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Microsoft and Nokia to continue smartphone collaborations

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Although the relationship between Finnish legend Nokia and overtaker Microsoft has mostly ended, Nokia are gearing up to market their first independent smartphone launch next year. Although the company has been bound by contractual clauses and cannot release their own hardware yet, Nokia is already working on their next smartphone launch, pegged for late 2016. A new report further details the company’s plans and unveils that Nokia and Microsoft might be continuing their collaboration, although not on a hardware level. Apparently, the next Nokia smartphone to be launched is going to be the Nokia C1 and it will be running on Windows 10 out of the box, instead of Android as previously predicted by industry insiders.

According to Nokiapoweruser, a reputable source for all things related to the legendary Finnish company, the Nokia C1 release date is expected to fall in Q4 2016 and the handset is most likely to be released in two variants. One of the units will be powered by Microsoft’s Windows 10 Mobile operating system, while the other will be using Google’s Android 6.0 Marshmallow in its stock iteration. Nokia has been absent from the flagship smartphone market for the last couple of years, and the Nokia C1 is supposedly going to be the first flagship from the company to kick off a new era in its long history in the industry.

The Nokia C1 is still in its rumor phase, although industry insiders suggest development has begun and leaked images of a supposed Nokia C1 prototype seem to corroborate those claims. The leaked prototype renders also back up claims of the dual release, showing off both an Android and Windows 10 version of the handset. Moreover, tipsters talking to NPU claim that each of these variant will have two of its own, one with a smaller and one with a phablet-sized display. That sounds pretty plausible since most of the smartphone manufacturers on the international market have adopted the two-size launch strategy.

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With that in mind, we expect the Nokia C1 to feature a 5-inch display in its base model and a 5.7-inch display on the larger model. However, there are rumors about the smaller variant being the one running on Android and functioning as a daily driver, while the 5.7-inch version of the Nokia C1 might run on Windows 10 and feature a stylus, acting like a competitor in the field of Samsung’s Galaxy Note 5 and LG’s productivity-boosting LG V10 dual-screen smartphone.

When it comes to Nokia C1 specs, we are pretty much in the dark and relying on rumors and speculations at this point. NPU as well as others are pretty convinced that the new devices will be mid-rangers instead of flagships, but our own tipsters are telling us to prepare for handsets that will compete against 2015 flagships from Apple, Samsung, LG and HTC. Whichever the case may be, we are genuinely glad to hear about Nokia getting back in the game, because we’ve missed their presence over the past few years, especially from the flagship segment. What would you like to see Nokia do in 2016?

As part of the editorial team here at Geekreply, John spends a lot of his time making sure each article is up to snuff. That said, he also occasionally pens articles on the latest in Geek culture. From Gaming to Science, expect the latest news fast from John and team.

Android

Pixel 8 Pro runs Google’s generative AI models

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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.

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Telegram launches a global self-custodial crypto wallet, excluding the US

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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.

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Google’s massive antitrust trial begins, with bigger implications

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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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