he holidays are upon us, and shoppers are in the midst of researching the latest and greatest high-tech gifts. We decided to go straight to the source, asking top tech experts which gadgets they’ve had their eyes on this year. Whether they want to give these products as a gift or receive one for themselves, here are the products that top Forbes Technology Council members’ lists.
1. Apple Watch Series 4
While many people have considered the Apple Watch to be superfluous, unnecessary technology for technology’s sake, the latest version is, in fact, a boon to geriatric healthcare. With fall detection and the ability to monitor your vitals and call emergency services, there’s now a much more fashionable alternative to “life alert” technologies that your grandparents may want to wear. – David Isaac Murray, Doctor.com
2. HTC Vive
An HTC Vive works well with everyone, ranging from adults to young children. I took my kids to a VR gaming arcade and it was heaven. My youngest doesn’t understand that it’s just a headset. He thinks he’s actually transported to a different world. It’s unreal! If you haven’t tried it, you’re missing out. – Matthew Barlocker, Blue Matador 3. Apple’s AirPower Wireless Charging Mat
It’s more on the wish list for Apple to release it than it is on my personal wish list. With a growing number of electronic devices, it has become cumbersome to keep track of different charging cables or even wireless chargers. The AirPower wireless charging mat is a nice initiative to remove the need for separate charging resources for multiple devices. Hopefully, it comes out this holiday season. – Vikram Joshi, pulsd
After many teasers, Asus has finally launched the Asus ZenFone Max M2 and the Asus ZenFone Max Pro M2 smartphones in the country. The two phones are priced fairly aggressively, and look to give tough competition to other entry-level and entry-to-mid level phones in the market. The Asus ZenFone Max M2 and the Asus ZenFone Max Pro M2 phones are a little bit different in terms of design, and come with slightly different specifications as well. The devices are both exclusive to Flipkart, and will go on sale next week with launch offers.
We pit the Asus ZenFone Max M2 with the Asus ZenFone Max Pro M2 to see what the differences between the two.
Asus ZenFone Max M2 vs ZenFone Max Pro M2 price
The most obvious difference between the two phones is the price. The Asus ZenFone Max M2 is cheaper than the Asus ZenFone Max Pro M2 variant, which starts at Rs. 12,999 for the 3GB RAM/ 32GB inbuilt storage variant, going up to Rs. 14,999 for the 4GB RAM/ 64GB inbuilt storage variant, and Rs. 16,999 for the 6GB RAM/ 64GB inbuilt storage variant.
On the other hand, the Asus ZenFone Max M2 price in India starts at Rs. 9,999 for the 3GB RAM/ 32GB inbuilt storage variant, going up to Rs. 11,999 for the 4GB RAM/ 64GB storage variant.
The ZenFone Max Pro M2 will be available in Blue and Titanium colour variants from December 18, exclusively via Flipkart. Launch offers include no-cost EMIs, and discounted rates for Flipkart’s Complete Mobile Protection programme (available at Rs. 99).
On the other hand, ZenFone Max M2 will be available in Blue and Black colour variants in India from December 20, exclusively via Flipkart. It has similar launch offers.
HMD Global’s event in Dubai on December 5 is expected to be the launchpad for up to three smartphones, including the Nokia 8.1 – for a while this has been rumored to be nothing but a rebranded international version of the Nokia X7 that has been available in China since October.
And now, mere hours before said event, a promo video for the Nokia 8.1 has been outed, which intriguingly shows us a much larger notch than the Nokia X7’s. The phones could still be identical on the inside, though, with only that visible differentiating feature.
As you can see, the video emphasizes the camera’s Zeiss optics with OIS, its prowess in shooting superior low-light images, its ability to make “AI” portraits, and beautiful bokeh. The screen supports HDR10, and that’s all we get from this presentation. It looks like the Nokia 8.1’s marketing will be very focused on the camera (excuse the pun), if this is anything to go by.
Anyway, stay tuned for all of the official details coming straight from the Dubai event in a few hours.
