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05-08: Google I/O 2019 – a series of announcements; Intel has revealed plans for Project Athena Open Labs in Taipei, Shanghai and Folsom, California; etc.

Chipsets

Intel has revealed plans for Project Athena Open Labs in Taipei, Shanghai and Folsom, California, to support performance and low-power optimization of vendor components for laptops built to Project Athena design specifications and target experiences in 2020. Located in key ecosystem hubs and operated by teams of Intel engineers with system-on-chip (SOC) and platform power optimization expertise, the three Open Labs sites will begin operating in June 2019 to enable and optimize components. (Engadget, Engadget CN, Intel, Tom’s Hardware)

Samsung has announced a new IoT solution, the Exynos i T100, which enhances the security and reliability of devices designed for short-range communications. Along with the previously introduced Exynos i T200 for Wi-Fi and Exynos i S111 for long-range narrow-band (NB) communications, the launch of the Exynos i T100 allows the company to cover a wider gamut of connectivity for today’s IoT devices. (Neowin, Samsung, CN Beta)

TSMC’s process is now undergoing major operations. Currently, the 5nm process wafer has been successfully trial-produced and will be put into mass production at 1H20. After 1 year of mass production, 5nm+ with better performance and power consumption will be introduced, which will directly widen the technological gap with competitors. At present, TSMC has completed the first phase of Fab 18 for 5nm and has successfully completed trial production. It is expected that 2Q20 will increase production capacity and enter mass production. (CN Beta, IT Home, TechNews, China Times)

Qualcomm has announced its collaboration with Google to enhance Android Q’s developer APIs for 5G, a process the companies say will enable faster access to cloud services, real-time video collaboration, multiplayer cloud gaming, and AR for shopping and navigation. (VentureBeat, Qualcomm, Sohu, China Times)

Touch Display

Samsung has sent out emails to buyers who have pre-ordered the Galaxy Fold, saying that it is “making progress” and will release updated shipping info “in the coming weeks”. The pre-orders will be automatically canceled by the end of May 2019, unless buyers explicitly request otherwise or the company manages to ship the Galaxy Fold before then. (CNET, GSM Arena, CNYES, The Verge)

According to the development leader of Pixel phones, Mario Queiroz, Google has been prototyping technology for foldable phones. However, he has also indicated that they do not see a clear use case yet. Foldables are good for people who want bigger screens, he said, but that will not be enough to spur consumer interest. (Android Headlines, CNET, CN Beta, The Verge)

Camera

Google has announced several improvements to its Google Lens image recognition technology. The biggest new addition is better support for Lens in restaurants. Google Lens is also now capable of reading out text in addition to capturing it and translating it. (Android Authority, CN Beta, CNET, Sohu, CN Beta, Google)

Phone

Google says that the 10% adoption of Android Pie is way ahead of schedule compared to past releases, with the update currently sitting at 10.4% of the chart. (CN Beta, VentureBeat, Android Police, Android, 9to5Google)

Google has officially released the new Android Q. Mobile phone vendors supporting Android Q include Pixel, OnePlus, TEcno, Xiaomi, ASUS, Huawei, Sony, Nokia, OPPO, LG, Essential, vivo, Realme, a total of 13 mobile phone brands. (CN Beta, The Verge)

Google Android senior director Stephanie Cuthbertson has announced that Android is running on 2.5B devices worldwide – a big milestone for the company. That is about 10 years after the first release of Android. (GSM Arena, YouTube, CNET, VentureBeat, Sohu)

Google hardware development leader Rick Osterioh indicate that Google in 2018 acquired HTC engineers, launched Pixel 3, and finally integrated Nest. In 2019, Google’s new Pixel 3A is the first mobile phone to be fully developed using the “Taiwan team” from HTC. Google also eventually merged its home products division with Nest. (Phone Arena, Sina, TechCrunch)

Google Pixel 3a and 3a XL are announced, powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 670, equipped with rear 12.2MP (1.4µm) OIS + front 8MP, 4+64GB, Android 9.0, rear fingerprint scanner: 3a – 5.6” 1080×2220 FHD+ OLED, 3000mAh 18W fast charging, from USD399. 3a XL – 6” 1080×2160 FHD+ OLED, 3700mAh 18W fast charging, from USD479. (Android Authority, GSM Arena)

Huawei P Smart Z is official in Europe – 6.59” 1080×2340 FHD+ LTPS IPS, HiSilicon Kirin 710F, rear dual 16MP-2MP + front motorized pop-up 16MP, 4+64GB, Android 9.0, rear fingerprint scanner, 4000mAh, EUR280. (GizChina, GSM Arena, Huawei)

Augmented / Virtual Reality

Google is adding 3D augmented reality models to its search results. 3D AR objects will start showing up in search results later this year, and developers can add support for their own objects by adding “just a few lines of code”. It is apparently already working with NASA, New Balance, Samsung, Target, Volvo, and other groups to add support for their 3D models. (CN Beta, The Verge, CNET, Google)

Home

Google Nest Hub Max is announced – 10” 1280×800 touch display, 6.5MP with 127º FoV and auto framing, 1 speaker with 2×18mm 10W tweeters and 1 75mm 30W subwoofer, far-field microphones, ambient light sensor, Bluetooth 5.0, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Chromecast bult-in, USD229. (Liliputing, Android Authority, Google, GSM Arena)

Automotive

Waymo is partnering with Lyft to bring self-driving vehicles onto the ride-hailing network in Phoenix as the company ramps up its commercial robotaxi service. Waymo will add 10 of its self-driving vehicles onto Lyft platform over the next few months. (CN Beta, The Verge, WSJ, TechCrunch)

General Motors’ majority-owned Cruise self-driving division has announced that T. Rowe Price and a group of existing investors put down USD1.15B in new equity, valuing the unit at USD19B. The latest funding round includes General Motors, SoftBank Vision Fund and Honda, and should give the firm much-needed cash as it aims to launch vehicles by the end of 2019. (VentureBeat, CN Beta)

Artificial Intelligence

Apple and German software company SAP have grown their partnership, and are further teaming to assist clients develop iPhone, iPad, and Mac apps, with machine learning as a focus. The new partnership is a wider one, expanding into procurement and other aspects of SAP’s business. The launch will include nine applications, with expansions planned. (Apple Insider, 9to5Mac, Reuters, Sina, CN Beta)

Square has acquired conversational artificial intelligence (AI) startup Eloquent Labs to help its merchants improve customer service. Eloquent Labs, which raised a USD1.5M seed round back in early 2017, offers to small businesses a conversational assistant named Elle. Elle can help merchants with common customer service-related issues like returns, product tracking and FAQs. (TechCrunch, Payments Source, Crunch Base)

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