Tech String


Alibaba breaks all online shopping records as Singles Day sales generate $5 billion in 90 minutes

china, online shopping, black friday, cyber monday, records, alibaba, singles day sales

It may not have a lot of meaning to those of us living in the western world, but Singles Day is a big deal in China and is often thought of as their version of Black Friday. Taking place on the 11th of November, it’s been revealed that this year’s shopping spree generated $5 billion for e-commerce giant Alibaba in the first 90 minutes of Singles Day going live – the same amount that Americans spent online last year on Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.

Singles Day – which is called Double Eleven by most of China in reference to the date on which it falls – was reputedly started by singleton students in 1993. The idea behind this anti-valentine event is that if you’re single, you’ll likely have no commitments (in terms of a partner or kids) and therefore should celebrate the single life by, amongst other things, buying stuff you want. It has since become the largest online shopping day in the world.

Despite the ongoing concerns over the state of China’s economy, Alibaba’s total Singles Day sales for 2015 are expected to exceed last year’s $9.3 billion and reach $13.7 billion, according to IDC data cited by Bloomberg.

Alibaba claims that 74 percent of the $5 billion spent on these initial sales went on cell phones, showing just how much that market is growing in China. In an Interview withFortune magazine, Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang said this year’s Double Eleven online shopping event will be the most international yet. “Chinese consumers will be buying an unprecedented assortment of international brands and products from around the world. Chinese consumers associate quality and prestige with American and European brands, and both have very solid presence on 11/11 in response to strong consumer demand.”

Source: Techspot

Bluetooth speed and range to get huge boost next year thanks to IoT

bluetooth, internet of things, iot, wireless connectivity, sig

Bluetooth will get its biggest overhaul since 2010 next year in order to cope with the ever-growing number of connected devices. A longer range, faster speeds, and even mesh networking look set to boost the capabilities of the wireless technology.

The Bluetooth special interest group (SIG), a membership-based organization that manages and develops Bluetooth standards, announced that its improvement plans are focused on increasing the technology’s Internet of Things (IoT) functionality.

“There is significant demand from our members and the industry at large to enhance Bluetooth with the new capabilities we’re announcing today,” said Toby Nixon, chairman of the Bluetooth SIG Board of Directors. “Current projections put the market potential for IoT between $2 and $11.1 trillion by 2025. The technical updates planned for Bluetooth technology in 2016 will help make these expectations a reality and accelerate growth in IoT.”

The group said it plans to increase the range of the low-energy Bluetooth Smart by up to four times its current limit of around 330 feet. Bluetooth speed will also increase by 100 percent without having an adverse effect on energy consumption, enabling faster data transfers and lowering latency. Furthermore, the addition of mesh networking will allow each Bluetooth device to use the wireless connection to form building-wide networks, rather than one-to-one links.

The SIG say that these updates are currently just a “technical roadmap,” but there will be more details and “additional features” announced over the coming months. The improvements could have a major impact on the increasing number of homes and businesses that use smart devices. “The new functionality we will soon be adding will further solidify Bluetooth as the backbone of IoT technology,” said Mark Powell, executive director of the SIG.

Source: Techspot

You can now earn 1TB of free Drive storage by contributing to Google Maps

google, google maps, google drive, rewards program, local guides

Google has updated its Local Guides program for Google Maps by offering new rewards, including 1TB of free space on Google Drive, to users who leave reviews, add photos, answer questions and update other information.

Local Guides is “a global community that helps you explore the world while earning perks,” according to Google. In order to compete against the likes of Yelp and Foursquare, the program uses a leveling system that awards points to active users, with each level bringing a new reward.

“You can earn points and level up by writing reviews, uploading photos, adding new places, fixing outdated information, and answering simple questions.”

The first level, which requires between 0 and 4 points, lets users participate in exclusive contests to win various Google devices and services. They can also join Google-hosted workshops and hangouts.