The ‘Augmented Humanity: Isobar Trends Report 2019’ explores the changing nature of the human relationship with technology: from how we work and play, to how we travel, shop, spend our leisure time and engage with brands. Also find five key trends that businesses and brands need to know
Isobar, the global digital agency from Dentsu Aegis Network, has released the ‘Augmented Humanity: Isobar Trends Report 2019’, an exploration of five digital trends for 2019. The report explores the extent to which humanity will work in harmony with technology to expand and enrich life in 2019.
Written by the innovation and strategy experts across Isobar’s 85 offices in 45 markets, the report, which is available for download at isobar.com, is built on the concept of Augmented Humanity, developed by Isobar, in 2018. The 2019 trends report explores the changing nature of human relationship with technology: from how we work and play, to how we travel, shop, spend our leisure time and engage with brands.
The report is centred round a belief that technology augments our experience of the world, allowing us to work more efficiently, to live healthier lifestyles, to make better human decisions and to expand our creativity. It explains why Isobar believes that this is an important moment in human history, outlines some of the myriad opportunities that these technological developments open up and shines a light on some of the challenges posed by digital disruption.
Jean Lin, Isobar’s Global CEO, said, “Technology today plays a key role in driving relevance, scale, and elevating human experiences. It is our job to harness its wonderful power and the potential for businesses and brands, in serving people better in the age of Augmented Humanity.”
Commenting on the launch, Shamsuddin Jasani, Group Managing Director, Isobar South Asia, said, “We need to embrace the power of technology. Today, we are on the edge of an augmented age where technology is redefining the possibilities of what a human can truly be capable of. This next phase of transformational technological advances, wearable and embedded devices will unlock human potential by tapping into almost all our day to day activities. In 2019, we shall see how digital is going to be omnipresent and VOICE will be the biggest game changer in the field of marketing.”
Isobar’s five key trends for 2019 are:
The evolving interface: How the intersection between humans and technology is changing
The human algorithm: How data can help us to better understand ourselves and enable better decisions
The fluid vs the collective self: How the digital world enhances personal and collective experiences
The trust paradox: How technology can help or hinder our understanding of the increasingly complex world around us
The transformed experience: How Augmented Humanity enables us to feel and experience the world differently and in deeper ways
The annual report provides guidance on navigating this new landscape to keep businesses and brands ahead of the curve for 2019 and beyond. Each chapter outlines why these developments are important, key examples of the trends in action, why businesses need to be aware of them and how they can take advantage of their positive potential.
We’re in a bit of a lull here. Next week is the Game Awards, a.k.a. that one random point in the winter where we get a bunch of game announcements—and Geoff Keighley gives out a few awards too, if we’re lucky. This week’s all lead-up to that slew of trailers, basically.
But luckily we were off last week for Thanksgiving, so we’ve got two slim weeks of news to recap. Turns out two boring weeks is almost equivalent to one good week, so let’s dig into the FTC’s loot box investigation, Obsidian’s new game tease, Dragon Age…something, Life is Strange 2 and Pathologic 2 and the future of episodic games, and more.
This is gaming news for November 26(ish) to 30.
Anthem alpha and Dragon Age
BioWare’s got a double dose of news this week. First up, Anthem—the game we do know about. It’s set to release in February, less than three months from now if you can believe it. No surprise then that EA’s running a closed alpha December 8 and 9. If you sign up before December 3 you’ll have a chance to participate, though you might want to look over the rules first.
Then there’s the more exciting news, which is a potential Dragon Age reveal set for December—perhaps at the Game Awards, though Casey Hudson’s blog post doesn’t say for sure. Keep an eye out for more soon.
Just a few weeks ago Microsoft announced it acquired Obsidian, which called into question the state of Obsidian’s current projects. We won’t have to wait long for more news apparently, as Obsidian’s currently teasing an announcement for next week’s Game Awards, most likely the project it’s been working on with Take Two. If you head to Obsidian’s site right now you’ll see some odd ads that look vaguely Fallout-esque. Could it be a spiritual successor to Fallout: New Vegas? Or even a spiritual successor to the old isometric Fallouts?
