Tag Archives: smartphone

The smartphone is eventually going to die, and then things are going to get really crazy

Apple CEO Tim Cook AP

 

One day, not too soon — but still sooner than you think — the smartphone will all but vanish, the way beepers and fax machines did before it.

Make no mistake: We're still probably at least a decade away from any kind of meaningful shift away from the smartphone. (And if we're all cyborgs by 2027, I'll happily eat my words. Assuming we're still eating at all, I guess.)

Yet, piece by piece, the groundwork for the eventual demise of the smartphone is being laid by Elon Musk, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, and a countless number of startups that still have a part to play.

And, let me tell you: If and when the smartphone does die, that's when things are going to get really weird for everybody. Not just in terms of individual products but in terms of how we actually live our everyday lives and maybe our humanity itself.

Here's a brief look at the slow, ceaseless march toward the death of the smartphone — and what the post-smartphone world is shaping up to look like.

The short term
People think of the iPhone and the smartphones it inspired as revolutionary devices — small enough to carry everywhere, hefty enough to handle an increasingly large number of daily tasks, and packed full of the right mix of cameras and GPS sensors to make apps like Snapchat and Uber uniquely possible.

But consider the smartphone from another perspective. The desktop PC and the laptop are made up of some combination of a mouse, keyboard, and monitor. The smartphone just took that model, shrank it, and made the input virtual and touch-based.

So take, for example, the Samsung Galaxy S8, unveiled this week. It's gorgeous with an amazing bezel-less screen and some real power under the hood. It's impressive, but it's more refinement than revolution.

Samsung Galaxy S8. Business Insider

Tellingly, though, the Galaxy S8 ships with Bixby, a new virtual assistant that Samsung promises will one day let you control every single feature and app with just your voice. It will also ship with a new version of the Gear VR virtual reality headset, developed in conjunction with Facebook's Oculus.

The next iPhone, too, is said to be shipping with upgrades to the Siri assistant, along with features aimed at bringing augmented reality into the mainstream.

And as devices like the Amazon Echo, the Sony PlayStation VR, and the Apple Watch continue to enjoy limited but substantial success, expect to see a lot more tech companies large and small taking more gambles and making more experiments on the next big wave in computing interfaces.

The medium term
In the medium term, all of these various experimental and first-stage technologies will start to congeal into something familiar but bizarre.

Microsoft, Facebook, Google, and the Google-backed Magic Leap are all working to build standalone augmented-reality headsets, which project detailed 3D images straight into your eyes. Even Apple is rumored to be working on this.

Microsoft's Alex Kipman recently told Business Insider that augmented reality could flat-out replace the smartphone, the TV, and anything else with a screen. There's not much use for a separate device sitting in your pocket or on your entertainment center if all your calls, chats, movies, and games are beamed into your eyes and overlaid on the world around you.

Apple's AirPods keep the Siri virtual assistant in your ears. Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

At the same time, gadgetry like the Amazon Echo or Apple's own AirPods become more and more important in this world. As artificial-intelligence systems like Apple's Siri, Amazon's Alexa, Samsung's Bixby, and Microsoft's Cortana get smarter, there will be a rise not just in talking to computers but in having them talk back.

In other words, computers will hijack your senses, more so than they already do, with your sight and your hearing intermediated by technology. It's a little scary. Think of what Facebook glitches could mean in a world where it doesn't just control what you read on your phone but in what you see in the world around you.

The promise, though, is a world where real life and technology blend more seamlessly. The major tech companies promise that this future means a world of fewer technological distractions and more balance, as the physical and digital world become the same thing. You decide how you feel about that.

The really crazy future
Still, all those decade-plus investments in the future still rely on gadgetry that you have to wear, even if it's only a pair of glasses. Some of the craziest, most forward-looking, most unpredictable advancements go even further — provided you're willing to wait a few extra decades, that is.

This week, we got our first look at Neuralink, a new company cofounded by Musk with a goal of building computers into our brains by way of "neural lace," a very early-stage technology that lays on your brain and bridges it to a computer. It's the next step beyond even that blending of the digital and physical worlds, as human and machine become one.

