Editor’s Note: This is the TechSummit Rewind, a daily recap of the top technology headlines.
Beijing: Apple must halt iPhone 6 sales
According to Bloomberg, the Beijing Intellectual Property Office ruled that the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus violate the design patents of a Chinese phone, meaning that Apple must cease sales of both models in the city.
“If the position by the Beijing IP office is upheld and Apple doesn’t appeal further, then in theory they wouldn’t be able to sell the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.”
-Ted Chwu, Bird and Bird partner
According to Chwu, Apple can try appealing in several venues like the Beijing Higher People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Court.
“iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus as well as iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, and iPhone SE models are all available for sale today in China. We appealed an administrative order from a regional patent tribunal in Beijing last month and as a result the order has been stayed pending review by the Beijing IP Court.”
-Apple, in a statement
Google launches European research group focused on AI
Google has launched a new research group based in Zurich, Switzerland that’s focused on machine learning.
According to Google Research European head Emmanuel Mogenet, the group will focus on three key artificial intelligence areas: machine intelligence, machine perception, and natural language processing/understanding.
It’ll research ways to improve machine-learning infrastructure and enable the technology for practical use. According to Mogenet, researchers will also work closely with linguists to advance natural language understanding.
Experimental Firefox feature lets you must multiple identities while surfing web
Mozilla Firefox is getting a new experimental feature that aims to help you segregate your online identities and allow you to sign in into multiple mail or social media accounts side-by-side without having to use multiple browsers.
This new “container tab” feature, which is available now in the Nightly Firefox release channel, provide you with four default identities (personal, work, shopping, and banking) with their own stores for cookies, IndexedDB data store, local storage, and caches. In practice, this means you can surf Amazon without ads for products you may have looked at following you around the web when you switch over to your work persona.
In its current form, Firefox lets you switch between the different personas and highlights which one you’re using in both the URL form and by presenting tabs in the color of the persona that’s using them.
The identities still share the same browsing history, bookmarks, saved password, search and form data.
“We only segregate data that a site has access to, not data that the user has access to. The Containers feature was designed for a single user who has the need to portray themselves to the web in different ways depending on the context in which they are operating.”
-Mozilla, Firefox developer
According to Mozilla, ad trackers can still fingerprint the browser, even if you use different personas.
Asus announces ZenPad Z8 for Verizon
Asus is launching the ZenPad Z8, a new tablet for Verizon, that features a Snapdragon 650 processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage (with microSD card support), and a 7.9-inch 2048 x 1536 LCD screen.
The tablet also features an eight-megapixel rear camera, a two-megapixel front camera, a 4680mAh battery, and Android 6.0.1.
Other than that, it features dual front-facing cameras and VisualMaster display tweaks.
The Asus ZenPad Z8 sells for $250 up front or divided in 24 monthly payments, and is available for pre-order through Verizon and will go on sale Jun. 23.
Vrse rebrands itself as Within, raises $13M
Vrse, a company that makes virtual-reality films and is responsible for helping create The New York Times’ VR projects, is changing its name to Within, alongside a new $12.56 million funding round.
“When you’re in VR, you’re experiencing something that you are within. We didn’t want our name to be something that alludes to technology or a catchphrase [but to] be more about what our mission is.”
-Drew Larner, Within Chief Operating Officer
According to Within CEO Chris Milk, people reading the name Vrse often don’t know how to say it, and those who did sometimes couldn’t spell it.
The rebrand comes alongside the announcement of a $12.56 million series A funding round led by venture capital firm Andreesen Horowitz, which also invested in a note that constituted Within’s earliest “seed” round of funding.
A new investor in this round was 21st Century Fox, which has invested heavily in VR.
According to Larner, Within’s board was left unchanged by the investment. Most of the funding will be dedicated to adding more employees, particularly engineers, to its workforce of roughly 20. Within will also use the money to fund its technology and create more content.
Twitter intros emoji-based ad targeting
Advertisers can now target consumers on Twitter based on whether they’ve tweeted or engaged with tweets that featured emoji. For example, if you’re in Chicago and you tweeted a pizza emoji, you might be targeted by a local restaurant that’s looking to sell you a slice of deep dish.
According to Twitter, over 110 billion emojis have been tweeted since 2014, and they can signal a person’s mood, or mindset, “unlocking unique opportunities for marketers and brands.”
“Emojis have become an ubiquitious way for people, publishers, and brands to express their feelings.”
-Neil Shah, Twitter ads API product manager
Facebook Messenger for iOS updated with new ‘Home’ tab interface
Facebook has revealed a new homescreen that appears when users first open the app.
The homescreen shows the most recent sent and received messages at the top, while favorite contacts are displayed directly below that. Favorites are displayed by name and with an image.
Below are reminders for important upcoming events and birthdays. For birthdays, users can wish someone a happy birthday with a single tap on the new Messenger homescreen. That’s followed by the master list of everyone who’s currently online. As always, you can search for people and groups and start a new message from the very top, as well.
Essentially, the Home tab that showed a simple list of recent conversations has been replaced by the revamped Home interface with all of the aforementioned sections. According to Facebook, the redesign will make it easier for users to communicate and start new conversations.
According to Facebook, the Messenger Home interface is now rolling out to users.
Oracle Q4 delivers continued cloud sales growth
Oracle reported earnings for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2016, posting continued cloud sales momentum.
The Redwood City, Calif.-based company posted non-GAAP earnings of $0.81/share on revenue of $10.6 billion. Non-GAAP net income came to $3.4 billion.
While its on-premise software revenues were flat at $8.4 billion, Oracle’s cloud software as a service (SaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS) revenues came to $690 million, up 66 percent. Total Cloud revenues, including infrastructure as a service (IaaS), were $859 million, up 49 percent.
According to Oracle CTO Larry Ellison, the company expects the “hyper-growth” to continue for the next few years.
“That gives us a fighting chance to be the first cloud company to reach $10 billion in SaaS and PaaS revenue.”
-Larry Ellison, Oracle CTO
For the full 2016 fiscal year, Oracle reported total revenues of $37 billion, down three percent. However, Cloud SaaS and PaaS revenues in 2016 reached $2.2 billion, up 49 percent in U.S. dollars, while total cloud revenues, including IaaS, reached $2.9 billion, up 26 percent.
According to Oracle CEO Mark Hund, the company added more than 1,600 new SaaS customers and over 2,000 new PaaS customers in Q4.