Can’t wait to find out.
Weight and see
Speaking of Fallout, Bethesda announced its first changes to Fallout 76 this week. Some of these had been discussed before, but we now have a timeline and a few more details. By December 4 the stash limit will increase to 600 pounds, which Bethesda admits is “somewhat conservative,” but it wants to see how the increase affects server load. Then by December 11 the PC version will receive push-to-talk and ultrawide capabilities, as well as an FOV slider. There’s more to see in the official blog post, but these are the highlights. None of it really addresses Fallout 76’s fundamental issues, but at least those enjoying it for what it is will have a slightly smoother experience.
Begun, the Clone Wars have
Anyone still playing Star Wars Battlefront II? Anyone? I’ll admit, it’s been almost a year since I properly checked in on the game. First impressions count, and Battlefront II made a very bad one. But for those who stuck it out, DICE is finally getting around to releasing one of the most iconic conflicts from the original Battlefront II, the Battle of Geonosis. Ewan McGregor is along for the ride too, and those cool six-legged robot-tanks.
The wait is strange, too
Are episodic games over? Telltale shut down, Hitman 2 went back to a full-fledged retail release. It seems like the era has passed us by.
Not helping matters is Life is Strange 2, the first episode of which released in September. History tells us another episode should be releasing around now, but instead Dontnod said this week to expect a January 2019 release—four months after Episode 1. I want them to get it right, of course, but I also don’t want any game to take almost two years from beginning to end. Hell, I barely remember the finer details of Episode 1 already as it is.
Maybe it’s time to retire episodic releases for good.
…Or maybe not. Ice Pick Lodge announced this week that Pathologic 2, the long-awaited remake/reboot/sequel to cult classic Pathologic, will be released episodically starting in 2019. Like its predecessor, Pathologic 2 is a story told through the viewpoints of three different characters and will be released in corresponding chunks—first the Haruspex’s tale, then sometime later the Bachelor and the Changeling’s stories. Can’t wait? Well, you could always play Pathologic Classic HD instead.
The Yakuza games, long a PlayStation exclusive, started trickling onto PC this past summer with the release of Yakuza 0. It’s been silent since then though, which makes even a hint of news worth mentioning. One Andrew Marmo spotted a listing on SteamDB for Yakuza Kiwami this week, indicating the release isn’t too far off. Hopefully after its official arrival we get some news about the rest of the series too. (Via PC Gamer)
Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden is one of the few releases left in 2018 that I’m still anticipating, blending XCOM with a just plain weird post-apocalyptic setting. Up until now we’ve seen a lot of Dux and Bormin, a mutant duck-man and pig-man, respectively. Now, just in time for launch, we’re getting a glimpse of Farrow the mutant fox-lady. Love it.
NieRly Game of the Year
Nier: Automata made its way onto our Game of the Year list last year, despite the PC version being pretty damn busted. And it’s still busted, almost two years later—which makes it a bit bizarre to hear Platinum’s reportedly prepping NieR: Automata – Game of the YoRHa Edition for PC. Will that version run? And more importantly, will the original version finally be patched? We’ll find out soon, I guess.
It’s no surprise that AI technology is slowly taking over all aspects of daily life, all around the world. According to The Guardian, almost 80 million jobs in the United States could be automated within the next decade. Although a step forward in technology, companies might start to cut down on their workforce to introduce more automated labor.
From everyday tasks to automating manual labor, AI technology is no force to be reckoned with. According to Forbes, almost 80% of enterprises all over the world use AI technology in production. Leading the AI domination is Asia-Pacific (48%), North America (39%) and Europe (31%).
Almost 95% of business leaders predict that AI will have some sort of impact on human jobs, maybe even the overall productivity of a company by 2030. There are many companies out there that have invested AI technology or are looking to expand on that idea. Let’s take a closer look how some of these companies implement this technology.