Assuming the science works — and lots of smart people believe that it will — this is the logical endpoint of the road that smartphones started us on. If smartphones gave us access to information and augmented reality puts that information in front of us when we need it, then putting neural lace in our brains just closes the gap.

Futurist Ray Kurzweil has been predicting our cyborg futures for a long time now. Tech Insider

Musk has said this is because the rise of artificial intelligence — which underpins a lot of the other technologies, including voice assistants and virtual reality — means humans will have to augment themselves just to keep up with the machines. If you're really curious about this idea, futurist Ray Kurzweil is the leading voice on the topic.

The idea of human/machine fusion is a terrifying one, with science-fiction writers, technologists, and philosophers alike having very good cause to ask what even makes us human in the first place. At the same time, the idea is so new that nobody really knows what this world would look like in practice.

So if and when the smartphone dies, it'll actually be the end of an era in more ways than one. It'll be the end of machines that we carry with us passively and the beginning of something that bridges our bodies straight into the ebb and flow of digital information. It's going to get weird.

And yet, lots of technologists already say that smartphones give us superpowers with access to knowledge, wisdom, and abilities beyond anything nature gave us. In some ways, augmenting the human mind would be the ultimate superpower. Then again, maybe I'm just an optimist.

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Mark Zuckerberg just signed the death warrant for the smartphone

Matt Weinberger 
 It's no secret Mark Zuckerberg is pinning Facebook's prospects on augmented reality — technology that overlays digital imagery onto the real world, like Snapchat's signature camera filters.

At this year's F8 conference, taking place this week, Zuckerberg doubled down on the company's ambitious 10-year master plan, which was first revealed in 2016. According to this timeline, Facebook expects to turn artificial intelligence, ubiquitous internet connectivity, and virtual and augmented reality into viable parts of its business over the next decade.

The Facebook 10-year road map, first revealed in April 2016. Facebook

To accelerate the rise of augmented reality, a big part of the plan, Zuckerberg unveiled the Camera Effects platform — basically a set of tools for outside developers to build augmented-reality apps that you can access from the existing Facebook app's camera. That would theoretically open the door for Facebook to host the next phenomenon like "Pokémon Go."

Mark Zuckerberg shows off the Facebook Camera Effects platform, which lets developers make augmented-reality apps like this Nike one that lets you share your run times with friends. Getty

While this announcement seems pretty innocuous, make no mistake — Facebook is once again putting itself into direct competition with Google and Apple, trying to create yet another parallel universe of apps and tools that don't rely on the smartphones' marketplaces. As The New York Times notes, Zuckerberg has long been disappointed that Facebook never built a credible smartphone operating system of its own.

This time, though, Facebook is also declaring war on pretty much everyone else in the tech industry, too. While it'll take at least a decade to fully play out, the stuff Facebook is talking about today is just one more milestone on the slow march toward the death of the smartphone and the rise of even weirder and wilder futures.

Why buy a TV?
Zuckerberg tipped his hand, just a bit, during Tuesday's Facebook F8 keynote. During a demo of the company's vision for augmented reality — in the form of a pair of easy-to-wear, standard-looking glasses — he showed how you could have a virtual "screen" in your living room, bigger than your biggest TV.

"We don't need a physical TV. We can buy a $1 app 'TV' and put it on the wall and watch it," Zuckerberg told USA Today ahead of his keynote. "It's actually pretty amazing when you think about how much of the physical stuff we have doesn't need to be physical."

Zuckerberg says the goal is to release glasses, like these, that can project virtual objects like chessboards or even TVs onto what you see. Facebook

That makes sense, assuming you're into the idea of wearing a computer on your face (and you're OK with Facebook intermediating everything you see and hear, glitches and all).

But it's not just TVs. This philosophy could extend to smartphones, smartwatches, tablets, fitness trackers, or anything else that has a screen or relies on one to work. Zuckerberg even showed off a street art installation that's just a blank wall until you wave the Facebook camera app over it to reveal a mural.

