Samsung Prepares 5X Optical Zoom for Phone Cam; Apple Tried to Buy Tesla in 2013; Facebook-Fake Shares Outstrip ‘Real’ News; Huawei Gets 3 Month Reprieve

Samsung is putting finishing touches on a 5X optical zoom, which will go into future smartphones and phablets. 9to5google.com reports that a couple companies already have had 5X, including soon-to-be-banned in the US Huawei. Most only have 2X zoom. If you have ever shot pics at a sporting event, and especially video, you know that using up to 10X electronic zoom blurs and smears badly with motion. Optical zoom is the gold standard. I have an add on lens from Moment on my iPhone and it makes a huge difference (they also make them for Samsung and Google Plxels.) Samsung’s 5X zoom is only 5mm thick…thinner than many 2X zooms out right now. It is likely this zoom won’t make it into the Galaxy Note 10, as that is pretty well set, but could be out as soon as the next round of Galaxy phones and phablets next year.

Multiple sources point to an Apple attempt to buy Tesla back in 2013….for $240 a share. According to electrek.co, the word has slipped out since Tesla’s share price has now dipped under the price Apple was apparently willing to pay. Analyst Craig Irwin of Roth Capital Partners noted on CNBC today that $240 was the figure Apple was game for back in 2013. He claims to have multiple sources, and says Apple still might have an interest in scooping up the electric car maker. It’s known that their Project Titan electric vehicle works is still going, and apple has continued to poach senior Tesla engineers and execs. As Tesla recently was back to the market to raise a few billion dollars, they might not be interested in selling, but Elon Musk has noted that they may well burn through their cash by the end of the year. Who knows? Apple might step back in.

Academics at Oxford have followed how news is shared on social media ahead of regional elections in Europe coming up. Techcrunch.com says it’s bad news! The scholars have found that junk news is being shared on Facebook at up to 4X the rate of professionally produced news stories from reliable sources. The ‘junk’ news is ‘ideologically extreme, misleading, and factually incorrect information,’ according to the study. The Oxford crew studied shares in English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Spanish, and Swedish…all with similar results. Facebook’s efforts to reduce fake news haven’t had much impact. Last month, Twitter had introduced a report option. Since then, only about 4% of the sources circulating on Twitter were junk news, (or ‘known Russian sources’). Twitter users are sharing more links to mainstream news sources…34%…over the study period. A bright spot? It appears from the research that users are on to junk or fake news to a much greater degree than say, the 2016 US elections.

The US Commerce Department has granted Huawei a 90 day license to help existing users. Engadget.com reports that this means they will be able to support existing mobile phone users and rural broadband networks for that period. As part of the deal, Google has now said its suspension of Android services to Huawei is also on hold for 90 days. If you have a Huawei phone, better update your Android system and download any apps from the app store before August 19th!

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