Author Archives: iqbal

Why the Smartwatch Trend is Here to Stay

The growing trend of buying Smartwatches reveals the changing consumer behaviour. World’s technology giants like Apple, Garmin, Vivoactive, Samsung Gear etc. have introduced their own smartwatches to club with their smartphones or other compatible devices. As stated by the director of Android Wear, David Singleton, in the next 50 years of time everyone would learn to live a life with wearable technology and all of us would be living like this. The rising demand of smartwatches has immersed with the growing need of consumers. People demand a gadget which can keep them accountable, and fitness monitors are a bonus for most. This leads them to invest in wearable devices like Fitness bands and Smartwatches.

What Does the Current Trend Say

If the facts and figures are to be believed, the smartwatch technology will witness a tremendous growth and will amount to 70% of the total wearable technology shipments by 2019. As per another data published by International Data Corporation (IDC), the shipment of wearable devices has seen a whopping increase of 67.2% since 2015, which is quite a big number.

Another study made by Garner Inc. points on the same lines and it says that smartwatches sales is on a rising trend currently. As per the same forecast, the total sales of wearable electronic devices would be about 274.6 million units globally by the end of 2016, which clearly indicates 18.4% increase in sales compared to 2015 when 232 million units were sold globally. As far as the revenue generation is concerned, wearable electronics will generate $28.7 billion in the year 2016 in which $11.5 billion would be fetched only by smartwatch business.

With big players like Apple and Samsung investing resources in research and development of hi-tech devices, the user base would increase by 48% in 2017 as compared to 2015, a big move indeed. The increased sales of smartphones would also indirectly boost the sales of smartwatches as both are connected!

Currently smartwatches segment is explored by only a small section of the society as it comes under premium gadget category. Soon, it will penetrate strongly in the urban market as the rates are competitive as many big and small companies are bringing in this gadget to Indian market. Chinese players are also doing their best by introducing feature packed smartwatches in affordable range and forming a habit of using it in Indian market.

Why Smartwatches?

Smartwatches are quiet useful because of their versatile features. They have different apps that can be very useful while working outdoors, travelling, workouts etc. Some carry a camera which stays on the strap of the watch to take pictures with ease. Smartwatches are now available for Android, Windows and iOS platforms, which are the most popular operating systems for smartphones.

Without having to pull out their phone often, users can answer calls, send messages, store pictures and navigate. The trend suggests that smartwatches will be the future as it is the only way when things can go really online and automation can be rooted to its best.

Popular Read:  How to Truly Attract the Right Talent to Your Business

Top Smartwatch Brands in 2016

There are a lot many smartwatch makers now, as mentioned above. The market still remains to be dominated by a few key players, here are the top 4 of them

Apple Watch

This smartwatch is offered by technology leader Apple. Its design has set a trend in the fashion industry. With the best quality and design, it is available in both 38 mm and 42 mm. It has intelligent interface and has battery capacity of one day. Apple Smartwatch has a compact design and is equipped with all the latest features.

Samsung Gear S2

Samsung smartwatch is leading the industry with its Rotating Bexel, Tizen Operating System, Amoled screen and stylish design. The screen of Samsung smartwatch has Amoled display and is sharp, vivacious and circular. It has a storage capacity of 4GB and has dual core 1.0Ghz processor. Its IP rating is IP68 and has Wi-Fi, NFC and Bluetooth connectivity.

Moto 360

Moto smartwatch has attractive design and it offers great performance. It has a modular feature and comes with different size options which makes it is very comfortable to wear. The storage capacity of this smartwatch is 4 GB and has Quad core 1.2GHz processor. Its battery can last for 1.5- 2 days and is compatible with Android and iOS.

Pebble Time

This smartwatch has excellent features and battery life. It can keep charged for up to 10 days. It also carries intuitive interface and color Ink display. The design of this smartwatch is sleek and is supported by more than 6000 apps. It has water-resistant feature and is comfortable to wear. This smartwatch is available in multiple color variants, Black, Grey, orange, White and Red. It shows notifications for calls, messages and emails. It can work with different types of fitness apps and also has e-Paper display which allows user to read comfortably in sunlight.

Why Project Management Tools Must Change

Personal productivity tools make managing your own workload easier. And project management tools help with wrangling group work. But there’s a big gap between th

Think about all the tasks on your plate for the next week or so. Some of those tasks belong only to you. They’re your responsibility, and you’re the one tracking their deadlines. Some probably belong to a personal project of yours, and some are just one-off tasks that need to get done. Also, some of your tasks are probably part of group projects. On these tasks, a company leader or project manager also monitors your progress, and your work impacts others.

