iMac Pro release date, Samsung’s first smart speaker, Global internet speeds and more news

iMac Pro release date, Samsung’s first smart speaker, Global internet speeds and more news
Anna Bazyma
15.12.2017

Hi, friends. Today is Friday. It’s high time to post our new digest.

1) Samsung Targets First Half of 2018 for Smart Speaker

Samsung Electronics Co. is aiming to introduce a smart speaker in the first half of 2018, entering a crowded field of voice-controlled devices from Amazon.com Inc., Apple Inc. and Alphabet Inc., people briefed on the plans said.

The device by the South Korean technology giant will have a strong focus on audio quality and the management of connected home appliances such as lights and locks, said the people, who asked not to be identified talking about private plans.

The gadget will run Bixby, Samsung’s digital assistant that rivals Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant. It will also synchronize with TVs, Galaxy smartphones and other Samsung devices, the people also said. Samsung declined to comment.

Read more on Bloomberg

 

2) The 50 best big companies to work for of 2017, according to employees

If you want to know what a potential employer is really like, ask an employee.

That’s the idea behind job-hunting and employee-review site Comparably. It asks employees detailed questions about their companies: everything from compensation information to queries like “Are your company’s meetings effective?” and “Do you have a mentor at work?”

To generate this list of the 50 best large companies to work for in 2017, Comparably analyzed over 3 million employee ratings on 30,000 US companies to come up with an overall satisfaction rank. Comparably defines a “large” company as one with at least 500 employees, and it based its satisfaction rating only on reviews written in 2017.

To make the list, each company needed at least 25 employee reviews. Companies with employees who answered more questions were weighted more heavily than those with staffers that provided fewer answers.

Read more on Businessinsider

 

3) FCC votes 3-2 to repeal net neutrality

Federal regulators voted Thursday to eliminate a two-year-old rule that classified internet access as a basic utility, a controversial move that will give broadband providers more leeway to sell different tiers of internet service but which critics say will leave consumers and web startups at the mercy of the big telecommunications companies.

In a partisan vote repealing net-neutrality protections, the FCC has lifted restrictions that prevented internet service providers (ISPs) from blocking certain websites or from charging companies and customers more for internet “fast lanes.”

Those so-called fast lanes could mean the difference between a smooth, TV-like experience watching online videos or a frustrating frozen screen — a vital distinction as services like entertainment, news, and education shift to online platforms.

Read more on Businessinsider

 

4) Seattle might be the next San Francisco — here’s how the two major tech hubs compare

Seattle and San Francisco have been at the epicenter of the west coast’s tech boom since the dot-com era.

Today, both cities are home to some of the most influential companies in tech: Seattle with Microsoft and Amazon, and San Francisco with Twitter, Airbnb, Lyft, and Uber.

As the tech industry’s influence continues to grow, San Francisco and Seattle have faced comparison in recent months. If you work in tech, which city would make a better home? Here’s an overview of how the two metropolises compare.

Read more on Businessinsider

 

5) Trump signs into law U.S. government ban on Kaspersky Lab software

President Donald Trump signed into law on Tuesday legislation that bans the use of Kaspersky Lab within the U.S. government, capping a months-long effort to purge the Moscow-based antivirus firm from federal agencies amid concerns it was vulnerable to Kremlin influence.

The ban, included as part of a broader defense policy spending bill that Trump signed, reinforces a directive issued by the Trump administration in September that civilian agencies remove Kaspersky Lab software within 90 days. The law applies to both civilian and military networks.

Read more on Reuters

 

5) Google is opening a China-based research lab focused on artificial intelligence

The confirmation comes after months of speculation fueled by a major push to hire AI talent inside the country.

Google’s search engine is blocked in China, but the company still has hundreds of staff in China which work on its international services. In reference to that workforce, Alphabet chairman Eric Schmidt has said the company “never left” China, and it makes sense that Google wouldn’t want to ignore China’s deep and growing AI talent pool, which has been hailed by experts that include former Google China head Kaifu Lee.

Read more on TechCrunch

 

6) SoftBank to Invest Around $500 Million More in OneWeb Satellite-Internet Venture

Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp. has agreed to invest roughly $500 million more in satellite broadband provider OneWeb Ltd., according to a person familiar with the details, boosting the U.S. startup’s plan to offer significantly faster internet connections world-wide than most traditional systems, either space-based or terrestrial.

Read more on WSJ

 

7) іMac Pro, Apple’s most powerful Mac, will be available to order December 14

Apple’s pro-oriented all-in-one desktop, the iMac Pro, is set to launch this Thursday on December 14, 2017. To learn what to expect from the iMac Pro you can read our full breakdown of everything we know about iMac Pro so far.

The iMac Pro is the first iMac to sport 8-, 10-, and 18-core variants, making it easily the most powerful Mac computer on the market today. Apple also appears to be launching a surprise 14-core variant, which gives users even more options to balance price and performance.

The machine will also come with up to 128 GB of ECC DDR4 2666MHz RAM, up to 4 TB of storage, and the option of configuring a 16GB Vega 64 GPU.

Read more on 9to5mac

 

8) Global internet speeds got 30 percent faster in 2017

Here are the countries with the fastest internet.

Internet download speeds grew more than 30 percent this year for both wireline and mobile connections as compared to a year earlier, according to new data from internet speed-test company Ookla. That makes the average download speed 40 megabits per second for broadband and 20 Mbps for mobile.

Growth was driven by network improvements in many countries, including Norway, Australia and India, which saw its broadband speeds increase 77 percent this year, making it the most improved of the world’s largest countries. It still ranks 76th out of all countries, with an average broadband download speed of 18.82 Mpbs.

Here are the countries that currently have the fastest internet speeds:

Read more on Recode

 

9) Amazon expands same-day delivery and one-day shipping to thousands more cities

Amazon announced today it has expanded its same-day delivery and one-day shipping service to thousands more markets across the U.S., just in time for last-minute holiday shopping. Before, these services were available to Prime members in 5,000 cities and towns, the retailer tells us. Now, they’re available in over 8,000.

The market expansion is not just focused on serving major metros, but brings the services to both larger cities and smaller towns in states including Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and others.

The move could put Amazon at an advantage over rival online retailers who sometimes lose out on sales later in the shopping season – and in particular those last few days leading up to Christmas – because of ship times.

Read more on TechCrunch

 

10) Nintendo Switch Has Sold 10 Million Units to Date

Nintendo is boasting that its Switch hybrid console has sold 10 million units worldwide in the first nine months of release, helped by Black Friday promotions.

The console’s relatively robust sales (as measured internally through the end of November 2017) come as Nintendo has encountered some manufacturing bottlenecks in its supply chain, which the company has moved to address. The Nintendo Switch carries a list price of $300 — so the sale of 10 million units translates into more than $3 billion in revenue related to the product. Released this past March, the system had sold 7.63 million units globally through the end of September.

One of the key selling points of the dual-use system is that it can be connected to a TV like a traditional console or undocked and used as a mobile device. “It’s a powerful idea for a gamer to never have to leave their game experience behind,” said Reggie Fils-Aime, president and COO of Nintendo of America. “That’s been a cornerstone of our strong performance to date.”

Read more on Variety