TechSummit Rewind #071

Editor’s Note: This is the TechSummit Rewind, a daily recap of the top technology headlines.

Google iOS app gets faster load times, AMP articles in search, keyboard shortcuts

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Google’s iOS app

More speed is the highlight for an update to Google’s iOS app.

Like on the mobile web and Android, AMP articles will now show up in search results for faster viewing. Other improvements improve sport video highlights on Now cards that play within the app, and new keyboard shortcuts for iPad users. Holding “Command” will list shortcuts for searching and app navigation.

According to Google, faster load times when opening the app and searching will save app users 6.5 million hours combined this year.

Facebook, Microsoft team up to build undersea Internet cable

Microsoft and Google are building an underwater internet cable that will cross the Atlantic Ocean from Northern Virginia to Bilbao, Spain.

According to the companies, the cable was designed to carry data for their growing number of online users and commercial customers. The project will be operated by Spanish carrier Telefonica, which will sell unused capacity on the cable to other customers.

Intel acquires Itseez for IoT, self-driving cars

An employee walks past an Intel logo during the 2014 Computex exhibition at the TWTC Nangang exhibition hall in Taipei

Intel has acquired computer vision startup Itseez as it moves further in the Internet of Things and automotive electronics markets.

“Intel is transforming from a PC company to a company that powers the cloud and billions of smart, connected computing devices. These devices will use the power of Intel technology to process data being generated from ‘things,’ connect to, and learn from data being analyzed in the cloud, and deliver amazing new experiences.

“While the possibilities are exciting, the reality requires solving a myriad of technology challenges. Solutions will need to seamlessly deliver a combination of compute, connectivity, security, machine learning, human machine interfaces, and functional safety.”

-Doug Davis, Intel Internet of Things senior vice president

Intel is adding new functionality to cars like functional safety and over-the-air software management, along with the ability to see and interpret surroundings.

Computer vision includes methods for acquiring, processing, analyzing, and understanding images from the real world to make informed decisions and automate actions. According to Davis, this technology is becoming critical for the future of smart and connected “things” in autonomous vehicles, security systems, and medical imaging.

Itseez creates software and integration for everything from cars to security systems. According to Davis, the San Francisco-based startup will become a key ingredient for Intel’s Internet of Things group roadmap, and will help Intel’s customers create applications like autonomous driving, digital security and surveillance, and industrial inspection.

“Together, we’ll step up our contribution to these standards bodies — defining a technology badge that helps the industry move more quickly to OpenVX-based products.”

-Doug Davis

ZTE launches Google Daydream-ready Axon 7, first VR headset

ZTE Axon 7

ZTE has launched its Axon 7 flagship, alongside its ZTE VR virtual reality headset. The 5.5-inch, Android 6.0 Marshmallow-toting handset aims to offer flagship features and specs at a $450 price tag.

Sure enough, the spec sheet reads like any other flagship with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, 4/6GB of RAM, and 64/128GB of storage. The latter configuration also offers a force touch enabled 2560×1440 AMOLED display.

Other highlights include front-facing stereo speakers powered by a pair of discrete audio chips; a rear-mounted, hapticaly enhanced fingerprint sensor that vibrates to assist in finger placement; and NFC for contactless payments.

In terms of cameras, the main shooter combines a 20-megapixel Samsung sensor with an optically stabilized f/1.8 lens, while the front-facing cam offers an eight-megapixel sensor. Powering all this is a 3250mAh non-removable battery.

ZTE VR

Axon 7 is one of the first handsets to support Google’s Daydream virtual reality platform, and is compatible with ZTE VR. The goggles include a five-piece glass configuration and nine-axis gyroscope, along with an 18-millisecond delay and 96-degree field of vision.

The phone itself is available now in China, and will hit the U.S. “shortly” through ZTE, Amazon, Best Buy, B&H, eBay, and Newegg. American customers can also benefit from a two-year warranty and white glove service contract as part of the Axon Passport Program 2.0.

Three UK trialling mobile ad blocking next month

Three-UK-Store

Three will soon trial network-level ad blocking in the U.K., on the week starting June 13 for 24 hours. The carrier will contract customers beforehand through signing up on the carrier’s website. According to Shrine, the company Three contracted to handle the ad-blocking, it can handle “all of the mobile web,” including display ads and in-app ads.

“The current ad model is broken. It frustrates customers, eats up their data allowance, and can jeopardize their privacy. Something needs to change.”

-Tom Malleschitz, Three chief marketing officer

Twitter tunes into Spotify to soundtrack audio cards

Spotify-Twitter partnership

Twitter is launching audio cards in partnership with Spotify that let you listen to 30-second song previews in your timeline and Moments.

The music player can be docked in the corner of Twitter, and keep browsing your feed while the music plays.

“As part of today’s launch, Spotify tracks can now be featured within Twitter Moments providing another great way to discover new music.”

-Spotify

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