Arm’s cheap and flexible plastic microchip could create an ‘internet of everything’

Plastic chips would be flexible and cheap; meaning they could be printed pretty much anywhere. | Image: PragmatIC If you think microchips are ubiquitous now, appearing in everything from washing machines to lampposts, just wait until circuits can be printed onto plastic, paper, and fabric for the price of pennies. That’s what chip designer Arm is promising, with the company this week unveiling a new prototype plastic-based microchip named PlasticARM.
This isn’t the first flexible chip we’ve seen, but it is the most complex. PlasticARM contains a 32-bit Cortex-M0 CPU (the cheapest and simplest processor core in Arm’s Cortex-M family), as well as 456 bytes of ROM and 128 bytes of RAM. It’s comprised of over 18,000 logic gates, which Arm says is at least 12 times more than the previous plastic-based chip.
The chip was designed in coordination with…
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Predictably, T-Mobile’s merger promises weren’t enough to make a carrier out of Dish

The Sprint acquisition deal included too few requirements and put too much trust in a big corporation to do the right thing. | Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge When T-Mobile acquired Sprint in April of 2020, it brought our major wireless carrier choices from four down to three. Recognizing that this would indeed be a bad thing for US wireless customers (aka all of us), T-Mobile agreed to a set of conditions with the FCC’s blessing that would theoretically position Dish Network to fill the Sprint-shaped hole in our wireless landscape.
In other words, one wireless competitor was allowed to reduce competition only if it agreed to help set up another competitor in its place. Sounds a little suspect, right? Surely a deal like that would include a lot of conditions, requirements, and oversight to make sure it would actually work.
But looking back, these were the major requirements imposed on…
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Google Maps will help you avoid crowded mass transit in way more cities

Where available, users can report on how busy a transit option is. | Image: Google Google is expanding the number of cities where Maps offers information about public transport crowding. The number of cities covered is increasing from around 200 today, to “over 10,000 transit agencies in 100 countries,” the company says. As well as crowdedness, Google says Maps is also being updated to offer more information about past travel.
Google Maps’ crowdedness information originally launched pre-pandemic in 2019, but over the past year social distancing has made it more important than ever. Crowdedness information is generated from a mixture of historical location data, as well as self-reporting from Maps users on individual trains. Google says it anonymizes the location history data used.
Image: Google G… Continue reading…

Apple pushes back return to offices due to rising COVID cases: report

Apple is delaying its plan to return to mandatory in-person work because of the increase of COVID cases driven by the Delta variant, according to Bloomberg. The company had laid out a roadmap for returning to its offices in early September, with employees expected to come in at least three days a week, but now that deadline has reportedly been extended “by at least a month to October at the earliest.”
Apple’s return to offices was controversial among some of its employees. A group of workers in an internal Slack channel for thousands of “remote work advocates” collaborated on a letter to CEO Tim Cook and the rest of Apple’s leadership, making the case that the company should embrace a more flexible work-from-home policy. Deirdre O’Brien,…
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Samsung’s colossal 1,000-inch MicroLED display has improved colors and a thinner design

The Wall as a massive in-store display. | Image: Samsung Samsung is releasing a new version of The Wall, its massive modular MicroLED display. Measuring in at over 1,000 inches in size, the new “IWA Series” display is aimed at businesses and commercial applications rather than homes, and Samsung’s promotional images showcase it being used as a huge display in a retail environment. The display is available in “select markets” from today, but Samsung’s press release doesn’t publicly list a price.
Improvements for this year’s display include LEDs that are up to 40 percent smaller than last year, which Samsung says should lead to higher contrast and better color uniformity. The purity of The Wall’s colors has also been improved over the 2020 model, and Samsung boasts that it’s got a new AI…
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Facebook pushes back against Biden remarks on COVID-19 misinformation

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge Facebook continued its pushback Saturday against President Biden’s comment that social media platforms were “killing people” with COVID-19 misinformation, in a blog post from its vice president of integrity Guy Rosen. The post states that the “facts tell a very different story to the one promoted by the administration in recent days.”
“At a time when COVID-19 cases are rising in America, the Biden administration has chosen to blame a handful of American social media companies,” Rosen wrote. “While social media plays an important role in society, it is clear that we need a whole of society approach to end this pandemic. And facts — not allegations — should help inform that effort.”
(The post was titled “Moving Past the Finger Pointing:…
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WhatsApp tests encrypted cloud backups on Android

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge When you’re using WhatsApp your messages are encrypted end-to-end, which means prying eyes can’t easily see what’s in them as they travel back and forth. However, if you keep a backup stored in the cloud, authorities can use a search warrant to have Google Drive or iCloud hand over access to the data. But WABetaInfo has reported previously that WhatsApp is working on the technology to independently encrypt your backups in the cloud, and says that in the most recent beta update on Android (2.21.15.5), the system has been enabled.
Opting in should keep your chat history and media securely backed up, with the significant caveat that if you forget your passcode / lose the 64-digit recovery key, then they’ll be locked away permanently — even…
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Xiaomi overtakes Apple as number two smartphone vendor for first time

A phone repair store at a technology market in Shenzhen, China. | Photo by Sam Byford / The Verge Xiaomi is now the second largest smartphone vendor based on worldwide shipments in the second quarter of 2021, according to a new report from Canalys. The Chinese company captured 17 percent of global market share, according to the research firm, just behind Samsung’s 19 percent but ahead of Apple’s 14 percent.
BBK’s Oppo and Vivo rounded out the list of top five vendors at 10 percent apiece. All five companies grew their shipments year on year, but what’s notable is just how much Xiaomi has managed to increase its volume — it shipped 83 percent more phones than in Q2 2020, whereas Samsung grew shipments 15 percent and Apple by just one percent.
We've moved up one more spot! Just in from @Canalys, we are now the 2nd largest smartphone…
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Retail stores are packed with unchecked facial recognition, civil rights organizations say

More than 35 organizations are demanding top US retailers cease using facial recognition to identify shoppers and employees in their stores, which companies have used to deter theft and identify shoplifters.
The campaign is aptly named Ban Facial Recognition in Stores, and has identified stores that have committed to not using facial recognition, like Walmart, Home Depot, and Target. It is now pressuring companies currently using the technology, or those who might use it in the future. Some companies that are currently using the technology, according to the website, include Apple, Lowe’s, Albertsons, Macy’s, and Ace Hardware.
Companies that might use it in the future include McDonalds, Walgreens, and 7-Eleven. A full list can be found…
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