TechSummit Rewind 180

This is the TechSummit Rewind, a daily recap of the top technology headlines.

Nokia, Xiaomi sign business collaboration, patent agreements

Nokia and Xiaomi have signed a business collaboration agreement and a multi-year patent deal that includes a cross-license for each other’s cellular standard-essential patents.

Xiaomi has also purchased patent assets from Nokia.

Under the deal, both companies will work together on optical communications solutions for data centers, IP routing for the Nokia FP4 processor, and a data center fabric solution.

Both firms will also collaborate on research in areas like the Internet of Things, augmented and virtual reality, and artificial intelligence.

“As a company seeking to deliver more exciting technological innovations to the world, we are excited at the opportunity to work more closely with Nokia in [the] future. Xiaomi is committed to building sustainable, long-term partnerships with global technology leaders.

“Our collaboration with Nokia will enable us to tap on its leadership in building large, high-performance networks and formidable strength in software and services.”

-Lei Jun, Xiaomi Chairman & CEO

NVIDIA announces AI partnership with Baidu

Nvidia has announced an AI partnership with Baidu that aims to tackle several areas of research, most notably self-driving cars.

“Our collaboration aligns our exceptional technical resources to create AI computing platforms for all developers.”

-Ian Buck, NVIDIA vice president & general manager of accelerated computing

Baidu has agreed to adopt NVIDIA’s Dive PX autonomous car platform as it aims to have autonomous cars driving on Chinese roads soon.

Additionally, Baidu announced that several Chinese car manufacturers would be partnering with the company to help manufacturer self-driving cars.

The two companies will also be collaborating on improving Baidu’s AI research capabilities. Baidu will deploy some of Nvidia’s server hardware in its data centers. The hardware should help researchers process data from images, speech text, and video faster than before, according to a joint press release.

Both companies announced that they would be optimizing Baidu’s “PaddlePaddle” deep learning technology for Nvidia’s GPUs and adding Baidu’s DuerOS AI system to Nvidia’s Shield set-top box.

Snapchat adds links, voice filters, backdrops to Snaps

Snapchat Limitless option

Snapchat is breaking its “no links” rule and adding voice filters and backdrops in an attempt to stay one step ahead of Instagram. The features are rolling out globally to iOS and Android now.

Paperclip lets you attach a website to a Snap that friends can swipe up (much like Instagram) to open in Snapchat’s in-app browser. Previously, the feature was only available for ad campaigns and Discover content. According to Snap, all shared links must abide by the service’s terms of service, community guidelines, and privacy policy. Snap will use its own automated trust and safety tools and information from Google’s Safe Browsing service, to warn users about potentially dangerous phishing scams, malware, and the like. Users will also be shown a link preview next to the swipe-up arrow, and Snap encourages users to report inappropriate content.

Backdrops lets you cut an object out of your Snap and put a colorful or artsy pattern behind it to help it stick out. To do this, tap the Scissors in the Vertical Toolkit and then the Backdrop icon. Trace around the object, select one of the Backdrop designs that rotate daily, and you’ll be able to give a certain part of your snap a highlight.

Voice filters let you remix the sound of voices in your Snaps. Previously, these were attached exclusively to visual face filters. You can now tap the speaker icon at the bottom of the screen and select from a range of character voices.

Alexa gained 5,000 skills in four months


Amazon’s Alexa voice platform has grown rapidly over the past few months – gaining 5,000 skills in five months. The platform now has 15,000 apps for Echo and Fire devices, according to analysis from Voicebot that Amazon has confirmed to TechCrunch, up from the 10,000 skills announced by the company in February.

According to Voicebot, which only analyzed skills available in the US, the milestone was reached for the first time on June 30. During June, new skill introductions increased 23 percent, up from the single-digit growth in each of the prior three months.

It’s also a more than doubling of the number of skills available at the beginning of the year when Voicebot reported that there were over 7,000 skills. Amazon confirmed that figure at CES.

Voicebot notes that Flash Briefings are still among the most popular categories of skills live in the Alexa Skill Store today, accounting for roughly 20 percent of the available skills. These information-focused apps are available from major publications like the Wall Street Journal, NPR, and the Washington Post.

To compare, Voicebot claims that Google Home has 378 voice apps available as of June 30 while Microsoft’s Cortana has a mere 65.



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