For Microsoft, which has already dipped its toe in this area with its HoloLens holographic goggles, this is a foregone conclusion. HoloLens boss Alex Kipman recently called the demise of the smartphone the "natural conclusion" of augmented reality and its associated technologies.

War of the worlds
The problem, naturally, is that a huge chunk of the world's economy hinges on the production of phones, TVs, tablets, and all those other things that Facebook thinks could be replaced with this technology.

Even Zuckerberg acknowledges it's a long road ahead. That said, this Camera Effects platform, should it succeed in attracting a bunch of users, could go down as a savvy move. The apps that are built for the Facebook Camera today could wind up as the first versions of the apps you'd use with those glasses.

Microsoft's futuristic HoloLens goggles provide an early look at Facebook's goal. Microsoft

In the short term, Facebook's play for augmented reality is going to look a lot like competing with Snapchat — and in a meaningful way, it is. Facebook needs developer and user love, so it needs to keep offering fun and funny tools to keep people from moving away from using its apps.

In the long term, though, this is Facebook versus everybody else to usher in an age of a new kind of computing — and pretty much every tech company out there will get caught in the crossfire, as Apple, Google, Microsoft, and more rush out their responses to this extremely existential, but still meaningful, threat.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Business Insider

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The 10 best smartphones of 2017 so far

Samsung just revealed the new Galaxy S8 while all the rest of the major announcements have been completed over the past two months. By Matthew Miller for Smartphones and Cell Phones | April 4, 2017 — 13:14 GMT (14:14 BST) | Topic: Mobility

The Apple iPhone tends to take the top spot in most of my biannual lists, with Samsung making an appearance every once in a while. With continued innovation in the Android space and much of the same from Apple, the advancements in technology outweighed simplicity this time.

It is not easy to pick the top phone when so many great options exist. While you may not agree with my particular order, it's likely you have most of these in your top 10. I was fairly certain of my top pick this year, especially after attending the launch event in NYC last week, but I still posted a Twitter poll that confirmed my top two phones.

1. SAMSUNG GALAXY S8/S8 PLUS
samsung-galaxy-s8-gear-vr-gear-360-dex-bixby-11.jpg
I actually had the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 at the top of my last list in December 2016, but after two recalls it was removed from consideration. The Samsung Galaxy S8/S8 Plus takes first place this time for many reasons.

Samsung's Infinity Display looks fantastic and minimizes the top and bottom bezel while removing anything on the sides which roll down from the front to the back. We see ample RAM and internal storage with the ability to add inexpensive microSD cards, new Bixby assitant and a hardware button dedicated to its use, improved front facing camera, Samsung Pay payment technology, wireless and fast charging, IP68 dust and water resistance, a USB Type-C standard port, and traditional 3.5mm headset jack. There is nothing missing from the Galaxy S8 and it deserves the top spot.

The Samsung Galaxy S8 can be pre-ordered now and will ship in the next couple of weeks. The S8 is priced at $750 and the S8 Plus at $850. Pre-orders include a free Samsung Gear VR and controller too.

My Galaxy S8 Plus review will be posted in a couple of weeks. I'm picking this as the top device based on my limited time with the S8 at the launch event and my extended time with the S7 and S7 Edge.

2. APPLE IPHONE 7/7 PLUS
apple-iphone-7-plus-2016-product-056.jpg
Whenever I need to make sure I have a phone that does it all and gets me through a long day, I regularly pop my SIM into the Apple iPhone 7 Plus. The water resistance, improved cameras, more RAM, a larger capacity battery, a faster processor, and stereo speakers are all compelling features.

However, the iPhone 7 ends up in second because it has no fast charging technology, internal storage is locked to whatever capacity you purchase, there is no standard headphone jack, there is no wireless charging, Apple Pay has limitations, and the phones are quite large for the display sizes.

The Apple iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are also the most expensive smartphones available today, when compared to similar flagships.

