AI Will Be Part of Almost Every New App by 2020, Claims Gartner

AI Will Be Part of Almost Every New App by 2020, Claims Gartner

Signifying the growing popularity of Artificial Intelligence (AI), global research firm Gartner has predicted that AI will be virtually pervasive in almost every new software product and service by 2020.

Owing to its market hype, almost all established software vendors are working to introduce AI into their product strategies which is creating considerable confusion in the process.

The term ‘artificial intelligence’ was not even in the top 100 search terms on in January 2016 but by May 2017, it ranked at number 7, indicating the popularity of the topic.

“As AI accelerates up the ‘Hype Cycle’, many software providers are looking to stake their claim in the biggest gold rush in recent years,” said Jim Hare, Research Vice-President, Gartner, in a statement.

“AI offers exciting possibilities, but unfortunately, most vendors are focused on the goal of simply building and marketing an AI-based product rather than first identifying needs, potential uses and the business value to customers,” he added.

Instead of using cutting-edge AI techniques for every solution, Gartner recommends vendors to use the simplest approach that can do the job.

“Software vendors need to focus on offering solutions to business problems rather than just cutting-edge technology. Highlight how your AI solution helps address the skills shortage and how it can deliver value faster than trying to build a custom AI solution in-house,” suggested Hare.

The survey also indicated that lack of necessary staff skills was the top challenge in adopting AI in the organisations.

Gartner said that AI can greatly augment human capabilities and the combination of machines and humans can accomplish more together.


Android stops glitchy apps by detecting your panicky presses

If you can’t dismiss an app by pressing the “back” button, it may just be a glitch or crappy app, but it could also be something much worse. That’s why Google has quietly slipped in a new Android feature called “panic detection” that can preemptively close an app if you stab at the back button multiple times. So far the feature, spotted by XDA Developers, has appeared in some, but not all devices with Android 7.1 Nougat.

Google hasn’t said anything about the feature– XDA just happened to discover the code in a recent build of Android 7.1. Essentially, it listens for back button presses, and if enough of them happen (four to be exact) in rapid succession (with less than a third of a second delay) then Android will override the app and bring back the home screen. This could apply to apps that just freeze, but also to rogue software that tries to intercept any and all actions, like malware or adware.

It’s a smart idea, because what’s the first thing you do when you can’t make an app go away? Frantically pressing the back key is probably the first thing, so that will kill the app and allow you to uninstall or disable it until you figure out the problem.

You’ll have to enable the feature to get it to work, apparently. Google seems to be rolling it out on a limited basis, and may in fact just be testing it, so it may be some time before it ends up on your device.


Nintendo stands by Switch’s sparse


Nintendo released its annual financial report this week, and president Tatsumi Kimishima defended the Switch’s sparse launch lineup, along with giving additional details on Nintendo’s mobile and console business performance. The Switch’s software lineup has been widely criticized for its unusually small size. Kimishima attempted to push back against this argument, saying:

Our thinking in arranging the 2017 software lineup is that it is important to continue to provide new titles regularly without long gaps. This encourages consumers to continue actively playing the system, maintains buzz, and spurs continued sales momentum for Nintendo Switch. April 28 Spring, 2017 Summer, 2017 For that reason, we will be releasing Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, ARMS, which is making its debut on the Nintendo Switch during the first half of 2017, and Splatoon 2, which attracted consumers’ attention most during the hands-on events in Japan, in summer 2017.

The problem with this argument is that the Switch’s lineup is painfully thin, no matter how Nintendo tries to paper over the issue. The North American Switch will launch with 10 titles:

  • 1-2 Switch
  • The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+
  • Human Resource Machine
  • Just Dance 2017
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
  • Little Inferno
  • I am Setsuna
  • Skylanders: Imaginators
  • Super Bomberman R
  • World of Goo

The Wii U launched with 32 titles, while the PS4 had 25 and the Xbox One had 22. Clearly launch titles alone don’t make or break a console, or the Wii U would’ve beaten both its rivals. But consumers do tend to treat launch support as indicative of overall developer buy-in.

What’s perhaps more worrying is the way this problem doesn’t resolve through the end of 2017. There are more games coming through the rest of the year (17 in total), but comparatively few top-franchise games. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is a warmed-over refresh of a two-year-old game, and Splatoon doesn’t have the mass market appeal of a Mario or Pokemon game. Super Mario Odyssey is the biggest post-launch game for Switch with a 2017 launch date, and it won’t drop until the holiday season. When you combine the weak game lineup with the high price ($300), accessory costs, and lack of a bundled game, it’s hard to make a strong argument for the handheld — especially since Nintendo remains resolute that the Switch isn’t a handheld at all.