Amazon (AMZN – Free Report) is always innovating and creating, and it’s no stranger to AI. The company uses a flywheel approach, which helps to keep innovation flowing and allows it to spread to other areas of the company. This approach allows different areas of the company to use the technology. According to Forbes, what is used in one part of the company impacts innovation throughout all of Amazon, hence acting as a catalyst for AI and other machine related technology.
Amazon was one of the first companies to implement AI technology and they have seen success with it. Amazon currently has three products that are powered by AI technology: Alexa, the Amazon Go store, and the Amazon recommendation engine. Through these three different aspects, Amazon has created a well put-together customer experience, mainly using AI technology. Even though each one of the products is part of a different division in the company, they are all able to work together to implement the technology sufficiently.
Having acquired 14 AI startups over the past four years, Google parent company Alphabet (GOOGL – Free Report) is a clear leader with AI technology. The company’s largest acquisition of $600 million was U.K. based company Deep Mind. Alphabet has its own research and development branch dedicated to its AI applications called Google AI. The AI branch focuses on conducting research to find the best ways to implement AI to different apps and making it accessible to everyone.
At Google’s recent I/O conference, the company announced several new AI services including Google Duplex (part of Google Assistant) and many new updates to Gmail, Photos and Maps. What intrigued people the most was the company’s announcement on AI technology used with Google Duplex. Recently, Google has rolled out the software to Pixel users. According to Business Insider, with Duplex, users will be one step closer to never having to make a phone call themselves to book an appointment.
When we think about AI technology, it doesn’t necessarily always have to be associated with Alexa or products and services like that. In a press release from the beginning of this year, Volkswagen (VLKAY – Free Report) announced that it would be working with Aurora, a leading self-driving system company to introduce machine learning and AI technology in Volkswagen Group’s vehicles. Johann Jungwirth, Chief Digital Officer, stated in the company’s press release that working with Aurora will give Volkswagen a giant leap forward to become the world’s leading provider of sustainable mobility, including self-driving vehicles.
Earlier this year, Volkswagen introduced its first concept car, a prototype of an autonomous vehicle called SEDRIC. The concept car requires no driver and can take you anywhere with the push of a button. The company has taken the first step towards the future of self-driving cars, using AI technology.
Whether it’s a car company or tech giant, AI is being used all over many industries. It is already being implemented into our daily lives, so it is only a matter of time until it becomes a large part of our society. Companies are implementing and innovating new strategies one AI technology at a time.
An incorrect version of this article ran in the Nov. 16 edition of Sky-Hi News. Below is the correct copy. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.
A Smith Machine is a heavy piece of fitness equipment that has a fixed bar, multiple racking sites and allows for plate-loading; however, because it is a fixed bar, it does not compare to the intensity of training with a free barbell due to the fixed components. It does, however, work well for many clients who require more stabilization than a free barbell would provide. Therefore, we utilize the Smith Machine with many clients training them to properly perform squats and lunges, among other exercises, such as bench press and inverted rows.
In general, the barbell on a Smith Machine weighs approximately 25lbs. Therefore, if you have mastered the squats/lunges with the bar only, gradually add plates to the bar as needed for progressive overload. Perform 1-3 sets of 8-12 repetitions of each exercise, on two-three non-consecutive days/week. As always, prior to beginning any exercise program, please consult your physician.
Squats –stand under the Smith barbell so that the barbell will rest behind your neck and on your shoulders (if you need the pad, place it on the bar first) then un-rack the bar by lifting up, and rotating the barbell backward. Legs should be approximately shoulder distance apart, shoulders/hips/knees/toes all facing forward. Engaging the quadriceps (front of thighs), lower the body into a squat, no lower than 90-degrees of flexion at the knee joint, keeping the weight in the heels to mid-foot and keep the knees tracking over the shoes laces, never the toes. Then, drive back up into full extension at the knee joint. *Trains the quadriceps/hamstrings/glutes and nose to toes core.