Check out the my full review of the iPhone 7 Plus (9.3 rating) and Jason's iPhone 7 review (9.0 rating). CNET also has reviews of the iPhone 7 Plus (8.8 rating) and iPhone 7 (8.7 rating).

3. LG G6
lg-g6-hardware-8.jpg
LG was the first to get its flagship out to customers with the new 18:9 aspect ratio and after using one for more than a month I considered it as a possible number one contender. It is priced the lowest of these top three at just $650 with a microSD card slot, incredible performing dual rear cameras, shock resistance, minimal bezels and a pocketable form factor, wireless charging, and dust and water resistance.

The LG G6 has a rather thick uniform body and doesn't have anything that particularly makes it stand out from the crowd. The LG UX is OK and is not too intrusive, but LG doesn't have a great track record with regular software updates and there is still something for LG to prove in 2017. But the LG G6 is a wonderful device to show that LG is able to compete with Samsung and Apple.

Check out my full review (9.5 rating) of the LG G6.

4. GOOGLE'S PIXEL AND PIXEL XL
It's hard for me to pick a phone for the top three that six months after release still has a back order from four to five weeks. The Google Pixel and Pixel XL are outstanding devices and for about a month I owned a Google Pixel XL.

google-pixel-100416-pixel-xl-1307.jpg
Image: CNET
The Pixel has a 5 inch display while the Pixel XL has a 5.5 inch display. Both are powered by a Qualcomm 821 processor. Other key specs include 4GB of RAM, 32 or 128GB of internal storage, 12.3 megapixel camera and 8 megapixel front facing camera, and Android 7.1 Nougat.

There is no water resistance or wireless charging capability, internal storage is locked to either 32GB or 128GB, and the bezels of the phone are quite large when you compare it to the new LG G6 and Samsung Galaxy S8.

Just like the iPhone, you will get updates to the Android software first on a Google Pixel or Pixel XL so if having the latest version of the software is important to you then you can't beat a Pixel.

The camera helps you take wonderful photos and that was the one reason I almost kept mine. However, there are too many other compromises with the hardware that I was not willing to make. The Google Pixel is priced at $649 and $749. The Google Pixel XL is priced at $769 and $869.

Check out the Jason Cipriani's full review of the Google Pixel XL (8.0 rating). CNET also has a review of the Google Pixel (8.8 rating).

5. MOTO Z/Z FORCE DROID
It's been a while since I've been impressed by a Motorola phone, but the Moto Z and Moto Z Force Droid look great, feel great, and perform well. These phones incorporate a modular design that actually makes sense and works well.

moto-z-force-droid-7.jpg
The Moto Z is available as a GSM unlocked phone for $699 with the Moto Z Force Droid a Verizon exclusive, available for $720 (32GB) and $770 (64GB).

The Z Force Droid edition adds a shatterproof display, which is something we don't see often today. Both phones have high resolution displays, leading internal specifications, a water repellent nano-coating, and battery life that lasts longer than an iPhone 7 Plus.

Motorola has done a good job updating these latest Moto Z phones with the operating system and monthly Android security updates. You can also use the Moto Z Force Droid in a Google Daydream headset for a VR experience.

The Moto Mods snap on and off easily and are very functional. Motorola has spent time and money fostering the Moto Mods development and we are starting to see projects on Indiegogo and elsewhere.

6. HUAWEI MATE 9
huawei-mate-9-launch-11.jpg
CNET/CBS Interactive
While I enjoy testing out Huawei phones as part of my ZDNet experience, I don't usually include Huawei phones on this list since they are rarely sold in the US. However, the Huawei Mate 9 is available for GSM phone users on Amazon and other US retailers for just $599.

If long battery life, high quality photos, and a big 5.9 inch screen are important to you then you may want to consider the Huawei Mate 9. You can now install the Amazon Alexa app and have another assistant to work with Google Assistant.

The Huawei Mate 9 has a powerful Kirin 960 processor, 4GB of RAM, 64GB internal storage with microSD card slot, dual rear cameras with Leica branding, and a massive 4,000 mAh battery to get you through two days of work.

