Facebook video call tablet is reportedly in the works

Joey Maceda, writing for Yugatech;

Facebook was also reportedly planning to build its own core operating system for the device, but instead might opt to use Android. The company is also testing a smart camera feature that allows the device to automatically scan for people in range and lock on to them. Facebook says that the device would make the participants of a call feel like they’re in the same room. The device hails from Building 8, the company’s experimental development lab, and could possibly be announced at the next F8 developer conference.

The social media giant may be taking a page from Amazon’s playbook, which is create a dedicated device similar to Echo, Echo Look and the Echo display.

Here’s the specs of the Samsung Note 8

Extra;

Here’s the rumored Note 8’s specs;

  • 6.3-inch SuperAMOLED display, squared-corner, resolution 1440 x 2960 in 18.5:9 aspect ratio
  • Processor: Exynos 8895 Soc, Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Internal storage: 64GB with a microSD expansion slot
  • USB-C port
  • Dual-rear camera: 12-megapixel sensors (optically stabilized);
    • Primary camera wide-angle with f1.7 aperture with dual-pixel autofocus
    • Telephoto lens with f2.4, 2x optical zoom
  • Front camera: 8-MP with f1.7 autofocus lens
  • Dimensions: 162.5mm x 74.6mm x 8.5mm
  • Battery: fast-charging 3300mAh battery, supports wired and wireless charging
  • Color: Midnight Black and Maple Gold, Orchid Grey, Deep Sea Blue
  • Price: €1,000 or around $1,200 (USD)

SoundCloud Is Close to Sale of Stakes to Raine, Temasek

Lucas Shaw, reporting for Bloomberg;

SoundCloud Ltd. is close to selling stakes to the Raine Group and Temasek Holdings, deals that would help stabilize the owner of the popular music-streaming service, according to people familiar with the matter.

The deal with Raine, a boutique bank that invested in Vice Media Inc. and advised Softbank Group Corp. on its acquisition of Sprint Corp., could close by the end of this week, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private negotiations. Temasek is Singapore’s state investment firm.

President Duterte signs bill on free Internet in public places into law

NewsBytes;

Pres. Rodrigo Duterte signed on Wednesday, Aug. 2, the proposed law on Free Internet Access Program in Public Places, now known as Republic Act (RA) 10929.

Sen. Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV, principal sponsor of the law posted on his website;

“Masaya tayo na isa sa ating naipasang panukala sa Senado ay batas na. Nagpapasalamat tayo sa Pangulo sa kanyang paglagda bilang batas ang maging libre na ang internet sa mga pampublikong lugar,”

“This will expand internet access across public spaces in the Philippines, including public schools to aid in teaching methods and enhance learning,”

“There is also a provision for faster permitting for internet infrastructure, which is a key feature in the law to improve infrastructure development,”

Pangga, on-demand companionship app, is now looking for partners

Joey Maceda, writing for Yugatech;

Do you have what it takes to be a great companion? You now have the chance to put those skills to work. Pangga, a new on-demand companionship service is now looking for partners.

From their website, this is how they describe their service.

Pangga is an app-based technology platform that enables single millennials to avail a companionship service in order to build a healthy self-esteem in todays “Me Me Me Generation”.

The word Pangga is a Visayan language is an endearment word that is used to address someone whom you love. it’s close equivalent in english is “dear”, “honey”, “sweetheart” or yeah…. “love”.

Interesting concept to say the least and there are a lot of ways this app can be use for “other things” other than what the founder/developer intended it to do. The app/service is targeting a specific group of people like tourists and the Philippines being a tourist destination the service has a lot of potential.

If you are interested in trying out the service, you can send your request to download the app here.

Apple Reports 3rd Quarter Results

Apple;

Apple today announced financial results for its fiscal 2017 third quarter ended July 1, 2017. The Company posted quarterly revenue of $45.4 billion and quarterly earnings per diluted share of $1.67. These results compare to revenue of $42.4 billion and earnings per diluted share of $1.42 in the year-ago qua

As always… Apple killed it this quarter! It’s also worth nothing that the ipad sales are up by 15% year-over-year, which is the result of the new 9.7-inch iPad that has a starting price of $329.