Stationary Lunges – place the bar pad on the bar and slip underneath the bar so that you are able to rest the bar comfortably on the top of the shoulders as you unrack the bar. Stagger the legs front to back so you are able to keep the back heel elevated throughout the exercise and the front knee tracking over the front heel. The legs are approximately shoulder distance apart (like you are standing on two different railroad tracks), lower the body down until the front and back leg are flexed approximately 90 degrees at the knee joint. Then, drive through the front heel returning to a fully erect standing position with both knees fully extended. *Trains the quadriceps/hamstrings/glutes and nose to toes core.
Front Barbell Squat –add any weight plates that you would like but remember, that you will be able to handle less load due to the placement of the bar in the front of the body rather than with a back squat. Place the bar against the chest with the arms crossed over the chest, elbows elevated to chest height, to secure the bar at the chest. Feet should be approximately shoulder distance apart, engaging the quadriceps/hamstrings/glutes (anterior/posterior thighs and buttocks), lower the body into a squat, aiming the tailbone toward the wall behind you, keeping your body weight in the heels and then drive through the heels back into an erect position. Remember, you have nothing behind you, so lower the body down no lower than 90 degrees at the knee joint. Keep the torso erect throughout. *Trains the quadriceps/hamstrings/glutes and nose to toes core.
Siri creator says third-party voice partners are the future 9 Hours Ago | 01:13
Siri may not be living out its full potential under Apple’s wing, but voice-enabled assistants are nevertheless the future of digital technology, Siri’s co-founder and former CEO Dag Kittlaus told CNBC on Tuesday.
Since Apple acquired Siri in 2010, “on the positive side, it’s a lot faster, the speech recognition’s gotten a lot better, but they dropped the ball on a couple things like opening it up to third parties,” said Kittlaus, now co-founder and CEO of Viv, an artificial-intelligence company acquired by Samsung in 2016.
On the whole, voice assistants today are used in “very basic” ways, Kittlaus told Jim Cramer in a “Mad Money” interview. Most consumers use them for setting alarms or reminders, but the potential for them is huge, he said.
“Imagine 2007. [The] iPhone launches. It’s got about nine apps on it, but this is like Weather and Stocks,” he said. “Nine months later, they open the App Store. Now, you’ve got millions and millions of apps that change the world. So we want to do that with AI and with assistants.”
This week, Kittlaus’ team at Viv launched a new platform for third-party companies to create capabilities for Bixby, Samsung’s own voice assistant.
The tool set lets “third parties come in in almost like a Wikipedia-like way,” the CEO said. “So, anyone can add new things to Bixby. Users can enable it.”
“Eventually, you’ve got thousands of things that these things can do for you,” he continued. “It becomes one of the most important parts of your day.”
Soon enough, consumers — who waste millions of hours commuting to and from work — will be able to speak to their connected cars and ask them to order food for when they arrive at home or send gifts to relatives, Kittlaus said, adding that speech is roughly seven times faster than typing.
“It’s absolutely going to happen,” he said. “Once you use that, you don’t go back to the old way, right?”
Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer and founder of Facebook Inc., listens during the Viva Technology conference in Paris, France, on Thursday, May 24, 2018.
Facebook shares finished Tuesday at $132.43, up slightly from $131.55 on Monday, the company’s lowest closing share price in nearly 22 months.
The decline comes after yet another major scandal for Facebook in what has been a tumultuous year for the company. After peaking in July, shares of the tech company are down almost 40 percent.
Facebook shares are getting crushed — Here’s what three experts say investors should know 9 Hours Ago | 05:08
Here’s a list of the numerous mistakes, scandals and other events in 2018 that have pummeled Facebook’s stock price into its current spiral.
News Feed changes
Facebook’s first big share price fall came in January when the company on announced major changes to news feed, one of its top products. Those changes included prioritizing content from users’ friends and family over content from brands they follow.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he expected that the time users spend on Facebook and their engagement with the service would decline as a result. Those warnings sent Wall Street into a panic, with the company’s share price closing down more than 4 percent on Jan. 12. The drop slashed Facebook’s market value by $24.5 billion, which is more than the total value of Twitter.
