Earlier this week, Twitter co-founder and chief executive officer Jack Dorsey stepped down from his position. Dorsey founded Twitter nearly 15 years ago on March 21, 2006. Dorsey said in a statement, “I’ve decided to leave Twitter because I believe the company is ready to move on from its founders.” However, he will remain a member of the Board till around May 2022 to enable a smooth transition. The company’s Board has unanimously appointed Twitter’s chief technology officer Parag Agrawal as his successor.
iPhones of at least nine U.S. State Department employees were hacked by an unknown assailant using sophisticated spyware developed by the Israel-based NSO Group, according to four people familiar with the matter. The hacks, which took place in the last several months, hit U.S. officials either based in Uganda or focused on matters concerning the East African country, two of the sources said. The NSO Group said in a statement on Thursday that it did not have any indication their tools were used but cancelled the relevant accounts and would investigate based on the Reuters inquiry.
Qualcomm launched the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset for the next generation of Android flagships this week. The new Snapdragon chip uses a new architecture and a new naming scheme. The new Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 is based on a 4nm process. The new Snapdragon 8 Gen 1chips will find its way on Motorola, Xiaomi, and Realme smartphones sometime this month. Qualcomm also launched the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 and Snapdragon 7c+ Gen 3 for the Windows 11 laptops as well as a Snapdragon G3x Gen 1 chipset for handheld consoles.
Dr Timnit Gebru, artificial intelligence (AI) researcher and ex-co-lead at Google’s ethical AI research team has started her own research institute, The Distributed Artificial Intelligence Research Institute (DAIR). In a press release, DAIR is described as, “an independent, community-rooted institute,” that wants to, “counter Big Tech’s pervasive influence on the research, development, and deployment of AI.” Gebru was ousted from Google after a falling out with management over an email she had sent. “AI needs to be brought back down to earth,” said Gebru in the press release.
This week, Google announced its annual list of the best apps on Android’s Play Store for 2021. The list is curated country-wise and BitClass, the education and learning portal won the top honours as Best App of 2021 in India. Indians seem to love Clubhouse, as evidenced by its presence at the top in the Best for Fun category and the social audio app gathered enough votes to be adjudged the winner in User’s Choice App for 2021. Guardians from Truecaller, a GPS tracking app for safety was top among India’s Best everyday essentials, joined by Sarva, the yoga and meditation app and recipe app Sortizy.
Apple recently released its annual list of showcase apps on the app store for 2021. The company named the fifteen top apps and games on their platform, with Toca Life World walking away with top honours as iPhone app of the year. On the iPad, LumaFusion bagged the award for app of the year. Launched in November 2020, collaborative document editing app Craft was the best app on the Mac. DAZN, a subscription-based sports streaming service was adjudged app of the year for Apple TV.
Raven Software, a studio known for its work on Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War as well as Call of Duty: Warzone, is laying off QA testers. According to a report by Kotaku, Austin O’Brien, a community manager for Call of Duty said that members of the quality assurance team were individually called into individual meetings to be told whether or not they would still have a job come January 28. O’Brien w rote on Twitter, “I am gutted right now. My friends in QA at Raven were promised, for months, that Activision was working towards a pay restructure to increase their wages. Today, one by one, valuable members of the team were called into meetings and told they were being let go.” According to O’Brien, many of the testers were asked to relocate to Madison, Wisconsin for the job, but are now being laid off on January 28.
Motorola and Xiaomi launched two sub-20K smartphones in India this week. The Redmi Note 11T 5G and Moto G31 were unveiled as budget 4G and 5G smartphones, respectively. The Redmi Note 11T 5G price in India starts at Rs 16,999, while the Moto G31 boasts a starting price of Rs 12,999.