This graph helps explain why. Nintendo sold roughly 2.1 million 3DS devices in 2016 in the US alone (Wikipedia estimates CY 2016 sales at 7.36 million devices worldwide). That’s vastly better than the Wii U, which saw a complete sales collapse this year, even in comparison with its previous anemic performance. As we’ve previously speculated, Nintendo literally can’t afford to quit on the 3DS, particularly with the Switch’s long-term sales strength so uncertain. The company continues to insist that the Switch and 3DS will exist concurrently, with separate libraries of games and different price points.

We suspect that this is little more than convenient fiction. Nintendo has proven perfectly happy to mislead the public about its plans in the past, arguing that the Nintendo DS wasn’t a replacement for the original Game Boy line, and more recently claiming that the Wii U would remain in production for the rest of the year when it ended hardware manufacturing well before that point. In both cases, the company was hedging its bets, giving itself room to pivot if a product didn’t take off. The monstrous success of Pokemon Sun and Moon explains the difference between FY 2016 and FY 2017 software sales for the 3DS — and also why Nintendo won’t step away from its established handheld until it knows it has a suitable replacement available. This  could prove to be a mistake; the Switch’s capabilities position it much more effectively as a high-end handheld than as a living room console.

If the Switch sells well, Nintendo can introduce a cost-reduced version that would compete more directly against the 3DS at a later point, if needed. Both platforms will remain in market through 2017, with more games arriving for 3DS throughout the year.

Nintendo also acknowledged it has had some trouble converting Super Mario Run’s success into sales. While 78 million people have downloaded the game, the conversion rate is reportedly ~5%. That’s still an entirely respectable four million paying customers, but Nintendo seems to have had higher hopes for its first mobile title. Given that Super Mario Run actually has an up-front price tag rather than a micropayment system, 5% conversion rates sound fairly solid to us.

Finally, Nintendo confirmed that it continues to have trouble stocking the NES Classic Edition, but still managed to sell 1.5 million of the consoles through the holiday season. Considering that store fronts still can’t keep the system in stock for more than a few minutes at a time, the company severely underestimated demand here.



[Source:- Extremetech]

UKs Competition and Markets Authority looking into possible market abuse by Google against Windows phones

It is no secret, Microsoft’s mobile platforms have struggled, from Windows Phone to Windows 10 Mobile. Even the dearest of fans can attribute at least some of the blame towards Microsoft, they haven’t done themselves any favours. However, many also believe that Google has intentionally acted to thwart any possible success of a 3rd mobile platform which could risk its market dominance. We’ve already witnessed the fall of one once popular mobile operating system, BlackBerry, which now focuses on building products for Google’s operating system – Android.

Now, we have been informed by the UKs Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), the government body assigned to ensure market fairness and transparency, is looking into launching an investigation against Google over possible abuse of its dominant position in the mobile market. Of particular concern is that there are only 2 major mobile operating systems on the market – Android and iOS, with Android taking the majority of the market. Generally, a market is recommended to have 3 major competitors, as is the case with the mobile service provider market. This is the general rule of thumb to ensure that consumers have choice and that companies don’t take advantage of their positions.

In the letter received from the CMA, it stated that a complaint has been made against Google and the information they’ve received has been passed to their Pipelines Team which “analyses and assesses the information we receive and advises on which cases offer the best prospect to make real differences for consumers.” The authority also made clear that, whilst an investigation isn’t guaranteed, they’re looking into the information they have and will be getting in touch with the companies involved, presumably Microsoft and Google, to make “detailed enquiries,” and that it will help them understand how the “market is working and may in time lead to us taking some further action.”

In recent times, Google has seemingly made a few attempts that could be seen as market abuse, which includes:

  • Blocking access to one or more of its services to consumers on a competing platform, whether temporary or permanent
  • Restricting consumers access to one or more of its service on a competing platform, or making it more tedious to access

There’s also the issue of Google not offering any of its apps on Microsoft’s mobile platform. Followed by its intentional blocking of Microsoft’s own third-party YouTube app, which could be construed as direct market abuse.