Facebook shares experienced a similar slide in March when the New York Times and The Guardian reported how Cambridge Analytica, a British political consulting firm, had exploited Facebook to collect the data of more than 50 million users without their permission. Cambridge Analytica was then used by the Trump campaign in 2016 to target voters.
Facebook tried to get ahead of the reports by suspending the consulting firm on March 16, but the reports’ still had impact. The company’s share price closed down nearly 7 percent on March 19, the next day of trading, and Facebook’s market value fell by more than $36 billion, nearly twice the total market cap Snap held at that time.
Zuckerberg accepts Washington’s invitation
Facebook shares fell almost 5 percent on March 27 when reports broke that Zuckerberg had decided to testify before Congress. The decision came as pressure mounted on Facebook, following the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Just one day prior, the Federal Trade Commission announced that it would investigate Facebook’s data practices.
The day cost Facebook’s market cap nearly $23 billion. That’s almost three times how much Macy’s was valued at the time.
Facebook reveals its community standards
Facebook’s share price fell by almost 4 percent on April 24 after the company published its rules that outline what content that is not allowed on its social network.
The Community Standards were published as Facebook continued to clean up its services of harmful content, such as misinformation, hate speech and spam. The document was released one day before Facebook’s first earnings report since the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
Facebook saw its market value sink nearly $18 billion that day, which is a little more than the total value of Dish Network at the time.
Facebook has seen a flurry of top executives leave the company throughout 2018. It’s tough to quantify the effect that these departures have had on the company’s share price, but one in particular had an impact.
The first was the departure of Jan Koum, the co-founder of WhatsApp. The company’s stock price fell by almost 1 percent on April 30 after Koum announced his exit. Koum was one of Facebook’s top shareholders after selling WhatsApp to the social network in 2014 for $19 billion.
Facebook’s market cap floundered by almost $5 billion that day, the equivalent of Foot Locker’s total value at the time.
It sounds incredibly dystopian, and like a nod to Spike Jonze’s 2013 movie Her, but Viv Labs CEO Dag Kittlaus shared his quirky-sounding vision for the future of gadgets and machines during a discussion this week as part of the Samsung Developer Conference. One day, he imagines, you’re going to make a tech purchase of some kind, take it home, pull it out of the box, plug it in — and it’s just going to start talking to you. Politely, like a friend, in a kind of high-tech superseding of the days when you had to navigate start menus and read instructions. It will just know who you are, what you like (thanks to pre-loaded data), and will ask you what you want to do next.
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“I have a vision — and I think a lot of us here at Samsung share this vision — where it’s not just about buying a cool, shiny object anymore,” said Kittlaus, who’s also a co-creator of Apple’s Siri. “I can imagine a day where every time you buy a Samsung product, you literally take it out of the box, plug it in, authenticate yourself somehow and it says, ‘Hi Spike, how’s it going today? I just downloaded your favorite preferences. Do you have any questions on how to use me?”
The reference to Spike was because Jonze himself, along with Samsung CMO Marc Mathieu, were onstage with Kittlaus, who painted an ambitious future for a company that makes and ships 500 million TVs, dishwashers, appliances and other gadgets each year.
“It knows you,” Kittlaus continued, as reported by VentureBeat, “and that is sort of the first step toward moving from, ‘Wow, this is a really cool, shiny new device’ to creating an emotional relationship with a brand or a company that has gone so far as to take these ideas and really turn them into products, where it just makes you feel good when you pull it out of the box. And it knows you, and it knows your past and it can help you.”
It’s yet another radical vision of the future to come out of Samsung’s conference this week, the highlight of which has arguably been its long-awaited reveal of a foldable smartphone display. Samsung, however, also showed off a new version of its Bixby virtual assistant that’s based on technology developed by Kittlaus’ Viv Labs. Samsung’s mobile chief DJ Koh reiterated the 500 million shipments figure during the conference, and when you couple that with the company committing to put AI into all of its devices over the next two years, you quickly see how comments and ideas like Kittlaus’ this week shouldn’t be ignored. As he sees it, it’s a matter of when, not if, we’ll find it utter commonplace to talk to most, if not all, of our tech gadgets.