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What’s Next for Smartphones? Samsung’s New Galaxy Line Offers a Few Answers

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SAN FRANCISCO — It’s hard to imagine how smartphones could get much better. Most are already zippy and equipped with jumbo screens, powerful cameras and face scanners.

So what else can we look forward to?

It turns out, plenty. For a peek at the future of the phone, look to Samsung, the world’s largest handset maker. On Wednesday, the South Korean company showed off a family of four new Galaxy phones that incorporate new technologies and features that may start spreading to other smartphones.

Of the four new devices, one will work on next-generation ultrafast 5G cellular networks, which means it can download a movie in seconds rather than minutes. Three of the models will have slightly larger screens and more complex camera systems than their predecessors.

And Samsung is also teasing a fifth device that can be folded and unfolded like a book to decrease or increase the phone’s screen size to suit its owner. It is expected to be available in the United States on April 26 and in Europe on May 3.

There’s a lot to unpack here. Here’s what you need to know about what’s coming with screen sizes, cameras, 5G and the elusive foldable phone.

Many phone makers, including Samsung, Apple and Google, have focused on making screens larger without adding bulk to their bodies. To do this, they stretched the screens from one edge to another while shrinking the bezels, or the borders surrounding the screen.

Samsung is continuing this trend. Its new Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus phones have 6.1-inch and 6.4-inch displays, up from the 5.8-inch and 6.2-inch screens on last year’s Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus. Even though the screens are bigger, Samsung said, the devices’ body sizes are more compact than their predecessors.

The company also unveiled the Galaxy S10 5G, its first phone to work with 5G networks, which will have a jumbo 6.7-inch screen. In addition, it showed the Galaxy S10E, a model with a 5.8-inch display in a body that is smaller than the S9’s, for people who prefer more compact devices.

Why would you want a bigger screen? When upgrading devices, people are increasingly gravitating toward phones with larger displays. Many feel that they are getting more bang for the buck with bigger screens, as studies have shown that people spend more time using apps, watching videos and browsing the web on big-screen phones.

Samsung first showed a prototype of its foldable phone at a conference for software developers last year. When folded up, it looked like a phone with a small screen, and once unfolded, the screen doubled in size.

At a media event on Wednesday, Samsung shared some details about its foldable device, Galaxy Fold. It has two screens — a smaller one and a larger one — with a hinge in the middle containing multiple interlocking gears. When folded up, the viewable screen measures 4.6 inches. Unfolding the device reveals its 7.3-inch display, which is the size of a tablet screen.

Samsung said it was working with Google, YouTube and others to develop apps that seamlessly transition between a single screen when folded up and the double screens in unfolded mode.

You may want a foldable phone if you love tablet computers. Plenty of people enjoy using tablets like Apple’s iPad and Amazon’s Fire Tablet for their roomy screens that are upward of seven inches diagonally. That makes watching videos, reading books and playing games more enjoyable. The downside is that tablets are so large that they aren’t pocketable. A foldable phone, in theory, will let people have a tablet that can be folded up and carried in a pocket.

Other phone makers are expected to jump on this trend. Huawei, the Chinese telecommunications giant, posted an image on Twitter this month teasing a foldable phone that will be unveiled at Mobile World Congress, the tech trade show in Barcelona, next week.

Foldable phones raise plenty of questions. When folded, the device becomes thicker in the pocket, which might make it bulky and uncomfortable. And it’s unclear whether making the displays bendable also makes them more fragile when dropped.

Many newer smartphones include multiple camera lenses that let you produce different camera effects. For example, last year’s iPhone XS included a rear camera with dual lenses; the two lenses worked together to blur the background while sharpening a subject in the foreground, producing what’s known as the bokeh effect.

Samsung’s new Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus take this up another notch. Both include a triple camera system arranged horizontally on the back of the phone. The left lens is for zooming, the middle lens contains the main camera, and the right lens features a brand-new ultrawide angle lens for capturing broader shots, like landscapes or a big group gathering at Thanksgiving dinner.