Users of its Gmail service recently made the headlines after Google made the service inaccessible to email clients on Windows 10 Mobile, with a Google engineer later replying that they’ve fixed the issue, after many user complaints on their product forums. The engineer also said that Google did not intentionally block Gmail for Windows 10 Mobile users.

If the CMA decide to proceed with a full investigation, Google would need to respond to the authority’s concerns and provide evidence to the contrary. Companies are legally obliged to cooperate with the CMA, or they could face fines for market abuse, which can be hefty in some cases.

The CMA recommends that, if any consumer feels another company is abusing its market dominance or has information to provide related to Google and Windows phones, to report it via their website here.

As this is an ongoing case, the authority will not be providing further updates, until when or if, an investigation takes place. In the meantime, they will be collecting information and evidence submitted by consumers and making enquiries.



[Source: Winbeta]

Smart skin is powered by the objects it touches

self-powered smart skin

Researchers have fabricated a smart skin that is self-powered by its frictional contact with the objects that it touches. When a honeybee crawls across the smart skin, the skin not only senses the insect, it also uses the spontaneous triboelectric charge that builds up between the honeybee and the smart skin to power its sensing ability, eliminating the need for batteries. The smart skin could have applications for robots, artificial intelligence systems, and bionic limbs for amputees.

The researchers, led by Haixia Zhang at Peking University in Beijing, have published a paper on the new smart skin in a recent issue of ACS Nano.

“For conventional electronic skins or smart skins, they all need a power supply,” Zhang told “This is a serious problem. It’s awkward for users to take a thin, flexible and light-weight smart skin together with a hard and heavy battery that can work only for hours. The self-powered smart skin fundamentally solves this problem.”

As the scientists explain, triboelectric charges occur anywhere two objects touch each other, although these charges are so small that they often go overlooked.

“Imagine a scenario where you walk toward a table to get a cup of coffee,” Zhang said. “Opposite charges will be generated on the surface of your shoes and the ground. Then when you pick up the cup to drink, the opposite charges will be generated on the palm of your hand and the handle of the cup. Furthermore, when you swallow the coffee, the charges will even be generated between the surface of your digestive tract and the coffee. We utilized these spontaneous—but often be ignored—charges to make our smart skin totally self-powered.”

This self-powering method is possible because the smart skin consumes very little energy in the first place. Most other previously developed smart skins are digital, meaning their resolution sensitivity is determined by a grid of pixels. Increasing the resolution usually requires increasing the number of pixels and electrodes.

In contrast, the new smart skin uses an analogue method that requires only four electrodes. The electrodes are positioned at four opposite ends of the smart skin. When an object, such as a finger, applies a pressure to the smart skin, it generates a current through the skin that induces a voltage on each electrode. Since the distance between the applied force and each electrode is different, the voltage at each electrode will also be different, and the relative voltages can be used to pinpoint the location of the applied force.

“We use the spontaneous triboelectric charges, combined with planar electrostatic induction, to sense the touch applied on the smart skin,” Zhang said. “The triboelectric charges occur everywhere in our daily life when two surfaces touch each other. And when a charged surface approaches a metal block (or electrode), it will induce the opposite charges, which is the electrostatic induction effect. The intensity of the electrostatic induction effect depends on the distance between the charged surface and metal.”

The researchers’ experiments showed that, when wrapped around a robotic hand, the analogue smart skin can determine the location of an applied force with an average resolution of 1.9 mm. To demonstrate the high sensitivity of the smart skin to very small forces, the researchers showed that the smart skin can detect the presence of a 0.16-gram honey bee, as well as a jumping cricket.

In the future, the researchers hope to further improve the smart skin by increasing its detection resolution and sensitivity, which can be addressed at a low cost since these improvements do not require additional electrodes. The researchers also plan to develop ways to shield the smart skin from interference from the environment and other electronic components, which poses a problem for when the smart skin is integrated into mobile phones.

“Compared with digital smart skins which have been studied extensively, analogue smart skins still need more in-depth study,” Zhang said. “Analogue smart skins have obvious advantages at resolution and energy consumption. I hope our work can draw more attention to the analogue smart skins.”

Kabul hit by deadly explosion as Taliban begins spring offensive

At least 28 people have been killed and scores injured after a Taliban car bomb exploded in a crowded area of Kabul near ministries and government offices, and a gun battle ensued between attackers and security forces.

The heavily laden car exploded shortly before 9am local time outside the office of a security detail responsible for protecting Afghan government VIPs and officials, according to police sources.

