Global LinkUP: Alexa goes to school

April 27, 2018
3 min read
Photo by Rich Bamford

The Global Linkup is a summary roundup of important tech news curated from around the world. On this week’s edition of the global news round up, tech companies are following a 2016 Apple trend, Amazon's Alexa will get smarter and cryptocurrency stories. Read on.

Apple’s visionary guns, and a new iPhone

In 2016, Apple changed the design of its gun emoji from a realistic gun to a water pistol; a decision that was not popular at the time. Two years and plenty gun tragedies later all the major tech companies are following suit.

Business Insider reports that Google, Samsung, Microsoft, Twitter and Facebook are all in the process of changing theirs. A spokesperson for Unicode Consortium, the organization that oversees emoji, said it plans to bring consistency for the gun emojis across different tech brands to avoid confusion.

There may be a new iPhone in the works. The Verge reports that an updated reboot of the iPhone SE is likely in the works. It outlines the likely specs and price of Apple’s most affordable phone. Dubbed the iPhone SE 2, CNET says it will likely have a glass back and wireless charging.


Alexa goes to school

The Amazon Echo are a range of voice-controlled smart speakers connected to Amazon’s personal assistant Alexa. In March this year, a report detailed the account of users who reported their Amazon Echo smart speakers laughing without any prompt and there was nothing smart about the laughs. Amazon took steps to fix it at the time, but according to a TechCrunch report, Alexa is getting even smarter.

The report says “The Alexa Brain initiative is focused on improving Alexa’s ability to track context and memory within and across dialog sessions.” This means among other things that Alexa will remember more information and be able to have natural conversations without the initial ‘Alexa’ voice prompt.

Meanwhile, a blog on its website shows Amazon is trying to convince parents that the Echo range of smart speakers are ideal for the family, especially children.

But generally, Amazon is financially healthy.

A CNBC report says its revenue including Whole Foods increased 43 percent year-over-year. While  revenue in North America jumped 46 percent to $30.7 billion, and international sales grew 34 percent to $14.8 billion.

On cryptocurrencies

This week, New York-based investment bank Goldman Sachs hired Justin Schmidt as vice president and head of digital asset markets in the firm's securities division. Business Insider reports that Justin will be Goldman Sachs’ first hire to focus exclusively on digital currencies as the Wall Street bank explores creating a bitcoin trading desk.

Meanwhile Circle a financial services startup backed by Goldman Sachs has doubled its minimum Bitcoin trade amount to $500,000 amid what it calls a “robust market”.

A British television star Martin Lewis is suing Facebook for letting scammers publish fake ads with his name including Bitcoin scam adverts. According to his blog, Martins said he does not run ads and has asked Facebook in the past to confirm veracity from him or not publish the ads at all.

According to CoinMarketCap, as at Friday morning, here are prices of top crypto in a 24-hour period; Bitcoin climbed 4.38% to reach $9,228, Ethereum 4.31% boost put it at a $655 price point. LiteCoin is up to $150, Ripple XRP is $0.84 and Monero XRM climbed to $259.

tech. media. startups. africa. vc | Twitter: @victor_ekwealor
tech. media. startups. africa. vc | Twitter: @victor_ekwealor
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tech. media. startups. africa. vc | Twitter: @victor_ekwealor

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