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MWC: Telegram hits 100m

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Fast-growing messaging service Telegram announced at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week that over 100-million people worldwide were now using its app every month.

Founded just two and a half years ago in August 2013, Telegram offers a fast and secure means of communication in a simple, intuitive format that makes it easy for its users to send messages on even the weakest network connections – anywhere on the planet.

No less than 15 billion telegrams are delivered daily – indicating that many people use Telegram as their main means of communication. This extremely high volume of daily message traffic places Telegram far ahead many other means of communication when it comes to user engagement.

As many as 350,000 new users from across the world join every day on the recommendation of their family, friends or colleagues, who chose Telegram as the most efficient and diverse messaging app available.

“The frequency by which people use Telegram to communicate with friends, family and colleagues has grown steadily – soaring to an unbelievable rate as we continue to add functionalities to our app,” said Pavel Durov, Founder and CEO of Telegram. “We remain entirely focused on redefining how people use messaging apps for their every day communication.”

A growing number of businesses are switching from email and other forms of communication to Telegram for its ability to engage up to 1,000-person groups in a curated manner, cross-device sync, and fast file transmission of up to 1.5 GB.

Several innovations over the past year, such as the launch of the Bot Platform, Telegram Channels, and Voice Messages – have all contributed to making Telegram a communication platform of choice for a growing number of individuals and businesses.

“From students to world leaders, from small local newspapers to the global brands, we get inspired by how people use our platform and build functionalities that match this,” said Durov.

“When we launched our Bot Platform, for example, we noticed that a number of media organisations started using them to broadcast customised news, so we launched Channels to make communication with an unlimited audience even easier. Some of our Channels are followed by over one million people, and we anticipate this integration of media and content on the Telegram platform to continue.”

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CES: Most useless gadgets of all

Choosing the best of show is a popular pastime, but the worst gadgets of CES also deserve their moment of infamy, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.

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It’s fairly easy to choose the best new gadgets launched at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas last week. Most lists – and there are many – highlight the LG roll-up TV, the Samsung modular TV, the Royole foldable phone, the impossible burger, and the walking car.

But what about the voice assisted bed, the smart baby dining table, the self-driving suitcase and the robot that does nothing? In their current renditions, they sum up what is not only bad about technology, but how technology for its own sake quickly leads us down the rabbit hole of waste and futility.

The following pick of the worst of CES may well be a thinly veneered attempt at mockery, but it is also intended as a caution against getting caught up in hype and justification of pointless technology.

1. DUX voice-assisted bed

The single most useless product launched at CES this year must surely be a bed with Alexa voice control built in. No, not to control the bed itself, but to manage the smart home features with which Alexa and other smart speakers are associated. Or that any smartphone with Siri or Google Assistant could handle. Swedish luxury bedmaker DUX thinks it’s a good idea to manage smart lights, TV, security and air conditioning through the bed itself. Just don’t say Alexa’s “wake word” in your sleep.

2. Smart Baby Dining Table 

Ironically, the runner-up comes from a brand that also makes smart beds: China’s 37 Degree Smart Home. Self-described as “the world’s first smart furniture brand that is transforming technology into furniture”, it outdid itself with a Smart Baby Dining Table. This isa baby feeding table with a removable dining chair that contains a weight detector and adjustable camera, to make children’s weight and temperature visible to parents via the brand’s app. Score one for hands-off parenting.

Click here to read about smart diapers, self-driving suitcases, laundry folders, and bad robot companions.

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CES: Tech means no more “lost in translation”

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Talking to strangers in foreign countries just got a lot easier with recent advancements in translation technology. Last week, major companies and small startups alike showed the CES technology expo in Las Vegas how well their translation worked at live translation.

Most existing translation apps, like Bixby and Siri Translate, are still in their infancy with live speech translation, which brings about the need for dedicated solutions like these technologies:

Babel’s AIcorrect pocket translator

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The AIcorrect Translator, developed by Beijing-based Babel Technology, attracted attention as the linguistic king of the show. As an advanced application of AI technology in consumer technology, the pocket translator deals with problems in cross-linguistic communication. 

It supports real-time mutual translation in multiple situations between Chinese/English and 30 other languages, including Japanese, Korean, Thai, French, Russian and Spanish. A significant differentiator is that major languages like English being further divided into accents. The translation quality reaches as high as 96%.

It has a touch screen, where transcription and audio translation are shown at the same time. Lei Guan, CEO of Babel Technology, said: “As a Chinese pathfinder in the field of AI, we designed the device in hoping that hundreds of millions of people can have access to it and carry out cross-linguistic communication all barrier-free.” 

Click here to read about the Pilot, Travis, Pocketalk, Google and Zoi translators.

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