#1 Apple acquires edge-based AI startup Xnor.ai

Apple has purchased Xnor.ai, a Seattle-based startup specializing in edge-based, low power AI tools. The deal is reportedly valued at around $200 million with Xnor’s image recognition tools potentially deployed in future iPhones and webcams. The startup has developed machine learning solutions that can be executed on the device instead of relying on the cloud. In 2019, it also created a standalone AI chip that can run for years on solar energy and deployed its edge-based person recognition tech into Wyze Labs’ low-cost security cameras before pulling out of the deal. Xnor is the spin-out from the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, or AI2, created by the late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. Read more: http://bit.ly/2QYjtTm

#2 Google buys Irish startup Pointy

Google is buying Pointy, an Ireland-based tech firm, for reported $163 million. The startup sells a device that retailers plug into barcode scanners to analyze customer purchases and measure how many items are in stock. This data is then used to generate a web page displaying a store’s products, enabling businesses to have their catalogs discoverable in search engines without building an e-commerce site. Pointy says its hardware piece is used by more than 15,000 retailers throughout the world. The arrangement will help Google expand its ad sales as Pointy’s platform allows users to turn product listings into search ads. Read more: http://bit.ly/363CesN

#3 Consumers downloaded a record 204 billion mobile apps in 2019

App Annie’s annual report, “State of Mobile,” revealed that consumers downloaded a record 204 billion apps in 2019 and spent $120 billion on apps, subscriptions, and other in-app items. Furthermore, the mobile industry is set to contribute $4.8 trillion to the global GDP by 2023. Emerging markets like India, Brazil, and Indonesia have seen record growth since 2016, while download growth in the US has slowed to just five percent. China grew 80 percent in the same period and remains the single largest market. Gaming apps accounted for 72 percent of total spending in 2019. Non-gaming apps, such as the dating app Tinder and the video app Netflix, generate most of their revenue from subscriptions. Read more: http://tcrn.ch/30qhdHC

#4 Cute robots win hearts at CES 2020

This year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) featured a range of advanced robots, most of which cater to the needs of customers in service, education, and emotional care sectors. Many of these machines were designed to be as cute as possible, perhaps to make users forget they’re not dealing with a living thing. The Japanese startup Groove X, for instance, showcased Lovot, a robot whose only mission is to love humans. Educational robots were popular too. One of these is Emys, a robot with big eyes and a child-like voice that helps children ages 3-9 practice English. And seniors with dementia who need a companion can purchase Jennie, an animatronic dog from Tombot. These and other high-tech devices come with a hefty price tag, though. Jennie costs $450 and Lovot is sold in Japan for around $2,700. Read more: http://cnet.co/2FUOlOz

#5 Samsung Galaxy S20 may have a 108MP camera and 5G connectivity

Samsung is expected to unveil its Galaxy S20 series of smartphones on February 11 this year. The device will reportedly have the rectangular camera module on the top right featuring an ultra-wide-angle camera, a regular camera, and a zoomed camera. One of these is said to come with 108 megapixels. The phone is likely to operate on the Snapdragon 865 mobile chip from Qualcomm, providing top-tier performance for running apps and games. Furthermore, most of the S20 phones are expected to support 5G connectivity, at least those using Qualcomm’s chips. And Samsung is predicted to ditch the headphone jack and provide customers with wireless headphones. Read more: http://bit.ly/38eDISQ


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