7. GALAXY S7/S7 EDGE
galaxy-s7-9.jpg
While the Samsung Galaxy S8 may be the ultimate Samsung flagship, the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge are still fantastic smartphones that can be found at reduced pricing with the S8 soon hitting store shelves. These smartphones have industry leading specifications, refined design, and capabilities that had me almost awarding it a perfect 10 in my review. The only con I could come up with for the S7 was that it is a fingerprint magnet and for the S7 Edge that the edge screen sometimes facilitated inadvertent screen presses.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge have extremely fast cameras that take excellent photos and video, responsive fingerprint scanners and advanced Samsung Pay support, water resistance without the fuss of ports, elegant refined design with the use of metal and glass, and also launched with sweet offers from US carriers and Samsung.

The S7 and S7 Edge still use microUSB and have a front physical home button, both of which may still appeal to some people.

CNET also awarded the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge an Editor's Choice award so there's little doubt that Samsung's year old smartphones are still some of the best smartphones available today.

8. BLACKBERRY KEYONE
blackberry-keyone-tcl-1
BlackBerry KEYone (Image: TCL)
The BlackBerry DTEK60 is a solid device, available at a great price, that offers a high level of security in an elegant design. However, I decided to award the spot on this list to the upcoming BlackBerry KEYone that brings a physical QWERTY back to BlackBerry customers.

The BlackBerry KEYone doesn't have all of the highest flagship specs found in the DTEK60, but it is a very capable device with an excellent camera. The KEYone has a 4.5 inch display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor, massive 3505 mAh battery, 12 megapixel rear camera, and fingerprint sensor built into the keyboard spacebar.

TCL is now making BlackBerry hardware and as I saw on the DTEK60 it is doing a fantastic job at providing monthly Android security updates, which is not something many Android manufacturers can say.

The BlackBerry KEYone was scheduled for an April release but with the latest news it may be delayed until May. It is priced at $549, which is reasonable for this unique BlackBerry device.

9. ONEPLUS 3T
There are a number of excellent Android smartphones available today in the $400 range and one of the best is the OnePlus 3T. OnePlus has recently sold some special color options, including midnight black, in order to satisfy customers looking for a unique device.

oneplus-3t.jpg
Image: OnePlus
The OnePlus 3T feels much like an HTC 10, but the customization, more RAM, and longer battery life make it compelling. It does have a 1080p display so the resolution is not as high as an HTC 10, but it is priced significantly lower.

The OnePlus 3T has a Snapdragon 821 processor, 6GB RAM, and 64GB/128GB of internal storage. There is a 3,400 mAh battery to keep you going, along with Dash Charge for quick top off when you need it.

OnePlus has shown it can update the phone regularly as well with a few updates already made since its release. It has some awesome customization options and is one of my favorite low price smartphones.

Sandra Vogel gave it a 9/10 rating in her ZDNet review. CNET awarded the OnePlus 3T 9.0/10 in its review.

10. HTC U ULTRA
For many years I was an HTC fan and purchased most of the One series. The HTC U Ultra was released over a month ago and while it looks gorgeous it is a bit of step back from the HTC 10 and doesn't compete well with the current flagships.

first-look-htc-u-ultra-3.jpg
Like the HTC 10, the HTC U Ultra provides a fantastic audio experience with dual stereo speakers and an included USonic headset that maps the specifics of each of your ears.

The U Ultra has a 5.7 inch high resolution LCD display in a 162.41 x 79.79 mm form factor. Despite the size of the phone, you will only find a 3000 mAh battery inside that didn't even let me make it through a full day of work.

The price is a bit high at $749, especially when you compare the HTC U Ultra to other flagships. The back glass, an unusual move for a company that set the bar with aluminum unibody designs, is stunning. However, it is also a major fingerprint magnet.

There is no level of water resistance, wireless charging is not present even though the back is glass, and there is no headphone jack.

I awarded the HTC U Ultra a a 7.0/10 in my review, while CNET awarded the HTC U Ultra a comparable 6.8/10.