What’s more, the Galaxy S10 5G will have a fourth camera for depth-sensing, which will enable richer augmented-reality applications that use data to digitally manipulate the physical world when people look through the smartphone lens.

Expect other companies to keep beefing up the number of cameras this year. Apple also plans to add another camera to some of its next iPhones, according to a person briefed on the company’s plans, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the details are confidential. Apple declined to comment.

Samsung’s new Galaxy S10 5G will be one of the first phones to work with 5G wireless networks, which are a successor to current 4G networks. These new networks will introduce internet speeds so fast that devices will be able to download high-quality videos in a few seconds.

But contain your excitement for now. The carriers are still far from deploying a broad 5G network. AT&T said it should have 5G deployed in 21 cities in the first half of this year. Verizon Wireless just did its first 5G data test on a smartphone late last year. There isn’t expected to be much traction for the new cellular technology until 2020.

And even when 5G does reach your hometown, there may be confusion about it. In a controversial move, AT&T said that it planned to give different flavors of 5G different names: 5G+ will be the fastest speed taking advantage of brand-new infrastructure, and 5GE will essentially be a faster version of 4G using upgraded 4G equipment.

Gordon Mansfield, an AT&T executive, said the labels would be helpful indicators for people with 5G phones. The 5GE icon on a phone screen will inform them they have speeds that are faster than the current 4G networks, and the 5G+ indicator will mean they are getting the fastest speeds possible, he said.

Also unclear is how much it will cost for people to buy 5G access — and whether the tremendous speeds will encourage consumers to burn through their cellular data faster than they did with slower technologies. The carriers have yet to announce pricing for data plans using 5G.

[What is 5G? Here’s what you need to know about the new network.]

Yes, in the high-end phone market, where Samsung and Apple compete. The Galaxy Fold, which arrives in stores late April, will cost $1,980.

Samsung has not announced pricing of the Galaxy S10 5G, though the device is expected to top $1,000, in part because of its 5G compatibility and depth-sensing camera lens.

For Samsung’s phones with more incremental changes, prices are also up.

Prices start at $750 for the Galaxy S10E, $900 for the S10 and $1,000 for the S10 Plus. Compare that with the S9 and S9 Plus, which started at $720 and $840.

Carolina Milanesi, an analyst at Creative Strategies, said she was doubtful that prices could go up much more in the near-term. The $749 iPhone XR, which despite rave reviews has not sold as robustly as some had anticipated, demonstrated that consumers may have hit a threshold.

“We’re getting to a point where people will say, you know what, the technology is enough for me — I might want a different phone, but I don’t want more,” she said.

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Trudeau Government Should Turn to Sustainable Floor Heating In Its New Deal

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A consortium has been chosen by Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) to manage the $1.1-billion overhaul of five heating and cooling plants in the National Capital Region. However, this decision has been met with a lot of disapproval by the country’s largest federal public service union.

Early June, the department announced that Innovate Energy has been awarded the 30-year contract “to design, retrofit, maintain and operate the plants,”winning the bid over a rival group that included SNC-Lavalin.

Minister of Environment, Catherine McKenna, said the federal government was “leading by example” in its bid to drastically reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions across the country. McKenna noted that by supporting this project, they’re utilizing heating and cooling infrastructure to promote a more environmentally friendly option.

“We’re very proud that our government is working with partners like Innovate Energy to modernize this critical infrastructure,” she said during the announcement at one of the facilities that will be upgraded, the Cliff Heating and Cooling Plant in downtown Ottawa.

The plants would be known as the district energy system and would heat 80 buildings in the area with steam. It is also expected to cool 67 of these buildings with chilled water through more than 14 kilometres of underground pipes.

Under the Energy Services Acquisition Program, PSPC will be tasked with modernizing the outdated technology in the plants to lower emissions and supportgrowth in the eco-friendly technology sector.

During the first stage of the overhaul, the system would be converted from steam to low temperature hot water and then switched from steam to electric chillers—with the estimated completion date being 2025. PSPC notes that the project will reduce current emissions by 63 per cent, the equivalent of removing 14,000 non-eco-friendly cars off the road.

