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Will Technology Elect The Next President?

Presidential candidates are deploying a veritable toolbox of digital technologies to break through to voters whose attention is spread across more devices, screens and news sources than ever before, according to a report by NBC News.

When Sen. Bernie Sanders stopped in Van Nuys, Calif., for a fundraiser in late June, the Vermont lawmaker’s event was filmed with a 360-degree camera by Virtuality Lab, which then posted the video to YouTube.

That’s just one of the ways that presidential hopefuls are using a wider range of technology to get their message in front of voters. This election cycle, Reuters estimates that candidates will spend $1 billion on digital media advertising, about four times as much as in 2012. And nearly six months out from the primary, a full 80 percent of the declared 2016 presidential candidates are creating custom video for YouTube, as opposed to simply uploading their 30-second TV commercials, the Google-owned video website said.

It’s a strategy campaigns will likely be forced to adopt, whether they want to or not. YouTube on mobile alone reaches more 18- to-49-year-olds than any single cable network, and a Pew study found that 61 percent of millennials get their political news from Facebook.

Uber Is Fixing Online Shopping’s Most Annoying Problem

Uber is looking toward further disruption by launching Returns, a new feature which was created with habitual online shoppers in mind. UberRush will pick up any items you’ve ordered from any store — after you’ve prepped the goods you’re bidding farewell to with the return label and such. Then, Uber will magically get them returned for you, whether that involves a FedEx pitstop or a regular post office run. It is free for a week upon launch. After that, returns sans any schlepping will run you $4 per return. The service is available solely in New York City through the end of September, with plans to expand into other major cities.

Alibaba Appoints President

Global e-commerce platform provider Alibaba Group has brought in Goldman Sachs alum Michael Evans as president.

Evans, a partner and 20-year veteran of the investment bank, had been a close advisor to Alibaba and served on its board as an independent director.

In his new role, reporting to CEO Daniel Zhang, Evans will be responsible for leading and executing the company’s international growth strategy as it looks to build its business outside of China, and will continue to sit on the board.

His early focus will be on forging close partnerships with key brands and retailers in Europe, the Americas and Asia, the company said, to help them connect with a vast and growing Chinese middle class.

Alibaba is the world’s largest e-commerce company by volume, with at least seven online marketplace platforms where manufacturers and third-party sellers can offer their wares to wholesalers and direct to consumers. It also offers Cloud computing services through its Aliyun unit.

Samsung Creates Fund For Ill Workers

Samsung Electronics said it will create a 100 billion won ($85.8 million) fund to compensate cancer-stricken workers and their families, and for efforts to prevention such diseases at its chip and display factories.

Samsung said in a statement the fund will make payments to workers or families of those who became sick while working at its plants, including contractors. The fund would also pay for research, development of experts and other methods to improve worker safety.

The proposal comes after negotiations between the South Korean firm, workers and their families as well as outside experts over the company’s responsibility for the workers, who have attributed illnesses such as lymphoma and leukemia to prolonged exposure to radiation or dangerous chemicals used in Samsung’s factories.

Samsung issued a public apology in May 2014 to affected workers and their families, marking a turning point in a dispute that has lasted nearly a decade.

2-In-1 Tablets Take Off As Slate Tablets Falter In 2015

The timing couldn’t be better for two-in-ones, according to one research firm.

North American shipments of “slate” tablets will fall 13 percent this year and rebound by 5 percent in 2016, while two-in-one tablet growth will jump 360 percent in 2015 before slowing to 48 percent in 2016, Strategy Analytics forecast. Two-in-one tablets come with detachable keyboards as standard equipment.

“The timing could not be better for two-in-one tablets as Windows 10 makes the multi-mode computing experience smoother, Intel’s Skylake processors hit the market at the end of 2015, and Windows tablets have become more costcompetitive with Android tablets,” said Peter King, director of Strategy Analytics’ Tablet & Touchscreen Strategies service.

Combined North American shipments of both two-in-one and slate tablets will decline 10 percent in 2015 but will rebound to modest growth in 2016 because of “more innovative designs and enabling technology in two-in-one and slate tablets alike,” said Strategy Analytics.

North American shipments of two-in-one tablets will almost double from 2.1 million in 2015 to 4.1 million in 2019, it added.

In North America through 2019, slate tablets’ compound annual growth rate (CAGR) will be zero, while Two-in-one tablets will grow at a CAGR of 55 percent.

superMHL Chips Arrive

When we first saw superMHL at CES, it was positioned as a delivery conduit for 8K content. With the new chips from Lattice bringing the ability to use USB Type-C connectors, you don’t have to wait for 8K to take advantage of some of the format’s advanced features.

Last week Lattice Semiconductor announced that it has released the world’s first solutions for superMHL that use USB Type-C for connectivity. The two parts are the Sil9396 “receiver” and the Sil8630 “transmitter” chips.

To date, the main benefit of MHL has been its ability to carry 5-volt DC charging current so that a device connected via MHL — be it an early version Roku Streaming Stick or a compatible phone or tablet — can operate without external power. That, over and above to use either standard HDMI Type A connectors or smaller Micro USB connectors, made it an interesting option for portables.

These superMHL chips raise the bar on that score considerably.

By making not only legacy compatibility with MHL 1, 2, and 3 and the current HDMI feature set over just one lane rather than the four required by HDMI, they can use their remaining available connectivity lanes to provide the feature set of USB 3.1 and use the USB Type-C connector


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