Hopefully, you’re already using a good personal information manager to enhance your productivity. Because of the scope and complexity of knowledge work today, online PIMs like Outlook or the Apple suite (Calendar, Address Book, Reminders, Apple Mail) are good choices.

Beyond your personal productivity system, chances are you also have to use your company’s project management tools when you’re involved in group projects. Some popular examples of these tools are Microsoft Project, Asana, Basecamp and Trello.

Here’s where the problem comes in. If you have to check both your personal task manager and your company’s project management tool for everything you have to do, that’s inefficient. You might feel like you’re spending more time tracking your work than actually doing it. But, at the same time, leaders do need to manage group project deadlines, and it’s valuable for everyone to be able to see the current status of a project.

Imagining Better Project Management Tools

We need better solutions — and I’m surprised they don’t exist yet. Why, for example, didn’t Microsoft create better integration between Project and Outlook tasks?

Ideally, I’d like to see project management tools that seamlessly sync completed tasks between personal information management tools and project management tools. The project management tool sync tasks  to an individual employee’s personal task manager, while still allowing the rest of the group to see the task and its status. In the personal task manager, the employee could assign whatever alarms, categories, contexts and personal due dates to the task that suit her. When the task changes status, this status change is synced back to the project management tool. This would require syncing at the specific task level.

Another solution would be project management tools that do a good job handling both individual tasks and tasks related to group projects. The tools on the market I’ve seen that do both of these things are complicated and are not intuitive for people to pick up on their own. They are more enterprise-level and require both technical training and training on the workflow behind the tool. They also typically rely on the project to drive the work, which requires users to contort their tasks to fit a project: for example, some people create a “project” called “personal,” which isn’t really a project at all, but it’s the only way to manage personal tasks in a project management tool. Instead in my tool-utopia, when a task is entered, the user could assign whether or not that task is part of a project, and whether that project is a group project (with a status to be shared by the tool with others) or a personal project that no one else needs to see.

Until something changes, though, we’re stuck with the extra work of tracking our tasks both in our personal systems and in project management tools for the benefit of our teams. It’s a roadblock to greater efficiency that I hope will be overcome soon.

e two, and that’s a problem.

Bacterial Spores Power Small Engine

DSC-CR0416_08

A car that runs on bacteria? It might not be quite the kind of car you’re imagining, but researchers report they have built a rotary engine powered by bacterial spores.

A spore lengthens as it soaks up water from the air and shortens with evaporation. To harvest energy from those natural movements, biophysicist Ozgur Sahin and his Columbia University colleagues glued spores to both sides of small tapes, shown in yellow. When dry, the spores make the tapes curl; in humid surroundings, they stretch out.

The team arranged about 100 tapes evenly around a wheel scaffold and encased it in a moist shell that covers half of the wheel. After they rigged it up to a toylike car that weighs as little as a small apple, their contraption, reported in Nature Communications, actually propelled the car — albeit at less than 4 inches per minute.

Forms Self-Driving Car Alliance

he top Chinese Internet search firm, has formed a broad alliance to promote self-driving cars, pitting its Apollo platform against Alphabet Inc’s system, it said on Wednesday, in hopes of getting the vehicles on the road in China by 2019.

The alliance includes partnerships with automakers, suppliers, startups, universities and local governments and is built around Baidu’s Apollo self-driving platform, which was developed at itstech center in California’s Silicon Valley. Apollo is aimed at Alphabet’s Waymo self-driving package.

Among the key development partners on Apollo are Nvidia, which specializes in microprocessors and artificial intelligence, and mapping expert TomTom NV.

In mid-morning trade, Nvidia shares were up 2.6 percent to $142.94 and Baidu US shares rose 2.3 percent to $184.15. In Amsterdam, TomTom was up 3.2 percent to EUR 8.85.

Ford Motor and Daimler AG also are partners, Baidu said, as well as supplier Delphi Automotive and chipmaker Intel.

Baidu said at a briefing in Beijing it is partnering with five Chinese vehicle manufacturers, including Chery Automobile, BAIC Motor, FAW Group Corp, Chongqing Changan Automobile and Great Wall Motor. All but Great Wall are state-owned.

German suppliers Robert Bosch, Continental Automotive and ZF Friedrichshafen are also part of the alliance.

Baidu has said its goal is to get self-driving vehicles on the road in China, possibly by 2019, and eventually in other markets, including the United States.

Baidu is an investor in Nio, a Silicon Valley electric vehicle startup also backed by China’s Tencent Holdings and Lenovo. Nio hopes to put its first self-driving cars on US roads in 2020.