While it's always fairly clear which devices are in the top five, the second five are a bit tougher and some devices get left off the list. I didn't expect a BlackBerry and an HTC device to be on the list this year, but could also add in some more affordable Motorola and other devices. What other devices would you recommend for this top ten list?

Related ZDNet top 10 smartphones articles

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This startup wants to replace the silicon in your smartphone with diamonds

Chances are you’ve never heard of Akhan Semiconductor, but the company is well on its way to producing the hardware at the heart of your next smartphone, smartwatch, laptop, or virtual reality headset. The new components won’t only last longer and perform better than today’s tech, but their environmental impact will be much less severe, too. The big secret? Diamonds.
Instead of making processing chips out of silicon, Akhan is using jewelry’s favorite gem stone.
Why make processors out of diamonds?
Diamonds, it turns out, aren’t just the hardest mineral on the Mohs scale. They have a knack for transferring heat, and do a much better job of retaining energy compared to the silicon in most of today’s electronics. The minerals, on average, can run five times hotter and eliminate up to 90 percent of energy typically loss in the course of electron transfer.
“We’re the only company in the world that can create [these diamonds],” Carl Shurbof, Akhan’s chief of operations, told Digital Trends, “and we’re uniquely positioned to to create a new ecosystem.”
“We can create a wearable that … is completely flexible and can easily wrap around your wrist.”
The applications are practically endless. For consumer devices like the smartphone in your pocket, diamond could drastically reduce the amount of heat it produces. A diamond-made smartphone would be cooler against your face when you’re chatting with a buddy, for one, but could also last substantially longer. High temperatures wear aggressively at electronics, meaning that any reduction in heat has the potential to boost their lifespan.
Your phone could be thinner, too, since it wouldn’t need the temperature-regulating heatsinks and fans of silicon models. And as an added bonus, it might be faster — the newfound thermal headroom would allow phone makers to bump up performance.
Perhaps even more incredibly, diamond-based electronics could be cheaper than their silicon counterparts, Shurboff said. That is, again, because manufacturers don’t have to worry about keeping the devices cool.
Related: Samsung’s first foldable phone, the Galaxy X, could launch in 2017
But smartphones aren’t the only devices that stand to benefit. Electric car manufacturers like Tesla are targeting circuitry efficiency improvements of around 18 percent, a goalpost Shurboff said Akhan’s diamonds could easily exceed. The diamonds are tailor-made for heavy manufacturing and aerospace firms, which often require materials strong enough to withstand extreme radiation like x-rays.
“It’s both elegant and extremely high tech,” Shurboff said.
Digging for diamonds
Adam Khan, Akhan’s founder and chief executive, conceived of the idea in 2007 when he began pursuing the commercialization of diamond-based electronics. Khan, a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago and Stanford University’s Fabrication Facility, is an electrical engineer by trade, so he sought to solve the two most imposing barriers to diamond mass production: deposition, the process of growing a layer of diamond on top a wafer-like base, and doping, or fine-tuning diamond’s electrical properties.
diamond processors take on silicon akhan semiconductor
Akhan Semiconductor
diamond processors take on silicon akhan semiconductor
Argonne National Laboratory

Khan got a leg up from colleagues, most notably scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory. Akhan inked intellectual property licensing agreements, which gave the company exclusive methods to create synthetic diamonds and use them to produce transistors, capacitors, and resistors — the components of modern-day computers.
Related: Forget one screen — two screens could be the future of the smartwatch
The lab’s research dovetailed with one of Khan’s early breakthroughs: diamonds that stuck securely to conductive metals. The novelty was in the binding process. Khan figured out a way to reliably affix metals and alloys to diamond wafers without impacting either material’s conductivity. That discovery set the final cogs in motion toward Akhan’s end game: semiconductors — the essential component of electric circuits — made of diamond. He received a U.S. patent for the work in 2012.
Not your typical diamonds
Akhan’s diamonds aren’t the cut you might find on a Harry Winston tiara. Instead, Akhan’s Chief of Operations Carl Shurboff told Digital Trends, they’re designed expressly to percolate electrons around the insides of gadgets.
“When you say ‘diamond,’ everyone thinks mine diamonds or blood diamonds,” he said. “The idea of a semiconducting diamond is difficult to convey to the general public.” Unlike the diamonds extracted from subterranean tunnels in Siberia and Zimbabwe, Akhan’s are man-made and manufactured with methane — “the most abundant molecule in the universe,” Shurboff notes, a fact that helps the company keep costs well within reason.

