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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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Wedding attack and tech: How OpenText’s investigations service beats the traditional approach

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At its heart, an investigation is a hunt for relevant facts in order to tell a story — a story that drives strategies for organizations, including law firms.

Tracy Drynan, head of OpenText Recon Investigations — a seamless end-to-end service that helps companies and law firms find evidence for all types of investigations including internal investigations, litigation assessments, compliance and regulatory investigations, c-suite vetting and more — says these stories are a more powerful tool than most people think.

The team led by Drynan arms both in-house and external counsel with the information needed to guide their corporate and outside lawyers with the information needed to guide their clients: an investigation empowers them. What differentiates OpenText Recon is the speed with which the team utilizes specialized tools and workflows to efficiently locate evidence. This approach gains insights into patterns, gaps and relationships in a fraction of the cost of a traditional eDiscovery review, and more quickly gathers the relevant facts to create that critical story.

“Whether it be litigation or a regulatory investigation or an internal audit, often time is of the essence,” Drynan says. “Being able to make decisions that affect your bottom line, your liability, your risks which ultimately challenge your resources, even public opinion, is critical.”

Too often, an archaic model is applied to investigations — one derived when we still existed in a paper society — that analyzes all available information but doesn’t actively hunt for relevant facts, and that produces a disconnect. An efficient model does not need to analyze every piece of information.

“It’s flawed for this reason,” Drynan says. “When you review a set of information, even when you apply advanced analytics and information retrieval science, it is still at the end bucketed for a team to analyze it contiguously. In a way, we are still following the pre-electronic paradigm — we are reviewing almost paper documents one by one, and that unfortunately is handicapping both the talent and the technology in the hunt for the facts.”

While lawyers may make a living hunting facts and building narratives, Drynan would argue their approach could be improved and points out that many of the companies hired by firms to help out during an investigation still apply that outdated model. OpenText Recon breaks that pattern and approaches the hunt differently — they don’t compartmentalize anything, which means the team can identify patterns more easily. Those patterns become the clues, which become the facts, that become the story that allow lawyers to make those critical decisions. The result is not a stack of documents, but a more nuanced report outlining the important facts to analyze.

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Canada takes aim at Netflix, Airbnb in $6.5B big-tech tax plan

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Canada’s federal government is planning to force foreign-based technology firms such as Netflix Inc. and Airbnb Inc. to charge their users a sales tax in a move aimed at boosting the government’s coffers by as much as $6.5 billion over the next five years. 

The new taxation plans, outlined in the government’s Fall Economic Statement, attempt to level the playing field between Canadian companies and foreign-based digital corporations that were largely exempt from paying federal sales taxes. Some provinces — such as Saskatchewan, British Columbia, and Quebec — introduced taxes on streaming services like Netflix earlier this year. 

The government announced Monday that any foreign-based company selling digital products or services to consumers in Canada will be required to collect and remit the Goods and Services Tax or Harmonized Sales Tax. The new tax changes are proposed to begin on July 1, 2021. 

“Canadians want a tax system that is fair, where everyone pays their fair share, so the government has the resources it needs to invest in people and keep our economy strong. That is why we are moving ahead with implementing GST/HST on multinational digital giants and limiting stock option deductions in the largest companies,” said Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, in prepared remarks. 

“And Canada will act unilaterally, if necessary … to apply a tax on large multinational digital corporations, so they pay their fair share just like any other company operating in Canada.”

Those taxes will include any sales on products or services made through digital marketplace platforms, sales to Canadians of goods that are located in Canadian fulfillment warehouses, as well as any companies whose platforms help to facilitate short-term rental accommodations in Canada. 

However, the new taxation moves wouldn’t see streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon.com Inc.’s Prime Video, Walt Disney Co.’s Disney+, and Spotify Technology SA meet certain Canadian-content requirements, something the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission​ recommended be adopted rather than introduce new tax measures in a wide-ranging report released earlier this year. 

The CRTC estimates that those streaming services record annual revenue of roughly $5 billion, according to its most recent financial data. The federal broadcast regulator said in January that Ottawa should require foreign streaming services to invest in local programming rather than “digital taxes” that would likely get passed down to consumers. 

“It is more appropriate to establish a regime that requires such online streaming services that benefit from operating in Canada to invest in Canadian programming that they believe will attract and appeal to Canadians,” the report said. 

Ottawa will also consider new corporate-level taxes for foreign-owned digital corporations and is working with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development to develop a framework it expects to provide further details on in the next budget. It expects the new measure will result in $3.4 billion in new tax revenue over the next five years once it is introduced sometime in 2022. 

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RevoluGROUP Canada Inc. RevoluPAY To Pursue Dubai Financial Services Authority PSP License

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia(GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — RevoluGROUP Canada Inc. (TSX-V: REVO), (Frankfurt: IJA2) (the “Company”) is pleased to announce that it has dispatched Company advisor Erik A. Lara Riveros to pursue the petition of a Payment Service Provider (“PSP”) Money Service Business License in the Dubai International Financial Centre (“DIFC”) from the Dubai Financial Services Authority.

Corporate Rational For a PSP License in Dubai

In May 2020, RevoluPAY was granted the European PSD2 license. In September, RevoluPAY received Pan-European passporting approval to operate in 27 E.U. countries. The Company has further expanded its international open banking reach through definitive agreements (“DA”) with BBVA, Flutterwave, and Thunes. Additionally, via direct PSD2 SEPA passporting, the Company added sixty-eight countries and territories to its financial operations roster. In November, the Company submitted petitions for both the analogous United States MSB licenses and the Canadian FINTRAC license. The MEASA region of the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia is a significant financial hub that necessitates exposure for both financial operations and a strategic base for the region’s operations. The Company considers the DIFC an excellent regional hub, having introduced robust legislation for payment services providers (“PSP”) like RevoluPAY.

Furthermore, DIFC conveniently fills the timezone gap for a global financial center between London and New York’s leading financial centers in the West and Hong Kong and Tokyo in the East. Company advisor Erik A. Lara Riveros is duly accredited with the Dubai Financial Services Authority, which should aid the Company’s plans to obtain the Dubai PSP license and establish a corporate financial hub in the region. The Company has diligently prepared all required documentation, and Mr. Lara Riveros arrives in Dubai on the 4th of December 2020 to initiate the license petition process. The global operations of RevoluPAY expect to benefit from the multi timezone capability garnered from a supplementary and PSP licensed subsidiary domiciled in the MEASA region.

License Sought in Dubai

The Company intends to pursue the Category 3D license, which covers the following activities, “Providing or Operating a Payment Account, executing Payment Transactions or Issuing Payment Instruments, including creating and maintaining accounts for executing payment transactions, issuance of personalized sets of procedures agreed upon by the users and the provider, for initiation or execution of payment instructions.”

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