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‘Weird Cuts’ is Google’s new AR experiment that lets you cut out pieces of reality to make collages – TechCrunch

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In addition to preserving art and historic landmarks around the world, Google’s Arts & Culture division also likes to collaborate with artists to experiment with integrations between technology and art. The latest of these efforts, a new AR app called “Weird Cuts,” was formally introduced this evening at the Google I/O developer conference. The concept for the app was created by artists Zach Lieberman and Molmol Kuo, and was developed with the support of Google Arts & Culture. And it’s definitely an odd (but also fun) tool for playing around with augmented reality — without having any sort of real intention in mind beyond “making weird AR collages.”

Experiments like this, though seemingly lighthearted, are important in terms of getting a better understanding of a new technology, and how people want to interact with it. Today, many AR apps are built for specific purposes — like placing furniture in a room to see how it goes with your existing décor, or getting up-and-close with something you normally couldn’t otherwise — like the great, white shark shown in AR during yesterday’s Google I/O keynote.

Weird Cuts, meanwhile, doesn’t have any higher aim beyond just having fun and being creative.

The app consists of two modes — a cutout mode and a collage mode.

The idea is that you should walk around and collect a bunch of different materials from the world in front of your camera’s viewfinder while in the cutout mode. These images are cut into shapes that you then assemble when you switch to collage mode. To do so, you’ll arrange your cutouts in the 3D space by moving and tapping on the phone’s screen.

You can also adjust the shapes while holding down your finger and moving up, down, left and right — for example, if you want to rotate and scale your “weird cuts” collage shapes.

The end result is a sort of multi-dimensional work of “art” (or perhaps, bit of nonsense, depending on your skill level) created with the found objects and your own improvisational efforts.

The new app, which is published by the artists but credits Google Arts & Culture, is a free download on Google Play.

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Samsung foldable screens might soon be available to Chinese OEMs

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The core feature of a foldable phone is, of course, its foldable screen and it is also the biggest hurdle for smartphone makers who want to get into this market. There are extremely few companies producing flexible screens and those often have exclusivity arrangements with certain smartphone makers. Samsung Display, for example, supplies Samsung Electronics’ with the foldable screens for the Galaxy Z Fold and Galaxy Z Flip but it might soon start selling these components to Chinese smartphone manufacturers.

The exclusivity may sound good for Samsung’s mobile business but it definitely isn’t for Samsung Display. The latter is already starting to feel the heat of the competition as more display makers start eating into its share of the OLED market. It needs another advantage to make it the preferred supplier of device makers and that may happen by opening up orders for its foldable screens to other manufacturers.

According to ETNews, Samsung Display will be supplying foldable displays to Chinese phone makers this year. This will include both kinds of screens that have been seen on the Galaxy Z Fold, which folds left and right, as well as the Galaxy Z Flip that folds up and down. Samsung Display will still of course reserve most of its panels for Samsung Electronics, giving it the upper hand when it comes to quantity.

This wouldn’t be the first time that Samsung Display tried to sell its foldable screens to another manufacturer. Huawei, which uses BOE’s foldable screen, was testing Samsung’s panels but that was put on hold after the Chinese OEM was hit with US export sanctions. Potential customers for Samsung’s foldable screens reportedly include OPPO and Vivo.

At the moment, Samsung Display has the upper hand as it is the only one so far using Ultra-Thin Glass or UTG, though that could change soon as BOE catches up. This shift in the display market could mean that we will soon find even more foldable phones this year, which will hopefully also include more affordable options.

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Facebook accuses Apple of self-serving new privacy policy

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There is really no love lost between Apple and Facebook even as the latter has to begrudgingly yield to Apple’s rules if it wants any place on iPhones and iPads. That won’t keep Facebook from airing its grievances any opportunity it can and the latest comes from founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg himself during the company’s quarterly earnings call. In no unclear words, Zuckerberg paints Apple’s controversial new anti-tracking policy not as something just to protect users but also to protect its own vested interests.

It might boggle the mind that Zuckerberg would paint Apple as one of Facebook’s biggest competitors given that their businesses don’t exactly intersect. That, however, isn’t exactly true anymore in one very specific sense. Facebook’s top exec pretty much pits iMessage and FaceTime as direct and fierce rivals to Facebook’s own Messenger and WhatsApp.

He goes on to say that Apple’s new privacy policies are really meant to drive out the competition as it puts Apple’s first-party apps at an advantage with private APIs and special permissions that third-party apps will never have access to. Apple’s apps are also pre-installed on iPhones and iPads, of course, and Facebook is seemingly losing Android partners willing to risk their customers’ ire in preloading Facebook apps.

Facebook’s rhetoric about Apple’s anti-competitive privacy policy ingeniously plays into the antitrust complaints that have been hurled against it by the US Department of Justice, among others. By playing the victim card, it is trying to show that it isn’t quite the monopoly it is presented to be and is an even smaller player compared to Apple.

Naturally, Zuckerberg also reiterated Facebook’s repeated warnings to advertisers how the upcoming privacy changes in iOS will affect ad revenues, including its own. Apple, however, shows no signs of backing down and will implement those changes in full this year.

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iPhone, iPad, Mac, Services net sales all rocket up in Apple Q1 2021

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Today’s earnings call for apple showed blockbuster success in basically every respect. If we’re looking at net sales by category, Apple’s shown growth in iPhone net sales, net sales of iPad, Mac, “Wearables, Home, and Accessories,” and Services, both year-over-year and compared to the three months ending just before this quarter, ending in December of 2020.

This quarter’s financial results showed iPhone bringing in $65,597 million USD. The same quarter had Mac net sales at $8,675 million and iPad had net sales of $8,435. Net sales for the quarter for Wearables, Home, and Accessories were $12,971 million, while Services rang up to $15,761 million.

This same quarter last year showed Apple with $55,957 million in net sales for iPhone, $7,160 million for Mac, and $5,977 million for iPad. Wearables, Home, and Accessories had a net sales of $10,101 million for the quarter, and Services racked up $12,715 million.

While Apple brought in a $91,819 million in net sales for this quarter last year, this year’s net sales ramped up to $111,439 million. Almost impossibly, Apple had the same net sales in this quarter last year as it did for their quarter that ended in September of 2020. Both net sales came in at $91,819 million USD.

The rise VS this quarter last year might’ve been expected, given the rise of COVID-19, but remember: This quarter’s results end in December of 2020. As such, this same quarter last year is Apple’s three months that end in December of 2019. That’s right up to but not including the point at which COVID-19 forced the world into quarantine. Once we see Apple’s next earnings report (in another three months), we’ll REALLY start to see some bang-up growth year-over-year.

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