Afterwards, the natural gas powering the plant will then be replaced by carbon-neutral fuel sources, which according to estimated will reduce emissions by a further 28 per cent. The renovation project is bound to save the government an estimated fee of more than $750 million in heating and cooling costs in the next 40 years.

Furthermore, the implementation of radiant floor heating in Ottawa by the federal government would be an additional step in driving its agenda for a more eco-friendly state.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Savers website, radiant floor heating has a lot of benefits and advantages over alternate heat systems and can cut heating costs by 25 to 50 per cent.

“It is more efficient than baseboard heating and usually more efficient than forced-air heating because no energy is lost through ducts,” the website states.

Radiant floor heating provides an equal amount of heat throughout a building, including areas that are difficult to heat, such as rooms with vaulted ceilings, garages or bathrooms. Consideringit warms people and objects directly—controlling the direct heat loss of the occupant—radiant floor heating provides comfort at lower thermostat settings.

“Radiators and other forms of ‘point’ heating circulate heat inefficiently and hence need to run for longer periods to obtain comfort levels,” reports the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNet).

Radiant heating is a clean and healthy option—a perfect choice for those with severe allergies—as it doesn’t rely on circulating air, meaning there are no potentially irritating particles blowing around the room. Additionally, it is more energy efficient, aesthetically pleasing with wall radiators or floor registers and virtually noiseless when in operation.

“They draw cold air across the floor and send warm air up to the ceiling, where it then falls, heating the room from the top down, creating drafts and circulating dust and allergens.”

It is important for the leadership in Ottawa to equally drive the adoption of radiant floor heating as doing this would lead to increased usage in residential buildings—and even government-owned buildings.

However, in October, the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), a representative body of employees of the plants,began a campaign target at the government against their decision to use a public-private partnership (P3) for the retrofitting project, citing concerns about costs and safety.

According to the union, outside employees won’t be bound to the same health and safety standards of government workers and that typically P3 projects cost a lot more than traditional public financing deals.

The union demands that the government scraps the proposed project and meet PSAC members and experts to brainstorm on a new way forward that would ensure federal employees continue to operate and maintain the plants.

However, parliamentary secretary to public services and procurement minister, Steve MacKinnon said that the union officials have consulted him but that after conducting an analysis, the P3 option was still the best for the job.

“We didn’t have (to) sacrifice on safety or health — we didn’t have to sacrifice on job security,” he said.

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Steps to becoming a Data Scientist

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Data science has become one of the most in-demand career paths in this century, according to Business Insider. With the amount of information being circulated online, it has created a huge demand for storing, interpreting and implementing big data for different purposes—hence the need for a data scientist.

Today, there too much information flying around for regular people to process efficiently and use. Therefore, it has become the responsibility of data scientists to collect, organize and analyze this data. Doing this helps various people, organizations, enterprise businesses and governments to manage, store and interpret this data for different purposes.

Though data scientists come from different educational backgrounds, a majority of them need to have a technical educational background. To pursue a career in data science, computer-related majors, graduations and post graduations in maths and statistics are quite useful.

Therefore, the steps to becoming a data scientist are quite straightforward.  After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in an IT related field—such as computer science, maths or physics—you can also further your education by obtaining a master’s degree in a data science or any other related field of study. With the necessary educational background, you can now search for a job and obtain the required experience in whichever filed you choose to invest your acquired skills.

Here are the necessary steps to be taken to become a data scientist.

Step 1: Obtain the necessary educational requirements

As earlier noted, different educational paths can still lead to a career in data science. However, it is impossible to begin a career in data science without obtaining a collegiate degree—as a four-year bachelor’s degree is really important. However, according to a report by Business Insider, over 73% of data scientist in existence today have a graduate degree and about 38% of them hold a Ph.D. Therefore, to rise above the crowd and get a high-end position in the field of data science, it is important to have a Master’s degree or a Ph.D.—and with various online data science masters program, obtaining one is quite easy.

