2016 Samsung Galaxy J7, Galaxy J5 Pass Certification Site; Design, Specs Tipped

2016 Samsung Galaxy J7, Galaxy J5 Pass Certification Site; Design, Specs Tipped

Until now, we came across different benchmark results, Bluetooth certifications, and other leaks for the unannounced Samsung Galaxy J7 (2016) and the Galaxy J5 (2015) except any live images or press renders. However, the two smartphones for the first time have showed up in images as they have reportedly gone through Tenaa, a Chinese certification site. The listing also reveals some of the specifications.

Like the Samsung Galaxy J7 and the Galaxy J5 smartphones, the 2016 versions look almost the same but with different screen sizes. While the Samsung Galaxy J7 (2016) is seen featuring a 5.5-inch full-HD display, the Galaxy J5 (2016) settles in for a 5.2-inch HD display. Both still sport a plastic body.

According to the listing, the Galaxy J7 (2016) will come in two variants – SM-J7108 and SM-J7109. However, they both differ only when it comes to processors. The SM-J7108 is powered by an octa-core processor clocked at 1.6GHz (said to be the Exynos 7870), while the SM-J7109 is seen featuring an unspecified octa-core processor (four cores clocked at 1.5GHz + four cores clocked at 1.2GHz).

The models include 4G LTE support, 13-megapixel rear camera, 5-megapixel front-facing camera (with LED flash), 3GB of RAM, and 16GB expandable storage. The battery capacity has not been mentioned but latest rumours point towards a 3300mAh battery. It measures 151.7×75.9×7.6mm and weighs 166 grams.

On the other hand, the Galaxy J5 (2016) has a smaller screen with lower resolution and less powerful processor as mentioned above. The smartphone is seen featuring 2GB of RAM as well. Camera and inbuilt storage specifications stay the same as the Galaxy J7 (2016). The Galaxy J5 (2016) measures 145.7×72.3×7.9mm, weighs 155.4 grams, and will come in White, Gold, and Pink Gold colours. The listing also shows the two smartphones running Android 5.1 Lollipop out-of-the-box.

It is worth pointing out that the duo are seen featuring what appears to be a laser autofocus module along with the rear camera. If true, this would also make the handsets first from the company to feature such camera sensors. The laser autofocus sensor first appeared with LG G3 and later came as a feature in other handsets.


UN Human Rights Chief Warns of Implications of Apple-FBI Row

UN Human Rights Chief Warns of Implications of Apple-FBI Row

An FBI demand that Apple unlock an iPhone risks setting a dangerous precedent that could have a chilling effect on human rights, the United Nations rights chief warned Friday.

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein’s intervention came after Apple’s largest rivals backed the tech giant’s bid to resist the US government demand seeking to access the iPhone used by one of the attackers in a deadly rampage in San Bernardino, California in December.

“In order to address a security-related issue related to encryption in one case, the authorities risk unlocking a Pandora’s Box that could have extremely damaging implications for the human rights of many millions of people, including their physical and financial security,” Zeid said in a statement.

He warned that the FBI order would “set a precedent that may make it impossible for Apple or any other major international IT company to safeguard their clients’ privacy anywhere in the world”.

The FBI wants to unlock the iPhone used by Syed Farook, who was behind the San Bernardino massacre along with his wife Tashfeen Malik that left 14 people dead.

(Also see:  What if the San Bernardino Shooters Had Been Using a Samsung Galaxy Phone?)

The agency has argued that by introducing encryption that can lock data, making it accessible only to the user, Apple and other tech companies are essentially creating “warrant-proof zones” for criminals and others that will cripple law enforcement and jeopardise public security.

Apple has in return said that the only way to unlock the handset would be to introduce a weakened operating system, which could potentially leak out and be exploited by hackers and foreign governments.

‘Gift to authoritarian regimes’
Zeid said the FBI “deserves everyone’s full support” in its investigation into what he described as an “abominable crime”.

But he added: “This case is not about a company – and its supporters – seeking to protect criminals and terrorists, it is about where a key red line necessary to safeguard all of us from criminals and repression should be set.

“There are many ways to investigate whether or not these killers had accomplices besides forcing Apple to create software to undermine the security features of their own phones.

“It is potentially a gift to authoritarian regimes, as well as to criminal hackers.”

Zeid said encryption tools were widely used around the world, including by human rights defenders, civil society, journalists, whistle-blowers and political dissidents facing persecution and harassment.

(Also see:  Apple Digs in for Long Fight, Lawyer Says ‘There Is No Middle Ground’)

“Encryption and anonymity are needed as enablers of both freedom of expression and opinion, and the right to privacy. Without encryption tools, lives may be endangered.”

