone but we know that it shares the same designer as the Xiaomi Mi 6. It also comes with a Snapdragon 855 SoC, triple rear camera setup and a 27W fast charge. However, this is about all that is known for now. Today, the general manager of Xiaomi Group’s public relations department, said via Weibo: “It comes faster than you know”. The major expectation from Xiaomi right now is the Xiaomi Mi 9 thus netizens believes that the Xiaomi Mi 9 might arrive faster than we expect. Could it be at MWC 2019? that would be a wide guess.


Recently, a Xiaomi device made it through TENAA and today, another got 3C certification although it comes with a 10W fast charge which suggests that it is probably for the upcoming Redmi phone. According to the 3C certification, there are two models M1902F1T and M1903F2A but there is no telling which device they represent.


If we consider the Xiaomi Mi 8 series, Xiaomi Mi 9 may likely come in many versions. The Mi 8 has at least five models but we know that it is a special series since the company used it to celebrate its eighth anniversary. If the Mi 9 will come in different models, there are a few possibilities. It could have the Mi 9 SE which would be a low variant coupled with Xiaomi Mi 9 Exploration Edition. Both Xiaomi Mi 6 and Xiaomi Mi 8 has Exploration editions.

French startup Devialet has done it again. The new Phantom Reactor is a smaller, more effective speaker that packs in everything that made Devialet speakers good in the first place.


Devialet’s  first speaker, the Phantom, attracted rave reviewsa few years ago. The egg-shaped speaker promised no background noise, no saturation and no distortion in a relatively small package.


To be clear, it wasn’t that small when you compared it with an average bookshelf speaker. But when you turned it on, it would feel like a much larger speaker — something that you’d find in a concert hall.


But that speaker wasn’t for everyone. If you live in a tiny apartment, spending $1,700 to $3,500 for a speaker capable of generating up to 4,500 watts of power was overkill.


Hence the Phantom Reactor, a smaller version of the Phantom with the same promises — no background noise, no saturation and no distortion. It still features the iconic egg-shaped design.


The company let me borrow a Phantom Reactor for a few weeks to play with it at home. And I’ve been impressed by the speaker. It’s a tiny beast that makes any all-in-one Bluetooth speaker sound like a joke.


In many ways, this speaker reminds me of the iPod lineup. When Apple first introduced the iPod, it was the perfect device for music enthusiasts. For the first time, you could take all of your music with you, even if you had a large music library.

But that device was heavy, expensive and thick — stack three iPhone XSes and you get the thickness of the original iPod. Everything was great on paper, but it was impractical if you’re not that much into music.


With the iPod mini, Apple created a device that was not only cheaper than the original iPod but also more effective. Music devices, from portable players to connected speakers, are supposed to disappear and integrate perfectly in your daily routine.


The Phantom Reactor is a damn good speaker. Music fills my living room in a way that none of my many other speakers do. When I compare it with another speaker, I can hear that it’s the same song. But, with Devialet’s speaker, it feels like I’m experiencing the song instead of just listening to the song.


The 900W model that I’m using is still too powerful for my apartment — I can’t play music at 60 percent of the volume for too long without thinking about my neighbors. If you live in a crowded city with small living rooms, the cheaper 600W model is probably enough. If you have a house in the suburbs, that’s probably a different story.


The Phantom Reactor isn’t portable per se. It doesn’t have a battery and it still weighs 9.5lbs/4.3kg. You’ll be able to unplug it and carry it to another room every now and then, but you won’t take it with you to your friend’s house.


You can currently play music using AirPlay, Bluetooth, Spotify Connect and UPnP, as well as analog and optical input. You can connect it to your network using Wi-Fi or Ethernet.


The mobile app is quite minimal. It guides you through the setup process and lets you select the source input at any time. You’re supposed to control music from your usual music players. There are also touch buttons on the top of the speaker for basic playback and pairing controls.