Some institutions provide data science programs with courses that will equip students to analyze complex sets of data. These courses also involve a host of technical information about computers, statistics, data analysis techniques and many more. Completing these programs equips you with the necessary skills to function adequately as a data scientist.

Additionally, there are some technical—and computer-based degrees—that can aid you begin a career in data science. Some of them include studies in, Computer Science, Statistics, Social Science, Physics, Economics, Mathematics and Applied Math. These degrees will imbibe some important skills related to data science in you—namely, coding, experimenting, managing large amounts of data, solving quantitative problems and many others.

Step 2: Choose an area of specialization

There rarely exists an organization, agency or business today that doesn’t require the expertise of a data scientist. Hence, it is important that after acquiring the necessary education to start a career as a data scientist, you need to choose an area of specialization in the field you wish to work in.

Some of the specializations that exist in data science today include automotive, marketing, business, defence, sales, negotiation, insurance and many others.

Step 3: Kick start your career as a data scientist

After acquiring the necessary skills to become a data scientist, it is important to get a job in the filed and company of your choice where you can acquire some experience.

Many organizations offer valuable training to their data scientists and these pieces of training are typically centred around the specific internal systems and programs of an organization. Partaking in this training allows you learn some high-level analytical skills that were not taught during your various school programs—especially since data science is a constantly evolving field.

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Artificial intelligence pioneers win tech’s ‘Nobel Prize’

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Computers have become so smart during the past 20 years that people don’t think twice about chatting with digital assistants like Alexa and Siri or seeing their friends automatically tagged in Facebook pictures.

But making those quantum leaps from science fiction to reality required hard work from computer scientists like Yoshua Bengio, Geoffrey Hinton and Yann LeCun. The trio tapped into their own brainpower to make it possible for machines to learn like humans, a breakthrough now commonly known as “artificial intelligence,” or AI.

Their insights and persistence were rewarded Wednesday with the Turing Award, an honor that has become known as technology industry’s version of the Nobel Prize. It comes with a $1 million prize funded by Google, a company where AI has become part of its DNA.

The award marks the latest recognition of the instrumental role that artificial intelligence will likely play in redefining the relationship between humanity and technology in the decades ahead.

Artificial intelligence is now one of the fastest-growing areas in all of science and one of the most talked-about topics in society,” said Cherri Pancake, president of the Association for Computing Machinery, the group behind the Turing Award.

Although they have known each other for than 30 years, Bengio, Hinton and LeCun have mostly worked separately on technology known as neural networks. These are the electronic engines that power tasks such as facial and speech recognition, areas where computers have made enormous strides over the past decade. Such neural networks also are a critical component of robotic systems that are automating a wide range of other human activity, including driving.

Their belief in the power of neural networks was once mocked by their peers, Hinton said. No more. He now works at Google as a vice president and senior fellow while LeCun is chief AI scientist at Facebook. Bengio remains immersed in academia as a University of Montreal professor in addition to serving as scientific director at the Artificial Intelligence Institute in Quebec.

“For a long time, people thought what the three of us were doing was nonsense,” Hinton said in an interview with The Associated Press. “They thought we were very misguided and what we were doing was a very surprising thing for apparently intelligent people to waste their time on. My message to young researchers is, don’t be put off if everyone tells you what are doing is silly.” Now, some people are worried that the results of the researchers’ efforts might spiral out of control.

While the AI revolution is raising hopes that computers will make most people’s lives more convenient and enjoyable, it’s also stoking fears that humanity eventually will be living at the mercy of machines.

Bengio, Hinton and LeCun share some of those concerns especially the doomsday scenarios that envision AI technology developed into weapons systems that wipe out humanity.

But they are far more optimistic about the other prospects of AI empowering computers to deliver more accurate warnings about floods and earthquakes, for instance, or detecting health risks, such as cancer and heart attacks, far earlier than human doctors.

“One thing is very clear, the techniques that we developed can be used for an enormous amount of good affecting hundreds of millions of people,” Hinton said.

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