Connect with us

Tech News

Group of employees calls for end to Microsoft’s $480M HoloLens military contract – TechCrunch

Published

on

3 mins ago
Tech News

1 Views

More than 100 Microsoft employees have signed a letter sent to CEO Satya Nadella and President Brad Smith criticizing the company’s plans to build HoloLens AR tech for the military, the organizing group said Friday. The development is part of a $480 million military contract that Microsoft won this past November.

The group’s letter demands that the company cancel their work on the contract and cease development of weapons technologies. “We did not sign up to develop weapons, and we demand a say in how our work is used,” the letter further states.

Microsoft has been focusing its augmented reality efforts on enterprise customers but had aggressively pursued the military contract, beating out other applicants including billions-backed startup Magic Leap. The contract is essentially a pilot program to begin outfitting the U.S. military with augmented reality visors and software tools to help with training and combat.

The letter protesting the nearly half-billion-dollar deal came just a couple days before Microsoft was expected to release a second-generation HoloLens at an event in Barcelona.

In October, Microsoft President Brad Smith published a blog expressing the company’s support for the military projects it was pursuing, saying “we believe in the strong defense of the United States and we want the people who defend it to have access to the nation’s best technology, including from Microsoft.” That letter was into the company’s substantially more impactful bid to win the $10 billion JEDI cloud infrastructure contract, but the sign of more pushback from a small group of employees showcases that not everyone at the company believes that Microsoft should be assisting the U.S. military.

Source link


Check Also



The clean energy boffins in their labs are always upping the theoretical limit on how …



Source link

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Tech News

Libra cryptocurrency renamed Diem to add distance from Facebook

Published

on

The Facebook-backed Libra cryptocurrency hasn’t even launched yet, but it’s already rebranding, with its stablecoin product now set to debut as Diem. The move – which comes as the organization hires a number of high-profile execs – is being seen as an attempt to draw further distinction between the crypto project and the ever-controversial Facebook.

Indeed, the new Diem Association will make its independence a key pillar. The new name “signals the project’s growing maturity and independence,” Stuart Levey, CEO, said today.

It’s not been an easy path to launch for Libra, now Diem. Announced in mid-2019, it was pitched as another bitcoin alternative that would be “a global, digitally native, reserve-backed cryptocurrency built on the foundation of blockchain technology.” Although the currency itself would be independent, it could be stored in a Facebook-subsidiary digital wallet, called Calibra.

Since then, though, things haven’t been smooth sailing. Libra faced early criticism for its plan to base value on the US dollar, Euro, Japanese Yen, Singapore dollar, and British pound. Original partners like Visa and Stripe have exited the project.

Facebook’s wallet, meanwhile, will no longer launch as Calibra, and has been rebranded to Novi. Arguably most important, the cryptocurrency’s value won’t be for one, single global stablecoin any more. Instead, there will be multiple versions, with each based on an individual currency such as the US dollar.

The goal now, it appears, is making financial transactions more straightforward and traceable. “The Diem project will provide a simple platform for fintech innovation to thrive and enable consumers and businesses to conduct instantaneous, low-cost, highly secure transactions,” Levey said. “We are committed to doing so in a way that promotes financial inclusion – expanding access to those who need it most, and simultaneously protecting the integrity of the financial system by deterring and detecting illicit conduct.”

Dahlia Malkhi is joining as the Diem Association’s Chief Technology Officer, Christy Clark as Chief of Staff, Steve Bunnell as Chief Legal Officer, and Kiran Raj as Executive Vice President for Growth and Innovation and Deputy General Counsel. Diem Networks – which will be the regulated payment system operator for Diem – has also named its key exec team.

Still to come, however, is any sort of confirmation on timing for the actual launch of Diem. That’s conspicuous by its absence, though earlier rumors suggested that it could be scheduled for early in the new year, and potentially as soon as January.

Continue Reading

Tech News

Snapdragon 888 revealed – Qualcomm’s 5G flagship for Android in 2021

Published

on

Qualcomm has announced its latest flagship chipset, with the Snapdragon 888 set to power the next generation of high-end Android devices in 2021. As you’d expect, there’s a big focus on 5G, with the Snapdragon 888 featuring the company’s latest 3rd generation Snapdragon X60 modem.