Sony to acquire majority Stake in Funimation

Sony;

Sony Pictures Television Networks has reached an agreement to acquire a substantial majority stake in Japanese anime distributor Funimation Productions, Ltd., (“Funimation”), subject to regulatory approvals and certain other closing conditions, valuing the company at approximately $150 million. Gen Fukunaga, CEO of Funimation, will retain a minority stake in the business and remain CEO.

If you’re an avid anime watcher, you’re probably saw FunMation in one of the anime that you’re watching. Here are some of the anime that are in Funmation’s catalog;

  • Dragon Ball Z
  • Cowboy Bebop
  • One Piece
  • My Hero Academia
  • Attack on Titan

Flyspaces

FlySpaces empowers businesses as a digital marketplace that provides short-term work and meeting space solutions to entrepreneurs, start-ups, SMEs and mobile professionals. Whether the need is for an hour, a day, a week or a few months – we have a network of hundreds of spaces to discover across key South East Asian cities.

Apple is officially killing the iPod Nano and iPod Shuffle

Kif Leswing, writing for Business Insiders;

“Today, we are simplifying our iPod lineup with two models of iPod Touch, now with double the capacity, starting at just $199, and we are discontinuing the iPod Shuffle and iPod Nano,” an Apple representative told Business Insider in an email.

It’s not surprising that Apple discontinued both device, since the demand of these products are no longer there and removing them will not affect Apple’s bottomline.

Amazon prepares to enter Southeast Asia via Singapore launch

Jon Russell, reporting for TechCrunch;

Amazon is continuing its international expansion push with the launch of its services in Singapore coming imminently. The arrival could happen as soon as this week, according to a source with knowledge of the plans, and it will mark Amazon’s entry into Southeast Asia.

The launch will see Amazon Prime, Amazon Prime Now fast delivery and Amazon’s regular e-commerce services become available to Singapore’s population of over five million people, the source said. Pricing is unclear at this point.

Flash & The Future of Interactive Content

Adobe;

Adobe has long played a leadership role in advancing interactivity and creative content – from video, to games and more – on the web. Where we’ve seen a need to push content and interactivity forward, we’ve innovated to meet those needs. Where a format didn’t exist, we invented one – such as with Flash and Shockwave. And over time, as the web evolved, these new formats were adopted by the community, in some cases formed the basis for open standards, and became an essential part of the web.

But as open standards like HTML5, WebGL and WebAssembly have matured over the past several years, most now provide many of the capabilities and functionalities that plugins pioneered and have become a viable alternative for content on the web. Over time, we’ve seen helper apps evolve to become plugins, and more recently, have seen many of these plugin capabilities get incorporated into open web standards. Today, most browser vendors are integrating capabilities once provided by plugins directly into browsers and deprecating plugins.

Given this progress, and in collaboration with several of our technology partners – including Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Mozilla – Adobe is planning to end-of-life Flash. Specifically, we will stop updating and distributing the Flash Player at the end of 2020 and encourage content creators to migrate any existing Flash content to these new open formats.

RIP Flash player!

Apple just dropped iOS 11 beta 4 for developers

Romain Dillet, writing for TechCrunch;

Apple just released a new beta of iOS 11 ahead of the final iOS 11 release in September. Things are still quite rough and I wouldn’t recommend installing the beta on a production device just yet. You don’t want to risk having your phone become useless.

The beta 4 is only available if you’re a registered developer for now. While Apple also has a public beta program, the company usually waits a few days before releasing new developer betas in the public beta channel.

Developer Preview 4 now available, official Android O coming soon!

Google / Android;

As we put the finishing touches on the Android O platform, today we’re rolling out Developer Preview 4 to help you make sure your apps are ready.