Two weeks ago, top officials from Baidu and Chery met in Silicon Valley to sign an agreement to collaborate on the development of intelligent, Internet-connected vehicles, according to a source familiar with the companies’ plans.

Chery has installed Baidu’s self-driving software in several prototype cars in China and they could further deepen their relationship to include manufacturing.

Think back to the mobile phone you owned before 2007

It probably looked something like this: A silver clamshell device with numeric keys on the bottom and a low-resolution screen on the top. It probably had a simple camera, a calendar, and was capable of running a few basic games, but you used it primarily for voice calls and texting. In the early 2000s you might have upgraded to a BlackBerry 6210 — a favorite among text-obsessed teens and corporate employees tied to their email inboxes.

But in 2007 the cellphone industry was sundered. In hindsight, there is only before and after the iPhone. “An iPod, a phone, and an Internet communicator,” Steve Jobs famously said on stage at Macworld in 2007 when unveiling the first iPhone. “Are you getting it? These are not three separate devices. This is one device.”

The original iPhone, which went on sale 10 years ago on June 29, laid the foundation for the modern smartphone, forever changing the way we access the world’s information. It introduced two very important concepts that would remain at the core of mobile computers for years to come: the touch screen and the App Store. “The iPhone wouldn’t be what it is, and the smartphone industry wouldn’t be what it is, if you didn’t have a combination between two of those,” says Gene Munster, managing partner at Loup Ventures who previously spent 21 years covering Apple and the tech industry at Piper Jaffray.

So-called smartphones existed before the iPhone, but many of them were unwieldy and expensive. IBM’s Simon, which launched in 1994 and is widely regarded as the world’s first smartphone, had a touch screen and even supported basic applications like email, an alarm clock, a to-do list and faxing. But it weighed more than a pound, cost around $1,000, and wasn’t very intuitive.

With a dynamic touch-friendly interface and a central repository for discovering new applications, the iPhone was unlike any other mobile device. But the influence of the App Store — which launched in July 2008 to support the iPhone 3G’s release a few months before Android’s own marketplace debuted — can’t be overstated. It’s the reason we can summon taxis without speaking a word, dispatch magically disappearing photos and transfer digital payments with the press of a button. The Ubers, Snapchats and Venmos of the world wouldn’t exist without smartphones, and the iPhone was and remains the category’s foundation.

Read more: The 50 Most Influential Gadgets of All Time

Together, the iPhone and the App Store established the idea that an electronic device needn’t be functionally rigid: just a phone, or just a camera, or just a handheld gaming console. Today’s smartphones are computational Swiss army knives, capable of everything from turn-by-turn driving directions to housing all our work-related documents. But dubbing smartphones mere “pocket-sized computers” is too reductive, argues Munster. “[The iPhone] was more than a computer, because a computer wasn’t a camera, it wasn’t GPS, it wasn’t an MP3 player,” he says. “The illustration that it became a computer in your pocket really doesn’t sum it up.”

After the iPhone’s launch, smartphones quickly adopted slick, candy-bar shaped frames with touch screens. Google famously rebuilt its first Android phone from the ground up after Apple’s keynote. “Holy crap, I guess we’re not going to ship that phone,” said Android creator Andy Rubin after watching the presentation, according to journalist Fred Vogelstein in his book Dogfight: How Apple and Google Went to War and Started a Revolution.

The iPhone did more than change the way cellphones were designed, it both revitalized and redefined the category. It carved out the notion that technology could be a status symbol, and with each iteration somehow elevated its allure such that buyers were willing to pay boutique prices. The original iPhone started at $500, while competing phones like the T-Mobile G1 (the first phone to run on Android) cost $150 on a two-year contract. Even wildly popular phones like the Motorola Razr never attracted the attention or drew lines as famously long as those outside Apple Stores at each new iPhone launch. “It’s one of the reasons [Apple] did so well in China at first,” says Lauren Guenveur, consumer insight director for Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, a firm that studies technology market trends. “To own an iPhone was to own a status symbol.”

10 years ago, Apple changed the world with the iPhone. Now, it’s using the iPhone to kickstart its next big gambit, augmented reality, a technology that maps computer-generated graphics onto real world surroundings. During its Worldwide Developers Conference in June, Apple unveiled ARKit, a suite of tools developers can use to create augmented reality apps for the iPhone.

“I think what [Apple] is doing with ARKit is as significant as the App Store,” says Munster, expressing a view shared by many, namely that the practical uses of augmented reality (as opposed to the immobilizing niche-ness of wraparound virtual reality) is where the next technological revolution lies. Pokémon Go, a crazy-popular game about snatching fantasy monsters from real world locations, illustrates augmented reality’s potential for merging play with fitness and social elements. And companies like Apple, Microsoft and Facebookbelieve it will fundamentally alter how we interact with computers.