I’ve been mostly using Spotify Connect, which lets you stream music on the speaker directly. If you’re not familiar with the protocol, you play a song or playlist in the Spotify app just like you would normally do — you just have to select the Phantom Reactor as the output speaker. Nothing actually happens on your phone or computer, the Spotify app acts as a remote.


As you may have noticed, AirPlay 2 isn’t supported just yet and you can’t pair multiple speakers. The company says those features will come later with a software update. Devialet also says that it isn’t in the business of voice assistants — there’s no microphone on board.

But if you’re looking for a unit that sounds good and you have enough money for the Phantom Reactor, the speaker is available now for for $999/€990/£990 for the 600W model and $1,299/€1,290/£1,290 for the 900W model.


Среда, 13 февраля 2019 01:13

Amazon is buying home mesh router startup, Eero

Amazon is about to expand its smart home offerings in a big way. The company just announced its intention to acquire Bay Area-based home mesh router startup, Eero. It’s a pretty clear fit for the online retailer as it pushes to make Alexa a feature in the connected home.


The move also makes sense for five-year-old Eero, which, in spite of being early to the home mesh router game and pulling in some high-profile investors, has struggled. This time last year, the company laid off 30 employees — roughly one-fifth of its work force.


Amazon’s certainly got the deep pockets, and the addition of Alexa to routers from Huawei and Netgear last year demonstrate that this category can be a viable one. It makes sense, as these coverage-extending mesh routers, like Echo Dots, are designed to be plugged into every room of the home. 


Amazon has been picking up a number of high-profile home automation startups in recent years, including Ring and Blink, as it looks to launch its own in-house Alexa smart home ecosystem. In many cases, Amazon has opted to retain the startups’ branding, which could bode well for the future of the Eero name — though the company admittedly doesn’t have the same sort of recognition as Ring. 


“We are incredibly impressed with the eero team and how quickly they invented a WiFi solution that makes connected devices just work,” Amazon SVP Dave Limp said in a press release. “We have a shared vision that the smart home experience can get even easier, and we’re committed to continue innovating on behalf of customers.”


The deal is still waiting for all of the standard regulatory approval. Details of the acquisition have yet to be disclosed.

Despite all of the VR over-hyping, for those observing from the inside, the capabilities are still uncharted. VR as a creative medium has probably been one of the more entrancing use cases since the first high-end headsets launched. Products like Google’s Tilt Brush isolated impossible use cases, where VR was the only way to experience that act of creating something mesmerizing from nothing.


Massless has been intrigued by the potential of VR as a way to achieve new precision and more seamlessly shove designers and engineers into their digital workshops. The product they’re working on, the Massless  Pen, is a professional stylus that functions with much of the pizzazz you’d expect from a product like the Apple Pencil, featuring things like deep pressure sensing and capacitive touch, in addition to upgrades like haptic feedback.


Indeed, you can use the Massless Pen much like you would any other designer’s stylus, but things get a bit bizarre when you pick it up off the surface and manipulate the space in front of you. That’s because the startup’s product is also a tracked 6DoF VR controller, which users can utilize as a tool to manipulate, edit and further create. It utilizes its own tracking system, which can be mounted below hardware trackers used for VR headsets.


“I think the most important thing about this product is that it works in three-dimensions, but you don’t have to use VR,” CEO Jack Cohen tells TechCrunch. “You can just use it as a standard graphics tablet and you can use it to control 3D software on a monitor… This is a transitional period for everyone, so it’s good to have that bridge that goes between them.”


While a lot of digital ink has been spilled on bringing VR to consumer markets, Massless plans to aim this device firmly at business customers, hoping to attract further attention from customers working in design and visualization-heavy enterprises like commercial architecture and automotive design.


The plights of a hardware startup are well-documented; that’s further true of a VR team. Massless has closed a seed raise of $2 million led by Founders Fund Pathfinder to get things started. Entrepreneur First, Vivi Nevo, Shrug Capital and Wendy Tan-White also participated in the round.


The company is using the new funding to grow its team and finish the Massless Pen and bring it to its first set of production enterprise partners.

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