Three tech associations representing Apple’s main business rivals – including Google, Facebook,Microsoft and Yahoo – said Thursday they supported Apple’s efforts to challenge the order.

“If the government arguments prevail, the Internet ecosystem will be weakened, leaving Internet users more vulnerable to hackers and other bad actors,” said a statement from the Computer and Communications Industry Association, which announced the joint brief with the Internet Association and the i2Coalition of Internet infrastructure firms.

But relatives of some of the San Bernardino victims backed the FBI bid in a legal brief filed in the court where the case is being heard.

They said Apple wanted to portray the debate as “one in which the privacy interests of millions of Americans are at stake in order to obtain sympathy for its cause.”

“What is implicated here is the United States’ ability to obtain and execute a valid warrant to search one phone used by a terrorist who committed mass atrocities,” the brief said.

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Tags: Apple, Encryption, Facebook, FBI, Google, iPhone, Microsoft, Mobiles, Tim Cook, Yahoo

2016—the year of discounted valuations

The speculation is about which two will first join hands in 2016 to compete with the US leader—Amazon—that has doubled in market cap in the last year and remains the formidable force to reckon with. Photo: Bloomberg

The speculation is about which two will first join hands in 2016 to compete with the US leader—Amazon—that has doubled in market cap in the last year and remains the formidable force to reckon with. Photo: Bloomberg

2015 was the year of discounted products. 2016 will be the year of discounted valuations. When will be the year of discounted cash flows?

When I was in Silicon Valley in January 2015, the thought of Indian e-commerce companies skating on thin ice was dismissed off as unfounded cynicism. The e-commerce veterans in Silicon Valley could not get enough of the Indian e-commerce growth. The excesses were part and parcel of any early-stage winner-take-all network-effects business vying for the big prize in a hyper-competitive market.

I started the new year in Silicon Valley again this year and the outlook is different in January 2016. The scepticism around hyper-funded Indian e-commerce start-ups seems as pervasive as the exuberance a year ago. Their indefensible position against US or Chinese equivalents seems beyond reasonable doubt. The speculation is no more about who will be the first to the top, but about who will be the first to fall and how. The speculation is about which two will first join hands in 2016 to compete with the US leader—Amazon—that has doubled in market cap in the last year and remains the formidable force to reckon with. The speculation is about which one will be acquired by the Chinese equivalent who considers India as the extended Asian battlefield in the territorial war. There is agreement that something’s going to give in 2016, and the speculation of what and how has begun 10,000 miles away.

And it’s different from how Silicon Valley looks at itself. The Valley took responsibility for the dot-com bubble of 2000 and now knows better. Wall Street took responsibility for the 2008 financial crisis and now knows better. They are both ready to take responsibility for the way Nasdaq has begun in 2016—down 10% since the start of the year. Yet, there is a quiet comfort about business as usual. These are movies they have seen before. They are on an upgraded version of the old software called portfolio theory. A theory that is inseparable from the business of investing in innovation. Most start-ups will fail and some will gain so much that it washes off the losses of the failures and then some. So will be with the unicorns. Some unicorns will fail and some will change the world all over again. They just cannot agree on which unicorn is in which bucket. Yet, India is different. For those in Silicon Valley, India is like the Valley during the 1999-2000 dot-com bubble. The gravity-defying economics of India seems different from the portfolio chess of unicorns. Here’s how.

In The Golden Tap: The Inside Story of Hyper-Funded Indian Startups, I borrowed Peter Thiel’s definition of innovation versus globalization and labelled Silicon Valley tech start-ups as innovation plays and hyper-funded Indian start-ups as globalization plays. Uber invented how you can get a ride at the push of a button. Ola localized the idea to make it work under Indian conditions. During his visit to IIT Bombay last week, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick revealed an alternate way of looking at this. He conjectured that in the changing world order, the three Bs—Bay Area, Beijing and Bangalore—will be the hubs for innovation. And then he gave a backhanded compliment to the Chinese for inventing subsidies. By that token, Bengaluru borrows the product innovation of Bay Area and subsidy innovation of Beijing, and tops it off with local innovation for India. The heat that makes this soup boil is the money from global investors and public companies that believe in the innovations and that they apply to India at scale. The investment thesis is to keep burning money until you are the last man standing. All Indian unicorns belong to that bucket. And there is no portfolio theory about that.

When Silicon Valley used the same lens as it does for US start-ups, India looked awesome last year. When China used the same lens as it does for Chinese start-ups, India looked awesome last year. As they spot the differences, the lenses are slowly coming off and new beliefs are being formed. How these conglomerates and investors operate in India will depend on these new sets of belief. The trouble with Indian entrepreneurs and investors though is that we have been at the mercy of others’ beliefs. The quicker we are master of our own creations than followers of others, we can start to innovate beyond localization. Till then, the investors will enjoy the deep discounts that consumers enjoyed last year. Bring your popcorn and grab a seat.