It’s too soon to say what those changes will look like, but one thing seems certain: A decade from now, when we think back to the smartphones we cherished in 2017, odds are they’ll little resemble the pocket-sized glass-and-aluminum slabs we carry in our pockets today. Everyone wants to make that next world-changing device — or in other words, the next iPhone.

A Web of Nouns

The "Internet of Things" may save us time and energy, but it's a headache fro astronomers. (Credit: Chesky/Shutterstock)

The trouble began because iRobot doesn’t want its customers to have to do any physical labor — not cutting the grass and definitely not digging the trenches for the underground wires that most autonomous lawn mowers use to sense the edge of their domain. iRobot applied to the FCC to be allowed to use wireless broadcasters instead, at radio frequencies between 6240 and 6740 MHz. Problematically, though, space-based methanol also broadcasts radio waves at those frequencies. Methanol traces star formation and tells us about the evolution of our galaxy, which (taken to its extreme) tells us how we got here. To protect that band, the FCC says “all practicable steps shall be taken to protect the radio astronomy service from harmful interference.” And within that band, it prohibits “fixed outdoor infrastructure.” The National Radio Astronomy Observatory says iRobot’s guiding beacons violate that prohibition and insist the mower-bot stay 55 miles away from its telescopes. iRobot says nuh-uh, “there is little risk of interference,” and 12 miles is sufficient.

If one brand’s wireless landscape-eater can cause such a stir, just imagine what could happen when our world is full of self-adjusting, internet-connected devices all communicating wirelessly with each other and with the Web. They will all need to use the radio “spectrum,” but how they’ll split it up — and share it with astronomers, other industries, and the government — when more devices need a slice of the pie remains to be seen.

Smart thermostats can already make your house the temperature you want while monitoring the outdoor weather. Bluetooth beacons help you find your keys. Sensors monitor inventory and alert vending machine owners that Fruitopia is sold out. This is the Internet of Things, and it’s coming. “There are no spectrum bottlenecks for dedicated Internet of Things systems yet,” Kevin Ashton, co-founder and former executive director of Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Auto-ID Center, told Bloomberg BNA, “but we are seeing Wi-Fi services get maxed out, as there are only so many channels you can cram into the available spectrum.”

Alphabet Inc’s Google unit expects

.Tellenes wind farm, a 50-turbine strong wind farm of 160-megawatt (MW) capacity that is currently under development, will become Norway’s largest wind farm and Google’s biggest in Europe.

“We’ll purchase power as soon as the wind farm becomes fully operational, which we expect will take place in early September 2017,” a Google spokesman told Reuters.

Google last year signed a 12-year deal to buy 100 percent of the plant’s output. The company, which has four European data centres in Finland, Belgium, the Netherlands and Ireland, said the wind power will be used to supply one or several of them.

The Tellenes wind farm’s first turbine will begin to generate power by next week, said Olav Rommetveit, a spokesman for farm maker Zephyr, although Google will not receive the initial output.

“Google will not immediately get the supply. It has an exclusive contract for 12 years and they will begin getting the electricity at some point after commercial operations begins,” said Rommetveit.

The electricity produced until Google starts receiving the farm’s full capacity, will be sold on the Nord Pool power exchange, he added.

BlackRock, which provided the project’s equity financing, confirmed the first turbine would be ready for production next week and said power sales would start a few days later.

Arise, a Swedish wind power company, will be the farm’s operator.

Google has also bought the future output of a smaller wind farm in Sweden, due to start operation in 2018, bringing the total capacity of its renewable power purchases in Europe to 500 MW, the company said.

The Future of Tactile Touch Screens

As he swipes his finger over the touch screen, Joseph Quintanilla senses a subtle bumpiness. Rubbing back and forth, he feels the roughness give way to what seems like a flat glass surface. “Yeah, I can feel it getting smoother,” says Quintanilla, who is blind.
The touch pad in his hands displays a snowy, frosted window that his finger wipes smoother with every pass. It’s an effect created in part by Ali Israr, an engineer at Disney Research labs. Israr specializes in haptic engineering, which focuses on applying tactile stimulation to our interactions with computers.

John Heller/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/2015 (All rights reserved. Printed with permission)
The texture under Quintanilla’s finger doesn’t mimic the exact feeling of snow under fingertips — the temperature shifting, solid becoming liquid — but it does convey the feeling of a rough texture becoming smooth and even. Once Israr describes the image, Quintanilla immediately gets it. “Oh yeah, I can picture it now,” he says. “That’s very cool.”