Full details of the chipset won’t be revealed until tomorrow, Qualcomm says, with only the headline features of the new SoC being shared at the moment. Still, there’s enough to get us more than a little curious.

The Snapdragon X60 5G Modem-RF System, for example, will combine mmWave and Sub-6 connectivity “across all major bands worldwide,” Qualcomm promises. There’ll be support for 5G carrier aggregation along with global multi-SIM, as we’ve seen on previous 5G modems, together with standalone, non-standalone, and Dynamic Spectrum Sharing.

Another big area of fascination for Qualcomm recently has been Artificial Intelligence. The 6th generation Qualcomm AI Engine will feature on the Snapdragon 888, with a “completely re-engineered” Hexagon processor. That should be capable of up to 26 TOPS (tera operations per second), and will be linked with the 2nd generation Qualcomm Sensing Hub. That controls always-on sensors in a low-power mode.

Snapdragon Elite Gaming, meanwhile, will continue to offer things like updatable GPU drivers – separate from OS updates, allowing for more frequent incremental improvements in graphics performance, in some cases on a per-game basis – and Desktop Forward Rendering. Qualcomm says the Snapdragon 888 should be able to handle up to 144 fps games with its new Adreno GPUs.

On the flip side of the phone, cameras are another big selling point for the new chipset. There, the updated Qualcomm Spectra ISP will handle photos and videos at up to 2.7 gigapixels per second, or roughly 120 photos at 12-megapixels. That’s up to a 35-percent speed improvement compared to the last Snapdragon flagship, Qualcomm suggests.

Of course, Qualcomm has some rising ARM competition at the moment. All eyes are on Apple, which has spread its own, homegrown chipsets from iPhone and iPad to the desktop, with Apple Silicon launching in the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro 13, and Mac mini. They use the M1 SoC, borrowing heavily from the A-series chipsets in recent iOS and iPadOS devices, but we’re expecting to see more potent Apple chips in 2021.

That’s when we can also likely expect to see Android phones based on the Snapdragon 888, though as always it will be down to smartphone-makers to actually decide when their devices launch. Qualcomm says that ASUS, Black Shark, Lenovo, LG, Meizu, Motorola, Nubia, realm, OnePlus, OPPO, Sharp, vivo, Xiaomi, and ZTE are all planning to launch Snapdragon 888-based devices, though we’d expect to see Samsung and others join that list in the new year.

Continue Reading

Tech News

Apple MagSafe Duo Charger tipped to launch this month

Published

on

In October, Apple unveiled its new iPhone 12 line and announced new MagSafe and MagSafe Duo chargers. The standard MagSafe charger is currently available for purchase, but the MagSafe Duo availability is a mystery. A reseller from Switzerland called Digitec Galaxus, apparently a known and popular reseller, has published a listing for the MagSafe Duo charger suggesting that the charger will start shipping this month.

The reseller’s web store claims that MagSafe Duo chargers will ship between December 21 and December 29. It’s worth noting that Apple has yet to offer an official launch date for the charger. It’s certainly not outside the realm of possibility that a major reseller would have inside information about a potential launch date.

Apple certainly won’t be happy that the company is tipping launch dates if there’s any truth to the listing. Another factoid lending weight to the December 21 launch date is that Apple has sent some MagSafe Duo review units out already. It’s unlikely that Apple would’ve sent review units to members in the media if the device wasn’t ready to launch soon.

For those unfamiliar with the MagSafe Duo charger, it’s designed to charge an iPhone 12 series smartphone and an Apple Watch simultaneously. MagSafe chargers are of the sort that the Apple Watch uses and was a new feature to the iPhone 12 series launched in October.

Apple previously said that the MagSafe Duo charger would sell for $129. As is done with recent iterations of its phones and Watch, no USB-C power adapter is included. Apple will gladly sell you one for an additional charge. Most smartphone users likely have USB-C chargers lying around, but you need one with enough power output to get the ideal charge speed.

Continue Reading

Trending