Kashyap Deorah is the author of The Golden Tap: The Inside Story of Hyper-Funded Indian Startups. He is an entrepreneur and investor who shuttles between India and Silicon Valley.


Meet the first Indian start-ups to adopt IBM Watson platform

A file photo of IBM’s headquarters in Armonk, New York.

A file photo of IBM’s headquarters in Armonk, New York.

Kartik Mohla, a graduate in management information systems, used to work at an US investment bank before he came back to India to join his family business that helps companies boost the skills and productivity of their employees.

Now, he is the CEO of InspireOne Technologies, a talent development service (spun-off from the family business) which analyses employee e-mails to let them know what sort of leadership skills they display on a daily basis.

Sankar Nagarajan, a cloud computing and analytics professional with over 20 years of experience, floated a company called Textient Analytics in late 2014 to understand how analytics and natural language processing could be used to maybe build a platform that makes sense of large sets of data.

Now, Textient Analytics is a full-fledged product that automates market research with the help of artificial intelligence programs and offers strategic insights.

Mohla, based in Gurgaon, and Nagarajan, based in Chennai, have two things in common: they built their products from scratch in under a year, and centred around IBM’s cognitive computing platform Watson. They are IBM’s first official partners for this technology in India.

International Business Machines Corp. developed Watson as a supercomputer that could compete with humans on the quiz show Jeopardy, and beat them. This required Watson to process reams of text, analyse questions posed in “natural”, everyday language and generate the correct responses.

This is termed cognitive computing, which involves computer systems that use data mining, pattern recognition and natural language processing to mimic the way the human brain works, and are ‘self-learning.’ That was in 2011.

Fast forward to 2014, and IBM announced a new business unit around Watson to push for its commercial applications. It started opening up certain application programming interfaces (APIs), computer programs which allow applications to access data from each other. Over 30 Watson services are now available on the IBM Watson Developer Cloud on Bluemix, IBM’s cloud computing platform.

One of Watson’s biggest application areas is health. IBM recently bought Truven Health Analytics, a Michigan-based provider of cloud-based healthcare data, for $2.6 billion, its fourth major health-related acquisition since launching Watson Health unit in April last year.

“With the help of Watson, organizations are harnessing the power of cognitive computing to transform industries, help professionals do their jobs better, and solve important challenges,” an IBM spokesperson said in an e-mailed reply.

“As part of IBM’s strategy to accelerate the growth of cognitive computing, Watson is open to the world, allowing a growing ecosystem of developers, students, entrepreneurs and tech enthusiasts to easily tap the most advanced and diverse cognitive computing platform available today,” the spokesperson added.

Others see more reasons for Watson tying up with start-ups.

“It’s a platform play. IBM wants to leverage newer markets like India,” said Thomas Reuner Managing Director for IT Outsourcing Research at HfS Research.

IBM Watson works with start-ups identified as “ecosystem partners” and provides them access to its APIs and support for free, and chalks out a three-year renewable, revenue sharing agreement.

It now has more than 500 ecosystem partners across 29 industries, over 100 of which have already introduced commercial cognitive enabled apps, products and services to the market.

“There are more than 77,000 developers in total who are prototyping and building cloud-based cognitive computing applications. The Watson Ecosystem is seeing tremendous global growth across a variety of industries, and India is primed for a cognitive transformation,” said the IBM spokesperson.

“I was initially looking at building a couple of things with machine learning hiring software developers and what I thought I could do is probably 10% of what we’re doing now. We really leapfrogged after embracing Watson,” says Textient’s Nagarajan.

At Textient and InspireOne, Watson powers the companies’ core products.

Usually, social media analysis around brands is limited to giving out sentiment scores or saying it was positive, neutral or negative.

Using Watson, Textient is taking consumer data and applying machine learning models trained to recognise actual human sentiment to understand how a consumer feels about a brand.

InspireOne Technologies used customer data from its parent firm to develop models to analyse e-mail communication (it is “opt-in”, which means employees have to choose to have their e-mails analysed), and let employees know what sort of leadership skills they are displaying on a day-to-day basis.

However, this sort of understanding of what can be done with data (and how) is still developing in the market.

“Just having data doesn’t help, you have to know what to do with it, and IBM has to concentrate on customer relationships and making sure this understanding is conveyed. It also has to compete, with technologies like Wipro’s Holmes, although it is much newer compared to Watson,” said Reuner.