Quintanilla, who works at the National Braille Press as its director of major gifts and planned giving, is looking for a tool that could help blind children read maps and graphs when taking standardized tests. Currently, these students use sheets of paper with raised lines to represent images — a format essentially unchanged since the 1820s and increasingly costly to print.

Quintanilla heard about Israr’s work on Disney’s TeslaTouch**, a flat screen that uses frictional forces to make users feel like they’re interacting with images on it, and he decided to check it out to consider it for grant funding.

Israr is part of a community of researchers working to make touch screens more, well, touchable. Movements with our fingers across a flat screen have come to replace pressing buttons and keys on everything from ATMs to phones, and researchers now are working on the next frontier: adding tactile feedback to help enhance the feeling that users are interacting directly with the technology. Advanced touch screens like the TeslaTouch are on the cusp of widespread use, according to Israr. “It might seem crazy now, but I bet in 10 years it will just seem like, ‘Of course that happened,’ ” he says. “It’ll just become what we expect of our devices.”

Product Startup Exploride Seeks Crowdfunding to Turn Your Car into a Smart Car

With an aim of making driving safe and a pleasurable experience for everyone, Exploride a US-based startup founded by Sunil Vallath, is launching a new product that the company calls a heads-up display for any car. It allows users to access maps, music, calls, texts & more with its transparent display and hands free controls. With the help of gestures and voice recognition, it grants drivers the ability to take or decline calls, access music and maps, change volumes, hear texts, and even monitor vehicle diagnostics like speed, fuel, and more, all from one place.

The idea to design and launch such a product came to Sunil after he had a disturbing experience. Talking about it, he said, “My fiancee and I used to talk on the phone sometimes, while driving. On one such occasion, while talking on the phone, she got into a car accident. Luckily, she was unharmed. But the incident shook me up. It drove me to look for a solution where I could remain in touch with my loved ones while driving, without putting myself or them at risk of injury.”

Popular Read:  IoT, Big Data, BI, Data Science, Digital Transformation: Hype or Reality? Facts and Figures

Its specifications include 6 inch transparent display, Smart GPS with inbuilt voice-activated maps, 2GB RAM, 8GB internal memory, Quadcore processor and IR sensor to detect gestures. The product also having SIM card slot, microphones for recognizing voice commands, dual mini speakers for music and interaction.

Here are features of the Exploride:

Exploride has launched an Indiegogo campaign with an aim to raise $100,000 funding, and it has been successful in securing $21,060 till now. People who are interested in the product can pre-order the unit for $239 which includes heads-up display, OBD II adapter for access vehicle diagnostics, charging set and access to the exclusive Exploride app.

By January 2016 the company aims to ship their product (if they are able to raise funds) after completing its hardware and software testing successfully. No doubt it will provide an wholesome experience of smart, safe and connected driving. To support their funding campaign

Xiaomi Redmi 4A to Be Available for Purchase via Amazon India Today

Xiaomi Redmi 4A, one of the most popular budget smartphones in the market today, will be made available to purchase in the country on Thursday, via Amazon India. The Redmi 4A flash sale starts at 12pm IST, and the smartphone will be offered in three colour variants – Gold, Dark Grey, and Rose Gold. To recall, the smartphone was first launched in India back in March at Rs. 5,999, and comes in only one configuration: 2GB RAM and 16GB storage.Since its March launch, the smartphone has been either made available to buy via weekly flash sales, or via special one-off sales.

Xiaomi Redmi 4A specifications

Featuring a polycarbonate body, the Redmi 4A (Review) bears a hybrid dual-SIM card slot, and runs MIUI 8 based on Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The smartphone features a 5-inch HD (720×1280 pixels) display, and is powered by a 1.4GHz quad-core Snapdragon 425 SoC coupled with the Adreno 308 GPU and 2GB of RAM.

It sports a 13-megapixel sensor with PDAF, a 5-lens system, an f/2.2 aperture, and is backed by a LED flash. There is a 5-megapixel sensor with an f/2.2 aperture on board as well. The Redmi 4A comes with 16GB of inbuilt storage that is expandable via microSD card (up to 128GB).

The Redmi 4A’s connectivity options include 4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, GPS/ A-GPS, and Bluetooth v4.1. Sensors on board the smartphone include accelerometer, ambient light, gyroscope, infrared, and proximity. Dimensions of the new Xiaomi smartphone are 139.5×70.4×8.5mm, and it weighs in at 131.5 grams. Redmi 4A is powered by a 3120mAh battery with fast charging support.