To produce them, Akhan uses microwaves to heat a reactor filled with hydrogen, argon, and the aforementioned methane. Once the cycle finishes, the methane reaches a plasma state, taking on the consistency and appearance of a super-hot gas. The result: thin sheets of diamond material about 1/70 the diameter of a human hair. That is where the future starts.
Transluscent, bendable devices
More exciting than a smartphone with diamond in it is what lies on the horizon: translucent, bendable diamond devices. Akhan is working on flexible diamond semiconductors that can bend a full 45 degrees in any direction, which Shurboff thinks would be a boon for smartwatches and fitness trackers.
“People who bought smartwatches and are interested in styling don’t like how bulky and ugly they are, and so they don’t wear them,” he said. “We can create a wearable technology that can be transposed to anything you want, is completely flexible, and can easily wrap around your wrist.”

The diamonds aren’t going to sprout up overnight, of course. Akhan’s starting small, combining its diamond tech with traditional silicon for a clientele that skews largely industrial. Its new Gurnee facility, the product of a $5.5 million incentives package from the state of Illinois, began shipping chips in the first quarter of 2016. It’ll begin producing consumer-ready, all-diamond models in about two years.
And when it does, Shurboff said the environmental impact will be negligible. The company claims that its diamond semiconductors require 20 percent less water to produce than silicon, and that the devices without heat sinks and fans made newly possible by its chips will cut down on the roughly 85-90 percent thermal materials that end up in landfills. While Akhan currently sources methane from third-party suppliers, Shurboff said one future source could be pollution like the kind produced by cars.
Related: This prototype shows how amazing flexible screens might be
“We’re working with high-caliber people and high-value partners,” he said. “It’s world-leading.”
It’ll be a while yet before Akhan gets a chip for the global semiconductor market, an industry worth an estimated $327 billion in 2016, but Shurboff is confident that diamonds will be a big competitor to silicon.
Also watch: Project Scorpio: Everything We Know | News and Rumors

Read more: http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/diamond-processors-take-on-silicon/#ixzz4EPDE8usD 

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Sprint wants to help parents decide when it’s time to get their kids a smartphone

These days, it can be difficult to figure out when it’s the right time to give your child a phone. Sprint thinks it has the solution.
The company has launched a new website, called ‘KidsFirstPhone,’ designed to help advise parents when it’s time to buy a phone for their child. The site features a number of smartphone facts, as well as a quiz to help parents make the decision.
Related: Forget the grown-ups! Here are the best wearables for kids
In fact, according to an Influence Central survey, the average age for a kid to get a smartphone is 10.3 years, and 1 in 2 kids have a social media account by the time they’re 12 years old.

“It used to be that getting your driver’s license was the signifying moment when freedom and the race toward growing up started,” says the website. “Times have changed and thanks to an ever-evolving world of iEverything, the timeline has accelerated — having a phone to call your own is the new first step toward independence.”
The quiz includes five questions, including asking if your child needs to stay in touch with you, if they’re honest with you, if they often break things, and so on. While Sprint says that there are a number of benefits associated with giving a child a smartphone, it also mentions the drawbacks, such as the fact that it opens kids up to cyber bullying and to having to protect their online data.
Of course, it’s important to take the new website with a grain of salt. After all, who benefits when more people are getting smartphones? Carriers and manufacturers, of course. While the site won’t totally replace the role of parents in figuring out what’s right for their kids, it could still get you pointed in the right direction and give you the arguments for and against getting a smartphone for your children.
Also watch: Best Family Plan: Sprint vs. AT&T vs. Verizon vs. T-Mobile

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