Sony is right in the middle of the spectrum when it comes to update schedules for its smartphones. While the manufacturer isn’t first to roll out updates, it’s certainly not the last either, as Samsung is usually in that place alongside Lenovo. It looks like the company’s smartphone division decided against updating Xperia devices from this year with Android 5.1.1 Lollipop, and instead opted for updating straight to Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The Xperia Z3+, Xperia Z4 Tablet, Xperia M4 Aqua, Xperia C4, Xperia C5 Ultra and Xperia M5 won’t be updated to Android 5.1.1 Lollipop, but should receive an OTA for the next best thing as early as November.
Apparently, the Xperia Z3+ update to Android 6.0 will be one of the first ones to arrive, after more recent models like the Xperia Z5, Xperia Z5 Compact and Xperia Z5 Premium are ready. Google has already released Android 6.0 Marshmallow to manufacturers who are currently working on tweaking the software to fit their phones. Sony’s approach eliminates one huge step in their update schedule by renouncing the 5.1.1 update in favor of the 6.0 update.
As such, developers at the company will most likely be able to roll out Android 6.0 Marshmallow faster than other companies who have taken a different approach. While Motorola, Samsung, LG and HTC are still struggling to get their devices updated to Android 5.1.1, Sony devs are most likely already working on Marshmallow and are close to getting it released. Although the Xperia Z3+ update might not arrive until December, rumors suggest that the company is ahead of time when it comes to tweaking the software and we might see an OTA rolling out sooner than expected.
With LG already rolling out Marshmallow to some of its devices, Sony would do good to catch up or even get ahead. Although the Xperia Z3+ is not the most popular handset in the U.S., the rest of the devices that will skip Android 5.1.1 Lollipop are widespread in the States. The Xperia M4 Aqua is one of the company’s most popular smartphones, even though it’s a mid-ranger. Its waterproof features and excellent bang for buck make it a rather interesting and cool device to own. The Xperia M4 Aqua update is said to land in December, with the company releasing information about update schedules on their support pages, which you should monitor if interested.
Whether this decision is good or bad will be decided by the speed of Sony’s development. Omitting Android 5.1.1 in favor of Android 6.0 is a good idea, as Xperia users could have the latest version of the OS instead of an outdated one, but fact of the matter is, Android Lollipop is not doing so well. With the Stagefright and memory leak vulnerabilities of the OS, Android 5.1.1 is a crucial release. If Sony manages to speed up the Android 6.0 rollout, then most people would be fine with the decision, but those struggling with the above-mentioned vulnerabilities might not take the delays nicely.
Pixel 8 Pro runs Google’s generative AI models
Rick Osterloh, Google’s SVP of devices and services, says the Pixel 8 Pro will be the first hardware to run Google’s generative AI models.
At an event today, Osterloh said the Pixel 8 Pro’s custom-built Tensor G3 chip, which accelerates AI workloads, can run “distilled” versions of Google’s text- and image-generating models to power image editing and other apps.
Osterloh said, “We’ve worked closely with our research teams across Google to take advantage of their most advanced foundation models and distill them into a version efficient enough to run on our flagship Pixel.”
Google improved Magic Eraser, its photo-editing tool, to remove larger objects and people smudge-free using on-device models. Osterloh claims that this improved Magic Eraser creates new pixels to fill in shot gaps, producing a higher-quality image.
Osterloh says a new on-device model will “intelligently” sharpen and enhance photo details, improving zoom.
On-device processing benefits audio recording. The Pixel 8 Pro’s recording app will soon summarize meeting highlights.
Gboard will use a large language model on the Pixel 8 Pro to power smart replies. Osterloh claims that the upgraded Gboard will provide “higher-quality” reply suggestions and better conversational awareness.
Osterloh said an update in December will add on-device generative AI features except for Magic Eraser, which appears on the Pixel 8 Pro at launch.
Telegram launches a global self-custodial crypto wallet, excluding the US
Telegram, with 800 million monthly users, is launching a self-custodial crypto wallet. The move will solidify its presence in the vibrant crypto community that has grown from its chat platform and may attract more people to crypto.
Telegram and TON Foundation announced TON Space, a self-custodial wallet, on Wednesday at Singapore’s Token2049 crypto conference, which draws over 10,000 attendees.
Telegram has a complicated blockchain relationship. After the SEC sued Telegram over a massive initial coin offering, the chat app abandoned its Telegram Open Network (TON) blockchain project in 2020. The Open Network Foundation (TON Foundation), founded by open-source developers and blockchain enthusiasts, supports the development of The Open Network (TON), the blockchain powering a growing number of Telegram applications, including the wallet.
The Open Platform (TOP) and TOP Labs, a venture-building division, created the TON-based wallet.
TON Space will be available to Telegram users worldwide without wallet registration in November. The U.S., which has cracked down on the crypto industry and promoted many crypto apps to geofence users, is currently excluded from the feature.
Google’s massive antitrust trial begins, with bigger implications
The Justice Department’s landmark antitrust case against Google began in court today, setting off a months-long trial that could upend the tech world.
At issue is Google’s search business. The Justice Department claims that Google has violated antitrust laws to maintain its search title, but the company claims that it does so by providing a superior product.
The Justice Department sued Google for civil antitrust in late 2020 after a year-long investigation.
“If the government does not enforce the antitrust laws to enable competition, we will lose the next wave of innovation,” said then-Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen. “If that happens, Americans may never see the ‘next Google.’”
A large coalition of state attorneys general filed their own parallel suit against Google, but Judge Amit Mehta ruled that the states did not meet the bar to go to trial with their search ranking complaints.
The search business case against Google is separate from a federal antitrust lawsuit filed earlier this year. The Justice Department claims Google used “anticompetitive, exclusionary, and unlawful means” to neutralize threats to its digital advertising empire in that lawsuit.
Justice Department attorney Kenneth Dintzer set the stakes for the first major tech antitrust trial since Microsoft’s late 1990s reckoning on Tuesday. “This case is about the future of the internet, and whether Google’s search engine will ever face meaningful competition,” Dintzer said.
Beginning the trial, the government focused on Google’s deals with phone makers, most notably Apple, that give its search product top billing on new devices. Dintzer claimed that Google maintains and grows its search engine dominance by paying $10 billion annually for those arrangements.
“This feedback loop, this wheel, has been turning for more than 12 years,” he said. “And it always benefits Google.”
Google lawyer John Schmidtlein refuted that claim, hinting at the company’s legal defense in the coming weeks.
“Users today have more search options and more ways to access information online than ever before,” Schmidtlein said. Google will argue that it competes with Amazon, Expedia, and DoorDash, as well as Microsoft’s Bing search engine.
Google planted the seeds for this defense. According to internal research, Google Senior Vice President Prabhakar Raghavan said last year that more young people are using TikTok to search for information than Google Search.
In our studies, almost 40% of young people don’t use Google Maps or Search to find lunch, Raghavan said. “They use TikTok or Instagram.”
Google will be decided by U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta in the coming months. We’re far from that decision, but the company could be fined heavily or ordered to sell parts of its business.
The trial could change Google’s digital empire if the Justice Department wins. Other tech companies that dominated online markets in the last decade are also watching. If the government fails to hold an iconic Silicon Valley giant accountable, big tech will likely continue its aggressive growth trajectory.
If the Justice Department succeeds, the next decade could be different. The industry-wide reckoning could cripple incumbents and allow upstarts to define the next era of the internet, wresting the future from tech titans.
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