The blast ripped through the city, rattling windows several miles away, and was followed by gunfire as attackers took cover in nearby buildings. A Taliban spokesman claimed responsibility for the attack, which came a week after the insurgents launched their annual spring offensive.

Afghan security officials at the site of the Kabul blast.
Afghan security officials at the site of the Kabul blast. Photograph: Hedayatullah Amid/EPA

Obaidullah Tarakhail, a police commander who was at the scene when the attack began, told the Associated Press: “This was one of the most powerful explosions I have ever heard in my life.” Tarakhail said he could not see or hear anything for 20 minutes after the initial explosion. “All around was dark and covered with thick smoke and dust,” he said.

Kabul’s police chief, Abdul Rahman Rahimi, told reporters at the scene that 28 people had been killed. He said the attack left 183 injured, but a spokesman for the public health ministry put that figure at 327. The casualty figures are expected to rise.

Emergency, an Italian-run hospital for war wounded in Kabul, said it had received 22 casualties, most of them members of the security forces, and most lightly injured. Luca Radaelli, Emergency’s medical coordinator, said numbers could rise because it had been difficult to evacuate victims while the fighting continued.

Sediq Sediqqi, an Afghan interior ministry spokesman, said the suicide bombing was followed by an assault by armed militants. “One armed terrorist was shot and killed by security forces and the gun battle is still under way with an unknown number of other terrorists,” he said. A spokesman for the Kabul police chief later said the gun battle in the compound had ended.

President Ashraf Ghani said in a statement: “[We] condemn in the strongest terms the terrorist attack in Puli Mahmood Khan neighbourhood of Kabul, as a result of which many of our countrymen were martyred and wounded. Such cowardly terrorist attacks will not weaken the will and determination of Afghan security forces to fight against terrorism.”

The Afghan government, backed by its international allies, has for months tried to convince the insurgents to restart peace talks, but so far to no avail.

While the spring fighting season normally heralds intensified attacks, winter was unusually violent, with sustained Taliban offensives around the country and several attacks on the capital.

In January, the Taliban attacked a restaurant in Kabul frequented by foreigners and affluent Afghans, killing a guard and a 12-year-old boy. Later that month, the militant group killed seven employees of TOLO TV in an attack on one of the media group’s buses.

On Sunday, the UN released a report documenting a slight increase in civilian casualties in the first three months of 2016, compared with the same period last year.

The report also showed that while the Taliban have scaled down their use of improvised explosive devices and targeted killings, the militants are increasingly using complex and suicide attacks in populated areas.

[Source:- Gurdian]

iOS 9.1 Jailbreak by Pangu Released for Mac OS X and Windows

Pangu jailbreak for iOS 9.1

The Pangu group has released a new jailbreak for 64-bit iPad and iPhone devices running iOS 9.1, including iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus.

Jailbreaking circumvents internal security measures put in place by Apple to protect an iOS device, thereby allowing third party software to be installed and other modifications to the device. While this activity is popular with a subset of advanced users, the vast majority of iPhone and iPad owners should not jailbreak their devices, as jailbreaking can void the device warranty, lead to potential security issues, and generally offer a less stable iOS experience. That, in addition to many other reasons not to jailbreak an iPhone or iPad, can be read here. This is truly for advanced users only and is not recommended for most. Unsurprisingly, Apple also strongly opposes jailbreaking.

If you happen to be interested in jailbreaking, have made a backup of your iOS device, and happen to be running iOS 9.1 on a compatible iPhone or iPad, you can get Pangu from the developer site here. The Pangu 9.1 download is about 70mb.

The Pangu 9.1 tool is available for both Mac OS X and Windows, and also supports jailbreaking iOS 9 on earlier 32-bit devices. The actual process of jailbreaking is typical of a Pangu release for those familiar with the procedure, involving backing up the device, turning off Find My iPhone, connecting it to the computer with USB, launching the Pangu app, and walking through the various steps shown on screen.

Pangu for iOS 9.1

There is no way to downgrade iOS to prior final releases, so if you have already moved beyond iOS 9.1 as most likely have, this utility will do nothing for you. The current version of iOS is 9.2.1, and iOS 9.3 is expected to be available to the public in the coming weeks.

Separately, the Pangu group also mentions a jailbreak for the Apple TV 4th generation will be available soon as well.


[Source:- OSxdaily]