Level two (5 to 49 points) gives users access to new Google products and features, while level three (50 to 199 points) assigns a Local Guides badge to a person – indicating that they are a trusted guide. Users who reach this third level will also receive invites to Google-hosted events in select cities.

The top two tiers contain the most appealing awards, naturally. Anyone who amasses 200 to 499 points will move to level four and get the 1TB of free Google Drive space, which normally costs $9.99 a month. While those who manages to collect over 500 points and reach level five will be invited to attend the inaugural Local Guides summit in 2016, where they can “meet other top Guides from around the world, explore the Google campus, and get the latest info about Google Maps.” Users who hit this level will also get early access to new Google products and features.

With each new piece of uploaded information counting as one point (limited to five points per place), climbing to the higher levels may take some time. But unlike similar promotions from other companies, Google’s top tier rewards – especially that 1TB of cloud space – are pretty impressive.

Source: Techspot

Electric car startup Faraday Future prepares for battle with Tesla

tesla, connected car, electric car, startup, model s, faraday future, chaoying deng, jia yueting

There’s trouble brewing six hours south of Tesla’s Palo Alto headquarters. Inside Nissan’s old US sales office, a team of established auto industry engineers and executives – some, former Tesla employees – are building a company that some say is China’s response to the Model S maker.

The 18-month-old startup is called Faraday Future. Led by Chaoying Deng – at least, on paper – and believed to be backed by Chinese billionaire Jia Yueting, the company is planning to sell its first fully-electric vehicle in 2017. To realize that goal, it first needs a manufacturing facility.

Faraday Future aims to spend around $1 billion to build the plant and is currently scouting locations in California, Georgia, Louisiana and Nevada. Like its eventual rival, Faraday Future is shopping around for the best deal as it relates to economic incentives, tax breaks and so forth.

As the LA Times reminds us, Tesla ultimately decided to build its Gigafactory in Nevada largely due to the $1.3 billion economic development package the state offered. At the time, Tesla said the deal would create 6,500 new jobs and have an economic impact of nearly $100 billion over the next 20 years.

Faraday Future said in a press release that in addition to producing vehicles, it plans to explore other aspects of the auto and tech industries including in-vehicle content, autonomous driving and unique ownership and usage models.

Source: Techspot

The (Unknown) Inventor of Bitcoin Nominated For the Nobel Prize in Economics

The Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences is, as with most Nobel prizes, quite a big deal. Past laureates are a who’s who of economics—and starting in 2016, that list could include the inventor of Bitcoin. Assuming, of course, someone works out who that is.

Satoshi Nakamoto is the widely recognized inventor of Bitcoin. They published a 2008 paper outlining the concept, and wrote the original software the underpins the internet’s most popular digital currency. But Satoshi Nakamoto is a pseudonym, and despite some intense on-and-offline digital snooping, no-one knows anything at all about Nakamoto.

That hasn’t stopped UCLA Professor of Finance Bhagwan Chowdhry from nominating Nakamoto for the 2016 Nobel Prize in Economics. In a Huffington Post article, Chowdhry explains his choice:

The invention of bitcoin — a digital currency — is nothing short of revolutionary…it offers many advantages over both physical and paper currencies. It is secure, relying on almost unbreakable cryptographic code, can be divided into millions of smaller sub-units, and can be transferred securely and nearly instantaneously from one person to any other person in the world with access to internet bypassing governments, central banks and financial intermediaries such as Visa, Mastercard, Paypal or commercial banks eliminating time delays and transactions costs.

Regardless of individual perception of Bitcoin—flawed drug-dealer currency or the ultimate economic tool of personal liberty—its invention is both significant and very clever.

There’s no real precedent for awarding the Nobel Prize to an unknown person (or possibly even group of people), so it’s difficult to say how the Prize committee will deal with the nomination. But even so, the fact that Bitcoin and Nobel Prize in Economics are being talked about in the same breath is significant all on its own.

Source: Gizmodo

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