This is the final preview before we launch the official Android O platform to consumers later this summer. Take this opportunity to wrap up your testing and publish your updates soon, to give users a smooth transition to Android O.

If you have a device that’s enrolled in the Android Beta Program, you’ll receive an update to Developer Preview 4 in the next few days. If you haven’t enrolled your device yet, just visit the Android Beta site to enroll and get the update.

You can go to http://www.android.com/beta to enroll and download the Android O Developer Preview 4 on your device.

Apple Machine Learning Journal

Apple;

Welcome to the Apple Machine Learning Journal. Here, you can read posts written by Apple engineers about their work using machine learning technologies to help build innovative products for millions of people around the world. If you’re a machine learning researcher or student, an engineer or developer, we’d love to hear your questions and feedback.

A great publication by Apple where we can read works and research of Apple engineers in the machine learning space.

It just have one published article but I expect the content to grow as Apple continue its research on machine learning and AI. Its does not contain too much techical details but a tone-down approach on Apple’s work.

Grab and Uber render LTFRB irrelevant

Joel Ruiz Butuyan, writing for Inquirer.net;

With Grab and Uber, we have private companies that accredit vehicles which follow the responsibilities expected from licensed public transporters, even if most of them don’t have LTFRB franchises.

The LTFRB has become an outright failure in the performance of its government mandate because its licensing scheme amounts to a useless system in protecting the commuting public. Now come two private companies with new systems that have demonstrated rousing success in performing responsibilities which the LTFRB has completely abdicated.

A great read, specially if you are following the Gra, Uber and LTFRB drama.

To summarize, Grab, Uber and other transportation network company (TNC), brought out the shortcomings of both LTFRB and tax operators, which is the lack of infrastructure to moderate/penalize unscrupulous drivers.

We have to remember that Grab, Uber and other transportation network company (TNC) are already self-regulating and penalizes its driver, and reporting a unscrupulous Uber driver, is as easy as sending an email or text message.

Didi and Softbank to invest $2b in Grab; round may reach $2.5b

Judith Balea, reporting for Tech in Asia;

Southeast Asia’s leading transportation app Grab has new ammunition to battle rivals Uber and Go-Jek. The Singapore-headquartered company announced today that its two largest shareholders – China’s Didi Chuxing and Masayoshi Son-led Softbank – are investing up to US$2 billion to lead its current funding round.

Grab expects to raise an additional US$500 million from existing and new investors, bringing the round’s total to US$2.5 billion. Jack Ma’s Alibaba was supposedly eyeing to join in.

That’s one massive funding. This could threaten Uber’s growth in the region.

AI creates fake Obama

Steven Millward, reporting for Tech in Asia;

Researchers made the AI-powered mimicry tech for well-meaning reasons, but this could have nefarious uses in creating fake news.

This is interesting, creepy and disturbing in so many levels. Just think of all the (legal, political, religious, etc.) implications that this software/AI can cause.

DICT to launch eBPLS for automated Business & Licensing Permits

Yugatech;

The Department of Communication and Technology is set to launch the eBPLS software this July 18, 2017. This will coincide with the eBPLS Summit to be held that day and spearheaded by DICT Sec. Salalima.

The eBPLS (Electronic Business Permit and Licensing System) aims to streamline the process of getting licenses and business permits in cities and municipalities.

LTFRB fines Grab, Uber P5M each for permit violations

Rambo Talabong, reporting for Rappler;

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) imposed a fine of P5 million each on Uber and Grab on Tuesday, July 11, for letting some of their drivers operate without permits.

Not a good news for Grab and Uber drivers.

The LTFRB says the ride-hailing companies should have been closed down because of the violations, but the public interest ‘overrides’ this penalty.

How convenient for taxi operators!

Unless taxi change their attitude and stop being selective, Grab and Uber users will just continue to increase. When getting a taxi, I received at least 3 taxi refusal. Their reason(s) too traffic, too far and asking for a bigger flag-down rate.